Danger of “Thinking Outside of the Box”

As one who “thinks outside of the box,” I must admit that it is not necessarily a virtue.  I’ve had that aptitude since early youth and since my late teens I’ve been exploring its riches.  So, in a way, it is my “comfy zone” and at times I demonstrate my obnoxiousness and arrogance, those very qualities which I see residing in “box dwellers.”  As one dares to venture “outside of the box,” it is always very tempting to ensconce oneself in still another “box’ and there demonstrate the same arrogance that one is deriding with great contempt from his/her “comfy zone” outside of the box.

For, “the box” that I’m referring to is not merely a conceptual formulation but it is the gut-level orientation to take one’s view of the world as primary to the exclusion of others.  And those of us with “enlightened” and “noble” ideas are often the ones who pose the greatest challenges for civilization, witness The Crusades and Isis.  In each of these instances, they are whole-heartedly intoxicated with their world view and are willing to bring to those who disagree with them great displeasure, even death.  That is because those who are “intoxicated” with this delectable nectar of the gods (even though they are dark gods) cannot see beyond their limited perspective.  They have taken an “idea” and run it into the ground even to the point where they are willing to kill for it and to die for it themselves.  When you have reached this point, you are approaching the dark, demonic depths of being an “ideologue” regardless of how noble your idea might appear to be.

And ideologue always seeks to escape his own emptiness by glomming onto some “idea” which he naively thinks is “the answer.”  Been there, done that.  Now I realize that this obsession, even with an idea as noble as Jesus Christ, was just an escape from reality and an escape from my own spiritual depths just to hang on desperately to my illusion of reality and my illusion of myself.  As Jesus, and many other spiritually enlightened men and women have tried to teach us, there is a “spiritual” dimension to life which lies beyond the grasp of our finite, conscious mind.  But that “finite, conscious mind,” being an ego contrivance, resists this awareness and insists that we hang onto the world of appearance, the shadow world of Plato’s famous cave analogy.  And Jesus provided us a vivid example of just how gut-wrenchingly painful it is to give up this world of illusions and “climb the rugged cross of the moment and let our illusions die.” (Leonard Cohen)


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