The Great Narrower

There is a famous contemporary artist who, amongst other types of work, has sculpted figures which depict caged birds. Symbols of art such as this can shed light to various meanings, perhaps so numerous as to fill a thick tome. Like a wet piece of cloth, it can be repeatedly wrung to spill its wisdom onto the canvas of our imagination. One such interpretation is to identify the bird as our aspiration or hope towards some desired thing. For how often do we find that we cage our dreams and chain them to heavy anchors of anticipation? Our expectations weigh on them with literal attachments to how they ought to come about. Their shape and size, taste and texture — all must please our personally ordained palette of what is assumed to be our rightful fate.

A man once wrote that it is built-in within a human being to believe it is special and unique. In some ways this is true, as is praised by common groups these days. However, one effect of this curious quality of our psychology is that it roots the ego to a point of view in which it is the protagonist. Everyone else is, to some solipsistic degree or another, believed to be less real or less material than one’s own personal existence. We observe an unbalanced dosage of this condition in narcissists and lunatics, amongst a myriad of other deranged denominations. Yet it exists in almost every man, lending them a habitual system of logic that often silently, or with a roar, demands that reality fit its desired mold.

The world is rather grand; larger, perhaps, than we dare imagine. Much of it is incomprehensible; its rational details fleeting from moment to moment like a gust of wind. Great or trifling evils visit us on repeated occasions for the simple sake that we hold on tight to a narrative which blind-sights itself into believing in personal nobility. This is the great narrower, the false ego that takes the soul of a man down the root of confusion and perpetually petty suffering. For reality offers itself in equal measure to the needs and necessities of everything  in accordance to their relation to each other. What a mouthful! It is heresy to one man to deny him his vanity, yet his value is never in question. It is more a case of replacing wrong value with right value, and understanding that luck and fate are impersonal deities.

Ambitions, desires, hopes, and anything of the like, are best served simple. “The meek inherit the earth”, for they leave themselves empty enough to live a life fully. It is in the encroaching condition of wanting to be special — that is, more special than others — that nonsense and its siblings run amok amidst the once orderly kingdom of man’s potential. No noble bird should be caged by a warped lens which, if not fancied by reality’s last verdict, cries foul and falls as victim or raging snake. There is much to be said about adults needing to grow up — that they instead walk with humble steps around their comrades as they go about their business and breathe the communal air. It is not at all as complicated as it seems.


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