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Essential Truths and Mentors


Certain figures play critical roles in our lives. Parents, teachers or authority figures become more than individuals in our world: they become mentors and models for our lives. Why do we seek out these figures? Do we need these models to teach us how to live? How do we remedy the conundrum of our own limitations by seeking out figures cut from the very same “cloth of limitations” from which we spawn?

Humans are linked by limitations. Much of our world exists beyond our perception and as a result we not only miss much of what surrounds us but also interpret what we can know in wildly incorrect ways. Paranoia is a broad example of these errors of perception. Despite our best intentions we cannot know how to function in society and depend on our fellow limited actors to guide us and explain the world in which we exist.

These guiding figures, though also limited by their own faulted perception, become our mentors. The roles by which we find these figures varies, some are family while others are figures who we respect or who simply hold positions of authority. Perhaps we can evaluate the strengths of our social networks by considering where our mentors come from. Those utilizing parents as mentors likely have a closer knit and perhaps broader network of support than one whose support network is cast largely with politicians or figures of authority.

No matter where these mentors come from they play a critical role in our lives. What do we do when these figures fail us? We cannot blame them for errors; after all as humans we should be well aware of their limitations. They are faulted just as we are, but in providing us with perspectives on our world we depend on them for so much but what do we do if a failure stems from something other than human limitation? What if our mentor actively deceives us or, worse yet, purposely hides or distorts details to manipulate us?

Herein an example from popular culture: http://youtu.be/h6sj89xgnl4?t=1m30s

In the above clip, Luke is told that Obi Wan lied to him about his father. Yes, he lied. Obi Wan, the man in whom Luke invested his sense of reality denied him these critical details of life. What do we do in these situations where mentors distort reality. Such distortion is inevitable as these figures act in ways to “protect” us as a means to shield us from details they feel may damage us.

Mentors are important figures in our lives but such dependence links us to greater limitation. Ironically, in working to escape our limited perspectives we seek out figures who further limit our perspectives. If we invest trust in someone else to help us understand the world we become more vulnerable to confusion. We are limited but must steer clear of comfortable tools that may seem worthwhile but ultimately function to further limit and distort our sense of life.

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