My goal is One Million Awake, Aware, Adult human beings. The way to this is to support thousands of “Lifewriters” who grasp the connection between myth and consciousness. Their specific path of awakening is that five-step process:
- Love yourself
- Love at least one other person
- Understand history without guilt, blame, or shame.
- Support your tribe
- Win with integrity and compassion
What about attacking your enemies? Very sparingly, and in defense of your tribe. I’m not saying that you NEVER strike first: there are situations where the overall context is one of aggression (say, the occupation of a country) such that an individual act of violence against an occupying soldier is considered justified by most. The morality here is tricky, and to me the simplest way to determine if you are in the right is to ask if you are willing to accept punishment for your action. This is in alignment with MLK’s passive resistance: you are prepared to go to jail. This isn’t enough to guarantee morality, but I’m not sure anything is.
But we all know that active resistance is a very real factor, and determining the morality involved in an action against another human being is one of the core questions every civilization has struggled with.
My position is that EVEN IF YOU ARE CORRECT, most of the people who will oppose you are not “bad”, or “stupid”–they are asleep, in a very specific sense. And that “sleeping” behavior is incredibly powerful, and I think one of the major factors in human history and society. And it is why I have more emphasis on supporting the people who are “awake” than flogging those who are “asleep.”
We’re ALL asleep one way or another. We need to be kind to each other, if we wish to be treated kindly.
I recently had a conversation, the precise content of which I don’t want to go into. Let’s just say that I saw a tremendous amount of denial-based “sleeping” going on. Dishonesty? Perhaps. But I come to think that what I was seeing was a human tendency that hits us in many different arenas in many aspects of life. I wanted to get my thoughts out without undo polarization, so I’ll go forward without specific reference to the conversation.
- The entire thing makes sense if I merely strengthen a pre-existing assumption: Logic and memory function to support underlying beliefs and the powerful emotions connected with them. The illusion is that they generally CREATE our most basic beliefs. Those, I increasingly suspect, are given to us in the crib. It is VERY rare for them to function to question and revise them. If facts are contrary to beliefs, you must change the underlying belief FIRST before the average person can evaluate the data.
- Contrary to common sense, this is not contrary to survival, as there are multi-year, multi-generational patterns where if you cannot see the complete cycle, the average information is rarely indicative of the overall pattern. Cultural wisdom (often contained in myth and tradition) over generations is therefore often at variance with individual current human experience and observation. So we are evolved (genetically? Socially? Both, I’m sure) to bend observed facts to our inculcated personal and (especially) cultural beliefs, rather than changing beliefs to match current observations.
- Combine this with the notion that we are set up, from the simplest neurological level, to avoid pain and seek pleasure. Way deeper than logic. And so important that I suspect the standard unconscious instructions are: DELETE INFORMATION THAT WOULD CREATE PAIN.
- For instance: Arguing about evolution is absurd if the person you are arguing with stands to lose something (metaphysical certainty, for instance) if evolution is “real.” You would first need to see if the following question would be answered “yes”: “if evolution is true, would this effect your belief in God?”
- If the answer is yes, this is not an argument you can win. If on the other hand, you FIRST get them to question whether it is necessary to reject evolution to believe in God, and they agree that they are not incompatible beliefs, NOW you can have the next conversation–because you are not asking them to lose something precious. Now they can look at the facts.
- How many arenas would this effect operate in? I’d say weight, politics, relationships, history, current events. When you are dealing with someone who seems to be deleting information or distorting reality, back up and find out if they can afford to change their minds: what would be the pain of admitting that X is true? If you cannot demonstrate that there is greater pleasure than pain associated with absorbing the information, your likelihood of success is greatly reduced.
- To make this useful, you have to use it on yourself. What beliefs have you held onto in the face of current information? How long did you hold onto it? What did you have to delete to hold onto it?
- For instance: Belief: I am not deserving of a good relationship. My Mommy and Daddy told me/demonstrated this. This wars with the urge for intimacy. So you find relationships with people where the initial passion is great, but they blow up after a while. To change the pattern would require
- Believing you are worth it
- Admitting Mom and Dad were wrong/dysfunctional
- Admitting it is possible to find a loving relationship
- Being willing to destroy your current self image to take a new one. This means accepting death, and believing in rebirth (“Can people change?”)
- See what a mess this is, if accurate? We form beliefs, the beliefs filter our reality (we don’t believe there are better relationships than Mommy and Daddy had), if confronted with better relationships, we simply don’t absorb the information: they are shams. If they AREN’T shams, we have to deal with the possibility that we don’t deserve one of them. Or that Mommy and Daddy were wrong.
- Easier to believe that such relationships simply don’t exist, that the “good” men/women/loving sheep just aren’t out there any more. And, of course, you can easily find “pity parties” wiling to support you in your blindness.
- I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I just think that if you are discussing any subject that touches underlying survival or pleasure/pain drives, if the person you are speaking to would suffer if they said “yes” to your question, they will say “no” about 99% of the time.
You must first clear the way to them feeling LESS pain if they say “yes” to your question. Think THAT through first…and you can create an ally.
(for extra credit: as a mental exercise, Make a list of the apparently intractable social/political arguments, or personal problems that make sense when viewed through this lens. It scary enough that I don’t want to tilt the conversation)
The implications of this idea to Afrofuturism should be rather obvious. www.afrofuturismwebinar.com.