We haven’t talked much about the Trickster archetype or George Hansen’s Trickster Theory here, which might be surprising to listeners of Paratopia and The Experience, as well as readers of I Am To Tell You This And I Am To Tell You it Is Fiction. We will explore what Trickster is down the line. For now, though, let’s have a little fun with it in terms of Scenery From A Life.
Before I had ever heard of the trickster thing, I kind of suspected I was one. I used to see myself as a giant lummox, physically. When I was in high school and college, people I’d meet often assumed I was a football player and, with that, a bit of a meathead. I loved that. Especially the reveal in conversation that, no, there is some depth to the boy. Hiding in expectations, only to jump out and yell, “Surprise!” was a birthday party every time.
Another oldie but goodie play on assumptions was keeping my sexuality in question. I was a good enough listener, and scared enough of admitting my attraction, that girls loved telling me all of their problems with their boyfriends, who were never me. Also, I loved Michael Jackson to the point of absurdity and watched pro wrestling way longer than any boy had a need to. To seal the deal, I mastered that over-the-top lisp queens became known for and hammed it up to the point where even friends weren’t sure if I was gay or straight. It wasn’t about hiding depth in the shallows, like the dumb jock assumption, it was more about, Who cares? This was back when people were hyper sensitive and prejudiced against gays. I never saw what the big deal was, but got a kick out of holding up a mirror and making people uncomfortable with something that ultimately was nobody’s business one way or another, and beyond that, really didn’t matter at all. Everybody lives for a handful of decades, if we’re lucky, and then dies. Why would same-gender attraction be on our bucket list of concerns?
The real Trickster joke is that for all of my conscious intent, my life became Trickster-like beyond my control. My mother was a state mental health abuse investigator, in various capacities, for most of her adult life, and my father a Protestant minister, and then later, hospice nurse. Even back in high school, as I was going through the motions of sorting out whether or not I was an “alien abductee,” I found it odd that my parents both, in their ways, worked in fields of psychology. Later in life, when the “spiritual” stuff unfolded and I had that Ultimate Consciousness experience, I wondered how it could possibly be coincidence that my dad was a minister and here I was having what many would call a religious experience.
And yet, if you were to talk to my dad, you’d realize he isn’t religious. If you talked to my mom, you’d realize she despised religion and was only in the mental health field for so long because it paid the bills. I grew up in a non-religious household where my mom cringed at the notion of church and my dad taught other people Jesus, but not us; with mental health professionals who were not bringing home any great love and appreciation for the psychological profession. On paper, my influences look so obvious that I could debunk myself. In reality? There was no there there beyond occupational titles.
Whether I like it or not, I am a living contradiction and a suspicious character. I’ve talked about all of the Asian (and I believe, specifically, Chinese) influences, motifs, and visions involved in the kundalini awakening. A few years before the awakening, my mom took up Tai Chi to the extent that she became a teacher. I had (and have) zero interest in Tai Chi, but judging by the bodily movements this energy was performing, it seemed to know a thing or two about Tai Chi. So, I carried mom’s Tai Chi sword into a bird sanctuary, one snowy winter’s day, let the energy loose, and had a friend tape it for my documentary, No One’s Watching: An Alien Abductee’s Story. At the film premiere in New York, a man approached me after the screening. He asked who I studied under because, he said, those moves were the real deal. Apparently, he didn’t get the whole point of it in the movie–I didn’t study anything. The energy moved the body, not conscious ego, Jeremy.
As with Tai Chi, I didn’t have any deep interest in Chinese culture at all before the outbreak of Asian paranormal shenanigans. Still don’t, to tell you the truth. And yet, my newlywed wife is Chinese-American. Coincidence? Yes. But should you believe that? How can you?
Perhaps when one lives in question one becomes a living question mark. And if I were preaching the things I speak, it would take a real leap of faith on your part to believe in me enough to see past all of this. If Our Undoing were a cult, that leap of faith would be your surrogate right of passage into the world of me. Thankfully, none of this is the case. My life is neither a string of warning signs nor an enticement to find the signal in the noise because I give no message that requires belief. I’m simply, redundantly, making a tiny point that goes nuclear inside the reader the moment one thoroughly understands.
And you, great scientist that you are, you keep looking. Not despite me. Not because of me. But because the truth of it tugs and intrigues and demands scrutiny. Killing or praising the messenger would be yet another in an infinite line of distractions. And distraction is the realm of the Trickster.
Because you cannot see nothing. And as long as one pays attention while resisting the thorough understanding of nothingness, one is seeking. When seeking, you must have something to find. That is the nature of duality. The nature of nothingness is being, not seeking. No duality to be found there, and no Trickster, either, for Trickster lives at the border of nothingness, which the two of you co-create to make a destination of nothing, which is always just out of reach, which you are nevertheless perpetually running to or from.
This abruptly concludes our story of time.