Introspection is OUT, Outrospection is IN

I watched this RSA animate video the other day highlighting the ideas of philosopher Roman Krznaric.


I had never heard of Krznaric before and found out that “He is a founding faculty member of The School of Life in London, which offers instruction and inspiration on the important questions of everyday life, and advises organisations including Oxfam and the United Nations on using empathy and conversation to create social change.” according to his website.

British philosopher Roman Krznaric

British philosopher Roman Krznaric

He’s written some interesting titles like “How to Find Fulfilling Work” and the “The Wonderbox”.

I enjoyed the RSA animate not only because of it’s use of ideas inspired from Star Trek (total Trekkie in case you hadn’t noticed) but because it defines and vocalizes something which I have always sort-of suspected and felt but never really put to words myself.

Read any spiritual primer, whether that is anchored in New Age-ism, traditionally based in religion, self-help, psychology and the usual call has always been to “Look within”.

Too much navel-gazing can make anyone sick...

Too much navel-gazing can make anyone sick and lead to …

 

In all honesty, after having to sit in in group therapy sessions while working as a spiritual caregiver in a trauma unit, or hanging out with a bunch of narcissistic yogis, “look within” usually translates into excessive navel-gazing or someone using spirituality to be an out-and-out attention whore. It’s not that I have any discomfort doing so, but somehow, there’s a limit. Go over that limit, and it all suddenly feels heavy, dark, insipid, like you’re wallowing in quick sand, either your’s or someone else’s.

...this

…this

On the other hand, I actually learn far more about myself and the world by getting out there in the world itself. All those little details which makes different cultures and places unique, the kind of stuff you can’t get out of a Lonely Planet travel guide, how you react when you’re confronted with the mysterious “Other”, how you deal with things which are diametrically different from what you’re used to, in my experience has taught me far more about myself than any book from Eckhart Tolle.

I learned more about cooking curry properly *this* way than any stupid recipe book could offer.

I learned more about cooking curry properly *this* way than any stupid Food Channel show could offer.

The RSA animate cites George Orwell as an example, how he came from a privileged background but went out tramping in order to understand British society and the lives of people living in the margins of society and how it ended up enriching his life in so many ways afterwards, most importantly, in increasing his empathy towards others.

 

Orwell at the typewriter. Interesting dude.

Orwell at the typewriter. Interesting dude.

I’m not advocating that people go out and become tramps, but it reminds me of that character Larry Darrel in W. Somerset Maugham’s fantastic book, “The Razor’s Edge”, how Larry turned his back on a life of assured privilege in Chicago to go loaf about the world and find meaning in life that way.

Fantastic read!

Fantastic read!

Outrospection also solidifies another argument for me; far too many spiritual “teachers” have cut short the wanderlust of far too many spiritual seekers, claiming that they are trying to escape from their responsibilities, problems and present life, without truly understanding that it may actually be a part of their personhood that they learn best by going out there and doing and exploring (There are many who do use travel as escapism, but it’s not the case for everyone).

mban2381l

I say figure out what resonates best with you, introspection or outrospection and then run with it.

Hit the road, Jack!

Hit the road, Jack!

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Categories: Ascension, Ch-ch-ch-changes, Pop culture, Raise your EQ, Shift of the Ages effects, Travels | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Introspection is OUT, Outrospection is IN

  1. A very good read. Having watched one of Krznaric’s videos on his site, I liked the ‘act first, reflect later’ motto. I believe in going out there and exploring the world. It’s like fresh air to me, bringing new insights about myself and the universe each and every time.
    Interestingly I had referred to George Orwell and 1984 in my final post through Murakami. Coincidences or maybe just parallel thinking..

    • I think Orwell is on a lot of people’s minds lately, he’s part of the zeitgeist, his ideas around totalitarianism in “1984” and “Animal Farm” are becoming closer and closer to reality with each day. His other ideas, however are completely new to me.
      The British writer Bruce Chatwin was obsessed with nomadism and nomadics, proving that they have a tendency to be happier people, in general. I can believe it. A change of scenery probably does a lot more good for us than we realize.

  2. Mfarina

    In my experience, I recognize the need for a good healthy dose of both experience and reflection. Too much “doing” and I feel overwhelmed and depleted… Not enough “doing” and I feel myself becoming fearful and egocentric. Always struggling with balance, here. As you said, find out what works for you! Great references in this post! Thank you for helping me expand

    • I agree there is a balancing act between the two.
      What I have found is that Western materialism places far too much emphasis on accumulating “stuff”: house, car, pets, kids, Hermes handbags, Christian Louboutin shoes, and does not seem to also stress the importance of accumulating experiences, which leads to knowledge and then we hope, wisdom, this is a more Eastern approach. Too much of either and you go haywire.

      The Hindus and Jains solved this connundrum by creating the 4 stages of life called “ashramas” and every person should ideally go through each of these stages:

      1) Brahmacharya – The Celibate Student:
      This is a period of formal education, preparing for future profession, as well as for family, and social and religious life ahead.

      2) Grihastha – The Householder:
      Gets married, and undertakes the responsibility for earning a living and supporting family, the pursuit of wealth (artha) as a necessity, and indulgence in sexual pleasure (kama). According to the Laws of Manu, when a person’s skin wrinkles and his hair greys, he should go out into the forest.

      3)Vanaprastha – The Hermit in Retreat:
      Become a grandparent, children are grown up, and have established lives of their own. At this age,renounce all physical, material and sexual pleasures, retire from social and professional life, leave home, and go to live in a forest hut, spending time in prayers.

      4) Sannyasa – The Wandering Recluse:
      At this stage, a man is supposed to be totally devoted to God. as a sannyasi, has no home, no other attachment; has renounced all desires, fears and hopes, duties and responsibilities. virtually merged with God, all worldly ties are broken, and sole concern becomes attaining moksha, or release from the circle of birth and death

  3. Alise

    We all have our own path and when we reach a place of non judgment we will value all paths, all people, all philosophies. Cheers, Alise

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