The strength of water is in fluidity and polarity

I have never wanted to retreat before. I never needed to back down.

I don’t understand what this feeling is, or where it comes from.

I have always wanted to work things out, despite the difficulties. I seek resolution and closure, so leaving doesn’t help me much.

Somehow I have come around to the idea that not everything can be dealt with, because not everyone is ready to deal, and no amount of my  desire can change that.

I want to force people to admit that they made a decision and the consequence is before them, but I need to let the consequence speak for itself.

I find though, that some consequences extend to me, and when it affects me in a bad way, the consequence is my emotional reaction to feeling violated or disrespected. Of course I’m not going to deliver that well. I suck at delivery anyway, but especially when I feel hurt…

 

[TA][APP]

 

 

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Look!

What is this obsession with my attention?

Being together in the same place, existing simultaneously, is enjoyable. Plenty of time may be spent focusing our attention on each other. This shows mutual respect and promotes closer bonding between us. I enjoy personal interaction with others, sharing ideas and discussing concepts. The occasional request for my attention is well within social norms and expectations, especially in relation to concerns requiring action on my part.

The impatient need for my attention on an object of your attention is different than mutually beneficial connection.  This demand for my attention is typically immediate. Presumably the attention is required immediately because the phenomenon I’m obligated to witness has a time limit, deadline or expiration of some kind. Thus, my attention cannot wait until a time of my choosing, because then I would be too late to participate in this temporary occurence.

I have yet to determine how my attention can affect an outcome so heavily if I was not given enough notice to prepare for my participation in this circumstance. It is made out as if the occurrence may not even occur without my attention being successfully drawn to it. Somehow my assignment of value to this thing will achieve something for the people involved, although I suspect it’s almost entirely an achievement of gaining approval or validation from external sources.

The rabid enthusiasm expressed by others asks me to assign the same value that they do to that which they have drawn my attention to. Should I choose to withold judgment or value assignment I am almost immediately branded a “wet blanket” or “party pooper”, clearly detracting from the moment. Sometimes their insistence is overwhelmingly demanding. If the moment were so momentous, then how could my measly opinion make that big of a difference to the outcome?

More importantly, how does ruining the current moment to make room for a possibility of another moment do any of us good? I emphatically state that it does not in any way benefit any of us. Instead, it shows with startling clarity the lack of respect that this person has for the experience at hand, judging it inferior to an unknown possibility. It disregards the current experience entirely. It also attempts to override the social pact that looks for agreement on focus of shared experiences. It tells the person whose attention is needed that they have incorrectly prioritized or that the person demanding the attention is somehow more capable of setting priorities or driving action in the social dynamic. Humorously, this constant or rapid change in priorities indicates more of an issue prioritizing than good skills with it.

Worse, these things needing attention are often supposedly humorous, interesting or noteworthy. They may be that, but the world lacks no amount of things worth note. Asking others to disregard one thing for another is more about an emotional state needing personal support for a wandering mind or restless body than it is about the new thing being so drastically important compared to the first. This behavior is immature and basically shows us that the person losing focus is unable or unwilling to complete tasks or achieve goals, in favor of following feelings about random stimuli.

Part of the issue with chasing feelings about random stimuli is it is an indication of dissatisfaction with normal life, and a heightened need to focus only on pleasing stimuli, simultaneously avoiding any challenges or differences of opinion. This insistent need to remain in a self-created world of endless happiness unmarred by difficulty results in an inability to meet or overcome basic challenges, robbing the participant of the vital skill of meeting challenges and feeling achievement in overcoming them.

Without this sense of empowerment through accomplishment the subject is left seeking external sources of superficial satisfaction to fill the unmet need of achievement. This superficial satisfaction provides no lasting relief, so now others must be included to validate that substitute for genuine experience. When others do not assign value to the superficial choice, it chips away at the confidence the person has placed in an indequate solution to their needs. It shows the immense value they have placed on something that cannot live up to their expectations, and that they have misplaced their hope rather than engage in meaningful or fulfilling activities.

This also highlights how these people have pinned their own self-worth and identities on external occurrences or items, causing massive disillusionment when they eventually recognize that personally aligning with something does not inject value into ourselves or our deeds.

Bored? Avoiding conflict? Uncomfortable or undeducated concerning the topic? Have something of interest on your mind? Excited about something?

Change the subject mindfully (without demanding).

It’s not just about a short attention span. It’s about what’s important and what’s extraneous, what’s real and what’s perceived… it’s about how we see ourselves and others and the world around us. It’s about being here now, and having the maturity to discern what deserves our attention and what needs no further support at this time. It’s about recognizing that living in a community has everything to do with a complex and varied system of prioritization that should support our relationships, our shared goals, and show mutual respect.

 

Identity Crisis: Prequel – Square 1, or I think therefore I am

The New “Modern” culture obligates us each to carefully choose our values, priorities, ethics and morals.

It expects us to systematically disassemble our own identity and build it anew outside of any established patterns. Anything handed down to us from ancestors must now be examined, reviewed, analyzed and dissected. If we have varied heritage (and almost all of us do) this requires us to distinguish between the traditions of each, and selectively apply only portions that both resonate with our personal belief systems as well as fall within acceptable Modern parameters.

We have become obligated to eradicate parts of ourselves based on a new standard dictated by a court of public opinion and/or The Golden Rule applied in reverse – choosing what we would want for ourselves as our basis for comparison with established culture. In this brave new world we are often taught to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” – i.e., cut out any values that are associated with badness, now deemed “fruit of the poisoned tree”.

We must also ally with those of like mind, and schools of thought run deep – some values or beliefs are inseparable so we must now accept corollary values associated with those we’ve chosen purposefully. Should we disagree with any part of the school of thought we risk ejection from the group or public shaming/ridicule. Any attempts to broaden the horizons of the group as a whole can result in serious social consequences as well. Despite this requirement to participate in group belief systems, we are still expected to hold individualistic standards and keep to them regardless of group expectations.

This new culture demands that we defend our values against any who would discuss our view’s merits or demerits. This obligation extends to standing strong against our own families, partners, or communities if it comes to that – the individual’s values are to be protected despite social stigma attached to disharmony. Should defense of our values be questioned, the next step is to firmly deny access to our lives any person that would choose to hold a view separate from our own – again, even if that person is very close to us. This is deemed a moral obligation in regard to controlling access to our children.

In this scenario, we are groomed to protect our emotional space from others, who are marked as invaders if they presume to initiate or perpetuate interpersonal communication connected with values or practices of any kind.

Should we choose to risk our emotional space by considering an alternative viewpoint we are expected to apply it within our own existing framework only, without context or agreement on any premises. If we are to be brave enough to engage in this risky behavior, we must still ensure we make our own viewpoint known and provide a comparison or contrast to highlight the differences between our viewpoint and the opposition.

Changing our own view is even more dangerous. We risk appearing wrong, which is seen as the ultimate weakness or failure. If we choose to entertain the opposition enough to accept any portion of it into our belief system we must have evidence contradicting our existing belief, more evidence supporting the new one, and a safe enough social space to avoid the stigma of having changed our view. It can remain dangerous as we align ourselves with committed believers that refuse change at all costs – so the chances of repudiation are very real. Aligning with a new group can alleviate some of this stress, depending on who we leave behind in the previous group.

The “chosen family” is a concept built to fill the need of a committed social group without the hassles of genetic obligation. It gives people a chance to decide who they are or are not close to, yet it also gives people the opportunity to exclude based on fluid parameters that generally punish dissenters and freethinkers.

Navigating this treacherous territory of an impossible mix of standards results in cognitive dissonance, emotional distance, and mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Moreover, it teaches the next generation that they can’t trust anyone else’s judgment past or present, that they must reinvent the wheel of morality, and then defend it to the death.

This burden is too heavy for any of us to bear, and we crack under its weight, giving in to lowering our standards or standing alone in defense of them.

 

 

 

Road to Nowhere

It has been many years since I have been confronted with the magnitude of my supposed failures in adult development.

I tried not to take it too hard, but it’s eating at me, gnawing away at my carefully constructed indifference to the opinions of others.

I know I “could be farther along” or “could have been/done/seen” whatever.

But no, I really couldn’t.

Because I would love for the meritocracy to be real but it is not. It is a red herring to distract from the truth that is so painful. Those who get ahead in this life do so without the aid of approprate skills, experience or wisdom. They get there through social engineering, privilege, luck, favortism, and opportunism.

I have never wanted to be “farther along” because I don’t really understand the supposed value. Happiness is independent of earnings, and earnings are not a representation of my personal worth. I have no desire to achieve anything at the expense of another; I honestly don’t like being a winner any more than being a loser. I believe we all lose when we try to employ a mindset that winning competitively is our goal or even our means to some other end.

I will not engage in morally or ethically reprehensible behavior for the sake of gaining ground in a race to nowhere. Advancement seems to be its own beast that has grown to enjoy social support as some sort of icon of enlightenment, yet it’s basically hollow – without substance.

Advance to what? more complication, more responsibility, more expectation and disappointment? Advancement to greatness cannot be achieved on a crumbling foundation of dreams without focus or support.

I actually would like to see humanity advance, but in a genuinely functional and healthy way. Advancing to a life dominated by keeping up with demands and producing endlessly is not advancement, it’s enslavement.

I want to advance to a life unfettered by obligation to a false premise. Conventional “advancement” is not self-actualization, healthiness or transcendence – and those are the advancements I hope to make in this world.

Maybe I could have “advanced” myself. But it would not get me where I want to be.

 

[CFR][TA]