Broadness

So I just got off of the phone with S, the girl that I went out with last year, where our paths went in different directions and we just fell out of contact. The feminist who liked “Twin Peaks”. A lot has happened to her in the past year. She wants to go to the American Idol thing here in Eugene. I finally confessed that I was too tight on cash to go for dinner, so we agreed to go for the show and for the $3 tickets. Okay, I can probably swing that. We had a nice conversation, and finally she said that she didn’t think she was really all that nice to me. She tried to explain that it was hard for her to apologize, but she was making a go of it. She said that she’d like to see if we could be friends and I said sure, I’d like another friend, that she struck me as an intelligent person the first time. She said that she’d have to brush up on intelligent topics so that she could keep up with me in a convesation. I laughed and told her that shouldn’t be a problem with her, but anyway, intelligent people aren’t about what facts they know, but about what questions they ask, and she asked questions.

I don’t think there is anything to really worry about tomorrow night. It should be fun. This leads me to a thought….

While walking the aisles of journals, I saw the diverse nature of knowledge and when in the ecology section in particular I was struck with the broadness of thought. How very opposite the narrow confines of perspective I’ve heard over and over again at green meeting after green meeting. It is one of my deepest beliefs that to find the nature of anything, you must look as deeply at its opposite, even that which contradicts and attacks it. And while you are looking at the opposite, look at the peripherals to both, and for good measure, check out something totally unconnected. I believe it keeps perspective from dying too soon. Leonardo Da Vinci said that after you’ve labored on a task, leave it completely, do something else all together, and when you come back to the task your vision will be clear. Perhaps a lot can be learned by professional philosophers by skateboarding hoodlums, by civil rights workers by ex-military ranchers in the plains states.

This is but a small benefit, one of many, in social interaction with a diverse nature of individuals, that it keeps a mosaic of personalities in interaction with one’s own self. To truly take advantage of this one must keep an open mind and listen. And what is an open mind? The ability to suspend all disbelief and to search for the possiblitiy within one’s self to accept what is said by the other as true. The charge has been levelled against me that I have followed only the thoughts of others. Perhaps that is true. Rationally speaking… how can I lecture about having an open mind and yet instantly disagree on this point simply because it is of an accusatory tone? Examples abound of exchanged views, stances, beliefs, ideas, each built open ever more complex/elegant views of the nature of things.

I’ve heard about how sad it was for a psychologist to develop a theory and to devote a lifetime of research to that theory, only for it to be shown to be wrong and yet the psychologist continues to research along the lines of that theory because his life is built upon it. As I’ve always thought this opposite the reason for conducting research in the first place, in asking questions in the first place, I’ve tried hard to build up my house of cards, yet remain ever open the possibility of dashing those cards to the ground for the building of another set.

I am reminded of a journal entry while in Houston. Tibetan monks were in Houston showing their sand paintings. It was a long exhibit with monks actually building the sand paitings in front of everyone’s eyes. At the end of the exhibit they destroyed the paintings. I meditated on the importance of that. I shall have to look up that journal entry (good grief, which journal is it in?) but what I remember to be the important part is the love of the task itself, not the outcome. The same in research, philosophy, the love of the process should be the motivator.

But I tally on this journal too long… I am nearing a critical point in the story of “The Brothers Karamazov” and will no doubt get to it before I lie down for sleep tonight.

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