Situation awareness is the perception of environmental elements with respect to time and/or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or some other variable, such as a predetermined event. It is also a field of study concerned with perception of the environment critical to decision-makers in complex, dynamic areas from aviation, air traffic control, ship navigation, power plant operations, military command and control, and emergency services such as fire fighting and policing; to more ordinary but nevertheless complex tasks such as driving an automobile or riding a bicycle.
We all have at least some degree of situation awareness. What we may not know is why we are in this situation or how we got into it. Taking care of our situation consumes us. When our problems are here and now, immediate and demanding, who has time for philosophical questions? We are too busy living life under the sun.
Long ago a very wise man made the same mistake. Near the end of his life he finally concluded there is nothing new under the sun, and so he wrote a book, Ecclesiastes.
Whether or not the tradition about Solomon’s age at the time of the composition of Ecclesiastes is true, the book does deal with the quest for meaning that humanity has pursued since the fall. Technology advances and governments change, but the fundamental questions of existence remain. Why are we here? Does my life have a value that endures beyond my death? Where can I find purpose and direction? What is most important? Though our surroundings may change, there is “nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9) in that people continue to wrestle with the same basic questions of existence. And, since human nature never changes, men and women, apart from grace, always look for answers to these questions in things that cannot satisfy. (from here)
Instead of just reacting to his situation, Solomon stopped to think. In effect, he prayed, seeking answers beyond his immediate situation.
Lower order creatures simply react to their situation; they seek to survive and reproduce. We, however, have an alternative. We are self-aware.
We have a choice. We can see ourselves a simply another kind of creature, focused solely upon our own point-of-view.
the “I” as experienced by an individual. In modern psychology the notion of the self has replaced earlier conceptions of the soul
Alternatively, we can seek the point-of-view of our Creator. We can acknowledge the fact we are creations and that we exist for a purpose defined by our Creator. Then instead of executing our own desires, we can react to our immediate situation guided by the commands of our Creator.
How does the second option change change us? Consider The Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Luke 10:25-37 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
When Jesus asks His question at the end of the parable, consider how kind He is.
So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
Yet in addition to to the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan, there were also the thieves who beset the traveler. They beat him and robbed him. If we never stop to think — never stop to pray — what is to prevent us from behaving like the thieves, from robbing, abusing, and leaving each other to die forgotten by the side of the road?
UPDATE: Comments and pingbacks/trackbacks are back on. When I tried the new editor, I somehow manage to turn those features off on this post.