Truth shows up in the most unlikely places. I recently stumbled upon one of the most profound bits of truth printed on the tag of my tea bag:
“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.”
The writer was Horace Walpole. I’d never heard of this English nobleman; but he instantly felt like kin because, like the Loud Mouth, he subscribed to his predecessor William Shakespeare‘s theory that “all the world’s a stage.” What intrigued me, however, was that Walpole seemed to be declaring that life is actually more fun for those who think–and more tragic for those who respond to life’s dramas emotionally.
Let’s think about that: What if you were born in the kingdom of a monarch whom no one had actually ever seen? He lived on a mountain that no one had ever visited and returned to tell firsthand stories, but you had it on good authority from well-respected leaders in the community that the king could be violently angry and vindictive. They said that he sometimes used excessive force to punish disobedience, but most of the time he simply ignored it. There was no predictability to his actions.
You never understood, and never questioned why the king behaved this way. You weren’t sure what would happen if you asked why he commanded his subjects to be forgiving and nonviolent, since he didn’t value or emulate this behavior. And why did he demand love, worship, and money?
Can you really love this volatile hypocrite? Could you truly entrust your life to him–or would you continue to live in fear, stress out, like everyone else around you?
Have you noticed that fearful people are typically reactionary and rarely rational? Take the leaders in this kingdom, for instance: To save themselves and others from a horrible and painful fate, they might create rules, regulations, restrictions, rituals, readings and regimens designed to appease the tyrannical king. Their aim was to control behaviors in the kingdom so that they could control outcomes from the king, especially since good people got hurt when he summoned the forces of nature against the entire kingdom.
Fearful people are more likely to create stories or dramas that support their fears and rally support from others. After all, who wants to be in a frightening situation alone? Since the beginning of recorded time, the most effective tool used to control human behaviors and outcomes is…Fear. It launches a never-ending cycle of drama of the most tragic kind.
Is the ruler of your kingdom a vindictive hypocritical tyrant? How can your life become less tragic?