An Ode to Mediocrity


Hi everyone,

Here’s an ode (actually a story, but you get the idea) to those around you who never fail to bring you down. Life just won’t be the same without them. Enjoy!

At the beginning of time, God created the heavens and the earth. And he begat into existence a Great Chain of Being, with higher levels containing more powerful, successful, and generally superior beings while those below them strove to ascend the ladder and climb up onto a better plane of existence. Rocks, soil and minerals were at the very bottom, while trees and other vegetation were barely above them with animals and other sentient life forms ruling over them. On the penultimate level, Man reigned supreme over all the beasts of the earth, while angels and other forms of spiritual beings which could basically do anything they wanted to everyone below them enjoyed a good life at the top.

Within the penultimate level, there were several tiers of humanity. At the bottom, there were the beggars and the criminals, while ordinary working people (which comprised most of humanity) eked out a miserable hand-to-mouth existence in the middle tier. And at the top, billionaires such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Elon Musk rubbed shoulders with spiritual giants such as Mother Theresa and Ghandi, while the greats of each craft and profession such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Einstein communed in harmony and created unsurpassed works never seen before under Heaven.

The people in the middle tier could see glimpses of what was happening on the top tier (just barely). They could see the good life that the people in the top tier were having. “We want some of this!” they cried, but most of them made no attempt to climb up, crying that it was too high and that they were bound to fail anyway, so why bother to try. But the superior quality of life at the top really resonated with some of them, and they made concerted efforts to climb to the top by themselves, building wooden ladders and human chains and generally trying to succeed where the builders of the Towel of Babel had failed (well, metaphorically speaking, but whatever).

Inevitably, some of them fell down, and they were jeered and mocked by their peers who had elected to wallow in their pits of mediocrity. “Ha look at these failures” they jeered. “See what happens when you try.” They started to climb up the ladders as well to pull down those who were trying to climb to the upper levels, and they succeeded in pulling down all except one.

This particular climber succeeded in reaching the top, kicking scores of mediocrities who were reaching up with their arms to drag him down. He dodged dozens of strafing attempts from their air force (fortunately the planes fell apart after about twelve strafing runs, thanks to their shoddy construction), and his armour protected him from the worst of the sniping and artillery fire from the ground, which again, was thankfully, was of poor accuracy due to mediocre training.

At long last the climber reached the top. Raising his fist in triumph, he looked up and prepared to join the exalted ranks of the rich and the successful, when all of a sudden he caught a glimpse of God conversing with the Buddha. “This cannot be,” God boomed. “My hierarchy must remain fixed”. “Yes”, the Buddha agreed. “His karma is not sufficient to merit ascendance into a higher form of life before his next rebirth”. Then God lifted his finger, and a bolt of lightning shot out of his middle finger, and it scorched the climber and flung him all the way down to the middle level, where everyone continued jeering and pointing at him to the end of his days.

And God looked down on his creation, and saw that all was well indeed.

The End.

P.S. In case you don’t know what this story is about, I’m trying out Blake’s recommendation to INFJs to employ a Fe solution to problems. Namely, like Hamlet, “creaing all this lovely poetry and drama over this basic inability to take direct action”. We’ll see how this goes.


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Awesome. Reminds me a lot of the kind of stuff that role around in my head in my 20s. Same feelings - “reach to the heights of glory - getting a quick glimpse, only to fall back down again to be scoffed at”. Year after year though - I’ve given less and less of a fuck. And the funny thing is, nobody knows. It’s as if the pressure to ascend to “perfection” is relaxed with a bittersweet acceptance of beautiful flesh-and-blood and shit, of course. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: hehe…