Something more important than being right
as reply to Solomon Asch
2021-01-14 23:08:30

Until about 14 months ago, I was unable to fathom a better way to live than sticking to your guns and being an honest individual. If some or all the people got offended or hurt, well fuck them. That's how I thought and tried to live.

I always found myself as somewhat an outsider in even my own friend groups. I was never fully-in, but rather instead intimately close with a subset of individuals of the groups. Often these individuals were the power brokers: the ones who kept the show running; the reason for the group's existence. Whenever I'd feel like I was being contentious in a group, I'd often vindicate myself by thinking, well if the main person in this group likes me this much then i don't care what the others think.

I lived like this since high school up until recently. I probably would've continued living this way until I died if it weren't for some of the people in my life sticking around.

After returning from a visit to some university friends in Oct 2019 I was struck by a realization after settling back to life in Bloomington. I'd gone through my life burning so many bridges. Me always making an ass out of myself because I was fighting for something more truthful than what the others seemed to value. I found myself as more illuminated because while the others were concerned about stupid, petty things I saw through all the BS. 

My best friend Joel was living with his brother in Baltimore. I'd only met the brother twice before, but I remember being totally enamored by him on the previous visit. So I was excited to meet him again on this trip expecting to learn of all his growth. And damn I love it when people keep growing because it's impossible to expect or imagine how they will end up. No matter how high of expectations you hold of them, you'll run into them later and be completely floored.

When I returned from this trip I was walking around my neighborhood one afternoon autumn leaves scrunching under my shoes. I thought of Joel's brother and what he made me realize. Not just the brother but Joel himself. And not just Joel, but everybody in my life who I'd admired that had been a close friend to me. What did I remember of all these people in my life? They were people of character who made me think that I was of the same caliber. Because we got along in such intimate manners I just assumed I was on their same level. But I was confronting truth now. I was accepting the truth that I wasn't their caliber. They were my role models. What did they share in common?

They never made me feel bad for being who I was. Even when I was causing a ruckus within our friends' circles they never make it their mission to point out my flaws, which would've put me on the defensive and probably just argued with them. They always made me feel appreciated and someone important. They fought for my place in their groups. The fact that we got along wasn't evidence that I had the quality of such characters. The fact that we got along further supported that they were above me.

They were the people who weren't concerned with being understood. More concerned with understanding. They were the people who were more concerned with bigger things than sticking to their guns. And they didn't care to appear wrong -- either in the eyes of the majority or minority.

If you stuck to your guns, about which you thought was correct, all it would take is a simple measurement with a device everybody could agree was calibrated for measuring correctly. However, if you fell in with the crowd, it could show a degree of humility whereby the now incorrect response could be offered up as, well, group harmony is more important than winning every battle. 

Abraham Kim

Confronting Truth What is a blanket?
This make me realize: Thinking is not always equivalent to understanding. And even though you understand it all. There's still more to understand.
2021-01-15 00:23:12
I think after understanding is embodiment 
2021-01-15 00:44:41
Thank you for sharing Abe. I was mentally highlighting what you wrote only to realize by the end that I basically highlighting everything which is to say that all your points are well-taken and quite powerful.
2021-01-15 14:49:37