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This-essay is a9704221.htm which is available at the web-site See more notes at the bottom. Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay By-Months By-Years By-Words Webs of Like-&-Un-Like ESSAYS <==> Like-&-UN-Like This-One ========================================================== %FINDING COMMON GROUND EXCEL SUCCEED BETTER PRIZE 970422 When we are in competition with others and seek to be better than others we are likely to have difficulty in finding common grounds for agreements, understandings and cooperation. It is very tempting to look for criteria in terms of which we can be sure to be better than others; then lift those criteria to some level of ultimate concern. We and others are not likely to accept criteria in terms of which others will be better than us---unless we by some sort of reverse and perhaps sick logic feel and believe that we can better than others by accepting some criteria which make others look better than us. "Others are so arrogant, but I am so humble that I am better than those others who are so arrogant." If we are preoccupied in any way with issues of who is better than others---we are likely not to be able to find common ground with each other. We will be so preoccupied with the processes of defining and fulfilling the terms of criteria for superiority that we cannot perceive what is essential to the process of finding common ground. When we have perceived and articulated what is essential to the process of finding common ground, we are likely to be tempted to feel and think that we are thereby better than others who have not reached that high point of superiority. We are tempted to identify people who are standing in the way of finding common ground; and pass judgement upon them, condemn them, and perhaps exclude them from our circles of intimate dialogue. There is no end to the criteria which we can devise so that we can make distinctions, draw boundaries, and achieve some superior kind of exclusivity. Yet, by some miracle we may be liberated from the deep feeling and/or belief that in some sense we must be superior, better, more respectable, or more secure than others. However, trying to liberate ourselves from such a deep feeling and/or believe will not cure us of the disease; for success in achieving such liberation can be the ground for some sense of superiority. Upon what kinds of grounds do we and others sometimes regard ourselves as "better" than other people---in some ultimately important regard? The following words/phrases are suggestive of the richness and depravity of the buffet of grounds: Race --- white, black, oriental, indian, etc. Sex, sexual orientation and/or sexual behaviors. Education --- kind and up to what level. Income --- amount and source. Housing --- location, style, cost, features. Occupation/Vocation Achievements --- business, scholarly, artistic, etc. Intelligence --- kinds and amount. Hereditary traits and abilities. Religious affiliation, training and practices. Doctrinal beliefs and convictions. Obeying rules and regulations. Mystic experience, perceptions and insights. Traditional conformal practices and disciplines. Observance of purity codes and rituals. Transcendent understandings and insights. The diversity of grounds upon which people depend to bolster their sense of being "better" than other people suggests that there is no ultimately important way in which some people are really "better" than others---and that such efforts to be "ultimately better" are as futile as they are pervasive. How are we to deal with these pervasive and futile efforts to be "ultimately better"? We can seek to openly and honestly recognize them, name them, describe them and seek to deal with the sense of insecurity which they manifest---by giving and accepting free gifts of true security enjoyed as the freedom to be safely vulnerable in intimate relationships which are liberating and healthy. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in Search for Integrity and Honesty (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================
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This-essay is a9704221.htm which is available at the web-site These 5 lines echo top lines. Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay By-Months By-Years By-Words Webs of Like-&-Un-Like ESSAYS <==> Like-&-UN-Like This-One