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Image for post
Photo by Tony Bonnano

The naked human is challenged. It would be safer reflecting alone than confronting you. And even the favorite dictum of reflective psychology — a psychology which has consciousness rather than love as its main goal — ‘Know thyself’’ will be insufficient for a creative psychology. Not ‘Know thyself’ through reflection, but ‘Reveal thyself’, which is the same as the commandment to love, since nowhere are we more revealed than in our loving’.

James Hillman

That afternoon, it had been as though an unseen hand had drawn back a curtain and, for the briefest moment, I had seen through such a window. In a flash of “outsight” I had known timelessness and quiet ecstasy, sensed a truth of which mainstream science is merely a small fraction. And I knew that the revelation would be with me for the rest of my life, imperfectly remembered yet always within. A source of strength on which I could draw when life seemed harsh or cruel or desperate.” Jane Goodall

We fabricate so much window dressing around our lives and our selves we hardly know who and what we are. There are those who live closer to their core selves than most of us, who report a completely different reality.

The image at the top of this piece is of wild horses in the Camargue in the south of France. They live their wild, true selves, untouched by the agendas of humans. That’s rare. Human civilization is reaching out and interfering with the intelligence of nature, corrupting the delicate balance we all live within. Of course that begins with all of us the moment we’re born. By the time we are adults, we have lost touch with our wild and true selves.

We retain just enough to keep the generations going, but how much longer?.

We have various disciplines that try to lead us back to our core being, but undoing the work of civilization that has become who we think we are is difficult. Everything must be questioned, which is a useful exercise in any case. The received ideas that torture humans do so precisely because they are unexamined. Looking at one’s ideas as ideas and not some God given truth is the basis of meditation, for example. It’s also the basis for the arts.

Everything else is propaganda.

Getting to the core of our humanity is not the path of belief or adherence to any system. Seeing the constructs we inhabit requires looking without judgement. If there is judgement, then that must be seen without judgement.

It’s not easy to become human. It’s not automatic. Mistakes and stumbles are part of the path we’re on. We’re not like wild animals. Our natural intelligence is not so available to us. Being confused and lost, we adopt a lot of rigid rules and principles, whereas we should be entertaining questions. And we would do better to keep final answers in abeyance.

Questioning, wondering, looking closely with interest and affection will get us closer to reality than deciding we already know.

Civilization is currently at a sticking point because we don’t listen to nature. Having a mind that can look and actually see what it’s looking at is all too rare. The drastic errors fracturing the world right now originate in the closed minds of humans and nowhere else.

Our troubles originate with us. That’s why I think looking in the mirror is the most useful thing we can do. How we think, how we function is a well kept secret, strangely enough.

Our technical prowess is legendary, but our self knowledge is pitiful.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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