I am a man. I am like you and nothing like you. I am like you in all the ways you and I appear different, just as I was exactly like my father in every way we were not alike. I am different from you, completely other than you, in every thing we share, all categories of likeness, whether it be race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, level of education, job status, money, whatever have you in forms to compare and contrast. All comparisons must contrast otherwise they are not comparisons at all. The fault of our fate is not in our star politicians, but in our need to dwell in our caves. We love our shadows. The Allegory of the Cave is now, it recurs everyday.
Tiresias is blind. I am blind in another way. We have met this blind prophet before. I have imagined myself searching for a blind prophet to show me the way. We do not pity Tiresias his blindness; blindness is different in antiquity than today. That is for sure, but dark woods are everywhere.
I am not though going to pluck out my eyes as did Oedipus, but then I did not murder my father as did he, kill him, really, it wasn’t murder. I don’t have the courage of Oedipus. I still imagine courage in youthful ways. I imagine I am more like Odysseus than Tiresias. Odysseus seeks the latter in the underworld. Scrouge asks his niece-in-law if she could forgive an old man for having no eyes to see and no ears to hear. Paul speaks of the evidence of things not seen. To see; to understand; how do we stand under the things we know, the things we have come to believe, the things we continue to have faith for?
We imagine we are more compassionate today than we have ever been; we have bureaucracy behind us in this assertion. This lingers in the thoughts of those who imagine morality like history is linearly progressive through time. We cannot, though, fathom the depth of character, of mind, of soul that is necessary for compassion to be compassion and not the appearance of being compassionate by learning how to look as if one were being compassionate without actually having to be so.
A society bred on the idea that package is as important, or now more important than, product, cannot understand the distinctions between passion and emotion, or how depth of feeling is opposed to the appearance of having felt.
Pascaltide is a celebration and commemoration of the Passion of Christ, not the Emotion of Christ. The differences between passion and emotion should be obvious, but for those who confuse one for the other as if they were completely synonymous, interchangeable in all contexts of use . . . how could anyone be so insipid?
Odysseus seeks Tiresias in the underworld. Would I? In spite of multiculturalism’s attitudes towards our Roman-Greco metaphysical heritage, Odysseus is one of our prototypal seekers. He is also an archetypal trickster, and as such, provides us with lessons for our lives. It is the role of our civilization’s tricksters–as it is the role of tricksters in all cultures–to be a champion of freedom, yes, champion, a competitor for liberty on the filed of life. Sancho Panza is an eloquent defender of liberty and the freedom of the individual. I digress.
Blindness has given Tiresias other eyes. We should be so lucky to have them. The wise understand this; the fools never will. A fool will always form a thousand questions to keep the wise man playing hop-scotch. Hop-scotch or ping-pong, the idiot’s delight in argument, his intellectual acumen never veering far from either. How blind are we? Look and you will see.I am blind in ways my sight hides. I see and I see not, but I see not how I do not see when I look. We have been taught to dis-see.
Education in America, as in most public varieties everywhere, is more about indoctrination into the values of the status quo, than it is about making individual students eloquent defenders of freedom and democracy. Our culture today could care less; individuality in America is more about self-enslavement than it is about freeing us. The appearance of being free is the best we care about. Solipsism is the reigning popular philosophy. Do not forget the Soviet Union had elections, and Nazis Germany had its Oktoberfests.What then are these eyes for that I have, that I use, that I look at the world around me surrounding me . . . sight surrounds seeing.
There is nothing more easily ignored than the obvious; there are truths too horrible or just too uncomfortable to acknowledge. How do I understand this . . . to stand under is another way of wearing the necessary shoes. We don’t want to walk two blocks–we are so fat, how can nations of starving masses not hold us in contempt?
Don’t all wise men and women enter the dark at least of their souls, see San Juan de la Cruz in his Dark Night of the Soul, the spiritual path of Truth . . . recall the Psalms, “Yea, though I walk through the valley in the shadow of Death. . . .”Would you have Oedipus’s courage, or Saint John’s, or the hero of Plato’s most famous allegory who ventures into the light of day. I believe I would, but then there is no one easier to flatter than myself. I am too weak not to succumb to self-flattery; who is stronger?
Would any of us be as responsible as he was, answerable as Oedipus becomes? Do you or I have his sense of justice–and it is justice he has a sense of in his actions.I know I would be too attached to my eyes to pluck them out; Christ understands our vanity when he says if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out. Be quiet, be still. I’ve been raised in dishonest America, though; kings of hypocrisy all of us led by our Congressional Law-giving Pimps, the whores we are, selling our water, our future, not even for ourselves, but so that the few can get richer at the expense of our children’s future. And then we let our PImps tell us it’s our fault, smacked down like the bitches they tell us without words that we are. And we are also told that we have to do with less because we want to get America back on track . . . we are all of us, fools. I don’t see Barack or Michelle doing with less; but then Obama is the Banker’s Prime Bitch and gets paid well enough to heel when Goldman Sachs tugs the leash.
What good are eyes, though, we could ask, when we see not the Truth, nor any of the minor ‘t’ truths of our political world, or our lives as we live them day in day out and so on until we die as absurdly as we lived. Lear must ask the same when he is on the heath, when he is finally blind. He comes to wisdom only after his folly. Have we yet? Most of us are the same.Lear was a fool. I am a fool. He was a fool from the start. I am no different. His hubris leads to his blindness; hubris is already blindness. We are are stumbling around the coffee table of our lives, hands stretched out in the light of day unable to see two feet in front of us. I’m waiting for the chickens; they do usually come home to roost.The visionary company we think we keep; prepackaged media sponsored wisdom. America is lost. Hegemony?
The visions I have, the company with them that I keep. What visions do we pay attention to. I close my eyes and see all that I see within, the back of my lids as when I lay me down to sleep, a screen for other shadow plays. A montage of the rich getting richer, the powerful more powerful than ever. We did imagine liberating ourselves by freeing ourselves of traditional metaphysically drawn ideas about Truth and truths. We only gave power just what it needed to become more powerful, for monied elites to become more monied more elite.I mute prophets in me. We murder our prophets in America, they cannot be packaged on TV. Murdering to dissect prophecy? We then think we understand, and in our folly, we imagine ourselves wise. We hold up nothing with our acumen, an Emperor’s New Clothes of Intelligence and Education.
Where is this wisdom I’ve been waiting for? I’ve led myself to believe that I would not mock the man who made it out of Plato’s cave to see the world by the light of day. I have led myself to believe that I would not prefer the shadows to the sight of things in the light.
Today we are all of us in our caves. Tomorrow I will leave my cave with my rifle.