Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Toddler and The Steering Wheel

A toddler sits in the passenger seat as daddy drives, avidly pretending to control the car via his toy steering wheel. Deeply immersed in the task, he grows agitated as he wrenches the wheel to the right or the left without discernible effect. Though at some level he realizes he's pretending, it's nonetheless disconcerting that the car ignores his input, and then seemingly turns on its own. There's a queasy feeling of disconnect. There is stress.

Yet, once in a while, the car, by idle chance, seems to turn precisely at his command. Triumph! Fleeting instances of seeming control keep the toddler locked into his fantasy and eager for more.

We are all that toddler. We imagine that we self-determine our lives despite ample evidence to the contrary. And whenever our narrative minds take credit for having willed some errant result, the charade's grip is tightened.

The only thing to do is to let go.

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