Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Next is not only for barber shops

It is the nature of life to barrage us with all manner of existential questions, some of which--Suppose?, What if?  How about?--are useful to you in your work and other enjoyments of your surroundings.  There are two such questions that seem to arise more often, each as persistent in its way as a request for spare change from a panhandler or a charity call from some organization connected with children or illness or, in fact, children who are ill.  These questions are:  What next? and Now what?

What next? tends to arrive in context with some disaster, some reversal, some unanticipated tweak of fortune that you recognize as one that you will be some time repairing, getting over, perhaps distancing yourself from to the point where you can add its arrival and departure to the number of other events of similar intensity that you have endured.

Now what? is the more temporal of the two; it implies the need for a plan, a strategy to help return to some greater level of productivity and purpose, perhaps even to the point of building a callous if not a buffer against some future return of What next?

This is a fine example of defensiveness in motion, of recognition that the individual is likely to experience the beset condition that goes with life,but it is also far ranging in its optimism because it suggests that so long as you find a thing to to that provides you some measure of a process to be come lost in, you will be able to take comfort in being here on this perilous-but-wonderful journey.  Isn't it remarkable how the act of being lost in something allows you to filter your satisfaction into your external surroundings?  And if that isn't an existential question, what next?

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