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Lucas Kilian: Second Vision, from Mirrors of the Microcosm (1613)

" … just seem to take care of themselves."

Back in the sixties—fifty years ago—it seemed that almost every new thing came as a spinoff from President Kennedy's mission to send people to the moon and back by the decade’s end. A raft of space-age products resulted. A powdered orangish juice-like drink said to be part of the astronaut's diet emerged on the market and became wildly popular, even though it was clearly inferior to the genuine article. We began living in the future, "tomorrow today," as one multinational corporation labeled the experience. Life then was much more advanced than it seems today, as we basked in the 2ndOrderSuccess emanating from our sacred national undertaking.

2ndOrderSuccess might be best considered as what one gets as a result of achieving a Success.
One gets whatever achieving the objective promised, sure, but what did that achievement prompt? What came next? For planning purposes, we seem to usually presume that Happily Ever After follows each Success, but we've already strongly suggested that we do not necessarily inhabit a Happily Ever After Universe. Instead, we experience causal chains capable of creating conditions opposing follow-on successes, like the space program produced an astronaut menu largely unfit for earthly consumption. It constructed buildings so huge that they created their own atmospheres and a raft of associated problems none of their designers anticipated beforehand, 1stOrderProblems, 2nd OrderSuccesses.

The Muse survived her primary cancer treatments to experience healing side effects 2nd Order experiences as a direct result of her 1st Order treatments. If Success qualifies as an infinite pursuit, and I believe it does, then there's always, always, always something else that comes as a result of every and any Success. I suspect that these 2ndOrderEffects might not be worth spending inordinate amounts of time worrying about, but they might well bear some consideration. We might reasonably choose what we want, but the explosion of variance resulting from achieving anything might seem beyond anyone's finite contemplation. Too much emanates from any choice to follow results too far down any causal chain. Still, 2ndOrderSuccess seems worth at least a little consideration.

When my ultimately best-selling book was published, I had little appreciation for what that long-sought Success might produce. It tried to turn me into the pitchman I'm not, presiding over book signings and promoting myself. I hired a publicist who set about trying to dumb me down because she, perhaps wisely, concluded that few prospective readers would ever understand my message if I didn't write innumerable articles explaining what I was saying in simpler terms. I swear I wrote much more than I wrote for the book, failing to explain what my book said. It all seemed to fall on deaf ears. Fortunately, the book sold well without my pomp and circumstance, without the 2nd Order Hype that publicist had insisted was essential to Success. Often, the 2nd orders, gratefully, seem to take care of themselves.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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