Old Moon

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Loose Living

I have a problem with a few acquaintances who seem to live their lives by aphorisms. For every eventuality, they seem to rely on convenient capsules of wisdom. "A man's life is his work," "It's an ill wind that blows no good," "Consider the lilies of the field...". You can imagine hundreds more.

What bothers me is that the events of life so seldom fall into categories. Too often, with the best attempts at planning and preparing, the completely unexpected happens, and when it does, though some guiding principle succinctly expressed may fit up to a point, the chances are pretty good that it will be only that: up to a point. Besides, what is appropriate for one person isn't always right for someone with different temperament, training, background, goals...etc.

Those who rely on ancient wisdom in brief sayings forget the variability of existence. I wish I understood statistics because I know there are some guidelines for predicting randomness, but I have a feeling that isn't enough. When "the chips are down," when it's "fish or cut bait" and extremely important or instant decision is called for, the chances of failure seem to me to multiply in direct ratio with dependence on proverbs or tribal wisdom or just plain aphorisms.

Free will needs to be just that--including freedom to think and react for the specific moment and the specific person. If it'
s good for you, it's probably a good idea to send a quick prayer, but don't depend on Confucius or Proverbs.

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