March 23, 2006

In fighting an image, one grants it a strength not innately its own. I know this -- and yet I, myself, contribute all too frequently; and not infrequently it is I who unseal the djinni bottle in the first place.

What is it about this world that demands ranking: winning, losing, better, worse, more, less ...? That, at least, is a question I have been asking, arguing, fighting for as long as I can remember: for mine, too, has never been the path of peacekeeping. (The reader might have noticed this.) Peace making, perhaps. I learned to "win" fights by averting them where possible in the first place, but to have the battles out where I felt they were needed. Nothing, ever, goes away ignored -- and yet so much of what there is of difference lies simply in different interpretations, differences in opinion, different emphases.

And yet, and especially within the last several years, I have increasingly begun to challenge, and challenge, and challenge -- and the closer the friend, the harder they were scraped. (Imagine, if you will, a friend of yours at a casual, regular two-person get-together at a coffeehouse suddenly coming out with "Why are you here? Why did you choose to come here, again, when every time we meet, I always end up asking you the uncomfortable questions you squirm under and try not to answer?") No one else would ever question. Most would -- and do -- complement and compliment. But I ask the questions that I feel need asking and try not to say something that is not so ... although I still do habitually overestimate my own ability to take on commitments, in perception of obligation and another's need: and then I try and try and too often fail to shake loose the required all-nighter that would allow me, finally, to "catch up". (Of late, registrations allowing access to a semi-private Internet have been sharply overhauled and in a couple of cases clawed back; and where the catch-up all-nighter might have been possible, sleep has claimed me instead. I know better than to argue.)

Why do I do this -- and most especially to my friends? Does it lie in that I wish my friends at least to see, not who I seem to be, but who I am?

easy there Socrates
What kind of friend would he be who didn't ask those questions? Then again, "challenging" as a habit, if it is not underwritten by some interest in dialectical truth-seeking, might just make you a difficult person. I suppose you have to look inward at your fundamental motivation?
We don't know how others see us, ever; and for ourselves reserve special lenses unique to us and us alone (for certainly we won't hold ourselves to the same standard as we expect of others! it being their obligation to understand and make allowances for us, and never the other way around): and thus you will see me more clearly through my writing here than I can. Imagine the writing translated into a day-to-day attitude in life, tone and questioning and even vocabulary alike: and you won't be that far off.

Motivation? Toward a more efficient pursuit of wisdom, of course!
tenebris, you are a very thoughtful and sensitive person. I realize this more and more as I read your writing. I would just like to point out that I have also given the issue of "seeing ourselves as others see us" some thought, and I know two ways that might help reach this impossible goal.

1) Not looking at yourself in the mirror for at least 24 hours. I got the idea from my cousins sociology projec. I tried it. I only did it for 20 hours but it was an interesting experience.

2) Watching video of yourself

3)*Bonus* I just thought of another one (well I got the idea sitting in my friend's creative writing class and I just recalled it). Putting aside your old writing for a long time (like years) or revisiting old writing. You would be amazed how differently you view yourself although, somehow I feel like you are no stranger to some of these methods.
That kind of "attack", and it is an attack, probably comes from some need you have to scrape. Which is a nice way of saying you like to fight!

All the $64 words aside, you may enjoy the deep or hot discussion, but you have a need to be right, and the verbal attacks are a civilized substitute for the physical.

Maybe it's time to join a gym, or start taking lessons in martial arts; something to bleed off the pressure. eh?
Hmm. Is there no other reason for determined questioning, do you think, than to prove who is right? Why do you suppose, then, that I left your later comment unquestioned?

philip: what would be your advice, were I blind?
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