I wrote this short post over a week ago based on the recent news then of the death by suicide of Robin Williams. I didn’t publish it at that point as I didn’t want to get caught up in the initial hysteria of reactions to his death. This past week or so I have been paying my own tribute to him by watching over many of his films. Some that I had seen before, and many that I had not. My major gripe in this post is with judgmental people. They are not the strong people in this world they try to make themselves out to be, they are the weakest:
There seems to be a strain inherent in many human beings to like to judge people. And when someone commits suicide, and cannot speak back to defend themselves this, for them, is a perfect opportunity to freely judge someone. An easy, defenceless target. We see this in the case of Robin Williams these past few days. This morning a radio presenter claimed he didn’t care Robin Williams was dead, only cared for his children. Now, its an all nice and high and mighty thing to say, and makes you feel better about yourself. But if you spoke to his children they wouldn’t get any solace from this presenters supposedly comforting words for them. Because of course these words were not for them. But were the words of someone who has nothing to do with them, but just likes to judge when he sees an easy target. He thinks committing suicide is a selfish thing to do. But I would say his judging of a dead person he doesn’t know is a much more selfish act.
At this point I was going to rant on and justify why often suicide is not a weak thing to do. But I don’t need to justify someone else’s life decisions. I don’t need to judge them either negatively or positively. I don’t know anything about Robin Williams or his family personally. I am not qualified to speak for them as they grieve, like this judgmental radio show host felt he was. All I know is that he brought a lot to the world, and inspired a lot of people.
A true friend is not someone who will be there when times are tough. But who is strong enough to be there for you when times are good. It is easy to be helpful to someone who needs help. It is much more difficult to still support someone when they look like they could manage just fine without you. Yet that is exactly the kind of kindness and friendliness required for anyone in order that they can develop and grow healthily to be an independent adult. If you only reward the person in need with your friendliness you are creating a dependency relationship. A true friend will reward and be friendly with someone even that doesn’t need them, out of trust that the friendship will be reciprocated.
Learning this lesson has been of late a painful experience for me. As it has brought the realisation that I currently do not have a true friend at all. Any need or dependency or “cry for help” and I have people queuing up to put a word in. As soon as I do something well, achieve something good, those same people greet me with a stony silence. To create a dependency, to stunt my own independent development? I could speculate on things like this. On the psychological motivations of other people to kingdom come. But it would be hit and miss, and you would have to rely on others sincerity about their own subjective experience to get any verification. Though you will not get that in the first place from people who are not true friends. So better to just leave it as that. They are not true friends, and that is what it is.
To know this can give me some solace. There is no contentment or happiness to be found in achieving something that cannot be shared with others. Being motivated to prove others wrong, though there may be good cause, based on past mistreatment, though there may be injustice done that can never be put right, is not a happy way to be motivated. But when you are motivated to do something good purely for its own sake this brings the realisation of who your true friends are. Because they will share in your joy in the good times as much as they will help you when you need them in the bad times. I have this realisation now. Hopefully I can learn from this and be strong enough to act on it.
A response I was going to send to someone I know online, but I thought better than to load them with my problems…
…Thanks, certain things happen though, I have tried it all it seems,there is always someone or something waiting to bring me down or trip me up, sometimes it is just my own thoughts. I can’t think of anything I can possibly do in this world that is going to make things better, whatever you do the world loses out somehow, another species goes extinct, the resources of the planet dwindle down and we go to wars with countries to steal resources to support unsustainable lifestyles, and all for what, to continue this human race to do the same thing over and over for each generation, it all just seems so pointless, right now I just think humans are a bankrupt species.
Is there anything we can do that doesn’t make things worse for humanity in this world? I have not found anything. I think the corruption runs too deep and pervades any and every counter effort. I have tried to hide in artistic forms of expression. The world of art and fantasy where things are much more easy to fit together in a happy stable structure. And if it isn’t stable you can always arbitrarily change a character trait, introduce a character, a random event, etc… Deus ex Machina is always there for the artist as a teller of stories. But that is all it is. Stories. Little more than fancy lies. Words and sounds to hide from indifferent reality for a few more hours.
The only other option is reality altering drugs. Even those of us who proudly think of ourselves as strong enough to not get addicted to white powdery substances, sucking on little paper tubes or alcohol, still we alter our chemical balance each time we interact with a person, each time we exercise, each time we do any activity, we are choosing something that we hope will alter our chemical balance in a favourable way. We are kidding ourselves, staving off the inevitable. We know that humanity is bankrupt, yet we keep on raiding the bank anyway. So, Insane, not just bankrupt, trying the same things and expecting different results. There are no words that can save humanity, we have started a fire that we can’t put out. Any posts that I write from now on will start from this assumption. Because I am so sick and tired of the sham pretense of being positive about things when there is nothing to be positive about, except our own small-minded petty ego-driven desires.
There is an incredible force within us all if we can just learn how to tap into it.
We spend too much time caught up in bad habits and psychological fears that limit us needlessly. Yes, we need order, we need some predictability. And yes, we rightfully fear certain things that could harm or kill us. But we go too far with order, and we fear much more than we have any good reason to.
I had a psychological fear of running beyond a certain amount of time, as if my body was limited in some way. But the limit was purely a psychological one. The barrier doesn’t exist in your physiology, in your energy systems, but in your mind. You can tap into the life force and it will achieve great things for you if you learn to trust it’s ways of working.
It is an approach that requires patience and discipline. Results cannot be achieved instantly. The life force does not obey any whim that comes into your mind. It only obeys those things your mind learns to turn into a sustained intention. Often the results then come when you least expect them, but they do inevitably come.
Life works in strange ways at times, and it is a continual learning process for our minds to keep in touch with its ways. The mind works in a vacuum of clear-cut logical rules and rationales. But the rest of our body is placed in a plenum of systems acting and reacting and influencing each other.
That we can get any order and control over it is an achievement. Most of the time all we are controlling is our own psychological expectations and habits, or THEY are controlling us. It is those rare times that our control reaches beyond this vacuum into the plenum of reality that we get a sense of the life force that surrounds us.
We need to learn to reach into this domain more often, and to do it in healthy and sustainable ways. Letting go of some of our needless self-imposed psychological limitations is a good way to achieve this. When your mind is saying you can’t do something realise often it is actually saying it won’t do something. It is choosing not to do it.
You can change that choice with sustained intentions formed and acted on over time. Won’t then turns into will. Before you know it you have achieved what you once thought you couldn’t. You thought you couldn’t because you thought your resources were limited to the vacuum of your mind, when in truth you have all the resources of the plenum of life force surrounding you to draw upon.
One of the great false assumptions of many self-help ideas is the idea that it is all in your control, how you feel about things. It is simply not true. It is chance and accident that decide on much of your circumstances, and it is that which predominately determines how you feel about things.
Let me give an example: Just by virtue of not happening to hold in high esteem certain things that other people do, you put yourself in a position of people not getting on with you, and not esteeming you. But this itself has physiological effects on your mood and your levels of self-esteem when amongst other people.
You cannot control or choose what you happen to esteem in life. Far from it, for the most part, if you don’t forcibly go along with the dominant social trends of esteem you are cast aside. Much of “culture” is a form of blackmail of this kind of people scared to be cast aside.
From acting cool, going out drinking and smoking, to driving a car, working a 9 to 5 job, to looking for a partner to settle down in a house with and have children. These are the things you are expected to esteem, and its a simple form of cash blackmail to scare you in to line.
The cash may as well say on it: safely earned in a 9 to 5 job to drive a car around, smoke, drink and have children. For, the cash is no more than a token gesture symbolising these very things.
Now I don’t currently “belong” in this “culture”. And have in fact never much been interested by it. But you cannot avoid it, unless you avoid people altogether. In my own self, away from other people and this culture, I have plenty of self-esteem and am a happy individual. But put me in this culture, as I inevitably have to collide with it most days, most of the time. And, of course, I feel depressed, my self-esteem goes down, etc, etc..
I cannot relate, I am not a member of the gang, I don’t have the tokens. If I could get away from it all I would, but where am I supposed to go? So I just have to grin and bear it from day to day. Where in all this am I getting to choose how I feel about things? Choice only comes via the tokens, but I don’t have any, or any desire to acquire them, given the cultural blackmail involved in the whole thing. In a culture that would have me esteem things I simply refuse to esteem.
I can’t choose how to feel about all this, I am fated/destined to alternate anger, discontent and depression about it. I would rather be honest with myself and start to come to terms with this reality I am confronted with, rather than kid myself with self-help fantasies of controlling my feelings generically in all circumstances.
For many years I have believed myself to have a special access to certain truths about the world. Whether this belief is right or wrong, certainly I was wrong to think that knowing this truth is itself enough to give it authority. Authority comes not from what you know, but in how you use it in application within your own life.
I see a lot of debates between people sure that they have the correct view. Or maybe they are not, maybe, even worse than such a dogmatic certainty, they are merely cynically playing along at a game of arguing for the sake of it, to pass the time. Either way, the assumption seems to be that the truth will ultimately speak for itself and it will speak in our favor. It is a form of truth that is mixed up with the obsession with being “right”. To be in possession of the right answer. But, although this may be how exams work in the controlled and sheltered environment of school and college, who is to say truth works in any such way as this in the real world.
In the real world all we can do is speak our own truth, we cannot rely on any outside authority to assert our truth for us. And in order to do this, it is not enough to have access to what is true, you also need to have a passionate conviction and belief in those truths. It is only as such that you will be able to hold on to these truths and continue to assert them even when times get tough.
Obsessively arguing with others doesn’t show a passion for your truth, but an obsession with being seen to be right. This is quite the opposite of your truth in most circumstances. You end up getting lost in a labyrinth of arguments where you lose sight of the passion in your life that should really be guiding you at this time. The best thing to do here is to let the argument go. It is weakness of your own vision that continues an argument needlessly, not strength of conviction. Some people just want to be the last one in the room, getting the last word in. This, for them, is their small consolation for a complete lack of inner conviction.
Let them be, as you let yourself be, and continue on your own journey.
In a recent Lance Armstrong documentary, showing in line with the beginning of the 2014 tour de france, he made the claim that since the definition of cheating is getting an advantage over your rivals, he did not cheat during his tour de france victories as all his rivals were also using performance enhancing drugs.
It is an interesting point. But we can undermine its apparent authority when we ask for another a definition. This time of a “rival”. A rival in this situation is someone able to compete with Lance Armstrong in those races. Yet no one who was clean was in a position to compete with him at this time. So it remains the case he was cheating compared to these people. Even though they may not class as rivals.
Another sense in which he was cheating is that by making the contest dependent on taking these drugs it means that fewer and fewer people will have the resources to compete on a level playing field. A bit like the advantage at one time in swimming for those with specially designed costumes that provided better motion through the water. Your average person taking up a sport is not going to be able to access these kinds of resources, and so there is an unfair hierarchy created. Based on wealth and power, rather than based on the individual athletes abilities.
The use of drugs has become again a complicated issue in the tour de france with the use of certain drugs for medicinal purposes to combat allergies or to lessen the effects of a cold or illness. It can be difficult to know precisely where to draw the line in specific circumstances.
But through all the complications, the thing to not lose sight of is that competition of a sporting kind should be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible, regardless of their background and their access to wealth and resources. It is sticking close to this that ensures the spirit of a sport remains intact. Allowing people starting from scratch and with nothing to have belief that maybe some day with hard work and dedication, they could compete at the top level.