Friday, February 10, 2012

Presuming Too Much

Scott Bradley

Recently, I've been taking random looks at my previous, now archived, posts. For the most part, I like what I read. Sometimes I am genuinely inspired. Who wrote this? Shit! I did. Time for another disclaimer.

Somewhere in the recent past I said, 'I presume to teach'. I presumed too much. In order to teach, one must know, and I do not. More to the point, considering the nature of what is presumed to be taught, one must be, and I am not.

Saying, 'I presume to teach', is intended to emphasize this reality; the stress is intended to be on the presumption, not the teaching, but this may not always be obvious.

Nothing in what I say is intended to give a false impression of some 'attainment'. If I share what amounts to a testimony of personal 'spiritual' experience, I am sharing truthfully, but 'experiences', though they may be transformative, are not themselves transformation. "Abiding" is a word the Buddha is said to have used in describing his own experience and without that, there is no 'attainment'. That having been said, let's start a fire and throw 'attainment' on top so we can be shut of any such idea. Let's enjoy the open-ended becoming that is more truly our experience.

Sometimes, quite frankly, I get carried away; I say more than I should. And because it may be (rightfully) presumed that there is an ego embedded here, some other egos might find this problematical. This is understandable. But perhaps I can offer a solution of sorts.

I think there is a very real sense in which these posts are an artistic expression. Were I able to paint or make music, I'd very likely be doing that instead. It is immaterial whether you see this as art or no, or if you can see it as such, whether you see it as 'good' art or no. What matters is that you are able to separate it from the supposed and presuming artist. Whatever art form you may enjoy, surely you are able to do so without worrying about the egoic involvement of the artist. Watching a movie or listening to a piece of music, hopefully your experience of it is not ruined by thoughts of the ego-involvement of those that make it happen.

Am I now presuming to be an artist? Perhaps, but I do not presume to be a particularly good one.

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


  1. Though I agree with you that writing can be viewed as an art, I am not sure that separating the writer/teacher from the writing is a healthy position to take. Words said, and a life lived, should intertwine and eventually do. One's ego is exposed when writing spiritual matters. This revealing is healthy.To separate a persons life lived from what that person is saying, is delusional. Jesus said, "Out of the ego the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45). When one writes, it is YOU or ME writing. You are laying who you are, out there for all to see. To seperate the two is impossible. It is not abstract art.

  2. More sea stories! Those make great parables.


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