Consideration is a funny notion. The idea that there is value in making a specific point of considering another person, other people, animals, children, the moment, the circumstances, the timing, the consequences, the lighting… all of the things… it’s complicated. What we choose to consider matters, and we often don’t seem to… consider that, too.

Consider a common enough commuter scenario; congestion, cars close together between intersections, blocking side streets, waiting for lights, pedestrians crossing in their turn, and someone in the oncoming lane, stopped with their left turn signal on, waiting for any chance to make their left turn – but the intersection is blocked by the car ahead of you. When the car ahead of you pulls forward, do you considerately remain stopped, allowing that left turn vehicle to turn left? If do you, did you also consider the cars waiting behind you, maybe for more than one cycle of lights, also eager to get home, also possibly waiting a long while, or faced with a time crunch of some kind? Did you consider, too, the car on the side street hoping to turn right, blocking most of that narrower street, maybe making it difficult for the left turn driver to make their turn efficiently? More delays. What about the cyclist coming up on your right, have you considered whether that left turn driver can safely make that turn – does the driver even see the cyclist? So many details, so many perspectives – it’s probably why we’ve made rules about rights of way, and order of operations (life, traffic, and math – all have their rules). Things may work ideally well in a particular sequence, or using a particular set of rules that, if everyone does it just that way, it all goes so smoothly. (When given a manual, tutorial, or opportunity to study the rules – for fuck’s sake, please do!)

I use traffic as an example because it’s hard to take it very personally, unless you’re in your car reading this right now – in which, omg, please do not do that. Not while you’re driving, anyway. Save it for later – literally nothing I write is worth dying over. Seriously. Nor worth taking a life carelessly. Just don’t. It’s terribly inconsiderate to drive distracted, anyway. So rude. So unsafe.

Life doesn’t create a lot of easy puzzles where consideration is concerned. I’m still figuring a lot of that stuff out, myself. Is there such a thing as “too much consideration”? What would that look like? Certainly, there is “consideration gone badly wrong” – we can so easily take actions based on the best possible intentions, truly noble compassionate and loving actions, and still cause terrible harm. I tend to think of consideration as also a possible solution for that particular problem, but we are each having our own experience – and like it or not (I don’t) it isn’t possible to be entirely right, entirely good, and also have nothing but beneficial (to all beings) outcomes of each of our actions and choices. Sooner or later, we’re likely to find that the good we thought we’d done turned out poorly for someone (maybe us) – or that something that experience suggests should have gone very badly indeed has some profoundly positive result… for someone else. It’s easiest to be sure after the action is completed, and the moment is a memory – that’s just not very helpful at decision-making time.

I don’t have any answers to this one. I do know that consideration – basic consideration, delivered in each interaction I have throughout each day that I can manage to remain sufficiently aware to do it has benefited greatly. I just don’t know the words to tell you how. I wish I did. Maybe if I were better at it myself? I’ll work on that. 🙂

In fact… I’ll begin again tomorrow. 😀