The Waste Land is the dry, infertile land. The world devoid of beauty and nourishment.
The Waste Land is not physical, geographical, it is not either psychological. Rather it is existential.
It is a hankering, chronic dis-ease and dissatisfaction. An untraceable lack, void, and wound in the soul of man.
Our current world has been called by some “flatland”. This is the inheritance of our post-modern world. We are in a culture which has no centre, which has no meaning. Children grow up into a world in chaos with little to no guidance as to how to discover and create a meaning and significance for their existence.
The loss of true religion and a mythos for modern man, and the monopoly of a hubristic science which destroys the imaginational have left humanity adrift and without a rudder on the vast sea of existence.
It has been nearly 100 years since T.S. Eliot identified the waste-land that is the zeitgeist of our times in his landmark poem. His poem is more a symptom of the disease then a solution. It is a feverish work, a product of the post-modern mind which is fractured and tortured by the chaos and over-complexity of the modern world. It only serves to mirror the madness of man – it does not help to shine a light to lead one out of the darkness.
The world mirrors your consciousness – If your heart is a desert, than so is your city.
You are one with the earth, and the earth is one with you.
If you are divided, unhealthy then you will manifest your state of consciousness outward. You will perceive through tinted, distorting glasses. You are the Fisher King in the Myth of the Holy Grail. You are the land. You have created this desert, you have become the waste land, and only you can heal it.
The wasteland is this world we have created – a world of materialism. A culture without true religion, lacking mythos, largely superficial, lacking in an appreciation of art, music etc., The world of economics, politics, and work.
The wasteland is the domain of the mind. The domain of the mind having become an evil tyrant which thinks it is the ultimate arbiter. The realm of dry intellectualism and dusty professors whose eyes are blinded by the searing sun.
It occurs when darkness covers the land and a Dark Lord, whose power comes from hate, fear, desire, and anger rules.
The wasteland is a people adrift – without meaning and significance in their lives. Filling up the void of the soul with distractions of gadgets, possessions, and entertainments.
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
– T.S. Elliot
The individual is lost and wandering in the waste land when he or she has gotten disconnected from their heart. When we are not living our inner desires of the heart, not living ones innermost being.
It is a land where god is dead. Where he has been crucified by the priests and slandered by science.
It is a world plagued by an ancient curse – the curse of self-forgetting. A nation put under the spell of illusion, a people hypnotized into a walking sleep.
It is a life lived in anxiety and frenetic activity, a life of constant doing and no being. A life of never-ending lust for achieving, accomplishing. A life of business and work. Life is a waste land when there is no rejoicing, no celebration, no creativity, no playfulness.
“What shall I do now? What shall I do?
I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street
With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow?
What shall we ever do?”
– T.S. Elliot
The wasteland is a blighted country with all living plants and creatures decaying and poisoned by ignorance and greed. The people always at war, at war with themselves and with the earth, raping her for their pleasure.
The wasteland is the scene when the answer is lost and the question forgotten….
But out if the waste is born a seed. As has happened before and will happen again. As happens infinitely in eternity. Out of weeping the rains are drawn, out of a crisis a growth occurs, and from a need a hero is born
A man may be living in paradise itself, but if his heart is dry he is lost in the wasteland.
And you ARE born into paradise…..
How does one heal the wasteland? How do we restore vitality, beauty, and significance to our world, to our consciousness?
In the Holy Grail myth the Grail questor must ask, “What ails you?” He must understand the nature of the problem before he can restore health to the Fisher King and so to the land.
And so must we, by questing, understand the total nature and significance of our wound which is our disconnection from our heart, our soul, and our inner vitality. We must be in total rebellion against all that is false and go on a passionate quest to discover that which is True and Real.
We must discover in oneself the waters of life.