I’m questioning my sanity today. As I step back, it may be more fair to say I’m examining my self-view. Has it grown? Or is it dormant and just a carryover from my childhood years ago? How fresh and valid is my perspective on life and how things work and how people operate? It seems dark sometimes, how we need so many rules and systems to protect ourselves from each other and ourselves. Am I jaded, healing, and getting back up again, ready to face the world?
I’ve seen into this discord between the narrative and what’s happening in front of me since childhood. Are my memories flawed? As an artist, as a researcher into the human condition, I’ve dedicated an investment years from my lifetime into study, watching, isolation and examination. There’s not a lot of validation in the world coming coming back my way today at this phase of my process this time out. There’s plenty of rejection from my past trial and error even when I managed to make it to the top a few times in my various roles, acts and experiments. So it is a gut wrenching measure, a test of what one really believes and holds true.
Following a brutal sequence of self-examination today, I stumbled as I often do … stumble that is … across a headline of a recent event that struck the media recently here the Midwest of the United States. Then I stumbled across another headline which struck me as even more newsworthy and devastating – tragedy for over 30 people in Pakistan. Both in places I hold dear from my past travels, loves and acquaintances. These offered a brief reprieve from my inner torture, examination or attention – however you might like to spin it.
Since childhood I’ve held that truths would transcend or hold in one place on earth to another, across all biases, races and cultural boundaries, across all rules or lies that may surround the human beings – that ultimately their behaviors would reveal what’s really going on. So I quickly zoomed away from my interior focus to these two places, circumstances and events to apply my rational, test my theories and such.
Why would five individuals who have positions of authority in the “greatest country on Earth” beat a defenseless, restrained person to death – a person who actually resembled all five of them on many levels?
So in response to this event, I asked myself: Do people function in the moment at different levels of intelligence, or have varying motives or interests? Is Gurdjieff’s assertion of many “i”‘s and a few “I”‘s all that crazy? Were these five murders acting from their training or education? Were they possessed by demons? Didn’t they know they “shouldn’t” do this?
Most people shoot a quickly “yes, that’s obvious” and move on. Some may ask who are your talking about? Or who is “Gur-Jeff…”? Occasionally someone says “good question!”, then they speak into social media or their audience in life as if they are addressing a uniform body of people who agree with them and express outrage for those who don’t agree with them. If they’re arrogant or maybe even justifiably super smart and informed, they may speak down to others – literally or in their perspective and tone. Or then, If they have an inferiority complex, maybe they don’t say anything or they speak from inferiority through the lense of guilt and shame. Or, are they speaking from a chip on their shoulder, you can count on something they say or deliver to get caught in your craw.
Of course in this day and age, we can tune into whatever we want to hear. You can stop reading this and find something more relevant to your needs or preferences at any point in time. There’s never been a time where more alternatives for your attention were available. It’s become incredibly valuable to know how to hold your attention, to know how you think and feel, to keep you tuned in. Advertisers and politicians are particular keen to hold your mental space, your attention and thoughts, as well as have a data point, a record of it to validate this victory. So how do we hold your attention to the uncomfortable?
Can we agree that we all operate at some level of in a spectrum of awareness? A sixty year old clearly operates differently than a 12 year old. Really? Is that true today across the world? Maybe it “should be”. The concept of the spectrum combined with hierarchy lends itself to polarity today … and there may be some valuable insights the 12 year old brings to bear that the hardened 60 year old overlooks, so they really do need each other in the grand scheme of things.
Today, entertainment streams into our consciousness at a higher density and volume than ever in the history of mankind. The boundaries between reality, news and education and entertainment have become blurred. A tweet is a tweet. A vote is a vote. The advances in technology and the explosion of population to excess of 8 billion, exponential raise the potential for this physical exponential elevation of consciousness. That the 12 or 60 year old would truly tune into themselves or each other given this environment today seems something of a gamble.
Without regard to one’s spiritual, religious or other views on how things work, we have more human-like animal forms trading messages and stories with each other than ever before. Our track record on sharing stories accurately and without bias and manipulation is not so good – but regardless of the authenticity of the story, the powerful wave created and sustained non-stop, 24/7, across the biological film of Earth into the Universal gauntlet of recorded time – the magnitude of this stream has never been greater.
On the other hand, it’s never been more difficult to find quiet, inner, self-reflective time and space in our environment as human beings. By today’s standards, it’s anti-social or self-defecating to take the road less traveled. Sure if you are wealthy and inclined, there’s a workshop, some venue, or guru handy to grant you a brief escape into a well capitalized mindfulness or self-awareness program and pat you on the back and give you encouragement your on track, but please come back again soon!
So, if it it’s true, that this hierarchy of awareness does exists, are we at risk? As these narratives are blasted across the population of the world, repeated and protested and validated – stamped with all our imprints as they are propagated across the globe, do we really own the messages we are passing along? Do we trust ourselves? Have we suddenly begun trusting our nature? Maybe most importantly, do we remember who we really are or have we advanced beyond that?
Historically, awakenings rose from silence in individuals, one by one. It was a highly personal process pursued by artists and mystics, or in many cases, those outcast from society or in asylums. Occasionally a prodigy or hero would emerge with something truly original or courageous, not necessarily for the attention or the buck, but just because. Today “woke” seems to have been redefined to reflect a politically popular position that’s empathetic to the conditions around one’s acceptance or preference of sexuality, resources for living, expressing themself, their choice and entitlement to an idealized version of a safe and secure life, and race. Being disadvantaged has a different spin to it than it did a decade ago.
Those challenged by the norms of society have often faced with an uphill battle in life, whether they were born different, raped or beaten as kids, left out in the cold and neglected or if they served their country and suffered combat fatigue, we’ve become more and more aware of the difficulties of integrating these wounds people encounter and helping them get back into the mainstream of society. I’m the beneficiary of both the wounding and the healing over my own five decade quest of such.
I’m happy to report with clarity, that if people have not dealt with these matters, their shadows in particular, if they’re uncomfortable with themself and project their biases and preferences on others, if they judge others rather than feeling their own feelings, if they live in a fantasy world of conformity, at some point in time it’s likely they’ll be living a false life and be faced with seeking authenticity. I’m happy to know this because we have more open knowledge and resources available today than ever before. Although we may have strayed from rigorous self examination, we have found at least a greater degree of acceptance, hopefully at deeper than merely superficials levels around the world.
Today, those operating in ignorance, at the most dangerous level of the hierarchy – at a primal, highly conformed level dependent upon a feedback loop for survival, for the feeling of safety and pleasure – a robot to their environment, mindlessly operating in their professions and patterns. They operate on the literal rule of law and the “should’s” of their environment. Artificial Intelligence strikes gold in this venue as AI mines patterns in data to manipulate and profit. As people become highly predictable, their consumption becomes tied to a revenue stream, they become slaves to the system, their occupation to continue to feed their revenue into this loop of conformity. The banker who once prided himself over being a good judge of character has been cloned here. What once seemed as communism – what always felt like the loss of individuality, now seems to have penetrated an illusion of democracy as we’ve fallen to polarities with arrogance and rushing into a following.
What is happening to the uniqueness, the humanity we once held, even honored, paramount to a person’s dignity? Was that a fantasy or nursery rhyme or illusion? Or have we become the prey of the formulae in our stories and media we use to distract ourselves from our own lives?
So how we build the story to ourselves, in our minds, to our loved ones and friends, to explain or rationalize the bombing in Pakistan or the lynching in the US is telling, revealing.
If you find yourself looking to punish these five murderers or make a new law or pass a new rule for those in authority, try being quiet and examining yourself. It may very well lead you to find the key component here in yourself that would actually begin to change something. The fact is that those five murderers were easy channels for the elephant in the room – perhaps men still deeply angry for being rooted, stolen, mistreated and torn from their families, from where they belonged years ago – with no where, no understanding, no self-guided introspection to address the unresolved. Even given a privileged position of authority, reasonable compensation and respect today, it doesn’t – it can’t – overshadow the inter-generational pain of the injustice they carry in their bodies, psyche and conscious existence. As long as that elephant in the room exists in individuals, wherever they roam our societies, regardless of laws and stories and narratives, we will be at risk as these shadows find light in bloodshed and violence.
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