HUMILITY MONTH: DAY 6: “A true Democratic Spirit is up there with religious faith and emotional maturity and all those other top-of-the-Maslow-Pyramid-type qualities that people spend their whole lives working on. A Democratic Spirit’s constituent rigor and humility and self-honesty are, in fact, so hard to maintain on certain issues that it’s almost irresistibly tempting to fall in with some established dogmatic camp and to follow that camp’s line on the issue and to let your position harden within the camp and become inflexible and to believe that he other camps are either evil or insane and to spend all your time and energy trying to shout over them.”― David Foster Wallace
We all could use a more “democratic spirit” I suppose. This quote is the first time I ever thought about it or considered it that way. We are brought up to side with one party or another, trained to take sides in most things.
One of our greatest dysfunctions in relationships is to side with others or expect them to side with us exclusively. It causes great rifts in families and couples and friendships quite often. What if we just let everyone BE? Most of us believe this is hard, if not impossible.
I know it would be a great service to others if I could embrace a spirit of allowing everyone to be who they are and not need to choose one person over another. This lack of judgment would be completely living in an ego-less state. Acceptance at an absolute level. I am not there yet, but the idea certainly does appeal to me.
There is a beautiful piece in “Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers” that Dr. Bob had hanging over his desk about Humility. I have had it hanging in my home somewhere since I first read that book and found it. The one line that I believe would solve all of our troubles on a global scale today is the line that reads:
“to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me.”
This goes along with the premise presented in The Four Agreements that it is not about me. We take things personally that are done by others. And we get angry and resentful about them. How arrogant and self-centered we are to do this.
And it happens all the time. We attach ourselves to things that do not have anything to do with us, just because we see them and have an opinion and get all riled up about things in the world around us. This is not humility. It is the opposite. I believe we can take action, but based on a humble assessment of what is and what is not our part in things. Sadly, that is not what we see happening most of the time. As the quote states, it is similar to emotional maturity. Not a lot of that going around these days. Sad.