Friday, March 2, 2012

E is for Explaining Emotions: Pagan Blog Project

We are all aware of rationalization. This is making a decision and then finding an excuse with which to justify that position. Well, I don't really need a pair of jeans but I may be going to that party a three weeks from next Friday. There is a more subtle form of this.

I once had a psychology professor who claimed that modern psychology has proved that we really don't know why we do anything at all. This caused a problem for him. When he did something his wife didn't like she would ask, "Why did you do that?" This, he said, put him in the position of either saying "I don't know," or making up a reason that psychology had proven to him was a lie. The first answer angered his wife. The second made him feel like a liar. He wasn't comfortable either way.

Hopefully, that little story illustrates something I am having a bit of a difficult time communicating.

Sometimes, we 'know' something about a person. This is an intuition, feeling or psychic prompt about a person that is so quiet that we really don't realize we felt or know anything at all. Yet, we think this person is A) dangerous B) prone to act in a certain way C) is a thief D) insert any other undesirable behavior here E) has a major issue with X. The problem is that we don't know really know much about X or any other of those examples and how X really impacts the person. So, in order to satisfy this internal prompting, we find things in this person's life related to X and chastise him or her for those actions. This is a form of rationalization BUT we have no idea we are doing. It is very hard to catch.

For instance, let us say an occult student is very good at divination. In fact, she is so good that she can spot things that make people so uncomfortable that people are afraid of her. They feel fear being exposed. Even theurgists who are more or less accepting of this exposure are very uncomfortable. This person may be accused of prying into people's private lives when she isn't asked to for her own personal advantage. Given she never does a reading on a person without being asked, she is offended by this accusation. Eventually, so many similar accusations are made, she leaves the group or quits divination altogether. This is a tragedy. Such a person could be of value to others.

The real problem, which no one is really aware of, lay in the fact that when she divines she is even more connected than she knows and doesn't know how to break the connection to her querent at that level. Sure, she does the normal methods but her connections run deeper than those can get at. So, from some sort of continued connection she senses where her former querents are emotionally and uses that information, unbeknownst to herself, to her advantage. Sometimes, that advantage appears very selfish to others. However, when we really know something is about to happen most humans naturally use that to their advantage personally. Only the advanced may use that to heal, comfort or prevent tragedy. It isn't that the rest of humanity doesn't know how to do those things but people get in denial when they 'know' things. It scares them into inaction. Also, when people figure out you 'know', they become afraid of you, belittle  you or try to make you feel insecure about your abilities.

People explained their fearful emotions with accusations against this woman. They knew something was off or not being said and she appeared to be conniving and using her divination not to help others but for her own advantage.  Yet, the core issue was that she a) wasn't breaking away from the divination connection properly and b) had no idea where she gained the information she used to her advantage. Nothing unethical was really occurring.

I have experienced this in other ways in my occult career. I used to think it was hypocrisy or projection on the part of my teachers and others. I am now thinking it was much more along these lines. They had subtle prompts about issues but couldn't define them. So, they looked to things in my life that may have explained those prompts and acted based on those things.

That isn't hypocrisy or projection. While those mistakes were quite damaging in many ways, it falls more into the area of very easy mistake to make. That said, I have no idea how to avoid this problem other than being aware it can happen.

There may be a use for this information. There was a time I felt very targeted in a group I was in. There was a HUGE double-standard being employed. I was on the wrong end of it. While the double-standard was wrong on its face, maybe there was a deeper thing going on.

Now this is a very subtle thing. You have to determine if you are dealing with jerks, confused people or something like this. Frankly, the only way I can tell for sure is the jerks. They do repeated and varied things that are just so flat out wrong you can't help but see it. The confused  people and the deeper things going on are so much harder.

So, my conclusion is that perhaps when social garbage occurs, maybe, just maybe, rather than condemning the idiocy, it can be used as a clue to something else. Maybe, we can suss out the underlying and hidden prompt that secretly motivates people that even they don't know, we can learn and grow.

Frankly, I have no idea if this post is insightful, full of $(&@ or is the product of Lon DuQuette's critique of me that, [I have] a tendency to read more magical meaning into a situation that is perhaps warranted"

So, comments will be even more appreciated than usual on this one.


Keltikmystique said...

Not full of $(&@ at all, I think you are correct in the assumption that there may be a way to be clued into the depths of such behavior and gaining knowledge and growth from the experience.

Andrew B. Watt said...

As a member of this magical blogging community taught me, "Magic works in practice but not in theory."

We often don't know WHY something works, in psychology or magic. My own behaviors are still something of a mystery to me, even after 15 years of teaching, close to twenty years of spiritual practice of some sort, and 5-6 years of specifically magical practice. (wow... has it really been that long?)

A number of years ago, just before a party started, I had done a bit of work to help me relax and be at ease. I'm uncomfortable in social situations and I wanted help. Unfortunately the work caused the opposite effect — I somehow turned off the coordination between my ears. It was a wild effect: standing on the street outside the party, I had Doppler radar. I could hear cars coming from either direction and predict how far away they were, and feel the vibration of their approach, and I was even able to diagnose an engine problem from one vehicle as it passed by, shifting from one ear to the other. It was a disaster for me being in the party — I had the blue lamp of the third eye lit, with the two wings/flames coming off of it, and I could hear people moving around the party even in rooms where I couldn't see them. By their voice alone I knew that they had gone onto the porch or into the kitchen.

Anyway, the point is that we have these senses ALL the time. But usually the ego - whatever that is - doesn't have access to all this information. It's only fed some of the data, but the rest of the brain is making decisions based on that data that it has. Your psychology teacher just happened to be more aware than some - less aware than others - of how much we really don't know that we know.

Yvonne Chireau said...

On social garbage:
I dunno, you provide an important breakdown of a situation that leads to self examination, but I wonder if there is a short cut here. (Or I am making things too easy, which is something that I always want to do.) Perhaps one way of determining how to think about something on the subtle level is to check the "fear" quotient. Although the word "fear" is probably inadequate, perhaps what we want in all of the situations that require judgment is to identifying the feeling that comes with our sense that something is not right, the subtle emotional stuff that hits us - what I choose to call fear - as a signal to our Awareness. The fear could be a warning, it could be other people's shit, it could be an energetic Force that is communicating some lesson or message. Fear is a thought-form, and it is not good or bad. The problems crop up when we (unconsciously?) charge it with negative emotion. Fear feeds on emotion, it really does.

Rose Weaver said...

I think you're right on target. I had already come to much the same conclusion for similar reasons.

People, in general, don't like it when you know things about them, or what they're doing, and why they may be doing it; and it matters not how you know this information. From their perspective, due to their fears of being discovered, you're being unethical in some way and it freaks them out... big time.

Even those who actively practice magic, a range of spiritual/magical practices, and understand the concept of intuition, just don't like it when someone else "knows" information others don't want them "knowing".

One is then accused of all manner of things which simply are not true, perhaps even gossiped about behind their back, badmouthed, etc.

It is an unpleasant experience, but I've come to recognize these reactions aren't about me at all; rather it is the fear of those reacting out of fear who have the issues.

As for "turning off" the connection, I'm not so sure it's that easy for some. For me, the connection isn't always there. I simply know what I know when I know it and the "knowing" strikes when it does for a reason, so I heed it. Those who feel threatened by this probably should because the "knowing" usually strikes loudest when something is very wrong...

...unless I'm doing a reading, that is. That is a different situation completely.