Yesterday, someone remembered I had done a presentation with lines they found helpful. It wasn’t quite enough of a clue for me to remember which it was as I use lines to assist me in clarifying an issue. If it can work on a 2-D plane, it likely has its applicability in 3-D space and 4-D time.

As the day wore on, I found myself thinking more about Polarities. “Polarities are ongoing, chronic issues that are unavoidable and unsolvable.” The classic example is breathing. An inhale is good for it brings oxygen needed for life. A held breath can only last so long before the oxygen is used and replaced by carbon dioxide. To remain oxygen-deprived is not good. Trying to inhale more doesn’t work. Problem. An exhale is in order. This does resolve the carbon dioxide problem but does not address the need for additional oxygen. We are still oxygen-deprived. Another inhale is in order. What is needed is managing a cycle of Good (inhale), Problem (oxygen-deprived), Good (exhale), Problem (oxygen-deprived), Good (inhale), etc.

Both inhales and exhales are good. Neither works if we are going to turn this into a binary choice, a zero-sum choice. Management is not an issue of good vs. bad, but between two goods and the consequence of only attending to one good. Today’s insistent insurgent demands there be only one answer, and it must be theirs. This is an invitation to disaster, no matter how long they hold their breath as a coercive demand to get-their-way.

Pushing beyond the immediate situation, it is possible to go back to a beginning error in a creation story that has a “creator” lonely for a partner and arranging for a dusty one. The reported first task for each one is that of dominion. If an all-good creator is set over against an all-bad creature we are immediately into a binary, zero-sum game in which there is no winning in the short-run without losing in the long-run.

A better image is that of a partnership between those with a working relationship. With a partner we can manage the bumps along the way, working them out. If it is one with power over the other, dominion will always break the “tie that binds”.

So how to place some lines that can shift an old story to a new story? How might one represent a shift from dominion to management? Would it have some connection to the old tension between selfish freedom and servant responsibility, where each has their place but we keep forgetting their relationship? To choose insurgent freedom (state’s rights, Mammon’s barns) is to be in tension with a needed revival of constitutional general welfare/common good.

It will be good to return to a management style rather than “my way or the highway” demand. Even so, if the management does not attend to the addition of new elements, it is unlikely that a long-term readjustment away from money-as-the-measure-of-all-things-good will last long. It will just be a bait-and-switch back to old power struggles.

I look forward to new power struggles over management, not dominion.