A little disclaimer here. This is how I think, I’m not trying to tell anybody else how to think, the government or the powers that be do a good enough job of that, these are simply my humble thoughts. If you don’t think like me, great, like Temple Grandin once said, the world needs all kinds of minds, and I agree wholeheartedly. So I’m not trying to tell anybody what to think and I’m not trying to say that I’m right and others who think differently to me are wrong, I don’t even recognise right or wrong in this sense. All our thoughts, are right for each one of us no matter how different they are from somebody else’s. They’re all right, equal and they’re all vital to each of us. Nobody can tell anybody that they’re wrong. I’ve had 50 years of people trying to tell me that I was wrong, and they never succeeded.
Thoughts are like soldiers. The soldiers in the First World War were vulnerable and open to be taken out at any given moment when they were above the trenches, out in the open. My great grandad used to say that often when the men went out from the trenches, they were so cold, tired and hungry, that they almost welcomed death, they had lost the will to live let alone fight, at this stage.
However, when they were in the trenches, they felt a level of protection. They were hard to defeat. They would hunker down and were almost invisible to the enemy line and the longer they hunkered down, the harder they came to be removed.
If we deal with our thoughts when they appear, out in the open, vulnerable and fresh, we have the opportunity to take out any offending thoughts as they arise. However, when they hanker down and get deeply entrenched in our deeper mind, they become invisible to the conscious mind and are therefore harder to root out. However, although the deeper thoughts are now invisible, they are no less dangerous. In fact, like the soldiers in the trenches, they are more dangerous.
When I was younger, I used to be obsessed about getting to the bottom of these thoughts. Without realising it, all I was actually doing was burying them deeper and establishing them firmly in my mindset so that they eventually became beliefs on which I based the whole of my life. So after a while, I was seeing the world through the lens of these disturbing, unhelpful and even harmful thoughts. They coloured my world view and they became my world view and I couldn’t understand me or the world around me.
It’s taken me many more years to uncover and root out the destructive thoughts that held me captive and I now deal with the new thoughts when they arise, while they’re still fresh and at their most vulnerable. I no longer allow these thoughts to rule my life. I have reclaimed my own values and world view and no longer accept those of others.
For example, our society is based on the premise that money holds more value than human life. From this premise, it is easy to see the justification for wars and killing people. After all, the taking of a human life is not important compared to what is really important in life, money, and wars are always about power and control, i.e. getting more money. I never bought into this belief. I know many people, the majority of people in this society in fact, value money over human life and they are therefore quite justified for killing a man for his money. I never saw what others saw in money and I still don’t, but I don’t condemn a man for his love of money, to him, money is everything, as my understanding of what god is to me. I understand now why people love making money, how they love hoarding it, going to any lengths to get it and not caring who they hurt along the way. Why would they? ~ care about human lives that is. Human lives have little more importance than the dirt beneath their shoes (which is highly valuable (to me), but has no value to them as dirt probably costs less than a human life, which is already way down low in terms of what’s valuable and important in life), so what harm is it to take out a few people, or more, now and again, for whatever reason, it doesn’t even have to be about money. The human life is way down low, below most things in life but always below money. I see so many people clearly demonstrate their values in their everyday lives. They do jobs they hate, that make them miserable, that make them miserable to be around and they do jobs that reduce their health. Yet it’s ok, because they have their eye on the prize. The pay packet at the end of the month. They get their elixir. And I understand that now. Of course they don’t mind being miserable and unhappy because they’ve got the very thing they live for. I’m no different to them. I would go to any lengths to protect my integrity and would go to any lengths to help another human being. I have. And I have gotten into a whole lot of trouble for this. So now, it’s not that I would give any less of my life for another, but that I am learning to work smarter. And it’s easier now I understand that others really are just like me. They love their god just as much as I love mine and we would both go to any lengths to get and protect our gods. We are just the same, we just have different goals or values.
I was getting so entrenched with all these thoughts about money (that I still don’t understand but I do now accept that it is god for the majority of people and that is as perfect for them as my idea of god is for me) and the thoughts of wars and killings, that the very thoughts I was considering, we’re killing me from the inside enemy line, I just couldn’t see it. But I’ve cleared the decks now, I’ve got everything straight. Some people, the majority of people, so I wouldn’t even be able to argue that they were wrong, even if I thought they were, which I don’t, love money. Money is their god and coming close to that, is all the things they can buy with their money, all this new food type stuff that isn’t always made with just food, but other things as well, all the chemicals and pharmaceuticals that make them feel better after eating all that stuff that they call food, all the cars and houses and clothes and make up that they buy, whatever they buy really. I’ve come to see that it seems that whatever money can buy is good although it then begins to get confusing because some of these things have more value than others. Lol! I stop right there. I have learned to no longer interrogate the hell out of everything and accept that there are some things in life that I will never understand so I just have to accept them. And it seems the majority of the world understands the rules to where these things stand in the area of importance, like they know the rules of social interaction. I don’t understand either and my freedom came from realising that I don’t have to understand. Autism taught me that. Getting my diagnosis was a total game changer for me. I no longer have to try and understand people because it seems to me that we’re all the same, we simply have different values. The majority of people value money and all it can buy and I value human life and all it can bring. Everything seems to be an industry these days. Religion has always been one and now the market is open for the industry of spirituality. It all evolves around god, aka money. Everything makes so much sense to me now. I feel so much safer in the world. I don’t feel like I have to ‘get my point’ across anymore, to defend myself. And this love of money isn’t just at the heart of nt’s, it’s also at the heart of many nd’s and I could never make my autistic brother’s and sisters wrong, lol, even if at first I thought they were.
I think I’ve found my peace. We are all the same, we just hold different values or we hold different things to be of value to us and that is just beautiful. Before I got my diagnosis, I thought everybody thought the same as me. I only got my diagnosis in late October last year, and already the world has become much clearer to me. I was operating under the impression that everybody thought like me so I couldn’t understand why people would say the things they did. I understand them now and I apologies to everyone I’ve ever spoken to. I can see I must have looked like a total mad woman. But can you imagine, I thought people valued life over everything else, when they didn’t, they valued money. So I thought they were just being mean to me and trying to wind me up by saying things that clearly went against this value. Such as talking about the justifications for war etc. My poor brother in law. I had him pitched as the ultimate winder upper. I thought he was intentionally out to wind me up. I could never understand why people wanted to do that. What they got out of it. I felt persecuted, like the black sheep, the one everyone wanted to pick on and make fun of. But I see now that neither he nor any of the others were trying to get at me. They were speaking honestly, from their own values, which were not like mine so of course there would be confusion. I guess because nobody else thought like me I was also fighting with the possibility that I could be wrong, that of course money is more valuable than human life. How could I be so dumb! What I’ve realised is that nobody is wrong and nobody is right and we don’t have to fall out now, because I understand you. By understanding my autism and realising that not everybody thinks like me, I can see where our point of contention came in.
Phew! Glad I sorted that one out. I’m starting to feel that gentle compassionate and tender love for people, in a way that I witnessed when I was in Australia. WoW, this is pretty big. S**t, I think I’m gonna have a melt down. I think I need to take a moment. It’s ok , I’ve got this. This is not a meltdown, this relates to what I was saying in the beginning about our thoughts being like soldiers. My immediate thought pattern then, in less than a second probably. Was, OMG you’re going to be good with people now, that means you’re going to have to spend more time with them, you won’t have any excuse now. But I caught it. It’s not true. Just because I’m going to get along better with people from now on, it doesn’t mean I have to spend more time with them, it’s my autism that makes me not be comfortable being around too many people too often. It just means that when I am around people, I will get on with them a lot better. I will filter everything they say through the filter of money is god, and then, I’ll be able to understand them a whole lot more and I won’t just think they’re trying to wind me up! I feel like that person who’s suddenly horrified to realise that they’re the last person to realise they have this thing! Only I’m not horrified. I feel at peace. Maybe I’ll never speak at all, ever again (typical aspie mind, black and white). But seriously, what’s the point? I don’t mean that in a negative light, on the contrary, I’m quite delighted at the prospect. I have loved the occasions I have gone mute, but I’ve never been able to bring that on with conscious effort. I once taped my mouth up at work, but got told off for it and got told to take the tape off as it made other people uncomfortable and they didn’t think I could do my job properly if I didn’t participate in their endless complaints and trivia. They even thought I might not answer the phone to clients or that I was never going to talk to a client again. The clients weren’t the problem (mental health team), it was the staff. But they wouldn’t stop talking to me with all this atrocious nonsense, so I stopped talking. But it didn’t work. I managed only about half a day of luxury before they made me take off my home made mask. Humans are benefits driven creatures. What is the point of talking to somebody who doesn’t speak your language? The only benefit could be if the other person has something you want. Then it might be worth the effort to try to establish some level of understanding and communication between you both so you get what you want. You don’t have to speak the same language for that. I’ve been in places where nobody speaks my language (English) and I still got what I wanted. You could speak to another to learn more about their world but to be honest, I’m over that. I know the world that is ruled by money, in as much as I want to and my world is so far removed from most peoples that they wouldn’t even begin to imagine that they might want to know anything about mine, they don’t even think it exists, so they’re not going to want to know about a world that doesn’t exist! Lol! I understand that now.
Maybe I’ll just be the mad tree lady, who lives in the forest, talking only to the trees and birds, nature and the wild life and my dog and cat of course. I think Chris Packham got it right. Live in a forest, hunker in, like the soldiers, and you’ll be safe.
I think it was Carl Jung that said ‘Individuation enables unity…’ (or something similar.) And I have always understood this to mean that when we fully accept and acknowledge our own subjectivity (that there is no ‘One Truth...’) and upon doing so we therefore, in turn, then naturally appreciate and respect the subjectivity of others too, we become closer to everyone (humanity) as a result. I.e. upon Individuation, transcendence is inevitable.
Honestly, this is how I feel. I have never heard this quote before. Today, when I realised that it was simply just that I was coming from a different value base from everybody else, it’s like I felt this, I want to say overwhelming rush but it didn’t feel overwhelming or like a rush, of such sweet and tender love towards others, that I haven’t felt before. It’s the same kind of love I witnessed when I was in Australia last year and I honestly felt I would never feel that way towards others. But today, it just came over me.
Once I realised that my life was simply based on different values to most other people, it’s like everything changed. I never thought that I was right and they were wrong, it was just all so confusing to me, I thought people were out to get me because I honestly thought they all thought the same way as me and held the same values as me. Now I know they don’t, it’s like everything has changed. Like a barrier has been removed. I feel so calm and peaceful. I feel like I can really begin to enjoy my burnout now, now the crazy mind chatter has calmed down! Lol!
I still think there is only one truth but I also see that other peoples views and values are equally right and valid. It’s not that I never thought they weren’t, just that I had no idea that anybody actually did think differently from me! Lol! I didn’t know there was another view point. I can see now how I let their thoughts get so mingled in with mine. I thought we were all coming from the same premise. I highly appreciate and respect the subjectivity of others, it is through others that I have come to know myself and today was something else!
I’ve got Carl Jung’s biography, which is really interesting, but I haven’t finished it yet. I can’t read for too long before the words and the letters start dancing around and refusing to let me read them! lol! It’s been highly interesting so far though. Thank you, again
AngelDust said:I think it was Carl Jung that said ‘Individuation enables unity…’ (or something similar.) And I have always understood this to mean that when we fully accept and acknowledge our own subjectivity (that there is no ‘One Truth...’) and upon doing so we therefore, in turn, then naturally appreciate and respect the subjectivity of others too, we become closer to everyone (humanity) as a result. I.e. upon Individuation, transcendence is inevitable.
Yes. I like this, and believe it. There is no 'one truth'. You could almost say that there are no truths at all, only perceptions. What's true for one person isn't true for another, for any number of reasons. I stick by the idea that we are all composed of so many things: our genes, our background and upbringing, our experiences in and of the world. And these are all variables. No two people will respond in the same way to anything. There are so many other factors to account for, too: individual neurology (whether typical or diverse) to name an obvious one. Conditioning. Trauma. Some will be raised in difficult circumstances and experience abuse and trauma, yet come through it, survive, flourish. Others may buckle and break down, never to recover.
I believe it and hold to it. Yet I realise it's something I still need to learn, too. I struggle with being challenged, as we all do. I'm not so robust in my thoughts and views that a challenge won't faze me, and send me into retreat and despair. Completely undermine me. So - as, again, many of us do - I become defensive, hide away, lick my wounds. Try to heal again by cutting myself off. It's something I've always done, since I was a very young child. From very early on, the world seemed a confusing (at best) and hostile (at worst) place. Everything - other people, institutions, even my own emotions - seemed designed to attack me, cheat me, catch me out, put me down. Such challenges can almost feel like the world is being pulled out from under me; that the very basis of my entire existence is nothing but dust and ashes. It's hardly surprising that depression has dogged me for much of my life. My experiences - at school and elsewhere - led me to believe that everyone else was right, and I was wrong (often, these people were right, of course - I acknowledge that). Even now, when I find myself in a position of being challenged, I tend to buckle under and give ground to the other person. I can't rise to it. I suppose it's why I'm now pretty much a hermit, shutting myself off in my comfort zone, communicating in the only way I really can - through writing. In this position, I have time to marshal my thoughts. To consider a response that doesn't leave me looking like a babbling idiot - which is how I would be out there, amongst other people. I may come across as confident and in command of my thoughts here - but out there, I feel like a drowning wretch, tossed by the tides against the rocks. I'm a nothing man. A cipher. In the words of Ralph Ellison's protagonist in his great novel Invisible Man, 'I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fibre and liquids - and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.'
In good part, I struggle to hold my own because of a lack of education. Or, shall we say, a lack of the knowledge that most people use to back up their position. I can't come up with theories, facts, figures, events. I don't have it. All I really have is intuition, feelings, impulses that are the very essence of me. The vital, core thing. The 'humanity' element, if you like, which connects me to my fellow beings - even though, in many senses, I feel 'apart' from them, and always have done. In some ways, I think this is all that's needed. And no matter how much that's attacked, it will never be destroyed. Unless I destroy it myself.
When I say I lack education, I mean formal education. I went to university, yes. And that was where I got my true education. Not in what I learned about my subject, but in what I learned about myself (though literature and philosophy were certainly useful enablers there - more so than many other subjects I might have taken). University opened up my mind in a way nothing else had ever done. And in that sense, it got to the core of me. It refined the essence, and threw off the things that had been covering it and hiding it. Before uni, my closest 'friend' had been my older brother, and my belief system was largely shaped by those around me at the time: family, people at work, etc. I tended to accept what I was told, or what I heard, and use it as the basis for my own 'opinions' - which were really nothing more than petty prejudices and ill-informed nonsense. Without being overtly homophobic or sexist, I nevertheless held onto a predominantly '70s, culturally-conditioned mindset that saw homosexuality as something to laugh at or be suspicious of - even think of as vaguely perverse. And although I never regarded women as inferiors, and actually preferred being with them and working with them, I still held onto archaic views about them and their place in the world. University refined all of that out of me. By the time I left, I was a vocal advocate of gay rights and women's rights. Human rights. I was a staunch defender of all minorities: the poor, the homeless, the dispossessed. Animals, too. I got involved in the animal rights and environmental movements. I went on demos, sat in fox holes, denounced exploitation in all of its forms. These things, as I've said, were always there inside me. University gave me the confidence to bring them out. All of this endures with me to this day. It will always be there. It always was. Hardly surprising, therefore, that it served to distance me from my former 'closest friend'. My brother is still the person he was. The things that once bound us together - the common beliefs - soon pulled us apart. We are no longer close in any sense. The only thing we share is our blood. He doesn't understand me, and doesn't seem to want to any longer. In good part, his wife has abetted this. He has gained strength from her approval of him as he is. She shares his beliefs. She not only disdains mine, but is hostile to them. I have to accept them for the people they are - as I try to embrace all of humanity. If they could only accept me for the person I am in return. Which they don't seem able to. And so... we are apart, and - since the settling of my dear mother's affairs after her passing - we no longer have contact. They see things in black and white only. I can't hold to that. I can only see a spectrum of colour. I see the grey areas, too. Out of self-preservation, if nothing else, I need to keep that view. The day I lose it is the day that I myself will be lost. And there will no longer be any point in going on.
But I'm imperfect. I hold much store by the old saying There's so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best - let the one not find fault with the other. But I realise I do not always keep to that principle. I look around the world and see what others do to one another. The greed, the bullying, the fighting. Power-brokers treating human life with indifference; treating innocent people as nothing other than pawns in their game - things expendable in the pursuit of their own aims. Yet these are humans, too - presumably with thoughts, feelings, emotions. People who also care about things, in their own ways. I used to ally myself only with those who seemed to think as I did - politically, socially, spiritually - but have now wearied of that, with all the partisan hatreds and divisive talk. The bunker mentality which seems to pervade all human discourse. It's so destructive - if not to people, then to one's own psychology. I have to be independent. I've never been a joiner in any sense, anyway - so it isn't difficult for me.
Perhaps, then, it's understandable why I react in the way I do whenever I come up against something that goes against everything I believe. My world-view, and my beliefs and ideals - my love, if you like - are what keep me in the world. If all of this is challenged, then it feels as if I no longer exist. I need to look beyond this, though. I need to transcend it. I don't mean that in the sense of being morally or intellectually superior. I mean in being receptive to it, acknowledging it, learning what I can from it, taking any sustenance from it that I can. Seeing where there might actually be wisdom in it - something that I can add to whatever store of wisdom I myself possess. See it as a form of energy and strength - not as something that weakens and enervates.
This is reason enough to go on with life - in my darkest moments, I have to keep telling myself that. Not always looking for truths and answers, because there are so many, and not all of them will be congenial or compatible. But seeking transcendence. An inner truth. The truth of my being. A truth that embraces all, in spite of differences.
Forgive me... I have taken up too much space. I hope some of what I've said makes sense. It may be fraught with contradictions. But I accept that, too. As Walt Whitman said: Do I contradict myself? Very well, then - I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes. I'm not as large as Walt in any sense of the word. But I think I contain multitudes. I try, anyway...
AngelDust said:I.e. upon Individuation, transcendence is inevitable.
Regarding 'individuation', transcendence is as AngelDust states 'inevitable', but just as importantly transcendence is 'concurrent' as a process too.