I do occasional work for a local farm owner and businessman. I allow him to draw on my time when his full-time employees are spread too thin, being overasked and overtasked, which is fairly often. It is pretty demanding work because he’s a pretty demanding fellow, actually. He operates a farm, a seed plant, a grain elevator, and a rock quarry, all of which are in varying states of dilapidation or functioning only on the edge of chaos.
He is a fascinating character, although erratic and, by his own admission, quite “rash”. He thinks of himself as being an exceptional individual and an individualist, but in fact he is extraordinarily typical. Because he is erratic, rash and impetuous, he is also highly controlled and controlling. That seems like a contradiction, and it is. He’s my bellweather for what ails society, which is why I appreciate him so much. He’s the perfect representative of late modern society’s self-contradictions. He’s also extraordinarily narcissistic.
This man over-identifies with his possessions and assets to a rather extreme degree, so much so in fact that they have become an essential part of his self-image and very identity. Consequently, he hoards everything. He is also a workaholic. He cannot be done with anything or let anything go.
Some people might call that “anal retentive”, resorting to a Freudian idiom. I call it his “dreaming”. Everything has become an extension of himself, a precise and exact externalisation of his inner condition and a projection of it. About this, he is oblivious. But his employees and I are, in effect, involved in his dreaming. His world, as such, is a mirror, and it is pretty much restricted to the environment framed by his assets which are himself. Another term for this “dreaming” might be “narcissistic projection”.
Ironically, as he ages this man has developed a neurological condition diagnosed as “Parkinsonism”. He has lost motor control, which is a tragic thing for a fellow whose ego nature is to be very controlled and controlling. One astute employee even referred to this loss of motor control as a kind of “revenge effect” — the form of his body’s revolt against his domineering egoism and denialism. By this “denialism”, I mean his habitual life-long suppression and repression of the spontaneous and vigorous energies of the body, which are now asserting themselves pathologically as involuntary acts.
He knows no world apart from his business assets and interests, and no life apart from working, which for him is mere busy-ness, even if it is clearly unproductive activity. That often leads to great frustration on the part of his employees who often see no point in what they are required to do. They don’t entirely realise that they are caught up in this man’s dreaming — and are intercessionaries in this man’s narcissistic projection and entangled in it.
As this man’s condition deteriorates, so do his assets and his operations. They are mutually entangled. Consequently, he perceives the need for more hands putting in more hours just to keep things together and detain them from flying apart completely. If you know The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, you may understand here what I am referring to as his “dreaming”, or narcissistic projection. The parallel is rather remarkably close.
And I mean this quite literally — the entirety of this man’s life-horizon, his universe, is an externalisation of his internal state. There is no real separation between the “in here” and the “out there”. This is also “value realisation” as I discussed in the last post. When I move through and act within his environment, I am moving through his dreaming, and I also am an intercessionary in his dreaming.
“You create the reality you know”, both individually and collectively, and it’s often easier to perceive this in the case of others than in our own case. I allow him to impose his dreaming upon me when I enter into his life-horizon because he’s a fascinating study of the very principle of value realisation as reality creation, even if it is aberrant.
William Blake saw this clearly. Every man and woman — every sentient being, in fact — carries their universe around with them. In effect, “you are the world” as Krishnamurti states, and you are implicitly what you perceive. That’s the deeper sense in which value realisation and reality creation are one and the same process. That’s what is called “magic”.
And I have to thank my lucky stars to have had the chance to see this in action as I have in the case of my friend the businessman.