- Published: October 29, 2017
Saturday morning, my daughter makes chai as my husband stirs together a double batch of pumpkin pancakes. Our dog sits on my lap like a warm comforter. I ponder confusion.
I know to avoid circular thought. Two of my grandparents died over decades of a rare disease that slowly collapses one hemisphere of the brain. I kept their company and counsel in their decline. They would lose functionality step by small step. Intelligent people with a myriad of gifts, together we would mourn each loss and learn anew what to appreciate about ourselves.
Their relentless journey of atrophy is probably why I am so rapt by the subject of intelligence…what it is to learn, what it is to be mature. What happens when the composition of maturity misplaces its essential parts?
“There is no truth. There is only confusion.”
This mantra is troublesome. It invokes the kind of circular thinking my grandmother advised me to avoid. What if, I ask her now, I rearrange the equation. If I dare embrace confusion, like my Grandfather Morton I might rediscover the wonder of youth.
A bit of entropy is good for me.
Simple dichotomies seem like traps. Truth is elusive. If I am to rely on it exclusively, I will forever place myself in the dependency of others who will always have more experience than I.
Confusion on the other hand is everyday. I find it everywhere.
My husband picks up his phone and learns that despite expectation our son’s morning soccer game is on. The two men scramble for gear:cleats, woolen hats, thick socks, and sweatpants. They make for the high school; Jeremy calls out as they exit toward the garage that the pancake batter is undone. The flour is half turned in. The mixture lacks baking powder. We agree to leave it until their return. I stir it twice and then let it be knowing that, in rest, structures form.
As I learn to aggregate, to synthesize, I see that confusion is illuminating. Things are not black or white. They are black and white. In maturity, I find myself using confusion in the course of my studies. Skepticism has become my fuel. It is no longer important for me to know what is right but to learn what right feels like to other people.
I return to my chair. I stretch out and sketch. I feel out the shape of the space that separates independence from interdependence. As I trace that shape, I know that the universe is in constant motion. It is garam masala. A swirling cup of chai. This world is many things and, the beauty is, it is all these things at once.
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