Welcome To the Insane Asylum – Seeking Moral Courage Chapter 5
Welcome To the Insane Asylum – Seeking Moral Courage
It’s generally understood by all that something that’s taken by force has much less value compared to the same thing given freely and willingly. Never again consider yourself powerless when it’s clear you posses something of such immense power and wealth that it’s constantly being manipulated and seduced from your hands.
For those who missed chapters 1 thru 4 in this series of 5, may I suggest you click the links below and read from the beginning before moving forward to this chapter? Thank you.
Fear Is the Mind Killer
We rarely consider that fear is not only used by others to control us, but that we use it to control ourselves. Fear lowers our frequency of awareness, locking us into the here and now and shielding our minds from other possibilities and realities. We’ve been conditioned so thoroughly and completely from birth that now our fear response, which manifests in obvious and not so obvious ways, is the primary force in our universe. If we were to spend just a little time examining our actions, we’d find that fear is at the root of nearly all we do. Many “positive” emotions are actually fear based.
Not only do we immediately recognize fear for the power we’ve given it, but we’re conditioned to react in the same predictable and programmed manner. Fear, anger, rage, greed, lust, jealousy, envy, hate, indignation; these are all controlling emotions. Of all the things they have in common, the most important for the purposes of this discussion is that they narrow our perspective and shut down our reason, logic and empathy centers.
Of course, we can’t be controlled if we’re acting in our own best interest. So fear is used to disable our natural protective instincts. This sounds contrary to the belief that fear is what saves us when we’re in danger, the example being a lion, tiger or bear (oh my) that’s about to attack us. We’re repeatedly told fear mobilizes our body for fight or flight. And while that might be so, in our reality there are rarely wild animals around every corner, only the falsely projected perception of imminent danger all the time and everywhere we look, designed to shut down our higher awareness and coping mechanisms.
The fear response fully engages our ego, pulling the emergency manager even further forward to take total command. Our ego immediately disables our ability to engage in wide ranging intellectual movement, in the same manner martial law physically and mentally confines us and with it much of our capacity to act for ourselves. Our focus becomes fully on the here and now and we think no further ahead than hours or days at best. Everything becomes black and white, good or bad, right or wrong. There are no gray areas in an emergency and very little freedom of thought.
Our fear keeps us in the immediate moment and fully on ourselves, which doesn’t allow for a larger and healthier perspective. In effect, we become infantile when we’re fearful and we look for others to fix whatever it is that we fear. Of course, that would be whatever “authority figure” is attempting to control us, often family members, employer or co-workers, corporations that use fear extensively in commercial advertising and of course our own government. But equally often, we are both the controller and the controlled.
As I’ve explored in prior chapters, we place roadblocks in front of ourselves that give us an easily recognizable excuse to fail or even not to try. Often these impediments are constructed in exactly the same way as the external ones are, using fear as the template. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve projected into the future an entire sequence of events, discussions, circumstances and results that always conclude exactly the way I wish.
In the ultimate self fulfilling prophecy, my wish is usually to do nothing or to confirm that doing nothing is the correct and proper action to take. Carefully mixed into my own false projections are those our society and our controllers also use, resulting in a subtle confirming feedback that everything is as it should be and I’m helpless, just a poor victim without control or power.
The reason I talk about fear and reality is because of the direct connection. Let’s look at this a little closer. Fear narrows our view and perspective and limits or eliminates our capacity to think. Fear is the mind killer, which brings to mind a wonderful quote from Frank Herbert’s brilliant novel “Dune” where Paul recites the Bene Gesserit litany against fear. “I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it is gone I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
In effect this is what I did with my fear in the emergency room. I let it pass through me because I realized I gave it the power and I could disempower it as well. I recognized that fear was the controller only if I gave it the power to control and then removed that same power several times. Most people, including myself, have been trained from birth to fear our fear, to run away, to avoid or bargain with the fear rather than face it for what it really is, simply a manifestation of our inner confusion and uncertainty because the “reality” in front of us is not to our liking.
Deflation of the Mind and Spirit
I often think of fear in terms of deflation. It condenses, makes smaller, reduces in scope and ability and diminishes existing reality to less than what I perceived it was prior to when I became afraid. The reality I’m experiencing is shrinking in size and scope and my understanding and awareness shrinks as well in an exponential relationship as my fear increases.
The constant stress I feel from living the inauthentic life, of constantly lying to myself in order to ignore my insanity and that of everyone and everything around me leaves me shrunken and disabled and open to manipulation and exploitation. The absence of fear, the state of being without fear, is the natural state we’re born into. An infant just born is only frightened of loud noises and falling, as are most animals. Every other fear response is taught by us to our children, including our own phobias and conditioned responses.
This understanding was brought home to me with crystal clarity one day over two decades ago when my son was very young, barely 11 months old and newly toddling. One day while wobbling near a wall, he quickly turned around and walked directly into the wall. He bounced off but somehow kept his balance and was mostly startled though not hurt in the least. He looked over to me with what appeared to be an inquiring look. “What do I do now Dad?” My wife was just walking into the room and caught a glimpse of what had just happened.
I smiled and laughed and told my son that all was well and to carry on, saying “You’re OK, there’s no problem”. It was my tone of voice and relaxed expression that he was looking for, a signal from dad showing him how to deal with the reality that wasn’t what he expected and not really to his liking. He immediately relaxed and sort of looked around to get his bearing. There was no pain or fear in his face, just confusion because he was surprised by something he didn’t expect.
My wife quickly rushed up to him in great distress, which was written all over her face and in her voice as she quickly picked him up and began checking him out. My son immediately took the visual and verbal signs as extreme danger and began to cry his lungs out, which frightened my wife, which of course frightened my son even more. Once again my son had been conditioned to be fearful of something, in this case the unexpected. And he’d just received another of what would be a long string of life lessons in fear. Be surprised or startled, become frightened and then cry like hell, reinforcing the fear.
And the most important part of his conditioning was the act of being comforted when he was frightened and crying. I couldn’t help notice that as my son screamed his head off; he was trying to reach for my wife’s breast. My son received affirmation for his actions from his mother (and vice versa for my wife, who filled the role of nurturing protector) in the form of attention, such as being held, rocked and caressed. This was quickly followed by soothing words once my wife had calmed down and topped off with a reassuring bottle and a nap. Lesson learned.
We spend the rest of our lives seeking comfort to sooth every little bump, bruise and disappointment as we fulfill our (self) assigned life roles of husband, wife, employee, boss, thinker, baker and candle stick maker. The root lesson is that we don’t cry unless we’re hurt and if we’re hurt, we should cry and seek comfort. Pain is to be avoided at all costs, including the “legitimate” pain that is part and parcel of the inward search to answer life’s questions and which comes from a realistic searching assessment and understanding of oneself.
Instead of being the best we can be, we practice pain and conflict avoidance, always alert to potential dangers we’ve been conditioned to expect and which are usually way overblown. Regardless, our emergency manger ego likes it this way, always in demand, always useful. We all understand the terms “comfort food” or “comfort shopping” and I suspect we’ve all engaged in this behavior at one point or another. Simple lessons anyone can and does learn very early and very quickly. It’s now gotten to the point where we seek comfort just to make it through the day. The boss just yelled at me and my 4G iPhone won’t be here until Friday, where’s my nipple?
I was quickly admonished by my wife for not rushing to check on our son, whom she claimed could have been seriously hurt. To this day she still doesn’t understand her role in our son’s conditioning because she doesn’t want to understand. There’s a mental block preventing this reflection with a neon sign that reads “This way only leads to pain. Stay away.” She was simply passing on to our son her conditioning, just as the rest of the tribe teaches its newest members the only thing we know. If we don’t open our minds to other possibilities, we can never grow as a species. And like the well trained hamsters we are, we’ll climb back on the wheel once we’ve been sated and comforted.
Critical Mass and the Catalyst
The title of this section brings to mind those high school chemistry experiments we conducted where we’d create a solution and then let it cool. Suddenly as if by magic the liquid would be filled with solid crystals. You can create the same effect yourself by pouring lots of sugar into a glass of hot water and stirring it until it all dissolves. Then set the glass aside to cool.
If you watch carefully, the process happens relatively quickly. When the temperature reaches a lower point, suddenly more and more of the dissolved sugar can no longer be held in suspension. It appears that a critical mass is reached and much of the dissolved sugar reforms. It precipitates out of the solution and back into a solid. Forgive me if my terms are incorrect, but it’s the concept I’m after.
There seems to be a point where, when enough people become aware of something, suddenly nearly everyone becomes aware. Or at least we’re more likely to become aware, as if cognitive roadblocks are lifted. It’s almost as if the collective consciousness reaches a critical mass and rapidly explodes into the awareness of nearly every individual conscious mind. This point seems to be reached when about 5 or 6% of the entire human population (or the sub group directly involved or affected) becomes aware of something. This also appears to be the dynamic behind the herd mentality.
Now let’s consider the power of the catalyst. Thinking back to those chemistry classes again we all remember mixing up a solution and then placing a few drops of another chemical in it. This was the “catalyst”, that additional force, stimulant or irritant that seemed to be perfectly suited in every way to dance and intertwine with the existing solution. The catalyst started a chemical reaction that precipitated change. We all remember seeing a (sometimes clear) liquid turn into a jar of wet but solid crystals as if by magic.
My prior discussion about looking within and re-discovering our natural or innate power was written to illustrate that just as all matter has the capacity to change if given the correct stimulation or “incentive”, so too do we humans. The difference is that our power lay not only in understanding this concept, but that we can initiate it at will and even control the outcome. Since we shape our reality by way of our perception, this isn’t surprising when you step back and look at the big picture. Each of us has our own path to follow and so the strength of our understanding, and thus our power, varies greatly from person to person.
But not just power varies. We all react differently to others and our reactivity will change as we grow in our understanding and comprehension of our nature and ourselves within the greater collective. To illustrate this concept, think back to that chart on the wall in the science lab of the Periodic Table and remember that all the elements were classified by atomic weight or number as well as different “groups” of elements. There are some elements that are extremely stable and others that are reactive or unstable. My point is that some elements (people, concepts, realities) have a much greater effect upon our current reality, meaning they’re more reactive to those around them than others.
Remember how the people at the commissioners meeting became not only active, but they began to teach those around them. Members of the herd became more “reactive” to others in the “universe” or herd. The herd began to learn from other members as they changed their composition and moved from being a passive element to that of a much more reactive element. So a form of leverage is realized here as the awareness grows in the collective consciousness of the herd. And awareness in oneself acts as a catalyst in others, which acts in an exponential manner to accelerate the group’s learning curve.
As our awareness and understanding grows, we move from an inactive, passive or self defeating consciousness to one that has become more aware, more informed and thus re-active. We in turn influence other people who’re orbiting us, such as family, close friends, co-workers or those who simply come within our sphere of influence, such as people around us in a store, on the bus, in the plane. Some of us who are very strong willed even have an aurora, charisma or a presence.
We’ve all been around people such as I’m describing. They have a presence, they move the room they’re in and people gravitate towards them. I’d love to hear the scientific explanation for this effect, this magnetism to borrow a term. Isn’t it interesting how our culture has words, and a broad understanding and awareness of what those words mean, for something that supposedly doesn’t exist scientifically or that science can’t or doesn’t wish to explain.
As this process progresses and awareness leads the individual to grow emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, their learning curve grows exponentially. But their composition also changes to that of a more reactive element, which in turn destabilizes those passive elements around them, thus precipitating out of that passivity more awareness. And the reaction continues as if a wild fire has exploded under drought conditions. The entire herd’s awareness moves up the exponential curve until awareness quickly peaks and encompasses everyone. This is that 5 or 6% critical mass number I talked about earlier.
While on the surface it may appear that a light switch is flipped and the herd goes from 5% to 100% awareness, what’s happening is a good old fashioned exponential curve dynamic in play. This is also the curve our madness follows and once again a careful study of history shows this to be true. The cycle in and out of the insanity is not a circle but more accurately an extremely elliptical orbit or an elongated oval, with madness on one side and the highest awareness (for this cycle) on the other side.
The public consciousness is already moving on its own. The exponential change in our collective insanity, which we’re already exhibiting and acting out, is evidence of this change. The change is already here and more is coming. This cycle is already in motion, has always been in motion. There is nothing new to learn or believe regarding this cycle progressing because it’s self evident and self explanatory. This is happening and it’s happening now.
You and I see it coming in the form of stock market gyrations, bailouts and greed, tension between the haves and have not’s, North Korean torpedoes and US aircraft carriers around Iran etc. The question is can it be affected by you and me? Can we change the path already in place? And the answer is an unqualified YES. But we cannot consciously influence what we don’t clearly see. And we must understand its composition and properties before we begin.
Changing Our Influential Orbits
Even the largest objects in the universe, galaxies, can and are affected by other objects in the universe. While the biggest effect comes from other larger or smaller galaxies, in fact everything affects everything else to some degree. The Hubble telescope has shown dramatic pictures of galaxies spinning around each other in massive multimillion year dances. And our own solar system rotates around the center of our own galaxy.
On a smaller scale, inside our own solar system, both the moon and the earth directly and continuously affect each other even though they don’t ever come in contact. Our entire known universe is one big dance of cycles within cycles within more cycles. Of particular note for this discussion are comets and small asteroids which can be bumped or influenced out of their elliptical orbit (and into a different orbit) by another influential mass, again without ever making contact.
The take away here is to understand that the current cycle of insanity can also be bumped into a different orbital path very quickly if a mass of sufficient size is brought to bear. Remember that insanities mass is already there, it already exists, in the form of our current escalating madness. This path or orbit of madness is already playing out, but it can be influenced by either a reduction in the rate of growth of our insanity and/or in the rate of growth of our sanity. We either live within our own insanity as passive players or we change our own insanity.
The momentum is already there, the mass is already present, there simply needs to be an incremental change of energy in our orbit to effect overall change. All the components are already in the jar of fluid in our social experiment and the introduction of a small catalyst will effect a massive change quickly. Another example would be the way rockets are vectored towards Mars or other planets. By making small changes and using velocity and time to their advantage, the rocket scientists can effect big changes in trajectory with little energy inputs once the mass and velocity are already present. The components are already present and we have the power to effect change. It really is that simple.
Imagination Opens the Mind to the Possible
Just as fear contracts and closes our conscious mind and spiritual being, there’s an opposite state of mind that powerfully expands ones awareness and understanding. It inflates the entire mind and body and opens our consciousness and spirituality to any and all possibilities. When using this tool, which is so easy a child can and does use it, we find it brightens and fills from within that which was barren and empty. Consider this as you would the concept of inflation, which grows “reality” larger than the prior state and encompasses more than what was “real” before.
This can all be accomplished when we use our imagination, when we imagine a thing or a state of mind or an emotion which did not exist for us in that moment until we created it within our mind and gave it form and function. Consider that everything and anything is first imagined within man’s mind, that it’s formed in our conscious and unconscious minds well before it’s ever created by our hands. Thus, without our imagination, there is no reality in the same way there is no reality for most animals. For them, there just is.
Consider that its man’s mind that creates (significant) reality out of the raw material found around and about him. Yes, I understand some animals intentionally change their environment, such as a beaver building a dam or other animals when nest building. But this building is accomplished by animal instinct, not imagination. It’s almost as if these animals are genetically imprinted and are simply following an internal map.
What I’m talking about is an exercise in imagination of our imagination, the ultimate source of all creativity and creation. This creation is both in the literal sense, where tools are fashioned in the mind first, which then directs the hands, which then creates what was not prior but will forever be now that it’s been “created”. And also in the figurative sense, for do we not create our Gods, our evil spirits, our demons and our madness within ourselves before they manifest in the reality we’ve created and that we’re creating right here, right now.
Every part of our reality was imagined prior to its creation. Or might I say that every part of our reality is first imagined within the mind before it’s fashioned by the hand. If this is so, then what exactly is reality if not a figment of our imagination? I believe this is what Einstein was really talking about when he said “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”. And it remains persistently our illusion, our reality, for that is what we wish and want. Or at least we know of no other reality, so it cannot be anything other than what we know as our reality. It’s our reality, simply because we know of nothing else that our reality could be. It’s real because it appears to be real, making it real.
While relating this concept of imagining reality to a friend, he asked me how I would explain the cave man creating cutting tools by “discovering” that sharp broken rocks could be used as knives after accidently cutting himself on a piece of sharp rock. I replied that it still required the cave man to imagine using the sharp edge to cut something else, even if the instigation for the imagination was accidently cutting himself with the sharp edge.
Cutting yourself doesn’t automatically lead to cutting deer meat. But also notice that I didn’t say the person who actually discovers or creates something was the person who first imagined it, just that it needs to be imagined in order to be created in this realty. Once something is understood by enough members of the tribe, it’s known by all members of the tribe, even if every single member isn’t consciously aware of the knowledge.
The Highest Peak in the Deepest Valley
The entire idea of linear progression of man’s intellect doesn’t mesh with known history. It’s always assumed that today’s world of cell phones and automobiles is the height of human development. And the fact that people lived in grass, mud or stone homes 5,000 years ago means they were less “advanced” than us. Why does everyone think we’re now at the apex of human progress? That the only way to measure “progress” is with our own currently devised and constructed meter stick?
I can’t think of anything that demonstrates the incredible level of hubris our culture exhibits than our belief that we’re at the height of human development. But of course we must think this way, because to do otherwise would force upon us some overdue self reflection and examination. We simply can’t doubt or even question ourselves when that hamster wheel beckons and the replacement for the B-52 bomber is waiting for funding and future pilots.
So with absolute certainty we declare we’re at the top and everything that came before us was/is inferior. If so, why is it we still can’t explain how the Egyptian pyramids were even built (a new theory is offered monthly for those who care to look) let alone most of the other huge stone and earthen pyramids throughout the world? I’ve followed this subject for over 45 years and we’re still no closer to explaining the construction process than we were 150 years ago. Lots of patched together theories are all we can offer.
Nor can we explain why they were built. Everything I’ve read regarding the various reasons proffered is based upon the belief that the builders were primitives, which is an incredibility narcissistic approach to take when trying to understand cultures long gone. All this point of view succeeds in doing is to feed our superior attitude. I come from a family of structural engineers and architects and even one I’ve talked to tells me it would be extremely difficult to replicate many ancient monuments today, even though they were made 5,000 (or more) years ago by so called “primitive” people.
And what’s with those massive ancient earth works all over the world, including North America? And let’s not even mention things like the Antikythera mechanism. The list of the unexplained is extremely long and growing. Interestingly you find very little mention of these “outliers” in the text books, other than the cursory backhanded dismissal by those experts who won’t consider information that disproves their fully funded theories. Can we say institutional bias on a grand scale? If one cares to peek, there’s a whole universe of alternative thought available if we simply look to either side of our narrow narcissistic point of view.
My point is simple. We’re trying to explain our reality looking through a small hole in a large piece of cardboard that’s facing an even bigger universe. We don’t know what we don’t know we should even know to begin knowing. There’s no evidence that “proves” there were or weren’t (more) advanced civilizations 15,000 or 40,000 years ago other than our own conceit and self righteous assurances that we’re at the peak. An assurance we must believe if we’re going to keep spinning our hamster wheels.
And there’s plenty to suggest that there might have been earlier civilizations that did not need or want “technology” as we know it today. It’s well within the realm of believability that prior civilizations could have used different technology (spend some time studying Cymatics or Tesla to name just two “outliers”) even more advanced that ours today that they used to live full and happy lives. Notice I didn’t say “productive” lives, a distinctly 19th and 20th century word and concept creation. Is not expanding my mind, my personal universe, my spirituality the ultimate productive activity? Or is the real measure of our lives “X” number of units produced per (wage and debt) slave?
The so called “rigorous scientific process” leaves little room to stray very far off the beaten path. That alone doesn’t mean it’s bad if only science would admit that most of what it “knows” constantly changes. We need to remember that science is simply one method of describing our current and potentially future “reality”. Just like “terrorism” isn’t an army or a person, “science” isn’t reality; it’s a specific description of reality.
We could travel this road for a long time coming up with what ifs. And that’s precisely what the imagination is for, to imagine what if. The insanity of our current cultural mentality is that if our machines can’t count it, weigh it or measure it, it doesn’t exist, even if it’s right there in front of us. There are clearly things in our world today that don’t fit into any scientific box, but nonetheless they “exist” and thus are real. Is it possible that the insanity I spend page after page describing is actually blinding us to what reality really is or could be?
I find it extremely disturbing that so many highly educated people claim they “know” certain things with absolute certainty when what we “know” is being revised on a daily basis. Displaying such arrogant hubris and certainty in light of all this uncertainty might be an excellent definition of insanity, wouldn’t you say? We should spend our days saying “why not” and “what if” instead of “it can’t be” or “prove it” or ”this is the way it is”. Humility in large doses is always an excellent prescription to higher enlightenment and greater happiness.
Skynet is Sentient
What’s happened to the imaginer in today’s culture, those people who spent all day just thinking about possibilities, the Buckminster Fuller’s of the world? I find it deeply satisfying that as our physicists reach the boundaries of their machines, they’re turning to philosophy and (science) fiction for answers. Or at least they’re looking for inspiration and possibly confirmation.
I’ve often wondered if our technology is not some bastardization of our imagination for it appears as if the process of reality creation has been removed from our imagination and handed to machines that make other machines, effectively where machines make our reality. But of course this isn’t so; it’s just another illusion of our imagined realty.
However, because we no longer have conscious “control” over the machines making machines, I wonder if the effect is similar to the stock market running without circuit breakers, with the high frequency trading machines running wild. Maybe our technology is a mechanical imitation of our imaginations, which is tapped into the power of our imagination. But without the soul, spirit and creative spark human’s posses.
Maybe Skynet is sentient, only we’re Skynet and Skynet is acting out our insanity. A mechanical machine lacks the essence of being human, that of spirituality and creativity. And I wonder if this is behind the soul sickness humanity is afflicted with. In our madness, we create the machines that poison ourselves, effectively completing our suicide without having to personally pull the trigger. Near underestimate the brilliance of our own madness. After all, we’ve got our best minds working on it.
One of the dangers of too much reliance and belief in technology is the abandonment of greater understandings, of knowing something without having or needing proof. Isn’t proof only needed when doubt is present? Do you doubt your own self, your own existence? Do you need proof you exist and are here, are real and sentient? Then why do you need proof that humans are all powerful and that this power comes from within? Isn’t it interesting that as we have drifted further from the truth of ourselves, we demand more and more proof of ourselves?
I’m not talking about faith in “The One” saving me from myself as many religions teach us. This religious faith in the one goes a long way towards immobilizing us by creating a brain freeze that stops us in our tracks. Thus we shift responsibility away from those who have the power, “us”, to those who wish to acquire the power, “them”. What I’m talking about is a loss of faith in us, in ourselves, in our own natural power to move mountains.
While our leaders are constantly invoking this power in their speeches, what they’re really saying is that we should hand over our natural power to them so that it can be squandered and misused, so that a few can hold the power of God’s without the wisdom that’s required to accompany it. While we may hand over our power to others, the wisdom to use this power is naturally generated and shared by all and can never be given away or repudiated, only ignored and abandoned. This disconnect, this separation of soul, spirituality, wisdom and natural power is the source of our collective and individual insanity
We’re told that humans have occupied this earth for tens of thousands of years in our current state of evolution and millions of years in lower forms. Yet tens of thousands of year ago, our ancestors seemed to have survived quite well without leaders of the type we have today. They trusted themselves to know what was needed and to understand when it was needed. They reacted instinctually without any real thought or plan. They were as plugged in to the collective consciousness as we are not. Our advancements have come at a terrible cost and it shows. Just open a window and use your eyes.
As long as we view our past, our natural history, through the narrowly focused narcissistic insane eyes of our current reality, we’ll always fail to see anything of value to be learned and utilized. I believe this blinding is done deliberately and that our loss of insight is not only debilitating, but ultimately self destructive as well as sad to behold and to live within.
We read how sick animals seem to naturally know which plants or minerals to eat that will replenish or supply what their body needs. Somewhere along the line we humans, in our rush to divorce ourselves from “bad” nature, to supposedly become more perfect and better formed, have rejected that which we are by nature; sentient beings that are conscious. Do we hate ourselves so much that we would deny what we are? Is that not insanity? Are we not driving ourselves insane by repudiating our very selves and our natural abilities?
Taking a Stand and Declaring No More!
I soundly reject the notion that man is “naturally” corrupt and evil, that we’re selfish and antisocial. Please note the emphasis on “naturally”. Left to our own devices and without distortions externally imposed and then internally adopted, we’ll always act for the greater good of our individual and collective selves, just as every other animal and plant on earth naturally does. By our nature and the nature of all on earth, we seek balance both within ourselves and with everything around us.
I’m not saying that everyone will hold hands and sing songs of love and togetherness, most certainly not in our current insane condition. This natural balance can’t occur when we’re subjected to exploitation by the strongest of the weakest, when we’re subjected to constant warfare with the have-nots compelled to fight each other to benefit the haves.
Who can truly say what is “natural” when humans have been under artificial external and internal stress for millennium. This is why I examine older indigenous cultures for a glimpse of what man was and is capable of being before he was emotionally, mentally and physically subverted and constrained.
Just because something currently “is” a certain way doesn’t mean it always “was” and always “will be” this way. I find it telling that man’s “written” history coincides with man’s forced or induced decent into the hell we’ve found ourselves in over the past 5,000 years. People talk about man being naturally violent but a careful reading of ancient and modern history shows that the “average” man will usually only fight others in large organized groups to the death when we’re either bribed, coerced, conditioned or tricked (patriotism, conscription, money etc) into fighting.
Starve some dogs while intermittently beating them for weeks, then throw them into a fenced circle surrounded by screaming people while the handlers prod them and is it any wonder they’ll fight each other? Does this mean dogs are “naturally” vicious and killers? When a population is conditioned over hundreds of generations to act in a narrow range of responses and then it’s claimed this response is natural is beyond illogical and nonsensical.
The argument falls on deaf ears when presented as self evident, yet we hear and read similar explanations for mans behavior by so called intelligent people and entities. These explanations are plainly self serving for those who benefit from a controlled and subdued population. Who benefits most from the hamster wheel? And please don’t insist that the hamster’s “living conditions” are better. Let’s pull up some charts on infant mortality, obesity, mental illness, psychotropic drug prescriptions filled per year and on and on and on.
However, there’s no doubt that if these massive outside influences were suddenly released, man would violently rebound and struggle and many would die. This reaction can’t be considered “natural” behavior either, but simply the consequence of distortions being flushed from the system. These “natural” arguments are always put forward to justify doing nothing or to rationalize continuing or increasing the distortions, usually by the oppressors or by those who profit from the oppression, including many of the oppressed. We are after all our brother’s keeper.
I believe our government, and to a lesser but no less important extent our religions, tell us we’re “naturally” this way so that we can be more easily controlled. It makes it easier to justify the destruction and exploitation of everything and everyone we come in contact with. It’s the only way we can justify ideologies such as “manifest destiny” or the white man’s taking of black and brown slaves and other so called natural or political rights. This “natural” argument is the ultimate justification for taking what the powerful want and to hell with everyone and everything else.
It’s only when we surrender ourselves to mindless manipulation by nefarious forces, when we reject our responsibility to ourselves and to others, only then do we embody this insanity and begin to act against the greater good of our body and mind. To deny this self evident fact means either the denier is the manipulator or is deeply and mindlessly engulfed by the manipulation. To say that we cannot free ourselves from our own chains because man is naturally [fill in the blank] is to openly declare our own insanity.
Reject the Artificially Imposed Limitations of Self
I reject any and all external and internal limitations on my natural power. Nor do I accept any limits on the ultimate source of my natural power, wherever and whatever that might be. Someone may place a gun to my head and physically force me to do whatever they want. But they have no control over my free will, my imagination, my thoughts and emotions, unless I give that power to them. The powers that be know this intimately, thus they use deception and illusion to induce us to hand over to them that which they cannot take.
Consider also that most so-called Gods (at least many of the Gods explained and expressed by manmade religions) demand of us by our own free will the innate and natural power we all posses. It’s generally understood by all that something that’s taken by force has much less value compared to the same thing given freely and willingly. Never again consider yourself powerless when it’s clear you posses something of such immense power and wealth that it’s constantly being manipulated and seduced from your hands.
We must return to our inner self, our spiritual roots if you will, and re-discover the power which lay within. It’s our denial of ourselves that’s driving us mad. And this madness is being expressed by us in our reality. I don’t need to say anything more than this because from where I’m standing the truth is self evident. Why would we imagine we’d need a central power to direct us toward what comes naturally if only we’d allow it.
I’m not talking about shutting down the water and sewer systems, the banking system or the power plants today or tomorrow. I’m talking about shutting down that tendency that’s artificially implanted within all of us to reject our inner being, our sense of what’s right and just. Why would we accept an external source of “wisdom” from any “authority” that’s anything but wise and naturally powerful. Shut down this foreign force or entity within and the rest will take care of itself naturally over time.
The illusion that immobilizes us is the idea that everything must change instantly. I’ve talked repeatedly about the exponential nature of both the growth in our madness and of the efforts of the Ponzi to remain in control. This same exponential dynamic will also come into play if we chose to reject the madness and turn towards sanity and healing. One doesn’t question that the snowball set downhill will gather speed because it’s self evident. The same applies to the release of our natural power source, only at this point it doesn’t appear to be self evident because we’re blind to the power, the hill, our ability and our will.
Of one thing I’m certain. Change is not only coming but it’s already here. Our madness is real and it’s increasing. Even a casual stroll down the memory lane of history shows us that madness rises and falls, in regular cycles and rhythms. And we’re on the upward slope of increasing madness, though how close to the peak is anyone’s guess because this time it’s different, this time we have not only the desire but the technological capacity to do serious damage to ourselves. Our collective suicide will be broadcast 24/7.
Pain Avoidance Never Works
I’m not predicting what I’ve outlined will be adopted globally, though I promise you it can and will happen within us if we make the attempt. I’m saying that it’s entirely possible. The question is very simple, so simple in fact that it’s almost universally rejected as simplistic. How bad do we want change? How tired are we of our own personal insanity, not to mention everyone else around us? How desperate are we to push through the pain to the other side? Only you and I can answer these questions.
The active ingredient in this recipe is the will and desire to change. And the change must start within, in first recognizing our own capacity for personal change, which leads to larger and more permanent cultural change. I’m also not saying that by following this path we can avoid the pain of change. This will be extremely painful no matter what. We’re well along the path of insanity and anyone who says pain can be avoided is not being honest with themselves and those who are listening.
In fact, the promise of pain avoidance was and still is the catalyst for the looming disaster on the horizon. We’ve consistently handed over our natural power to the few in exchange for more and more promises of a better and happier life with little to no discomfort. We’ve always known these promises couldn’t be fulfilled. I personally believe we’ve driven ourselves mad by our delusional effort to avoid that which we all know deep down is inevitable if we continued to follow this path.
What’s coming no matter what is massive change and with it deep personal and social distress. The question is simple. Do we experience great pain along with death and dislocation and wind up in the same place on the hamster wheel? Or do we wish to exert our influence upon our insanity to effect long lasting social and cultural change with the cost being the same or less pain and dislocation?
I know the process I’ve outlined can and does work. This knowing comes from deep within and from personal experience. And I’ve watched and helped dozens of other people successfully follow the same path. Considering where I’ve been and the terrible prospects for my future at my lowest point (toes up in a month) my journey back might be considered remarkable.
But it’s only remarkable because of the extremely low expectations we have for ourselves and each other. And I submit our expectations are low not because they reflect what we’re capable of or what our reality could be, but because of what we’ve been conditioned and trained to believe. If our current reality is merely an illusion and I contend it is, we can decide to create any reality we desire.
This concept, this collective understanding, this deep inner knowledge is what keeps our insane leaders up at night and pacing the floors. For while you and I might not believe in ourselves, they most certainly believe in what we’re capable of. Finding ourselves, finding within ourselves what’s always there and has always been there, is their worst nightmare. Waking from our own nightmare will create theirs.
I find this supremely ironic because while we prepare for disaster, they’re also preparing for the end. Just not the same ending we are. They’re preparing for our awakening and with it their removal from power. They’re preparing for our inevitable accession precisely as our own belief in our awakening is at its lowest point. They’re extremely afraid of us exactly when we’re at our strongest point in our elliptical cycle but our weakest point spiritually and emotionally. At least someone has faith in us.
Self Will Run Riot
As I said previously I was one of those who visited deep emotional instability, who knocked at the gates of hell and stayed for quite a while. And then one day I made the personal decision that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, of dealing with my own insanity as well as everyone else’s. My personal mountain appeared to be overwhelming because I wanted to be the victim. I wanted everything with no effort and no cost. I had given up before I’d even started to make the changes needed because I’d convinced myself that change was impossible.
If I couldn’t have everything on my own terms with no effort and no responsibility, I wouldn’t even try. I would sit like a petulant child in my own excrement and cry for the nipple the terrible cruel world had ripped from my mouth. Why me, why now, why this, why not? My own self will had run riot, propelling me to the bottom of the septic tank pity pot. But all was not lost for I was queen of my septic tank and king of all septic tank dwellers. Misery loves company and I made sure I surrounded myself with other emotionally and physically damaged people. You know, for moral comfort and the intellectual exercise.
Then, for a thousand reasons and for just one, I gained the courage to take that tiny first step towards sanity and slowly built upon the initial success. I tried again and again, not always succeeding but still building experience, awareness and understanding each day. I’ve witnessed many others come back from even deeper into the abyss and I’ve come to understand that there’s never a point of no return as long as we’re breathing. There’s always the opportunity for reversal if the desire is great enough.
It’s not about finding the resolve to fix everything everywhere and all at once because that’s impossible. It’s about working on ourselves, one step at a time, each responsible for themselves and themselves only. It’s about baby steps, not giant leaps. It’s about humility and empathy and about forgiving ourselves first, then those we love the most and those we hate the most.
It’s about accepting finally and completely that our very best efforts, the supreme output of every man, woman and child on this earth has created this stinking filthy cesspool. It’s time to find another way because this one failed eons ago. We’ve just been in denial about its failure up till now, when even our dead taste buds can no longer ignore the foul taste of self inflicted defeat. Believe it or not, this is a good thing. When we reach the end our rope, suddenly there’s only one choice to make.
I’ve been reading the comments left by my readers as each Chapter was published. There are many extremely smart people here on ZH, much smarter than me in many cases. But at times I’ve been a bit disappointed because while there were many discussing the extent or definition of our insanity or how it’s manifesting or even in-depth spiritual and philosophical explanations and criticisms, rarely did I see anyone stepping up and assuming personal responsibility to begin the change. Though there were a few notable exceptions and we know who they are because they were mostly ignored.
All these brilliant minds and yet so few willing to do the work of change. But of course, this is because the problem isn’t me, it’s everyone else. I’m already perfect, or at least nearly so. OK, maybe I’m flawed but still it’s not me, it’s you, it’s them, it’s they. I can only go so far without the others. I would start rowing but the others are holding me back. A thousand and one reasons for telling everyone else what their problem is so we can avoid looking at what our problem is. We’re all passing the buck and kicking the can while we complain about the “authorities” passing the buck and kicking the can. How apropos!
Everyone’s in the same septic tank I’m in. The only difference is our capacity for denial of our individual condition. Maybe I have a nicer TV or a newer car or more money or whatever we chose to distinguish between our little filthy fiefdoms. Only when we clear the filthy muck from our eyes and remove our nose plugs will we finally understand that we’re all in this together and each of us is responsible for our own little piece of the puzzle. Only when we want the solution more than the problems will we begin to turn the corner.
But even that doesn’t excuse each and every one of us from making those changes starting within, here and now, today and tomorrow, regardless of what my spouse or kids or boss or government does or doesn’t do. We are responsible. I am responsible. You are responsible. Get over it and get moving.
Save Yourself, then Save the Others
Let’s imagine your married with kids, are reasonably well off and while the economy’s doing poorly you’re OK or maybe even doing well. It’s the holidays and you have many of your extended family staying at your home over the long weekend. After staying up late talking and reminiscing, everyone finally hits the sack with people sleeping on floors, couches, wherever there’s space.
Around 4 AM you wake up. Your head is killing you and you can’t think straight. Through the painful haze you hear an alarm and somewhere in the back of your mind you recognize that it’s the carbon monoxide detector. So here’s the simple question. Do you get out of bed and walk alone to safety or do you do everything in your power to awaken the others, regardless of how difficult it might be? Do you make a determined effort to save as many as you can, including carrying or dragging family members out the door, even if it might mean you succumb to the deadly gas? Or do you walk to safety and do nothing else?
You’re the first one awake. No one else is. What’s your responsibility? What do you do now?
Do you even consider not helping anyone else? Do you just save yourself because the task looks damn near impossible and you’re all alone? You can’t help everyone, right? You dragged the wife and kids outside, but it looks hopeless doesn’t it? I mean you’re barely alive. It doesn’t even look like many of those left inside are still breathing. Let someone else go back in that’s more qualified. “I took care of my immediate family. I tried to shake some of the others but they wouldn’t wake up. And I’m exhausted and frightened and my head hurts.”
Of course, we know you’d go back in and you’d do everything in your power to save the rest of your family members. Why? Because they’re family? Because they’re valuable to you? Because you love them? Or maybe because you could never live with yourself if you didn’t at least try? Would you hesitate or would your response be obvious and natural? If your answer is anything but to go back in and save the others, you might as well just stop reading right here and click on another article. Because I’m not talking to you and we both know it.
So it’s pretty clear you’d go in for the rest of your family, right? But what would you do if it was your neighbor who was in trouble? Would you do everything in your power to save as many as you could if it was just friends or neighbors? How about if it was someone who just moved in next door and you’ve never met them? Would you simply call the police and fire department and then sit on the curb and wait for the “authorities” to tell you that you did everything you could and you did the “right” thing in a difficult situation? This is where we find out if we’re lying to ourselves and if we have any moral courage.
This isn’t a guilt trip because guilt can’t be given, only discovered or uncovered within. If we’re feeling guilty, it’s because we’re either doing or not doing something we’re feeling guilty about. I don’t give any guilt, I just present situations that might highlight guilt we’re already either feeling or in denial about. What I just illustrated above was an example of the distance we’ve created between ourselves and our fellow man. This is one of the results of huddling night after night in front of the boob tube for our daily propaganda, conditioning and cultural isolation exercises.
This is the leverage used against us by the powers that be to defeat our natural tendencies to save ourselves and our fellow human beings. Divide and conquer, isolate and indoctrinate, elevate our opinion of our own self worth and value while at the same time diminishing others in our own eyes. We wouldn’t think twice about saving our immediate family but we would seriously question whether saving the person down the street is even plausible or worth considering at all. Let someone in authority deal with it. So we pass our responsibility on to “the authorities” because we’re not responsible.
My friends, we are the authorities. We’ve called the police and they aren’t coming. We’ve called the judges and prosecutors and they aren’t coming. We’ve called the regulators and they aren’t coming. We’ve called our elected officials and they aren’t coming. Who do we call now? If we can’t see the obvious answer to that question and then act on it, we’re lacking moral courage and there’s just no way to sugar coat that ugly truth. There are three choices here that I can discern. We have moral courage and we’re willing to act on it. We want moral courage and might act if we had it. Or we don’t have it and/or we don’t want it. Everything else is just splitting hairs and hiding from ourselves.
We know deep down what needs to be done. I’ve laid out the case for action and we can either endlessly argue over the details and responsibilities or we can accept that something has to be done and it must be done by us now. This responsibility can’t be passed to someone else because there is no one else. There’s just you and I and anyone else who’s reading this. No one else matters because this is a conversation between you and me. There’s no hiding from ourselves though we try like hell. And every time we hide we make ourselves a little sicker, a little more insane and a little more psychotic.
Of course, we can all look away as if we didn’t see what we just saw. We can pretend we didn’t understand or it was directed towards someone else or whatever we need to do in order to swallow the blue pill and fall back into delicious denial. We can shuffle around arguing about details and plans and whatever busy work we can concoct in order to allow ourselves to live with the knowledge that we don’t have the moral courage to do anything about this. We can come up with ten thousands excuses for why we’re sitting on our hands while our distant cousin or our friend down the street slowly turns blue from carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s ugly truth time and we know it.
I won’t end this without at least a few words about those who sing the doom and gloom song, declaring that we can’t do anything about the problem and we’re all screwed. I’m not surprised at all that someone like this would visit the Zero Hedge web site, a community most certainly about hope disguised as a whistleblower web site. Once again, I’ve passed down this road and so I’m speaking only of myself. If anyone finds value from my (self) description I’ll be delighted, but this has been going on far too long without being discussed.
I suppose this hopeless point of view might be correct, that we might all be doomed and nothing can be done. But if this is so, it brings to mind a few questions. Why does Zero Hedge scream day after day at the top of its lung about the corruption and abuse if Tyler, Marla and company didn’t think it might do some good? More importantly, why would the doom and gloom proponents visit such a web site unless something deeper’s going on? I won’t point fingers because it serves no purpose. What I will do is speak strictly about myself because I’ve traveled this road before.
There was a time when I felt nothing could be done, that it was hopeless and the ugly painful end was inevitable and certain. Quite frankly, I would visit web sites like Zero Hedge because I was secretly, almost desperately, hoped that something might be done about this shitty deal we’ve been handed. And I wanted to believe that the people on these web sites might be the ones who would initiate the change. At times I wanted to believe that someone, something, anything could make a difference. I wanted hope so badly I could cry. Please, let there be a way out. Please.
But I also didn’t have the moral courage to join the minority, to go against to flow by declaring my independence and then acting on it. It was easier to hide among the crowd and proudly show my “crowd courage”, to be a paper tiger by screaming and crying and moaning while doing nothing. In truth, I lacked the personal moral courage to act independently, where the greatest effect and leverage would be realized but where the greatest personal danger also lay. It was so much easier to settle into my conditioning, to give up before even beginning, to admit defeat before ever lifting a finger in opposition. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Isn’t that human nature?
I was endlessly cycling through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief, though the public face I usually presented would be one of false acceptance. I would pretend that declaring we were doomed was acceptance, but in reality it fit perfectly with my desire to be powerless and not responsible. It allowed me to avoid the need for moral courage while appearing to be resolute and “practical”. I was a public coward disguised as a truth speaker.
I didn’t need to offer solutions because my solution was to huddle in the corner and wait for the end. Any counter arguments were dismissed with a wave of the hand. “Doomed I tell you, doomed. Only a fool tries to move a mountain.” Of course, I didn’t want to move it, to be responsible for even trying to move it. I wanted an excuse to take care of myself and no more and I found it.
But I also wanted to secretly swim with others of my kind, to seek confirmation from other doom and gloom adherents that I was correct, that we’re all screwed and the end is near. And most importantly, that there was nothing we could do about it, thus confirming what I wanted to hear, that we were powerless and impotent and that I was doing nothing wrong by doing nothing right. I wanted to satisfy myself that I was correct as I cowered in my hole. I wanted moral absolution for my morally indefensible inaction.
I needed to hear that I could do nothing about the problems and it would be insane to even try. The only way I could live with myself was to be assured that I was morally right to do nothing other than to save my own ass and to hell with everyone else. I was a coward and I desperately wanted to believe I wasn’t a coward. “Please, someone agree with me that it’s hopeless and futile to resist. Tell me what I want to hear so I can live with my wretched self.”
I wanted confirmation that my missing moral courage was in fact not missing. So I’d puff up my chest and strut my stuff, feeling superior because I knew more than my comatose neighbors. In righteous indignation I’d scream for blood, demanding “someone” do something about these problems. See me pointing at all those bad guys. See, I really am doing something about all these problems. I’m leading because I’m screaming. Isn’t that how it works? It’s everyone else who’s screwing up. I’m absolved from actually doing anything because I’m showing everyone else the bad guys. I was first awake so now it’s everyone else’s turn to do the “work”.
Of course, when the call for volunteers went out, I was too busy screaming. Besides, I’ve got too much to lose. Let others with less to lose go first. I’m worth more. Isn’t that exactly what our culture said for centuries, and still says now, as we slaughter one culture after another? That “their” lives are worth less than ours, that they’re expendable, whether it’s in our wars or in our factories.
It seems I learned my lessons well for after taking a close look at myself I didn’t see much difference between myself and “they” or “them”. They send others to fight their wars of oppression and conquest and I wanted to send others to fight my war of resistance. Which is what I was really saying when I declared it was hopeless. “Don’t count on me buddy, find some other fool to take the lead.” It’s not pretty to look in the mirror and see such dishonesty. This was example “A” of my personal display of genuine imitation moral courage.
After all, how much courage did it take for me to sing the victim blues and declare that all was lost? I mean, what a great justification for ignoring my neighbor’s silent scream for help as I horde my resources and ignore the floating bodies and decomposing corpse’s. What I really wanted was vocal moral support for my lack of moral courage. After a hard look in the mirror, I had a simple choice. Avoid mirrors or welcome change.
I understand my words will be considered harsh by some, but please remember that I’m only talking about myself. It’s clear my views are somewhat unique and don’t apply to everyone. It’s not my intention to call out anyone specifically but rather to call out everyone together. Someone needed to stick their head out of their fox hole so it might as well be me.
I’m relating my experiences in public so that others may learn from my terrible mistakes and possibly empathize and identify. I’m simply expressing an opinion, which is no more or less valid that yours. If the reader feels that I’m directly challenging him or her, maybe it’s time to sit down and have a heart to heart with your inner self and your ego. That’s where I started.
First find yourself and then find the others.
Begin the process of clearing the mind and body by starting the de-programming. Shut off the TV and Radio now. Even if you don’t think you’re addicted to it or affected by it, go ahead and turn it off anyway. I think you’ll be surprised. Argue all you want about your ability to filter out the propaganda but if you haven’t followed my suggestion to read up on subliminal messaging, advertising and propaganda you don’t know what you’re up against. Clear it all out of your daily routine and within two weeks I promise you things will begin to clear substantially.
Challenge yourself on a daily basis. If I’m not suffering a major cognitive dissonance on a monthly basis and a minor one weekly, I’m not pushing myself enough to grow. Exercise your mind by pushing your comfort zones and your preconceived notions. Purchase a book on a subject you absolutely reject as bunk and read it with an open mind. You don’t learn squat from reading stuff you’re already familiar with and in agreement with. Staying in your comfort zone just feeds your confirmation bias.
And if you think you might be addicted to Zero Hedge, you are. If the site goes down for 30 minutes and you’re starting to get nervous, you need to broaden your news and commentary sources. Zero Hedge can be bad for anyone if we’re using it to feed our confirmation bias and to build false courage. I always spend at least 45 minutes a day reading main stream media sites to see what we’re being told because occasionally the main stream media does tell the truth. I’m not saying ZH is bad at all, just that nothing should be your sole source of information. Nothing!
Build a bullshit filter, not a solid firewall. Learn to discern between what propaganda is and what group think is. This requires you to stretch your legs and read things that might disturb you. Do it anyway. I’m constantly expanding into personally unexplored areas of non consensus thinking. “Why not” should be the first words used when approaching anything new. Once you begin to examine and question with an open mind, you’ll be shocked to discover how much of your “personal” opinion is actually beliefs seeded and implanted by others.
Don’t work alone. And the ZH community does count as working with others. We all need a flesh and blood compatriot who will walk with us down some scary roads and who will challenge our thinking. If you find someone you agree with all the time, find someone else because the prior relationship was intellectually incestuous. I want to exercise my thought process, not play patty cake with someone who plays nice and won’t hurt my feelings. No more lies.
Question everything and everyone, starting with this article and everything else you intellectually consume. Drag out all those comfortable assumptions and beliefs and give them a good scrubbing. Honestly examine them in the bright light of the noon sun and challenge them like you would a government spokesman. If your thinking is sound, it can withstand anything. If it wilts, time to open the mind to alternatives. If you can’t be honest here, that just proves you’re hopeless, not the situation.
Stop sounding like a fire alarm. The reason I couldn’t initially wake people up was simple; I sounded like a maniac to them. All I was to those comfortably asleep was an out of control fog horn that never shut up and never offered solutions. Be compassionate and considerate. It’s impossible to take years of knowledge and cram it into a frightened and emotionally closed person so don’t even try. Use the carrot and throw away the stick.
If the person isn’t responsive after a few tries, walk away and stop pushing. The more you push, the harder they’ll resist. The instructor will appear when the student is ready. Move on to the next person. Find those who’re receptive to your gentle message and encourage more learning in small doses. You’re looking to build alliances, not massage your ego by forcing someone to agree with you. From long experience, I’ve found only 2 out of 10 will be willing to listen and 1 out of 10 will actually want to learn more. This is to be expected and this is the way it is. Don’t fight it, just move on. You didn’t wake up over night and neither will they.
Set realistic goals and revise them as you progress. You’re not going to change the world tomorrow and you won’t change yourself in 6 months or even 6 years. It’s a continuous process. Accept this as fact. Count on the increasing numbers of people who are waking to do the heavy lifting. You just focus on the path directly in front of you and your partner. Let the bigger issues sort themselves out on their own for now. You’re not Superman, thought you’re ego will tell you otherwise. Start small and build experience. You’re in training here. You’re not expected to run the mile in 6 minutes if you’ve spent the last 5 years on the sofa. Take it easy but be honest regarding your effort. You’re only bullshitting yourself if you try.
You’ll find it extremely difficult when family members start (or continue) to resist. And they will be upset because to them it appears you’re the problem because you’re the changing party. Don’t destroy relationships over this, but don’t give up either. Respect their right to stay in denial but don’t enable their denial. You have a right to do as you please and you shouldn’t hide your activities because your spouse becomes upset. Their anger or concerned reaction is the manifestation of their cognitive dissonance caused by your change. You’re doing this for yourself first, then your family, then your community, then your country. That’s the order so stick to it.
Continue to prepare. I never said we shouldn’t prepare. All I said was that self preservation should not be our exclusive activity. Follow the airplane oxygen mask rule. Place yours on yourself first, then turn and help the others. If all you think about is your mask or that of your family, you’re out of balance and drifting back into the insanity. You have a responsibility to yourself and your family first, but then your community. Shoulder that responsibility.
Speaking of community, become active and get involved. I’m not talking about politics though that’s fine if you wish. I’m talking about community growth and support. Have you ever attended a local council or city managers meeting? Have you ever volunteered at a soup kitchen or a woman’s shelter or to pick up litter on the side of the road? This is your community. Treat it like its valuable and it will become valuable. Support it and it will support you. Give first, not last.
There’re plenty of ZH people and other web sites who have great ideas on how to fight back that I didn’t cover here. There’s no right or wrong way to walk this path, only an honest or dishonest way. Start small and work your way into the change you want to see realized. Don’t become buried in projects because you’ll soon experience buyer’s remorse and burn out. The world isn’t going to end tomorrow, though at times it may feel that way, so conserve and sustain. Work steadily and continuously rather than in bursts of manic activity, which is usually followed by depression because you don’t see immediate change. Slow goes the turtle over the hare.
So now it comes down to you and me and him and her and they and them. Whether or not we as a collective or you as an individual decide to make a change will not affect my path or my willingness to continue. What about you? I asked the following question a few chapters ago and it bears repeating. What are you going to do about this? What am I going to do about this? What are we going to do about this? If not now, when? If not us, who?
I constantly remind myself that we have a few things to do today. First we find ourselves and then we find the others.
Cognitive Dissonance - 06/23/2010
BTW, I pulled out that x-ray of the nail I shot into my leg (which I talked about in Chapter 4) and I thought you might be interested in seeing it. It really was amazing how well it all worked out. The orthopedic surgeon told me that if I had shot the nail an inch or so lower I would have blown out the back of my knee or worse. And if the nail had entered an inch further left or right, I would have split or shattered the leg bone. He said in all seriousness that if I was going to shoot myself in the leg, I couldn’t have picked a better spot. Simply amazing and something I’ll never forget. It was definitely a learning opportunity.