Monday, December 26, 2011

the cop-out

This morning in email, a friend suggested with the straightforwardness that good friends can employ, that an argument I had made to him in the spiritual-endeavor realm was a "cop-out." It really is nice to have good friends.

What a deliciously-direct and sometimes stinging word "cop-out" can be. An Internet dictionary defines "cop-out" as
  1. A failure to fulfill a commitment or responsibility or to face a difficulty squarely.
  2. A person who fails to fulfill a commitment or responsibility.
  3. An excuse for inaction or evasion.
 Two currents of thought cropped up in the midst of this noodling: 1. Perhaps the whole of spiritual endeavor -- or life if you prefer -- boils down to relaxing in the realization that cop-outs are simply the lay of the land. 2. That the single most compelling cop-out is this "I."

Cop-outs require the implicit assertion that there is, somewhere, firmer and more credible ground. They require a belief or attachment to what is alleged to be more substance and less style, more horse and less saddle. But perhaps the question goes begging ... is this cop-out or the criticism of it any closer to the truth? Moreover, is the implicit rebuke more useful or more unnecessarily confusing?

Naturally, I will continue, within and without, to try not to be a cop-out, a feather merchant, a lazy blowhard. But I will investigate whether that appreciation really makes much sense. Is life as a cop-out really that bad? More important, is it really escapable?

It's probably a stupid train of thought (I can hear the moral-relativist-critic yowls), but it's probably not the last stupid thought I'll ever have.

"I" am a cop-out.

Read 'em and weep.

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