I spent a few days in Hsipaw which is in Chen state getting close to the Chinese border. There are clashes between the Chen rebel’s and Myanmar police occurring regularly. I was told that we were a few kilometres away from the Rebel position. I hiked about three hours around town, fields and forests during my time here. Iris remained in Mandalay working at the hospital. Like most places in Myanmar Hsipaw is a peaceful and friendly place.
I wander through the dusty streets of Mandalay
Near where the dirty Erwaddy River does flow
And on each human face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
(Inspired by William Blake
It was the beginning and as Robert Blake wrote, “If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.”
I am deeply suspicious of those who profess to know themselves in a way that is intensely confident and assured. Colin Wilson suggests that the “self-surmounter”can never put up with the man who has ceased to be dissatisfied with himself. It strikes me that they are operating from perceived illusions of their belief in self. Perhaps it is more that they have not become insightful enough to be aware of their looming self doubt or that they are too attached to “self” to see beyond it. It seems to be a never ending task to shift what we have accumulated of our personality that is in the way of knowing “self”. We humans seem to have an incredible ability in our conditioned way of seeing, to ignore, deny and avoid painful truths about ourselves. To search for truth is too much for the denier.
And thenvthere is the problem of self expression as St. Augustine has writtne ‘I came to know where I was [as a child], and tried to express my wants to those who could gratify them, yet could not, for my wants were inside me, and they wen outside’ (Conassions, Bk. I, VI. Italics mine.)
I have become aware of the limitations of the conditioned self. It is what I doubt. In some ways my later life has been about the refining of a “gentle will” that is focused on revealing what has interfered with openness and receptivity to revelations of self knowing that are authentic.
It seems as well that there is something of my essence that is by its nature creative and imaginative and that when I enter openly into that, there is in turn a more satisfying sense that my attempts of expression are more authentic. At times that creative expression itself is the action that reveals something more of my self. Creativity and imagination seem to be inseparable from that experience of becoming and being authentic. With this there is an increased awareness of the mystery, of life and that which can not be known.
A friend suggested to me that the corporate world works as it is designed to. I agree one hundred percent that the people making the rules and their supporters are benefiting above all others. Ive known this for a while. The time that I have spent in Myanmar, living in Nepal and East Germany I have had an opportunity to experience monarchal, socialist and dictatorial regimes. I have not seen evidence that those in power in these places don’t get it any better in terms of their treatment of citizens and the compulsion for greed and favouritism. It seems to me that it is our acceptance of the very limited capability of egoism in our leaders and tolerance of it in ourselves that is a problem.
In regards to the digital world, health and medical developments, nuclear , robotics and other technology, many of our political, technological, and other creative developments are wonders of human imagination and not the problem. Its ultimately how they are implemented and used, the decisions that are made and the people making decisions that are utilizing these ideas and developments that needs to be considered. If we are going to empower ego maniacs with our political and other social and developmental responsibilities we will continue to struggle as we are. Why do we continue to elect, delegate and tolerate such people? Ultimately the majority of people are easily convinced that these people that we delegate have relevant attributes.
Could it be that individually there is something that we are not understanding about our own state of being and awareness and that this is reflected in our choices in leadership. It seems to me that it is more a concern with living than with written words and convincing oratory that we must consider and to reflect deeply on and about and how we might be contributing to a wayward direction out of our own fear, hate and sense of separation.
I am in Mandalay, Myanmar today. Myanmar reminds me that in human terms there seems to be two worlds out there. In the first world, the middle-class, well-ordered home teach straight lines and paths that lead into the future. Here there are duty and guilt, evil conscience and confession, pardon and good resolutions, love and adoration. Often there are scriptural texts and wisdom to guide and direct. To this world our future often seems to belong, providing a crystal clear, beautiful and well-ordered perception forward.
The other world is closer to the impoverished, service men and women, servants and others of the workforce. In a place like Myanmar this way is more evident. Here in this world one is more apt to encounter ghost stories and the breath of scandal. There is a flood of coloured, calamitous, tempting, terrible enigmatical going-on, the slaughter-house and prison, drunken men and scolding women, animals in birth-throes, roaming dogs, tales of burglaries, murders, and suicides.
I was raised in the first world but I discovered the second world in my early teens. It was an unpleasant shock and eventually I discovered a way to generate significant will that numbed me into passivity for a very long time My search was for a way back into the first world but it eventually dawned on me that it’s not just a matter of making oneself better; that by returning to this believed dualistic notion of order I would be turning away from chaos; leaving the chaos still existing.
These days in our global community there is much arising of the dark, chaotic world to the point that it seems to be overflowing its boundaries, but the truth is that it has always been a pervasive part of us. It will not just go away through grasping onto our conditioned remedies. Something of our humanity has been sacrificed from embracing those dualistic perceptions that very early in life have been forced upon us.
Colin Wilson suggests that the way to innocence is not back to the primitive child, but ever further into guilt, ever deeper into human life. “Instead of narrowing your world and simplifying your soul, you will have at the last to take the whole world into your soul, cost what it may”. Ultimately the descent into the dark world is not necessarily evil; it may in fact be the necessary expression of boldness and intelligence, from an individual and in turn a collective perspective. ” How ever we find our way around and unfold from here is not guaranteed. There is something in the necessity of learning to trust in ones own direct nature and experience arising from that in how we relate to our fear, other primal emotions and each other.