I'm trying to understand just what is is about a certain group of people that terrifies me so. They feel like a certain kind of extremist to me, and I'm trying to understand what part of that may be correct and what part is projecting from my own flabby innards the fears that I'm still in the process of letting go of.
I think ultimately my fear is really about how terrifyingly destructive people can be at certain ends of extremes - at what they can do in the name of their own rightness. It's an ongoing source of unfunny amusement to me that though the ends of the particular spectrum I'm thinking of contain people almost diametrically opposed to each other, people at extremes end up sounding and acting remarkably alike in their ugliness and narrowing of insight in defense of their space.
Which of course both would take umbrage at, their tiny lens on proceedings apparently being the kind that enables them to know the whole world. That is the way of these things, isn't it - we find truth in one area and insist on smearing it over everything.
I love science. I don't love religion. I'm amenable and open and experienced in the realm of life packaged up as "the spiritual". And yet though I love science, love exploring the wonders of the beautiful world, scientific materialists stink up my corner. They seem to carry behind them a large suitcase of preconceptions about how the world is and how it isn't, which is not very scientific; it's the same surety that is displayed just as creepily in their opposing fundamentalist Christian counterparts.
This part of human nature more than anything makes me wish to run away from this world and live on Pluto.
So I'm trying to understand why I react so hard to those who occupy the scientific materialist space - the idea that there is nothing beyond the physical or the measurable. Their end of the spectrum is a complete flipside to those waaaaaaay up the other end, who tend to view the physical being on its way out and the spiritual being where it's at. (The spiritual, however, in the fundamentalist paradigm does not give any kind of human-sized easy turning circle to a person. It is a space full of restriction, of laws, of regulations, of fear).
Do I somehow link that expanded side of living that some criticise
and even refuse to acknowledge as existing with opening, growth,
awakening in myself of the most beautiful, and so therefore if someone criticises that aspect of life as
being unscientific and therefore not to be contemplated, I automatically fear them as potentially evil? It seems so, though I feel a bit embarrassed writing that word "evil".
hard to not look at both fundamentalist Christians and scientific
materialists in their narrow rooms as being both fear-ridden
and fear-mongering. And yet my view of them is also fear-ridden and
fear-mongering, isn't it? All of this narrowness just perpetuates more
narrowness and fear. And how much of reality do I then see in this instance when so much fear abounds?
And I think we have had enough of fear. Indeed, it's what drives the status quo of the world's imbalance. Fear.
yet also, if I get quiet and thoughtful, I can also awaken an element
of ... I dunno, what do I call that? Love? Well-wishing? Whatever I call it, I can awaken it and direct it towards those people who I fear and at times hate. It can sit alongside the fear and even dispel it. I know, because I do it sometimes.
Acceptance. The carpenter said it in a way that is a radical - almost insane - level of acceptance of what is: turn the other cheek when someone slaps the first. There is something profound that lies underneath the initial knee-jerk reaction of this being about the awesomeness of passivity
and being a doormat. I don't reckon it's about externals; I reckon it's about managing internals, about managing what actually happens so as to not stay caught up in it. It's about getting past resisting the
bad shit that happens to us to a monumental freedom. So monumental that
we can fly way beyond the fear that is engendered by those who
are doing the slapping, who, more often than not, are perpetuating the
me-win/you-lose paradigm that is so destructive to us and to our earth. So monumental that we are freed then to act out of something other than fear.
In our conceptions, so many of us end up acting with aggression rather than love towards those who may differ, though both sides are equally as capable as cultivating openness and understanding and a refusal to belittle towards those who differ.
When I examine the knee-jerk way I react to those of the scientific materialist persuasion I think I understand partly why there is such a mass level of fear and reactivity that comes from me. Partly it's because I have found such great awakening through the aspect of life that so many of them dismiss with criticism. And so therefore I feel defensive that they criticise a way of being that apparently, perhaps for reasons of temperament, they do not walk in themselves. It is this way of being that has opened up so much in me and has given me the gift of seeing both me and the world as something special. This side of being has made me a better humanist. It is from its perspective that I see future change and possibility of freedom.
And so that's partly why I am so knee-jerk to scientific materialists. It's also because this particular paradigm is a powerful one, and yet it is capable of much damage. There have been many, many cultures in the past, each with their own paradigms of viewing the world. It can seem a little befuddling to us learning how certain people saw the world the way they did, and the actions that stemmed from those worldviews. It is much easier to see with a long-range perspective the absurdities that come from particular paradigms than to link our own causes and effects. Ours of course is no different. It's hard to avoid seeing how much damage the western style of living can do to the earth (though there is much conjecture around how much we humans are contributing to it) and it's hard for me to avoid concluding that it is this narrowly focussed version of seeing - from which the scientific materialist mindset directly springs - that is the culprit. It is a way of seeing, a mindset - a brainset, really - that has vast and great and massive benefits, but which needs to be reined in lest it becomes a tyrant.
If you don't know what you're missing and what you don't understand, will you necessarily go searching for it? If your view is unbalanced and skewed, sometimes you can sense that, and you go stepping forward in the dark towards trying to find something that you don't even know what it is. But then what happens if what is required to balance is located in a giant container you have named Irrelevance? What if balance gets located for you over there to the right that you associate with those hippies and those creepy druids dancing round trees and bleating about the sanctity of stuff? Do you walk away then because for you the labels and the categories are more important than the contents? Do you think that if god is dead then this whole container is dead?
Of course I'm caricaturising here. Both ways of seeing the world are absolutely compatible inside the one human being. In fact, it's the balanced amongst us that carry my hope for the future righting of the many wrongs we see. Somewhere in the middle of these two spectrums of being and of defending our own worldviews lie people open to both spectrums. And it's there, with the meeting if you like of matter and spirit, that the bestest and truest examples of humanity emerge.