xx”It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past.”
— Mark Epstein
If it is true that when we give advice to others, we are advising our past selves than I must have a lot to say to the younger mes because I sure seem to give a lot of advice and tho most of it is asked for I have a feeling I don’t have people going away needing more.
Perhaps if I look at what I tell others I can grasp what I feel I needed to hear and maybe discover some steps along the way. I talk to people a lot about not taking their situations so seriously and to find the humour. I also tend to talk a lot about when you’re in the hole, looking at the big picture doesn’t seem to help so much, that its ok to figure out just the next thing you have to do and then do it. Solving anyone’s problems is just too big. Helping someone figure out
just what the next step is is relatively easy.
I am also starting to advise more and more on the value of qualitative conversation. If anything you say to another person in your life seems to cause conflict than wait awhile before you speak. Who needs the conflict?
I can see how all of these things could have helped me in the past and perhaps how they can help me in the future.
“I don’t take anything personally. I am a secondary character in other people’s stories. I know that whatever people say about me is just a projection of their image of me. It has nothing to do with me.”
— Miguel Angel Ruiz
Would that that attitude was easy to come by yet I personalize everything. It’s not that I care what any one person thinks of me. Intellectually I know that that is none of my business. Yet I wish to be understood and grasped by someone. I wish for that feeling of true communication yet it seems rare indeed.
“Human beings do not perceive things whole; we are not gods but wounded creatures, cracked lenses, capable only of fractured perceptions.”
— Salman Rushdie
Fractal truths unfolding before me
Each being contains unique universes.
We transmit knowledge imperfectly
in our own language
and struggle to connect
with galaxies that were never our own.
Yet somewhere some force
has brought us together
We know each other’s peaceful intent
Listen to my stars and reach out
Love is possible between universes
and perhaps even understanding
— G A Rosenberg
“I use the words you taught me. If they don’t mean anything any more, teach me others. Or let me be silent.”
— Samuel Beckett
I have no words yet still I’m asked to speak. No subject or object tho plenty of objection. Shall I speak of the peace I seek yet find only pieces of? Will whispered words of social grace with no content make you content? What are the right wards that will keep away your loneliness and how shall I utter them? Do you wish communication without communion between us or interlocution when neither of us can find ourselves?
I can offer you my thoughts but don’t know whether you can weather the storm. I burn for understanding yet is it to know or to be known, that is unbeknownst.
I will hold your hands in silence and perhaps that will be enough.
“I want to understand you, I study your obscure language.”
— Alexander Pushkin
We believe we share a common language but we are mistaken. Oh we use the same words and they sound the same but we differ in meaning and nuance. Our symbolisms differ sometimes a little and sometimes a great deal. To me it’s not half as surprising that we misunderstand each other so often as that at times we manage to communicate at all. That borders on the miraculous.
Each person has their own key and codex that we can learn each step of the way. We can start out easy by asking someone what they mean when they use a different word. We can learn sense modalities and come to understand the symbolism that underlays their expression. This all takes time and patience. It’s worthwhile tho. I don’t know that there is a greater joy than true communication with another except possibly clear communication with our inner selves and the outer universe.
Click on images to see full-sized:
Outside the Pattern He Tends To Business by G A Rosenberg
“I write you many letters with pens which are not seen. Do you receive them?”
— Emily Dickinson
So many words
that never pass my lips
sent by heart
with unsure delivery.
So many things
I want to tell you
about mistakes made
hopes and fears
and a burning desire
to somehow make things right
to fix what’s shattered
and to turn back the clock
to times when things could have been…different
but now the words would go unheard
and messages unopened
only the love gets sent
well that’s another story
yet still.. yet still
— G A Rosenberg
Click on images to see full-sized:
Born of the City by G A Rosenberg
Seeking Answers in a Confused Space by G A Rosenberg
“I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
File this one under I should have known the gun was loaded. Facebook can be an interesting place where we find ourselves in the cause of making a point defending things we disagree with. Recently an acquaintance on FB (a FB acquaintance is a friend whom you don’t have much conversation with other than occasionally liking a posting by them) got himself in trouble with many people by admitting publicly in several places that he felt an attraction for young women. He did not say he ever acted on it. He just admitted to having a fetish for it. He chose among other places to post this in a bunch of groups that are associated with the Anonymous movement. One of Anonymous’s big targets is pedophiles so it was rather like wearing a gestapo uniform to a synagogue. He rather enjoyed the blowup on his profile page with assorted death threats and harangues.
I believe in protecting kids from pedophiles. It is not a crime I find condonable. Yet to me the idea of attacking someone for what they think, particularly something that they cannot help is rather a waste of time. Would I ever let him babysit for me or anyone else? I definitely would not. Do I think that he should be lauded for making such a statement? No and yet I would rather have someone identify themselves as a possible predator than to keep it secret. It would be so much easier to keep my family safe if everyone labeled themselves like household products. “Danger: May mug you.”
“Do not combine this person with alcohol”
“Texts while driving”
“Psychopathic Serial Killer”
“May be attracted towards children”
Anybody with enough self-knowledge to label themselves has saved me the trouble of trying to discern possible danger. Are they a hero? Hell no, but at least they are warning you. So many people don’t.
Kids these days in the west are raised to be incredibly savvy about this stuff. Between media and school, they are well aware of stranger danger. This is so much the case that at times I get concerned that they are raised with too much fear and paranoia. I grew up in a friendly neighbourhood and miss the fact that they are somewhat a thing of the past. Now a friendly hello to anyone may be looked upon with suspicion. Yes western civilization children are probably safer than they have been in any time in history and yet there is a price in fear and freedom that is paid for the security. It is a good balance to keep in mind.
Anyway in the conversation, I attempted to point out that this guy had committed no crime merely identified an impulse that could be considered unhealthy and that it was not worth the time and emotional energy to attack him. Of course this led to suspicion towards me (and another guy saying much the same thing) for ‘defending’ him. The next three hours of my time was spent defending a point of view I only half believed in against people who were listening to their emotions more than they were understanding any points I made.
I wasn’t defending the man. I was defending the idea that someone can’t be persecuted when a crime has not been committed. Who, reading this has not had thoughts that if acted on, would land us in prison or make us pariahs of society? We all have our shadow and our time is better spent working on ourselves than attacking others. It is all to easy to point fingers at the shit heads of the world as a way to avoid looking at our own stuff.
If we feel that a crime is beyond the pale then do things to either help the victims or prevent the crimes. Persecuting someone who is looking for the attention is feeding these impulses and not preventing them. A better form of prevention is to help these people work through their issues so they don’t end up acting out. That is not something that will happen on Facebook.
So lessons learned. If you stand in between a witch hunt and its target, you will become a target yourself. You can’t force people to see a bigger picture or to think critically. Mores the pity.
“Each story we approach in the same way, with curiosity and interest and determination to get behind the image.”
— Martin Bashir
What lies beneath the surface of the images I create?
What dreams cast shadows on my eyes
and transfer themselves through conscious will
upon the screen?
What meanings have I stated outright and which
are made to slip unnoticed
into the wells of imagination?
For I seek to commune on many levels
and be not merely what one sees
but what one knows within.
— G A Rosenberg
“But how can I explain, how can I explain to you?
You will understand less after I have explained it.”
— T.S. Eliot
Communication between people is at best a tricky business at the best of times. When our emotions flare up it becomes near impossible. We hear things that the other person didn’t intend and what we intended to say gets garbled and comes out sideways. More sincere love may have been expressed with the words, “I hate you.” then were ever expressed with its corollary (I don’t say opposite because hate is a form of love not its opposite and that is the topic of a much longer blog entry). Yet still, how do we explain ourselves to others when we are working our feelings out for ourselves? Chances are what we’ll communicate is our own confusion and many of us are all too good at that.