Categories
Charleston, West Virginia Writings

Dark Nonsense Overtaking Us

This past week it has felt impossible to detach from world events, as though a forcefield above my head was compelling me to pay attention & get involved. This has been interspersed with waves of tears. I hope current events are just a blip which soon blows over. But sometimes there is the panicked fear that things have gone too far and we can never go back. I don’t know which is real, but I believe people always have to fight for what is good, regardless. I doubt God likes surrender monkeys.

Perhaps most disturbing is the suppression of speech. So many people suddenly being removed from twitter, facebook & youtube. The President himself, random conservatives like Ron Paul, youtube channels which covered election fraud (nothing screams This Election Wasn’t Fraudulent like erasing all fraud related content). In fact I got removed from Facebook myself while writing this. It is just for 24 hours, but I won’t be surprised if a permanent ban is around the corner. They took down the entire platform of Parler which was dedicated to non-censorship. Can you believe this is our new reality? I can’t. And when I think about all the places it could lead it is hard not to cry. I guess I always took freedom of speech for granted. Now I find I am censoring myself even in private conversations- oh don’t use that violent metaphor- facebook might be reading this. Oh don’t use the color black as an adjective- they might think you are racist. Everything you say in private could be released publicly. Phrases which are socially acceptable when you use them could be dredged up years in the future to show you are a horrible person.

Do you ever try googling something then realize that all 100,000,000 articles which pop up are saying the exact same thing? Do you ever try to search for the other side of the coin and come up empty handed? Recently, I was googling to find out who killed Ashli Babbitt, for example, and all I could find were articles on what a bad person she was. She had road rage. She believed in conspiracies. It was her own damn fault some creepy guy wearing a suit & black gloves suddenly stepped out from around the corner to shoot her dead. Never mind that she was just doing what people have been doing all year. Never mind that she was unarmed & he gave her no warning, no chance to retreat. Never mind that there were three cops standing behind her, not trying to restrain her nor seeming particularly disturbed by her presence. That bitch deserved what she got. And if you don’t agree you are a nazi.

And what is a nazi? A skinhead? A German nationalist from the 1940s who wants to take over the world and eliminate Jews? No one knows. It is a word. Castro’s supporters called their enemies ‘worms.’ Speech has officially divorced physical reality. There are no truths or lies anymore, because most things have no specific meaning to begin with. You are a nazi! You are a white supremacist! You don’t believe in Science!!! You don’t believe in Climate Change!!! You don’t believe gender is assigned at birth!!! You don’t believe Experts!!! When you break them things down, none of these claims really have a concrete meaning, making it impossible to defend oneself against them. And also impossible to be sincere in claiming them.

And then we have the weird magic of believing words change reality. Pronouns change a person’s gender. Calling Ashli Babbitt a terrorist overrides the fact that she was entering unarmed into a building full of trained soldiers. Saying Trump was calling for violence overrides the fact that his final tweets (the ones which got him banned) were calling for peace & telling protesters to go home. Saying the word science makes something science. Science is no longer the study of the material world. It is a word on a rainbow flag, tattooed on the hearts of Believers. Call a person a white supremacist and they are one. In fact the only way to NOT be a white supremacist is to believe that we live in a white supremacy and attack others for their role in this.

Basically, nothing makes sense anymore. It is both rage-filled and nonsensical like a dark Alice in Wonderland, my least favorite book of all time. I have a soft gelatinous head and I hate it when people lie. It makes me feel all pretzeled up.

Another thing tying me in knots is that I still have an emotional attachment to people on the left. I grew up in a republican house & always idealized democrats as tender-hearted unicorn people. Now I see them scapegoating conservatives- as though to lay down justifications for future violence against them. (He was a nazi! She was a white supremacist!). And I don’t know how to process this. These are people I have LIKED. In some cases, a LOT. And now they are casting me and others I care for in a subhuman light, reality be damned. I want to believe it is a spell they are under and soon they will wake up. I just wish I could understand it and make some sense of it in my mind. I thought they used to be nice normal people. What happened? When and how did they decide they are surrounded by nazis and white supremacists whom they must defeat? If I could just understand and make some sense of my reality I would feel a lot better. Then I would know if I need to cut them out of my heart for good or just wait for the spell to break.

Categories
Charleston, West Virginia Politics

Tolerance is Natural, Respect is Too Much

In recent years, I feel like I have been constantly defending conservatives from unjust attacks, like the idea that they are ignorant, racist people who hate science and don’t care about children being murdered etc. I kept wondering where all this hatred for conservatives was coming from, and was close to concluding that conservatives are actually just better, more open minded people than liberals are.

However, after coming out of the closet as an astrologer, I began to notice dark red beams being sent my way by the religious in response to astrology posts I would make. They would never say anything to me directly, but on the psychic level it was clear that to *some* of them, I was engaged in something questionable.

And this got me to wondering if, perhaps, the hatred for conservatives in general could be rooted in an unacknowledged hatred for the religious, brought about by the fact that religious people can actually be quite judgmental,  even when they don’t express these judgments openly.

Many religions seem to function, in part, as a vehicle through which people can detach themselves from troublesome reptilian feelings, which are then projected onto the people around them causing those people to seem dirty, bad, unholy etc. God hates how bad these people are, and one day he will return to murder them. Especially in the more fundamental religions, the pain that is projected often stems from sexual & physical abuses or some form of shame. Harsh judgments (rendered by God, of course) become the vehicle through which this pain can be projected outwards onto other humans.

And it has long been a part of our culture that we must ‘respect’ religion, even if we are not taking part in it, and even when- and here lies the core of the problem- it does not respect us. Although respecting religion sounds lofty, I think the “high road” approach to life is generally a failure, because it is out of touch with emotional realities.

Respect is meant to be reciprocal- if someone looks down on us, whether due to religion or other factors, we are not supposed to respect them in return. Disrespecting those (at least privately) who disrespect you is part of a natural psychic immune system, which tells our mind not to value the opinions of those who do not value us. This maintains our integrity and keeps our emotional boundaries intact.

To be clear, I’m not saying we should oppress religion or try to punish those who think we are bad. That would be going too far. At the end of the day, someone believing you are going to hell is not a very big deal, and in all other ways this person may be a good friend. And yet, their belief system still does represent a *tiny* attack on you- an itty bitty paper cut which should be treated lest it turn into something worse.

And the only treatment necessary is just allowing yourself to have a natural response to their beliefs- the response of liking and respecting them just a little less because of their inability to respect you. Simple, harmless, and the world stays in balance.

If we were allowed to have a natural dislike for religions that look down on us, the results would be

  1. Religions themselves would be improved and forced to clean up their act, since they would no longer be on a form of psychic welfare where they are allowed to collect respect they haven’t earned.
  2. Religious wounds would not fester on the unconscious level and be allowed to turn into something truly nasty, such as irrational anger and hatred for anyone who reminds us of the original wounders.

In essence, the ability for society to tolerate religion in a healthy and sustainable manner, depends on our ability to not give them automatic and unnatural respect.

 

 

Categories
Hurricane, West Virginia

Liberals, Prejudice & Demons

Although I tend to think of myself as a liberal person, in recent years the ideas and behaviors that pass as liberal have become more and more disturbing to me. Ideally, I think, to be liberal would mean to be open to a wide range of ideas and possibilities, and to allow people to think and behave differently without punishment or marginalization. But recently, liberalness seems to have become about forcing everyone to have the same, seemingly enlightened, opinions. Opinions which are supposedly tolerant and non-judgmental. Racism, sexism, homophobia, islamaphobia, antisemitism, transphobia… labels like birther and climate-change denier… all these concepts are used like battering rams to force every mind into compliance with the right, the good way of thinking. And I don’t like it. Although I can relate.

The first time Obama ran for president, I didn’t vote because none of the candidates supported gay marriage. I remember Hillary saying she coudn’t condone it due to her deep spirituality (although, miraculously, just like Barack Obama, she has recently had a change of heart). Gay marriage was my number one issue. It felt symbolic to me. Rainbow flags, the very word “gay” with its connotation of happy levity… I naively believed that once gay people were accepted, everyone would be accepted. I would be accepted. People everywhere would drop their masks and let their true selves come forward. Unicorns would walk the streets. So passionate was I about gay rights, I told James I couldn’t marry him unless he would dance in a gay parade. Something which, as a Jehovah’s Witness, he wasn’t keen to do.

James and I would have our worst fights about politically charged issues, like abortion. It enraged him that women would kill innocent babies just so they could continue their debased, sex in the city lifestyle, and I would freak out about all the innocent preteen girls dying as they gave birth to rape-induced babies. He would get choked up as he thought of the poor dad whose first child was killed in the womb without him having any say in the matter; I thought James was being disingenuous to call a single celled organism a child, and if he really was that sensitive then he should be a vegetarian.

Plus, we would argue about black people. Race was a sensitive subject for me. In my mind, black people had become symbolic of my own vulnerable self, of every time I had been abused or treated unfairly. It was easy for black people to assume a symbolic role in my mind, since, to a large extent, I didn’t really know any. Growing up, the black people I knew were mostly housekeepers or waiters at the country club, casting a benevolent and helpful aura around them in my imagination, as though they were a little closer to the angels. Whereas James grew up in a mixed-race world where blacks and whites married, fought, and interacted on equal footing. Which gave him a different view of things like affirmative action. I thought of it in an abstract sense- trying to help a race heal from historical oppression. James thought of it in a more concrete sense- his next door neighbor getting an unfair advantage because of his skin-tone. He didn’t see why he should have to be weirdly sensitive to the black guy sitting next to him in the kingdom hall, stabbing him with a ballpoint pen.

But I really hated fighting with James. Eventually, I decided I would have to stretch my brain out, until I could see things from his point of view. And when I did, I could see that his ideas were valid- he was just reaching different conclusions because he was viewing things from a different place. When I looked at life through his lens, suddenly his ideas and feelings- once reprehensible to me- made sense. Slowly, it dawned on me that my strong feelings weren’t really about gays, black people, or feminism (another point of contention)- these issues had just become symbols for my own wants and needs, my own hurts and pains. And my anger about these issues was really displaced anger, from things that happened to me that I didn’t like. To the extent that I could detach my brain from its baggage and emotional associations, to the extent that I could let it fly free, I saw that, well, maybe a person could want to keep marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution without hating gay people, because, in reality, the only thing that means you hate gay people is actually hating gay people.

And I could also see that it didn’t really matter if any random person did hate gay people, so long as he didn’t set out to hurt them. If he does hate them, odds are that they are a symbol in his mind of something or someone that has caused him pain. We all have these personal symbols, I think, which cause us to irrationally like or dislike certain things and people. Many people who become irate in the face of homophobia make no secret of their aversion to Republican rednecks and religious fanatics. So, considering that it is difficult to even conceive of a person without prejudice, it seems we have no choice but to try and tolerate prejudice in others. If someone did want to wipe out prejudice, their only real option would be to try to wipe out their own prejudices, whatever those might be. However, we tend to view our own prejudices as harmless quirks, not the major threat to society that someone else’s prejudice poses.

There are so many forms of prejudice, so many reasons why people feel superior to others, that it would be impossible to even list them. Wealth, fashion, weight, education, age, career, popularity, sophistication, worldliness, accent, grammar, hair, vehicles, philosophies, diet, opinions, religion, house size, personal size, nationality, lineage, IQ… the list could go on forever. There is no reason to believe that the next Hitler would be an anti-semite. Maybe he would kill people with low IQs  or else people with high ones. Likewise, there is no reason to believe that black people will be the slaves of the future- maybe it will poor people, or else rich ones. The devil never does what you expect him to; he is always sneaking up in your blind spot.

The fashionable isms of our day are just tiny drops in an ocean of potential evil. If we could somehow make it impossible for anyone to think a sexist thought, the world would be no better off, because the feelings and bad intentions that fuel one sort of evil can just as easily fuel another, like demons who leap with ease from one body to the next. Sexism is just a form that evil can inhabit- it is not the evil itself.

Which is why I think it is dangerous to go over the world with a microscope, looking only for examples of the evil du jour, while ignoring the bigger picture, which is that we all have crosses to bear and we all need protection from the devil. Or, to bring myself back to the point (sometimes I get carried away when thinking about demons), we are all both the carriers and recipients of prejudice, probably more than we realize. It is when many minds start to merge and congeal around shared ideas, everyone throwing their own emotional baggage into the mix, that I start to get uncomfortable. A large number of people who hate homophobes is more dangerous than the lone skinhead, in my opinion. And when a groupmind starts trying to wipe out the minds that disagree with it, then things can get downright scary. Once everybody shares a prejudice, it doesn’t even seem to be a prejudice anymore- it’s just reality. That must be when the devil really has a field day.

So, I would think, maybe the next time someone says the “n” word, or implies that Jews are good with money, women are bad at math, or gay kisses are gross, maybe, rather than unleash a torrent of righteous anger, we could just try to understand where they are coming from. I don’t think there is any danger in that. Sometimes, when you move your mind to encompass another person’s position, it enables their mind to move in the process.