by Scott Bradley
by Scott Bradley
"If people find fault with you...just step back and observe yourself. Don't harbor any dislike, don't enter into any contests...If you contend with them, then a bad name will bounce back and forth with never an end in sight." — Yuanwu
I confess to deriving some pleasure from being able to ignore comments to these posts. As I have said before, there are practical considerations which generally make it impossible for me to respond in a timely manner in any case. But there is something empowering about being able to express opinions without the need to defend them. Were I speaking to you in person, it is likely that we would frequently end up verbally contending with one another. One does not have to observe for long to see that this is a typical human activity. The distance that this posting provides, however, allows me the opportunity to exercise the cautions and responses which Yuanwu recommends — something I would otherwise probably fail to do.
Might this likewise be an opportunity for you to step back and observe yourself? What motivates your impulse to respond, whether in thought alone or in writing? That question alone can reveal so much.
This having been said, I would encourage you to respond should you believe there is something that needs to be said or can profitably add to the topic. Trey tells me that there is enough space to say as much in 'comments' as I typically use in a post. I do not doubt that your comments would be appreciated be us all (even if they simply provided us with another opportunity to step back and observe our responses!) This blog thus provides you with the same opportunity it does me.
All this takes a bit of effort as well as maturity, however. It seems to me that we are living in a time of one line zingers, reflexive and emotional responses without the discipline of reflection. At least that's the impression I get from the typical e-mail and the frightening comments appended to news stories.
You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.