Sunday, 15 November 2015

An Act of Inaction

Certain things prove difficult, even though their accomplishment requires that we do less, not more. Dieting, at its simplest, demands that we consume less food than is our habit. Forgiveness, that we release enervating anger and resentment. And secrecy? All secrecy asks is that we remain silent.

However much we may bemoan or boast of laziness, doing less can feel like a kind of torment. Achieving a desired outcome requires action, not inaction. Doesn't it? If we want to lose weight, launching into an fitness routine can assuage that need to do something, but the important step of inaction—of not having that cupcake—is often where we fall down. Not just because cupcakes are delicious, but because steps that require inaction do not feel like steps at all. As for forgiveness, it is often achieved, not by letting go of rage, but simply because that rage has fizzled away over oxidizing months and years.

And secrecy? How difficult could it be to keep opinions and deeds and stories—those of our own and those of others—locked away from general view? Keeping secrets—like restricting food intake or offering forgiveness—can have far reaching consequences, good or ill. Information withheld or divulged may harm or heal, preserve or break reputations; the decision to speak or remain silent may even spell life or death in some circumstances. Practically anyone can keep a secret. Claims to perfect transparency are the claims of liars or the foolishly indiscreet; everyone holds some information back although the reasons can be as varied as self-interest, compassion or simply the desire to generate an air of intrigue. And yet, for many, secrecy is difficult. An urge to speak the unspoken calls to them with the siren sweetness of a cupcake in the fridge and the counterpoint to that siren song is the human desire to lay bare the secrets of others.

While careless talk can cost lives, an apparently uncaring silence can cost relationships for those whose lovers are unable or unwilling to share their secrets. Tantalizing though the possibility may appear, the desire to fully know another person may be as unwise as it is unattainable. Just ask Carly Simon.

Alison Raouf


Steve Rowland said...

A very interesting blog, Alison, thank you - much along the lines of what I originally planned yesterday...minus the cupcakes ;-)