When I was around 10, my father began telling me that you’re either a leader or a follower, with unsubtle suggestion about which one to be.

I’m sure he would have told me earlier but I don’t think the subject came up. I was so clearly my own person, at least until 5th grade. I didn’t change then but group dynamics did, and parental perspective.

Given a choice between those two terms, my father was unquestionably a leader. Confident, strong, authoritative. Good at indignation. A person with initiative rather than impulse.

I resemble him those ways. I think I inherited by gene and environment. But the whole truth is, I don’t take or give supervision well. I never was very good at working with others or playing on a team. He was better at those activities than I, but best on his own.

I noticed these contradictions and after some years I decided there must be a third way. Neither a leader nor a follower, but a go-you-own-way-er. I imagined a path of destiny at a tangent. I settled with that for awhile.

Over time I learned the triple perspective is considered wise. This, that and (ah!) the third path. That’s kind of Eastern. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis is the West’s contribution. Yes.

But lately I’m hearing an argument for four. It’s not a combative argument; it’s more of a mental admission.

I’m seeing that there’s really this, that, the other path, and then review/decision. It’s like I have to solve any problem by developing a thesis, introducing an antithesis, marrying them into synthesis, and then having the whole issue reviewed by the other hemisphere of my brain.

Lately I’m living in fours. And I’m smiling at the coincidental number of dimensions in our existence.

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