Unconfusing Ourselves from Grips of the Past
Stuck with Our Past Reasoning
"Of all those things that I have lost, I miss the most my mind."
-- Something from the desk of my ex-boss
As I routinely keep my mind busy contemplating new ways of experiencing the old, I can't help wondering why people insist upon staying stuck in their past -- whether personally or collectively.
It's like we even take pride in our "integrity" to remain well defined by a self-image created in the past. To me, it's like walking backwards in life, with eyes fixated on what our less mature, less refined, less experienced phases of development chose for us to think, feel, believe, and do.
So we reason -- or is it unconsciously being cooked and served to us as our truth: "Since my childhood was messed up, it must be that I am a messed up person". Or. on a larger scale: "Since the history is filled with political antagonism, ruthless competition, and wars -- it must be a norm for the mankind to follow."
God Himself knows (yes, I am using this figure of speech) how little I care about politics, domestic or foreign, and how much I use it just for my entertainment. So, while casually watching Trump's impeachment farce these days, I get amused seeing both warring sides so stuck at interpretations of Constitutional rights.
It's like they can't find a logical way out of the maze created by apparently contradicting prescriptions for resolving the question of innocence or guilt.
Namely, it seems equally right for the accusers to use evidence against a sitting president -- as it is right for the president to hide that evidence. Are you laughing yet?
If not, try to imagine a criminal court trial in which a defense lawyer claims: "My client is innocent because the prosecutor hates him, and that's why the whole trial should not be valid. Moreover, there is a lack of evidence, because we reserve right not to release the most convincing parts of it".
O.K., I see, I have to repeat something here. I honestly don't give a rat's behind whether Trump gets kicked out of the office, or he stays around "making America great and prosperous" for another 4 years. The sole purpose of the above hypothetical(?) scenario was to illustrate how blindly we can follow contradicting rules created in the past -- with no logic invested that would guide us towards a less laughable reasoning.
Just Some Small Victories, Not Winning a War
"In the theater of confusion, knowing the location of exits is what counts"
-- Mason Cooley
"Mom was tolerant, and dad was strict, so now I don't have a damn clue what life is all about".
"I shied away from competitive games as kid, finding all my confidence at school studies being a nerd -- so here I am in this cubicle, in my 9-5 version of "life adventure", secure from any challenges.
Looks familiar? Maybe not in your own case, but, maybe, just maybe, you could line your case under the above two.
Something back there keeps dictating what our future should look like. Hypnotized? Programmed? Brainwashed? Indoctrinated?...you choose the word that seems most suitable to describe it.
By some crazy inner causality, it's like the pain from hitting our thumb with a hammer "originates" from that pain from hitting our thumb with a toy. Everything we feel somehow has to be a replica of something similar in the past.
And we just let it be that way. Confused over our brain's server making those emotional replays somehow "natural" -- even to the point that we rationalize them as our "true self",
And even when we make a weak conscious effort to go against that stream, we don't see how those little victories don't mean that we are really winning. For, in the relativity of everything (I like this phrase), it's like rushing to the back of a train thinking that we are really moving backwards in relation to the ground outside.
So we quit smoking, and now we exercise, and eat and sleep better -- but why is it that life is feeling the same? It reminds me of Dr. Maxwell Maltz's book "Self Image Psychology" back in seventies, where this plastic surgeon said how many of his clients felt equally crappy about themselves after the surgery, as they felt before it.
Indeed, a new face, a new house, or a higher position just superficially change us, while we keep intact our inner blueprint, confused by its many developmental stages of our past.
It's All of My Own Make in My Personal Space
"If you can't convince them -- confuse them." -- Harry S. Truman
And so -- like I said it at the beginning -- here I am, defying that crappy "human predestination", spiteful towards those inner voices of the past, happy because I want it this way.
Not because my life inventory would be showering me with "reasons" for this happiness, and not caring about a justification for this Mona Lisa smile on my face. Indeed, who cares what kind of emotions are "appropriate" for this kind of situation. If I don't choose my thoughts, my feelings and attitudes -- who else is called upon to do it for me?
Really, should I also need anyone to feed me by spoon, to sing lullabies for me, to validate my actions with a standing ovation? Or, should this world change just for me, in order to be more to my taste?
So I let it all be, while I take care of what's going on in my personal space. You know, these two words "personal space" are like one of those short zen koans that students are brainstorming on over and over -- until they find that hiding and much bigger meaning in it than it's apparent.
In my personal space I am sovereign, and it's all of my own make whatever happens in there. No one can physically walk into this space to push some buttons. No republicans, no democrats, no climate changes...nothing over which the world is obsessing "has to" have its echo within this personal space.
Others' choices are respected in this inner space. For, how can I enjoy my inner freedom if I don't allow it in others? If others' being different pisses me, it's not the time for them to change their tune, but the time to change my attitude about their tune.
In this very moment some dude somewhere is jumping from a bridge, not willing to face his pains anymore. And in this same moment another dude is kissing his bride with stars in his eyes -- both with their right to either follow a dream or to terminate it.
They say: "Dreams die first -- then we do" -- so call me a dreamer.
No Imposed Norms Here
"I may look busy, but I am just confused."
-- Something from the desk of my ex-boss
Well, with that same spirit of accepting the world as it is, even as I am sharing all this, I am not being normative, not someone with a mission -- just contributing to my interactions with the world.
Hey, you guys, here I am, and here you are, and here we add to our awareness that we could unconfuse ourselves from "rules of interacting", which here, in western hemisphere, so often spell competition, pushing our views, imposing our norms of normalcy.
If there is a tear in your eye, I won't try to wipe it off, it means something in your own pace of growing, just like the proverbial "growing pains" are not there to be silenced with a painkiller.
I don't believe in teaching, I believe in learning, because no amount of teaching will penetrate the walls of a closed mind -- while an inner urge to learn will identify wisdom in even small signs around them. Unconfusing ourselves can't come from a confused mind, only from one that can spot the existence of confusion in itself.
Then learning gets attached to future, catapulting us there from inner swamps of useless, outmoded beliefs and attitudes, from senseless replays of yesteryear's half-cooked logic.
And that's how, on this sunny, cold Canadian morning I am observing through my balcony window a hawk navigating slowly -- as if inviting my spirit to get attached to those wings.
Life is so fascinating -- when we REALLY, consciously, and from the depth of our soul choose it to be that way.
© 2020 Vladimir Karas