Learning and improving is a personal responsibility and duty that cannot be delegate to other entity outside the “self”.
“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves” (Mahatma Gandhi). Still the myth of blaming others (the leaders, the society, the circumstances, the family) is the most normal reaction when we are confronted with our limitations or with “what is wrong” around us.
My friend-in-thinking Aydin sent a letter reacting to what he calls the “good piece in the latest Bulletin, titled “Elite or Elect?”
A strange letter that whose content seams for the major part addressed to the “iniquities” on the world around us. As good detective stories, the letter has an unexpected turn and change of direction at the end. If you are wondering, keep reading. (edited by PV)
“I have been thinking about “Elite or Elect?” from a different perspective coming back to biking as well.
In many countries today we can see the rise of right-wing, nationalist, populist leaders appealing to the racist, bigoted and xenophobic feelings so present in what we call well-developed countries. I don’t think this is a ‘history repeating itself’ kind of phenomenon; it seems to me rather the World is turning up-side down: populist leaders appeal to the dark side of that part of the population that feel excluded by the extreme inequality. They cry in defense of the little they own: presumed identity, false race the blood thirsty tribalism… my village, my city, my nation, my borders. Nationalism becomes the norm, closing, building walls and considering the “others” enemies turns into mass attitude.
In this way the word elitist is used almost as a curse, something to be ashamed of. In their eyes, elitist is a person who thinks unjustifiably that he knows something better, whereas actually everybody knows everything.
The need for changing, developing and embrace diversities is forgotten since everything is already invented and readily available in social media.
And all the information is at the internet anyway.
Individualism is rejected and elitism is for minorities only. Masses where everybody is similar to one another and get more similar as the time passes are in control: the different values of the individual and the discipline to learn of elitism are replaced by conformism. But elitists, or individualists, are actually the ones who would take the society further – they are the elements of evolution.
If knowledge and service are evolution the opposite is demolition.
Maybe, just maybe, human race is not only demolishing itself and the earth we all live in but it’s demolish as well the species we love.
Bikers have a built in anti-elite instincts thinking “who the hell is that guy trying to teach us how to enjoy our hobby?” only occasionally balanced by a desire to improve-to-feel-better. Here ignorance may appear as a bliss: some un-trained riders may have more joy than a competent one rider till fate strikes but he/she will not have the deep happiness and satisfaction that comes from continuous self-development” and so on….
Yes, I was feeling great, enjoying putting some thoughts on (electronic) paper, thinking I’ve written clever things and concepts that Bulletin readers might like. But upon reading Elite or Elect once again, I got shocked to see how blind I’ve been. How I missed the point.
You, Paolo, were not complaining about the populism, anti-elitism or ignorance of some riders, you were not into that at all – you were just into your own.
From the very thought that “biking is a way of thinking”, comes the conclusion that it’s of no use nor benefit to think about who is right and who is wrong once you make a crash or fall; you would be the one who’d get hurt.
One should blame only the self for not having anticipated the situation and the hazards in timely fashion.
And you can only develop yourself, not the others. And the more you develop yourself, the more you can be of help for people seeking to change.
Elite or Elect is a piece demonstrating the truth of self improvement again, at a much higher level yet with great modesty.
So I felt ashamed. I had just complained – thinking that I (and some few friends of mine) was right, but the rest of the World was plain wrong. Was I really that lost? That hopeless, that tired? I really have to find a way to be better than that. I will.