Mack and Mackzine
-every single One
-every single Where
Copyright 2003 by Bryte Shadough
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
parable / n: a story designed to teach a lesson
by comparing something not well understood
to something very, very simple
Dr. Seuss told a story about the rise and fall of
a turtle king who believed that his kingdom ought to include
everything he could see. Knowing that he could see more from
a higher position, “Yertle the Turtle” confiscated the backs of
his subjects and perched himself atop a stack of plain, regular
turtles. Though his kingdom grew as his view expanded, King
Yertle was not satisfied. So he commanded more and more
turtles to serve under him in the growing stack.
At the bottom of the stack was a turtle named Mack.
Mack complained politely and pleaded for relief from the weight
that was cracking his shell. Predictably, King Yertle was
indifferent to Mack’s plight and
unmoved by his courtesy.
Finally fed up, Mack decided to take action,
He simply burped.
This was an ordinary act by a regular Mack,
but it tilted the turtle tower—which toppled over,
leveling the playing field.
All the turtles, even Yertle, finally experienced
what had been the reality all along—
hierarchy / n: any group of persons or things arranged in layered
orders or classes, each of which is subject to or dependent on
the one above it
pecking order / n: 1. a hierarchy among a flock of chickens,
characterized by the right of the more aggressive to peck at and
dominate those lower on the scale. 2. any similar hierarchy among
human social groups
In relating to one another, our species continues to use its “superior” brain to improve on the example set by chickens. Early on, mankind chose the pecking order pattern as the blueprint for creating belief systems that rule over all our social and ecological interactions and relationships. This hierarchical way of thinking is fundamental—not only to the rise but also to the fall of what we humans call “civilizations” (i.e. stacktus quos).
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Look again at the stack of turtles and ask:
1. How concerned is the king about the best interests of the turtles
2. Where does the idea called “king” come from?
3. What agreements do Mack and the other regular turtles have to
make in order to accept their roles in the king’s scheme?
4. How many turtles think fitting in is more important than
5. What’s the payoff to the individual turtle for belonging to a stack?
6. How can goodwill and respect grow in this arrangement?
7. Where do the ideas of freedom and equality fit in the stack?
There are layers of power in a family and community, on the job and on the playground, within a club or on a committee, in a street gang or church congregation, in a business corporation or government bureaucracy—in all cultural institutions. These overlapping mental hierarchies that humans build together and live within are shaped like pyramids. Pyramids made of stone last because stones have no choice but to stay where they are put. Pyramids made of minds last because minds choose to stay where they are put. Both stones and minds can be thick, heavy, inflexible, and incapable of moving without the help of natural or man-made disasters.
Quantum physics tells us that the whole is always in the part.
ego / n: the quality of mind that is conscious of itself as separate from
the whole but unconscious of the Wholeness within itself
elite / n: the few in a group or society who are considered socially,
intellectually, or professionally superior and separate from the rest
Globally, nationally, or at the level of our own local community, the effects of elitism (stacktus quos) on past and present events are not hard to spot. The conditions created by elitism have been both positive and negative. The same is true of egotism. We all know of people pushed by their egos to great accomplishments that may serve the rest of us but often at great cost to themselves. We also know folks who are “…their own worst enemies.” The efforts to meet the demands of our egos can push us into some very unpleasant—even dangerous—situations, individually and collectively.
Each of us must choose whether to be served by a healthy ego or jerked around by a neurotic one. The sum of our individual choices becomes the collective choice of the Whole.
How healthy is our collective ego?
How well is elitism currently serving the world?
X You are here.
In humanity’s stacktus quo
where would you put the X that marks your spot?
I N F I N I T Y I N F I N I T Y
Macro As above, so below; as within, so without. Micro
macrocosm / n: 1. the whole universe or great world 2. a large system
regarded as a unity
microcosm / n: 1. a little world; the universe in miniature 2. man or a small
group or community regarded as representing the world in miniature
SAMENESS: As a whole we have not yet met on the basis of our sameness. It is too humbling to consider that physically, mentally, and emotionally we each are 99.99% the same as everyone else. Without exception each one of us started our physical life in a microscopic spot somewhere on this planet. Every single one of us lives within a body that is made from very old previously used earth stuff—temporarily recycled into a one-of-a-kind unit. Like every single snowflake, the body of each of us is a singular, constantly changing physical event played out on nature’s stage—an event that never happened before and will never happen again! Each one of us grew inside another body who was living within a primary mental pecking order that existed within a larger pecking order that was framed by another pecking order which overlapped other pecking orders and so on and so on…and so on…and so on…and on…and on…and on………
We each see ourselves as an individual member of a family that is part of a culture that is part of a nation that occupies a certain geographical part of one of the planets that is part of one of the solar systems in one of the galaxies in one of the island universes within infinite macroscopic space.
We know that we are all part of something larger than ourselves just as we know that the organs within our bodies are individual units that are made up of individual cells that are made up of individual molecules that are made of individual atoms…sub-atomic particles…quarks………..all within infinite microscopic space.
Our bodies inherit the physical characteristics passed on by our biological ancestors, especially our parents. No mystery there. True for all Yertles. True for all Macks. Sameness. Equality.
DIFFERENCES: We are distracted by superficial and irrelevant differences which help us avoid the challenge of mining the infinitely rich veins of diversity that run through our collective consciousness. We have figured out what a brain is made of and how it works. But how does consciousness function? What is a mind made of? …ideas? …thoughts? Does an idea have a genetic code? What exactly is a thought? Can a thought be identified by its DNA? Using mathematical formulas, scientists can identify, isolate and split atoms. No such formula has yet been discovered for identifying mind, let alone spirit or soul.
With all your science can you tell how it is, and whence it is,
that light comes into the soul?—Thoreau
Our brain supervises and coordinates the involuntary actions of our body—breathing, digesting, eliminating, etc. It is our mind that chooses where we breathe, when and what we digest, where and when we eliminate waste. A mind can scroll a menu of unlimited possibilities and choose to “…grow on the basis of our differences”—or not. A mind can choose from a multitude of interpretations and responses to any circumstance in any environment. A mind can ask, “Why?” A mind can choose to “believe” anything it can imagine.
Few of us are satisfied with the body we inherit, and we whine about the biological flaws we cannot change. Yet, we accept without question the beliefs we inherit. Our belief systems provide the mortar that sets minds made of stone in place. Although hand-me-down beliefs are invisible, their consequences are not. Belief systems are dictatorships. Whether benevolent or tyrannical, beliefs dictate the quality of our lives. Toxic beliefs left unexamined in our subconscious minds often have tragic results. The only antidote for any poisonous belief—big or little—is to change our mind about it. Simple.
But there’s a catch…………………………..............................
The unexamined life is not worth living.—Socrates
If we choose not to examine our lives, we settle for living someone else’s version of how a life should be lived. There are many versions to choose from including the one that spends itself fighting for or against some idea that was declared good or bad by some ancestor, recent or ancient. Generational brainwashing is mental incest that creates psychological prisons. Indoctrination is mind cannibalism. It eats our individual identity and replaces it with a clone. Are we aware we’ve been mentally cloned? How would we know? Mind parasites in the form of unexamined beliefs eat up who we are and erase who we can become. A mental self-exam requires terrifyingly brutal honesty. Self-medicating denial is our psychological defense. Defense against what? The Truth.
An unexamined mind is a closed mind, a limited mind, a puppet's mind. It cannot experience truth; therefore, freedom is also locked out.
Mack and Imo
Picturing a stack of turtles can help us remember the importance of a single mind—our own. Another source of inspiration comes from what has become known as the hundredth monkey phenomenon. In his book The Hundredth Monkey, Ken Keys, Jr. points out our responsibility and our power to change and to use our individual and collective energy to save our planet and ourselves.
According to the story, scientists made sweet potatoes available to monkeys living on various Japanese islands. The researchers observed that the monkeys liked the taste of the unfamiliar new food but did not like the sand and dirt that stuck to the potatoes. A young female named Imo solved the problem by washing her sweet potato in a nearby stream. Her mother and other young monkeys willingly learned this new behavior from Imo’s example. Older monkeys kept on eating dirty potatoes.
The number of monkeys who adopted the new way of behaving grew until the ranks of the potato washers had become a large part of the population. Exactly how many was unknown, but 99 simplifies the metaphor. For when the 100th monkey chose to wash a sweet potato instead of eating the dirt along with it, a magical thing happened. Before the day was over all but a few monkeys on the island were washing their sweet potatoes. The added energy of the hundredth monkey had created a breakthrough for the whole tribe. Even more amazing, the habit of washing sweet potatoes jumped over the sea to colonies of monkeys on other islands!
Keyes asked his readers to consider that “…when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind… [and]…there is a point at which, if only one more person tunes in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone.”
The question each one of us can ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to follow Imo’s example and wash our dirty potato or, like Mack, simply burp.
Everyone counts. Everyone is accountable. We are all connected. We are each made out of the same thing: LIFE.
We can no longer afford the luxury of our addiction to the Blame Game. It’s fixed. It can’t be beaten. There are no winners. Not a single one of us can continue to indulge our ego and tranquilize our innate goodness with the belief that the life of anyone anywhere in the world’s established pecking orders is worth any more or less than the life of anyone else. Not a single one of us can continue to hide under the irresponsible notion that any particular portion of LIFE is unimportant, especially our own. Finally, we must let go of the hallucination that it’s possible for any end to be different from the means we use to get there. “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” If you want to end up with a silk purse, you have to start with silk and stay with silk.
Who will save us? The smartest among us often seem to have created the biggest messes. How well has our faith in “experts” served us? Experts built and piloted the Titanic. It wasn’t the Clampetts who created the means to snuff out life on the entire planet. Today, folks who probably scored really high on standardized tests and who have impressive degrees (or pedigrees) can click the delete button and uninstall us all, including themselves. How smart is that?
How long will our species survive if we continue to blindfold ourselves with the belief that someone else will turn up with The Answer? We’re waiting for a knight in shining armor—someone smarter, more powerful, and holier than the ordinary saint—to ride in on a white horse and save the future.
You are a link in the collective attitude.
OWN YOUR PART OF THE WHOLE.
What we do may seem like only a drop in the ocean, but without it the ocean is one drop less.—Mother Teresa
That drop can be compassionate or hateful. What’s one drop more or less? Eventually, just one drop will tilt the scales. The choice is ours. One by one, minds are choosing different patterns for relating both to themselves and to others. Minds are seeking new ways of being in the world. Minds are dropping out of old pecking orders, abandoning the old hierarchical paradigms and choosing instead to see all levels of relationships as inclusive circles with common centers. We are beginning to connect with one another like circular links in chains of response abilities. The strength and well-being of each individual link is vital to all. Cutting any link loose, leaving anyone behind is not an option if we expect to avoid annihilation.
The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.—Marcus Arelius
The choice is simple. The difficulty lies in the distractions devised by desperate egos. We make shrouds for ourselves out of fear and cover ourselves with heavy burkas that limit our point of view to what can be seen through a peephole. The most effective propaganda disguises the most truth, cleverly distorted and rearranged. Our scheming egos put “spins” on the good stuff—honor, duty, patriotism, love, logic, loyalty (not to mention God). Sorting it all out is not easy when you’re trying to see through generations of overlapping mental filters.
We are not bystanders in life. We are creatures of Creation and have no choice except to create. But as we create, we each have the power of choice and the responsibility for choosing wisely.
Bumper sticker wisdom reminds us that, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you will end up somewhere else.” But even if you know where you’re going and what you want (world peace, for example), you have to know where you’re starting from or risk traveling in the opposite direction.
First things first……………………………………………………
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an
an understanding of ourselves.—Carl Jung
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.—Shakespeare
Grow up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.—F. Scott Fitzgerald
Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your minds.—Paul of Tarsus
…All mistakes must be corrected on the level on which they occur…What you do comes from what you think…You must change your mind, not your behavior, and this is a matter of willingness.—A Course in Miracles
The best things in life may not cost money, but they’re not free. You have to spend yourself.—Grandma J
We would rather be ruined than changed;
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.—W. H. Auden
Surfing the Elephant
What you see is what you get!—Geraldine
An ancient parable is immortalized in John Godfrey Saxe’s poem, “The Blind Men and the Elephant.” The story is about some curious blind men who wanted to see the elephant for themselves. The blind man who put his hands against the elephant’s side imagined that the elephant must be like a wall. The man who grabbed the trunk was certain that the elephant was like a snake. At the other end a rope appeared in the mind’s eye of a comrade who had taken hold of the tail. Another wrapped his arms around a leg and concluded that elephants must surely look like trees. Yet another, touching the tusk, was convinced that a spear made the best comparison. The blind man who accidentally touched the ear insisted that even the blind could see that the creature was most similar to a fan. They all stuck to their positions and a great debate began: six valid opinions but only one elephant.
The timeless wisdom of this very simple parable is within the easy grasp of a child’s understanding. (Somewhat more difficult for PhD’s.) The needy ego of each man chose being “right” over being wise. Each one wanted to “sell” his opinion to “profit” his pride, requiring the others to give up their points of view. Teamwork would have given all of them the whole picture and cost them nothing. By both accepting and sharing, each blind man would have ended up not only with the benefits of his original intellectual investment but also with the compounding dividends of five other shareholders. Win/win. (How many baskets were filled with leftovers in the Christian story of the sharing of five loaves and two fish?)
Each blind man argued for—but never questioned—his own belief. Each left a legacy of closed-mindedness to sabotage his children’s chances of seeing the whole elephant.
As a man is, so he sees.—William Blake
What you see in others has more to do with who you are
than with who other people are.—Epictetus
Dedicate your remaining years
to seeing the world as a better place,
rather than making it better.
When you see it so,
you begin to make it so.—William Martin
The People in the Pews
Not long ago news coverage of the child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church saturated the media. Journalists presented interviews with “experts” and various famous people. These reports were salted here and there with comments from outraged ordinary citizens. One obviously angry Catholic, expressing her frustration with the ineffective response of the church’s higher-ups, said, “…it seems clear that the bishops and the Pope are not interested in a solution—apparently, that must come from the people in the pews.”
Look again at the stack of turtles. Ask again which turtle has the most power to change the stacktus quo. Moving up the stack, what are the odds that there will be a turtle whose ego will be motivated to give up his measure of control? On the other hand, how easy is it to give up being controlled if it’s what we’re used to?
abdicate / v: to give up power, to relinquish rights; to renounce sovereignty
[i.e. to choose not to be responsible]
usurp / v: to take possession by force; to seize and hold the rights and powers
Minds cannot be usurped. If a mind does not acknowledge its own worth, it abdicates its sovereignty. It gives up power and relinquishes rights. This choice has a very attractive payoff: Someone else can be blamed for any given problem; therefore, someone else is responsible for solving it.
What’s wrong in this picture?
The Stacktus Quo How the Resources of
Are Currently Shared
Even if you’re at the bottom of the stack in the
you’re near the top in the pecking order pyramid of the whole world!
I have met the enemy and he is us.—POGO
Most of us agree with Pogo in theory, but we filter his observation through a mindset that redefines “us” to mean “all of us except me.”
Simple arithmetic: “Me” is a more common denominator than “us.”
Formula: The total condition of the planet divided by each of us equals the
exact amount of its condition for which only I am accountable.
I can’t change anyone but myself. (Fortunately.)
Another Choice: Unlock your mind, free your heart, and…
No man can reveal to you ought but that which already lies
half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.—Kahlil Gibran
Wake up, Mack!
Stick your neck out!
How wonderful it is that nobody has to wait a single moment
before starting to improve the world.—ANNE FRANK