Daily Prompt Sweeping Motions What’s messier right now — your bedroom or you computer’s desktop (or your favorite device’s home screen)? Tell us how and why it got to that state.
On October 14, 2014, I wrote this response to this INCREDIBLY stupid prompt. Since then, I’ve developed the philosophical position that 1) I don’t have to write blogs on WordPress, and 2) even if I do I don’t have to respond to the Daily Prompt. That being the case, I more or less decided not to bitch about the Daily Prompt too much.
But lets just think for a moment about messes. I have a puppy and she has been the perfect puppy as far as messes go. She hasn’t. Not once. However my vacuum cleaner broke a couple weeks ago — it’s still more or less usable if you don’t feel the need for a handle to push it around… Still, it was an amazingly effective vacuum cleaner for the price ($50), but now I know that the price was not related to its ability to clean but to its ability to stay together. Yesterday after much thought and hesitation (July was an expensive month — puppy, fence, hedge trimming) I invested in a Dyson. I have owned Dysons for years and they are incomparable, IMO.
There is another mess in my life. One of the other “artists” at the co-op. I have (I’m told) an extremely high tolerance for other people but this person sends every filament of follicle radar straight up. She’s a bad painter, panders cheap new-age philosophy, calls herself a “counselor,” and is a shameless self-promoter whose bad art (‘spiritual’ painting) swallows up wall space in a very un-co-operative way. If you were to walk into the shop you’d think it was 1) her private gallery and 2) a New Age store. She’s also demanding and manipulative and does not listen to others. And she did an evil thing. A new artist brought her work (too much of it) and she and the display chairperson were hanging it. Ms. New Age came in and said horrible things to the new artist, who is a photographer. “Your prices are too high. My work is original paintings (the word “original” is very inaccurate) and yours is just photography.”
I made a suggestion to the president that we designate an amount of wall space to each person who does wall art. She was unable to see how that would result in fairness and eliminate situations like that. Never mind other galleries do it. The upshot? I’m not crazy about hanging my work in that space. In fact, I will probably take it down and bring it home. You can’t see it, anyway, pushed to the sides and corners.
This has been bugging me for two weeks. What to do with Evil? Because that’s what I think this woman is; evil.
Then I remembered the I-Ching. Traditionally, the I-Ching has been used as a method for divining the future. I studied it as part of reading Chinese fiction — it is pretty difficult to understand the characters and their concerns without knowing something about the I-Ching. A person asks “it” a question, toss some coins, get an assortment of heads and tails, look it up, read what the book says. Since 1) I don’t want to know the future, and 2) I thought it was bogus, I was surprised to find it was useful at all. The way it was useful was in helping me think about something from a different perspective.
And now I know it pretty well. Yesterday, walking the puppy, I was worried that my dislike of this woman was envy (her work sells and mine doesn’t). I thought about that — do I envy her work? No. I do envy that it sells. Why would it sell? It’s accessible to people and, most of all, anyone who comes into the store can’t MISS it. Aha, back to the starting point.
I was glad to know that part of my problem is envy. That I can deal with, but the rest? What to do? Talk to the president? Push harder on the wall space allocation thing? Push for monthly rotation of wall art so everyone gets time on the good wall? (There’s only one.) Then I remembered this from the I-Ching: “Finally, the best way to fight evil is to make energetic progress in the good.”
It turns the issue on the reality that I don’t control other people; only myself. How many times have I needed this lesson? I got home from the dog walk and read the whole passage. It offers clear instructions: “Even if only one inferior man is occupying a ruling position in a city, he is
able to oppress superior men. Even a single passion still lurking in the heart
has power to obscure reason. Passion and reason cannot exist side by side-
therefore fight without quarter is necessary if the good is to prevail.
“In a resolute struggle of the good against evil, there are, however, definite
rules that must not be disregarded, if it is to succeed. First, resolution must be
based on a union of strength and friendliness. Second, a compromise with
evil is not possible; evil must under all circumstances be openly discredited.
Nor must our own passions and shortcomings be glossed over. Third, the
struggle must not be carried on directly by force. If evil is branded, it thinks of
weapons, and if we do it the favor of fighting against it blow for blow, we lose
in the end because thus we ourselves get entangled in hatred and passion.
Therefore it is important to begin at home, to be on guard in our own persons
against the faults we have branded. In this way, finding no opponent, the
sharp edges of the weapons of evil becomes dulled. For the same reasons we
should not combat our own faults directly. As long as we wrestle with them,
they continue victorious. Finally, the best way to fight evil is to make
energetic progress in the good.”