Tuesday, December 22, 2015

hiding behind devotion

Sometimes people are more devoted to their profession or discipline than they are to the people for whom that profession was intended. Politicians, doctors and religious leaders spring to mind, but the capacity/habit is hardly limited to them.

And what a sticky wicket. Everyone needs to immerse themselves in whatever profession or discipline they choose. How else would anyone learn? But at some point (and I can't pretend to know that point), that immersion and devotion becomes as much a hindrance and a defense mechanism as it does a possibility for the good it may claim to do.

To the extent that any of this is true, I think that in the search for an instructor or leader, it is a good idea to find someone who is a bit older and a bit more seasoned in the given profession. Age and experience do not guarantee a willingness to put discipline and self-importance on a back burner, but the possibility exists in ways that it did not when the professional first set out.

Today, for example, I have a doctor's appointment with a podiatrist. I looked him up on the Internet, partly because I wanted to find out where his office is but also because I wanted to look at a face and guesstimate the likelihood that his experience would be tailored to my needs rather than his credentials or status. His face suggested I had a 50/50 chance, but since I have to go to the appointment anyway, it hardly matters what I guesstimate. I wanted some reassurance ... and naturally, the foolishness of my quest became apparent when I looked at the mug shot.

Still, the habit interests me since I too have indulged in its come-hither wiles ... getting so savvy and adroit and well-protected by expertise that the wide-open nourishment that expertise is capable of granting is lost to view.

Maybe it's all a bit like gathering firewood. It can take long hours and sore muscles to gather and split and stack. It requires a blinkered attentiveness and devotion. But in the end, what's important is the warming and unpredictable ash to which it is all reduced.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes i think, a younger, newer, as yet un-jaded member of a profession might be a better choice. More willing to fight the good fight than to roll over to the tiredness time can bring.