“I have a notion that the real advice I could give to a young journalist is simply this: to write an article for the Sporting Times and one for the Church Times and put them in the wrong envelopes... What is really the matter with almost every paper, is that it is much too full of the things suitable to the paper.”
~G.K. Chesterton, Autobiography.
Don’t expect to succeed in this life by the conventional way. Don’t even expect to succeed in this life by the unconventional way. Success in this life is often more about chance, luck and circumstance than anything else—this is because our worlds are so very often ruled by ‘wise’ men and women.
That may sound sceptical, but it’s often so true.
There is, of course, a purpose served in all this. It’s the ‘modern’ economy. It’s how the world goes around—no, not the actual earth, but the interactive nature of life we know now.
There is no point actually to countering the popular fashion of the world—the world’s way. It is best countered in acceptance, and by acceptance we gain an advantage over those who cannot or will not accept what is quite bleedingly obvious.
Going further in, then, we can establish that this world wants us unstuck and that our only way of overcoming the world—John 16:33-style—is to see this and constantly prepare for it. In this we give ourselves the self-served grace of patient wisdom.
It Comes Down to Motive
Where we want to get to and what we want to do should dictate how we’ll ‘use’ our world for our purposes, for it takes patient cunning and the approaching opportunity to establish ourselves in certain worldly settings.
But do we really want it? Or are we already ‘over’ that way of influencing our world?
Surrendered to the world or to God—what’s it to be?
Motive is important because it demonstrates, at least to ourselves, that our want-of-desire cannot be swayed by the world; that we are not tricked or trapped into thought of coveting anything. We’re bought to God and the things of virtue, which are against the stupid world.
Succeeding in this stupid world, then, is as much about re-setting our expectations and living apart from the world as anything. It is certainly also accepting the world for what it is—an enigma.
That it is an enigma is perfectly okay.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.