Today I’ve been thinking about whether something is done “because of” or “in spite of”.
I realise that in a lot of cases that is obvious, so let me explain where I think it’s contentious.
I woke up from a dream this morning. It was a dream of someone putting their engagement or wedding news on Instagram. The two people were on the photos, but she was also wearing two rings. One looked like a wedding ring while one was obviously the engagement ring. The latter, though, was not like the engagement ring that she once showed me a picture of.
The other weird thing was that she was wearing a turquoise dress, and not a white one. That would make sense for an engagement, but not a wedding. She did, though, used to own a turquoise dress.
So, OK, dreams don’t always make sense and maybe shouldn’t. However, in trying to interpret them one should look up the individual elements and put them together to build a picture that makes sense to the dreamer. Most of my dream makes sense literally – I don’t think there are metaphorical representations on any individual part.
It was just that the ring wasn’t the one it was supposed to be, but she was wearing it nonetheless.
I still haven’t worked out the dream and it’s probably nothing, but it left me with that feeling about whether something was done “in spite of” (the ring) or “because of” it. It felt like something happened that was sub-perfect, which changed which phrase I think should have been used.
It’s such a fine difference between the two phrases and it seems barely noticeable most of the time, especially because we want to attribute meaning and reason to things that happen and can do that all too easily.
In some cases, our own opinions can taint what we view as the true reason for something. Let me take, because it’s probably the only example I can think of, ex Manchester United footballer Paul Scholes. Some people would say that he wasn’t one of the recent greats because he couldn’t tackle. Others would argue that he is right up there in ability because of how he could pass and shoot. So some would say that he’s great because of what he could do, and so would say he’s great in spite of what he couldn’t.
I’m struggling to think of some things so close and so often confused that are actually opposite. It’s one that I think I’m going to continue pondering on, to make sure I’ve got the right reasons for things.