Thursday, August 30, 2018

Rise above it - the case for mediocrity

Very often the seat of tension between people is the mistaken view that a superlative conclusion demands it - usually their own.  Really?  First, the commitment of both parities is probably so entrenched that the accuracy of their beliefs is irrelevant.  Second, except in the context of a court of law or a legislative assembly the axiomatic imperative is likely overkill.  The attraction of logic is best reserved for strictly mathematical environments or other venues where purity is the driving ambition - such as relates to constitutional debate for example. Beyond that there is a deeper need for ambivalence. When it comes to run-of-the-mill quarrels the arcane stuff is best left at the door.

Oddly this thesis is founded not upon a theory of orthodoxy but rather upon a model of convenience (at the least) or of civility (at the best).  The purpose isn't to win; instead to eliminate friction. Insisting upon one's own correctness is frequently nothing but a pointless goal.  In the end, who's counting?  It's akin to cultivating an obsession to prove a point, hardly worth the effort. The purist will naturally object to this perceived submission but this mistakenly aligns with a futile cause.  We need to remind ourselves that aside from the fact that nobody's listening and nobody cares, it is a Pyrrhic victory or more likely self-defeating (not to mention lacking in pragmatism).  For those who feel compelled at any cost to advance what they consider their undeniable exactitude I remind them that in the context of personal arguments this motivation is frequently far more visceral than rational.  It's an objective driven by inadequacy not precision.

What then is the alternative?  Does one simply roll over?  Or should one adopt a posture of mute determination?  Or - as I prefer to promote - is there another way to avoid the dilemma completely?  I believe there is; viz., rise above it.  This doesn't imply either capitulation or ignorance.  It removes the necessity of controversy.  It may be as simple as confining oneself to the facts - a posture which doesn't always entail sharing one's imagined insight.  This is especially adventitious if it skirts unwitting exposure to that suicidal rhetoric called ad hominem argument.

If there is an immediate need for response - something which by the way is seldom the case - it is invariably better to adopt that very learned adage that honesty is the best policy as long as you're not in trouble.  Otherwise some muffled clarity is usually sufficient. In the end however what most often counts is the recognition of one's own preferences and tolerance of others. The willingness to understand another's position while laudable is at best icing on the cake.  Unless and until we puzzle out and adopt our own analysis everything else is wasted effort and meaningless victory.

For the time being - that is, until the dust settles - it is better to let the shit go down the street.  Some things are insurmountable and there is no need to advance what is a losing proposition.  That is not to say we cannot express ourselves. Yet remember that you may barking up the wrong tree.  Not everything matters.  But your complacency does - particularly if it is an end achieved without aggravation or aggression. There's a difference between having your head in the clouds and being above the storm.

My growing perception is that the foundation of improvement among people has little to do with changing them.  We need only ask how changeable we are ourselves. This isn't to suggest that nothing matters, that all options are closed or that anything goes; but it eliminates the conundrum of having to prove you're right, as though some profound objective exists for doing so.

Speaking for myself only I have learned to acquaint myself with my instincts and unfettered preferences. This sometimes means a demonstrable solitude, a shameless positivity for the most purposeless desires. While it may be ordinary it is not necessarily lacking in inspiration.  On balance I am reluctant to rewrite the character of anyone. If that qualifies as indifference, then I'm prepared to rise above it!

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