WaterfallMachine

Too Many People Give Vague Advice

10 posts in this topic

What is with people here?

One of the key guidelines to advising is knowing what it's like to not know what you know. 

Imagine not knowing anything about personal development. Nothing about meditation. Nothing about mindset. Nothing about discipline. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

Then you get odd ideas like, "You are the universe." "In a deeper level, you know everything." "Your ego is just making you think you are superior or inferior when actually everyone is equal." You'd think, "The fuck. What is this mambo jumbo bullshit?" Even if you knew some background into this and was open — new information you find isn't going to help you much.

This is the kind of stuff that makes people so skeptical of ideas like spirituality. It's too vague. Dig up some examples. Sprinkle some analogies. Throw in some methods to realize this. Chop up their worldviews with arguments. Splash in some quotes from someone who explains it with more quality. Muse on a damn story. Draw a line around the boundaries with a definition.

Anything other than a sentence with barely enough explanation. The ideal is to have people know something both in an abstract level as well as a concrete level. I'm not telling you that you have to do this. Everyone has a different style of advising and you're free to do what you want — I'm just suggesting another perspective. If you have any objections or criticisms, feel free to tell me.

Which means :

Abstract level."

It allows an understanding of the theory.

1. Plan English. "Enlightenment is oneness without being similar." It provides a direct to the point statement when needed. Useful for clearing up misunderstandings. But many people overuse this to the point of being too vague. 

2. Analogies allow some deeper understanding of the theory. "Enlightenment is like a carpet. It has different shapes and colors inside it but they are all part of the same carpet."

3. Definitions. "Enlightenment is nothingness. Not the nothingness of pure black. Or something empty. It's not the word or the idea of nothingness. It's just nothingness." It allows a more precise understanding of what we're talking about here. Some people talk about the same words but not the same ideas. 

Concrete level

It allows understanding of the practical side of this.

1. Examples allow you to see the idea in everyday life. "Look at a book. When you remove the ideas around it — its history, your memories, what the use of a book is, its cultural ideas and your ideas of what to do with it in the future. Remove that. Just see the book with pure seeing."

2. Methods. Needed for obvious reasons. Something like Leo's Practical Guide to Enlightenment on the Meditation forum. If I remember correctly, it goes like this, "Who are you?" "Who are you?" "No — who the fuck are you?!" The different questions are the methods. He also provides some tips arnd warnings.

3. Stories. This provides some emotional influence with the reader. What's more inspiring and motivating? A scientific study on growth mindset? Or a story about a man struck in poverty and finding the hope to make a living for his family? Objective information allows for the right decisions, but feelings are what motivates to go towards these decisions.

-----

I based it from this.

https://betterexplained.com/articles/adept-method/

Yes, it's for math. ADEPT technique. Analogies. Diagram. Example. Plain English. Technical.

Somewhere sooner or later as a STEM student, I realized this could also be used for science concepts that didn't use math. Then I realized it could be used for ideas like history or politics. One day I thought it could be used to understand and teach personal development. Just change the technical to not the mathematical definiton or equation to a definiton about the life concept. And change the diagram of it to a life advice context picture.

And boom. 

Eureka!


“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” 
― Socrates

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great thread.

adyashanti has published a lot of teachings about teaching. they were extremely helpful because i could learn how to teach myself better. and then my way of teaching others improved as well.

 

Edited by ajasatya

unborn Truth

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You notice that, too, huh... it's either extremely vague or extremely complicated mumbo jumbo and quite often it's both at once. Not just here, it's everywhere in the spirituality and self work communities.

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I agree i find that vagueness counterproductive and some people here are just unable to say anything concrete, it is a little dissapointing.
But luckily there are also some great posts and comments, often great stories keep me coming back.

 

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52 minutes ago, Shiva said:

Good post and a very helpful guideline you proposed!

But sometimes I find that vagueness is very useful too. You cannot always expect someone to give you a clear step-by-step process or tells you "do this and you'll become enlightened". 

I mean this would be nice of course but this works much better with simpler things.

If I wanna know where the next gas station is and someone tells me to go 300 meter straight and then take a right turn, that's very precise and easy. But with topics like enlightenment it's not so easy.

If someone who's enlightened tells you to go to this retreat and take this course here and do this exercise, it doesn't mean that it works for you. Maybe this stuff worked for him but maybe it just doesn't resonate with you.

In the gas station example it's rather straight forward. With this explanation everyone will find the gas station.

A little bit of vagueness keeps people seeking and making them find the answers themselves. If someone gives you all the answers you won't go find them yourself. 

So it depends on the situation I guess.

Interesting. I thought of this concept myself but changed my mind on putting it.

In my opinion, you don't teach someone by limiting the information and expecting them to figure it out. It's laying down all the available sides of information and telling them to treat that as a guideline. 

It's like giving people different successful maps to finding treasure. They're all different but they are similar in certain ways that can act as a clue. The goal was never to copy a map to a different piece of treasure that other people already found but to treat all that as a guide to create your own map. The natural lack of your own map is already a training to thinking for yourself — rather than removing all the guide maps or to rip different parts out of the guide maps.

This is because from studying the science and art of creativity — I've learned original ideas often don't come in isolation. They come from inspiration from other ideas. Einstein could only create the original idea of the theory of relativity because of the basic physics already created. Shakespeare could only create his own original writings because it was founded on the idea of the English language in the first place. 

Though, on the other hand, it also could be a matter of context like you said. It'd be still useful to allow the people to think for themselves even without any guidelines. Guidelines carry with them certain assumptions that can be hard to remove. Think of the openness of a child compared to a more cynical adult. So it'd be useful to to allow people to figure things out themselves and form ideas without preconceived notions. Then only after — guides can be given. 

 

Edited by WaterfallMachine

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” 
― Socrates

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Vague is sometimes better, when you need to have the insight yourself to truly understand.


You can't be enlightened, no one can.;)

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@WaterfallMachine Why? because no one actually knows what they are talking about. This website and others like it is just a melting pot of ideas and stories, and you have the option to pick and choose which ones resonate with you. That's literally all we can do. We were all dropped into this "whatever it is" with no instruction manual or a light to shine in the darkness. The light has to come from within. You have to find your own way in the darkness. Some people on here may have a flashlight for you, but they've dropped the batteries and you still have to fumble around a bit to find them. Was that too vague? ha


 

 

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What is clear to an enlightened person is gonna sound vague to a newbie.  So, some of this is necessary.  Vagueness is often a function of how long or short a person's shore of reference is.  To a child, even traditional self-help concepts will sound vague.  To an enlightened person, certain vague sounding words or sentences will be clear.  

Edited by Joseph Maynor

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@WaterfallMachine This is a self-help forum with 6000 users where people seek advice and share knowledge, experiences etc. Some users on this forum are better at offering advice than others. That's to be expected. But forums, blogs, etc. are often not a reliable source for high-quality information. Books written by experts are much more ressourceful so look for that if you want to be taught properly. 

The people who give advice on this forum don't get paid for it, they don't know you well enough to help you, that is why they don't teach you properly. You can't expect much of strangers on the internet is my point. 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Christian said:

@WaterfallMachine This is a self-help forum with 6000 users where people seek advice and share knowledge, experiences etc. Some users on this forum are better at offering advice than others. That's to be expected. But forums, blogs, etc. are often not a reliable source for high-quality information. Books written by experts are much more ressourceful so look for that if you want to be taught properly. 

The people who give advice on this forum don't get paid for it, they don't know you well enough to help you, that is why they don't teach you properly. You can't expect much of strangers on the internet is my point. 

 

 

I am not expecting much from strangers. That's why I said it was simply a suggestion. I didn't want to force people to learn this for something they're not payed for. So I emphasized their choice. There was a possibility that someone would change their ways here so I posted a thread on it even if not everyone like this would bother.  

Anyway, for the others on this thread, thank you for your insights. I'll go ponder on it myself.

Edited by WaterfallMachine

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” 
― Socrates

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