Coincidentia Oppositorum

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Agree on the premises but squabble about the conclusion.

What sort of treachery has become reality!

It’s all about the rich, you see.

Ah, yet another scapegoat to deny my intrinsic responsibility.

Precisely.

Right and Left,

Rich and Poor,

Division is at our very core.

Our false dilemma is a deceptive snare that captures many in pits of despair.

Is all of this beyond repair?

Perhaps—to the extent that you’re aware.

How do you win in games of psychological warfare?

Prepare to be pulled into one-sidedness,

But continue moving where you allocate your care,

For finding bliss in either side would be remiss.

Before you dismiss, remember to give each cheek a kiss.

Divisions of the Heart

Brutality over emotionality is such a clever reality.

Chaos builds in the collective ‘we’ and inside of the individual’s ‘me’,

As violence in the name of righteousness blinds how we see.

An intermittent love marked by fleeting trust and hearts betrayed by lust.

Each day is a rush, as we move toward our eventual return to dust.

However, today is a must, for this is a moment to adapt and adjust.

Psychological Pitfalls

I’ve noticed a common theme from the side that is trying to counter this movement about justice for George Floyd, specifically, and social justice and equality for systemically oppressed populations, generally. That is, I noticed a theme of one-sideness and selection bias being rampant.

For example, to the latter point, people are selectively choosing to focus their attention toward anything but the deep, painful, raw, and pervasive issue at hand; instead, people resisting this sort of societal change are gravitating toward anything that they can use as a suitable straw man. Therefore, their arguments are usually highly fallacious, so it is better to limit engagement in these psychological trenches so the forward momentum can remain unified and targeted on the true goal: Justice.

The former point of one-sideness is intertwined with the biased selectivity outlined above; however, it delves somewhat deeper into the human psyche. Cognitive dissonance is the state of holding two opposing beliefs simultaneously, and it is well-documented that this phenomenon influences a multitude of human behaviors, because it makes people so uncomfortable that they are motivated to seek change. Unfortunately, inherent to life is constant change. Therefore, trying to resolve the tension produced by opposing forces through fortifying, or doubling-down, on a single point or node that is polarized toward a specific side is ultimately self-defeating. It is as if one is so disturbed—and, consequently, dysregulated (out of balance)—that balance is subjectively restored through the solidification of a single position. Furthermore, this single position is then fallaciously used and treated as if it is inherently self-sufficient.

Let’s take an example to further illustrate what is being said by this point. Take the example of rigid and flexible. If I were to resolve the tension between these two opposing forces by deciding that rigidness is all that matters, then this would be an example of being one-sided. However, if I were to take one more movement in this cognitive direction and decide that I was so happy by the security and comfort from believing in only rigidness, then I can start to discredit the existence or the necessity of flexibility.

We should pause at this point. It is quite easy to carry on from this line of thinking, transforming into subsequent arguments; however, at this point in the example, we have reached a point where, if we were to proceed, it would be rooted in a false dilemma; that is, there is not an argument originating from categories that exist in pairs of opposites. To belabor this point further, one cannot start with a premise that is rooted in a belief that the end is better than the means; particulars are better than universals; permanence is better than change; product is better than process; and individual is better than social.

For any of the above examples, as well as any other family of oppositions, to proceed with an argument that one side is better or worse than the other is starting an argument from a false dilemma; therefore, nullifying any subsequent arguments, premises, or conclusions made after the fact.

Hope for More

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In times of turmoil,
You are there to help in the toil.
For don’t let these opportunities be spoiled by fears that you won’t succeed here.
God has a plan for those that seek His face
However, this journey is set at His pace and you must learn to trust and have patience, even in the fear and uncertainty of the duration of this race.

Warning: Contains Political Content

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I have refrained from talking about the current political climate in America because the polarization of the “Us vs. Them” mindset seemed impossible to surmount. Out of fears of my inadequacies, I have chosen to remain silent, rationalizing to myself that my silence was justified: Peoples’ minds have chosen sides, and there is nothing that can be said or done to sway peoples’ opinions.

Upon recent reflection, I realized that I had let my cowardice get the best of me. Moreover, I discovered that within this presumption outlined above was the implicit acknowledgement of the “Us/Them” false dichotomy. However, even after this revelation, there still have been persistent beliefs within myself that allowed me to continue to bite my tongue: “You have nothing to offer, and, even if you did, it wouldn’t matter. No one would read it, even if they bothered to read it, it wouldn’t change their minds.” It was this last part that has compelled me to break my silence and finally write.

I am a counselor by trade, even so, it is still fascinating to discover irrational beliefs that produce internal (psychic) tension. The last part of this negative self-belief is where I illuminated a fundamental error in my line of thinking. Similar to the counseling process, the goal is not about changing someone’s mind, rather it is about providing new perspectives, experiences, reflections, etc. that further inquiry and help to refine and better define their beliefs, values, and aspirations.

Furthermore, this shift in my perspective about the starting point for political discussion has also allowed me to reflect upon the array of experiences I have been collecting. I am a member of groups and organizations that would be deemed “far-right,” as well as ones which lean towards the “far-left.” Initially, these group experiences produced a great sense of tension within me that was further exacerbated by the division being portrayed within the American news. However, through maintaining the delicate balance between being open-minded while, simultaneously, having the courage to hold to certain deeply held convictions, I have been able to resist the pull of absolutism; that is, the tendency to want to resolve my internal discomfort produced by the tensions of both sides and foreclose on one of them as the absolute truth and guiding principle that all people should adopt.

This has been a difficult endeavor to undertake, especially considering the political and cultural climate of America growing more rigid and extreme by the day. However, I am grateful for being able to be a part of the “in-group” for both groups of the left and the right, because it has allowed me to understand some of the more mundane experiences, issues, and concerns that are at the root of the larger movements and politics that flood the internet and media. It has provided me with faces and verbalized expressions of the people who hold certain ideologies, instead of the abstract, dehumanized, and dogmatic view of such ideologies that are often portrayed through media. The importance of the medium through which information is absorbed is often overlooked. When ideologies are provided, devoid of any relation to actual experience, it allows the individual’s assumptions, preconceptions, unconscious biases, and a host of other psychic content to be combined with their imaginative capacity. In turn, this perpetuates ideologies and beliefs as having a sort of life in and of themselves, outside of the lived experienced of individuals.

Moreover, this separation between ideologies and actual experiences is doing damage to our democracy, for many individuals have become so certain of the absolutism of their beliefs that there is no room for common ground. While the overt differences in beliefs are emphasized, the nuances within the ideologies of either side are overlooked or disregarded. Furthermore, these nuances have become beyond reproach, since they are entirely overshadowed by the perceived irreconcilable schism of the defining features of each ideology.

Therefore, the impetus for my writing about the topic of politics in America is to emphasize the aspects that are being overlooked. While the differences in ideologies and beliefs between the right and the left are being magnified–and, in fact, personified through the attack or defense of President Trump– the similarities of experienced shared by being a human being living in a world of struggle, change, uncertainty, with feelings of isolation, desire for belonging, and striving for purpose and meaning, are being entirely overlooked. Insofar, that these aspects that comprise life are being eliminated from communal discourse, unless both parties identify with one another politically and ideologically. This lack of communication between members of opposing sides will only deepen the divide that is already present, and it will erase the opportunity to live and interact as fellow citizens of a democracy, learning from one another and enriching each other’s lives through the sharing and celebrating of differences, as well as those of similarities.

“What You Resist Persists”

Today’s social and political climate is polarizing. It is times like these that we need to remember what we are fighting for.

A cause may start as a righteous one, but it quickly descends into treachery the moment the fight itself becomes pleasurable: when we derive joy from the suffering of others, even those most heinous; we have lost the way.

It is easy to loathe and idea, a cause, or someone that embodies them; but, if we fine tune our focus on the feelings of hatred, then our minds are shifted from the change that we want to bring and consumed by the flames of hatred that we are fueling within ourselves.

Remember that any battle should not be about the battle nor the opponent; it is about the outcome. And if the desired outcome be peace, then it cannot be manifested by those who are consumed by even a seemingly “righteous” hate.

Resistance is necessary. Enjoyment is not. The eye’s gaze should never  leave the vision of beauty. If you are consumed by your enemy, you will never win. If you are consumed by your vision, you cannot lose.

 

Critical Thinking on Sustaining Power

“The best way to control people is to make it so subtle they know not they are being controlled. Allow some freedoms so they do not question but retard the true potential possessed in the human.”

It would be much easier to rule if simply all accepted to be ruled, but for the masses to accept a ruling agenda, it must sound like it will benefit them. If one rules by force, there will always be some factions that conspires to use force against them; and, one day, they will overthrow them because of the difference in numbers between the ruling and the ruled. But if you rule by benevolence, perceived or authentic, you limit those conspirators to nil or few; the few would be shunned by the masses as outliers and not allowed to influence the other group members that make up the whole.

If I were a King?

When I think of being a king, I think of ruling.

But that is where I have made my first mistake.

A king should not rule.

In actuality, if I were asked to make my first rule. I would automatically say, “that there are no rules.”

If this is the case, then nothing and no limitations can be put on anything after the fact because it would violate the first rule of no rules.

And what is something that has no limitations or restraints?

That is freedom and by definition it can have neither because if it does then it would not be free.