(Variety Is The Spice Of …)
What to do when it feels as if everyone’s clamouring, for whatever reasons. An immediate solution might be to reject as much as you can. Simplify.
It sounds appealing. It might be sensible for the moment. A safety measure. Cut through it all. Simplifying is fashionable these days.
But I’m nagged by a long-held belief in the value of diversity, variety. I’ve always valued it; and as I get older I only value it more.
What I Don’t Expect (Garden Lights #3)
Get different views. Assemble a committee of the disparate in your mind. Having and considering just one view about something – pretty well anything – is always, always foolish.
But challenging your own thoughts is hard going. You need to put the effort in to accept that you might well be wrong. You even need to challenge how you challenge yourself. If you’re not careful, that process (the process of challenging yourself) itself can default to being self-reinforcing.
But it’s worth it. Who wants to be – probably – knowingly wrong? Who wants to even chance it?
As for the past. Yes, you might have been wrong in the past. But recrimination, self-recrimination, isn’t the issue, isn’t worthwhile, isn’t the point. Look forward. Your focus needs to be on what you do from now on.
And sometimes I take photos to remind me, in an unobvious, unspecific way, of the value of variety. These are just some I took one evening in a lit garden. There are plenty of other potential things that can act as reminders, prompts. Don’t default to what you know and like.
Arguably … once you notice and value the variety there is all around you in your life, the most sobering thing is the realisation that we – humans – have hugely and permanently reduced the amount of variety that’s left in the natural world.
At root there is one cause – all the consumption demanded by the ever-growing number of humans on the planet. That’s all obvious enough perhaps, but what we do in the light of it is anything other than clear-cut.