09 June 2008


There is never nothing about which to write, but there is always the concern about an audience’s interest in what I might have to say. And so I’ve been thinking about Eastern philosophy which teaches that everything is ego. Because everything I write assumes an audience which I pretend had need for what I have to say. And if I think that then it is my ego which wants fulfillment. If I think of the audience, I should be, I suppose, so awed that I could do little but listen! I wouldn’t write. But my ego insists that my voice must be heard. It is ego that speaks and not necessarily wisdom. Which seems to me now a very humbling position for a writer.

And the same goes for speaking engagements. How do speakers think about audience when they organize presentations. This interests me because as a teacher I struggle with audiences every single day, and on a pretty regular basis, experience failure communicating with them. Of course, not for lack of trying, but for lack of thinking. Ego, again. So these monasteries which demand silence help jettison ego.

How do we then decide when to speak? How do we trust that ego to break the silence?

We need to listen very carefully, but we must respond to what we hear. Abandoning ego seems to abandon action, and there are things we must do: care for the orphan, the widow and the stranger in our midst. But we ought also to consider carefully that when we speak it is to someone, and it is a violence not to consider the hearer.

And of course, when the writer knows there is an audience, there is the desire to continue to address that audience so as not to be alone.
So this blog is becoming easier and more difficult to write; so much to say and so much ego to silence.


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