In Pursuit of Misbegotten Greatness
by Kathy Custren
It is an interesting, if not strange, time in which we live today. For as much as many of us educated or 'enlightened' beings are reminded about enjoying the here and now, perhaps there are as many if not more who pine for the past—times when we felt things were a little more perfect than they are now; a return to “Greatness,” with the capital G. We are in pursuit of misbegotten greatness, if we bother to really look.
Misbegotten greatness may be better defined as a higher dimension of our aggregate ego state, where “we know best.” Misbegotten greatness could also be a form of collective consciousness with an push toward “ism” that encroaches on the boundaries of general discomfort and anxiety. It is a spurious view, to be sure, which often goes unchallenged.
We are asked to ignore these egoic feelings because, we are told, it is “just a part of life,” or “it's how we got here.” Misbegotten greatness is definitely part of our more horrific, collective past. We sense something isn't 'quite right,' but may not be able to give it a clear label. Its essence is rather vampiric, in that we glom onto the thought that we can now be something that has passed on. With thanks to nostalgia, misbegotten greatness hints that we might be our own Dr. Frankenstein, in order to regenerate the dead past and bring it back to life.
The popular media often encourages this mode of “backward thinking.” Consider the example of the popular song and video by the late Michael Jackson, “Remember the Time.” The video takes us back to the glorious days of Ancient Egypt. The dynastic times of that era still echo today, thanks to movies and videos which focus on the regal splendor of the pharaoh's palace rather than the squalor of the 'common people.'
Another era fondly recalled at various times throughout my lifetime has been the “simpler” life of America in the 1940s and '50s. This was a time when everyone felt prosperous in post-war recovery; when the middle class grew before the violent 1960s interjected both assassination and integration into our lexicon. It was a time when there were still clear lines of segregation between the sexes and the races of man, many of which still occur today...so why the yearn to return?
Could it be that rather than really taking a clear look at history, our memories are clouded by desire? Should we thank the 'stories' that idealize or objectify what really went on? The context of the past carries us forward. The pain of our past is supposed to serve as a lesson for us never to repeat it; yet many would actively choose to do it? What kind of greatness is this? It does not make sense.
With a nod to the political process at work in the United States in 2016, it might be good to envision what our forefathers (and mothers!) had in mind when they formed the country. We have a document, The Constitution, that was designed to be a living document of structure for our nation. Although we have this edifice, we continue to struggle to hold its ideals...that all people are to be free, and that all have rights. The political process itself usurps the power this document holds; the 'checks and balances' it provides the many are imbalanced by the few, and dangerously so.
So while those desirous of change take center stage and try to get others to 'see their vision of what could be,' or urge us to 'return to an era of Greatness,' let us remember what it took to get here, now. Be brave enough to ask the question, “Does our 'Greatness' lie in the past, or are we 'doomed' to repeat the same mistakes?”
We must open our eyes and hearts. There is much to be said for humility. When it comes to misbegotten greatness, once is more than enough.
Kathy Custren, OMTimes Senior Editor, is a mother of four, who strives for balance and has a deep respect for All. Interests include education, elements, nature, humanity's cosmic origins, philosophy, spirituality, and wellness. Connect with her community page "Consciousness Live" on Facebook.