Prior to me discovering and writing about the concept of Dandelions and Orchids for my previous two posts, I had been putting together this topic about Humpty Dumpty. Why? you might ask. Well, the nursery rhyme had shown up for me a few times in close succession and I was trying to relate it to something more meaningful.
When something crops up in my life three times in close succession it’s hard for me not to take notice; a Déjà vu, as it is referred to in The Matrix. What can be difficult, however, is figuring out why, if indeed there is a rhyme or reason (pun intended).
The nursery rhyme of Humpty Dumpty was the synchronicity in question on this occasion.
#1 First there was a story about a Christmas Tree in the Children’s Encyclopedia which I have been working my way through as regular readers will know. I often find something or other from the pages there as a catalyst for synchronicity or a topic to consider. I’m now up to Volume 7.
#2 Next up there was a live song on Radio 4’s Woman’s hour from the recently ‘put back together’ band Shakespears Sister, called ‘All The Queen’s Horses’. The lyrics including “All the Queen’s horses, all the Queen’s men – They couldn’t put us back together again.”
#3 Finally there was a video on a Youtube channel I watch things on from time to time that used version of a song called Hero, originally by Elizaveta, in the background, and this caught my ear. The song includes the following lyrics which more so now refer to the Humpty Dumpty in my imagination:
Hero, hero – I want to be a hero, hero
Oh the hero comes, I can hear the drums, and our horses run to the kingdom come. Through the pale moonlight, our hearts ignite to the call.
Oh, claim your prize, to the crown of stars. In the name of love, be the sacrifice. You and I will stand and fight, our backs to the wall.
You and I will stand and fight, our backs to the wall.
As I’m sure everyone is aware, Humpty Dumpty is a nursery rhyme about an egg-shaped person of the same name who sits up on a wall and then has a ‘great fall’. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men are unable to put him back together again. By the way, there is no explanation in the poem as to why Humpty Dumpty has been portrayed as egg-shaped. But is there a deeper meaning to any of this? Many have tried to explain the rhyme; perhaps it is indeed a riddle to be solved. Maybe it has an esoteric meaning.
Before I got onto the topic of Dandelions and Orchids I was relating the fall of Humpty Dumpty to the fear, or anxiety, of trying to achieve something, or overcome something (such as an addiction) only to have such a ‘great fall’ that we are unable to be put back together again, supposedly by “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men”. Humpty Dumpty, it has been suggested, is a king.
Humpty Dumpty is a meditation on the fleeting nature of power and the risk that comes with any position of authority. The fall that Humpty took was only fatal because he had ascended to such heights. All the Kings Horses and all the Kings men were in fact his army, capable of defending him from outward threats but impotent against the ones inherent to his position of King and the envy it inevitably inspires among those closest to him.
Consider that if he had not been alone on his wall, others would have been nearby to reach out and catch him. But balanced at the top, there was no help. Only a desire to push or pull him down so that someone else could enjoy the view. It ultimately draws parallels to the fate of King Charles II [or perhaps refers to King Richard III of England or even Jesus (crown of stars/thorns)].
Equally I think it could be ourselves; we are all Humpty Dumpty*. We can see it perhaps more clearly in celebrities who build up their fame and fortune only to be consumed by it, such as through addiction. Some of us might seek some of that fame and fortune for ourselves because we are lead to believe it’s what we need to be happy. Those celebrities who have failed, or have found themselves on the brink of failure, can be an example to us. Lewis Carroll might suggest they, and and all of us are an egg, and therefore a Humpty Dumpty.
How this relates to my previous post is in reference to those compounding effects I referred to, of anxiety and avoidance. When this occurs it feels to me like a spiralling out of control until I seemingly combat it and all is well again, only for things to gradually slip again. For Humpty Dumpty things reached that final tipping point and he fell off that wall, I could label this as ‘Wall Anxiety’!
The references to Humpty Dumpty don’t end here though. I had been reading a book called About Time by Paul Davies. If you read my previous post you may recall that I mentioned I often find myself reading books about quantum mechanics, not because I fully understand such things, but that I like absorbing such intriguing things. This was one of those such books, and also talks about cosmology. In it, on p.257, Davies uses the breaking of an egg to illustrate the direction of time, because once an egg has been broken it can’t be put back together.
If this wasn’t enough of an illustration I was watching an episode of Young Indiana Jones and in it he is faced with numerous forms to fill in. At one point there is another comically long form that is all in a jumble, and the man at the desk does a clever trick and puts it all in order, the effect obviously being achieved by reversing the film of him jumbling up a previously neat stack of paper [you can watch that here].
Back to the topic of quantum mechanics and cosmology, it surprised me to read of a similar topic on Leanne Haly Burton’s blog where she wrote about Life’s Purpose (a topic I have certainly written about before):
Scientists tell us that the universe is expanding, and that the expansion slowed down before speeding up again (obviously over a period of billions of years!). So, this physical universe apparently never stands still or remains exactly the same, even for one second. Human life evolved within all of this activity; we are a functioning, working part of the whole, not an add-on.
She goes on to say:
We can’t be too hard on ourselves when we realise that we have messed up because of something we previously didn’t know or understand – collectively or individually – but we can and should be ashamed when we consistently fail to learn and respond accordingly.
One shouldn’t live in fear of ending up like Humpty Dumpty, but consistently fail to learn and respond accordingly we must not.
*After writing all of the above I found this sermon from 2017 which also refers to Jesus, and the idea that ourselves and celebrities can being referred to as Humpty Dumpty:
We’re all Humpty Dumpty at some point… The fall of Adam and Eve was the beginning of all falls. That fall started a revolution of falling into brokenness. We may find ourselves broken due to unhealthy relationships or a country’s civil war or chronic physical pain. And we’ll do everything in our power to avoid becoming broken… Who wants to exist with cracks? No one in their right mind chooses to be broken. We’ll try to drink it away, engulf prescriptions to remove it, or begin other habits that ultimately hurt, in order to attempt to put our lives back together again. But all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, and all the alcohol, and all the drugs, can’t do it, for Humpty, celebrities, or us. [link]