The town of Dorking in England was home to an eccentric gentleman named Major Peter Labelliere who lived from 1726-1800 . He came to Dorking after a career in the Army and became renowned for his odd ways . For a Gentleman he was scruffy and would often give away his clothes to a poor man, a practice not commonly carried out in 18th century England . He also manged to put ones of his eyes out whilst meditating on Box Hill near Dorking .
He decided to be buried on Box Hill and wished to be buried upside down because :
As the world was topsy turvy, he would thus be right at last .
A large crowd attended his funeral and on the anniversary of this funeral, large numbers would visit his burial site to have a party . By coincidence, on a school trip to Box Hill my daughter became ill and had the rather unsettling experience of the world appearing to turn upside down . The sky was at the bottom and the ground at the top .
But what caused Major Labelliere to hold this strange view of the world . Did his intuition and life experience tell him that the world was not quite right and we view Life the wrong way up – that it is literally Topsy Turvy .
Our instinct is to seek pleasure . We all have our own individual interests and we may gain pleasure from such activities as television, sports, films, food or sex , but is it actually pleasure we are feeling when we indulge ourselves ? Is it really enjoyment or is it another sensation we experience ? I would suggest the feeling is closer to relief than enjoyment and the relief we feel is the temporary escape from our internal emotions .
These emotions include fear, anger, hate, boredom, guilt, love and other sundry feelings . Everybody attempts to avoid these emotions and I believe the world is in a state of denial . The main characteristic that Adolf Hitler looked for in his lieutenants was a lack of empathy and feeling . But what is the world running away from ?
A peculiarity of illness is the sensation that an outside force is taking over, but when patients are asked to describe this force, they will often refer to the sickness as IT or just PAIN . Illness is the body and mind’s attempts to heal itself but we see it as a threat to be fought and resisted but many patients experience that they heal when they are able to accept the illness .
Our emotions are the same – we run away from guilt, fear etc and the more we resist them, the stronger they seem to become but once we accept them into consciousness, they lose their grip on us . My belief is we are trying to resist a positive force and what we call pleasure is our attempt to ignore it . Conversely, our efforts to resist the pain are counter-productive and in the long run will cause more problems . In effect, pleasure is pain and pain is pleasure .
Maybe, the strange Major Labelliere was right and we do live in a Topsy Turvy world .