I’ve often fallen victim to this moral anxiety as well, fruitlessly trying to be efficient and organised, with the myth being that one can thereby be in control. It seems to be closely related to the recent adage of “being busy”. I often catch myself feeling that anxiety whenever I can’t display a kind of “busy-ness” I see others projecting.
But being busy is rather a wish to be perceived a certain way. It is a most meaningless statement, at best a mask to avoid social disapproval.
Again that wish to be perceived in a certain way, made clear by our hopeful actions to achieve status within a group, historically the group of people physically around us, now a worldwide group of billions on social media. Yet it seems that our continuous and superfluous attempts to construct a reality around ourselves haven’t evolved in the same way as the complexity and magnitude of our communication contexts.
A similar problem existed in The Great War of 1914-1918. New weapons of destruction introduced a previously unimaginable scale and means of killing, and we did not know how to cope. Our strategies and tactics were ancient by comparison, reminiscent of pre-modern war. I found it very interesting to learn that this massive discrepancy between weapons and tactics is one of the principle reasons for the death toll in World War I.
We refuse to accept that we actually have no clue what we’re doing. Maybe wisdom is just that: not knowledge by itself, not the elusive Homo Universalis embodied by Michelangelo, but the understanding that we are extremely limited in our knowing. Wisdom might be the sensitivity to understand not things, but the why of things.
I’m having coffee and staring at the tablecloth pattern before me.