On Being a Decent Human Being.

Samten de Wet

6th May 1999

 "When you walk into this world of reality, the greater or cosmic world, you will find the way to rule your world - but, at the same time, you will also find a deep sense of aloneness. It is possible that this world could become a palace or a kingdom to you, but as its king or queen, you will be a monarch with a broken heart. It is not a bad thing to be, by all means. In fact, it is the way to be a decent human being - and beyond that a glorious human being who can help others."

Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala - The Sacred Path of the Warrior, Shambhala, Boston & London, 1988, p. 142.

These words are from one of the most incandescent books to be published in the 20th century I would like to comment on the seed idea of the Broken Heart and Human Decency. That decency which is the most deeply damaged of the human conditions.

The people responsible for the recent spate of bombings in London, are not decent. Blame has fallen on a right-wing fascist group called the White Wolves - and yet, I recently picked up a copy of some rag called the Sunday Telegraph, or something like that, and was shocked at the virulent homophobia of one of its articles. Fascism is not only hidden in some esoteric fringe lunacy. It is there splashed across the Sunday papers, embedded in the smart bombs, brashly proclaimed by the denials of ethic cleansing of the Serbian Ambassador to the United Nations. We only see what we want to see - and after all, you can lead a horse to the water, but you cannot make him, or her, drink.

Which is a load of crap, because a horse will always drink if it is thirsty. And humanity is thirsty for decency.

Two Wrongs Do Not Make a Right.

And unfortunately, it is men without a heart who are responsible for the ethnic cleansing and the smart bombing. Though apparently, in Ruanda, women were very active in the genocide - there are very few women at the highest levels of command of Nato.

Likewise, the teenage Trenchcoat massacre is to be expected. There is hardly an hour on the Television, when some form of violence is unleashed. All the heroes are armed and smirking their guns on the posters. Boys in our neighborhood plays with very realistic guns, albeit plastic.

As Ye Sow, So Ye Reap, said someone with a long white robe - 2,000 years ago.

This brings me back to the Heart - which emblazons the top of my Shining Hearts Webpage.

The Great, in Fact Mother of All Hermetic Epigrams, is:

As Above, So Below.

By way of cheap and vulgar analogy - let us say that:

Above equates to the Head and to Logos - to Apollo - while:

Below, is the Heart, Eros - and Dionysos.

Both Lopez Pedraza and James Hillman have pointed to the crucial fact of contemporary cultural devolution - that it is the Dionysian - that has been murdered by the titanic propensities of the rational Apollonian. The image of the Broken Heart is also perfectly manifested in the AIDS epidemic.

It is manifest in the way Art has been colonized by Big Business, the cold metal of money has replaced love and compassion in our civilization, if you can call it that. A society without decency does not deserve to be called civil. It is uncivil. It is uncivil when the lowest common denominator is used as a touchstone for massive profits - and the refinements of human culture are to be found in the trashcans outside the Banks.

The policies of the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, represent some of the lowest moral actions ever perpetrated in the history of humanity - on a vast scale - that results in profit for the few - and an increase of suffering for the many.

Do the directors of these organizations have a heart? Are they even human beings? One may well ask!

Again, where the ecological devastation of the earth is ignored because it may damage profits. What type of human being could envisage destroying the Earth for short term profit and greed? The question is staggering, the answer shrouded in the massive Plutocracy that we live under.

Trenchcoat gangs, nail and smart bombs, ethnic cleansings are merely the tip of the iceberg. The rot goes to the deepest core of our social, or rather, anti-social structures.


We have to ask if the dark side of the human psyche is going to triumph?

Is the Crime Wave - merely of little splash of worse to come?

Are we going to sit back in apathy, hand on remote control, and do nothing?

Most likely, from what I can see.

Which makes me proud of my broken heart, and my aloneness.