Tuesday, July 08, 2008
The Forces That Drive Us Mad and Being Human Again
There are powerful social forces which are heeped upon us. We cannot escape them. Children are told to behave 'appropriately'. Yet, what is appropriate? What does this mean? It is a social construct, and the most powerful of these social forces is the family. From the earliest point, a child is taught what are the 'appropriate' responses- when and what to laugh at, when to cry and when not to, and often how to feel.The family defines what is 'appropriate' but is it? One family may condone violence, another abhor it. The dynamics of the family shape us for life. What has been the experience of the parents may be forced upon the child to be their experience. Hence why adolescence is often a turbulent time as the teen seeks to become autonomous and create an experience apart from their parents experience or what they have been told to experience. But what of those who are stifled to the point where they can experience nothing but what the other has told them to experience? Here lies some of the root of what we may term 'insanity'. Being that each seeks a level of autonomy, each seeks to have their own experience, when this does not arise, then the person must cast off the shackles of these familial and social forces, often to the extreme of departing from all accepted notions of reality or what is termed by the mainstream as 'acceptable'. Once again, what is 'acceptable'? The message can be contradictory. We may be taught through our familial faith to not harm another, yet we are exposed to the forces of violent society, the prevalent self centeredness and greed, and we may then ask, what is 'acceptable'? Is the 'acceptable' necessarily what we have been taught? Is it necessaerily what we have learned? What is it that we have learned? Is it possible that we may have to unlearn? Behavior results from our experience. If a behavior is deemed by some as maladaptive, it can only be seen in light of experience. But can we really know the experience of another? Will we only choose to judge the experience of another by our own experience? Will we invalidate the other because they do not share our perception of experience? Will we force them to have 'our experience' and thus behave as we do? Are we right? Are we wrong? Who is to say? Could there be commonality in our experiences that we can recognize? Can we journey with each other? To find what is 'acceptable' is to find our humanity, to find our inner being, to find those links of experience which remain in spite of the social forces that cause us to sway this way and that, and for some tear at their core being and identity. When we are free, we can experience the other, when we are free, we can be ourselves. If we are free, we can reshape these social forces, and they will not be storms, but unifying forces helping us to recapture our sense of what it means to be human and to truly love again. How do we be free? Must be become 'mad' to be free? But are the 'mad' really free or have they been driven to this barren place? We can only be free once we have come to a state of unlearning, of unknowing, a rebirth where we are not bound by blame and shame and the darkness of past traumas or of ideas we have learned and carried forward because it is all we knew.