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Orphan Wisdom

Where did I get this understanding? I don’t remember. No teacher taught me it, or many did. I improvised it through contact with friends, and by testing myself in the world. Slowly, over time, certain patterns emerged, confirmed in books, and I came to realize that I understood. But who is my teacher? The world is my teacher, and my own heart.


Comment from Hisham
Time: April 30, 2008, 08:45

At the end of the day, your Wisdom isn’t Orphan, it rather has countless fathers and mothers: the outcome of a “polygamous” process of learning.

I like your periodic philosophical contemplations! sounds great.

Comment from eatbees
Time: April 30, 2008, 20:48

Of course you’re right, it comes from everywhere. But I originally wrote this in response to the idea of having “a” teacher. Fortunately I didn’t waste much time waiting for that… the world is full of teachers, including our own mistakes!

I write these little philosophical things when I get sick to death of the media echo chamber and its endless missing the point.

Comment from Reda
Time: May 2, 2008, 16:04

Actually I had a discussion with a friend about this when we were talking about Sufism and I raised the fact that it seems you can’t involve on that path if you don’t have a teacher or guide that seems to handle all the teachings and give it to his students ‘au goutte à goutte’.

Comment from eatbees
Time: May 2, 2008, 16:30

Yes Reda, that’s exactly what I was reacting to, the Sufi idea that you can’t get anywhere on the path without a teacher. To me everything in life is part of the path, and if you are fixed on seeking a teacher (or guru) you will miss the real teacher!

Comment from Michael Cox
Time: June 9, 2008, 14:55

And where did you get your stunning modesty, Oh Wise One?

One teacher — or many?

The world — or your heart?

My bet would be on you, you, you . . .

Comment from eatbees
Time: June 9, 2008, 16:31

@Michael — You’re reacting to one possible reading of what I wrote, and I agree that I could have been more clear.

By “understanding” I didn’t mean the kind of understanding a Buddha is supposed to have, but rather, the more modest insight that we, as humans, are capable of knowledge. Once we have that insight, we can continue on the quest for knowledge because we know it’s possible. I maintain that we can take that first step without a teacher, because it’s our birthright as humans. And once we’ve made that step, it’s also possible to continue without a formal teacher, using reason, intution, and our traveling companions as our guide.

If there’s ever been a new thought in the world, it should be obvious that it surpassed whatever knowledge that individual got from his or her teachers. If there are no new thoughts, then what are teachers for, since it’s just the same old thoughts circulating around? In either case, teachers may be helpful up to a point, but we’re obliged to move on from there or grow stagant.

My point here isn’t my own ego. My point is the innate human capacity to know, which doesn’t depend on teachers, so much as on paying attention. If we need anything from teachers, it’s their model of what it means to pay attention. After that we’re on our own. All humans share this ability, and so we help each other.

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