Age Can Neither Be Controlled nor Caged.
Something exciting and exceptional anchors the age, which can neither be controlled nor caged. Part of it pleases; part of it plagues.
Its presence, however, yet pervades, transcending technology and its revolution; likewise politics and the threat of sedition. The age conveys rather the imminent shatter of glass ceilings and narrow thinking.
Historically, these ceilings sealed fates before others could awake to themselves and their true purpose. Thus, the age’s quality perhaps should be feared lest we be steered beyond convenient moorings and conventional methods.
Technology, superficially, reveals its capacity, redefining life accordingly. So much, until the question What does it mean to be human? resembles hazing, morally especially, based on historical specimens.
Today these specimens sponsor creative displays. Consider the furor behind gender issues, for example. These displays displace our sense of the familiar, family and community. Specimens meanwhile enter our enclaves uninvited though our communities (and conscience) are gated. Despite these gates, we will be visited eventually, if only briefly, by those on the social periphery.
Yet, we determine how displays affect us based on our sense of destiny and personal identity. A sense of destiny guards us against movements whose ends elude and whose motives reprove our own. Hence our hostility towards the novel when it invades our houses and hovels.
Deeply developed, a sense of destiny reveals the exceptional amid the uncertain when it surrounds and confounds our sensibilities. The exceptional, in fact, sanctions uncertainty. It also inspires invention and innovation, compromise and community. Hence the contemporary emphasis on cooperation within sectors and across industries.
Consider the rise of joint ventures in achieving mutual visions. Consider, in contrast, the curse of partisan politics, how it maintains moats that frustrate the hopes of democracy.
Without hope, ages anchor in insanity. Insanity weakens community and our ability to inspire the sense of transcendence necessary for self- and social-renewal. Without a sense of transcendence, we censure the exceptional. We also nurture narrow narratives — of human nature especially.
Hence the need to perceive sentiments before they become trends by refusing to spin narrow narratives. In this regard, the stories we tell inspires the exceptional, spoils it too, routinely, depending upon their character. Hence the need to nurture persons (and perspectives) that anticipate the exceptional, though they betray our instincts and preferences. To perceive these, however, we must awaken our intuition.
Else we will denounce the novel prematurely. Conventionally, we call incarnations visionaries and dreamers. They are, however, seers and sages whose visions emerge unsought because of how they are wrought. They, instinctively, serve the exceptional, sages especially.
In fact, sages provide surges that take ages beyond urges that censure the exceptional. We minimize their service because they are impervious to criticism. They are impervious because they are beholden to a higher truth. Ages without sages are insipid, morally especially, because therein necessity overrules what virtue recommends to the soul.
Though indifferent to themselves, sages aren’t different from us. If they are different, it is because they honor a deeper trust. This trust teaches what our best reaches fail to accomplish, eclipsing conventional standards and cautious stands. In fact, our best is often less than what we expect and what conscience inspires. Achieving it requires more than honesty (and ambition).
We must accept instead that different souls are differently fed. Our part is to embrace what they reveal according to their cast and gift. In doing so, we assist sages in their tasks though their methods elude our grasp.
We also preserve the exceptional as essential to progress. Preservation matters because sages are too enmeshed to invest time trying to mine others’ support, and thus labor without regard. Hence their indifference when scorned.
Blessed is the age that opens its ways to their service and scrutiny. More blessed are they therein who understand the sage’s duty. Theirs is a life lived truly. Sages, however, merely embody what we forget, namely, our true stature, before we became character actors, assuming roles that limit our range. Thus, they take us forward by taking us back to the time when we were one in mind with ourselves.
By this union, we overcome the confusion of circumstances. We do so because of our sense of destiny, which changes our identity. Thus combined, we are no longer defined by what circumstances suggest, nor by our inability to understand these.
We work instead instilled with a sense that our lives matter, and that we can handle more than what we imagined. In responding so, we serve the exceptional even as it serves us.
Without sages the exceptional suffers, likewise destinies and identities.
By their service, sages provide surges that take ages beyond urges that censure the exceptional. Only in such ages is anything possible. What is possible is the premise of democracy. At least it used to be, before the American mind waned in pursuit of this. Now, possibilities are reduced to to-do lists outlined by democratic imperialism. Hence the rarity of sages and the exceptional.
A former corporate trainer and university lecturer, Dr. Joel Bryant is an avid reader, writer, speaker, thinker and dreamer. He is also the author of over 40 books on various topics, each exploring themes of change, growth and greatness. He holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from UNC Charlotte, where he spent five years lecturing in the Philosophy Department. He resides in Charlotte, NC.