answer love with love. beauty with beauty. especially when it’s hard.
by now, we’re all-too-familiar with the paradigm of knowledge/power. what a paradigm for knowledge, for power. masters/slaves? what of lovers? we began here, didn’t we? philosophy? love/wisdom? the ancient hebrew tongue condenses philosophy into a single word: yadah. a knowledge that is also love. knowledge/love. we read, with the delight of linguists, that first occurrence in the torah, “and adam knew/loved his wife eve, and she conceived….” intimacy with the world…isn’t this our starting point? or as rumi has it, “it gives, and they receive without calculating.”
it doesn’t matter the tradition. we speak out of this knowledge/love, and in this, we become philosophers. “thank you so much for your thoughtful reply,” we answer, uncalculating. each comes from her own, and to that ownmostness we speak. especially when that ownmostness addresses us. in this respect, plato once observed that all vice is ignorance. as the circle of what we know expands, the awareness of our ignorance expands tenfold. we each do our best.
gentle answers avert anger. what is the connection between calculation and anger–in what has been called philosophy? why this level? granted, anger in others can sometimes be an ally. but for what purpose? and where? their “conceptual framework,” what nietzsche called their “columbarium of concepts,” is often all that is affected. use logic. drop bombs on people’s worldviews. change beliefs. here is a battle-field, tried and true, for what has been called philosophy. but merely changing concepts leaves something behind. we’ve all felt it.
we can flood ourselves with ricoeur and grice, and many of us have. we have learned the judgment of charity in conversational ethics. deeper still: find the love. find the beauty. speak to that. address it with the strength of your ownmost love and beauty. this, here, now, is where we meet. it’s not a battle. it’s love-making.
don’t change concepts.