We are witnessing unfold in Egypt an expression of the inner reality of the human being in our time. No longer does the human being of today wish to subjugate themselves to the rulership of another. No longer do we seek for Pharaohs, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers etc. who stand in for our own highest potential. No – today, we ourselves are the kings and queens we are looking for – the new Pharaohs of Egypt and the world.
What we are watching every day unfold in Cairo’s Tahrir Square – Freedom / Liberation Square – is the human being of today battling for their own humanity. In striving for freedom, these individuals are striving to throw off all of the old chains of the past – all of that which in reality belongs to earlier times.
The Pharaoh of old was considered an incarnate divine being – a God in human form. From out of his mouth flowed the whole cultural and spiritual impulse for the greater society. The Pharaoh stood as the highest potential for the whole of society – people looked to him in order to understand their own becoming, their own development.
In a way, this was appropriate for the civilization of Egypt and the world at that time. One felt one’s-self as part of a community. The sense of community ran through the veins and arteries of people of that time like blood. The community was one organism with a shared blood flowing through it. One could say that the Pharaoh was the ‘head’ of such an organism, such a community.
Since that time, the reality of the situation has changed, however. After the fall of the Egyptian civilization into decadence – as all civilizations eventually do – the individual human being began more and more to stand on their own two feet – and to think with their own ‘head.’ In time, the human being gradually began to grow more into an individuality – a community of one.
The social forms did not necessarily follow this reality, however. From the Caesars of Rome to the Pope of the Catholic Church; from the kings and queens of monarchies to the presidents and prime-ministers of nation states – in all of the social forms these rulers expressed we see something of an out-of-time Pharaoh-ism. The social structure does not take into account the reality that the human being no longer needs another ‘head’ to think for them – we are quite capable of doing it ourselves.
What we are seeing all around the world at present, and especially in Egypt in recent weeks, is the further articulation of the individual human being. Over the centuries, this individual human being has come more and more into their own, especially since the scientific revolution in which the world began to be studied and known as something truly separate from ourselves. During this revolution – the scientific revolution – our individual intellects truly began to blossom. We grew more fully our own ‘heads.’
From this period right up until our own time we have witnessed the human being gradually develop the capacities to do that which the Pharaoh had done for the community as a whole all those centuries ago. Each and every human being has gradually become the point at which cultural and intellectual/spiritual impulses can flow into society as a whole. Each human being, in reality, has become a free entry point for impulses which can transform the world. Each human being is, in reality, a modern Pharaoh, and is charged with tasks similar to these earlier God-kings.
The people of Egypt – the place in which such Pharaoh-ism originated – are showing us that now is the time for us to rise to the tasks of today. They are reminding us that no longer do we need to sacrifice our own freedom by elevating another into the position which we ourselves should rightly occupy. The thrones are ours.
The question arises, however, as to how we are each to exist in a world where each one of us is, in truth, a king, a queen, a Pharaoh. How do we in fact live in a healthy community when we have each become so individual? We can see that, for a large part, the western world has been so far unable to provide a satisfactory answer to this question.
If we observe more closely what is happening in Egypt, we can perhaps find part of a beginning-answer to this question. The Egyptian people have lived for three decades under a ruler who has amassed more wealth than the country as a whole. There has been no political equality, no cultural or spiritual freedom. In reality he has elevated himself, like so many other rulers since the time of the Pharaohs, at the expense of others. He has lifted himself up to the heights by keeping others firmly pressed to the ground.
What is being asked of us today, out of the reality of the situation at hand, is something quite different. We are being asked for a new kind of rulership. We are being asked for the kind of rulership whereby we do not elevate ourselves by forcing others down, but where we allow a space for others to become the kings and queens and Pharaohs that they are destined to become; that we make a space in ourselves for the Pharaoh – for the highest potential – in the other human being.