Is There Anybody Out There?
By William Grice
Oh yes, indeed there is, just waiting for someone to make the first move in breaking the ice of isolative self-consciousness. It was just a matter of time before one of the innumerable members of the group of us, whose lives have been touched and awakened by Phiroz, signalled that the period of reflection and adjustment to the situation since his death is now over.
When I, the person named William Grice, read the article by Eileen Benson, under the heading of the rhetorical question, I was very happy that the initiative had been taken by someone else. Phiroz Mehta is not merely a “hard act to follow”, but my use of the vernacular is an attempt to clear from my mind the absurdity of such a notion.
During an informal discussion with Phiroz at Dilkusha in 1987, I asked how he thought I might best approach some difficult business meetings. His reply after due deliberation was, “Be yourself.” Had this apparently simplistic advice not come from Phiroz, I would probably have dismissed it politely. After much puzzling, the real import eventually sunk in. To be myself necessitated knowing myself. Quote a different proposition which was far from simple. A quotation from Shakespeare came to mind and put it into perspective:
This above all — to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
This thread runs through Carl Jung’s “individuation”, but is given its true power and meaning by the “becoming process”, which runs through most of Phiroz Mehta’s talks. Jung’s very terminology lays stress on the development of the individual; Phiroz mindfully exposes the isolation of self-consciousness.
It seems to me that “all of us out here” will be drawn together again, perhaps in the form of meetings similar to those at Lillian Road, or possibly for convenience of travel, at other locations. This is what Phiroz foresaw.
Why have meetings at all? Another rhetorical question to end on.
Wherever two or three are gathered together…