Saturday, July 18, 2015

Working through it

There are different levels of working through something. Something like, say, the statement that everything is water.

One way of working through is it to not. To simply dismiss it as nonsense and move on to other, more important things. Which, to be sure, isn't much of a workout, but it needs to be mentioned as a baseline. And it is one of the most likely outcomes when people are confronted with something they do not immediately understand.

Everything is water. So what? Who cares?

A more engaged level of working through something is to take it at face value. "Everything is water". Which, on the face of it, makes little sense, as there are visible things around you that are clearly not water. The presence of things that are not water is a serious drawback to the notion that everything is in fact water.

The end result of this workthrough would be that the statement does not measure up. It makes sense, it is tested, and it is not true.

An even more engaged level of working through it would be to see it as some sort of metaphor. Things are not literally water, but share some property with it. Like water, things are in a state of fluidity, always in motion. Always changing, as it were. Since nothing is ever not changing (entropy does that), the statement that everything is water would serve as a general theory about everything.

The most engaging level would be to treat it as an emotional trauma. Everything is water, everything changes. Everyone who loves me could change their mind about it, and one day I could change my mind regarding those whom I love. Everything I love could end, and it could do so at any moment. Everything is water, and engaging with this thought is a source of much anxiety.

There are different ways of working through something. Sometimes, one way is more appropriate than the other.

I leave it to you to work out which is when.