From the Tao Te Ching:
All under heaven realizing beauty as beauty, wickedness already.
All realizing goodness as goodness, no goodness already.
Have you ever been around someone who’s life is always wonderful? Or watched a celebrity talk about how wonderful their life is or how amazing and truly genius some famous person is?
I confess it annoys me immensely listening to that kind of puffery.
It is easy for me or someone else to assume that it annoys me because my life is not as wonderful as I imagine the life of some beautiful or genius or talented person’s to be. But I think the truth is much more ambiguous than that. I think most of us also feel annoyed by this human tendency to give too much honor to select people, no matter what the reason may be.
I would claim the reason we feel so annoyed is most of us have an inherent sense of integrity within us. We are harmonious with truth- though we don’t always follow it, we know it when it is present. When we are told that someone’s life is so wonderful or they are so genius, our integrity alarm is tripped and we sense the falseness of the claim.
The story which tells us that events, people, or things; are “good”, “wonderful” or “amazing” are part of that black and white drama we tend to create in our own minds. The black and white drama is not consistent with the larger world outside. But still we find ourselves trapped inside of it. We who find ourselves immersed in it, do not see it the same way as someone standing outside of our personal black and white dramas.
Examples of the black and white dramas I speak of, can most easily be witnessed when one is detached from them. It is very difficult for us to witness our own black and white drama because we can’t step back from it, we are inside of it. In order to view this black and white drama in a detached manner one could try watching some sports event in which we have no clue as to what is going on, especially one in which people seem to have some fanatical devotion to what is happening. The fans seem to be exorcising some kind of demon.
Here are a few examples of the the various human reactions to random sports dramas:
YouTube video of fan reactions; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As_XJMMmw0I
These are extreme examples, but really those are the kind of inner reactions we carry around with us everyday. It is how we react to the “good” or “bad” things which happen in our lives. It is why we hold some people up as heroes and jeer at the losers. We see it on the outside but it also happens on the inside, in our everyday lives.
For comparison check out this tiddlewink championship on youtube; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09TSwVSl3ZM
This tiddlewink video is really a much better depiction of what those collective performances (whether they are sports, music, acting, political or whatever) mean in the larger frame of time, humanity and history.
I wonder if there is an example of another animal that seems to live so vicariously through other individuals? Or one that worries so much about the “good” or “bad” judgments of other individuals?