‘Far too consistent’

Having, then, once introduced an element of inconsistency into his system, he was far too consistent not to be inconsistent consistently.

The Way of All Flesh
From The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler

I recently saw a post about consistency being key that really resonated with me because I tend to have trouble with that. Consistency, that is. Reliability? Check. I can be where I said I’d be when I said I’d be there. Responsibility? Sure. I can manage tasks that I’m expected to execute. Consistency? You’d think so, wouldn’t you. My adherence to anything, whether that be a self-imposed schedule, routine, or opinion, tends to be appallingly temporary. Certainly, I go through bouts of consistency if only by getting stuck in a rut, but even that comes apart eventually.

But why is consistency so universally laudable? I can see where it is important for the sake of logic or formal arguments–the whole apparatus must agree with itself. Perhaps in dictates of law or statutes, organization of structures, social and corporate. But on an individual level, is it realistic to expect a person to “always behav[e] in the same way or… hav[e] the same opinions, standard, etc.” which is “the quality of being consistent”*? Sounds boring and predictable. Also, impossible to maintain. You never expect to learn, change, adapt? Nice to know someone has the entirety of life, consciousness, and reality figured out perfectly.

That being said, to attempt to maintain a modicum of consistency within the knowledge that one possesses is a natural desire for balance and logic that doesn’t necessarily preclude adjustment for new information or experiences when it comes along. And there are specific areas in which consistency is commendable, or even necessary as part of another trait–an implication of reliability is that one is consistently a person of their word. I think it’s just the blanket concept of consistency as desirable in every aspect of life and practice that grates me the wrong way.

All this long rant just to say, I’m not apologizing for being inconsistent with posting in the past two weeks, but I’ll try to be more consistent about it again.

*Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, consistency noun. https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/consistency

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