During the time I was working for the government, some of what was going on around us did not make a great deal of sense. For example, people who spoke Spanish were assigned to Asian language programs, people who spoke French or Chinese were assigned to Spanish language programs, and so on. In order to qualify for grants, grant recipients were required to promise to pay for those items for which they needed a grant to accomplish. Data processors were hired to computerize data that we didn’t collect. In short, it didn’t always make sense.
For a long time, this bothered me, until a co-worker explained. “It doesn’t have to make sense,” he elucidated, “just do it.” That took a little while to sink in, but in its own way, it was a relief. I didn’t have to figure out the reasons (if any) for what went on. After all, the bureaucracy has survived for a long time while incorporating this meme. In fact, the bureaucracy is one of the more resilient of organized structures.
Subsequently, I broadened my perspective. The events of life, too, contain elements that seem to make no sense. Currently, in our era of rapid change, there appear to be many of them. People may comment in frustration, “But that makes no sense.” Perhaps, translated, it is another version of “The Emperor has no clothes!” The fact is that we do not always have the information we need to determine if something makes long-range sense. (Sometimes it doesn’t; sometimes it does when seen from a different viewpoint.) Additionally, creativity rarely flows from that which is tightly controlled along logical lines. Creativity flows from the Void in which everything happens simultaneously, and which is ordered and chaotic at the same time. Hindsight is often the only tool to give meaning to a seemingly random happening.
We can recall the past and conceive the future, but it is in the present we must act. We will be happier, or at least less stressed, if we do not demand that what is beyond our control makes sense. We can discern if an action or event is in accord with our values, we can project a possible or probable outcome of a pattern, and we can decide whether we will participate, but we cannot demand that it always make sense. Sometimes it takes hindsight to determine that. Sometimes we will never know. We can feel good about something that does not make sense, intuiting that it will lead to positive results, or we can feel the opposite.
Intuition and logic are distinct functions. Intuition is often accurate, but it is not bound to whether something makes sense. Logic wants cause and effect, linear reasoning, sense. An accurate intuition may not always make logical sense. When we demand only logical sense, we cut off intuition, using only part of our perception, and are impoverished thereby. If we can temporarily suspend the need for something to make immediate sense, we are freed to use both perceptual processes, allowing the intuition and examining the logic later. The two processes are complementary.
Letting go of the need to know that, obviously, something makes sense is not the same as blindly following what seems to make no sense or contorting the meanings of words to make it so; nor is it the same as actively opposing such an event. It is letting go of the stress, acknowledging discrepancies perceived, and trusting the intuition. Most importantly, it is letting go of the stress. Sometimes what is will make sense; sometimes it will not. Letting go is not stressing about it, and calmly following one’s inner guidance.
It doesn’t always have to make sense.