Thursday, December 17, 2009

Braintenance: Reconciling Opposing Cliches

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Braintenance: Reconciling Opposing Cliches

Dear Friends:

There are two aphorisms which I believe are equally true, and I have actually been known to use them in conversations. Yet, they seem to be at conflict with eachother.

1. The first one is "Necessity is the mother of invention." I have always taken this to mean that when a problem or a need presents itself, it ignites the creative spark in people to find a solution. Thinking about this, most inventions have been conceived in order to either solve a problem or to make a task simpler. Then again, there are many among us who like to create problems just so they can make money helping people to solve them. Note that I have not singled out attorneys, pharmaceutical companies or auto mechanics.

2. The second one is "Desperation is the father of poor decisions." While I have paraphrased this one (and while the original version is not quite as well-known as the one above), I have indeed found it to be true. If you need a car desperately (as you have financial constraints, a job delivering pizzas, and only the weekend within which to get one) just go to your neighborhood used car dealer to try this one out. If you are terribly lonely, go to a singles bar late at night and see what you wake up with in the morning. I rest my case. You are always in a better position to negotiate and decide if you are not pressured or needy. The best bargains tend to go to those who don't need them, and to those who are prepared to walk away from the showroom or the bargaining table.

If both of these sayings are true, then we must take a look at the difference between the meanings of the words necessity and desperation. I entreat you -- look in the dictionary, thesaurus, or wherever you can get the best information and find definitions for each these two words (they just can't be synonymous, can they?) which unlock the apparent paradox between the two "rules" above.


Douglas Castle

p.s. The photo in the upper right-hand corner of this article is a candid shot of my personal fitness trainer. Did I hear you thinking, "He's got to be kidding. If that's his fitness coach, then Wayne Dyer should write a book about men's hair styling." ? Paradoxes abound.

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