“The world is not as simple as we like to make it out to be. The outlines are often vague and it’s the details that count.
Nothing is really truly black or white and bad can be a disguise for good or beauty … and vice versa without one necessarily excluding the other.
Someone can both love and betray the object of its love … without diminishing the reality of the true feelings and value.
Life is an uncertain adventure in a diffuse landscape whose borders are constantly shifting where all frontiers are artificial where at any moment everything can either end only to begin again … or finish suddenly forever … like an unexpected blow from an axe.
Where the only absolute, coherent, indisputable and definitive reality … is death. We have such little time when you look at Life … a tiny lightning flash between two eternal nights.
Everything has to do with everything else.
Life is a succession of events that link with each other whether we want them to or not.”
Arturo Perez Revarte
And, yet, I would argue the majority of people only really have some vague outline of how the world works, or how effective or ineffective a leader is, or even only have a vague outline of any specific relationship between cause & affect.
This vaguery exists because it takes a lot of work to parse the details, and the appropriate details, and the ‘right’ details to make the outlines less vague and more tangible.
Is this work valuable ? Sure.
Is this work necessary to increase some certainty in Life? Sure.
Do most people do this work? No. The majority of people have shit to do <other than this type of work>. That is neither good nor bad … it just is what it is. A lot of pseudo intellectuals and smartish pundits bitch & moan and gnash their teeth over this, but they would lead a significantly less stressful life if they just accepted it.
What this means is that in this ‘vague outline’ people inevitably create a vague/semi solid outline belief. From there they look around on occasion and question that outline. The questions raised either support the vague outline or raise doubts and … well … more questions. All the while this is happening more information barrages the vague outline. In this barrage is a confusing mix of real, fake and quasi truths. All these confusing things do in the people’s minds is, contrary to belief, not confuse but rather make the person more dismissive of the incoming confusion and steadier in whatever vague outline they may have constructed.
This is neither good nor bad … it just is what it is. A lot of pseudo intellectuals and smartish pundits bitch & moan and gnash their teeth over this but they would lead a significantly less stressful life if they just accepted it.
I will say that at some point the ‘questions I have about my vague outline’ gain some gravitas. This can happen several ways, but let me point out two:
- The questions themselves coalesce into some easy to understand ‘blob’ from which people who have a vague outline decide … my vague outline is wrong <or sucks>. Let’s say that this is the point at which the doubts and questions begin to outweigh the beliefs that created the vague outline.
- Someone weaves a narrative using the doubts & questions into a relatively succinct, believable and non-hyperbolic driven framing of an outline which people look at, scratch their heads, go “hmmmmmmmmm …” and decide this new vague outline will replace the one they had in place. Oh. To be clear. This narrative must not only use the doubts & questions to dissolve the current vague outline but must also offer an alternative vague outline <outlines need to be replaced not simply destroyed>.
The first never happens fast enough to people who just cannot understand how and why some people have decided to live with some vague outline <that just seems ‘not really a smart outline’ to them>.
The second is not as easy as it appears. It isn’t as easy because problems are rarely as clear as we would like them to be and a narrative never lives without the context of all the barrage of real, fake and quasi truths impacting and denting and solidifying a vague outline that already exists. Or someone weaves a great narrative to destroy but forgets to offer an alternative.
In other words … everything has to do with everything else.
I imagine I have two points today.
We humans have come to accept a certain amount of uncertainty with regard to our lives and our decisions. This uncertainty is also built into the vague outlines we tend to construct for ourselves. What this means is that the construct of our beliefs and thoughts and ideas may be certain to us and, yet, its silhouette accommodates some uncertainty.
I began today by unequivocally stating that vague sucks. And I believe 99% of people would agree that it sucks. But in today’s world the majority of people have enough shit to do that they slot their thinking thoughts time. in one slot they place unequivocal certainty type thoughts. In another slot they place the “I will always be uncertain about this shit and thank God there is someone else at some higher pay grade than I who can be certain about it.” and, lastly, we slot all the shit in which we have formed some vague outline which accommodates a certain degree of uncertainty.
My point here is we tend to make this a binary discussion where the reality lies in a more complex mix of vagueness & clarity, certainty & uncertainty.
Certainty, in and of itself, has degrees … it is not a simple black or white binary.
People can have vague outlines AND have questions with regard to their outlines and, yet, not want to ditch the outline. “How can you still believe that?” may be one of the most misguided and unenlightened questions that has ever existed. It completely misses the point in that it assumes ignorance, stupidity or some negative trait in order to hold on to some vague outline regardless of doubts.
A vague outline is a choice.
No more and no less.
We question choices all the time and, yet, remain with the original choice despite some fairly extensive doubts. I say this because that said … it is silly to point out doubts and questions as a reason to ditch a vague outline. My easiest example is President Trump. His followers have a vague outline of what they like and believe about him. We scrutinize them for doubts and questions and when they share them we immediately pounce and suggest “then how can you still believe in your vague outline!?!” <usually said with a slight overall disbelief & wonder>.
Within their lives of doing shit that is important to them they created a vague outline of who and what Trump is, or isn’t, and … well … uncertainty was built into their certainty. The moment they will begin to disbelieve their vague outline is when the uncertainty overpowers the certainty. Until then we should stop acting confused that someone believes what they believe.
I love the quote I opened with even though I hate vague. The truth is that we all live with some vague outlines albeit your vague outline may actually be one of my non-vague outlines, and vice versa. And when they are in conflict then … well … there is conflict.
All that said, while vague sucks there is a reason we do it and this reason is not stupid, nor unenlightened nor ignorant.
It is just damn practical to have some vague outlines.
Life is an uncertain adventure in a diffuse landscape whose borders are constantly shifting.
Life is restless.
Our vague outlines are necessary to accommodate some of its restlessness. Not recognizing that is either naive or foolish. I would also point out that if you are frustrated by someone’s vague outlines, the onus is upon you to bold the outline on whatever issue you want them to see so that, well, they can clearly see the outline of what really “is.” Just remember. There is a massive difference between vague and vague outlines.