No Statues for Critics

“There has never been set up a statue in honor of a critic” — attributed to Jean Sibelius, composer.

If ever there was a trap to make us dumber and take our energy it is criticizing the work of others — so easy, and so tempting in this age of social media. (Haven’t we all, at some time, posted some pointless comment that contributed nothing but stole our valuable time? Time, after all, that we could have been creating something ourselves? )

No judgment. In some cases, it’s because people have become lost. They can’t quite express what they want to through their art, their discipline, their field, their life. They can’t quite move to the next level. It’s easier to criticize others than to really look at what’s wrong within our lives or ourselves, to become unstuck. Continue reading “No Statues for Critics”

Do Things Simply

“The height of cultivation runs to simplicity. Halfway cultivation runs to ornamentation” — Bruce Lee.

As different as they have been, in all the things I have practiced I have noticed one constant. There is always the desire, early on — and perhaps for a long time to come — to be as showy and ornate as possible.

In writing, the temptation is always to use obscure words when common ones will do. Sometimes, this is because the writer wants to align himself to some intellectual movement. He adopts the language of Hegel, Marx, Existentialism, some art movement, or some occult society, etc. Continue reading “Do Things Simply”

Rebelling Not Against, But For Something

“Every act of rebellion expresses… an appeal to the essence of being” — Albert Camus.

Hierarchies serve an essential function: to pass knowledge down from those who know more, and have more experience, skill, understanding, and wisdom, to those who have less. This is the same, whether it is a martial arts school, a fraternity such as Freemasonry, or an esoteric society, etc.

But hierarchies can become stuck. The members of the group end up worshipping — or at least deferring to — the positions, officers, titles, etc., that are above them in the hierarchy, rather than being actively involved in the work, which becomes subsidiary.

When that happens, the group begins to focus on the “business” of the group, holding meetings to arrange other meetings, and so on. Continue reading “Rebelling Not Against, But For Something”