Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Having Preferences Means Having Weaknesses.


Preferences allow us to carve a space for actualization. We cannot self-actualize without a set of personal preferences for they lead to pursuits. Pursuits, of any kind, are fueled by interests and interests or drive as some would say, are indispensable when it comes to accruing any sort of success. However, preferences reside in a space of exclusion. Having them means shutting doors to other things for preferring one particular thing presupposes a presence of preclusion.

I've been thinking a good deal about the role preferences play when pursuing anything. I've thought about the role choice plays in preference pursuing. Deny the self of a preference, and most pursuits become lukewarm. And achievement is rarely to be found in the lukewarm.

Just as I was thinking about the philosophical nuances of preferences, I had a desire to play a good game of chess. Funny that. I hadn't played in a few months. I call the one person in the city who usually gives me a good game of chess. He was surprised at my call as last time we got together for chess I told him that I wasn't all that interested in carrying on with our chess encounters for a while.

I'm the kind that needs time to warm up to something. I usually warm up to an idea, a person, or a general pursuit by thinking and reading about it. So, I start doing something exciting like reading up on chess news. It's exciting to me. Sort of like writing about 12-century egocentric heroes. We all have a kind of cake we like better than others. Choice has little say in preferences. If it did, impulse would play no role whatsoever in human pursuits. Think of the last thing you pursued with systematic interest and explore how big a role impulse played. I'd wager, a good deal. But I digress.

So I get on ChessBase.com to see what's up in the world of chess. While there I come upon an interview with the renowned chess player, Magnus Carlsen. Reading the interview got my juices flowing. I let out a few 'ha'-s and 'good one'-s as I was doing do. A bit from the interview says:

So you can’t call yourself a tactician or a strategist?
-I’d call myself an optimist! In actual fact I don’t have any clear preferences in chess. I do what I think circumstances require of me – I attack, defend or go into the endgame. Having preferences means having weaknesses.

Could you compare your impressions after a win in a subtle endgame or a whirlwind attack? Do they really not differ at all for you?!
-I really don’t know what I like more in chess! Among other things a game can stand out for the feeling you get when it’s over, when you realise you’ve created something truly worthwhile… But something like that happens very, very rarely. In any case, over the whole course of my life – only a few times.

Well, and if you’re just a spectator, which kind of game do you like more?
-I don’t know. I like the struggle in itself.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

I found it quite interesting that Carlsen would comment on what role preferences played in his activity of choice. In my opinion, however, whether it's chess or cheese-making, preferences matter. It's whether one's got a good poker face going in that truly counts when it comes to the end result. We all have preferences. It's how much/little we show them that matters.
And I'm all warmed up now.
I've removed all the specks of dust from my chess set and in about 5 minutes, my bell will ring. And so it does. My friend has a preference for punctuality. And he makes no fuss about obfuscating it. If he's this open when we play, I'm bound to win, aren't I?
We'll see.

1 comment:

Nicki said...

I prefer one thing over another. There's usually little choice in the matter, I'd agree.
"Choice has little say in preferences. If it did, impulse would play no role whatsoever in human pursuits. Think of the last thing you pursued with systematic interest and explore how big a role impulse played."

Every day I look at my Mini, I see my impulse in action. Every mile I drive is a reminder of it.....