This may be the longest stretch of not writing on the blog since it started. Mea culpa. That doesn't mean I haven't been writing. Eleven lessons and counting on a class that starts today (one more day to sign up) on Real Villains for a writer's group.
The class will be a challenge. Like in a lot of fringe areas of life, the 'common wisdom' is ridiculously wrong; what most people 'know' are politically-driven platitudes; and these incredibly un- or ill-informed beliefs are passionately defended. There's some information that would rock their world that I can't directly share because of confidentiality issues and NDAs... but they will get a close look. Hope they're ready.
The basic distinction between infatuation and love is that with infatuation, you have to explain that every pimple is really a beauty mark and in love, you can see the blemishes without your feelings changing. Those infatuated must actively stay blind, because they fear what they will feel if they see the truth.
You see this in martial arts, of course. I've seen an instructor with a scripted knife defense that would have cut his own throat with a real blade...and their students blindly repeating the technique. Seen an instructor explain that falling over by flinching was inevitable and physics, though he could only make it work on his own students. Seen people who were toyed with convincing themselves they won. Watched countless martial artists deny their personal experience and accept a ridiculous truth... "Attacks always come from two long steps away" "No one can hit hard enough to hurt you at close range" "Anyone who uses a knife will become tool dependent and forget that they can use their other hand and feet so it's okay to tie up all your weapons on one of his"...and so on.
My circle of friends are probably not the people you'd invite over for tea and crumpets. Some are what R calls, "Our kind of broken." I like them, that's why they're my friends. But I like them knowing full well who and what they are. Not all are bad asses, and not all the ones who think they are really are. Some have knowledge that far outpaces their understanding or skill. All are trustworthy, if you know their parameters.
And some of them don't like each other. "How can you put up with...?"
It's easy. None of my friends are perfect, and so I can love them anyway, flaws and all.
But I hit a wall on this, sometimes, in training. What do you do with good skills that come from horseshit? Most of the time it's not a problem-- generally, if you find an art with 2000 years of history that was invented from pure imagination in the last half century, the art tends to not be all that useful anyway. It's easy to walk away.
But what about effective arts taught by frauds? Or what if it is the second or third generation away from the fraud who conned them and the present generation of instructors don't even know it's a fraud?
And (ran into this recently and am still puzzling over it) a group breaks away from their founder because of integrity issues but continues to teach not just the effective technique but also the bullshit philosophy of the founder?
Example-- most of the "Zen" I have seen written about in the US isn't just about the heretical offshoot of the heretical offshoot of Buddhism, but the misinformed, 1970's hippy idealized imaginings of what zen was supposed to be. If someone wrapped effective stuff in this imaginary trappings...
The INTJ part of me doesn't care. As long as the parts I need work, the fairy tales people tell themselves don't matter to me. But part of me cares, for two reasons. One is that too many people swallow the fantasy with the substance. Two- if someone can study X for a lifetime and somehow avoid noticing that everything around it is based on historical lies, how can I trust them on the base issues either?
Knowing full well who and what they are, I can usually take the useful and leave the useless. But it bothers me.