The following is an email (now lightly edited) sent this morning to a friend who had sent me a link to an article entitled ‘Reflections: Beside Still Waters’ by James Harpur. The article describes, among many other things, how a daoist rainmaker caused snow to fall in a drought-stricken area by simply remaining for three days in a hut until he felt his inner harmony restored at which point Nature in turn restored the outer harmony of the situation which had been thrown off kilter by the human activities in that region. My response:
What a good article, thank you (though given current events, his ‘no longer … fearing influenza’ doesn’t exactly hold up!).
Though limited by being a prose novel essentially telling a mythic tale, the older I get the more depth I find in Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings which I suspect will remain as part of the Western Canon of Classic Literature for as long as such a thing exists, up there with the Great Bard himself. Of late especially I’ve found the fundamental notion of hobbits and hobbitry increasingly apropos in that it is in ordinary folk that true goodness is found, the sort of goodness not easily corrupted by the machinations of the Great. Moreover, this bedrock decency has the power to topple the Mighty. Sauron was psychologically unable to even imagine that anyone coming in contact with his One Ring power would elect to cast it away for the benefit of others. Smart as he was, he could not figure that one out so Aragorn was able to deceive Him into believing that he was an upstart challenger for the Dark Lord role.
From this perhaps have come to believe in what I tend to call ‘the invisible power of goodness.’ Increasingly, I find the world today mirrors the world in LOTR in that there are – very broadly speaking of course – forces of Evil arrayed against forces of Good, albeit Evil is the one that tends to organize its forces and Good tends not to organize as such at all. Like the Elves, perhaps, such force as Good might have tends to remain invisible, unseen by Evil. Further, it often seems like ‘we the ordinary people’ are arrayed against Mighty Behemoths, the great machinery of the Modern World whose gears never cease churning, whose capitalist spells of perpetual growth, progress and consumerism are a Saruman-like manifestation trapping us all in some sort of primordially existential dead end akin to being strung up in Shelob’s lair, or to being pod people in the Matrix’s machine-run dystopia. But we the ordinary people are represented in LOTR by two little hobbits who don’t give up despite being entirely overwhelmed and outmatched and not even really understanding the vast scope of power, influence and malevolence which they are standing up to, tottering in despair, wounded, starving and without hope of survival, inching their way to the cracks of Doom where Frodo’s final capitulation to Evil ends up magically ensuring that his mission is fulfilled as he pushes Gollum – the last Ringbearer – into the Fiery Abyss in whose Hell the Ring was forged and with its dissolution therein the long international nightmare is finally over.
Well, that is all very dramatic and externalized, but my notion of the ‘invisible power of goodness’ is that each and every one of us has an effect on the larger world, including all those various Great Powers now seemingly arrayed against us as Intelligence, the World Bank, Big Tech, Big Pharma, Big Ag, the Military-Industrial complex, the World Economic Forum, the Great Game’s Eurasia and Atlantia, the Banksters of The City and BIS in Zurich and so on ad infinitum. If you pay attention and view it all very quietly, you can actually feel this presence of ordinary goodness in that it is precisely against this invisible field that the Evil Matrix continuously exerts pressure. They are pushing, pushing, pushing. Why do they need to push? What is it that they need to overcome in order to create their New World Order? They need to persuade the ordinary and good, the hobbits if you will, to buy into their Bullshit and willingly submit to becoming slaves of their Brave New World Order.
This too happened in LOTR in ways that were not depicted in the latest films (the first of which was pretty good, the last two of which were awful in terms of revealing the depth of the story and most of the key players therein such as Saruman, the Nazgul, Sauron, Aragorn, the Elves to name but a few). After the great victory, the four hobbits returned home to a Shire being ruined by a diminished but still harmful Saruman, ever casting nasty little spells creating hierarchical slum cultures of those closer or further away from his corrupt Authority similar in structure to the GroupThink friends and followers created in Facebook favoring those addicted to ‘Likes’ and banishing those who read or write WrongThink.
But the point is that if we the little people don’t buy into any given spell then its power is instantly diminished for ultimately such power resides in mind and speech, not body, realms. This starts, as the article rightly intimates, within ourselves; and then perhaps it extends to what we express directly to friends and family and later with various already established public figures mirroring similar perspectives – though perhaps no such extension is necessary and the rest is confirmation, the resultant snow as it were.
So I have come to believe that we ordinary people have greater influence on world affairs than we might think. The main front is not organized resistance, forming ourselves into outer world armies either as actual soldiers or swarms of twitter-likers or even voters for that matter but simply on our own level as ordinary individuals on our particular journey from cradle to grave. Although each of us is born and dies alone, the journey always always involves others; starting with the initial passage through our mother’s birth canal our entire life involves constant interaction with others every step of the way. So how we relate to ourselves in turn affects all others in our sphere of influence or mandala no matter how seemingly inconsequential or hobbit like that sphere might seem. Indeed, as the rainmaker story tells, a wise man sitting alone for three days can influence an entire area albeit in ways that cannot be externally seen or measured except by the fact that at some point it snowed. In our case, we may not be able to make it snow but a societal equivalent might be more laughter, both from simple enjoyment of life and also from occasionally ridiculing the Pompous High and Mighty bent on world dominance as if they are not mere mortal hobbits such as ourselves.
Sorry, I didn’t mean for this to turn into an essay! But it did!