TEACHING OTHERS–WHY? part one

In my early life, as I was developing my life philosophy, I wanted to tell others all about it. I was excited. I wanted to spread that excitement. Why? Because I thought I had something the world should know. Mighty arrogant of me, no? In the end I decided to talk about it in little-traveĺed spaces, websites like livereal.com, websites like the one I built at one particular time in my life, and now my website here on WordPress.com. But this website is not aimed at teaching anyone anything, it is aimed at leaving a record of my thoughts, of my philosophy, and of who I have become over the course of my life.

I am going to be honest with you. There was a time I wanted to start something new, something not a exactly religion, but a way of living, a way of understanding the world and helping people manage to find their way through it. In other words, I thought I had knowledge others were seeking. Everywhere around me I saw people seeking for something that they didn’t seem to know exactly what it was, but they were sure they wanted it. And they were sure it could only come from somewhere not inside of them, but outside of them. And I thought I had “it.” But when I tried to give it away, I found nobody wanted my “it.” And I am now glad they didn’t.

Because, in the meantime, I learned the errors of trying to teach anyone anything. To explain, I would like to use as an example the religion of christianity, not because I want to make fun of it, or destroy it, or even try to explain it. I choose this religion simply because it is the one I know best, the one I was brought up to believe in.

I was taught Christ was a man who supposedly called himself the Son of God. I say supposedly because it is quite possible when the books of the New Testament were written (many years after the death of the man) his actual words were forgotten, or mistranslated, or maybe even intentionally changed. There was no video in those days, no tape recorders, nothing that could be used today to confirm the actuality of a person or event. (And in this day of fake news, or alternate news, even recordings and videos cannot be trusted, because they can be changed without the consent of the doer or speaker!) Imagine what could be done to things that happened decades or centuries ago. History is not reliable, it can always be changed. But I digress.

Let us say that Christ was an algebra teacher, and he proved that everytime he multiplied x by y, he came out to the product xy. And so he began to teach x multiplied by y equals xy. He goes to his grave believing and teaching this equation. However, two hundred years down the line, some other teacher suffers from dyslexia, and one day he accidentally teaches that x multiplied by y equals yx. There is no real difference, because xy = yx, yet it looks different to his students, and they believe yx is actually different from xy, so they start teaching x times y equals yx. Then, in the next 1000 years, someone who was taught the product was yx discovers that the original teaching was xy, so he tries to change it back. X times y = xy. This starts a war between the xy crowd and the yx crowd. Christ, when teaching xy, could never have imagined there would come a time when his teaching could cause a war, yet it did. Could he have done anything to prevent this war from taking place? What do you think?

I know he could have prevented it, by never teaching xy in the first place. But once he taught it, then it was out of his hands. Because someone had dyslexia, a fairly common problem, what Christ taught was changed. And later, when someone discovered the error, and tried to change it back, not everyone was willing to let him do that. That is how simple it is to make something wonderful and beautiful into something ugly and destructive. And that is what can happen when a teacher loses control of whatever it is he is teaching.

What happened between the time Christ was alive, and what religions today teach about him, is obviously not as simple as my example above. Yet look at the difference between 2000 or so years ago, and today. Christ’s words, to the best of our knowledge, were never written down in the language which he spoke, or any language, for that matter. They were words handed down by mouth from generation to generation before anyone ever realized how important they could become. Then, when they were written down, probably in Latin, the concepts behind the words may not have been presented factually because there may have been no words for the concepts in the first place. Then, by the time anyone decided to translate the words from Latin into German, or French, or English, and then further translate them into modern versions of those languages, who can know the concepts of today have any similarity to the concepts Christ tried to teach 2000 years ago. I am not saying this was ever intentional, though it could have been, but it is more probable than getting every concept exactly right. Much much more probable.

The thing is, once anyone writes something, or even just says something, that person loses control of what he or she was trying to say, or mean. Christ said things in his own words, in his own language. Today, those words have been retold uncountable times, translated numerous times, retranslated many times, interpreted a million times, and reinterpreted billions of times to the point they may look like something he would never recognize if he were alive today. All this, and not even knowing if a person known to modern times as Christ even existed…

In my algebra example above, I postulated only two groups, the xy group, and the yx group. In reality, I cannot even count the number of different religions or sects that believe they are teaching the words of Christ. One estimate I found was for 43,000 differents denominations, with still more sub-sects and sub-sub-sects under them. And each one of these believes they are the best representatives of what Christ said, and meant. One man, and only one man, and now he has been split into so many parts it is amazing if any one of them even come close to teaching what Christ, in his short time as a teacher, tried to teach.

So how does any of this apply to me, or to anyone else. We, if we want to be teachers, or philosophers, or some kind of leader, all have to remember, once we say them, OUR WORDS NO LONGER BELONG TO US. That is significant, because anyone can take our words, and change them… And we have absolutely no control over what those words are used for…

Advertisements

Author: rawgod

Still a Hippie, and proud of it. Have my BSW, now retired. Would have preferred to be a Dr. of Philosophy, but the university I went to wouldn't let me study my own philosophy. Your gain, their loss. I live on the edge of society with my partner, five cats, a broodmare, and a three year-old filly who might make her racing debut this coming summer or fall. Remember the name, Tricksy T Clanton.

38 thoughts on “TEACHING OTHERS–WHY? part one”

  1. Wow! I could have written this… (meaning, “I can sooo relate to this!”) Especially the first few paragraphs. I also wanted to start “something,” I also believed I “knew” something, and I also met a world totally disinterested in what I had to say…

    So now I write for myself, and for all other selves who wander into the otherhood…

    I was “taught” that to teach another made me somehow ethically and karmically bound to what they did with that info. I think now that was simply misplaced ego and control needs, for I believe today that everyone is responsible to and for themselves. But I agree that Christianity (in all its forms) has little to do with what Christ actually tried to teach…

    The other problem with teaching is that my own beliefs have evolved. Some of what I believed back then still holds true in my eyes, but much appears naive and ill-conceived to me now. But that is to be expected, isn’t it, if one chooses not to stagnate, or get barricaded in by rigid beliefs…?

    Like

      1. I’m not sure I agree with that statement, Jerry. I mean, I use my former words as stepping stones mapping out my journey. All were important when I said them, but I’ve learned more, gained more experience, gotten a better perspective, or followed them to a natural transition (i.e. wisdom). That doesn’t necessarily negate the value of where I’ve been, but rather reinforces the nature of journeying…

        That being said, I remember being very excited to go see a “famous” author once, who had so inspired me that I recommended all his books to people who came to me seeking “teachings.” I considered him a brilliant introduction onto the path I, myself, was following, and so suggested people start there to see if it was a path they wanted to pursue.

        So one day, maybe a decade after I had “found” him and begun recommending him, he showed up in my part of the world to do a workshop. I eagerly signed up, along with several of my former “students.” When we got there, he started his seminar by saying he had changed his path entirely, repudiating at least 20 years worth of published books. He had found a “new” path, completely opposed to his former one. I was shocked! And I wasn’t the only one. Lol!

        Many of the people there had come because of his published works (his previous path), and we seemed determined to get him to discuss them. He refused, using this gathering to try and explain why he’d been “wrong” before, and convert us all to his new path…

        It left a “bad taste” in my mouth. Not so much because his beliefs shifted so radically, but because I felt he had gathered us together under false pretenses to preach his new religion. It seemed totally unethical.

        I guess it all comes down to honesty and intention. If we can say “this is where I am today,” acknowledging that might change, and if we can offer up new points of view just as honestly, then our past words stengthen our credibility rather than damage it…

        At least that’s how I feel about it today. Lol!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Lisa,
          I must have been unclear about what I was trying to say, but your example with the writer fits in nicely to what I meant. You and your students went to see this person based on what he had written. You could not foresee that he might have changed his pathway in the interim. His words were “written in stone” for you. Meanwhile, he had thrown those stones away and stepped onto a different path. You were upset with him.
          I would agree he should have advertised that his path had changed, and he was dishonest if he used his old titles to attract people to come see him talk. However, he didn’t really care about you, he was only caring about him. A typical human response in many cultures, especially our own.

          But whatever I said about things said previously, I did not mean to imply you as the writer could not change, just that once communicated to others, it is the others who see them as written in stone. And others are now the ones who control those words.
          In your new communications it is probably best to mention how things have changed for you, how the ideas you had then have grown into the ideas you have now, and how the ideas you have now will grow into ideas you will have in the future.
          This is one reason I undertook to try to say communicating with others is a process for which we the communicators have to take extreme responsibilty for. Generally I try to say somewhere like I do not want anyone to believe anything I say, but if they so choose, they ca use it as a guide to decide what they believe IF AND ONLY IF they find something in my words that speaks to them. But, here, even as I am writing this to you, I am realizing I am probably not saying this enough. I do write IMO, or in my opinion, as often as I remember to, but those three words do not really say not to believe anything I say…
          Communicating is a very touchy process, we humans love to wtite as if we want everyone else to believe whatever it is we decide to say to others. This is why I decided to write my post on Teaching Others. I still have not said everthing I want to say on that subject, but I have not been feeling good of late to complete it. Hopefully soon.
          But, of all the things I do want to say to others, these two posts will be what I would love for everybody in the world to read, even if nothing else I write never gets read.
          Humans do not communicate well at the best of times. The onus is on the communicator to tell those he or she in communicating with that they do not have capital T Truth, even when they think they do…
          Spreading our ideas as “capital T Truth” is what starts wars, divides people, causes racism and bigotry, even though we cannot see this, or especially not believe it. Even I at this very moment am writing as if I know capital T Truth. I DON’T! But on this particular subject, I wish I knew for sure. IMO.

          Like

          1. I see your point. Certainly. And I’m certain I’ve written similar words more than once myself. But I still think you take too much responsibility upon yourself.

            Yes, you should, ethically, own the words you’ve said, or written, or communicated in some way. But once they are out there, the reader or listener or receiver needs to own the responsibility for how they use them. You are only them in the broadest sense of the term, in the sense that we are all One in our highest form of being. But in our individual experience/existence, we are responsible only for and to ourselves…

            Or so I believe at this time… ;D

            Hope you get feeling better soon, Jerry. I’m a little worried about you…

            Like

            1. I’m actually thinking of taking a sabbatical from word press for awhile, though I may occasionally visit. If you do not hear from me for awhile, fear not. I just need to recharge my batteries.
              But I do fear for my words, even though it is out of my control how others take them. All it takes is one James Jones, or David Koresh, or Charles Manson, and everything I stand for can fall apart.
              Not that I expect anyone to ever take anything I write that! seriously, but weirder things have happened…

              Like

  2. Funny how people walk into the christian church propaganda so easily when using the Greek title Christ to refer to Jesus the Nazarene. Christ is an invention of Paul of Tarsus, the inventor (also) of the Christian church) which he used to separate his Jesus whom he never met or knew from the Jewish and dead-end aspect of the “Way” as it was known during the time mentioned in the book of Acts. Christ is not Jesus but a Grecian deity, the name given by Paul to a Greek deity the Greeks called the Unknown God. There is no Christ; there are no teachings of Christ. The writings known as the gospels may or may not contain some of the teachings and sayings of Jesus of Nazareth though one should be very careful when dealing with the gospel according to “John” as it stands too far apart from the synoptics to be acceptable as a true teaching.

    Having said that, for what it’s worth, it is true that our thoughts, words and acts, once set free among “the crowds” no longer belong to us. They will be interpreted as each individual chooses to, used and misused, revered or mocked, according to the ground into which they fall. They are but seeds and we but grow more seeds according to our nature.

    The main reason Jesus is such a manifest failure in hindsight is that he followed the ways of the Patriarchy by having 12 male disciples (some would argue that Mary Magdalene was one of them, I do not concur); he used specialness, exclusivity and exceptionalism as tools to motivate his followers, and he willy-nilly invented a new institution. Strike 3: you’re out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sha’Tara … I agree totally with your first paragraph as this is what my book research showed me. But since the majority of professed Christians have NO CLUE about the history of their faith, they simply accept what comes from the pulpit and then turn around and argue this POV as though it’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

      And this … he used specialness, exclusivity and exceptionalism as tools to motivate his followers sure reminds me of a certain well-known individual with the initials DJT.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Nan, thanks for commenting.
        S’T gave a pretty good history lesson on christianity, did she not? One would almost think it should be renamed jesusism, but that is too many esses in such a short word, lol. But paulism would probably be closer to the truth, from what little I read this morning. It seems more like his religion than anyone else’s. He might attribute it to Jesus, but he could just as easily have been writing fiction a la L Ron Hubbard ‘s scientology.
        People will believe the weidest things…

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Reminds me of an ongoing argument I used to have with my philosophy professors. Everyone regarded Socrates as this brilliant man, crediting him with so much wisdom. But everything we know about Socrates came from Plato’s writings, since Socrates never wrote anything down. And what Plato SAYS Socrates said often ran counter to accepted positions of the time…

          So my question has always been, how do we truly know how much of what is credited to Socrates was actually his, and how much was Plato’s ideas, being “tested” out safely?

          I know many others of the time corroborated Socrates’ existence and methodology, but many of his actual “ideas” (morals, lessons, beliefs) seem more in attunement with Plato’s ideals than Socrates’ methodology (which I happen to find clever, but often unethical).

          Hmm… just kinda thinking out loud here. Carry on, everyone… ;D

          Like

          1. Happens so often, someone’s ego can’t cut it so plagiarizes another preferably dead. Ex. ,psalms and wisdom attributed to king David & Solomon were not written by either. But does it matter who said it if there is value in such utterances?

            Like

            1. No, it doesn’t matter. Not to me, anyway. But it does if you revere or worship the individual who “supposedly” said the words, and then someone tries to tell you it didn’t come from them…

              Which is why I ascribe to the theory that it’s the wisdom spoken, not the wisdom speaker that is of real value… 😀

              Liked by 1 person

                  1. Then let us give a cheer, have a laugh, and smile together as I start chipping your words into a stone tablet, lol. But I will end it with a 3-dot ellipsis, just in case…

                    Like

            2. I doubt they knew they were being attributed. Most biblical books were written long after all the people concerned were dead. Any plagiarizing would have been done for them, if they ever lived…

              Like

          2. Thinking out loud gives others the chance to agree with you. For all his thinking, was Socrates uneducated in the skill of writing, or did Plato do his wtiting for him because he was too busy talking to write? We will never know.
            Or did he write using Plato’s name as author? Questions. We have questions. What we do not have is answers, and barring time travel, we nevrr will.

            Like

            1. You’re right, of course. And truly it is of no real significance, I guess. But the questions are so much easier to ask when they don’t involve the heavy subjectivity of religion. Same kind of story, but no need to defend one’s point of view to the death (or beyond), and no need to martyr oneself for the cause…

              Like

                  1. Sorry, didn’t mean to curse you. No, I am definitely not volunteering, but I did challenge Donnie Dump Truck to send some agents across the border when I told him he had a tiny dick. They haven’t showed up yet, or they were just too stupid to find me.
                    I’m right here, Donnie… waving vigourously.

                    Like

    2. You certainly know more about the history of the church than I do, S’T. Once I decided it, and god, had no place in my life or my cosmology, I dropped it like a hot potato and never went back.
      I still feel no need to find out more…

      Like

      1. There’s an evil within this patriarchal civilization (I use the word to mean a time, not a condition) that keeps on repeating itself because it works. Take any despot, particularly male (some females just carry brass balls to match the males) and you find them using the same tactics to move a bunch of unthinking sheeple to support them (the despots) even when it should be obvious to the sheeple that the despot is fleecing them along with the rest. Jesus, Trump, Jehovah, bottom line, it’s the same mindset.

        Like

        1. Yup, but the people who would not take advantage of your sheeple want no part of being leaders. That leave the assholes to run the show, and that is just one of the reasons I see no reason for the existence of government in any form.
          God, gold, government, none of them provide value to living a good life. They all corrupt.

          Like

  3. Your post reminded me how “teachings” have two faces – the one for the “masses” and the other as the hidden or esoteric face.
    I remember how frustrated I would feel when a book said it could not disclose more than it did because the information was only for the initiated. At the time, I thought how unfair it was.
    Then I saw that teaching how to learn is like teaching a man to fish – if a teaching is about learning, and not facts or incantations, it opens the doors for all of us to participate at any level.
    A true teacher does not exert power over those learning to learn. There is no control. But certain things are simply not revealed. People are still fighting to dominate one another, to be right, to be the “only,” and the message of learning how to learn with checks and balances gets lost.
    Would life be different if Christ or Buddha never “spoke”? They had no choice. When one surrenders completely, universal processes take over and one naturally flows with their wisdom to speak as clearly as possible.

    Like

    1. I’m not sure if this is what you are asking, InEx, but what a prophet, or anyone else for that matter, says is not important. What is important is what the listener hears. One misunderstood word changes the message, but the speaker does not know this. He or she spoke true, and knows it, but the listener heard false, and does not know it. So, life would be no different if the prophets never spoke, but it might be different if the listener heard different.
      But this is just one side of the conversation. What does a person do if the words he or she needs do not exist in their language. For me, I either create new words–which does not work well–or I co-opt old words and try to give them new meanings. Imagine if Christ, for example, tried to talk to his listeners about reincarnation. There was no word in Hebrew or Greek or Latin for reincarnation. Yet he wants to get the idea across, so he makes a new word out of an old one, re-birth. It does not mean what he wants to say, and he explains this as best he can. But no one is really listening, He said re-birth, or born again, so he must mean being reborn in this life, because they do not know any other life. So while Christ tried to talk about reincarnation, he failed. But 400 years later when his history is finally being written down, no one knows this. The idea has become ingrained in the language, reborn means what it still means today, to restart this life with a new understanding.
      I am not trying to suggest here that Christ did indeed mean reincarnation, although this makes a lot more sense to me than re-bitth does. Whatever he was trying to say, it no longer matters. What was written down has become written in stone, and there it will stay as long as Christianity survives.
      Wrong listening, wrong speaking, or wrong recording, so many things are possible. Yet only getting “everything” right tells the ttue story. What are the odds of that?

      Like

      1. Miscommunication is common. We create and recreate stories. I think what’s missing here is that communication can take place beyond words, beyond body language, and other nonverbal yet physical means. I can communicate much more with things I don’t say “out loud”.

        Like

        1. But can you be sure what you are communicating is what is being received? I know I must be sounding negative to you, InEx, but that is not my intent. I am merely trying to be honest, and one must look at all sides to be honest. Communication seems so easy, one communicator sends messages, the other communicator receives messages. A good listener is one who listens, then communicates back to the original sender what they understood the sender to communicate. The sender listens to the original listener, and tells the listener if what was heard was what the sender intended. And so on. But such a communication takes time, and most people do not want to take the time to make sure they are communicating as they wish. And this is only in a two person communication. The more people in a communication, the harder it is to ensure a successful communication. Most people in this world are not willing to make the effort to be good communicators. Even I, in these comments, am not taking the time or care to make sure our communication is successful. Often I disregard your main points, and talk to the points I feel should be the center of the communication. It is probable I agree with your main points, but you cannot be sure because I did not take the time to communicate that to you. Good communication is hard work, whether spoken, written, or otherwise. The human race is notoriously lazy. We hope our communications are successful, but we seldom make sure.

          Like

          1. Reminds me of a story I overheard yesterday: two older Irish women are talking. One says she’d been to the doctor and he’d asked her to bring him a sample.
            “What does he mean I should bring him a sample? What’s that?”
            “Piss in the can” replied the other.
            “Shit in the pot” the other countered… and the fight was on!

            Like

          2. You do not seem negative at all. I see you as a gentle man, genuinely wrestling with existence’s awesomeness.
            The answer is that – yes, I know when someone “groks” what I sm sharing. I also know when there is resistatto what I am sharing – resistance because I am challenging something core or fundamental. As a teacher with a room of 30 teens, you quickly learn how to focus communication and verify what was being heard. As who I am, I can feel someone’s receptivity and openness and share information in multiple ways. However, resistance is there and real and dovetails with free will. I would never force someone to “understand” me because that would be reconfiguring their being, which is a no no. We can only understand what we are ready to understand.

            Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s