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❚ medieval ❚ opposition ❚ reality ❚ simpleman ✱ Robert A. Johnson

two-dimensional man don quixote

Don Quixote (Cervantes) a man so enamored of the simple ways of two-dimensional man — medieval man — that he took on the finery of knighthood and chivalry and played out a half-comic but inspired imitation of what he had lost in his life. DQ enjoys his secure relationship to life: natural, happy, and safe

Most modern people read Don Quixote in this manner, and treasure it as an exposé of medieval nonsense. If we can escape this prejudice even for a moment, we may find a world of inner reality in this masterpiece.

Don Quixote, which is the term for that bit of medieval armor that covers the thighs and genitals. He is Sir Codpiece, a wonderful entry into the world of imagination. Unlike the Fisher King in the Holy Grail legend who is wounded in the thighs (suffering, groaning with agony, worrying, fretting, his wound incurable for most of his life), Don Quixote is the unwounded one, since his armor covers that delicate part of his anatomy (he is free, optimistic, happy, and sure of himself).

Don Quixote is tall, noble of bearing, idealistic, and constantly searching for the pan de trastrigo, “the bread that is made from better than wheat” (a reference to the host of Holy Communion). Sancho Panza is short, fat, practical, immediate, and ruled largely by his appetite. In the Bible this pair turns up as Cain and Abel, Jacob and Essau, and David and Jonathan. Mutt and Jeff and Abbott and Costello are examples in our own time. It is ego and shadow, that pair of opposites in every psyche that differ in every aspect but are inseparable. Rocinante, an old hag of a horse (the name means “she-whom-one-col-lows”), completes the droll pair.

DQ and SP set forth to find Dulcinea, they never do, but she animates their journey from beginning to end. It is the fair lady who is the eternal quest of medieval man — whether she is real or not. She exists in the heart of the searcher, which is all that matters to two-dimensional man. He never tests this inner vision against outer reality; once one begins such testing, the two-dimensional quality is irretrievably lost. Two-dimensional man lives constantly in the realm of fantasy and imagination, those infallible worlds that never fail one in an inner sense. They are the Garden of Eden, perfection, total reliability.

Don Quixote dies. The last few hours of his life were lived as a three-dimensional man, part of the necessary movement toward higher consciousness. The true miracle of the story is the “sanchification” of Don Quixote and the “quixotification” of Sancho. The true journey of knighthood and chivalry has been to draw ego and shadow together, to diminish the split in personality indicated by the difference between the two …

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