We are narrative-making machines. We love – need – a good story. “Can he make a picture, and get them all to fit?” as Paul Kelly sings in his classic song “To Her Door.” We take shards of chaos and arrange them in patterns – pleasing or otherwise. The existence of the pattern is the pleasing thing, and some of us like “unpleasant” patterns, at least some of the time. And sometimes the pattern that most approaches ‘reality’ is actually unpleasant. As Kissinger said “even paranoids have enemies.”
We fall in love with our creations, we forget that they are creations. That’s not to say there is no “objective reality”, just that the concept is – when dealing with human emotions, human needs – of limited usefulness.*
And if we are smart, and lucky, we learn to put our certainties in brackets, and hold them there. We can – and on occasion should – bite our tongues and wait for things to reveal themselves. Which occasions? Well, you just don’t ever really know. There are paths that will get taken if you speak, other paths foreclosed.
You can force the pace, but the chances are good you – and others – will suffer for it. As that song I linked to the other day says- for everything there is a time.
Is it a sign of maturity? I wouldn’t use the word. Humility? No, not that either. Experience? Yeah, that is closest. After all the times of getting it wrong, you realise you always will, and that “that’s not the point anyway” (another singer – Frank Turner). The point is to listen, to fumble and stumble forwards, with love, compassion and hope for ourselves and for those we love.
Dwight, in reflective, and still pensive, mood. But thankful too.
* It’s dead useful when dealing with planes, or climates and much else. I am not, after all, a radical relativist etc.