What could be simpler ... and yet more confoundingly difficult?
During an email exchange with a friend this morning, I brought up the metaphor of some land-based animal telling a fish that breathing air was a most nourishing and sensible sort of existence. The fish, naturally, was not convinced: His environment and sustenance and life were reliably based on water. And so the animal and the fish were at deeply-embedded loggerheads.
The metaphor crossed my mind when discussing with my friend the deep divide that separated those with an interest in the difficulties confronting Zen Studies Society -- an organization that has been wracked by the sociopathic depredations of its former top gun, Eido Shimano. There are those who feel that whatever remains of ZSS after Shimano's apparent departure from the scene deserves to be nourished and rebuilt in a more kindly and nourishing fashion. Others feel that to rebuild requires a demolition of the current structure -- freely and openly admitting mistakes of the past and then, without attempting to salvage or elevate particular power bases within the organization, refashion the whole shooting match ... and even that might not work. Pouring fresh water into a poisoned well does not provide fresh water.
Both sides can be pretty adamant and sometimes fiery. Fierce and convinced.
So I said to my friend that after a while -- given my level of energy -- my own feeling was that the best anyone could do was simply to say, "I disagree with you and here's why" and then leave it alone. The animal will not convince the fish. The fish will not convince the animal. It's like talking to someone convinced by their quite exclusive religious faith: That faith is unquestionable so the believer does not question it ... and expects others to concede their point of view: Air is best ... or ... water is best. Period. The end. A brick wall.
To'ing and fro'ing may be socially acceptable, but it is tiring in its endless wrangling. As Gandhi once suggested, "Be the peace that you imagine."
"I don't agree with you and here's why." Say it as often as you like ... but don't expect a different result... or any result at all for that matter.