Welcome the Tyrant

by Christopher Lovejoy on May 29, 2016

“Everyone is an ugly tyrant.”

When I first read this bold comment some time ago, it gave me pause. On the face of it, this statement is obviously hyperbole, and yet it speaks to a mounting frustration with people who flex their vocal cords behind dark masks of insecurity under a growing social tyranny.

You might be inclined to water it down thus: “everyone carries the potential to be an ugly tyrant.” Or, you might be inclined to reframe it thus, replacing a core identifier of character with a mere indicator of dramatic expression: “most anyone can play the role of an ugly tyrant.”

I would, however, invite you to bear the dark hints of truth in this declaration – “everyone is an ugly tyrant” – if only to see and hear and feel where it leads you in your bid for freedom.

A good many colorful synonyms inform our sense of tyranny: despot, dictator, autocrat, authoritarian, oppressor, slave driver, megalomaniac, bully, and martinet (for those in the armed forces – or in workplaces that mimic armed forces), prompting us to ask: “dare we envision a world free of tyrants?”

Dare we create a world
free of cruel oppression,
lest we be thought foolish
for missing or dismissing
the ubiquity of tyranny?

Just the other day, I was sitting on a bench in a city parkette during a break not far from where I work, soaking up the sights and sounds of a warm, sunny morning, enjoying a rather pleasant breeze. I watched a dozen or so young children nearby do what they do best with hardly any environmental stimulation, even under the watchful eyes of their guardians: play – spontaneously, joyously, haphazardly, innocently. The passive ones congregated calmly under a tree, examining who knows what, while the active ones engaged each other in dynamic play. To their credit, the guardians, both women, remained ever vigilant of the children’s comings and goings, of their beings and havings and doings.

And then it happened: an outbreak of tyranny.

The alpha female guardian led the charge, commanding a male child in no uncertain terms with successive attempts to have him put away his water pistol, even though it had not been used and even though its use had not been threatened. Not to be outdone, the beta female guardian turned on yet another male child and barked an order to have him put down a small stick, even though no careless or threatening action had been made. My focus was drawn immediately to the second boy as he held his ground (and his stick). I sensed his ambivalence (and his quiet defiance) even as I empathized, both with his shame at being angrily shamed into submission and his quiet resolve to keep the stick.

Eventually, the beta guardian relented, letting the child keep his stick, whereupon he poked a tree in a subdued though strangely contemplative manner. I can only imagine what he was thinking.

From the dark recesses of my mind came a reminder of that song by Queen called Fat Bottomed Girls (… left alone with big fat fanny, she was such a naughty nanny, heap big woman, you made a bad boy out of me …), even as I wondered what kind of prescription drug would cause this poor tyrant of a woman to lose her shape (and her heart). It’s one thing to bark an order with good intent; it’s quite another to bark it as if the issue in question is treated as a matter of life and death, projected in a cruel, oppressive, malevolent way. Sad to say, after this outbreak, the play of all of the children was much subdued, and I could not help but feel that a serious crime had been committed (and endured, yet again).

Part of Buddhist practice is to “welcome the tyrant” in a bid to foster understanding. In applying this catalyst to the scenario above, perhaps the woman in question had gained a solid ideological background in feminist dogma gleaned through a women’s studies program as a way to help her cope with an attempted (or actual) rape, and so, found it relatively easy and liberating and therapeutic to berate a male (even if said male was a toddler). Perhaps she herself had been berated by an overprotective superior for not having paid enough attention to the action of one child poking yet another child with a stick. Perhaps, like many other guardians, she had been conditioned through programming to believe that any and all hints of male violence ought to be quickly and sharply nipped in the bud at a young age, lest young males grow into rabid abusers.

In offering up this peek into a microcosm of tyranny, including its possible motivations, many types of tyranny become apparent: there is the psychological tyranny of one person (a woman in the role of guardian) oppressing another (a young boy playing with a stick); the consensual tyranny that makes it mandatory for women to command young boys to give up their toy weapons; the ideological tyranny of a certain class of women who are programmed into feeling entitled to whip boys (and men) into shape for the slightest of infractions (including being nice for no reason); the systemic tyranny of a society that tolerates this kind of abuse against those of the male persuasion in keeping with the social tyranny against any male who would dare voice the slightest anger or intolerance against anyone or anything for any reason; as well as the geopolitical tyranny of reversing the masculine-feminine polarity in men and women to subjugate any remaining vestiges of male power.

twilight-zone-its-a-good-lifeCertainly, the tyranny of systems (of thought, of ideology, of surveillance, of accountability) has made it easier for anyone to be a tyrant. I am reminded of that captivating episode of Twilight Zone, It’s a Good Life, where a young boy by the name of Anthony (“he’s a baaaad man; he’s a verrry baaaad man”) Fremont reigns supreme in Peaksville, Ohio as an autocrat beyond compare. In light of the forementioned tyrannies of control, I do not think it too much of a stretch to presently consider changing the name of this planet from Earth to Peaksville. On Peaksville Planet, where everyone is being carefully groomed and programmed into watching everyone else closely for the slightest deviation from the tyrannical norms, every system of control conceivable is ripe for use in keeping everyone in check. Conformity never looked so ominous.

But wait, to those operating in the shadows, I must confess: “I’ve gone overboard with all of this; please don’t hurt me, please don’t send me to the cornfield, please don’t hurt my loved ones, please don’t turn me into a jack-in-the-box, please don’t interfere with my life (or my sleep, or my mood, or my internet connection, or my website) through covert and mysterious means. I must confess, here and now: this monstrous … *gag* … abject … *gasp* … chilling … *gulp* … conformity … it’s a good thing; it’s a really good thing. Isn’t it, dear reader … a really good thing.”

Seriously, though, with an ever growing awareness of tyranny in all of its forms (and faces), I am finding it prudent to become a gentle albeit playful witness to the tyranny of conformity – to be a watcher (in keeping with the Way of the Wand) rather than a seeker (through the Way of the World). In being a seeker, I cannot help but think I am losing my soul, my mind, or my conscience. Truth be told, everyone on Peaksville Planet is an ugly tyrant, given the proper timing, motive, and opportunity, as the screws continue to tighten inside suffocating boxed systems of control.

In the light of ultimate freedom explored in my previous post, a new defining characteristic of said freedom can now be offered: the ability to welcome the tyrant, to welcome ever tighter, ever more tyrannical systems of control, as they manifest in socially engineered flows of money, people, information, and entrainment entertainment, and so, with this definition, what does it mean to be a watcher?

First, to be a watcher is to become and remain a buoyant witness, to be light of heart and serene of soul (for more on this, I invite you to read my post on life as a play or a game).

To be a watcher is to negotiate and navigate agitation and provocation with an attitude of friendly curiosity; to be a watcher is to remain in awe of a world becoming ever more known, mapped, designed, refined, and expressed in keeping with the love of light in the light of love; to be a watcher is to give due respect to scientific endeavor, while following inspiration through transformation by way of creative endeavor; to be a watcher is to move fluidly and flexibly around dogma, while giving darkness its due; to be a watcher is to allow the Self to scramble on occasion so that it can reconstitute itself at higher frequencies – naturally, spontaneously, effortlessly; to be a watcher is to understand and appreciate that we are Beings of Love and Light who make use of language to make sense of our realities in keeping with the immense power of speaking truth to wisdom and freedom; to be a watcher is to be a witness to the alphabetic, holographic nature of reality in the form of code that informs matter and energy through space and time, such as when we inform and inspire ourselves with the software and language of DNA.

And so, a watcher is one who enters with great care into co-creation to bring about manifestation on the way to ordination through a willingness to serve as an author of new scripts and designs of Being to actuate and participate in whole new worlds of experience. This is what it means to be a watcher: to welcome the tyrant serenely (no matter its form or face), remaining everpresent in peace at the heart of soul in the face of any dying of the light, letting go with grace and ease as and when we know that the time has come to surrender mindfully, skillfully, artfully. To be a watcher is to remain alive, awake, aware, and alert to what guides us, to what beckons us, approaching ultimate freedom with an uncanny ability to welcome the tyrant. This is what it means to be a watcher in a world whose unwitting, uninformed, uninspired, unawakened members are being slowly choked to death by a growing tyranny of enforced conformity. Welcome the tyrant – and then welcome the tyrant some more.

In the language of Peaksville … “this is a good thing – a really good thing.”

In my next post, I address these questions: in wishing the tyrant well and good, do you identify as amiable, expressive, analytical, or driven? Better yet, and thinking in terms of bar graphs or pie charts, to what extent do you identify as amiable, expressive, analytical, and driven?

In playing the tyrant, in behaving like a tyrant, while being ever careful to conceal reasons and motives, do you tend to be amiable, expressive, analytical, or driven in your tyranny? Also, to what extent are you darkly amiable, expressive, analytical, and driven in your tyranny?

In my next post, I open myself up to what Alan Watts calls “prickles and goo”.

This post has been filed under Commentary in the Ultimate Outline.

Note: my evolving outline on approaching a realization of the ultimate in personal fulfillment can be found here, accessible from the nav menu under the page “Be Here Now”.

Note: this ever growing perspective began here: Ultimate Perspective

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