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Enantiodromia

enantiodromia
Eduard Tomek: Sea (1971)
"The ancients understood what we forgot."

I don't usually write about whatever we talk about during my weekly Friday PureSchmaltz Zoom Chat. Like all dialogues, one simply must be present in the room, immersed within the context, for the content to make any sense, and attempts to explain what happened to anyone absent from the primary experience seems simply doomed from the outset. Think inarticulate explanation of a movie plot, but I heard myself say something in the thick of yesterday's chat that I think might prove noteworthy, and even germane to my Authoring initiative. I heard myself say that every project ultimately turns into something other than its originating intention before it can be completed. I'd never heard myself (or anyone) state this obvious truth before. Instead, I, like everyone, I suppose, has hung onto the notion that the originating objective accurately represents a project's real purpose, that guiding the effort through to achieve that originating purpose amounted to state-of-the-art 'project management,' when experience might have convinced anyone otherwise. Certainly, many projects have been characterized as failures because they produced something other than their originally expected results, but it might prove useful to wonder if any project of any real complexity had ever succeeded under that strict metric. I doubt it.

The standard practice to counteract this perhaps common phenomena— that projects produce something other than originally intended—has been the final stage politicking typical to every effort of any size, wherein original intentions get reframed to fit within the size shoes the elves managed to produce this time.
Eventually, some rough agreement emerges, sometimes agreements to disagree, with lawsuits attached, but usually some amicable agreement results and folks get on with their lives, lives changed by their efforts, but inevitably changed in different and often disquieting ways. The manner of change seemed unsettling, but perhaps only due to expectations which had probably been set to some naive false north rather than the true one, by which I mean the one that actually happened, however unanticipated. The state of the art of project management might, then, be fairly characterized as the fine art of keeping one's countenance while the universe shifts rather than the primitive art of merely keeping a ship on a predetermined course. Authoring seems no different.

I had imagine that the purpose of my Authoring might probably be to get my manuscripts into print, but as yesterday's missive noted, the volume of material makes that notion seem not only naive but also unworkable. Instead, perhaps the purpose of my Authoring exercise might be to nudge one manuscript through to publication, a much simpler notion, but rather disappointing, for it seems to necessitate a lifeboat drill exercise to identify which of my beautiful manuscripts won't get published. I didn't initiate this effort to oversee any lifeboat drills, but here I am, my heartfelt initiative turning into something very similar to its opposite, a phenomenon the Ancients referred to as Enantiodromia. The experienced project manager in me should immediately recognize this experience as another example of the universe shifting on its axis, so I should no more than feign concern. I should have remembered that the real purpose of my Authoring effort would simply have to be to turn my notion of Authoring inside out and backwards. Why else would I ever initiate a project, since every project's purpose seems to have always been to turn original expectations inside out and backwards?

It follows, logically if not necessarily gleefully, that the purpose of writing might not be to ultimately be read. If a manuscript need not necessarily get published to be a valid work, as the bulk of my efforts might suggest, then this essay need not be read by anybody to serve some perfectly respectable purpose, albeit opposite to my intention. I might have written this piece to convince readers of my brilliance, but even my most dedicated readers don't find time to read my every posting, and this one might well slip through completely unnoticed. Will I have wasted may effort if my brilliance attracts no readers? You might respond that my presumed brilliance was not evident when you read this piece, so the presumption that brilliance not evident might have been preserved without readers undermines its own premise. Fair enough. Even absent brilliance, what might have been the purpose of this odd little posting? What was the underlying meaning?

As
just the author, I cannot speak to THE meaning of this piece or any other. I can speak to what it means to me, but under the apparently contrary nature of this particular universe, your meaning, the one you make based upon your reading rather than upon my writing, must rule for you. Maybe for me, too. When The Blind Men was published, I received a fair number of comments and questions from readers, each rather confusing. I found myself always wondering what book the correspondent had read, because I'd not recalled imbedding whatever they'd noticed in the original text. Enantiodromia. The ancients understood what we forgot. Start something, anything, and some opposite might well result. 'Twas always thus and will likely forever be, even for me and you.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved







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