Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Candle

Risk is a relative thing. Some people think there is a reward that is equal to any risk, a goal that is worth so much that the worst-case outcome is worth that risk. I used to think that way, though I never delved deeply into just how much risk I might be willing to take. Instead, I just assumed I would do almost anything for the right ROR...return on risk. But, seriously, what reward could possibly permit one to risk something like one's life? Or someone else's life? Looked at from a purely rational perspective, I doubt many people would say any reward was worth such a risk. Obviously, though, people take such risks every day. Are those risks irrational? Or, more appropriately, are the people taking them irrational?

Although I no longer have high risk tolerance, I still tend to step toward the edge from time to time. I'm stepping in that direction now. Again. Oh, is ever AGAIN! Christ, not AGAIN!

Yes, again. The question: is the risk of financial ruin, hunger, and abject poverty worth the potential reward of abandoning my business, my day-by-day routine? Would I really risk my house? My car? More importantly, would I allow myself to put my wife at risk? Would I put her at risk of poverty and exposure to financial ruin and healthcare emergencies that couldn't be met...that is, just how selfish am I?

The other question is whether FAILING to take the risk puts me, and her, at far greater risk than TAKING the risk. I think that question is borne out of desperation at the answer to the question of whether TAKING the risk is worth it. That answer, of course, must be "no." But if I can convince myself that avoiding the risk could put us, or her, in even more danger, then I could have the answer I want. But that answer would be based on a lie, or at least it could be. The rationale for getting to that answer would always be suspect. Self-indulgence and egotism might be answering the question, rather than love and caring.

Goddamn it, sometimes life is too hard. Even though I have it easy, relative to 98% of the world's population, life feels hard. It's so brief; it ought to be overflowing with easy joy. Difficulties should serve simply to punctuate the glory of living. But we allow them to take on a life of their own. The "royal we." Known in other circles as "I."

The problem with the question, regardless of how it's posed, is this: the answer always will be wrong. Always. A quotation I've found remarkably full of wisdom tells me what I need to know about everything, but it doesn't help, nonetheless: "The game is not worth the candle."

1 comment:

YourFireAnt said...

There are no wrong decisions.