A small circle: Candles in the Sun - A culture of hidden violence    
 Candles in the Sun - A culture of hidden violence7 comments
picture25 Mar 2004 @ 13:17, by D

Synchronicity strikes again: in a recent entry, Julie Solem-Roe (Scarlet Jewels) asks a very interesting question: “…are we trying to shine the light of illumination upon where our individual and collective psyche's are still split --- or are we still trying to look smarter, bigger, more evolved, than our brother/ sister?”

This question comes at an interesting time and echoes a well-written essay I was just recently reading online about psychological group-mechanisms, when her entry came up in the News Log.

Some of the points made by Julie [link] resonate deeply, I feel, with what the author describes in the following excerpts. Alhough he refers to human frailties and animal nature whereas Julie referred to patriarchy, I think it is clear that they are both, to some degree, talking about the same thing:

“It is not often realized that, like other human groups, spiritual movements behave like organisms. Group-psychological processes manifest which are sometimes not unlike those in primitive societies. There is the pecking order, the alpha members, and also the group-instinct directed against similar groups. Aggression goes unnoticed and is tolerated when an acceptable common goal is provided. For instance hostility against an individual outside the group, or a critical member inside. This has the effect of strengthening ties within the group like in the animal world…Deviating opinions cannot be tolerated...Persons who hold them are seen as traitors…Spiritual newsgroups on Internet provide illustration of (un)concious nastiness…rife with diatribe, personal attacks and misunderstanding. Many of such contributors have no interest at all in the matters discussed. Yet even in closed newsgroups, only open to subscribers, complaints about the tone of communications are being aired.”

“Man in a herd may not show the best side of his nature. Unconscious drives may rein his behavior. This is applicable especially in circumstances where man strives for the spiritual. He may tend to show split-personality behavior. On one hand the spiritual personality which is supposed to have come to terms with his animal nature. It is wise, friendly and compassionate on the outside. In the shadows lurks the personality that has been forced into the background, still ridden with all the expulsed human frailties. In moments of weakness it will see its chance to play hideous tricks. It will do so without being noticed by the person involved. The result being: uncharitable behavior, envy, malicious gossip, hypocrisy, harsh words, insensitivity, unfounded criticism and even worse, not expected from such charismatic figure. It is one of the main reasons for people leaving a particular group in great disappointment.”


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25 Mar 2004 @ 14:25 by swan : Funny Dianne,
I said to my spiritual sister this morning, I was talking about my process and how I didn't want to appear less evolved. Just as it came out of my mouth I started to laugh and said " Heaven forbid I look less evolved than______" I often work so hard on my evolution I forget I am human, I forget everyone else is human. Balance is the trick.  


27 Mar 2004 @ 10:59 by Aiden @209.178.177.91 : comparing sizes
Norway: Two teen boys have been fined 6,000 Kroner (around $700) for measuring their weewees in class. The two boys were comparing the size of their boners in a classroom. A female student was in the room at the time and reported the incident to a teacher.
No details are available on what the measurements turned out to be :-)  



27 Mar 2004 @ 11:30 by i2i : LOL
Thank you, Swan, and…very funny, Aiden! This obsession with comparing stupid things that have nothing to do with who we are, be it one's illusory "Mayfly" spiritual evolution or the size of one's weewee---a very gender specific thing under this latter form, but obviously a greater problem and more widespread tendency than a mere gender specific issue, as Swan aptly demonstrated in her comment. Though we have no idea where it starts (call it patriarchy, if you like, or whatever seems appropriate or relevant to you) this comparing happens in locker rooms, dressing rooms, boardrooms, classrooms, bedrooms, and chat rooms! I have no idea where it starts (I think patriarchy is an oversimplification, and a somewhat misleading term, with too much potential in it for scapegoating), yet we see it. We see it around us. We see it in us. We see it in good people consumed with the obsession of appearing wiser and better than their peers (e.g. "If you don't know my secret you'll never know if you are as good as I am...")  


27 Mar 2004 @ 16:43 by Hanae @209.178.177.91 : Tolerance
There is that story (some Zen teaching, I think) of a prisoner taking down all the drab and ugly pictures from the walls of his/her cell and putting up pretty pictures. Changing the pictures on the wall from greed, violence and ignorance into ideals (that we should not be greedy, violent, or ignorant) improves the decoration, perhaps, but still the freedom you want isn't there, you're still imprisoned in the same room.

To me, online interactions are mostly useful when they open new horizons, new unexpected ways of looking at things, of doing things (one of the hallmarks of NCN and of many other places on the internet.)

Most people online are seekers (we all are), but sometimes other forces come into play and unconscious narcissistic/authoritarian patterns manifest. This is when Dr. Jekyll turns into the New Age modern version of Mr. (or Ms.) Hyde: the Guru Wannabe. Such manifestations are easy to spot - to the Guru you are not a friend (and most certainly not a peer or an equal) but a follower. Michael's description is right on: "Every doubt about the guru is a reflection of your unworthiness, or the influence of an external evil force [or your own inner demons]. You must humble yourself, for the greater he/she is, the less you are - until you reach the inner circle and can start abusing other people the way your guru abused you."

The Guru Wannabe has stopped being a seeker and has gotten the best of the Inner Child of which Julie was speaking on her Log.  



16 Jun 2004 @ 14:25 by Emily Vonnessa @69.33.46.10 : Behind the "pretty picture"
A hidden culture of silent and indirect aggression.

Clearly, Patriarchy is a problem. But patriarchy is not the only problem. Great comment, Hanae. Ever remember being a high school student? Take a quiz...lol.

While, mostly, males tend to use physical threats as agents of harm, females treat relationships as harm agents, much like pawns on a chessboard. Gossiping, withdrawing affection to get what one wants, and using social exclusion to retaliate against a friend are all examples. See Rachel Simon's excellent book, Odd girl out or Girl Wars by Cheryl Dellassega and Charisse Nixon.

Although the focus of these books is essentially on the preteen and teenage girls' culture, I think that it can be said that these kind of insidious forms of relational aggression (backbiting, exclusion, rumors, ganging-up, silent treatment, name-calling and manipulation) can also be found, by and large, among adults, males and females, especially in groups which, for one reason or another (religious, professional, etc.) have been socialized to be nice above all else, and where, as a result, aggression is channeled into nonphysical, indirect, hidden forms.  



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