We live hierarchical lives where we respond to roles on levels in order to establish and maintain our human aesthetic. That aesthetic — that moral, cultural and intellectual view of the world — is threatened if we try to change our lives in a way that was never intended. That lack of attention to the self and its precepts leads to a downfall. Historically, our favorite way to perceive the world is in three tiers, and — with a nod to Shakespeare and Dr. Freud’s incredible The Theme of the Three Caskets essay — we will name those tiers from top-to-bottom Gold, Lead and Silver.

The Gold Tier — is above us and it holds the Heavens and The Gods and, for some, God: The Singular.

The Lead Tier — is where we live our lives. We are not perceived to have any value at all but we have more intrinsic worth than each level above and below us but few of us realize that treasure.

The Silver Tier — is the lowest level of danger and disgrace. It is inhabited by devils and fire and tarry pits and smoke and wasps and other underworld degenerates. The idea of Falling — metaphorically, physically and literally — has always been a fascination and a fear for humankind. Falling is never good.

One you Fall you rarely resume your place of higher honor and the most dramatic Falls in human history are those from one tier to another: A God trips over arrogance and Falls from the Golden Heavens; a human being Falls from the common grace of Lead and into the depths of Silver; those who land in Silver stay enshrined there forever. How are we to interpret common phrases like “Fallen Beauty” to describe an older woman who lost her youthful looks? Is there a male equivalent?

Or are only women doomed to Fall into the liquid Silver level of ungraceful ageing as their hair and skin turn glimmering and precious but never Leaden? Even the phrase “He/she fell for her/him” suggests a gender inequity that is forever at war between dominant tiers.

“Fallen Angels” also hedges a level of importance beyond us and when the ethereal and the eternal Fall, they Fall past us to land beneath us. Fallen Angels prey on those with Lead and to be enticed to exchange the shiny for the dull is a temptation too few of us recognize and then deny in the pursuit of rescuing the Fallen.

Bending into Silver only leads to a Fall of our own. Is one able to retain their grace one they Fall away from its innate protections? Isn’t the fear of the loss of grace the very engine that churns to warn those who tempt to leave their level for a higher one? Isn’t the risk of Falling a mandate to recall unrealistic dreams that threaten life and limb and social status? One you Fall, you are The Fallen. You are The Forever Felled.

While it may be possible to dream and even attempt a tier higher than your own, the final result is always one ending in tragedy and death as you lose your original tier for the one far beneath you. To Fall is to Fail. To Fall is to be unsophisticated, soppish and, above all reason, unbeautiful.

The lesson in Falling is if you try to grasp what was never intended to belong to you the consequences of return are a loss of aesthetic and an irrevocable remittance of your human dignity. Enjoy where you are, understand the value of Lead, and appreciate what you have become because to risk Falling is to mock a human curiosity that must never be forged beyond your present eternal tier.

20 Comments

  1. Freud, Shakespeare, Gods and Falling from Grace. And all on a Sunday. That’s a lot of chewing, David. Has anyone ever recovered from such a fall? Anyone ever fallen upward?

  2. Hi Anne!
    Hey, I want to fill you up on a Sunday!
    😀
    Well, Oedipus Fell. I don’t think he recovered, though. Antigone Fell and died because she did not believe in the power of her won argument.
    Some feel Medea Fell upward.
    Are there any more current examples of Falling and recovery?

  3. Oedipus fell but got back his grace even though he wasn’t king. Antigone is an interesting take. Most see her as a heroine.
    You’ll have to explain Medea to me. That I don’t get.
    O.J. fell. Jimmy Swaggart fell. Didn’t get back up.
    Nixon fell. Tried to get back up but didn’t make it.

  4. Hey Anne —
    Oedipus fell but stayed in silver. I don’t think he retained his grace because he did not believe the truth of his own lies.
    Antigone is a coward. Her suicide leads to deaths everywhere around her. If not for her naked hand against herself everyone would live.
    Medea, some feel, enraged by betrayal and jealousy, successfully fought back against her sexist husband — and won by killing their children and then escaping without a touch of guilt or repercussion. She was down, trodden upon, played a man’s game of brutality on the battlefield and “Fell Up” a level in the process.
    Your current celebrities and their Falls are quite good!

  5. Now you’ve given me even more to chew on. I’ll have to think about Medea a little more.
    I think the most interesting people to watch fall are those who fell but don’t know it yet. Is knowing they fell important to their loss of grace?

  6. Oh, there are a lot of current politicians who are singing in their silvery betrayal and I don’t think they will ever be self-aware enough to realize their loss of Lead.
    Their misconception that their grace is intact is tragic to watch and they become deep lessons for the rest of us who see them sinking in Silver while they believe they are swimming in Lead.

  7. Hmmm, I don’t have any examples of people who fell so to speak, but this I do believe. Yes, people fall from grace, but sometimes, people have to fall in order to fight back and prove their worth. A worthy person is the one who falls but gets back up and fights back.
    My belief is that people who fall and don’t get back up, come back to Earth in another lifetime to fulfill their destiny. They can’t ascend to a higher Spiritual Level if they don’t follow and complete the path of their lives.
    People talk about Heaven and Hell. I don’t believe in a Heaven in the sky so to speak. I believe that the Spiritual Realm is above us, below us, around us, and indeed within us. Same as I don’t believe that God was a person, divine or otherwise. God is love and light and every wonderful thing around us, from the lowest valley, to the highest mountain. The Sun, Moon and the Stars.
    As for Hell. People say it’s in the Bowels of the earth. I say no, I say that Hell is Life on earth, and that when our bodies give up the fight, our souls leave the body and go “home.”
    I know I veered off track somewhat, but that’s just my beliefs lol.

  8. Hi Dawn!
    Wow! You have some big thoughts for us today, too. Let me see if I can knife through them…
    When people fall from grace and fall to a lower level, do you believe they are able to regain their previous level or do they just right themselves by standing on the level in which they fell?
    Your idea of fulfilling a lifetime in another destiny is very interesting and I’m planning on addressing that issue in tomorrow’s post about traumatic brain injuries.
    I’m with you on your concept of Heaven and Hell! Very interesting stuff, Dawn! Some people like to use the word “God” while I prefer to use the word, “Energy of the World.”
    If you don’t believe in Heaven then you don’t believe in Hell. I concur Hell can be found all around us and more in specific people than in nondescript demons.

  9. Is the silver tier so dangerous to humanity living in the lead tier because it is often very attractive, despite it being bad for us?
    Ask most people who have fallen from grace and they will often say that they were trying to break free from their lead lives when they fell to the silver level. It was attraction of the glittery silver tier that acted as a magnet.

  10. Hi Chris!
    Silver is dangerous to those who dare to reach and then Fall because they risk Gold thinking if they Fall they will either land back on Lead or go to Silver — which can’t be all bad and must be is better than Lead — but that’s where they fail to understand the false preciousness of metals.
    Why is Gold more valuable than Silver? Because some people think it is so. Why is Lead not the most valuable metal? Lead is unvaluable because people fail to see the intrinsic value in the dull and the ordinary.
    Metals are precocious and the glitter of gold and silver is all about flash and not about substance.
    Lead is the smart choice because you must argue and look beneath the surface to find its real value.

  11. Ambition, when unrealistic, often cause a Fall. Most of the time one doesn’t even realize the he/ she is being unrealistic until and unless they fall. Coming back is acceptance of one’s weakness; failure to accept one’s weakness makes people stay in the silver tier – I believe. Moreover, we need to realize “all that glitters…”
    Aging, I think, is not ungraceful as long as is not labeled that way. Youth is momentary. Age has its own charm and grace; one needs the ‘eye’ to see it.
    Complaining about routine monotonous life is easy, we never feel grateful enough to have that ability of feeling bored.
    What if the Earth feels “bored” one fine morning and stops rotating?

  12. Honestly, when people fall from grace, I believe that with the right amount of passion and drive, they can ascend to a higher tier than they were in before.
    Let me see if I can give you an example. Here in Canada we have a chain of Coffee Stores called Second Cup. This whole company was started out by a man who was originally homeless. He’s now a millionaire. He managed to turn his whole life around. He had the passion and the drive and a belief that there was something better out there for him. This man, let me tell you, is going straight to a higher Spiritual Realm!!
    On the other hand though, I read a story of a man back in Toronto. He had it all, a wife and kids, a great job, a great car, a beautiful home and the works. His home burnt to the ground one night whilst they were out of town. His family and himself were all safe, nobody was hurt or anything, but from that moment on, he has been unable to sleep in a house. He is homeless. He tried getting himself some social assistance, and they got a home for him, but he cannot sleep there. He is TERRIFIED of sleeping and having the home burn down with him in it. He has lost everything, his wife, and his job, the home he had, the car he had, his kids, and is now battling with a drink problem. I believe this man is coming back to Earth in another lifetime to fulfill his life path, chosen before he came to Earth by himself and his Spirit Guides.
    Just two opposite examples to try and prove what I mean. Sorry if it’s not totally clear lol, it’s been a long day and I actually fell asleep. I haven’t been awake too long. I very much look forward to tomorrow’s post. I can’t WAIT to hear your ideas 😀

  13. Hi Dawn!
    My first instinct is to enjoy your argument and then say, “But history and mythology are against you!”
    I certainly take your position to heart and I understand the how and why of your conclusions — I’m just not sure if we agree how we get there.
    😀
    I would say your successful coffee guy stayed content on his realm of Lead and found success there. He lived the right life. He did not try to live a life of the Gods in the Golden Tier and for that he was appropriately awarded.
    Your other example isn’t necessarily a falling into the Silver in the way I tried to form my argument — he remains on Lead but doesn’t contribute as much to the living as your coffee guy. If he had tried to leap to Gold and then fell into Silver from Lead, I’d be with you on your analogy. The house guy stumbled, but did not Fall in the context of my original argument.