They behave, already grown up, like little children who scream to get the attention of others. Always the same phrases, insulting and blaming and using the power of loudspeakers to shut down who they don’t want to grant freedom of speech which they consider to belong exclusively to them as the eternal victims.
Blind to the own blind spots and contradictions
I am always amazed how sufficiently intelligent people can be so completely caught up in their contradictions, so unaware that they are doing themselves – massively – what they blame others for. How they, so easily, overstep the rules of society which holds them safe – and even forgives their adolescent blindness – to take as granted to themselves that which they are not inclined to allow others. How can people convince themselves to be right, with no exception and no discussion about it?
How can they proclaim and promote their violence against peaceful people, how would they enter into total war and try to provoke the other side to cease and play the role of the enemy? It is a dangerous game, not only for others, but also for themselves. The revolutionaries of the first hour rarely ever have been alive for long after their destructive victory!
Would you be able to handle such a situation?
This is what came to my mind when I watched the following video. It is loud – but scroll ahead when you have heard enough of the always same phrases and screams, the important part comes in the second half!
Dr.Jordan Peterson trying to speak at McMaster University
Please watch it and ask yourself: Would you have been able to respond to the chaos in a similar wise way as Dr.Peterson did? He has understood that opposing these blind forces only creates more of it.
So what can we do in the face of it? No wonder why other panel guests withdrew from the event because of the harassment. I surely wouldn’t be able to handle a similar situation, would you? Dr.Peterson was calm – and finally gathered the people who wanted to listen to him, somewhere outside the building, and answered their questions and gave them advice about how to meet similar situations in their lives.
This is a lesson in what it means to be an adult and a responsible person in the face of the chaos created willfully by others. This is what we more insightful people need to learn: get free from our triggers, bring our own shadow to light, and then BE THERE and face the situation without the primordial reactions flee, freeze or attack. Then we can be part of the solution, not of the problem!
We are called to stand up and say what we need to say! Even when we consider ourselves non-political, introverted or whatever!
Opposition and fight is useless when we want to bring forth positive development.
Understand me right: I don’t mean that we need to agree with everything which comes our way. Not at all, to the contrary, I would say. Getting in touch with other people’s behaviors and ideas is a perfect occasion for self reflection and for refining our own takes on the matter. And there are probably more things in the world towards which we are skeptical or we totally disagree than those which we happily embrace right away and feel connected to whoever brought them forth.
I am talking here of a completely different case: people who for any reason whatsoever take pride in opposing somebody else’s work. The criticize all or parts of it, the axioms, the ways of reasoning, the worldview or whatever they happen to consider wrong… or they dismiss the whole work of the other person because they believe to have discovered some flaws in it or because of certain assumed or real traits of the originator.
When opposition and critique becomes a personal identity
Today such a case came – again – into my awareness: A person whose name I don’t want to mention here has the habit of criticizing the American philosopher Ken Wilber for more than 15 years. He has created an identity around his opposition to the man and his large body of work. It has become his only viewpoint: something is wrong and I have to point it out. This would not be a problem if the critique was well founded, constructive and benevolent. Instead it turns out as a one sided fight for being heard and for being right – by making the other wrong.
The power of rationalization and projection for avoiding to see our own flaws.
It is a human trait to diminish others in the attempt to raise oneself, not a very healthy one, as we know from psychology, and it sheds light on the personality structure of a person engaged in the fight against his or her windmills. Attack and war to dominate others is as ancient as the need for being right. In integral theory we probably would attribute these attitudes to lower levels of development as we would assume that after integrating rationality into our evolved being we would be able to see also ourselves from a rational perspective. Well, maybe. We certainly see others from our rational perspective, we are able to detect flaws and merits and we are able to develop our own theories as well as we can. But our ability to reflect on others and the outside world is far better developed than our ability of self reflection and self knowledge.
Psychology is a relatively young discipline and the insights we can gain about human conditioning and our own behavioral patterns – which express our thoughts and our emotions – are not easy to perceive and acknowledge, let alone integrate into our lives. To avoid the confrontation with our own reality we prefer to flee into our rationalizing heads or into the more or less “fake” bliss of spiritual experiences.
The “natural” consequence of the former is to find fault in others (projection of what we don’t want to see in ourselves onto others) or withdrawing from the outside world in the latter. The former leads to separation and war – as if we hadn’t enough of that already. The latter leads to the negation of the responsibility which everyone of us has towards ourselves, humanity and the world.
How being stuck in opposition betrays one’s good intentions.
The paradox, in my eyes, is the fact that many people who “fight” for a better world, for all the good things to happen instead of eternal conflict and war, they themselves are heavily contributing to maintaining animosity and destruction – against their conscious intent. And they don’t even notice it! They don’t realize what they are doing under the headlines of their positive intentions. How can this happen?
Well, first of all, emotional competency and freedom of unconscious patterns has not necessarily to do with levels of development when we consider the cognitive line as main indicator of our level. There are very smart people around with a complex understanding of theories of all kinds – and they might at the same time have not the slightest idea of their collective and personal patterns through which their actions in the world are colored. It is the question of the fish who cannot tell you what water is. It is too near to be in the fish’s awareness!
Making others wrong makes collaboration impossible.
Coming back to the person who triggered this article. Only he himself can figure out why he is behaving this way, why he spends his life energy in maintaining his opposition and fight to make the other wrong and himself right. I only know that this is not a worthwhile occupation in times when all forces are needed to collaborate for the survival of our species and our planet. It is like wanting to figure out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin while everything around is falling into ashes. In other words: it is not helpful neither for the world nor for the person himself.
Prolonged emotional responses to events in our lives are self consuming and certainly not ultimately rewarding. They are considered disorders, from the psychological point of view. Attachment to victimism might be another term here and blind willingness to seed destruction instead of peace.
The way out
Be willing to look inside deeply
Observe and recognize your own patterns
Forgive yourself for not having noticed your deep conditioning as a human and as a person
Discover the experiences and triggers which led you into the pattern and work with them
Release the counterproductive patterns consciously and create new habits of perceiving, evaluating, thinking and behaving – as well as you can
Be willing to see and acknowledge the good in yourself and in others, in your work and in that of others
Let go of your need to dominate and know-it-better
Be willing to contribute your part of the truth to the bigger picture
Stop searching for the (negative) needle in the haystack and trust that it will be found and treated appropriately in time
Become friendly and cooperative – and happy
It might sound as if I knew it all, as if I had figured that all out for myself and that I take pride in advising others. I am definitely not at that level, but I have come to understand what the missing part is in us humans which, for yet another time, is driving us towards separation, discrimination and hate – and ultimately to war. The threat of total nuclear destruction or by an environmental catastrophe could be right around the corner – and we are contributing to it without being aware of it.
Intergral theory is giving us a good understanding of many aspects of reality. If you want to go deeper listen to the lectures of Dr.Jordan Peterson. He has a very engaging way of leading you into the human predicament – and what you can do to become a better and more helpful person in this world. Check out his channel and especially his messageto millenials: How to Change the World — Properly.
You are a person full of energy and curiosity and you are delighted with learning new things, right? For years and years, you got an extra kick when you discovered something new – and lately, you feel often a little tired and some tension in your forehead, right? You get up in the morning, the emails, the news channels you usually visit, some extra info from Facebook or G+, all seems to be so interesting and you click and click, you read as much as you can – and probably you forget to plus/like the articles, to write a comment or to share it in your feed. Just too much, you think.
We need to enter into a conversation!
And you are right, just too much! And still, just reading something without expressing our gratitude for the author’s work, or without telling them your own opinion on it is like lurking behind the curtains. Without intending, we co-create the consumerism and onesidedness of the internet. A net is intended to flow in all directions, not just from source to consumer. Just reading and not engaging deprives us of entering into a conversation – and it deprives the author of a genuine feedback which would be very precious for developing their ideas and insights.
There is a new illness – or maybe it is an addiction, at least in the beginning before serious physical symptoms arise. We want to “dance at every wedding”, as we use to say in Germany. We don’t want to miss something which could be important. You never know, do you? And then you – and me – continue to check out this, read that, install this, go to that platform, begin a new project, engage (shortly) in a new group etc.
Well, if you have read this far, I am sure you know all that. Now the question arises: what to do about it? Shall we wait until the improperly stacked load falls and shatters everything? Well, we are not WAITING, we convince ourselves that, after all, it is not too bad and we can go on as we had, our body and mind will stay with us as our faithful servant as long as we want. Really?
Burnout even without a day job
When you live in the countryside and you have no 9-5 job, how can you think of burn out? Work on the land makes you tired, yes, but your head remains clear and your mind calm – unless you have major emotional problems, but this is not our topic today. Sitting in front of the screen and reading other people’s most interesting stuff doesn’t feel like work. It satisfies our curiosity. Contrary to working outdoors, we confine our energy on our eyes and on our intellectual mind. The body begins to ache – we don’t care. Movement in front of the keyboard. Fingers yes, the rest remains still or in awkward constricted positions. Shoulders ache, eyes ache. The body protests and gives us all sorts of signs – which we normally misread as a request for coffee, cigarettes or food. Where will this end? In eye problems, obesity, lung cancer, and overall burnout – right where other people travel to for relaxation!
The predicament of change
Most of us are very invested in change. We fear that Nature collapses if we don’t work against the fatal tendencies. We fear that our nations may fall back into separation and confrontation – and we feel like needing to become activists for connection and peace. We are deeply touched by injustice against humans and/or animals and we feel called to do something there, too. We want to help, help, help to create a better future – and we see how things are getting worse and worse, at least from our present perspective. We become ever more worried about all sorts of things, our emotions get triggered more and more, we feel we definitely have to step up and do something useful. But WHAT?
Navigating the crisis – a personal challenge for everybody
Humans have different styles of responding to crises and uncertainty. Some people enter into panic, they become resentful and even violent towards whatever they see as an enemy. Others try to be resilient and keep their emotions under control. Hopefully, they succeed, it certainly depends on the amount of challenge they are facing. At a certain point comes the burnout, an illness, a detrimental quarrel with the spouse, a serious depression etc. The energy which we are accumulating, willingly or not, doesn’t just disappear.
So why don’t we stop in time? Why can’t we follow our own advice, our better knowing, our rational insights about what is going on with us? I believe that we are still in the modern mindset which elevates the mind over body and psyche. I have learned as a child to control myself with will power, and the western world is grounded on the “free will” of humans. So it’s no wonder that we underestimate the power of our psyche and the intelligence of our bodies. We have continuously practiced ignoring both when they speak to us and we agree with our thoughts and follow their biased advice. We have lost the connection to ourselves and to get it back we have to make a deliberate effort to BEGIN to take ourselves seriously and to abandon our fears about missing out on something important. We certainly will – we already do, all the time – but we need to come to terms with our limited being . We are not omnipotent even if we have the tendency to believe it.
The way out
As always it boils down to us humans and how we see and treat ourselves. We need to sort ourselves out. Even if we have done a lot of psychological and spiritual work on ourselves, we need to continue, to go deeper. We have learned previously – at least we hope so – how to conduct ourselves in the life we used to live. Things have changed rapidly in the outside world. We haven’t been able to change with the same speed. We have fallen into the traps of speed, success and wanting to be in control. We have pretended to be able to create change in the world. Well, yes, we have created change – but as it seems now it was not the change we had envisioned.
So what to do?
We can give up, float with the stream until we crash against a dike or drown in the deeper waters. We can ignore the dangers, we can become resentful, we can blow up everything in which we believed and pull everyone and everything with us down into psychological or physical annihilation – very common for humans to do! (Think about HIV positive people in the 80ies who deliberately infected others to express their existential rage against God or destiny).
Or we can become humble and begin from scratch with our work to transform ourselves. We imagined that, finally, we had reached a good level of development and were proud of it. We need to understand that we have just a short rest before we are sent out into the storm again, the hurricane of inner turbulences, contradictions, desires, needs, fears and visions. We need to hold our own hands and go ahead, step by step, and give ourselves the necessary understanding and compassion. And along with it we need to refresh the encouragement and push to clean up what is still lurking in the corner, which is hindering us from doing what we are meant to do. We need to overcome the obstacles inside ourselves and become fuller human beings. We need to understand that the change in the outside world depends on us – literally
We can no longer pretend that the others need to change, politicians, economy etc. to change the current downward spiral of our planet earth. Well, they do need to change, too. But first of all, WE NEED TO CHANGE OURSELVES and then go out and be a role model for the others who find themselves unable to change without a plan and without guidance.
My advice to you and to myself:
STOP COMPLAINING – FIND THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM IN YOURSELF AND CHANGE IT ACCORDING TO YOUR VISION OF A BETTER WORLD.
Stop with the overload, take only what you really need! Become the better world inside you and the outer world will follow! (And not the other way round!)