I’ve been waking up to just how many ways our species works to separate ourselves as individuals from one another in an attempt to secure authority and strength, albeit blindly and while starving our intuition and sense of authenticity. Now I’ll try saying that in English.
We’ve reached critical mass concerning our experience of tribalism (“I must be safe and cared for because these people around me appear familiar”). Due to information access explosion, it has become incredibly clear that no human is that different from any other human, regardless of language, origin, or race. We all have hearts, stomachs, spirits, and brains.
But the scary part?
None of us know how to use them.
We have gurus, authors, preachers, politicians, dead icons, corporations, and celebrities onto whom so many project their idealism, yet no one wants to tell the Secret. I’m not talking about Law of Attraction; I mean the real Secret.
We’re all dancing around blindly (like the primates we are) faking it and making it up in a mad dash for survival. In centuries past, we had region, dialect, and color to tell us who was safe and who was not in the tribe. Now the lines are gone. The entire planet is spoken for and every government bends over for every other one in an attempt to not destroy the planet Alderaan style and while simultaneously placating corporations and ensure political job security. Other than our passports, we have no valid us vs. them tribal construct upon which to call for personal safety and reflection. (Not that those guarantee us ethical treatment by our fellow citizens.) Nowadays, we flee to ideas and abstractions to clothe our minds and separate us from one another.
God gets blamed for genocide, for hate speech, for funeral protest/harassment. Presidents get turned into ideological dart boards for every problem that several hundred overpaid underworked people create together, regardless of how they do or don’t participate. Short-term gains are prioritized over long-term health-conscious sustainability as a business rule. Zoom out and replace these human images with angry chimpanzees and the picture doesn’t really change much. For all of our skills and shiny toys, our fundamental framework and methods for interacting with our environment haven’t changed much in the last few thousand years. In my opinion, we are animals with superpowers beyond the fragile limits of our cherry-picked bites of wisdom who have grown grossly overpopulated due to having no natural predator. Subsequently, we have systemically turned on each other to take up the slack.
So then! What’s a disproportionately evolved primate to do? Fortunately, there are enough of us that if you begin feeding an ethos or world view of (in my opinion) any variety with enough diligence, then you are 200% certain to find people who will enable your belief – regardless of its validity or health. The trick is to feed a perspective or value system that is healthy for you and live it out to the Nth degree, especially in moments where others invite you to compromise or debase yourself to pacify their sensitivities. That’s the other side of the coin: just as there will be thousands who will encourage and enable you, there will be thousands who will loathe, mock, and undermine you in whatever path you choose. Choose wisely.
Pro-tip: Adjusting to a new world view that you feel is healthy and/or right for you comes with a certain period of madness, wherein (depending on how contrary to your past modus operandi your new paradigm is) you may slowly or quickly lose friends and make new ones – sometimes all at once, quite often just at the point of exhaustion. But the truly maddening moment comes when you have the experience of first walking into one room beloved and respected by all and then go into another room where you are burned and spat on for your expression, oftentimes when it was the exact same thing for which the first group loved you. Projection can be a warm embrace just as much as a knife through the heart.
Many don’t survive or progress beyond this point in their transformation. Some settle for mundanity or fly below the radar. It is important to note that in much of the world, some are not permitted the luxury of casually not committing to their peers’ world view as every victim of acid throwing, most of them women who were attacked for refusing sexual advances or not wearing a hijab, can attest. In Iran, acid throwing is now a capital offense due to the sheer volume of reported attacks, not to mention those that go on in secret. Consider that the next time you fake your way through a social gathering that makes you feel dead inside or sit through a monologue of pompous hateful drivel because i “family” does and you’re just afraid of being alone. Stand for something, lest you do die for nothing.
I believe the real culprit behind most cycles of abuse and atrocity is something that occurs at a deeper level than does the fear of being alone or abandoned. It is the fear of being Othered. It is a valid fear. Being treated as though one no longer possesses human or even just familial characteristics is truly terrifying. I believe it to be so because of what truly grand twisted creativity flies out of a human’s mind when they encounter someone that they no longer relate to as a human being. Our beautiful capacity to Love and Heal others becomes blinded and choked by our fear of the unknown. When the unknown walks and talks like us, we discard our evolution and – like the primates we are – go apeshit. War propaganda demonstrates the practice of selective othering more explicitly than almost any other practice, in my opinion. This became very apparent in World War II when racial slurs were common in public.
To put this in modern perspective, in recent times, the “all Muslims are terrorists” doctrine has inflamed US culture to the point where Sikhs endure anti-Muslim persecution because they wear turbans and the men wear full beards. In our infotainment media, lines are blurred by bigotry and willful ignorance by those feigning abstracted superiority – the traits of the American unruly child of the British Great White Burden. Thankfully, education and a review of the facts illuminates the selfish us vs. them fear-mongered tea party (no pun intended).
Now for the bright side.
The truth is – you’re never truly alone. It is a blessing and a scourge, really.
You may be far from home, but when it comes down to it, we really are all in this together. Privilege, false ego investment, fear of death, and cultural distractions are all that keep us apart in the end. There are innumerable things to mourn about human culture(s) today as there is so much energy directed at making things more difficult and stealing happiness, prosperity, liberty, and success from others. But again, I ask, what’s a disproportionately evolved primate to do?
Voids shall be filled, but we as creator/destroyers get to choose how we do so. There are entire socio-cultural idea machines engineered to inhibit growth and discovery. “That’s just the way we’ve always done it.” “It’s unAmerican.” “But do you really want to marry a black guy?” “She’s just a whore.” “Heh, ‘women’…am-I-right?” “All Muslims love killing.” These are cop-outs designed to reroute creativity and stifle Heartful investment and mindful exploration. Since we’re all just primates running blindly into the void lest we perish, why not try a healthier approach and risk being wrong? The truth is – I’m asking you to risk dying for…
New business models are challenging industry traditions and revolutionizing future business practices. Bossless workplaces are now a viable option for companies. Empowering independent workers is now a viable business model. It is rare for anything to get Americans out of their comfort zones en masse for anything beyond a music or sporting event, but over 400,000 people marched in New York City on September 21st to illuminate the fact that we’re all in this together and broadcast to the UN that the American people in this region are united on this issue.
While so much fuel is added to the hate fire of isolating obsession with short-term problems and skin-deep trivialities, I set my eyes to the horizon and let the droning wash away. I invest my time and energy where it will matter. If time and energy are finite resources, then I want to maximize my bottom line by living my life on my terms. This means I refuse to entertain complaining and hate. If a room is inherently hostile or garners contrarianism to progress – I leave. It’s that simple. No, I don’t want another drink. I don’t want to commiserate with you when you have no plan or desire to rise above. No, I don’t want to hear how much you hate x, y, or even z.
I’m not the droid friend you’re looking for.
I am someone who will celebrate your progress. I am someone who will dance with you over breakthroughs. I am someone who will chart your success. I am someone who loves life, transformation, creation, and glorious destruction. I don’t want to hear about just how right you are. I want to hear how much you love. I want to know what makes you feel excitedly vulnerable. I want to hear about what turns you on.
Critics are a dime a dozen.
Champions slay their fears and follow their curiosity. I learned that I can always get better and the horizon always offers a new glory to be discovered. This is how we can respond: by charting proven success with healthy practices, by calmly making sense because we employ facts and empathy, by accomplishing the impossible through dedication and passion.
Fill the void. Build your tomorrow today. In straddling the river between two kingdoms and refusing to compromise your Love, you forge a space in which you reign sovereign over the whole Earth.
Stand tall in Love and watch your life transform.