In our modern world there is much complexity. With that comes contradiction. An either or, pros and cons, do and don’t do. We face everyday life with a heavy burden of choice. A weight of expectation, of responsibility. How to spend our time, our money, our energy? Lots of ‘what if?’ Lots of ‘if only?’.
I heard a story the other day which resonated with this world truth of contradiction and complexity.
The story teller, a young African boy at the time of the story. Living in a village in remote Nigeria.
The villagers kept goats. The goats served many purposes. They provided work, endeavour, a sense of purpose. They provided food. They provided milk. They were a currency of prosperity.
But the goats also ate things. Anything. Everything. They destroyed much of the fabric of the village.
The elders of the village met to discuss this complexity, this contradiction. In order to decide.
The young boy observed the elders meeting. Their long discussion about the goats.
The elders sat and debated this contradiction. For days.
After a while, the young boy asked his father why they continued to discuss the goats. Why they were not deciding.
His father said, there is a wisdom in not deciding. A wisdom in living with the contradiction. And so there emerges another truth in the complexity.