I have been having conversations in the past few weeks that have left me reminded of the ability of the virus to contort and distort basically every communication based on each individual’s particular blind spots: the various logic fallacies that emerge in individuals when I inadvertently stumble across one of their hot buttons initially confused me; I had actually thought that the individuals concerned had enough of a handle on the mechanisms of viral thought forms to be able to discern their logic fallacies but as I continued to attempt clear communication it became increasingly obvious that the individuals were, in fact, utterly unable- and obviously unwilling- to grasp the points that I was attempting to make due to their own internal dissonance, and thus interpretation, of the subject at hand. So I’ve decided to write about it here and then in future simply reference this post- and links to whatever other writer’s posts I find that deal effectively with this subject- instead of having to take on each individual’s particular virus program bias.
One of the fires I’ve been able to start lately is over my exploration of modern feminism and the territory of privilege, including male privilege: regarding the latter the majority of my explorations essentially wither and die within a very short time because the logic of many males appears to be ‘well I didn’t get what I wanted in this or that situation, so the privilege doesn’t exist because it didn’t benefit me!!!’ This has come at me from individuals that I had thought were far more robust thinkers, which only serves to demonstrate how effective an emotional trigger is for blanking out effective thinking skills.
Before I explore my issues with poor thinking on challenging subjects I’d like to clarify my position on a connected element: my subjective rules on engaging in challenging discussions. Running into the demonstration that an individual’s emotional firing system has been activated usually-not always, but usually- ends a discussion for me pretty quickly because tedious patterns result from this trigger activated dynamic: individuals who are operating from a defensively fired emotional space generally can’t use their logic or listening skills due to the brain chemistry altering the pattern of brain use.
Another way of putting this is that the logical and thinking system of the individual shuts down due to the brain being flooded with biochemistry that has been triggered by the individual’s interpretation of a threat: the amygdala fires, the ‘primitive’ brain activates into ‘throw poo! If that doesn’t work, throw rocks!’ mode, the frontal lobes go on a holiday because they know ‘there’s no talking to the primitive brain when it’s in THAT mood’ and essentially the space shifts from two individuals exploring a subject to one individual exploring a subject and the other individual wanting to set them on fire.
Oddly enough I’m not really keen to discuss anything with an individual who demonstrates all the signs of ‘pitchfork wielding mob’ brain even if they think that the pitchfork they’re wielding isn’t THAT sharp, or ‘it’s just a pitchfork, what’s your problem?’. No, I have better things to do with my life than to engage with that dynamic and I’ll generally wander away to do something more interesting, like meditate, write, rearrange my sock drawer, because here’s the thing: I don’t have to deal with anyone’s triggers when that individual is in hysteria mode. I really don’t, no matter WHAT the other individual might think is my obligation to deal with their trigger/lack of education on the subject/personal bias etc.
This has been something that my Beloved has taught me about these types of interactions: while he matches me in emotional intensity in many ways (which doesn’t refer to the screaming of ‘fuck YOU!’ at one another from opposite sides of the room but rather the ability to go into really, really emotionally turbulent and challenging spaces with one another without being shitty about it) he does not tolerate any wandering into territory where I abdicate emotional responsibility for my Self and start offloading unfinished emotional clearing onto his head and rightly so. He’s reminded me on a number of occasions that I need to realign my Self into integrity and because of the excellence of his intuition in this regard I’ve learned some valuable lessons regarding how subtle and devious the virus can be at playing ‘hide the rationalisation’. If I wasn’t passionate about integrity and dissolving the virus I would be kickarse at emotional manipulation; as it is I have subzero interest in such things and so does he. It’s one of the bright lights of our connection.
This results in my having a very different behaviour when it comes to negotiating trigger spaces with individuals: because I am prepared to offer total emotional responsibility and a willingness to remain in integrity I have a very small window of engagement outside that kind of integrity that grows or shrinks depending on the degree of intimacy and soulspace connection that I have with the Being in question. Once that limit is reached I will disengage regardless of how the other individual interprets my disengaging in that moment. Sometimes I’ll re-engage later, sometimes I won’t, depending on a combination of factors that are relevant to me: the point I’m making is that I am not obliged to stay in the space when others are reacting, no matter what their rationalisations about their reactivity are. I don’t expect others to tolerate my own reactive state- it’s simply too easy to roll over into emotionally abusive in that space, for one thing- and if I won’t accept it from my Self or my own Soulmate, why should I accept it from you? If you want to engage me in conversation then this principle is important to bear in mind.
Now to return to the issue of poor thinking skills in challenging subject matter. I’m going to return to the subjects of privilege and feminist perspective because these seem to have an almost universal knee jerk response lately whenever I’ve dared to mention them. I have a couple of recent examples from online conversations and I’m going to write out my logic here so that I can mitigate the necessity of ever having to do it again: I’m a virus hacker and essentially all hackers are lazy, we like to find the easiest ways of doing things.
Male privilege- or ANY privilege, for that matter- does not cease to exist under the following circumstances:
-privilege doesn’t cease if an individual in the privileged group doesn’t experience any direct, personal benefit in a moment where they think/feel that they should: just because a male gets passed over for a job where females are featured does not mean male privilege doesn’t exist, it means that a different form of privilege is in operation. Privilege doesn’t cease if an individual didn’t intend harm, it doesn’t cease if an individual thinks the other is being too sensitive, it doesn’t cease if the privileged individual doesn’t think there’s any privilege, it doesn’t cease if ‘other individuals are experiencing different kinds of discrimination and so therefore why are YOU complaining?’ The myriads of rationalisations an individual has or makes regarding their particular sphere of privilege does not alter in any way that they have it: having it and using it are two different things.
I have a whole other post champing at the bit to be written about the inability of individuals to tell the difference between different things- I’m not going to be sidetracked right now.
The example that was offered to me was that the male had wanted to enter into a field of work in which he was told that he had no chance due to his being white and a male; instead of challenging this pronouncement he changed his major and thus felt that because he had been unable to pursue his career of choice this was proof that there isn’t male privilege. What is actually occurring here is something that males as a group have been previously been unwilling to tackle: that the male privilege bubble moves around in different ways depending on the demographic it’s being pointed at, which is at the crux of my exploration into privileges across the spectrum.
Heteronomy- the belief that, for whatever reason, an individual or group can dominate and control any other individual or group- is a slippery, complicated organism. It slides in and out of an individual’s thinking with the express purpose to get an individual out of their deep intuition and clear thinking into emotionally triggered, amygdala fired ‘flight or fight’ reactivity. The virus is Old Georgie, whispering in the ear of those that are unsure, frightened, feeling out of their safe zone
and an individual does not do their best thinking from this space.
Part of the success of the virus is that individuals cannot, without training, detect when they are being hacked. The virus has had millennia in which to perfect its craft; without a clear system of being able to keep the amygdala quiet, the brain chemistry clear and the body free from triggers (that begin in the gut long before they occur in the brain), the individual is pushing a very large boulder up a very steep slope which most often results in a return to the comfort of the defensive reaction rather than experience the challenge of learning a new way of thinking. Learning about how the brain functions, how easily it can be tricked and fooled into thinking and behaviours that are not only unhelpful in the moment but collectively self destructive as a planetary culture is essential if one wishes to be completely virus free: the more an individual believes themselves to be unhackable in this system when they demonstrate unconsciously that they are the more useful a virus agent they become: they disguise their infection beneath multiple layers of ‘this is good thinking’ and so they quietly seed the new iteration of virus in those that demonstrate a desire to wake up.
This is readily demonstrable in the so-called ‘awakening’ movement: the same virus based immune response in action again, reaching out with seemingly innocent errors of thinking that are precisely aimed at gradually reclaiming the individual back into the same morass that they were trying to get out of. Poor thinking and emotional appeals abound in this movement- in fact, they are the lingua franca of the movement and there is little tolerance for those that stray from the formula; this results in the virus being able to absorb back into its fold any expression of social evolution that emerges. Look at history: the radical hippies of the sixties became the new hipster business individual of the nineties, they became the jaded recluses in the mountains, living on their cheaply acquired properties while they bemoan the uselessness of the younger generations, they slowly reverted back into their parents, they ceased to be the strong voice for transformation. It wasn’t a quick absorption- it generally never is when this form of social engineering is in place: it came through the silver whisperings of Wormtongue, the weasel speech of the deeply infected, the subtle manipulations of Old Georgie in the ears of those who were momentarily unsure of their path. That’s all it takes.
I’m aware of the virus; in some ways it’s like I was born being able to see it. From childhood I’ve watched the way that it slid and slithered around others, watched how those around me seemed to operate like remote puppets that could be triggered with the simple activation of intolerable verbal concepts or ideas; even when I was deeply infected my Self there was a part of me that remained contained and outside the infection, able to slowly, painfully track my way out of the morass. I learned a lot through those experiences and one of the things that I learned was never to underestimate the power of the virus to disguise itself.
Like Old Georgie, like all viruses, the global mind virus parasite, the Wetiko infection, is an opportunist; it seeks any loophole in the immune defences of the organism that hosts it- and if it finds a weakness it will vigorously exploit it. Like AIDS, it hides and proliferates within the very elements designed to detect and dissolve it; unlike AIDS there isn’t a simple blood test that can demonstrate to an individual why they are experiencing the symptoms that they are experiencing or how they are being constantly re-infected by their own thinking and belief systems. It is said that the best trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing everyone he didn’t exist. This is precisely the power of the heteronomy and its virus: individuals are constantly positioned into rebutting the very existence of the virus while they sink beneath the inevitable extinction that comes from infection. Toxoplasmosis has the same self destructive effect on the organisms hosting it.
It is this awareness that underpins my current exploration in the realm of privilege, because within this rich and fertile information is new triangulation of the subtle expressions of psychological manipulation that the virus likes to create. I explore privilege not, as some have suggested, to pimp some personal form of bias towards certain groups, or to elevate my own sex above others, or to ignore the plight of this or that group: I explore privilege in order to have a compass for any subtle expressions of manipulation the virus may be using in me.
I also explore privilege as a way of mapping a world without heteronomy of any kind, which means being aware that there are experiences of heteronomy outside my sphere of experience and awareness: I do not know the depths of gender privilege because I’m not all genders and therefore can only have an approximation of what others experience. To explore the perspectives of others is to discover areas where my unconscious social and personal privilege of being cisgendered (which means my physical body is in harmony with the gender I identify as) affords me: while it may be that I have loved individuals who are transsexual, such connection in no way gives me the ability to speak for this group as if I know what it’s like to actually live outside my privilege. I don’t, and unless something shifts in my life I won’t ever know.
Part of the protest against explorations of privilege is that having empathy for certain individuals equates with not having privilege: it really, really doesn’t equate to this at all. Being aware of one’s own privilege also does not equate to the following: being subservient to the one outside the sphere of privilege, having one’s ‘head beneath the boot heal of women’, being oblivious to/unconcerned about/uncaring of the ways that member of privileged groups are in turn harmed by other mechanisms of privilege operating within that sphere, using the awareness of my own exclusion from some privileges to minimise my experience of privilege in other domains.
NONE of these things are what I am interested in when I’m exploring privilege: what I am fundamentally focused on is exploring the depths of my own heteronomy when it comes to these things, because the mechanisms of privilege- and minimisation of privilege- frequently involve dismissing, trivialising and humourising the experiences of those outside the sphere of privilege. As a woman I experience this with boring regularity from the male population: an excellent essay on this subject can be found here on one of my favourite blogs
http://www.shakesville.com/2009/08/terrible-bargain-we-have-regretfully.html Melissa McEwan is an eloquent and prolific writer on a number of subjects; her Feminism 101 is, in my opinion, one of the best guides to exploring the many faces of privilege from the perspective of an intelligent and non-partisan individual that I could recommend.
Discovering how we as individuals diminish, dismiss and trivialise the experiences of those outside our particular domain of privilege is one of the keys to dissolving heteronomy in all its forms: it’s not about diminishing our own experience but recognising that this organising of spheres of privilege exist within every facet of social expression: within every domain there are the pariahs, the outcasts, the ones whose disempowerment is a result of mechanisms of dominance and hierarchy. Without tools with which to examine those platforms, to ask questions such as ‘when I say this from this perspective, am I actually perpetuating a culture of privilege?’, we are trapped in a different yet just as effective mechanism as the glaringly obvious ones we can see around us. I’m not interested in that.
What I am interested in are answers to the deep considerations of ‘what creates foundational equity for all Beings, human and otherwise?’ Here is where my subjective definition and experience of feminism comes into play: feminism is a platform that seeks to create the principles of foundational equity for all individuals regardless of any perceived or imagined difference that can be constructed. It is an attempt to create a non-exclusive language, a language of inclusion and equity that ensures all living Beings have the same advantages and opportunities as others; it is an attempt to discover and address the myriads of ways that heteronomy expresses itself beneath the cultural awareness of the differing dominant paradigms, to bring out into the light those things that have longed remained hidden and unnamed so that they can be identified and be stripped of their power.
Any effort to name the unnamed thing is going to be met with resistance by those that have vested interests in maintaining the paradigms of dominance and control: sometimes the most vigorous defenders of a harmful paradigm are those that are trapped in it. Societal Stockholm Syndrome is rampant and has been deliberately created in order to achieve the desired outcome of communities policing those within their own group: someone was talking with me the other day about a woman who, after the fall of the Berlin wall, discovered that the secret police had known about her activism because her husband was informing on her. The activities of those ‘intimate informants’ are well documented in oppressive regimes- even the bible advises that ‘father will turn on son, son against father, husband against wife’: to expect that lesser emotionally invested individuals aren’t going to be willing to harm us in order to protect their own psychological systems is not a healthy action.
Unless we as individuals are prepared to take a fearless look at the areas we may be willing to sacrifice others to, collectively society has no hope of evolution: being willing to listen to the experiences of others, to consider their perspectives, examine my Self to see if I, in any way, am holding onto beliefs or behaviours that perpetuate these virus mechanisms, is one of the most powerful and proactive ways I can undertake my own virus clearing. I wish to leave no fertile soil at all within me in which Empire can, even in the most subtle of ways, find a place to being rebuilding. Empire requires at its very core the lie of the natural existence of inequity; to willingly challenge this lie, both internally and externally, is to actively dismantle an essential element of dominance itself.
My perspective is that in exploring the question and circles of privilege I am immersing my Self in powerful retrovirus activity; I am creating a greater platform from which to address heteronomy in any of its forms by exploring from both sides of the fence- how it feels to experience being outside privilege and explore the mechanisms by which this is done while also exploring my awareness of what it’s like to be part of other spheres of privilege that I may never have even been aware of. Reading the perspectives of those that are daily dealing with issues of racial inequity, gender inequity, economic, educational, disability and physical access inequities- in being willing to consider all the expressions of those that are struggling to have a voice in a world that uses various mechanisms to silence those voices- these are my daily practices of spiritual and psychological rebuttal of Empire’s claim to the ‘right’ to dominate first me, then through me the world around me.
I do not suggest that feminism is the same as sui generis: I recognise its tenets as having the same purpose and intention without the deeper elements that sui generis connects to. I intend to write further regarding this distinction and how I experience it; for now it’s enough for me to point out that I’m aware of the distinction and how sui generis carries further than the current feminist dialogue. This does not make the feminist dialogue moot; it recognises the rich soil that feminist dialogue creates for the sui generis platform and I’m increasingly becoming aware that individuals who find feminism objectionable inevitably reject sui generis for the same reasons. In this way, I find raising feminism and its interests a good litmus test for discovering the internal landscape of an individual- and I’m very fond of taking shortcuts.