Friday, February 8, 2013

Your Hard-Heartedness

Scott Bradley


Who am I to speak of your hard-heartedness? I am hard-hearted, so you must be too. However, if you are not hard-hearted, then it is unlikely that my calling you so will result in any anger at or criticism of me for doing so. That would be hard-heartedness. Of course I am simply projecting my attitudes onto you; this is what we tend to do. How could I recognize it in you if it weren't also in me? But since I do not know you and thus there is nothing for me to 'recognize', it must be that I am projecting a generalization onto you. But you need not receive it if it does not belong to you, as it does belong to me.

I am writing on the heels of the previous post where I refrained from commenting (much) on a quote from Susan Colin-Marx: "Everyone is doing the best they can at any given moment." But of course I can't really remain silent, though I did give you room to engage with it on your own. Did you? When I do, I discover my hard-heartedness. It may be the best they can do, but it isn't good enough. Isn't this just a way of avoiding dealing with your/my/their own 'badness'? What about the Sandy Hook shooter; was he doing the best he could do? (Resorting to the extremes seems to always provide us with a justification for our hard-heartedness.) Yes, he was; this is why we call him "sick".

The issue here, of course, is good and evil. It is not that the discrimination of right and wrong does not have its validity in the human experience, but that when we are unable to also transcend it we become hard-hearted. (That is belongs solely to the human experience is itself instructive.) But I really don't want to talk about right and wrong here, however germane it might be. I've blabbered enough about that.

All I really wish to do is suggest that there is a place of open-heartedness. And it is to realize this that I aspire, if for no other reason than that I know that it will bring greater peace to my own heart (and that, because it feels good). Yes, it's good for world peace and all that, but that is largely incidental to what motivates me.

Hard-heartedness has its roots in one's relationship to one's self; if I am hard-hearted toward others it can only be because I am hard-hearted toward myself, which brings us back to projection and "your hard-heartedness".

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

1 comment:

  1. You wrote: "...I did give you room to engage with it ["Everyone is doing the best they can at any given moment"] on your own. Did you?" -- I did! Love that sentence; it's deceptively simple and can easily be misinterpreted, but once you really "engage with it," as you wrote, it encapsulates a very deep truth -- perhaps the only wisdom anyone really needs. The sentence floated up to my consciousness as I was waking up this morning, and I rolled it around my metaphorical tongue for a while, tasting its various ramifications without too much interference from the rational mind; the hypnagogic state between wakefulness and sleepiness is perfect for that. I think it must have bore down to my subconscious during the night, as I read your post right before going to bed. It will continue to bounce around my "heartmind" for a long time. Thank you.

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