The Urge to Pontificate

29723I had the experience recently of listening to someone who proceeded to tell us in no uncertain terms what he believed to be right and what he believed to be wrong in life. I admired his conviction but not his imperialistic demeanour.

Listening to him, I remembered how I was once made aware of some words by Martin Israel that stopped me in my tracks. He said: “When I start to tell you what is good and what is bad, and what you should do and what you shouldn’t do, I immediately fill you with my own prejudices.”

I’ve never forgotten those words. They’ve become a potent antidote to the slightest desire in me to want to stand up and pontificate. Let’s face it, a lot of what we seek to pass on to others is too often filled with misinformation and personal prejudice, or am I perhaps being a little too harsh here?

Advertisements

About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in inspiration, Life, wisdom and insight and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to The Urge to Pontificate

  1. I could not agree more, Don. Pontification goes against every fibre of my being. There is no right or wrong that can be just pronounced ex cathedra .

    Like

  2. Well, I’d like to tell you this…

    🙂

    To your very valid point, Don, this is why I some time ago, chose to eliminate the words “should” and “have to” from my writing and verbal communication. I’m a bit over-sensitized to hearing either now.

    Like

    • Don says:

      🙂 Now that’s a good introductory phrase Eric.

      Eric, you’re so right. I also find those words unhelpful and have tried to eliminate them as well. I must share with you that I really enjoy the way you convey your truth on your blog. I always have the sense of space and being invited in. Thank you.

      Like

  3. Ahmed says:

    I totally agree with you. Remember when we we re young and used to ask our parents, we took everything they believed is right as right and the other way round until we grew up and started to ask more questions and perceive our own path. Very nice post

    Like

    • Don says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post Amed. I think, as you say, the lifeblood of growth is the ability to ask questions and to have those questions treated with respect. Thank you.

      Like

  4. Hudson Howl says:

    Winks at Don and quotes Erica Jong, “Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame”.

    The thing about pontification, the loud ones do not concern me as much as the silent ones. Debra over at findanoutlet dot wordpress dot com, a couple posts back had an interesting take regarding language and speach, an to some degree relates to this (i think the title was something ….Resentment) if you would to give it a looksy.

    Like

  5. Good post, Don. I completely agree.

    Like

  6. nrhatch says:

    Yes . . . I agree with you.
    No . . . you’re not being too harsh.

    I just got an e-mail that said, in essence, that THE cause of ALL problems in the world is that those who don’t believe in God push around those who do ~ pushing God and biblical teaching out of schools and office places, etc.

    My reply:

    If God is the answer to all these problems . . . why do priests molest choir boys?

    Don’t they believe in God??? :mrgreen:

    And, nope, I don’t think I’m being too harsh either.

    Like

    • Don says:

      Thanks Nancy. I must say that I find those kinds of statements so tiring and simplistic and the vehemence with which they are proclaimed really tests one’s patience. Sadly there’s far too much of it.

      Like

  7. ptero9 says:

    Yes, I am with you here. Conviction can be persuasive, but true conviction never comes from coercion or bullying.

    Like

  8. Robert Anton Wilson has this notion that everyone has a different reality tunnel. Realizing this helps me to not be so upset when I encounter someone whose belief is contrary to mine (which seems to continually evolve anyway) If everyone would realize the rock their reality is based on might not be so solid, it might lead to a little less pontificating. Here’s a short little video where he explains this.
    Take a look 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lO7tGOr2NU0

    Like

    • Don says:

      I love your words, “If everyone would realize the rock their reality is based on might not be so solid, it might lead to a little less pontificating.” Isn’t that what it’s all about. Different reality tunnels, I like that, not foisting our tunnels on one another, but presenting them in open and thoughtful discussion. Thank you for your thoughts.

      Like

  9. josna says:

    I am of two minds on this one, Don. While lecturing at others (rather than conversing with them) and being too sure of the rightness of one’s own views are indeed to be warned against, both as a matter of principle and in terms of their practical (in)effectiveness, I also recognize that, on several occasions, listening to people speaking from their strongly held convictions has been transformational for me.

    Like

    • Don says:

      I love the way you put it, Josna. I have no problem with people speaking from strong conviction and have also found it to be transformational; but for me it is always the manner and the way in which it is conveyed. Thanks for the thoughtful comment Josna.

      Like

  10. Dianne says:

    Morning. Blessings for 2014 to you and those you love, and I pray it will be a year of fulfilled dreams.

    I absolutely agree with you and find it ‘painful’ when someone believes they have all the answers. In some cases they have changed their minds along the path of growth but don’t seem to have learnt the lesson that there is always ‘the more’, ‘the new’ …. . Perhaps worse are those who do not journey at all.

    With regard to the fact that it is not ‘truth’ that is uttered but always ‘personal understanding/reflection’ on that truth I am struggling to understand how one can ‘share’ anything unless it is from within and therefore a personal conviction. Humility and the awareness that one is on a journey may go a long way in addressing the dilemma, but then my question needs to be : Is it what we say, or how we say it that needs to be addressed?

    Like

    • Don says:

      Dianne, I like what you say about the dilemma. It certainly is a dilemma. But your words, “humility and awareness” answer it for me – humility and awareness that we always only know in part and much of what we know is coloured by our own perceptions and prejudices. As for your questions, I think it’s all of them and more. I’m not suggesting that we become so cautious that we end up saying nothing, but lets try and purge ourselves of that kind of dogmatism that does absolutely nothing for our search for truth. Loved your comment – thank you.

      Like

  11. Mary says:

    Great post Don and I couldn’t agree more. Our world has gotten more combative with opinions, words, talking over and aggressively and gestures. Respect has gone right out the window, used to be mainly in politics now we find it in everyday life – family dynamics, co-workers, friends, strangers, name it. Is it the tactics seen or taken on “shock” TV, Radio, newspapers, movies, in social media? I don’t know, but do think it is a little of all – as a society we’ve lost our soul.

    Like

    • Don says:

      Your phrase Mary, “combative with opinions” is so descriptive and you’re right, respect in many cases has gone right out of the window. Because it is combative, as you say, there always has to be a winner. Very sad. Thanks Mary.

      Like

  12. I had a discussion with someone about this very subject yesterday. I respect others’ opinions, even if I don’t necessarily agree with them, and I feel that when they start lecturing me, it is a total disregard for my intelligence and beliefs. I am very thankful that I have good friends with whom I can debate any subject and I have learnt a lot from them but often we agree to disagree then drink another cup of coffee and have a good laugh about it.

    Like

    • Don says:

      When you have friends like that Jacquie, they are a real gift. I agree with you, it can be extremely annoying when people go in to lecturing mode. Thank you.

      Like

  13. Not too harsh at all Don. I love this post! And now I want to find ways to work the word “pontificate” into my world. 😉
    I do keep this concept in mind as I blog, and live my life, to avoid the energy of ‘do this’ and instead offer ideas that have worked and are working for me now. I am all about role modelling and living by example. The very opposite of the old saying (that my mother thought was so funny) of ‘Do what I say, not what I do’.
    Thank you so much for another thought provoking post. Gina

    Like

    • Don says:

      The offering of ideas is such a lovely way of putting it Gina. There is about it the sense of sharing, respect, and the freedom to receive or not to receive. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      Like

  14. Healthy A-Z says:

    Not at all harsh in my experience. What we give as our opinion, especially when shared emotionally, is always about us. I try to keep that in mind when another is spewing words at me. 😉

    Like

  15. Loved the post.

    When I air my views, I believe I am being passionate. But I in fact amconveying what to me is reality. That might be significantly different from your reality. So to me, it is not really about prejudices being imposed but the confusion I have about my reality being the only real reality.

    So what work do we need to do to develop consciousness of this aspect in our own selves?

    Shakti

    Like

    • Don says:

      I warm to what you say Shakti, although for me I think it’s both. I know that my reality is sometimes shot through with some of my prejudices and the more conscious I become of them the more I can begin to purge them from my reality. Enjoyed your comment – thank you.

      Like

  16. Pingback: Know-It-Alls | Spirit Lights The Way

  17. This is a powerful message, Don, and an excellent reminder. Even “small words”–our comments made in passing or bantered about over coffee–need to be considered through this post. Well done.

    Like

    • Don says:

      Appreciate your comment Marylin. Your adding “small words” is so true. They can be so easily overlooked and yet can be tremendously powerful. Thanks for that.

      Like

  18. ladyfi says:

    You’re right – as our morals are very personal and what is right for one person, may be wrong for another. However, there are times when people give advice in the form of wisdom (without prejudice).

    In the words of Rumi: Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a filed. I’ll meet you there.

    Like

    • Don says:

      I agree, Fiona, only I’m a little uneasy with the word, “Advice.” I like you word “wisdom” because somehow wisdom doesn’t come across as advice. But then i suppose it’s all a question of semantics. I love those words of Rumi – thank you.

      Like

  19. Shweta says:

    No, you are not being harsh Don. I agree with you, every person’s thoughts/ experience is filled with personal circumstances and individual judgement and we all sometime or the other talk about it to someone. However,one who understands this fact will definitely be able to distinguish wisdom from advice.Will pick what is useful to him/her and may ignore the rest. You have given a powerful message through this post.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s