Projected

I have known two people who found the Way and kept to it. One of them once remarked, 'Why expect things to be terrible, or good; better have no expectation, and let it turn out how it will.' Release yourself, he used to say, and those words remained an enigma to me long afterwards. The other was a sailor whose boat had capsized and who was miraculously saved in the midst of a clashing ocean. That experience was not lost on him, and he is one of the kindest and most successful people I know.
I am beginning to see just how much bullying goes on when people are faced with situations that don't match what they had foreseen.
But what I fail to understand is that not everyone is called to be a hero, some people consider the olive-branch laurels beneath them, they want golden spoils, the ελωριον (booty, prey) dictated by the heavy account book they haul behind themselves every day. The Greek word also signifies unburied bodies, and in the opening of the Iliad signifies that when fortune turned, even the most valiant warriors became fodder for wild beasts. To always wish to appear the victor is to wish to defy nature and reject the multiple lessons of humility.
Thus expectation steers the little soul off course from the golden mean: so ready to implicate others in the complicated rules of conduct of their own making, they must fabricate excuses for themselves. A very old lady used to lament, 'No fool is greater than an educated fool.' (Also, for the amount of criticism of the failure of education, one would expect far more criticism of the failure of adults to continue to learn, or at least to apply what they are already supposed to have understood.)




It seems too easy, through the intellect, to project expectations of life through elaborate arguments. While it is one thing to use projections as a rhetorical mode to alert us to our extremes, many take them literally.
In Victorian times, Samuel Butler critiqued what he thought ill of society, which included the omnipotence of the machine: "machines are gaining ground upon us ... we are becoming more subservient to them ... more men are daily devoting the energies of their whole lives to the development of mechanical life ... the time will come when machines will hold the real supremacy over the world and its inhabitants..."
Heidegger also had the idea that man would become regulated by the machine. But this cannot be the whole picture, it can be but a hyperbole, either to edify or of fantasy. The latter has no topos (except if we mean literary topos): the former has a root if not in a place, then in codes of conduct - whether written or not: the location of satire and irony. The denial of the roots of where we stand seems to lead to optimistic/ pessimistic projection - though experience teaches that having no expectations is far more freeing.
Even before the machine: the film projector, Plato used projections (of shadows on walls) to illustrate our relationship with learning and experience. The true experience was actually outside the cave of projections - though it was the projections that represented the most social understanding, shared by the cave dwellers. The projections on the wall are imitations of the sun - close enough to resemble it, far enough not to blind. This tale of projections is actually the search for originals.
From copybooks to composition: the measure being the essence of values, if not their form. But we are afraid to take responsibility for the path to reach such discernment, so we embark on lines of flight to fantasy where it is far safer to play, even if the play loses its didactic value.
It is hard to play in the life of mud and tears; lucky are those who can still bleed (via). Lucky, but projected in a light of disgrace, ουλομενην ἥ μῡρί' Αχαιoῖς αλγε' εθηκε - so Jami advises, whether your destiny is glory or disgrace, purify yourself of hatred and love of self. He does not write, if you've been dealt a rotten hand, take revenge. But not everyone would be that kind of hero, in the simple crown, living the life where the crown may be lost as often as it is gained. Those are the people I miss, who felt the burden of their imperfection but didn't hide it. If you ask me about roots, I would say that they are also these idiosyncrasies. Only projections (of selves, even now of nature) are narrower than possibility.
P.S. Recently, there's been much discussion of Orwell's 1984 but no mention of Zamyatin's We, which preceded it. It would seem that not even projections of projections are accurate.



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