Have you heard of The Worried Warrior? The guy or girl who is at war with the world because within a war is going on in her/his mind?
This isn’t, in my opinion, necessarily a sickness, and I might have to lay claim to having all the symptoms myself?
The general brush tars The Worried Warrior as being the dissident, the disaffected, the angry and the rebel; as being persons of troubled mind; which they are.
The popular argument carries on further saying they are angry, disaffected, dissident and rebellious because they are troubled in mind; they are ‘sick’. Even this proposition maybe holds some truth value?
The commonplace argument goes yet further again and asserts that this ‘sickness’ of mind is the whole and absolute root cause of their rebelliousness, anger, disaffection and dissidence.
Thus all earnest radical criticism of the status quo is sought to be undermined.
Generally The Establishment and its adherents believe that they hold all the best cards in the game. Not just in their viewpoints on how and what might constitute living ‘The Good Life’ in all its meanings and ramifications; but in their positions of power and influence, having belief in unerring self-confidence that they are able to quell and effectively silence, cause to be impotent, those whom they consider troublesome in society.
Exclusion and non-acknowledgment, along with a giving of the cold shoulder are their most effective well-used tactics.
Whenever a renegade might grab the limelight, for the media are hounds for a sensational story and will make a celebrity anti-hero out of anyone who does something shockingly ‘newsworthy’; then he/she will be subjected, in the same media, to ad hominem personal character sleights and denigrations. Maybe even his/her past and childhood, parents and parentage, will be dug out ‘in the public interest’ so as to make a public rod for dissident backs to bear.
These personal attacks arise from sources often anonymous; ‘a government spokesperson said today’ or come covered over by an umbrella; ‘the department of defence commented’; so that the fullest force of The Establishment might be applied via these Media to the conflagration, but without any individual Establishment figure having stepped up and underwritten its remarks.
The media will make hay:
‘Faith, here’s an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in, equivocator’
because the Media personnel are made up too often of folk whom we British call ‘slags’; people who are happy to extract as much juice out of any story without regard to acting with propriety or showing decent behaviour.
The conduct and outlooks of such persons evidence that for them the title of this article, ‘Teach us to Care and not to Care: Teach us to Sit Still’ carries no meaning; is nonsense.
What has been said so far is the downbeat half of this article. The second half of it now follows, and because it is to be uplifting and heart-stimulating, it is far more important and significant.
Without a degree of Warfare of Worry acting within us we are a lost people; sold up, traded in, bartered unto indifference. The reason for this is because everything that is best and most salutary about human beings and human life, and which has been without fail evidenced by the great and good individuals of history, who are remembered by us wholly because of their ardent aspiration and earnestness; is itself the fruit of such Wars of Worry being waged within us.
To be at one with life, the universe and everything is not healthy; not normal; not natural for humans. Read George Herbert and consider:
When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can.
Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,
Contract into a span.”
So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay
As strife is an ineluctable part of all our lives, so striving ought to be likewise. Plato’s famous dictum comes to mind again: ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’. The Book of Genesis if it tells us anything tells us that ours (in any sense you care to take it, make it) is a Fallen World; that something is inherently unsatisfactory about it, that there is no sure footing, no certainty, no solution, to its inmost existential structural faults.
At least when these faults are being approached from a purely natural angle
It is this inherent unsatisfactoriness that is the root and source of all our existential care (angst). But this same care and angst is the definitive strong stimulus for all our earnest wishes to make a betterment of our world, of our conduct and to mend our own faults.
And so a proper understanding and awareness of each of our own individual Wars on Worry within, and our proper engagement with them, not as their adversaries or slaves, but as their partners and pupils, is perhaps one of the very best things a person is able to enjoy in their life.
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice
We have dealt briefly in outline then with the ‘care’; but what of the ‘not to care’ and the ‘sitting still’? The key to these is in the latter; in the ‘sitting still’. At my infants’ school, when I was 5 or 6, we were all trained to ‘sit still’ – I mean this literally. The aim behind the training was that when children were sat down comfortably and asked to be still, they would calm down and relax; excitement and mania would dissolve sedately, serenely. And indeed it worked.
It is as such children that Jesus calls us to enter into The Kingdom of Heaven.
‘And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’
And so it is that we are asked and recommended to ‘sit still’ so as to become to be at rest, like as we were small children. Hence arises a resolution to the central paradox of our title; of the ‘caring and not caring’, of accepting, welcoming, enjoying, our inherent restlessness with its earnest striving for the better; and at the same time being able, like as children, to be stayed, founded, centred, and grounded within ourselves; and so at rest.
George Herbert’s poem (which I quoted from earlier on) has God speaking about man in its final verse:
“Yet let him keep the rest [of the listed items of goods]
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast”
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