07 May 2009

Haiku of Generosity

If I kept it all
for myself, and no one else,
what good would I serve?

06 May 2009


Argument is good for the soul; or at least a little good, old-fashioned debate can be. And perhaps not even good for the soul, necessarily, but definitely good for the thought structure. "Oh no," you might say, "conflict makes me so uncomfortable." Me, too, gives me the hives. Then why seek out an argument? Well, to find out you're right, of course. Or wrong.

You must test your beliefs, your views (or at least be open to having them tested for you), to know if they're worth having, or, for that matter, to know if they really are your beliefs. Argument--sincere, respectful argument--is the light to which you hold up a belief, like you hold up a piece of glass to check for flaws. It's scrutiny invited and welcomed by those who know to place less value on "belief" than on "truth" of the kind which transcends experience, points of view, and opinions; and by those wise enough to know how much they don't know, and what wonderful opportunities such a position has to offer.

If your belief holds up against argument, not only just holds up, really, but deepens, hardens to judgment, and is able to genuinely defeat the criticisms and challenges laid out in its opposition, then it becomes more and more likely that it is, in fact, the truth. At the very least, it becomes a more comfortable belief, with the hope of someday being accepted as truth, an outside creation delivered into your perspective by grace and your willingness and existing independently of any "belief" whatsoever.

Such a profound gift, to be truly appreciated, warrants being clarified, questioned, and refined, worn the way you wear the plaid, flannel shirt that belonged to your grandfather, until the elbows are threadbare but always holding, and the soft, perfectly weathered fabric feels indistinguishable from your own skin. It is of you and for you. Whatever nugget you're privileged to uncover, as beneficial as it might be to others who seek your direction, is never to be used as a weapon, nor should it be expected to serve as the dial in anyone's moral compass but your own.