Monday, October 29, 2007

The Lighthouse

Lighthouses usually project two lights, a white one and a red one. They alternate in their projections, and alternate in the direction of those projections. I've often wondered about the value of and logic for the red one.

But, upon reflection, all puns shamelessly acknowledged, perhaps I'm beginning to see the light.

Our senses have evolved in such a way as to detect changes in our environment. It's those changes that get our attention and so provide us with the information we need to survive. If the lighthouse only projected a steady, unchanging white light, we, that is to say, our senses, might "turn it off", stop paying attention to it, and thus dismiss it as being irrelevant to our situation and survival.

Perhaps the value of the 180 degree red light projection is that it provides a visible, though dull by contrast, light, and, as such, sustains the attention of our senses by it's being the opposite of the bright light we need to aid our survival.

As a work/life navigation coach and counselor I often ask clients to describe what they have disliked about the elements of what used to do to earn a living; those they've worked for, their peers and subordinates, if any, and the tasks to which they were assigned. Then I ask them to describe the opposite of those things they disliked. Inevitably they describe a work/life environment they wish for.

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