Rendered Fat Content


Hans Weiditz (II):
Behaarde man kruipt door een bos
[Hairy man crawls through a forest]
(1514 - 1531)

" … without expecting to eventually avoid making more."

The Honing life involves more than and seems different from positive feedback loops. It primarily entails catching myself doing something wrong and nudging myself closer toward some path of righteousness, correcting my error if possible. My legacy might end up being a long series of close misses with a few more spectacular further misses sprinkled in for variety. Few hits and many, many misses. In the end, I will contend that I was in the game without often experiencing a winning season because my standards were never quite satisfied. My successes were failures, too, not usually on the scale of my catastrophes but of similar quality.

This lifestyle's no tragedy, far from it.
I think of it as more of an extended search for quality than error, the errors indicating needed adjustments. As long as I'm noticing and adjusting, I am successfully adapting and moving closer to what I recognized at the outset as an unrealizable ideal. The ideal remains valuable even if it also proves unachievable because it delineates the neighborhood I target, the class and kind I imagine I'm pursuing. This image helps me distinguish from other targets, which could only prove worthless because missing them couldn't get me any closer to anything I wanted. The wanting serves as motivation and was probably never intended to manifest, or so I insist to myself if to no other.

So, what of all I have accomplished? My Wronging has produced results, ones I own one hundred percent. Not one of them satisfied the specs I held for them; notwithstanding, a few of them far exceeded what I'd expected and for no particular reason. My whole business, careers, and families were remarkably haphazard, not particularly by grand design. They each started where they started before continuing where they led. I, at best, past judgments and adjusted as best I could, often with little effect. Very little was ever determined, less choices than visitations. The future seems to unfold itself, as I am its witness. I nudge. I bob. I weave. I duck and sometimes cover. I notice more error than I ever notice brilliance.

I can appreciate the play anyway, even if I never became precisely its director. I think it laughable when I hear somebody insisting that I should be driving, striving to be in charge. What possible value could I inject by imagining myself as anything other than my own quality control inspector? I do not practice in pursuit of perfection but pursuing perfection's opposite. I act when I notice a fresh imbalance, whenever I catch myself being myself all over again. I'm grateful that there always seems to be room for improvement. That room might just be infinite. Honing's goal was never to prevent error but to improve my ability to spot it, to trend ever better at catching and correcting without expecting to eventually avoid making more.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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