The above headline is our comment of the week courtesy of “Old School Tie.” This is the energy that should course through us every time we get dressed!
Let me tell you a little story. Two summers ago the small remains of my family vacationed together in Newport. I’d been there before, to attend the jazz festival with Charlie Davidson, and was shocked that I could rent a surfboard and spend an afternoon in the ocean. It had been some years since leaving LA, where I’d learned to surf, and I stumbled across the spot by accident. Caught the first wave I went for, and after a few hours it took every ounce of willpower to get myself home and dressed for the festival, as otherwise I would’ve stayed out until I could barely make it back to my room.
But this time it was late in the season and the surf rental spots were closed. It was a lovely day, and many guys had their boards out. I couldn’t find the right opportunity to ask someone to borrow his board, so I wondered off to a remote corner of the beach somewhat discouraged. The water seemed colder, and there didn’t seem any point to going in without a board to have some fun with. Then something bubbled up from my unconscious based on all the Jungian reading and Jordan Peterson videos I was watching at the time. I also happened to be dating a Greek girl. A summoning of cosmic challenge welled up in me and I felt a sudden energy coursing through me seeking release. I muttered something like, “OK, Poseidon, let’s see what you’ve got,” and dove in and began swimming as hard as I could, with no purpose other than to do the act of swimming and feel the oceans waves and currents about me. When I came out and came out of my god-inspired flow state, I felt like I had achieved or experienced something pregnant with meaning, when all I’d done was swim around a bit with none of the fun I’d experienced a few years before when I could surf.
The experience stuck in my head, and eventually I came to realize that I had successfully “invoked the gods,” and altered my state of mind from listless and unmotivated to coursing with primal energy that transformed a moment of boredom into an enlightening experience. When I got back to New York, I rushed to tell my fight instructor that I’d discovered why man invokes his gods. The old man didn’t get it at all, muttering something to the effect that “There are no gods, only us.”
A year or two passed, and with more study and more experiences, I came to see that what I’d done was not simply invoke the gods — or archetypal energy forces that lie, usually dormant, in the mind and body — but rather sought to imitate them. Here’s a quote from the great scholar of comparative religion, Mircea Eliade: “In imitating the exemplary acts of a god or of a mythic hero or simply by recounting their adventures, the man of an archaic society detaches himself from profane time and magically re-enters the Great Time, the sacred time.”
So invoke the gods of the Ivy heyday next time you get dressed, seek to imitate them, and someday in the future your Facebook selfies might be considered the avatars of a god. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Image from Norman Hilton