meaningofstrife

Seeing the best in life's challenges

Stuck in the Details of Right and Wrong

Deciding who is right and who is wrong is pure judgment. Period.

IF you’re a Christian, it’s very clear that we are not to judge. Period.

So how does that work?

Step back, and let’s look at how “deciding what’s right or wrong” works, forget the mandate of “no judging” for now:

Take any argument that centers on what was right or wrong in the past. First, what is done is done. So what is the purpose of labeling something right or wrong? You could call this just semantics, but it’s not just that. If your true focus is on determining right or wrong, what does this really accomplish? Why do people spend so much time arguing who or what was right and who or what was wrong?

Even if we all agree on which label fits which party or situation, that label doesn’t fix or change anything.

When we don’t agree on where the labels should be placed, these “discussions” are usually attempts to convince others of our viewpoint, which can lead to anger, insults, and intimidation to convince others that we are right. So not only is there the question of whether the issue we are discussing is right or wrong, but we take it on personally to be which person is right or wrong. You may become a bad person if you end up on the wrong side. So the stakes in this game are high. Each person wants to win – this is really a competition.

I think most people approach things this way because this has been the prevalent way in the past. It’s just the way it is, and that way hasn’t been questioned. It’s the default setting.

alwaysdoneit

There are people who enjoy playing this game of right and wrong just to stir people up and see them squirm and see how much emotional reaction they can get. A friend of mine knows he does this – he calls it “hunting bear.” Are you tempted to decide he’s “wrong” for doing it for this reason? Hey, it’s just his choice. Who am I to judge?

Some people are very invested in being right and knowing all there is to know about whatever they are discussing. It’s a self-worth thing. They need to be right, and they need to defend that, otherwise they would be wrong. (If you are wrong then you are bad, and nobody wants to be a bad person.) People want to feel good about who they are, and they can get very emotional when threatened with a label of “bad.”

So it depends what your goal is. Are you just having fun messing around with people? Do you think you know more and are better than all the other idiots? Are you invested in being superior?

If someone is playing the judgment game, you can’t really discuss anything with them, because they are not as interested in digging in and understanding the issue or problem, as they are interested in being right. They may know lots of facts and background information, but the purpose for knowing all this is to be right.  So you have to understand where they are coming from. And they may never have thought about why they take the approach that they do.

This can be tricky to figure out, because those who are really good at the game (but aren’t aware they are playing it) use approaches that lead others to believe that they are really trying to solve problems. They know lots of details and could argue the finer points until the cows come home.

Look, they may really truly want these problems to go away. I am not saying people don’t have good intentions. I think most people do. I just think most people haven’t thought through what I’m talking about to the extent that they understand where it’s possible to get stuck.

 

And I don’t even expect others to agree with me on what I’m saying here. Really this is only my one perspective. What I am interested in, is non-emotional exploration and discussion of ideas. The only way you can understand anything, and especially the nuances of anything, is to hash it out and explore every possibility. Without getting emotional and defensive.

If a person gets triggered by someone who disagrees, that probably indicates that they are stuck in the “right and wrong” game. If they can agree to disagree, even if they are passionate about their perspective, then they have probably moved past that stage.

IF your goal is about understanding complicated issues, or trying to do the best you can with whatever the situation is, or trying to decide on policy or who to vote for or how to improve whatever it is, THEN you have to set aside the game of judgment. You don’t waste time arguing right or wrong.  And you don’t feel the need to put other people down.

Instead, you frame your discussions around what works to get to the goal and what doesn’t work. You talk about goals, what they are, and how sometimes two important goals can conflict.

You realize that life is complicated, each person and each situation is unique, and to make the best of anything, you have to think about it and do your best, and adjust the next time.

 

Some examples to think about:

Fear Porn

We all see lots of information about situations that exist in the world that cause pain and fear. A certain amount of this is really, really important, because we can only solve problems if we are aware of them.

To be aware of all the problems in the world can be overwhelming. No one person could possibly have enough time or energy to tackle more than a few. But how many pictures or posts do you see where the primary purpose seems to be to trigger feelings of guilt or horror at these types of situations? There are a lot. Their underlying message seems to be “Don’t You CARE????” So, is the purpose of a post to promote awareness, or is it to promote what is right?

ANYTHING that uses fear, guilt, or shame to motivate people, will only promote more of the negative. Because the motivation is to avoid being WRONG.

Are you a terrible person if you don’t rescue all the abandoned dogs on the world? If you don’t write your Congressman about every single problem that needs attention? If you don’t repost the picture of the girl/boy/men/women who have been mistreated? If you don’t feed the poor? If you don’t stand up for human rights?

I’m talking about issues that are ALL important, of course they are, and I can be aware and care and have compassion for all of them. I can also be aware of who I am and my place in the world, and I can do all I can to use my individual talents and situation to make the world a better place. Fear porn isn’t going to support me with that. In fact, fear porn only contributes negative energy. It doesn’t solve anything.

Of course it’s a balance. Sometimes we want to get people’s attention. Something that looks like fear porn to me, might be exactly what the next guy needs to see. My point here is to make people think about it. If all you are doing is posting sad, terrible stories, but you never get involved in a real-world sense to make something better, then maybe you are stuck trying to showing everyone else how wrong they are.

The Crime and Punishment Model of Parenting and Schooling

Talk about a subject area where people are obsessed with being right or wrong…

We motivate kids with fear all the time. Follow the rules or else. Zero tolerance.

When a child makes a mistake, we can’t wait to say “Gotcha!!” We are obsessed with making kids who slip up know that they are wrong, while we reinforce being right with praise.

This results in kids who are wonderful actors. They figure out what behavior gets them praise, and they hide (not always so skillfully) any behavior that will get them a “bad” label. We teach them to be superficial, rather than supporting them in building character, making smart choices, and learning to navigate the world.

Or, they see how it goes and they give up, because they realize there is no winning with this game. Kids are smarter than you think.

Look, everybody makes mistakes. When Mistakes = Wrong instead of Mistakes = Opportunity we miss our chances to understand and learn and grow.

Politics

I’m not sure that any of our problems are more rooted in the Right vs. Wrong paradigm than politics.

You know, it doesn’t have to be this way, by the way.

Politics in the US is all about us vs. them, being on the right side, my way is right, your way is wrong. If you operate within this paradigm, it’s a great place to exercise this way of being these days. What a thrill ride!

Doesn’t our current day political situation seem insane, unproductive, unworkable, inefficient, etc etc etc? Do you notice that cooperation between sides seems to be treated like a terrible threat? This mindset has a stranglehold on politics, and the only way out of it is to abandon the mindset.

If you spend all of your time arguing which President was good (right) and which was bad (wrong) you will never get anything done. If you keep arguing about which policy was good (right) and which was bad (wrong) you will never spend time creating a new policy that might work better, much less will you actually learn what you can from previous experience.

You might  discuss the very same issues, but the mindset and the goal that you have will determine whether you get stuck in an endless loop of competition between good and bad, or whether you think and learn and understand and contemplate better solutions for the future.

Details Don’t Really Matter

This is why I don’t really care about the details of what happened.

So yes, I know there are lots of situations in the world where we need to come together and tackle situations and help each other out. I already know that. So I don’t want to spend my time talking about how terrible it is and all the gory details. Let’s put that energy into cooperating and finding solutions.

I don’t care whether the kid drank at a party or skipped class. I want to talk about what’s important, about making smart choices, about knowing what is important to that particular kid, and understanding how they found themselves in that situation. I want to use the opportunity to think things through and help the kid learn.

We might have almost the exact same conversation about who was there and who did what and what happened then. But instead of trying to convict the kid and make sure he knows he’s WRONG, the goal is instead to support decision making and learning how to do better next time. Build her up, not break her down.

And please. Just please. Politics is not a sporting event. You don’t root for your team. We are supposed to be trying to find the best people we can who will be creative and find solutions and try. We can’t expect our elected officials to change the system, WE have to initiate that change by letting go of the ego’s need to be right and make others wrong. We just need to drop it and work together and know that nobody is perfect and put our ENERGY into solutions.  We need a new mindset.

THAT’s where I’m coming from.

THAT’s why I just don’t have much patience for fear porn, constant negativity, attacks on individuals, belittling others, scare tactics, condemnations, etc.  I am no better than you.  You are no better than me.  We are each unique, important individuals who contribute to the fabric of humanity.  Even the “bad guys.”  Even the other guy.  I will respect the other guy no matter what the perspective.

If you want to play that game, hey, it’s your choice.  I want to change the world, I want world peace, and I don’t think the competitive mindset of determining right and wrong will get us there.  So I will tell you that.  If you try to convince me otherwise, I will stand up and say “no.”  I will be clear.  I will not argue with you.  You have as much right to your perspective as anyone.  But you can’t intimidate me into feeling less than you by hurling insults.  Sticks and stones, bro.

Just don’t be surprised when we go our separate ways.

Let’s agree to disagree and leave it at that.

Isn’t it interesting that “don’t judge” is an important concept we get from Jesus?   Maybe he knew what he was talking about.  But the difficulty is this:  those who are in the judging mindset, will feel judged by my little rant here, where no judgment is intended.  Just another example of how with “right vs. wrong” we can never win.

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Paradigms and People Power

Let’s talk about Powerful People.  We might describe them as those who are focused, determined, have strong ideas, and make things happen.  They may or may not hold a Position of Power.  When I think of a Powerful Person, I think it is more an internal energy kind of thing.  You can feel that the person is powerful.  I think it’s an interesting thing to think about. 

I know powerful people.  They can be intimidating.  They are a force to be reckoned with.  They tend to get respect. 

Power is something that expresses very differently in the Old Paradigm than in the New.  We are all familiar with how Power has been expressed in the past, and it hasn’t always been so “good.”

In the Old Paradigm, the approach to Power could be summarized as Might Makes
Right.  A powerful leader would determine the rules of engagement and enforce this way of being.  HOPEFULLY, if the surrounding people were lucky, these rules were fair and compassionate, so that life would be pleasant for everyone.  Unfortunately, we are all aware that this has not always been the case.

In the Old Paradigm, the “Powers That Be” could be the most loving and compassionate individuals, but as long as the paradigm is about “right” vs. “wrong,” there are still “haves” and “have-nots.”   There’s a pecking order and some have privilege and some do not.  Who has privilege and who doesn’t might change over time, but it’s the same old story.

And there’s another dynamic with Power that goes along with the Old Paradigm.  A Powerful Person who wants to do “the right thing” and who really cares, will of course not want to be “wrong” or seen as “wrong.”  This Power wants to be on the side of the Good.  Those who lift up the Power and encourage the Power and reinforce the Power will make the Power feel it is doing “the right thing.”  Those who present a different perspective, or point out pitfalls, will make the Power feel “wrong” even if that is not the intent.  (Thus the joke of Not Killing the Messenger.)  Under the ground rules of the Paradigm, it HAS to be one or the other, right?  Friend or Foe.

So Powerful People operating under the Old Paradigm tend to become surrounded with “yes people.”  They tend not to be open to differing perspectives, unless they really work hard to be open to them.  Even if they are open to other perspectives, those who surround Power will tend to block out “the other side.”  Nothing brings people together like a common enemy.

Which brings me to the New Paradigm. 

If we truly make the transition to a Paradigm that doesn’t need to see things in terms of “good” and “bad,” “right” and “wrong,” Power no longer feels vulnerable to attack.  Power does not have to be defensive.  Power is only about Love and Compassion and maximizing Joy.  It is no longer about Controlling everything to ensure that it’s Right.  It’s all about being Open.  It’s Safe.

Power in the New Paradigm is a whole different animal.  It is self-sufficient and does not need approval.  It is more likely to exist in all kinds of places and situations, because it does not need external support.  It comes from within.  It does not impose its will on others.  So there is no need for Others to fear this kind of Power. 

This kind of Power makes no sense in the Old Paradigm. 

Jesus was trying to get us familiar with this new kind of Power.  Love is patient and kind.  Love your neighbor.  Love your enemies.  Things that made no sense to The World and seemed backwards.

The Reverend Martin Luther King embraced this kind of power. 

IF you believe, as I do, that we are in a transition phase from Old to New, you might agree that it is a HUGE challenge to know how to handle Power these days. 

We can recognize a powerful person just by their presence, but under what terms of engagement are they operating?  This is important to figure out, because the two kinds of Power operate very differently.

Old Paradigm Power will get defensive or dismissive when presented with an opposing view.  It will isolate itself, surrounding itself only with others who are similar and have similar views.  It will identify enemies.  Its priority will be to be Right.  When threatened or questioned, it will attack.

New Paradigm Power will be very solid in its core, but will not impose itself on others.  Its priority is to understand, rather than to be right.  It will seek outside information, in order to gain as much understanding as possible.  But it will rely on its own discernment to decide how to proceed. 

Old Paradigm energy includes the energies of fear, guilt, shame, worthlessness, competition, anger, pain, revenge, helplessness.  It’s priority is to survive and maintain itself.  It has unresolved issues.

New Paradigm energy is loving, compassionate, kind, patient, allowing, affirming, including, healing.  It is more powerful, yet secure.  It is open and expansive, but not vulnerable.  It is whole and complete, yet humble.  It is balanced.

One can still feel intimidated by New Paradigm Power, because we are so used to the Old kind of Power, and we assume that any Power has to be intimidating.  That’s all we’ve known.  Jesus was extremely powerful, yet loving – and we know how negatively some reacted to Him.  MLK as well, was hated despite the fact that he was working for equality in a non-violent way.

Working with Power is even more complicated, because, realistically, most individuals are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between Old and New.  (That’s why I label it a Transition.)

But at least we have come a long way since biblical times, and even in the last 50 years.

For me, it’s useful to look at this issue conceptually, because if I understand the overall picture of Power and how it is used and how its use is changing, I can better understand the world and my interactions with others.

And it’s important to say that I share my perspective in the spirit of the New Paradigm – not because I’m “right” (Old Paradigm) but because I am curious, interested in building connections and discussion, and am in the process of working on embracing my own Power in the spirit of Jesus and others who inspire us to lift ourselves beyond the chains of fear and control and oppression. 

This is my new way of seeing the world.  I have found a lot of others who have similar perspectives, and we are working this frontier together.  None of us have it all figured out completely, but we are working on that.  We share, we discuss, we ponder, we wonder…..all without making anyone “wrong.” 

And the more I read, the more people I find working the same puzzle, the more I integrate this into my being, the more I am convinced that not only is this transition possible, not only is it happening, but it is already too far gone to go back. 

But I could be “wrong.”  

(I hope you know that was a joke LOL)

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Planned Parenthood: Just Sayin’ No

Yesterday’s blog post by Ryan Holiday, regarding Planned Parenthood’s rejection of a $500,000 donation by Tucker Max, provides a great example of the way the “Old Energy” paradigm is clashing with the “New Energy” paradigm.  The situation illustrates a lot of the concepts I’ve been reading and writing about.

For anyone who hasn’t been in “my loop,” let me get you up to speed briefly.  I’ve been writing about how the world is shifting, how the masculine and feminine aspects of ourselves and our society are balancing, how we can move away from judgment and the mentality of “right” and “wrong”, how each person has their own unique perspective on the world that “just is”, and how some of the crazy behavior we are seeing “out there” might be explained by this shift.

I don’t expect anyone to necessarily agree with me on this stuff.  I write primarily as an outlet for myself, and I share knowing that some might find concepts here that they find interesting to think about, and others might find nothing at all.  I have no ego attached to either case.

I’m not going to repeat too many basic ideas here, so if you want to dig, feel free to read some previous posts.  Whatever works for you.

So, here’s the basic story:

Ryan Holiday, a publicist/marketing guy, works for Tucker Max.  Tucker has a big tax liability, and asks Ryan if he has any ideas.  Ryan suggests Tucker make a big contribution to Planned Parenthood, get a clinic named after him, generate lots of good PR.  The guys figure that since PP in Texas is having a rough time financially, they win, too.  The problem is, Tucker has made some not-so-nice references to PP and their clients, and PP decides to refuse his offer.  Ryan and Tucker are not happy about this, and make a fuss about how stupid Planned Parenthood is (which, aha! brings them more publicity).

And here’s my perspective:

The Old Energy paradigm, which is weighted toward power, materialism, and control, totally explains this scenario.  This paradigm is dominated by masculine energy.  Money talks, especially when the target is poor and vulnerable, and the fear of scarcity rules.  Judgments are made about who should do what, and the approach is competitive.  There is an attitude of “I know what’s good for YOU.”  When power does not get its way, it has a temper tantrum, intended to create doubt and fear.  Marketing = Manipulation.  There’s lots of discussion about who should have done what, and who is right or wrong.  Drama is created, and the Old Energy LOVES drama.  (Some refer to this as the third dimension.)

In the New Energy paradigm, masculine and feminine approaches are balanced.  No choice is right or wrong.  Each person or group is allowed to make its own choices and those choices are respected.  (One is ALLOWED to say “no.”)  Sure, they may have to deal with consequences of those choices, but that’s the concern of the one making the choice. It’s the ultimate in personal responsibility.  There is acceptance of “what is”, no fighting reality.   (This is how a fifth dimensional world operates.)

This shift from Old to New is subtle, but it’s happening.  Just look at how the world has changed in the last decades.  And 2012 is the tipping point for the shift.  It’s going to get harder and harder for those who play by the Old Paradigm rules to navigate their way through the world.  It’s going to be increasingly frustrating, and we’re going to see a lot of kicking and screaming.

And (hooray!!) it’s finally going to “work” for those who approach the world the New way.  Those whose intentions are for the Greater Good.  Those who operate from Love and Compassion.  Those who respect others without trying to control or manipulate them.  The Old Guard will still regard us as weak and naive, and they will continue to convince themselves that they are “right”.

Our time has come, finally.

Ryan and Tucker, you should know that the New Energy will not make you “wrong”.  It will respect your right to make your own decisions, to ask for what you want, and to conduct yourselves in any way you desire.  It’s all good.  The New Energy will not judge you.  Just don’t be surprised when the New Energy neglects to get involved in the drama and ignores you, or when you don’t get the kind of reaction and cooperation you expected.  When you encounter the same roadblocks over and over again, when you get stuck and you start asking yourselves “Why isn’t this working?” just remember that you will be presented with the same lesson over and over, as many times as you like, until you learn whatever it is that life is trying to teach you.  Hey, it’s all part of the adventure of life.

To the reader:  Do you want to be successful going forward?  If what I am saying has any truth to it, it might be a good idea to learn about how this New Paradigm is going to work.  Here are some people who are talking about this stuff – do a little research and decide for yourself what YOU think:

 

Tom Shadyac – writer/director of Ace Ventura, The Nutty Professor, Patch Adams, etc.

Lynne McTaggart – author of The Field and The Intention Experiment, about the science of connectedness and consciousness

Lenore Skenazy – author of Free Range Kids, who writes about parenting without fear

Lee Carroll – author and channeler of Kryon’s messages about the shift

Ernie Fitzpatrick – LRC Houston, a spiritual community with Christian roots

Izzy Kalman – expert on handling bullying

 

 

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