June 18th, 2007
|12:03 pm - Laziness is not an excuse.|
viedansante made a post that sparked a memory today. As I was replying to her post, I realized it was turning into a full-blown entry, rather than a comment:
After being told for years that I was a lazy sonofabitch in grade school, I informed my fifth grade teacher that, "I dunno, I guess I'm just lazy," when I was asked why I didn't do my math homework.
She looked down at me, the most honest and real look I've ever gotten from anyone, and she said, "You are not lazy, and I never want to hear you say that again."
She was so wonderfully, amazingly right about it all. That particular statement actually changed my life.
Huizinga would call her a "spoilsport". He defines the spoilsport as one who "shatters the play world itself. by withdrawing from the game he reveals the relativity and fragility of the play-world." It would have been so easy for her to play the game, to say, "That might be true, but it's not an excuse," or, "Yes, you are: I'm failing you." She could have been the referee and enforced those rules on me. Instead, she looked at the game I'd been taught, called the whole thing bogus, and showed me that I was worth more than someone else's definition of who I am.
It's true what they say, that one teacher can truly change the world. This one certainly changed mine.
That conversation is the reason I get so darn offended when I'm called "Lazy." I know that years of hearing that said to me, over and over and over again, had caused me to internalize it. It's also why I don't tolerate others being called lazy. I was involved in a conversation not long ago where it was insinuated that I had called people lazy (for something as silly as not completing an optional training program), and to describe how much that hurt is virtually impossible, even though I know, rationally, that no offense was meant.
I found a deep and abiding sense of self-worth in my teacher's statement that day. Now, I pounce on that game any time I see it and hope to the gods that I can spoil it for anyone else who might be tempted to play it.
We are not lazy. None of us.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a nap in the sun.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: hopeful
Current Music: "The Great Filling Station Holdup", -JB
Interestingly, I bring in Huizinga a lot. The world is full of play-acting and pretend, and I understand ritual (internally, though occasionally I'll express this externally, too) as a function of "play vs. not-play" rather than "sacred vs. profane". I get a lot more mileage out of that former dichotomy than the second one.
Honestly, I find his work vastly superior to Eliade's, and appreciate the value he places on play-acting, pretend, and gaming. The fact that he acknowledges the seriousness with which one can engage in play is, I think, what really does it for me about his work.
There's a post on sex that I've been working on for a while that will follow the "sacred vs. profane" division a bit (mostly: Pagans have no idea what they mean when they say "sacred sex"), but that's another case of internal versus external thought: it's difficult to get people to understand when I try and dichotomize (ooh: big word!) play and not play when it comes to sex.
re par 1- Have you written anything regarding this before?
re par 2- I never really got into Eliade, to be honest. I found him dry and unappealing. I'll admit to not giving a lot of thought to play/not-play/sacred/profane with regards to ritual, mostly because I see it in terms of ritual time/not-ritual time rather than making it more complex than that. Although, to be honest, my views regarding this are likely to transform (as they are in-process at the moment) in the coming months. Daily practice really has a way of causing a person to see ritual time completely differently. It's amazing, actually.
re par 3- While I've already very briefly touched on sacred/profane above - I have to admit a lot of curiosity regarding this. Write away, my interest has been piqued.
Ok, I gotta get back to this freaking-taking-forever-essay-of-doom. Its not even all that interesting at the moment, because I figured out one of my big questions, which answered the query "Why did the US hosted the negotiations for the 1959 Antarctic Treaty?" ... Once I figure stuff out, I'm ready to move onto the next thing to figure out, not continue writing an essay I don't want to write at all anyway. I don't think that my question was all that pertinent to the end product of the essay, anyway. Which really makes this essay all the more annoying. meh. /non-topical rant about being forced to write essays of doom rather than interesting dissertations about politics and religion.
part 1: A bit. Check out the Huizinga
tag on my LJ. . .
part 2: When I re-read Eliade after my first shot, I liked it a lot more. I suggest giving it another shot. Interestingly, I find that calling ritual time play/not-play is actually easier and simpler than "rtiual/not-ritual". And yes, daily practice rocks.
part 3: I expect to have it done soon. I want to run what I have so far by some people first, though :)
Good luck on the essay.
1. Will do, once I write more. I actually didn't do any work from the time I posted my last comment to now. Surprise!
2. Ok, I may just do that :-) With regards to terms being easier & simpler, that's only the case if the person you're speaking to has the same understanding of terms that you do. If not, things get monumentally more complicated.
3. Cool. Alert me to it if you remember once it goes up.
Lastly, thanks. I really need it at this point.