It is so interesting to me how involved human beings are in creating their own reality. I think this is one of choice theory’s important contributions to understanding our own beliefs and behaviors.
In our Soul Shapers 1 class last week we covered the quality world, the photo album in our heads where we store specific pictures of everything that is need-satisfying to us, and the perceived world, which basically is our view of reality. Choice theory describes how we create pictures that represent what we want; choice theory also describes how we create a world view that represents what we think we have. This explains how a person can be so sure of his/her interpretation of an event, in spite of viable alternative interpretations or data that says otherwise. (Imagine a wife being incredulous as she wonders aloud to her moody husband, “You took it that way when I said that?” Really?”) An alumnus of a choice theory training I did last summer sent me the graphic above, which really portrays the possible views of reality.
In #1 the arrangement is considered healthy because the person understands that his view of reality may contain elements of the Truth (I use a capital T on purpose), or reality as it really is, but he also recognizes that his view may not be totally accurate. Such a position allows for growth and new learning as new information and experiences come into view. Such a person believes in his view of Truth, but he also allows others to follow their path toward Truth.
In #2 the arrangement is becoming dangerous because the person believes that his views all fit within what is ultimately True and real. He might not have all the Truth yet and may not have a total picture of reality, but he is in the right place to discover Truth. It is good that this person allows for not knowing everything yet; it is less healthy, and even dangerous, since the person has defined the bounds of Truth and his views all come within those boundaries.
In #3 the arrangement has reached a point where the rest of us can only be encouraged to run away from this person as fast as we can. This person believes that his view of reality is exactly the same as Truth; that the world as he sees it and prefers it is exactly as it should be. Such a view becomes especially dangerous when a person believes that his view is ordained by God.
Because I believe in the first arrangement, the one where a person may perceive reality exactly as it is, and then again may not, does not make me a relativist. To me, such a view doesn’t mean anything goes. I have beliefs that I hold dear, including beliefs about God and His role in the creation and redemption of humankind, yet I embrace these beliefs through faith. I can’t prove them, at least in the way we think of the word prove. I have beliefs about how people should treat one another and the role that government should play toward providing a fair playing field for all citizens, and my beliefs may be right, although I recognize I don’t have a pipeline to Truth. I am convinced that Truth, capital T exists, and I desire to find it and come more and more into alignment with it. Rather than thinking that I have arrived at Truth and Reality, I appreciate it when others can improve my views and help me see things more clearly.
Tomorrow is the last day of Soul Shapers 2. It’s been a very good week. I’ve appreciated the Soul Shapers alumni that have joined us each day to join in the role plays and provide added coaching. The role plays were really good today. We’ve eased into the role plays, starting with attainable wants, but moving into more challenging scenarios today. The role play below has a teacher talking with a student who was involved in a fight again and may be expelled from school. I should have recorded it as it was that good! Sean Kootsey, History teacher at Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy, in the role of teacher, talks with Yuliana Pandjaitan, Math teacher at Newbury Park Academy, who is in the role of the student who was caught fighting. Both Sean and Yuliana hit this role play out of the park! So well done. Yuliana played the role of the student a little “too” well. 🙂 Dan Muhic, Science teacher at Napa Adventist Christian School, is in the role of observer and will help Sean and Yuliana in the process of self-evaluation when the role play is completed. Herb Dunn, Industrial Technology and Business teacher at Monterey Bay Academy, also observes and will give feedback to the trio afterward.
While the class includes instruction and discussions and film clips and guest presentations and group activities, role playing is at the heart of the advanced Soul Shaper workshop. It is pretty amazing the way in which insights and skills can be gained through role playing real-life scenarios.