Go Ahead, Make My Day
"Go ahead, make my day," originally spoken by Clint Eastwood in his classic role as the controversial detective, "Dirty" Harry Callahan, was a threat. I repeat it as a plea. The plea simply asks that, instead of devoting your day to worrying about money, striving for power over others, defending your righteousness, savoring victimization (of yourself or others), and other fear-based behaviors, you willingly suspend disbelief and see the Divinity in everyone, including yourself.
I have fallen prone to the allures of reality TV and began watching Survivor 2, situated in the Australian Outback. I do have the satisfaction that I watched not one minute of the first series. Alas, that is no defense now. I really did not know what to think when I watched the first show of the second series. What I rapidly learned is that, for most part, the people constituting the two tribes are selfish, egocentric, and greedy, and if reflective of the human race at large, we are doomed as a species.
If you are one of the few hundred people in the western hemisphere who have not heard of this show, the premise is that sixteen people, divided into two "tribes," are dumped into the middle of a somewhat hostile physical environment with minimum equipment and food. Their goals are two: survive physically for some number of days and to be the sole social survivor of the entire event through an exercise of periodically voting other members of the tribe out. At some point the remaining members of the two tribes are combined together, the voting continues, and the last person standing wins a million dollars.
The setting is clever enough. One must have enough apparent concern and contribution to be thought beneficial, or harmless enough to "survive" early rounds of voting, and at the same time, connive, manipulate, lie, cheat, and steal sufficiently to get others voted out. Is art reflecting life? I believe so. The crocodiles, spiders, snakes, and dingoes don't have a chance. They are simply acting in accordance with their instincts and true need to "survive."
What a sorry state of humanity reflects in this show! Man is a social animal who has had to aggregate in order to really survive over the last 100,000 years of our strutting about nature's stage. We did this because we were not as fast, strong, perceptive, tough, or agile as the "lower" animals with whom we were cast and competed. Our brains, capable of creative, associative, and cognitive thought, combined with banding together in groups, enabled man and woman to not only survive but to build what we call civilization. Survivor 2 makes a mockery of all of this, and at the same time, "forces" a contest of the unfitted that treats our hard won social skills as a veneer under which lies base skills that, if unleashed, not only separate us from one another but also allow the destruction (metaphorically) of those who are our teammates and co-workers.
As we hunch over our glowing tubes (substitute for fire) on Thursday evenings, slack jawed, and drooling over the machinations of the more clever members of the tribes as they sow their seeds of dissension and mistrust, we are no better than the attendees at ancient Rome's Coliseum, breathlessly awaiting the consumption of the Christians (or whoever was easily available) by the lions. Must our lives be so unfulfilled and empty that we need this "excitement" to stimulate our hearts to pump for another week as we trudge off to the jobs that we hate and buy lottery tickets on the way home? I think probably so.
We were not born this way; we were born into this way. We learned this way of being as a result of believing that we needed to do so to be "survivors." Our motivations to want to outdo others, to take as big of a piece of the pie as possible, to hope that others fail, to fake it until we make it, to die with the most toys, to go shopping when it gets tough, and on and on, do nothing but perpetuate the Roman Coliseum mentality. It doesn't have to be that way. It doesn't have to be that way!
What, then, constitutes an alternative? Let us look at what we are born with, two incredible gifts. The first is our brains and the ability to choose what we do with them. The second gift consists of a tiny spark of Divinity that sits at the core of our very being. Some people have special gifts such as for music, art, mathematics, and athletics, but at a minimum we all have conscious choice and the Divine. Not a bad set of tools with which to build a life. What happens is that we make choices that cause us to overlook our Divinity, and, in fact, tend to obscure and ignore our Divinity. The blessing is that our Divinity does not get disgusted and leave - such is the nature of Divinity anyway - it knows no disgust.
This does not make us bad, evil, or Spiritual miscreants. Ignoring our Divinity gives us our major opportunity in life for lesson, namely, to rediscover our personal Divinity and to learn from it rather than all of the fear-based behaviors that we chose because we believed we could not survive without them. We thought we needed to outwit and out-maneuver our fellow Divine beings to protect ourselves, and then, well, doing so became a habit. Not a nice way to treat Divine beings is it?
It all starts with choosing to accept the possibility that you are Divine, that a spark of the One is in you and that a strand of light extends from that spark. That strand is woven with countless others into the fabric of the Universe and the One that is All. With that awareness, how can any of us plot and connive against others for our own benefit? If we damage one strand, we affect the whole fabric. Knowing this now, I do not want to do repair work (releasing karma) anymore, so I choose to see Divinity whatever I am doing, even watching Survivor 2, because the members of both tribes are all Divine beings. They cannot extinguish the spark of Divinity within them; they can choose to continue ignoring it.
Of course, there is more to it than recognition of the Divine within you. Bringing your Divinity to the surface and employing it as much of 7 x 24 that you can takes conscious choice, intention, and being in action. It can be done. I know many people who live their Divinity - they are not saints, gurus, or "special." They are just folks who decided that enough was enough, that there was more to their lives than what they were experiencing. They did something about it. You can too.
So, go ahead, make my day, please. See the Divinity in yourselves and others. Me too! Wouldn't it be a hoot if the tribes in Survivor 2 decided to see each other as Divine beings and cooperated for the common and individual good? When it came time to vote someone out, everyone would simply submit blank ballots. What a concept! I guess it would not make for such great viewer ratings. Oh well…
H. Vexson is a black sheep offspring of an established East Coast (USA) lineage that predates the Internet and who heavily invested in Xerox and Apple at the right time. After graduating from well-known ivy prep and collegiate institutions, he was struck in the head by a mallet in a polo match. Although his team did win, he experienced an epiphany, sold his ponies and the Bentley, and sallied westward to California. There he garnered some minor fame in establishing a chain of aromatherapy stores named Smell This, garnering him a small fortune and establishing independence from the East Coast Vexsons. Forsaking the family traditions of Republican conservatism, he is a Libertarian, writes bad poetry, and lives quite comfortably where he may view the ocean and the mountains as well as the poor souls going to and fro their "jobs." If you wish to have a personal communiqué forwarded to him, please do so in care of the Editor of this magazine.