Sunday, January 02, 2011

On Being a Chosen One

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we tackle tough questions every day! Here's a tough question that I'd like to sack for a 20-yard loss:

What's the best way to handle the "chosen ones" amongst us?

The question came up one day over this holiday when I was discussing Harry Potter with my daughters. My feeling was that the Harry Potter series comes apart on about Page 50 when it becomes clear that Harry is a "chosen one." Special as he is, all of his superiors hide essential information from him ... constantly. If I was a chosen one, I would like to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could. It was supremely frustrating for me, reading that series, because just once I would have liked Harry to say, "Damn it, quit beating around the bush!" And then Dumbledore should have spoken up about everything, including being gay. But then it wouldn't have been a very exciting story, huh?

This is why King Arthur works -- after a thousand years. As a kid his life was in danger (like Harry), so he was hidden in a forest and not told who he was (unlike Harry), all the while being groomed in martial arts (better than Harry) and the attainment of wisdom (more systematically than Harry). When he finally discovered he was a king, he was ready to go whoop ass and rule, without ever having had to deal with the angst of nagging doubts about the quality of his teachers and what they might or might not be telling him.

One last fictitious chosen one: Luke Skywalker. Again, better than Harry. As a kid his life was in danger (like Harry and Arthur) so he was hidden away on a planet (like Arthur) watched over by a benign hermit (more Dumbledore than Merlin). Thrust into the fray, Luke had to learn by doing (unlike Arthur but somewhat like Harry). The difference? Luke's dad was a bad guy. (In some versions of the Arthur tale, Uther's no gem either, but he's never a Darth Vader.)

On to the chosen ones in the real world. It has never made sense to me that Jesus got visited by wise men and angels as a child, and then spent 30 years doing carpentry with his dad. I wonder if the historians got that part right? Actually, if you read the New Testament closely, you see that Jesus was rather confused at age 30 about who he was and what he was expected to do. I blame the parents in this situation. Every Christmas, at the very least, they should have reminded Jesus of the circumstances of his birth. Maybe he would have gotten started on his mission earlier, and lasted a little longer.

Another chosen one: The Dalai Lama. Heads up, fiction writers! If you want to see how it's done, watch this process. The dude was deemed a chosen one at a time of life when about all he could choose for himself was whatever he could grab. And yet, have been deemed the chosen one, he was carefully brought up and tutored by the finest minds of the generation. End result: an extremely intelligent, humble, practical man. I doubt if there's one Dumbledore in the Dalai Lama's past.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty doggoned skeptical of people who get "chosen one" status as adults. Look at your popes. A mixed bag at best. Seems to me that if you're a chosen one, something major should happen at your birth, or soon thereafter. In this, our real world could borrow from fiction -- assuming King Arthur is fictitious (which I don't, I think He's a bored god).

If someone tells you he or she is a chosen one, do a background check. An improperly-trained chosen one is a rather dangerous entity. Behind every chosen one should be a good teacher or two. I'm not just saying that because I'm a teacher. I'm saying it because the vast majority of humans don't operate purely on instinct, so they'd better have learned something before they begin issuing orders and battling evil.

18 Comments:

At January 02, 2011 , Blogger Hecate said...

An improperly-trained chosen one is a rather dangerous entity.

Truer words were ne'er spoken.

 
At January 02, 2011 , Blogger Intense Guy said...

The more I see and read about the Dalai Lama the more impressive I think this dude is...

Too bad they dont "have the resources" to do that with every child... but they would have far more if they didn't spend billions on bombers and their bombloads.

 
At January 02, 2011 , Blogger bluets said...

usually a lurkful reader, but i loved this post! something about HP has never sat quite right with me, and perhaps you've identified exactly what that was...

 
At January 02, 2011 , Blogger Inis said...

LMAO, This was too cute. I love the blog and look forward to reading more!

 
At January 02, 2011 , Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention the British Royal Family.

 
At January 02, 2011 , Anonymous Lori F - MN said...

I was perpetually disappointed that Harry never tried to find out more about his parents. I'm sure his friends would have been happy to help him learn more.
As for the Chosen One, pfff. What a crock. As for Dumbledore being gay, I hever credited it much. I know Rowling said he was gay, but even re-reading the books, I never saw it.

 
At January 02, 2011 , Blogger Vienne said...

One last thing: a self-described Chosen One is likely to be a) completely ineffective/usless, and b) as you so rightly point out, quite dangerous anyway. Beings to be avoided at any cost.

 
At January 02, 2011 , Blogger kimc said...

Lori -- He was probably bi.

 
At January 02, 2011 , Blogger YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

did you ever read The Name of The Wind? by patrick Rothfuss? my favorite book of 2010

 
At January 02, 2011 , Anonymous Alex (not his "given" name) Pendragon said...

As equally dangerous as a "chosen one" (Kin Jong Ill), are the ones "called to lead" (usually by "the Lord"), for instance, Pat Robertson and Sarah Palin and.......well, you know the bunch, they are LEGEND........

But there's something about that Pendragon dude......

 
At January 03, 2011 , Blogger ZenMouser said...

One more Chosen1 to add: Neo from the Matrix.

I usually work my mind around such things by taking the perspective that we are each and all "the one" and we can become that for ourselves and others at any given time, depending on the situation.

As it stands, our cultures and habits of governance are stagnant because attentionally and emotionally, we have this ongoing narrative of fixedness wrt Chosen ones. Singular good guys (born and/or bred as such, no doubt) and collective, anonymous, faceless bad guys (likewise). Then the societal pattern is the same - pulse (sent out by chosen one(s) - then ripple; rinse repeat yawn.

Seems to me that our emotional/spiritual/mental evolution has everything to do with greater finesse and spontaneity in the pulse-ripple pattern. Anyone can be a chosen one at any time, i.e., a source of wisdom, insight, enlightenment, a focal point, at any given time, in any given space. The words "existential alacrity" come to mind, as do "narrative flexibility" and "greater approximation of reality."

Just think what a world it would be with fewer scapegoats and false, one dimensional "leaders" who are out of their element 90% of the time. Less pretense, more truth, more dynamism in systemic adjustments. Fewer people having to live out the received view generation after generation. Fewer monopolies. More self-determination. Vibrant niches and more mobility once your turn at a given station is done. Life long learning.

We're all the chosen ones.

 
At January 03, 2011 , Blogger ZenMouser said...

Heh. It just occurred to me that the update on this theme for the 21st Century is not so much the Chosen Ones as it is the Choosing Ones. OT1H, you have nameless faceless good guys making choices (L&D decisions, most notably) for others and OTOH, you have everyone else, whose most salient feature of existence is their track record of marketplace choices, i.e. purchases.

Deep democracy doesn't limit the subjective experience to how consumers might rate a given brand, product or pitch. It's altogether something else and precisely what you're getting at in questioning this seemingly ubiquitous penchant for a certain narrative frame.

Do you think it has something to do with the stereo-like contrast of our paired sensory organs? Just a thought. Always gotta be high contrast. Simplifies things. Easier to store, retell, discuss.

 
At January 03, 2011 , Blogger Anne Johnson said...

Zen makes me think of something I forgot in the post. Some of the best chosen ones have not applied for the job and don't even want it at all. These are the chosen ones who have greatness thrust upon them and manage to do a decent job of chosen oneing.

 
At January 04, 2011 , Blogger S.L. Æris said...

What you leave out are all the things he COULD NOT have understood, even if told, without the accompanying experiences.

This is sheer gnosticism. I believe that you make it out like Enlightenment can be downloaded and installed like a software package. Et Voila! So easy! Merlin, Dumbledore, the rest... they know better.

 
At January 04, 2011 , Blogger S.L. Æris said...

The missing scene from all Chosen One myths:

The mentor tells the Chosen One Exactly what they are in unvarnished terms early in life. The stupid child stares at the mentor like the dolt he remains until he indulges in the quest.

 
At January 04, 2011 , Blogger Anne Johnson said...

If it's gnosticism, so be it, but our species does not get this (!) without first experiencing this (?). We build upon prior knowledge, which is why we need to download Merlin software before crafting new programming.

 
At January 04, 2011 , Blogger Anne Johnson said...

Now this IS funny, because to me, Druidry is built upon shared knowledge, some of it ancient and some of it cutting edge.

 
At January 05, 2011 , Blogger S.L. Æris said...

NP. If you don't get it, you just don't get it. Not my problem.

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home