conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

“Today I Choose to Wear Clothing.”

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You have more choices than you think

tumblr_mg5aahmUaf1qcwhbgo1_500-01072013Shirt? Yes. Pants? Why not?

Just like every day.

Just like most people.

Except for the odd nudist colony, most people clothe themselves without becoming embroiled in internal debate. Appearing clothed is one of those basic understandings we share. Being clothed is not the question. What that clothing looks like is, of course, the question that drives multi-billion dollar industries.

I’ve been thinking about the boundaries that circle our lives. Or maybe I’ll call them norms. There are expectations out there we follow without thinking. And that’s a good thing, because we might become paralyzed by all the choices before us if we did not have these norms our culture expects of us. And we also have these well-worn ways of acting that help us avoid constantly choosing. We always shower before breakfast. We always drive this route to work. We always park on this side of the lot. We always say “Yo, James” to the receptionist. These are the things we do.

But nothing says we must do it that way.

Nearly every corporate job I’ve had has involved colleagues complaining bitterly about the boss or the manager or director or the CEO. Mondays seemed to foster these discussions. Maybe we cited “golden handcuffs” or likened ourselves to wage slaves in those discussions. But in truth, we’ve been surrounded all along by truckloads, trainloads, barges full of options. An unprecedented wealth of options. But we didn’t see them because we followed the script of our workplace or culture. We didn’t see our choices because the script didn’t let on that there were choices.

I’ve been reading Wendell Berry and Jonathan Sacks—both of whom saw choices that were outside the script: pursuing contentment rather than fame or honoring the stranger. That poet-warrior-king wrote his own set of scripts that were bathed in gratefulness rather than ambition. That inveterate letter writer Paul went off script by weighing the choice of death and life for himself. Of course, Jesus the Christ guy lived the king of all scripts—something we’re still sorting out 2000 years later.

What script are you following today?

What choices are hidden from you because of that script?


Image credit: Gervasio Gallardo via 2headedsnake

Written by kirkistan

January 7, 2013 at 9:49 am

Posted in Ancient Text, curiosities, texts

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  1. […] I’m reminded of that inveterate letter writer who wrote his friends about walking in the “good works” begun in […]

  2. […] me out of the center of my universe. Like the prayers of the old poet-king or the prayers of the inveterate letter-writer, these are conversations that recognize some other as the center of everything. Those two saw God […]

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