As a kid, I was an avid reader of Mafalda , a comic strip written and drawn by Argentine cartoonist Quino. The strip features a 6-year-old girl named Mafalda, who is deeply concerned about humanity and world peace and rebels against the current state of the world. Growing up in the sixties in Latin-America, where the wild cultural winds of change blowing from Europe and America were barely touching the consciousness of most middle class families, I learned about the new emerging post-modern thoughts from those comic strips. Fully identified with the main character, Mafalda I knew every single one of her comic books by heart and drew her and all her friends, creating my own comic strips. Strangely, I had similar friends like she had – her overly feminine girlfriend, Susanita …. who was into gossiping and girly talks, her really wise and rebellious two friends Felipe and Miguelito who were dreamers and who were trying to make sense out of the rapidly changing world – and then there was Libertad, tiny but resolute in her wisdom and rebelliousness against the status quo. Her parents looked boring and square – and the future bleak. The house pet, a tortoise, was called Burocracia. Like Mafalda, I had discussions with my dad about our wasteful society and thinking up solutions, i.e. on how we will be able to deal with all the consumer waste (throw it into the Universe?)
Having entered on a spiritual journey very early in my life, I always knew somehow that I had to be the change I was looking for outside of me, and that there was not going to be any integrity, if I was not going to mature into an inspiring, strong human being. I never imagined though that ‘change’ is a fully embodied path to walk and demands all of your heart and soul, if you want to go all the way. And, I was not aware, how I had entered a deeply pluralistic and materialistic consciousness, that had trained me to not only be concerned about the state of the world, but mainly to be worried about ME, MY life, MY future, MY desires! It has taken me over 30 years to see how embedded we are in our cultural values….
A comment my teacher Andrew Cohen made in one of his recent teachings – that the aim of an evolutionary life is to fall in love with the kosmic story itself and to embody the evolutionary drive as ourselves, struck a deep cord in me. As he was explaining this newly emerging view, re-shaping through language and transmission the awe and wonder of the sacred, the utter positivity, the inherent respect towards life itself entered the room, leaving all of us slightly x-rayed in our mundane and self-limiting outlook on life, feeding the soul with truth, beauty and total goodness. At one point he stopped himself and said: You can also call this new emerging perspective ‘kosmic narcissism’ and laughed heartily at his own (kosmic) joke. Since then I love thinking about the meaning and implication of this newly coined term, and the contemplation itself often fills me with a deep joy and love, and a sense of obedience to that which is higher.
There are a few Mafalda drawings that have accompanied me throughout my whole life, and which always come to mind in the right moments – underpinning the point of a situation.
Strangely, this image of Mafalda lying on the beach thinking about herself, crossed my mind as Andrew was coining this new term ‘kosmic narcissism’, having us look at the dawn of a new postpost-modern perspective. Narcissus fell in love with his/her own image, and destroyed him/herself. To fall in love with the kosmic story, with consciousness itself is a whole other inner posture, and puts us on the exciting journey of an evolutionary who is striving to think beyond herself, beyond the cultural constrictions and inner void to that which is always better, truer, and more wholesome.
For a post-modern self to hear, that there is something bigger than themselves is an existential thread, is a affront to the blown up self that sees itself as the centre of the universe and that has equalised everything to lesser values than – itself. The corrosion of our cultural soul created by the continuous need to fulfil our personal, ever more sophisticated desires in order to enhance the myriad self-images is actually a very serious state of affairs. So when Mafalda was lying on the beach, thinking about herself in the beginning of the sixties – that as a good joke. Quino was picking up the mood of change with a slightly sarcastic outlook of what was to come. But as the ME culture has now exploded into almost unconscious proportions and where being a pluralistic non-believer is fully fashionable – the term ‘Kosmic Narcissism’ flies into the cultural nihilistic sphere, not only like a refreshing breeze but like a morally charged tornado.
How would Mafalda feel – 40 years later – looking at the impact that her own narcissism and selfishness had on culture? Would she still be basking in the sun and think about herself – even ‘deeply’ and possibly ‘even ‘philosophically’? I doubt it. She may be standing up, woken up by the Kosmic energy that created her, with a deep care in her soul, realising that she had to give everything she has back to life itself. All of her knowledge, experience, and contemplations about the state of the world – as limited and imperfect as they may be, to make this world a better place. And that she definitely had to find a way to go beyond the warped post-modern structures she was born into and create new ones, switch her outlook from ‘herself’ to ITSELF. She also may have to go and talk with her old friends, see what they are up to, and see if they also were ready to create a revolution in consciousness and culture.
Strangely, another image appears in my mind, that fits the sentiment I am talking about. Basta to the old, YES to the new Emergence!
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Renata Keller works since 15 as a Graphic Designer, Documentary filmmaker and Project Manager in London. Previously she lived in the States, Switzerland and Peru. She has been engaged in Evolutionary Enlightenment for over 25 years and works in various capacities at Enlightennext London and designs the German magazine 'EnlightenNext Impulse'. With an MA in Applied Imagination, she loves to explore the interface between creativity, evolution and strategic thinking. Currently she is working on a documentary to do with evolution and women.
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