Being Right or Many-headed

A strange silence has descended upon the city, as if its residents had not yet decided whether they were here or not, still on holiday at least in their minds. There may be a resistance to the daily, the moment it becomes as the French say, metro, boulot, dodo - gridlock, grind, feather and flip (kip). I am increasingly interested in the homogenising effect of the brain when it is not engaged: it takes willful practice to have it attend to the variations of each new moment.
Like how Gadamer described dialogue: it being a spontaneous, always new production between two people, wherein they will both come to new discoveries.
That is the way that I try to teach, though it can be hard to the point of failure sometimes because one can never foresee certain comments that will arise. Which is to say that one may think one knows one's audience, but where there is direct, vigilant communication, one sees how wrong one can be.
To be alive, awake, is to enter into this problematic dynamic.
The easy way out is to box people up, binding their fighting arms and legs, into labels. It is harder to forge something new, and even harder not to abandon one's principles, which is not to say dogma, for dogma belongs to the first part of this sentence with the imprisoning labels.
Here, I am thinking of dogma in the same way as I think of "being right." Even if one is right, one can become wrong if one demands the acknowledgment of one's being right. To adamantly insist on "being right" where it is not - at a given time - generally accepted, becomes a provocation, which usually brings in anger or other emotions, not reason or single-mindedness. Such insistence breaks up the path of communication into as many dead ends. There is no further creation through dialogue, but the many rearing heads of the Lernaean Hydra, born to viperous, many-headed parents, who were born of Gaia, the earth. If one is not skilled, every time one wishes to cut down the many opposing arguments to one's "rightness," the heads will keep growing back. Thence the chtonic that may be encountered while one is alive; the Λερναία Ύδρα thrives in having many heads, and the challenge faced by Heracles is to control the scattered-mindedness into single-mindedness. Heracles is, after all, one of the protectors of gymnasia
In dialogue, the rearing heads will multiply if one's argument against them is that they are wrong. One must locate their roots, through argument, and demonstrate the harm of their position: demonstrate that the path of their communication ultimately leads to the underworld, and not to life, which is where Orpheus wishes to have his beloved return. The chtonic is home to the tragic, from which we hope to be delivered.
Surely we all wish to avoid wrongful conduct. But Heraclitus writes, "Although the Logos is common, most people live as if they had their own private understanding." (III) To be vigilant in communication, "We should not act and speak like men asleep." (V) Λερναία Ύδρα requires tactics, not mere cutting off.

No comments:

Post a Comment