Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë | The Human Predicament

The main reason that classics are classics is because they delve deep into the human soul. They expose the human predicament.

I had postponed reading Wuthering Heights because I considered it a gloomy, dark tale. It is! The only sane characters in the book are the narrators. But as a superb classic (it has plot and prose that makes the book hard to put down, and even love after death) it shows  the scourge of humanity at work, a psychotic egomania controls most of the characters. 

Let me tell you, as far as vengeance is concerned, Heathcliff can make The Count of Monte Cristo look like a toddler. And Catherine is such a selfish, spoiled bitch that she betrays Heathcliff to keep her status, but intends to keep both men. Ah! the right recipe for tragedy, the ego at work; there is not a single character (except for Nelly, the main narrator and Earnshaw, who adopts Heathcliff) who has anybody but themselves in mind. To defend the book you can say that the characters are strong―such heights of passion in them . . . and such is life, isn’t it? Precisely, such is the predicament of humankind: as long as the ego holds the baton such is life, our dream becomes a nightmare. 

And the collective ego impels the human race to follow its dictums, its program—the matrix. Once that program is implemented it is quite easy for a few to control the rest as long as they know how the program works. When we lose our virtue we are easy prey for vipers. Be aware!

Unexpectedly, the book has a happy ending, for Catherine’s daughter (Cathy), and Hareton (who had been wronged and diminished by Heathcliff) excel to restore sanity to Wuthering Heights.

Stalking Castaneda | Excerpt | Castaneda’s Legacy

. . . and in case you don’t know Castaneda, I’ll tell you a little about his work as I go along, for it was a great help in my search for the eye of the dragon. I will also be comparing it with other works that have also been helpful. I won’t delve into any of these works; that is unnecessary. I will just say that their main and recurring theme is our destructive egomania, and I’ll let my own experience illustrate. It behooves you to do your own research and confirm the damaging effects of the ego, for being the bane of humankind its study is worthy of our consideration. Consider this:

     In an article I once came across in a monthly magazine, I read about a six-year-old boy who died after breaking his neck under an extremely heavy load, too heavy for the child to carry. The article also said that he had been a slave all his life. The author knew this because archeologists are trained to read bones. And the child’s bones, together with other bones (a mass grave for slaves) had been found while excavating somewhere in New York City (of all places) to lay the foundation for a new building. His bones not only told this archeologist how he had died but also how he had lived. They told him that he had been overworked all his life, that he had been malnourished, that he probably never had a loving arm around him. His bones told him that that heavy load killed him at the tender age of six years old.

    Should I ever feel sorry for myself? But actually, a more pertinent question would be, should I ever be sorry for that little boy? For just like that little boy I am going to die, and although longer, my life might well end up being much more miserable than his was. For only by reducing my self-importance to the lowest can I claim to be different from his captors and murderers; there is such a thing as a collective responsibility, a social contract. We all endorse a social contract that thrives in egomania, an egomania that causes the suffering of humanity.

Carlos Castaneda is dead now, but his controversial legacy remains.

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