The Mirror Doesn't Lie
‘The Mirror Doesn’t Lie’
By Tony DeLorger © 2011
After much consideration and some fifty-odd years of firsthand experience, I have concluded there are four types of people. The first I believe to be ‘intrepid optimists’, who with blind faith often find themselves in all sorts of strife, but always with good intentions. The second are ‘cynics’, unable to have faith in anything, and therefore continuously voicing their disapproval about anyone who does. The third are blissfully ignorant of the mechanics of life, and float along at the world’s mercy and in that sense could be classified as ‘victims’, and therefore not responsible. The fourth, final and might I say most alienated group are the so-called spiritually attained, who are often seen as ‘gurus’.
This idea of classification might sound cynical and an oversimplification, but if we look carefully at our striving and motivations, it appears that we are either running toward something or from something. This simple system of classification can help us to determine what that is. We are indeed complex animals.
I dub myself an ‘intrepid optimist’. Why, you ask? Because I have gone where no self-respecting half intelligent soul should have gone, and all because of a relentless notion that people be what I’d like them to be, not what they actually are. There is a simple saying that I now know to be truth- ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them.’ Giving people the benefit of doubt is indeed a fine Christian ethic, but to an ‘intrepid optimist’ it can be the door to disappointment, pain and sometimes-even tragedy. If God wanted bliss on earth for we mere mortals, he would not have given us the ability to think, judge and make choices. Within the complexity of these attributes, we are all prone to display the best and the worst of humanity during our seemingly short lifespan. Maybe that’s the point- for us to find that elusive balance and to experience all possibilities.
I believe that we are all a combination of the four types- optimist, cynic, victim and guru. Progression can often be seen from one to another and we can surely display pronounced features of one or more of the groups thus allowing ourselves to be classified. But until we have experienced all or discovered the truth about ourselves, we cannot attain any peace within and an overall acceptance of our life journey. Balance is what the doctor ordered.
So how do these four classes of people respond to one another and to those within their own group? -An interesting question.
The ‘intrepid optimists’ appear to stick together, trying not to be tainted by the negative or helpless masses. They see one another as correct in movement and direction and support one another blindly overlooking mutual faults and accounting for them as ‘someone having a bad day’. Optimists see the ‘cynics’ as faithless and heartless, unable to fathom the beauty within the world they so romantically revere. They see the ‘victims’ as the lower, uneducated classes and the ‘guru’s’ as much the same as they, except for having a degree in some higher understanding. Many ‘intrepid optimists’ momentarily transcend humanity to assume guru status. Having perceived the gurus as god-like, they follow their path and inevitably get deflowered at the first turn, thus becoming tainted and in the end cynics.
The ‘cynics’ are a class apart. They spend their lives defending and reaffirming their cynicism through a vigorous routine of slagging and judging everything that breathes, proving over and over the world is a horrid, cold place, bent on their destruction. But laughably they still view themselves as normal people, well worth knowing and sharing a life with. This dichotomy of belief and action is common to the ‘cynics’. They stick to their own kind in small tight groups, but often subconsciously wander, quietly revering the optimists and needing some balance. Together the ‘cynics’ wind themselves up into a frenzy of bitching and verbal savagery, unmatched by any of the classes. Therefore, the cynics should keep gatherings to a minimum, for their own sanity. The ‘cynics’ see ‘optimists’ as misguided fools, the ‘victims’ as brainless and deserved of what they get, and the ‘gurus’ as absolute lunatics that should be all placed on some Godforsaken island and nuked. They see the gurus as frauds and believe that what bad can happen will always happen (and of course it does- verifying their credo). On that note you can rarely convert a cynic, because they spend their lives ardently proving to themselves that their cynicism is well-founded.
The blissfully ignorant or ‘victims’ are the largest group and are comprised of people from every walk of life. Their circumstances vary greatly through the full gamut of physical and emotional states, but one thing remains constant, their inability to realise that they have any say in what happens to them on this earth. Their lack of vision places them in a cloud, sometimes neither seeing the finer or the coarser aspects of life. They just bounce around happy with what is served up, dealing as best they can with what presents itself. They find a nice deep ostrich hole in which to place their heads when things get a bit sticky. They see nothing but their own plight, most with a tenuous connection to the world of rational thought let alone an understanding of the other groups. The ‘victims’ see the ‘optimists’ as a little foreign, ‘cynics’ as nasty pieces of work and ‘gurus’ as simply certifiable. It’s not that they rationally judge the other classes, it’s that they are unable to understand where they’re all coming from. They see them all trying to put square pegs in round holes, when for them square pegs just don’t exist.
Finally the ‘gurus’, the most complex of the classes, see all the other groups on varied journeys all trying to model themselves on the guru archetype. Here we are faced with an amusing irony, the nature of the ‘guru’ viewpoint disproving their advanced state and proving none too blatantly that their vision is from another side, not from heaven above. The gurus of course see all (or so they think), and are often too horrified with the rest of us to be a productive part of the world. I believe that a spiritually attained soul doesn’t behave as a guru and wouldn’t wish to be seen as one. For if they did, the circumstance of attention and gratification given them by their devotees would prove beyond doubt that they have not attained what they think they have. The proclaimers have never been the answer, only the catalyst to change.
The ‘gurus’ keep to their own kind almost exclusively, except for when they descend their thrones to give charity and wisdom to the helpless lower classes, who often find themselves within the powerful torrents of human catastrophe. The ‘gurus’ see the ‘optimists’ as gurus in training, the ‘cynics’ as the dark side and the ‘victims’ as their brethren to be saved.
Having constructed this little system of classifying human beings, and having presented it to friends and family, it appears that I have upset the odd person or two. It is interesting how we respond to the truth, particularly about ourselves, when confronted with something that we would rather not know. But truth reaches out in many ways, trying to find the light of day. Our only weapon in counteracting a constant onslaught of thought and emotion and in understanding ourselves within this complex existence, is logic , as cold and hard as it is. By classifying what appears in the physical we can try to balance what we see on an emotional level. This is my cause, to create some basic recognition, one that might just lead you to realise something about yourself. Again I reiterate, that we are all four classes, each a blend so individual that we can never be compared to any fine degree.
Knowledge is a great thing and self-knowledge the greatest knowledge of all. I believe it is never what we are but who we are and how we practice our life that matters, regardless of circumstance.