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the problem with problems

When is a problem not a problem?

Most of the time. I've written before about a friend on a long desert walk who was there to 'think through' various probelms in his marriage. At the end of the walk he claimed he was no nearer 'solving the problem' only it just didn't seem so important any more.

There in lies the nub. A blistered foot is not a problem. Ignore it too long and it may become infected and even gangrenous. Problems require a certain amount of wise attention, but not all our attention all the time. The key thing is- how important are they really? To us? In the grand scheme of things?

Having a problem, conceiving of it in this way suggests there is something to be done which will solve the problem. Merely observing that there is a problem of some sort is often enough to mobilise solving forces. Being aware of 'problems' without being drowned by them perhaps requires us not to think of them as problems. In any case thinking is usually not the best way to solve things- we end up going round in circles. Unpacking the problem, making lists for potential solutions- this is a better start.


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