Two Stools

A chasm so great stood between the low valley and the high peak, that the two could never hope to meet.

However little attention may be placed on the subject, a man himself still remains a question mark. All of the millions of impressions he soaked in as a child, from those he unconditionally understood as authorities on everything, has rendered this question mark invisible. Like a man hypnotized into believing things are there which in reality are not, his view on himself and the panorama of everything else is left topsy-turvy. The greatest of the veils lie in the disparity between who he thinks he is and what in actual fact is his nature.

Self-image, as they say, means quite a bit to an average modern fellow as he lives his life with ordinary ambitions. He follows, whether he knows it or not, the same mottos and slogans that litter the streets of what is considered normal and sane amidst society. Many frown at such a sweeping statement, a blanket judgment which smells of both ignorance and cynicism. They do not see how behaving in reversal to the rule by a tendency of rebellion is simply further acknowledgment to the dominion of that rule. For the idea of self-righteous individuality is a dear one, to which we all hold tight.

There is a deep abyss which stands between imagination and reality when it comes to self-image. Thoughts, emotions and sensations are all stirred into repetitive motions by the same patterns day after day, and so this sense of continuity in our heads makes it seemingly irrelevant to question ourselves with a serious ‘no joke’ intention. It doesn’t seem to matter that the ideals we hold of ourselves are nearly always contradicted by our actions. There is a conniving engine of justification which works night and day in order to explain away whatever that is seen, and tuck away what is entirely missed. It is a propaganda machine which allows one’s inner populace to believe the fairy-tales and lullabies, and sleep ever so soundly for it.

A man falls into suffering in direct proportion to his ability to light a torch on this abyss and witness all its wild activity. Friction can be found here aplenty, and without guidance and support an ordinary man can easily fall into sentimental misery. Or, even more likely, he will struggle to get himself right back to where he was and try to dive deeply into the motions of routine stronger than ever before. But it will fail to some extent, as a remnant and shadow of what was seen will have opened the door of reality to a small slit, forsaking him of the bliss of ignorance that had once existed. He is a man who sits now between two stools, one of before and one which he can no longer completely ignore.

Yet the truth is, no suffering here is real. It is the suffering of a grip to an object that refuses to budge; that refuses to detach and let go. All that lies within the chasm has to be seen, over and over, until it is recognized, acknowledged and accepted. That is, only one of the stools actually stands there. The other is make-believe, fiction which for some reason or another exists in a man’s mind as possessing force and existence. The silliness of it all is enjoyed by a sense of humour, which for its part realizes that what is unreal raises to the fore all of the sufferings of a man who indulges in a game of no one’s making. The grand allure loses its lustre and a breath of fresh air rallies to the heart.

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