Application to the real world…Ancient proverbs and modern life.

March 13, 2013 6:56 pm
All that Glitters...

All that Glitters…

“All that glitters is not gold”

An old-fashioned proverb and well-known dimension in which we use to view things, people and, even places in the world, mostly to our unconscious awareness.

In fact, what truly got the cogs turning for me on this saying was a quote that I once read in a fantastic book called “An Apple A Day” by Caroline Taggart: a book explaining old-fashioned proverbs and what, or in some cases who, gave rise to them. This particular and wonderful quote that I would like to shed light on was in fact taken from a song called “Fly Away, Pretty Moth” by Thomas Haynes (I’m not entirely sure who he was, but he is truly a wonderful chap in my eyes):

“Be content with the moon and the stars, pretty moth, and make use of your wings while you may..
Many things in this world that look bright, pretty moth, only dazzle to lead us astray.”

How many of us have formed a blind, yet profuse, love for something that has in fact glittered but without being even remotely golden in truth? So much so that we are willing to look past the fact that it is dull and full of dimensions of awfulness. It is fascinating that as humans, we do an awful lot of telling to ourselves about what we want to hear and ultimately, comprehend. I’ve concluded to myself that it is a coping mechanism: by being ignorant to something by what we tell ourselves is our unconscious’ way of protecting our feelings because it is our feelings that inevitably determine our mood. I suppose this is kind of our unconscious – allowing us to go forth wrapped up in feelings of happiness, joviality and excitement – but perhaps slightly dangerous when the subject is something that should not be seen as desirable.

It may even be the result of a quick-fix of happiness or an escapism, maybe we haven’t felt that rush of excitement for a while, or have been in a bad place for a time. Of course we all want that thrill, to feel butterflies in the honeymoon period of a situation, to run with something because it makes us feel good and happy. And why shouldn’t we? In the innocent situations, this is wonderful, but we need to ask ourselves more, at which point do we stop and wonder if we’ve gone too far? Is the situation the same situation that we were in 2-3 weeks, or even a year ago? Have the dynamics changed and yet we still continue as though everything is exactly like it was when we started?

We can all conjure a time in which we have loved something, or someone, that we knew we shouldn’t. Or told ourselves something just to make ourselves feel good about it and free from torment. But how many times have we told ourselves that enough is enough? If you are anything like me then the answer will be, not enough. Maybe we are just guilty of using ignorance as a drug. The amount of times I have stopped and asked myself those questions, identified that there is enough evidence for something to come to an end, even if solely for my own peace-of-mind, but continued anyway. It all makes me think that it is just another element of our human nature, projecting us into these realms of fantasy. But should that be an excuse? Are we not stronger than a mere biologically-inbuilt programme wired into us at the beginning of time? Sadly, the answer for most of us is no, but ultimately everyone has the power to overcome any mindset, it’s a matter of defeatism.

Take men for instance. There is a man that I have liked recently that is so far from my type that it pains me to even add the time that I’ve spent with him to my life’s rich tapestry (all of the experiences, good and bad, that I have archived into what I call “The times and things that I’ll laugh about over a bottle of vino when I’m 30”). It is ludicrous to think that we are exposed to comments and behaviours that we regard, or even solidly know, as wrong and so far from our own yet we continue to like someone that possesses them anyway. It’s the same in cases of domestic violence and drug abusers, why do women stay with men, and vice versa, that beat them or turn them into fellow drug abusers? They must have people constantly reminding them that what they are doing is conventionally wrong yet they continue anyway. The amount of times that I have also sat and watched Jeremy Kyle and exclaimed to myself “Why are you with them?!” It all boils down to the subject in question: “All that glitters is not gold.”

You’re probably reading this now and thinking that I’ve gone off on a tangent into the realms of “love is blind” as opposed to staying on track and talking about “All that glitters …”, but interestingly you’re wrong. If you think about it, the two aren’t too far removed from each other. Love being metaphorically explained as “blind” is the same blindness that we use when looking at a piece of lead and seeing something glittery and golden.

My point is that what happens in this process is that our unconscious gets the better of us and we are subjected to unwanted blindness. We need to stop viewing lead as gold that glitters and wake up and smell the coffee, in the hope that by smelling it we realise that what we are doing is in fact stupid, unhealthy, making us unhappy or just plain wrong. We need to, as my mother says “put it in a box and put the lid on it!” There really is so much unnecessary upset and pain that we put ourselves through, that we ourselves know better than to be doing and that’s without the constant reminders over a glass of wine or cup of tea with our friends and family.

In conclusion, I would say that Mr Haynes summed it up wonderfully in his quote. We should be content with whatever our situation is whilst it glitters. It’s OK to make use of something whilst we are enjoying it, but we need to also make use of regular progress meetings with ourselves in order to not be foolishly lead astray. If we exchange something that we enter being unsure of purely for enjoyment – even though in hindsight it wasn’t a truly fabulous idea – then hoorah! That’s absolutely fine. Just as long as we don’t end up in a situation whereby we open our eyes and realise that we are in a darkened room, dancing alone to no music at a party that finished hours before we had any idea what was going on.

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