I’m in the process of re-purposing SplendorQuest.com to make it more about the quest for Splendor, and that lizard seems like an excellent place to start.
The photo was taken by my friend Cheryl Johnson, blogmother to thousands and champion of everything in Los Angeles that Hollywood forgot. The lizard is himself an Angeleno, as you can tell by how thoroughly he worships the sun.
Here’s what is interesting to me about lizards and birds and lions and bears and cats and dogs and the tiniest of bugs: They are all perfect just the way they are, and they betray no doubts about their own perfection. Of course, they can’t entertain any doubts at all, but it is nevertheless so that neither a lion or a lizard ever feels less than perfectly competent to be what it is. There is a natural, unstressed arrogance to the behavior of every type of animal that is simply gorgeous to behold, an acceptance of reality and a validation of the natural order.
As with all of the animal kingdom, we are the only exception to this ubiquitous arrogance. Uniquely among creatures, we can understand what we and they are doing, and yet we alone can pretend to an affected humility and to a contrived hatred for arrogance that is, ultimately, a complete betrayal of our nature as organisms. Every animal stalks the world like satisfied lion, but human beings insist that a healthy acceptance of reality and of one’s own competence to master that reality is unseemly, to be criticized in others and to be shunned in oneself. Instead, we insist that a faked humility is the badge of virtue.
This is revolting to me. This is the stuff of self-destruction, of self-abnegation, of self-annihilation. This is the means by which you surrender your one, unique, irreplaceable life to the mob, a mob that seeks nothing other than that surrender and will hound you until you make yourself one with it by remaking your self as nothing. No mere animal would ever commit or submit to that kind of savagery…
I made the video appended below in June of 2012. When I posted it at SelfAdoration.com, I cited a much older post of mine from BloodhoundBlog.com: The regal, indomitable arrogance of a healthy, normal Bloodhound. Here’s a short clip from that post on the subject of animal arrogance:
I am steadfastly, philosophically opposed to the idea of humility. I think it is one of many evil ideas foisted off on us by malefactors who love us best at our absolute worst. To say to me, “You’re arrogant,” or, “you have a big ego,” is no reproach. On the one hand, it is a statement of obvious fact. But on the other, it puts me on my guard against you. A healthy, normal human being moves and acts and thinks and speaks with the lanky arrogance of a healthy, normal Bloodhound. When people don’t behave that way, I want to know why. When they affect to preach against healthy, normal human behavior, I go on defense — and not by half-measures.
This is a short video for me, only about 15 minutes, but I think it makes a very profound point. If you have habituated an affected humility, why? Why would you insist to the world by your behavior that you have less right to be alive, and less competence to stay alive, than the Los Angeleno lizard pictured above? How is your self-effacing behavior an honest reflection of reality? How is it beneficial to achieving your values? How is it just?
My arrogance is unbounded, as you will see as I take on an issue of philosophy that no one else dares to question. You have every right to be who you are, and you have every right to be proud of who you are. You can always to better — and this weblog is devoted to doing better — but you and that lizard are both gorgeous and perfect just the way you are. He expresses that perfection in everything he does. So should you.
My world is rich in content. You can see more of my videos by perusing the Videocast category at SelfAdoration.com or by visiting the SelfAdoration YouTube page. Audio-only versions of some of my videos are available from the SelfAdoration.com podcast on iTunes.