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Georges Seurat: Seated Woman with a Parasol
[study for La Grande Jatte]

" … I hover on the edge of some fresh enlightenment."

I often experience what I internally mischaracterize as some sort of a problem even though no obvious solution occurs to me. These difficulties can remain remarkably persistent, essentially unsolvable for the longest time. Many of them I never resolve even though they might continue to bedevil me. Sometimes, I just conclude that the difficulty out-smarted me. This conclusion does little for my self esteem, but then I already knew that I had little to hold in very high esteem to begin with. I was just confirming facts already more than adequately evident when I failed to solve the problem that might not have been a problem in the first place. Many of these are dilemmas, damned whatever I do choices. A few fully qualify as DoubleBinds, which I might define as difficulties which straddle contexts, existing in more than one place at once, and therefore conventionally unresolvable from within any single context, or so they appear. My life, like yours, overfloweth with DoubleBinds.

It might be helpful if we each had finished at least some Post Doc work in Theoretical Physics, for if we had, we might find ourselves better positioned to cope with these damnable DoubleBinds we're forever discovering invading our lives.
Some even seem awfully good at creating DoubleBinds for others to get tangled in. Few of us prove to be particularly skilled at fully resolving our own DoubleBinds all by ourselves, since the straddling contexts nature of them largely relegates them to relationship domains. It can be useful to confir with another who might inhabit a slightly orthogonal context when attempting to mollify a DoubleBind. It might be most important to understand that a DoubleBind's resolution only rarely resembles what anyone associated with it first imagines it might. A wrong answer might better address what at first seemed to require not just a right answer, but the best.

Most of us were raised on DoubleBinds. No mother worth her salt ever once raised a kid without liberally DoubleBinding it. From the "put on your sweater, I feel cold" injunction clear through to the "Be Spontaneous" insistence, motherhood seems to enable a certain disabling disposition, all introduced, of course, exclusively for your own benefit. The old joke recounts how she gave her son two shirts. When he put one of them on, she innocently asked if he didn't like the other. Murders have been committed with less provocation. Adulthood seems to come only after narrowly surviving ten thousand little DoubleBinding interventions from parents, teachers, enemies, and friends. It seems incredible that we as individuals and as a species have not yet learned how to resolve these babies as if we were swatting flies, but we clearly haven't.

The Ukrainian War seems only the latest round in our ongoing game of global DoubleBound. Observing from over here, it might well seem that the war, like all wars, was simply a matter of one side or the other winning. How does one win a war? That's easy, by losing, but by losing fewer than the opponent. Within this framework, one stops the killing by killing better, more quickly, in greater numbers, more debilitatingly than the opponent. One choses to die so that they might live. One makes peace, then, by successfully making war. Of course this characterization makes no sense at all. Both sides, after all, have honor on their side, and probably God, as well. Neither side can see at first how they might simultaneously inhabit the same side. They cannot perceive the despised other as in any way resembling them self. So much seems so different. Belligerence!

Many things I cannot do under any circumstance. A few of these become imperatives, high priority objectives which I adopt as a matter of identity. Who would I be if I could not successfully accomplish those? I'm on my way to learning who I might have to become, because no amount of dedication, no insistence, could possibly enable me to do what I cannot accomplish under any circumstance. The past, a field of play with which I have the most experience, might inform me best about how I might usefully address all I will never be able to accomplish. Rather than searching for some clever future, I might more usefully, at least sometimes, when I'm DoubleBound, go searching for my past, a past which might better inform my sense of what I might reasonably accomplish. When I have to, want to, but can't, I hover on the edge of some fresh enlightenment.

###End Of Rant###

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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