Aristomenes X

Seize the initiative and claim yourself. Be determined to grow and thrive. Choose to choose no matter what, and embrace all meaning vibrantly alive. To create, to redeem, to be free as was meant.

Month: October, 2016

The Perverse Empowerment of Authorization

A simple online dictionary definition of empowerment is “the giving or delegation of power or authority; authorization”. This definition appears to imply empowerment from an external source. I realize the wording is such that the source of empowerment is unspecified. When I read about delegation of power and authority, I think in terms of something or someone doing the delegating.

To empower thus is to authorize. To authorize is to establish that someone or something is an author, someone who makes things happen. A human subject of authorization can thus manipulate any target toward whatever they will for it. Authorization denotes not just the brute force to accomplish such a thing, but the moral privilege if not obligation to do so. That means everyone is somehow left with no endorsement to counter the individual thus empowered.

Words like “empower” and “authorize” are commonly used in circles, mundane and esoteric, official and informal alike. It is easy to be mired in a sea of debate and contradictory assertion when trying to wrap our heads around the implications of their meanings. Some claim they are immune to abuse, for example, because they are empowered by their rights. But if there is no might or power beyond that of the idealized concept of “right” itself to protect them, then their ideals dissolve in the face of violating force like so much smoke on a windy day.

Those who monopolize the power to force compliance realize it isn’t enough to sustain their positions. They take advantage of the loose nature of social cohesion in those whey rule. Then they can claim “special status” by virtue of authoritative idealism to confront thinking contrary to their purposes when threats do not suffice. Authoritative structures can be, therefore, passed off not just as natural entities or “corporations”, but as supernatural ones. As such authority organizes into hierarchies.

The notion of “hierarchy” describes sacred or sanctified authority. It often relates to religious priesthoods, but generally refers to the chain of command of any organized group. Groups of this kind form structures of authority where dominion flows in a single direction, where the source of rule authorizes the next stages in the flow. Such, for example, is a pyramid structure hierarchy. Therein, the flow is top to bottom. Therein the top authorizes and empowers each level to act as representatives of its authority on the levels beneath them.

In the above scenario those so empowered dominate “beneath” them in the name of the authorizing ones. Even in the most benign and “enlightened” instances the system compromises the freedom of those that are ruled. It is not uncommon, therefore, for human nature to prompt even the best intentions regarding authority structures to pave the way to the hells of human enslavement. In the latter cases, authority is tantamount to tyranny, and empowerment regains its idealized and meaningful status when directed to break the yoke of authorization. It is no surprise that enslaving establishments tend to promote anything that can be turned against such dynamics of just outcome.

It’s been argued that religious faith leads to empowerment. Ethnic, gender and global identity-sense have also been touted as paths to empowerment. I can agree with the above, unless these areas of human experience have been co-opted by an establishment of social dominance. It doesn’t take a genious, therefore, to discern that even the most sugarcoated tyranny amounts to a slave culture; just like the most well-treated bovines are still prone to end up in the slaughterhouse.

In recent decades, individual identity in much of the world has been twisted into a me-cult of ego worship. Punctuating this is a counterpoint of fear, guilt and humiliation posing as objective commentary and moral imperative, facilitated all to easily by the rapid advancement of mass media technologies that serve rather than expose the establishment.

I use the term “establishment” in a general sense. No matter which of its myriad incarnations draws our attention it still expresses the same essential nature spanning all geographic areas and historic periods. Power is the name of the game. It is the power to dominate other human beings, and to claim all available resources.

Sometimes, as if pushed by a perverse romanticism, we like to think we live in a dark age, and in the past all was better. We might want to consider the myth of the great golden age being nothing more than our tendency to sugarcoat our yesterdays and provide a safe haven in the past to protect our sensibilities from an uncertain future.

It’s not that peaceful cultures with near-ideal conditions never existed. I am certain they did even if the validity of specific examples is a matter for debate. The Caribbean islands, environments that would rival any mythical paradise, hosted a variety of native cultures. Many were violent cannibals and others quite pacifist and friendly, and yet they occupied the same general geographic area during the same time period. Such extreme variety in behavioral inclination in various indigenous groups was found in many geographic areas prior to periods of urbanization and central authority.

The current dominant culture derived from West European colonials is, on the other hand a derivative of Imperial totalitarianism marked by an addiction to technological “progress”, all in a veneer of moral superiority, ethical refinement and democratically inclined civil pretense. Of course the centers of indoctrination for children, teenagers and young adults known as schools would disagree with my assessment, but that is no surprise.

The dominant cultures of our time thrive on perverse empowerment. They feed on the draining of authority from the individuals that make up a society, either to blatantly empower an insatiable minority, or on the pretense of empowering the collective group as an entity unto itself. The latter is reminiscent of a kind of communal or hive mind effect in the more extreme versions of the occurrence.

I want to point out that perverse empowerment feeds upon and flourishes through the misery it happens to be creating in its given conditions, regardless of what they are. That misery can only be orchestrated by haters of humanity. Thus, the current global “establishment” appears to hold a policy of extreme disdain for all who are not of their minority groups.

Perhaps it is a matter of the psychopath not trusting what they do not understand: the healthy human psyche. Regardless, I believe racism as it is touted to today is a divide and conquer tool used on the majority of humanity because it is easier to get people to hurt those who are different.

In the face of becoming aware of the above state of affairs some believe that doing away with the perverse minority will solve the worlds ills. If you, however, manage to remove the immediate perpetrators, then others will rise from lower levels of the social pyramid. The social niches where psychopathic disposition thrives are symptomatic, not causal. As such they will always extend a siren call to candidates until the essence of psychopathy itself is cleansed from the collective psyche of humanity.

This may not be as tall an order as it appears if we think in terms of the species participating rather than the burden falling on a few individuals. Nevertheless, it is not easy to imagine just how the whole species will or even can be involved in any direct manner. Even so, I view it as humanity’s evolutionary imperative at this time.

The stakes are very high. Our planetary environment is in need of healing, but unless we remove humanity from the equation altogether, the healing of our psyche as species is a priority. This is best preceded by the healing of the individual psyche, where each human being must choose to take the initiative.

We are speaking of a form of empowerment that differs from and even opposes that mentioned in the title and elaborated in this writing. It is the natural and healthy empowerment of the individual. It is a vitalizing dynamic that is free of the necessity to authorize for authority already lies within. Natural individual human empowerment is exemplified by the sincere human heart shining its light to activate the path that expresses the truth of the integrity of that individual.

It leads to action that is therefore right, wherever one is drawn to apply it, under whatever circumstances and cultural, racial and/or religious context. In this chosen path, however, it is still one’s own responsibility to cover the bases that call to be covered to heal and attain the freedom that only living in integrity can offer. This is the freedom of true empowerment, a subject for another day.


Musings Part IV: Meeting the Challenge

In our sojourns through the highways and byways of social media, we are bound to confront psychologically destructive intentions in the form of written, verbalized or visually depicted communication. It is a painful thing to endure, and all too tempting for those who finally get to be the bully they’ve hated- or admired- all their lives. The hurt bleeds into and infects the disposition of the victim so even they can end up abusive and directly hurtful unto self and others. The simple solution is to police beliefs.

The idea that one has no recourse but to engage in controlling what other people think and feel is probably one of the most harmful of beliefs. It is all the more dangerous because it is so easy to justify, enticing us with promises of smoothing out all those pesky problems we endure because of others.

The impact of the idea of thought control as viable in modern society is, therefore, not to be underestimated. It is no less insidious for the fact that it slips so easily into masking itself as common sense to be taken for granted by the majority of socially active human beings.

The speed and ease of information transfer these days can fool us into thinking we can act upon that information just as rapidly. I see it, furthermore, as an understatement when I say that in the age of instant this and getting things done yesterday, patience does not appear to be the virtue it once was. Information may flow at light speed, but meaning takes time to digest.

It is crucial we take that time so we can separate waste from nourishment, allotting each in their proper place. When our ability to digest is compromised, our ability to discern is handicapped. We end up just nodding to the givens presented to us as we are flooded with toxic memes. In this state we are left weakened and debilitated, mentally, emotionally, often tot eh depths of our souls as we suffer acute and chronic deprivation of empowering truth and meaning.

Nevertheless, even in a state of toxic overload, we can step back and remember that we define who we are, even as circumstances may appear to control so much of what happens around us. We may surprise ourselves at how much we can still muster the strength and determination to support that voice within that still craves something more than what we are taught is our lot. Even as we realize the demoralizing nature of agendas far and near, and that we are not in Kansas anymore where all we took for granted as normal was concerned.

Agendas can be exogenous- created outside of us. Most of “conspiracy” thinking describes something like this, but it can include any systematic bullying, harassment and abuse. They can, however, also be endogenous- created within us. They can be psychological in nature when involving our apparent sense of self, but also of a spiritual dynamic if mundane explanations don’t quite cover what is going on. As unsavory as this sounds, each of us can have our own “agenda” and be barely aware of it. It can be so even and probably especially when you, I or another are under the impression the word “awakened” describes us hands down.

I am in no way reluctant to include myself in the lot of endogenous agenda holders. I see it as par for the course; part of the challenge of knowing ourselves deeply enough to cultivate our potential to the best of our ability. In this way our best grows to be ever better, and we can even relish meeting what otherwise would have us withdraw under the jackboot of a crushing cognitive dissonance.

It’s so important to apply the golden rule to ourselves. It is important because it is nourishing. We are therefore nourished when we see and treat ourselves as we would like others to do so- masochistic dispositions notwithstanding. We are nourished when we acknowledge the progression of our growth. We are nourished when we affirm our process of accumulating wisdom with ever more grounded and impacting applications.

In this manner we can stand up to the naysaying thieves of personal truth and self-esteem that abound on the internet today. No matter how these online junkyard dogs bark and growl or whimper and whine at us, we can still root in the affirmation that our desired empowerment is a reality that trumps assaults by bullies, guilt-trippers and fanatics. We can stand strong and revel in our choice to engage with frameworks of possibility we can accept as intimate with our very core of being.

I cannot help but cringe when I read sayings like “smart people know they are stupid and stupid people think they’re smart”. I don’t find these nourishing, not even as reminders of healthy humility. To generalize that way is just another version of the “up is down and light is dark” meme poisoning the field of human understanding these days.

Manipulative tactics are often nothing more than strategies and tactics to project stress, to demonize, to get recognition, support, attention, to dominate or vent. I am speaking generally, mainly to emphasize that all of us have ourselves to work on more than others. That being said those that aspire to inform their fellows of alternatives to the collective program of acceptable thinking are growing in number.

More importantly, sharing experience and views that are mind-expanding involves building bridges to others. It also involves rebuilding those connections that a lifetime in the matrix has left in a sorry state of near collapse.  That is anything but easy, especially when internal agendas are relentless in their attempts to undermine any mobilization toward real empowerment. At the same time if we sense impulses, our own or another’s expression of weakness free of overt calculating intent, we can cut us all some slack.

Sometimes agendas are just the motive to find shoulders online upon which to release our pent up tears and frustrations. After all, those who read, listen and view us on social media are often called “friends”. So it can appear normal to ask for prayers, kind words and even a bit of verbal coddling and flattery. I found that if I actually took every such request seriously, I would be spending most of my time just projecting well-being on people. Anyone who has ever tried that- seriously and not just showing up for a bit of loving drama- should collect disciples and walk on water. The world needs you.

There are many who can make a difference in the lives of others by projecting good will to them. The problem is that unless there are boundaries, the sender can become ill and the receiver an addict of what is given to them. Those who usually practice helping others in this manner are selective, and some even use the image of “healer” or “wise one” to establish boundaries so they are not bled by those in desperate or even flippant want.

When the culprit is within us, we tend to display intelligence and/or felt honesty, yet there is an agenda of dumping all that we don’t want to face on others. We make friends and act supportive, but it is we who seek to lay our burdens anywhere but where it is our responsibility to lay them. The above statements are free of judgment and accusation because they reflect very human strategies to alleviate the pain and stress that is often beyond our ability to endure.

Thus we move to sustain the image we desire to sustain as we stand before those who know us as well as the mirror we confront every day. It’s prudent to protect one’s self from the foibles of human pathos, but I am not describing psychopathy here. I disagree with those who see a psycho at every turn. Psychopaths make a splash in human circles when they come out of concealment, but they are still a minority.

There are, nevertheless, many desperate and lonely people out there. There are medicated people out there, people saturated with toxins of all kinds to the point of bursting. Who among us has not been hurt in some way? Some, however, sustain degrees of trauma that would break others. We are not all the same, and one size does not fit all- cliché but very true.

Let us always keep in mind that our differences matter, but so does common ground. We need common ground with each other, and we need to be aware that any forcing or fabricating it is the act of someone with an unsavory “agenda”. With common ground we can empathize where nourishment embraces more than you or me. With common ground we can experience compassion to carry first any trauma of our own being to healing, and then lift it from wherever we find it.

This the art of enantiodromia: the art of reversing course, going up stream and transforming the dross into gold and crap into fertilizer. It doesn’t matter where trauma originates when we confront it constructively because in the now of our art we are not being hurt. In the now of our art we can see ourselves as more than former victims, more than righteous or vulnerable or anything but willing to get on with being healthy in every way.

More importantly, we can and should be self-centered, and refrain from demonizing the idea of being selfish because we know in our process that we are committed and response-able. We can and should insure the oxygen mask meets our needs before we attempt helping others with theirs. It is good sense, and to let anyone undermine that in the name of ego-deconstruction is itself falling for an agenda. We are no good to anyone if we are not good to ourselves.

These musings are not as random as the title implies. They are born from daily online encounters, and they fuel much of the ranting of this blog. Most of the writings here can probably have the words “Musings of Online Encounters” inserted somewhere in the titles. Over the last few months I’ve gotten frustrated with some of my day to day encounters. I hear it’s a common occurrence, but no less unpleasant for it. Musing through them helps me clarify where I stand, and formulating where I stand out of the morass of debate and contradiction helps my psychic posture. I think I’m straightened out for now- *winks*.

The Gamers of Engineered Society: Part I

The issue of social engineering is vastly important. It is both complex and multifaceted. It is represented in the evolution of human history, and has vestiges reaching into the murky past prior to existing written records of any kind. If one cannot comprehend that human society is engineered by those who would proclaim themselves ultimate authorities of it, they cannot discern the lengths those who lust for power will go to consolidate it.

In the second decade of the twenty first century extensively organized power grabbing isn’t as far-fetched an idea as it used to be, for the majority of westerners at least. The focus in this diatribe involves the perspective and mindset of the power-broker. Namely, it isn’t just a cliché to assert that that those who lust for social, political and economic power, tend to be of a certain Machiavellian disposition that tends to express in a sort of “gaming” mentality.

Power brokers- psychopaths- with vast resources at their disposal, with little in the sense of empathy or moral compass, and with virtually no awareness of existential meaning beyond their own survival and quest for control, are natural “gamers”. I refer to gaming that resembles strategic and tactical warfare, where winners and losers are more like perpetrators and victims, be the game a simulation or harsh reality acting as such.

The above thesis can be understood when described in the form of the real world example of the United States financial system. In this game players seek to accumulate standards of value, otherwise known as commodities, which translate as power over existence. That includes its beings, circumstances and rules of operation.

In more common parlance the goal is to play god, a game that can be quite addictive to a psychopathic personality. That’s a big claim when the system itself poses as nothing more than wealthy folk investing in human productivity.

Regardless of the nature of this game of greed and power, human beings are natural representations of value. They have potential power over themselves and their lives via their creative capacities and resourcefulness. A human being can be a force of change in the world for better or worse. If their value is quantified as a monetary sum, however, then the assumption that the value can be tapped and treated like any other monetary commodity easily follows.

A gaming mentality takes advantage of this, and can also go a long way to dispense with any pesky issues of ethics, justice or humanity for those whose nature is devoid of any kinship or compassion with the rest of life. In this instance the gamer can seek to either tap the “human resource” for themselves, or subvert it. The latter may appear counterintuitive. The gamer from a Machiavellian perspective, nevertheless, can see benefit in doing so because a) human beings are kept from becoming one’s competition, b) it prevents another player from tapping into the human being.

For a more informed context regarding our example I’ve taken refuge in the internet resource I love to hate: google. Anyone interested can reproduce the search and look at the first five hits or so of each word string of the following three cases: 1) straw man all capital letters, 2) corporate personhood, and 3) birth certificate used as collateral.

Conspiracy analysts often lump these three topics together, but there appear to be inconsistencies the many “skeptic” and “debunking” sites on the web love to emphasize. Lumping the topic under one category can throw doubt on the whole thing when an inconsistency pops up. In this case, the “straw man” concept assumes one’s legal/corporate persona can be separated from one’s real person where the establishment laws are concerned. Whether it is fair or not, that separation is not legally recognized.

Yet some think that writing one’s name differently automatically results in separation as if somehow authorities are constrained to act against the interests of the system they serve. In other words, even as they pose things in terms of contracts, analysts act as if the game isn’t rigged, but that people just don’t know the rules.

Let’s place more attention on the concept of legal or corporate persona mentioned above. The gist of it is that although a business is made of human beings who own and operate its courses of action, it can still be presented as an embodiment with legal identity on par with that of a human individual.

The interesting thing is that humans are also given corporate (embodied) legal status, even though they are already individualized. The embodiment/corporate label is then neither truly embodied, nor truly abstract as an ideology or strategic initiative might be. The idea of incorporation appears to me to be a packaging concept to be used however the interests behind the legalese see fit.

This need not be alarming if the motives of those manipulating this conception were fair and just. What makes the deal a gaming system in my view is the third theme. This centers on our birth certificate; the primary document establishing proof of our embodied personhood (that we are registered game pieces). It refers to the certificate as a monetized bank note where the financial system is concerned, at least in the United States..

I had a hard time understanding how this could be, but the US birth certificate document indeed is defined as a bank note. It is not only monetized but used as collateral for bets placed on the New York Stock Exchange. The legalese regarding the incorporation of our identity allows for the convenience of ignoring the moral ramifications as the jargon always takes precedence. It also makes for more efficient book keeping.

All this talk of legal fictions and birth certificates, however, was a bit of a detour to explore the idea of gaming being a primary meme in our society via this prominent example. There is more to be said here. But let’s leave that for the next installment.


Living in Fear vs. Living with Fear

Fear dominates much of human existence, and this is nothing new. Fear is used as a weapon by those who seek to dominate others, and that is also nothing new. The promotion of fear has become a precise science among a minority portion of humanity that it has taken on the nature of a WMD (weapon of mass destruction). 

Be that as it may, fear is a natural response in biological organisms. Fear tells you to run, but it doesn’t specify where, and if you are not aware, the direction of flight might lead you to a dead end or over a cliff. Fear tells you to fight, and you may triumph or be cajoled into a conflict where the only victor is the puppeteer that set you up.

To avoid fear being turned from friend to nemesis we are challenged to refrain from repressing or denying that response. It helps us little or naught to assume fear is an illusion, or something to be transcended for loftier sentiments. Fear is truly the most primal force of our psyche, they very radical imperative toward continuity of life. In humans and other sentient animals, it can even take on the form of compassion when one fears for others. 

Given all the above a fundamental a difference in the ways we may relate to the impulse of fear is noteworthy: the difference between living with fear and living in fear. Denial fosters the latter, and acceptance brings us to the former. When we live with fear, we engage with our response as a shifting energy. It can be a powerful resource to nourish courage, inspiration and inner strength, all of which allow us to better discern and navigate the challenges facing us.

Energy literally means motion. E-motion is energy, and in nature overwhelming fear is present so long as the threat is immediate. If animals and prehistoric humans lived in fear as modern humans do because of the dangers facing them, they would all have died off long ago. Chronic disease and the inability to defend themselves because of their perpetual paralysis would be their killers more than any natural threat.

In the far past, humans lived with fear and it served them. Today, many promote that fear is bad, when what we really don’t want its causes: the sources of harm. Denying fear for the sake of a convenient routine, only makes it fester. When this has collective ramifications tyranny takes hold because those who are most in denial of the fear driving them end up being the most motivated to control. If denial were recognized for the miasma and diseased state it is, psychopathy may not have grown to be dominating force it is today.

The miasma has perpetuated, however, passed on from ancestor to descendant, from parent to child, taught by example. Most often in human societies acceptance and honesty were punished in a rather expertly veiled hypocrisy. Thus we have been more and more conditioned to mistrust our own nature. Instead, perversion and psychopathy in the name of professional or otherwise dominant authority have become our masters.

In my view feelings transform and nourish reality, and thoughts structure it. Feelings are “energy” and thoughts are what patterns that energy, like a watercourse guides the flow of water from the mountains to the sea. The supporting role of thought is meant to nourish us. In return, the nourishment empowers and reinforces the thoughts that reflect and support our desires.

When thoughts become dictatorial over feelings they act against our natural desire sense, and we become our worst enemy. This is especially true when our thoughts are based on lies and deceptive manipulations of our perception. We may be led like the proverbial fool to dig a hole to escape a flood. Our delusion of flight becomes the making of our own grave.  

In being tricked to fear our fear we can be locked in polarities of fearful vs. fearless, when this has nothing to do with the nature of the energy, which cannot be created or destroyed, but only changes form and expression. When erroneous tyrannical thought structures our options into either being overwhelmed by emotion or empty of it, it does not work toward our best interests. Instead it denies the very nature of emotion to change form and expression in relation to circumstance and need. 

When we are overwhelmed by fear- the word is “terrorized”- the energy feeds on itself, leading to panic and increased distress until an external cause alters the condition- usually for the worst. When we open to fear from a place of acceptance, and the threat is not immediate, we can feel deeply without acting out impulsively.  

The emotional energy can then run its course toward resolution. More awareness can enter and repurpose the fear energy toward a constructively mobilizing expression of well-being known as excitement leading to exhilaration. This is very empowering and the way even terror can transform when thought is held from artificially defining it. The transformation that can take one from the brink of panic is facilitated both by a quieting of verbal mind, and then by its initiating an inner dialog that gently allows the feeling to be digested without trying to force the feeling into submission in the name of a “positive mindset”.

In my honest opinion, waves of fear these days come from a backlog of collective and individual repression and due to deliberate terrorism by those who seek to engineer society against the human species outside of a select group. It sounds counterintuitive, but when we open to naturally respond to this attempted terrorism without buying into it- when we feel without drama, in other words- we can activate potentials in our being that do more than just give us a clear head and mobilized heart. We can, in the midst of fear, open to well-being as a form of natural love (known as agape).  

In this way, as we become established in this more mature mode of being, the weaponized fear thrust upon us becomes a means of empowerment, whereas those perpetrating terror end up being the only avenue for its expression. For those who promote fear are those who deny and repress it the most.

Consider that cause and effect works in the following manner: if one cannot dump their energy into a victimized outlet, and they continue to refuse to take response-ability for it, this energy will make them confront a reality reflecting their denial. Whether one credits this view or not, it does not serve us to be victims of fear.

It is my understanding that we can harness this energy as a source of empowerment, and even redemption. We may, therefore, do our part in leading our lives and world to balance and meaningful expression. The road to that balance may still be a rocky one. Those who would manipulate want us to think that we will suffer if we don’t cower before them. That is the biggest lie of all. Will we call their bluff and get real? Can we afford not to?

Musings Part III: The Challenge to Grow

Social media reflects the state of the modern world. It is an arena of data mining, so long as people continue to post representations of their visceral responses to all the little things in life. Data mining the seemingly innocent indicators of individual and collective desire, and the behaviors corresponding to them facilitates the structuring of marketing strategies by individuals and groups invested in doing so. We are told this is to more efficiently promote goods and services people want. It’s just the good old free market at work.

The darker side, of course, is the mapping of the internet user’s behavioral spectrum in order to establish set pathways of stimulus/response. Encouraging creative discourse and problem solving do not quite fit within the parameters of that agenda, where it clashes with the interests of its promoters.

Social media could be a conduit of illumination and problem solving far in advance of real-world alternatives, at least as far as the planning stages go. I would say it is by design that such is not the case. Manipulated or not, social media tends to reflect the state of many current conditions of human society, especially if one broadens one’s horizons of interaction to encompass as much variety as comfortably viable before the friction of incompatible expression, belief and preference tears the situation apart.

The fine line between open-minded social variety and finding one’s self on a battle field of conflicting in-groups is a blurry one. It is, however, worth stickling one’s neck out on social chopping blocks if there is a chance to experience firsthand the statistics of where others are coming from.

That is one reason to refrain from bitching- too much- about the internet and all it involves. Even lies and half-truths can be valuable teachers. They tell us about the neurotic, the deceiver, the bright smile concealing a shady agenda, and about ourselves and the weaknesses we hold from the light of day. We are challenged to be aware, and that’s the hard part. The harder part is doing something about it that counts; something that nourishes our integrity rather than compromising it.

In discerning the ins and outs of online human nature, no amount of talking is going to change the beliefs people hold. Life does that. Discussions, however, can supply us with a field of alternative conception when life finally reveals that it’s time to reconsider things. Or discussions can provide a field of resistance and inertia so we chicken out and run back to all the familiar shit we had just realized sucks.

If someone’s beliefs, views or attitudes are such that they clash with my sense of integrity- not the same as simply disagreeing with them- I let them be. We have enough violence in the world.  Getting rabid in a virtual environment is just demeaning, especially when we all have the option to step back and chill out.

If there is a point of contact or common ground, on the other hand, I focus on that. It is funny how social media and discussion forums have gone such a long way to teach me diplomacy. If only for that the internet has been invaluable to me.

In addition, sometimes I find myself feeling psychological harmony with people where there is no sensate connection other than words on a screen. In that feeling lie the revelations, that never get old, of how much well-being is dependent on solidarity with our fellow humans, and how deprived most of us are in lives diminished without it.

The value of human solidarity might be obvious in theory, and even in terms of off-line experience. Demonstrations, rallies, even parties and celebrations attest to that. It so happens, however, that in our information age crowds of people are a few keystrokes away all the time. And as we seek those who are like-minded, we may have to wade through swamps of communication dissonance that might even bring up issues from the past or just latent sensitivities we would rather not face.

Just as solidarity is healthy and empowering, social dissonance weakens us with one exception: the predatory personality. This would be one who projects their inner dissonance onto the world as a means to experience empowerment by witnessing the weakening or psychological turmoil of others.

We can, through some misadventure, learn to identify such individuals and avoid them. It is far more difficult, however, to deal with people who mean well, but in one way or another are in denial of a specialized form of dissonant projection.

That latter statement is not describing a disease. It’s really just the nature of being human, living in a society of artifice and trauma, and mired in the confusion of layers and layers of distortions, lies and out of context facts. The usual symptom is experiencing views and beliefs pushed in one’s direction that don’t resonate with one’s sense of right, even though they may make sense, or reflect common (proprietary) sense.

Confronting that kind of pressure can lead to a spectrum of choices that make us pray psychological manipulation on a number of levels. Coping mechanisms can include embracing relativism for the sake of keeping the peace, and raising the banner of our pet peeve to crusade against a world populated by infidels of one sort or another.

We may want to remain “correct”. We may want to vent, but still hold on to our precious integrity and sense that we are “good”. We may end up caring too much what other people think, yet still avoid considering just how much pain and constriction sensitivity to collective consensus is causing us.

If we are of the ilk that desires to see positive change. If we are willing to challenge the flow of mass correctness, there is much to learn and much to be done. Swimming against the current requires more strength than the average individual can manage these days. Otherwise it would be a common occurrence, one that I must be blind not to see. The good news is that strength can be cultivated. How to stand and how to proceed can be cultivated. Courage to liberate ourselves from the rut of familiarity can be cultivated.

Clouded vision and clouded heart will begin clearing when we stand by options and views because they come from a place that is genuine regardless of how vulnerable that feels at first. Persistence in such commitment transforms a person to a pillar of strength without their demanding attention or some form of psychological ‘tribute’. Then one is a force of inspiration and experiences the power and possibility of the modern online social medium.