an unfortunate incident with an ink pot

I was responding to ZenDotStudio in a comment stream on Tuesday’s post and explained that this week’s enso series arose from an unfortunate incident with the lid of my ink pot.  The effect (which is on Monday’s post) was quite lovely and being a creature of ever-expanding cravings, I tried to re-produce it using different colours.  The results have been rather nice, I think, despite the contrived nature of the work.

It does remind me that there is a huge difference between a “contrived” nature and a “constructed” one.  After politely trashing a Buddhist book in a review by calling the author’s personna “contrived,” the author attempted a slight-of-hand defense by claiming all personalities are “constructed.”  Ah.  No.  Not really.  More and more, I’m reading books and other writings that say more about the author’s pretense to authority-via-bluster than about Dharma.  When someone uses that big-tough-throw-it-in-your-face style, it sets off a big flashing red light for me.  And the neon sign screams, “Contrived illusion of competence ahead.  Proceed at risk of wasting your time.”

But what about a constructed illusion of competence?  I think that’s called a learning curve.  Black ink ring stain on canvas leads to curiousity about how this might become something useful.  Inadvertently cutting and pasting a data series in a long column results in … results!  Wondering what would happen if I open the computer registry and change a few values results in… well.. let’s not go there.  My IT guy just got a few free therapy sessions from me after that one.

Some people call it the “fake-it-until-you-make-it” approach to life.  I’m proposing there’s no faking it.  Really.  Take a good close look the next time you set up a constructed competence.  Who was the fake who designed, manifested, and realized it?  

We are what we practice.  And practicing competence can be what we become.

I have to go and bow to my little ink pot.

4 thoughts on “an unfortunate incident with an ink pot

  1. I would say this was a happy incident with the inkpot, serendipitous and quite delicious. And perhaps the further exploration was simply standing on the shoulders of the first inkpot incident. Working the incident, mining the incident, perhaps??

    And yet I do know the inclination to cling to what seems “likable” and want more of it, to produce the “pretty thing” again, the known ground.

    And to know the difference, that’s the trick.

    Ah, to words, they can give us so much grief. Contrived, for me, feels judgmental and slightly insulting while construction doesn’t seem (to me, at least) to have any of those connotations. Construction is just something you do when you are, say, when building a house.

    • That’s a good clarification on “contrived.” It is very judgmental and insulting; to use it is to imply a manipulation of self in order to manipulate others. As I read your words, I also realized that when we contrive our stance to others, we are doing insult to them as well. Interesting. Thank you for leading me to that!

      It is a delicious ink pot. I have a few and may put them on display here. 🙂

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