Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Everybody's Got a "Flip Side"

I'm going through old posts, looking for topics that deserve further development, or common themes that might be stitched together. Of course, I'm dragging my feet on this project. Why? Because: (1) I'm lazy [haha, this is always number one reason]; (2) I'm obsessed with getting it perfect; (3) I'm blocked; (4) I'm going through a period of creative boredom; (5) I think I'm a huge hypocrite for pretending that I know anything about all of this; (6) I'm not ready to move to the next level beyond the blogging format, because (7) writing is exhausting, and
 (8) I'm still "walking on eggs" with my health from day to day [although I'm improving].

Things move forward, nevertheless. I don't think someone who ponders things the way I do will ever succeed in being efficient. It's a personality flaw. One of many.

It's humbling to reflect on the fact that each of our talents has a "flip side"--a defect in temperament that all too often blooms into a lack of character in some respect. Our talents and their corresponding defects develop together. Some of us are vigorous and precise, but also partisan and argumentative. Others are gentle and empathetic, but muddleheaded. The brilliant intellectual is abstracted from human relationships. The one who is adept at building relationships may also be a schemer, or a gossip. Some are friendly and nice, but also timid and afraid to take risks. Others are brave and bold, but also reckless and even obnoxious. So it goes. How many of us strive for virtue and find after many years that we've developed some meager good habits, bent, a bit one-sided and out of focus, along with many constraints, fears, and egotistical inclinations that we "dress up" as virtue?

Then there are those who are even tinged with genius -- poets, scholars, writers, actors, painters, composers, architects, statesmen, inventors -- unhappy people, socially maladjusted, and often afflicted with significant psychological problems. That spark of creativity inevitably shakes up the person and knocks the whole system out of joint.

It doesn't take much for the human animal to start to unravel. "Our span is seventy years, or eighty for those who are strong. And most of these are emptiness and pain. They pass swiftly and we are gone" (Psalm 90:10). We just can't bear much of life.

Still, we want the stars, and beyond. We keep going. We keep trying to find a way.