Sunday, March 19, 2006

Audacity, Disobedience and the Esoteric Tradition

[This post will make more sense if you are somewhat familiar with Aeschylus's Prometheus and the Bible story of Adam, Eve and the Myth of the Garden. I'm trying to see both things through a lens of the Esoteric Tradition. Esoteric is being used in the sense of having to go out and engage with a mystical/transformative experience instead of having mystical/spiritual rewards just given to you, as with the concept of Grace. Think transformation and not consolation. Gnosis instead of "here you go." It is important to take a look at how we can engage in Spirit instead of waiting for Spirit to engage with us. This path is not for everyone; but the transformative experience of self-realization is one we should all be striving for. How much longer are we going to tolerate barriers between us and the Divine?]

Audacity is one of those words/concepts that sometimes carries positive and negative interpretations equally. Whether a woman is labeled audacious for graduating from a traditionally all-male military school or a child with mischievous tendencies being told that his audacities will no longer be tolerated in the classroom; audacity is a powerful disruptive force to the staid, the common and the sedentary. Despite its being open to positive and negative interpretations, there are two other components that should not be overlooked; an audacious act can never happen in a vacuum and it will always bring about a change.What is meant by audacious acts not being able to operate in a vacuum is that a person cannot engage in said act by his or herself. It goes back to the ‘if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it still make a sound’? Audacity demands an audience, even if it is an audience of one. Taking this idea a step further, those who bear witness to the act are changed in someway; the grander the audacity the grander the change for the witnesses. Also, the committer of the act is changed as well. And if we look at audacity as a path to the esoteric tradition, there is also danger involved because esoteric knowledge and the self-realization gained from said knowledge are always dangerous. Prometheus brought fire to man; the very substance that the Gods wielded. While he was punished for his “crime,” his choice is one that all big dreamers must weigh in their minds; ‘If I do “x” a serious “y” might happen to me or others, but will the impact of the act outweigh any negative consequences?’ While Prometheus’ act was brash and bold and dynamic, Eve’s; from the Myth of the Garden, act of audacity was in no way less profound or significant. In fact, her audacious act was subtly more important to our discussion.

While some may view Eve’s decision to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil as an act of supreme disobedience, disobeying an edict that came directly from the creator of her and her husband, Eve’s act should be viewed as a path that one might take to inaugurate oneself to an esoteric tradition. Something that should be noted is that Eve’s willful disobedience was not malicious or intended to usurp the power of her creator. Eve’s decision to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil was one of practicality, her susceptibility to beauty and her desire for wisdom. Eve looked upon the forbidden tree and knew that the fruit would be good to eat. She was smart enough to recognize another source of sustenance for she and her husband. Upon further examination of the tree, Eve was enamored of how beautiful the tree’s fruits were; ‘how can something so beautiful be forbidden to me’ she must have thought. Then, when she was approached by and had a conversation with the serpent—who, by the way, was more honest with her than her creator ever was—convinced her that she would not die from eating of the tree, she did so with the hopes of attaining some higher level of knowledge. Through Eve’s act and Adam’s complicity, they were cast out of the Garden and, along with the serpent, cursed for the rest of their days. It was as if they were all speeding on a highway and God was the patrolman who was issuing severe penalties. While some adherents to the Christian faith see the Myth of the Garden as a cautionary tale, in another interpretation, it can be seen as a hallmark of the beginnings of the esoteric tradition. The self-realization that occurs via esoteric traditions cannot be achieved in any other way aside from audacity and disobedience. These two ideas are the very necessary tools for esotericism. Without the audacity to break from the norm and seek out knowledge that is not publicly accessible, one can never truly experience what is hidden. To orient yourself to ideas, rituals, traditions and knowledge that some may be fearful of, ridicule or discount as bunkum, and to do so with the idea that the process that you are undergoing is one that is necessary to your very existence, despite what others may think of you, is audacity in one if its highest forms. And while you are undergoing this process of transformation, you may find yourself disobeying the rules of your peer group, family, community, business associates and sometimes even your government. But at the point where audacity and disobedience intersect is courage.

You can’t even entertain the notions of audacity or disobedience without some type of courage bolstering the two. To seek what is hidden and to come back and share what insights you have learned with those with the disposition to do the same as what you have done, no matter the outside pressures that may be cautioning you against it, is courageous. To walk the esoteric path, one must step with both audacity and disobedience, but one cannot take that first step without courage taking them by the hand and telling them where to step and what to avoid. Considering the huge risk-factors involved in pursuing esoteric knowledge; risk to self, others, social standing and sometimes sanity and social comforts, one has to be audacious, disobedient and courageous in order to reap the rewards that the esoteric path offers.

--Shawn Taylor


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That shit is on hit.
This was very inspirational.

10:15 PM  

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