[DWJ] Twilight and New Moon (Was: Discussing now: What?)

colin at kindness.demon.co.uk colin at kindness.demon.co.uk
Thu Aug 16 15:44:19 EDT 2007

[Grrr. I wrote a *superb* reply using Demon's webmail interface because I'm not at home, and then the Demon decided that since I hadn't talked to it for a while I'd gone away, and wouldn't let me send it. Grrr. )

minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:

> Esther
> >...
> >> I don't think it means being unreasonably hard on
> >> one's own self.  Nor giving habitual advantage-takers
> >> a free ride.
> Colin:
> >No, it doesn't *mean* it. But my experience with teaching and assisting
> >with many courses in Self Esteem Enhancement, and related workshops,
> >persuades me that many of us judge ourselves much more harshly than we
> >judge anybody else (as Juliette said) - and we spend much of our lives
> >trying to live up to our inner demands, and berating ourselves for not
> >doing so.  If we don't know this, or forget it, it is easy for us to
> >take noble exhortations like the one we are discussing as yet another
> >rod to beat ourselves with.
> Whereas if we only ever set ourselves goals that don't take any effort, 
> we are at risk of never getting anywhere much.  Rather like only ever 
> playing lawn tennis against someone not-as-good: one stays 
> not-very-good-at-tennis.
Absolutely. Couldn't agree more. But I've helped quite a few people see that they sometimes spend so much time and effort (not to mention money, health, and people they value) on the activities I mentioned above that they have little left for the goals and achievements they do want. And sometimes I remember to see it myself.

> One of the things badly wrong with almost everything at the moment is
> that we are actively encouraged by everything from lousy grammar in
> academic texts, through stereo knobs that fall off because they are made
> of crap plastic that breaks, right round to trains that fall off the
> lines because of shoddy maintenance, to settle for second-best,
> slipshod, oh-it'll-do *everything*, and I actually feel quite strongly
> that a man's reach should exceed his grasp.
I agree that I would love everybody to take pride in what they do, big or little. And there are many pressures today encouraging us not to: not only "that's not important" and "it's down to the bottom line'" but also "if you just have the right house/car/trainers/hairspray/cleaning product you'll be fine" and, crucially, "if you just work hard enough/care enough/put yourself out for others enough, you'll be fine". That last is just as much of an illusion, that makes it hard to get what we really want - either undermines us, or makes it really hard going. Which is where we came in. 

SortofButNotReallyDWJ: like the paradox in The Homeward Bounders that only by letting go of hope can you have a future, only by letting go of 'I have to be x' can you really be x.

> (She said, nailing her colours to the mast a bit.)
> Not to the extent of breaking down and leaping off cliffs if we don't
> become Olympic paddleboarders or whatever, obviously, but can't we at
> least *aspire* to be a better us rather than supinely settling for 
> being a worse one?
"Aspire". Wonderful word. Yes.

> Not blaming other people who also don't become Olympic paddleboarders, 
> but keeping the possibility, the ideal, the shining goal of Olympic 
> paddleboarding available for consideration, at least...
> (What the blazes is a paddleboarder anyway?  It did a pounds shillings 
> and ounces at me.)
And you only seem bigger because of the bounces. 


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