Saturday, January 22, 2011


Last night in the gym I saw a fellow perspirer sitting on a stretching mat. He was in one of those buddha like positions that I can only imagine. Back upright, legs folded and splayed with each knee making contact with the mat. Soles touching. I told him he looked like a prophet about to dispense wisdom.

"A man goes to the hot dog stand." he begins. "He asks for a hot dog. The vendor gets a bun places a hot dog in the bun and hands it over to the customer. The customer hands a twenty dollar bill to the vendor. The customer waits, the vendor does nothing. Finally, the customer says, 'What about change?'

"'Change' says the vendor, 'comes from within.'"

I got a laugh out of my buddy in guru position's joke. And I've thought about the punch line over the last several hours.

The fact is that the cliche on which the punch line is based is wrong and sends people who've internalized the alleged truth of it skidding.

Sure, in order to make a change in behavior one has to do some introspection. But the flaw in the cliche is that thinking that change can come from within diverts one from the reality that we are connected. And as best as I can reckon we are incomplete without these connections.

If we make the assumption that we can operate autonomously then we begin to skid away from the truth. And the truth is we are linked. The skidding makes it difficult to navigate and stay on course.

If we were not all inherently connected then how could one explain the phenomenon of loneliness. Loneliness is not an abstraction. It is real when we experience it. And we can experience it even if we are among others, pretend to be connected to them, but are, in fact, detached. So, if we are supposed to, and are able to, truly be autonomous then why do we feel lonely when we do.

We do, because, we are naturally connected to some others and therefore change can not come from within, unless we are cognizant of how incomplete we are without others.

Another buddy of mine who is a fanatic Jets fan wrote to me today telling me how nervous he is about tomorrow's game. He has no money on the game. Why should he or anyone care about a team. Sometimes we forge connections with teams just like we develop romantic, filial, and fraternal connections. What happens to your team, affects you.

Change, I do not believe, comes from within. Change requires shooting straight with yourself so that you know you can not change unless you embrace with whom and with what you naturally are linked. There is no you without me. There is no me without you.

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