You can read Aesop’s Fables. You can read Mother Goose. You can read The Bible; The Koran, Sufi Tales and any of the Hindu Epics and find a similar thread running through all of them. They are the object lessons of existence. I imagine there are some who would object to my mention of folk tales with scriptural stories and more so for my mentioning them first but... there are tales more ancient than these stories and there have been tales since there has been a story to tell.
One of the things you see repeated in many of the tales and stories is the refusal of the population to accept an incoming calamity. They refuse to prepare and they refuse to change their ways. Often these calamities are sent because humanity has gone off in the wrong direction and needs some event to put it back on track. Generally humanity will get softer nudges first but they never pay any attention to them and that is why it eventually comes down to shock treatment.
The story of Noah’s Ark has a number of object lessons contained within it. It clearly shows how those who have the inside track on pending circumstance are considered to be mad by their fellows. It also shows that there are times when the board is cleared of what has been, so that what will be can operate with a clean slate. The scroll of history shows that there are times of relative peace and times of pervasive unrest. It shows that both have replaced each other with routine uniformity and also that you can usually see it coming.
The reason people cannot see something coming is because their focus is placed on the more immediate concerns of their appetites, desires and ambitions. Self-interest tends to operate against self-interest. In Spring and Fall you can see how this operates in the animal kingdom, when there is more road kill than usual, due to mating and feeding concerns. In the human realm the same distractions that kill the animals are flashing like neon all through the day and night.
People think if something takes longer to kill you that it is less dangerous. This is one of the ways that human reasoning and logic tend toward the general state of graduating suicide which ends most lives. Logic and reasoning are easily compromised whenever they are measured against the drive for acquisition. They are accommodated to the desire of the moment and the mind sorts out the pro’s and con’s to the advantage of the acquisition. Very often the acquisition is forgotten shortly after it is acquired or necessitates frequent reappearances at the well because the satisfaction of a particular act does not satisfy the actual hunger that is masquerading as a physical desire. This is how the drive for union and oneness gets confused with sex.
The drive for physical sex accomplishes other things besides an ongoing generation of the species. It reduces a particular luminous quality that would, ordinarily give rise to divine analytical wisdom, in favor of a temporary forgetting of the self... a tiny moment of death that masquerades as the true death which opens the door to liberation. It also sets a buffet table for those invisible energies that feed upon sexual fluids and creates a backwoods, kinfolk thing with the sort of progeny unleashed as a result.
The distraction of appetites is what occupies the human mind between the temporary occurrences of physical life as it travels between birth and death. There are appetites and survival imperatives. One does not satisfy and the other does not protect but rather makes one vulnerable due to what I call, ‘the wrong move syndrome’. You’ve heard that line about ‘he who would lose his life will save it and he who would save his life will lose it’. That’s in one of those stories somewhere. Everything you need to know is in those stories and tales but few pay any attention. Quite often those who are reading the stories and tales are paying no attention because it doesn’t have anything to do with them.
In the Mahabharata, if I remember correctly, one of The Pandavas came upon a creature, some sort of a bird and it asked him what was the greatest mystery of all. The answer was... though we see men dying all around us we do not think that we ourselves will die.
There’s more to this as there is more to just about everything in all of those stories and tales. One of the reasons that we don’t think we shall die is because... inside of us... hidden from our conscious minds, is the certitude of reincarnation and the ongoing stream of lives as they wend their way through the jungles of sensation toward the land of bliss beyond. Some are eager for this result and success is speedy. Some have little interest in anything outside of the jungles of sensation. Some of us are made differently.
Our appetites and desires sting us constantly and remorselessly like wasps. We get no peace because we allow these items to dance on the stage of the mind where they endlessly replace each other with a new and improved version of the last disappointment. This is an epidemic insanity within the collective human psyche and seemingly learned and intelligent people will argue- with the willing assistance of compromised reason and logic- that none of this is so because... well, because it interferes with what they want.
There are many clever and smart people who move about, much as their similar animals move about in their realm. Wisdom remains elusive though, no doubt, they imagine they possess it.
Except in rare instances, there is no survival here and one would do well to factor that in. There are some who have been walking on this earth for centuries in the role of caretakers but that is not likely to be a state conferred upon those who can’t even sort out the elementary passions. What we do is romanticize those passions which legitimize them and makes them into pyrrhic displays of a fatal immolation... it’s not much different than a moth around a light bulb.
You can see the whole of society led and driven by these passions; half naked bodies are draped over every product. The rich and powerful parade their trophies without knowing that they are escorting corpses through cob-webbed banquet halls. They put so much work into gaining the right to prance in front of the rest of the world that is denied their status... for the moment... and then it’s over and there’s no more credit in their accounts and it’s back to the wheel, baby.
All the fantasies of being a world leader; a great lover, a famous artist, a magnate or whatever one might desire are all available but never to result in what the dreamer expected. These roles exist for the lessons in them that are outlined in the tales and stories.
A true world leader is led. A great lover has the divine as the object of their passion, a famous artist is inspired and does no more than channel, a magnate is successful only to the degree of their philanthropy.
When one is understanding of these things there is a great deal of humor to be gleaned from observation and compassion seems to be the greater fruit of more protracted observation. One sees on all sides the Sisyphean efforts of a fool’s passage into futility. It is astonishing, the amount of effort people put into things of no value. Even a portion of the same energy, rightly directed, would provide a bounteous harvest of useful things.
There’s no telling anyone anything. They understand or they do not and those who do understand... know at what price understanding will come ...to those who do not understand. It is likely we all pay that price but it would be a matter of the degree of suffering necessary to get the point.
Here in this time a great deal can be sorted in a short time. This is where wisdom can be observed ...among those employed at this work.
'Nothing More' is track no. 5 of 13 on Visible's 2007 album 'The Sacred and The Profane'
Lyrics (pops up)
The New Shangri-La.