… The theme is always the same underneath any topic. Being awed by greatness, seeking it in myself, not finding, crying, dying, being doused with hope, by what? by who?, and waking, shaking it off, lifting my head and doing it all again…
Finding the greatness in us, finding the excellence, how is that done? If it’s not glaringly apparent as it was for Rupert Murdoch, Andre Agassi, Bill Gates, “my buddy” Yngwie Malmsteen and the like, and also for the occasional ones we know in our small worlds, how do we find it? Where is it? It seems it must be there, because something within us keeps telling us we’re special in some way.
It isn’t just the egoic trinity telling us this is it? And by “trinity” I’m referring to the ego and its sidekicks, the id and the super-ego. That would seem not what we want because these three yahoos are not to be trusted completely. All the id wants is immediate needs-gratification; the superego is all uptight about internalized ideas we’ve gotten from our parents and from society and it busies itself with trying to keep the id and the ego in moral check; and the ego says Screw morality, it’s all about reality and proceeds with its bullheaded bias to mediate the demands of the id and the superego. What a mess! It’s a comedic absurdity.
Isn’t is just like a human, then, to feel certain this ridiculousness couldn’t possibly be the reason for something so seriously important as our greatness? I’m laughing so hard I can barely type this. We want our feeling of specialness, our yearning for excellence to be not in our heads but to have something to do with a god connection. And maybe it does. How can we know? How can we come to a conclusion either way but to study further, about the three P’s (psychology philosophy, and physiology) and spirituality, and combine what we’ve learned with our intuition which is what most of are doing already anyway?
And we’re back to square one. We’re born, we’re conditioned by parents and society, we learn things and skills, we get a job to pay the bills or someone or the government supports us, and we wonder if we can be more, great even.
In my cluelessness, on top of just working to pay the bills, I prefer the painful role of Ponderer, but if I wasn’t committed to that agonizing path, I have a feeling the easiest way to forget our human problems right quick and to blossom in magnanimous greatness is to dive straight into a role where we’re assisting others or facilitating some cause that makes life better, makes the world a better place. And I’m not talking pain-level-easiness, I’m talking no-looking-back-easiness, the easiness of jumping off the dock instead of edging into the water inch by cold, slow inch.
Like anyone who believed the ads that they could be all they could be and joined the armed services, straight into the icy water, Navy water. I watched parts of the recent PBS series “Carrier” and that heart place in me was hit again, just the same as it was listening to and watching Yngwie Malmsteen play.
Aboard the USS Nimitz are the youngest of our country’s adults. They’ve just left the house and they’re engaged in some of the hardest, most demanding work to be had. They’re being honed, crafted every day. A few came aboard with a clue and the smarts to back it up, beginning careers as pilots, officers, and the like. Most chose the Navy because their families had no money to send them to college and told them to get out of the house and go do something with themselves. Many came from really bad situations, irresponsible families doing or selling drugs, abusing their kids. But they all joined out of a need to be something special to someone, to others, to the world, to become something greater than they felt they currently were.
The human part is the daily grind, the gossip, playing the game to increase rank, grappling with internal demons. The god part is in the eyes of those very same young people, where we find that link to our own hearts, and then we’re listening to their words of hard-earned wisdom with more than just our ears. And as the 5000 crewmembers of the USS Nimitz man the rails of the 4.5 acre deck in preparation to depart a port, we see them with more than eyes. All over most of their faces is the thing that oozes out of a successfully in-progress human who’s being crafted for the better, a look of wellbeing from a sense of accomplishment.
The civilians on land cheer, clap, and wave their support for the human gods high up above on the deck. Despite where they came from and why, they’re prepared to do for the USA what’s required of them and they’re leaving the known to do the unknown. Now they’re the gods on the stage doing what we maybe dare not, cannot, should not, or are not equipped to do.
What is greatness to you? Do you have a model of it? What does it look like?
Do you feel the stirring to that greatness? Or perhaps just to do more, be more?
If so, what form does that take? And how are you doing at it?
USNavy070 – Carrier hull – Manning the rails
USNavyUSSNimitz01 – Manning the rails
USNavy04 – Crowd waving – Guided missile destroyer, USS Mason
USNavy08 – fighters
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USNavyUSSNimitz05-1 – fighters
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