This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.
THE ESSENCE OF FREUD
Freud is often seen as old-fashioned and perhaps even outdated by many today.
And yet, the essence of Freud’s ideas is still very much valid and informative.
A lot of who we are and what we operate from is not conscious to us. What we are aware of is just the very tip of the iceberg.
We tend to internalize cultural ideas and shoulds, and use these to guide ourselves even if it sometimes goes against our authenticity and what we feel we more genuinely want. (Over ego, or “superego” in the weird terminology of the English translators of Freud.)
We disown parts of who we are (our psyche), and see them as “other” or “it”. Often, we see this in others and won’t admit to it in ourselves because it doesn’t fit our familiar or desired image of ourselves. (The “it” or “id”.)
It can be helpful to bring some of this into consciousness. It can help us relate to it more consciously. It can help us find more peace with it. And, if we allow, it can invite in healing of certain parts of us.
THE BIGGER PICTURE ON CONFLICTS AND DISAGREEMENTS
There is a bigger picture for conflicts and disagreements, and just about any social interactions.
And it’s the usual things I write about here.
At a human level, others are a mirror for me. I can take any story I have about them, turn it around to myself, and find specific and genuine examples of how it’s true. Usually, I can find examples from the moment I have the thought about others, and I can find examples from my past.
As what I am in my own first-person experience, I can capacity for the world as it appears to me. I am capacity for those human beings and this human being and anything else happening. It’s all happening within and as what I am. In my own first-person experience, there is no fundamental I or Other anywhere.
We can also look at this from the view of the universe, evolution, and society.
At a social level, we need different views, orientations, and life experiences. We need all of it to get a bigger picture of ourselves, how we can respond to challenges, and where we want to go as a society and humanity.
In the context of evolution, we find the same. We are different because it helps our collective survival. It has in the past. And, if we are smart, it will do so now.
From the view of the universe, all of this is existence and the universe exploring, expressing, and experiencing itself in always new ways. All the different human experiences and views and orientations are the universe, locally, having these experiences, views, and orientations.
From the view of the divine, it’s all the play of the divine. It’s the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in all of these ways. It’s all new. It’s fresh. It’s different.
THE PANDEMIC REVEALS IRRATIONALITY
The pandemic reveals irrational thinking in different ways.
Here are a couple of examples I have seen a few times:
Some read articles in less-than-reputable online journals, written by people with zero credentials in the field, and take it as solid information. Some do the same with one or a few people who have credentials, while the vast majority of other experts have a different view. (In any field, there will be individuals with different views than the mainstream. That’s normal and to be expected, and it doesn’t mean they are right. Most of the time, they are not.)
Some say “it’s a violation of my human rights” on the topic of vaccines and mask-wearing. Nobody is forcing you to take the vaccine, so it’s clearly not a violation of human rights. The ones enforcing vaccine passports are in their full right to do so. And wearing a mask is literally the least we can do and doesn’t harm anyone.
Civilization is built on rules and privileges. We already accept a lot of laws and rules, including wearing a seat belt, not driving drunk, and so on. So why not accept masks and vaccines? There is no categorical difference between what you already accept and what you now refuse. The only difference is that you are used to most of it and take it for granted, and the vaccine and masks are new to you so you chose to focus on those.
I suspect one of the dynamics behind the wellness world’s antipathy towards science, vaccines, and mask-wearing is an outsider identity. Many folks interested in alternative things see themselves as outsiders, and opposing common-sense measures adopted by the mainstream fit their outsider identity.
I have been in this alternative / wellness world my whole adult life, so this is my mainstream. When I follow the mainstream measures in these areas, it’s not only because it’s science, common sense, and the best course of action when we look at history and epidemiology. It’s also because this, for me, fits my outsider identity.
If my mainstream is the alternative world, following the mainstream makes me an outsider. And it’s comfortable since I too feel some comfort with the outsider identity.
AGREE WITH MANY OF THE POINTS AND NOT THE CONCLUSION
There are many essential points made by people in the anti-science world (anti-vaccines, anti-mask-wearing) and conspiracy world I agree with.
A lot of it is obvious: Corporations are all about profits, not helping people. Corporations often have a very strong influence on policies. Science is often used by corporations for profits, and sometimes in ways that are clearly not ethical. Media is often owned by the same corporations. Some have very serious reactions to vaccines. Vaccines are not 100% reliable in terms of preventing infection or serious illness. And so on.
All of that is valid and what any reasonably well-informed young teenager knows.
And yet, I don’t agree with the conclusions.
For me, the problems and solutions are systemic.
It’s not about secret groups of people. It’s not about some grand plan. What we are seeing in the world today is a natural consequence of the systems we function within. You and I and any average person living within these systems are part of the problem just because we function within these systems.
And it’s not about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, there are serious problems in our corporate-run world. And that doesn’t mean we need to throw it all out. Vaccines and mask-wearing, and other common-sense pandemic measures are still very valuable. They still help prevent hospitals from overflowing, they still prevent some illness and death, they still prevent some getting long-term effects of the infection, and so on.
What we need is a deep systemic change. We need an economic system that takes ecological realities into account. We need systems that are aimed at supporting all of life and not just a segment of the human population.
That’s not easy. It won’t happen until people recognize the systemic problems and recognize systems change as a solution. And that may never happen.
That said, conspiracy theories and anti-science attitudes are certainly not the solution. It’s as much part of the problem as neoliberal capitalism and the way our corporate-run world functions today.
It’s a misidentification of the problem. It’s a distraction from the far more serious problems in the world today we all already agree on. (Ecological crisis, poverty, too much corporate influence, and so on.) And it’s a distraction from the systemic nature of these problems and their solution. Read More