Friday, March 14, 2008

With Friends Like These?

This video is deliberate political satire, and it addresses an issue that we all face in whatever group or endevour we are engaged. Everyone wants to help. Where does the impulse to help come from, and what is its effect? These questions need to be considered whenever we are moved in this direction. Sometimes it's better to just shut up!

The impulse to help at first seems to be completely altruistic. We see a need, and we know that we can make it better. We want to improve the life of a person or a group, and promote the general welfare. Often, though, it comes from an attitude of superiority. We are better than, know more than, can fix the problem that this poor individual has better, more, quicker, than this person or group can on their own.

Often this really seems to be the case. They're really stuck. They're really wrong.

I can solve any problem you have in two minutes. If you'll only listen to me and do what I say, your problem is solved. The world is made better.

There is another space from which this impulse can come. That space recognizes the individual or the group of individuals, as capable and whole in and of themselves, and may want or need assistance to move from a stuck place. It's a subtle difference, but a significant one.

Helping often generates heat instead of light. Assisting can make both parties much lighter. A way to know where you're coming from on this is the level of satisfaction experienced in the outcome. We're looking for a win-win situation. Acknowledging the ableness of a person makes both parties come away smiling.

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This blog is the thoughts of a Freemason. It's not affiliated with any Masonic body, and doesn't speak for Freemasonry in any sense of the word. My purpose is to raise questions, not dictate answers. If you read this blog, please comment; please subscribe, so we can look for answers to these questions together.