The 18th century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico believed that humankind passes through 3 stages:
1.) The Divine Stage- in which the Gods rule civilization,
2.) The Aristocratic Stage-where we are ruled by those individuals claiming to be superior and,
3.) The Human Stage-in which individuals govern themselves.
It looks as if we are at Stage 3 now which one would think to be a good thing except that the final point of the idea here is that after Stage 3, all falls apart and the process begins again. Considering what's been happening on the worldfront these days, hope was looking as sorry as the tiny, closed-up purple pansy I saw smashed under a hood of snow in the Champ de Mars recently. It quietly held its color and life intact, waiting for the frozen grip of a wet head-lock to let go so it could once again stand tall and bloom toward the warmth of a future sun. I'm hoping our situation may be as naturally recurring as that. And Obama, our future sun.
Just as this idea of stages can be true of humankind en masse, it also looks to be true of the individual within the family. We start out in a process that for all intents and purposes could be called Divine Science (that 9 month process of creation and gestation within the body) and shortly thereafter, we are ruled by those creators--or parents as they like to be called. After a period governed by the monarchs, a time frame also determined by superiors, we become free to run our own lives, free from those initial creators. And then what? And then we die! That's the natural outcome for the body (unless we learn something different in the next couple of centuries--provided we have that much time-- and it turns out that it's not).
I'd like to think that we as individuals (or a society) don't necessarily have to blow ourselves up (literally or figuratively) as a natural consequence of governing ourselves. I'd also like to think that the last 8 years with President Dufus Dangerous (who I always said was "on a need-to-know-basis but someone forgot to tell him!") have not so damaged our credibility and goodwill with the Steady-As-She-Goes and the Up-and-Comers in the world that we will have completely done ourselves in.
Garrison Keillor recently wrote about the possible intent of Yellowstone (and its seimic activity) to blow so high that it takes several states with it. He prefers to wait out the "big belch" in Paris, complete with his own personal fantasies starring Juliette Binoche and Audrey Tatou. With the state of our economy, our recent political atmosphere and the probability of super viruses on the way, I think we could all take a lesson from the Lake Woebegone Master.
If it is true (as has been suggested in recent decades) that we do indeed create our lives and our reality with the energy of our thoughts, then it makes perfect sense that during times such as these (or any time for that matter), one may want to be very careful where one puts their focus. We have had fear fed to us like rotten candy for nearly a decade and now we are living it. It appears we are now in the belly of the whale.
If a tidal wave is on the way, people know to run for higher ground. In this case, maybe we need to run for higher thoughts; thoughts filled with what we want rather than what we're reading, hearing and most undoubtedly not wanting. I'm not exactly advocating the ostrich pose but I am suggesting not getting too carried away on the wave.
For those more pragmatic of you, think of it as the old "Act As If". You've heard that over and over in those success tapes you've listened to in your car all the way to your cubicle job. Real estate brokers use it. Professional athletes use it. Anyone who truly wants to be successful uses the mind to create what they want by seeing it happen before it happens.
For those woowoo-ligans like moi, that positive power of thinking means doing like Monsieur Woebegone and indulging in life-like scenarios of what we would prefer (which by the way is my New Year's Resolution this year--at least once a day I play the Blue Ray in my own personal home theater that is my head and watch the imagic-movie of what I want my life to look like on my giant plasma screen).
And I'm hoping and praying that those already caught up in the tidal wave's turbulent chaos can see themselves treading water until they can find something to hold onto, keeping their families and loved ones' safe.
Me? I'm planning on seeing all those who need help, getting it, possibly by way of some of those very same who once believed that their bottom lines and corporate bonus' were the end-all-be-all. (Anyone who's not read Wendell Berry's 2007 Commencement Address for Bellarmine University, it is an interesting question to the current answer--and vice versa.)
Woops, too preachy? Ok, back to the theater in my head.
Me? I'm planning on seeing the wave as a necessary ripple on the pond of our evolution, watching it from a hilltop surrounded by family and friends (and a library of my own published books, short stories, poems & awards as well as sold and filmed screenplays---Hey, it's my party and I can scry if I want to! Stage 3, remember?) and using the floodwaters to put out any fires of carnage while lighting the internal flames of hope.
(Oh and let's not forget Hugh Jackman who will also be there, serving drinks and giving massages poolside in his size Small Speedo and Kisses for $1 sign.)
Photograph copyright: Kirsten Steen