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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Can you actually find what you are looking for?

Yesterday, I found an expression in someone's profile text: "Wie wat vindt heeft slecht gezocht". This Dutch expression is the title of a 1972 volume of poetries by Rutger Kopland (1934-2012), Dutch poet. I was not looking for this expression and I accidentally stumbled on it. Nevertheless, the notion behind this expression has been on my mind for quite some time.

The Dutch word "vinden" has 2 meanings: (i) finding and (ii) having an opinion. The first and simplest translation would be: "Who finds something searched lousy". The second translation would be: "Who has an opinion did not look well (for the facts)". An alternative third translation would be: "Who finds [eg, the meaning of life] did not look long enough".

For quite some time, I have been wondering whether it is possible to find what you are looking for. This thought excludes missing books or keys. Still, missing books or keys are well defined by colour, shape, and volume. Apparently, you can find something if you know what you're looking for. The question is: can you find something if you don't know what you're looking for.

The above question may feel trivial but everyone of us has faced - or is still facing - this question. Just replace the word something by (i) meaning of life, (ii) new love, (iii) the truth, and even ordinary things like (iv) new house or job. Once you do not exactly know what you are looking for then finding "it" might be impossible.

Nevertheless, during our lifetime we spend lots of time finding the things that we are looking for, without knowing their specifics. Perhaps, we believe that we will have "dumb luck" in finding it. Perhaps, we believe that the specifics will dawn upon us while looking / searching, a.k.a. progressive insight or progressive disclosure. Perhaps, we believe that we give Chance / Fate a helping hand by reaching out and searching.

How do finding and looking become a match? Most likely, they need to overcome the Space and Time dimensions (eg, location, time zones). Without any efforts at both sides, such a match seems sheer impossible. An effort at one side might increase the likelihood of a match. Even an effort at both sides may still not result in a match, given missing mutual specifics.

Since several months, I tell people that I do no longer believe in looking or searching; only in finding. To some extent, I still use searching but only in order to be found. I know that I do not know what - or who - I am looking for. I believe that I will recognise what I was looking for, once I find "it". It is a subtle but essential difference.

I do not know where I'm going to - or where life is taking me. I do know that I like the things that life is showing me, on my path. I believe that the Flow of Life will bring me where I must be.

Do You Know [Where You're Going To] (1975) by Diana Ross

Do you know where you're going to
Do you like the things that life is showing you
Where are you going to
Do you know


Note: all bold and italic markings by LO unless stated otherwise