What Would You Do If You Never Could Be Wrong?
In an avalanche of time, you have ended up here. Reading this. Hopefully, along with many other readers.
How did you get here? How did they get here?
You made a choice many years ago to read a book about reading and someone on the other side of the planet made a choice to watch a film about cinema and now you’re both here, taking in the ramblings of a midnight mild depressive and her half-bottle of red wine. And now I’m reading this too. Wondering what the hell it means and where I was going with this.
See, I could have edited that sentence out, but I chose not to do. Is it so wrong?
Of course not.
Honesty itself can’t be wrong¹, which is to say, in all honesty you can’t go wrong. If honesty can’t go wrong, then someone can only go wrong by being dishonest.
So if you answer the initial question honestly — what would you do if you never could be wrong — then to go and do that thing would be the right thing to do, and not to do it would, itself, make you wrong.
There are limitations of course.
If you would be an astronaut but you have arrhythmia, for example, and so you couldn’t be an astronaut… but if you would be an astronaut (if you could), and you chose to undergo the training an astronaut would undergo, what could you be, in the end?
Where could your honesty take you if only you would follow it? Where would you and your honesty go?
¹ The determination of right and wrong is one of will and therefore requires passing judgement on someone who exercises that will; when we say someone is wrong, we comment on what — and by extension who — they are, as a function of language, not what they think or what they do or how they came to think or do it.
Honesty, for instance, can be harmful to certain sensitivities, but it is the infliction of harm which is wrong, and only to a degree dependent on one’s consciousness of his/her intention, thereby placing the responsibility of wrongdoing and the attribute of wrongness upon the person committing the act of honesty and not on the honesty in and of itself.
When I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Music Industry, my family was cautiously encouraging. But when I graduated without a job (or any prospect thereof), they all had the same question:
So… are you glad you studied Music Industry?
A well-intentioned question stemming from innocent curiosity and concern, I’m sure. And my response was simple:
ask me in thirty years.
They were puzzled by this answer, and so I explained that the consequences for our choices are never immediate; there is the initial effect of a choice — for instance, having trouble finding employment — but that initial effect itself becomes a cause with an effect, which also then becomes a cause with an effect and so on, until the ultimate consequence of one choice is but the summation of all the causes and effects that unravel until the choice has played itself out entirely, for as a cause for effect, it is no longer relevant².
And that takes time.
For us, some choice has led us in one way or another to this word:
² I couldn’t get a job in the music industry. I got a job with a law firm, going nowhere.
I was miserable.
I used the excuse of misery to move back home and take care of my mother. I got a job with a private equity firm, went from Office Manager to CCO in three years.
I was miserable.
I used the excuse of misery to cofound a Shakespeare company for young adults in my spare time. I directed four shows, one of which was an original work, my first ever.
Through theatre, I found I had a platform to converse with young adults about various issues and traumas, in their lives and others’, and I was able to help them with their struggles;
I was no longer miserable.
I applied to a Master’s programme for Dramatherapy in London, and was accepted. I intend to use the degree I earn there to help child refugees from the wars in the Middle East and Africa cope with their displacement and assimilation into Western life.
I found my purpose, and all because I studied Music Industry to no avail.
In an effort to turn the effect of what brought you here into a cause in itself, I ask you again:
what would you do if you couldn’t be wrong?
It is that fear, after all — the fear of being wrong, of failing ourselves — that keeps us from our rightful paths. And so it is in surrendering to fear with the intention of removing ourselves from the possibility of that failure that we ensure that we shall fail.
What would life be if not ironic, eh?
But if we accept that fear as the measure of our potential success; if we forge ahead with drive, steel ourselves with passion, and persevere knowing that in our honesty we cannot be wrong, it doesn’t matter what goes unseen in our proverbial crystal ball.
Because nature rewards perilous ways: the more danger in which we find ourselves, the greater the threat to failure once the danger has played itself out. And when we find ourselves panting, sides aching, legs cramping from our attempts to outrun the shadows of anxious doom, we must remember that the fearsome Shadows of Wrong only chase those who are doing right.
So whatever you would do, don’t stop until it is done.
Written by Kaitlynn McRae of Comatose.
Comatose is a weekly series of amusing anecdotes, insightful commentary, and pithy stories. Every week three contributors are featured in short segments. The segments, though often unrelated, are tied together using music and narration to set the scene. Relax and enjoy the ride while listening to topics as varied as love, birthdays, and reciprocity.
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