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About Squish Like Grape

There’s a scene in the 1985 movie The Karate Kid where Daniel’s karate instructor, Mr. Miyagi, talks about commitment.


“Daniel-san, must talk. Walk on road. Walk right side, safe. Walk left side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later, [makes squish gesture] get squish, just like grape. Here karate, same thing. Either you karate do, yes, or karate do, no. You karate do, guess so, [makes squish gesture] just like grape.”

In its proper context, Miyagi’s speech is good advice. Being only moderately committed won’t help you reach your goals. You might as well spare yourself the effort if you’re not going to do it right.

But life is bigger than any one goal. In the context of life itself, moderation has advantages. Various ideologies--whether political, economic, religious, or whatever--may demand complete loyalty, but in my experience a willingness to learn and an acknowledgment of life's messiness can take us a lot farther than slavish adherence to a set of predefined teachings. Granted, it's hard to discuss a nuanced point of view with someone who is under the sway of an ideology. Extremists would much rather point out the flaws in the opposite extreme than deal with a reality that doesn't always fit any ideology. Walking in the center can open oneself to attacks from both sides. Sometimes it's hard not to feel squished like a grape.

I want this blog to be a place to explore all of life's messiness, to look at the flaws of ideologies, to puzzle over things that do not make sense; a place where it's safe to walk in the center without getting squished.

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