1.09.2016

& ~ OR


Almost exactly ten years ago, I wrote a post about my (then) five year old son and his tendency to qualify almost every claim that he made with a "but MAYbe." tacked on to the end of the sentence.

"But MAYbe" has become a family trope that continues to get plenty of airtime.  Addison has long since repented of its usage and thinks that the fact that we keep bringing it up is tired but the truth of "but maybe" seems like an important caveat to hold on to when we think about the future.

One of my favorite rhetoricians, Kenneth Burke, talks a lot about how humans, particularly in the wake of Greek thought, tend to think of things in an "entelechial" way.  Entelechy refers the propensity of things to come to their fruition -- fulfill their fate -- find their destiny.  This is an alluring and default position for most of us.  We believe that things are going a certain way and that it is more or less inevitable that they will eventually find their "perfection" (or completion) by becoming what they were always meant to be.

This photo that I posted above is a detail from a sign picture that I recently instagramed, and I just decided that it will also, heretofore be my official (current) fallback Life Motto --

and ~ or

A future premised upon both "and" and "or" -- seems as true and good to me as human imagination is capable of presuming.

AND always presumes that the future can only build on the past. The past can never disappear or dissipate --it is always the pre-condition for what is to come .

But OR reminds us that possibilities of reversal, transformation & negation always loom too. We are not fated to anything. We cannot be put into a box. All that has been predicted and forthtold about our lives? Its all just a big MAYBE. No one can know what hairpin curve in our path the OR might bring to pass.

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