The Fundamental Choice

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is not a question we necessarily outgrow. Whether or not we are conscious of it, there is always something we are aiming at in our lives. But what exactly? Maybe it depends which part of us you’re asking. How would our inner muppets, muggles or divas answer, for example?

In Sola Ratio, Sola Scriptura I identified four types of muppet. Type 1 is the rationalist, scientific materialist, militant atheist type; Type 2 is the skeptical, relativist, postmodern hippy/hipster type; Type 3 is the radical, idealistic, extremist, political revolutionary type; Type 4 is the dogmatic, reactionary, literalist, religious fundamentalist type. I suggested that Types 1 and 2 are the unfortunate products of “sola ratio” and Types 3 and 4 are the lamentable products of “sola scriptura”, both “solas” being characterised by excessive left hemisphere dominance.

Well it might also be useful to identify four types of muggle and four types of diva, if only for the sake of comprehensiveness. A Type 1 muggle would be someone who’s aim in life is simply to do what is expected of them by their parents and family. As a consequence they tend to be rather conventional and unadventurous. This is the most traditional and probably the most common type of muggle.

Type 2 muggles are less attached to their family, but are very concerned about the approval of their peers and of the culture the find themselves in. They tend to be very image and fashion conscious. They will look the part, and may go to great lengths in order to fit in with the prevailing winds, perhaps getting tattoed, pierced or having a touch of plastic surgery in the process. They are usually very active on social media and are invariably rabid consumers of popular culture. They are basically highly conformist, even when the image they project is nonconformist.

Type 3 muggles seek approval not so much from their family or peers but through monetary success. Their main purpose in life is to become as rich as possible. This is partly for the sense of security that financial stability affords, but primarily for the status it confers. A large bank balance, a successful business, a nice house and car and an assortment of other impressive material possessions are the heart’s desire for Type 3 muggles.

Type 4 muggles just want to be adored. They put all their effort into activities that lead to general approbation, popularity and perhaps even celebrity status. Whereas Type 3 muggles are naturally attracted to the world of work, especially business and the financial sector, Type 4 muggles gravitate to more visible arenas such as the arts, especially acting and the music industry. They may be creative and talented, but their art is inevitably compromised by an obsession with image and fame.

So what about the divas? Divas are “top dogs”. They are the ones who have made it. There are two muggle top dogs and two muppet top dogs. Since the first two types of muggle are unambitious, they don’t even attempt to climb up the slippery pole to Muggle Heaven. Neither do the first two types of muppet bother trying to get up the muppet pole. They are content to feel superior in their own eyes.

Type 1 divas are basically the rich and the super rich. Type 2 divas are A-list celebrities. These are the two muggle top dogs, the “rich and famous”. Type 3 divas are powerful politicians and leaders and Type 4 divas are influential cultural, spiritual and religious leaders. These are the two muppet top dogs types, the movers and shakers wielding “power and influence”.

Deep down, what do you really want out of life? Do you want to be rich and famous, powerful and influential? If so, this is the Wheel for you. You might even get to be a diva in this lifetime. Chances are you will take a few spins round the addict, victim and demon realms as well, but you may judge that a small price to pay. If you play your cards right, you’ll probably spend most of your time as a muggle or a muppet, and may even be remembered as a diva after you die.

Alternatively, you could settle for ordinary muggleness and muppetry and spend your days quietly and unobtrusively as Type 1 or Type 2 muggles or muppets with the odd unremarkable foray into the lower realms of addiction, victimhood and demonology. Of course you might get lucky, have greatness thrust upon you and end up a diva anyway, without all the sticky sweat and tears. So, what shall it be? Fame, fortune, power, influence or mediocrity? Or is there something else to aim for?

Well there’s always the Cross. Does this model have a specific aim? If we break it down into the three lines (one vertical and two horizontal), we can discern three aims, one for the Mystic Shaman, one for the Warrior Monk and one for the Philosopher King. Together, these constitute the threefold goal for those committed to spiritual rather than worldly ends.

To be holy, virtuous and wise: that’s the ultimate threefold aim of the Orthodox Cross.

The Mystic Shaman is oriented to the cultivation of holiness through the purification of mind and body. Holiness is here closely related to both wholeness and healing. The essential qualities of holiness are Peace and Love.

The Warrior Monk is oriented to the cultivation of the virtues, and the virtues are rooted in Goodness and Beauty.

The Philosopher King is oriented to the cultivation of wisdom, and the key to wisdom is dedication to Truth, Consciousness and Bliss.

So there is the fundamental choice at the heart of life. Don’t choose, and you will just turn endlessly on the Wheel, like a child’s paper windmill in the breeze. Do, and the choice is between two different worlds and two different lives: one dedicated to fame, fortune, power and influence and the other dedicated to holiness, virtue and wisdom.