The “perils” facing humanity referred to in a Horizon magazine article in 1963 by Dennis Gabor[i] were not the perils of leisure but something much more menacing.
They were the perils of the human intellect and the musings of the unconscious yet highly respected intellectuals mumbling across the millennia their inane theories, constructs and observations which had little or no basis in reality. Indeed, if we take these philosophers, scientists, psychologists and religious leaders seriously we are doomed.
Simple Reality will ultimately replace these outmoded philosophies that Gabor only dimly perceives. “This need not remain always a malaise expressed with self-pitying neurotic moanings, al la Strindberg; the great artists of the future may be able to sublimate it and invent a new catharsis—which will reconcile man with his fate to be happy! [For example, as in Krishnamurti’s advice to respond with ‘I don’t mind what’s happening.’] It will be an art of maturity, which will make the art of the Greek tragedies and of Shakespeare appear to be the writings of gifted adolescents.”[ii]
Other obstacles to awakening to mature rather than adolescent behavior would be an identity that values competition over cooperation and the related machismo that we find expressed in art. Ironically, our identity in P-B has many of us believing that suffering is a prerequisite to great art. “There is no solution to it; if we abolish injustice we must abolish with it the great art which is based on injustice, on blood and violent death, that ‘masculine’ type of art whose greatest representative in our time was Ernest Hemingway.”[iii]
Simple Reality will help us shift to an identity that will disabuse us of the type of nonsense expressed in the last paragraph. In fact we find that some artists demonstrated in their behavior a transcendent identity that replaced suffering with joy.
“How few of these blessed angels there have been in the history of culture, compared with the great tormented creators like Michelangelo, Beethoven, Dostoevsky, Flaubert! No wonder that modern [unconscious] criticism tries to reject Eduard Mörike’s picture of Mozart as a happy child-genius. I prefer to disbelieve those who want to make a neurotic of him (who has ever reacted with less of a trauma to a physical kick in the seat of his pants?), and I believe that he would have reached just as great heights without a pedantic, exacting father, without the humiliations of the unspeakable archbishop, and without the almost constant worry of debts.”[iv] We would have to agree with Dennis Gabor on his assessment of Mozart’s joyous True self.
What are our goals, those of us getting older, as we work toward the perils of leisure—otherwise known as retirement in America? In our middle years we learned more, worked harder and accumulated more material wealth, unwisely disregarding the advice of the mystic Nisargadatta Maharaj to have nothing, do nothing and know nothing. In our golden years “The good citizen can afford dolce far niente [how sweet it is to do nothing] only after he retires and tries to enjoy the world through soured eyes as he goes on a long cruise with his aging wife.”[v]
Amadeus, You Da’ Man
[i] Gabor, Dennis. “The Perils of Leisure.” Horizon. November 1963, page 109.
Find a much more in-depth discussion in printed books by Roy Charles Henry.