Brown Belt Syndrome

This is a phenomenon that occurs in martial arts classes. Not everyone catches it, but many do. In most dojos the brown belt is the last of the kyu grades before one gets a black belt at first dan. Technically at brown belt you are still “boy”. There is a certain type of brown belt who believes his {or her} level of skill to be higher than it is. They are determined to impart their omniscience to the lower grades and can in fact pass on poor technique. There is a related phenomenon with postgraduate demonstrators in undergraduate laboratories. On occasion I have seen someone with brown belt syndrome hurt lower grades particularly if said lower grade is outperforming them, some of them can be quite nasty justifying to themselves that they are toughening up the recipient of their ego at work. On occasion I have seen someone with this syndrome reminded of their place on the dojo rankings and painfully so.

If you have never been to a full contact or grappling dojo and decided to go to one it would be wise to not be too cocky. Not everybody gets into martial arts for the right motive. I have been badly injured at a sports judo dojo when some arsehole rammed me as hard as he could into the mat during training {note not competition}. I gained a c5-c7 cervical spine injury which caused me to lose most of the use of my left arm and to follow a diet of codeine for near a month. Now some 14 years later I have about 92% strength in my left arm, on occasion it still trembles beyond my control.

In a good dojo the instructor will gradually ramp up the difficulty of technique and the severity of contact. If say a 5th dan Aikido dude gave it to you full Ki from the outset you would be unable to hack it. So, people can have abilities that you know nothing of.

Brown belt syndrome arises out of egoic head swelling and self-importance.

A while back I watched a series of Jiu Jitsu videos in which a Gracie trained petite woman took on blokes at grappling in a park. They may have thought they would simply be getting a cuddle. She choked them out one by one. One dude kept coming back for more and she choked him out maybe four times before he conceded. He found it difficult to accept. It may not have gone through their minds, but if she had wanted to, she could have killed them. A big ego could have ended in death.

My favourite part of judo was groundwork, and my favourite techniques were choke holds. I have been choked to the verge of unconsciousness, so I know what it feels like.

If you don’t know what you are getting into a little caution and much reduced arrogance is sensible.

In Kyokushin Karate there is hyakunin kumite or 100-man kumite. This means 100 rounds of 90-120 seconds of full contact, no gloves, sparring. The kind of individual who can sustain that is hard to imagine. Steve Arneil was one of them, he set up the UK Kyokushin. I still have partially conditioned knuckles thirty years on. I never made it to the lofty grades where I might suffer this syndrome. If in trouble I suspect I would only have to hit someone once, even now.

In a different dojo with a highly Japanese trained sensei, I have been on the mat with several others when one of the guys started giving the sensei some attitude. The sensei switched, looked directly at him with a death stare and said if you want, I will take you all on right here right now. Luckily the geezer who was emanating attitude metaphorically shit his pants and the sensei calmed down close to his normal very well balanced and encouraging self.

In the old days people died in dojos.

Have you ever inflicted brown belt syndrome on anyone?

Have you ever been on the receiving end of brown belt syndrome?

Decisions and Actions with Unforeseen Consequences

I’ll start this with a hypothesis.

As a rule of thumb many people imagine that their understanding of any given situation is way more comprehensive than it actually is. In other words, people can be unaware of their level of ignorance and do not factor this possibility of ignorance into any decision they make.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you will note from time to time, I take the piss out of the self-diagnosed omniscient, where people imagine themselves wise and all-knowing prematurely. They have no doubt in that omniscience.

I worked at place where intellectual arrogance was common, and I have met many young guns who imagined themselves ultra-smart. It most cases they were very one dimensional. Their imagined knowledge pertained to science and stopped there, pretty much. One can be good at science and absolutely pants at inter human relations, that is why “Sheldon” is such a successful franchise. It is funny how when many of these self-diagnosed geniuses are faced with an oral exam for their Ph.D. they get nervous. They may be full of braggadocio but when the time for testing comes, they metaphorically shit their pants.

As an aside this braggadocio is one of the things that I like least about how things are in the UK. Things it seems, must be bigged up, hyped and inflated with hot air. One must show off.

I was completely and utterly relaxed for my Ph.D. viva. Why? Because of the six Ps.

Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. You will note than planning here is present participle, ongoing, it is never finished. I had prepared way ahead and nothing was last minute dot com.

In de Bono’s hats I am the one who thinks about thinking.

I have made way more plans that I have executed because I have come across something that is a showstopper. I feel no remorse in ditching a plan because I enjoy planning.

It is a human behaviour to discount good advice especially if one badly wants to do something. If someone says, “have you thought about this consequence?” It is so often ignored. People are hell-bent on something and will use confirmation bias coupled with justification to do whatever it is they want to do. They will be blind to any reason.

I can think of many occasions in which I warned people about the consequences of their actions and decisions and have been completely ignored. Some have gotten angry with me and metaphorically shot the messenger. I am being negative and a downer, apparently! Oh dear! Denial and not wanting to hear can often be found. Self-importance does not like to be questioned.

Perhaps my best tutorial on human nature came when I was in a student pastoral care role. I learned many things. I think for me it was a great chance to express detached compassion. I am a very good listener when I choose to be.  Some students tried to bend the rules by feigning illness for which they needed a medical certificate. Few of them imagined that I was on first name terms with the medics at the health centre and under confidentiality able to discuss. I developed a system whereby for those prone to pre-exam illness I would arrange a meeting a couple of weeks before exams to inquire as to their wellbeing. Such a simple thing reduced the exam-sickness epidemic without need for vaccination.

I’ll wager that anybody who met me on the physical plane prior to our move to France would not have foreseen the scope and content of this blog as being somehow in me, under the surface. There would have been an ignorance about what I am and how I think which they would have been completely unaware of. Anyone interacting with me might imagine a comprehensive understanding of the situation which is largely unfounded.

To my eyes many people have thought they know me and had me “sussed”.

It is a strange old world so full of omniscient beings.

This is for all the self-diagnosed omniscients out there…

Knock me down with a feather, Clever Trevor
Widebrows wonder whether Clever Trevor’s clever
Either have they got, nor neither haven’t not
Got no right to make a clot out of Trevor

Why should I feel bad about something I ain’t had
Such stupidiness is mad
‘Cos nothing underfoot comes to nothing less to add
To a load of old toot
And I ain’t half not half glad ‘cos there’s nowhere to put it even if I had
I’m a bit of a Jack the Lad

Towards Whom Have You Been a Complete and Utter Dick?

In our ignorance we imagine a degree of omniscience which is largely unwarranted. This is especially so if we are one of THE gang, the boys club, the jack the lads, who slap each other’s backs in the full and extensive knowledge that they, we, know it all. We are the best.

I have a very weak and loose hypothesis based on visions and dreaming, that it is possible that I am an incarnation of one of Buddha’s closest disciples namely the scholar Bakula.

In Tibetan terms that would make me some kind of a tulku. It would be I who pass the white scarf of blessing over to you.

But if you have and continue to “diss” me and belittle me as a loony, what would be the implications for you?

It is one of those “place your bets” situations.

I am JUSTIFIED in being a complete and utter dick towards this being. He is wrong and we are the righteous.

There is no such thing as karma, I am right, I know best. My wonderful career is tantamount!!

There is no karmic implication for our nation in treating this being so poorly.

Or is there?

It is funny how people in ignorance despite imagined knowledge, fail to appreciate that other people have different values.

Oh well, perhaps over thinking, pass the Merlot…

What You Think You Know

Summarising many of the quotes previous on knowledge; it is perhaps wise not to overestimate the extent, profundity, and depth of one’s assumed knowledge and/or understanding. Many have trouble not self-diagnosing a somewhat premature omniscience and that can cause them problems. If you are an expert in one field, it does not necessarily transfer to another. A genius in physics may have poor interpersonal skills for example, lack self-knowledge and interpersonal awareness.

Humanity is so very often convinced that it knows best and can be adamant that it is right or in the right.

It has been quite interesting for me trying a bit of French here and there. One of the stock responses I get from French people is that French is a difficult language to learn and speak. I resist the temptation to say compared to what, German, Latin or Japanese. I occasionally get a comment that my French is OK. {se debrouiller} I am guessing that the ability to speak and understand French across the Brit expat community is low to dire. The bar of expectation is set low. Occasionally, usually a younger person, has a go at English. To date nobody has taken me upon the suggestion that if they speak French and I speak English we should be able to communicate quite effectively.

I’ll make a statement here. Only one person really knows my ability to understand French, written and spoken, and my level of my less capable oral delivery, my French language teacher. The wife is a close second.

On the whole people here know that the level of Franglais is poor. I have even had someone talking louder to me in French because that will obviously aid my understanding. People think they know that Brits as a whole are shit at French. So, when the wife speaks, they are very pleasantly surprised. I have an inkling on occasion they prolong the conversation to see how good she is.

What people do not know is that when I am communicating with them I not only use my learned level of French but my skill at intuition and interpolation. Words that have a Latin root are latent in my four-decade old vocabulary.

There is a tacit assumption that if you can’t speak the lingo that you are less intelligent. It is a prejudice common across all cultures, I suspect.

I do not have to speak French because the wife is better at it. It is quite interesting to see French men uncomfortable talking to an English woman about technical matters whilst a near silent Welshman observes. They are much more used to speaking man to man {my guess}. I have used an interpreter in Japan, so I am comfortable with this, she was a woman.

Here is my assumption, they find it uncomfortable when I try to communicate in less than perfect French and would prefer to speak at normal pace with the wife in a higher quality of language. Even though I am there. They do not know how / when to make eye contact under this circumstance.

I know that these are suppositions and assumptions, they are by way of working hypotheses. I have not concluded. I know this.

The trouble is people often conclude before they have sufficient basis for any kind of conclusion and these conclusions turn into prejudice based on what you think you know.

Here is a question:

Is what you think you know just another way of saying prejudice and preconception?

Have You Ever “Dissed” a Tulku?

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

 Alan Turing

I have been toying with a train of thought today. Many people in their self-diagnosed omniscience fail to take into consideration that which lies outside of their all-encompassing wisdom.

As a loose hypothesis it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that I am indeed a reincarnated Buddhist priest, possibly even an acquaintance of Siddhārtha. Yet many people have “dissed” me and treated me badly.

They have sent me their bile, their anger and their justifications.

They have treated me like shit. They have fought me at every pace. They wish to argue the toss.

Wouldn’t it be ironic, don’t you think?

If my dreams are pointing at a truth and all these people are being dicks, know-it-alls and ignorant.

But of course, the omniscient know best.

————————————-

I shifted near half a tonne of grass cuttings today.

That pillow is already calling.

—————————————–

Well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you

When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right

And life has a funny way of helping you out

When you think everything’s gone wrong and everything blows up

In your face

Seemingly Impossible Situations

It is oft stated that the INFJ Myers Briggs personality type is the rarest of them all. Others say that they have a dolphin like radar, and that they rely on their often-accurate intuitions. The Tibetan talks about cultivating, intuition and soular intuition at that.  In general, intuitive types as per MBTI are less common than sensing types. Humanity is evolving and I will make a prediction; the percentage of people testing positive for an intuition preference will increase.

For about eight years I taught high school chemistry and physics privately. For about 30 % of the students, I helped them adapt their intuitive orientation to deeply sensing exam papers. Only one answer allowed and that must match exactly the expected parrot response. A number of times I was shown homework marked as wrong when in fact the answer given was simply better and more comprehensive than the REQUIRED one. My exam grades at school had also suffered from my non parrot status. I said to these high school students, wait a couple of years and your approach will be better!! By year three or four at university you will come into your own. I taught them to mind map instead of list and flash card. I taught them how to build circular revision maps based on themes. They were a bit freaked out when I read what was going on for them and then realised that they were a bit like me, they relaxed, and we had fun. If they needed a good old tangent, off we went, and I guided them back to subject.

I have long held an interest in seemingly impossible situations, the “you can’t have your cake and eat it type”, the catch-22, the conundrum and of course good old Zen koans. “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Some of these are just plain stupid, others are profound.

I have mentioned that I had some seemingly telepathic conversations with members of the second ray ashrams. How does one view this?

Yes, telepathy is possible and an INFJ might just the sort of weirdo who could do this?

Or one could imagine that I simply did too many mushrooms and weed when I was a student and a consequence, I am deeply delusional.

Or is it simply my glamour, my wish to be important bringing out the inner Walter Mitty in me.

Each of those beliefs has a consequence. Unless you sat down and chewed the fat with me over a period of many weeks or months there is no reliable way of knowing. The Tibetan however suggests that we rely on our intuition. What does your intuition tell you?

The implication of my telepathic conversations with my telepathic friends is that I am an initiate of some degree. So, if you are pooh-poohing my imaginary friends what in effect are you doing?

Are you demonstrating your omniscience or are you demonstrating your dogmatic insistence on being right, oh you marvellous font of all wisdom?  All hail the mighty!

What would be the consequences of believing that I am indeed a high degree initiate, especially given how you are currently behaving?

Now If I am a nutter / Mitty, what are the consequence of that belief. There are not many if it is true, more if not.

What are the consequences of an ex-academic being a nutter / Mitty in his old age?

Way back I did know quite a few proper scientists at pucker universities. I doubt many of them would believe in telepathy unless they had good data. They live in the world of proof. If I  was to say in the absence of theory, there is no such thing as proof. Is that a seemingly impossible situation? Proof is only a human mental construct and is impermanent.

Trouble is you cannot test telepathy with boring geometric cards it does not work like that. There cannot ever be a six-sigma test, sorry! {J, I, D, B, – R, D, J, -M, A, – T, J}

 I like seemingly impossible situations; they can be fun thought experiments.

The Astounding Omniscience of They

If you want to be free, then you will need to think for yourself and then learn to trust that and what your heart tells you.

You many need to do this against a backdrop of the astounding omniscience of they. This means that you might be at the sharp end of group opinion. It is not a comfortable place.

This relates to the “Making Plans for Nigel” theme, a favourite theme of mine. Other people gather together and make plans for what to do with Nigel. They imagine that if they present Nigel with a fait accompli, he will be happy and go along with it. Of course, they have not consulted Nigel whilst they are making plans for him, so it is by way of an intrigue. He has been excluded and thereby plotted upon. This never occurs to them, it lies outside their astounding omniscience.

Group mind deems itself wise and all-knowing, this is because like-minded people share a similar approach. Because there is little dissent within a homogeneous group, it imagines that consensual accuracy is in fact wide ranging and accurate. A little careful thought suggests that homogeneous groups are limited to the conceptual abilities to be found within their homogeneity. Although they may imagine themselves capable of thinking outside the box, the box is pretty small to start off with. So even if they manage to get outside the box it is still close to the box.

There is something comforting about the consensus of a group. Because of that it deems itself to be righter. From within the group it seems OK to recruit into it or inflict opinion upon those outside it. They imagine themselves attractive and to have a gravitational pull.

If you want to be free, then you have to be mindful of this draw of group-mind. It can be difficult to maintain clarity in the light of peer pressure. Group-mind is volatile and can turn in an instant, sometimes on others. And group-mind once moving has more momentum, thereby it is difficult to stop or resist. It takes some character to not get caught up in group-mind. That primitive urge to belong to some tribe or other is strong. External people will always consult the tribe before the individual. This means that the astounding omniscience of they, is the more widely accepted. They say a lot of things.

If you want to be free, then you will need to think for yourself and then learn to trust that and what your heart tells you.

Omniscience – Gloat

What does contextual credibility mean to you?

I am fully aware of how many people from my past think and assemble their own peculiar version of reality. If for example I talk about past life recall, I have shattered my contextual credibility within that / their schema, that exact and all encompassing and utterly omniscient world view.

They may even scoff or gloat…no Encephalitis there…not one tiny bit!!

Clearly  I have proven myself to be some flaky, whacko, David Icke like figure.  Only I haven’t because I am not presenting “facts” I am suggesting hypothesis.

I, really don’t care who is “right”.

People therein might gloat that I have shot myself in the foot and that they will “win”.

Haven’t they David, Joshua and Richard?

Do you want me to go further? More names, including surnames?

We each of us place our bets on the accuracy of our philosophy, our belief system.

We may kill others because we, the omniscient, are right…

It is sad as a sad thing on a particularly sad day…

self-diagnosed omniscience

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to meet a number of people with very high opinions of the extent of their own knowledge and intellect.  This is an ode to them.


the persistent insistence

on being right

with self-diagnosed omniscience

so very entitled

 

me, my, mine

only me, only I

know all the answers why

 

the blindfolded ears

refuse to hear

anything or anyone else

 

my cosmic intellect

encompasses all knowledge

all wisdom

there is or can ever be

 

it says so on my door

the font eternal

whence all clever things

issue

 

I know best

better than you

oh, yes, I do!