“Denial can be so thick” someone once said to me. It’s so true. No wonder so many mainstream Americans (not Opednews bloggers) remain silent concerning so many things, from civil liberties violations to 9-11 pre-planning to martial law to god knows what else. And no wonder, given the scenarios below, so many activists face ridicule and are scapegoated.
The analogy of the cyclatron comes to mind. Built with lead walls fourteen inches thick, nuclear atoms are bounced off those thick lead walls for days at a time or even longer. What would it take to finally melt all those thick and heavy walls down? How much heat can the cyclatron take before it too begins to melt like candle wax?
The answer is: A LOT!
Such is the case with human denial. Those thick walls we build up from within, to shield our psyche. Yes, the key word here is “Shield”. From what? Emotional pain. Information which, once acknowledged as real, would turn our whole world upside-down, shock our psyches, embitter us to the world, change our sense of self and of reality over-all, alter our coping mechanisms, and who knows what else.
No wonder we build such thick walls, psychologically. Reality threatens to knock down our walls all the time, just like the atoms bouncing off the cyclatron. The mental tricks we as human beings come up with are endless, to prevent pain from shattering our psychological bubble:
Psychology recognizes “Patient identification” as a known subconscious trick, in which a perpetrator labels his/her victim as “The Problem” instead of looking in the mirror. People who have grown up in abusive homes themselves, when shamed excessively for the most minor mistakes, simply can’t bear to think that they, too, are capable of wrong-doing. The world at large becomes the object of blame, rather than face the pain of awareness that yes, we ourselves are human and flawed. Or, god forbid, that we ever did anything wrong. That truth simply is too painful for some shame-based people to accept. Thus, the victim is wronged twice: First, by the violation, then by being blamed for it. The end result lacks all logic: The perpetrator Is Right and the victim is “framed” as The Perpetrator.
How logical, then, is the human mechanism of denial? Yet we activists will be confronted by it, all the time.
Then there’s the good old mental game of projection. Politicians are so admirably talented at seeing themselves in others: Labeling “the other side” (such as 9-11 truth activists) as “terrorists” is only one example. What a brilliant self-description uttered by the politicians, eh? They discuss the horrors of the Holy Jihadists while themselves waging shock and awe against a nation which never attacked us. They think they are seeing the world at large for what it is, but in truth are seeing a stunningly accurate reflection of their own selves. And they are fully convinced of the truth of what they see in the world, and of every word they utter. Doubt it? Just watch them and decide for yourself what you think.
And what about blowing off the searing truths? The more the truth hurts, the more we humans need to rationalize it somehow, to prevent it from penetrating our conscious awareness. Example: An activist discussing 9-11 pre-planning or pending enforcement of martial law is labeled “paranoid” and a “conspiracy theorist”. Some people may even snicker. Anything a person can do to spare themselves the anguish of reality’s searing pains, they will do. Of course, it’s not conscious. Even the accuser is not aware of his/her own pain, such as when acknowledging that Bush and Cheney are murderers on the loose, capable of heinous things like pre-planning 9-11. Thus, “The Kook” becomes the excuse for the denier to rigorously protect himself/herself from the dawning of truth. The facts will no longer bear any relevance to the denier: Instead, “The Kook” will dominate their mental frame of reference. Period.
No wonder we activists have such a hard time. We feel hopeless to “get through” to these people. We may misperceive them as being of ill intent, lacking in good hearts that care. How far this is from the real truth, at least in most cases. If we can compassionately understand that these people are suffering emotional pain, the irony is that not only will we feel better, but our activism will take a much more effective turn. We will soften our judgments and therefore our manner. Our presentations become more convincing and sensitive at the same time. The sensitivity, in turn, only lends us credibility. We are much less likely to become emotionally heated and lose effectiveness. The cause itself is more likely to flourish, given this compassionate attitude.
Knowledge is power: The psyche will find any number of techniques to protect itself from information which it is not yet ready to process. Thus, it becomes evident that our role as activists is *not always* to provide the real and convincing facts in order to recruit “the other side” to our aid. Truthfully, the more accurate the realities, the more likely the denier is to reject that information. Either they will ridicule us, laugh outright, rationalize and twist the truths, or somehow find any other way to do the obvious: Hide their heads under the covers.
I believe we as activists must learn to respect the needs of the psyche. Those who are emotionally equipped to deal with harsh reality, will listen and probably learn, responding rationally and objectively when given the evidence and facts. Those who are not emotionally ready to receive the information, will simply not respond to our truths. In fact, they will only recoil and rebel. The more we try to make them see it our way, the more evidence we lay out on the table, the more they will twist and wiggle their way out of seeing reality in its true proportion. And the more we push the truth, the more we will turn them off to it. It’s just like a salesman harping in your face: It’s called, by experienced salespeople, very bad technique. The only way to win people over is to respect their boundaries, as signaled by the heated responses which, in sub-text, are really trying to tell us: “Back off! I am not ready to deal with this!”
“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” is a good mantra for those of us who (like me, and I will confess it quite honestly) struggle with anger at the rest of the world for their lack of participation in the solution and, seemingly, their lack of caring about all the heinous crimes that are going on. I am finding it helpful to remind myself:
“Denial can be so thick” as to lead alcoholics to drink themselves to their graves. Talk about rationalizing as a tool of denial: The alcoholic suffers the illusion of control. After all, s/he can stay away from booze for months at a time…but ultimately, they also go back to it, losing house and home, friends, family and jobs in the process. If they end up on the street, “Denial can be so thick” as to whisper into their brain: “Really, you don’t have a problem. You can always stop. See? You did it before. You are in control. You are okay”. Yeah, right. Death, end of story.
Could this explain why Americans at large are still in a slumber regarding 9-11 pre-planning? After all, we Americans are so “into” watching detective movies, reading mystery novels, etc: Wouldn’t one think that we (as a broader American people) could have the Bush/Cheney crimes all figured out by now? Given our cultural proclivity to “play detective“, how is it even possible that Bush and Cheney are still walking free?
I’m sure you know where this is going.