I’ve always been confused by certain details within the whole Humpty Dumpty narrative.
Firstly, why would the sum total of all the Royal Horseguards of the day be that interested in reassembling this, by all accounts, very self-centred anthropomorphic egg. I mean, a pretty poor use of resources I would have thought, leaving the whole kingdom exposed to all manner of dastardly terrorist attacks.
And secondly the horses? WTF? Much as I love these strong sensitive beautiful animals, I would not be asking them to help me with my Lego castle. And although they may be able to locate that critical 2052nd jigsaw piece, the act of slotting it in could prove disastrous and hazardous in the extreme. Weeks of meticulous work would be placed at great risk.
And even the most patient Buddhist monk, the epitome of human humility and compassion, schooled in the philosophy of life’s impermanence, would struggle to allow Trigger to assist him as he created his mandala one grain of sand at a time.
An internet search for the origins of the HD story only adds to the confusion. Wikipedia refers to him as an anthropomorphic egg ( yes I stole the phrase), whereas physicists get excited as his traumatic demise is clearly a perfect example of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Complexity, entropy and all that.
Leading history scholars cannot even begin to agree. He was either a caricature of the hunchbacked Richard the Third, a 19th century drunk intoxicated with brandy and ale, or a 17th century cannon or possibly even a tortoise shaped siege engine. In other words, they haven’t the slightest clue.
Lewis Carroll depicted him an obstreperous know-it-all, a master of Machiavellian word manipulation. In his Through the Looking Glass, Humpty dominates the inquisitive Alice causing her considerable frustration and confusion:
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
So why, I hear you ask, my sudden obsessional interest in this finicky fictional crack pot?
Well, the reason goes something like this. And (woo-woo alert) it’s all a bit metaphysical and metaphorical.
Yogis – no not those cartoon mammals primarily interested in picnic baskets – tell us that yoga is is not simply the practice of tying oneself in a knot on Tuesday evenings, but more accurately the life-long quest to blend our divine soul with our earth-bound personality. Our yoga is that which connects us to our yoke – the colourful and yummy soft-centre of our soul.
Our shell on the other hand is our ego – our armour-plated exterior we present to the world that protects our vulnerable but beautiful yoke. As we grow in this life, our yoke becomes stronger, our creativity flourishes, and our freedom and authenticity emerges like the butterfly from the chrysalis. Well, that’s the plan anyway.
We then no longer need the armour – although it is really handy to keep in the cupboard for emergencies. And this is because there are many who still hide and battle behind their shells – and we need protection from the jibes from their lances. These bad-eggs are sadly yet to discover their own souls – and seek gratification in hard materialism, only to discover that this is but a fruitless search for an unholy grail.
However those on the first step of the true journey to freedom will become aware of their shells beginning to crack. They will often cry, feel lost and vulnerable, but soon they will begin to sing again. Promise.
Many present to me as ‘patients.’ Patient because they have to be. ‘Patients’ because they have taught me patience
But the few really bad-eggs out there will never come. They have shells so thick that the yoke has all but dried up inside, never to see the light of day.
They prefer to sit all day on high, within their crack-proof shells taking potshots at the butterflies – unable to conceal their jealousy as they float, flutter and dance so gracefully above their heads.
But when these narcissistic oafs do wobble and fall, as fall they will from their precariously narrow and uncomfortable walls, they will smash with such force and into so many pieces, that all the King’s horses, and all the King’s men, and all the King’s panel-beaters, physicians, chiropractors and homeopaths will not be able to but them back together again.
And then, only then, can we remove that old armour-shell from the rack in our wardrobe (hidden behind that old suit we pretend will fit again some day), and dispose of it for good.
Thankfully for our planet, it is completely bio-degradable.