Thursday, May 18, 2006

Embrace The Paradox

There have been many times that I wished I could go back in my life and try parts of it again. That thought is locked into a parallel thought that all of us have had, “If I knew then what I know now.” It would all be done differently for all of us I’m confident. It would make it all so much easier would it not?

Or would it?

If we had known then what we know now, then we would have known all of the future in front of us as well. We would know that those thrilling moments we once knew would pass and not be nearly as important as they seemed at the time. We would know which of our triumphs were meaningful and which ones hardly mattered. We might know the joy we felt in a relationship was only temporary. That level of knowledge would quite literally suck the joy out of our existence.

Similarly we wish sometimes that we knew what was in front of us. I say we wish this on ourselves simply because we so often fear what we do not know about our future. Will I be able to keep my job? Will I be able to afford a better house? What type life will my children have? Where is this relationship going? All of these thoughts are fears. It is our ever present fear of not knowing what lies in front of us.

If we knew would it be better? What if we knew the tragedies awaiting our children? Would it improve our life? What if we knew the joys awaiting our children? Would it not merely dampen the joy at their happy moment just because we already knew this would happen? If we knew what lay in front of us then we could fold up tent and just die because life would hold no more anticipation or wonder.

You see it is our very ignorance that keeps us sane and living each day. I think it is the creator’s plan, and by figuring this out and accepting our ignorance, even welcoming it, we grant ourselves permission to revel in each day, living it to our fullest capability.

In our rush to know all things, even the future, we reject this remarkable truth, accepting our ignorance of the future as something to fear. This phenomenon I refer to as ‘fearing our own fear.’

To accept our ignorance of tomorrow is to embrace the art of living each day at its intended peak. We only need to accept peacefully that our ignorance protects us and keeps us sane.

Embrace the paradox and hold it tight.


molly said...

That is so true and yet as always you have looked a bit deeper to find truth to share with us.
I love it when you share like this because I always want to know what is going to happen next. Now I understand why I shouldn't.
Very good.

Angie said...

Very true but sometimes it's hard to NOT peek around the corner to try to see what's coming at us. Still, we are better off not to do that too much or we spend our lives peeking instead of living.

Great job, Rick!

Seven said...

Thanks Angie,
And it involves clearly the need to project our lives along a thoughtful path doesn't it? The future can be anticipated as good in this way, but not completlety known.
The wise person has an understanding of where their actions and decisions lead them, coupled with the understanding that our ignorance of that absolute knowledge keeps us sane.

Seven said...

Such kind comments make me feel a little embarassed, but I think they make me feel good more than embarassed....:-)
Thank you.

patti_cake said...

Rick you are so intelligent. As well as good-looking - Beth sure got lucky! :)
Okay I digress. I am content to take each day as it comes. My only hope for the future is that i'm a part of it for many, many years to come.I would like to live to see my daughter grow up to be a productive,kind, functioning human being And i'd like to see some grandkids also. That is all. :)

Seven said...

Being content to take each day as it comes is a magical statement indeed. And yet so hard sometimes.

Jenn said...

Here's the thing for me....I like who I am. Really. I'm not an egomaniac or anything, but I know I'm strong and independent and compassionate and kind.

I don't always like the situations I create in my life...but each and every experience I've had has helped to build the person that is me.

I also know that because of what I've already lived and survived, I'll be OK through whatever comes next.

I wouldn't have done anything differently - even the bad parts. So it wouldn't do any good for me to know what's comin'.

Sereena X said...

Unless science has discovered something I'm not aware of, humans are the only creatures who have difficulty living in the moment. Curse or blessing?

Seven said...

I understand what you mean. I think ignorance of what is coming is a disguised blessing. To know this is to practice wisdom and it appears you walk in the way of wisdom.

Sereena x,
Maybe neither. It just is what it is; and it offers us the opportunity for choice.

Reach said...

"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge."- Daniel J. Boorstin

I would be afraid of NOT learning the lessons of the past. In that, if I knew then, when would I have learned what I knew?


Seven said...

Daniel Boorstin is a guy I place on a very high pedestal.
His book 'The Discoverers' is a masterpiece of intellectualism and history. I still get it off the bookshelf and re-read it. Any time we are feeling really smart and brave we can be humbled by the characters of that book!
Now you HAVE impressed me.

Reach said...

Thank you; however, I give credit to the initiator of the conversation.