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Spirit Faces

                        Mark Macy

 

 

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Remaking the Noble Savage

 (excerpt from The Project: Part Two introduction)

The term “noble savage” was coined by English poet John Dryden in 1672 and used romantically to suggest that without the toxic effects of civilization, the unfettered human in his or her natural state would express a certain nobility. I use the term more dispassionately here, referring simply to the fact that we humans have two sides to our personality, thanks to evolution, and thanks also to the ancient cross-breeding between the superhuman Edenites and the primitive humans of Earth long, long ago. One part of us has been called our god-side, our spiritual side, our higher self, our divine self, or our good side. For now let’s call it our noble side. The other part has been called our animal side, our carnal self, our material side, our bad side, our ego, or our dark side. Let’s call it our savage side.

Our noble side sees the world as a beautiful but troubled place and compels us to be compassionate toward the less fortunate, to serve others and the world selflessly, to be genuinely concerned about those around us. Our savage side sees the world as a hostile place and compels us to do whatever we have to do to survive and flourish in it, such as taking what we need, protecting it ruthlessly, and defeating those who threaten us.

Stated in simplest terms, if we want to find peace and happiness in this life on Earth, the most effective way is by acknowledging the drama stirred up by our savage side and by making choices in our day-to-day lives that are inspired by and made in the best interests of our noble side. The time-proven religions have given humankind rich resources to help their members take the high moral road, including the Dharma Sutras of the Hindus, the Ten Commandments of Judeo-Christians, the Four Noble Truths of the Buddhists, and the Muslims’ Sharia. By adhering to such guidelines, or simply by understanding our savage side and putting it in its place, we humans can get in the habit of making good choices that raise our spiritual vibration. Through our day-to-day decisions we find that crucial balance between trust and wariness. In any case, taking the high road is easier once we know who we really are.