Wishy-washy, like bamboo

Bert: There’s another aspect of that, because the word "character" is used in terms of integrity. You draw the image of the acorn growing into the oak, and the acorn wanting to be a poplar. So integrity, in this sense, is being true to character, true to the oak.

Hillman
: I want to use Clinton as an example. We think that character can only be like a moral Puritan, in a black hat and a black frock coat, who never wavers and never falters. But the man of character can be the man of wisdom I spoke of earlier, the man at the tiller, who just makes little adjustments to keep on course. Constantly adjusting, going with the wind. Constantly adjusting. He’s never on "true course," because you never are when you are actually sailing. You’re always slightly off-course. The job of a good sailor is to keep close to course, making little adjustments. They blame Clinton for being wishy-washy, for vacillating and not being true to whatever. But if you were Chinese you’d say the man is flexible. You’d say he is like bamboo, he is like water, or the wind, which is always shifting a little bit. Because that’s the way to be on this earth. Because anything that remains mountain-hard will be run over, or the water will pass it by.

It just shows the difference of cultures here. Our sense of character is to be only one way. It’s a monotheistic view of character. I’m suggesting that there are many ways of showing character, one of which is "wishy-washy." That’s also a way of showing character. It’s flexibility, bending like bamboo.

[James Hillman]
with Bert H. Hoff
Online interview, you can find it here
.

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A good martial artist is like water. Why? Because water is insubstantial. By that I mean you cannot grab hold of it; you cannot punch it and hurt it. So, be soft like water, and flexible.

Be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup; you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle; you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash.

Be water, my friend.

[Bruce Lee]

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