Dreamers of the Day

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible." -T.E. Lawrence, "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom"

Monday, June 12, 2006

Intermission...

…These are hardly new or startling thoughts, but they help us to introduce the problem of man’s distinctive interiority. When you get up the scale of man, the great dualism of nature, of creation as having both an inside and an outside, is carried to its furthest extreme. And it presents a poignant problem that dogs us all of our life. We come into contact with people only with our exteriors—physically and externally; yet each of us walks about with a great wealth of interior life, a private and secret self. We are, in reality, somewhat split in two, the self and the body; the one hidden, the other open. The child learns very quickly to cultivate this private self because it puts a barrier between him and the demands of the world. He learns he can keep secrets—at first an excruciating, intolerable burden (Soooo true. If you have had a young sibling, you will totally agree!): it seems that the outer world has every right to penetrate into his self and that the parents could automatically do so if they wished—they always seem to know just what he is thinking and feeling. But then he discovers that he can lie and not be found out: it is a great and liberating moment, this anxious first lie—it represents the staking out of his claim to an integral inner self, free from the prying eyes of the world.

By the time we grow up we become masters at dissimulation, at cultivating a self that the world cannot probe. But we pay a price. After years of turning people away, of protecting our inner self, of cultivating it by living in a different world, of furnishing this world with our fantasies and dreams—lo and behold we find that we are hopelessly separated from everyone else. We have become victims of our own art. We touch people on the outside of their bodies, and they us, but we cannot get at their insides and cannot reveal our insides to them. This is one of the great tragedies of our inferiority—it is utterly personal and urevealable…Many people pursue sex precisely because it is a mystique of the overcoming of the separateness of the inner world; and they go from one partner to another because they can never quite achieve “it”…

Only during one period of our lives do we normally break down the barriers of separateness, and that is during the time that the psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan called the “pre-adolescent chumship.” It is then that we are striving hardest to establish this integral domain of our inner identity, and out chum help us. Remember that time? Sitting around on the curbstone with your friend and communicating about your mutual insides. It is uncanny. Unhappily, the years pass and the one goes into the late teens and into the career world. The “outer” or public aspect of our lives takes over: we begin to ideal in exteriors, in shirts, ties and calling cards, in salaries and ranks. One of the reasons that youth and their elders don’t understand one another is that they live in “different worlds”: the youth are striving to deal with one another in terms of their insides, the elders have long since lost the magic of the chumship. Especially today, the exterior or public aspect of adolescent art of communicating on the basis of internal feelings; they may even try to break through the carapace of their own parents, try to get the insides to come out.

But usually it is too late; the inner world has been isolated and dumb for years, blocked off by the exterior façade…

(Earnest Becker, The Birth and Death of Meaning)

But there is hope…

But among Christians there should be a more profound way to know each other. Let us say we want to have communication; we are sick of this horrible mechanical inhumanity that we find around us. We are sick of being simply IBM cards. The Christian boy and girl who want to be open with each other, the Christian husband and wife who want to be open with each other, the pastor and the people who want to be open with each other--how can they really do it, moving from the outside inward? The problem of knowing each other is the discrepency between what a man seems to be and what he is inside. That is always the problem with getting inside and getting to know each other. So how do you get through?

Can you see that to the extent to which people accept biblical teaching for the inward man as well as the outward man, there is an increasing integration of the inward and the outward man--because they see both the inward and the outward man under the unity of the same norms, in regard to both values and knowing? It is possible to move from the outward man to the inward man because there is an increasing alignment as both are bound by the same universal. We must allow the norms of God in values and knowing to bind the inward man as well as the outward man, so that there is less and less discrepancy between the inward man and the outward man.Unhappily, we will not perfectly keep God's norm more in the internal world of thought than we do externally, and even (in a fallen world) perhaps not as much. But with God's norms of truth, morals, values and knowling, we have tracks (or, perhaps a better analogy, a North Star) which give unity to the internal and external world. God's norms not only give unity, but they also provide a bridge between these two worlds.

This applies both for ourselves, and then to get down inside each other. When we step from the external to the internal world of thought, we are not on a sea without a shore either in regard to ourselves or in regard to the woman or the man who stand before us.

(Francis Schaeffer, He Is There and He Is Not Silent)

9 Comments:

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Jen said...

Wow Jas....that was great! I love the part you bolded as well. Sometimes it is easy to have a surface relationship and not be willing to A. reveal the "true" you or B. to accept the "true" person of someone else.

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger Creth said...

word.

 
At 7:07 AM, Blogger Trey said...

Those were both fantastic. In building a wall around ourselves, we are not only keeping others out, but also keeping ourselves in. It's the epitome of living a "safe" life. Many times, it just leaves that inner self to wither away.

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger Trey said...

That was a nice intermission...but now it's over. It's time to get on with the show. :)

 
At 9:56 AM, Blogger Micah & Brad said...

THANK YOU!!!

 
At 9:56 AM, Blogger Micah & Brad said...

THANK YOU!!!

 
At 9:57 AM, Blogger Micah & Brad said...

HAha! Just kidding :o). Wow! I don't know how you guys do it, but EVERY year, all three of you Mayes' remember my birthday! You are good!

 
At 7:18 PM, Blogger Jen said...

Come back and blog b/c...

Did you ever know that your my hheeeeerrroooooo....your everything I wish I could beeeeee....

 
At 1:38 PM, Blogger Micah & Brad said...

I see how it is! You're only using me to get to my daughter! Wow! You know, I expect that of my Mom, but my friends?!?!?!? :o).

When are you going home again? Will you and Jen be there for T-giving? We need to figure out when our annual gathering can be this year, and I guess, since Meg probably won't come back from China to join us :), it is mostly between you, Jen, and me!

 

Post a Comment

<< Home