This piece about Emotional Manipulation was thought-provoking…especially the section describing when an emotional manipulator “always has it worse than you.” That is something that constantly bugs me – when people complain endlessly and feel like they need to constantly talk about how stressed they are, how much work they have, and how terrible various things are in their life. Are you saying all that to make yourself feel better? Are you saying it so that I’ll feel guilty that I have such a stress-free life compared to you? Are you just venting? Because constantly complaining and playing “Who Has It Worse?” is one of the most annoying qualities a person can have – it’s like a competitive Stress Olympics and in the end there are no winners, only whiners.
Ignorance really is bliss…and I have some experience to show for it. I used to read the news almost religiously – I had a physical subscription to the local newspaper back in the day (what a concept!) plus I spent at least an hour every day reading news online and also had email news alerts set up.
Over the past year I’ve dwindled that down to checking the news online roughly once a week…that’s it! While it may seem like now I’m way less knowledgable about current events (which is undeniably true) – I’ve also felt an emotional burden lifted. Because as we all know, the news is straight-up depressing. I think I felt more guilt-tripped (by my inner anti-capitalist pro-education feminist?) to read the news more than anything else – it was almost like an emotionally-masochistic habit. It was more painful for me to regularly hear about murder, rape, war, disease, destruction, US political woes, human trafficking, and other forms of oppression worldwide – rather than useful or informative in any way.
I’m not encouraging anyone to “be more ignorant” by any means – I guess what I am realizing from my own experience is something really simplistic and survivalist: if something makes you feel bad, don’t do it!
After listening to Grantland‘s latest podcast that featured a nostalgic and ego-filled interview of Johnny Bananas from MTV’s The Challenge – I’ve recently gotten back into the show and have been watching the classic seasons. I’m talkin’ pooka shell choker necklaces, sideways caps, & mohawks…these were even the days before they had T-Mobile Sidekicks. I just finished Fresh Meat I which was a little mind-blowing because the OGs of today’s Challenge were the fresh meat back in 2006. It’s fascinating – like watching 10-year-old home video of your friends being rowdy, except you might love these people but can’t manage to respect them and you suspect they’re insane but can’t look away. So many thoughts…
- Did anyone actually ever watch Road Rules? (I had to read the wikipedia page to familiarize myself with it because I had only ever heard that it was a “moving Real World” that MTV aired in the 90’s)
- Wes went on National television with a legitimate mohawk…
- The challenges back in the day were cake compared to what they are now! Back in the early 2000’s they had to slather themselves with oatmeal and hold onto ropes for as long as possible…nowadays the final challenge is comparable to straight up torture; it often involves several stages of rafting, running, swimming, biking, rock-climbing, and/or hiking while the castmates are deprived of proper sleep and food for 24+ hours
- Wes may be mentally ill…Scratch that, many of these people may suffer from some form of mental illness involving delusions of grandiosity and self-importance. But hey MTV is their enabler, so who can blame em?
- TJ did not even try that hard in the early days, he’s really stepped up his game in pretending to care about the castmates and the show in general
- The sexism in these shows is pretty terrifying at times…whether it’s digs at women being “weak” and “worthless” or male cast-members screaming “hurry up you stupid bitch!” at their female team members. Scary stuff – props to the women that defy stereotypes by kicking ass and confronting the sexism in the show
All in all – a classic show that is so entertaining because it builds a bubble so small and so removed from real life that these people are actually brought to the brink of humanity. This show has everything from love stories to rivalries to the risk of mortal injury…watching these shows is how I imagine the Romans felt sitting in the Colosseum to watch gladiators fight to the death. It’s gruesome, it’s shameful, and it feels sooo good.
“…identification prevents you from dealing with the pain-body. Some women who are already conscious enough to have relinquished their victim identity on the personal level are still holding on to a collective victim identity. “what men did to women.” They are right – and they are also wrong. They are right inasmuch as the collective female painbody is in large part due to male violence inflicted on women and repression of the female principle throughout the planet over millennia
This may give her a comforting sense of identity, of solidarity with other women, but it is keeping her in bondage to the past and blocking full access to her essence and true power. If women exclude themselves from men, that fosters a sense of separation and therefore a strengthening of the ego. And the stronger the ego, the more distant you are from your true nature.” (The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle)
Identifying with the collective pain body of women is another way of continuing to use a victimhood framework to view one’s own experiences. The ego loves to feel a part of something and to clearly define itself as against something – and identifying with the collective pain body of women is another way of strengthening the ego, but also an excellent way to trap yourself in psychological time (always looking to the future for things to get better) and preventing yourself from accepting and loving yourself for who you are in the now – who you truly are. You are not your mind, thoughts, or pain body, you are simply yourself – who and what you are in the present, in the now, in the silence…
So how can I be a feminist and also be at peace and live in the now? How can I be empowered by social justice movements and hopeful for change in civil and social rights and yet still accept the world for what it is and be in the present moment?
I’m making my way through the audiobook of The Power of Now and at chapter seven Eckhart Tolle discusses ‘the unmanifested’. To be honest I don’t completely understand what the unmanifested is but if I had to guess – I would describe it as the ultimate state of being, stillness, enlightenment, and the purest essence of spirituality (you can insert a kind of god or whatever you believe in here). Tolle describes that silence is the best way to observe and experience the unmanifested – an idea that I find really fascinating since humans in our current society pretty much avoid silence at all costs.
Whether through continued conversation, listening to music in earphones while on a silent bus, talking to oneself, keeping the tv on in an empty house, or the radio on in a quiet car – we avoid silence. Silence makes us uncomfortable, silence is awkward, silence is a lack of interesting activity. Silence is life in its most bare shape – it reminds us that we are here, on this earth, and in these bodies…and Tolle argues that silence should comfort us and make us feel at peace, rather than squirmy and uncomfortable, and constantly thinking about the future or what interesting thing can or will happen next.