Shortly after I posted my last post (maybe a day later), I remembered something that I wanted to write about. There is a Church one town over that has a marquis right on the highway. Often, I read their messages on my way to the store. At some point in the last two weeks, they posted the following:
Those who attempt nothing, will surely achieve it.
This is something of a paraphrase so I didn't put quotes around it. It might be the exact words, but I don't know for sure. In any case, I am pretty sure that I got the gist of the message fairly accurately. When I first read it, I thought to myself that it was a very "zen sort of thing" to say. The more I thought about it, the more I began to see just how foolish it is. How exactly does one "achieve nothing"? It is surely a true statement. Surely true because it's impossible to achieve nothing. At the same time, I don't think that it is possible to attempt nothing...
Maybe I am starting to get dangerously close to talking in circles here. I want to say something about how it's sort of a false dichotomy. It's nearly impossible to attempt nothing. Attempting nothing is attempting something. Therefore, it's not conceivable to consider an act of doing something as an act of doing nothing. Achieving this "nothing" is even more of something. I am sure that it's all about perception, as most messages are. But what does one see exactly? What is it that is being perceived in a statement like this? Even more, what is being perceived in the actions described in the statement?
The short answer is nothing. There is nothing being described or perceived. The statement alone is the only thing that I can think of where anybody has ever actually set out to achieve what is implied (nothing) and done just that.