Wednesday, 25 May 2016
Antlers of self-esteem
Edgware Road, London, 4 September 1993, 3.31pm
“In that state, he [the true mystic] beholds the visible world as it were from within. He perceives the spiritual cause of all these material effects. He understands the essential nature of trees and flowers and mountains and the live creatures of the world. No longer does he see men by those dim lights that penetrate the dense and cloudy world of matter. He sees them as angelic toilers bowed by the burden of their mundane selves. And he knows the insignificance of much that we deem important, the deep value of much that we cont accessory, for having cleansed his vision of all personal impediment he apprehends the true proportion of all the elements that compose the universe.” – Clifford Bax (from the Introduction to The Signature of All Things. With other writings by Jacob Boehme (Everyman’s Library published by J.M. Dent & Sons, London).
My interest is not in the quarantined portion of social-mental experience, not in those who have already been taken aside and labelled ‘insane,’ but in ‘the rest;’ that is, in every single person on this planet (and beyond), all of whom have their own unique character, their own mental experience, their own growth patterns. I am not in favour of the persistent, cowardly persecution of others. People generally prefer to judge and condemn others’ instability than to embark upon their own inner journey from caterpillar to butterfly. Inherent fearfulness prevents such persons from ‘losing it.’ They hang on for dear life to what their culture classes a ‘sane.’ They feel comfortable and safe there. They make use of the old strength in numbers routine.
“And why not?” they might well ask in typical and ‘respectable’ survivalist fashion, be it in capitalist or communist culture.
Why not indeed, the newly-born butterfly might gasp as it struggles to break free of its hell-hole of a cocoon. Weary and broken, it looks down at all the smiling insensitive, fat caterpillars who have been fortunate not to have gotten into the mess they did. But soon the butterfly will notice the sunlight pouring down and illuminating its brilliant colours. “Wow, look at me! Hey, this is a miracle. I’m a magical, flying angel!” CRASH!! It falls smack into the land of egocentricity. And there is no protection. It can no longer say, “Hey guys, I’m one of you!” No amount of intelligent interaction will convince a caterpillar that this is ‘one of the lads.’ “Who are you?” they will sneer, “dolled up in your fancy colours. Look how feeble you are!” they laugh and chide. It’s true, in the superficial reality that is all caterpillars know, you’re an alien, a weirdo, and don’t you dare aspire to the same quality of self-esteem.
“The enchanted apples,” writes Clifford Bax, “are guarded by dragons and are only captured by the strong.” (From the Introduction to The Signature of All Things. With other writings by Jacob Boehme (Everyman’s Library published by J.M. Dent & Sons, London).
The race of caterpillars is really a race of underdeveloped butterflies. Or, rather, they are angels who have yet to manifest in the material form. But try telling them that! Try even mentioning the word ‘spiritual’ to them. If they accept it, then it will probably be camouflaged in some preconceived, second-hand religious dogma that preserves ‘caterprotection,’ or hires its own law-giving ‘God-is-on-our-side’ security guard service of that name (to defend its static-and-safe heritage). Hell, in the end we’re all one. Why do you have to come and spoil everything by analysing and criticising the social order, upsetting the status quo? The reason is that, although all the apples are, in effect, the same, some enjoy the sunlight and others live lives full of darkness, despair and depression at the bottom and never get a turn at basking in the light of social acceptance. In this subtle form of hierarchy - “just where we landed, thank you very much” – of one’s self-esteem is quite dependent on how far up you reside on the social scale. Of course, those on top wish to preserve their superior status and privileged positions. So too would the oppressed apples. However, once the experience of oppression has seeped into an apple’s being, it ought to be less greedy and more considerate when allowed to rise to the top of the pile. In fact, it may no longer accept the invitation, feeling uncomfortable with the responsibility of keeping others in the dark.
At the moment, in 1933, the entire structure of humanity is being pressurised. Both collective and individual personalities are being challenged. We are being confronted by our selves, by out relation to the natural universal flow of unity – at least, to a higher degree than before. The applecart has been tipped off balance. It may not have keeled over completely but, certainly, there has been a reshuffle of status, physically, emotionally and mentally. At the end of the day, the status is imaginary. What is important is its effect on self-esteem. Sure, it is all very wise to retain self-esteem under whatever oppressive conditions we find ourselves. But, sometimes, in an imperfect world, or, rather, a dynamic, ever-changing one, such as this, one cannot simply sprout antlers of self-esteem while being crushed beneath a few billion other apples! If, however, each apple gets a shot at sitting on top, one can take that experience of sunlight with them to the bottom of the pile. “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.” If your self-esteem dies, you should get another crack of the whip. If the horns grow stronger under the challenge or, rather, under the weight of the apples, then it no longer matters what position you find yourself in. If this situation occurred, we might have a race of very ‘special’ human beings who have the confidence to manifest their wondrous potential. I’m sure that the cosmos is already implementing this operation, but a little collective acknowledgement wouldn’t go amiss.