“I have never seen a situation where you shouted people down and convinced them you were right.”
We live in an era wherein nearly any and all information is available to us all of the time. It is literally ‘at our fingertips.’ It is no longer a matter of if you can know something. We can know anything. There are no secrets. In fact, there is so much information, simultaneously true and false, in the info-sphere that it is often overwhelming and confusing, making it difficult to know what and who to believe. For better or worse, this tends to lead us to believe that which agrees with our already tightly held viewpoints and ideologies.
With all of the information out there, we have the dubious luxury to pick and choose what we want to believe and what we want to espouse as truth. It is like a dogmatic version of Choose Your Own Adventure. Instead of being open to new ideas, listening to others’ perspectives, and gauging our conclusions on whether or not they are based in fact, we have resorted to basing our opinions on whether or not they align with our beliefs and feelings. We bounce from idea to idea, opinion to opinion, and outrage to outrage, in a constant state of overstimulation and irritation.
We have forgotten that there is deep truth inside each of us. We have forgotten to be quiet and still, letting that truth reveal itself. We have forgotten how to truly see each other, hear each other, and be with each other. We have forgotten that nothing we think or do or say is right or righteous without compassion or empathy guiding it. We do not need more information. We do not need more news. We do not need more data. We need more space for ourselves and for those around us to breathe, to be who we are, and to express our deepest and realest truth.
“As in life, so too it is in budo. As in budo, so too it is in life.”
-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body, Severna Park’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce, and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu