Don’t Look Down!

The next time you go rock climbing or scrambling up a peak, someone may give you some clichéd but good advice: “Don’t look down.”

This is not just a recommendation that works with struggling up a physical height. Often, you will need to remember these words when communicating with someone else.

Thinking is a primary means of overcoming not only personal but social problems. In moving farther up in your thinking to get over a difficulty, there is a tendency to believe that your view is the best view. But engaging another in dialog should bring you both to a stopping place, a flat or plateaued area in which exchange can really happen.

When you take a moment to rest in your personal contest, remember that you should not look down on the one with whom you are communicating.

Maybe you will have some more experience or know a few tricks more. Share! Maybe they also have something that could refresh or make your journey easier.

How does it profit this human condition for you to see even a temporary companion as actually unworthy or completely ignorant, especially if that person wants to deal with you in authentic humility?

The loving struggle is not a violent struggle. It is a heuristic rather than a polemic.

Yes, even Karl Jaspers calls it a fight, but one in which we wrestle or spar together for our ownmost freedom. Yes, it is a contest, but one by which together we examine our authentic possibilities.

No, you do not “win” by getting to the mountain first; neither do you get special privileges to pass judgment upon all those who are farther down the climb.

Come to the field of exchange with your fellow, open your mind to the opportunity of listening & talking, and…


Men and women who lack humility (or have lost it) cannot come to the people, cannot be their partners in naming the world. Someone who cannot acknowledge himself to be as mortal as everyone else still has a long way to go before he can reach the point of encounter. At the point of encounter there are neither utter ignoramuses nor perfect sages; there are only people who are attempting, together, to learn more than they now know.

Paolo FreirePedagogy of the Oppressed

The fight stays wholly nonviolent. There is no victory or defeat for one side; both win or lose jointly. Victory is not won by my superiority but by our common achievement of manifestation. Nor does defeat indicate a lack of strength; defeat lies in evasion, in hiding, and is due to unpreparedness for the crisis of my own volition and the other’s. The slightest use of force, including intellectual superiority, for instance, or the power of suggestion, brings the loving struggle to an end. It thrives only in total nonviolence, if each will make his powers as available to the other as they are to himself. In other words, only if the will to be right, the search for weapons rather than for objectivity, is also eliminated.

The fight is possible only as one simultaneous struggle against both the other and myself. A loving Existenz [self-realization] will cease to make one-sided demands on the other, because both will jointly demand all. This struggle, this extreme jeopardizing of the other and of myself, is possible only on the basis of a solidarity which unquestioningly presupposes the possibility of Existenz in both of us.

Karl Jaspers, Philosophie, Vol 2.

                                                                                                                                                     Source: via Nick on Pinterest


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