My Kingdom for an Abstraction

“It’s one of those situations where [reaches for an abstraction].”

This argument has taken root in my heart, and sprouts from my mouth perennially. Each flowering appeals for a predictable pattern. A greater sense of meaning. An historical lineage. An unwavering trend that demands the time spent searching for it.

Instead of attacking problems head on, a story serves as substitute. A fairy tale where the current indecision is reduced to an archetype of something that happened long ago. No longer do I have to wrestle with the nuance of the situation at hand. I can pick from all the available narratives to rationalize my indecisiveness.

Instead of talking about the facts, a similar problem from an unrelated domain is substituted. Navigating my mental map by surveying the unfamiliar landscape makes for a beautiful broad strokes painting. But it’s simply tourism while avoiding the work at home.

I can’t be wasting my time dealing with small problems. The energy I’ve spent thinking this through has to be an investment, serving a greater set of future problems. My strategy for life needs to operate at scale.

Sometimes. Most times. It’s not one of those. It’s just that. It’s not an opportunity for the algorithm. It’s not an abstraction waiting to be identified. It’s the present, and I’d do well to be wrapped up in it.

Published: 2020-10-01

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