TEACHING OTHERS–WHY? part two

I must apologize. I wrote part one of this post quite a while ago, and had part two almost complete in my mind–but life interfered, and I never wrote it down. And then I forgot about it! In my mind it was written and published, and it was only today when I needed it that I discovered it was not there. How much of it I will remember I do not know, but this is only worrisome to me, because I know my failure. To you, the reader, who know nothing of this, you won’t even notice.

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Just to be clear, this post and its predecessor are not aimed at schoolteachers or college or university professors. Those people are paid to teach our youth things they will need to help them get by in life. Mind you, I do not always agree with what they teach or how they teach, but that is a wholly different matter. This post is aimed at people like philosophers, which I consider myself one, preachers, gurus, and anyone who thinks they have something to offer this world that can help the world become a better place. Needless to say, I am writing this to myself, because I am hoping to offer my experience at the uselessness of trying to teach anything to anyone.

First of all, we really do not want anyone to teach us anything. We know it all already. And if we don’t know it all, do we really need to learn something we are getting along fine without. After all, our parents brought us up to live in this world, and, yeah, they made mistakes, but there is no parenting manual that works for every situation. It’s just life, and we make it up as we go along. So get out of my face!

But we wannabe teachers ignore such proclamations. We know something that will make life easier for others, or better for others, and despite what others think or believe, we know we can help them. Right! Right? Wrong…

How arrogant of us! Over 37 BILLION people in this world, and we are the ones who know best what is good for everyone! You know what I’m saying. You’ve felt it. If you haven’t felt it why are you trying to teach anyone anything? You believe in yourself, right? You know what you have to offer. You are going to save the world.

You are not going to save the world. No one is. No one person can. Farbeit for me to disillusion you, disappoint you, and dishearten you, but as much as you would like it to be able to, your idea cannot work for everyone. There are too many cultures, societies, nations, types of government, philosophies, religions, political parties, too much of anything, for my, or your, idea to work for everyone. To emphasize this, there are too many individuals to get everyone to believe any one thing. And if you cannot help everyone, what is the use of trying to teach anyone.

For some it is teaching what someone taught you, and you are but another teacher in a long line of teachers teaching the same thing, generation after generation. You are convinced that what you are teaching is helping others even as what others taught you helped you. Or, you are someone who was not helped by what others taught you, and you discovered all on your own something that helped you, so now you want to teach others what you know helped you, because it can help them too. Forget it!

FOOLS!  WE ARE ARROGANT FOOLS! You know nothing. I know nothing. All we are doing is hoping someone will believe us, about how we see the world, about how we can save the world. Because if someone believes us, then we know we are making a mark in this world. We know we are not crazy egomaniacs with visions of megomolania. I used to be a crazy maniac, with visions of megalomania. But now I know I am just a fool, a person utterly honest with myself, wanting you to be utterly honest with yourself too. I know nothing. You know nothing. And that is the way life is.

I am not trying to say I have nothing to offer, or you have nothing to offer, but offer it, and forget it. As I said in part one of this post, you cannot control what you say once you’ve said it, nor can you control what someone hears in what you said. No language is perfect. Whatever language you speak, whatever language your reader reads, you cannot guarantee the reader is reading what you are saying. I’m sorry, but that is the truth. You may think they are agreeing with you, they might tell you they are agreeing with you, but really they are agreeing with themselves. They are agreeing with WHAT THEY THINK YOU ARE SAYING, and you have no way to control that. Yes, you may have used the best words you can think of, in the best language you know to say them, but  only you know what you are truly trying to say. No one else!

Take a look at some of our most famous human teachers from the past. Moses, Abraham, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, Paul of Tarsus, Martin Luther, and all the ones we are missing. Notice who this list is missing: Africans, Australians, Pre-Columbus Americans (South and North), all kinds of Asians… What is the one thing everyone on or not on this list have in common–every one of them failed! All! Not just some… If any one of them had not failed this world would be a much better place to be. What is it you have that not one of these teachers had? Not a damn thing.

Now, if you have gotten this far in my little rant, and you think I have insulted you all I can, please let me disabuse you of that idea. Let me ask you a very important question, one I had to answer for myself a number of years ago: What makes you think your words are so important that no one before you has never thought of them before? I know I thought that about what I wanted to teach the world. I believed it to my very bones. Yet when I tried to tell people, no one understood me. Did anyone even try? I don’t know how to answer that! They told me they tried. Some told me they succeeded. But when I heard them repeat it to others, I finally understood my failure. What was so obvious to me was not at all obvious to others. Like a game of Telephone, or Rumour (same game, different name), the meaning changed. And each step it got farther away from me, the more it changed. It did not take long for the meaning to be entirely lost, though the names stayed the same. It was an exercise in futility. And had anyone been there to tell me this, I would not have believed them. I knew I was different, that what I had was special. I still feel that way, all these many years later. But I am enough of a realist to admit that I failed in my intention. I didn’t change the world one whit.

The worst part came for me when I listened to myself speak. Telling others what to do, or how to believe, deprived them of their own humanity, their own belief in themselves. It was easy to think most of them didn’t know how to think, that my thoughts went so much deeper than theirs. But even if that was true, their thoughts were still as important to them as mine are to me.  They wanted to be heard just as much as I wanted to be heard. For themselves they were right, even as I was right for myself. Truth is relative. Belief is relative. Thoughts are relative. Ideas are relative. PEOPLE ARE RELATIVE!

 

People believe what they want to believe, as long as they want to believe it. Encouraging them to believe what they do not want to believe, what they are not ready to believe, does not change them deep inside. ONLY THEY CAN CHANGE THEMSELVES, WHEN THEY WANT TO CHANGE THEMSELVES, WHEN THEY ARE READY TO CHANGE THEMSELVES, and anyone who wants to deprive them of their own journey is a fool, and a bully. How did you get to where you are? Only you can answer that. How did anyone get to where they are at? Only they can answer that. The best we can do is talk to others. The worst we can do is try to teach them. They deserve the right to be who they think they are. If they are right, for them, congratulations to them. If they are wrong, they will change themselves. I believe they have all eternity to find themselves. How long are you willing to allow them?

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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.

24 thoughts on “TEACHING OTHERS–WHY? part two”

  1. But rawgod … I don’t want to be honest with myself. I want to go on believing that somehow, in some small way, we can make a difference, though I realize it is a minute, microscopic one. Otherwise, why do we even bother to speak at all? Sigh. But I must argue with you about one thing … for I have listened to your words, and now am questioning my relevance, so see … you taught me something. Sigh.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You, Jill, are not trying to be a teacher. You are informing others of how you see the world. You are giving your opinion on how you see the world. But you are doing no proselyzing, no haranguing, no telling people how to live. Not in the way I am talking, at least.
      No, I am talking about people like me, who have a distinct view of what can be done to make this world better–maybe. There are a LOT of such people on Word Press, and a lot more all over the world. Some I agree with, most I do not, but even so no one has the right to force their beliefs on others. As I said, offer your ideas, let others make up their own minds. Teaching makes a person sound like they know they are right for everyone, when really they are only right for themselves.
      This was not an easy conclusion for me to reach, even I fought it all the way. But the more I fought, the truer it seemed to be. And even now, in this post and this comment, it sounds like I am trying to be a teacher. Maybe I am…

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Maybe the world needs teachers, my friend. I must admit that sometimes I am hoping to teach people such things as love rather than hate, peace rather than war. Ah well … we are who we are, and while we can always strive to make the world a better, more caring place, in all likelihood we change very few minds. LuL

        Liked by 3 people

        1. What the world needs most, if I can say this without sounding like a teacher, is good role models. People others can look at and say, I wish I was like that.
          A missionary I once taught a whole village of people to believe in god, and christ. Then he went elsewhere. Ten years later he returned to that village to see how well his teaching took. They were right back to the life they had been living before his first visit. In trying to understand what went wrong, he discovered that they had been trying to make him happy while he was there by pretending to believe his teachings. Why? Because they were perfectly happy all the time, and part of being happy was making others happy. While he was there they wanted him to be happy. So they pretended to believe.
          He is no longer a missionary, or a believer. These villagers taught him how important it was to be happy, and religion makes no one as happy as those villagers. Role models work much better than words!

          Liked by 3 people

          1. You make a very good point … if we all spent our time being role models instead of talking about what everybody else is doing wrong, the world would be a much better place. I loved that story, too … it speaks volumes.

            Liked by 3 people

  2. I think you nailed this topic, Jerry! I agree with you completely, and it WAS a hard won lesson. But I also think you touched on the solution, maybe without even realizing it…

    *slipping into my best teacher’s voice*

    “They wanted to be heard just as much as I wanted to be heard.” Everyone wants to be heard. Instead of talking so much, perhaps we should try listening more, not with an ear toward how we can respond, but with a sincere effort to understand their point of view. Ask relevant questions. Seek explanation of muddled points. Let them hear, through our ears, what they are saying…

    As you so rightly pointed out, it wasn’t until I heard myself speaking (to myself, no less, since no one else was truly listening), that I began to truly understand my own thinking. I suspect that is why writing so appeals to me; it is a chance to hear myself speak…

    And understanding one’s self leads naturally to self-empowerment…. Or so I believe…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lisa, I so agree with this — we should try listening more! Too often I have found I “can’t get a word in edgewise” because the other person won’t stop talking! In other words, it works both ways. Personally, I tend to be a listener because I enjoy learning about the other person. But gee … it would be nice if they’d slow down a bit so we can share. 😕

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I hear you, Nan! The world needs listeners, true, but it also needs to hear from those listeners (like you) who make it a habit to hear more. You have many perspectives you can now share, if the talkers would give you a chance…

        I’m listening… just so you know. 😁

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Go for it, Nan. As Lisa says, writing is like talking to myself. It often surprises me what I write about something, good, bad, or indifferent. But I certainly know people who talk so much no one else can. They seem to have no clue…
        The funny thing is, as someone recently said somewhere, after talking for however long they do talk, I have no idea what they just said.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, and there are also people who are afraid to say much, because people are so easily offended. If I don’t piss someone off on a regular basis, I don’t feel I am getting anywhere. Not that I want to piss people off, but without doing so they don’t really try to understand others…
          They think everyone agrees with them, and that can go to their heads.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I would certainly agree with you. On everything. Thank you for understanding what I was trying to offer to others. I don’t necessarily want to teach anyone anything, not anymore, but I do like to try to make others think, and consider what others have to offer. If that is teaching, sobeit, but I do not think anything I say can save the world like I once hoped, esp something like this…

      Liked by 2 people

    3. I’ve been seeing a counselor for a while. I’ve always thought this profession was bunk. I can do this on my own. I can write journals, I can meditate, I can..umm..talk to god…or find a friend, or pen pal..or wife.. bartender…But…to sit and speak from the heart and know that person is really really listening blew my mind!! One of the most powerful things I’ve ever done. Most people don’t know how to listen.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A very true statement, Eric. And not even all counsellors know how to lusten to all clients. Finding one who listens to you, and lets you know he or she is listening, is like finding the Fountain of Youth. Hang onto that counsellor as long as you need them…

        Liked by 1 person

          1. The word is unimportant, I don’t think. Technically a counsellor counsels, or suggests. There is no telling a client to do anything, but suggesting different ways to look at a problem or issue, and leaves it up to the client whether to use any of the suggestions. The purpose is to help the client discover strengths, and learn how and when to use them.
            But, of course, everyone has their own ways of doing things. And the client should always have the last say in who they want to work with.

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Does this mean you are happier than you were? Or at least more settled? I know I haven’t been in contact as much as I would like. but I’m not very happy myself these days. Life could be better…

                Like

                1. That’s a good phrase, more settled. Nothing around me has changed much, but I’ve been working on noticing when I am obsessing on negativity. I’ve found if I catch it early I can turn it to positive. Takes practice practice practice. Maybe my 12 years of Zen meditation has helped me notice the working of my mind? Anyway, the homework my therapist gives me is to practice consciously turning negativity around. It works. I’m getting random smiles from strangers and waves etc. People engage me in conversation more. I guess my affect has become more positive??

                  What’s going on with you these days? Life weighing on you?

                  Like

  3. This really is a good post rg. You have summed up how I have been feeling lately.

    It is as though a switch went off in my head (or maybe it was ‘on’). I listen to (radio) and read (social media) a lot of stuff. I occasionally share some of it, but I absorb 90% and file it in my thoughts on the world.
    I am aware that most of that info is put out by people with personal agendas… The Twitter, Instagram and Facebook users want followers, reporters want recognition, politicians want to be re-elected and patted on the back by their peers. All of it self serving. But a lot of that information is useful to the listener/reader. We do learn from each other even if our ego pushes us in ways we don’t like.

    None of us can change the world single handed, but put groups of us together with similar mind sets and information, and they do change the world . Political idealogies thrive on this idea.

    The trick is to keep in step with truth, compassion and respect for others. No, we cannot teach, preach, or chastise, but we can inform, lead and encourage. 😊

    Like

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