"I leaped headlong into the Sea," wrote Keats on the experience of writing his long poem Endymion, "and thereby have become better acquainted with the Soundings, the quicksand, & the rocks, than if I had stayed upon the green shore, and piped a silly pipe, and took tea and comfortable advice." - Meg Files, Write from Life
We are engrossed with debates on planetary evolution, yet assume our own individual self evolution is glacial or we distract from delving in by spouting cliches like "human nature is consistent". We vigorously train our bodies for a 10K race, but let ourselves be driven by the vagarities of our untrained minds. And we assume wisdom comes solely from age rather than from unlearning (here's one of the wisest posts I've read in some time, written by a college senior.) (My last few posts have engendered more questions -mostly via email - and I'll be addressing them over next few posts.)
In Shakespeare's play Othello, the protagonist and his young Venetian wife are deeply in love. Othello is a noble and simple-hearted soldier who trusts those around him. Desdemona is devoted to her husband and hangs on his every word. It is Iago, Othello's advisor and apparent friend, who plays one character against another, creating an atmosphere of separation and distrust. He whispers doubts into Othello's ear, inciting in him a violent jealousy that ultimately leads to senseless tragedy.
We are all Othellos at heart - open, trusting, wanting to see the best in each other - and we are all seduced and driven to insane action by our own invisible Iagos. Our insidious Iago is a state of mind; he can't be seen, he lives in the shadows. Yet his influence can be found everywhere. Iago whispers to us both from within and through other people as the voice of collective conditioning. Most of us live with a painful sense of separation from others, a sense of something missing, and a pervasive experience of limitation, fear, and desire. As a result we engage in a whirlwind of activity to avoid the objects of fear and to obtain the objects of our craving. This trance of problem-based living, although widely regarded as normal, fuels an endless saga of struggle. It seeps through the cracks of our noblest aspirations, manifesting as disease, conflict and failure....
We cannot see or measure the Iago factor directly; we only know it by its effects. It is like the raccoons that occasionally visit our kitchen during the night. I have never actually seen raccoons in the kitchen. How do I know they visit us? I find that the cat food has been eaten, the garbage has been overturned, and there are muddy paw prints all over the floor. - Arjuna Ardagh, The Translucent Revolution
Iago has waned in potency of late in my life; and Othello has come into his own, following inspiration rather than Iago's dictates.
You can get to a point - if you care to -where Iago recedes far into the background. Iago may still go on muttering something, but it is like the cat door flapping to and fro occasionally to let the pet play. The swaying door doesn't disturb you because you are engrossed in a fascinating spacious mansion. It is distant background noise that is overridden by the powerful foreground force of silence that suffuses everything with a sense of a gentle peace without end. And you know unshakeably that you are inextricably bound with that peace. Any question, any problem, any answer dissolves of its own in that space.
The resources and reservoir I spoke of in The Doing It Ourselves Culture aren't coming from Mr. Iago. Whatsoever. We don't need to be rescued or be lulled into clinging to a safety net, but instead draw forth buckets from our own inner wellspring. And when you put a group together that isn't waiting to be saved or told what to do or how to do it, then that goes beyond the mere words "synergy."
At the Call,
says the book of Revelation,
leave your trading and hasten unto remembrance. - The Illuminated Prayer, Coleman Barks
Leave your trading doesn't so much mean abandon the physical marketplace but rather release your quid pro quo hold on life. The Iago only knows a market mentality of comparing, contrasting, judging. Plus me, mine, my: "I'll do this for you, if you do this for me."
Among the criteria for a viral campaign to be successful, Seth Godin writes "they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind."
Sure, I could choose to market to the fairly predicable Iago within you.
Yet there is somewhere between 1-4% of the population that is not at all motivated to share for those reasons. Power or peace is not added unto them. They know they are already whole. And even within the other 96%, Orthello's untapped wisdom is ever present, if latent. It matters that you understand to whom and to what aspect of an audience you're communicating to.
I'm attending a twelve-week class at a local meditation/spiritual center. In the second week they ask for a show of hands of how their marketing efforts are going. These are our choices for: "How did you hear about the class?":
- brochure in the mail
- email blast
- a flyer at coffeshop, etc.
- any of the seven local newspaper's events section
- an ad in Commonground magazine, a popular New Age monthly distributed freely in racks everywhere
- a friend
The response to mailed brochure (to those already on their mailing list) was roughly tied but greater than "heard through a friend." The responses for all the other marketing vehicles in this audience? Zero. Nada. Zilch.
As I'm facilitating a small group that works in conjunction with this sold-out class of 250, I know this is the first time at this center for many of these folks. We've spread the word because we genuinely thought this would help someone we care about: "They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space." (Beware: You can only give of this flow when your river is not dammed up.)
Oh, and on the The Matrix: The Matrix is simply a metaphor. Don't see The Matrix (or do), don't read any book mentioned (or do), don't read this blog (or do). Simply follow that which is pulling in you and drawing you forth. Taking the red pill means yield to whatever the outcome is of that pull and spontaneously being your own experiment in truth.
If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation. - J. Krishnamurti