Thursday, December 23, 2021

Lesson Learned or None the Wiser

We give power to the things of which we live in fear, the things we hate, the things upon which we base our negative judgements of others.

There's a difference between remembering a past insult or injury and those who brought it to pass, and memorializing those things. The former allows us to learn, grow, and move forward carrying new wisdom, while the latter ensures that we remain afraid and retreat from any potential lessons. Instead, for instance, of reclaiming words and symbols that are appropriated by negative forces, we ban them for use in any of their former positive contexts and aggrandize the causes behind their hate-fueled or evil-associated uses.

This serves two purposes in any society: It 1..) maintains divisions between people who have nothing more interesting to do than to debate insoluble moral questions - usually deferring inquiries as to what makes their position correct to their chosen higher power, be it God, science, or any other entity or school of thought that absolves them of responsibility for their choice to judge - and 2.) builds wealth and/or power (if not wisdom) for those in a position to benefit from any side of a given debate, most of whom don't concern themselves with how those not directly involved in their wealth or power live or conduct business beyond ways in which their choices might be manipulated in the power holder's own favor.

The last point brings us back to the first. Amorality isn't reserved for the wealthy, nor is it unique to current societies. Everywhere in which tragedy is used as currency finds itself eventually in this place where the smallest slight is cause for great public wailing and gnashing of teeth, and anyone within earshot of the complainant(s) is required to express their profound sadness and (usually false) empathy for whatever plight is thought to be occurring. We're required to relate and care, but forced caring leads first to apathy and then to anger as each next person realizes that they too have been injuriously offended and are deserving of the world's sympathy. Soon enough, there's nothing that can be said without fearing repercussion from having offended someone somewhere, and therein lies the fear that gives power to the things we claim to want to stop.

All the while as this is happening we talk talk talk about 'focusing on the positive'. Maybe we should try that, not to the exclusion of awareness of the negative, but with a goal of seeing how the good stuff works and figuring out how to maximize it. Around here at MOA, a positive focus simply means remembering that it could be worse, expressing a regular challenge to the universe that things couldn't get any better, and undoing that which doesn't serve it's purpose in order to replace it with what will, or just to have some open space. If a thing holds hurt or fear or anger for us and we can't find a way around or through it, we let it sit until a new alternative presents itself rather than poking at it and letting it make us insane (or at least, that's the aspiration :D ).

There are places in the world today where society is based upon these very idea/ls, and those places are often cited as the happiest (or perhaps more importantly, most content) places to live. But there are also so many places where 'the worst' is the predominant focus, whatever that may be to any given person in any given place at any given time, and it's like how when we're driving a bike or car, if we move our attention too far from our path, our location is likely to follow. We just get angrier and more hurt and offended the longer we focus on our anger and hurt and the perceived offenses of others. Yes, it's wise to take precautions to protect oneself. It's also wise to be open to opportunity, which we can't if our walls are impenetrable. (Not that we in the US are great at building impenetrable walls... har har) It'd be nice to see what the world could accomplish with even a modicum of civility as the norm between people and nations. Not holdin' our breath for that around here, but we don't hold our breath for much. Life is what it is, might as well get on with it, hopefully wiser fools than we were a moment ago, but again, who's to say.
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