A Path from fear and acrimony to understanding and dialogue

Condemnation and criticism are not on the Path to understanding, for we know that unconscious judgemental reactions do not liberate, they do not clarify, they oppress. Such projections in the realm of personal beliefs do not help, they only hinder discussion, social discourse, co-operation and any eventual collaboration.

This thing is when we react to the thoughts, words or actions of others, they are through in their words and or actions controlling us, jointly you create a conflict, but at the end of the day nothing is resolved as no outcome will come of this conflict, except the hardening of attitudes on both sides. People will not change their beliefs until they want to change or have a learning experience that places them on a new path, that will begin the process, organically, so to speak – this can only be achieved through quiet and reasoned discourse … criticism does nothing to create respectful discourse.

What illustrates this well is a quote from Carl Jung ..

Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.”

This applies to all parties … perhaps it is necessary before we judge others to pause and reflect on the case of why people feel the way they do? rather than get lost in our emotions.

What gets lost here are the stakes, that citizens of a country are involved in a conflict with other citizens of the same country … the seeds of division and destruction are so easily sown.

I have spoken about this before in my previous post called Social Media – exacerbates conflict and divisiveness here http://bit.ly/2Ny49Ni – Please pay particular attention to the following stages of story verification …. this is important I feel .. if you have any questions of concerns about the veracity of information you are receiving via the internet from news and more particularly Social Media …. ask yourself the following questions ..

1. Who is writing the stories? – is the source credible .. though that is not always a guarantee of veracity to know if it is true, fake or misinformation, designed to misinform and create or increase divisiveness.

It is hard these days to know what news services are credible … those sources from my youth such as UK Broadcasters, the BBC for instance are now suspect … all one can do is to seek confirmation from a number of sources.

2. Who benefits from these stories? – does a political party or aspect of society benefit from say misinformation contained in the story .. please evaluate the story impartially, not through the primary filter of your personal political beliefs and convictions.

3. Who / What is missing from these stories? The other side, more information, a different perspective on the situation.

4. Verify anything that can be verified in the story, don’t share it or believe it merely because it agrees with your general beliefs or with your confirmation bias.

However in these days of Facebook, which is in my view the most divisive and therefore destructive social platform available – where we are asked to like, share, comment or move on .. so we respond in our busyness without truly considering the post, we share because it conforms with our beliefs, our confirmation bias and so an uninformed post gains traction … in hindsight possibly we might wonder what is true and what is fake – if we don’t then we are part of the problem.

However, the problems that the less-privileged workers talk about are real, are concerning, and are seemingly without resolution. These people sense their living standard declining, instead of seeking understanding and resolution through critical analysis, debate, and social change, they look (unconsciously) for something more immediate someone to blame, a fantasy is created: it is somehow someone else’s fault, so let’s blame, a minority or a religion or the other side of the political divide. It’s easy and simple and just plain wrong.

At the same time, it affirms in their minds the true lack of worth of the opposition, they are demeaned, dehumanised and demonised all based on an uninformed or incorrect post.

On the other side of the ideological belief divide, there are those who seek greater social and economic equality and equity and the protection of what has already been gained. Again we have a unconscious reaction instead of critically analysing an issue (s). We would understand it far better if a dialogue was entered into with those on the other side (both sides are guilty of this). They both fall into their own emotional trap because they don’t understand the whole implication of the arguement, and so they will unconsciously demonize their opposition, as in Australia where there is a very noticeable split between the sides of the ideological debate.

They will portray each other in disparaging, demeaning even de-humanising terms, as evil or even snowflakes – this demeans and nullifies the seriousness of the problem in question … this makes them each jointly responsible for every possible scenario, the woes and failings of Government because of “them” … all participants are part of the problem and when of course the majority of what they fear may be uninformed emotional rhetoric

What motivates all these words …. for me I think it is fear. Why – because of ego! – where the people concerned go to the nth degree to demean, criticise, blame to condemn, these and more are all home territory of the ego – all so they can feel right and of course others are shown as being wrong.

“Democracy can buckle if we give in to fear’ – President Obama – he suggests
‘If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life’

Martha C Nussbaum also said it so well,

“When people are afraid of one another and of an unknown future, fear easily gives rise to scapegoating, to fantasies of payback, and to poisonous envy of the fortunate (whether those victorious in the election or those dominant socially and economically).

We need to think hard about fear and where fear is leading us. After taking a deep breath we all need to understand ourselves as well as we can, using that moment of detachment to figure out where fear and related emotions come from and where they are leading us.”

 

 

The below is from Alan Watts in the Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“The startling truth is that our best efforts for civil rights, international peace, population control, conservation of natural resources, sustainable energy, and assistance to the starving of the earth—urgent as they are—will destroy rather than help if made in the [current] spirit. For, as things stand, we have nothing to give. If our own riches and our own way of life are not enjoyed here, they will not be enjoyed anywhere else. Certainly, they will supply the immediate jolt of energy and hope that methedrine (methamphetamine), and similar drugs, give in extreme fatigue.

But peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.

In any foreseeable future, there are going to be thousands and thousands of people who detest and abominate Negroes, communists, Russians, Chinese, Jews, Catholics, (add Muslims) beatniks, homosexuals, and “dope-fiends and …. .” These hatreds are not going to be healed, but only inflamed, by insulting those who feel them, and the abusive labels with which we plaster them—squares, fascists, rightists, know-nothings—may well become the proud badges and symbols around which they will rally and consolidate themselves. Nor will it do to confront the opposition in public with polite and nonviolent sit-ins and demonstrations, while boosting our collective ego by insulting them in private. If we want justice for minorities and cooled wars with our natural enemies, whether human or non-human, we must first come to terms with the minority and the enemy in ourselves and in our own hearts, for the rascal is there as much as anywhere in the “external” world—-especially when you realize that the world outside your skin is as much yourself as the world inside. For want of this awareness, no one can be more belligerent than a pacifist on the rampage, or more militantly nationalistic than an anti-imperialist.

The idea of white privilege is absolutely reprehensible. The idea that you can target an ethnic group with a collective crime, regardless of the specific innocence or guilt of the constituent elements of that group – there is absolutely nothing that’s more racist than that.”

― Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

At some point in the future when Politicians, the media and others with a vested interest in divisiveness have nothing to gain, they will no longer fan the flames of division, then and only then we are on the path to consensus and hopefully peace and a creative constructive future.

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Writing a Healing Journal

Writing meditation is an exercise that I have used, and today some 20+ years later I still carry a notebook.

The purpose of this is to help direct our mind to understand and then change our behavior, by understanding the causality of that behaviour. This created for me a place to start.

The way I have understood this is that any challenge we have undergone, in the past or even a current challenge is often not understood at a feeling level – because we are face to face with it, we cannot understand the entirety of the experience.

Find your ideal outdoor space and start to write

Hence by writing we can forge a connection between the conscious mind and that part of our mind that houses feelings. Now do correct me if I am wrong but feelings are placed in the mammalian part of the brain, referred to as the Limbic system … it’s where emotions and feelings are, it also where all decisions are made … so I have found by writing every day we gradually form a link between the feeling part of the mind and the rational mind … over time we create a perspective as we convert the feelings into something we can understand … a cause .. we have to do this as the Limbic system does not have language hence, we have to understand its messages another way …. gradual and regular journal writing did that for me, perhaps it can do it for you?

Gradually over time, we form a link between the parts of the brain and will understand that a frustration we might be feeling may be something like a past regret, a depression or some level of anxiousness about something in the future …the quickest way to start to understand this is to say …. if you are feeling guilt, depression or shameful then the event you are thinking about occurred in the past. If you are feeling fearful or anxious then the event you are concerned you might expect to occur in the future.

Many of the common feelings come from fear … control comes from fear, aggression comes from fear … even conformity is based on control which mostly comes from fear, there can also be fear that non-conformity will hinder us in attaining their goals or being accepted … Governments love it, but conformity is a pipe dream as it is quite unattainable – that is where Government use fear, blaming minorities, scarcity and alleged external threats to control us, to subdue us. The only real threat to most countries comes from within, from the egoes of those in power, the politicians themselves.

This whole experience is about how you and I relate to what makes up our personal world, for we are in a relationship with everything, what is our relationship to its various parts.

For this reason, once you discover what your concerns are, divide them into two groups, what you can do something about, like change your attitude to a past personal event or forgive those concerned (this brings freedom as well) and the second group … those things we can do nothing about … the actions of Government and bureaucracy … something that individually we can do little about … the reason we split the triggers, the categories for concern, is that we need to empower ourselves and trying to make sense of or understand a Government / Bureaucratic action is difficult, implausible … but detaching from it, we are no longer a victim, we can understand what is going on within.

To start, take a few minutes a day (most days if you can) … find a quiet place, then just start writing … it doesn’t even have to make sense, just seeing on paper is the beginning. For me I would go down to the local park, take my shoes and socks off, ground myself in the grass or the soil and begin.

I have found that after about a week of being quiet and writing, you will find yourself becoming more in tune with your feelings, you will become calmer … this can help with your day to day relationships —- My experience is that the changes in your understanding and behaviour will take place without any conscious effort, no matter how old, or what has happened in the past in the normal course of your life, writing a journal will literally calm and begin to bring a greater understanding to your life in just a matter of a few weeks.

A good thing about writing is that we can go back and look at it gain in the future, in my case this allowed me to look at what I had learnt aand how I had changed. When an event no longer confronted me, I would remove the pages and burn them …. for some reason those issues would only very rarely return.

Though this experience behind this post is many years old, and speaks to an experience even older, I thought it may have value to someone.

This is not the only way, do what works for you, as I have said before my articles are simply my perspective and they are offered in the spirit of discovery and empowerment – take what resonates with you and leave the rest.