“If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance.”
Many would say they seek a problem free life; but, without problems there can be boredom. It’s not uncommon to create problems to avoid boredom, and to employ creative problem solving skills. If human beings are anything, they are problem solvers. The history of humanity is replete with episodes of problem solving.
The term ‘problem’ is derived from Greek and translates as “a task, that which is proposed, a question.” Or, simply phrased, a problem is something to probe, to examine, to understand. Once understood, solutions become more readily available. Looking at problems as that which needs to be probed and understood, rather than something which disrupts our life, opens the pathway of personal growth, as opposed to personal frustration. In this context, it is not unrealistic to reframe ‘problems’ as ‘developmental tasks.’ Whether ‘problems’ are financial, health, relationships, moods or environment, they can all be framed as ‘developmental tasks.’ The problem free life is a life full of tasks, which if embraced can be developmental and uplifting.
A developmental task is a challenge one faces which if accomplished leads to a new platform on which to live; completion signifies a more full life, mastery of a specific skill or set of skills. For example, a child learning to walk does not have a problem, but, rather, a developmental task. Once achieved, a whole new world opens up for that child, a fuller life. As mastery is gained, walking can become running, or dancing. Same with the acquisition of language skills. As one masters the task, a wider world opens up. As adolescents, the task becomes more psychological. The task is identity formation, which is replete with pitfalls, traps and deceptions. Identity formation is a complex process of interaction with the world, primarily parents, teachers, adults and peers. Identity formation is structured within the social and culturual milieu of the times. Parents, teachers, and adults are themselves products of their cultural legacy which may extend back hundreds if not thousands of years. General eidetics, ie, genetics, or generational memory, has a significant influence on how we perceive the world, and ourselves in that world. One of the overarching developmental tasks throughtout the lifespan is an ever expanding understanding, which requires probing and questioning, all predicated on the intrinsic drive to unfold. One could say the ultimate developmental task is ‘becoming’ which is the guiding principle of ‘evolution.’
Although identity is, to a large extent, built upon memory, it is more than that as well. Our identity is also built with imaginative and innovative attributes of the mind. Many problems ignite creative intelligence; progress is dependent upon creative problem solving. But, as suggested, there may be less resistance to problems when they are viewed as developmental tasks helpful to us in opening up doors to a more full life. There are developmental tasks throughout the the entire lifespan. A developmental task for an adolescent is different than one for an adult, which is different yet again for an elder adult. At each stage of bio-psyche-socio life, experience can become increasingly enriched, if the tasks are completed successfully; if not, there can be stagnation, regret, despair and malaise.
Developmental tasks are inherent in growing, maturing, unfolding beings. As triadic beings, there are physical tasks, mental tasks, and relational tasks. Some of the most challenging tasks are social and inter-relational because they require a collective coherence. It’s one thing to address individual and personal tasks; it’s another to address social collective tasks, which require a collection of individuals, a legion of people, a nation, encultured to value and strive for the unfoldment of the highest possibilities, to undertake, and, if the vision is vast enough, generation after generation, to complete. Because any cultural nation is built upon people, when the people view problems as meaningful developmental tasks to probe and master, the entire social fabric becomes enriched.
So, consider doing your part in the advancement of society and aim for a problem free life by embracing life long learning through meaningful probing and mastering of each developmental task as they arise within your field of experience.
“The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement.”
-John Stuart Mill