Today, it’s alarmingly easy to find yourself antler-locked with some remote, faceless person who’s trying to tell you that universal healthcare is a communist plot, while you’re waiting for your potato to finish microwaving. This facelessness turns up our impulse to argue even more. You may have noticed it’s a lot less pleasant to argue with someone when you can see their eyes.~ David Cain from http://www.raptitude.com/2016/02/the-art-of-letting-others-be-right/
I find it, in fact, so unpleasant to argue with people that I’ve effectively given up the effort entirely.
The first phase comes of self-reflection once you think you might—at least some of the time—be wrong. The second phase comes when you realize that your sometimes-wrongness might apply to the interactions with other human beings. Phase three is when you wonder why it is important to change the other’s mind. Phase four is when you stop judging people at all.
This has the side effect that you also give up trying to get people to stop arguing at you. If I don’t argue, then the other person assumes their idea has carried the argument, when in reality I’m focused on how delightful my iced tea is, or the weather.
I’m reminded of the ages of roots, fire, water and air that I mentioned a few days back; Once you start flirting with the age of air, the only person left to argue with is oneself.
(Part 33 of 37 in series, Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)
For me, what defines a human being is the combination of our intellect, our self-awareness, and our mortality. Developing the first two, and in particular becoming comfortable with the third takes a lot of time. It’s clear to me that there are seasons to our human lives. The best description I’ve heard is that of four seasons: roots, fire, water and air, corresponding to beginning, actively carving one’s path, learning acceptance and understanding, and finally wisdom. (This is obviously a variation of the four, classical elements.)
Frequently over the past year I’ve found myself thinking about the transition from the season of water to the season of air. What would the season of air feel like if I experienced glimpses of it from the season of water?
I believe I have an answer: Understanding self-love.
To come to grips with one’s own mortality requires a deep apprehension of the temporary state of our existence, and I now believe understanding self-love is the doorway to the age of air.
Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river — small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.~ Bertrand Russell from, https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/07/03/how-to-grow-old-bertrand-russell/
I’m certain I have nothing to add to that. If that doesn’t make you the least bit wistful, then I’ll wager you are young.