Monday, November 23, 2015

Contradictory Challenges

One of the guys I was at school with was quite some way ahead in his reading... very early. Every now and then a word would slip in to his usual chat that left the rest of us with a glaze on our faces. I still remember hearing one of them when we were about 10. Partly because the glaze didn't leave my face even once he told us what it meant. Paradox. One of my favourite comes from Bertrand Russell, 'I always lie'.

It is nice to think everything has clear answers, but you can't ever finish asking some of the most interesting questions. Saul Smilansky wrote a fascinating book called '10 Moral Paradoxes'. In it he looks at some of these self-contradictory challenges we face. 'Fortunate Misfortune' is one example. When something awful happens to someone. Truly awful. Something they couldn't possibly not wish hadn't happened. Death of a close friend or family member. A disability. A traumatic event. Yet, their life at that point takes a dramatically positive turn. We know about Post Traumatic Stress. There can also be Post Traumatic Growth

When you get to questions that can't be answered with logic, perhaps it is time for the artists to step in. Consistency does make life easier, but contradiction can be full of flavour.

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