Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Question On A Story

70th post and over 5,000 hits. I know most of them were me, probably, but still. I think it's kind of cool.

So, you know that whole ladder metaphor they use to tell us that you can't stay the same, you're either improving or getting worse? Spiritually, I mean. They say, "people think they're just fine the way they are, that they can just stay the same and not work on themselves and grow in Torah and avodah etc. But that's never true. It's like a ladder, right? You can't stand still on a ladder, you're either going up or going down."

But the thing is, you can stand still on a ladder. It would be sort of silly to, for an indefinite amount of time, because, I mean, why would you? A ladder is generally a means to an end, not a place to hang out. But it's physically possible. Nothing and no one is really making you get off that ladder, if you really want to stay on it.

Sometimes I like to think that it's flawed metaphors like this that really started all the trouble to begin with....

12 Comments:

Blogger Halfnutcase said...

I agree that the metaphore is pretty silly, yet i never heard it that way. they always told me that it was like a slide, because climbing up a slide is not all that difficult, but the moment you stay still, gravity is pulling you down and you have to make considerable effort to hold your self there without upward momentum, and for most of us it is all but impossible. If you don't, back down to the bottom with yeh, and I wouldn't expect ye to stop your self before yeh hit.

But personaly, if you insist on having such a metaphore, I prefer it with a rocket. you see, rockets do not stay still very well, nor do they coast particularly well, they go up and then come back down, and generaly they're always going one of the two. Even if you do manage to make them hover in place, since they are so tall and thin, they have a strong tendancy to tilt when forced to hover and then go careening back to the ground anyway, in a way that it is all but impossible to fix unless you fix it before the nose actualy starts pointing down (you will start to fall before this point, because you've transfered thrust from fighting gravity to horizontal locution).

However, I personaly do not like this metaphore at all, and do not at all believe it is true. Human beings are increadible at chosing to stay stagnant and not grow, and believe that these metaphores only have value if you posit that one is constantly measured according to their growth and not their stature, and that if a tzadik is still the same tzadik at 90 that he is at 13, he has some major explaining to do, because the whole point of everything is that we improve ourselves, and that if the tzaddik is not a better person this year than he was last year, he has somehow failed in some crucial way.

but that may just be my chabad schooling showing up in my thoughts.

However, in that measure hashem (and I'm basing my self off the neviim and the gemorah) intensely values bein adam l'chaveiro, and that one also gets brownie points for trying to be more of a good person to other people, which is one way to grow. (bein adam l'makom is not the only kind of mitzvah after all.)

6:03 PM  
Blogger Lubab No More said...

Perhaps "Sink or Swim" is a better analogy.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

HNC-
No, the slide thing works much better than the ladder thing. I've never heard that one before.

LNM-
yes but what about floating on your back?

12:24 AM  
Blogger Tobie said...

....Isn't the metaphor an escalator?

Which is also depressing, because you have to work and work just to stay where you are. But that may not be inaccurate.

And just fy everyone's i, you don't slide down a slide when you stop moving- you have more than enough friction to stay put unless the slide is extremely steep or slippery, in which case you wouldn't really be able to climb it anyway. Trust me, I've done experiments.

2:47 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

Tobie: hasn't everyone?

In my experience, if the slide is metal, with rubber soled shoes you can stay still no matter how slippery it is, without it is very difficult to stay still, although running up it is not impossible.

but, that of course is why I prefer a rocket analogy to begin with.

3:56 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

the escalator is definitely a better metaphor, provided it's heading down and not broken. however, no I'm pretty sure the main item used in my schooling was a ladder.

I've never really been able to climb up a slide very successfully unless they were made of plastic. what does that say abou me?

7:38 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

... That you wear leather soles.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

HNC-
Don't you think that's a little harsh? After all, Tobie did it, and she went to college too.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

sorry. I guess, I was just joking.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Yehu said...

Don't know how on earth I got linked to your profile, but it's a funny coincidence... I moved from Ramat Gan to Yerushalyim at age 10/11... And like much of the music you like to... more blues, rock & fusion tho..

TC

12:22 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

yehu-
interesting. thanks for commenting!

2:39 PM  

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