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 be in control by doing so. It seems to be closely related to the recent adage of “being busy” that people use. I often catch myself feeling that same anxiety whenever I can’t display a kind of “busy-ness” I see others displaying.
But “being busy” isn’t a statement of an actual reality, rather a wish to be perceived a certain way. It is unfortunately a most meaningless statement, at best masking other things, basically trying to avoid social disproval.
Again that “wish to be perceived in a certain way”, made clear by our hopeful actions to achieve status within the group, historically literally the group of people physically around us, now effectively a worldwide group of billions on social media. Yet it seems that our continuous and superfluous attempts at constructing a reality around ourselves haven’t evolved in the same way as the complexity and magnitude of the context we’re communicating in.
The same problem existed in The Great War of 1914-1918: the (then) new weapons of destruction introduced a new previously unimaginable scale and way of killing, and we simply did not know how to cope. Our strategies and tactics were ancient by comparison, reminiscent of the ways we used to wage war long before that. They hadn’t evolved in the same way. 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 that elusive Homo Universalis last embodied by Michelangelo, but the understanding that we are extremely limited in our knowing. Wisdom might be a sensitivity of understanding not things, but the why of things.
I’m having coffee and staring at the tablecloth pattern before me.