"Our language doesn’t provide a translation to tell us what it is. Only our hearts can do that."

Nothing seems to work very well without it. Push, shove, wink, nudge, nothing really makes anything better without some ability for it to hear itself. Without some mysterious coherence, we’re never more than the simple sum of our parts, and often much less. No instruction manual ever showed how to create or even install coherence. For most, it’s either there or not; and might be the most commonly overlooked component. We might not consciously notice its absence.

I believe we each can feel its presence, though we might not have a ready name to assign to it. We might mistakenly ascribe its effect as luck, or synchronicity, perhaps superior design, though no spec sheet ever prescribes its presence. Only charlatans ever promise to deliver it. Only rubes ever agree to accept that delivery. It might be the rarest element, sufficient without ever approaching necessary; the cherry on top.

I can feel it emanating from people with great faith. Whatever whacky wisdom they so thoroughly believe in, it lends an ease into their place in this world. I swear I can see it streaming off the face of anyone in love: beatific, radiant, obviously blessed. I sometimes sense it within an organization or team, but more often I sense the deep longing and persistent pursuit of it there.

I believe that most every group aspires to experience this sense of togetherness with all its attendant charms. We muster with the subtle, usually unspoken aspiration that this time might really be different, and that we might touch the face of this unnameable god together. Most have experienced this reassuring state at least once before. None of them ever wanted that time to end.

But these times end. They ebb and flow, come and go, following a seemingly indescribable pattern. Most of us hold myths about where this state comes from. We wear our lucky underwear for a damned decent reason. This very aspiration might produce the coherence we desire, but not ever as a static end state. We might become rainbows only by chasing them.

The BriefConsultant encounters many coherence pilgrims as he travels, some with child-like faith, others with calloused, shopworn belief, some seeming to spread cynicism as the new salvation, but each aspiring to pretty much this same effect. Each heart, no matter how jaded, notices the absence of something significant and seeks to fill that void; lives to fill it. Even the hermit, working in what might be sublime isolation, not even a single son of a bitch in his one-man band, pursues rather than constantly lives within this oneness. This pursuit might be our destiny and our legacy in one.

The greatest evil might be found within the forceful insistence that others adopt someone else’s sense of coherence as their own, and like it; even exhibit gratitude for receiving it. Coherence cannot be condensed into any container to be reconstituted for anyone’s later convenience. Its emergence seems inevitably inconveniencing, clearly not exactly what anyone thought they were looking for when it found them. Most will deny its emergence, rejecting the prize before perhaps begrudgingly accepting it.

The BriefConsultant might notice and might even speak of the covert coherence he sees. The daily struggle might have made the daily blessings invisible to those dispatching one damned thing after another as well as to those repeating the same damned things over and over and over again. The coherence everyone chases might catch them if they could only stand still for a minute. Who could possibly do that?

”You’re not doing so poorly,” one BriefConsultant reported to an exhausted team, “You’re producing code at about three times the rate Google produces it. It’s a lot cleaner, too.”

Gape-mouthed to realize that they’d lapped the perfection they’d pursued without even noticing, they began the struggle to recalibrate what coherence means in their particular context. Coherence is never perfection, but always more than and something quite different from simply good enough. Our language doesn’t provide a translation to tell us what it is. Only our hearts can do that.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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