Thoughts on how I reacted to current conditions in the same way as in Medieval times – on how the modern world is a continuation of the Medieval world, with remarks about some effects of the Christian conversion on Germanic society

Here’s a thought I had:

When I went to the University I was appalled by it.  I condemned and criticized it while I was there.  The result is that I dropped out of the University.

Now, after 30 years, I begin to see more of the reasons why . . .

THE MEDIEVAL SYSTEM

It seems that I complained about similar things that was complained about in the medieval Universities.  Basically, there was a rebellion against the medieval system.  Because of the Crusades, and the growth of the Catholic church, there became increasing control in the society.  I see three phases of medieval control:

  1. Carolingian control – about 800-1100 This ended with the Crusades which brought the Catholic control into power.
  2. First Catholic control – about 1100-1350.  This ended with the black death which disrupted almost all of Europe for most of the late 1300’s, in particular, and into the 1400’s.
  3. Second Catholic control – about 1400-1550.  This ended with the Protestant Reformation.

The control that was rebelled against was the second Catholic control after the black death.  This control seemed to be particularly extensive and strong.

The University seems to of largely been a result of the Crusades and growth of the Catholic church.  Because of this, they are related.  They reflect a growing sense of things such as these:

  • Control
  • Systemization and organization
  • Expectations of what one is to do
  • Conformism

These were felt in both the University and Medieval society, as a whole, causing two movements to appear:

  • Counter University movement
  • Counter System movement

The movements seemed to be in reaction to qualities that became particularly important in Medieval society such as:

  • Systemized knowledge.  In many ways, the systemization of knowledge as a whole was a continuation of the Christian conversion, of “forcing an accepted knowledge” upon the population.  This set the general tone toward knowledge and it was displayed in areas like the University.
  • Power structure.  This, of course, has a lot to do with the growing power of the Catholic Church in society.  It would eventually extend to the government and social structure.

What this means is that the Crusades caused a growth of control over society that, in many ways, define Medieval society.  This became so extensive that it caused  reactions, or movements, against it.

In general, the movements were against the emphasis on the system and power structure which caused a degradation of the “human being”.  The net result is that, during the Medieval period there became a conflict between the system/power structure and the human being.

UNIVERSITY BEGINNINGS

Much of this rebellion seems to of begun at the Universities.  There seems to be a number of reasons why:

  • It was a systemized and very organized environment
  • It promoted a systemization and organization of knowledge
  • It was associated with the power structure (church, government, social structure)
  • Because it was exposed to different forms of knowledge, from other places, it offered a “different perspective” that was lacking in everyday society

In many ways, the University was an concentrated version of Medieval society with all its power and control and systemization.  As a result, the opposition began there.

HUMANISM

It seems that the first effect of this opposition at the University is often called humanism.  To me, humanism is the emphasis on human qualities as significant and important in life.  But, when you look at the history of humanism, I think, it is somewhat confusing.  Over the years there has developed many versions and aspects of what it is.

I seem to think there are two forms of humanism:

  1. Southern humanism.  This primarily comes from Italy.  This is the humanism that is usually looked at.
  2. Northern Germanic humanism.  This is primarily Germanic in origin.  This tends to be overshadowed by the southern humanism and is often confused with it.

In this article I am looking at Northern Germanic humanism.

I tend to feel that the Northern Germanic humanism has early origins.  It seems to reflect the Germanic tribal society mentality.  In its simplest way, I’d say that Northern Germanic humanism is a reaction against the infiltration of southern Italian, and Christian society, on what is a strongly tribal society.  In this way, it is a rebellion against the conquering society and social system of the south.  One could then say that the Northern Germanic humanism is really an emphasis on “our way” versus “your way” or as an emphasis on “us” and “our ways”.  It seems to primarily focus on the idea of a people, and not necessarily as individual people.  This was how it was initially, or so it seems to me.  In this way, Northern Germanic humanism is really reflective of a culture clash with southern Italian and Christian culture.  I believe that clash still continues to this day.

THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION

The humanistic feelings, of emphasis on “us” and “our ways”, would transfer to the Catholic church, which was responsible for much of the control and power during the Medieval times.  Many people were involved with this opposition but it would end up centering on Martin Luther in Germany.  In the early 1500’s he would start a movement which would eventually oppose and shatter the Catholic church, and Christianity in general.  This is the Protestant Reformation.

A significant point about the Protestant Reformation is that it made things more “personal”, putting the emphasis on “me” instead of “us”.  This is seen in Martin Luther’s statement sola fide (faith alone).  This reflects the emphasis on the individual, not the society, as the source of belief and religion.

It seems, to me, that this created something like a “half-individualism”.  By this I mean that the mentality is rooted in a culture clash, and is social as a result.  But the philosophy of Christianity, which it tried to reform, emphasized conversion and belief.  This puts the emphasis on the individual (that is, the Christian conversion required the individual to convert as part of its process).  In this way, half-individualism is a form of individualism based in as social conflict between cultures but which uses a philosophy that emphasizes the individual.  In this way, it only seems to be individualistic.  To put it another way, “the person fights a social conflict as if it were an interior and personal battle”.

The effect of all this is that the Protestant Reformation caused an emphasis on the individual as a source of belief, conviction, and religion.  This fact would reveal an important aspect of this problem . . .

THE HUMAN BEING VERSUS THE SYSTEM

What all this is about, really, is the tug-of-war between the human being and the system.  That is to say, the problem became an issue as a result of the Medieval system becoming too powerful and squashing the person.  In this way, the human being and the system became at odds and have been ever since.  Its resurfaced again and again, and in a multitude of ways, since the Medieval times.  It even resurfaced in me . . .

MY EXPERIENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY

My own conflict at the University was, in many ways, a smaller version of the situation that was seen in Medieval times.  I had many of the same conflicts:

  • I was appalled by the systemization of knowledge
  • I was appalled by the systemization of the whole process
  • I was appalled by the power structure and how it manipulated everything
  • I was appalled by the conformism
  • I was appalled by how I had to “do and believe what they wanted”
  • I was not convinced that the University was the “great-all authority of knowledge” . . . its just an organization . . . who made them god?!
  • I felt squashed by it all as a person

These caused a reaction . . .

MY REACTION . . . AND THE SIMILARITIES

I was so appalled that I ended up dropping out of the University at about 1990.   In the decade following I found that I replicated many themes seen in the Medieval opposition movements.  Some of these include:

  • I began to use the word “human” a lot.
  • I coined the word “humaness” to refer to naturally appearing human qualities.  
  • I spoke of “The Human” referring to the importance of human qualities.  
  • I emphasized the need to follow natural inclinations.
  • I created the phrase:  “the human takes precedence”.
  • I emphasized “dehumanization” and its damaging effects.
  • I spoke of the System and Systemization, which tends to degrade “The Human”, human qualities, and natural inclinations.
  • I stated that there was a “war for humaness” and that we have to fight against the System to maintain our humanity.
  • I began to oppose the System.

In many ways, I reflected many views seen in humanism and the reformation.  In short, I saw, and reacted to, a battle between the human being and the system.  To me, it seems that I am reacting to the same conditions seen in the Medieval world and in a similar way.  I tend to feel that this seems to show that the modern world is really a continuation of the Medieval world . . .  

MEDIEVAL TIMES AND THE MODERN WORLD . . . WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE???

I tend to believe that the modern world is just the “latest installment” of a social system that began during Medieval times.  Its a continuation of that system.  I see a number of similarities between the Medieval system and the modern world.  These include:

  • There is a background of tribal mentality in society which tends to cause a rebelliousness in some people
  • There is an influence of foreign beliefs and other influences
  • There is a lot of new things being created
  • There is a particularly strong power structure
  • There is an an organized systemization of belief, knowledge, etc.
  • There is a self-righteous cause
  • There is the idea that it (the modern world) is the answer to everything
  • There is the idea that it (the modern world) must change the world

The result of these is the exaltation of an ultra-organized society (what I call Systemism) at the expense of the human being.  This is the same condition seen in the Medieval world.

Many of the above qualities originate from Christianity and the Crusades (for example, we have a high and mighty cause to change . . . I mean, save . . . the world).  When you stand back and look at it we (that is, Western society) act like we are still in the Crusades.  Of course, there are changes, such as that Jesus Christ has been replaced by science and the Catholic Church has been replaced by the state, but it hasn’t changed all that much.

I see several dominant qualities of this mentality which originate in Christianity:

  • A self-righteousness – Christianity is the only true belief in the world
  • An emphasis on power structure – the power of the Catholic Church preserves the only true religion
  • A systemization of knowledge and belief to “accepted” way’s – one must believe in Jesus Christ and the beliefs established by the Catholic Church
  • An emphasis on the “new” – Christianity is a “new” belief that replaces the “old” pagan belief
  • The idea that we must change the world to our way – The world must be converted to Christianity
  • The idea that the “new” will save us – Christianity will save the world

These are all qualities developed during the Crusades and which persist down to today.  In many ways, they are the basis for the modern mentality showing that we are not as far from the Medieval world as we think we are.

THE CHRISTIAN CONVERSION, GERMANIC SOCIETY, AND “TRIBALISM”

To me, it seems that this whole phenomena is rooted in the Christian conversion and its effect on Germanic society (by “Germanic” I mean the culture that includes Germany, France, England, Scandinavia, and everywhere in between).  Basically, the Christian conversion brought in many foreign elements from the south and these had a great affect on the Germanic tribal mentality and prompted a reaction as a result.  This seems to be at the base of the problem anyways.

The whole phenomena is a reflection of what I call “tribalism” and a dilemma that surrounds it (see my article Thoughts on “tribalism” – some aspects and dilemma’s).  To put it simply “tribalism” refers to a sense of a “tribe”, or people, as a distinct and separate entity in the world.  In this “tribe” is found unity, security, and meaning.  When things disrupt this “tribe”, such an the intrusion of foreign ideas or social structures, it can create conflict for people.  For example, it can cause insecurity, fear, apprehension, confusion, loss, despair, apathy, etc.  When this happens various reactions can appear such as anger, violence, alienation, rebellion, etc.

The Christian conversion, being foreign in origin, caused such a reaction in the Germanic tribal societies.  It disrupted Germanic “tribalism” in a number of ways:

  • It brought in new beliefs and attitudes
  • It brought in new social structures
  • It was authoritative in nature
  • It made itself out as the authority in society
  • It attempted to destroy existing mentalities, beliefs, traditions, etc.
  • It was often very forceful upon the population

All this was intensified by the Crusades which, in a way, made it more forceful, authoritative, and destructive.  In this way, it only disrupted the unity, security, and meaning of “tribalism” eventually prompting a reaction.

It seems that the reaction that happens when “tribalism” is threatened often entails things such as:

  • The regaining of unity
  • The regaining of security
  • The regaining of meaning
  • Rebellion against the foreign intrusion

My observation is that, contrary to what most people would think, the reaction against foreign intrusion, and the disruption of “tribalism”, is seldom automatic rebellion and violence.  The first reactions are often attempts at regaining the unity, security, and meaning that was lost.   If these are not reestablished then it can turn into rebellion and violence, particularly if things are forced upon them.

It seems that the Christian conversion created many attempts and methods of regaining the unity, security, and meaning of “tribalism”.  Some of these include:

  • Siding with Christianity and making it the new “tribe”
  • Going in some other direction, which often meant going “underground”
  • Maintaining the “old ways”, at least in some way or form
  • Appealing to other new things as a substitute
  • The creation of new points of view
  • Migrating somewhere else

Many of these qualities describe the conditions of Germanic culture particularly following the Crusades.  This shows that the disruption caused by the Christian conversion has caused a new form of culture that is endlessly trying to regain “tribalism”.  Perhaps we could cause this the “regaining culture”?  In this way, we can see that a big part of Germanic culture is a continual attempt at regaining the unity, security, and meaning of “tribalism” that was disrupted by the Christian conversion.  

It is my belief that this continual attempt at “regaining tribalism”, which is a reaction to the Christian conversion, is one of the reasons why the Germanic people became so productive, created a lot, was so innovative, discovered many things, and explored a lot.

Despite all that they have done, though, the “tribalism” was never really recovered.  One of the reasons for this is that all the new stuff created just became a new “foreign intrusion”.  This shows how a vicious circle is often started with the attempt at “regaining”:

  1. “Tribalism” exists in the society
  2. A foreign intrusion appears
  3. “Tribalism” is disrupted
  4. There is an attempt at “regaining tribalism”
  5. This causes the creation of many new things as a substitute for “tribalism”
  6. The new things become a new form of foreign intrusion
  7. There is a continued disruption of “tribalism”
  8. Back to phase 4 and the cycle is repeated

Perhaps we could call this the “vicious circle of the regaining culture”?  What seems to happen is that this vicious circle becomes a dominating quality with the “regaining culture”.  It creates a society that is, in a way, “continually moving but getting nowhere”.

I should point out that all cultures in the world reflect “tribalism”, at least in some way.  Its a very natural phenomena and the disruption or loss of the “tribe” has an impact, though it may not seem like it.  Personally, I feel that many of the problems of the world are really based in the disruption or loss of the “tribe”.   Each culture reacts to it differently though.

“HALF BELIEF”

But the Christian conversion seems to of caused a unique reaction.  This was primarily seen in the Germanic peoples reflecting, of course, that the unique quality of Germanic tribalism.  There seems to be a progression of event in how this went:

  1. There is an already existing society based in the “tribe” – the “Germanic people
  2. There is a foreign intrusion dressed out as a “savior” of the people but not part of the “tribe” – Christianity
  3. The “savior” seems convincing to the people so they start to believe the foreign “savior” but maintain tribal mentality deep down – people seem to convert
  4. This condition continues while there are no tensions or conflicts
  5. When tensions and conflicts appear it puts a strain on the society and the original base “tribe” mentality comes out – people start to go against the foreign “savior” and its belief falls

Its like there are two levels in the mind of the culture that the Christian conversion caused:

  1. The base “tribe” mentality
  2. The belief of the “savior” which is overlayed on the base mentality

When there is a conflict people “fall back” onto the base “tribe” mentality and the “savior” is tossed to the side.  In this way, one could say that the culture only half believed.  That is to say, something like a “half-belief” appeared.  One effect of this is the “half-individualism” described above.

Basically, in “half-belief” people followed Christianity with their minds or, for the more serious, with their hearts . . . but their souls rest with the “tribe”.   The reason why ones soul rests with the “tribe” is because of things such as:

  • It is associated with self-preservation of the “tribe”, people, and culture
  • It is deeply ingrained in the culture as a result of its presence for centuries

This is why the “tribe” and “tribal mentality” is so deep rooted and why its disrupting is so impactful.  As a result of this, the “tribe” becomes the “default” mentality, so to speak.  This made it difficult for the belief in Christianity to never really became that firm or established.  In this way, the Germanic people were never really converted to Christianity.

It seems, to me, that “half-belief” is a common problem with Christianity, at least in some form.  I think one of the reasons why is because of the three-fold levels I described above:

  1. Belief with ones mind – the weakest
  2. Belief with ones heart – stronger but still weak
  3. Belief with ones soul – strongest

Basically, the Christian conversion relies on peoples understanding to cause a conversion.  That is to say, it requires the weakest aspect of all . . . the mind.  In reality, most of the Christian conversion is rooted in understanding.  The more serious tried to bring the “heart” into it, at least in some way, but it never really worked in the conversion.  This reliance on “understanding of Christianity” is, really, the weakest aspect of Christianity and why it tends to fail.

One of the interesting effects of “half-belief” is that because the belief primarily rests with understanding, with ones mind, there is a tendency for this aspect to be “remembered” and there is a tendency to forget or, rather, disregard the original belief . . . the “tribe”.  As a result, this makes it so that consciously people become unaware of the “tribe” and its importance.  Despite this, its still strong, and part of the culture, which makes it affect people unconsciously, often without their knowing it.  This is why the Germanic people often kept resorting to various forms of worshiping of ones culture, history, and “volk” throughout history.  The most dramatic version of this is, of course, the Nazi’s or some attitudes of the British Empire.  This behavior reflects that unconscious “tribe” mentality that, really, everyone forgot but is still functioning in the culture.  In this way, the “tribe” mentality continues to exist but becomes a silent and unknown force in the culture.  As a result of this presence, it keeps reappearing in many different ways and its usually not recognized as such.

In my opinion, Germanic society is still tribal in its deeper orientation.  In this way, it is basically displaying qualities similar to what we see in some primitive tribes.  But, since the Christian conversion, it has lost touch with that quality . . . it has become unconscious.  In addition, it has also been pushed more into the unconscious by many things that have happened since, such as:

  • All the creations, inventions that have appeared
  • All the events and happenings
  • All the wars and conflicts that have appeared
  • The effects of overpopulation and dealing with masses of people
  • The growth of media and communication
  • The growth of consumerism and materialism
  • The growth of information
  • The infiltration of many foreign things, people, etc.

These have created something like “overlays” on the tribal mentality making it even more hidden from view.

THE QUESTION OF AUTHORITY

Another problem of the Christian conversion is that it tried to make itself out as the authority.  In a society with a “tribe” mentality this is not as easy as it sounds for the “tribe” is the authority . . . you don’t just walk into it and replace it.  It seems, to me, that one of the main reasons why Christianity failed is because it tried to make itself out as the true and only authority in an already established tribal society.  In fact, it seems that the question of authority caused the counter movements above, humanism, and the Protestant Reformation.  It also caused my reaction.  Personally, I felt as if I was having the “wool pulled over my eyes” or as if a “pretend authority” was trying to be imposed upon me.  In addition, it was like a “self proclaimed authority” was trying to tell me what to do.  The problem is that I did not accept it as authority.  I tend to feel that similar feelings also motivated the Medieval reaction as well.

The “pretend authorities” came from many sources:

  • Christianity . . . a foreign authority
  • Being told what to believe . . . primarily from the Catholic church
  • Being told what knowledge was true . . . primarily from the University
  • Having to submit to a power structure that one can’t relate to

The problem is that all this was coming from “without” . . . it was foreign.

This question of authority is often why, if one looks closely, one can see that much of Germanic society is trying to find authority in one form or another throughout the centuries.  Examples include:

  • The new Protestant interpretation of Christianity
  • Science
  • Inventions
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Economics
  • Nationalism

It almost looks like much of Germanic society, from Germany to Britain to the U.S., is on an endless quest seeking an authority which it can’t seem to find.  In this way, Germanic society is somewhat uprooted . . . it can’t find its “center”, so to speak.  This seems to be a common problem as, it seems to me, that the overall effect of the Christian conversion is an uprooting of cultures.  

INDIVIDUALISM AND GERMANIC SOCIETY

Interestingly, much of the individualism we see in Germanic society may have strong roots in the emphasis on “regaining tribalism” as a result of the Christian conversion.  In other words, Germanic individualism may be more about the “tribe” than the individual.  This is rather ironic as it seems to be going in the opposite direction than what it claims.

There seems to be a number of things that it originates from:

  • The warrior ethic developed during the era of the Roman Empire and the wars that followed its downfall
  • The warrior ethic of the Crusades which is really a continuation of the previous quality

What it seem, then, is that Germanic individualism was originally associated with war, which is really distinguishing oneself in battle for the benefit of the “tribe”.  Already, then, we see the “tribe” as a motive of individualism.  In some respects, the individual is elevated for a protection of the “tribe”.

But the Christian conversion created another threat to the “tribe” . . . the disruption of “tribalism”.  In this way, the individual would again be elevated again for the protection of the “tribe” but not as a warrior, as such, but in a different and unique way.  Instead of elevating the individual-for-the-tribe, as a warrior, he is elevated as the individual-as-an-ideal, of a glorification of things like an individuals understanding, faith, belief, achievements, and such.  Interestingly, this emphasis on the individual has many qualities that originated with the Christian conversion, such as:

  • Christian belief – the need to “understand” in the conversion process
  • Protestant Reformation – emphasis on personal belief (referred to above)
  • “Half-individualism” (referred to above)

In this way, one could say that the individual-as-an-ideal originates from a combination of the warrior individual-for-the-tribe mentality and qualities created by the Christian conversion which tends to put emphasis on the individual (described above).  I tend to feel that these qualities were interpreted in an individual sense because of the Germanic warrior ethic and the threat to “tribalism”.  If one looks at other places where Christianity tried to convert people there are very few other cultures that interpreted things quite in that light.  Because of this, the individual-as-an-ideal is a unique Germanic reaction to the Christian conversion.   

But the individual-as-an-ideal is based in the “tribe”, as I said above.  This makes it so that there is often a unique confusion between the individual and the “tribe”.  There is something like a spectrum.  On one end of the spectrum its hard to say which one is being spoken about . . . they are as if blended together.  On the other end of the spectrum they are in conflict . . . it becomes the “tribe” versus the individual.  At this point the “tribe” takes on other qualities.  It refers to the greater existing society . . . the church, the government, the King, the aristocracy, the laws, etc.  I generally refer to all this as the “system”, as I’ve stated above.  The result of all this is that the individual-as-an-ideal tends to create two main conditions:

  1. The blending of the individual and the “system”.   This creates a person who does what society wants.  This has made Germanic society very efficient but it tends to create “robots”.
  2. The individual versus the “system”.  This creates a person who emphasizes what a person does, and is willing to oppose things for the right reasons, but it tends to create rebels.

Of course, which path one takes depends on the person and conditions.  Both qualities have had great impact on Germanic society.  The counter movements, humanism, Protestant Reformation, and my reaction (described above) reflect the individual versus the “system” perspective.  This does not necessarily reflect society as a whole.  If you look closer, you’ll see that the other perspective is also seen in Medieval as well as Germanic society (in addition to other perspectives as well).  What this means is that the reactions I have described reflect a reaction toward the Christian conversion . . . its not the only reaction.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Christianity, Christian conversion, Post-Christianity, and Christian influence, Dehumanization and alienation, Education and learning, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, Stuff involving me, The 'system', 'systemism', and the power structure, Tribal society and the tribal sense | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on relaxation . . . to rejuvenation . . . to contemplation

Here’s a thought I had:

I have been putting great emphasis on relaxing recently.  I feel that it is very important and healthy and can lead to deeper things.  Because of this, I tend to have certain viewpoints about it . . .

Most people think relaxing is just relaxing but I look at it differently.  I would define relaxation in this way:  relaxation is the releasing of tension so that passion can work effectively.  This means that passion and tension must be understood (I will discuss these below).  What this shows is that there is an unhealthy quality that is created when tension disrupts passion so that it is not felt properly.

The sensing of passion causes a “rejuvenation”.  In other words, the purpose of relaxation is actually to be “rejuvenated” with passion.  To just be “relaxed” is like becoming like a limp vegetable . . . its incomplete.

In addition to that, if one continues deeper into relaxation then it turns into contemplation.  This means it turns into something else.

The subject of relaxation brings up two important qualities:

  1. Passion.
  2. Tension. 

PASSION

Passion is a word that came to me about 30 years ago.  It originated from a sense of something like an “energy” in life.  It felt as a “something” that I couldn’t fully define and, frankly, still can’t fully define.  But it seemed to be a form of “life-sense”, a “something” that was everywhere and in everything and which had a “life” to it.  Another word I often use is “livingness”.  I cannot say what it is.  I also cannot say why I believe it is so important.  Its just a “gut feeling” that it is important.  Without passion things seemed dead, meaningless, worthless, etc.  In this way, one could say that passion is the energy, heart, or soul of life.  As a result, I tended to view passion as the foundation of life.  In this way, we could say that in relaxation we are seeking to rediscover the foundation of life.

This means, of course, that a person must have a sense of what passion is in order to seek it.  I cannot say how this is done as, frankly, it just appeared to me.  How a person in which it has not appeared begins to know it I cannot say.  My personal feelings is that most people do not know it, at least consciously.

The Conditions of Passion

The conditions of passion are:

  • Passion presence. This is a sense of being “immersed” in passion, that it is all around us.
  • Passion glows.   This is a sense of a “life-sense”, as a localized energy in a specific space.  In a way, its a “localized passion presence”.
  • Passion flows.  This is a sense of “movement” of the passion in space.

In relaxation we are trying to really retrieve all these conditions, in one way or another.  Much of how this is perceived depends a lot on how it is “sensed” . . .

 The “Sensing” of Passion

Passion is something that is “sensed” by a person.  This requires these things:

  • A passion to be sensed
  • An ability to sense it
  • A self to acknowledge it
  • An ability to react to it and use it

There’s a number of senses:

  1. A generalized sense.  This is an overall sense all about me, as if I am in a fluid (I often speak of this as the “primal fluid”).
  2. A localized sense.   This is passion being perceived only in an object.
  3. A flowing sense.  This is passion being sensed as moving among other things.  This is a more recent version
  4. An imagery sense.  This is a localization of passion in a specific image or object, like a god or spirit.

I tend to see the first as the oldest and original sense of passion.  As it progresses down the passion degrades and differentiates.  This would mean that the “god-sense” (a sense of a divine being), being an imagery sense, is actually a lower or degraded sense of passion. I believe that this is true.  That does not mean, though, that the “god-sense” is wrong.  Its just not as “pure” as the generalized sense. The fact is that passion is a hard thing to sense.  As a result, there is a tendency is to “scale it down” to a form that one can more easily associate with.  The “god-sense” allows this to happen in many people.

Passion has two basic “senses” in how it is perceived:

  1. The “life-sense”.  This is a sense of “aliveness” or vitality or energy.  This often creates a sense of the divine or sacred.
  2. A spatial/time sense.  This is a sense of the “life-sense” in space and time.  This often creates a sense of the eternal.

How it is “sensed” is often one of these or a blending of the two.

1 – The “life-sense”

Passion is  felt as a “life-sense” in ways such as:

  1. An undefined “generalized” sense
  2. A “thick” fluid-like sense
  3. A “tingly”, warm, or other sensation
  4. A heightened awareness, of a “livingness” in things

The former seems to be the oldest sense.  As it progresses down the “sense” goes through a degradation (see below).

2 – A Spatial/Time Sense

It seems, to me, that there is a close relationship between the “life-sense” and spatial relations. Time is actually a form of spatial relations as time is an awareness of thing from moment-to-moment.  

I seem to feel passion a number of ways:

  • An overall presence:  it is all around me like a fluid
  • Localized in me: it glowed like an ember with in me
  • Localized in an object: it glowed like an ember in an object
  • Localized in space: it glowed like an ember about me in a specific segment of space
  • Flowing without me:  it as if moved or flowed around me
  • Flowing within me:  it as if moved or flowed within me

We can see that these all describe strong spatial relations.  I have always emphasized the importance of spatial relations in awareness (see my article “Thoughts on the importance of spatial relations and the self – the creation of a “self-space” and its effects“).  I have always felt that space is one of the first awareness that we have.  This is one of the reasons why I think space figures so prominently in awareness.

The “Passion/Spatial Tension”

It seems that passion and spatial relations are the first awareness that we have.  But there is a conflict in these sense:

  1. A conflict between a general spatial sense and a localized sense in space.  That is to say they are polar opposites.
  2. That passion and space are not the same and have different natures.

When we try to define it in space we actually degrade it.  But life is made up of space.  Because of this, there is a tug-of-war between the all-pervasive quality of space and localized conditions of the real world.  This, it seems to me, creates some of the first tensions, the “passion/spatial tension”.

The Degradation of the “Sense” of Passion

The original forms of the “sense” is the “purist” form.  It seems to me, that to truly be relaxed one must go back to the earliest senses, the generalized (spatial) and undefined (life-sense) forms.  

Degradation of the sense causes passion to “split apart” by things such as:

  • Differentiation of passion into separate elements
  • Multiplies passion into different directions and paths
  • Confuses passion
  • Focuses passion on specific areas
  • Neglects passion in specific areas

Passion, the Self, and Origins of Passion

Passion is projection of pre-self, causing an awareness, which appeared as a “tingling” which is the origin of the “energy” sense.   This means that it originates from the beginnings of awareness.  Relaxation, as I said above, is a regression.  This means that I am speaking of a regressed awareness as the origin of passion.  What this means is that passion is really the awareness of existence in its earliest forms and that relaxation is the regaining of the sense of passion in a more pure sense

Early forms of passion has these qualities:

  • It is pure, unclouded, unfettered
  • It contains a hope
  • It is “living”

This gives it a very “sacred” quality to it.

TENSION

Life, by its nature, creates a tension in us.  Overall, I’d say that tension is the preparation and reacting to the variable and unpredictable conditions and situations life.  Therefore, tension is actually a part of life and is a natural response.  It should not be looked at as being “unhealthy” or bad.  It only becomes that way if it becomes too strong or gets out of control.

Because tension is the “momentary and preparatory storing of passion to deal with a situation or event” it shows that there is an awareness of lacking in passion or full.

  • An awareness of situation
  • storing of passion
  • a sense of time something will happen
  • an awareness of a relaxed state versus a passionized state
  • mental imagery a lot of tension is stored by mental imagery

Causes of Tension

Tension seems to be caused by things such as:

  • An anticipation or waiting for an event
  • A concentration or focusing
  • A responsibility in handling, participating in events
  • A “preparing” for an event or situation
  • An intensification of mental abilities or actions
  • A tightening up of physical qualities like muscles

I think that the responsibility of dealing with life is one of the hardest tensions to deal with. In other words, the sense of responsibility in life hits deep.  It keeps demanding us to confront life and keeps pulling us into tension. Weaning oneself off of responsibility is something that takes a lot of time.

Types of Tensions

There are many types of tensions, which include:

  • Tension caused by imminent conflict.  This is a tension that is caused by a conflict that is currently taking place.
  • Conflict-based tension – of recent origin.  This is tension caused by an event that did not happen that long ago but which is “still on ones mind”.
  • Conflict-based tension – of old origin.  These generally tend to be unconscious and a person is unaware of them.
  • Conflict-base tension – of abstract origin.  This is when one is aware of a conflict but it is not happening.  Its something one “knows”, such as going to a doctor for a “mysterious pain” one is may think may be serious.
  • Tension caused by pressure.  
  • Tension as a participation in life.  The normal conditions of life cause the need for tension.  As a result, life, overall, tends to cause a tension.
  • Tension caused by awareness or mentally alert. 
  • Tension caused by “passion/spatial tension” (see above).

The tensions caused by conflict and pressure of usually somewhat superficial as they are transient events.

The deepest tension comes from the “passion/spatial tension”.  It is a tension that always exists and seems to be the base of all tensions.  After that is the tension caused by awareness.  As a result, when one goes deeper in relaxation one gets to these levels.  Tension caused by the “passion/spatial tension” and awareness just “is”.  It exists.  When one reaches this depth of relaxation there is a tendency to “not be aware” and there is a loss of self.  When one reaches this point one is going into contemplation (see below).

It appears that tension prepares one with the conditions of life by doing these things:

  • Storing passion.  It as if “holds” the passion in certain organs, such as muscles, which may tighten up.  This seems to be the physical manifestation of tension. 
  • Directing of passion.  It makes passion go into certain traits, such as anxiety.  This quality seems mental manifestation of tension.

In the normal healthy condition, this tension is “released” and disappears.  There are a number of stages for it to be “released”.

  1. The situation must be confronted
  2. The situation is reacted to
  3. The passion is expended
  4. The situation is fulfilled
  5. The passion  satisfied

When any of these stages is disrupted tension continues to exist.

This shows that in relaxation it would be more accurate to say that we are speaking of “prolonged tension” and not tension itself.  “Tension” really refers to a transient situation that is in response to a condition and disappears after that condition.  “Prolonged tension” is “tension” that is unresolved and continues to exist.  Generally, in relaxing we are trying to rid ourselves of “prolonged tension”. 

When tension is not released several problems take place:

  • The tension stores too much passion in a specific area
  • The tension has directed passion to the wrong area

This is caused by things such as:

  • Over-reacted tension.  This is caused when the tension is much too severe for the situation.
  • Frustrated tension.  This is tension that is not satisfied.
  • Unresolved tension.  This is tension that is not resolved and continues on.
  • Tension from habit.  This is tension caused by a habitual reaction.
  • Residue tension.  This is the “remnants” of all the tensions that one has in life.

The effect of this is that the passion tends to get bound up and in knots, the “tension knots”.  These tend to grow and grow as life progresses.  It causes many “tension residues” in life, which are the effects of these knots that affect our general life.  Some causes of these include:

  • Unresolved issues
  • An excited state
  • An absence of relaxation
  • An inability to react

“Tension Molding”

Tension tends to affect many aspects of life, such as:

  • Our mental state
  • Our awareness
  • Our perception and interpretation of life and its events
  • Our muscle tension (so that it affects posture, appearance, etc.)
  • Our physical organs

In many ways, the tension tends to “mold” us into a particular state or “form”.  In other words, tension is a major element in how we grow and instrumental in the make up of our “form” which could be compared to our character.  I would go on to say that a lot of what we become is created, or influenced, by tension in some way or another.  I speak of this tendency as “tension molding”.

It seems that, once tension has molded us into a form its hard to get rid of that form.  This is particularly true if it has existed for a long time or if we have grown a life that depends on that particular molding of tension.

The “Grasping Reflex”

There is a tendency to “grasp” at things in life.  I call it the “grasping reflex”.  This can be very strong and become very difficult to overcome.  To me, it often appears as a tendency to want to “have” or “possess” something that can be so strong that its like one is desperately scrambling for it.  Generally, we are grasping for something specific.  But I think that many of us are “grasping at life” or, rather, trying grasp for a perception of life.  Not only that, many of us don’t know what we’re grasping at.  In this way, many people develop a “grasping lifestyle”, of perpetually and endlessly grasping almost like a bunch of wolves.  In some cases, we can “kill ourselves grasping for things”.

When we grasp it tends to cause things like:

  • An intensification of passion energy
  • A concentration of passion in a specific location

The net result is that grasping tends to cause more tension and can make it more intense.  If it becomes a lifestyle we can grasp and grasp and grasp so that we compound it.

Relaxation as Regression

One could say that relaxation is the “undoing” of the effects of life (that is, tension).  In this way, it has a regression quality to it, as if regressing to the beginning of life, of starting anew with a “clean slate”, of a “starting over”.  Its almost like returning to the infant state.

STAGES OF RELAXING

I see several stages in relaxation:

  1. Relaxing
  2. Passionizing
  3. Reintegration

1 – Relaxing

One could say that relaxation is a “retreating away from the normal conditions of life”, to avoid the natural tensions that are a part of life, and then getting rid of the residue tension that remains.  In other words, relaxation begins with removing one self from the world.  This condition allows for these things:

  • A calming of ones mind.  The mind needs to be silenced.  No thought, no emotion, no reflection.
  • A calming of ones body.  This refers to the body being relaxed, muscles relaxed.
  • A “letting go” of an overall sense of tension.  This is getting rid of “knots” that continue to exist.

Oftentimes, relaxation can uncover unknown or forgotten tensions and conflicts.  In this way, one may actually get more tense as one relaxing.  Because of this, one has to put more effort to relax and it may become a struggle.  I often feel this is why many people will end up trying to relax.  Its like an uncovering of tensions, layer after layer, that gradually reveals more hidden tension.  This fact shows that a lot of tension is unknown to us and is as if covered up.

Sometimes, its surprising what makes us tense.  In many cases, the little things of life make us tense.  Often, looking at what makes us tense is reveals what is important to us.  It may entail things we never realized.  Sometimes its good to inquire of the conflict that causes tension because of this.

One could say that there are two forms of relaxations:

  1. Relaxation to a specific tension
  2. Relaxation to life’s overall tension

When one starts relaxation we tend to focus on specific tensions.  As we get more progressed in it, over time, it slowly turns into a relaxation of life’s overall tension.

Relaxing means an exposing of ones self, which puts one in a vulnerable state.  This means that we often go against the natural tendency of protection.  This exposing of self, in relaxation, can be difficult and hard to do.  Some ways to help include:

  • Try to reconcile the conflict or dilemma that causes the tension
  • Accepting the dilemma or conflict
  • Experience . . . the realization that most tensions aren’t that important

Relaxation requires a “letting go”.  This is a deliberate focusing of mind on the tension.  It entails an awareness of two states:

  1. The tension
  2. The absence of tension

In many ways, in relaxation, of letting go, you’re really trying to be aware of the absence of tension.   This may not be as easy as it sounds.  In fact, I think that many people cannot relax because they are not aware of what the absence of tension feels like!

A person must allow themselves to relax.  This may sound odd but its true.  Many people can’t relax simply because they won’t allow it.  This can be for a number of reasons, such as:

  • A sense of responsibility.  
  • They only know tension.
  • A feeling that relaxing is like walking into an abyss, the unknown.
  • By holding onto tension one has the illusion of control.  
  • A fear of conflict that hides behind some tensions. 

I tend to feel that a big part of relaxing is just allowing yourself to allow it to happen.  

If one relaxes to have no thoughts and emotions, and become physically limp, then one only becomes “empty”.  Its an illusionary relaxation.  Relaxation must follow with passionizing . . .

2 – Passionizing

Relaxation entails the “letting go” of tension, as I said above.  But the letting go of tension doesn’t cause “relaxation”.  Relaxation actually releases passion that is in knots and bound up.  Since passion is like an energy, it means that relaxation actually increases an energy sense.  In this way, this released and newly unbound energy often appears like a tension.  Because of this, there is a tendency to mistake passion with tension.  It has a resemblance to tension because it is unbound and without direction.  This unbound energy can create qualities such as:

  • Being tense
  • Worry
  • Nervousness
  • Fidgetiness
  • Being antsy
  • Uptightness

If one is not careful this newly released and unbound energy will sink back into tension again.  The trick, then, is to prevent this from happening.  In other words, one wants to get this newly released and unbound energy and direct it somewhere else.  I call this process “passionizing”.  This primarily consists of:

  • Being aware of this unbound energy and passion.  This appears as an energy that is not connected with anything.  In other words, a person must be able to distinquish between passion coupled with an object and passion alone.  This, I think, takes practice and experience.
  • Allowing it to “be”.  That is to say, you don’t do anything with the passion.  The “tension knots” are caused by directed passion.  In passionizing you do not direct the passion but let the passion “sit” . . . all you do is be aware of it.  In this way, passion is not bound up in knots and tension.
  • Having no thoughts, issues, or concerns.  The idea is to not have something to direct the passion in a specific direction and get in knots again.

To me, its almost like sitting there and having this passion or energy swirl about you.  The idea is to disconnect the passion from anything.

Often, the released passion can cause some problems, such as:

  • It can release a lot of bound up passion with a lot of energy
  • A persons character may not be able to deal with the new passion
  • The released passion can bring up whole hidden conflicts

This passionizing allows passion to do things such as these:

  • The dissipation of knotted, bound up, or stagnate passion
  • To remove passion from what it is bound up with
  • To make passion flow freely

If passion is allowed to be released but, if it remains unbound, it will find its way back to something and cause tension again.  As a result, the passion must be directed somewhere more fruitful . . .

3 – Reintegration

This means the reintegration of passion with ones self.  This, I think, takes a lot of time with the experience of passionizing and is a natural process that follows it.  In this process the unbound passion is allowed to “sink back into ones self”.  That is to say, when you are aware of it, in passionizing, it is removed from you and separate.  In reintegration it becomes a part of you.  

To me, a very important part of this is the awareness of two things:

  • Passion
  • Self

One must feel the passion as removed from ones self.  In reintegration, one is aware of both and as if let passion become “absorbed” into ones self.  In a sense, the self becomes like a sponge to passion.

The process as a whole and what it reveals

One could say that the whole process follows this pattern:

  1. The release of bound passion from many sources and origins
  2. The separation of passion into a “one” passion
  3. The reintegration of this “one” passion into the self

There are several significant point that this reveals:

  • All passion is “one”.  Passion from all tension is as if treated as if it is the same, even though it comes from different origins and sources.  This implies that any passion, regardless of its origins, is really the same.  
  • The self best associates with the “one” passion.

This shows that when we are born there is as if an “original passion”, a “one” passion.  But, as we live, passion is as if “split into a million pieces” and disintegrates.  This causes tension, knots, and such.  In relaxation we are as if trying to “put all the passion pieces back together again”.  We are, in effect, trying to regain the “original passion”.  As a result, relaxation is almost like starting over again in life, becoming much like an infant.  This creates the rejuvenation effect of relaxation.

THE ACT

I would say that the act of relaxation generally goes like this:

  1. The calming of mind and body.  Sometimes you may want to focus on mind or body specifically but they often go together.
  2. Becoming aware of tension in mind and body.
  3. The “letting go” of tension.
  4. Feeling what appears as a calm.  This is really an “aftereffect” of “letting go”.  There is a tendency to confuse this with being “relaxed” but its really an emptiness created by the loss of an existing tension.
  5. Feeling passion, which is like an energy and can replicate tension in quality.
  6. Being aware of the passion and “letting it be”.
  7. Slowly feeling passion reintegrate into the self.

To me, a person bounces around in the stages.  You don’t go from 1 to 2 to 3 and so on but may go through all the stages to bounce back to an earlier stage and start over, for example.  In some respects, the act of relaxation is much like a massaging of ones mind, body, and self.  Not only that, relaxation never ends.  This is because tension is caused by life which shows that life dictates the need to practice relaxing as an ongoing thing.  A person really never reaches an “ultimate state of relaxation”.

Some Qualities Needed in Relaxation

It seems that relaxation requires some qualities such as:

  • Physical calm.  This usually means sitting or laying down.
  • Reduce stimuli.  Close eyes, quiet place away from people and things.
  • Mentally quiet.  Having no thought or emotion.
  • Breathing.  Listen to ones breath.
  • Awareness.  The ability to watch for any tension and passion.
  • Abandoning.  The letting go of any tension you feel.
  • Openness.  Be open to passion that appears.
  • Embracing.  This means allowing ones self to embrace passion, in particular

Two Forms of Relaxing

There are two forms of relaxing:

  1. Mental relaxation
  2. Physical relaxation

Though these are both different they are, of course, related to each other.  But they often appear as two distinct and separate things.  Not only that, each entail their own specific problems.  These two can, at times, cause quite a dilemma.  They reflect the fact that there is a mental tension and a physical tension and they both need relaxing.  Being different, they may require two totally different techniques of relaxation.

It seems that when there is too much emphasis on one or the other form of tension then the tension is particularly strong.  In other words, when one is too strong one needs to focus on it until one feels the other quality.  For example, if one feels a physical tension one focuses on the physical tension until one begins to feel the mental side behind it.  In this way, we want to combine the mental and physical until they are one.  Often, by this union it loses its “hold” and appears as a passion removed from mental or physical tension.  In this way, one can feel passion.

BREATHING

As part of relaxation I’ve found that breathing is very critical.  In fact, I’d venture to say that relaxation rests on breathing and depends on it.  By “breathing” I mean being aware of ones breathing.

To me, relaxation begins with silencing ones self so one can be aware of ones breathing and then, throughout the process, breathing as if becomes the base or foundation of everything that happens.  Because of this, one must become very aware of ones breath and as if “sink into it”.

Being aware of breathing tends to entail:

  • An awareness of breathing.  This preoccupies the mental aspect of relaxation.
  • The physical act of breathing.  This preoccupies the physical aspect of relaxation.

Here we see that breathing entails the two forms of relaxation described above (mental and physical).  And so we that breathing causes an overall relaxation.

VISUALIZATION

It seems that relaxation often tends to cause a visualization.  It can be as simple as an awareness of an “energy” in space to a fancy imagery, such as a specific object like a glow.

One of the benefits of visualization is that it causes a process I call “leading on”.  Basically, the mind moves attention, energy, relaxation, etc. to where you need it.  It does this a number of ways:

  • It moves the mind to areas that need to relax
  • It moves the passion to areas that need it
  • It uses imagery to emphasize a state, such as seeing oneself as a “glow” or like a “calm pool of water”.

In ways, such as these, visualization can help relaxation further.

CONTEMPLATION

I associate relaxing with the beginning phases of contemplation.  In fact, I tend to feel that, if one truly relaxes then one will automatically go into a contemplation.  Since contemplation is associated with things like Christian Mystical Prayer and Buddhist meditation it means that it is associated with it.

In contemplation one really regress to the state before the self, what I call the “pre-self” (see my article More thoughts on contemplation – its nature, its association with the womb, and other aspects associated with it).  This means that there is a loss of self and a regression to an earlier state of mind.  Since relaxing is like a “starting over” it means that  contemplation is really a furthering of the relaxing process. 


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Advice???, Aging and getting older, Contemplation, monastacism, shamanism, spirituality, prayer, and such, Life in general, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on “self-honor” and the “instinct of being a person-in-the-world”

In a previous article I spoke of what I called “self-honor” (see Thoughts on the “defeated people syndrome” – the effects of being defeated).  This is one of the terms I came up with “on the spur of the moment”.  Though I somewhat defined it in that article I never felt it was adequate.  This has caused me to think about it further . . .

“SELF-HONOR”

In the simplest way I would call “self-honor” as the result of an instinctual need to participate in the world which, when done properly, creates a satisfaction or confidence in ones self.  It is more than something like “self-confidence” . . . it is deeper than that.  There are three important points to this definition:

  1. “Instinctual need”
  2. “Participation”
  3. “Properly” 
  4. “A satisfaction or confidence”    

1-“Instinctual Need”

This means that this impulse is “nature endowed” or something that has been instilled in us by nature.  This means a number of things:

  • It hits deep into our being
  • We have no real control over it
  • It impels us to do things
  • It affects us even though we are not fully aware of it
  • Its satisfaction, or frustration, can affect us dramatically

This is not to say that “self-honor” is, itself, an instinct.  It would be more accurate to say that “self-honor” is the result of an instinct being satisfied or fulfilled.  In this way, one could call it an “instinctual satisfaction”.

What, then, is the instinct that causes “self-honor”?

I often speak of the instinct that motivates “self-honor” as the “instinct of being a person-in-the-world”.  This means that there is a deep drive to actively participate in in the world . . .

2-“Participation”

This instinct pushes one to do a number of things:

  • To face the world
  • To confront the world
  • To interact with the world
  • To establish a relationship with the world
  • To interpret the world
  • To give meaning to the world

In many ways, it forces us to “awaken” to the world and reality.  If we didn’t have this instinct we would probably just “live in our own world” oblivious to the rest of the world.

Because this entails a relationship, which entails a lot of variables, it effectiveness is greatly influenced by many different things.  In other words, the relationship can be good to bad.  This means that it is greatly influenced by its effectiveness . . .

3-“Properly”

Being based in a relationship the fulfillment of this instinct is greatly determined by the effectiveness of that relationship or, to put it in other words, how “properly” it has been done.  When it hasn’t been done “properly” the instinct becomes frustrated and can cause problems.  What this means is that the instinct has “requirements” that must be fulfilled and satisfied.

Some aspects of fulfilling the instinct “properly” include:

  • We must “awaken”.  This means that our self must be “activated” and working.  We cannot remain in a “half asleep” attitude.
  • We must participate.  This means we must actively do things “as a person”, not mechanically or blindly.
  • We must develop a relationship.  This means that our relations with the world becomes a “give and take” and an association much like a person-to-person relationship.
  • We must have meaning in that relationship.  This refers to the fact that the relationship needs to be more than a relationship but one with meaning and value to you.
  • There must develop a “self-in-the-world”.  This is a sense of “I am a person in the world” that is real and binding.

A conflict in any one of these aspects can cause a disruption or frustration of the instinct which can cause problems.  The drive of the instinct, though, is to satisfy it . . .

4-“A satisfaction or Confidence”

The result of satisfactorily fulfilling this instinct is that it creates qualities such as:

  • A sense of satisfaction
  • A confidence
  • A sense of fulfillment
  • A respect of self
  • A respect of the world
  • A stronger sense of self
  • A stronger sense of the world
  • A sense of value of oneself
  • A sense of value of the world
  • A greater desire for a relationship between you and the world
  • A sense of being in a harmony with the world

These qualities describe “self-honor”.  It seems that “self-honor” tends to create a more rounded attitude that is mature, realistic, respectful, enduring, and with great integrity.

THE SELF

In many ways, “self-honor” as if awakens the self and makes the self legitimate and valid.  This means that it is related with the awareness of the self in the world.  In this way, “self-honor” is an aspect of the development of the self.  Perhaps one could even say that “self-honor” is the completion of the self?

I should point out that the “self” is not the same as individualism.  To me, individualism is more of a glorification of ones person, a statement of “I’m me!”.  The self is an awareness that one is separate from the world.  In this way, the self is like saying “I am removed from the world”.  Its like an acknowledgement.  Individualism glorifies or emphasizes me and what I can do.  They are not the same thing.

RELATIONSHIP WITH WORLD

“Self-honor” tends to force a relationship with the world.  One could say that it entails a drive to associate with the world.

This drive is not always accepted by some people though.  Oftentimes, this drive is reluctantly accepted.  Sometimes, its denied.  There are people where this drive is not that strong as well.

I often feel that the acceptance of this drive is a big aspect in the growth and development of the male as “self-honor” is a trait of the male (see below).

SOCIETY

Society tends to have a double edged quality to “self-honor” . . . it can destroy it or help it.  Its like there are two extremes to a spectrum:

  • Society as support.  Society can offer a good base for the self, ones association with the world, and the development of “self-honor”.  This can be a result of way of life, culture, belief, example, etc.  Generally, for a society to be supportive it tends to be “casual” and not be that imposing on the person.  But, at the same time, it must make a presence.  This seems more prevalent in smaller societies.
  • Society that is too imposing, strong, and overpowering.  If a society has too much power it can become like a burden on a person.  It can disrupt the development of the self and ones relationship with the world.  In some cases, it can turn people into something like a minion or drone.  This is seen in larger or more organized societies.

DISRUPTIONS

Many things can disrupt the development of “self-honor”.  Some of these include:

  • Fear
  • Lack of example
  • Lack of a healthy attitude
  • Lack of beliefs
  • Lack of participation
  • Too strong of society
  • Being in a condition that is too organized
  • Being too “cranial” . . . thinking too much
  • Conditions that are beyond ones control

FRUSTRATION

When the instinct is not satisfied it becomes frustrated.  Some effects of this include:

  • One becomes “defeated”
  • There is a splitting of self
  • The self is not developed
  • Growth problems
  • Apathy
  • Indifference
  • One is “not awake”
  • One lives in ones own world
  • Regression
  • A minion or drone attitude

Many of these problems reflect problems of the self.  This is because “self-honor” is associated with the self, as I stated above.

I’ve written an article on “defeat”:  Thoughts on the “defeated people syndrome” – the effects of being defeated

FEAR

Because this instinct is associated with the greater world there is a fear associated with it.  This is because there is an innate fear of the world, though many people are not fully aware of it.  In some respects, one could say that “self-honor” is an overcoming, or coming to terms, with the innate fear of the world.  I often think that one of the big hurdles to “self-honor” is overcoming this fear.  The opposite of this is a tendency that consists of things like retiring into a “shell” of some sort or a regression.

MAINTAINING “SELF-HONOR”

I often think that the sense of “self-honor” in people often creates characters such as god-like men, hero’s, superhero’s, superhuman men, and such.  They are men that are perceived as being”in league with the world”, so to speak, and in a special and beneficial way.  They seem “beyond human”.  But this is the perspective of people with low “self-honor” looking at people with high “self-honor”.  A person with high “self-honor” does not see it that way.  It seems that they only see a relationship which they must maintain.  In other words, “self-honor” isn’t something one achieves but, rather, something developed and maintained.  It takes a lot of work to develop and maintain “self-honor”.  It doesn’t just happen and maintains itself.  I often feel that many people lose “self-honor” because they don’t maintain it for some reason or another.

A MALE TRAIT

As near as I can tell “self-honor” is a male trait.  I don’t see it in the female.  I tend to believe it is related to the “world instinct” which is seen only in the male (see my article Thoughts on an aspect of the male character – the importance of the world and the “world instinct”, with remarks about other things).


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Life in general, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis, The male and female, World Instinct | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the “defeated people syndrome” – the effects of being defeated

Here’s a thought I had:

In a recent conversation I said of some interesting things about “the South”.  This is the Confederate states of the Civil War, in the southeastern part of the U.S., also called ” the old south”.  For many of us, this part of the U.S. has always appeared a little different and even strange.  They seem to have these unique ways and mentalities that are not seen anywhere else.  I am no expert on “the South”, and wouldn’t say I knew a lot about it, but I have always thought there was something that I’ve never heard anyone else mention.  This is primarily that some of the character and mentality of “the South” originates from the fact that they lost the Civil War.  I tend to think that this plays a far bigger role than it seems.  Some of the things this caused, in “the South”, include things like:

  • They stick to their own unique ways and are unwilling to change
  • They are proud of their past
  • There is a tendency of rebellion
  • They are suspicious of foreigners, even people from different states
  • There is often a contempt or hatred of black people showing the effects of the Civil War (I tend to believe these feelings directed toward black people are not necessarily a “hatred because they’re black” but because they are a symbol of losing the Civil War . . . in other words, its less about race than people make it out as)

I’ve written of similar ideas in this article:  Thoughts on the effects of resentment by the South as a result for losing the Civil War, the effects of tribal mentality, the problem of democracy in social transition, and other things.

I then went on to say that the effects of a “defeated people” are far more important than it may seem.  In fact, it has great impact as when a people are defeated they it can hit them to the core of who they are, what they stand for, their identity, and value in the world.  As a result, being defeated is not a small thing that just “passes away” after a while.  Its effects can last for generations.  In fact, my inquiry is that the effects of being defeated could last centuries and may never leave a people.  I ended up calling this phenomena the “defeated people syndrome”.

THE “DEFEATED”

In this article, I use the word “defeated” to mean that someone, or something, has overcome a people in some way and they must conform to its ways.  In other words, a people go from “they are determining their life and situation” to “something else is determining their life and situation”.  In this way, being “defeated” means that you no longer have “control” over your life, situation, or surroundings because something has imposed itself upon you and robed you of your “control” . . .  

“Control” and its Effects

This reveals the importance of “control”.  When I say “control” I mean that you are actively a part of your life, situation, and surroundings.  I do not mean it the context that you “are controlling things”.  In many ways, “control” means that you are “actively following what happens in life and playing a part” versus just “lounging about not caring whats going on about you”.  In this way, “control” can really be said to be a control of self, that one is controlling the fact that one is alert, awake, and open to ones surroundings.

As a result of this “control”, your life, situation, and surroundings become a part of you and who you are.  This reveals the fact that we, as people and human beings, are more than our individual self’s . . . our situation and surroundings are a big part of us.  Therefore, our association with them play a big part in who we are.  To have “control” of our situation and surroundings make us more than our individual self’s.  In a way, we become part of our “world” that is about us.  We as if develop a relationship with this “world”.  This causes something like an “expansion of self” which causes a number of things such as:

  • Pride
  • Purpose
  • Place
  • Meaning
  • Identity
  • Dignity
  • Integrity
  • Self-respect
  • Self-esteem
  • A sense of being a person
  • A sense of being a part of the world

These create what can probably be called a “self-honor”.

“Self-Honor”

I would describe some qualities of “self-honor” as:

  • It is a reaction to ones action of association with world
  • It is personal and, accordingly, affects ones person deep down
  • It is a result of a relationship
  • It involves ones association with the world
  • It creates a confidence in that association

I tend to believe that “self-honor” shows that we instinctually need an active and good relationship with the world.  It hits very deep into ones soul, to the core of a person.  This is because, in many ways, “self-honor” is the result of the satisfaction of an instinct, of what can be described as the “instinct of being a person-in-the-world”.  In some sense, one could describe “self-honor” as an “establishment and confidence of the need for ones self to be in the world as an active and significant participant”.

When we do not have this we tend to be “cut low” and become like “half people”, so to speak.  This is exactly what “defeat” does.  In this way, “defeat” tends to disrupt an instinctual tendency.

I’ve written about “self-honor” in an article:  Thoughts on “self-honor” and the “instinct of being a person-in-the-world”

The Person versus Society

The main benefit of “self-honor” is on a personal level.  In other words, its a result of a personal relationship.  But, as part of this association with the world is the association with others . . . society.  This creates something like a dilemma:

  • A too strong of a social sense can undermine “self-honor” by taking away its personal quality.  In many ways, we could probably say that the first “defeat” of humanity is a larger and more controlling society and social system.  This robs a person of “self-honor” by depriving them of an association with world and making a person a “puppet to society”.
  • Society is often a good backdrop and foundation for a persons development and association with the world.  In this way, a persons self rests on a good society and culture which defines life, gives it meaning, and so on, allowing for a better and more personal relationship with the world.

These are as if diametrically opposed and contradict each other.  Not only that, society may help one person but impair another person.  In this way, society can be a source of “defeat” and of support.  This reveals a number of things:

  • “Defeat” is a social phenomena.  It has root in human society and is reflects the conflict between self and society.
  • “Defeat” is a human phenomena.  This more or less means that the only things that cause “defeat” is human-based.  A naturally tragedy, for example, does not cause the effects of “defeat”.  When one suffers “defeat” it is a result of something human.
  • Defeat” is not necessarily a defined and concrete thing.  It often depends on where you stand or look at things.  This can make “defeat” unclear and vague in some cases.

When a people are “defeated” by a foreign group of people they still suffer “defeat”, even though they may not understand them or their language.  This shows that if a people are “human” we see it as part of our society, even though they are alien to us and not formerly accepted as part of our society.  We may describe them as inhuman-like, perhaps as animals, but we still see them as people and, accordingly, as part of human society.  We could maybe call this an “extended human society sense”, that anyone “human-like” is inherently part of human society.  Because we see them this way anything they do is treated as if they are part of our society.  As a result, any defeat, conquering, or any similar thing entails the same phenomena and reactions that are found in ones society.  In this way, “defeat” is not a phenomena strictly a result of being conquered, enslaved, etc., by another people, but is a social phenomena found in human society.  In fact, my observation is that most “defeat” happens within a society and is not dramatic or violent.  Sometimes, its even called things like”progress” (of course, whether its progress or not often depends on where your stand).  Sometimes, it happens so gradually that one doesn’t even notice it!

Overall, though, it seems that “defeat” describes a conflict of person versus society.  In many ways, society tends to win, because of its power, but the human instinctual fight to maintain themselves (in “self-honor”) perseveres.  In this way, one could also say that”defeat” is a conflict between society and instinct. This shows that society clashes with instinct or, to be more precise, the instincts that create society clash with other human instincts.  Or, to put it another way, the instinct for society and the instinct that causes “self-honor” tend to clash.  

The Progression of “Self-Honor” and the Effects of its Disruption

There seems to be a progression to “self-honor”:

  1. The development of a people-to-world association with the world
  2. That this association creates a sense of “control”
  3. That this “control” creates a sense of respect or “honor” of ones self 

When a person is defeated this progression is upset.  Basically, defeat begins when a persons association with the world is prevented from happening.  This is because someone or something prevents it from happening.  As a result, the next stages do not take place and you lose “self-honor”.   

The association with the world is disrupted in a number of ways:

  • Ideologically – a peoples ideology and beliefs are replaced by another
  • Authority – a peoples authority is replaced by another
  • Organization – foreign ways are forced upon you that you can’t relate to
  • Physically – a people is forced to live a certain way

In “defeat” there is a change from an established and accepted association to an alien one.  This “alien” quality disrupts, impairs, or destroys a peoples association with the world because its not “a part of who they are”.  As I said above, in an active association with the world the world becomes a part of you, it becomes an extension of you, an “extension of self”.  A “defeat” is when something human and social comes that puts upon you an alien association with the world that is not a part of you.  As a result, the “extension of self” is destroyed.  It basically undermines an existing association and causes a lose of “self-honor”.  I often compare it to an “uprooting”.

The lose of “self-honor” causes things like:

  • Degradation of self.  You are “beaten down” or degraded in some way.  You become less than a person . . . an alienation of self.
  • There’s little or no bond between you and the world.  There is now something “in the way” of you and the world . . . a disconnect with the world.

In these ways, the loss of “self-honor” causes an impairment of self and ones association with world.  This causes many qualities associated with the “defeated people syndrome” (see below).

Being defeated

There are a number of ways people are “defeated”:

  • In a war . . . this is being “conquered”
  • In some dispute . . . such as having to change to someone else’s point of view
  • It is imposed upon you . . . such as that you are now required to do this or that
  • A change that happens gradually . . . such as a slow gradual change in way of life

As a result, defeat can take place in many different ways, from drastic to mild.  Naturally, the more dramatic the defeat the more of an effect it has.  This does not necessarily mean that it is long lasting.  Sometimes the gradual less dramatic defeats can have more impact.  It seems that what most matters if its long lasting or not is if its hits ones sense of being deep down, of who one is . . basically, ones sense of self-honor.  This has more impact than if its dramatic, violent, tragic, disastrous, etc.  If it hits that “sensitive nerve” then it will have more impact than if it doesn’t hit that”sensitive nerve”, even though it may be more dramatic and even tragic.

A defeat can appear in several ways:

  • Imposition . . . having to follow things that are alien to you
  • Ideologically . . . there’s a change in world perception, belief, explanation of world, etc.
  • Way of life . . . how one lives changes

One form of defeat is often called “oppression”.  This is a longstanding condition where someone or something has “control” over you in some way.  Its not a defeat by a situation, such as a war, but a defeat by a condition.  This could appear as a government forcing you to do something, a religious belief forced upon you, forced slavery, and such.  Oppression robs you of “control” just like any other form of defeat . . . it just appears differently.  In this way, it is a defeat.  But, nowadays, many people are professing that they are being oppressed when there is none.  What they are usually speaking of is an oppression that existed “yesteryear” and that no longer exists.  This is a form of fixation which plays a big role in this syndrome (see below).

In many ways, to be defeated means that one has to, or is forced, to change without things like:

  • An understanding of it
  • An acceptance of it
  • As something that is a part of who one is or ones culture

This causes something like a disconnect with themselves and their surroundings.  In this way, the “defeated” people often as if end up erecting a wall around themselves . . . the “wall of the defeated”.  This often does things like:

  • Tends to distance the people from the world around them
  • Makes them live in their own world
  • Makes them suspicious, paranoid, and frightened of the world outside

In this way, to be “defeated” means to become removed from themselves and the world, to be separated from them.

Some common causes of “defeat” include:

  • Being conquered by another people, whether by military force or other way
  • Having something imposed upon you, such as a belief system or some form of control
  • Conversions of some form, such as religious conversions
  • Conflicts, dilemmas, and other problems caused by too many people living in a small space . . . overpopulation
  • Being exposed to new ideas and beliefs, whether they are beneficial or not
  • The creation of organized societies, such as an Empire
  • The creation of some new things, whether they are beneficial or not
  • Living in an artificial way, such as having people or machines do things for you all the time

The effects of all this causes many qualities to develop . . .

QUALITIES OF THE “DEFEATED PEOPLE SYNDROME”

The loss of the association with world, and “self-honor”, causes a number of qualities  such as:

Blindly Agreeing with the New Conditions

  • A tendency to side with the conquerors or people or situation that is in control
  • Blindly obeying the “powers-that-be”

In many cases, the easiest thing to do is to”just agree” or “go along” with things.  Oftentimes, this becomes something like a show or performance and hides how people really feel.  As a result, many defeated people have something like levels to their mentality that can often be contradictory.  For example, agreeing openly but disagreeing privately.

Desire for the Past

  • A desire of the return to former glory of the pre-conquest days
  • A worshiping of old ways
  • A continual inquiry into the past and the ways of the past

Some people will become very pre-occupied with older ways, wanting to revive them in some way.  I often think that this is an origin for an interest in a lot of history, of museums, reenactments, and so on.  Much of these things seem to have a lot to do with the “defeat” caused by the modern world.  I think it also creates an interest in things like survival, living “simply” or minimally, “off the grid”, hunting, and so on.

The Desire for Hope

  • They fabricate new things to worship
  • They worship anything that appeals to them
  • They easily believe in things
  • A worship of overcoming and overpowering things
  • Religious fanaticism

“Defeat” often leaves an emptiness inside.  As a result, many people will seek for some form of hope, whatever it may be.  Really, what many people really want is not believe but the “self-honor” that was lost in the “defeat”.  This, I suspect, is one reason why these attempts at belief and hope tend to fail.  They are actually not seeking them.

Seeking a New Direction

  • A tendency to look at another direction to go in life

The sense of “defeat” often prompts people to move or migrate somewhere.  In addition, it makes them change in some way, such as in a profession.

Bad Feelings about Self

  • A tendency of self recrimination and self accusation
  • Feelings of shame
  • Low self-esteem and self respect
  • A self-contempt

The conflict, and despair, of “defeat” can turn bad feelings toward ones self.  I’ve often wondered if the preoccupation with “sin”, that became so prevalent in the Middle East and figures so prominently in Christianity, originates from the overpopulation and conflicts that were happening before the birth of Christ.

Complaining

  • A tendency to bicker and moan about things
  • A tendency to never be satisfied with things

It seems that, for some people, this becomes the only means to “vent” the effects caused by “defeat”.  They end up finding faults with everything.

Shock

  • A tendency to denial or refusal to accept situation
  • An inability to comprehend what happened
  • A sense of helplessness
  • Feelings that there are no answers

Some people can have a hard time digest “defeat”.  They don’t know how to view it or interpret it.

Finding Scapegoats

  • A tendency to blame, accuse, or claim someone else is at fault
  • A tendency to refuse to see themselves as the source of a problem
  • A tendency to see ones self as always innocent

Bad Feelings for Others

  • The worship of rebellion
  • A resentment, dislike, or bitterness
  • Desire for revenge
  • A tendency to hatred

A Loss of Control of Oneself

  • A tendency to anger and outrage
  • A tendency to violence
  • A tendency to drunkenness, drug abuse, and such

With the loss of “self-honor” a person loses self respect and can sink into a pit of despair which can make them do many things.

Insecurity

  • Always feeling threatened in some way
  • Paranoia
  • Feelings of being vulnerable
  • A low self-esteem
  • Never being able to be happy

An Affinity for Causes

  • Becoming engrossed with revolutionary ideas and thinking

Identity Problems and Alienation

  • An uncertainty of who one is
  • An inability to adapt
  • A feeling of being removed from life
  • An apathy and lack of ambition

“Living in a Shell”

  • They erect a wall around themselves and their surroundings
  • They live in their own world
  • They become oblivious to the rest of the world
  • They become ingrained in their own mentality and points of views

Inability to Let Things Go

  • The defeat is something that’s always on their mind
  • They as if continually relive the defeat
  • They continually see life in the context of the defeat

Becoming Pigheaded

  • They only see their side of things
  • They are uncooperative

The Creation of Alternate Ways of Association with World

  • Creating philosophy to explain world
  • The pursuing of knowledge
  • Creating machines

Battle Trauma

  • If defeat comes as a result of war, or military action, the “defeated people syndrome” can take on qualities of battle trauma (I’ve written a number of articles about battle trauma in this blog)

THE “ACCUMULATED DEFEATS OF HUMANITY”

Overall, I tend to feel that the “defeated people syndrome” has played major roles in society through the centuries.  In many ways, we can say that through the centuries humanity, as a whole, has been defeated so many times, and in so many different ways, that there are very few people in the world today who has not been defeated in some way.  This means that humanity, as a whole, is suffering from the “defeated people syndrome”, at least in some way.  One could even go further and say that its qualities define the modern world.  Perhaps we could say that humanity, as a whole, is now “defeated”.  Because this is the result of the accumulations of events, over centuries, we can speak of this as the “accumulated defeats of humanity”.  

There are many forms of this accumulated defeat:

  • Military defeats
  • Political defeats
  • Religious defeats
  • Ideological defeats
  • Defeats of ways of living . . . progress, development
  • Overpopulation and its effects
  • The effects of the greater controlling system of a large society

These accumulated defeats has caused many things such as:

  • It has affected how people behave and interpret things
  • It has affected peoples behavior and actions
  • Its effects has become a part of their identity

The effect of all this is that it has made defeat a way of life . . .

DEFEAT AS A WAY OF LIFE

Many cultures, and peoples, have made defeat a way of life.  This means that they have made some of the traits of the “defeated people syndrome”, described above, a way of life.  As a result, it has become a source identity, of meaning, of how to live, as well as a character trait. 

Examples include:

  • The Jewish people . . . who turned Moses escape from the tyranny of Pharaoh into a religion
  • The British . . . who made the rebellion against the Norman Conquest an endless never ending cause for freedom against oppression that dominates British thinking
  • The U.S. . . . who have made the idea of independence, as a result of the American Revolutionary war against the British, as the primary motive of life
  • African Americans . . . who have made slavery into an ever present fact in their life, even though it doesn’t exist anymore

And the list goes on.

It seems that once defeat becomes a way of life it is hard for people to let go . . . it becomes too ingrained.  This is one reason why it has become so accumulative.

“Fixation on Defeat”

One of the things that is particularly apparent is that they seem as if “stuck” in the conflict and can’t let it go.  This is the “fixation on defeat”.  This refers to how a defeated people often cannot let the defeat go.  As a result, they are as if continually “living it” endlessly, generation after generation.  This can go on and on for centuries.  The best example I can think of are African Americans who are continually complaining about a problem that has not existed for centuries . . . slavery.  Its like they won’t let it go.  Another good example is the British with their continual worry over oppression and freedom.  That mentality originated with the Norman Conquest almost 1000 years ago!  This tendency to fixation is one of the reasons why there has been such an accumulation of defeat in humanity . . . one defeat builds on another.

The “Uprooted Dilemma”

It seems, to me, that this tendency to fixation seems related to “control” I described above.  Once they lose “control” they lose their “self-honor”.  This causes a disconnect with the world and with themselves.  In other words, a defeated people have became “uprooted” and are as if tumbleweeds blowing in the wind.  Their “uprooted” from themselves and the world.  Because of this “uprooting”, they cannot regain “control” and “self-honor”.  In other words, once a people are uprooted its hard for them to regain roots again.  They act like tumbleweeds in life, tumbling along.  I call this the “uprooting dilemma”.

Reliving the Defeat

As part of the “uprooting dilemma” they are as if forever stuck in the time when they suffered defeat and lost their “self-honor”.  Its almost like they are forever trying to relive it so they can carry on after that point.   In a way, they are trying to resolve the defeat by reliving it.  They interpret the world, and life, according to the defeat and their reaction to it.

The “Uprooted Way of Life”

Many people in the world, I feel, have been so uprooted by defeat that they have no roots at all.  In this way, there has developed an “uprooted way of life”.

Some qualities of this way of life include:

  • They tend to not believe in anything
  • They tend to not belong or associate themselves with anything
  • They tend to focus only on living day-to-day and what it entails
  • They tend to be shallow and have a shallow view of life
  • They tend to be preoccupied with trivial whims
  • They tend to have many qualities of the “defeated people syndrome” described above

Its like a bunch of people who are “moping along in life”, almost like lost children.  In many ways, the “uprooted way of life” describes a defeated people who have accepted it.

Solving the Fixation Problem???

Some things seem to have helped this fixation, such as:

  • Forgetting over time
  • New things

These do not describe a situation where the defeat is resolved.  Instead, it shows a situation where the defeat is as if replaced, by forgetting or something new.  It seems, to me, that very few “defeated peoples syndrome” are actually resolved.  That is to say, this is not a problem that has a solution.  It seems that the conflict continues on but in different ways:

  • It is continued by attitudes
  • It creates a world view based on defeat that affects how they interpret life
  • It is replaced by new defeats

The “New” as a Form of Defeat

One of the great illusions of a solution is the appearance of “new” things.  The “new” things give the illusion of resolving an existing defeat but they are often defeats in themselves and cause a whole new form of defeat syndrome.  In this way, a form of defeat is caused by “new” things.  This, in fact, is one of the great causes of defeat by the modern world.

The “new” does this a number of ways:

  • It replaces or alters ones association with the world
  • It starts to take “control”
  • It is not based in ones culture or belief system
  • It “came from nowhere”
  • It happens too rapidly

The effects of these is that it destroys ones “control” and “self-honor” just like any other form of defeat and causes the same qualities of the syndrome described above.  But the “new” has the quality of “novelty” which, in a way, gives the defeat a “pleasant” quality.  In this way, it creates a “pleasurable defeat” . . . one willingly offers ones self to it, oftentimes.

A lot of what is “new” is not created by a “people” but by things created by people.  One thing this shows is that defeat is not always by another people but they can also be caused by the creations of people.  A “new creation” can have as much effect as a conquering.  Of course, it has different qualities, such as that people generally are not killed, but it does the same thing.  In fact, I’m under the impression that the “new” is actually worse than a conquering because of things like:

  • It is often pleasing in some way
  • It is very controlling
  • It is a creation and does not have a human face

As a result of these, people are more likely to “buy it”, so to speak . . . they believe their own defeat!  In this way, the “new” is probably the worst form of defeat of all.

“DEFEAT IS EVERYWHERE”

It often makes me wonder what people are like who have not been affected by the “defeated people syndrome”. The only people I can see who would not display this would be some primitive tribes.  I have never actually met those people though.

Living in the U.S. I see the effects of the “defeated people syndrome” everywhere I turn:

  • The country was founded on British principles of oppression and freedom originating from the defeat of the Norman Conquest
  • Most of the people who migrate to the U.S. are people who are defeated . . . that’s why they come here
  • The culture is fixated on defeat

Defeat is around every corner, in one form or another.

It makes me wonder how one can overcome this syndrome and its accumulated effects.  Personally, I don’t see how.  There’s a number of reasons why:

  • It seems too ingrained in things
  • Everyone displays its qualities
  • There are too many versions of it
  • Modern society is a society that inherently causes defeat
  • The problems of overpopulation just make it worse

It just seems to me that “defeat is everywhere” and there is no escaping it.

AFTERTHOUGHT

What all this seems to suggest to me is a number of things:

  • The importance of ones surroundings
  • The importance of ones control and participation in ones surroundings
  • The importance of the effects of ones control and participation in ones surroundings (the creation of self-honor)

It shows that our association with the world plays a major role in life, happiness, and contentment and affects our view of ourselves, our dignity, self-respect, etc.  When something takes that from us . . . such as defeat . . . it can affect us in negative ways.  


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Battle trauma, Dehumanization and alienation, Historical stuff, Identity and identity problems, Modern life and society, Overpopulation and its effects, Psychology and psychoanalysis, Society, The 'system', 'systemism', and the power structure, The military and war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More thoughts on contemplation – its nature, its association with the womb, and other aspects associated with it

I’ve spoken of contemplation before.  I’m not sure if I have already spoken of these things below.  At any rate, these are some more thoughts on it:

HOW IT BEGAN FOR ME

The phenomena of contemplation has always mystified me.  To me, it is something that came naturally without much prompting.  I did not read or learn about it.  I also didn’t know about it.

My involvement in contemplation started when I took a walk in the woods in about 1990 or so.  As I walked I began to feel something which I described as a “presence”.  There was “something” about this presence that I could not define.  It had a quality that I seemed to yearn for but which I could not determine what it was.

It remained on my mind the next day and I went up there again as if to relive it.  I could still feel the presence but seemed unable to “grasp” it.  Eventually, my trying to “grasp” it would turn into contemplation.

Looking back on it now, it was as if my normal state of mind was not sufficient to “grasp” the presence.  This would mean that contemplation is a result of a failure or inability of the normal mind and awareness. Because of this, it took on a quality of a “rediscovering”. In contemplation we are really rediscovering an older way of being and awareness, one that was lost as we began to live life and develop a self.

MY INITIAL ACT OF CONTEMPLATION

I found I did a number of things in my first attempts at grasping the presence:

  • I closed my eyes
  • I blanked my mind
  • I put my mind on the presence
  • I felt the yearning for the presence
  • I immersed myself in the yearning
  • I seem to lose a sense of myself
  • All that exists is the presence and the yearning

Later, I would find this to be similar to Christian contemplation particularly as spoken by Pseudo-Dionysius.  He called it Mystical Theology.  Basically, it amounts to:

  • Become dumb (unknowing)
  • Feel only love of God

I basically replicated his Mystical Theology, discovering it on my own.  This shows that contemplation is an innate phenomenon that comes out in some people.

Contemplation would be the basis of the monastic life and the base of monasteries all over the world.  In addition, we would see similar forms of contemplation, in different ways and forms, all over the world.  Some good examples include Neoplatonism, some forms of shamanism, yoga, and Buddhism.

For me, contemplation is something that I often feel compelled to do.  That is to say, I seek it out . . . but I have no idea why exactly . . . something just moves me in that direction.  I sometimes think that if I didn’t do it I’d have a hard time in life.  I also think I would of become more of a shallow and worse person.  I’ve often said that contemplation has “saved” me.  I’ve also said that it has surpassed any learning, any knowledge, and any instruction I have ever received.

ITS MYSTIFYING QUALITY

But, overall, it mystifies me.  There are a number of causes for this:

  • It has no apparent purpose
  • I am seeking something I can’t “grasp”
  • There are times when I have profound success and times I fail horribly
  • I never seem to know what I’m doing, exactly, or what its all about . . . I feel like I’m walking in the dark
  • I seem to understand it, for a while, then the explanation cease to work and I don’t understand it anymore

Both the act and explanation of contemplation I can’t quite “grasp”.  This gives it a quality of “trying to grasp smoke”, as I always say.  Despite this, I am drawn toward it.  It is a strange phenomena I can’t fully explain.

THREE QUALITIES

On the second day after I took the walk, and felt the presence, I defined these things:

  1. Presence 
  2. Passion
  3. Yearning

1-Presence

This is a sense of “something” about you that you cannot see, hear, smell, etc.  You feel it is “there” but you don’t know what it is.  I originally envisioned it as an old man but it now is more like an “energy”, like a “life force”, or something similar.  It seems to be everywhere and in all things.  I often speak of it as the “all”.

It seems that there is a life in the presence.  I often call this sense of life in the presence “livingness”.  In this way, the sense of life is not in an object, tangible thing, thought, image, etc.  It just “is”, an entity that transcends everything.

I’ve also compared the presence to a fluid.  I call it the “primal fluid” (see below).

2-Passion

This is a sense of an “energy”.  Some qualities it has include:

  • Passion flows.  It has movement.
  • It may have traits or qualities but not necessarily.

I’ve often said that “presence is static passion that does not flow . . . it is the passion of the all”.  In other words, presence is a “greater passion” and passion is a “lesser passion”.

3-Yearning

This is the desire for the presence and passion.  It comes from within.  I feel it as originating in ones chest.

One could say that yearning is ones personal passion seeking the presence.

THE QUESTION OF “CONTEMPLATIVE LOVE”

In Christianity, and other religions, love is associated with contemplation.  I actually seldom use the word and look at it more as a condition consisting of many things:

  • Of being “open” and relaxed . . . not frightened, threatened, etc.
  • An awareness of the presence and all
  • An openness of self and being to the presence and all
  • A sense of unity with the presence and all

In this way, “contemplative love” is a complete openness to the presence and all.  Its like an exposing of ones self.  This takes faith.  Because of this, I don’t really see it as an emotion nor as something directed toward something.

A RETURNING TO AN INFANT STATE OF MIND – THE “PRE-SELF”

It seems, to me, that contemplation is a “returning” to when one was an infant, to that state of mind.  In this way, its a regression.  There are a number of forms of this regression:

  • Of mind . . . one must become dumb
  • Of self . . . one must have no self as one does not have a self as an infant
  • Of spirit . . . one must be of simple outlook
  • Of body . . . one must relax and let go tensions that life has created

To truly contemplate is to go back to the state of an infant.

I tend to believe that much of the senses of contemplation, such as presence, is a reflection of an infantile awareness of life.  In a way, its a reliving of that time.

This infantile state of mind has qualities such as:

  • It is without self
  • A person and the world are perceived as one
  • There is no thought
  • There is no tension or bad feelings
  • There is no sense of time
  • “Life” seems all around you

Much of the infantile state of mind is a reflection of what I often call the “pre-self”.  I’ve written a number of articles on it such as Thoughts on the pre-self, primal self, world self, post-self, and the greater self.  I also often spoke of the infantile state of mind as the “is”.  See article Thoughts on ‘primal awareness’: the “is”.

REASONS FOR DOING CONTEMPLATION

People don’t contemplate for the same reasons.  It seems that there are a number of different reasons, such as:

  • It is innate and naturally appearing – little or no learning
  • It is done for some personal motive, such as a desire to be spiritual – usually learned
  • It is done for religious reasons, such as part of ones religious belief –  learned
  • It is done for social reasons, such as following social trend – learned

I tend to believe that if a person has to learn contemplation then it tends to not be as deep.  Sometimes, though, learning contemplation can bring out a natural ability in it.

Also, people naturally do a casual or mild form of contemplation or have perceptions originating from it.

THE BENEFIT OF CONTEMPLATION???

I seem to think that a lot of the people who are impelled to do contemplation do it because of a character trait.  Personally, I think it is more to “hold oneself together as a whole”.  In other words, some people need to feel, and sense, their whole being.  Contemplation allows these people to go back to their earliest years and regain that old self.  This then becomes part of their current self so that they have a more whole self.  In other words, contemplation brings the entire self together and unites it.  I often all this united self the “greater self”.

At this time, I do not believe that contemplation:

  • Makes people happier
  • Makes better people
  • Makes one closer to god
  • Makes people saints
  • Makes one connect with spirits and other holy things
  • Makes one have supernatural powers or abilities
  • Makes one immortal

I don’t see any evidence of these.

Contemplation, by its nature, gives a different view on life.  Because it entails qualities from when were were “purer”, before we are influenced by the world, it often creates things like:

  • A healthier view of life
  • A sense and appreciation of life
  • A contentment in life
  • An insight into life

In these ways, it can be benefiting.

It seems, to me, that contemplation, by itself, doesn’t necessarily do these things but it can be an avenue for them.  In the end, it seems that contemplation is only a medium for beneficial qualities.  The traits must originate from within the person.  This means that contemplation helps them come out.  

I tend to think that its not good to do too much contemplation.  It seems, to me, that contemplation is a small part of the greater experience of living.

PERCEPTIONS OF WHAT CONTEMPLATION DOES

There are many perceptions what contemplation does, such as:

  • That it makes one close to the Holy or Divine
  • That it makes one enlightened
  • That it makes one close to the eternal
  • That it makes one close to heaven
  • That it makes one a saint
  • That it makes one immortal
  • That it “leads one to paradise”

Its no wonder that contemplation is so associated with religion.  In my opinion, it shows that much of religion is based in the infantile state of mind and variations of contemplation and the awareness it creates.

I often think that there is a deceptive side to contemplation.  It gives the illusion that it does the qualities described above, which it really doesn’t necessarily do, or at least I have no reason to believe it does at this time anyways.  It is my impression that contemplation, by itself, doesn’t do these things but it can foster the belief in them, and what they represent, and that’s its real power.  Contemplation makes them all the more real and it is the belief that is what matters.  This, again, shows that contemplation is a medium for the “greater self”.

ASPECTS OF CONTEMPLATION

It seems that there are a number of aspects that make up contemplation:

  1. Stillness/relax
  2. Self/extended
  3. Ember/expansion
  4. Eternal/divine
  5. One/all

These are all qualities of what the normal state of mind must do to rediscover the infantile state of mind in contemplation.

1-Stillness/relax

A person must find a stillness.  There must be a relaxing of:

  • Body
  • Mind
  • Spirit

To relax means to let go of tension.  The infantile state of mind has no tension as tension is a product of living.

In many ways, this is at the base of contemplation.  It is the foundation that it rests upon.  If you do not find stillness, and relax, then contemplation really doesn’t work.

Another aspect of relaxation is that, by letting go of tension, we actually release passion that is bound up in a “passion knot”.  Its as if locked up passion in a knot.  This released passion can create a sense that is easily confused with tension.  As a result, we are trying to “relax a relaxed state”.  What one should do with the released passion is to go to ember/extension.  The passion released tends to have the qualities described in that entry below, instead of a knot, a tight feeling, a pain, or discomfort.

2-Self/extended

Contemplation is a seeking to be before the self.  As a result, one must lose a sense of self.  The self then becomes the “all”.  In achieving this “all, the self is “extended” beyond itself.

The loss of self is a form of death.  As a result, contemplation is often associated with a death.

Losing the self can be a difficult thing to do.  My experience is that you can’t just will it to happen but it tends to come at certain times.  Sometimes, one has to cease contemplation because the “self is too strong” and wait for another day.

3-Ember/expansion

These refer to an awareness of ones yearning or passion.  It often has qualities such as:

  • It feels like a heat or a burn
  • It feels like a movement within me
  • It feels like a force or longing or desire

I’ve always felt that, when a person feels this, one should “sit in it” and as if immerse oneself in it.  This is the expansion or, as I sometimes say,”steaming”.

4-Eternal/divine

This is a deeper sense of the presence, of things like:

  • The “livingness” within the presence
  • A timelessness
  • It is beyond human

To me, this sense is the hardest to achieve.  It seems to originate from without me.  This means that I have no real control over it.  Because of this a person must:

  • Be aware of it
  • Be open to it

A person doesn’t instigate it or force the eternal/divine to appear.  In some respects, a person must wait for it.

5-One/all

This is a sense that there is an “all” to everything, that everything is one.  To me, this is an awareness, and tends to have no passion or emotion.

One could say that all these really reflect two things:

  1. A “shedding”.   This is a shedding by relaxing body, mind, and soul as well as shedding of self.
  2. Embracing.   The “steam”/ember refers to embracing personal passion, the eternal/divine is the embracing of the passion side of presence, and one/all is embracing the awareness of the presence.

An “act” of contemplation consists of all these combined.  I find, though, that one often tends to focus on one or the other, almost as if to develop each one individually.  This gives great variety in contemplation.

Earlier I said that at the end of contemplation one feels “all that exists is the presence and the yearning”.  In actuality, this only happens sometimes, and often momentarily.  Much of contemplation is spent in:

  • Struggling with ones self
  • Dealing with one of the aspects described above

I would say that one truly contemplates when all the five aspects above are as if balanced and in harmony.  This is not easy to do.  I think it is something that is sporadic no matter who you are or how well practiced you are.

But when they are balanced there is often a deep profoundness.  This generally motivates me to contemplate further.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ASPECTS OF CONTEMPLATION

Much of contemplation involve the aspects described above.  There are different reasons why this is so:

  • Remember that, for contemplation to work, the aspects of contemplation have to be combined and blended together in the correct way.  This is one of the great struggles of contemplation.  Typically, they are not combined adequately or one aspect is too weak or too strong.
  • The emphasizing of one or several aspects of contemplation can create a whole different form of contemplation.  In this way, many forms and varieties of contemplation can and have been created.  Some examples are:  Buddhism tends to emphasize relaxation and the self, Neoplatonism tends to emphasize the one or all, Christian monasticism tends to emphasize the Divine, etc.  Not only that, as one contemplates one does different varieties and forms.

RETURNING TO THE WOMB

I have found that breathing has had a major impact on contemplation.  In fact, I would say that the discovery of “breathing” has had great impact on me.  By “breathing” I mean being aware of ones breathing, but its more than that.  I would actually say that “breathing” is an awareness of breathing that leads you to the infantile state.  But this doesn’t mean that contemplation is nothing but watching ones breathing.  A number of things have to happen before breathing becomes that impactful:

  • One must relax be still
  • One must be aware of the “all”, the presence, the “primal fluid” (see below)
  • One must feel a “livingness” or passion
  • One must feel a loss of self

In other words, a person must already have a base in many other aspects of contemplation already.

One of the reasons why I think breathing is important is that it may be one of the first sensations we ever feel, and that’s in the womb!  In other words, breathing may bring us back to the womb.  The reason why this is important is that I tend to feel that the womb is where the infantile state of mind, or pre-self, is the most “pure” . . . before we even know the world.  This would mean that contemplation is a returning to state of mind found in the womb.  

It seems that there are two forms of awareness in the womb:

  1. “Womb Breathing” – active sense
  2. “Primal Fluid” – passive sense

1-“Womb Breathing”

I cannot say what sensation is usually felt in the womb (I’m sure it varies with each person) but breathing would probably be the most consistent active sensation we feel in the womb.  Using breathing as a means to return to the womb, and pre-self, I call “womb breathing”.  This is an active sense with something in fluctuation.

Some interesting aspects of the breathing for the fetus in the womb are:

  • The fetus does not breath air, but fluid
  • It only consists of the motions of breathing by the muscles
  • Breathing can begin as early as 10 weeks!
  • It consists of breathing with the diaphragm
  • Breathing is not constant throughout gestation . . . there are periods where there is no breathing
  • The breathing is erratic and intensity varies

I tend to think a number of things about breathing in the womb:

  • That some people are more conscious in the womb than others
  • That consciousness probably primarily centers around breathing
  • I also seem to think that people who are conscious in the womb tend to be more “spiritual” in orientation
  • I also tend to think that this consciousness of breathing may be the first form of consciousness we have
  • Because its the first form of consciousness there may be a horror associated with it in some people . . . the “horror of being aware” . . . as being aware is like a shock to the system
  • That this consciousness of breathing isn’t constant and may even last a fraction of a second
  • That this consciousness of breathing is sporadic
  • That this consciousness of breathing also causes an awareness of the mouth area, as fluid is passing back and forth through the mouth during breathing
  • This emphasis on the mouth may promote the growth of language and emphasis on eating
  • The cyclic pattern of breathing gives a sense of “movement” which may be the origin of “passion”

What all this seems, to me, is that breathing in the womb is closely associated with contemplation and the infantile pre-self state of mind.

2-“Primal Fluid”

I believe another sense in the womb is a sense that displays qualities such as:

  • Of “being in something”
  • Of “being surrounded by something”

In contemplation this is what I call the “primal fluid”.  To me, it feels like a fluid.  This is a passive sense meaning that it is something that has no fluctuation.  In that way, it is a constant sense.  I seem to think that this sense has a number of origins:

  • A tactile sense (such as touch and temperature)
  • A spatial sense

This tactile sense involves the sense of things like:

  • Skin
  • Muscles

I tend to feel that spatial sense plays a very important role in contemplation (see my article Thoughts on the importance of spatial relations and the self – the creation of a “self-space” and its effects).  The spatial sense is the origin of the “presence”.  I seem to think it has a number of origins:

  • We are “wired” for spatial sense, which means we can sense it before we experience it
  • The movement of muscles

I seem to think that we must experience the “primal fluid” – the presence – before we can get much out of “womb breathing”.  

Overall, “womb breathing” causes a regression to the infantile state, which tends to create a stillness and calm.  But breathing can go further . . .

THE “YEARNING OF THE PRIMITIVE GUT TUBE”

It seems, to me, that the yearning is associated with the “primitive gut tube” in embryology.  This is a tube that develops in the early stages of embryo development.  From this tube originate the intestinal system, the lungs, and bladder as well as some other things, like the liver and pancreas.  Its basically a tube going from the mouth to the anus.

I seem to think that the yearning originates here, as a sensation, because I seem to feel that there was something in my chest and abdomen that “tingled” or “vibrated’ when feeling the yearning.  It seemed to make sense that it was the intestines/lungs.

Why is this?

Because the intestines/lungs are the physical part of the body that “yearns”, so to speak.  They want something that is without it (air and food).  Could we not then say that the intestines/lungs are the physical version of the yearning?

Since I knew that contemplation is a returning to the womb could we not then say that we are “remembering” the physical conditions and realities within the womb?  This means that, in contemplation, we are really “remembering” the embryo and fetus stages of life, however odd that may sound.  I seem to think that we feel the “yearning of the primitive gut tube” in the womb as a sensation.

This would mean that another sense we “remember” in the womb, in addition to “womb breathing” and “primal fluid”, is the “yearning of the primitive gut tube”.  This is a sensation of want or need that centers on the “primitive gut tube” and its derivatives (lungs and intestines).

“Torso Breathing”

The “yearning of the primitive gut tube”, it seems to me, gives breathing a whole new dimension.  Basically, one “breaths” with ones whole torso with the diaphragm in the center, lungs on the top, intestines down below.  Your not just watching one breath but breathing with ones body.  Its really a “torso breathing”.  In this breathing the act of breathing becomes particularly important.  Yearning, and passion, is experienced through the breathing.  In this way, it makes “torso breathing” a manifestation of yearning.  So we see two forms of breathing in contemplation:

  1. “Womb breathing” – watching ones breathing to return to the womb
  2. “Torso breathing” – a manifestation of yearning

“Womb breathing” tends to be mental in orientation.  “Torso breathing” tends to be mental/physical in orientation.  Because of this, I tend to view “torso breathing” as being more deeper and affecting ones being more.

I see a number of forms of “torso breathing”:

  1. With the muscles of the ribcage alone . . . only the chest expands
  2. With the ribcage and diaphragm . . . on the inhale the chest expands and diaphragm moves downward
  3. With the ribcage and diaphragm, reversed . . . on the inhale the chest expands and diaphragm moves upward
  4.  With the diaphragm alone . . . on the inhale the diaphragm moves downward, chest does not expand

At this time, I do not see any preference or importance in one or the other.  I do notice that mood changes which form you use.  Some things I’ve noticed in me include:

  • It seems that when I think a lot I tend to use the first form.
  • Most of my breathing seems to be the second form.  This seems to be the best as it uses all the muscles to expand the lungs . . . ribcage and diaphragm.
  • It seems that I tend to use the third form when I am stressed or worried.
  • It seems that when I am more aware of my body I use the fourth form.

It seems, to me, that when breathing is more with the chest it means that you are more “cranial” (like thinking) and when you breath with the abdomen you are more “physical” in orientation (aware of body).

The experience of the two forms of breathing changes during contemplation . . . they alternate and there are times when they are the same.

To me, “torso breathing” tends to unify ones whole being, mental and physical.

The Creation of the “Bellows”, “Ember”, and “Steaming”

To me, “torso breathing”, as a manifestation of yearning, takes on a quality of a “bellows”.  The breathing behaves like a bellows fanning a fire.  The fire being passion.  As a result, passion grows in power, often feeling like a “tingling” or “burning” but not necessarily.  This condition I call the “ember” because we are like an ember glowing with passion.

Embracing the “ember” makes the passion seem to spread throughout the body.  I call this the “steaming” as its like steam cooking vegetables in a steam cooker.  The entire body as if “tingles” or “burns” oftentimes.

This process tends to focus on the body alone.  If one only focuses on this sense alone the body just “tingles” or “burns”.  But, remember that to truly contemplate, one needs to combine all the aspects of contemplation described above, not just the “ember” or “steaming”.  When this happens, the “ember” and “steaming” progress even further . . .

THE “AWARENESS YEARNING” – EXTENSION OF THE SELF TO THE “ALL”

The “ember” and “steaming” end with the body.  But with the sense of “all” the borders of the body must be destroyed.  That is to say, the self must be lost.  The world and self must be united in the pre-self.  The passion, “ember”, and “steaming” expands outward to the “all”.

But there is another physical part of the body that “yearns”:  awareness.  One could say that awareness is the preparation for sensory stimulation.  but its more.  It yearns to sense stimuli, to interpret it, and to make sense of it.  In many ways, this form of yearning is the beginnings of the sense of self.  I call it the “awareness yearning”.

To me, awareness seems to be centered in the head.  What this means is that, in awareness, I tend to see things in relation to the head.  My feelings is that this sense of awareness being in the head originates after birth and primarily comes things like:

  • Sight, where we “see the rest of our body making our head the center of awareness”
  • Speech, where we “feel our communication coming from our head”

These give us a strong sense of our head as being center of awareness and sensation.

I seem to think that, in the womb, “awareness yearning” is perceived as an overall sense with no center.  As a result, in the lower stages of contemplation, awareness is felt in the head but in the later stages it becomes part of the “all”.

Through the “awareness yearning” these things become united:

  • The self
  • The passion
  • The presence

These create senses that can be described as:

  • An “all”
  • A oneness
  • An emptiness
  • Stillness
  • Holiness
  • Profoundness

In this state the mind has been regressed to the state in the womb.  In many ways, this is the “high” state of contemplation.

It seems that this sense of the “all” requires a very balanced and unified sense of the aspects of contemplation.  To me, this phase feels like a balancing oneself on a tight rope.  If one quality is lacking, or excessive, than you lose balance.  As a result, this sense of “all” often becomes a means that forces one to “go back” to develop the aspect that is lacking or excessive.  In other words, one reaches this phase only to go back oftentimes.  In fact, I often feel that one of the great benefits of contemplation is not the sense of the “all” but, rather, the continual having to go back, develop and refine traits, and in learning how to balance it all.  In many ways, that is more important than the sense of “all”.

SENSATIONS IN THE WOMB

Looking at the above there it seems to show that there are a number of sensations we feel in the womb that appear in contemplation.

These are sensations of something:

  • Breathing – sensation of act of breathing
  • The primal fluid – sense of something around us

These are sensations of yearning:

  • The primitive gut tube – the physical body
  • Awareness – the self

Perhaps one could call these the “primal sensations” or “original sensations”?

Contemplation seems to bring these sensations back into a unified whole as it was felt in the womb.  It seems that, once the self is developed, and one deals with the world, these sensations become:

  • Lost and forgotten
  • Mixed with other sensations
  • Overshadowed by other sensations
  • Overwhelmed

They basically are pushed back into the recesses of the mind.

THE VARIED CONDITION OF CONTEMPLATION

I should point out that contemplation is a varied and fluid situation.  This means that each contemplation session is different.  This means that the balancing act is in continual fluctuation.  You don’t just find a “balancing formula”, adhere to it, and it works day after day.  In actuality, a condition that is “balanced” one day won’t work the next day.  Even during the contemplation session the requirements for balancing changes, perhaps second to second.  In this way, contemplation is a continual balancing act that never ends.

DIFFERENT ORIENTATIONS IN CONTEMPLATION

It seems that there are different orientations in contemplation:

  • Philosophical – thinking about what it means, its significance, etc.
  • Abstract – emphasis on “not knowing”, loving, presence, and such
  • Awareness – “womb breathing” and “primal fluid”
  • Unified self – “torso breathing”, mind/body connection
  • Extended self – sense of all

To me, these are like levels, beginning from shallow to a deeper contemplation.  But, for many people, they are specific orientations or points of view.

THE QUESTION OF RETURNING TO THE WOMB

Since contemplation is a returning to the womb it brings out the question of what the significance of this is.  That is to say, why does it matter?  Why worry about aspects of our self from long ago and which are forgotten?

In many ways, this tendency shows that the world turns us away from our self and as if contaminates us.  In so doing, we lose a sense of who we are as well as our center.  In short, it shows that the world deceives us.  Returning to the womb is like a cleansing, a centering, and a rediscovering of forgotten things.  To me, it has a quality of cleaning the oxidation off of silver so that it will shine.

THE QUESTION OF THE SACRED

To me, to truly contemplate means that one must have a sense of the sacred.  The “all”, the presence, and “livingness” are all a form of the sacred.  Without the sacred element contemplation is just a mechanical act.  In this way, one could say that contemplation is a seeking for the sacred. 

To me, the sacred has qualities such as:

  • It is beyond human
  • It is unknowable
  • It is eternal
  • It is filled with a deeper form of life

In this way, one could say that the sacred is a deeper form of livingness in the all.  It is more than an awareness but a sense of life.

THE “SEPARATION OF SELF PHENOMENA”

Because contemplation is associated with a loss of self there often appears what can be called a “separation of self phenomena”.  This can create a whole new form of contemplation.  This is a phenomena that is most bizarre.  There are really two forms:

  1. Experiential – a feeling that one has separated from self
  2. Journeying – a feeling where one has separated from self and is in another world

I tend to feel that, in both cases, it is a reflection of the process of returning to the womb but that one “stops” between the self/pre-self state.  That is to say, the separation of self originates from a person who has a self.  They then begin to go through a contemplative experience where they begin to return to the womb.  This brings them to a condition where they sense the pre-self but they don’t go into it, so to speak.  Their self remains very strong and prevents the sinking into the pre-self.  As a result, they have a self while sensing the pre-self.  This gives a sensation of “separation of self”.  This is the “self/pre-self borderland”.  In some ways, this is halfway to the “all”.  This makes it associated with contemplation but not quite the same.

In the experiential form one just feels separated from ones self.  This is often a sense one gets as one is on the way to the “all”.

In the journeying form a fascinating phenomena takes place:  you feel as if a separated part of you is in another world.  This is seen a lot with shamanism and is often called “shamanistic journeying” (I’ve written many articles on it in this blog).  I would describe it as having a number of qualities:

  • One is removed from ones self
  • One is in a world that is very real
  • One participates in the world
  • A person has some control in the dream
  • It is like a “waking dream”
  • There is a lot of symbology in it

In other words, there is a close association between separation from self and dreams in journeying.  I tend to think that the “self/pre-self borderland” is basically “dreamland”.  In a night dream our mind is there but we have no self.  It then appears as a night dream in which we have no control.  In “journeying” we go to “dreamland” but with a self.  We then have a waking active dream.

The dream seems to be an imitation of the world that the “self/pre-self borderland” creates.  Its reality/imagery is a result of the characteristics and association between the self and pre-self:

  • The “pre-self” has no imagery
  • The imagery originates from the experience of the self in the real world
  • The passion of the imagery originates from the “pre-self”

In these ways, the unique quality of dreams are created, a blending of the self and “pre-self”.  The power of the “pre-self” passion, which does not conform to real world reality, distorts the real world imagery originating from the self creating the unique imagery of dreams and why they don’t quite fit world reality as well as tend to be symbolic in orientation.

I have always felt that the “other world” sense is a result of the “primal fluid” sense.  To me, the “other world” sense is not an abstract idea or philosophical speculation.  It has a reality, almost as if you can reach out and touch it.  In the “journeying” it feels like I’m in a fluid, oftentimes.  I always felt that this is one of the main qualities of the “other world”.

The shamans process of having to go into “journeying” often takes quite a feat and can be quite difficult.  A lot of this is because he has a self and is trying to go into the “pre-self”.  In contemplation, one usually has problems because one is trying to go further and lose the self completely.  So, going into the “pre-self” is difficult with or without a self.

I have no reason to believe that the self actually separates from ones body.  Often, it is said that “ones soul leaves ones body”.  To me, it is only a sensation of separation of self . . . it doesn’t really happen.

“PLAYING CONTEMPLATION”

To me, normally contemplation begins in several ways:

  • It is deliberate.
  • It happens spontaneously.  This, to me, is the best way.

I find that it primarily begins in this way:

  • Relaxation or calming down.  I silence my mind.
  • Watching breath.  I become aware of my breathing.

From here it can go in many directions.

A common form involves trying to “wake up” the “embers”.  This is because, in the course of life, we tend to forget the ember.  As a result, we need to “relight” it.  This is how its often done.

It begins by having both relaxing and watching breath become the same.  In trying to relax, there is always some form of “tension” that I feel.  This can appear a number of ways:

  • As some physical tension within me
  • As thoughts that I usually can’t silence
  • As emotions that keep coming up

Some tension is a “knot” and these you want to let go.  But many tensions are not “knots”.  They are expressions of passion that remain like a flame within one self.  The idea is to embrace the passion and let go of what its associated with.  This is really the “ember” as the passion, devoid of its representation, becomes passion which is much like a glowing ember.

As I said above, there are two passions felt in the womb:

  • The physical body.  These are sensations in the body.  They are felt in the “primitive gut tube”
  • The self.  This is awareness and is centered in the head.  It often appears as thoughts and emotions.

Depending on the situation the ember may be stronger in one or the other.  In either case, one should “hold the ember” which is like an energy.

As part of contemplation, the return to the womb, one must not just experience the “ember” but the other sensations as well.  In other words, in contemplation a person must experience all these sensations:

  • The sensation of breathing
  • The sensation of the “presence”
  • The “ember” of the physical body
  • The “ember” of the self

All these must be combined to make up contemplation.  As this happens the sense of self is decreasing, as it becomes an “ember”, and the body becomes like a flame, tingles, or is hot, and the presence becomes very alive and prominent.

Sometimes, the ember becomes very hard and difficult to handle.  It seems to want to expand beyond the body but has difficulty.  This is because we have a sense of self-as-removed-from-presence.  That is to say, we sense our body and the world as different.  What is trying to happen is the destruction of self and body perception so they unite.  This is like a further regression to the womb where there is no difference between world and self.

The next step can be difficult because it requires a greater separation of self.  Several things can happen:

  • The self and body disappears and the “all” tends to be aflame.
  • The self as if separates from ones body.  At this point I as if see myself, as if in a dream, separate from myself who remains sitting there.  I then can go anywhere I want while myself remains sitting.  This becomes like a dream and is really “journeying”.

In both cases, its hard to remain in these conditions for very long.

I should point out that seldom does it just happen in order as I’ve described:

  • It seems that, normally, one bounces around in contemplation, literally going from one stage to another.  One may, for example, go to the end and then a tension appears and your right back at the beginning.
  • Not only that, it can go in many different directions and paths.  One may become, for example, particularly aware of breathing and starts to preoccupy you.

In these ways, I often compare the different stages of contemplation to a piano keyboard and contemplation is playing a tune on the keyboard.  One goes from one key to another.  I speak of this as “playing contemplation”.  In this way, there is great art in contemplation, in going from stage to stage in a harmonic way.  Normally contemplation is taking a point of view where one goes from stage to stage but I want to emphasize that contemplation must be done with harmony.

Oftentimes, the benefit of contemplation isn’t in going through all the stages, and reaching the end, but its effects on ones self and mind.  This means, more or less, that the effects of contemplation is its power.  Even after contemplation its effects seems to be lasting.  In this way, contemplation effects a person overall or, rather, that’s what one should try to achieve.  

THE “CONTEMPLATIVE CHARACTER”

I seem to think that contemplation is a phenomena that reflects a specific character type.  In other words, it only appears in some people.  My general feelings is that the “contemplative character” tends to be someone with an “unstable mental disposition” . . . their self isn’t all together but somewhat fragmented.  As I said above, contemplation seems to be a way to “hold oneself together”, to unite ones whole being and self.  This means that the person must have a fragmented being and self.  But, more importantly, the “contemplative character” must have an impulse to unite being and self.  That’s probably its greatest quality.  Anybody can have a fragmented self but not everyone wants to unite it again.

CONTEMPLATION AS A HUMAN EXPERIENCE

All over the world contemplation is looked at from a religious and spiritual perspective.  I tend to view it a little differently, more as a human experience first and foremost, and not in the context of any religion or spirituality.  In this way, I tend to see it in a “practical” way.  To me, it is a deeper experience of life.

THE CONTINUAL MYSTERY

Contemplation is such a mystery that, even with what I have said above, I will most likely perceive it different later and have another explanation for it.  Every time I turn around I see it in a new light.  It is endlessly changing.  That’s one of its appeals but also its frustration.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Contemplation, monastacism, shamanism, spirituality, prayer, and such, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis, Religion and religious stuff, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on an aspect of the male character – the importance of the world and the “world instinct”, with remarks about other things

Over the years I have spent a lot of time looking at the female character and female problems.  This was primarily because I was so appalled by many females fabrications of abuse and false accusations.  It started a big inquiry.  I’ve written many articles in this blog about it.

Ironically, it is the male that has been a mystery to me and which I have only minimally looked at.  I have never really inquired that much of the male, the male character, and the problems the male faces.  I have made some observations though.  Here are some of them:

THE QUESTION OF INSTINCT

It seems, to me, that instinct is very powerful and very influential in our makeup and, as a result, is critical in determining who we are and how we behave.  Because of this, we become “products” of that instinct.  For example, my observation is that the female is literally a slave to the mother instinct.  It dictates what a lot of what girls do, their problems, and their behavior.  Their general attitude is one of being a “puppet” to the mother instinct.  The male also has a dominating instinct as well.  I speak of this as the “world instinct” or “world-directed instinct”.  What this means is that the male is instinctually rooted in the confrontation and dealing with the world.  This dominates much of the male life and behavior.  The male, of course, responds differently to this instinct because his character is different.

According to my observation, the character of the male and female has great impact on the way the instinct affects them:

  • The female tends to not have a self strong enough to control the instinct much.  Much of the problems of females is caused by this inability to control it . . . they become “puppets” to instinct.
  • The male has a self that is more defined and is more able to control the instinct.  Much of the problems of the male is associated with the self’s ability or inability to control this instinct . . . they have difficulty trying to control it and use it.

I first made these observations of the difference between male and female with children (see Some thoughts on the difference between male and female in children).  It became clear to me that nature has “designed” the male and female for specific functions in life.  As a result, it appears very “naturally” when we are young.  As we get older, particularly with modern society, we get more and more alienated and detached from it to the point that many people no longer have a connection with it.  Despite this, we are still influenced by it deep down, and it affects our behavior, even though we are not aware of it.

I should also point out that, even though we are affected by it, instinct doesn’t have complete control of a person.  I’d say that instinct is much like a force that pushes a person in a specific direction.  A person has some control over instinct.  Overall, though, it does direct people in specific directions.  I sometimes compare this quality much like going down a river in a raft.  The water pushes you and you must follow it.  You can control it a bit, going this way or that but, in large part, you are at the mercy of the rivers movement.  Its really not a whole lot of different.  This means, more or less, that a person cannot escape instinct.

But instinct is not something that just “affects us”.  It is something that is ingrained with us and our makeup.  Though instinct is like a force our character and mind are “designed” for that force.  As a result of this, the more a person is “in tune” with instinct the more they grow as a person and the more they “live”.

THE  WORLD

The “world instinct” of the male makes the male character and mind directed toward the world but there’s a lot to the world . . .

The Two Worlds

One could say there are actually two worlds:

  1. The “actual world”
  2. The “greater world”

The “actual world” consist of things like:

  • It is that which is about us and surrounds us
  • It is that which is not us
  • It is not in the human sphere and beyond the human sphere

The “actual world” refers to the world-as-it-is.  The “world instinct” makes the world more than that.  It gives greater depth to the actual world.  It makes the world something to associate with and which becomes a part of who we are.  Because of this, it gives a new dimension to the world.  This creates the “greater world”.  This includes things like:

  • The physical world itself
  • Ones reactions to the world
  • Ones perception and interpretation of the world
  • Ones relationship and association with the world

This shows that the “greater world” isn’t the world at all but consists of ones interaction with the world as a dynamic and active phenomena.  This makes it “greater” than the “actual world”, making the world more than it really is.  To put it another way, we could say that the world is “greater” because we make it greater, by giving it things like meaning and developing a relationship with it . . .

The Importance of Relationship

In many ways, the “greater world” is not referring to just the physical world itself but ones relationship with it.  In this way, we could say that the “world instinct” is an instinctual drive for a relationship.  As a basis of this relationship one must do things like:

  • Confront the world
  • Establish an awareness and perception of the world
  • Interpret the world
  • Associate with the world
  • Establish a working relationship with the world

The Innate Sense of the World

As part of this relationship is an innate sense of the “actual world” and what it is.  This innate sense of the world dictate much of the males stance in relation to the world as well as his association with it.  Some of these innate senses about the world include:

  • It is great and massive
  • It is a mystery
  • It is threatening
  • It is frightening
  • It is life-giving
  • It is something one must associate with
  • It is beyond the person

Overall, one could say that the innate sense of the world is that the person is quite small in comparison to the world . . . this sense establishes a basis in the males association with the world.  In fact, it permeates a lot of what the male does.

The “World Horror”

A significant aspect of the innate sense of the world is a particularly strong sense of horror of the world.  I speak of this as the “world horror”.  This is a unique form of horror.  In some cases, though, horror might be too strong of a term, but it gets the gist of the idea.

The “world horror” is an innate sense that the world has qualities such as:

  • That the world poses a threat and a danger
  • That a threat can appear anytime and in anything
  • That the world is beyond ones self
  • That the world is beyond ones capabilities

In other words, through the “world horror” is revealed how massive, large, and powerful the world is and how small one is.  In many ways, the “world horror” establishes the males relationship with the world.  Because of this, many philosophies, and religions, emphasize an awareness of this as part of their point of view.  Some examples include:

  • The “fear of god”
  • The idea of “being a man” (meaning to confront the “world horror”)
  • The emphasis on being “brave”
  • The idea of having “courage”
  • The condemnation of cowardice
  • The emphasis on being “strong”

These all reveal a sense of “world horror”.

It seems, to me, that normal healthy responses to “world horror” consists of things like:

  • A respect for the world
  • A humility
  • A faith of some sort (which is like a form of bravery, courage, or strength)

Interestingly, these are themes that are taught the world over by the male.  At the root of these is the “world horror”.

From my observation, this horror is generally unconscious and not recognized by the male.  Its not something I hears guys talking about but I can see how it motivates and determines much of their behavior.  There are a number of reasons why it is unconscious such as:

  • It is innate and is a “pre-established” feeling that one is born with.  As a result, one tends to not be aware of it.
  • It isn’t prompted by an experience and so its not recognized.

Some of the effects the “world horror” creates include:

  • An apprehension
  • Caution
  • An increased awareness of the world
  • Terror
  • Fear
  • Helplessness

Deep down, males struggle with this horror though many are not aware of it.

The Primary Conflict of the Male . . .

But, since the world is beyond the self, and greater than the self, it demands much from the self and person,  which is small in comparison.  In many ways, the primary conflict of the male is developing a relationship with a great and massive world with a small self which has little power.  The condition of the male with the world is like an ant trying to move a boulder.  This fact has determined much of male behavior through the years as well as many of the conflicts the male faces.

Because of this, many males are burdened by the “world instinct” and it puts a great weight on them.  I think it takes a lot out of males, some more than others.  I also think it ages many males and is one reason why some males die younger.

Overall, I’d say that the association with the “world” causes a lot of stress.  Its probably no surprise, then, that there is a close association between the “world instinct” and stress management.  In fact, if one looks at much of what the male has created and done through the centuries one could say that a lot of what the male does is primarily a form of stress management.  This includes many of the creations the male has done such as:

  • The idea of “making things easier”
  • Making things more meaningful
  • Social organization
  • Religion
  • Philosophy
  • Proper behavior between people
  • Science
  • Inventions and technology

These are, in many ways, forms of stress management that were motivated by the males burden of the world that the “world instinct” places on the male.

The Effects of the Modern World

The modern world has greatly undermined the males association and relationship with the world.  There are a number of reasons why, such as:

  • The awareness of the “greater world”, as a real experience and reality, is forgotten.  The idea that there is “more to the world” isn’t that prevalent.
  • The modern world has created a “false world”, or “illusionary world”, that has replaced the “greater world”.  In short, the male has been led away into another world.
  • There are too many things in the way to develop much of a relationship with the world.  We have consumer products, massive social problems, education, media, etc. that have done nothing but get us lost in respect to the “greater world”.

The effect of these is that it has caused an alienation.  This has had great impact and caused many problems of the male in the modern world.  In general, the modern world has destroyed the “greater world” and, since the male is world oriented, it has undermined the male.  

The Males Reaction to the World

The “world instinct” dictates a lot of qualities in the male, such as:

  • It dictates his stance in life
  • It dictates his points of view
  • It dictates his outlook on life
  • It dictates his growth

In this way, the “world instinct” defines and creates the male (similarly to the mother instinct with the female).  The male character, really, is a product of the “world instinct”.

SOME QUALITIES OF THE MALE CHARACTER WHICH AFFECTS HIS ASSOCIATION WITH THE WORLD

There are a number of qualities, in the male, that effect the males association with the world.  Some of these include the following:

The Drive

The “world instinct” consists of a drive, something that pushes the male. Many males feel this drive but don’t understand it.  This can make many males display qualities such as:

  • Antsy
  • Agitated
  • Restless
  • Impatient
  • Irritable
  • Uptight
  • Nervous

In many ways, for a male to be healthy means he must do a couple of things:

  • He must be able to control and direct this drive
  • He must be transformed by the drive

In this way, the drive is something that does more than pushes, it transforms!

The Ego

The “world instinct” needs an ego in order to face the world.  I generally define the ego as a “false confidence”.  The ego makes the male willing to do things he otherwise would not do.  The ego allows a small powerless person to confront and associate with the massive and all-powerful world.  In this way, the ego is instrumental in dealing with the world.

I’ve always said that its rather interesting that humanity has survived in the world because of the male ego . . . a false confidence!  Without this ego humanity would not of been able to deal with the world.

I’ve written some more things on the male ego in this article:  Thoughts on the male ego

The Need to Confront

This is a quality, as part of the “world instinct”, where he must confront things.  This can appear as an overly strong tendency to be willing to confront things, often violently.

The need to confront establishes the self in relation with the world.  In this way, it establishes the relationship.  This is more or less saying that the relationship with the world is an active act . . . confronting being another way of saying “being active”.  By “active” is meant that the “self must be there”, before the world, in the act.  Its not something that is done passively or imagined.

The Need for Control and Order

As part of the association with the “world” the male needs to control or have some control.  Without this control there is really not much of an association with the world.  It would probably be more accurate to say that the male needs an “active participation”.

One aspect of this need for control is the need for order.  Males tend to need order in their life as part of the association with the world.

Many males will struggle with this in some way or another.  To not have control or order often destroys their self confidence and self respect.

The Need to Discover Ones Abilities

Males will often go through periods where they do “stupid things”, like jumping over things with a bike or something.  The purpose of these is not as stupid as it seems.  They are basically testing their abilities.  Many males will push this to the limit, to see exactly how far they can go.  It can even get deadly.  This helps give them achieve an awareness of self and is part of establishing ones relationship with the world.

The Need to Explain

The “world instinct” creates a need to explain things and give it meaning.  My observation is that most males have to explain things, at least in some way.  This has created things like religion, philosophy, science, and so on.  Its also created a tendency where males get “wound up” in explanations.

The Need to be Away from the Female

My observation is that the male needs to be away from female very often. It can actually hinder a males growth.  This is because the qualities of the female are as if diametrically opposed to the “greater world” and the “world instinct”.  In short, the female tends to make the male turn away from the “greater world” and, in so doing, he turns away from himself.  As a result, the male tends to associate with the female in “regulated” or limited ways and only in certain contexts.  In many ways, the males association with the female tends to be limited.

I’ve written some things on this in this article:  Thoughts on “male suffocation” – the need for the male to be away from the female – a unique character trait in the male

The Need for “Proper Behavior”

The relationship of the male with the “world” tends to develop a strong sense of “proper behavior” in relation to the world.  This appears in many ways:

  • Of having the “proper perception of the world” – religion, philosophy
  • Of acting in the “proper way toward the world” – ritual
  • Of acting in the “proper way in the world” – ethics
  • Of acting in the “proper way toward other people” – etiquette

Because this is associated with the relationship with the world it often tends to be looked at in a very serious way:  if you don’t do it in the “proper way” then it can be looked at as something horribly bad, even threatening.

The Need for Self-Confidence 

The more a male feels a self-confidence the better and happier they generally are.  This creates a sense of security.  This confidence, of course, must come from experience, conflict, failure, and success.  Many males feel “down”, downtrodden, incompetent, etc. when they have no self-confidence.  In fact, I think one could say that many male problems stem from lack of self-confidence.  

Often, self-confidence is spoken about in other ways:

  • Some males refer to self-confidence as “virility”, looking at it primarily from a sexual perspective.
  • Another version of self-confidence is found in the expression, “be a man!”

There have developed many expressions to describe a male with no self-confidence.  Some of these are:

  • A coward
  • A “weasel”
  • A weakling
  • “Half-baked”
  • A loser

In my experience, expressions, such as these, are often spoken about with great contempt.

Some males will actually “judge” other males by their self-confidence.  To me, this is usually a sign of arrogance or, rather, an over-confidence.

It seems that self-confidence has a great impact on male behavior.  In many cases, males don’t really “do anything” until they gain a self-confidence.  Once they develop it then they do a lot.

The Need to be a Person

Males tend to need to feel that they are a person, an individual in the world.  This seems to have to do with several senses:

  • A sense of self
  • A sense of participation in the world

I would even say that a male does not “live” until he develops a sense of a person.  When the male does not have a sense of a person he only “half lives”.

“Self-honor”

There is a quality which I call “self-honor”.  I often define “self-honor” as the result of an instinctual need to participate in the world which, when done properly, creates a satisfaction or confidence in ones self.  It is primarily a result of the satisfaction of what I often call the “instinct of being a person-in-the-world”.  I’ve written more about this in this article:  Thoughts on “self-honor” and the “instinct of being a person-in-the-world”

THE “HUNTING INSTINCT”

Much of the “world instinct” is a “hunting instinct”.  One could probably say that the “world instinct” is based in the “hunting instinct”.  This means that the males association with the world is really a “hunting for something”. The males hunts for things like:

  • Food
  • Meaning
  • A relationship

In the end, the “hunting instinct” is really a “hunting for life”, in some form.  I’d say that hunting, in some way or another, is really what most males do in their life and consists of a lot of male behavior.

To me, the “hunter instinct” is a real innate tendency.  Its like nature has instilled, deep within all males, a need to hunt.  I tend to believe that all males, deep down, have a sense of a need to hunt.  Many though, never realize it and may never even develop it.  Despite this, it always lies deep within, sometimes appearing in indirect hidden ways (such as computer war games).  This is basically an innate need to hunt which is as if “wired” into his makeup.  As a result, it has certain naturally appearing traits and tendencies.

The “hunter instinct” creates, in the male, many qualities that influence his nature and his interpretation of the world.  It is so powerful that it molds his world.influences his world view and interpretation.  The “hunter instinct” has qualities such as:

  • The tendency to look out into the world.  That is to say, one looks out into the world.  In order to hunt  a person must look into the maze of images, colors, and shapes to seek what they need.   This is actually the origin of the “male gaze” (see below).
  • A “hunger”.  No doubt, its a hunger founded in the need to eat.  Not only is this the need of personal hunger but social, to feed ones family.  It can appear, though, as just a “hunger for something” which can be non-specific and unclear.
  • A sense of a “threat”.  Being based in hunger, and relating with survival, it is often associated with feelings of being “threatened” or that there is a threat in some way.
  • A sense of being prepared.  The ‘hunter instinct’, in my opinion, has this sense of man-versus-the-world.  As a result of this, it seems to automatically entail a sense of a person being able to do this, of being prepared and ready.
  • A sense of killing.  The question of what it means to “kill” is critical.  It primarily entails a sense of taking life from the world or, rather, a transfer of life from world to humanity.  This presupposes a sense of ‘lacking’, hunger, or need whereas the world is abundant.  Killing, therefore, is really a ‘transfer’ of life.  Its only been later that it is perceived as killing, that is taking away in a moral sense.  This shows how modern people have no sense of a ‘soul’ or ‘life’ in nature.
  • The inflicting of death.
  • The willingness to confront danger.
  • The use of “implements”.  To me, this seems a natural tendency.  It is a projection of his self onto the world.  In many ways, its his self portrayed in an object.
  • The emphasis on the individual act one does.  
  • A sense of satisfaction.  This satisfaction, and its powerful manifestation, is no doubt a result of its innate instinctual-like nature.

In these ways, the “hunting instinct”

  • Makes the male look out into the world
  • Establishes a sense of the world and its nature
  • Establishes his stance toward it
  • Creates a relationship

One could say that the “hunting instinct” is critical in the males relationship with the world.  

Sacrifice

Ritual and religious sacrifice seems to be an extension of the “hunting instinct”.  In many ways, one could call sacrifice a “ritual hunt and killing” that is done in a formal way.  Through sacrifice a number of things are demonstrated, such as:

  • The “hunting instinct” is demonstrated and revealed
  • It is portrayed in a controlled way
  • It is portrayed in a meaningful way
  • The “hunting instinct” is always satisfied

It seems that sacrifice is often something that starts to become prevalent in societies that have started to “settle” down and don’t hunt much.  They start to domesticate animals.  When they kill the animals they often sacrifice them in a ritual.  In this case, its as if the sacrifice of domesticated animals is like an “enacting of the hunt”, that no longer takes place, in a ritual.  Sometimes, the belief system can develop so much that the hunting aspect literally disappears and the sacrifice becomes nothing but an act “for the god” or something similar.

War

The ‘hunter instinct’ tends to turn into a desire for war in some conditions.  It seems that, as hunting societies change to a “settled” life, the outlet for the “hunter instinct” decreases.  Since a “settled” life is often a sign of overpopulation conflicts between people become more prevalent and, accordingly, wars break out.  This creates a new outlet for the “hunting instinct”. As a result, war or, rather, conflict between societies or within society, very often becomes an outlet for the “hunter instinct” . . . war becomes the “new hunt”.  

In hunting one kills something in the world, which is beyond the self, this which makes it more abstract, impersonal, and ritualistic.   In war, one kills in society which is really a reflection or extension of ones self.  As a result of this, war reflects  the person and often becomes a reflection of ones inner state and the wars that take place within a person.  In this way, war is a “hunt” that is more human-oriented and often reflects personal crisis and problems.  In this way, war is more about humanities struggle with itself than about survival in the world.

THE “MALE GAZE”

The “male gaze” is a quality where the males as if “peers” into the world.  I notice this look in many males.  Its as if they are looking with concentrated eyes searching to find something.  Its as if the world is this big mass of a million different things and he is trying to search for the “needle in a haystack” in it, that one small thing that matters.  It describes a quality where the male tends to “look” deeper into things by searching.  Its a manifestation, really, of the “hunting instinct”.

The “male gaze” has qualities such as:

  • It is generally without feeling
  • It is generally without self
  • It is an inquiry, a searching

In many ways, the “male gaze” is at the base of his relationship with the world.  Through the “gaze” the male does a number of things:

  • He interacts with the world
  • The world appears real
  • There is a manifestation of a need
  • The world is experienced

It establishes the world as something to associate with.

I began to use the term after noticing a particular look that certain males have.  For some reason I seem to be drawn toward it, attracted to it.  Because of this, it made me think about it and what it is.  I would not say that the “male gaze” is an expression or an emotion.  It seems deeper than that.  It seems to reflect a quality of a great sense of self-in-the-world than anything else.   This sense is expressed in many ways, such as:

  • A ‘spectral gaze’, as if looking at something that seems to be there when there’s nothing there, of looking at something undefined and unknown.
  • A look of staring into space, of something far off in the distance.
  • A look as if one is hunting or seeking for something.
  • A “hard look”, of a person that has been through a lot, suffered, and endured a lot.
  • A disciplined look, of a person who has had to learn to restrain himself and mold himself into a specific form.
  • A look of a person who has confronted fear.
  • A look of a person who has overcoming great adversity and conflict.
  • A look of depth, of seeing more into things than is apparently there.
  • A look of a person who has changed or who has been transformed in some way.

Naturally, not everyone has all these qualities.  Many just have a few.  There’s often a mixture which varies from person to person, giving many different forms to the “male gaze”.

The “Male Gaze” and Natural Inclinations

I tend to associate this look with a “real male”.  That is to say, a male that is in touch with his deep innate qualities.  In other words, I associate the “male gaze” with a person who has discovered and learned his natural inclinations (see my article ” Discovering natural inclinations – a solution to alienation and dehumanization???“).  This means that he has had to go through a process of discovering his natural inclinations.  By ‘natural inclinations’ I mean the innate natural tendencies that he has within him.  These must be discovered through experience and living.  Natural inclinations cannot be discovered, or developed, in ways such as:

  • Natural inclinations cannot be learned.  You cannot take a class on it, read about it, or find it at a school.  In fact, my observation is that learning and education actually impair the discovery of natural inclinations, primarily because it offers up a “pseudo-self” based on mental conceptions.
  • Natural inclinations are not imagined or what a person “thinks they are”. Typically, these only reflect what a person would like to think they are.
  • They are not found in imitation of another person or way.

These, really, are different not forms of imaginations of the mind.  In this way, we see that discovering natural inclinations is at odds with imaginations of the mind.  In this way, it is experiential and active and based in doing I should also point out that it is doing-as-doing.  That is to say, its not doing-to-fit-an-image-or-way.  In this way, its a doing-because-life-demands-it.  As a result, it has no image or way associated with it . . . it just happens . . . one does because one has to.  Typically, the more of an image you follow the less likely you are to discover natural inclinations.  This is because natural inclinations come from within, not from without.

There seems to be a process in discovering natural inclinations.  It seems to follow this pattern:

  1. The discovering.  As I said above, this is primarily a result of doing. 
  2. The using.  Natural inclinations mean nothing if you do not use them.
  3. The transformation.  Using natural inclinations tends to cause a transformation of self.  In some cases, it can transform you into a totally different person.
  4. The disciplining.  The learning of natural inclinations causes a need to control and harness it.  As a result, it emphasizes the need for discipline, control, duty, etc.  this is because of the power of these impulses.  this shows that not only must one discover and be transformed by it but one must control the impulses that it awakens.

Because of this process, it gives a person a quality of someone “who is who he is”.  But, more importantly, he is “transformed into himself by being himself”.  In other words, his own natural inclinations transforms him.  This is probably the most important aspect of the “male gaze”, I think.

Being “transformed by themselves” shows that there is a great genuineness in who they are.  They do not have false views of themselves, typically, unless they overly think about it and start creating images of what they think they are.  Their self is based in experience, not on ideas or images.  In fact, I think that this is the very thing that attracts me to it.  Something seemed to tell me that there was a great truth of life here.

One important point of this is that it shows that confronting the world requires, and demands, the male to learn his natural inclinations.  This makes natural inclinations a great necessity for the male.  In some respects, a male who does learn his natural inclinations is only “half a man”, he remains incomplete.  As a result, situations that impair his ability to learn his natural inclinations are a problem.  These, unfortunately, are quite prevalent in the modern world.  Some of these damaging qualities include:

  • Becoming apathetic
  • The absence of ‘doing’
  • Living too organized a lifestyle or in a strong over-bearing system
  • Being too introverted or extroverted
  • Being too self-conscious
  • Being too involved in an image or chasing an image

Many males are growing up without ever finding their natural inclinations.  Typically, though, there is a spectrum in any society, from males who never find it to males who heavily discover it.  Most males, probably, are in the middle range.  It seems, to me, that in the modern world more and more males are leaning to one end of the spectrum or the other, where they never find it.

The “Male Gaze” and Character

The “male gaze” does not necessarily mean that a person has to physically do things nor does it necessarily mean he has to be actively “in the world”.  This is the more obvious form as it is something everyone can see.  It can also include interior acts.  In fact, in many ways, the “male gaze” always leads to an interior act, at least in some way.  Because of this, we can say that there are two forms of the “male gaze”:

  1. The “exterior look”.  This is of a male who is “in the world” and confronts the world primarily.  As a result, the orientation is very world centered.  This is actually the “male gaze” I first saw.
  2. The “interior look”.  This is a male who tends to be very interior.  This look, though, requires that a male have a great ‘interior life’.  Not only that, he must see that ‘interior life’ as something real.  In other words, he can’t just be “thoughtful” or “intellectual” or even “philosophical”.  Because of this, it tends to reflect a persons character.  I would be inclined to say that it requires a spiritual outlook and a strong spirituality.  Because this is somewhat rare, nowadays, the ‘interior look’ is not something I see a lot.

In some respects, these reflect the “extrovert” and “introvert” characters.  In this way one can see that a person character has great impact on how the “male gaze” appears.

Being Transformed by the “Gaze”

The male is as if changed by the “gaze”.  In other words, the ‘male gaze’ transforms the male because the world transforms him.  This is because the world causes certain conditions to take place, such as:

  • The world versus the male
  • The confronting of the horror in himself
  • The confrontation of the horror of the world
  • A need for discipline
  • Of looking into things
  • Of seeing who he is
  • Of making sense of the world
  • A need to deal with fear
  • Of seeing himself as part of the world
  • A knowledge of good and bad
  • The need to weigh good and bad

These cause transformations of the male by creating traits as well as a sense that one must behave in a certain way.  In other words, it creates a need to “behave properly” in the world.  In this way, the males association with the world becomes something like a relationship based in a form of etiquette.

THE SELF

The male generally tends to develop a strong self.  This is a product of things like:

  • The male ego
  • The relationship with world
  • The sense of ones self as an individual person in the world

Often, the male develops too strong of a sense of self, This can foster his growth or strangle him.  A too strong of a self can often bring out dark aspects of the males character.

One aspect of the influence of the male self is what is often called an “ass”.  I generally associate an “ass” with a particularly strong fear of the world and an inadequacy of self.  His general attitude is “looking outward on a base rooted in a fear of the self”.  This causes a tendency to disregard things such as:

  • A disregard for self
  • A disregard for others
  • A disregard for principles

These makes him do “stupid” things that are often inconsiderate and rude.  My own experience with this is that you don’t see yourself as an “ass” while doing it . . . only on reflection.

 The Self-in-the-World

The self-in-the-world is when the male see’s the world as part of himself or, rather, as an extension of himself.  The world instinct creates a condition where the presence of the world is particularly strong and needs to be “ingested”, so to speak, by the male.

There are three aspects to this:

  1. The world – needs an awareness of the “world”
  2. The self – needs an awareness of self
  3. The self-in-the-world – the self transformed by the world

Basically, the male must be transformed by this relationship with the world . . . this establishes the self-in-the- world.

The “over extended self”, loss of self, the “death theme”, and the sense of life

As part of this being transformed by the world the male often see’s himself in the world . . . the world has become his self.  This tends to cause a problem which I call the “over extended self”.  Basically, he loses a sense of his self and who he is.

A common effect of the “over extended self”, and loss of self, is that it creates the ‘death theme’.  This causes, in the male, what can sometimes appear as a weird preoccupation with death.  They can become very morbid and interpret things as death and dying.  Basically, when a male over extended his self, and loses it in the world, he as if “dies” . . . he has lost his self.  This can cause a number of reactions:

  • His “death” becomes associated with spirituality, religion, and philosophy.  In fact, they are probably the source of a lot of the “dying” and “loss of self” themes we’ve seen all over the world.
  • His “death” becomes a source of growth and transformation . . . the creation of a new self.
  • He can become preoccupied with killing things.  He may even grow to kill things.
  • He can become morbid and reflects too much on death.
  • He can develop a really dark view of life.

So we see that its effects can range from good to bad.

The over extended self, and the loss of self it brings, can bring out many hidden qualities in the male.  It does this because the absence of self can “expose” hidden qualities.  Normally, the self covers them up and hides them.  This shows a quality of how the self tends to create a condition where deeper qualities and traits are unable to be seen and discovered.  In this way, the self can actually hinder a person.  Because of this, the loss of self can be beneficial.  In fact, many religions, ways of life, spirituality, etc. use the “over extended self”, loss of self, and “death theme” as part of their process and life.

The loss of self, its death, and the exposing hidden qualities often becomes an avenue for a sense of “life”.  This is because the deeper and hidden aspects of ones self often creates a “purer” sense and experience of “life”.  This shows that the self actually degrades the sense and experience of “life”.  What all this does is create a strange irony in the male:  the experiencing of life through death.  In other words, many males actually experience “life” through some form of death than through some form of “living”.  Examples of this include:

  • Conflict, pain, and suffering
  • Some form of spirituality involving loss of self or a death
  • Hunting . . . killing
  • War . . . killing
  • Hatreds and dislikes
  • Bad views of life

Some males can become obsessed with this “experiencing life through death” to the point that it dominates their life.  For some males it can eat them up inside.

Another form of loss of self, with its exposing of deeper qualities and the sense of life it brings, is to use “artificial means” to lose the self.  Examples include:

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Being an “adrenaline junky”
  • Various ways of “getting thrills”, such as extreme skiing

My observation is that, though these “artificial means” may give a sense of “life” for the moment, it is not lasting and has little impact on their growth.  For many males, though, this becomes their only source of “living”.  Some males will grow to depend on it.

The “Projected Self”

Often, the male will project his self upon the world.  When this happens the world becomes like “another person” even though its really an extension of himself.  He seldom recognizes them as being a part of himself.  As a result of this, the world takes on “human” properties that has this uncanny knack at resembling his views and situation.  This “projected self” often appears as things like:

  • A god
  • Spirits
  • An undefined “something”

With the “projected self” the relationship with the world takes on a whole new level.  The world now takes on a quality of “relating with the world, through himself, through the world”.  

“MALE SOCIETY”

The “world instinct” often creates a particular and unique bond between males.  This creates a specific type of society which I call “male society”.  It is one of the ways the male associates with the world . . . as a group or collective.  In some respects, a “greater male self” is created that is bigger than any individual.  In this way, “male society” becomes an extended means of associating, confronting, and dealing with the world.

Some qualities that “male society” contains include:

  • A leader or someone or something, such as a belief, to look up to
  • The need to follow
  • A social structure where people have different roles and positions
  • An ordered and defined purpose

It ends up creating a very order society.  In fact, all over the world, “male society” is responsible for organized society and civilization.

Some problems of “male society” include:

  • It often becomes very organized and controlling.
  • It often becomes self-centered and disregards everything and everyone else.
  • It often makes males lax in their association with the “greater world” as “male society” often ends up replacing the “greater world”.  In fact, this is one of the dilemmas we see.  The creation of the modern world is an example of that . . . it pushes the world further away.

The “Greater Society Self” and the Society Versus the Person Dilemma

The “male society” often takes on a grater role as a “greater society self” to the male.  That is to say, it becomes an extended self, almost like an alternate self or alter ego.  As a result, the male as if gives up his life, self, his will, and such to this “greater society self”.  This often does several things:

  • It often makes the “male society” stronger and function better
  • It tends to degrade the person

This creates a conflict that is common in “male society” . . . the society versus the person dilemma.  This dilemma often cannot be solved or resolved but always exists, in one form or another, in the society.  It behaves much like a tug-of-war.  In many cases, an individual male tends to lean in one direction or another.  This means that “male society” tends to have two opposing groups of people:

  1. A social-dominated group
  2. An individual-dominated group

These often create two opposing schools of thoughts or philosophies.  They create something like a spectrum with these two extremes:

  1. The opposing views can complement each other
  2. The opposing views can oppose each other to the point that they can literally tear a society in two and even cause war

I’ve written some aspects of “male society in this article:  Thoughts on how the Queens of England helped to create a pussy-whipped male and a spoiled female

THE “MALE CREATION”

The “world instinct” has prompted the male to create many things, such as society, science, religion, weapons, etc.  I call this the “male creation”.  The bulk of what the males creates has been motivated by the “world instinct”, and are often ways of dealing with the “world horror”.  In other words, there is a close relationship between the creation of things and the “world instinct”.

Some of what the “male creation” does include:

  • It protects
  • It supplies things
  • It offers a new form of relationship with the world
  • It promotes stress relief

I wouldn’t be surprised that, if there were no “world instinct”, very little would of ever of been created.

The “male creation”, though, has had bad effects.  Some common versions of this include:

  • It can become so big that it practically replaces the world
  • It becomes controlling and dominating
  • It causes bad effects, like pollution

In short, the “male creation” can reach a point where it becomes more of a threat than the world.  This is one of the great tragedies of the “male creation”.

Sadly, even though the “world horror” is part of the “world instinct”, and creates an innate caution of the world, there is no parallel of this in the “male creation”.  That is to say, there is no innate sense about anything created.  Any caution is intellectual and not based in an innate sense.  Because of this, it often appears after the fact.  As a result, when males create they tend to throw caution to the wind.  This may account for why the “male creation” can become so tragic at times.  Perhaps we could speak of this phenomena as “blind creation”?  This refers to how the male has no sense of caution with what he creates.

Another bad effect of the “male creation” is that it is sometimes so successful and powerful that it creates problems, such as:

  • Envy
  • Power struggles

In short, “everyone wants a piece of the pie” when it becomes successful.  This can get very bad to the point that it can tear apart countries and societies.  For an example of this see my article:  Thoughts on the ‘WAM envy’ – a success story turned bad.

I’ve written aspects of the “male creation” in this article:  Thoughts on the “male creation”.

THE “SYSTEM” DILEMMA

What I call the “system” is an ultra-organized society.  This is not the same as “male society” even though it originates from it.  The problem is that when “male society” develops enough it ceases to be “male society” and turns into an ultra-organized inhuman-like “system”.  This society becomes much like a machine.  In so doing it ceases to display the qualities of “male society” and, accordingly, looses its beneficial qualities.  In the end, the “system” ends up undermining the male and destroys him.

The “system” ends up displaying qualities such as:

  • There is really no leadership
  • There is a blind or empty following
  • There is often no real meaning in things
  • The social structure is dead or non existent

It ends up creating a bunch of lost, confused, alienated guys who are like automatons to the “system”.

The “system” creates an ironic situation:  it unifies on a mass social level but divides on an interior personal level.  In this way, it actually becomes contrary to “male society” and tends to degrade the person.  This means that “male society” reaches a point that it actually works against him creating a dilemma for the male.  It seems, to me, that this is when the society is usually in decline.  Usually, there was a “glory time” before it became a “system” . . . the “glory time” basically causes the “system” to develop.  As a result, we see a pattern much like this:

  1. A unique “male society” is created
  2. If its successful it can create a “glory time”
  3. It grows as a result
  4. A “system” is created by its success and growth
  5. The “male society” is eventually undermined
  6. The society is in decline

In the decline period a number of things often seem to happen, such as:

  • There is an attempt at “re-enacting” the “glory time”
  • People try to “cash in on the glory” that was established in the “glory time”
  • People try to gain control of the society, sometimes creating a free-for-all
  • People try to benefit from the society, often becoming like leeches
  • Males often go into something like a stasis or stagnation
  • Sometimes, females will try to “take the position of the male” even to the point that they think they are men
  • The society weakens so much that it is often easy to over-run or take over, in ways such as politically, ideologically, spiritually, etc.

Examples of this situation include the declining period of Ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, and the U.S. in the 21st century.

IDENTITY

The purpose of identity is that it directs instinct and gives it meaning and relevance.  As a result, much of male identity revolves around dealing with the world and the “world instinct”.

When a male loses his identity he usually has problems such as:

  • A problem associating with the world.  They “live in their own world”, become overly abstract, apathetic, etc.
  • A problem with self.  They become overly introverted, have absence of growth, etc.

In other words, there tends to be a relationship problem.

It seems that there are some things that often help with male identity problems:

  • Actively associating with the world without any help
  • Being part of a group
  • Having someone or something, like a belief, to look up to
  • Conflict

They seem to revolve around three things:

  1. Relating with the world
  2. Growth of self
  3. Being a part of something

In a way, these show some qualities with the male that are very critical.

COMMON THEMES

To me, common themes I see with the male include:

  • Developing a relationship with the world.  
  • Being transformed, in some way, by life.
  • Having to suffer some form of death.
  • Hunting for something in life.
  • Finding ways to deal with the “world horror”.
  • Having an order in life.
  • Having a belonging, whether it be “male society”, being a part of something, a belief system, or something else.
  • The sense of being a person.
  • Having self-confidence.
  • Time away from the female.

These qualities seem prevalent and important.  Overall, it seems to describe a “small” person, with little power, who is standing before a massive, mysterious, and dangerous world and who needs to stand on a firm “base” in order to deal with it.  That is to say, he needs other things, and qualities, to deal with the world.  These other things, and qualities, are the “base”.  As a result, much of what is described above are really forms or aspects of the “base”.

The “Base”

In many ways, much of the male life rests on the development and use of the “base”.  These are qualities, that the male must develop, which allows him to associate with the world and develop a healthy relationship with it.  They are qualities that appear in ways such as:

  • They are discovered
  • They are  learned
  • They are revealed in some way

The “base” is not something a person is born with but is something that is “gained” as he grows.  This creates, in the male, a sense of always needing to “gain” something which will help him in the world.  This sense is really a continuation of the “hunting instinct”, of perpetually hunting and seeking things.

The “base” shows two senses of self:

  1. The “naked self” . . . the self without the “base”.
  2. The “self with additions” . . . that is, the self with the “base”.

Some of the effects the “naked self” can cause include:

  • It can make one have difficulty associating with world
  • It can lead to a sense of loss and feelings of inadequacy
  • It can lead to a loss of self, a death, and a greater experience of life (this is used a lot in many religions and spirituality, often in concepts such as humility or poverty)
  • It usually takes on a quality of a “continuously seeking for a base” . . . that is, there is a seeking
  • It tends to cause an introverted type of person

Some of the effects of the “self with additions” include:

  • It can benefit a person when they associate with the world
  • It can make one feel “achieved” and satisfied
  • It can become a burden, a hypocrisy, or a phoniness
  • It usually takes on a quality of “I have my base and I’m satisfied” . . . that is, there’s no seeking
  • It tends to cause an extroverted type of person

So we see that the two self’s have good and bad effects, depending on the person. Both of these two senses of self can become quite strong, depending on the person.  Sometimes, they can become like two separate personalities.  In general, one self is usually sought for and the other self is despised or avoided.  Which one is sought, of course, varies with the person.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Dehumanization and alienation, Identity and identity problems, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis, The 'system', 'systemism', and the power structure, The male and female, World Instinct | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the “other equality” – taking the idea of equality to the point of ridiculousness

Here’s a thought I had:

Something that I think is getting out of control is the idea of “equality”.  What’s happened is that equality is being used for other motives than what it was intended for.  As I have said many times, equality is a nothing but a legal term . . . and nothing more.  All it means is that we are all “equal before the law” and that there is “no one above the law”.  This means no one gets preferential treatment in the court of law.  To me, that’s all the term means.

I’ve seen people who have used the word in a way that went way beyond law and its original intent.  What bothers me is that no one is questioning or disputing it!  Some examples I’ve heard include:

The idea that “equality” should be applied to everyday life

  • We must treat everyone the same all the time with no variation whatsoever.

The idea that everyone must be treated exactly the same

  • A person cannot, for example, treat a female different from the male.  A good example is that you can’t open doors for females.

The denial of natural differences, abilities, and natural tendencies

  • The belief that there is absolutely no difference between people, such as male and female, and that they are exactly the same.

The denial of differences in people

  • The idea that a person cannot make any distinctions between people whatsoever, such as that he is Chinese or Mexican.
  • That you cannot make any distinctions of people in expressions, such as “workman” which should be said as “workperson”.
  • The idea that the expression of people must be “neutral”, not referring to a specific type of person, race, sex, sexual orientation, etc.
  • In some cases, you cannot make any distinctions between a peoples character, a cultural character, a national, character, etc.  If you do then they call it “stereotyping” which is supposed to be a bad thing.

The idea that there must be an equal number of different people in all things

  • In situations, such as a job, there must be an equal number of different types of people, such as male and female or racially, whether they are qualified or not.
  • In situations, like the movies, it must show every type of person, such as a white male, a female (of course, she must be warrior-like), a black person, and so on (pretty soon they will probably have to have every race, sexual orientation, and so on in every movie).

Favoritism/exclusion

  • The giving of certain people, who are a minority in the population usually, a certain “privilege” so there will be more of them doing things.  They often call this “equality” but its really a favoritism and a form of justified unfairness.
  • Some people think that “equality” means the favoring of certain people such as by more likely giving them credit, awards, recognition, glorifying them, etc.
  • Some peoples version of “equality” is to exclude people because there are more of them.  For example, at a University I know they started to restrict the number of white American males admitted because there were “too many” of them.

Entitlement

  • Some people think that “equality” means that they are automatically entitled to have what everyone else, or a specific person, has.

The idea that they can be whoever they want

  • Some peoples idea of “equality” is that they can literally choose whoever they want to be.

The idea that the people of the world should all be the same

  • I’ve heard people say how everyone should believe the same and do the same thing all over the world.
  • I’ve heard people idealize a Utopian world where all the races of the world will intermarry to the point that there will only be one “world race”.

Socialist and communist thinking

  • The ideas that everyone should have exactly what everyone else has, have the same status, and be exactly the same.

The basic message is that everybody is supposed to be “absolutely the same”.  Why don’t we just pick a person, clone that person, and let everyone else die off so there will only be one type of person in the world?

I often joke that I’m going to write Marvel Comics and ask them when the gay or transgender super hero is going to come out.  I’ve even come up with a super hero:  Captain-All*.  Underneath it says, “* the super hero that can be any gender, sexual orientation, race, height, weight, etc.”  All he/she/it/whatever does is say what he/she/it/whatever wants to be and he/she/it/whatever becomes it!  Every episode can be a different person.  This way it can satisfy every gender, sexual orientation, race, etc. and no one will feel discriminated against!  We can advertise it as the “equal rights super hero!”  With the mentality of today, I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that appears.

What’s more important is that if a person violates these ideas of “equality” then it is often automatically assumed to be a result of hatred or some other sinister motive. This reveals a great truth behind this philosophy, that it is rooted in fear, insecurity, and the fear of people in general (as we’ll see below).

The idea of equality has been taken so far beyond what it was meant to be that it is being turned into something else. It is taken to the point that it is displaying qualities such as these:

  • The idea is becoming an avenue for other “issues” that have nothing to do with
  • The idea hides other motives and intentions for which it was not designed
  • The idea is being used as a cover to hide problems
  • The idea is being used as a means of manipulation
  • The idea is being used to give some people special privilege
  • The idea is being used in everyday life and into aspects of life that it was not intended to be used

The effect of these is that the idea is being distorted and warped out of shape and becoming a whole new beast reflecting qualities and points of view that have nothing to do with the original idea.  I sometimes speak of this new distorted view of equality as the “other equality” or, sometimes, the “new equality”.

Interestingly, much of the qualities of this mentality is reflected in John Lennon’s song “Imagine” which reflects many points of view found in the “other equality” (see http://www.songlyrics.com/john-lennon/imagine-lyrics/ ).

We see references to nihilism:

  • “There’s no heaven”, “no hell below us”, “above us, only sky”, and “no religion too”
  • “Imagine there’s no countries”
  • “Imagine no possessions”

We see references to fear of war:

  • “No reason to kill or die for”

We see references to peace:

  • “Imagine all the people living life in peace”

We see references to an “equality” of humanity:

  • “A brotherhood of man”
  • “Imagine all the people sharing all the world”
  • ” . . . the world will live as one”

To me, one of the messages of the song seems to say, “if we destroy everything that makes us different (religion, countries, possessions), and make us all the same (“equal”), then we will live in peace and harmony because we’re scared war is going to kill us all”.  This is a reflection of the times he wrote it:  a reaction to the fear caused by WWII and the Cold War.  The song is very reflective of this reaction.  In a way, it is symbolic of the origin of the historical conditions, the times, and the mentality that created the “other equality”.

ORIGINS

I tend to associate the “other equality” mentality to a number of different things, such as:

  • The mood of about 1970
  • The Vietnam War protest
  • Fear of war in general
  • Fear of humanity
  • Social rebellion
  • Social hysteria
  • Self-righteousness
  • Fanatacism
  • Liberals
  • Hippies
  • Feminists
  • Civil Rights Activists
  • Peace fanatics
  • Political Correctness

All this is reflecting aspects of the mentality behind the “other equality” mentality.

For many people, the “other equality” has started to take on qualities of a religion.  In fact, this religious quality is one of the traits of the “other equality”.  As part of this, it has taken on the quality of a horribly bad self-righteousness.  In fact, its now become one of the worst self-righteousness I’ve ever seen in my life.

I see several forms of this self-righteousness:

  • Political self-righteousness
  • Religious self-righteousness

The “other equality” is a blending of political and religious self-righteousness.  This blending is something that took many centuries to develop.  Because of this, it has encompassed many different social, political, and historical problems that span those centuries.  In this way, it is an accumulation of all that which is reflective of how it has developed through the years.

In general, the “other equality” is a philosophy that has developed primarily in England and the U.S. and therefore reflects the conditions, the history, the attitudes, the beliefs, and the problems of those countries.

I tend to believe that the “other equality”, as a distinct philosophy, appeared recently, particularly since about 1970, or thereabouts.  It has particularly developed in the 1990’s and gotten worse in the 21st century.  Its closely associated with the growth of liberalism that developed after about 1970 (what I often call “70’s liberalism”) and is, in many ways, a product of that thinking and mentality.  As a result, I see similar origins and its thinking parallels it.  I have written a number of articles in this blog about such things, such as Thoughts on liberalism, with remarks about “70’s liberalism”.

I see various the origins of the different qualities of the “other equality” as coming from things like these:

  • Tribalism.  This is a sense of a people as a distinct group in the world.  The awareness of this group offers a security.  As a result, the breakdown of tribalism often causes great insecurity and fear (as we’ll see below, this plays a big role in the “other equality”).  I have always believed that there is a strong tribalism in England and that many problems of England are rooted in tribalism.
  • The Norman invasion and its effects.  The Norman Invasion and conquest upset the English tribalism and, it seems to me, set the stage for many of England’s attitudes and conflicts that carry on down to today.
  • Christianity.  This is the source of a self-righteousness and “high cause” that permeates the “other equality”.  Christianity also offered a “new tribe” to be part of as well, which offered a security as well.
  • The fall of religion.  In the 1700’s Christianity really fell as a belief system for most of Western Europe.  As a result of this, it caused great insecurity in many people.
  • Democracy.  This became the “new tribe” to replace Christianity in the 1700’s and into the 1800’s.
  • The horror of war, especially WWII.  This created a great sense of fear of conflicts between people.  
  • The horror of the Nazi’s.  The Holocaust created a fear of the hatred between people, particularly people that are different.
  • The Civil Rights Movement.  This continued the fear of hatred between people started with the Nazi’s.
  • The Cold War and threat of nuclear annihilation.  This created a fear of what humanity could do to itself.
  • The Hippie Movement.  This created a justified rebellion.  In addition, it created a social movement motivated by fear.
  • Liberalism.  This largely continues the justified rebellion cause of the Hippie Movement as well as being motivated by fear.
  • The effects of media.  This created a means for fear, insecurity, and cause to spread in the population.
  • Overpopulation.  This causes tension between people that is unavoidable.  In many ways, the problems caused by overpopulation keep the “other equality” alive and relevant.

FEAR AND INSECURITY

From its origins, one of the things that is prevalent is that the “other equality” is very much rooted in different forms of fear and insecurity.  As a result, it is a philosophy that is intended to be a defense against that fear and insecurity.  In this way, the “other equality” is a defensive philosophy.

The main fears could be described as:

  • The fear of war
  • The fear of hatred
  • The fear of what humanity can do to itself

The main origins of this insecurity are:

  • The loss of the “tribe” and its security
  • The loss of religion and its security

The effects of the loss of these has caused several forms of insecurity

  • Personal insecurity
  • Social insecurity

The “other equality” has become an avenue and outlet for these problems.  In other words, when people speak of “equality” they are generally referring to a personal or social insecurity, or both.  As a result, people who promote that philosophy are generally insecure frightened people deep down.  This is what my observation has shown anyways.

The Fear of other People . . . paranoid delusion

Behind much of the fear and insecurity of the “other equality” is really a fear of other people.  By saying that we are all “equal”, and therefore the same, the fear of other people is alleviated . . . there’s no one to fear if we are all the same.  In many ways, that’s the basic attitude and assumption of the “other equality”.

This is the irony of it.  Most people who profess the “other equality” think that they do it for the “love of other people” (showing Christian influence) but they are actually frightened of other people.  Though this has a basis in the war and hatred of the past (see above) I tend to believe that there are a number of things that play a large role in it:

  • Mass media, which makes it spread so easily and reach so many people causing mass mentality to develop
  • Mass mentality, which causes something like a mass hysteria in the people, of people “in a panic”

These have basically kept the fears and insecurities of the past alive.  In many ways, because of mass mentality, which is maintained by mass media, it has caused some of the population to still be “in a panic” over the conflicts of the past, which are no longer existing and no longer a threat.  In short, most of the fears and insecurities that have caused the “other equality” no longer exist.  People are basically “scared over nothing” . . . a “phantom fear” of the past.  This creates a condition where people create fears that don’t exist and start seeing fears that aren’t there . . . paranoia . . . and this permeates the “other equality” mentality. It motivates much of their point of view and mentality.

THE DEFENSE

In general, the basic premise of “equality” is that it is viewed as a “solution” to war and hate . . . by being “equal” there will be no reason for war or to hate people.  This is the main logic of the defense.

But where would a logic like this come from?  To me, it seems almost ridiculous for a number of reasons:

  • The idea of people being “equal”, and in the ways they want, is unrealistic
  • The idea that it would end war and hate seems absurd . . . there’s a lot more to why war and hate happens than the fact that people aren’t “equal”

So where did this logic come from?  I tend to feel it comes from a number of sources:

  • Christianity Basically, the Christian influence reflected the ideas that we must love one another, that we are all one people in Christ, and that war and hate is bad.  We see the themes love/equality/end war and hate.  I tend to feel that Christianity is at the base of this whole logic and everything builds upon it.  This gives this mentality a religious quality.
  • Political theory. This is primarily democracy whose point of view rests on Christian thinking described above, primarily of the importance of the people as a whole.  This gave this mentality a more political and secular quality.
  • Mass society.  This means the perception, primarily caused by mass media, that society is a mass of people.  This created a strong sense of “the people”.  This gave this mentality a mob quality.

These create a unique blend of mentalities that are used in the “other equality”:  religious/political/secular/mob.  As a result, these qualities are seen in a lot in this mentality.

Much of the mentality of the defense, used by the “other equality”, was influenced by a mentality that appeared after the French Revolution which I call “secular oppression” (see my article Thoughts on ‘secular oppression’).  This is a tendency to use the ideas of the French Revolution as a way to explain social problems and the problems between people.  Its based on the idea, or model, that there is the mean, evil, and tyrannical “oppressor” who unjustly “oppresses” the people who are, accordingly, seeking “freedom” from the “oppressor”.  This became one of the main models to explain social problems in the 1800’s and was very prevalent in England.  The idea of “equality” came from this mentality . . . “equality” leveling the difference between “oppressor” and “oppressed”.

This point of view may of been relevant during the French Revolution but, later, it was used for everything to the point of excess.  The problem is that many things it was being applied to didn’t match the model and was not relevant.  The result is that “secular oppression” started a tendency of what I call “forcing the interpretation”, of making things fit the model whether they did or not.  In so doing, it started to do things such as:

  • It started to distort things
  • It gave wrong explanations
  • It fabricated threats and fears
  • It falsely accused people and institutions
  • It created a narrow-mindedness – they see only what they want to see
  • It created a selfish point of view – they favor themselves and their point of view
  • It created a blind idealism – they live in an ideal world that does not match real world reality

This tendency has carried on down to today.  One of the ways its being continued is with the “other equality”.

What all this shows is that the “other equality” is a reactionary, defensive, and idealistic philosophy that is reacting to a fear or insecurity whether it be real, fabricated, or imagined.  

THE “OTHER EQUALITY” AS A “NEW TRIBALISM” AND HYPOCRISY

What is apparent, to me anyways, is that behind much of this mentality is a tribalism.  In fact, I tend to believe that this whole conflict originates from the fall of tribalism in England, possibly as a result of Christianity but definitely as a result of the Norman Conquest, and its effects through the centuries.  What we’re seeing today is just the culmination of what started back then.

Some aspects of tribalism include:

  • A sense of a distinct and separate group of people among people and the world
  • A great sense of security in the tribe
  • A disregard or ignoring of people not part of your group

I’ve written an article about “tribalism called Thoughts on “tribalism” – some aspects and dilemma’s.

Whats ironic about “other equality” is that, though it is based in “tribalism”, it reflects points of view completely contrary and opposite to it.  It almost seems “anti-tribalism” but, if you look at its mentality, you can see that it is very “tribal” in its orientation.  Some qualities of this include:

  • They view their philosophy as “right”
  • They are self-righteousness
  • They disregard people who don’t take their view
  • They find security in their philosophy
  • They even uses emblems to display their “tribalism” . . . such as a rainbow flag or an equal sign bumper sticker

This is very “tribal” and show that the “other equality” is also a “new tribalism”. 

What it also means is that the “other equality” is a hypocrisy.  It is not practicing what it preaches.  It condemns the qualities of tribalism but it is, in actuality, creating a new form of one.

THE “OTHER EQUALITY” AS A CONTINUATION OF CHRISTIAN BELIEF

Many viewpoints of the “other equality” originate from Christianity and reflect its values.  Some common themes include:

  • The idea that we are all “the same” – we are all “one” in the body of Christ
  • The idea that we must “love one another”
  • A tendency to favor the  people that are “low”
  • A self-righteous attitude
  • A view that “new equality” is something that should infiltrate into every facet and detail of life
  • The idea that it is a world view
  • The idea that it is a philosophy that is almost holy
  • The idea that the world must be converted to this point of view
  • The idea often becomes fanatical

In many ways, the “other equality” is really a continuation of Christianity along with it religious qualities and points of views.

EQUALITY AND NIHILISM

I would say that the “other equality” is a nihilistic philosophy.  By “nihilism” I mean the turning of everybody into the “same thing” to the point that everybody becomes a nothing (“nihil”).  Therefore, to be “equal” really means we’re all the “exact same”, a great big “blur”, with no differences . . . and in being the same, we all become nothing.  In this way, I see it as a destructive philosophy, almost anti-human.

It does several forms of destruction:

  • It destroys individuality, the person
  • It destroys the social structure and social institutions

What these eventually do is turn people into “nameless numbers”, or “cogs in the wheel of society”.  In a way, the “other equality” is saying that we are all supposed to be a carbon copy of the same person.

The effects of this nihilism is that it actually ends up causing things like:

  • Alienation and dehumanization
  • Tension and conflict between people and in society
  • Breakdowns and undermining’s because it doesn’t establish anything

These are actually what I’m seeing.  The people who believe in the “other equality” tend to not see this but the people who don’t believe in it often see it (its referred to all the time).

Ironically, a long time ago equality actually recognized the differences in people, and supported those differences.  To believe in “equality” meant that you only married, for example, people who are “equal” to your station in life (a daughter of a farmer only marries a farmer and does not marry a nobleman).  In this way, it supported a social structure.  The “other equality”, on the other hand, is destroying it.  One can see, then, that the idea of “equality” has gone from one extreme to another . . . a good example of how much the idea has been distorted.

THE “OTHER EQUALITY” AS A “NEW MANIPULATION” – USING POLITICS AS “MUSCLE”

Because of the prevalence of the “other equality” there has developed many people who now use the ideas of “equality” to manipulate things in order to get what they want.  In fact, whenever I hear the word “equality” I generally assume that is what it is.  My experience is that this assumption is often accurate.

One of the reasons why this has become so effective is that “equality” is based in political theory and because of the Cold War, especially, these political ideas have developed great authority.  In short, the “other equality” is using the authority of politics as its “muscle”.  Since the Cold War this authority has had, sadly enough, a lot of power and many people have taken advantage of it.

THE “OTHER EQUALITY” AS A “COVER” FOR PERSONAL REASONS – MISUSE AND ABUSE

Over the years, the “other equality” has been increasingly been misused and abused by people for personal reasons . . .

Personal Problems

In this century, especially, I have noticed that the “other equality” has become a “cover” for personal problems  for some people.  In other words, its become a refuge for people who have certain problems.

These personal problems can have a number of sources, such as:

  • Identity problems.  For example, a person unsure of who they are.
  • Problems fitting into society.  For example, immigrants not feeling they belong, etc.
  • Disappointment in life.  For example, they feel they’ve been “slighted”.
  • Problems associating with people.  For example, any problem or dispute with people becomes a matter of “equality”.
  • Feelings of inferiority.  For example, they think that they should automatically have what other people have or be treated the same way.

Personal Agenda’s

Many people have used the “other equality” for personal agenda’s and motives.  Some examples include

  • To seek entitlement
  • To gain glory
  • To gain power and influence
  • To get ahead

Most personal agenda’s are means to have what other “more fortunate” people have.  In other words, “other equality” is a means of manipulating things so that one gains in some way.  Usually, this is in comparison to someone else.  Basically, the idea is to have what someone else has.  It’s like saying, “if he has it then I should equally have it . . . what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”  As a result, the “other equality” has become associated with:

  • Envy
  • Jealousy
  • Greed  
  • Materialism
  • Money
  • Status

By yelling “equality!”, in this post-WWII/post-holocaust/post-cold war/paranoid/frightened society, some people have found a way to satisfy these desires.  The problem is that they often get it!

GROUPS THAT PERSIST THE “OTHER EQUALITY”

There are a number of groups, in society, that tend to favor the “other equality” point of view.  As a result, they tend to make the point of view persist.  These groups include:

  • Minorities
  • Females
  • People that are different in some way

Normally, the line would be that these groups favor this point of view because they are disadvantaged in some way.  I don’t believe that to be true.  That’s the “other equality” perspective! That’s how they interpret things which, accordingly, supports their philosophy.

There are many people who are “disadvantaged” in the world and history and they never complained in the “other equality” way nor preached a similar point of view.  I’m more inclined to think its because of things like these:

  • They are in a society of wealth and have found an “easy” means to gain that wealth
  • They found a means to complain about their problems

In other words, the “other equality” has given them a means to gain in some way.  Its not because they are disadvantaged but because they have a means to get what they want!  This is something that is very obvious to many of us.

FORCING THE “OTHER EQUALITY” ONTO SOCIETY

Despite what they claim the philosophy of the “other equality” is something that has to be forced onto society . . . people just didn’t automatically believe it.  In other words, the “other equality” did not appear in society naturally.  It was not a philosophy that was going to happen through the course of events.  It seems like a philosophy that a minority of people developed but who, using the mania caused by the Cold War (see above), was able to “muscle” their way into things like:

  • The law and legal system
  • The news media
  • Specific groups of people (females, minorities, homosexuals, etc.)

This gave them great power and influence.  Through these means they were able to force the “other equality” onto society.  In other words, the “other equality” isn’t there because people believe it.  In fact, for many of the people I’m around the themes of the “other equality” have become something like a joke . . .

THE “OTHER EQUALITY” REPUTATION

Many things the “other equality” has created has a reputation for having qualities such as:

  • Making ridiculous, asinine, and absurd claims
  • Being fanatical
  • Being biased to its point of view
  • Being hypocritical
  • Being accusatory

These are particularly apparent to people that don’t believe in it.

I think that I speak for many people when I say that “other equality” is not only embarrassing but degrading and, frankly, disgusting.  Many people I see who speak of its themes speak in contempt and disgust.  Many of us have said, “I can’t believe this is taken seriously”.  I think that this is the worst aspect of it, that it is being taken seriously.  And, what’s worse, this is by politics and the legal system.  This only makes it look all the more absurd and ridiculous.

IS THE “OTHER EQUALITY” A SOLUTION?

I have no reason to believe that the “other equality” is a solution to problems.  Some of the reasons for this include:

  • Its a paranoid and frightened philosophy
  • Its prone to hysteria
  • Its prone to fanaticism
  • Its confrontational
  • Its accusatory
  • Its idealistic
  • Its narrow
  • Its biased, favoring people who it supports
  • Its impractical
  • It thinks its the only solution
  • It undermines too many things
  • Its become manipulative
  • Its a reactionary philosophy, not a constructive one

There is a belief that “equality” is supposed to alleviate the fears and insecurities, described above, and get rid of them.  The problem is that they don’t.  As near as I can see the “other equality” isn’t doing a whole lot to alleviate any insecurity or fear.  In fact, it seems that the “other equality” has actually made the fears and insecurities worse because it has turned them into a philosophy.  As a result, it has actually turned the fears and insecurities into a way of life and a world view.  In other words, if you take the “other equality” point of view you must have fear and insecurity.  Because of this, several things happen:

  • The fears and insecurities don’t go away
  • Everything is interpreted in the context of fear and insecurity
  • Because of this, one see’s fear and insecurity everywhere
  • This causes them to become exaggerated and to become “blown out of proportion

In other words, my observation is that the “other equality” actually makes the fears and insecurities worse and, accordingly, does nothing to solve them.

In addition, as I said above, the “other equality” only seems to work for the people who believe it.  They use the “other quality” point of view to as if hide behind and protect themselves with.  This gives it an illusionary quality for those people.  But, for those who don’t believe it its obvious that it doesn’t work.

THE DAMAGING EFFECTS OF THE “OTHER EQUALITY”

In my opinion, the “other equality” has a lot of damaging qualities.  Some of these include:

  • It promotes paranoia and fear
  • It promotes distrust of people
  • It promotes conflict between people
  • It promotes alienation
  • It promotes identity problems
  • It undermines social hierarchy and social institutions
  • It promotes a blind self-righteousness
  • It falsely accuses
  • It misuses, and abuses, legal and political ideas
  • It promotes manipulation of the system and people

AFTERTHOUGHT

What all this shows is that the “other equality” isn’t about equality at all.  It is about things altogether different.  In many ways, the “other equality” is just a manipulation of an already existing idea that had good intentions, meant well, and has authority.  This manipulation was primarily done to alleviate fear and insecurity.  But now it has become a hypocrisy and a means of manipulation.  It has taken the idea of equality too far.

This is what it looks like to me anyways.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

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