Before I begin any explanation on today's topic, I'm going to tell you about a line in the sand that I've drawn for myself. This is a personal line that probably doesn't apply to anyone else, so I'll be using it as an example throughout the post. I don't read Star Wars novels. I made this limit in July of 2011 after realizing that things were getting a bit out of hand. I used to a read a lot of Star Wars novels. I"The heart sometimes doesn’t care about limits."
The concept of a line in the sand is rather easy to understand. You set a limit, and you don't cross that line. Or, depending on the limit, you don't allow others to cross that line. The point of a line, either way, is that it not be crossed. I have set a limit for myself, that I will not read Star Wars novels. I do not cross this limit. But sometimes I'm tempted to move the limit. And this is what today's post is mainly about. I discussed it briefly in a previous post, and today we'll be looking at it in a little more detail. What happens when you move the line?
A long time ago, at a library not so far away, I read a couple of series' by Jude Watson. One was called Jedi Apprentice, about Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi before Episode I. One was called Jedi Quest, about Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker before Episode II. I enjoyed both series' greatly. So sometimes I try to convince myself that it would be okay to read them again. I've used a number of excuses. "It's for the story, not because I want to study it." "I've read them before, so it's not like I'll be getting any new information, or even any new story." And, most commonly, "I'm older, and I can handle myself this time." In fact, as I write these very words, I am tempted again to move the line. My heart doesn't care about the limits. So why don't I? Because once I move the line, I can move it again.
Sometimes a line needs to be moved. Sometimes it even needs to be erased. The question is, when? Each time a line is moved, there's a reason for it. But what is that reason? Do I want to move the line because I think it will be for the best if I do? No, I want to move the line because I feel like it. Because I like Star Wars. Because they were fun books. So let's say, for the sake of example, that I moved the line. "I'm older now, so I can move the line just a little bit. I'll only read Star Wars novels that I've read before." But what happens after that? "I was in the library, and I saw a new Star Wars book... But, I mean, it's just a JF book... I'll only read Star Wars books that are geared towards junior high and younger." I'll keep on moving the line until it's worthless. Why? Because the reason for moving the line was that I felt like it. It goes back to my very first claim. "I'm older, and I can handle myself this time." If that's true, then I should be able to stay back completely. If I don't stay back completely, like my boundary says to, then I've just shown that I can't handle myself, and I'll keep taking one more step.
Sometimes a line needs to be moved. But if it's going to be moved, it needs to have a very good, clear, and specific reason. Otherwise, the line has become worthless. If you step across the first, there's nothing to keep you from stepping across the second unless there really was a good, valid reason to move the line in the first place. Lines should be moved with extreme care in those cases when they are moved. In any other case, the line is destroyed.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."