Follow by Email

Sunday, February 19, 2012

On Being a Smart Ass

"I would rather give vent to all human loves and disappointments, and take a chance on being corny, than die a smart ass..." - Jim Harrison*

"Smart-Ass: Someone who is sarcastic, in a cutting yet witty manner. A person capable of making a remark that could be interpreted as a insult or a joke depending on the sensitivity of the listener and the specific situation. A smart ass is not necessarily a bad person, just usually perceptive". - Urban Dictionary

Why be a Smart Ass?

I have read enough psychology, and taken a turn or two on the couch sufficient to realize that much of what I consider my personality, persona, psyche, soul or self is a result of the mysterious alchemical process by which I (and maybe you) weave fear, pain, regret, and need into a winding path cast before me to avoid being completely overwhelmed by those experiences.

And for me being a Smart Ass has certainly cut me off from having a full range of "human loves and disappointments".

My Smart Ass experience has been, for the most part, to sit passively as the world flows by, waiting for a comment or situation to lob me a straight line so I can smash it back...

As regular readers know I have been on a News Fast (See prior Doc S blogs) since November of last year. What started as cutting away the noise and the day to day babble of politics that had unhealthily captured my attention, has bled over into almost every area of my life.

Call it "Less is More", or a humility about what I can know. But the flip side of that humility is the view that, even if I don't know the right answer, I can tell if something is the wrong answer.

Being a Smart Ass may be a way to do that. People complain about criticizing proposed ideas without offering a solution ---  but why should I have to wait for a solution? Maybe there is no solution, no overarching theory or system that answers questions for all time. Maybe I need to experiment and just ask better questions, and maybe I will do less harm as a result.

So, if I am honest, behind my Smart Ass is an angry, frustrated moralist.  I am more often than not the selfish, childish moralist of "I am jealous because they have something I want and don't have so I will undermine it" or "they are getting more attention than me so let me fix that..."

But sometimes its a little more than that. Its the haunting, frustrating sense that things aren't right.
For me, it flows from a sense that perhaps everything I need is already here to live a richly fulfilling life, and the only thing stopping me (or maybe even you) is incessantly chasing after the wrong answers, rather than asking better questions.

Consider the Garden of Eden myth: Maybe we never were actually kicked out of the Garden of Eden, but rather got conked on the head, and now have blurred vision and see the Garden as a teeming mass of weeds that we have to cut through to get to the fruit.

But maybe the fruit is right there in front of me.

*Note: I posted the Harrison quote on Facebook recently and the comments from some of my friends got me thinking. Friends, thank you!

No comments:

Post a Comment