Vive la différence.

It is the differences between us that are to be praised.

On the 10th August, Alex Jones, he of The Liberated Way, published a post under the title of Wisdom comes out of calm.  I read it and approved of the sentiments expressed.  Here’s a flavour of what Alex wrote:

My attitude towards dogs, and everything I do, is it is better to act in harmony with my world than impose violent control upon it. Nature is my teacher, and calm is one of its teachings. Calm is the sister of patience and tolerance, letting nature flow at its own pace and in its own way. When I planted acorns, I was unable to force them to grow, they acted in their own timing, at their own pace. I am like a parent rather than the master of eight strong oak saplings. I provide my saplings with opportunity through water, sun and good soil; protecting them from caterpillar and fungus; they follow their own nature in becoming fast growing little trees.

Then dear Patrice, he (or is it she?) of the blog Patrice Ayme’s Thoughts went on to write his own essay Calmly Thinking Up A Storm reflecting on Alex’s musings. One of the comments to me was:

Well, Paul, the entire essay answered why it’s wrong to equate calm with wisdom, as Alex does. If it was only him, it would be an interesting quirk. However, it’s pretty much a mass mood.

That philosophy of boiled vegetable leaves the plutocrats free to do a home run, home being, for them, hell. Part of the program is biospheric annihilation.

I didn’t agree with Patrice and my immediate reaction was try and take sides. Yet both writers were the authors of many fine essays. What to do?  As I expressed to Alex:

I have read both posts and, frankly, are bemused. It feels as though each is describing something utterly different to the other. I have a number of hours of electrical work today but will also give the matter a ‘coating of thought’ while working and offer my humble conclusions later on.

Serendipitously, the answered then arrived.

I’m about a third of the way through an audio course on Building Great Sentences delivered by Professor Brooks Landon, Professor at the University of Iowa English Department. Professor Landon talks about style and how difficult it is to define a particular author’s style.

It was at that moment that a flashbulb went off in my mind.  Wouldn’t literature be incredibly plain and boring if there were no real differences in the styles of all the many authors; past and present!

It brought me back to Patrice and Alex and, by default, hundreds of other authors of blogs right across the ‘blogosphere’.  Of course they express themselves differently! Of course they hold different opinions! It is those differences that are critical, utterly so, to each and every reader coming to their own conclusions; conclusions to a wide range of subjects and topics.

This was hammered home to me as I watched our dogs playing so well together.  The differences in each dog’s backgrounds and experiences contributed to the wonderful, unconditional way that they played and lived together.  The power of their unconditional love.

It is those differences that offer us insight into our own beliefs and prejudices.  It is those differences that allow us, and dogs, to make sense of ourselves. One might argue that it is the differences that deliver truth.

That feels much better! 🙂

5 thoughts on “Vive la différence.

  1. Heraclitus offers two insights relevant to this blog post:

    1. everything is relative to the individual. Because of this I accepted the difference of truth of Patrice Ayme to my own, then answered calmly and rationally his points in both comment and blog post. Those who are unable to accept they live in a world of differences attempt to violently impose their truth upon others, often resulting in avoidable wars.

    2.out of the war of opposites there is a becoming. Those that work calmly and wisely with the opposites enter into a harmony such as you observe with your dogs, those that are stupid, impulsive and attempt to impose control in a situation of war, their reward is ruin.

    1. Clearly two highly relevant insights from very long ago. There are times when I regret not having had any form of classical education especially in understanding how Heraclitus and others were able to speak with such wisdom.

      Your response, Alex, is going to be printed out and stuck on my office pin board. Needs to serve as a daily reminder.

  2. I enjoyed this interchange of blogs and comments, and realize the wisdom of “not either-or, but both-and”.
    I’s one of the things that beckons me to open Learning from Dogs on a daily basis. Thanks Paul, and all you other contributors out there! mag

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