Physics does exactly what I’m seeking to do: Name and manipulate unseen forces. How do these forces work in the physics world? That’s the first question. For example, if I can throw a ball twenty yards, but I want to throw the ball forty yards, I may know that the ball will go up and necessarily come down, but who cares? I need to know what I have to do to throw the ball twenty yards further than I can right now. In order to do that, I need to know all kinds of stuff about the context and I need to know the way forces work so that I can exert influence over them to get any desired change.
In researching physics, I found a book by the father of relativity called Out of My Later Years. I learned something, though I’m not quite sure what I learned just yet. Einstein talks about all kinds of stuff in this book; he seems to have been a humanitarian as much as he was brilliant physicist. His paraphrased explanation of the theory of relativity goes like this, “the theory of relativity is connected with the fact that motion from the point of view of possible experience always appears as the relative motion of one object with respect to another” (Einstein, 1956, 41). Now, while it may not seem like this complicated theory relates to my quest for naming those mysterious forces of which we may not be fully able to wrap our collective arms around, a closer look reveals that it does.
The terms “point of view of possible experience” and “one object with respect to another” are key to finding a name for the water in which we swim. What both these phrases boil down to is the fact that nothing happens on its own or in its own context. Perspective defines an object’s motion, that is, as a “car with respect to the ground” (Einstein, 1956, 41). In terms of a pool table, a ball not only moves, but its motion is defined by a certain ball; that is, the red ball moves at a certain rate and in a certain way when viewed from, say, the still blue ball; however, if that same red ball’s motion is viewed from a moving purple ball, the motion is completely different.
Unseen socioeconomic forces behave in definable and predictable ways, just like Relativity. But, we have to learn that these forces do exist and they play a role in everything we encounter. Think about it: If you just popped into existence without a family history, why do Doctor’s always ask about it? Google “genogram” and then fill one out; going back as many generations as you can. Look at the results and I’m willing to bet that many of the challenges you face have been present all along…