Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Nobody likes to think of themselves as lacking intellectual insight. But the test - like so many others - is in the little things. Don't imagine that you'll convince yourself or anyone else of your foresight by advancing some complicated opinion - it will probably just be lost on your audience or expected in any event.  But trip up on something simple, something that everyone can understand, then you have a challenge!

Actually when I say "something simple" that is an unfair assessment.  The fact of the matter is that there's really nothing that is simple other than the everyday rules of living that oddly only come with the pain of mistake.  Time and again we repeat the mistakes about which we're so frequently warned in popular adages like "trust your instincts", "be true to yourself", "hope for the best but prepare for the worst", "a watched pot never boils", "practice makes perfect", "familiarity breeds contempt", "honesty is the best policy", "don't count your chickens before they hatch", etc.

No matter how lengthy the list of admonitions, we always succeed to fly in the face of them.  This in spite of ourselves.  We know what we should do but we persist in maintaining the deadly course. It is so horridly difficult to side-step our manifestly treacherous affections in favour of the comparatively insipid choice of discretion. What seemingly tips the scales isn't any evidence that our ill-conceived behaviour is guaranteed efficacious, rather that our fear of disappointment propels us madly in the direction of our instinctive conduct. There may indeed have been occasions of experience which stand for our current disposition but more often than not the result is unpredictable and we merely acquiesce out of intellectual laziness.  Thinking ahead is after all work. The preference for forward thinking doesn't lie in its lack of assiduity.

Forethought, while it implies forward planning and even prescience, is mostly just prudence and discernment. As prudence implies it involves stepping back from a situation rather than charging in and looking back with hindsight. Unfortunately such vigilance requires presence of mind.  It is always easier when sparked into need to chuck caution. If however we're lucky enough to exhaust the inutility of our myopic habits, we at least stand a chance of elevating our conduct to something approaching understanding if not perspicacity. The effect of that analytical reasoning is not only enlightenment but also enlargement of life's experience.  Thinking has its rewards!

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