Monday, January 4, 2010

Will one thing

Sometimes I feel like a little puppy in a world filled with wonderful possibilities: Go for the ball, no, wait; go for that fly, no, wait; chase after that guy's leg, chase after that dog, chase after your tail ... chase after the wind; sleep, eat, repeat. 

It often feels like life is just one distraction after another. I've realised more and more in the last few days that simplicity is freeing, but duplicity is bondage. Desiring everything will get you a prison. Desiring one thing will get you paradise. This is probably why Kierkegaard said that "Purity of heart is to will one thing". 

This does not mean that we cannot enjoy variety. In fact, it means the exact opposite. You cannot enjoy variety when everything is competing for your attention because diversity without unity causes division. But you can enjoy variety when you have your attention on one thing because unity celebrates diversity. After all, there can be no unity without difference. If there is no grand narrative (as that 'one thing' that we may hope to will), nothing means anything. But if there is a grand narrative to this whole business of living, then everything gains significance and meaning.  

Obviously, I've made the mistake of trying to summarise and simplify the idea of willing one thing here. I realise that you may not get what I mean, nor why I think it is so important. So let me just conclude by acknowledging that while simplicity may be desirable, it may not be easy. It's difficult to will one thing, because simplicity is anything but simple. 

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