I’m almost serious when I say…
…that God’s chosen people are show folk.
By “show folk” I mean TV and movie stars, popular musicians, athletes, and others whose endeavors put them on “show”.
When we read about these people, we are reading about ourselves. They mirror our own stories, but more than that, they become receptacles for our projections. We project onto them our best qualities and our worst. When we project these qualities, we disown these qualities; we ignore the best in ourselves; we ignore the worst. We ignore that which can make us great.
In this way, we attribute to “show folk” a heightened state of being. In making of them something greater than ourselves, we actually transform them into something non-human. They become something akin to the gods of the Greek pantheon. The gods of the Greek pantheon are about the energies rampant in our world; the Greek gods are about the energies rampant in ourselves.
But if we are the ones who, ultimately, choose which show folk we will call our own, why do I say that they are God’s chosen people?
I say that because some unseen force within us seems to select these people for our projections. Some unseen force within us selects these people to carry our flame—some unseen collective force. Such collective forces actually seem to be larger than we are, since they seem to be beyond our awareness and outside our control.
Because this force is unseen, unknown, I will refer to it as “God”. Thus show folk are God’s chosen people.
Their images work as both vessels and prompters for us. Their images can prompt us to bring up parts of ourselves previously unknown, unexpressed. Thus, a quite ordinary person can appear new, fresh, mysterious. The feelings they provoke in us are often difficult to express.
Alfred Hitchcock once referred to actors as cattle. But as show folk, they are not cattle—they are the golden calf. We put them on a pedestal to show reverence our own mysterious state of being. Then we knock them off, because no human should ever be worshiped.
Unfortunately, even after we knock them off, we do not reclaim our projections. Often we simply replace the positive projection with a negative one.
The show folk person, feeling the weight of these projections, may try to reject them—even the positive ones. He or she may work hard to demonstrate his/her ordinariness. The show folk person may even engage in acts of self-destructive behavior to destroy this image. Unfortunately, such acts may actually add dimension to the person’s story and spur us to continue our projections.
To be one of the chosen ones is always more of a burden than a blessing. More is required of the person, not less.
But, despite the burden, many still seek this honor—perhaps as a way of confirming these energies within themselves. Many show folk perceive an opportunity in this elevated position and embrace the responsibility given to them. They work to be generous, kind, thoughtful.
But such acts of charity and insight may seem superficial to us. We apparently want something more, something indefinable, from those we choose to represent us. We want something of depth. An image can hold this depth, but not the person behind the image. The show folk person may indeed contain the attributes of our projection. But when we are honest with ourselves, we see that the show folk person is no more nor less than we are.
So no matter how the chosen ones respond to our projections, we are bound to feel a little dissatisfied in this transaction. Only beings that do not actually exist can carry these projections, these energies of life. The archetypal image, approached correctly, reflects back onto us and allows us to reclaim the projection.
As it stands, we have created a situation that feels vapid. By ignoring our greatest potentials, we are left with a feeling of emptiness. These energies exist in the spirit. To disown them produces a sense of spiritual vacancy.
Many religions respond to the desire to realize these energies by creating a pantheon to express them. Other religions respond to this desire by directing our attention inward.
So how should our new mythology deal with this dilemma of projection?
The first step, of course, is to recognize the phenomenon.
But to recognize the problem is not enough. How do we then respond to these energies of life? Do we create a pantheon to represent these energies, or do we turn inward and experience these energies within ourselves?
Well, I don’t see that one way excludes the other. Perhaps the ideal is to recognize these energies in our various pantheons and then, recognize how they work in our lives, how they work within us.
…perhaps there needs to be a third part to this equation. After we have gained—and maintained—awareness of the act of projection…
…after we’ve become aware of these energies in our lives, in ourselves…
…how are we then to respond? How can we respond to energies that, though they exist within us, also seem greater than ourselves? It’s downright scarey. No wonder we project these energies, these aspects, these forces of life, onto others.
I’m not sure how we can respond directly, how we should respond. Ritual is a response, but for a ritual to be truly effective, the meaning gained from that ritual must be integrated into our mundane lives. It’s not so simple to create an potent ritual.
But perhaps, performing the first two steps of the process is enough. I don’t know. I do know that, at this time, to respond adequately to the demands of life, we need to be more, not less. To be more, we must accept what is already within us.