Several years ago, I read a story about a woman who would stand every day at the shore looking off to sea, awaiting a loved one to return. The story, which was stained with either Sinead O’Connor’s style, or some form of Spanish Romanticism, has become arbitrary and forgotten in its characteristics, though it’s message has branded my mind.
It was typical of romance. She would wait and wait and wait until the prince of her reality returned. It was typical of romance, and the prince was forever lost. Either drowned at sea or drowned in another’s bosom.
Someone asked me recently, “how am I breaking the mold”. I didn’t know how to answer at first. I didn’t know the question. What mold, and how am I breaking it? The ambiguity stuck with me.
A woman with whom I was speaking to, and who had the highest level of genius, the form of genius that embodies a living, active force, told me she was stupid.
I then knew how I was breaking the mold.
She referenced her lack of intellect, intellectually. That is, she was smart enough to know she was making a mistake. In a fashion that was disturbing once over to her and twice to me, she continued to make it.
Her mistake? She looked around her life and saw the path laid out before her. The route of a life which echoed not the glory she knew she could forge, but the despair of mediocrity she had become accustomed to expect. She saw it, and recognized that it would destroy her, and recognized it would not lead her to happiness nor to joy, and recognized that she did not choose this path nor this life for herself, but rather she allowed the world to thrust itself upon her and she was to simply slip down the crumbling curves of pavement that would deliver her to an indecisive future.
She lay claim to a mind rarely found in the world, a mind, that at all costs, at all possible chances, moments and brakes, should never take the first step. A mind that existed as all minds should exist, but too few are spared the whippings of their unbecomings. Knowing this, keenly and on an intrinsic level, she took the first step.
That day we talked about who we should save from a burning building. I, in my cruelty, said that some should not, and this I stand by.
She at first was alarmed by my answer. It’s not what people say publicly, after all, what man could let another burn himself alive? It’s the sign of the man who has some disturbance towards humanity. In this case, I believe it is that sect of humanity which has a disturbance towards me.
“Who wouldn’t you save?” she asked cautiously.
“Those who walk in willingly”.
She did not find my response misjudged. She, as well as I, knew that some men should not be saved, that some men cannot be saved, and that most common amongst these strains are those who do not dare fathom that they are the source of their own destruction.
And it was then that she told me she was stupid. At first, I pitied her. I pitied her because I saw that first woman, staring off for the prince who will come to save her, yet is long drowned in a tide of water or of women. I pitied her because I saw that the two women were one. I pitied them as I saw them looking off into the horizon, waiting for it to arrive, yet knowing it was late already.
I pitied them, mostly though, because I saw that what she called stupidity, I called insanity.
I, in my cruelty, knew I could say nothing. I, in my cruelty, know that a mistake is indicative of ignorance, and that mistaken known to be a mistake is indicative of insanity. I, in my cruelty, know that this observation cannot be avoided. Neither by myself nor her.
And it was then I whispered the question: “how am I breaking the mold”? And it was only then that I found the answer.
I see it now. I see it now, and I am horrified by the mold. I see it now because I didn’t know to what I was molded, and in what form. I see it now… too clearly now.
“How am I breaking the mold?”
I break the mold by seeing the theme that men have woven not only into their legends but themselves. I break the mold by denying the horrible pattern of history which has come to be expected.
It is as much an infection, as it is a casing. It is in the gospels that men praise, and have faith that by the very act of their praising they shall be saved, and all the while men never saw that they were building their coffins and their tombs by the very nature of the stories they were weaving.
And this is the mold:
To the romantic woman, the prince does not return to the shore. To the men walking into the fire, no one will extinguish it for you. To those seeking a knight, no one is riding in. To those seeking reason, no one will give it to you. To those seeking a savior, no one is coming.
To the religious, God hath sent no angels and no new prophets. To the atheists, no god hath sent but madmen. To the unsure, no one will answer you.
To the world: there are no heroes.
Do not wait, do not hope, do not take the faith in God or in science for a substitute. No one rides in to save the day. David does not kill Goliath and the cure is not yet found.
And this is the horrible mold which men have let destroy themselves. And both the priest and the professor have sworn themselves to it. They have sworn themselves and urged that all other men swear themselves to the salvation of religion or the salvation of research.
But the mold runs thick, and salvation will not come.
And when in despair you look for the knight, look not. And when in despair you seek a hero, seek not. And when in despair you cry that if only one could save you from the horror which is existence, cry not. And know, in the finality which you sought to avoid that no one will save you from reality.
Know only it is by the frozen casing of the world’s dogma, it’s ignorance and it’s avoidance, that you ask this.
But, in knowing the mold, in knowing your prison: do not despair.
And when you seek for someone to lick your wounds: lick them. And when you seek for a reasonable mind: think. And when you seek that one should walk before you, do not call a man to do it: stride.
And know that this has been the mold of men’s cowardice, of men’s unwillingness, and of men’s stupidity. And when you watch a man walk willingly into the fire, do not save him. And when you watch those cry at the mercy of their masters, do not cry with them. And when you see men surrender to the wind of fate, do not find yourself caught in the breeze.
And when you hoped for a savior, find one. And when you hoped for a true king, crown one. And when you looked for a defender, arm one. And when you waited for the horizon, and the future you dreamt of just beyond, dare the impossible and take your first step.
And spend not a moment longer, not a second waiting on your heroes and your chosen ones but know: that their fire, which men have lost in themselves to patience for, is the same that may burn in you. And Michelangelo did not carve the angel, but saw the angel in the mold and set him free.
And in defiance of waiting for the savior that does not come, for the wind that does not blow, for the mystery that does not answer itself or for the future which has not yet arrived: let yourself know.
And know that you must break your chains.
And that never again should you wait idly under the stream of time, or the river shall drown you in its currents. And never again are you the victim of your life, but the living in whom life itself is embodied. And never again sell the genius of your mind for a moment stumbling down the path you did not choose.
And know that all the heroes who the world is lost in praising and in waiting for saw this too. And in each of them it was not their patience that men worshipped, but their boldness. And when the world asks: “how are you breaking the mold?”
I do not have heroes, and I do not have a master. And I do not wait for the wind nor do I hope for the horizon’s arrival. And I do not delay the future, which is dependant on the present.
There are no more heroes, and I will not look for them. There are no more chains and I will not be bound before them. There are no more horrors, and I will not carry them.
I break the mold. I break the mold that men must have someone to save them when they have the strength to save themselves. That men need kings by chance rather than by kings by justice. That men need heroes and saints and angels, when the gifts of life deliver us their same agency.
I break the mold to save my own soul.