Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hillary Clinton's Beatific New Smile

I've been reading mountains of punditry on last night's debate, but nobody's made the slightest effort to account for Clinton's other-worldly presence. She wasn't angry, nor strident, nor did she recede into passivity. Feminine, positive, warm, happy-seeming, and yet assertive. Something, obviously, was up!

It was easy to spot the hack. She'd been coached to look at him with love...above/beyond what he was actually saying. She was projecting some long-lost beloved friend or relative known to say troubling things but who was nonetheless loved by her. The beatific smile was genuine, not strained. No stridency or superiority or harshness. Well, maybe a little superiority, but much better than usual.

Usually, Clinton dons a mask, but this time she opened up - at least while listening, though she lost it a bit while speaking, which is harder. It was, at long last, the correct approach.

It's also a deep spiritual exercise. Seeing your enemy as a loved one is a profound, advanced move. If you can widen that perspective beyond combat situations, results can be surprising. If she can preserve it while speaking, it'd be transformative. Unfortunately, it takes years. But still, that was a hell of a new trick for this 70 year old to pick up. Impressive!

Looking more broadly, we oughtn't underestimate the use of this rather deep spiritual practice in front of tens of millions of viewers. We may recall this later as an important inflection point (just because it wasn't consciously noticed doesn't mean it wasn't felt). 

It's akin to this.

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