Nope. We see it in the way that best helps us survive and continue evolving.
You know what? People don’t have to struggle and suffer to grow. Physical growing pains aren’t necessary or common, so why should mental and emotional growth be any different? Growth is just what is already inside, pushing outwards. If there were no obstacles to stop this growth, each person would grow to their full potential, but if impeded, they just grow the best they can in the circumstances. Sure, adverse circumstances can often help to show a person who and what they are, and give them the motivation needed to be the person that those circumstances are, at the time, restraining them from being, but to say that one cannot grow without a struggle — that growth MUST come from some sort of painful experience — is nonsense.
Lately I’ve been wondering why I go around asking and answering questions of myself, about my day, why I do what I do, etc. I always seem to be narrating my experience to an imagined other, as if just silently witnessing it for my own enjoyment isn’t enough of a record of my life. I wonder why I feel the need to do that, and why I feel the need to write a journal to record what I’ve been thinking and feeling. Maybe it’s because I feel a lack of attention, or feel uncomfortable asking for it from others, so I ask the questions which I wish others would ask, therefore giving myself the chance to express my individual experience of the world, to feel like it matters that I’m experiencing it, to allow myself to grow into who I am without the need for outside encouragement.
I think that the only reason anyone expresses themselves (when not directly engaged in an activity together and needing to communicate plans and actions) is to gain attention, to obtain validation of themselves and their world view. But what does this validation and attention ultimately garner anyone in real terms? Nothing. It begets you nothing. If someone pays you attention it is because you’ve put yourself in their line of sight then offered them something that is worth THEIR while to pay attention to. Whether someone appreciates you or not has very little to do with who YOU are, and everything to do with who THEY are. If you benefit them, they pay attention. If you don’t benefit them, they don’t pay attention (or if they do it is out of a sense of duty, or through gritted teeth…I don’t wish to burden people with that, because I really hate it when others do so to me).
Today I was thinking about all the trees that don’t get looked at because there is nothing special about them to really differentiate them from all the other trees around them. There’s nothing wrong with those trees. They’re perfectly nice trees and if they were the only example of their kind for miles around, they’d be noticed. Only things that are different get special attention. But then they don’t achieve anything by getting more attention, other than having more eyes looking at them. If anything, they may suffer from having the extra attention. When people notice something, they tend to covet it, competing with others for the right to use it or own it, or else wish to destroy it…
So, really, what does it matter how many eyes are upon you? What does it matter how many people listen to what you have to say? Or see things the way you do? The more admirers a person gains, the more detractors, whether or not they deserve admiring or criticising. It is probably better to be anonymous and invisible. You are totally free to be yourself then, not pushing yourself into roles that you then feel a failure for not fulfilling, or feel frustrated and hemmed in by.
I wish that I could just relate to everyone I come across spontaneously and naturally and as I really am, and let their judgement of me — good, bad or indifferent — go completely over my head. Theoretically I know that nobody is any better or worse than I am, so I don’t need to manage my image to be acceptable or admirable to anyone other than myself.
But nobody likes to feel alone in the world.
So now I’m going to post this to my blog, and in expressing it to the outside world I am by my own admission hoping to gain some sort of attention or validation of the kind that I have just spent most of the post trying to convince myself that I don’t need and would be far better off without.
Sigh, humans: we’re all nuts.
“O, what a world of unseen visions and heard silences, this insubstantial country of the mind! A secret theater of speechless monologue and prevenient counsel, an invisible mansion of all moods, musings, and mysteries, an infinite resort of disappointments and discoveries.” — Julian Jaynes
Interesting article about consciousness as seen through the 70’s theory of Julian Jaynes…
“History is filled with brilliant people who wanted to fix things and just made them worse.”
— Chuck Palahniuk
This statement seems spot on, and I think it’s because naked reality (which we can never perceive) is ordered at a far higher level than our own level of perception where things appear chaotic or broken. Whatever you do to try to control or “fix” chaos, to make things a certain way over the way they already are, you only succeed in adding to the overall chaos. For every wilful action taken, there is a compensatory reaction, nullification, balance of it somewhere, even if that isn’t perceptible from where you’re standing.
Life is the manifestation of a constant flux and balance between myriad on/off polarities all entwined with, and continuously affecting, each other. It would not exist if things were all one or the other, absolute “on” or absolute “off” – both of those scenarios would mean a death of sorts, because experience is the perception of a dynamic contrast, without which everything is indistinguishable. This dynamism is constant – an action or event will swing things one way, affect a myriad of things, then swing back, affecting a myriad other things that have already become something else entirely.
What I’m trying to say is that the universe will work to balance itself out with or without human intervention, so there can be no successful fixing because there is nothing to fix.
Or so it seems to me.
Does nobody else get that adhering strictly to an ideal such as Freedom of Speech no matter how much hurt and chaos it breeds is really just as fundamentalist and intolerant as the actions of those following the Fundamentalist religious ideals that the Freedom-of-speech supporters condemn, or e.g. adhering strictly to the ideal of a Right to Bear Arms no matter how many innocent people are killed because of that right, accidentally or on purpose?
Obviously I do not condone any terrorist action, and never ever will, but look: if you’re going to be insensitive to a person in a way that hurts them physically, mentally or emotionally, and deliberately continue to do so when it is clear that you are causing that person pain or mental anguish – even if you believe you have every moral and constitutional right to do so, even if you believe that you are ultimately doing it for their own good, that you are trying to help them to see that they are misguided in their way of approaching the world, trying to free them from a wrong way of thinking or undo behavioural chains that have been wrongfully applied to them – then human nature usually dictates that there will be reactionary behaviour.
Most of the time either the insulted person – who GENUINELY FEELS THAT THEY ARE A VICTIM OF ABUSE no matter how many people think that they are just being fundamentalist/oversensitive/ignorant and should get their shit together and get with the program and just change their beliefs to something more sensible and historically and culturally appropriate already – hurts themselves or hurts their perceived bully or hurts someone else. They way too rarely turn the other cheek and assume that the person so radically attacking their belief is just doing so because they are a product of a different kind of upbringing and cultural influence, blah, blah, blah, and just leave them to it thinking “Oh, well, whatever, each to their own.” No, what happens is that they feel judged, so they feel justified in judging in return. And if they don’t have recourse to express themselves intellectually/creatively or a big enough audience to do so to, then they are likely going to act out their hurt and aggression physically. And shit – what do you know – they’re going to use whatever means and force available to deliver their retribution.
Power, power, power. Will, will, will. I’m rather sick of it all, aren’t you? Bottom line is that everyone – yes, including me, right now as I’m writing this – does what they do and says what they say thinking that they are in the right, that anyone else who doesn’t think like they do is in the wrong, and should be advised of the error of their ways by whatever means necessary until they change their mind or, much more rarely, agree to disagree.
Oh god, the hypocrisy is insanity-inducing. Meanwhile innocent people get hurt, or worse die all over the place as the result of all these power struggles. But, actually, none of us are innocent. Because we’re all guilty of foisting our beliefs onto others and wishing they would just stop being so much trouble and agree with us so we can play nicely, it’s just that for a lot of us those beliefs aren’t religious, but secular, which is currently more socially acceptable, so we think that we are so much more enlightened.
But that’s not true. None of us is enlightened. There is no truth, no set way of living that needs to be adhered to. No one knows what’s really going on. Everything just is. And whether we let it be, or don’t let it be, we seem to end up in the same mess, only by different roads.
I’m going to put this out here, but I’m not going to engage in any debates. I’m not going to support any one side over another anymore, or condemn one side or another, no matter how much that might be taken as strange or ignorant or…whatever by anyone else. It’s not that I don’t care; quite the contrary: I don’t like to see people killed or get hurt for any reason, full stop, and I don’t like to be the cause of anyone’s pain, and I don’t like the fact that EVERY HUMAN’S negative reaction to an attack on anything that they hold dear results in this cycle of retribution and violence and intolerance continuing.
It’s just that I know I can’t change anything by having any opinion. Diversity is a cherished ideal, but it’s not a functional one, because everybody insists on their right to believe what they want and act in accordance with that which they believe whilst not tolerating other people’s right to the same when it contradicts theirs. A stable society of peacefully co-existing humans can only exist if we all agree to NOT be diverse, and to follow basic rulesets, and to agree that if we don’t like the agreed-upon rules, we should go live somewhere that we do. Then we need a bajillion separate societies living in a bajillion separate world states (with open borders so that people can live where they feel they belong best) that agree to let each other live as they please so long as they don’t involve themselves in any way in any other state’s affairs.
But since that isn’t going to happen, all I can and should do is behave in the way that I believe is the right way for me without trying to enforce it on anyone else, whilst trying to ignore everyone else’s opinion as to how I should behave or react to – or what to believe or think about – anything.
“Oh, Inverted World
If every moment of our lives
Were cradled softly in the hands of some strange and gentle child
I’d not roll my eyes so.” — The Shins
I get so frustrated with human nature sometimes. The more someone loves us unconditionally, the more we take them for granted and the less attention and gratitude we pay them. We’re a stupid species. Our children do it to us, we do it to our parents, and we all do it to the universe. We ignore what is known and familiar as much as possible in order to reach out to the unknown, to find something that will awe us, and if we can’t find that something awesome out there then we create something new. We evolve but as we do so we get further from the source, further from the Truth.
But if we stop this incessant need to keep growing outwardly, if we just become still and pay proper attention to what already IS as opposed to what could be, then we begin to see the depths, the intricacies of what we had assumed was simple and known. We begin to see just how much we don’t know about the things we think we do know. We begin to stop forming patterns about people and things and holding them to those patterns and instead see them for how they truly manifest in each moment – how different they are from one hour to the next! We begin to find the wonder in the very things right under our noses.
And that, I think, is to be touched by grace. All we really need to do then is align ourselves with that energy and all the anxiety, the analysis paralysis, just drops away. And this experience is available to every single person on this planet, because all we need to do is properly focus on the world as it becomes manifest around us, and allow ourselves to unfold along with it.
I am not special.
Nor is anyone else.
But everyone is essential. Everything we do in our dimension has to have happened based on what has happened before, and what happens now dictates what will happen in future. But thought interferes with that, because we can think/imagine things that haven’t happened or won’t happen, and in that way we kind of bring them into semi-existence, semi-manifestation in this dimension. Does that in some way stop them from being made completely manifest in one of the other dimensions? Or does it just allow us a glimpse of other dimensions that we don’t inhabit in our earthly form?
I’m digressing already…
Meaning is derived solely from what we decide to focus upon, combined with the narrative we tell ourselves to explain the actions which we carry out – actions which are dictated largely, if not solely, by our unconscious, the potential innately contained in our bud.
I exist. I am essential. But I don’t need to be noticed. It is the striving to be noticed, and the analysis of whether or not one is being noticed and appreciated, that causes so much stress in life. If I just live my life as I want, I will have a certain effect on everyone I come across. Whether that effect is good or bad, acknowledged by them or not, is completely besides the point…the point is that the influence has happened. I don’t need feedback from others – either praise or complaint – for doing what I do, so long as what I do is congruent with my nature. If I get feedback, I don’t need to listen to it, but neither do I need to ignore it out of some stubborn knee-jerk need for independence. If it makes some sense, will improve me in some way, bring me to worthwhile experiences, then I should consider it.
A lot of the time, my self-growth has consisted of growing away from my natural self because of the influence of others, rather than growing into what I was born to be. I don’t live in a vacuum, so that’s not surprising. These outside influences do allow for me to grow beyond my potential, but what I can never tell is whether beyond my potential in all those different directions is any better or worse than staying within my innate potential. It probably doesn’t even matter, and I guess I don’t have much of a choice, in reality, much like a tree doesn’t choose what environment it grows in, and in which direction its roots and branches grow in order to compete for the nutrients it needs.
But most of the time I should consider that when feedback is given, the other person is giving it based on their best interests first. I’m not a competitive person so I don’t like taking up someone else’s space in pursuit of my own aims, but that’s the way of the world, isn’t it? When you have to share space, you have to compete, else you end up giving way for them to grow at the expense of your own growth.
But then, what does it really matter? What does it matter in the greater scheme of things which tree grows the tallest and healthiest, so long as one of them does? Nature doesn’t play favourites. It’s not survival of the fittest, but survival of the most keen to survive and thrive. In which case the ultimate mark of fitness is the will to grow into the biggest, strongest, best version of yourself, whatever the circumstances you find yourself in. It’s about not allowing your vulnerabilities to make you weak, but instead accepting them and trying to find a way of using them to make yourself even stronger.
“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.”
I think that’s the point. I need to be less self-conscious about however I happen to grow…doesn’t matter if the direction of growth is coming from within or from influences outside of me, so long as I survive and grow as strong and healthy as I can manage given the circumstances.