Thursday, May 9, 2013

Untangle Your Mind Week - Day 4 with Henry Sienkiewicz - Untangled

Untangled: Contemplation And Entanglement
by Henry J. Sienkiewicz

Classically, it was said that the unexamined life is not worth living, but given the constant flow of entanglements, is it even possible for us to examine life? How much stimuli bombard each of our senses every second from touch to taste, sound to sight.  We can’t cast aside the connectivity and the technology. Today a fifteen year old with a smart phone in Africa has more information at their fingertips than the President of the United States had 15 years ago. The enablement and empowerment that comes with technology has the potential to make the world fundamentally better. However, social media and the like also have given us dozens of new ways to grab our attention. We can barely go a minute without our phone buzzing at least once. We constantly check our Facebook account or Twitter feed. Active contemplation, the type of contemplation I focus on in Untangled, lets you find the distance to focus on the things that ultimately matter. For, we can’t focus on everything at all times. I think that is actually one of the problems we face in our current condition. To use one of the analogies from the book, we are surrounded by many voices. We have to filter and pick one voice to actually listen to. Untangling lets us find the distance in order to understand, to truly engage, and to fully live our lives. The book begins by describing the problem, discusses the attributes of contemplation, and ends with a number of thoughts on how to approach untangling in everyday life. The intent for the book is to be highly, highly approach. While it would be helpful to have some grounding in philosophy, I don’t think that it absolutely necessary. The reader can use the references and citations as a starting point, and as a way that they can explore how to untangle.  


Henry J. Sienkiewicz has served in multiple positions within the United States Federal Senior Executive Service since 2008. His previous commercial experience was as the founder and chief executive officer for Open Travel Software, an award-winning software developer focused on the global travel community, and in the chief information officer role at three technology companies.  He or his companies have been the recipient of multiple awards for innovations or achievement in the technology industry.  He retired as a United States Army Reserve lieutenant colonel in July 2008.
Henry holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Notre Dame and a master of science from Johns Hopkins University. He is also a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College.
In 2006, he completed and published his first book, Centerlined, which dealt with interpersonal and organizational dynamics.
Henry resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
Website Book Site | Facebook | Twitter

Genre:  Practical Philosophy/Self-help
Publisher:  DogEar Publishing 
Release Date: April 2013

In a  social media-centric, Twitter-driven world we live, the complexity created by the entanglements has caused an overload Called a Walden for the Internet Age, Untangled draws from the rich traditions of both Eastern and Western philosophy to tease apart the hyper-connected web of the modern world and challenges the reader to recognize and embrace contemplation as a way cope. 

Through a highly approachable framework and the imagery of a journey through the heartland of Taiwan, Untangled provides the reader with the background of entanglement and contemplation, and identifies and discusses the three pillars of contemplation - silence, stillness and solitude.  The book closes with a series of actions that allow anyone to untangled through active contemplation in daily life. 



A Big Ball of Twine

We learn the rope of life by untying its knots.
—Jean Toomer
As we reached the first stopping point, we opened our packs and found chaos. The ropes that we had neatly packed were completely jumbled. The gear we had carefully stowed had been shifted around; it was an unrecognizable mess.
The jostling and shifting from the simple movement of the journey caused our coils of rope to transform from a neat roll to an entangled mess. We thought that we had taken care to pack them; the journey ensured that we had a mess to deal with.

Our mental backpacks are similar. Sometimes, regardless of the care we have taken, our world becomes a completely entangled mess in ways that we had not expected. Our journey ensures that we have a mess to deal with.
Many writers have used the terms connected and hyperconnected to describe our current state. I think that the term entanglement is more reflective of the state of our condition.
Connection implies that there has been an encounter but does not imply that the relationship is persistent. As will be discussed later, entanglement means two or more “things” have formed some type of permanent bond. This permanent bond is why I think that the term entanglement is more expressive of our actual condition.
Entanglement has many layers and many textures. It may be accidental or intentional. Entanglement may be in ways that may or may not be are attractive. Entanglement may or may not have relevancy to our lives. Entanglement may or may not have real meaning.
Entanglement may be the vines that catch your feet. Or it may be the limbs that brush your arms. Or it could be the rope that safely holds you onto the mountain.
Contemplation lets us mentally sort through the mess of entanglement that we all carry with us and allows us to repack meaningfully.

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What did  you untangle from your mind today?


BK said...

I'm loving this week Henry! It's great getting to know you and more about your book.

Unknown said...

Great Post :-)

Unknown said...

I hope you are enjoying your tour!

Michelle Cornwell-Jordan said...

Empowering:) I wish you well on the rest of your tour!:) Pit Crew

Unknown said...

Sounds great. Sharing :)

Brooke Showalter said...

Great post, I'm really looking forward to hosting you on my blog as well. :) Enjoy your tour!

Pit Crew

Unknown said...

Looking forward to new people looking at this tour! Awesome people!

Jennifer Johnson
Pit Crew