Even Sidney Poitier Made Mistakes*
It’s a tricky thing, reviewing our lives. If we’re brutally honest with ourselves, it can be devastating.
A dissertation on the nature of man, for your edification.
You realize that a tiger, following its nature, is not evil. Looking at your own species you are often less kindly, less compassionate, less understanding. It is easy to condemn your own kind. It may be difficult for you to understand, but your species means well.
You understand that the tiger exists in a certain environment, and reacts according to his nature. So does man. Even his atrocities are committed in a distorted attempt to reach what he considers good goals. He fails often to achieve the goals, or even to understand how his very methods prevent their attainment. He is indeed as blessed as the animals, however, and his failures are the results of his lack of understanding.
He is directly faced with a far more complex conscious world than the other animals are, dealing particularly with symbols and ideas that are then projected outward into reality, where they are to be tested. If they could be tested mentally in your context, there would be no need for physical human existence. Too many complicated issues are connected here, so that I must at best simplify.
It is as if man said: “Now what about this idea? What can we do with it? What will happen if we toss it out into reality, physically? How far can we go with any of the great social, scientific, religious ideas that are so peculiarly the offshoots of man’s mind?” If such issues could all be mentally worked out on some nonphysical drawing board, again, the great challenge of physical existence would be neither necessary nor meaningful.
How far, say, can nationalism be carried? To what extent can the world be treated as if it were external to man, as an object? What can man learn by treating the body as if it were a machine? As if it were a mirage? As if it were driven by blind instinct? As if it were possessed by a soul?
To some extent, these are all unique and creative ponderings that on the part of the animals alone would be considered the most curious and enlightening intellectual achievements. The animals must relate to the earth, and so must man. As the animal must play, mate, hunt his prey or eat his berries within the physical context of sun, ground, trees, snow, hail and wind, so in a different way man must pursue his ideas by clothing them in the elemental realities of earth, by perceiving them as events.The Nature of The Psyche: Session 799 (quoted on Facebook this morning)
*Sidney Poitier attempted to leave his first wife, to set up an apartment with Diahann Carroll in 1965, but backed out when his wife changed her mind about their divorce. In the end, the divorce happened anyway. He went on to meet and marry Joanna Shimkus instead.
In 1959, Carroll began a nine-year affair with the married actor Sidney Poitier. In her autobiography, Carroll said Poitier persuaded her to divorce her husband and said he would leave his wife to be with her. While she proceeded with her divorce, Poitier did not keep his part of the bargain. Eventually he divorced his wife. According to Poitier, their relationship ended because he wanted to live with Carroll for six months without her daughter present so he would not be “jumping from one marriage straight into another.” She refused.Wikipedia
My life has been a series of discoveries. In some ways, I was never allowed to ‘succeed’ in the world in order for me to keep searching for the reasons thereof. It hasn’t been until my retirement years that I have been able to look back with any amount of clarity, and yet, I still feel like I might have been batting for the ‘other’ side. That was obvious when I contemplated suicide in late 1995. I distinctly got the impression that someone said, “Now you’re on our side.” But what exactly did that mean?
It was Blake’s quote about Milton that I included in one of yesterday’s posts that made me go, ‘Hmm.’
We all like to think that we’re one of the good guys. But who are we kidding? Egotism prevents us from seeing the truth: we are at least split 50-50 along the demarcation line between good and evil. Nobody is all good, and nobody is all bad, even when the news media try to castigate some of them that way.