Rendered Fat Content


Alfred Stevens: Hesitation (Madame Monteaux?) (c. 1867)

" … obscured in utter ignorance.#


After receiving the fifth follow-up advice for fixing my hash mark difficulty, I engaged in StrategicHesitating. I rarely immediately follow up on any instruction. I ruminate on it first. I was not interested in a quick fix, for in my experience, quick fixes tend to encourage downward spirals where I end up in deeper and more mysterious trouble than I had before I'd asked for assistance. I need to circle the solution first. As I did in this instance, I will pretend to implement the fix, accessing the seemingly appropriate pages but not saving any adjustments. I wanted to determine what would happen if I saved the changes without exposing myself to the risk of actually changing them. I still didn't know what I was doing, but instead considered following essentially blind instructions. It's not that I didn't trust the advice, either, just that I was confident that I didn't understand the whole of it. I needed further orientation.


StragegicHesitating seems like a small investment.
Anyone expecting to quickly get back up and running might be deluding themselves. Disruption might need to affect actual disruption before it can impart its magic, and attempting to slip around the delay might not be the very best way to learn the lesson. I need some contemplation time and space to reconsider my dilemma. It sometimes proves to be time well spent, especially if I can reach a point of acceptance. It might be that I needed it to be the way I didn't at first desire it to be and that the difficulty appeared only to slow me down enough to recognize the opportunity. The easiest and ultimately best fixes tend to be second-order ones, where resolution lies in accepting the way it already is, with no tedious installation involved. Half the things broken around The Villa remain unfixed because I realized I preferred them the way they are rather than how they were before they were "broken." Wisdom often lurks in the lee of second-order acceptance.


I let the advice sit for a full twenty-four hours before I attempted to implement it. In any case, it didn't work the first time or the fifth. By the fifth iteration, I'd also lost the chapter headings and embedded even more hash marks than the manuscript sported before. I found myself aching to reestablish the original defaults so that I could start over, hoping that I would not have to reinstall the whole application to regain that position. I do not at this moment know what went wrong. I knew before I acted, even after completing my obligatory StrategicHesitating, that I had not fully understood the context within which I was operating. That understanding might not have been in the offing since I was not likely to suddenly become an expert in that system's operation. I tried my best and failed, but not because I'd hesitated. This one who often hesitates does not hesitate because he's lost but because he's not yet found. Hesitation alone won't guarantee finding anything, though.


Thus progress emerges, not by unerring movement but more by its opposite. I may never emerge from the twilit darkness within which I've always existed into the full illumination of knowing anything for certain—so much the more reason for engaging in StrategicHesitating. I hunt and peck, not only because I cannot explicitly remember where any letter was situated on life's keyboard. I hunt and peck because that seems the superior strategy for dealing with this world as it seems to be. Those who know for certain seem more lost than anyone. Those reveling in their confidence seem the more utterly lost. I might be strategically lost and only ever accidentally found, but I'm still Honing my approaches, considering before leaping, even then, sometimes still back peddling. There never was a clear path ahead. It always was obscured in utter ignorance. I proceed with caution.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver