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Meandering Way of Searching

This afternoon when walking along a straightened brook, my wife and I observed that in our society you often think you also can straighten all kinds of processes, like it is done with the optimisation of workflows in an enterprise.

In life, however, things often don’t develop in a straightened way, but meandering. For example, if you have a serious disease – and we were speaking about a friend’s situation – the doctor might propose a surgery, as a “direct solution” to remove a tumor. Normally the milieu in which this disease has developed is not questioned – removing the effect is seen as removing the cause.

Searching a solution without having a ready-made shortcut is much more like a meandering river – you go in one direction, then find other aspects and turn to another direction.

My wife is just reading a new book by David Servan-Schreiber, professor of Psychiatry, on “Anticancer – A new way of life“, where he describes his search in dealing with cancer, also his own (here is a site of him).

In one passage he writes that when dealing with inner inflammations in the body you can reduce them with natural methods by reducing influences and poisons which promote inflammations, such as dietetics, establishing an inner balance and body exercises.

He ends saying: “A doctor probably won’t give you these counsels. Changes in the way of life cannot be patented, so you cannot make medicine out of them and prescribe recipes. Therefore many doctors don’t see themselves responsible for it, and it is up to each individual to inform himself.”

This means, you have to search your way, and this is a meandering path – there is no magic shortcut. And the way you chose depends on the information you get and also how you judge the quality of the information.

Straightened Brook
A straightened brook at the beginning of the Emmental, canton Berne, Switzerland

Meandering water
Meandering water

2 Responses to “Meandering Way of Searching”

  1. Petra Says:

    Daniel Wildcat writes in Power and Place that the Dakota people used to say that “rivers have memories.” In flooding, they remember their ancient paths, and no matter how much humans attempt to straighten them, they always find their “natural ways.” The memory about where they belong has never left them. Likewise, the knowledge about the path is within each human being.

  2. Flowers on the Wayside Says:

    Yes, Petra, water is an excellent example / metaphor for the movement of life – though meandering, it “knows” its way to the ocean. And though it seems to take a zig-zag path, it is the straightest way.

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