“Wild dreams torment me as I lie. And though a god lives in my heart, though all my power waken at his word, though he can move my every inmost part – yet nothing in the outer world is stirred. thus by existence tortured and oppressed I crave for death, I long for rest.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, Part One
Dr. Faust has attained untold knowledge from his intense studies into the mysteries of existence. He has been lauded my the masses for his efforts in saving so many lives from the ravages of the plague that had recently scourged his city. He has been given all the honor, status, respect and adulation a man could possibly garner.
Still this profits him nothing, not only because of the banal fact that money, worldly success and fame do not bring the soul one a stitch of true joy, but because even though that sentiment is incessantly preached by the masses, the world is still mesmerized by the lie of its’ magic, and with blinded eyes goes about striving for the very thing it professes not to yearn for.
While walking the streets of his city, many come and thank him and openly praise his efforts. His assistant Wagner, who he has little respect for retorts, “it must be so nice to receive such adulation for you work”. Faust nonplussed replies, “I probably killed more with my treatments than I saved”.
Possessing all the worlds knowledge and still lacking satisfaction and meaning, Faust turns to the occult for his salvation. The lesson here is not in his error in turning towards the darkness as so many suppose, but by his reliance upon knowledge of the material and the accumulation of it one is not freed, no matter how many lives they save, or poor they may clothe.
His willful strivings have brought him to despair as the one thing that eludes him is the very thing he’s still striving for. He has not internalized the lesson that has always been with him, but like so many, still so frustratingly invisible.
Though we’ve heard the platitudes of the sages of past and present, we only truly believe in what we can see, touch, count, measure and define. We place the value of our lives and those we love onto the seemingly real sensory apparatus of our reconfiguring representational minds. We are reasonable, logical, rational and intelligent after all, and that is the path to well-being….eventually!
For those whose perspective is like Wagner’s above, which is the majority, to be adored seems a worthy goal, but they not having the experience or perspective of Faust, are in for a big disappointment if they too should achieve the dream that inspires their strivings. Even if their aim is adorned with charity and what they would consider to be worthy of a “good person”, theIr motivation and blind intention is exactly the same.
Oh the subtly of the ego and its multitudes of coconspirators, it is the source of all human suffering and the pain of its stings our only salvation!