See Through the Things That Still Manipulate You

Created October 30, 2020

You know what I mean. You’ve already conquered many of the things that used to push your buttons. Now maybe they can still get your goat from time to time when they catch you suddenly off guard while you are dealing with something else, or when you are just totally exhausted.

When I was 9 years old I refused to learn long division. Whenever the subject came up I became uneasy and defensive. My mind shrank in its capabilities because of the negative emotional tone I became trapped in.

When I was 12 years old I refused to wear glasses. It upset me whenever I was forced to put them on.

I’m sure the things you were vulnerable to as a child were silly like mine, and you’ve put them all away as I have mine.

Yet even as adults there are things that still can disturb our mental emotional tranquility. They somehow grab us and take over our minds and emotions. We are suddenly afraid or angry or simply not having a good time all of a sudden.

The next time that happens to you, observe it as a scientist would. What was it that took away your good mood? Why did you let it? What inside of you was the traitor? What fixated attachment do you have – perhaps to some image of yourself – that made you vulnerable being taken over as it by a spell?

Politics is one thing that can do it.

Modern Internet and all the other media we have now, is another thing that can do it.

These things can get to me if I learn about something happening which I wish I could fix, and I realize the enormity of the thing, and my own relative helplessness to come to the rescue. The frustration at not being able to do enough to help is still capable of disturbing my mental emotional tranquility sometimes. At most times I can turn it off like an alarm clock by contemplating what I can do, whether it will have much of an effect or not, and then doing it, without getting hung up on what the outcome might be.

We have to be able to rise above politics. In American Pragmatic Idealism there is a pantheon of ideals we hold high, some of which are more important to the conserving side of our natures, and some of which are more important to the progressing side of our natures, but all Americans want all of these things:

REPUBLICANS

DEMOCRATS

FREEDOM

EQUALITY

INDEPENDENCE

JUSTICE

FRUGALITY

BENEVOLENCE

DEMAND WHAT YOU DESERVE

PEACE

STOICISM

SELF IMPROVEMENT

 

People employed in government can be expected to be above average in being motivated by Power. This is not necessarily a bad thing if it causes us to have enough people interested in governance so the rest of us don’t have to spend more time on that than we individually feel like. We each have to devote some time to governance because that’s the nature of the deal in a democracy.

But Power as we all know can corrupt. And the lust for power can cause people to become manipulative and to use today’s incredibly powerful media to force a foothold in our private mental emotional space. These messages from both sides will tend to exaggerate the dangers of letting the other side win, and will tend to push us into warring camps. This is intentional or unintentional or both, but that is irrelevant, because one way or the other, it is happening. Only we can learn to be strong enough to prevent our own mental invasion by manipulative and maddening stimuli and memes.

We have a good thing going here. First, life itself. Second, this magically beautiful and awe-inspiring planet we all love. Third, love itself. The list goes on. It includes science. It includes America, and more generally, the notion of Democracy. The governance of the Universe which evidently loves us, wanted us to have all these good things.

We have to shake off the willies and get in touch with our own gratitude for the good thing we all have here all around us. We have to keep it going, and make it better where we can, without blaming or being unkind to one another.

Superman, the comic book character launched in 1939, through his writers, coined the phrase “Truth, Beauty, and The American Way”, just in time for WWII. Those were Superman’s ideals, his motivations, even though he didn’t come from America, he came from Krypton.

Many 18-year old GIs dying on the battlefield probably held the phrase in their hearts to keep themselves fighting to the last.

Truth is mentioned first of the three Superman ideals. Who is lying more to us, and who is lying less? Even if we cynically assume they are all lying to us (which I do not), we should at least be able to make a careful judgment call, citing specific evidence to ourself, as to who is probably lying more to us and who is probably lying less to us.

It’s time for you to vote, if you haven’t already done so. Voting is not only our right it’s our duty. If we do nothing else in the social compact we made with our country, that’s the one thing we must do, at least for presidential elections. Stand up and be counted. Take responsibility. Be a leader. Be true to yourself. What do YOU stand for? To not vote is to state that you stand for nothing. Nihilism. Disrespect for life.

If you’re being prevented from voting by BS rules, it’s up to you to find the way to overcome that BS. The Universe will help you if you put out the effort, and you will vote.

Hold your heart steady. Be able to go on if whoever you vote for, the other folks win. Keep in mind the long view of America. Its checks and balances were carefully worked out and there’s a good chance no matter who is in charge of the various houses of government here, the system itself will protect us. Moreover, have confidence in the strength of the good. Not only in America but around the world. Don’t write off the billions of good people we’ve got on this planet.

The center is where we all pull together. When we don’t hold the center, things can get out of hand.

May the center hold.

Best to all, and God Bless America.

Bill

A Song for Today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NqszdLiJxg

 

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