A: What would you say is love in practice?
B: To be so open to and trusting of someone, and often when you least want to be, as to enable them to judge you on their own terms — and for you to receive their judgment as though it came from someone you can be open and trusting towards, and often when they least appear so to you.
It is for this reason that, for many, love has the whiff of self-denial and self-negation about it. Its natural opposite is not hatred or fear, but the pride which mingles in both.
There are four activities during which people show the content of their soul and in many ways their beauty: when they are working, when they are eating, when they are sleeping and the fourth one we may leave to the imagination.
Only lovers have the outrageous courage, the untempered temerity, to observe and savour those activities in others. Yet, most people who might look at us in that way strike us creeps, as though they intrude precisely where they shouldn’t.
Why should that be so? — Because our vulnerability is reserved for those we know and trust, and although others may come across it in our day-to-day activities, they reserve no right to it which we do not give of our own accord.
A heaviness suddenly fell upon Him, dropping His shoulders and then a darkness descended sweeping right through His body.
He furrowed his brow, narrowed his eyes and gently opened his mouth to speak — then She interrupted:
Let me make it simple for you, so there is no reason for you to speak and transfer your heavy, dark spirit to me.
You value my light, so do not give me your darkness.
That is the injustice with which you have to live —
I want the fruits, without the labour.
I want the prize, without winning.
I want to win, without competing, without beating someone else.
I want to be loved, without having to do anything except — be.
I want to be known, without having to do something important.
I want to do something important, without being judged.
Yes — that is my paradox, what I want. Live with it. Digest it.
Let me feel fully what it brings out in you, but do not speak a word of it — or I will destroy you.
People often say that certain issues are too complicated for a referendum and so they should not be put to a vote. There may be a reason for the argument that some issues are not easily resolved by a binary vote.
But does the argument that some issues must not be put to a vote of any kind have merit? In other words, is there ever any argument against indirect democracy, even if direct democracy is limited in respect to certain policy areas?
What escapes the avid critics of democracy — be it direct or indirect — is an answer to the question of why has an issue become so complicated that it has lost the understanding and thereby the consent of the public?
It is convenient to make political issues too complicated for the public to understand and then argue that (direct or indirect) democracy doesn’t work, in reference to those issues.
But, whether rightly to wrongly, the public will eventually come to the conclusion that complications are used against them so long as their consent and understanding haven’t been secured. The public will begin to view complications as vehicles for suppressing their vote and thereby chipping away at their power.
Populism thrives under these conditions.
Great statesmanship stems from the ability to see the wood for the trees, where others are simply too involved in a subject-matter to do that.
To do this, the statesman (or stateswoman) has to possess degrees of empathy which would make the best among psychologists blush.
They have to not only pretend to understand their opponent’s viewpoint, but appreciate its merit without losing the gravity or value of their own viewpoint.
Their fundamental position is as follows:
- No viewpoint is right or true in itself, but their viewpoint has to win.
- They have clear reasons for their viewpoint, but meaningfully engage with and take into account their opponents’ reasons and viewpoint, too.
- They do not make a decision without firstly taking heed of the conflicting reasons.
They are experts at the balancing act, master tightrope walkers with an understanding that life itself is about trade offs and the state of equilibrium between opposing forces and directions.
It takes an extraordinary strength of character and humility to put one’s interests and opinions aside to not only have the insight into life needed for great statesmanship, but also to become a master in the art.
There are two types of wealth creators which some of us confuse. We likely do so due to being overexposed to one at the expense of the other.
However, we must find comfort in distinguishing them, because each one sets a different tone and character to the relation between a business and the people it services.
The first type identify a need or issue and bring people together to create a service, product or solution. This type have a vision of how they want the world to be, which structures their actions and decisions, often tending them towards long-term gain.
The second type also find a need or issue and bring people together to create a service etc., but this type wants to maximise it to extract the most value. They are often reactive to events and emotional in approach, which often restricts their decisions to their short-term and limited gain.
They sound similar in their efforts and actions — many of us would see them as the same — but they differ in what drives them. One is driven by a vision of things while the other is driven by the current context and the emotional state(s) underpinning it.
However, both are great wealth creators who service us, albeit in differing ways and — we may say with a slight degree of confidence — with different consequences to the moral tone of the world in which we live.
Without demonising the one or evangelising the other, the moral view of their activities paints the first type as philanthropic and second type as exploitative.
What drives us and how it does so is as important as — and in some case more so than — what we do.
When you resolve to attempt something big, most people will doubt and mock you, especially at first, then they will laugh at you before turning against you.
But, do not take this personally, because it is never about you. Firstly, they are often those who would never attempt what you are about to attempt. Secondly, and so that you do not hate them and thereby join them, they relate to you as they relate to themselves: they hold themselves back from attempting something big. That is all they have to offer — it is their best.
Focus your attention on those who are ready to believe in you and to join you in your attempt.
Some of them have become alienated and in hiding — they await leadership.
Others are held back by the hatred, fear or shame to which they fell prey when they first attempted something big and came across most people. These people cannot see that the limit is not in them, but in most people who project on them — the continued hatred, fear and shame which eats at them, when it doesn’t do so in most people who projected on them shows where the limit truly lies and who is creating this limit anew.
Oh, you great souls, keep going and if you cannot do it for yourself, do it for those who — like you — are hiding, gnawing at or perpetually reopening senseless wounds.
You raise us all up, let us breathe fully and make life worth it, again — keep going!