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.