There’s something that crossed my mind last night that I want to put into words.
It’s about fault-finding.
The immediate context was spirituality; people seem to pre-condition being able to learn from someone by absolute perfection and absence of all kinds of flaws and errors, supposedly because they want to guard themselves against failure or wrong paths or whatever, and the logic is that if you find one flaw or error, you proved that this person is not perfect and you don’t have to learn from them.
What that actually means is that a person that really doesn’t want to learn can make sure they stay exactly where they are by trying very hard to find fault with every person that could possibly help them, and this interpretation is actually a very good approximation of my experience with such people, especially since their thinking vastly differs from what I, myself, was doing when I wanted to learn.
You see, I approached things not with a loupe trying to see specks of dirt, but with a magnet. I went through lots of stuff and just picked up things that are useful from all kinds of sources, in order to clarify my own thinking and get better ideas. I even read many books by authors I vehemently disagree with, because by thinking about all the ways in which they are wrong I clarified my arguments as to why I actually think or feel what I do, and I would usually end up with a very concise argument that disproves the author’s position. Also, when I found an idea that clicked with me, I didn’t require the author to have literally everything about his other ideas or life in general perfect as a prerequisite for my acceptance of his idea. The idea sounded great, it clicked because it concisely expressed something I couldn’t properly verbalise before; now I replaced a vague concept with a clear one, thank you very much. I am also known for taking a vague and diluted concept from somewhere and condensing and purifying the line of thought into something much more coherent and concise, but you won’t see me going on about how the original author is an idiot. No, he’s good, maybe even great, and he came up with something great; I just focused it and enhanced the mantra.
This approach of using a magnet in order to collect needles from all sorts of haystacks is not really that different from the approach from the Upanishads, where one is advised to emulate a swan that can use his beak to separate milk from water, or the concept of a pure lotus flower that grows in a swamp. Basically, you are expected to do granular filtration and identify even a single good thought in a book that is otherwise rubbish, not throw out an otherwise great book because it contains one typo which proves that the author is not God.
Hello, fuckers: even the greatest of angels is “not God”, but you will not see God discarding him for that reason. No, you will see God loving and admiring him greatly because he is almost God. I see all kinds of idiots finding faults with obvious saints, ignoring the fact that God didn’t mind. Yes, Theresa of Avila was all kinds of flawed. Pray that you are that kind of flawed; that way, maybe God will show Himself in visions to you as well, so that you might see and achieve true perfection. Finding fault means one thing, really: it means that you are trying really hard to find an excuse for rejecting God and for keeping your sinful life intact. That’s what it really is. If you’re so perfect in your intellectual ivory tower that you can see all kinds of faults with saints and gurus, and God is absent from your vision, maybe your fault is much worse than those you are noticing with others. Maybe they have a problem here and there, but you are a problem, in the sense that your fundamental life choices are all sinful and wrong, and your intellect is merely a tool that rationalizes your sin.
It’s quite easy to make sarcastic quips about all the flaws and mistakes made by someone who was desperately trying to find their way around a difficult problem, and reach a solution they couldn’t properly grasp yet. Trying to solve a problem is hard. Being firmly entrenched in the problem and throwing rocks at others is much easier. It almost makes you forget how worthless you really are.