Atoms and house fires

Every once in a while when I'm filling up a perfectly good silence with words—something I was recently advised that I shouldn't do, yet here we are again—I come up with a reasonably good string of words. I'm not saying they're the best words (believe me), but good ones, and in a good order.

I was just trying to explain my approach to a particular problem, but it goes for everything I do. The way I solve problems is extremely bimodal: all the way this way, or all the way that way. Extremely fast and with light detail, or extremely detailed and with low speed. Extremely thorough, or extremely cursory. Extremely sensitive, or extremely direct. And so on and so on.

In between the extremes—I don't know. I don't spend much time there. I don't know that there's a reason for it. In my mind, I assume that the fast, shallow touch is a compensation for the detailed, maddeningly thorough mode that I can lock into. You can't spend all your time in that second mode. You'd never get anything done, and if you did, no one would be around to receive the thing you made because it would have been excruciating to wait for, and the details would be so overspec as to be a work of art, not a work of utility. I don't know that that's the reason, or if there is a reason, and I'm not even very interested in the reason because I'm aware of the two modes and I just try to apply them at the right times, or to unapply them when they're engaged at the wrong times—mostly the second one, because it's just such a bother to be a victim of yourself.

Today's analogy for this bimodality: I either see things as a house fire and we have to pick things up and run and get out now; or I see a house as a collection of atoms, each of which can be identified and arranged exactly where I want them. I don't know. I can't account for it. Choose the madness that makes you whole, and keep moving, onward.

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