Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hoist with my own Petard.

When this blog was set up for me 2 years ago, I never thought it would be a means of increasing my self-knowledge, nor did I ever think I was going to have to apologise on it. But I was wrong.

In my last blog I put myself on high ground, as regards intuition, and in the process, I, implicitly or explicity, grumbled at my friend's lack of intuition.I was very wrong, and I am sorry.

I should have remembered Kant's “catergorical imperative”, where you don't claim for yourself anything you wouldn't grant to someone else. It's more complicated than that. There are times, when because of lack of experience, you don't know what their claims actually are.

My mother several times said to me that, as a young woman, she didn't want to be known as “the lame one”, she had two younger sisters close to her in age and her osteo-arthritis had already manifested itself. I don't remember that I ever effectively responded and it's only now, when I'm disabled to the point of deformity, that I can understand her struggle to retain a sense of value when she was beginning to limp with every step. I can see I should have agreed that not wanting to be known as “the lame one” was very understandable. I needed to have acknowledged her pain; it's not enough that I still rememeber the conversations 13 years after her death.

In another situation my judgement was also seriously flawed.

I had an aquaintence who, I knew, was against euthanasia. To rattle her, I told her about a moto-neuron case where the sufferer had indicated she wanted her feeding tubes shut off, so that effectively, she starved to death. My listener flinched with what I took to be distaste (but then, I wanted it to be distaste so I could feel superior). But later, I discovered that what she was actually feeling was compassion. Dorothy Sayers was right when she said, “Our capacity to stand in our own light amounts to genius”.

After turning all this intuition back on my myself, I can see that I should have offered some explanatory commentary to the photos of my garden, somehting like: “Haven't I got beautiful prison walls?”. It was the same with the song-cycle; if it was, for me, a talisman into the future, I should have said so, not expected friends to pick that fact out of the air.

As you can see, I don't come out of this very well.