We’re making plans for a family outing to the new Bladerunner movie this weekend. It’s on new release, and the internet is buzzing with stories about Philip K Dick, who is the author of the short story that inspired the original Bladerunner film.
This quote, in particular, caught my eye,
…I will reveal a secret to you: I like to build universes which do fall apart. I like to see them come unglued, and I like to see how the characters in the novels cope with this problem. I have a secret love of chaos. There should be more of it. Do not believe — and I am dead serious when I say this — do not assume that order and stability are always good, in a society or in a universe. The old, the ossified, must always give way to new life and the birth of new things. Before the new things can be born the old must perish. This is a dangerous realization, because it tells us that we must eventually part with much of what is familiar to us. And that hurts. But that is part of the script of life. Unless we can psychologically accommodate change, we ourselves begin to die, inwardly. What I am saying is that objects, customs, habits, and ways of life must perish so that the authentic human being can live. And it is the authentic human being who matters most, the viable, elastic organism which can bounce back, absorb, and deal with the new.
My shortened version of what Dick is saying here is that life is in perpetual motion, and therefore anything we do to search for, or impose order and structure is ultimately fruitless.
The Nature of Life…
A better strategy is to approach life knowing that its very nature is one of change.
That loss, disappointment and rebirth are unavoidable, and, if we want to live an authentic life — a life that is true to our (human) nature — then we must embrace that reality.
Holding this duality, as I sometimes describe it: the idea that we are alive and that we are creative, loving beings, together with the idea that life is ephemeral, that our world changes before our very eyes; is the key to living life with a sense of purpose and well-being.
Holding this duality as true is what gives us the freedom to throw ourselves into work that matters, to fully embrace and to love our families and friends, to step forward with all our heart and commitment and reach for dreams that inspire us. And, at the same time, knowing that we matter little in the grander scheme of things.
Think of the words of Rumi, as an antidote to the rigid search for order and stability; to putting things and people in boxes, and, by doing that, making them less than they are,
Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.
Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.
Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.
We wouldn’t seek to control to universe, so why do we think we can control our small human life?
I don’t know how my evening at the Bladerunner movie will turn out. Maybe it will be a letdown and I’ll romanticise my memories of seeing the original. Maybe we’ll find it engaging, a feat of storytelling and on-screen drama.
Either way, I have no plan to create order and stability, even in a small event such as a cinema trip. I can only experience it as it shows up.
Let me ask you a question…
How do you see life?
Do you see life as something to be ‘controlled’? Many of my clients first show up that way so there’s nothing wrong with believing that order is saving us from chaos.
Or do you see it as an organic unfolding? That the joy of being alive is in experiencing the unknown, no matter how it might make us feel.
Maybe you can answer this question for me,
Where in your life are you trying to control things?
And… how’s that working out for you?
I’d love you to leave a comment and let me know.
P.S. If you’ve already seen it, no movie spoilers please!
About the author
Cathy Presland is a leadership coach and strategist. She works with people who are making a positive impact with the work they do. Find out more at https://cathypresland.com