Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Perplexed? That's a Good Thing . . .



I found this wonderful quotation at one of the expositions at Barcelona's Fundació Miró this past June. It's got nothing, otherwise, to do with Miró directly, but I couldn't resist accompanying it with a photo of one of his sculptures on the terrace, enough of the building in the background to give you an idea of its clever design, the white gleaming against the sunny Catalonan sky. . . .

I love the quotation because I'm often frustrated when people push too hard for a resolution that tidies up, that solves the problem quickly, that wipes away the tension of not knowing. I want to embrace perplexity and bewilderment in all their uncertainty, even when they make me uncomfortable. I'm not saying I'm good at this, but I want to keep aiming in that direction. Here, then, is the quotation:

Perplexity takes as a point of departure that mix of stress and confusion that comes with the bewilderment of trying to work out things we cannot, sometimes, fully understand. That uncertainty keeps pushing us beyond the limits of our judgement and it does so through the combination of two basic states of mind: doubt and belief.
posted English translation of  the introduction to an exposition Perplexitat at Fundació Miró




Here's to not quite understanding; here's to pushing our doubts and our beliefs into productive tension. . .

18 comments:

  1. This post is perfect timing. Heres to being perplexed. I often am but without always a great creative outcome but I try. I saw some of the Miro collection at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I loved his words but not his sculptures. Thanks for the great post.

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    1. And see? now you've got a great quotation that tells you it's okay when you're (and I really mean "we're") perplexed. In fact, it's even a good thing!
      I've come to love Miro's sculptures -- perhaps they'll grow on you. . . or just perplex you ;-)

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  2. I'll echo the above comment - perfect timing. Balancing belief and doubt is a challenge. But it's the perplexities that push me into thinking. Things don't always get resolved, but thinking helps me order my mind.

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    1. Yes! This is exactly what I mean. Just being pushed into that space of thinking, of weighing what we know or believe and what we don't know or doubt. . . .it can be uncomfortable but it's often productive, eventually . . .

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  3. Me three. I am so perplexed because I want something to believe in but on further investigation, there are no simple answers to life's questions. Catalonia is definitely a land of contradictions.

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    1. I suspect there could be simple answers if we were willing to just accept them, but I prefer complexity for the long term. The simple answers just push so much reality right outside the box. And then lock the door.

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  4. That's a quote that will require reading and re-reading. It's a bit of a brain-sprainer for me right now, but that says more about my brain and its state than it does about the topic at hand. There are days when I feel capable of considering the most complicated questions and many days when I wonder if I will ever again parse a statement and come out refreshed and enlightened by the experience.

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    1. So I've left you perplexed. . . .hope you'll forgive me! ;-)

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  5. I'd settle for some comfortable shoes, right about now in the week:).

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    1. I've been alternating this week -- a hip-killing pair of hills one day followed by the cutest flats I can find the next. The pain of la rentrée!

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  6. My brain is just not coping at the moment, although I'm trying to read your post and listen to a lecture at the same time, so that might be why I still feel perplexed! Aren't women supposed to be able to multi task?

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    1. Yes, and my multi-tasking includes being perplexed! ;-)

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  7. great quote on perplexity. I often think of this (except in terms of ambiguity)

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  8. I appreciate the new angle on perplexity. This has been a trying summer with family issues that resist a good resolution. I'll need push past my dread of uncertainty and embrace yet another new learning curve. Thanks for drawing us into the realm of unrecognized opportunity.

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    1. You're welcome . . . but really, the folks at Barcelona's Fundació Miró deserve all the credit.

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  9. That opening photo brought such a smile to my face. And the quotation is marvelous. A new friend and I were just addressing this issue, in a more roundabout way, over dinner last night and I shall have to send it to her. Wading through those marshes of belief and doubt are challenging but clinging to quickly to certainty is like being stranded on an island.

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  10. So much of miró's work makes me smile(although so much,yes, is much darker). And this quotation from an expo at his Fundación did more than make me smile. Even better, that gasp of recognition, so that I hurried to copy it all into my black moleskine. And yes, somedays I'd love to sit a spell on that island, but the marshes end up being more rewarding.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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