When you look at the state of the world too closely, you can become overwhelmed by feelings of futility, especially when you see how dark things appear
Day and night the media, mass marketing, and the government overwhelm us with messages telling us how dark the world is, and many of us become overwhelmed with feelings of futility. However, we forget things like the very simple saying: “is the cup half empty or half full?”
We hear this adage so many times that we begin to lose a sense of its simple, helpful meaning. Such a simple maxim can be useful when navigating the bombardment of messages, we experience.
Firstly, for argument’s sake, I will refer to things like the mainstream media, government, corporations, systems or any other -isms as Establishments. We can call them this as they are presenting themselves to you as an authority or expert, and they wish to make you submit to them.
When any Establishment seeks to control you, they will use fear. The way they make you feel fear is to present an issue in a negative light. In other words, they will tell you that the cup is half empty.
It doesn’t matter which side you align with: left, right, center, or even something alternative to that. If that group wishes to manipulate you, they will use fear. Fear that something will happen to you, or fear that something terrible will happen to something or someone else.
You will fear that you are missing out on something. Or you will feel guilty that you weren’t aware that you should be feeling fearful, or even angry. These groups may make you feel that if you are not as angry as they are, you will be abandoned, rejected and alienated from society.
After they grip you with fear, they will give you a remedy. If that remedy costs money, or will hurt someone else, or asks you to spread hate, then you have a clue that they are seeking to manipulate you with darkness, to get something from you. Something like submission, or your money.
The Good Vs. Evil myth
If they are creating an environment of good vs. evil, where they depict their side as the pure savior angels, and the other as pure evil, it is time to smell the rat. After all, there is no such thing as absolute evil or absolute good in this world. Which is why evil and good are so hard to differentiate at times!
When these Establishments utilize fear, they are accessing a part of your brain that will cause you to stop thinking rationally. Humans are emotional creatures, and it is our emotional responses that help us to survive. If there is an emergency, our brain stem will kick in with the fight or flight response.
If there is a real emergency, this is a perfect response. However, Establishments will tell you there is an emergency, even if you have not personally witnessed that emergency. They may contrive propaganda or manipulate images and information to make you assume you have observed proof. Consequently, they will get a rise of fear from you.
Contrived fight or flight response
The downside of the fight or flight response is that when you are in that brain zone, you are incapable of accessing your rational brain. Your body is telling you to survive, you get angry and want to respond accordingly. These Establishments know this and bank on the fact that you are, at that moment, incapable of being rational.
While you are incapable of being rational, they will tell you what to think, feel and do. They will use guilt to perpetuate your fight and flight response. Consequently, you will believe anything, because your, or someone else’s survival has been contrived to be at risk.
Sadly, this means we live in a dark world where we do not know who to trust. Everyone appears to have an agenda. So how do we navigate this?
1. Ask yourself how you can view a situation as “cup half full” and brainstorm ways to make it full
The quickest route to seeing how the cup is half full is good old fashioned gratitude. Pay attention to what you may have taken for granted.
Looking for the spark of light in what looks like a pile of ashes can also be a way to get a proverbial warm fire going again. Fearmongers try to tell you that all things are doom and gloom. But usually, they are hiding the fact that there is a dormant seed of potential in everything. Remember, there is always a light that never goes out. Fan that life-giving light into a flame.
2. Remember the bigger picture
Fearmongers will encourage you to narrow your entire worldview. They practice fishbowl thinking, whereby they will attempt to convince you that the fearful thing they are describing is the only thing in the universe demanding your attention.
In reality, whatever they are describing is like a jigsaw puzzle piece of the bigger picture. And it may not even fit properly into your picture. Analyze any information you receive in relation to whether or not it fits into your universe. If it doesn’t, discard it. If it does, then remember it still is only a small part of everything else, and not worth losing your rationality over.
3. Remind yourself of your values
Reminding yourself about your values is crucial to maintaining rationality in the face of any crisis. What is important to you? What do you believe are the most valuable ways for you to act and respond? For example, if compassion is one of your values, it will remind you to respond to information with love and kindness.
In this way, if you feel that a fearmonger is expecting you to act with anger and bitterness, you will know there is something not quite authentic about their message. Remembering your values is especially important when those who may claim to ascribe to your views seek to appropriate your cause to act in an authoritarian way.
4. Remember that there is always an outside of the box
Many times we forget that our human perceptions are extremely limited. We can only see so far, and hear so much. In this infinite universe, we are but a speck.
This is also true of any Establishment that tries to tell you that their dark view is dominant to yours. They are also only humans and restricted by their perceptive limitations when running these Establishments. It is an automatic given that they are most certainly not authorities on the realities of the universe.
Sometimes the most comforting salve is that we all know nothing. While the world can be a dark place, it is important to remember there are distant bright stars full of possibility that we could never imagine.
5. Trust yourself
Ultimately, you are the primary authority in your life, and about your life. You only have one life to live, and it is such a shame if you sell any of your power to any Establishment.
One of the ways an Establishment tries to stifle you is by telling you that specific questions and conversations are forbidden. They threaten death, debt, suffering or damnation if you dare cross the line and question their authority. Immediately this is a red flag.
The truth can withstand all questions. If something cannot withstand questioning, it is by default, not the truth. Trust yourself to navigate towards authenticity and honesty by the power of your questions and curiosity. Indeed, this is the source of your inner light. The very light that can obliterate any darkness that fills you with feelings of futility.
Image credit: Leonid Ll via flickr.com