Admiration (December 1991)
The O J Simpson trials were more than four years in the future when we wrote this piece on Admiration. The case was to later demonstrate the dubious wisdom of society's fondness for creating heroes and what can happen when those heroes are toppled in the eyes of the public. However, what we lose at the hands of admiration doesn't only depend on the perceived wrongdoing of those we choose to admire, but begins the first time that we make a comparison...
When we admire others, there is great value in being consciously aware of the implications of that admiration. Firstly, in order to admire we must be conscious of a comparison between that which we admire and ourselves. Whether it be an object or an individual, the very act of admiration forces us to compare. And for comparison to exist at all we must decide in favor of one factor over another. In the case of admiration, we judge ourselves to be an inferior to a given superior. This distinction of inferiority may be made consciously, or it may be implied.
Further to this consideration, when we admire something outside of ourselves, we automatically fall victim to our own perceptions of that object of admiration. We become a casualty of our own judgments. Before someone can be admired, we must firstly judge them to be a certain way and then justify our admiration with certain assessments of that person. These assessments may or may not accurately describe reality, however, the act of admiration forces us to be sure of our perceptions. We create certainty about them. And if we become very comfortable about these perceptions, if we attach significance to the focus of admiration and to the admiration itself, we assign them power over us. We create of people and things the power to please us, and with this power comes the power also, to displease us. The power to shatter and destroy our illusion of admiration, the power to make us feel disappointed, the power to incite our hatred even.
And if we admire with a sense of longing, we are ensuring that we can never aspire to the object of our admiration. For longing carries with it the implication of loss, of unrequited desire, of wanting but never having.
We live in a world where heroes, idols, admired individuals and respected public figures are part of a growing trend. A trend where no longer is there comfort or certainty in these figures of admiration, rather, more and more of these people are fallen heroes in the eyes of the public. It happens as venerated individuals are exposed as liars, drug-addicts, adulterers, extortionists, rapists and murderers even. Celebrities, politicians, officials in positions of authority and responsibility and respected members of communities do not escape the malaise. It is not an affliction, which can be cured through the reform of these individuals, it can only be cured through society itself relinquishing the need to create such heroes.
Whether it be a hero on the movie or television screen or the person living next door, the only true form of genuine admiration is that of feeling love for something or someone. Admiration in its truest sense is a resonance, a shared feeling, a realization of one's own qualities reflected in our perception of others. Thus, when pure, we give none of our own power away, we are able to maintain our sense of equality with others. The admiration is not so much a statement about something outside of ourselves, or something we do not have, but an acknowledgment of our own potential for achievement. Genuine and valid admiration is a celebration of the individual - a confirmation of what already exists within!
Wayfarer International, Copyright © John & Melody Anderson, 1991 - 1999. All rights reserved.
Appreciating Others (July 1996)
Not appreciating what we have in life is one of many processes that seems to be the result of what we fail to do. Not appreciating, however, is a deliberate process and can only result from effortful action...
An appreciation of people carries with it an implication that others are an enhancement in our lives. Not appreciating people implies that others are not an enhancement - in fact, they can become a de-enhancement. And if others are not an enhancement in one's life, then there will be an inclination to avoid other people in a variety of ways. It is simply an impossibility to 'not appreciate'. If an individual has a requirement to avoid appreciation, then he or she must initiate an active process of devaluing the people and things that surround them. If something is of no value, that is, if we judge it to be of no value, we will be unlikely to appreciate it, we will be encouraged to regard it as something which not only fails to enhance, but more significantly, 'de-enhances' our lives. Appreciation is indeed the doorway to prosperity; appreciate and life is a source of joy; fight appreciation and life becomes a struggle.
Wayfarer International, Copyright © John & Melody Anderson, 1996 - 1999. All rights reserved.
Axioms (June 1994)
We explored the idea of axioms in this essay, with the purpose of showing how the implications of a powerful idea can influence our experience of life. Any absolute, whether it's apparently negative or seemingly positive, imposes a degree of restriction on our lives which can discourage spontaneity and limit our experiences to only that which falls within the range of our knowledge.
Axiom: a proposition, usually one agreed upon as the basis of an argument or demonstration, whose truth is so self-evident as to be indisputable:
Axioms in simple form, are truths which an individual holds true without dispute, which then influence that individual's life in various ways and influence the way that individual acts in situations. For example, if an individual credited absolute truth to the statement "all men/women cannot be trusted" that individual would automatically behave differently in the midst of men/women, perhaps even to great inconvenience to the individual. Not only would that individual behave differently, that individual's entire life could be constructed around the truth of such an axiom.
It is the absolute nature of these axioms which give them power over an individual's life. To further add to this, they can be a great deal subtler than such an obvious statement as "all women/men cannot be trusted". For example, "I always have bad luck.", " I get a headache when I eat chocolate.", "If I don't exercise, I get really irritable." The axiom may or may not be an idea even formed in words or defined in that manner. It may only exist in impression form, but will have the same power and impact on one's life.
Often the hallmark of such an axiom is that the individual will defend the truth of it, often to ridiculous extremes and despite the obvious contradiction introduced by logic or even physical evidence. There may even be seemingly positive versions of the axiom. For example, "Eating apples will make me healthy."
Search out the axioms in your own life, those concepts that seem absolute and true and that adversely interfere with your power of choice - those that you defend. And what are their implications? Be sure to pursue the statements and ideas that might be subtle and especially those that seem justified.
Wayfarer International, Copyright © John & Melody Anderson, 1994 - 2002. All rights reserved.