The Cockroach

Again, it’s the usual Saturday night;

another cold body, another lost fight.

His face is dented from hitting the curb;

blood pools from his brain – left undisturbed.

__________  .  __________

Lifting his head, he senses a trace;

of someone nearby, invading his space.

Under cover of shadows, he spies the ground;

there lies a body – making no sound.

*

As is his instinct, he knows what to do;

‘left for the taking’, that’s all he knew.

He readies to move free from mistakes;

his raw heart races – his body shakes.

*

Inching forward, he smells the death;

he sees no movement; he sees no breath.

 A gaping mouth wide as if to swear;

and blue glassy eyes – they only stare.

*

His plan now complete, he made it in slow;

then inspects the body from head to toe.

His work is done, he reaches in a pocket;

steals the man’s wallet – and runs like a rocket!

.

.

© 2012 – Kevin Collins

RELATIONSHIP: We CAN Get Along With EVERYONE

Getting along with others in the world is probably the most difficult thing that confronts us each and every single day.

Lightning Storm of Relating With Others


For some of us, it has gotten easier over the years as we learned some little trick to help make life easier.

For many of us, it is still difficult being in relationship with others.  We may have an inkling of how things can be done differently, and some of them we use.

Still, for others, life continues to be just a string of confrontations and problems that seem to keep popping up and never going away.

Fortunately, there is hope and possibility that this can change for the better – regardless of where we fit in the above situations.  It is possible that all our relationships, from lovers to strangers, can be without the conflict that easily shows up.

By simply changing the way we see others and ourselves, it is a SURE THING to TRANSFORM your life experiences and relationships by just having better understanding of how we operate as individuals.

______  .  ______

In the last post about relationships, which is Part One to this post, I ended it by boldly stating:

It is easy to create empowering relationships

even with people that are unlikeable,
those we don’t much trust, and
people who’s lost our respect

without the head games and general feeling of
disempowerment, and/or resentment, and/or unfinished business.

.

For this post, I am bringing the conversation full circle by sharing with you my assumptions and successes that give validation to this very incredible assertion.

Here, we will look at what we can do about the never-ending conflict that surrounds us all.  I am going to make a few assumptions about getting along and how we can live with less conflict towards a more personally freeing experiences we all seek in our lives.

***

I am going to make another major assertion; this time on why we fail miserably in relationships:

We’ve been looking at and attacking the WRONG issues
when understanding and (re)building relationships.

From all of the evidence around us (politicians, criminals, armies, activists, and others), it appears we still have limited knowledge when it come to relating with each other.

______  .  ______

Family Time

Here are some different made-up named character examples and the type of relationship (to which we will refer back) of how we are inwardly being (how we think), how we express ourselves in what we  do, what is the secret threat (or the fear), what we do in our learned response to the threat (how we defend our fear), and what we get out of our relationships by hanging on to the fear (and therefore, maintaining the behaviour):

Family/Close Relationships:

  • Jim
  • Strong and the leadership type.
  • A take-charge person with family matters and is action-oriented.
  • THE POSSIBLE FEAR: Abandonment
  • When the fear is threatened from an issue, tend to seek at least one ally in the family for support. Will always be right.
  • PAYBACK: Will always have a close connection with ‘family’ throughout whole life.

Business/Work:

  • Sue
  • Quiet and invisible.
  • Does not raise issues and has few friends.
  • THE POSSIBLE FEAR: Poverty
  • When the fear is threatened from an issue, may often tell supervisors what is going.
  • PAYBACK: Better feeling of security and feels a bit of power.

Primary Relationships:

  • Bob
  • Docile and expressive with emotions.
  • Usually go along without sharing concerns.
  • THE POSSIBLE FEAR: Dying Alone
  • When the fear is threatened from an issue, may involve pouting and whining, usually from a ‘victim’ position.
  • PAYBACK: Never give others a reason to leave, and will always have someone by their side.

Acquaintances:

  • John
  • Usually happy and fun to be around.
  • Reliable and a team player.
  • THE POSSIBLE FEAR: Loneliness
  • When the fear is threatened from an issue, may get loud and boisterous sometimes leading to escalate issues.  Usually knowledge of personal details of friends that keeps a connection.
  • PAYBACK: Will be acknowledged as a respected, liked, and a trusted friend. Always have someone to turn to in times of need.

Strangers:

  • Ann
  • Suspicious and distant.
  • Untrusting and avoid eye contact.
  • THE POSSIBLE FEAR: Victim of Abuse
  • When the fear is threatened from an issue, may walk/run away or yell/scream loudly.
  • PAYBACK: Get validation for fears about other people from other people.

When considering these character traits, keep in mind that it is even possible for all of these fears to the emotional make-up of only one person.  It’s possible because we understand these kind of issues, and we can relate to them – if not in ourselves, we can see them in others (just as others would see it in us) .

______  .  ______

We can see how they act/react in such ways that
we would never know the real “deep” reason
for why they act that way.

Even more interesting,

we often don’t even know it when we do it to ourselves.

______ .  ______

So, Why Don’t These Methods Work?

In each of the people above, the pain of issues will never go away, because the real issues are not addressed. They allow the opening for more opportunities for problems and issues to arise because they will still not feel better or closer to other people.

Plain and simply:

  • First: The fears still exists – it/they have only been defended (temporarily for that instance of the fear).

Because we don’t talk about our real fears and feeling to other people, we have been trained to keep “that stuff” to ourselves – especially men; and therefore, we don’t get a deep enough understanding of other people to develop fulfilling relationships.  (Unless you want to pay a lot of money for therapy, lol.)

Because we are dealing with “what happened or is happening”, we overlook the real source of the fear. For example, maybe Sue (from above character) was born into poverty even though father was a union-man.  She witnessed a lot of violence in the workplace and came to believe management were people to fear. She developed her behaviour from the trauma in childhood and did not want to be poor again.

Another problem with this is that we then don’t get the chance to understand

we humans are all more alike than we realize: we all live and hide inside our fears we developed early on in life.

  • Second: The current methods only maintains or increases the distance we have when relating with others.

When we look at Bob or Ann, they may rid themselves of the immediate issue/threat (real or perceived) by their actions; but over the long run in their lives, they will always struggle with how they operate to get what they want.

Secretly, we know it is a ruse – or an act (headgame) – to stop feeling the loneliness, or poverty, or …

The major problem arises from the years of practice we collect to let it imprint on our memories from all our past issues. And when we look back on our lives (and be honest with ourselves), we can see links in EVERYTHING.

We can’t help what we are doing because our habits are deep-rooted.

For example, say I had an issue (fear) with feeling like people are always putting me down. I could react by arguing with people to make a point (as truth), or maybe become a loner, or by having friends below my perceived level.  I may get those feelings from way back in my childhood from, say, a mother that was always putting me down and saying I was stupid, or I lived in a community that I knew was full of poverty.

______  .  ______

Here is my understanding of relationship, and I make the following assumption:

Serene Pathway

I figure the meaning and level of relationship is:

based on OUR expectations on how the relationship should play out, which is

based on OUR values and beliefs from what we’ve learned about relating, which is

based on OUR previous experiences of similar PAST situations, which is

based on OUR secret memories of how we felt in those situations, which is

based on OUR private fears we hold from long-held, unresolved traumatic instances.

 

***

THIS IS THE SAME FOR ME – AS IT IS FOR YOU – AS IT IS FOR EVERY LIVING BEING.

We are all the same!

______  .  ______

The 3 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS to remember
to start getting along with EVERYONE:

Are you ready for what I think are the 3 key things we have to remember so it begins the process of getting along with everyone?  From the insights gleaned from above, I make these assertions about people and relationships (at every level of our interactions with people and things):

The Fawn

1

WE ALL LIVE INSIDE OUR MANY FEARS
CREATED FROM OUR MEMORIES

Let’s admit it – every single one of us on the planet
is affected by fear in some way or another.

REMEMBER THIS CAVEAT:
For the most part, we aren’t even aware how our relationships are affected so much
.

And none of us are immune to the ravages of fear because regardless of whether the fear is real or imagined, the world relies heavily on our exposure to fear and promotes it always.  We just plain cannot escape it as sure as the sun always being there.

***

 The Tigress

2

WE ARE ALL TRAINED THROUGH LIFE
HOW TO REACT TO LIFE’S CHALLENGES

The Social Norms that dictate “how we should be
are taught to us without even being aware of it!

As we know, we are taught in life to be a certain way in specific situations. All of our influences come from many sources: media, entertainment, family, friends, professional associates, financial status, etc.  We are most influenced by our primary relationships: family.

***

The Wolverine

3

WE EXPRESS OURSELVES (AND OUR FEARS)
THE ONLY WAY WE KNOW HOW

Though trial and error, we learn specifically what actions works best
when we are protecting ourselves in conflict.

Because we know this about ourselves, then it is LOGICAL to make the CONNECTION that:

“If I am this way and I am normal and average,
then other people are normal and average also.”

therefore,

“We are all THE SAME.
We just
express ourselves differently.”

______  *  ______

The Brooding Sky

So, the big question to be answered in response to the insights shared here is:

HOW THE HECK DO WE ELIMINATE CONFLICT
BEFORE IT HAS A CHANCE TO HAPPEN?

______  .  ______

If I was so bold, I would first suggest maybe consider making these 3 points a part of a conscious habit to remember.  This won’t take long, maybe a week or so before it becomes second nature and

ALL OF A SUDDEN A MIND-BLOWING SHIFT IN YOUR LIFE TAKES PLACE.

Yes, an INCREDIBLE TRANSFORMATION (NOT change) of how you look at people, see people, interact with people, and get interested in people. YES!

It will suddenly dawn on you things are different. The subtle soon becomes apparent and then sliding in your life will be this “eureka moment” or “aha!“.  So remember these 3 important things about ourselves – OUR INTIMATE SELVES – and realize we are all the same:

  1. We All Live In Fear

  2. We Are Trained/Conditioned To React Certain Ways

  3. We Express Ourselves The Only We Way We Know How

***

DID YOU KNOW: When you walk along the street and you are smiling, people are almost certain to smile back at you when you make eye contact. Try it out sometimes.

Next post on relationships, we will look at some examples of how fear rears it’s ugly head.

What Prevents Us From Getting Along With EVERYONE?

If there is a secret to living the life to which I aspire, then it’s got to be in how I relate to the world, to the people in and around my life, and to my self.

I have to be able to deal with the conflicts that come with those relationships in a healthy and effective way that empowers all parties.  There can’t be any other way.

Getting along with others has always been a constant and major topic of discussion in the world.  What I don’t fully understand is how we all know the significance of relationships in life; and yet, somehow we tend to casually (or fearfully?) overlook the critical impact they have on our ability to experience many moments of true joy, happiness, and freedom EVERY SINGLE DAY – regardless of our station in life at any given time.

I hear you chuckling in the background as you read again the above statement. True Joy? Happiness? Freedom? EVERY DAY???????

Got you wondering what new meds I am on now, or if there’s a great strain going around the neighbourhood?  Regardless of your musings, I can honestly assert – I truly and honestly experience a certain amount of zen most days. It is possible.

***

After years of experimentation and study, I’m testing a conclusion:

Any level of achievement or happiness in my life lies in every single relationship (and their meanings) and how I live and respond within them.

From a very young age, we learn to understand our relationships with different people come in many different forms on different levels.  We learn, even in early childhood, how important and complex they can be – and we even exercise it early and often.  (Do you remember, huh?)

***

I figure the meaning and level of relationship is

based on their expectations which is

based on their values and beliefs which is

based on their previous experiences which is

based on their secret memories which is

based on their private fears.

 

THIS IS THE SAME FOR ME, AS IT IS FOR YOU
and EVERYONE ELSE.

We are all the same.

 

AND, this is where conflict lurks in relationships, because it is all STORY made up in our minds and we have certain expectations on how the relationship should be.  The reactions from those stories lead to conflict because they come from the past; and for the most part, we are all convinced WE hold the TRUTH – regardless of who you are!

***

Fortunately, distinguishing how we are “being” in our relationships are not that complex to sort out; actually, it’s rather easy with a little time, some focus, and personal honesty with our self.

The best news >>>

How we deal with those relationships (the “doing”) and the conflicts that come with them are even easier still to rectify.  All it takes is a little time, some focus, and personal honesty with our self. (Sound familiar?)

Regardless of all the talk, the expert advice, and eons of knowledge we have we’ve gathered and shared about human relationships, we still don’t get it.  Proof of that is found in the exploding industry of therapy, self-help, building esteem, motivation, etc.

Yet, with all this knowledge and activity, the world still experiences violence against humans.  It’s very obvious:

We still don’t understand how to relate to each other.

Do we really want to understand?

 

We’ve learned from the world and everything around us (and from our own personal trials and errors) that there is no way we can survive in any way on our own.  There is evidence all around us that gives validity to the importance of relationships – regardless of all it’s baggage and drama.

We are constantly bombarded with the message thatthere is a better way to treat othersin religion, business, media, politicians, and social sciences among others.

To empower people, industries like film and television create stories on how people overcome their conflicts in human relationships.  The actual story issue is not that important – it’s usually how the characters act and react towards each other.  The character depth is always important in any story and we know we are interested in how others are ‘being’ under certain circumstances.  The hero always is a relationship-builder.

And STILL, we struggle.

Is the fear that crushing?

Relating with others is the most common occurrence we experience – and we still don’t get it.  Even with the knowledge that there is no way we can survive in any way on our own without these relationships – THE MOST CRITICAL PART OF MAINTAINING OUR SPECIES and our futures.

Regardless of the level of relationship we have with someone, just the fact that we’ve crossed paths with each other creates a RELATING OPPORTUNITY for us each of us to express ourselves – and it happens ALL the time.

***

Let’s look at these relationships

(for each of us, the categories have different levels of priority, so the following list is not rated):

(Please remember, these are only my observations and experiences I had over many years. This is not the truth.)
  • Family: eg: siblings, parents, extended families …

    • Blood is NOT “thicker than water”.
    • A long history in the relationship has a tendency to create long-term (and unspoken) grievances
    • The deepest form of Love and connection – creates emotions with the deepest crevasses and the highest peaks
    • Not relationships that are necessarily wanted – by default
    • Different shared memories from growing up together
    • Not based on common interests
  • Friends: eg: childhood, hobbies, volunteering, school, recreation, lovers …

    • Based on common interests with different levels of commitment
    • WANT to be together with each other due to similar wants and needs
    • Can end the relationship at any time without repercussion
    • The more often together, the deeper the relationship
  • Business and Professional: eg: co-workers, superiors, subs, customers …

    • Based on career/job status
    • Plays a role in each other’s lives
    • Can be long-term if carried beyond working relationship
    • Can have deeper implications on life due to type of relationship
    • Other than those types which are equal, relationship can be manipulative (and vicious)
    • Usually, based on fulfilling own personal needs/wants
    • Can end suddenly with termination of work relationship
  • Life Partners: eg: committed monogamous relationship …

    • Can be the most gratifying relationships we ever have
    • Very personal and deep with knowledge of partner’s secrets and fears
  • Miscellaneous Acquaintances: eg: people on street, local shops, neighbours, services …

    • Usually transient
    • Nothing at risk in the relationship – easy choice to maintain or end
    • Not too personal
    • Not based of knowledge of each
    • Develops over a long period of time
***

So many of us have a difficult time with relationships.  For a lot of us, when we enter into a relationship, we don’t know what we are getting into, and as a result, it is this void which creates the possibilities of conflict.  We have expectations.

Part of that is due to the way we see life in general; part is due to what we’ve learned about people; and part is due to our own insecurities we learned over the years about our own inabilities to have a healthy relationship (negative-based thinking).

***

Here are my general assumptions about relationships:

1

We have to accept that we are forced
to be in relationships with people.
We have no choice.

I am experimenting with this concept; so at this point, I place my trust and belief in this assertion.  As I go through my day, I keep in the back of my mind this assumption and see how I think and relate to people I meet on the street – both familiar and strangers.

2

If we don’t have ups and downs in our relationships,
then there is probably something not working.

.

Given we know that all relationships will have ‘ups and downs’ and ‘ins and outs’ as it develops over the years, we can count on a few conflicts to sprinkle over the growth; and it is absolutely normal.  Again, this is a good sign that the relationship may be waning and suffering in silence.

***

As the world is today, we know there are good people, not so good people, and downright evil people.  Because we know this (and the evidence is shown to us at 6 and 11 nightly), a good many of us realize that with all the pain and suffering perpetrated by these people, it is difficult to keep a level head when determining (in our head) what to do when someone wrongs us.

***

Why do we have difficulty getting along?
Do we want to?

We have a set of social norms (or rules) from which we play.  Acknowledged or not, they are always based on LAW, ETHICS, MORALS, and INTEGRITY.  These rules give us guidelines on what is socially acceptable in any given culture (family, local, urban, national, etc).

We learn these rules from EVERYTHING WE LEARN and EXPERIENCE.  The rules are complex, without limit, transient, specific to person, place, and thing, always changing, always created, hidden, and not usually talked about (unless in bad taste or academia).

I have an assumption why relationships fail:

There are many ways to get along with each other; but at the end of the day, we either feel like an imposter, secretly remain angry, or we don’t feel vindicated.

Here is a list of some of the ways we have been taught to deal with difficult people/situations in a healthy and respectful way (Remember, they are based on our backgrounds):

  • Forgiveness

  • Giving in/up

  • Tolerance

  • Indignation

  • Conflict Escalation

Sadly, for those same eons we’ve know about the richness of great relationships, we’ve also failed at effectively dealing with conflict big and small.

***

For part two in the next post, we will look at issues of HOW we are reacting in those relationships and what we can do to eliminate the conflict.

***

You will be amazed how easy (and non-labour intensive) it is
to understand how create empowering relationships,

even with people that are unlikeable,
those we don’t much trust, and
people who’s lost our respect

without the games and general feeling of disempowerment.

 

Values & Beliefs: Shila – My Mistress of Endeavour

or “How To Succeed Without Trying”

.

In hindsight, the story of how I come to meet Shila Murti seems more mysterious than the actual happening at the time.  It wasn’t a smoke-filled den into which I happened to wander, to find an ancient sage nestled in a cozy dent in the corner.

Neither was it the voice of an enigmatic soul emanating magnetic vibrations to draw me closer.  Still further, a raspy and quiet voice didn’t draw me to put my belief in a stone that can guarantee everlasting peace and serenity.

It would have been so much easier if it had, though!  Instead, as I wandered into a new living space and was trying (once again!) to get settled, I attempted to focus my energy and efforts on completing at least one task of the many I was sorting out.  You see, over the past few years, I have been searching.  Not sure exactly what It was I was seeking – only that I had building towards something – something bigger than me, and I was feeling like an octopus.  I had my arms going in all directions reaching out for something to anchor onto.  At that time, I ran into another tenant, Art Seligman.  As he briefly introduced himself, he informed me he had a gift for me – just be patient.  I thought it was very kind of him to offer me a ‘housewarming’ gift; and I was looking forward to his generosity.

______  .  ______

On an ordinary day just a few weeks back, I was pulling at loose ends on the next stage of my new life (you know, the usual things) and writing on my computer.  (Even though I live with four disabilities, I’ve never let it be an excuse for not making a contribution.)  And having a fertile mind, I was trying to work on five or six projects all at the same time – just picking away and updating information as the creative thought came to me.  Yet, I was feeling frustrated because I neither felt like I was accomplishing anything, nor did I feel was I making good use of my time.  Of course, again in hindsight, I realize the untruths I was planting in my mind. Grrrrrr!

I was on my way outside to get some air, and I happen to meet with Art in the doorway.  I was six inches of not having this meeting.  So, Art introduced himself more fully and we seemed to have a real great conversation.  He decided to give me the gift he had promised.

.

I will say this about myself; I’ve met 1000’s of people over my travels.  I’ve heard of everything and experienced much more.  My homes and travels, which brought me across Canada several times, allowed me to be exposed to situations I never would have been privy to had I stayed in my little shell of a corner.

So, naturally, I’m a whyz-guy – I have this desire to ask “why” about everything and anything.  I’ll read anything and try anything as long as it doesn’t hurt me physically.

Having said that, I was naturally a bit skeptical about what Art was telling me as he handed me the gift.  Besides, it’s not the first time I heard something like this before.  I looked at the gift and saw it was 2 dark rounded stones.  And not just any stones: but Shila Murti stones.  I was told to carry one with me at all times and keep one in a safe place at home.

I held the Shilas in my hand and they felt warm.  I was given the background of the stones and the “energy” they held.  As a scientific-based thinker, I had my doubts; yet I do have enough understanding about the world to know everything is made of energy – it is a scientific fact.  So I listened and stayed tuned in without disbelieving.  I was told there were benefits from carrying this stone as long as it was with me at all times.

______  .  ______


The reason I went ahead with this ‘experiment’ was based on one thing that was actually quite profound in the events that took place.  It was this:  At no time did Art ever ask me to believe in anything, or follow something, or do anything (other than carry) that would make the energy ‘work’.  All he said was to carry it around with me and I will notice a shift in my life that will help me become more focused, accomplish more, and experience my life with others on a different level. (Actually, that’s what I heard in my head – they may not be his exact words.)  I thought that was easy, so I complied.

Well, what happened (starting almost immediately) was completely beyond my comprehension of the way the world worked.  I was, after all, a former military soldier, worked for 3 governments, worked in social services, and had my own businesses – – – and, in all my years of working experiences, the speed and quality of accomplishments I experienced over the next few weeks (to today) were transformational compared to any other period in my life.

Without doing anything other than carrying around Shila in my pocket, my life is taking on a new purpose.  I have, without any real effort, laid the groundwork for me to not only understand the direction in which my life is heading, but to take concrete actions that fill in the cracks of previous accomplishment.

Having re-established relationships from my past, both long-ago friends and mended loves with family members, I have been given a new and empowering feeling of certainty and love for the work I am doing.

Now that I have met with lawyers and professionals to help me sort out my long-term hurts that have impeded my true growth for decades; I have been given validation for my skills and talents and the work I put into them while overcoming barriers I can resolve.

______  .  ______

Because I am sharing in people’s lives more intimately (without even asking), and engaging in conversations that now leave us both alive and invigorated rather than sad and depressed aftwards; I now see the world on a different level:

  • I now have a closer relationships with life (mine and others’), giving me greater hope,

  • I am re-energized and more active because I have a better understanding of the value in the work I am presenting to the world,

  • I am more confident because all life indicators are directing me on the right path, and

  • I am truly happier, because I am expressing myself and the essence of my very being.

______  .  ______

Keep this in mind because this is very important:

I didn’t do anything with the intention of having it happen – things just did.

.

The only difference I see now is in how I approach anything that happens to me.  This is the real key (I think) that has the Shila Murti become so valuable to me.  It is very subtle and I only notice it after the fact.  It is this:

  • In a lot of things in my life, I always question myself or decide on something after I check in with my feelings. Now I notice I just instinctively go up to someone (even strangers now!) and have a conversation with him or her about something.

    • For example: to talk to someone I know on the street.  I want to talk to them, but something inside of me tells me not to (for whatever reason). So, I don’t speak, and I miss out on a conversation either I needed to have or wanted to have. Now, I don’t hold back the energy inside of me; and instead, I just acknowledge the other person – and usually we share a comment or short (and even long) conversation with others.
    (After meeting a stranger at McD’s one afternoon, I ended up being invited to his home to show me an invention he and his wife created. We discovered I had the skills he needed to help build his Business Plan, and we traded cards. We may enter into a business relationship. All because of a bird flying overhead!)

______  .  ______

As I said, there was no intention in anything I was doing to substantiate the value of Shila. These things are just changing on their own.

And the best thing – I find the more skeptical I am about the stone, the more effective it is.  I look for holes in the possibility.  I look for downsides to this phenomenon – and I can’t find any!

Imagine That!

.

.

Values & Beliefs: Why Tolerance is NOT Acceptable

Can somebody be given the power to choose who/what is tolerable and who/what isn’t?

If you think ‘yes’, then you need to read this post and see if you are missing some information about Tolerance.

 If your answer is ‘no’, then we probably have a lot in common regarding how tolerance is perceived and used in society.  I haven’t heard a call for Tolerance in some time, so maybe it is gone out of fashion and out of acceptability by the masses.

The way is in my experiences and learnings are explained on how I see Tolerance and why it is not acceptable.

There are some who hail Tolerance as an optional path towards unity and human happiness.  The fact that someone would still use this thought pattern has his head so far up his own butt (yes, I specifically refer to ‘his’) that he deserves the misery he inflicts upon himself.  Yet, some people think it is okay.  How this can be accepted is quite confusing, and it has me question my interpretation of Tolerance as it is viewed by societies at large.  It begs me to ask:

What the Heck is Tolerance?

***

Through my life experiences (even though I am a white guy in a white racist society), I have been on the receiving end of Tolerance.  If you can relate to the experience, then you know it is something that is felt more than said.  Of course, when it is said, it is usually done in a joking way or an aside comment.  Here’s an example of one of my recent experiences in college:

I was tutoring a student with visual impairment.  We went to the college library to book a room.  The ‘system’ of the college took precedence over common sense; so when my student showed her student card to the staff, because there wasn’t a green dot on the back of the card (signifying a disability – get that, huh?), she could not book the room.  Though I don’t look or act disabled, my student was obvious in her sightedness.

Neither I nor my student (both with the Disability Office) ever heard about this oppressive ‘green dot’ policy.  We had to be assertive and somewhat insisting on the rights of students and the accompanying accommodations.  Until we were able to get the attention of the Management were we able to gain access to the room.  The closing comment by the staff was something like “well, we will let it go this time.”

It was a moment of realizing that it was possible that staff member was Tolerating differently-abled, or “diff-abled” students.  And maybe, this was her way of trying to overcome her own sense of powerlessness – by inflicting it upon another through displaying both her Intolerance and Tolerance.

The most interesting thing happened later on.  I went through the complaint procedure and ended up getting a meeting with Management (and there another issue needed to be discussed).  It was professional and cordial and the necessary explanations and excuses were made to justify their actions.

When we left the meeting, we were walking casually and off-the-record, and he came around to saying to me (I am paraphrasing), “You know how young students are?  They are irresponsible and don’t listen.”  It was said so casual, like a “nudge-nudge wink-wink, know-what-I-mean, eh?”  (Thanks, Monty Python.)

So, after I wrapped my mind around that remark, I realized that comment could be understood to mean (to me, anyways, because he did acknowledge my mature status as a student):

1 – that ALL young students are the same,

2 – YOUNG students are irresponsible,

3 – they are being Tolerated,

4 – I should feel the same way he does given our ages,

5 – I should Tolerate the students too, and

6 – I should now understand the REAL reasoning behind their oppressive actions.

***
Back to my wonderings.

Is the Tolerating (and dominant) person/party
implying there is something wrong
with the differences over whom they feel superior?

In my search for answers to this and other questions, I also wondered why we have to use “othering” (or the symbol of their group) and put them down in order to achieve some kind of superior/powerful position.

This is the story in my head (from the ‘Meaning Making Machine’) about the way I see Tolerance:  It is an act by someone who ruthlessly allows somebody or something to “be” in spite of that person’s own perceived objections.

In other words,
the person doing the tolerating
is telling or implying to the person being tolerated
that s/he does not meet their standard.

***

It is not hard to see the possibility of Tolerance as an issue of power?  I sometimes get the feeling that when Tolerance is spoken or acted upon, it is no longer tolerance – it becomes arrogance.  Tolerance is divisive, exclusive, and laced with hidden prejudice.

I sometimes see Tolerance as a political tool.  Why the destructive nature of Tolerance is used this way (reasons/excuses) causes me to question the ignorance of people who accept it.  All Tolerance does is delay the journey towards understanding of others and ourselves.  It does not foster understanding, and it is not respectful.  It is just a grab for power over another.

The way Tolerance is expressed is so flexible,
that it can be anything between subtle sub-text in a conversation and
overt actions of obvious discrimination.

Everybody inherently knows this.  We know it is lip-service.  We know Tolerance doesn’t work and we all know someone still ends up feeling disempowered.  Yet, there is a lot of us who pretend to be humble when using Tolerance.

To accept Tolerance as an affective tool or way of being towards fostering a harmonious society is to both stunt the growth of this quest and do MORE harm towards our fellow human beings.

***

NEVER ACCEPT TOLERANCE!

***