“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” – Woody Allen
Surely no one would argue that throughout the course of living–or existing, surprising circumstances have a way of repeatedly popping into our lives. We are defined by the ways that we deal with those circumstances.
Among us there are people who choose to block or to acknowledge life’s changes. Those people are the Realists–they live according to a linear framework. They establish a goal early in their lives and they systematically set out to realize that goal. Change is the Realist’s nemesis. The Realists try to maintain a rigid grip on their own lives and on the lives of those in close proximity. The Realists would not deny that, along their lives’ paths, they have faced unplanned events; but they create a type of desensitization to those events. They wear blinders that prevent them from responding to the changes along their paths. Essentially, they merely do not acknowledge those unplanned circumstances; and their coping devices–their self-deceptions–become barnacles or hardened shells that ultimately encase them.
“Nature never deceives us; it is we who deceive ourselves.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
“History is a set of lies agreed upon.” – Napoleon
Whether or not the linear person admits that his life has been altered–regardless of the sophistication of his denial–changes happen around him–and problems mount. At first, it probably seems that the only people who suffer are those who try to live in the Realist’s wake; but the Realist’s coping devices, i.e. alcoholism, sexual addictions, etc., have a way of becoming problematic. The Realists have Shadows or Ghosts leering about themselves.
“Facts do not cease because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley
“Ghost: The outward and visible sign of an inward fear.” – Ambrose Bierce
Another set of problems arise, because the Linear people invariably marry the other type of people, who are Cyclical. The Cyclical person’s life consists of one change after another. That alone is upsetting to the Linear Realist, who needs to maintain tighter control. I am not sure that a Realist can completely grip or control the Cyclical Idealist.
The Idealist would agree that some of the changes during his life have been good; yet, others have been far from good. Consequently, the Idealist’s life reflects a more up and down quality. The Cyclical people never really develop defense mechanisms; they never totally shut out what is happening around them; and they often experience periods of pain.
In looking at these two types of people, one is left to wonder whether it would be better to feel the suffering that is evoked by life’s changes or whether it would have been better to have been encrusted or desensitized. I am obviously the Cyclical Idealist. A Linear person would not write this post. Linear people do not admit that these two types of people exist. In doing so, they would have to acknowledge that they are Linear–the hardened.
Not that I would have had the choice, I have to believe that a Cyclical life is the preferable one. We Idealists do have days that are very down; but we also have days that are very up. The Linear person does not have the downs; but he does not have the ups either.
The Cyclical person is the one who sees the colors of the rainbow; who smells the scent of freshly mowed grass; who feels the wind that rattles towering branches; and who weeps as the parade marches by. The Linear person, the Realist, never even sees the parade. He does well to just notice that a few people with instruments have walked past.
Even in light of the painful aspects of his life, the Cyclical person, the Idealist, would agree with Antoine de Saint Exupery:
“Well, I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.” – Antoine de Saint Exupery [The little rose, speaking to the Little Prince]
The Cyclical person would also agree with Agatha Christie:
“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” – Agatha Christie
To be accessible to change is an embracing of life, knowing of both its ups and downs.
“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde
“If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar
A hoper a pray-er a magic-bean-buyer
If youre a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin
Come in! – Shel Silverstein – Where the Sidewalk Ends