We are all enterprising spirits –
sometimes despite ourselves
and at other times the fact escapes our attention,
or we simply do not know any better.
And it is the “spirit” part that connects us all.
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Featured above is an engraving from Flammarion’s 1888 l’Atmosphere, in the style of a 17th Century woodcut. This engraving constitutes cartography detailing the enterprising spirit in action. To the enterprising spirit, activity becomes considered a waste of time, passively wallowing in chaos waiting for “something more” to happen – thus being at the mercy of the Four Winds. Whereas, performance is considered creating order out of chaos, actively manifesting that “something more” to happen – thus having the potential for the enterprising spirit to attain mastery of self and correspondingly of the Four Winds.
Like the necessary work in becoming an adept tightrope walker, mastery of any sort – such as
vocation or avocation — takes learning through practice and experience, also known as practical work and experimentation. Indeed, the human life experience has been compared to tightrope
walking. Bottom-line brass tacks is that mastery
involves the action of being dynamically engaged in doing.
All the great world wisdom traditions developed in what philosopher Karl Jaspers defined as the “Axial Age” of 900 to 200 BCE – ranging from Confucianism to Buddhism to Grecian philosophical rationalism to the monotheism of Israel. The singular fulcrum of these traditions at their genesis was not about what you believed, but rather how you behaved. To the ancients of all world wisdom traditions, action spoke louder than words.
Abounding speculation about the engraving since it appeared includes the concept that the tree in the cartography represents the Judaic Kabbalah Tree of Life. Such a concept has its appeal, as does the notion that the person in the cartography has gleaned what was needed from the Tree and is now deploying to get about doing his or her life mission. For according to Kabbalah, every individual has a vital role to do in a given lifetime. It is considered the responsibility of each individual to discover one’s own role, and then get on with doing it.
The cartography is also an analogue for the concept that perception is the view looking in a mirror whereas perspective is the view looking out a window. Acting upon self and circumstance, the enterprising spirit has the opportunity to climb out the window of perspective into the kaleidoscope of Reality.
It has been variously postulated through the time and tide of civilization that Reality is the greatest journey Heaven can allow.
The beehive is a classical symbol of the enterprising spirit
If a consideration of human civilization in general and an enterprise or individual in particular reveals nothing else to the discerning eye, it can show that the enterprising spirit is architect of one’s fate, engineer of one’s being. And there is a humongous
UNDER CONSTRUCTION sign heralding the gateway to the royal road of life that the
enterprising spirit travels, as ancient Greek philosopher Aeschylus put it, “by the awful grace of God”:
God, whose law it is that he who learns must suffer…
And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart.
And in our despair – against our will –
comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
You know what? If nothing else, having Wisdom covering your back and Grace doing scouting duty on your behalf surely is not a bad way to have it on this journey.
It all makes for a curiously fascinating traveling circus abundant with uproarious laughter and salty tears, comedy and tragedy. There is frivolity, folklore, fun, wit, and intrigue. There are banners, balloons, and popcorn. Why, it is a downright gypsy caravan of four-ring spectacle really, heralding endless opportunities for mischief, mayhem, magic, mystery and – ultimately – Divinity in action.
The traveling circus of life has always been inclusive of the entire cavalcade of saints and sinners, bullshitters and Bolsheviks, cannibals and charlatans – not forgetting the tightrope walkers, magicians, and the omnipresent clowns. Oh yes – by all means there are clowns! They are vital figures in this caravan, ranking right up there in stature with the kings, queens, knights, and pages who are encountered along the way. The caravan is both majestic and humble, as well as horribly grotesque and awesomely beautiful – for that is the journey and reality of the process called civilization.
Bottom-line brass tacks is that adventuring on the Royal Road takes an enterprising spirit with the guts, heart, brains, and initiative for it. It can even be equally stated that those four characteristics constitute the enterprising spirit.
A beauteous fact about the caravan is that one does not need to be stuck alone, clamoring in the wilderness. Not only is that fact beauteous, it is also important to remember — like the song goes: NO ONE IS ALONE. So there is always – always – ample room aboard the caravan of exploration and learning for misfits, adventurers, loners, animals, whirling dervishes, singers, and a joke or two. And fellow travelers of constructive divergent vantage points can make for some mighty good companions along the way.
It’s a really old and wise proverb. Well, a proverb generally is old and wise which is why it’s a proverb. Sidestepping that mire of stating the obvious, here it is: “The dogs bark but the caravan moves on.”
You come too.
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