Startling Things the Past Year has Taught Me
Anything but simple, is how some would describe the past year, yet for me, so many things that should have been simple...were simply not.
The way people react says a lot about who they are, their character, resilience, ability to adapt, and also how they learn. The past year, as I watched the pandemic unfold, the conflicting information come to light, the riots, the attacks, and the extreme civil unrest, I noticed many people reacted from a place of fear.
Fear is the one of lowest vibrations on the emotional guidance scale, equal to suffering. Fear is a driving force behind negative, rash, harmful, and self destructive reactions. Once you allow yourself to feel fear, to live in fear, you become irrational, sad, angry, and combative. It takes a lot of work to get up that ladder, away from fear and suffering.
What is scary about this, is the amount of people I noticed so low, so emotionally jagged, so hateful. Rational decisions were overlooked, panic took over, violence ensued. I witnessed them on the news, in the stores, in the schools, on social media, in the streets. What should be a time of unity and support, became a time of division and hate. This shows me that so many people have alot of spiritual and self healing to do.
Full disclosure, until 2020 I don't believe I had even thought the words herd mentality, herd immunity, or herd conformity (and yes, I had read Nietzche). So, I began searching and found Nietzche once again, who discusses herd morality in his paper Herd Morality & Conformity where he states of herd morality... "It is in essence social and group programming that defines what is good and bad, that is reinforced by the desire for conformity." In other words, fear of being alienated.
There's that fear again.
The reason I was startled by this herd mentality, the buying all the toilet paper, the violent protests (mob mentality/herd mentality), the participation of an almost year long, essentially world wide lock down, was the ease with which many people obliged. It is startling to me that with a few messages from the media, people so easily just agreed. When did we become so trusting of complete strangers, with our own health, our businesses, our pantries, our children, and our humanity? Many barely raised an eyebrow before masking up, swapping lip gloss for hand sanitizer, and shutting down the doors of businesses.
Like so many others, as the year went on, I noticed a disturbing amount of hypocrisy...from world leaders, professionals, journalists, and even doctors, essentially, people who are supposed to be working for the greater good. The blatant blundering that I witnessed personally, as well as throughout all of social media, was enough to force me off of the Facebook and Twitter scene.
Sheer nonsense was being spewed everywhere. Legitimate lies, which were proven to be lies with actual evidence, yet many people still turned a blind eye to them. It seems to me, that fear has taken over many people and when or how that happened is truly startling to me.
I began searching for the free thinkers. The question askers and the truth seekers. I began looking for the people who were not afraid to have a good conversation, even if a disagreeable one, and for the people open to learning new things. I found these people, in various places, who understand that changing your mind about a topic is natural, as new evidence presents itself. I found the people who could agree to disagree and go about having coffee together and laughing over something less important. I have seen the people who seek out reputable facts before following the herd.
I have known the black sheep who refuse to bend their beliefs for fear of being alienated. Because the black sheep know fear is not favorable, that fear is nothing but a hinderance of happiness.
I have been the black sheep.