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.
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?