…and if the head is in the sand?

Following on from the previous post “Head in the Sand”, one (that’s me) always has to ask: If the head is in the sand, what is the view presented to others? When/if I feel suffocated by so many thoughts often accompanied by so many complicated contradictory feelings or worse not having a clue what I am feeling at all, one remedy is remember the answer to that question and get my head up and out and DO SOMETHING. Which these days is likely to be go for a walk, clean, cook, or write. I do not want other people to see my backside. Mine, private, I will choose who sees what, etc.

And, this also goes with the theme from Sidey, so this is the second response to “Hiding Something“.

An empty Johari window, with the "rooms&q...
An empty Johari window, with the “rooms” arranged clockwise, starting with Room 1 at the top left (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does anyone remember the good old Johari Window? Wikipedia explains the general idea, particularly as it has been used in management and self-help groups. It is basically that we all have lots of characteristics, beliefs, values, experiences … some are obvious, known to oneself and to the others present, so are in the OPEN arena. Staying on the left of the diagram, some, as I said above, I choose to keep to myself, hence this is HIDDEN, sometimes called the ‘facade’. The idea is that the more open we are with others, the more the ‘open arena’ can expand, and we have transparency and authentic relationships instead of secretive and hypocritical ones. Unfortunately it seems to offer little in the way of making distinctions about what exactly one might offer – help transparency and better managing of relationships, and what when offered is nothing more than sheer indulgence and imposing the me me me rubbish on all and sundry, not to mention having no sense of respect for oneself or others and how they see boundaries.

The right-hand side is even more interesting. The ‘Blind Spot’ represents something about me that others can see, maybe many except me can see, but I don’t see it! Hearing what others give us as feedback, accepting their response as real information to be at least considered as someone else’s view, even when we don’t like it, helps us learn about ourselves, helps us to grow.

Long long ago, I offered an ‘enthusiastic’ suggestion to a group in the Hall of Residence where I then lived – and was taken to task for “aggression/rudeness”. Who? Me? In the naivety of then, it took quite a while to see what others were seeing all too easily. Great ideas maybe, utter lack of sensitivity!

Later, still years ago, when working in an anti-racist context, I remember being shocked when someone said to me, “but you don’t know you are white”. Me, what? of course I know, what do you mean I don’t know? etc. Until I finally realised she was right, I assumed I was me, and I never had to consider that this included the social/cultural acceptance everywhere I went in this country, with being a white me, while she had to negotiate every space she entered.

And, then, the ‘unknown’ quadrant, stuff which exists but no-one knows. Often referred to as ‘just the unconscious’, it does have great meaning when explored, some can be lifted into awareness. Again, this is supposed to happen if we open ourselves to feedback from others, allow our awareness of how they see us to increase. I think this does indeed help self-awareness, but has little to do with exploring the unconscious, as conscious and unconscious mind are not two separate parts of a finite whole. They are not the visible tip and invisible underneath of something like an iceberg (no matter how often this analogy is trotted out) because they are not boxes storing quantities of stuff.

Again helpful, but only so far, no sense that when consciousness and awareness grows, golly gosh, unconsciousness and hidden self might be growing even faster! Development is not take from one and give to the other. It is dynamic inter-action but what kind of inter-action?

Escher – knew what he was portraying – rationality by itself doesn’t work

So the Johari window is very useful in a way, but then stops being useful.

According to wikipedia, one facet of interest in this area is our human potential. Our potential is unknown to us, and others. To me, this meaning doesn’t seem the same as the way I have understood ‘unconscious’, which is what is there, even if unknown, whereas ‘potential’ is not there yet, even though may be there one day.

I don’t know where I am going with this. Just arrived at a same-old, same-old –


is truly important, and it seems to grow too.

Worth remembering? In light of the previous post, ‘just doing’ could be applying ‘common sense’, but the problem with that is that while it might be common, it might not be sense. It could be just tradition and/or prejudice. (like smacking children – post last week). The above Johari Window and discussion is ‘rational’. The problem with rational, is that it is limited (you have to start with a premise, previously known or assumed, here that mental characteristics could be displaced, replaced, shovelled around as if in a finite sort of space).

Is one’s head in the sand? [Hence one’s other parts in full view?]

John Keats [1817] … several things dovetailed in my mind, and it at once struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement….. I mean Negative Capability, that is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.

For regular readers, thanks for putting up with me. This blog is also my personal Diary where I try to sort out some thoughts and feelings. You do not have to read it, though I am glad if you do, however you respond.


6 thoughts on “…and if the head is in the sand?

  1. Elspeth, you always make me think!
    I’ve just drafted a post for this week asking readers what they think I blog about- this is a really interesting follow up; facade, blind spots etc. I’m looking forward to the responses even more now 🙂


    1. I will look forward to that. I’ll reserve my comment re what I think you blog about till after I have heard your own view! Wonder how close I am, or how far away – see ourselves as others see us is on my mind a lot too.


  2. Another very interesting post. Gosh I am glad this theme came up.

    We have many ‘racist or not’ discussions here. One recent one was if a white liberal wants to help uplift blacks, is that a racist action.


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