January 21, 2009

I was talking to an editor I know who was recently laid off. She mentioned that a boss once advised that she become more comfortable with ambiguity.

My first thought was, “Why? why should she?”

I guess the point is that ambiguity is unavoidable. And if you don’t like it, as I don’t, it can be stressful.

She & I share the trait of wanting things tied up in neat little packages with bows. They don’t have to be little blue Tiffany boxes, but life is so much easier when everything is contained in its place. And you know what it is and where it is. You can explain it.

Ah, but that’s not life.

Some things are just too big to be easily contained. Others are too amorphous.

But it still doesn’t stop us control freaks from wanting to cram it into its box to avoid ambiguity.

Some of us go so far as to blow things up just to have certainty. That’s pretty extreme. But not uncommon.

So for those of us who don’t like ambiguity, here’s a frustrating illustration. Pictographic Ambiguity, it’s called. And if, like me, you only see the young woman, and that makes you anxious, I’ll give you the clue.

Her chin becomes the nose of an old woman.

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