dal niente

Pros and Cons

I feel that some relationships I have are stagnating.
I want to start dating again, but this wouldn’t be a good idea considering I wouldn’t be able to have a lasting relationship if I’m to be leaving the country.
I’ve reached a neutral bank balance (a grand Zero) which may be better than having a negative value, but it is still zero.
For all the good things that are happening, I get the counterforce– the inexplicable feeling that I need to destroy something to balance it all out.

The ESL course I’m taking has changed the way I look at the world
I’m going to be teaching someone kickboxing basics in exchange for guitar lessons
I’ve made a crapload of new friends (which sounds cheesy, but you must understand I don’t do this often)
I now talk to my parents with a comfort level I haven’t had since I was perhaps 10 years old.
I’m learning
I’m learning
I’m learning

The Bluff is your Only Deffense

It takes a remarkable event for me to ever miss writing at least one entry per day. On saturday (yesterday) I missed putting up an entry, and that’s one out of two times that I’ve missed posting up at least SOMETHING in probably half a year.

You must understand that it’s sort of a personal discipline of mine to put at least something up– even if only a line or two– at least once per day.

In the same way that I think that it’s imperative to me that I write down when I’m at my lowest points I think it’s important that I write even when I’m at my high points. The whole point is to have an accurate record for myself.

Yesterday though, I got rather sidetracked and didn’t have the time.

On saturday, I began taking an ESL certification course.  Doesn’t sound like a big deal perhaps, and yeah, I’ve had a great deal of skeptics asking me what I could possibly gain from such a course.  There are many things that I can, and already have gained.

For one thing, when I’m in that classroom, I’ve got a feeling very similar to what happened back when I was in Ottawa for the efficiency awards.

I am surrounded by people who are honest with themselves. Not only that– but who are going forward. Not only that– but they are afraid.  Not only that– but they are using that fear as fuel, as excitement.  Not only that– but they are sharing that experience with everyone.  Not only that– but they are learning as a result.

I am learning from them. I am teaching them. We are learning from eachother.

In the past 2 days of class, I have made more friends than I have in my last 3 years of university– and we are friends because we understand eachothers goals, ambitions and insecurities.  And it’s not just understanding– it’s the interaction, it’s the effect we have on eachother that allows us to change and be changed by eachother.

Now, what makes these people, like those in Ottawa, so different  that I’d point this out?

They are, in the truest sense, collections of open minded people. I don’t just mean open towards a particular subject that they must learn. I mean, really, they’re ready to admit fault, they’re ready to stand up against the wall while you bear their rifles on them.  They are some of the toughest people I know, and that toughness comes from their admission of weakness, their humility, their…

You know what?  Let me just simplify by saying that if this is what the next generation of teachers looks like, I am more excited than ever to be a part of this group, and that the world is in much better hands than I thought.

I am very happy to find people like this. It makes me feel liberated.

On another note, sometimes I bluff. I bluff interest. I bluff tolerance. I might even bluff ignorance.  Why?

Because sometimes, I know that there’s nothing I can do– that there are situations where I’ve done all I can and that this overal scenario cannot change unless other factors change.   Sometimes, this bluff is your only deffense.  Because sometimes, I feel that the insights I have could shred a person to peices. But I haven’t found any way of presenting these ingishts in a more palatable way.

Let me simplify this thought.

Honesty doesn’t come into this equation.  Rather, it’s a question of maturity, of merit– the more capacity for reason you display, the more truth about my thoughts you merit.  It’s not that what I have is the truth– but what I have are my thoughts, which I will hold from you because, as Jack Nickolson aptly put it, “You can’t handle the Truth”.

I don’t say this as a declaration of superiority– I say this as an invitation to earn my respect by earning your own respect.

This can only be done by letting go of your ego– the ego being that which allows for the mind to become closed, out of a sense of identity defined by unsubstantiated righteousness.

This “bluff” that I use, I’ll always use it, to keep you comfortable to a certain degree. Does it insult your intelligence?

I sure hope it does.  What you think is ‘your intelligence’ is what got us into this mess in the first place.

When we talk for real, when I stop bluffing, when I stop worrying about your comfort, it’s because you’ve earned the respect.

It’s a lot like sparring.  You must earn the attention of my higher methods.

Getting my respect is as easy as you make it.

Almost everyone in my teaching class has it.  And what did they do?

All they had to do was get on the path to respecting themselves.


Understanding, in large part, has to do with forgiveness.

There’s a lot of things and a lot of people who we will simply not understand because we bear a sort of grudge, whether it is merited or not.

A question I often find myself asking is: is it my job to get people to reconcile with their grudges?  Is it my job to make people understand?

Now, this all makes it sound like “I know something that they don’t”. 

This is actually a lot easier than it seems. I’m not saying I know any secrets– I’m just saying sometimes, I, like you, can see what others cannot see because they’re seeing their situation from the inside out, when what they need to do is see things from the outside.

Some general thoughts:

  • I really don’t like it when people use a confrontational tone with me with their questions.  Outwardly, I’m exceptionally good at simply not reacting to a provocation (unless I’ve decided that, for kicks, this is worth getting into ‘battle mode’).  But I nonetheless find it very annoying and saddening when someone asks me a question to which it really doesn’t matter what answer I give: they’re only asking me what I think so they can tell me what they think.
  • I think “the Question” is one of the most powerful tools in society– at the same time, for the same reasons, it needs to be respected. When someone asks a rhetorical question either intentionally or unintentionally to lead up to their own narrow views, that’s like taking the sacredness of “the Question” and shitting all over it.
  • There are times when people ask me questions and I’ll just give a generic, uncommited answer, simply because I think it’s too tedious to argue with someone.  And it’s not that it’s not important to try and explain the way you see things– but it is useless to try and make a person understand your point of view on a subject that they have strong, pride enforced opinions about.