Are You Wearing A Humane Mask?

>>  Friday, October 28, 2011

A few posts ago I mentioned personal growth... And I'd really like to continue that thought as it's always been at the core of who I think I am.

For as long as I can remember I was always asking questions after "answers" had been presented to me.  I was a why-kid.  And as an adult I enthusiastically sought out self-help books and tapes and other individual actualization guides.  Always a student of pop-psychology, doing inner child work... Reading of ways to improve myself and understand the social structures of the world - I sought works from Gail Sheehy, John Bradshaw, Nathaniel Branden, Erich Fromm, Naomi Wolf, and countless others that would offer analysis of which way to go and why.  

In all that I've gleaned, I really believe growth must come from desiring the truth so much that you're willing to return to your initial beliefs and find the doubts that are still there...  I think you have to throw out everything you think you know, in order to make room for honest discoveries that form real ideas.  Genuine ideas based on the code of values you've developed long after you were given someone else's... After all - There are so many decisions on what's the proper way to live.   And choosing the right one - Ought to matter.

A critical thinker cannot lean on the crutch that they do what they do because that's how they were raised.  Everyone has a social obligation and an obligation to themselves to figure out their own truths!

But it seems that most people are content with distorted reflections that suit external and pragmatic purposes only. 

We disguise and masquerade ourselves with words that define what we want to see ourselves as: kind, compassionate... humane.
But does a kind, generous and benevolent culture wage war on others for material gain? Can we really defend wholesale slaughter of innocent life - Not for survival... But for greed, lust and gluttony?
Is it acceptable to strategically go into the homes of others with weapons?
Does wanting a new shade of eye shadow justify the torture of billions of sentient beings?
Is it okay to desire the fur or skin of some one else?
Does our whim for entertainment excuse stealing babies and enslaving them for our superficial pleasures?
Can we call ourselves kind - Or even rational... If we think it's okay to buy a murdered body when cutting up a few vegetables would serve just as well?

Like I said... I'm the curious one -  I reached my conclusions with thought and care.  I challenged my preconceived ideas to find a deeper substance than hand-me-down dogma of past generations.  I'm not done learning... But I know what kindness is.
This Halloween, might I suggest if you haven't removed your mask of delusions that you do so now?  Really examine who you want to be and see if your actions follow through to that end.

If you truly want to be generous, kind, compassionate and humane - Don't be scared! Live as such!


veganelder October 28, 2011 at 3:47 PM  

What a great post Bea! As someone that spent nearly 40 years wallowing around in the field of psychotherapy...I can only repeat your words: "..growth must come from desiring the truth so much that you're willing to return to your initial beliefs and find the doubts that are still there... I think you have to throw out everything you think you know, in order to make room for honest discoveries that form real ideas."

To continue growth and incorporate new knowledges and learnings into those that are ours requires the willingness go through the agony and confusion that accompanies throwing out what we previously thought we knew. Over and over and over again...if necessary. This is something few have either the desire or the courage to do. Your picture of the evil queen is exactly on the mark...most of us settle...

That's not a bad thing necessarily, but as you point out...that settling too many times involves our believing and behaving in ways that can only be described as...evil. And often we see that the "easier" way is to lie to ourselves and others rather than go through the slough of despond and confusion that is often required to move into new seeings and ways of living...and hence we see the bulk of human animals talking kindness and living misery and death.

The longer we live, the more opportunity we have to know more...knowing more means we must change to put that new knowing to use and change is difficult. So sad and depressing that too too many opt to pretend and fake and lie and hide. Sad for those who do this and sad for all the other living beings that pay the price.

This great difficulty that accompanies change and growth tells us why so many human animals reach an advanced age yet evince little wisdom. They settled and avoided the hard work of learning and growing...and then they are a 10 year old trapped in a 70 year old body wondering what happened.

That will obviously never be your fate.

Super duper writing Bea and thanks on behalf of the other animals!!

Bea Elliott November 5, 2011 at 8:59 PM  

Hi VE - Great to know I'm not too far off track in self-analysis. And though it sounds like the solution - Try as I have, I still don't believe I've been totally successful at throwing *everything* out. Every now and then, something comes creeping by - A thought or idea that really hasn't been questioned at all... I guess there are secrets we even keep from ourselves - Sort of like the Johari Window - So it's tough to throw out what you can't even acknowledge (yet)... If that makes any sense. (?) I'm certain that's what you mean by "Over and over and over again...if necessary."

But that is a lot of work isn't it? And so very easy to leave un-done. You're totally right about the sloughing. (Love that term!) Everytime a false notion is discovered it requires a remake in thinking and in actions. Painful? Yes! But how can one not change (go vegan) with new information? It makes matters worse when others want to remain stuck and will even imply that there's a "fickleness" to growth. If you think too hard, question too much, or re-align your actions to beliefs you become "difficult" to be around. (sigh)

No... VE I don't think my fate will be to remain a trapped child into my advanced senior years... The exact opposite is true - I was born "old" or at least born serious... Thanks for being one of the rare ones who accepts and likes me this way! ;)