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Stalking the Average Man

-Not entirely, because we are inside our delusions looking out. Ultimately, it takes a
teacher‘s skill to move the student to a point of view that reveals their underlying beliefs, and
change their mind-set by severing the strangle-hold of intricate entanglements that hide
contradictions. As I said, the ego is a tricky thing to convince. |
-Your teachers play both parts—the burglar and the magician? |
-They do. |
-Which means you have to know what they do, to write your story? |
-I‘m sensing you want to see if I can crack one of your beliefs, and show you a flaw, | she
said casually.
-Go ahead. | I shrugged.
Bonnie nodded, took a moment to reflect, then she said, -In one of our conversations you
said you hate war, then you said you had nothing against warriors. Correct? |
-I don‘t doubt you. |
-There can be no war without warriors, so you must have recognized the difference between
a belief and an action, to not condemn the participants personally? |
-Correct, | I said evenly.
-It follows that you would have to express your feelings in this way—that beliefs are not us,
they represent a point of view only. |
-I see your point; I was not definitive. |
-That‘s not the issue: Like you, many people don‘t realize they have entangled their true
feelings with those that support their wonderfulness: in spite of your insightful understanding, |
she said, straight-faced, -your disdain for malevolence is not separate from those who create
them; it oozes on them in the guise of piety. |
-Piety! I exclaimed, spitting the -P | . I felt no need to apologize.
-The distance your experiences with warfare separated you from the participants is vertical:
you raise yourself above them because your job was not to kill people. The nature of this attitude
is piety. |
-I told you on day one that everyone was scared most of the time. |
-Indeed you did, but how you mixed your self- image with your beliefs conveyed something
more. |
-Which was? |
-When I suggested that it took courage just to get out of the hotel, you didn‘t say you were
scared; you said everyone was scared, and when I asked you about adjusting to fear you simply
said, nope. You obfuscated that poignant point further by saying combat changes your thinking,
and that concepts like courage became stupidity, before you realized it was all about doing what
you had to do. In other words, yo u turned what most of us view as bravery into an intellectual
endeavor, to hide a secret belief from yourself. |
-Which would be? |
-Why would you indulge, as a personal excess, going from war to war? |
-If you‘re suggesting I did it to prove to myself that I was brave, I just told you I was
scared. |
-Then you blew it off by displaying your extensive knowledge to support your contention
that heroes aren‘t what we think they are; that in fact they‘re more like you. Between the lines,
the elevation of your status gave away that one of your personality masks is piety, which you use
to hide another secret that warfare generated. |
-Go for it, | I said blandly.