11/14/2014 11:47

The Grand Gesture

For weeks I had been contemplating a Grand Gesture.

The thing about a Grand Gesture is that it is usually impractical, often implausible, easily misconstrued, and prone to create more problems than it solves, especially for the declared beneficiary. (In actual reality the intended beneficiary of a Grand Gesture is likely to be the Grand Gesturer, notwithstanding any declaration otherwise.) Fortunately, a Grand Gesture is also expensive and I am parsimonious. Nothing had come of my contemplations.

Last weekend, this contemplated Grand Gesture was replaced by a Modest Opportunity. Modest Opportunities are practical actions which are entirely plausible, well targeted to the present reality of the intended beneficiary. Compared to a Grand Gesture, the Modest Opportunity is quite inexpensive. In that modesty lies the challenge. One may contemplate a Grand Gesture for weeks and feel quite proud of oneself for being willing to undertake such an endeavor, if only the Gesture were truly practical. A Modest Opportunity, on the other hand, demands a real decision.

A Grand Gesturer may be able to project the illusion of being a social benefactor, especially into the Gesturer's own mind, without investing anything of substance into the Gesture. Failing to invest in a Modest Opportunity erodes any illusion of beneficence; the Opportunity is so modest in its demands that failing to act is the act of walking away.

The contemplation of Grand Gestures may be useful in deciphering our sense of priority and rectitude. I don't say that such speculation is entirely valueless, but it is of interior and personal benefit only.

Our responses to Modest Opportunities are the plays we make in the actual reality game.