By Mr. and Mrs. Cognitive Dissonance
(This article did not start out as a collaborative effort by Mrs. Cog and I, but it most certainly ended that way. For well over a year now we have both wanted to write on this topic, but were unable to do so for a variety of reasons. Funny how things work out when like minds work together. For those of you who have read both Mrs. Cog and I, the mixing of our voices takes on a tone different than either of us brings to the table individually. Enjoy! - Cognitive Dissonance)
When we initially awaken and realize life is not what we were taught, inner alarms scream for our attention. Even though we can sense a danger we didn’t previously perceive, we cannot judge how close it is. There is no scale to measure proximity, only the palpable fear of a real and present danger.
Naturally, most of us will desperately grasp for answers. How can this be? What does this mean? What do I do now? And who is to blame?
We need answers! Or at least we think we do.
As we search for answers, we find there is no shortage of players who are more than willing to supply us with all the answers to our now life changing questions. Most of these people speak with a voice of absolute authority, stating factoids and tidbits with complete certainty and conviction. Naturally they insist their truth must be your truth, for only a fool and still asleep sheep would reject self evident 'truth'.
Scared and desperate for answers, we eagerly listen to those who are brimming with explanations. We quickly discover the alternative media, where much of this information is promoted, is populated by a whole herd of people who arrived long before us, thereby seemingly affirming this new stream of stories and explanations as correct. Many of us find ourselves quickly, even gratefully, moving from our old herd to the new one.
Similar in structure to the world we are now rejecting, the alternative herd has many factions, some quite cohesive, others more fractured and splintered. There are survivalists, preppers, the woo-woo crowd, the intellectuals, the political activists, the militants and so on. There appear to be an unlimited number of cubbyholes where all sorts of kooks, geeks, homesteaders, healers and revolutionaries hang out. Just when you think you've seen it all, you see another.
Within these groups there are many opposing approaches and opinions. Often, the same silliness and unnecessary drama we all experienced in junior high school, the office or perhaps within uncomfortable family situations, exists in these new venues where we find ourselves seeking answers.
The same propaganda techniques originally used to keep us in the dark about life are also employed in the alternative media. Scare tactics, faulty reasoning, ad hominem attacks and the always popular “science has proved…” or “history has shown…” neatly sum up tidy arguments for why you should now view life a particular way.....their way.
We tell ourselves we're looking for truth. However, “the” truth is singular. The alternative media arrogantly claims a monopoly on truth in no uncertain terms. No chance they could be wrong, intentionally infiltrated with misinformation. Right? There are few along the way who will tell you there may be many truths, or that the truth for you may different than for me.
Eventually we find some perspective, even if it's not the warm and fuzzy narrative the mainstream media often provides, then swallow hard and carry on. We create a new narrative to tell ourselves in order to try to make sense of all this new information. We begin to change some of our behaviors. Some of us change everything. Or at least we think we do.
As many of our readers know, after considering ex-patting (moving to another country) we chose a drastic lifestyle change and moved to our small mountain homestead here in Southwestern Virginia. By way of blogging about our experiences, we have talked to dozens of individuals and families who have either physically relocated or introduced at times radical changes into their lifestyle as a result of what they learned.
After several years of conversation a very interesting pattern has slowly emerged.
We prepare and ready ourselves for ( fill in the blank ). And we wait. It feels similar to a long wait at the oncologist’s office, a place we most certainly don’t wish to be. We dash to our appointment to see the doctor, then wait and wait in the reception area. We hurry to complete additional tests, then we wait and wait for the lab results. We rush to infuse the toxic drug cocktail, then we wait and and wait for the terrible side effects, all while praying for remission. It's always hurry up and wait.
None of us actually want what we are waiting for. But if it must happen, hurry up and bring it on so we can rip the band-aid off and move on.
Collapse feels so close, and yet so far. How long can it remain upright?
The socioeconomic collapse, the disintegration of social and individual morals, the unraveling of the (perceived) American Dream, the fall of the American Empire, the foreseeable and potentially catastrophic interruption of goods and services, fossil fuel shortages, even the complete domination by the military/industrial/financial/big pharma complex has all turned into one big ball of hurry up and wait.
While we wait, each of us reassesses the costs and benefits of many of our previous decisions, then quietly adjust our inner narrative to align with our new findings. Lots of wiggle room can be found here to be used and abused.
Whether or not we are well adjusted to our new routine and altered mentality, we begin a fierce bargaining process with ourselves. This can often be heavily influenced by friends and family not being on board with the extreme changes we have made to our lives. Little or no personal affirmation can be garnered anymore from our formerly dependable emotional allies. Suddenly we are alone.
When we were an accepted member of the “normal people” herd, and in particular our own personal pod, we could get a quick pat on the back and the needed approval simply for wearing the right outfit, gossiping well at the water cooler or rooting for the right sports team. We could extract glowing admiration and unlimited confirmation endorphins if our display of wealth through luxury cars, fancy houses and high end accessories showed we excelled over others. Even the lowly trailer park has its own version of this tawdry behavior.
But then we woke up a bit and nothing looked as it once did. Worse, no matter how badly we want to be reinserted back into the matrix, we cannot un-know what we now know. Even if we pretend to ignore it, we can't put the toothpaste back into the tube.
So we trudge forward. And we continue to hurry up and wait. And wait. And wait some more.
Now, collapse is a funny thing. Ultimately it is very personal, even though we tend to see it more as a process or societal event. For those who have already lost their job, their home or the secure structure that once defined their life, the collapse is already here. And those slowly bleeding out clearly see the collapse just around the corner.
This demoralizing 'reality' contrasts with those who still live within an insulated environment, often those who still receive massive infusions of government sourced money. For them, there has been no dramatic change in their reality. "What collapse?" they say. "I see nothing of the sort."
We find them living within the ever expanding Washington DC suburbs, the closest you can physically get to the government cash register. Or the many college towns still bursting with economic activity paid for mostly with government backed student loans. And at hundreds of hospitals, along with the cluster of doctors and specialists offices huddled around them, all fed by direct infusion of health insurance, welfare, Obamacare and Big Pharma payments. There are many other examples, but you get the picture.
People who claim some awareness of things not being right will point their finger at the so-called sheep who trudge along day after day unthinkingly supporting the slowly decaying systems. And most of us who point fingers are quick to declare we are not them. We understand the evils now. We know it is unsustainable. We have taken action to address what we see happening. Whether this is actually true is beside the point. We believe it to be true, therefore it is 'truth'....for us.
So we continue to hurry up and wait. And wait. And wait some more.
At first, the extended waiting is a blessing in disguise. We have time to maneuver. We can make preparatory purchases and adjust our behavior. All of those answers we embodied to create our version of the truth can be acted upon. It’s all a grand bargaining with, and within, ourselves.
As part of the bargaining we might tell ourselves if we grow food and preserve it, we will not go hungry if ( fill in the blank ) happens. You know, so we can sleep a little better at night. Or if we grow those herbs and stock up on these teas, essential oils and some colloidal silver, we can treat or prevent many illnesses, thereby reducing our need for hospitals and doctors. Perhaps we purchase a quality axe and various other manual tools to back up the chain saw and other gas dependent conveniences we all take for granted. We should be sleeping even better now.
So we continue to bargain with ourselves in order to move forward. But ultimately, we are still waiting. And waiting. And waiting some more.
For many, the waiting becomes exhausting. And with exhaustion comes fatigue. We refer to this as collapse fatigue.
Believe it or not, this feeling is entirely voluntary. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best and ALWAYS move forward.
We have found many who had previously relocated have chosen to return to the cities or burbs where they can once again experience easy access to modern conveniences and social networks. There they find the affirmation they long for, which often comes from attending social events, shopping and getting together with friends and family for fun activities. By returning, perhaps they can get back to a more 'normal' existence since the crash/collapse/interruption of systems never seems to arrive.
Others who never relocated, but did make major changes to their way of life, grow weary, a bit embarrassed even, and are throwing in the towel and returning to more comfortable and convenient ways. Turning the back yard into a garden was a great deal of work compared to popping down to the local Stop & Shop for a store roasted chicken and a 'fresh' salad in a bag. Don't forget the false facade called dressing.
Besides, the neighbors were always making rude comments and no one was supportive. Worse, because zoning laws prevent or severally limit raising livestock, solar panels on the roof and rain collection systems, how self-sufficient could they have become anyway? At least that's what they tell themselves.
And then there are those who adjust well to their new life. They show few signs of fatigue or regret for turning their lives upside-down. We think the difference is that at some point, either before or during their self transformation, they began moving towards the concept of a more physically rewarding and emotionally healthy future, rather than running away from perceived dangers, real or otherwise. Geographic cures rarely work, while personal transformation often does.
By moving toward an embodied vision of what it means to live well, to be safe and secure, life stops depending upon specific events to occur, or other people waking to join our new herd, for us to be happy, healthy and well adjusted to our new surroundings. When we begin to create our own reality because we want to, rather than because we feel we need to, only then can we free ourselves from the need for constant confirmation that anchored us to the self destructive world we once lived within.
Once we free our mind from the ties that bind us to our chains, we can more easily walk away from the need to be constantly confirmed in an old way of life that is neither natural nor healthy. The reason we desperately seek affirmation is because we all know deep down within our inner being that the old ways are addictive and self destructive. This truth is self evident, regardless how strong our denial may be.
The common thread for those who awaken, yet do not suffer from collapse fatigue, seems to be finding some degree of inner peace. The way forward is always rough, full of roadblocks and potholes, with two steps forward and one (or two) back. It can be a lengthy and frustrating process if we are reluctant participants.
The biggest stumbling block appears to be pangs of loneliness and isolation, the feeling no one really sees life as we do. Most of us find it very hard to function without the affirmation of the herd to assure us we are on the right track. We are programmed from birth to crave verification, especially when what we wish verified is contrary to our very nature.
This pretty much sums up how most feel nowadays.
But at the end of the day, just before we fall asleep, ultimately we are alone in our head. Upon awakening, it remains the same. When facing decisions throughout our day, no matter who else is in our life, we are the only one inside our mind thinking and reasoning through the choices. Once we accept we are indeed ultimately alone, we come to realize we, all of us, are united together in our aloneness. It is then we cease to be lonely. It turns out to find the others we must look within.
By doing so we free ourselves to think critically and outside the conditioned confines of the box, regardless of whether we think others will approve or not. Our point of view no longer needs to be validated solely by the crashing of the system we still quasi operate within and depend upon. The urgency to hurry fades as we are no longer on an endless treadmill to beat the coming ( fill in the blank ). This is the result of heading here and not away from there. Since there is no waiting, there is no collapse fatigue.
If we can perceive our awakening as the gift it truly is, then begin the self work needed to achieve some degree of inner peace, this new state of mind, body and soul enables each of us to get back to the business of living life rather than just gaming ways to survive it. For some of us, it feels as if we are living life for the very first time. Free to question everything without being required to accept anything, we can begin to create a new reality regardless of our geographic location.
After experiencing the initial blossoming of true inner peace, it becomes contagious and feeds upon itself. We give ourselves permission to reject stories and narratives we are told without the pressing need for an alternative 'truth' to fill the resulting vacuum. Suddenly the carnival barkers who permeate the alternative media lose much of their luster and credibility.
We no longer posses a critical need to know exactly what happened, or is presently happening, only that what we were and are told is not truthful. This point of view holds true for much of what we learned in history class, about 'our' government, modern medicine and even spirituality. We can free ourselves, bit by bit, to accept we may never know the 'truth' about many important things. By doing so, we now travel the previously unseen path of genuine awareness and discovery. This in turn opens up sweeping panoramas and a greater understanding of a world once again new to us.
Perhaps the ancients are correct. It never really was about the destination, but rather the journey to live, learn and grow.
Mr. and Mrs. Cognitive Dissonance
The way forward. No unicorns, just glorious reality in all its splendor.