Following up on my earlier post about 16 resolutions, or thoughts to live by, inspired by this article at Brainpickings.org. Here is the eighth by Ann Truitt, from her book Daybook: The Journal of an Artist.
Unless we are very, very careful, we doom each other by holding onto images of one another based on preconceptions that are in turn based on indifference to what is other than ourselves. This indifference can be, in its extreme, a form of murder and seems to me a rather common phenomenon. We claim autonomy for ourselves and forget that in so doing we can fall into the tyranny of defining other people as we would like them to be. By focusing on what we choose to acknowledge in them, we impose an insidious control on them. I notice that I have to pay careful attention in order to listen to others with an openness that allows them to be as they are, or as they think themselves to be. The shutters of my mind habitually flip open and click shut, and these little snaps form into patterns I arrange for myself. The opposite of this inattention is love, is the honoring of others in a way that grants them the grace of their own autonomy and allows mutual discovery.
Anne Truitt (March 16, 1921–December 23, 2004) was a psychologist and also an artist.
Anne Truitt only worked as a psychologist until the mid 1940’s. After that she concentrated on her art, and became a major figure in the development of Minimalism. Of course there is a Wikipedia article, But I think her own website HERE is even more interesting because you can see some of her work.
I find her work much more difficult to understand than her quote above. I am very curious to understand the thoughts and emotions that lead to the creation of this kind of art. I really like her quote. It is so easy to define other people and to only half listen. But, to really listen, to let them go where they want without directing and without thinking more about what you want to say next, it’s a beautiful thing but also very difficult thing.
I’m with you on the “art”. 😃
Apparently it meant a lot to some people. I haven’t studied art myself enough to understand it though.
“Really listening” to someone can be very difficult indeed, especially when my mind seems to be miles ahead of the slow-talkers. I need to work on that one. Will have to check out this lady’s art.
I think it’s really difficult for all of us!
Another stellar piece to contemplate Kris. I concur with all here. I found myself re-reading “…allows them to be as they are, or as they think themselves to be…” I laid these words on my shoulders, reversing the line of thinking to me. What masks do I wear with different people or crowds? Am I always the same persona or do I try to conform as society dictates?
It’s interesting that here in Panama I feel much less pressure to conform, and feel very accepting just being myself. It’s really nice. Maybe in receiving such a gift, it’s easier to think about returning it to others? I’ll keep working on it..