© americanifesto / 場黑麥
For most of my adult life, I have delighted in others' misfortune. One part of my tendency to find joy in the sadness of others comes from having been educated to a high standard in the German gymnasium system, so that now I have the capacity to intellectually browbeat most persons I meet. Also, I am a multilingual American mutt raised by a self-loathing, genius-level, alcoholic country pastor and his codependent, artist wife; one of the things I am good at is reading another person's weaknesses and relentlessly exploiting them to my own short-term personal gain. Furthermore, I stand about six feet four inches tall, with a muscular and athletic build, and I am accustomed to using my physical presence as a means to tap into deep-seated fears that many people have of persons taller than they are. More than a dozen years ago, however, I began to follow a path other than that followed by most of the people I meet, a method for living codified in five hundred Before Common Error by a warrior-scholar named Lao Tzu. Chapter thirty-one of his book contains a simple guideline for living a virtuous life: If one is bound to action, proud of victory, or delights in the misfortune of others, one will never gain a thing from this world below Heaven. Over the years my ability to understand and practice this lesson has changed and evolved, but my recent dedication to a daily practice of yoga and meditation has greatly strengthened my grasp of the deeper meaning of the Tao Teh Ching. In modern American society it is difficult not to delight in the misfortune of others – the tendency to do so is popular among hosts of television and radio programming, so much so that it is unusual for these role-models to treat the people around them respectfully and with feelings of universal love. How can one avoid finding delight in the misfortune of others? By breathing instead of speaking, by staying silent instead of hurling that delicious verbal barb, by rooting out the source of one's own dissatisfaction and desire instead of blindly following the knee-jerk reactions that pettiness and neediness demand. Not one thing slips by the Great Aether, not mine nor yours nor those guys' either. Huzzah.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
blog updated Fridays, usually
I bicycle, write, surf, and the rest.