Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Orientation & Disorientation

Orientation and disorientation were fascinating ideas that I mused over during the past few months. Orientation is largely the ability to locate oneself by time, landmarks, and people. These points of orientation serve as guides to how one interacts in the world. Disorientation is the loss of awareness in ones surroundings. It is pretty obvious how orientation works in the physical world. But I am more fascinated by the psychological and intellectual orientations that we all have. In essence, our virtues or morals, serve as orienting points in our daily life. Roles, from parent to sibling and teachers and bosses or employees serve to orient or define appropriate interactions. In theology, our doctrines and stories serve as guiding understanding of who God is. All serve as supporting structures that guide our life, each with greater or lesser pull. Which is why the loss of any pole of orientation is often considered a life crisis. Those people, things, ideas give direction to our life and without them, the world may not make sense and seem chaotic. These points of orientation shape who we are, that without them, our understanding of self and reality is greatly changed. I thought of the disciples after the crucifixion. Their rabbi, whom they had lived with for some time, was suddenly gone. What disorientation and confusion they must have felt. Simililarly, college graduates likely sent out from their college home of four years, away from friends and family, away from the patterns of college life and into the “real world” constitutes a very different “place” in their life both literally and metaphorically.