Last week, I had another spat with my sister. And during the middle of the spat I realized that in the back of her mind, she must have an idealized concept of what a relative is supposed to be like. I am guessing that it comes from Leave It to Beaver or The Brady Bunch or some other show from way before the point that television started to openly show what real families were like.
(The Simpsons and Married With Children are closer to what I believe real families are like.)
And as long as I fall short of that ideal, I am going to be judged as being a bad relative. (If you are curious about some of this drama, you can peek at my writing blog: Living in a Fishbowl III.)
Then I realized that I am falling short of a lot of people's idealized concept of what a person should be like. I am not the perfect leader, the perfect teacher, the perfect witch/pagan/wiccan, the perfect writer, the perfect college student, the perfect husband, the perfect friend, the perfect employee, the perfect employer, or even the perfect cat owner. And as long as I am judged by an ideal, instead of the actual person that I really am, I will be found lacking, deeply at fault for merely being human.
In the esoteric community, we see this all the time as Golden Dawn lodges and wiccan covens are found to be bad (sometimes even evil), solely because they do not match the idealized vision that seekers have for them. The other night, the lodge I belong to was found lacking because someone thought that we should teach the entire system without requiring membership in the lodge.
The same holds true for Adepts. I wish I had a dollar for every time that I have read a complaint that the Adepts on some online forum were not acting like Adepts. Often this complaint seems to follow an Adept telling someone that they are wrong about something. In an ideal world, some people seem to think that Adepts must accept every cracked pot idea that comes along, and worship at the knees of people who think these crazy ideas.
Now, don't get me wrong---there are bad esoteric groups, occult students, and leaders. It is just that one needs to be able to figure out what complaints are real and what complaints are merely the product of falling short of a misconceived ideal.