I am a person, same as you

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I began this post last year. Recently there have been other issues occurring relevant to this premise nationally, worldwide, in the workplace and my personal life. I was too distressed and confused at the time last year, to complete this post. A bumpy year later, I’ve regained some of my bearings and feel more up to the task, though it’s a big, hairy one.

The election results have caused me to question so many things. So many things I thought I had figured out, mastered and a lot of issues I thought were relics of the past, yet obviously are still alive. They are boiling beneath the surface personally and nationally. Sadly they’ve erupted and triggered this nation in a way I’ve never witnessed before and in myself it’s caused intense self evaluation, stark honesty, inquisition and reflection.

I was caught off guard. I truly didn’t know how much I actually cared? I was stunned and shocked and am still settling into a world I no longer recognize. It’s been 3 weeks. I’ve been going through a grieving process and a reevaluation of where I fit into this world and how I may best serve in this raw surfacing reality.

I’ve never been really big into politics. Although I do care about our country, the world and everyone on this planet, I just never became too invested because it all seemed out of my control as one person. I felt that I was one small voice and have found politics bewildering, I never felt that I had enough accurate knowledge to be able to fully make an informed choice. So I’ve voted sporadically.

I really didn’t pay much attention to the campaign. I don’t watch TV or the news. I do watch programs, Netflix, HBO, Amazon, but do not subscribe to a TV service. I am not online too much, so I have not been greatly influenced by media. I did get interested when Bernie Sanders was running and paid more attention then. Of course I heard about significant aspects about the candidates and did read some articles online as well, but did not have to investigate too far, because in my view there was only one candidate left running that was qualified to be president and I made certain I was registered with my new address in enough time to be able to vote for her.  I didn’t investigate more deeply until after the election, because I was so flabbergasted, I had to try and gain some understanding. And after delving thoroughly and fact checking it only reinforced my vote for Hillary Clinton was the most solid choice.

Here’s the thing…Trump is not a qualified presidential candidate and so I never even considered that he would be able to become president? I saw it as a big con, a show, a bid for attention to feed his big ego. And how could anyone take him seriously or even consider him worthy? His moral character is so disrespectful and corrupt? How could enough people vote for him? How could they believe him? And how could they overlook his abusiveness and callousness, not to mention his deception, bullying, cheating and overall sociopathy? How could anyone invest their trust and their country in such a devoid person?

How could their view be so vastly different from mine? Obviously we were not seeing the same world? How could we be living in such differing realities? What was I missing? How could I be so unconscious of this other world that Trump supporters inhabited? Was I just oblivious? Or were they in hiding? Or both?

I felt betrayed and I felt that I had failed. That I could’ve been doing and being more, to change this world so our realities would come together and we could be united and supportive of everyone, to extend respect to all. Instead what I awakened to was a whole big sector of this country which decided with their vote that it was okay to hate. Their vote said it was ok for our president to be misogynistic, racist, homophobic and xenophobic, which meant that they themselves had no problem with these characteristics, so maybe, actually, deep down, they were also haters?

A year later…

I am seeing it’s not so simple and that people are easily manipulated by fear tactics. Also there is a rampant disease which is a subclinical infection, lurking beneath the surface and no one is immune to…objectification/otherness.

This method of social identification, plus egocentrism, narcissism, authoritarianism, religiocentrism, supremacism, ethnocentrism, androcentrism, anthropocentrism, speciesism and probably a whole slew of other “isms,”  fuels all of the world’s atrocities and injustices.

Yet it causes the most cognitive dissonance because in truth we are all made of the same stuff and in the grand scheme no one is less worthy, we are all equally, inherently worthy, no matter what. So to believe otherwise requires a lot of Jedi mind tricks which are rampantly available to us in this information age. And unconscious members of society will do anything to find relief from that cognitive dissonance.

“Essentially, people will only pay attention to the information or speak to people who support what they already believe, and ignore any other facts that contradict this.” Elyssa Ganser

The recent media outcry against sexual assault and harassment has been long overdue. This is another example of an objectification issue, where there is a hierarchy of power and narcissism. Where some use others as a means to an end, like immediate sexual gratification through coercion or assault, feeling entitled to it because they have the power. I wonder what mental leaps men are making to relieve that cognitive dissonance right about now.

I mean it’s human to categorize everything, to make sense of the world to label everything so we have some common words/conceptions to identify and disseminate information/knowledge. I get that.

What we have done in most of the world’s societies, has been to objectify others and the ones in power use the others according to the dictates of that society. For example women are considered sexual objects used to gratify men and the mainstream society/mass media, religions, etc. enforces/reinforces this construct. It’s ingrained in the society and is accepted as normal. For example, breasts are first and foremost for nursing babies. Yet breasts have been so sexualized that women often are grossed out at the thought of breastfeeding, because breasts are reserved for sex. So they limit their breastfeeding. How insane is that?

So we are able to reduce whatever we want to an object, an other, that is less deserving, so that we can use them in any way that we wish. for our own selfish advantage. All we have to do is create that perception of otherness and reinforce it until we believe it and then we can ease our conscience by using these false ideas to justify/support any whim. So whomever has the power gets to make the rules, if they are persuasive enough.

That’s when fear has great power, when demagogues become the norm.

Or when your parent treats you as an object because that’s how their parents treated them, so it’s acceptable. Abuse is a fact of life for so many, through all sectors of society, we just don’t see it, because it’s the “norm.”

Some narcissistic parents, governments, workplaces treat children, people, employees as objects and extensions of themselves to use. Your value relies on what you can do for the people in power, and therefore they are unable to be respectful, compassionate or supportive,  except in ways that serve their agendas. Authoritarianism is their default mode. They have no concern with your own personal life, needs, feelings. And if you make a mistake or don’t do what they want, then there can be harsh, knee jerk punishments or manipulations to try to save face or get you back where they want you, or they may dismiss you altogether.

And this sort of mentality pervades all of society. Where people are treated as expendable, replaceable things with no inherent value except what they’re assigned to be worth, by whomever is in power, by what society dictates, we are expected to fill these roles or we can try and break free and we have broken free to an extent, but it’s still not enough. And all too often there are harsh consequences when we do stand up for ourselves, we can become targets, especially if we’re the first ones to rise up.

So more people than I was willing to admit or see, want to have that power and employ a massive toolkit of manipulative techniques to stay in power. They have a whole arsenal to allay that cognitive dissonance and it  keeps them scrambling calculatingly or madly towards the top of the heap by whatever means possible.

I had cognitive dissonance about how the world really is and I’ve been grappling over this past year to reconfigure my reality. I was of the mindset that more people were less fearful and were more of the view that we’re all in this together and wanted to help, who love, respect one another equally, with most people being empathetic and compassionate. That the majority had a love based mindset. Well…heh 🙂

Empathy is apparently underrated.

And most people are afraid and arguing about who’s right. And in the process are viewing people as “others” even more so. We are dividing into sides while also becoming more firm in our convictions that the “others” are “evil.”

Because if we believe that other people are objects to be used, or that they’re evil, deep down our consciousness knows beyond a doubt that we are the same as other people, which puts us in a paradox and makes us expendable objects or evil too. How twisted and scary is that? How can one person be an object and another one not? And if some people are evil, then we all have the potential for evil. So what makes us different? Our capacity for empathy and to put ourselves in another’s shoes, to live from a place of love and compassion makes all the difference. It’s so crazymaking when people have no empathy, yet get angry if someone treats them poorly, yet have no issue treating others in the same poor manner or worse.

And, what I’ve seen is that people use all kinds of irrational defense mechanisms across the board when it comes to defending their perspective. So it’s mass chaos.

So who gets to control reality? Who makes a society? Isn’t it the collective that has the most control? It seems that, no, this isn’t the case. A few people can gain control and brainwash multitudes of people, even now. We said “never again” after WWII. I am not so sure about that now.

I used to believe if I focused on being the change I wished to see in the world, that in itself was enough. And I would help when and where I was able. And being human I’d also succumb to nihilistic thoughts at times, feeling powerless. Like, ” We’re all gonna die anyway” type teenager philosophy 🙂 So what can I, little ole me do? How much of an impact can I make?

There have been a few people who managed to make a big impact and continue to inspire people to “be the change” for generations to come. So we as “little ole me’s” have the potential to do a whole helluva lot.

What if we all questioned what we are fed by society? What if we really inquired from the deep wisdom within ourselves, got still, quiet and honest about what’s really true beyond all the noise of the world. If we remembered the really important stuff we forgot after kindergarten. What if we chose to see the world from the perspective of oneness, that how we treat each other, creatures, the earth, impacts ourselves and everything. It’s all connected. Empathy and compassion saves us all. We need each other more than we realize. It seems really simple, we are all human beings with the same basic needs, desires. It’s our social conditioning which gets in the way. We are on autopilot. And we grasp at all kinds of inane arguments to sidestep our cognitive dissonance to keep business as usual.

Maybe with our ability to connect online, more humane, altruistic ideas will reach more people and there will be more rapid change so we can save ourselves? Or will we believe the fear mongering of authoritarianism?

Sometimes chaos unearths the disease so what was once subclinical  becomes full blown where it can be seen and healed.

No place to hide anymore.

Either we’re all objects or we’re all equal humans. It’s really easy, right? <3

Love y’all.

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Michelle Miyagi

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