Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My brief travelogue into complexity

By cultural standards you could say that I'm a weird man. Not in any creepy way- you'd think me quite congenial. "But there's a story arc; and that for anyone who's serious and adept, they should fit into it" you'd say, and wonder why I don't. Perhaps you'd think of me as a gad fly, a dilettante even, as you try to understand why such a congenial and decent fellow such as myself hasn't fulfilled the proper story of career and acquiring. Well, without feeling any offense from you- after all, culture is our invisible structure of reality, I would begin my answer to you, "it's complex..." and assure you that while I've been involved in different worlds of work, one thing that I have not been, is a dilettante.

Actually, I'm a serious man. At about the age of twenty, I came across a prayer offered by Solomon, who in a moment like finding a genie's lamp (but only getting one wish) didn't ask for wealth but instead asked for wisdom. For what ever reason, that prayer sucked me in. Totally. You see dilettantes don't seek wisdom, they flit from it. My moving from a work world to another didn't entail from flitting flights but from needing to raise my two sons as a single parent and making a world where I could not only tend to my job, but tend to them as well.

So with my one wish I asked for wisdom; thinking that like manna, it was going to simply rain down on me from heaven. Instead, what I got were questions and whiffs. Often times, the questions led me into intellectual thickets and bramble- deeper into the valley and away from the peaks; honest questions have a way of doing that. But what was so cool was that even in those times when the thickets tangle and the valley's shadow conspired to keep me in their grasp, there was always a whiff for me to catch, and following it led me into new clearings and new vistas. And, of course, we all know- that along with new vistas come new questions!

There isn't any one formula for wisdom to show up and I certainly haven't bottled it; it's only now that I can look back and see a pattern. If you were to ask me where I was going even five years ago I wouldn't have been able to say. Outwardly I would stammer off some ideas, but inwardly I was saying clearly, "I don't know, but I'm following this scent and somehow I trust it."

Following those whiffs led me into worlds; and worlds are comprised of their minds and their culture. This means that in my lifetime, I've thought in the minds of art, theology, engineering, sales and marketing, psychology, spirituality, and in the large categories of mind: Dad, Business, Science and Religion. My prayer for wisdom led me into a bunch of minds other than my own native one. As a young artist, I considered science and business as containers for people who were too flaccid for the creative venture: Having lived in these minds, I realized first hand how utterly creative these "foreigners" really are.

Here's the take away I want you to have from this brief travelogue of my aspiration for wisdom: Human Being is in its very essence, a complexity- an amazing, confusing amalgamation of needs and expressions that are physical and spiritual; we have a need to be uniquely individual as well as to easily fit in; we want a place to be strong and effective and a place to be weak and recuperate. As difficult as it may be, to be endowed with all this complexity that is the Human life, we have to fight our tendency to reduce our living to a formula; whether those formulas come from economics, science or even religion.

We've been living through a time of formulas. But life is deliciously complex. Our time, is calling us into wisdom.

No comments:

Post a Comment