Wisdom and foolishness

Our daughter’s sensei is poetry in motion. He tumbles and kicks, gives way and stands unmovable, turns his opponents’ power against themselves, flashes his fists at the speed of thought. He exhibits absolute control of the kinetic forces within and around him: an exaltation of what a body and mind at one can do.

His students gather round him, little ninjas with awe and ambition in their eyes, as he dispenses unimpeachable wisdom: Obstacles are often only so in your mind. Don’t defeat yourself before you even make the attempt. Tell yourself you can, and you will — or at least feel no shame in failure, having tried your best. Girls can do anything boys can do. “I am a perfect child, in a perfect place, in a perfect time.” (Perhaps not “perfect” literally, not in so many ways — the perfect is the enemy of the good, after all — but these are effective confidence-boosters, a way of centering yourself, of reminding yourself of your own power and possibilities.)

But later, in casual conversation, he tells me about the significance of certain numbers in his particular spirituality, and how 2012 will be a mystical time of transformation, and how the planets are lining up to change human consciousness forever, and how we’re already seeing this in how much more aware and mature children are today than during our own childhoods. These are not new discoveries, he assures me; this is timeless knowledge, as old as humanity, and we are just reawakening ourselves to its truth.

Um… okay.

We are all, I suppose, a mix of the rational and the irrational. What an uphill battle reason has fought, and continues to fight: not just historically, not just between discrete groups of the enlightened and the benighted, but here and now — and within ourselves.

(Photo credit: Tomasz Niepsuj, via MINORITYmaN)

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