Getting Clear 3
Part 3 of "Beyond Success and Failure."
Date: 7/25/2005 7:39:02 PM ( 9 y ) ... viewed 1550 times
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Beyond Success and Failure 3
Communication: We are born alone, we live alone and we die alone. Many hope to escape this common fate of all individuals by seeking to understand, or more impossible still, to be understood by, those around them, The desire to be understood sets up tensions of frustration when we discover that the fancied closeness we believe we have created with someone leaves us miles apart at the action level of experience. We see in a flash that we have only been talking to ourselves at times, when we thought we were expressing, or explaining, things clearly and were being fully understood by the listener. We react with fear and surprise at his suddenly discovered, lack of comprehension, as if we found ourselves on the edge of a cliff. Wisdom lies in realizing that each person lives in a private world which can never be wholly bridged or transcended. As with the planets of our solar system, we can see them and make inferences of their common origin and relationship, but we cannot know the real meaning, or condition, of any one of them. Nor could we live as we are constituted on them if we got there. The individual is as unique as the planet on which he lives and would be an artifact and unfit for survival on another planet. The understanding of each individual is unique in this same way. Only he is able to function within the elements of his own understanding and, thus, from there, make changes in his own behavior. Togetherness is an illusion we sometimes conjure up to escape the need to develop self-reliance. Togetherness is the blind leading the blind. The truth is that most relationships we call friendships I are seldom more than mutual-advantage, or mutual-exploitation, pacts, which dissolve as soon as the element of mutual advantage disappears on either side. When it is no longer emotionally or physically profitable to know each other, we drift apart. Mutual assistance-cooperation-is the basis of social and personal survival, so that any relationship lacking in mutual advantage cannot survive without damage to those who participate. Our real friends, then, are not those from whom we can get this or that at discount prices or for nothing. Our real friends are those for whom we have a warm willingness to participate on a live-and-let-live basis. The number of our friendships is limited only by our ability to be a friend; not to those who give us their shirt.
Tears For The Beloved Ego; Sorrow is only a form of anger. Anger arises when we have been leaning on, or planning to lean on, something-and it is suddenly denied us. Our first reaction, when our crutch breaks and we fall forward on our face, is to go into a rage. If there is someone we can blame, that is our next step. If we can punish him, that is even better. But if there is no one we can hit out at, then we must swallow our rage; it has no other choice but to churn around inside us. This internal form of rage, or anger, we express as sorrow, sadness or depression. These are three words for the same displeasure. All the tears we shed in sorrow are tears shed only for ourselves. The self-sufficient person sheds no tears and has no regrets about the past. He has no need to mourn his losses since he has not been leaning on them. He does not go into a depression. Tears are shed over loss, not for the dear departed.
Swamp or Tractor: Which will win? We are predominately either Swamps or Tractors, depending on I our habitual pattern of activity. Tractors are those who I are highly active and usually like to charge into problems or situations with much energy. They enjoy showing strength and dominance over both people and situations. Swamps, on the other hand, usually have a low degree of activity. When they are faced with problems or demands on them, they usually present a total passivity, which engulfs everything in the hope that the problem will bog down and sink out of sight-if they just sit and ignore it long enough. This passivity is so irritating to Tractors that they frequently charge in and solve the problem for Swamps. The Swamp is thus one up on the Tractor, and knows it! For some unknown reason, the Swamp is called a "weak character"-in spite of the fact that he wins without effort or investment on his part. Tractors often feel challenged by the passivity of Swamps and decide to teach such passive individuals to become Tractors, like themselves. Such encounters always end in the defeat of the Tractor, since the Swamp is always able to win out. When a real tractor runs into a swamp, regardless of how powerful it is, it eventually runs out of gas and sinks down out of sight. In human relationships passivity can always win out over activity in a contest of wills. Those misguided individuals who have decided that they can reform a person with a weak character find themselves in an impossible situation. The Tractor (sadist) believes he is stronger than the Swamp (masochist) and exerts all his power to suppress, punish and degrade the weak one. But the Swamp enjoys proving that he can take everything the Tractor dishes out-and then some! He comes up fresh as a daisy, to prove the relative impotence of the Tractor, who has run out of gas in the self-defeating process of trying to influence the Swamp! This does not prove that it is bad to have a high degree of activity! On the contrary, every problem demands activity, and the person without activity is seriously crippled in this world. We should develop and maintain a high degree of activity. But we must avoid the mistake of the Tractor. We must maintain our initiative and not go about trying to influence others to submit to our will. Every goal we set restricts us. It limits, selects and determines the means it uses to accomplish its own ends. Any goal sets its own built-in price. What it excludes may be worth more than what it achieves. Goals are either on or off. They by-pass all that does not serve their aims. They invent whatever is necessary to do the job. The running deer created the arrow that shot through its heart; the arrow created the bow to send it to its mark; and the deer, the arrow and the bow created the skill of the man who used them. Revenge, retaliation and similar forms of hitting back clearly indicate dependence. It shows that we lost our initiative to someone who used our dependence against us. And it shows that we have not regained our initiative if we are still attached enough to want to pay that someone back for using us. If each one hangs on to his own key to the executive's toilet, he will not have to raise his hand and ask permission to leave the room for necessary functions pertaining to himself. Instead of planning retaliation, one ought to ask: "What could I have done in the first place, had I remained self reliant and not leaned on someone else to run my errand for me?" Revenge renews the tie to the hated individual; it increases the original attachment instead of resolving it.
Hope is a whore, a cheat, a deceiver. She seduces victims and makes unwarranted, ungrounded promises so that they lean on her-not on themselves. Hope is merely wishful thinking, or a longing, for Santa Claus to bail us out. Hope entices us to postpone living in the present as if there were a future on which we could depend. The more one depends on hope, the more one fears for his situation. Hope deferred dries up like a raisin in the sun. When Pandora opened the box of evils - war, pestilence, disease, famine and all their kin emerged to flood the world. The greatest evil came out last. It was hope-the great prostponer, the tempter to abdication, the death blow to initiative. Hope is fear of the present. The manipulator is always outside the world he is manipulating; he is not able to be a participator in it. Nor does he have any world of his own. He can only watch in envy as he pulls the strings and watches others dance while they get the fun and exercise. Manipulators are fearful of getting wet by life. They fear direct involvement. Arguments are attempts to manipulate and subordinate others. We argue only if we feel weak. If we feel we are in the dominating position, we do not bother to argue. Arguing is a form of nagging and is always a clear sign of dependency. When we give up trying to influence other we have no further need to argue with them. When is a man a free agent? When has he a free mind? You are free the moment you do not look outside yourself for someone to solve your problems. You will know that you are free and feel free inside yourself when you no longer blame anyone, or anything, not even yourself, for unhappiness. You will know you are free because you accept life as a postman accepts the weather; he just walks his rounds and does not make a problem out of it.
Masters and slaves, followers and leaders, conspire for mutual enslavement and abdication of personal responsibility; neither knows how to stand alone without the other to hold him up. There are two worlds-the world of the dedicated and the world of the abdicated. The dedicated spend themselves, their time, their energy and their spirit; they are doers. The abdicated withhold themselves in a hope that they can save themselves and somehow add to their life by not spending it. Time, money, life, spirit-none of these has any value unless we spend them. Addictions are nothing more than exaggerated habits, which we inflate to hide the shallowness of our inner life, our lack of independence and self-sufficiency. We use them to ward off loneliness. Addictions are props for lagging self-esteem and always are distress signals of a dying initiative.
Initiative is a spontaneous response to a confronting situation, where we deal with the demands without evasion. If there is dirt on the floor, we clean it up instead of stepping over it or trying to get someone else to clean it for us. Self-reliance is initiative. You must start with initiative, keep initiative and end with initiative. Your welfare is your own at all times. If you do give up your initiative, you have no one to blame except yourself-and your complaints are not justified, since you invited and earned the consequences.
Beyond Success and Failure 1
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