Monday, April 30, 2012

Marcus on Monday: Meditation 5:2

O the consolation of being able to thrust aside and cast into oblivion every tiresome intrusive impression and in a trice be utterly at peace!

When I read this, I tend to interpret “impression” as “opinion” which may or may not be the correct interpretation. My first thought on reading this meditation is, “how often does that ever actually happen?” People carry around the baggage of not only their own opinions (which may be based off of mistaken information, ignorance or confusion) but also the opinions of others, either positive or negative. They are constantly arguing with these opinions. How do you go about thrusting them aside or casting them into oblivion? How do you know when an opinion is based on hearsay or incorrect information, and how do you correct it, for yourself or someone else.

Here is something that I have tended to notice. People will continue to hold the same mistaken impression, even after you correct them, even if you provide proof that the impression or opinion was incorrect. I have had this happen on several occasions. One of the more memorable occasions went something like this:

I mentioned something about the Quakers to an acquaintance of mine. Specifically, it was about a gathering place for local musicians funded by The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). She said, “there aren’t any Quaker’s any more, the last community was somewhere in New York.”  

And I went “No, S, there’s a Quaker church on [street name] which is in Phoenix, not New York.”

And we went back and forth with this several times until I realized that she meant Shakers. And we argued back and forth until I thought I had finally convinced her that I knew what I was talking about. Of course, I found out otherwise when I mentioned Quakers on another occasion and she again stated that there were no longer any Quakers.

How exactly do you ignore something so exasperating? It would involve avoiding ever again mentioned anything that touched upon the ignorant opinion so you would not have to hear it. (And the more blank spots in regards to conversation topics, the less likely you are going to be able to talk to someone who has one ignorant opinion too many! Do not suggest, “don’t talk to ignorant people then,” because this is actually something that is impossible. Everyone is ignorant about something!)