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There are physiological consequences and even moral consequences when you go against the natural uprightness of being a human being. If you capitulate, whether due to technology, ideology, forced submission, torture, injury or advancing age -you may feel you are lost and can no longer walk tall again, but as long as you are breathing and conscious...you are able to change. There are numerous examples of human beings throughout history and some still alive today-who have endured and re-directed the course of their lives. As much of the world writhes against the corruption in their governments, institutions and themselves-it is instructive to examine how the descent happens and ways to re-navigate toward upward spirals.
This week I discuss 'bending over' because of forced submission-(conscious and unconscious)-and of rationalizing bending the boundaries of "right conduct" by social engineering, thereby becoming one of those who descend, bend downward and lure others to follow them. Certain segments of society will encourage you: "Why not? Everyone else is doing it? "Take your children to transgender events and leave them there...go on." "Follow the crowd-don't swim against the stream!"....and so forth.
Be compassionate yet firm to those whose "spiritual spines" are deformed, corrupted, and wander around in oblivion because they can no longer "see or stand straight". Both abject poverty and blinding fame can cripple a human being, twist them into a barely recognizable shadow of who they used to be in the world.
Learn to discern who is who, and protect against what could enslave you. The bonds of addictions are stronger than ever without a strong code of conduct as a shield and Divine guidance as constant sword in the battle for "freedom" of movement, of thought and of action. Be brave enough to wear the mantle of virtue.
Pictured above are illustrations by artists of the anguish/ecstasy of addiction; and a photo of a genius artist who tragically tasted then was consumed by drugs, fame and decadence. I start with "artists" because they often have a rarefied view of life which they transcribe for others. They warn as well as inspire us, if we can look/listen and discern.
I used to see Jean Michel-Basquiat aka as "SAMO" a graffiti artist, on a street corner in the East/West village intersection in New York city, before he was famous. He was a friendly, generous, supremely gifted artist who had to sell his hand painted post cards for $1.00 when he started out, but Jean Michel always stopped to speak and smile to whomever was interested in his wares and his work. I bought quite a few of his postcards and sent or gave them to friends. There were no cell phones or digital cameras then. People visited in person. Jean Michel-Basquiat was extremely hospitable. It was part of his ancestry and culture to share.
Unfortunately, there are people who are predators and seek out those who are vulnerable because of poverty, illness or weak will. Jean Michel had too big a heart in some ways and let everyone in-he also let in drug dealers and dementors. Perhaps the injuries he suffered as a child from a hit and run car accident not only informed his work but also re-wired his brain. He said he could never "be still in his mind". Jean Michel Basqiat was seduced by the "calm" the poppy plant product delivered. He died of a heroin overdose at age 27, though his prolific/prophetic artworks carry his energy and legacy forward. Like so many artists, his work is worth more after his death and others (not he) benefit. www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX02QQXfb_o The vulture-like activity of art dealers and agents feed on the talent and productivity of many artists. Don't believe their promises and be wary of the percentage they demand of your sales, contracts and residuals. They are the benders.
The "rehab" industry, especially in North America, is a very lucrative industry. It feeds off the sickness of addiction and the vulnerability of addicts and their families. The USA has the highest per capita opioid, amphetamine and cocaine consumption in the world. recoverybrands.com/drugs-in-america-vs-europe/
The USA also has the fourth highest rate of suicide by military veterans in the world, even with the best follow on support (medical, physical, psychological, financial) than any other country studied in the most recent report completed in 2011- Ukraine, Canada and Turkey had slightly higher rates of suicide by military veterans however that rate may have changed since 2010. It is estimated the American rate is significantly higher now, with no drop in suicides per day; as of September 2019: http://commons.pacificu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1328&context=spp
The most common way to treat active and veteran military with post trauma reactions, residual/ chronic pain and psychic stress is with pharmaceutical drugs. The prescription drugs can hook a human being into a cycle of dependence and when "legal" drugs are no longer available the "illicit" channels for drugs are easily found. Those selling and prescribing drugs profit by dependence and not by independence from these "medications".
Although the supply has increased, the actual reasons for the increase in consumption and addiction may be attributed to the loss of accountability for individuals due to the breakdown of the family, religious communities and peer pressure (in a positive sense). Moreover "rehab" has become a noun in common use due to "celebrities" going into and out of rehab while media salivates over the latest performer/celebrity/politician who needs to be "rehabilitated" due to alcohol, drugs or a combination of abusive self medicating.
Echoing the tales of decadence during the Fall of the Roman Empire-high society members over indulge in an orgy of drugs, food, sex and violence and then "vomit" and purge so they can start the cycle over again. The media outlets feed audiences on this diet of depravity as if this is part of the price of "fame" and the new "normal" response.
Instead of encouraging abstinence and/or moderation; advertising, films, celebrities profess "highs beyond belief" if someone will join them in various binges-often documenting these excesses on instagram and other social media platforms. These experiences are validated only if they are public-a grotesque display of narcissism while they imbibe or ingest during their "purging" in and after rehab. This display conditions the public to their shaming and submission, as well as justifies the "pain" as "the price" for pleasure. Mainstream media sources whip up feeding "frenzy" for more photos, videos and salacious narratives. Don't be tempted to waste your time on these toxic stories.
I know it is not easy to find conscionable secular platforms, examples or praise for prevention, resistance and/or discipline in western society. However, a few are beginning to appear and gain popularity. Here are a two podcasts which emphasize rising up and not "giving in" to excess, greed, fame and addiction:
Both podcasts: Jocko podcast and Mike Drop podcast- have guests on their show who have who faced difficult challenges and rose to meet them. Every guest recounts how they sometimes slipped backward but persisted until they overcame their problems, situations, imprisonment, war, injury and disappointments. They often outline their strategies for coping and for success on the "right path".
Mike Ritland and Jocko Willink both sound confident and when appropriate...compassionate...with whomever they are interviewing. Without the flash of special effects it feels as if you are involved in their conversation and questioning...although of course, in reality - you are not. Their words/images may linger, but actual human to human contact with them does not happen. Yet ultimately this specific three dimensional contact is what is vital for human beings to grow, thrive, heal and fight.
The virtual connection is just a beginning to what could be a productive conversation and exploration with those you like, love or want to engage. They provide more impetus and possibilities than simply watching TV or scripted film characters. However we need to go further to re-connect to remain a strong, upright society. America, especially needs a more "social" society to peacefully co-exist.
Whereas in times past and in other societies, elders, religious leaders and even neighbors might have filled the role of adviser, listener and/or coach for someone bent over by the tribulations, deprivations and injustices of life-today, more and more people rely on their hand held tech devices to "guide" and direct them. Unfortunately, without realizing it, many are bending over to view or listen to this "guidance" and in doing so burden their spines, isolate their hearts and muffle their spirit. We must fight to keep upright, those of us who know the difference between real living and just surviving, between true connection versus cyber contacts.
Find a human to talk to and listen, no matter what their political "persuasion". Defy the narratives that keep us apart and bowing down. Deliberately initiate conversation and make a conscious choice to sheath your phone and...look up!
Here is music that should make you feel motivated, joyous and upright from the band "MIQEDEM" an Israeli group which sings in a number of languages. This song is called (in English) Hallelujah-from Psalm 150. Now, some people will not even listen to anything in Hebrew or from Israel out of pre-conceived and brain washed indoctrination-but I urge you to put aside your prejudices and just listen for a few minutes (less than five!) and see if you don't feel like moving, maybe leaping and smiling. www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_lt6RqHRFU
Shalom, Salaam-Peace out,