Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Parable of the Woman In the Box

There was a woman who lived inside a box. Her whole life had been spent inside the little box, squeezed in from all sides. She never went outside the box. People brought her food to eat but she ate it inside the four walls of the box.

She was cramped to the point of being crippled because she could never stand up inside the box. Not only her body but her brain and spirit were crippled from living inside the box.

Her thinking was confined to what she could imagine inside the box, and that was very little, no big grand thoughts, only micro imaginings.

Even her God was a little god, one that fit into the box. She could not envision her God outside and that her God ruled the whole world, not just her little world inside the box.

Now and then she would beat on the walls of her box in a vain attempt to break them down and escape. But whenever she did, someone would come by and whisper to her to be quiet, she was making noise and disturbing other people.

She would comply with their request, trying to be nice, since she really was a nice person, she just didn't know how to escape the box. And she had to be nice to the person who brought her food because they might not return if she got angry and loud, started screaming, hollering and foaming at the mouth.

Inside the box, she lived the life of a stunted woman, her mental growth stunted as well. She could not imagine the finer things of life, or how she might expand her spiritual development. She did not know how she might be able to fend for herself, make her own money for food and other things she needed, even if she stayed inside the box, but she really wanted to get out.

Somehow she gathered the energy to have a thought that went beyond the box, energy that would stop her from being a stunted woman, unable to stand tall and rise from her conditon inside the box.

She began to figure a way out, a way to free herself, mind, body and soul. She had to do some hard thinking but she was determinded to liberate herself. She saw nails in the walls and began to tinker with them, push them a little with her fingernails, then wiggled around and backed into one wall, then the other.

After a time, she could see a little break between the walls. She came up with a name for the nails that kept her down. One nail she called ignorance. She knocked and knocked until it loosened. Then she beat and pressured another nail in the box she called passivity. When she put counter pressure on that nail the box started shaking.

She tinkered with another nail she called lack of desire and will. Then she started talking to the walls, telling them to open up she was coming out. She even told her little God to give her a hand. Her little God gave her a hand.

Some people came by and seeing the walls shaking, tried to pound on the nails, but the woman commanded the nails to stop in their tracks and they did as she commanded. She continued her resistance until the walls of the box gave in and was able to gradually stand and eventually began to do a little dance.
--Marvin X
Marvin X is known variously as El Muhajir, Plato Negro, Rumi, Jeremiah. His outdoor classroom is at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Ishmael Reed says, "If you want to learn about motivation and inspiration, don't spend all that money going to workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway and watch Marvin X work. He's Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland!"

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