When I say our new mythology should draw from all sources…
…I mean all sources.
Even from George Costanza.
Yes, that not-so-lovable loser from the TV sitcom Seinfeld.
I’m thinking of the episode in which George decides to go in the opposite direction…
He realizes that, if his entire life has been one big mistake…
…then, he should completely reverse course. Since his natural impulses always turn out to be wrong, he should go counter to them, he should do the opposite of his normal response.
Instead of trying to hoodwink an attractive woman, he would be direct and honest.
Instead of suffering silently at the movies, he would tell the obnoxious jerks behind him to shut up.
Instead of groveling during an job interview, he would let the big boss know just what he thought of him.
And his new strategy works! Where “impulse George” failed, “conscious George” succeeds.
Yes, I know that, in real life, this maneuver probably wouldn’t net such immediate results. But I still think it’s a valid concept.
So then, should our new mythology include this self-help strategy?
Yes—but on a much-larger scale.
At this point in our career—our career as human beings on this planet Earth—we obviously need to go in a different direction.
Consider our history…
We’ve pretty much followed one path—a path of greed, dominance, and destruction…
But now, it looks as though we may have reached a dead end (pun intended).
Up to this point, an empire, a dynasty, a kingdom, a country, a people, a tribe might wonder if it would survive…
But now, we’ve begun ask if we are going to survive. I mean the big We—the whole human race.
I would say, yes we will—but only if we can reverse field, just as George Costanza did. Want to return to Eden? Then go back the same way you came.
Of course, on Seinfeld, George couldn’t maintain his new strategy…
By the next episode, he was back to his old sniveling, conniving ways. No explanation was given, but none was needed. We knew George would soon falter, would lose his nerve.
But as I see it, the big We will not only reverse field, but maintain this change of direction.
This isn’t optimism on my part, oh no. I’m darkly pessimistic. We’ll make the change and maintain it, because we’ll realize what the alternative is.
If I was an optimist, I’d be saying we’d consciously, willingly make that decision. But I think we’ll make that choice only when we’re forced to make that choice.
In my own life, I try to make the conscious decision. The hard decision. The decision to go against the impulse and follow the intuition—even if that intuition tells me to eat cold soup. I hate cold soup.
To be honest, much of the time I fail. I follow my baser angels, not my better ones.
But unlike George, I realize that change—real change—has to happen slowly, in order to take hold. Change moves at an snail’s creep.
Change may sometimes seem to come upon us suddenly, drastically. But in such cases, there was usually a long build-up. Afterwards, the period of recuperation, of healing, may extend for many years.
I’m guessing this human world will experience some drastic changes and events in a relatively short period of time. Over the next few decades, I’d say. Man-made changes and events. Not acts of God.
We’ll crash, then be forced to go in a different direction. Having crashed (because we didn’t act consciously), we’ll have to work very hard put ourselves back together again.
But we’ll gain much from that work. We’ll be in much better shape after this transformation.
So maybe I am an optimist.
© 2011, Michael R. Patton