Because . . . But

While doing an editing task, I had to search for all the capital “B”s in a lengthy document. In the process of doing so, I noticed the recurrence of two words that began sentences – “Because” and “But”.

Therein lies a tension between an answer and a response.

“Because” is a word that narrows and concludes. “But” widens and continues.

This is also a tension in politics and religion. “Because” is a word from the Right, Orthodox. “But” leans left and liberationist.

Such an analysis can likely be found in every field of endeavor affected by its reliance upon how the risks and rewards of the past and future are assigned. Readers might check this within the field in which they are most fluent.

Should this appear to be the case, it is one more place where changing one’s usage might move out of habitual use into that of considered communication.

If you find “Because” smoothly rolling off your tongue, there is value in being intentional about shifting toward a recognition that you don’t have everything sewed up and resolved. Consideration of holes being patched over by the temporary scaffolding of “Because” will better serve future discernment.

The same is true for those who continually find only holes in other’s arguments or are firmly grounded in contingencies of the moment. Limiting the number of “But”s will assist a community in taking action.

Appreciation of a firm foundation and being forever traveling is a combination that requires continual care to weed out reactive responses and choosing an appropriate engagement with both.

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