Today I would like to return to your awareness an aspect of the Human condition that bargains with uncertainty and finds comfort in denial. Every so often we must deal with an unpleasant truth we wish would just go away. Sometimes the truth can be very shocking and we find ourselves inadequately prepared to handle it. That’s when denial comes to the rescue— and what can’t be denied can always be rationalized away.
Perhaps we take for granted our gift of expression and ability to interface in such a complex world. It’s a wondrous thing really. Our curiosity and appetite for adventure are tempered only by the fear of death. We fancy ourselves as intrepid beings willing to brave most any course and face the great unknown. Be this as it may, there are limits. There are places where even the most courageous will dare not venture.
In the following paragraphs I intend to wrestle on a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo shoes that are way too tight. You see they’re stylish, expensive and give a good impression. The blister forming on my big toe is of no consequence. I need only convince myself that it’s me and not the shoe that’s the problem. As usual, I’ll put on my best face and it’s off to the party I go.
Ignorance is Bliss
As we walk in this light of consciousness we find ourselves on a narrow isthmus just above the churning waters of doubt and confusion. Should we fall into these tumultuous tides, we risk succumbing to their cold and relentless currents. But there are times we would rather jump than confront a scary truth that beckons before us. When truth is more frightening than the lie that conceals it, denial can become a welcomed place of refuge.
We’re aware that jumping away won’t solve anything. What it will do is provide an opportunity to avoid something we really don’t want to face. So we dive into the swirling abyss and dismiss the matter as hopeless and irresolvable. We wash-up somewhere downstream clinging to the slippery banks of evasion. Happy to now see it all behind us, we make a vow to never pass that way again. And yet, the memory lingers.
Avoiding truth is not so much a function of ignorance or intelligence but rather conditioning and programming. Being able to convince ourselves that a pertinent truth is neither relevant nor important is a feat worthy of some note. We’ve all been thoroughly schooled on how to do just that. We’ve been told repeatedly in our lives how to think and what to believe and so it becomes somewhat natural to impose these same edicts upon ourselves. If something seems too dangerous to handle we simply label it as such and avoid it at all costs.
Many of us would rather admit the “shoe” fits just fine if it makes everything else that much easier. So we brush off the undesirable stuff and continue onward pretending once again that we’re an intrepid soul. If something doesn’t match our sensibilities and reasonable expectations we are quick to dismiss it. For those who decide to accept a difficult truth, they are torn by decision and run the risk of changing the way they see the world. For some it can create a paradigm shift or an awakening. They might begin to question all that they once held as true. Everything would then fall under doubt and scrutiny. How many people are truly willing to upset the proverbial apple cart to this extent for a glimpse of bitter truth?
I have found this number to be few. Most would rather accept the status quo and not make ripples in their world. There are logical reasons for this and I would be challenged to dispute such a mindset. But truth has a way of anchoring deep within us even when it comes uninvited. Whether we like it or not, truth is truth.
Being naive and unaware may have a blissful quality to it. But it does not represent who and what we are. If we are indeed the intrepid souls we fancy ourselves as being then there is little we can’t do. We have powerful minds and an even greater will, so we are very equipped to handle the most difficult of matters. Living in denial or rationalizing away our fear offers no ultimate remedy. We are merely jumping into those murky waters of evasion where we find other wayward “swimmers” who are also struggling to just stay afloat.
Breakup and Heartbreak
No one wants to face a breakup. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in a troubled relationship. If, for instance, one suspects the other of being unfaithful there are a number of avenues they may choose to take. Denial is certainly one of them. It is much easier to convince yourself there isn’t a problem, even when compelling evidence suggests otherwise. Instead of diving deeper into the issue, some will choose to simply continue along as if there’s no problem at all.
In the end this serves no one. When two people are in love, an intuitive bond is formed. If the bond is broken, so goes the relationship. As painful as this may be, it also affords an opportunity to rediscover oneself, move on and grow from the experience. By denying the bond is severed, one is doomed to live a life of mediocrity, shallow love and empty promises. But gosh, don’t these shoes look great.
Sometimes we feel intimately connected with an institution or belief. If we love, for example, our country or religion, then we are likely to only see the good things about it. We don’t want to know about the dark side. This is not important. More apple pie and ice cream please. Ah, such a good life. If and when presented with an uncomfortable truth, many will simply dismiss it. The lie they believe is more attractive than the truth they’ve been served. In conversation they may offer cursory lip service and feigned interest, but when it really comes down to it they can care less about this truth you bring. It’s water under the bridge for them —the same water which they swim in.
It can be heartbreaking indeed when one realizes the institution they so ardently believe in is not what they thought it was. Now as we near the anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11, our sensibilities and intuitive knowing are once again feeling challenged. There are many “truths” people have dismissed because it defies all that they hold on to. Yes, and so a life of mediocrity and illusion is chosen above reality. More apple pie please.
Chess and Deduction
There was a time I was a pretty good chess player. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I was rarely beaten. But that was a while ago and most any state level player would surely make me eat my words along with my tinfoil hat. That being said I do know the rules of the game and how to play to win.
Chess is a strategy game. An expert player utilizes many tactics ranging from logic and deduction to deception. One of my best moves with less experienced players was to make them think I didn’t know what I was doing. I use to call it my “Colombo” maneuver after the detective show from the 1970’s. Deception is an interesting aspect to the game indeed. Sometimes I would forgo my queen as a ruse. Only a dummy would lose their queen early in the game. But you have to give up something really good to make the ruse work.
The powers that (want to be) are master chess players. I am both humbled and appalled by their methods. I play an aggressive game—but all I can think about is knocking my opponent’s “king” right off his little Masonic square. The master players are patient and will think long and hard between each move. They rarely make mistakes. Every move has purpose and meaning. Sometimes they too will sacrifice a major figure on the board to move their plan forward.
When I reflect on the events of 9/11, I see a whole lot of chess playing. This was a carefully orchestrated game indeed. And while I’m not prepared to point fingers at any particular group or organization, I am aware of the “sacrificial” pieces that were set in play. They weren’t queens or knights, pawns or rooks— they were skyscrapers. One chess player can’t fool another. Whether on a board or played in real life, I know these moves from a mile away. But not all the pieces fell like they were supposed to. Something clearly went wrong. There was one piece that stood alone and had to be taken off the board in a very brash, inexplicable and self-destructive way. This is the chess equivalent of the illegal move of simply grabbing the piece from the board as a frustrated child might do. Ah yes, the cold chess master blinked as there was no errant plane (or whatever else) to cover the ruse of the collapse of Building Seven.
Who among us has not awakened to this clarion call? I ask and wonder. What else does one need? She fell in front of us for all to see, to bear witness and to comprehend. Forty seven stories of exceptional construction, metal and concrete, yielded to a simple fire—so they say. Eighty-one vertical columns, forty-seven stories of steel-framed perfection dropped into its own footprint in nary 6.5 seconds. Perfectly normal, of course, assuming laws of physics and reason don’t apply. World Trade Center Building Seven should resonate at the core of each and every one of us. If it does not then perhaps the lie has gotten the best of us. The sleepwalkers would rather jump into the murky water than face a truth of this magnitude. I would offer them a safety line if I could, but it seems they would rather drift away into their sea of mediocrity and indifference. And it is so — and so be it.
I cannot live in that world of make-believe. Like so many others, I’ve been accosted by truth and I have found that truth has indeed that magical quality of setting us free. So agonizing over a bitter reality seems a small price to pay when it comes right down to it. And so as I pick up the pieces of Seven, I pause and reflect about the meaning of it all. You see, that building spoke in ways hard to describe. I love what she stood for, not because she was merely a building, but because she woke so many of us in the thunderous roar of her climatic fall.
And yet there are those of admirable intelligence that still cannot see or will not see. Their paradigm simply won’t allow it. But to what end does it affect me? It does. This is not merely a battle rooted in science and logic but rather in the heart, mind and consciousness of Humankind. The non-seers and the “won’t- seers” seem to shirk their duty of an enlightened Human. To jump off the path and swim beyond this towering spectacle of resonate truth seems inexcusable and unacceptable to me. Where are we as a race when we dismiss such a trumpeting call to wake? Do we simply forget how this building fell before us?
I decided to take off those shoes because the pain was getting ridiculous. Seems I started a fad though. Everyone at this formal affair has now slipped off their shoes, taking delight in the grounding experience. They tell me they “feel free” and of course that’s exactly what I like to hear. And so now I must ask—how free is free enough?
-Until next time
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