"I firmly believe that there's always a pony in there somewhere,
no matter how much horse shit fills the stall."

Because I inhabit a tightly-coupled, deeply inter-related universe with only my sense-making apparatus with which to comprehend, I don't always understand what's going on around me. Or maybe I should say that I too often believe that I understand when I could not possibly understand. My dilemma doesn't make me in any way special, for it seems that each of us inhabits the same (or very similar) tightly-coupled, deeply inter-related universe and we each possess roughly similar sense-making capabilities, so we're all pretty much in the same boat. Sure, we each consider someone a whole lot stupider than us and also a few we consider much smarter, but our senses seem puny when compared with the surrounding universe. Our shared inheritance might be best characterized as Cluelessness. For all we know, all we couldn't possibly know looms far larger around us. Always.

I can't quite bring myself to characterize our native Cluelessness as in any way a problem. It's just the way it is, and it brings with it certain advantages as well as disadvantages.
For many things and for most of the time, the complexities surrounding me have little effect on my existence. I quite safely ignore the subtler connections without apparent positive or negative ramifications. I can usually think of myself as a sort of an island without suffering any immediate ill effects. Sometimes, though, my innate myopia bites me with UnintendedConsequences. From my island perspective, these seem like perpetrator-less crimes which leave me feeling victimized. I seem to still be forever discovering some previously unsuspected relationship between some hip bone and another leg bone that ends up kicking me squarely in my ass. Of course I rail at the unrepentant universe then, though if I care to look more closely, I often find that I've kicked myself in my own ass again, an anatomical miracle.

I'm stuck, though, imbedded in complexity I cannot fully comprehend. Humility might be my best defense against taking too much too seriously and also against taking too much too cavalierly. An ounce of care sometimes prevents the need for a ton of cure, while a ton of care might well produce an incurable outcome. Nattering on the sidelines won't get anybody anywhere. I am largely, gratefully unaware of the magnitude of my cluelessness at any moment in time. I prefer to not know lest that knowledge overwhelm me. I seem to be easily overwhelmed. I might easily presume some baseline level of Cluelessness whatever I engage in, though. Expertise seems to produce a particularly virulent, second-order form of Cluelessness, Cluelessness About Being Clueless, which can produce some of the more self-destructive UnintendedConsequences.

I figure that at least half of the cautionary homilies in this world exist as attempts to head off incipient Cluelessness. Pride goeth before a fall because pride can serve as a cue to the presence of swelling Cluelessness. Pride certainly doesn't feel like Clueless' compatriot. It feels like an elevation above Cluelessness, but, unfortunately, it's not always a liberation. The danger UnintendedConsequences represent seems enhanced when I ignore such cues, so I hold my homilies close, wary of any sense of deliverance. There's always an unseen influence in there.

Lest I devolve into public paranoia, I should mention that UnintendedConsequences don't always produce negative outcomes, though I might notice the negatives more easily than the many positives. The opposite of a swift kick in the ass might not even register as an event. It might more easily feel like a touch of good fortune, perhaps a taste of synchronicity, a mitzvah, a happy accident. If felt, these might leave me feeling as if I were somehow especially blessed, somehow singled out for appreciative recognition. I might wonder who was doing the singling out, but I won't worry over the answer to my question. I'll accept the surprise as my due.

The truth seems to be that we exist as points of Cluelessness, representatives, in good standing of the insensitive universe surrounding us. My simplest "solutions" seem to most reliably produce the greatest number of UnintendedConsequences. An inverse law might lurk within this observation. Since the unseen complexity surrounding each of us is vast, any simple "solution" seems destined to hardly qualify as 'half-vast,' hence producing UnintendedConsequences. I might fairly characterize my life so far as having been spent implementing a series of solutions proven too simple in practice. The apparently human need to at least attempt to dispatch every complication as if a simple resolution should be possible produces the bulk of our UnintendedConsequences. Even if UnintendedConsequences seem unavoidable, we might better anticipate them, but simple solutions seem to rely upon me not considering consequences beforehand. I swat at the annoying fly and fail to see the lamp, unintentionally brusing my hand and crushing the lampshade.

I insist that I am not as a consequence of the complexity inescapably surrounding me merely damned whatever I do. I believe myself curiously blessed instead. The context just sets the frame within which I produce UnintendedConsequences. How I cope with them seems to be a quite separate and more easily managed element. If I can never be careful enough to completely avoid producing UnintendedConsequences, I might be circumspect enough to search for and sometimes find the gift each might bestow. I might not even manage to do better the next time, but I might sometimes manage to discover good enough within even initially disappointing externalities I experience. Had the car not broken down due to my cavalier attitude towards maintenance, I might have never met the people who somehow emerged to help me recover from the unfortunate event. As perhaps a testament to my Cluelessness, I firmly believe that there's always a pony in there somewhere, no matter how much horse shit fills the stall.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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