the principle of contingency or the principle of the existence of things, is based on what is or appears to be the best from among several equally possible things. gw leibniz
i was introduced to this idea in uni by a wonderful professor. his voice was calming, in a way words could not describe: one had to experience it, and he was fascinated by metaphysics as well as disinterested in eating a croissant anywhere outside of paris. there was one occasion when some people were talking during his lesson and he figured their best of all possibles would have been to have had skipped the lecture all together and have chosen to spend their time in a coffee lounge instead.
i thought of this many times throughout my time in guelph and i recall a pal of mine claiming i had done ‘nothing all night’ on occasion. little did she know, i had been reading and writing and thinking. of course, none of which was to do with my education, it was to do with me. she saw it as a waste of my time. i should have been studying or writing an essay or packing my books for the next day’s lessons instead. i found this laughable. i am the same ‘student’ that would buy a mickey of southern comfort during the exam period and have a nip every night. i was not the conventional student my pal expected me to be. come to think of it, i don’t recall ever having been the person others have expected me to be.
uni was one of my favourite periods in my lifetime, so far. i met a kindred spirit in my first year and there became engrossed in some hilarious tomfoolery as well as more ‘appropriate’ activities with this individual. there was an amazing day where we drove to near by elora to hang out in the sun at the gorge. on the way we listened to franz ferdinand’s first album; it was perfect, they had brought back an old rock sound. then we ended up in fergus at a pub along the river. we ate some pub fare, i don’t remember what it was at all. we drank a great deal of gin and then we drove back to guelph when the time was right. i was sure i wasn’t meant to die for a number of reasons, a story for another time, and figured my presence in the car would guarantee our safety. we managed to be fine, though the next day we would both question our behaviour. we have talked about this situation since and resigned ourselves to the fact that drinking and driving is wrong and that we were very lucky. it must’ve been the best of all possibles.
the best of all possibles can sometimes mean i drink bottles of beer while spacing out and listening to creepy music. radiohead is my go-to choice when i want to be ‘constructive with my blues’. the best of all possibles can also mean dating the wrong person to learn a lesson or to gain a bunch of weight through self-destructive actions. those are all negative, i suppose. as for some positive ones they can be things like marrying an amazing person that treats you incredibly well, spending lots of time in stunning edinburgh or taking a weekend long painting course to find out if you still hate water colours [i still hate them for sure].
what i’m getting at is that whatever we are doing, whomever we are with and however we are feeling all belong to the best of all possibles. there have been times in my life where i have felt everything is unfair and that i have had a rough go of things. i have asked myself what i have done to deserve constant struggles in workplace environments with individuals that are whatever the word is for the opposite of self-aware.
i have always found that upon reflection, nothing is ever as bad as it seemed at the time we were struggling through it. hindsight is 20/20 and that.
churchill once said ‘if you’re going through hell, keep going.’ i am in full agreement with that statement. stopping only prolongs the hassle, heartache or hostility.
i have discussed this idea with a number of people over the years and i hope those individuals would agree that the best of all jaynes is sitting on the couch, drinking water with lime, listening to radiohead and typing on this ageing toshiba.
i am realising every day that all of the creepy and weird situations i have found myself in over the years are making for some excellent writing material. this was all meant to happen and unfold exactly how it is every day of my life. it is, indeed, the best of all possibles.