I debated with myself, (something I avoid doing because it never fails that whenever I do, I always lose), whether I should post this in The Gray Area
forum, or here. My own sense of helplessness is overwhelming indeed, and for that reason I believed that whatever it is I have to say about that
belonged in The Gray Area, but just as overwhelming is the sense of helplessness, I still carry hope. It would seem, for the moment at least, that I
have not succumbed to hopelessness. Hope is still alive. Seemingly on a life support system, with all sorts of tubes and gee gaws going in and
sticking out of it, hope hangs on...by a limb, but stubbornly hangs on.
Part of the reason I thought about posting this in The Gray Area is because I can only speak intelligently to my own sense of helplessness. That
overwhelming sense of helplessness is strong today, and in a large part because I am a still a smoker. I still smoke cigarettes even though I cannot
remember the last time I actually enjoyed smoking one. Life has been a struggle for as long as I can remember, and I sure ain't getting any younger,
but life keeps getting harder and harder, and the fact that I am still smoking strikes me as a remarkably stupid habit. Walking up hills is a
struggle now, and embarrassingly I have to stop and catch my breath often when doing so. Even when I don't stop to catch my breath, it is not as if
I am not horribly winded. Yet, soon after I will light up a cigarette and not enjoy it.
I write a lot about personal power in these forums, and I hold a strong belief in the power of one, and have great faith in my own power. I am not
alone in that faith - and I mean not alone in people who have faith in my own personal power - there are others who insist they have faith in me too.
These people, most of them, clearly have faith in their own personal power as well. It is always heartening to hear it when someone - many times out
of the blue - tells me they have faith in me, but sometimes it is not enough to stay the overwhelming sense of helplessness I struggle with. The
smoking addiction is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to me doing stupid things in spite of possessing the knowledge that such stupidity is
not only killing me, it is greatly diminishing my quality of life.
I bring up the smoking to make this personal, and to share with those who read this that I am far from wise, no where near as powerful as I pretend to
be, and just as overwhelmed by the sense of helplessness as the next person. The reality is that when any of us decide to take on a difficult task,
usually the first thing that happens is that we are met with a wave of emotions that are largely negative. I can only speak for myself, but I am
fairly certain that most of us, when beginning a difficult task, feel incompetent and doubt our own abilities. Often times I feel like an imposter,
which is fitting to discuss here since I am writing under an assumed name, but even when I am not and just plain old me, I feel as if I am a poser who
knows deep down inside that I cannot accomplish what I am about to set out to accomplish.
My first thoughts regarding this wave of negative emotions is that it is a normal reaction and that most, if not all people experience them, but then
I wonder. Is it normal to feel incompetent? Is it normal to be incompetent? Of course, I suppose it depends on what is meant by normal. When we
feel these waves of negative emotions are we conforming with a standard, or level, or type, or some social norm? Is it a social norm to feel
incompetent when faced with difficult tasks? Is that what we have become as a society that it is normal to feel incompetent, or is there something
else at play?
Is it normal to have negative thoughts? Are emotions such as fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, and anger, normal? When I was much younger I had a wise
old man - an archetypal figure who imparted wisdom to to better prepare the hero, (in this case me), for the trials and tribulations ahead - who told
me that all things come down to multiples of two. It is either this, or it is that. If it is this, then that comes down to two more choices, which
that can be divided by two, and that divided by two, and so on and so on. I was younger then, and didn't understand this the way I understand it
today. All things do come down to multiples of two, and with emotions, it is either fear based, or it is love based. So, in that regard, I suppose
fear is "normal", but let's think about that for a moment.
Is fear all it is cracked up to be? Of course, if we are going to seriously consider that question, I suppose it is fair to ask if love is all it is
cracked up to be. So, before we get into fear, and all that entails, let's discuss love for a moment. Love is often equated with romance, but I am
not talking about roses, hearts and valentines when I ask if love is all it is cracked it up to be, I am talking about unequivocal, unconditional
love. Is such a thing normal? In my experience of it, it is not. Unconditional love? Who loves unconditionally, and I mean the humans walking
among us today? Do you love unconditionally? Do I? God knows I try, but tragically I fall way short of that mark. Is it even possible to love
unconditionally some person who is clearly trying to harm us? Shouldn't we understandably fear them?
The problem with fear is that it is a contraction, not an expansion. Love is an expansion. Multiples of two. We are either expanding, or we are
contracting, and I am not talking about weight gain or loss, because God knows that my waist keeps expanding, and all my efforts to lose weight,
whatever accomplishments I find in that area, it is only a matter of time before I discover that I didn't really lose that weight, and it was right
where I left it...on my waist, but what I am talking about is our spirit. Would we could expand our minds as easily as we can expand our waists. If
only a Big Mac could add to our intellect instead of our girth. If only a cigarette could expand my mind instead of my lungs, and oddly, as much as I
fear insanity, I keep smoking cigarettes, and even keep stuffing Quarter Pounder's down my throat once or twice a week, as if these actions are sane.
It is not that I expect a different result each time, and frankly I am not operating under the impression that Einstein's crack about insanity is
the proper definition of it, I am just saying, that's all.
Like a deer caught in the headlights, I keep doing stupid things. So much for love. So much for expansion. Fear is certainly a normal emotion in my
biological lexicon, and it sure as hell seems to be a social norm as well. Fear too often leads to helplessness. Just ask the deer caught in the
headlights...thud...never mind, don't ask. Fear, it would seem, is not very productive at all, and yet fear permeates our psyche's, and our
civilizations. If we are not fearing the terrorists, we are fearing the government, or fearing the inevitability of aliens landing, or Niburu coming
to spank us soundly, or just the normal everyday disasters that seem to be increasing at an alarming rate. Much to be afraid of, no time to worry
about love. Unconditional love? Do you have any idea how overwhelming my sense of helplessness is? I have a hard enough time just loving my family,
and you want me to love everyone on the planet unconditionally? Pfffffttttt.
Love is a discipline, fear is a habit. Like smoking cigarettes, fear may in the early habit forming stages bring some pleasure, but after a while it
is just a nasty habit that causes damage and offers no benefit what-so-ever. This is not to argue that by loving each other we must tolerate
nonsense, but we do not have to hate - a fear based emotion - the nonsensical person, and we certainly do not have to fear them. We can love them and
show compassion, all the while taking them to task for their lunacies, and we can, while we're at it, take ourselves to task for our own lunacies.
Who the hell am I to lecture people on love when I clearly do not love myself enough to just stop smoking?
What does all of this have to do with General Conspiracies? I am wondering if fear has not been used against the individual personal power since time
immemorial, and has been used by those who cast a longing eye on positions of power as a means by which to gain, and maintain positions of power.
Going back to the question of normalcy regarding fear and an overwhelming sense of helplessness, perhaps the better question to ask is it natural?
There surely was no conspiracy involved in convincing the deer to freeze up when faced with its inevitable death in front of oncoming headlights, or
at least I don't think there was, so maybe to some degree fear is natural. A survival mechanism designed to get us to act, and yet, how strange that
a deer would freeze up in front of an oncoming car with headlights. Of course, deer are crepuscular, perhaps both biologically and metaphorically,
although I am not so sure that deer are as dim as people claim they are.
I used to live up in the Hollywood Hills, and up towards the Hollywood sign there is a grocery market. One day i was walking up Beachwood Avenue on
my way to the market, and at some point wanted to cross the street to make my way directly to that market. It was just before twilight, so the sun
was still out, and at that time of the day traffic is at a peak. Many people coming home from work were driving up Beachwood which made it difficult
to cross. As I was waiting to cross, a deer walked up beside me. (Hollywood has its magical state, but the Hollywood Hills is even more magical).
The deer was not nearly as patient as me and clearly wanted to cross Beachwood, stepping forward, but then stepping back to avoid the oncoming
traffic. This little dance of deer went on for a few minutes before some guy stopped so that the deer and I could cross.
I started to cross but noticed that the deer was hesitant, still sort of doing that dance of his. I stopped and waited to see what the deer would do.
The deer looked at me, then looked at the guy behind the wheel of his car, then back at me, then back at the guy in his car. Finally, the guy behind
the wheel of his car motioned for the deer to cross, and with that the deer darted off across the street and disappeared into to wooded yard of
someone's house. I watched the deer dart off and then looked at the guy behind the wheel and we both laughed at this magical moment we shared
together, and then I crossed the street and went to the market. I don't know how dim deer are in general, but that particular deer didn't seem to
be all that stupid. Anyway, deer are, as I'm told, crepuscular, which means their activity peaks about an hour after sunrise, and an hour before
sunset, and at this time their vision is optimized for low light. When a deers eyes are dilated and caught the beams of a headlight and it captures
all this light, the deer just can't see at, so they just freeze and do nothing at all until their eyes can adjust. Is that fear? If it is, then I
guess it is natural, although a deer being slammed by an oncoming car is not all that natural, and certainly wasn't all that natural one hundred
Is fear natural, or is it much more insidious than that? Must we be afraid in order to act in brave ways, or is bravery better facilitated by love?
Why is it that it seems that civilizations are paralyzed by fear and have so much fear of love? How in the hell did civilization even begin when so
much of it today is paralyzed by fear? This is why I tend to think there very well may be some sort of conspiracy afoot, and yet, if there is, what
the hell is the plan? What sort of conspiracy is it where people would conspire to convince masses of people that fear is better than love? What is
gained by such a conspiracy? Power? Depopulation? Is it depopulation, and isn't a conspiracy to reduce the human population of the planet fear
based? Are those who are conspiring - if they indeed are - to convince the masses to live in fear, free of fear themselves?
It can boggle the mind, all this wondering how and why fear has become the operative in so many peoples lives. It boggles the mind so much so that it
can lead to an overwhelming sense of helplessness. All my life I have held great faith in humanity and the phenomenal potential this species
possesses. Then...there are days like today...not that I have suddenly lost my faith in humanity, I haven't. I just feel an overwhelming sense of
helplessness. I feel incompetent. Like an imposter. I don't know, maybe I am about to embark on my next great adventure, and without even knowing
it, I can see just how difficult my next project is - whatever that is - and so now the waves of negative emotions just keep pouring in.
What makes me think I can take on any new great adventure, let alone the undisclosed one that hides in the dark shadows of my mind that seems to be
generating this sense of overwhelming helplessness. What makes me think I can handle any adventure when I can't even quit smoking? It's not that I
can't quit, it's that I won't. Why won't I? What the hell is wrong with me? What a poser! Do you see how these negative thoughts can spiral out
of control and only exacerbate the overwhelming sense of helplessness? Am I just the product of some big insidious conspiracy that has been going on
since time immemorial, or is all of this just natural...just normal stuff that everybody goes through, or is all this natural normal stuff that
everybody goes through a product of some big insidious conspiracy that has been in play since time immemorial?
In the end, I just don't know. What I do know is that I still have hope. No matter how hard life gets, no matter how many times I stumble - and
believe me, boy do I stumble - no matter how many times I fail, I still have hope. If I were to lose hope, I suspect that would be the end of me.
The death of hope is the death of life itself. That thought is genuinely disturbing thought if you believe, as I do, that we are immortal spirits
that inhabit these mortal bodies. It is disturbing because if the death of hope is the death of life itself, that means that long before the physical
body dies, for those who lose hope, something else dies first, that something else being their immortal spirit. Such a thought strikes me as
remarkably insane. How can an immortal spirit die? What happens to an immortal spirit who brings about their own physical death by killing their
sense of hope? What happens to that spirit after physical death? Does the spirit inhabit yet another body, only this time with no sense of hope?
What does such a cycle create? Could it possibly create the situation we are in today?
Now if this kind of thinking doesn't bring on an overwhelming sense of helplessness, I don't know what will, and if that is the case and there are
people who can navigate through such kind of thinking unscathed by the negative emotions that follow, that is someone worth admiring! Sadly, that
someone is not me. I believe in the personal power of the individual. I believe all individuals have this personal power. I believe we are capable
of so much more than we ever seem to accomplish, and maybe because I believe this, I tend to succumb to an overwhelming sense of helplessness. Then
again, maybe there is a conspiracy afoot, and I am just doing what I can to fight this insidious conspiracy that seeks to not only kill the ability of
people as physical beings, but seeks to kill their spirit. Maybe someday I will become strong enough to fight such a conspiracy, but for today, maybe
it is best I begin the painful process of quitting smoking...maybe not today, but maybe tomorrow...I may be overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness,
but I still hold hope.