O bad treachery! Is it for joy you sit in the broker’s den, thou pale man? Has the attorney enchanted thee?
p. 298 (the last page of) “The Crock of Gold”
by James Stephens
We have for too long accepted a traditional way of looking at nature, at nature’s creatures, which has blinded us to their incredible essence, and which has made us incomparably loney. It is our loneliness as much as our greed which can destroy us.
– Joan McIntyre
A wise little girl, when asked what a ‘myth’ is … explained – that a myth is a story which is false on the outside but true on the inside.
Mmm? … (Pretty good!)
We do not mind whether “A Christmas Carol” (by Charles Dickens) is literally true, we like the story anyway!
The Main Character of the story is (of course) – Scrooge. Ebenezer Scrooge was a successful and wealthy businessman … a business owner. Bob Cratchit was one of his employees.
And, while it’s easier (for most of us) to identify with Bob than with Scrooge … we still need to regard Scrooge as the Main Character.
We would not say that Scrooge was malevolent, but he was stingy … miserly, even … and quite unhappy.
He had (long ago) given up on love … and had made material wealth his goal. He was materialistic. Greedy. Intelligent … and he was successful. But alone … and wretched.
When Joan McIntyre (in the epigram) says that we have become “lonely” … what she means is – that we have become ‘alienated’.
As a (quite common) human experience Loneliness is inherently painful. The pain of it can (very easily) be … somewhere between ‘excruciating’ … and ‘unbearable’.
‘Alienation’, on the other hand, is NOT painful. It’s a disease. A Spiritual Disease. But no one ever complains of it.
Someone might say – “I’ve had a migraine all morning. It’s horrible!”
But NO one ever says – “I’m feeling altogether alienated … and I just can’t stand it!”
Ironically – Loneliness can be very painful … but it’s not a disease. Whereas, Alienation IS a disease … but it’s not painful.
The (many) life-support systems of our planet keep us all alive … 24/7. But the array of litter along our roads attest to our alienation. We do not FEEL the connection. Our hearts are, I suppose, ‘broken’ … they’re damaged. And so we do not feel a Heart Connection with the very life-support systems (filtered sunlight, water, air, and so on) which uphold us. If we did, we would never throw our trash onto the skin of our earth.
We are alienated.
Scrooge was alienated.
Dickens invents (and develops the character of) Scrooge – as an extreme case of Alienation. He creates tension between Scrooge’s life and the life of Bob Cratchit (and his loving family). He then sets out to redeem Scrooge.
Admittedly, he finds he must resort to some spirit personalities, which, in turn, pay Scrooge a visit – The Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. And these three are introduced, as it were, by the ghost of Marley, Scrooge’s late partner (who had died seven years earlier – that very night … which was Christmas Eve). Marley’s ghost had been wandering the earth dragging heavy chains forged by his own avarice. And he warns Scrooge – that his fate will be similar if he does not heed the spirits which are about to visit him.
While it’s true that Scrooge’s education and redemption are facilitated by (fanciful) spirits … they do not show Scrooge anything beyond the truth.
And when Scrooge wakes in the morning (Christmas morning) … he is a new man. His humanity has been restored to him.
(And as to whether the spirits which that past night … were real or not … [maybe just his own imagination] … it makes no difference. He had the experiences … regardless of their cause. And it was enough.)
Rumi says –
Someone who does not run
toward the allure of love
walks a road where nothing
lives. But this dove here
senses the love hawk floating
above, and waits, and will not
be driven or scared to safety.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmZbRBox0uk (Power of Love – If I Stay)
Make Love your goal.
Scrooge was (already) dead. But when he awoke that Christmas morning … he was alive again. Mmm?
Alienation is (as Rumi suggests) … equivalent with death.
Most of us live in a state of hopelessness … beneath despair. Despair is painful (because it contains hope … desire, yearning.
I suspect – that we CHOOSE the anesthesia of hopelessness … to escape from the pain.
We also live in the anesthesia of alienation. But as to whether we got there by making a choice (to escape from pain) … I don’t know. I suspect that it’s merely a RESULT of our (unenlightened, uneducated, narrow, habitual, agreed-upon) way of looking at the world … at ‘Reality’.
In any case, though … it’s a kind of death.
In the film “Avatar” – we are meant to see that the earthlings who show up on Pandora … are Scrooge. They are us.
[As James Stephens would say – they are the ‘awful people of the Fomor’.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6unS2JF8TA (Chris Hedges – The Pathology of the Rich) ]