How then to assess a person's attainment?

Esper Stormblade, modified 9 Years ago.

How then to assess a person's attainment?

Post: 1 Join Date: 10/26/11 Recent Posts
How then to assess a person's attainment?

Quite simply--you cannot. You cannot assess anyone's attainment sitting at home, on the other side of a computer screen, reading words they have written, edited, had others read and make suggestions about, and then published, semi-anonymously and invisibly, to an online forum.

And even if you meet someone in person, you cannot assess their attainment on the basis of their behavior because your interpretation of what they do belongs to you, not to them; and the multiple and myriad contexts and issues which inform any action, which is never singular and capable of being judged as a thing on its own, are not available to you (or even, depending on the person, available to them).

In the same way that one must "take with a grain of salt" that the person they are chatting with in a sex forum actually is an 18 year old model with a 9-inch cock or huge tits, one must also assume that posters to online forums cannot, do not, and will not be able to represent the totality of their daily lived experience in a way that will give a "full picture" of what it means to be _____________ (fill in the attainment of your choice).

Because online forums operate solely in the realm of language, which is not live, in-person, and actual life, anything asserted can be explained or refuted; any accusation seemingly exposed as false through artful writing and with rhetorical and argumentative fluency and with personal attacks against the poster. Unless one has a video, of someone with a said attainment, declaring that their public attainment is a fluke and that they have willfully deceived others about it, there is no point at all in raising doubts about a person's attainments unless a person claiming an attainment seems to need help actually achieving it.

Likewise, any misinterpretation, any individual motivated by malice and sorrow, with too much free time and access to a computer can author libelous posts. Whatever intent a writer of any post has is irrelevant because ultimately, nothing written on an online forum, whether it is "pro" or "con" your practice of choice matters as much as what you are able to do in your own life, away from the keyboard, using the tools of your chosen practical method. And once you have attained whatever you were after, whatever you write online will also be nothing but something you wrote, with as much value as any other piece of writing, a value which is relative to the reader's mind and all that informs his or her engagement with any text.

Furthermore, if the goal of your practice is to get rid of your "self/Self" or your ego, then one can start by getting rid of one's idols. As long as one participates in a cult of personality where the details of a person's life matter to you, there will be a "you." If you keep "them," (him or her with said attainment) "alive" in your mind as a goalpost, as a model to emulate, then you cast yourself in dialectical opposition to them, where they exist in your imagination and where you exist in relation to them (as the unattained). Therefore, one needs neither to defend nor expose; one needs no faith or even a care in the world about what x, y, z or a individual claims to have achieved.

And if all I've said here has no validity to you as this is my first post and I have no authority to offer my opinion or advice, please consider the possibility that as long as one can only take the advice of one's idols, any deeper investigation of said idols will bring only disappointment--no matter who that idol is. Admiration and authority are pedestals upon which students sometimes put teachers; but good teachers eschew both the high and low point, the pedestal and the gutter. Even the Buddha came up lacking in the eyes of some of his critics; why should any one alive and offering advice now be any different?

Rather than attempt an assessment of another, for the purpose of invalidating said person's advice, or of validating said person's advice, understand the folly of assessing another, to either the negative or the positive, in its totality. Might I suggest that one simply do what one likes in their own practice with the knowledge that the experience of being alive, for each of us, infinitely exceeds the miniscule verbiage of any website or online forum.

One simply needs to explore the landscape of one's own life and figure out what one wants to do. One cannot do what others have done as what others have done is what they have done and not what you will do. If you climb Mt. Everest it will not be the same thing as when Ashton Rushton climbed it; if it were, you wouldn't need to climb it.l
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: How then to assess a person's attainment?

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Esper Stormblade:
How then to assess a person's attainment?

Quite simply--you cannot. You cannot assess anyone's attainment sitting at home, on the other side of a computer screen, reading words they have written, edited, had others read and make suggestions about, and then published, semi-anonymously and invisibly, to an online forum.

And even if you meet someone in person, you cannot assess their attainment on the basis of their behavior because your interpretation of what they do belongs to you, not to them; and the multiple and myriad contexts and issues which inform any action, which is never singular and capable of being judged as a thing on its own, are not available to you (or even, depending on the person, available to them).

In the same way that one must "take with a grain of salt" that the person they are chatting with in a sex forum actually is an 18 year old model with a 9-inch cock or huge tits,


To be truly inclusive, and to complete what is otherwise an excellent article, I think you need to add: "or both".

Esper Stormblade:

one must also assume that posters to online forums cannot, do not, and will not be able to represent the totality of their daily lived experience in a way that will give a "full picture" of what it means to be _____________ (fill in the attainment of your choice).

Because online forums operate solely in the realm of language, which is not live, in-person, and actual life, anything asserted can be explained or refuted; any accusation seemingly exposed as false through artful writing and with rhetorical and argumentative fluency and with personal attacks against the poster. Unless one has a video, of someone with a said attainment, declaring that their public attainment is a fluke and that they have willfully deceived others about it, there is no point at all in raising doubts about a person's attainments unless a person claiming an attainment seems to need help actually achieving it.

Likewise, any misinterpretation, any individual motivated by malice and sorrow, with too much free time and access to a computer can author libelous posts. Whatever intent a writer of any post has is irrelevant because ultimately, nothing written on an online forum, whether it is "pro" or "con" your practice of choice matters as much as what you are able to do in your own life, away from the keyboard, using the tools of your chosen practical method. And once you have attained whatever you were after, whatever you write online will also be nothing but something you wrote, with as much value as any other piece of writing, a value which is relative to the reader's mind and all that informs his or her engagement with any text.

Furthermore, if the goal of your practice is to get rid of your "self/Self" or your ego, then one can start by getting rid of one's idols. As long as one participates in a cult of personality where the details of a person's life matter to you, there will be a "you." If you keep "them," (him or her with said attainment) "alive" in your mind as a goalpost, as a model to emulate, then you cast yourself in dialectical opposition to them, where they exist in your imagination and where you exist in relation to them (as the unattained). Therefore, one needs neither to defend nor expose; one needs no faith or even a care in the world about what x, y, z or a individual claims to have achieved.

And if all I've said here has no validity to you as this is my first post and I have no authority to offer my opinion or advice, please consider the possibility that as long as one can only take the advice of one's idols, any deeper investigation of said idols will bring only disappointment--no matter who that idol is. Admiration and authority are pedestals upon which students sometimes put teachers; but good teachers eschew both the high and low point, the pedestal and the gutter. Even the Buddha came up lacking in the eyes of some of his critics; why should any one alive and offering advice now be any different?

Rather than attempt an assessment of another, for the purpose of invalidating said person's advice, or of validating said person's advice, understand the folly of assessing another, to either the negative or the positive, in its totality. Might I suggest that one simply do what one likes in their own practice with the knowledge that the experience of being alive, for each of us, infinitely exceeds the miniscule verbiage of any website or online forum.

One simply needs to explore the landscape of one's own life and figure out what one wants to do. One cannot do what others have done as what others have done is what they have done and not what you will do. If you climb Mt. Everest it will not be the same thing as when Ashton Rushton climbed it; if it were, you wouldn't need to climb it.l
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: How then to assess a person's attainment?

Posts: 296 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
Ah, yes. I agree. Coincidently I very recently thought about this myself.

But this forum very clearly has a stated mission and assessing others practices as best one can with the intention of providing guidance as best one can is to honor that mission.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: How then to assess a person's attainment?

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Assessing practice clearly is better in person and with long exposure to them, such as on retreat for months, etc, and video is better than just audio, and audio is better than just text, clearly, and no one would likely dispute this.

Further, the general point that one can't be sure exactly what the other person is experiencing even with everyone's best attempts at communications is also clearly true.

Those acknowledged, it is also true that often you can give a good enough guess to really help the person, as is routinely reported here, and that is what counts, and much good is often done by this process, however imperfect or suboptimal.

Daniel

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