The Deity is in the Details

John Cousins
February 7, 2023
2 min read
psst, I’m in the details

I like that saying better than the common one. It makes me feel less cynical and burdened with ennui. Bullocks to ennui.

There are two sayings that I have trouble with. For both I agree the the sentiment they express but I just don’t feel comfortable with how they express it.

One is

The Devil is in the Details.

This meets the criteria of expressing something in a succinct and powerful manner. To me this means that it is easy to make general plans but the unintended consequences and obstacles are going to be revealed at the granular level.

But why do the details need to be seen from the get-go as a pain in the ass? If we are going to do something, shouldn’t we embrace the details of the doing? At least at the beginning? It seems to set us up for a slog.

And it also seems to me to say its better to just set the goal and let someone else deal with the details because that’s the boring and frustrating part. Its like a pass to off-load the dirty part.

If we are to be respected and really get to know a process, we should revel in the details.

All these minor discomforts with the phrase have led me to modify it and say:

The Deity is in the Details.

Why not? There is something spiritual that reveals itself in the most minor details. Its kind of a pantheism where the magic numinously infuses everything, even the mundane, the banal and the quotidian. In my mind, that is a much better mindset to prepare for doing stuff.

And solving the little problems that weren’t anticipated and crop up is how we kinesthetically learn. Kinesthetic learning is a learning style where we learn by carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations. Just do it.

The other phrase I have a problem with is

Throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I like the idea of a saying that gets to the issue of retaining a nugget of truth that is imbedded in some crappy idea. Let’s not discard everything if there is some point that can be helpful.

But throwing out a baby? It just not an appropriate subject for the metaphor. Its not proportional to the meaning.

I haven’t been able to come up with a substitute though. Any suggestions?

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John Cousins
Author, Entrepreneur, & Teacher

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