Monday 4 October 2010

The Evangelist, the Priest and the Monk?

I eavesdropped on a conversation yesterday between Olivier Blanchard and David Armano. Tracing it back, this is where it started:

David ended that Twitter day with
building is harder than tearing
no doubt referring to this debate. I call it debate, because for some its obvious goal was about getting right. It all started with Olivier's fun and provocative post Turning a new leaf. A happy leaf

The post is tongue-in-cheek, although pressing it a bit hard maybe, but Olivier's answers to David are rather childish - although in line with his entire behaviour today
People sometimes agree, sometimes they disagree. In a conversation with Prem Kumar Aparanji today, who  also wrote an interesting post on gurus and mantras, I somehow got to mention verse 6 of the Isha Upanishad:
यस्तु सर्वाणि भूतान्यात्मन्येवानुपश्यति। सर्वभूतेषु चात्मानं ततो न विजुगुप्सते॥६॥
(hold on, I'm getting there)
That translates to the following:
He who sees all beings in the Self and the Self in all beings, shall not know aversion
Now, I don't know who of you has seen The Good, the Bad and the Ugly but it is one of my favourites. Especially Tuco's great bath-tub line which now is part of my email signature.
To be honest, I like all three characters. I like the Good, but I also like the Bad, and the Ugly - they all three have their pros and cons, and serve their purpose. Together, they make a great film

In Church, there are evangelists, priests, and monks. They all do different work, have different attitudes, specialties: to each his own
Evangelists don't go too much into detail, but can greatly enthusiasm others. They're pretty much like Sales Directors: they know the product range, can very convincingly tell you what's best for you, and are fairly short of breath. But, they're great people-people
Priests are best when they speak about the content to people they're mostly familiar with: they have a way with people as well as with words, but rather 50-50. They can't attract a large crowd in little time, but they're good at herding a large flock for a long time, curating and caring where they can.
Monks aren't too people-savvy - they just love the nitty-gritty details of scrutinising texts and go for content all the way. In the Netherlands we use the phrase "monks' work" for tedious labour that requires great patience, attention and solitude

To each his own; they all play a part in the institute of the Church. I'll be the last to say that together they make a great Church but you catch my drift, I hope. Just like the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, everyone plays his part

I think David Armano is a great Social Media evangelist, and has meant -and still is meaning- an awful lot for the Social movement. He presents and explains great visuals and knows how to catch many people in many ways.
I'm unsure whether Olivier could be compared to a monk or a priest - if you can fill entire days with giving the same "It's the new me - all sugar no salt" answers, maybe you're beyond definition even. Looking from overhere, Olivier's very, very frustrated and blowing off a lot of steam. Olivier's great at picking out the bad apples, but at some point you're done eating, I'd think

I can sometimes see myself in others, and others in myself; and it greatly helps me understanding others, as well as myself. We have more things in common than that what makes us different - many, many more.
We all do our best to get to the more or less same Goal, and we all play our own part in it. Sometimes we get fed up with all the frustration, and react angry - or just tired.
Still, we're here to dialogue, converse - not debate. The innate urge to be right is for the fundamentally insecure or immature, and at some point in our lives we all are that - but that should pass

See yourself in others, and others in yourself...

6 reacties:

olivierBlanchard said...

My catechism teacher, Sister Colin, must be rolling in her grave hearing that my two options are either priest or monk. :D

That said, some monks make excellent cider out of bad apples, so the analogy is pretty decent. Rotten apples CAN be made delicious with enough time, pressure and sugar.

Have faith, grasshopper. Recalibrating karma can be a difficult maneuver. I've been asked to be positive, not critical. I aim to make that happen, if only for a few days. Invariably though, even the best plans go awry.


A. Prem Kumar said...

Quite a heady mixture there Martijn! Sanskrit, Wild Western classic, Church - WOW! Not an easy task to tie them all together to this brouhaha about social media & snake oil sales men.

Hope people's heads don't explode with all the disillusionment and realization that their karma was affected badly by maya! ;) Lets hope many more break the vicious cycle of Maya and attain Nirvana ... or will they prefer to renounce Nirvana and rather stay at the Lotus feet of their beloved deity of social media panacea?


P.S.: You should have added some zen or Confucianism & a haiku. ;) (And I hope people get the hint that am not talking about a certain Kurt Cobain above).

Arthur H. Johnson II said...

I found your observations particularly interesting. A lot to think about and ponder.

Martijn Linssen said...

Olivier, Prem, Arthur, thank you ver much!
Prem, now yoy're Confusing people with your Confucianism - I see you're better at this than I am...

A toast to Nirvana then, and recalibrating karma; after all, if it's yours, you're the only one who can affect it

Suzie Graham said...

Wonderful post Martijn. I love that you read the Upanishads. We need to be right because we think we are the controller. .. even though "Mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram .. this material nature is working under My direction" (BG 9:10).
If only we could remember to see ourselves as the servant; when we do it is so liberating. I look forward to when the forgetfulness passes.

Martijn Linssen said...

Thanks Suzie! The BG is a great piece as well of course! In Epictetus shows what is in our control, and what isn't - I think you'll like it

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