The Delusion of Burt the Bunny

Burt has fallen under the delusion that he is a rabbit. His friends don't come around much anymore, the psychiatrist has thrown in the towel, and so his family has decided to take matters into their own hands.

The problem seems rather obvious to them, and the solution well within reach. However, much to their dismay, all attempts to explain to Burt that he is really a human resulted in a confused wiggle of the nose. Holding a mirror up to his face, they asked him what he saw, and of course he said "Me!", and hopped away in disgust.

After talking it over among themselves, the family decided to meet him where he was and see if they could gently lead him out of his delusion. They proceeded to describe to him how wonderful it is to realize your true humanness. No more digging holes in the ground, enduring the wrath of the neighbor when he was caught nibbling in the cabbage patch. The freedom, the joy of riding a bicycle, playing a round of golf

After weeks of preaching to Burt about the wonders of human realization, he started to get interested in the possibility, and tentatively asked a few questions, the most pointed of which was "Okay, how do I come to realize my human nature?" After all, if there was some vegetable garden of Eden to be found, surely there must be a path to this garden, and Burt was willing to give it a try.

They hadn't actually anticipated this question and it presented a bit of a dilemma. You see, they knew that Burt's identity as a rabbit was entirely in his imagination, but it's from this identity that the desire to realize his humanness can even arise. The desire to realize his humanness, which they had worked so hard to encourage in Burt, is really as imaginary as the identity through which he wants to realize his humanness. Actually, they pondered, Burt is already what he seeks, and is in fact the one seeking it. The desire is the desire to be what he already is, and the desire itself is based entirely on a misunderstanding of what he is. Now he's left with two delusions instead of one; the delusion that he is a rabbit, and the delusion that this rabbit can realize it's humanness.

The dilemma is further exacerbated by the fact that the whole plan was destined to fail from the start, since of course Burt's identity as a rabbit cannot possibly succeed in realizing it's humanness as the identity itself would simply vanish at the precise moment of realization, eliminating the very reason for even realizing it, and so the best that can be hoped for is a total failure to awaken. There isn't actually a rabbit there that can awaken, there is only Burt, who never for a moment stopped being Burt. In fact, there's now the possibility that Burt may fall under a third delusion; that he is a rabbit who in fact has realized his true human identity. The image of Burt preaching his 'Awakening to humanness' to his fellow rabbits struck terror in the hearts of the family and they grew quiet for a long time.

The next day, saddened and silently, they brought a basket of carrots out to the garden and fed Burt his lunch......and stroked his fur.....

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Self Actualization

"To identify oneself as a separate entity in a universe that refuses to acknowledge and support that separateness, is suffering."

Phil Beaumont

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