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Unstuck 4.0: Need

Why is this work needed now? This question left me stuck for months and months. Stuck because I didn’t ‘know’ the answer. The internal defense attorney pled that it called for facts not in evidence. The internal judge, the only one that matters, feigned indifference and would not rule, so I felt in limbo. The first question, unanswerable. Now what?

We’re all stuck on something all the time. Not that we’re always supposed to be unstuck and flowing, but the impasses, like this infernal why question, sure can prevent progress. I’d intended to finish the book by August, but the question held me through July and August, and then September, too. Shame accumulated like ever-thickening mud on my boot soles until I could barely crawl. I was channeling what I was writing about.

The ancients believed that no one could be qualified to treat any disease without first personally surviving that illness. Perhaps the first stage of writing a book about Stuckness requires that I get good and stuck first. If so, I’m uniquely well positioned to finish the damned thing, though I still have no freaking clue how to answer the damned, the seemingly damning, question. Why IS this work needed at this time?

Stuck: the first stage of true mobility.

The internal witness recounts his story of the crime. “We’re all stuck all the time. Never more stuck as a nation, as a culture, as a species than now.” The internal defense attorney screams, “Objection! Hearsay!” The internal judge openly yawns and calls another recess.

No court in the history of the world could ever decide the question. It’s simply unanswerable in any genuine sense. We could poke at it until the stone age returns and never come close to denting it. Exhibit one, for the defense: stuckness often results from interpretation. Interpret an unanswerable question as an answerable one, and you’re stuck. How could it be otherwise?

Bang your head long enough against that brick wall and you might, even I might, reinterpret the job at hand. Perhaps it isn’t my job to answer any unanswerable question. “Why is this work needed now?” Pfffft! Who knows? Wrong question! Next!

Need might be the wrong term. No book is needed. None qualify as necessary. The very best could not have been imagined by the author before he wrote it nor by the reader before he picked it up and read it. Then, perhaps, the work might appear to have been necessary. How sorry would my life have been had I not read Finite and Infinite Games? Sorry, indeed. Did I need that book beforehand? I didn’t know I would need it later, but, no, I never needed that book before I found it ... or before it found me.

This book, which will one day become my book about Stuckness, isn’t needed yet. It couldn’t possibly, honestly, offer proven solutions to the wide-spread stuckness problem plaguing modern life. Modern life isn’t any more stuck than ancient life was. Need isn’t the point. It’s not the purpose, either.

You see, stuckness isn’t a problem, but a feature of life. I cope with my stucknesses with varying degrees of skill, some of which even feel successful. I have my ways of avoiding and escaping some stucknesses, and someone might find useful insight into their own coping efforts through exposure to mine. No problem, no solution really needed.

The judge returns to the bench to call a mistrial. Both the defense and the prosecution wail in anguished disappointment. Without a vigorous prosecution, without a spirited defense, who could ever need this work? And who could possibly fulfill that need?

We argue unnecessarily. We plead without real need. We live without knowing, too, and thrive on what we discover along the way. We sometimes stumble upon something truly transforming. It’s almost always an unlikely find, and we feel blessed in that moment and blessed going forward from there. For me, repeatedly blessed with stumbling upon my own stucknesses, this moment qualifies as one of those moments. I once needed to know why and now I’ve found that knowing unnecessary. That particular stuckness was just as much a blessing as the insight it, after over-long incubation, finally spawned.

Now, on to the next stuck!

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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