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*.