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  • martinwrbaker

The Importance of a Modest Incomprehension

Updated: Oct 31

There has been an ongoing shift in working practise that I’m sure is a common story in many jobs, that is that things are swinging more and more towards the whole mechanised hyper organisational approach to getting the stuff done. Far from wanting to be complacent given that I’m fortunate to have the employment in this day and age, it is simply an observation that this particular regimented approach to getting by in life has been gradually tightening for quite some time. Maybe this has been developing over centuries, but with an escalating rate in recent years, (so even prior to the pandemic.)

What stands out to me about this most is comparing mindsets of individuals, those who can somewhat ‘go with the flow’, and those who seek that extra level of planning and structure so as to not have a complete meltdown. Most jobs will inevitably require some level of time management and organisation, but there was a time for me when that stuff was a lot more basic and straight forward, it would just play out somewhat discreetly in the background. The essential purpose remains the same with the jobs that have paid the bills over the years for me, but the process to ‘meet’ that purpose has become more elaborate, reflected with occasional subtle amendments to contracts, and indeed a complete reincarnation of the job itself two and a bit years ago, with a new title and my requisite job re application to maintain employment in. This is simply my example, but what I find (perhaps most especially with having some more systemic organisational/dyspraxia issues, is that maintaining this more elaborately mechanised but bizarrely discorded approach to work, requires every last bit of ‘optimised focus’ and ‘cognitive performance’. Both of which are terms that probably sound familiar in modern society.

And achieving greater brain function is not at all a bad thing, there are better ways of doing it than others, but when a role demands a particular way of thinking, and a larger amount of effort from an individual such as myself (and no doubt many others), this heightened effort consumes every last branch of the mind, eventually 24/7, and it’s not something that I can just switch off during any down time. (I scheduled writing this out while I have the chance). Now I sense those who used to successfully take a more improvised approach to life, are diminishing by necessity of this trend, that I’m attempting to describe. It would probably take a week minimum of zero commitments to gradually revert back to that go with the flow approach. This is not a complaint, though there is no doubt some envy for the people who can still sustain a more present and improvised approach to life, there is of course a general assumption that this is merely a matter of growing up, but I’m not talking about the importance of responsibilities, I’m referring to an escalating trend that I think feeds into a collective consent, to challenge ourselves in very reductive ways, ways that don’t feel particularly worthwhile, and aren’t that gratifying, but are probably the only available ways forward.

Obviously, a great deal of business and industry depends on anyone with £1 or more to their name maintaining a persistent form of discomfort or inadequacy to keep the products flying off the shelfs, this is no revelation, but can’t be overlooked in all this. Whether or not there is a master plan going on to groom us all into a particular type of hyper obedient worker, is a bigger matter. But for now, successful planning and punctuality to me is more than just a necessity, it’s a drug, one that requires a regular fix whether its needed or not. It all plays out internally on the somewhat self-delusion that once a, b and c has been complete, heavenly bliss will be obtained. (any day now). There was a time for me when the prospect of accomplishment, would at very least (sometimes) require me to be an attempt of an interesting person. Once in a while I’m lucky enough get a moments reflection and remember this, however it does seem trend dictates little to no incentive to being or becoming particularly interesting. And yet when I think about any example of an interesting person, I believe all it takes in concept, is to stop caring about things that didn’t actually matter in the first place. Don’t expect things to immediately make complete sense, and just be inquisitive.

This all sounds nice enough, but who has the time? Time is such a fragile and perplexing thing to keep track of at all the best and worst of times. If you can, and even if you’ve heard this before in other forms: I would kindly encourage any and all to just be a little present and excepting of a little confusion, don’t expect a formalised explanation of life subtle experiences, find time to enjoy the perplexity and just go with the flow.

It is to this end I conclude (amongst other things), that you didn’t dislike the film Tenet because it was “trying to be too clever” or “hard to follow”, when it was simply trying to be fun, in typically perplexing roller coaster type way experiences often are. So, don’t mistake an artist’s supposed attempt to be clever, for your own unwillingness to enjoy something inexplicable. If you disliked the film for other reasons that’s another matter, but small moments of perplexity are not grounds to condemn, they are valuable moments, and as adiquet example, it is after all implicitly understood that you don’t need a detailed comprehension of anatomical reproductive science, to enjoy a blowjob. “It doesn’t make sense” is not a problematic conceit to the purist of satisfaction. If you didn’t happen to enjoy something, I think that probably wasn’t the reason.

Rant aside, my endorsement stands about preserving or even cultivating that which is interesting about us and each other, (maybe against the odds of capitalism and all that) If you at all can, worry a little less about those things that didn’t matter in the first place, and perhaps re distribute that energy toward inquisitiveness … and dare I say art.? (Even if you must condemn my tastes in film.)

There was no formal conclusion to all this, except for me stating the importance for me that there isn’t one.


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