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influences, determining the truth for one individual is often too much trouble for them, when they can take a view and stick to it. That isn’t the whole reality for them and on top of that is the potential for unexplored influences to change their reality. So, to take one instance and make a case study runs into limitless theses and debates and detection work and historical research that can forever be refined and the best we can hope for is for there to be some common thread that aids understanding. Some academics expend their whole working life to study one aspect of one subject in the hope of discovery, to shed a little more light on it. Someone else, equally dedicated and informed will disagree unless it’s fundamental and irrefutable. Reality is much broader and rarely quantifiable. So, getting real about ourselves can be painstaking and not even get us there, in the end. That doesn’t diminish the value of it though. It’s a matter of choice and belief. The consequences are more often than not, not. Or you can choose to be always right, or ignorant, or oblivious if you have enough to help you spend the rest of your life with the blinkers on, in sustained escapism. Reality, then, is not always desirable. It’s a bit like buying the Cornflakes box before it’s printed. It wouldn’t sell and perhaps we’d think the contents can’t possibly taste as good. Life would be so boring, eh? Fact, we know, is stranger than fiction, though. If surface and marketing and public opinion and confusion makes it easier for us to be bigoted, to follow the predominant stereotypical thinking of others for an easier life, mistaking that for reality or forging a reality out of it, or a belonging, or a sense of equal esteem, it works. But only to a limited degree. Many can get by on this and it is commonplace. It is this sense of reality, a commonplace reality, actually a generality that we depend on to some degree. Yes, reality is pretty scary but not preparing ourselves for it, or living a life of unchallenged security, can actually be false and a kind of denial. Reality has a massive effect on our mentality whatever we choose. So, what if we generalise in order to compare its effect on you, on your awareness and sensibilities and what you regard as reality? To explore how and why we stigmatise. It’s an experiment with your responses to predominant pop-psychology and its main contributing factors, the conflict between trends and your wider level of awareness; in order for you to compare what you regard as reality and all the exceptions you realise make up your individual reality. Like a meangauge, it might show us some inhibitions we have, what level of positive qualities are being suppressed, oppressed, or actually reaffirmed – and how and why. It might influence changes you want to look out for, or at least stimulate your thinking on a personal matter that bothers you. It might not answer the problem of why a gang of youths decide to carry on kicking once they’ve kicked a person to the ground; or why arse-holes want to throw bricks at responding emergency services; or why a mother wants to strap explosives to herself and let rip in a busy public place where there are other mothers and children. It might. But it will more likely alert you to some of the pressures that you identify within you – ones that we usually don’t want to face, or didn’t know were there – and at least blow the whistle on a number of ways we are increasingly being shafted. Our humanity has a strong natural urge to share and achieve. That generality, or commonplace reality, is useful and it does bind us to some degree. But it’s also good for exploitation. The more people who share the mainstream, the greater the power of its leaders. This is what restricts our political process, in the UK. Bigots can run the country, if there are enough of them about. Some say that’s democracy. But is that true power? It’s a numbers game. That may be the everyday reality for most, but it is not the reality of individual hearts and minds; so a system, a politic, a social concept always throws up exceptions. And those exceptions can be within your own family. It’s only the acknowledgement of those exceptions and humane treatment of them that leads to a more mature, secure and strengthened society. (Paedophiles and seventeen year-olds who beat pensioners are an exception to this, of course. They should be dropped off in the Antarctic). Western democracies boast about upholding our right to conscience, lifestyle, belief and personally accepting the consequences of those choices and we do take a lot for granted that other countries are right to
be envious of. This takes more to accomplish, for sure, and we’ve come a long way. So, what’s wrong with it? To govern such diversity by humane values means relinquishing some level of control and that takes greater strength and ingenuity. You have to be bigger, think bigger, to do that. But there is an inherent problem with that degree of separation. If governments relinquish control, plenty of unscrupulous people are lined up and just waiting to inflict some chaos and abuse of freedom, so you need something else to maintain order and control. The reason I’m talking like this, in a free country, is symptomatic of recent changes and erosions into the personal freedoms it has taken us the last half-century to establish. If it is amoral and unpopular to browbeat people and deprive them of their rights, or to throw everybody in jail for not voting and paying their ever increasing bills and taxes, then you need another form of subjugation. The idea is not to hamstring the populace entirely, but to funnel all their efforts into an altogether more conforming energy that keeps the stumbling beast on its feet. And if you don’t like that, you can go find another place that suits you. Admittedly there is no-one knocking down my front door to press-gang me into servitude, so what am I banging on about. I’m talking about mental health, more specifically, mental manipulation – the psychological process that governs the direction the whole nation (including its drop-outs) is travelling in and where it ultimately leaves us. I’m not the first to comment directly about the mental state of government and my rant will be the flimsiest, most facetious of analogies; political analysis is not my job (but who doesn’t do it?) and it calls for more respect and appreciation of historical facts and pressures, as I have stated. So, no in depth analysis – the objective is to mirror how we generalise and why. This is healthy, if we take on the process and we generally do, in pubs, restaurants, markets, factories and launderettes all over the land. It constitutes the overall body-politic that we measure our society by. But it is not reality. We know reality is layered. The apparent reality that we face everyday; a consciousness of the reality behind, or around, how everyday events turn out; and our personal and internal reality. For the more honest, it’s more spaghetti than lasagne. So, the way we acclimatise to everyday events, continuously compromising, or sacrificing what we know is other than that, or what we know is us. That is what I mean by social denial, usually based on some inflexibility, or intolerance of the composite reality. In a way, the trend towards selfishness has helped us open up to our own rights more, but it shouldn’t be left to individual efforts to attain them. Yet, no one can face our individual reality for us; they can help, but the thought of facing it alone still shits us up. Hence, denial. Some say reality is not allowing yourself to do that. I have my moments and I could be as polemic as Mailer for a more sensationalistic read and to write my name larger. But I haven’t got God and the whole weight of Moses legacy on my side, as familiar as I am with both. It’s the ideas in my statements that I want you to focus on, whether you see them as fair or not, real or not; contrast and compare, because the realities are different for you than they are for me. This suggests that there is no common ground, no common language and understanding, but tap into your sense of humour, your knowledge, even your outrage and disagreement and why you disagree… and how you would convince me of valid reasons for your views. And hopefully accept some inkling of truth in mine. This is hopefully where the fun starts. Try and be more honest than purely your logical, political or philosophical conclusions. What you differ with will probably reveal the most, but try and think outside the reasons why you agree with some of them, too. ___