Beyond Certainty and Hate
Always love your honesty whilst also loving your deep insight (“getting it”) in a “style” that is in a Steinbeck “gut” understanding.
I know how you feel. I often have to take the advice to never miss an opportunity to keep my mouth shut, particularly when I will be adding heat rather than light. When I read Jennifer Finney-Boylan’s denunciation of JK Rowling, I read the allegedly offensive article in question. As I recall, Ms Rowling’s views were nothing more incendiary than concerns over bathroom safety. In this time when we all feel a deep sense of threat, we all. We’d to dial it down a bit.
Wow! Imagine this old post-Christian, once-conservative-but-now-not-liberal male heterosexual agreeing with you absolutely 100%! You write, "I’ve continued to see how fickle the mind is, and how I can’t really know what my next move will be—how I have to trust the dark." I've come to question everything, to open my mind up to weigh all possibilities, to withhold judgment ... and just love. I love you, Joan!
A former New Yorker, lived 15 years abroad and found myself in southern rural Louisiana. (It don't get more southern than this!) Intellectual humility is my survival strategy. Keeping my mouth shut, being curious, and maybe asking a question or two. Many on the right are tired of being put down and ignored by the university-educated, urban-elite from the two coasts. They have a point. "We" need to listen with openness and curiosity. Just like living abroad, I am here to learn about the local culture and to meet people with different perspectives. My goal is to explore and share ideas, not to try to change others. AND there are plenty of times when I shut down, feel angry, ignore others, and privately plan on escaping! Thank you Joan for your honesty and all that inquiry within that it sounds like you have been doing.
Many people think they have left religion behind only to take up the Religion of Politics which has the same characteristics of "salvation" in right (or left) thinking and of course the main reason for all religious beliefs in existence, which is having the political (religious) belief in an ultimate Utopia, better known as Heaven, ultimate perfection. Same thing Politics/religion.
Wonderful article Joan. Shared it with friends.
Thank you so much Joan! Regardless of what I think about any point of view you have raised, above all, I respect and salute your honesty and open-mindedness. At this juncture my point of view or what I may believe or what my opinion may be is utterly irrelevant. They pale in the face of your compassion for the best in humanity. The spirit expressed in your words are exactly what our polarised culture and politics need more than ever right now. Again, thank you, and may you continue on your path of radical, brave honesty about the behaviour of all of us.
Thx for sharing this Joan. It seems we have similar personalities and I can relate to having taken this stance with people. If I see a "weakness" in someone's logic or feel they haven't done their "homework" or if they're just plain WRONG I will needle and dig and ultimately piss them off! I think this comes from wanting to be right some of the time, but mostly just wanting the "best" for others. It's really sanctimonius I know but I admit it and/but have good intentions..
For me, it is more than a "potential" pitfall, I see it as an exact parallel. Usually, religion is brainwashed into a child as an infant. That is when political beliefs become established as well. And it is argued in the very same way as you described. There is no "de-converting" someone in a political argument, just the same as with a religious argument. I know, I just had a noisy and contentious phone call with my sister regarding religion. It has divided our family. Both have the same deep-seated beliefs (imaginary) and characteristics. Belief is always imaginary and mind-conceived, consisting of vapor and nothing more. If a different perspective is grown, it is a rare occurrence. But yes, it is certainly possible as you said.
That rings bells.
When you know what 20% of the bill is, for the tip, before anyone else at the table.
When you know the correct pronunciation of an unusual word, and you tell someone who has just mispronounced it.
When your son falls face first into a sandbox and you pick him up by his ankles and spray his face with a hose.
When you point out that a home for people with disabilities has no smoke detector and the staff ask if they can wait until tomorrow to install one.
When someone asks if they can have the last piece of cake and you say “sure.”
When you give snacks to the little bulldog that lives next door and seems to have no one to play with, and you feel like you’re sneaking around behind your neighbor’s back.
When you explain something complicated in a simple way.
You think you are so smart.
And someone else thinks you are a smart ass.
Wow Joan, thank you for your humbling honesty and insight. You always blow my mind (and my heart) wide open.
Thank you so very much Joan. You put in words and shared something I have been struggling with recently. I refer to it as the flip/flop. In my heart nothing changes but sometimes the mind grabs hold in ways that seem overwhelming, overpowering. Usually there is a shift back to calm, more open all inclusive waters.
So appreciate your honest, open sharing, giving hope/trust that what I have experienced will return. Much love for all you give!!
I felt everything you said. Just this morning I read an email from one of my siblings who has to attacked me because I am not agreeing with him and I can not explain to him where I am coming from.
When that happens to me I feel helpless- my body aches- my heart is broken.
What gave me relief in your writing is the list of questions you courageously pose.
Inquiring and being curious.
I felt like a heavy cloud lifting and the ability to look into the sky. At the same time the heaviness
is persisting. Both are happening at the same time. It feels different from just feeling helpless. Like having both feet on the ground. Stable and hurting at the same time.
Hello Joan, I have been wanting to comment on one of your posts.
You ask a series of marvelous questions. At the end you muse that "Maybe it’s a lifelong work of undoing, I suspect that maybe it is."
However, I think that there are answers to these type of questions, and that the answers can be deeply transformative. Once you have it, you can never really go back. And that doesn't mean that you can't play these records over again. But now they have no hold on you, and they are not a catastrophic conundrum. They become merely a benign play of energy that you can turn off at will. I find the answers are all in your life definitions.
I hope you will explore some of these answers in your upcoming posts. For instance:
Is it possible to experience being misunderstood without that triggering suffering?
What is it that generates the suffering?
How do I identify with my views so much that I sometimes feel as if my very life is being threatened by someone who disagrees?
What is under the intense anger, frustration and depression that can arise?
What leads me to bring something up in a conversation that I know will provoke an argument?
Am I getting something (what's my payback) out of the sense of being isolated, different, misunderstood, and alone?
Is it possible to question the certainty I feel about my views?
Is it possible to forgive the world (and other people) for being imperfect? And is it possible to forgive myself?
Am I taking myself and the world too seriously at times, losing my sense of humor, wanting to control and fix everything?
What turns pain into suffering?
How often on social media or in a discussion do I fall into some version of the kind of demonizing hate speech that I know in my heart is malignant and unhelpful?
And beyond all that, what belief-system(s) or ways of life am I still clinging to, or feeling trapped in, that I’m wanting to leave, and what is holding me back? (Even the ones that I don't consciously want to leave, but that I am still trapped in.)