Do Not Let Your Reach Exceed Your Grasp

There is a commercial that, rather intriguingly, shows a car as being like a very big baby. Babies, being young and very inexperienced, quite typically are unaware of the effect their actions have on others. A little toddler can cause immense property damage with some crayons, a bottle of milk, some plates, or their hands. They do not know their strength, little as they are, directed against those even smaller than themselves. The same is true of small children in general. They are certainly small and weak when compared to adults, with whom they ceaselessly compare themselves, but they can be quite strong when compared with the small animals around them. Let us therefore keep this image in mind as we discuss the matter of reach and grasp.

Where this image of a baby whose reach often exceeds its grasp is useful is in reminding us that we are not so unlike little children ourselves. Though we are certainly larger and more powerful than small children, we too are not unlike them in having a reach that far exceeds our grasp, and in a lack of awareness (or sometimes, even interest) in the way in which our own fumbling attempts to get what we want can play havoc in the lives of others. All too often, it is as if we have all the liabilities of children in their native self-centeredness and weak capabilities but without the innocence and curiosity and tenderness that little children provided. It is because in our minds we think we are big when we are still small that we lose the positive aspects of being small while not having our mentality make us large.

It is this difference between the objective reality of our smallness and our subjective belief in our strength and competence that accounts for so much tragedy in this world. This tragedy can be as large as the fate of nations and peoples being decided by meglomaniacs or as small as the domestic and personal tragedies that lead us to bite off more than we can chew in the situations of our own lives. We can certainly aim too low in life, and waste our potential, and we can be too ambitious and grasping and cause a great deal of harm, and sometimes we can do both at the same time, which makes a situation particularly tragic and unpleasant in life. Given the limitations of space and time, let us look at one example of a situation where reach far exceeds grasp, and the potential tragedies of it.

Between three and four years ago a law was passed called the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare after our complicated president [1]. Here we have a clear case where an entire president’s legacy could stand on one very complicated law that sought to make drastic changes in health care that would lead to the increase of government reach into health care, an area where few would consider it as having a sound grasp, whether it is in crafting laws, enforcing fair standards of health care, or in providing either the front or back end of health distribution networks (euphamistically called Marketplaces or Exchanges). We could say, based on the troubled roll-out so far, that it is clear that the United States governments and those state governments that have sought to engage in their own health care efforts clearly are like little children reaching for far more than they can handle with any degree of skill or competence. The same is true of many private companies engaged in such efforts as well (lest we be seen as bashing the government without any merited criticism of the private sector).

While much of the discussion about this particular case of overreach and incompetence by the public and private sectors has occurred in the realm of political discussion and criticism, there are lives at stake and we cannot ignore this concern. While the concern over health care has political implications and there are some genuine disagreements in worldview between different sides in the dispute, the bungling over our health care that has taken place in the last few years has potentially tragic consequences. Among them is the fact that (predictably) the cost of health insurance is going up far more thanks to government involvement (in many cases doubling even) than it would even under the unreasonable rates of increase that were already going on. In addition, the lack of ability that governments and companies have shown in enrolling people into health insurance could have dramatic consequences in terms of health and life, as there are people who are greatly dependent on medicines and medical procedures who have been stymied and potentially greatly harmed by incompetence. Let us remember that when we think about the real-life consequences of our ambitions and efforts, and to take appropriate responsibility for those efforts that we undertake, to ensure that we do not cause harm through our incompetence.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/a-complicated-man/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Do Not Let Your Reach Exceed Your Grasp

  1. Pingback: Table Topics | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: If Only For A Second, I See It Twinkling In Your Eye | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: The World Is Not Enough | Edge Induced Cohesion

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