Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Details, Details

In the past week, I’ve read two quotes about the details.

The first one is credited to various sources: architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and author Gustave Flaubert, amongst others

God is in the details.

The second is credited mostly to that noted author Anonymous, but also German pop star Blixa Bargeld.

The devil is in the details.

Which is it?

I have to answer yes to both.

This is one of those luscious paradoxes which arises in a world of constant polarity. Of course God is in the details. Someone planned orangutans! Duck-billed platypi! Octopi! Not to mention babies, the human genome and Rodgers & Hammerstein.

What about the devil and the details? Well, the maxim actually means that if there is going to be a problem with a project, it will be the details that are problematic. Could be.

Here’s the message of these two statements:

Sometimes it’s best to take the larger view of things. Other times it’s best to take the detailed view of things. The quest is to determine which time requires what attention. That’s known as the gift of discernment, and we’re all learning this skill all the time.

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