February 1, 2019

Surface Dwelling

The surface can often betray the substance. Shabby carpet is often lifted to reveal exquisite flooring in homes. Gloss paint can be stripped away to reveal beautiful original timbers ready to be brought back to life. We see these reveals as we ride alongside renovation journeys with our local property owners in Byron and the Northern Rivers Shire.

When we encounter a property that is ripe for renovation, the legacy features of a property (like shaggy carpet,) can mask the potential.

Which got us thinking about the utility of all kinds of surface assumptions we make, especially with regards to people. What we see on the surface in terms of norms and behaviours from people is too often out of sync with what is really going on.

That is why Shakespeare encouraged us to look upon love not with our eyes but with our minds.

Whether we are talking about fixer-upper houses or fixer-upper people, what we do know is that there is effort to transcend the surface. It is easier to leave the shabby carpet alone than to rip it up and discover the truth of what lies beneath.

There is risk in effort of digging beyond the surface; not all bad carpet reveals beautiful flooring. Sometimes, you can go to the effort of ripping up old carpet only to find out why it was put down in the first place. So there is also a payoff in remaining ignorant; you never have to deal with what you find out.

Living life on the surface is easy enough to do for the most part. Obsess over the latest trends to project an image of being put together. Live in the labels and life will start to take on the simple experience that marketeers construct.

Schrodinger’s cat proved that you never have to deal with outcomes if you never confront them. Ignorance, though has a way of causing more problems than it solves.

We also miss out on the riches that can be gained by effort. Asking questions, taking action…agitating things…are all necessary in the process of discovery. And beyond the shaggy carpet or the paint that is too shiny, lies the character and the story that makes every person and every property worth restoring.