solnit on openings: we don't always win, but we also don't always lose

i love this little gem dropped by rebecca solnit on on being:

I want people to tell more complex stories and to acknowledge these players who aren’t in the limelight. That sometimes we win, and that there are these openings, but an opening is just an opening. You have to go through it and make something happen. And you don’t always win, but if you try, you don’t always lose.

especially when combined with this whole nonlinearity/time travel thing, it really makes every single action take on a different weight.

life is just so wonderfully, terribly unpredictable. i think it’s important to be planful and remember that “the map is not the territory” (thx alfred korzybski).

and so then this idea of openings is huge for me. all we really have in life are openings. we don’t ever know if we will win or lose, but if we step through over and over, some of the time we will win. and winning (which is a frame i don’t always work in) might look different in different contexts, too.

and then, when i think about how sometimes losing in the moment can be winning later or create a win in a different place or time, it makes even losing not feel so bad.

i used this quote from solnit yesterday, but it just feels so good that i wanted to share it again here:

“David Graber has a wonderful passage about how the Russian revolution succeeded, but not really in Russia. It terrified, or at least motivated, leaders in Europe and North America and elsewhere to make enormous concessions to the rights of poor and workers, and really furthered economic justice in other places. And if you can say that a revolution was successful but not in the country it took place in, then you can start to trace these indirect impacts.”

so yes. here’s to stepping through as many openings as possible and knowing that i/we won’t always win, but we also won’t always lose.

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