I’ve seen firebird energy described as diplomatic and that description resonates with me, especially in the aspects of firebird typified in Feng Huang. I’ve relied on this aspect many times in my life, but rather than think of it as diplomacy, I always thought of it as interpretation.
What I mean by interpretation is that I often find myself between two groups, walking the ever-shifting border of vocabulary and definition. Oftentimes people in various groups and subcultures will misunderstand each other, and such misunderstandings quickly grow out of proportion. My job, as I saw it, was to create understanding by explaining how two seemingly-disparate concepts could actually be the same, or related, or have an identical root cause.
The problem with interpretation is that it can quickly become a full-time job by itself. Some people came to depend on having me around to explain their ideas, never learning to bring them to full flower on their own. I also began to take it too far, trying to bring everything together in a personal Unified Field Theory.
The goal of interpretation is not to bring everyone together – it’s not about teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony. Instead it’s about guiding discourse, bringing together people and ideas that will go further together than they will apart. Some ideas, and some people, stand stronger on their own, and that’s okay. As always, discretion and discrimination are necessary.
If you’re wondering how interpretation fits in with the firebird’s work, it’s just another part of learning to change – in this case, your mind. It’s about being able to shift your point of view enough to understand both sides and maintain enough distance from both to look beyond the obvious.
In other words, it’s about embracing fluidity and change, just like every other part of the process. Fluidity in thought and concept is as essential as any other kind.