Social media is a good barometer of what lies within the collective human psyche. On the comments sections of blogs, news sites and web sites of all descriptions, the human population freely deposits the contents of their minds. Because many of these comments are anonymous, or delivered to people they don’t know and will never meet, people are more likely to be open about the thoughts that are actually running through their minds.
What then, is the most common mental state exhibited in the cyber world of today? The answer is straightforward. It is anger and blame.
People are angry at the government. They are angry at organisations. They are angry at those who disagree with them. And they are just plain pissed at the world.
This intrigues me, because the truth is that most of these angry people have never had it so good. For the most part, their lives are comfortable and free of physical threats. They are prosperous.
A century ago our ancestors had to walk to the local shop to get milk or ride a bicycle. The poor souls. Many unfortunate men died face down in the muck at the Battle of the Somme, screaming for their mothers as they sucked their last breath. And a century before that we had no penicillin and no antibiotics. Many people never made it much past forty. Most of the world’s population were peasants.
So what is it that people are so enraged about on social media today? Well, just looking through a few posts on my Facebook wall today, someone is angry people merely “tolerate” her kind. She wants real respect! Another is angry at Facebook because they apparently track people’s data. Then we have the usual rage at the stupid white man, Donald Trump. I don’t even remember the reason.
And then there is the person who is enraged because other people are enraged about a politically incorrect statement made by a left-leaning late-night talk show host who is normally enraged only at politically correct targets. But he slipped up this time. So the social justice warriors are now out to lynch him. Nobody is safe, it seems, from the anger of the masses.
Oh, the indignity of it all!
Step back for a moment and look at this clown show. Most of the teeth gnashing and projection of rage and shame is completely out of proportion with the issues that are being projected against.
More crucially, all this rage has made us forget how incredibly prosperous most of us actually are. We have lost the capacity for gratitude. In large part this is because media has become focused upon the darkness, and education has become focused on oppresssion and injustice. In the former case the intention is quite deliberate (to get you to click), while in the latter case the well-meaning leftist ideologies on human liberation have morphed into a hyper-critical obsession with oppression and injustice.
What you focus upon expands. It is a law of perception.
There is another reason why we should be grateful. We live in an age where we have masses of spare time, and where the amount of information and wisdom regarding psychological and spiritual well-being is at staggering levels. There is a veritable smorgasboard of professional and self-help wisdom available for anyone cognizant enough to turn on a smart phone or a computer. This humble blog is just one example.
Ultimately it comes down to this. There is one reason above all others why people are so angry today. They want more. They live in a society where gratitude has been forgotten, and where they are constantly reminded that they do not have enough. Are not enough.
The belief that you are not enough is psychological and spiritual suicde. The foundation of peace and presence is knowing that you are already enough. Already a magnificent being. And that you don’t have to become anything more. You don’t have to achieve anything. Your don’t even have to heal. Even as a wounded being, you are still an expression of universal perfection.
No, I am not saying you should not seek healing for your pain, nor that you should net seek to achieve, to create things that bring you or others joy and happiness. I am just saying that you are already enough. And nobody can actually take that perfection away from you. Not the government, not the conservatives, not the liberals. Not even Donald Trump.
You don’t need to be angry anymore. Not about these things. Sure, there are things and people that are justified causes of anger. But this post is not about those people and things.
Ironically, the human potential movement has inadvertently exacerbated the general sense of lack, the pervasive misery that defines much of life for so many of the people of today. Even as that same movement has granted people an expanded sense of possibility, it has instilled a sense of entitlement in many. Many people begin with a subtle belief that the world owes them a living, that just by being here they are entitled to things. But that is not how the world works.
We see this most notably in the university students protesting that professors are not granting them safe spaces, while believing that any given obstacle they encounter, any given failure, is the result of the actions of an oppressive other (usually another race, gender, sexual orientation, social construct or ideology). This may lead to a delusional mindset which lacks reflection and personal accountability. It is fundamentally infantile.
You better figure that one out, and quickly.
The actions required to shift towards gratitude and away from a scarcity mentality are simple. Give thanks for what you have on a daily basis. Remove your focus from the locales which support a culture of blame, shame and lack. Be present to the world and to others. Gratitude and love are spontaneous states of consciousness which emerge from presence. You don’t even have to try.
Of course, many of us will choose to keep being angry at things that are fleeting and illusory. And that, too, is our right. But what is the price that we will pay? The cost is our connection to this perfect moment in time. To our peace. To the love and gratitude that is our essential nature.
At an even deeper level, many of us have a deep-seated rage at God and the world, a destructive anger which leads us to reject the world, its people and our very lives. This is true even for many who do not consciously believe in God. That will be the subject of my next post.