Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Endless Detail

My career as a lawyer was dedicated to the examination and expression of detail. Frequently the commitment amounted to an obsession, admittedly one that for some was irksome.  I generally preferred to imagine that my clients were appreciative of the attention; but certainly on occasion my fastidiousness bothered those who were on the receiving end of the analysis - often other lawyers obliged to address the more granular repercussions. Generally speaking the annoying feature of detail is not so much its particularity as its capacity for impeding the smoothness of events (in some instances disrupting the consummation of a contract).  At the root of the problem is possible and sometimes serious misunderstanding. It is not for example the acuity of a diamond which is the issue; rather, whether in fact the item is genuine. When once one is aligned with particulars, the preoccupation is universal and otherwise indiscriminate. For this reason the brooding is at times mistakenly subject to attack for triviality.

As numbing as detail may become it is for my part irrepressible, very much the sine qua non when it comes to a satisfactory performance overall. To pretend ignorance - or to misrepresent the scope as de minimis - is destined to fail. Inevitably the predominance of exactitude will rule; and only its face off will soften its burden. I am nonetheless alive - albeit hesitatingly - to the assertion that the immediacy of the concern is not entirely pressing.  The absorption of detail requires a degree of patience if for no other reason than fully to appreciate the magnitude of the information.  Dissecting a larger matter into its constituents is protracting if nothing else. It behooves one's social graces to allow time for the comprehension of detail. Remember too that not everyone focuses as readily upon the intricacy of the dilemma. It may be necessary to herald the polemic with a reasoned argument in order to gain the assurance of legitimacy.

While it may appear possible to avoid the disruption of detail by limiting the scope of one's involvement, it is a pursuit of dubious resource.  The preferable undertaking is to insist upon clarity rather than upon abstinence. Instinctively our enterprise is prompted by achievement not defeat. If this entails at times the need to refine our behaviour, then we are commanded to endure it. Seldom is the motive for imprecision sufficient to sustain it. Things will naturally flow in the manner most comfortable; and I perhaps flatter the inertia to suggest it will out in the end. An initial reluctance is all that is required to stimulate the pursuit of detail.

One doesn't wish to become mired in the weeds. I view this qualification as a provocation for temperance; that is, accommodation without capitulation. Rarely however am I convinced to rise above detail because of an assertion of insignificance. Instead there may exist the plausibility of delay only. In that respect detail - like Christianity - is uncompromising; viz., there is one and only one god.

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