Arbitrary and Capricious World

From time to time I find myself trying to come up with a plan for the rest of my life. I bet you have done so throughout your life. It might happen right after you get your first real job, or you decide to get married, or you may face a financial or personal crisis. Then you embark on your plan and you experience setback after setback. Despite all your planning, you are faced with unexpected results and it is crushing.

The Eastern philosopher, Mencius, experienced a similar occurrence, but after he railed against his fate, he realized that this experience would shape his philosophy. He argued that the very things we believe to be true when we plan out our lives are also the things that limit us. Meniscus came to the conclusion that we don’t live in a world that is stable and coherent, but instead one that is unpredictable and capricious.

The question for our meditation today is how do we plan for anything, decide on anything, if we live in a capricious world?

Now, I’m no Eastern philosopher, but I have come to realize that life’s plans are often derailed, and the key to living when the train goes off the track is not to curse the fates, but embrace them. My wife has a wonderful philosophy that she passes on to her real estate clients. When the best laid plans don’t work out, she says to them “It just wasn’t meant to be, and the perfect home is still out there, we just have to find it.” The words are hard to stomach a lot of times, but they usually prove to be true.

Whatever one’s plans, we have to factor in the possibility that our goals just weren’t meant to be and flexibility is the key. What do you think?

About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.

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