Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The consequences of being sure

Recently some conversations I've had have reminded me of the consequences of surety. Its one thing to know something and another to be sure about it.

Being sure means that you assign yourself the privilege of discarding new information that might challenge what you think you know. When you encounter someone who sees things differently, hanging on to your surety means finding a way to shut them down or dismiss them. We find all kinds of ways to do that. Giving them a label that puts them in a pre-conceived box we've constructed just for that purpose is one of the most common. Never mind that this tends to strip them of their unique humanity. We too often find that preferable to letting go of our surety.

In the end, surety leaves no room for curiosity or questions. It also means that growth is impossible.

But the truth is that giving up your surety is hard. It makes you vulnerable. It means exposing yourself to conflict with others and - even more challenging - conflict within yourself.

That's why so often when I encounter the consequences of surety, I think of some of the most beautiful and profound writing I've ever read on the internet. It comes from Nezua at the Unapologetic Mexican.
We are always new. Every moment is new. No moment need be like anything that came before, even when the resemblance is striking and our imagination lacking. And yet, of course we must learn from who we once were. But to let a lesson that once helped inform every step forward is to walk an old path, and to preclude the sight of new horizons from our view...

Because life is not like a series of books in a course on …anything. It fluctuates. We fluctuate. We are not a being, but a becoming, as Friedrich once said. And sometimes ideas are hammered out and we draw lines and walls and are told we fall on one side or the other and so do our thoughts and so does all that follows from them…and so it goes. We buy into these illusory borders, too...

I am far more comfortable navigating the in-between than I am in any Place. I like no thing as much as the coming and going from one to another. It is on the purpling beaches of dusk and the roseing gauze of dawn that my true eye shines lidless and I see so much more than in broad daylight. In the falling away of my tired husk I remember my shape can only be held temporarily. And to cling too tightly to it is to rot.

Being sure is but the borderwall we place around a heart to ward off the skinstripping wind of the next living moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Democrats Don't Have to Chose Between "Defund the Police" and Being "Tough on Crime"

In their quest to win back working class voters, several liberal pundits are suggesting that Democrats need to take on the issue of the ris...