If I told you what it takes to reach the highest high,
You’d laugh and say, “Nothing’s that simple.”
But you’ve been told many times before messiahs pointed to the door;
No one had the guts to leave the temple.
It’s a perilous thing to read wisdom into the lyrics of a rock song, no less from one of Pete Townshend’s self-indulgent “rock operas”. But I read once that the message of Tommy is, “You have to make your own miracle,” i.e., you can’t be fulfilled by following after and mimicking someone else, doing what (seemingly) works for them. Pinball?
Imitation may be a place to start but, when it becomes a refuge, it can ultimately become silly, stultifying and a bit pathetic. Leaving the temple simply means creating your own purpose in life and deciding what you can give to those around you.
How do you leave the temple? If your temple is:
- Social media and popular culture, you overcome FOMO by focusing on real relationships and involvement.
- Populism, you resist lies, threats and hate; and engage in rational, dignified discussion.
- Consumerism, you abandon narcissism, materialism and greed; and pursue meaningful experiences instead.
It can be safe, secure and popular to worship with a crowd, but it takes guts to leave the temple.