From my February Newsletter.
Imagine this advertisement tailored to you. Would you apply?
In Robert A. Heinlein’s book Glory Road, the main character follows the above ad and embarks on a great adventure, on Glory Road. He becomes a hero, and on the way has to fight dragons and other creatures that almost kill him. Once he is a hero and has received his “very high pay”, he gets bored and depressed. He realizes that there is no such thing as a retired hero. He continues his journey, on the search for the next Glory Road, and for dragons to slay. It’s worth reading the whole story, for inspiration of what it means to be on the Path.
I am on my own path of evolution. It is a glory road, my personal heroine’s journey, and just like in Robert Heinlein’s hero’s journey, it is rocky. Interestingly, there is no retirement from being on that path, either. That is because Evolution has no end. My plateau fantasies of “if only I get there, life will be a cruise and I’ll live happily ever after”, get dismantled every time. That is great news because life would be dull otherwise.
The path of evolution is a rocky road also because it is not always pretty. For instance, I gained more clarity in the last Possibility Laboratory that I participated in (a glorious adventure, by the way): I learned to break a man’s nose if attacked, and that buzzed me up and ignited a clarity in me that I do not want other people’s centers, and that I refuse to give my center away. Now, that might sound good in theory; what it means in real life is that it becomes uncomfortable to relate with others. The sweet comfort of ordinary relating falls away, and then what? I am unskilled at that, and so it can be messy.
Becoming a “conscious asshole” in such a way – meaning the willingness to be disliked or to upset other people – is what I explored while interviewing Ingrid Schmithüsen as my first Podcast guest. I am on this discovery journey myself. I’ve experienced that, when I become a conscious asshole, others around me might freak out – and not only that, they may also attack me. These are the dragons in real life.
Besides, I have a dragon, too – my Gremlin, who loves to control and use asshole-ness for that purpose. So guess what? On the heroine’s journey, I need a double-sided sword of clarity, one of these sides facing myself. I cannot forget the element of consciousness in my endeavour.
You might ask, but why bother to change, to go on that journey, if it is uncomfortable and greatly dangerous?
For me, the answer is clear: Because it is absolutely necessary to be on that journey.
The ways of relating that modern culture offers and which I learned from my surroundings are not sustainable. They require me to adapt; they require others to adapt to me; and all of that is sticky and sleepy and dead. These ways make me a Zombie. As a Zombie, I am not radically alive.
I take a stand for my radical aliveness. It is a rocky road. It is a glory road, too.