The thought is sobering. Thanks to the practice of self-remembering, I have pride in my immunity to at least this sort of obvious government and cultural proselytizing. Not surprisingly, given my conscious beliefs, the thought is also judgmental, making me feel both guilty and ashamed.
The Conflict Ripens
Over the next 24 hours, while compulsively watching TV and scanning newspapers, I spend time puzzling over my initial complex reaction to the onset of the war.
Attempting to put this reaction within a larger context, I recall my feelings from the evening of January 13th, the night before my weeping spell. For a few days I had been stricken with a respiratory disease (illness of the lungs -- corresponding to profound sadness.) So sickened was I by the realization of the carnage humanity was about to engage in, that I had lain flat on my bed, inert and in despair. By the evening of the 13th however, energy had begun to seep back into my body, and I began to pace the floor, nervously and obsessively cleaning house.
Connecting this unusual restlessness to the weeping of the next day, I saw the latter as a release of energy.
One of my female friends also spoke of a feeling of restlessness during the few days prior to the beginning of the war. "Something's just got to happen!" she said she told herself at one point, and then added, "I felt bad for feeling that way."
Talking with another female friend about the war, I noticed the same telltale fiery spark in her eyes. Unlike the first friend, she did not notice the contradiction between her enthusiasm and her conscious pacifist beliefs. Rather, like most people, she was interpreting her excitement as relief, saying how glad she was that it was going to quickly, so successfully (as it seemed to that first day, according to what the military fed the media.)
On the 17th, both Bush and Cheney warned against an "initial euphoria." Apparently, just about everyone in the country was brainwashed, their internal programs automatically interpreting the initial sense of excitement as identification with the winning team.
By this time, however, the contradiction between my conscious pacifist beliefs and my bodily surges was ripening to the point where it was beginning to yield fruit. Internally, I had been feeling this conflict as a terrible pressure within the chest, a need to break through some kind of barrier, to thus, once again, plunge into utterly open space.
The breakthrough, when it came, was both simple and profound. Simple, in that it seems obvious, and therefore difficult to really notice, to take seriously, much less pay attention to its implications. And profound, in that it carries the flavor of an actual paradigm shift, its ramifications reverberating endlessly, in all directions.
The breakthrough first involved my conscious comprehension of the conflict and my subsequent confusion as involving the blurring of two entirely different dimensions. These two dimensions, I now begin to understand, need to be viewed separately, both in terms of their individual inner workings, and in terms of the manner our culture has unconsciously linked them together, as if they were not separate at all.
I had unconsciously conflated these two dimensions, and here I was, still brainwashed by my culture.
These dimensions are what I will call the "energetic" and the "conceptual." The "energetic" is connected to the body, and the "conceptual" to the mind. The usual cultural ways of linking these dimensions is to subsume the energetic into the conceptual. Here's the way it seems to work.
On a mostly unconscious level, we feel certain feelings. These feelings set up an initial separation between expectations (of the mind) and reality (of the body). Automatically and unconsciously, the mind then steps in to realign itself with the body, rationalizing or justifying these feelings by interpreting their meaning conceptually. Once that cathexis has taken place, we remain within that conceptual level, and no longer notice the energetic. We remain in our heads, and no longer notice our bodies.
Indeed, we usually do not notice the feelings we are having in the first place, so quickly and cleverly does the mind move to substitute its ideas for feelings. And here is where we part company. From the initial feeling which unites us, we split into factions, depending upon which ideas we use as substitutes for the feelings we are all having! This separation between humans on the conceptual level is what creates the breeding ground for war.
Because we don't notice our feelings, we usually don't even notice that the energetic realm exists, much less pay attention to it, or give it value.
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