"He was my mentor."
"We are living in community."
These are phrases that give me that searing pain running from my jaw to my right eye which I usually only get while looking at certain small children.
"He is my lover," doesn't bother me at all. But it is a kind of relationship like "mentor".
"I'm from Idaho," equally gets a pass. But it is a locational belonging like "community".
What is the deal? It could be merely the place those words hold in trend-speak. Having a mentor became as necessary as having an iPod and the hobbits buying their dirt cookies at the whole foods store could not imagine being so pedestrian (though they recommend the practice for planetary good) that they merely would live in a "city" and be "citizens". There is wrath in plenty for any whose vocabulary follows the trends. But what is it that the trend violates in us? Mentors exist. Communities exist. Lovers exist. Idaho exists.
I think that part of the crime is that they "name and claim". These are measuring words. The ears that hear need help defining us so it is good for them to hear these words of measurement, words that say a "good" thing without concrete claim of the good it actually bore. No one claims to be someones lover without wanting people to conclude that the two of them are having sex, consensually and regularly. The good claim it makes is specific. Living in Idaho allows even the hill apes back east to realize, with certain specificity, the shape and range of borders inside which I sit.
Mentoring is soft, fuzzy, indistinct and pointless except in the use of the word. The use of the word suggests Socrates and Plato. It is suppose to make you feel that, like lovers in the sack, the mentor and menti are out striding the moor, pipes clenched twixt teeth, with a constant barrage of questions and returning fire of answer ennobling and shaping the man that was into the man with whom he walks. The hearer wants to become, with almost cult member fervor, like his mentor. Now it is actually the guy who shows you where the coffee room is and which middle management poseur you need to avoid. But now you have a "mentor". My objection is that it means more than what they are gaining but they want you to hear the "more". It is like a girl claiming to be someone's lover after having been on date ending in a chaste embrace.
People want the words "mentor" and "community" to still carry the weight of their claim without the needs of performing that which they claimed. It can be beneficial to be guided by someone else's wisdom and it is good to live harmoniously in a social construct. Within the trend all conversations with a more advanced agent are mentoring and every social existence is "in community".
A young lady had expressed recently the interest in living at Big Haus so she could live in community. I told her that we are not interested in living in community, we are a community. The titles are their own delicacy, and their sweetness to our spoken reputation is that of saccharine not sugar. Artificial sweeteners are a sweet without the cost of calories but they are also a life not even half lived.
Many hope the spoken word calls things into existence which are not yet but many have learned to like the "taste" of the fake flavor. The more they say "community" the more it feels to them that they have one. I say if you find a mentor, be then mentored but never say it, even in your dreams.
Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.
I John 3:18