Saturday, May 24, 2014

Variety is the spice of life

Beyond the simplistic option of black and white how far do we go to instill the minutia that seems to be controlling our lives?  Henry Ford said candidly “customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black", (you undoubtedly noticed I used gray in the lettering, just wanted to mix it up a little) referring to the public demand for color option on his Model T. Now you drive down the road and you see the virtual rainbow of hues and shades.

While painting a house the paint rep gave us a painting guide that contained most of their colors, it was three inches think and when I say most, they can custom tint any color you can imagine.  The options are indeed endless but that level of opportunity also has a level of responsibility as well.  The more choices we have the more choices we have to make and consequently the more we have to live with. 

For fun I was interested in the different options that encompass contract law and specifically the provisions that surround wills and estates.  Listening to a CD, I just happened to have in my gray car, the speaker was excoriating the massive legal issues surrounding the seemingly simple process of establishing an executable will and in the same breath lauding the process that allows for an almost infinite stream of minutia surrounding every conceivable scenario, there is nothing simple about a “simple will”.

We live our lives based on the minutia and not the certainties or absolutes.  We wake up with decisions about what to wear, what to eat, what to listen to on the radio on the way to work.  We make thousands upon thousands of decisions each and every day and each person makes thousands of decisions per day added to this their contrasting views, differing perspectives and alternate ways and the number of decision choices reached into the billions and billions (I sound like Carl Sagan) but to each his own we say, knowing that if we want to be able to decide than we have to allow others that same privilege.

Here in lies the problem.   Is there a black and white; is there a right and wrong to every scenario?  The Manichaeism believes there is.  The Ying and Yang, the Good versus Evil in every scenario.  Perhaps the answer is not that black and white but more part of the search for that distant hope of certainty that we develop these multiple options in order to sustain us through the uncertainty that is life.  For in all we do, even life and death, the two complete opposites are not defined cleanly, how can we be expected to see the absolutes so clearly? 

How we live our lives and even how we consider “life” as a dictate by our internal definition of what life means, bringing to bear the entire cycle of human existence in the simple desire to “be alive” or simply exist.  Death as well has its own level of confusion but so far those questions are left to the religious and thantalogical thinkers, most of us are really not that concerned with what we cannot understand.

From a religious perspective we have commandments that provide us with a more acute standard than those given by man-made laws; they are more absolute, meaning that they are less gray than the multi-colored options of life on earth.  Religious rules are often more absolute, more defined, with less wiggle room.  Because of the infinite minutia that bombards are senses, overwhelms our emotions and inundates our every decision the idea of living in an absolute frame of mind is often lost and considered by many to be inconceivable and impossible.  And those who even chose the religious life have declined seeking instead for the more open and permissive choices with many churches swaying souls back to church with open and permissive rhetoric. 

There are absolutes.  A woman is either pregnant or she is not.  The cycle of the sun raising and falling.  We may not want to think in absolutes because it requires a level of devotion and commitment that most are unwilling to make.  Living a certain way, being loyal to that choice does require black and white decisions.  Not to smoke, or drink alcohol those are absolutes.  The choice to remain true to your spouse and to yourself, these are decision that create a pallet that is more harmonized and in stark contrast to the confusion that surrounds and infiltrates most of our lives.
 
When the universe and all its complexity and variety is viewed from a mortal perspective we can only derive the notion of Chaos but when it is viewed from the perspective of a creation then it becomes a system of planning and absolute certainty. 

As parents we often see the mistakes of our children long before they realize their missteps.  They are unable to see the “whole picture” they are unable to visualize the effects of their actions.  Good parents are more like a master chess player they can visualize an entire game, move by move prior to moving the first piece.

This life may seem chaotic and minutia filled, but it is that variety that at least for me provides the principle and foundational surety that each and every color, plants in all their variety, bumps in the road and mistakes are all known.  The minutia of life is cause, not for concern but for praise that we too have a parent who not only guides us but allows us to learn from our mistakes, a heavenly being that lives, that gives us the challenging opportunity to wade through the throng of never ending choices, opportunities to hopefully find ourselves as He is, all knowing, all good and eternal, always making the right choice as if everything were black and white.