Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our words paint a self portrait


I'm reading the Emerson Essays again and there are two things about him that strikes me. He is 1.) wicked smart and has amazing insight into the human spiritual psyche and 2.) extremely inaccessible to mere mortals that don't have a reading vocabulary at the Ph.D level. Okay maybe I exaggerate a little bit but seriously, I have to look up at least 1-2 words per page of content and most folks don't have that much patience. In a world where our President is selected based on out of context soundbites, I can't imagine the average person taking the time to read Emerson.
So I had this idea, if I could somehow reduce the essence of Emerson, or any great spiritual thinker down into a manageable soundbite then I could do a great service to the world. The great thinking inaccessible to many could be delivered over coffee with the Sunday funnies. The only problem I have is that I'm an okay writer but my drawing skills are nil to none. So here's my first attempt at a comic strip sans pictures. Think of it as a strip in search of an artist.
I love the self portrait concept and have always believed this idea that what we say of others we really reveal about ourselves, but I never said it with such eloquence and directness as Emerson, "A man cannot speak but he judges himself...he draws a portrait to the eye of his companion by every word. Every opinion reacts on him who utters it."

I've seen it in my own life time and time again. And the reason this happens is that we typically have something inside ourselves that resonates with the person we are talking about. The more emotional we are, the more resonance.
So for example a thief will suspect everyone of trying to cheat him or steal from him because that is how he thinks about the world, what can I steal or take that isn't mine. And on the positive side, a trusting soul will leave their door and heart open to others because how they are is how they see the world, full of trusting honest people.
The next time you are tempted to go on a tirade about someone or something that is happening, take heed and notice how much more you will be saying about yourself.


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