Living in an Upside Down World

[The following is an edited version of a post originally published June 25, 2016.] 

We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.” ― Konstantin Jireček

Carl Rogers, an American psychologist, developed a form of individual therapy embracing this strange and paradoxical truth:

The physicist, Niels Bohr, came to embrace this same truth in his study of matter at the sub-atomic level.

In his work on quantum physics he put forth the principle of complementarity: the notion that contradictory forces can happily coexist, just as the contradictory forces within each one of us are the very life forces that make us tick.

Yet sometimes, don’t we all struggle with the painful side of paradox?  In this, aren’t we brothers and sisters of Charlie Brown?

Carl Rogers, Niels Bohr and Charlie Brown, each in their own way, made peace with these truths:

  • We need not fight to straighten lines that cannot be straightened
  • We need to understand that some puzzles were created with missing pieces
  • We need to take comfort in the fact that the only certainty in life is that there is no certainty
  • We need to accept that the Way is narrow and that narrowness is the Way

So when you look at your own life and the paradoxes that run through it, consider this:

  • The more you hate a trait in someone, the more likely you are avoiding it in yourself
  • People who can’t trust, can’t be trusted
  • The more you try to impress people, the less impressed they’ll be
  • The more you fail, the more likely you are to succeed
  • The more afraid you are of death, the less you’ll be able to enjoy life
  • The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know
  • The less you care about others, the less you care about yourself
  • The less compassion you have for yourself, the less you will have for others
  • The more you’re afraid to fail, the more likely you are to fail
  • The more available something is, the less you will want it
  • The more you try to keep someone close, the further you push them away
  • The more you argue with someone, the less likely you are to convince them

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Just a thought…


Copyright © 2016 Patrick J. Moriarty. All Rights Reserved.

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