This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

The Mouth of Open Doors opens his mouth to speak about fixed (inflexible) beliefs and horizons of the unfixed eye / 14 April 2011

gold design on a blue pair of jeans titled horizons of the unfixed eye

Horizons of the Unfixed Eye by Neal Pearce

Zoom in to this image and read text description

It is essential that everybody acquires some fixed/set beliefs through childhood into adult life. As individuals and in society our survival depends on it.

Without absorbing common truths and facts, even basic functioning would be impossible, as would shared tasks.

However, the downside of becoming too reliant on fixed/set beliefs in order to navigate and progress through life is that all too easily we find ourselves substantiating/justifying things which are far from concrete and certainly not wholly reliable.

At a later date I shall speak about the treason of reason: the ways in which our imperfect minds invariably and constantly distort things.

But for now, Just take a look around the room you presently occupy. How many of the objects or things you can see are set in position so that it could be said they will never move? The answer is of course none. Even the walls move a little, because if they didn't then cracks would not appear in the plaster.

Surely it is better to live and work with life's flux of uncertainty, than to cause ourselves stress and frustration (as well as becoming vexed) through our obsession with pinning everything down.

To become too fixed/over-focused on the vain pursuit of establishing concrete things as a means of assurance, only leaves us anchored too tightly and retricted in our freedom.

This leads to internal conflict (within our minds) which in turn (and in a terrible loop) invariably finds expression as external conflict (amongst ourselves, both close to home, as well as out across the world).

The fact that we box ourselves in, making many things in life seem (as well as actually become) fixed/ inflexible when they are not/ ought not to be so, demonstrates how focused and over-dependent we've become on pinning everything down, which is contrary to natures flexibility and its expliotation of flux.

Naturally we should be certain of a great deal. For example; that hot things can burn or scald us; that lions can be very dangerous, or that we must eat and drink to sustain ourselves. But we don't have to stray too far from such common knowledge before some significant and telling grey areas start to open up.

As I have illustrated, the downside of our obsession with pinning everything down, is that we're pinned down with it. To much of this is unhealthy, as well as unwise, because it makes us vulnerable/ ill-prepared in a world where the natural state of things is one of dynamic fortuitousness and flux.

And the more we link and tie everything up,the more we frustrate our unset natural directive, which leads us. as I say, into both internal conflict (within our minds) and generates, as well as perpetuates, external conflict also.

We've always known that some of the happiest people lead the simplest lives. They stick to basics and fix on these while remaining flexible, and without overcomplicating life for themselves. for them, having a flexible/unset objective comes naturally because it is the way of nature. And we should remember that in the battle for man made order over nature's, the latter always wins. 

Keywords: obsession