Process vs outcome. Duality. Alan Watts talks a lot about the duality of actions. For instance, the big one, good vs evil – he talks about how foolish he believes it is for someone to want to defeat evil. How would you know what good was without it? The contrast provides clarity and without it good can’t exist because there would be nothing to compare it to. He then goes on to give a further example of how he is grateful for those who argue with him because it isn’t until someone argues with him that he knows where he stands on a particular subject. Instead of being angry he says, “thank you”.
Last night I was talking with someone about process versus outcome. Today I’m thinking of it again. With Watts’ in my head I keep thinking about how we can never ever be outside of the process. Process is a verb, an action. Life can only be lived inside of action, so we’d better learn to feel at home inside of the action because we’ll never ever be able to experience anything inside of a static noun – an outcome of a process. Yet, without that outcome how do we choose a process. You could be working to make gains in your career, you could be smoking pot to escape a feeling of dullness, or you could be drawing a comic page that is one in a series towards the goal of publishing a book – they are all processes that are guided by outcomes. It is with an intended outcome that we understand how to judge the success of our actions.
Anne Lamott once talked about how the vision for your journey guides you in the initial direction 0f that journey. That with each step towards your destination you should let go of the vision so you can properly experience the real journey as opposed to be locked into the imagined one that got you to start the trek. I think about that, too. But there isn’t ever a time where you completely let go. Life is and isn’t a dark room we’ve been thrust into that we are feeling around for familiarity within.