The Relevance-Maker

I hate to end the year on downer subjects, so I’ll try not to. We all really need some lightness around the holidays for whatever reason that we do, and we definitely do this year. It’s been a rough year everywhere. We’re all feeling it—you are not alone in that “down-ward facing dog” pose you might be feeling right now.

Hence, the first thought that crossed my mind when this blank page popped onto my screen was a quote from an old cop-show that I’d probably seen for the 3rd or 4th time yesterday because the writing in it is clever. After figuring out a tough-case scenario, the main character quips with a smirk to his partner, “The mind is a relevance-making machine.”

Yes, it is!

For an old cop show that is a VERY profound statement, but that particular cop was always saying things like thCI Goldblumeat. He was the son of two psychiatrist parents, with himself once being a concert pianist who was now devoting his every waking moment to catching the “bad guys” in cases too tough for those standard detectives who are average folks, just like you and me.

That’s quite the story line—here’s a new breed of highly-educated cop with an out-of-the-box, in-depth perspective from childhood onward to why people do what they do. He then utilizes that cultivated knowledge (Why? What’s his ulterior reason to do so? They never say.) to know WHO committed the puzzling homicides, because this cop knows the perpetrator’s inner workings—their motivations, their weaknesses, their longings. He’s heard it—he’s seen it—he’s been there. No social strata can deter him. He sees through all economic determiners and all intelligence levels. All personas lie naked to his piercing gaze and psyche-infiltrating questions.

Is that scenario likely in real-life? No. But it’s good television. It’s a bit like the news now: Where fact comes up short for a 24-hour news cycle, add drama and speculation.

Relevance making is what we do every day of the world: We try to make sense of what is happening to us and all around us. We NEED to make sense of our world, so we look for relevance clues to tell us WHY things happen the way that they do.

Even when there is NO relevance to be found, we FIND it—we create it, because we NEED to know that the world has reasons and rules to live by. We follow rules and we expect others to do the same. We do this because we need to feel that our lives make sense and have a purpose, even when they may seem purposeless.

Even when the world seems to be crashing in around us, we need to know WHY it seems that way, because if there is NO sense to be made from it, then everything feels pointless—including our lives, our very existence.

But our minds will NOT let that happen—our minds will not let us feel pointless. So our internal information-filtrlid-on-frypan fireation system, takes bits and pieces of all the things that occur in our life, and it throws them all in a big bag then shakes the “coating” bag, and dumps the contents into the hot skillet to cook up a “reason” why this seemingly senseless thing might have happened.

After flipping that “reason” a couple times in the skillet over a hot flame, it looks more palatable, and we may become more likely to bite into it. Even if it isn’t very edible, we’ll likely chew on that “reason” for awhile trying to make sense of it.

But in some instances, what we are actually doing is trying to make sense of a senseless act, and trying to find relevance—something relatable to what is important to us—from the act.

Sometimes there is no relevance to be had or made in senseless acts. That’s simply what they are. Our relevance-maker can try all it wants to make sense of senselessness, but sometimes, the best relevance it can make is to acknowledge that sometimes things happen beyond our ability to comprehend—beyond our ability to understand.

So sometimes you simply have to “let go—and let God.” That’s the statement we often make when we surrender to a higher power and a greater intelligence than our own.

On some level, senseless acts likely do make sense. But on this level of awareness—where you and I exist, they may not. Sometimes that senselessness is a hard thing to swallow. So don’t even try to swallow it. Just spit it back out. It’s okay to do that.

Just say a prayer for those most directly affected by any act of senselessness wherever it might occur, and be thankful if you’re not one of them experiencing it; and then turn it all over to the Chief “Relevance-Maker” above our own, and simply let it all go.

In essence, that’s the only sensible thing that you can do. And the only relevance your mind can make from such senselessness is in the recognition that, yes, …it was senseless.

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2 thoughts on “The Relevance-Maker

  1. Rebecca, thanks for this post. I thought I was possibly one of a very few people who picked up on the cop show line. It is very profound indeed, and every time I see something shared around that polarises people they are able to create a statement of relevance to their argument, to the point of rapturous conspiracies. For example, the children’s book Bambi could easily be turned into a conspiracy of hidden messages of evil and destruction. Again, thank you for highlighting this line as it seems that we see it every day.

  2. Thank you Rodney for your comments. That was an old post but one that was very meaningful to me. I think it was the confluence of the replayed cop show and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting’s recent anniversary (December 14, 2012) that was so broadly publicized at the time with extensive media commentary on HOW this could have happened in our society and culture? WHO was at fault? WHY didn’t someone do something to stop the mentally deranged man from annihilating innocent 5-, 6-, 7-year old children? How does society allow the gun culture to control our supposed civilization? Etc, etc,etc.
    People were searching for hard answers that simply weren’t going to make sense of senselessness,…and then I saw the old Law and Order show where he said “the mind is a relevance-maker” and yes, …we can view anything we see in any way that we wish because we always try to make some kind of sense out of our reality–even when it seems senseless. And as you said, anyone can find conspiracies or personal justifications in any action (or even children’s literature) out in the world because we tend to see the world as we wish to see it, and interpret what we see through the filters of our own belief systems.
    At times I think there is a fine line between paranoia and TRUTH. Sometimes the only difference is in how emotionally invested we are in what we perceive.

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