I had a tempting proposition this week. I was asked to be an occasional panelist on a late night TV show. It was flattering – I felt briefly fluffed up, like a proud chicken strutting around the yard. But my feathers soon settled and acute ambivalence kicked in. My thoughts went something like this: It is such a great opportunity to influence public conversation, it is so late it will ruin my evening and probably the next day too, what if I get seduced into making trivial points, it will improve my public profile and so make it easier to attract people to the infinite game, well yes but it is also a distraction from my writing about the infinite game, well yes but the infinite game itself is the point not your self-imposed writing schedule and it is such a great opportunity to influence public conversation…
Ah temptation, how do we know if it is a diablo, thrown in our path to lead us astray or sent by the angels to light up that same path? Here is what I’ve figured out. We all make plans. I don’t mean grand plans, just ideas of how life will be for the next while. If you like your plan, whenever anything comes along to interrupt it, you become agitated. Sometimes it is easy to reject the intruder, even if it takes a bit of work. Sometimes it is easy to accept it, because its angelic character is clear. Sometimes, often, it isn’t one or the other. Ambivalence follows. It is painful because it requires us to try and predict the future (that little thing). We’ve already got our plan, damn it, and imagined the flow of events, and now, wham – can and should we adjust? It is the question mark itself that causes the pain, it leaves us dangling, hoping, wondering, when we just wanted to get on with it.
By the way, I said yes.
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