Seeing What You Can't See

In the last post I talked about the difference between being seen as the role that you play and being seen as the person that you are. For some this may be a new distinction - something that you felt but hadn’t put words to.

It is so common to have a sense of things that you don’t have words but only a vague awareness. It’s also very possible for you, for all of us, to have no sense at all of something you are experiencing being a “thing”. When we are able to make distinctions like this, people who study adult development call this making “object” what has up until that moment we have been “subject” to.

What we are “subject to” is anything we take for granted and don’t even know that we take for granted. They could be assumptions we make about the world, the beliefs we have about how things should work. Often, they are cultural assumptions based upon how our culture or society functions. We don’t see the assumptions because we simply live out our lives based upon the cultural beliefs, unless our experience of power or rank makes us more conscious of them.

But then, once we have some awareness of what we believe, we see the water that we are swimming in, so to speak. A change happens. Adult development researcher Jennifer Garvey Berger notes:

“it’s a thing we can look at. It’s an object for our reflection. We can peer at it. We can make decisions about it. We can choose to see through it or we can choose to put it aside and not see through it at all for the moment.”

At the core of Conscious Politics is this ability to make object the things that we have heretofore been subject to and make decisions about it. More to come.

Heather Jensen