There’s a great deal of talk about “toxicity” these days. My challenge here is to explore an idea that feels so deeply engrained in collective culture it seems to me like the rotting core of today’s mentality.
The title might suggest a critique of religiosity, but our world worships at many altars – though we might now call them Capital P platforms. Our gods can take the shape of supernatural beings, charismatic and/or intellectually and/or humanity vacant politicians, castle owning authors of second rate fantasy and/or experts in the field of sounding like experts in the field of their field of apparent ex-PhD-ertise, some or all busily trotting out screenshot-friendly half-baked ideas online in the hope to confirm the biases of their frothing flock.
CAN’T RELATE OBV
Whatever the flavour of worship, the central theme is constant. As soon as we’re born we’re broken. Life must be poured into the bottomless fix. There’s something wrong with us. If you don’t agree, there’s always someone out there to teach you the problem you have and set you on the impossible path to getting better.
I’ve led a trauma-free, coddled life and yet even I could bullet point the ways in which I fail to meet standards. I call these standards mine, but they’re not. They came from somewhere else and despite my desire to resist, are so corrosive that they seem to poison me from the inside out, a list long enough to stop me from doing anything.
It’s obvious as I attempt to articulate this position, I’m still spinning in a “something’s wrong with us” vortex. Even though I describe the human animal breaking ranks with it’s senses, the narrative reads as “No this is what’s ackchyually wrong with us.” Like I say, the rotting core of a broken mentality. I have wits enough to see it, but lack the equipment to traverse unscathed.
The millennia-old preoccupation with oneself and others comes from extracting our selves from reality. At some point we stopped being in the world and started being on it, all the while hoping to get off. Things stopped happening and started happening to us. We stopped misplacing things and started having things stolen. Time started to emanate from us – we walk into the future, leaving the past behind. Heaven stopped being the earth beneath our feet and became the nebulous unknown above us. This is not the same for all people. There are places in the world where time having a person-centric direction is absurd. Where the earth is still called Mother. I wonder if the way our language formed assisted in this displacement from the world or if our displacement resulted in formation of the language of self.
Corroded Cogs in an Idiot Robot
As human cognition declines with each generation, we prove our intelligence to ourselves by diligently focusing on minutiae. We simplify the complex only to “discover” yet more complexity demanding simplification. We categorise, compartmentalise and abstract. We stand now with our nose so close to the painting we can describe the texture of the canvas, identifying blobs and streaks in front of us bereft of shape. We can no longer see the art. With this view, all we perceive is meaningless and chaotic expression. This comes from being able to describe in excruciating detail what we are looking at with absolutely no understanding of it. We feel compelled to rationalise each thing in front of us in an attempt to have it make more sense or at least to bring us comfort. It never does.
This is not our old mind. We grew seeing patterns, learned to interpret interactions and relationships. Our old mind exists within us still. Wiser and wider than any deep furrow we have since ploughed. World-view in place of point-of-view.
Imagine a jigsaw puzzle where you see one piece at a time. If I asked you to put the puzzle together, you may suggest it was a foolish way to go about things. Perhaps it would seem to make no sense. Perhaps it would result in a hopeless feeling of unease, that something was wrong.
Respect Your Elders / Kids These Days
I’ve heard and felt a depth of wisdom from folk twice and half my age. It feels as though the title of this section is a bollixed translation. Respect the elder mind. The seer, not the sayer. The younger mind is fraught with hangups and distemper – overwhelmed by beholding a huge world comprised of precariously stacked matchboxes – hoping one may contain the means to light a warming fire. It may have little to do with years on the earth and more to do with perspective or lack thereof. Respecting ones elders could mean our entire genetic heritage and should not be limited to the grey haired among us. The same should be said for levelling criticism at generations after our own. They are being forced to carry the burden of our newer mind thinking.
Not Broken Don’t Fix
This younger mind paranoia is what leads to the subject of this post. The idea that something’s wrong and and has to be repaired. A miasma of unease matched with an ardent but narrow scope of focused guilt. OUT, DAMNED SPOT! An endless loop of running repairs on a self that was never in need of them and a sensation of crushing failure and dismay when goals are achieved, rules adhered to, checkboxes ticked – that still wasn’t it.
Okay well… on to the next I guess?
The younger mindset is chained to endless unenthusiastic self flagellation, aggrandisement, improvement and atonement. Because maybe, if I fix this problem I’ll feel less lost in the big world of tiny teetering closed boxes. To call this outlook childish would be a disservice to children. The elder mind is free. The elder mind sees patterns, nurtures relationships, seeks not to conquer but to experience, strives to see what’s possible. Odd then that we can hear of “childlike curiosity” – something that seems much more ancient than it’s modern day counterpart which looks like inspection more than understanding.
The Fall? The Fucking Whatnow?
Religious texts sometimes talk about humanity’s fall from innocence. This prosthelytising comes now not only from the pulpit, but also the mirror, the scale, the classroom, the boardroom, the media, the internet. It’s all the same noise from a blinkered perspective and it can be enough to cause us to feel accused of failure before we begin. Idk about you, but that seems pretty fucking toxic. If there has indeed been a fall from grace, the wording’s a bit weird considering the human animal has elevated itself above all else. We’re unable to see the cause contains the remedy. We wander a high walled maze yet we carry a step ladder.
It may be missing some rungs, but I reckon we should trying climbing out and lowering ourselves back to the ground outside – just to see what happens.
Hit me up or comment below if you’d like to discuss this further.