Imagine that we live on a small ‘Tropical Island’ that has a large extinct volcano
History has proven over and over that the greatest impediment to rapid progress is outdated information.
Seeking direction for the future through Old Wisdom does not make for an easy or clear journey.
Those travelers amongst us that progress more quickly than the main group and send back updated information of what is ahead, are disbelieved sometimes ridiculed for the sudden and often severe change in their views from what everyone else sees before them, in some situations these vanguards are branded heretics or some other negative term.
Why do fearful people always shoot the messenger?
In the Martial Arts, especially those of China and South-Eastern Asia participants pride themselves on working exclusively within the Old Wisdom.
However, all of us know instinctively that as we progress from one level of our training to another we reevaluate and update what we know, in this way we are constantly updating the Old Wisdom, converting it to Today’s Wisdom.
Even as we do this we fail to understand that soon what we see as Today’s Wisdom will also be outdated, will be just more Old Wisdom that needs to be updated and yet we deliberately delay, we resist change, falter in the face of progress.
If we could accept that in time that the idea of Tomorrow’s Wisdom that is so confronting will be the Old Wisdom with which we are so familiar, perhaps we would be more comfortable seeking out Tomorrow’s Wisdom, today.
Climbing a mountain is a fairly common allegory in the Martial Arts, it helps us to understand our insignificance, although we all struggle and a few amongst us reach the top we never in truth conquer the mountain because after we are long gone and forgotten the mountain remains.
Lets us engage in a thought experiment.
Imagine that we live on a small ‘Tropical Island’ that has a large extinct volcano, one side of this mountain, let’s say the Eastern side is covered in trees, the other side of the mountain is clear of vegetation thanks to along forgotten lava flow.
At base camp #0, before we begin the climb, we look East, nothing but trees. We look West, scrub, and pasture. We look South, the blue ocean stretches to the horizon. We look North, only the mountain.
At base camp #1 to the East are still the trees, to the South the ocean still stretches to the horizon, to the North there is still only the mountain, but to the West, we now see fields, farmlands, small communities.
At base camp #2 to the East are still the trees, to the South the ocean still stretches to the horizon, to the North there is still only the mountain, but to the West we now see the land laid out like a tapestry, different crops, different land-use depicted as swatches of varying colour.
At base camp #3 to the East are still the trees, to the South the ocean still stretches to the horizon, to the North there is still only the mountain, but to the West we now see the land running away to the horizon all details merged into a homogenous grey/green/brown cut by rivers running towards an unseen coast.
When we inform the people at the lower base camps of our recent and surprising discoveries doubts are raised, questions asked.
At base camp #4 we climb way above the tree line, to the East are still the trees, below us now stretching away forever a carpet of green, to the South the ocean still stretches to the horizon, to the North there is still only the mountain, but to the West we now see the rivers meet the ocean and understand yes we are an island.
At base camp #5, the next stop is the summit, to the East are still the trees, like the rivers we now see that they also march to a distant ocean, to the South the ocean still stretches to the horizon, but now there is a landmass on the horizon, another side to our ocean, to the North there is still only the mountain, but to the West we now see a sameness that is difficult to explain, except to know that it is our island.
When we inform the people at the lower base camps of our newer discoveries again doubts are raised and we can hear people talking of altitude sickness and occasionally we hear laughter.
At the summit, we see uninterrupted for 360 degrees and finally understand our island, everything we knew, held dear and considered to be important, specific, the very essence of our island has blended into one unrecognisable mass.
Up here at the roof of our world we see a distant continent filling the horizon to the south and west, a continent that through the Old Wisdom we did not even consider could have existed, a continent that we are more than likely part of.
The only thing we do not see is the mountain.
It has vanished from view at this level, it is now just a part of the totality of the land, and we begin to think that from this height maybe all mountains are the same that all lands look the same.
That all Wisdom is the same.
When we inform the people at the lower base camps that we are at the very top we advise them to wait and see for themselves, but for those that do not make the summit, there will always be a nagging doubt.
Do they stick with the Old Wisdom, the world they know or do they trust in the vanguard?
TRAIN ON YOUR WEAKNESSES, WORK TO YOUR STRENGTH.