I’ve been recently meditating on a quote from Ta-Nehisi Coates, which I posted here before:
The problems of democracy, like the problems of monogamy, are very real. In championing both (one for myself, the other for my country) I’ve never done so out of sense of ultimate solutions, but out of a sense that each presents a better set of problems.
Life has thrown me some curveballs lately, and I’ve been contemplating the plasticity of that quote – it is relevant to so many dimensions of life, and although we tend to think of problem-solving as one of the most significant and necessary skills for the modern world, perhaps a better rubric would be problem-navigating. Solutions are, invariably, short-term; life is not about to turn into an unproblematic utopia anytime soon (and that would be boring besides), so true sustainability, fulfillment, and happiness cannot really be conceived of in terms of solutions – but rather, of the most manageable problems.