Building the Super YOU: Part 1

            This week for our Superhero training we tackled the somewhat formidable task of reinventing ourselves as “Super” somethings (Be that Superheroes, Supervillains, Elves, Wizards, Mad Scientists… what have you). In hindsight, I’ve thought of quite a few things that I should have said or done in order to better guide this particular class of adults towards our rather superlative and seemingly impossible goal; I don’t think we really made it to the place to which I had hoped to get, nor do I feel like I even managed to convince anyone that it was, in fact, a place to which anyone had any hope of getting. In short, I left class feeling like a complete failure.

            However, for the sake of those of you who are following along at home, and in order to add a few things which have only recently dawned upon me in light of how anti-climatically things seem to have turned out in that particular class, I’ve decided to reiterate the four basic premises I presented in our workshop, and examine precisely where I believe that I may have miscalculated, in a lesson which I called “Building the Super You.”

            I started with a four point breakdown of the rather herculean task before us: the first two points addressed what one might call the theoretical aspects of our undertaking, requiring each one of us to identify not only an individual “purpose” but also the overarching “paradigm” within which we might best pursue such a purpose. These are massive and fundamentally important elements of any well developed inner life, and I had hoped to draw something, anything, out of my students to give me some clues about the direction that each of them might wish to search in order to pin down and further develop these big ideas for themselves. I certainly didn’t want to simply thrust my own purpose or paradigm onto any of them; in hindsight, however, I think I should have attempted to do just that.

            Most of the people I encounter have no clear or accepted purpose for their lives at all, and, what’s worse, these same people are constantly reaffirmed and redirected back towards this seemingly inescapable life of purposelessness by a now nearly ubiquitous paradigm of spiritual malnourishment and intellectual poverty, existing as unskilled consumers and dogmatic materialists in a world that they seem to find too big to argue with. I not only failed to do anything to undermine the power of this unexamined bourgeois trap, I don’t think I even managed to argue it's existence very persuasively.

            While finding a purpose to live for can seem like an overwhelming proposition for most people, I think that the key behind this difficulty, and the solution, lies in our need to first engineer an alternative paradigm (which is something we'll talk more about later), but had I attempted to persuasively thrust my own ideas onto them, this would have forced them to either accept or to reject whatever had been shown to them, and, in doing so, they would have had to examine and perhaps reshape their own current ideas on these two important topics; it’s a classic page from the “enslave or annihilate” playbook of pedagogy that I always seem to ignore at my own peril.

            These first two, primarily internal, dimensions of the Metahuman, must be established, for all practical purposes, before any other real work can be done, that is if one is to have any hope of charting not only where he or she plans on going (i.e. one’s purpose) but also, perhaps even more importantly, what direction one’s going to be coming from in order to get there (i.e. one’s paradigm). For this reason, I probably should have made that the entire focus of the lesson. However, I had hoped that perhaps we could alternatively work backwards to these, by, perhaps, capturing the class's attention and interest with the exciting possibilities contained within some manner of mythic practicum, which brings me to the final two points in my originally rather poorly planned lesson plan, a simple question of “powers” and of “presentation.”

            I see now that I was naive. What I needed to do first was to crack their existent paradigms open (No small feat, of course, but, in hindsight, I understand why this really is an essential first step, one that absolutely must be taken, before attempting anything else. I've even written all about this idea here and examined a few of my fundamental issues with our modern paradigm elsewhere as well). Doing his first, among other things, might have rendered the topics of powers and of presentation far less unimaginable; comprehensible even.

            The reason I say that these topics were incomprehensible as they were offered is because unless you are attempting to exist beyond the boundaries of the prevailing paradigm you really require neither of these two things to serve you; you will interpret the essential notions of “powers” and of “presentation” in the most mundane manners possible, thus rendering the sense in which I intended each of these two things to be understood utterly meaningless... and so it was.

            I attempted to illustrate the function of presentation by explaining an esoteric concept inherent to the ancient Egyptian practice of heku magic, which involves the power of a form, properly shaped, to incarnate otherwise alien and incomprehensible forces; however, in the end, I feel that my conveyed meaning had been redacted down to banal issues of “swagger” and “basic grooming.” For an example of powers which I personally had worked to develop, I offered the example of Batman as a model upon which I'd shaped my own training, and yet I couldn't seem to find any accessible, even fictional, examples that explained the magickal work I'd done. Indeed, even writing "Batman" on the board seemed like a ridiculous notion, not, as one might imagine, because he's so grandiose, but rather because he is, in fact, without any actual powers, at least in the sense that I would have liked to have been explaining and illustrating this term to the group in front of me.

            No, I absolutely must breakdown the power of the existent paradigm before I can go any further in this particular class. Next week, it would seem, will have to be something very, very, special, so I'll end this here as merely "part one" of my smuggling slaves of banality on an underground grailroad. Wish us luck and Namaste.

 
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  1. At all points remember, in spite of manifold distraction, the Gods entombed alive beneath your pupils’ learned slavery. No slave would be wanted if it did not possess the key to something terribly precious that has been locked away. You know this. Let this break your heart, and in confidence speak: Address these Gods _directly_ in shared language and they will respond, effusing through any number of barriers, stirring the sleepy surface. The slumbering ones will be compelled to ask why, and encounter some violent spark of imagination, if only momentarily. This provides adequate momentum to surprise them with a lesson that is consciously and immediately comprehensible, which in turn prevents subsequent alienation and ostracization (or, as you say, perceived meaninglessness) of the momentary vision. Stir and take one small step closer; stir and take one small step closer. It is the divine purpose of each to become fully conscious of Self, however slowly: Expose to the light every set design through unyielding questioning. Transcending layer after layer of preset costumes hung on too-accessible hooks before their birth, individual purpose becomes clearer. Build, yes; also _unveil_. Convince, yes; also _remind_. Forego luck; look. Namaste.

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