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.