The Meaning of Life
IntroductionReligion and Philosophy in truth have the same purpose, to try to answer the question…
I have been fumbling the last few weeks, I have a piece I have been working on, it’s almost ready, but not yet. I have some other ideas, but none of them seem like they are right for today.
The thing that has been bouncing around in my head all last week has been the ongoing “victimization” of America and the World, but I want something a bit more upbeat, so let’s try to see how much of a positive spin we can put on the subject.
I would define victimization, at least on a cultural level, as the extraction of power and position from another by self-demeaning thought and/or action; which, if you think about it, shows why in the long run it is a self-defeating concept.
I am going to use an example here that is going to upset some people, but it is pretty universally seen and understood. In America, we have a race issue, but no matter what may have happened, or is happening, other than bringing such injustices to an end, there is no “step up” or “special treatment” that the “victims” are entitled to. The only entitlements are the same opportunity and respect given anyone not in “the club”.
Those who, consciously or unconsciously, find themselves in this group need to decide if they wish to make something of themselves, with whatever roadblocks there are, or if they will bypass the effort and just take it from another.
When it comes to America’s racial issues, the question is not when will it end, the sad fact is that there will always be people that feel the need to empower themselves by tearing others down and, so called, race is an easy one, along with gender, orientation, and religion.
The question is if, and how long, we will continue to enshrine it within our culture. Contrary to the violent response, which I believe is just a loud minority, to our first African descended President, just the fact that he managed to win both elections says a lot.
The latest racial victimization term of choice is “White Privilege”, the idea that being white gives you a free pass to life in this country, doors will be opened, and all will be wonderful. Of course, my personal experience has not fit that pattern and the fact that more “whites” are on public assistance than any single ethnic group would seem to call that into question.
The “victims” will look only at what supports their view, or at least on the surface; we run into cognitive dissonance on any thoughts or facts that are contrary (How long til I am accused of suffering from same, maybe, but I am open to that possibility).
I am involved with a group that is becoming a force for good, I think and hope, for people that have been invisible. We periodically have “planning” meetings where we talk and plan the future steps we would like to take and see about how to get there.
I am often frustrated due to a tendency I have seen becoming pretty common as of late, the pre-victimization of others and the attempt to un-victimize them, we used to just call it “trying to please everyone”, a losing prospect at best.
Using my group as an example; where to have the meeting. We have been having it in a local tavern that serves food, well that may keep some people away who are in recovery that will not go to a bar. The local LGBTQ center has made space available, well there go all the straight people that might not want to go to a “gay” place. How do we get more women to come? Do we cut the allowed number of men to make women feel more comfortable? The group’s initial purpose had a large number of lesbian women involved early on, but I have never had much luck getting the women and the men together for interaction, plus we hit the “gay” issue again.
What steps do we, or can we, take to get beyond the cultural inhibitions that are involved with certain aspects of what the group is about?
When I am asked about what the group is about, I describe it as a cross between Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon for people dealing with the issue. You may have the issue, but you may also just be a friend, relative, partner, or caregiver that has been effected by it, you are welcome in any of these cases.
I ran into this recently, it has truly become my new favorite example of just how victimization extracts power and becomes a problem, the Jats of India. The Jats are a fairly powerful and prosperous in the caste system of India. Is this enough? No.
The Jats have been causing all sorts of mayhem as of late, protesting, arson, and blocking water supplies. Why? Because they want their caste given the coveted status of “backward” which would mean they would become a protected group with less competition for government jobs and educational positions.
More people are not going to like this part, oops (not).
As I have mentioned on many occasions throughout the history of this blog, I believe in reincarnation. Spirit has a long-term advancement in self-awareness and through karma becomes aware of more than the obvious and limited perceptual filter of the physical senses.
We choose the situations, environment, and backgrounds for the lessons we have decided to explore and learn in each life. Spirit does little by default once it begins to awaken. Before that, it is inadvertently creating the themes that will underline the path of their subsequent growth and awakening. Just as Spirit’s choice of parents, time, environment, and initial perspective give background to the story of a life, how we respond and go on will be the manifestation of the lesson into experience.
In other words, one is not only responsible for where they are, where they were born, the parents who gave them a frame of reference, but also where they go from there. From this perspective, it is impossible to be a victim. To be a victim, you cannot have any control, you can give up control, but you are never without it.
I am reminded of a scene from “Dangerous Minds” where Michelle Pfeiffer’s character, a teacher, is talking to her inner-city students about choice and they come back with how tough life is in their neighborhoods, how few jobs there are and other reasons why they do not have a choice. She tells them that they choose to come to school, they choose not to sell drugs on the corner. There are always choices, we may not always like them and they may not always be obvious, but we always have a choice.
Simply put, change your perspective. You cannot be victimized unless YOU choose to; it is how YOU relate to the scenery around you.
There is an entire world that will be happy to let you be victimized for their benefit, it does not help you, it chains you to a slavery of your making.
Ask yourself, “What is it that I am a victim of? What does thinking of myself from this perspective give me?” On the other side of the equation is, “What am I depriving myself of through my victimization?” Most often it is the very power your choice of victim-hood was supposed to acquire for you.
The choice is yours and yours alone, it is up to you, like it or not. We will look into choice more in the future.