Thursday, 14 May 2015

But Who's Listening?

     Misogyny, sexual discrimination, racism, antisemitism, and all sorts of other social illnesses seem to be, at least partially, communication problems. Progressive attempts to correct these therefore include immersive techniques such as talking circles, restorative justice processes, truth & reconciliation. The understanding behind these is that when we truly see, hear and understand an individual human being, we will naturally treat that person as a unique valuable human being, not as "the other" - something foreign, subhuman.
     We naturally expect people to behave in socially acceptable ways in public, such as in the workplace, educational institutions and health-care facilities. What's not so obvious, is that each of us behaves very differently depending on where we are and the company we keep. Who among us presents the same persona at work, in a place of worship, at a bachelor's party, babysitting, and hiking with an old friend in the back country? So, is one or more of these persona 'real,' and the rest 'fake' - mere acts put on to fool others? 

     I suspect that most of us don't really know, and find such questions that require deep self-reflection uncomfortable - something we rarely do (unless forced on us, occasionally, by traumatic circumstances). Because we're not self-reflective, we have far less conscious awareness of our thoughts, speech or behaviour than we assume. Instead, we instinctively condemn "bad" people, and feel totally different than "the bad guys." We strongly prefer avoiding such topics, and to busy ourselves with other matters - things we're good at.

    But without intentional deep self-reflection, we have minimal self-knowledge & self-acceptance. And if we're not aware of & can't accept our own many imperfections, then we can't really be sincere, full participants in corrective measures like restorative justice. We may be well-intentioned, but we're actually part of the problem! Without owning our own shadow, we simply cannot accept others' shadows. If we can't accept others' shadows, we tend to project our own onto others - see the things we can't accept about ourselves in others - "scapegoating". Scapegoating is expressed through: misogyny, sexual discrimination, racism, antisemitism, etc. These are widespread societal problems in our evolving (not evolved) human race.
     FIRST we must learn to be brave, and intentionally practice self-awareness. The deepest method is meditation; the easiest, most approachable form is Mindfulness. As we come to know & accept ourselves as far-from-perfect human beings with tremendous potential, we learn to be far more understanding with, and helpful towards others.
     All of us can intentionally evolve psychosociospiritually to contribute constructively to civilized society, and in doing so, find personal peace & deep fulfillment.

Gaudi's Park Guell, Barcelona

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