Saturday, May 28, 2011

Forgiveness, Kindness & Lies

"I resent you for being so different in these e-mails than you were when we met. You were friendly and engaging and encouraging when we met. Now you seem to have turned judgmental and tough. I resent you for giving me the advice to break that old man's heart by telling him that his poems suck."

Blanton responds quickly. First, he doesn't like that I expressed my resentment by e-mail. I should have come to see him. "What you don't seem to get yet, A.J., is that the reason for expressing resentment directly and in person is so that you can experience in your body the sensations that occur when you express the resentment, while at the same time being in the presence of the person you resent, and so you can stay with them until the sensations arise and recede and then get back to neutral -- which is what forgiveness is."

Second, he tells me that telling the old man the truth would be compassionate, showing the "authentic caring underneath your usual intellectual bullshit and overvaluing of your critical judgment. Your lie is not useful to him. In fact, it is simply avoiding your responsibility as one human being to another. That's okay. It happens all the time. It is not a mortal sin. But don't bullshit yourself about it being kind."

He ends with this: "I don't want to spend a lot of time explaining things to you for your cute little project of playing with telling the truth if you don't have the balls to try it."

"I Think You're Fat." on Radical Honesty by A.J. Jacobs via Derek

No comments: