20 November 2005

The Question of the Gates

A man’s senses filter out for him anything that does not jive with his worldview.

To what can this be compared?

To a king…

The king maintains a policy of openness. Anyone who presents themselves at court is accepted for audience. The king listens and responds. In this way, he hopes to protect himself against the blindness he saw destroy the one he replaced.

He hopes to be encountered by passionate advocates and troubled souls, and he is willing to weather the advice of fools as a price. But those who approach him are flatterers or criminals who praise his policies, and are later found wandering around the palace, stealing silver and troubling the servants.

Every palace has walls. These walls have gates, and these gates have guards. These guards serve the king by keeping out undesirables. Anyone who looks strange finds no access to the palace. Anyone asking to see the king is immediately suspect. “The King,” the guards reason, “is far too busy to be bothered by people such as this, surely he employs us to keep them out of his palace.”

Slowly, the king becomes aware of the behavior of his guards, and he feels himself to be a prisoner in his own palace – cut off from the world. From the high windows of the palace, he can see the streams of people that approach the gate, and the meager few who enter. He is too far away to make out the character of those who are turned away.

Something needs to be done, surely, but what can he do?

If he opens up the gates completely, he is open to attack.

Perhaps he can retrain the guards? Years of habit have seasoned them to their role.

Perhaps he can take off his crown, make himself small, and leave the city – to see for himself what is happening in the world? He worries that he may never find his way back.


What is a king to do?

3 comments:

MC Aryeh said...

The king should take up needlepoint. It is very relaxing and will while away the time in between visitors....

MC Aryeh said...

The previous comment should be taken as encouragement. I love these posts. They are filled with poetry and deep thoughts and ideas. Please keep them coming. Where and when was this written? Is the king always the same in all these vignettes?

'laizer said...

Thanks MCA...if not for your encouragement, I would have switched back to standard fare - something more easily digestable.

Most of these were written in a small period of time, a bit less than a year ago. This last one I posted is a recent reworking of the last in the series.

The basic players are the same in all of them:

The King is the inner world of a person.

The castle or the city is the whole of a person - body and senses and built up edifices of biases and worldviews and conceptions.

The gates are the means through which a person meets (or fails to meet) the outside world - senses both simple and sublime.

The question is a real question. How do we encounter reality in truth? How do we recieve the presence of another person in truth? How do we recieve the presence of God in truth? How do I prevent my preconceptions from coloring my view of the world?