“How many more lessons should I take in a foreign language before I’ve achieved total mastery and never need to practice again to retain complete fluency?”
“How many more breaths of air do I need to take until I can live just fine without breathing any more?”
“How many more bad days or challenges do I have to face until they’re over?”
“When can I discontinue strength training/maintain/stop taking care of myself?”
“I can’t wait for retirement.”
“I can’t wait for...”
“I don’t like people who...”
“I like people who...”
Objects. We’ve turned pursuits, skills, growth, and even people into objects. But only in our minds. They are all processes. Processes in motion. Even people are processes. They are not fixed points, nor impossible products which do not move and have no nuance.
It seems tidier to operate viewing the universe as a collection of products. As if they don’t and can’t change, we place everything neatly into the organizational drawers in our minds. Then all pursuits, skills, and growth we talk about like we’ll just go out and buy them and they’ll sit on our mantles. Or we can’t afford them and they will never occupy our mantles. DONE. The products have been sorted in our mental warehouse. Right?
We think we will ARRIVE. We think we PRODUCE a finalIty. We think we can get to a pinnacle, and there will be nothing more to do. Instead of singing the whole song of The Bear Went Over The Mountain, we sing, “the bear reached THE top and THE END.” We will have filed each type of person in their proper drawer. And we’ll sit back and look at our trophy case of pursuits.
This is the objectification problem. This mental framework which looks at all of God’s handiwork like a conveyor belt in a factory is not just wrong, it is immoral. To determine that people and life are widgets being cranked out for Amazon delivery is base. There is no factory. There is no conveyor belt. All are processes. And putting processes in drawers is heresy.
No one ever arrives. There is no “type” of person. The mantle is empty forever. There is no trophy case. The joys and difficulties of life aren’t products. They’re moments within a journey flowing from one into another. They process, and they recess. It is all in process.
The low are brought high. The high are brought low. People gain. People lose. We raise skill. We lower it. Records are set only to fall. What is built can be torn down. What is destroyed can be rebuilt.
It’s a journey. All of it. People. Pursuits. Skills. Health. Fitness. None are products. All are processes. We may work the process; or we may refuse to work the process. We may play an active hand in continuing the processes; or we may choose a passive hand in watching the processes. Whatever we do and whatever we choose, let us stop objectifying all of life’s journey, all of the grandeur, all of our brothers and sisters. End the objectification problem.