It Just Doesn’t Matter!

Posted by on Oct 25, 2015 in PGST Reflections | No Comments

Havel, the Czech playwright, dissident, and politician, had this to say about hopelessness:

“Isn’t it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity.”

It is very easy to fall into a strategy or mind-set of avoiding hopelessness and/or profound doubt at all costs. The idea of hopelessness becomes an anathema; we look to ameliorate it, instead of accepting it’s dark and painful embrace. We are loathed to allow the “birth”, an act we participate in, but is ultimately out of our control, to occur. We attempt to manipulate it and manufacture, by artificial means, the “new certainties” that we long for. We cling to our limited ideas, ideas that helped us to arrive at the place of hopelessness to begin with; refusing to admit that we have no F’ing clue about how to achieve the Result that we desperately long for. I think Havel is speaking on the idea that one must fully admit and embrace the profound doubt before the natural creation/understanding of “new certainties” may transpire.

In 12 Step programs the 1st Step is to admit powerlessness. Once this happens the individual comes to see how a “Higher Power” begins to do for them what they were unable to do for themselves; i.e. a restoration of hope. Often the idea of a Higher Power is associated with that of God, but I think we can look at any natural occurring phenomenon as a Higher Power; meaning, we can’t control or make it happen. If, let’s say, we have a garden, we can tend to and water that garden, but we cannot will the flowers to grow. That happens as a result of a power much outside our sphere. And if we do attempt to force the growth of our imaginary garden; if we over-water the earth in which the seeds are buried, if we dig up those seeds and rip them open in an attempt to hasten their growth, we, of course, kill the chance for actual fertility.

Real life begins at the crossroads of hopelessness and powerlessness. As Havel says, the hopelessness/powerlessness we are confronted with is so monumental, so infinitely vast, what else can we do but acknowledge the true absurdity of the situation. The deck is stacked, the game is rigged, we are not gods, and we cannot will any Result to occur. All we can do is humbly show up in the face of “profound doubt”, move forward, and perhaps come to see that the ‘movement’, i.e. our ability to move towards something while accepting that no specific Result is ever guaranteed, is perhaps the only certainty that exists.

I leave you with another voice that perhaps articulates this idea better, and with more sublime grace, than either Havel or I are capable of. The words of Mr. Bill Murray from the modern classic, Meatballs:

“And even, and even if we win, if we win, HAH! Even if we win! Even if we play so far over our heads that our noses bleed for a week to ten days, even if God in Heaven above comes down and points his hand at our side of the field, even if every man, woman and child held hands together and prayed for us to win, it just wouldn’t matter, because all the really good looking girls would still go out with the guys from Mohawk ’cause they’ve got all the money! It just doesn’t matter if we win or lose. IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER! IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER! IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER. IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER! IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!”

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