Monday, December 31, 2007

Expect the unexpected


As a project to expand my mind, I have taken on the task of trying to understand some of the sayings of the philosopher Heraclitus. Roger Van Oech, who wrote: A whack on the side of the head, also wrote a nice little book called Expect the unexpected, or you won't find it - a creativity tool based on the ancient wisdom of Heraclitus. I had read the book several years ago, and happened upon it during a reorganization of my library.

The book list 30 sayings attributed to Heraclitus, with small interesting chapters on each. When I picked up the book and skimmed through it, noticing what I had underlined, I had the thought - did Heraclitus actually say what Van Oech claimed?

So I began researching the sayings, and seeking alternative translations. Then working with the translations I tried to `grasp' the idea. I decided to write my observations and thoughts down before rereading the Van Oech chapters again.  It was amazing to see how different our perceptions of the meaning were. (You will have to read the book to see what he came up with. The following is what I came up with:

expect the unexpected or you won't find it

Finding the original , or as close to the original text, I then began searching the internet for translations for that text. Since the language was early Ionian Greek, I knew that subtleties might have been lost, so I wanted to find as many translations as possible. I came upon these offerings:

  • If you do not hope, you will not find that which is not hoped for; since it is difficult to discover and impossible to attain.

  • If it is not expected unexpected one it will not discover, because it
    (then) cannot be investigated and inaccessible remains.

  • If someone does not hope on unexpected, he it will not find, because
    it is then untraceable and inaccessible.

  • Without the hope, you will not find the unhoped-for one who is
    untraceable and inaccessible

  •  If er's does not expect, he will not find the unexpected. Because
    otherwise ist's impenetrably and inaccessible.

  • (Translation from Latin:) If not hopes, unexpected not invenientis quum to come upon not hold and inaccessum he is.

  • If you do not hope, you will not find that which is not hoped for; since it is difficult to discover and impossible to attain.

  • If he won't hope for it, unhoped-for [as he lets it be] he won't discover it -
    being unexplored and inaccessible.

The definition of hope ="hope;" L. volo, velle "to wish, will, desire.

So reversing this idea, might mean that what you hope for, what you will to happen, what you want to happen -even though it seems inpossible, unattainable, begins a process of transformation from first the idea, to the words that explain the idea, to the subconscious mind working on the idea, to eventually the outcome desired.

This is not an unfavored idea, the movie and the best selling book- The Secret, basically says the same thing. The difference though from other `positive mindset' philosophies is in the `logos' or words. The ideas (wishes) begin to take shape when they are translated from the non physical realm of thought, into the physical words. Writing down these words takes it to another step towards its eventuality. Written down it can be `investigated'. And after achieving what is hoped for there will be the traceable path of the causes and effects that started when the hope was turned into words.

Does it happen every time? I think not (said the miserly little man in my head). As an experiment though, I am going to begin listing desires and wishes each day, for as long as I can keep it up, and see.

One of the keys must be the expectation of fulfillment- rather than the doubtful mind- `oh this will never happen'. This will be my greatest challenge for doubt often seems to control me.

When the phone rings and my new mate answers happily - "Honey that was the gallery, they just sold another piece."

I want to smile and say: "I was expecting that."

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