Val is an out-of-the-box writer often questioning the validity of many popular tenets of cultural paradigm..
It may still be buried somewhere in the unexplored depths of my unconscious, but I can't remember any practical teaching received from my family. The time was right after the WW2, when everybody was way too busy rebuilding their lives, as to be bothered with kids who might as well have been conceived by accident between two bombings, not as a result of a family planning. Fear is attached to the same brain center with instinct for procreation -- so it's a small wonder that there are so many of us "baby boomers"
Or at least, such was the case with my family. I was allegedly conceived during a one day leave that my dad got from his commander while the unit was in the city's neighborhood.
In a retrospect, I love my family, in spite of some members who tried so hard to create kind of memories which might have inspired Werner Erhard, the founder of Erhard Seminars Training, to once say:
"Why love your family if there isn't much lovable about them."
But it was that very family drama, poignant at times, but also with some elements of a tragicomic soap opera, to which I learned to be grateful, as it propelled me onto a spiritual path where I am still leaving some deep footprints these days seven decades later.
Well, with a little effort I could cherry pick some bright moments in all that for which they could take a credit -- but most of that brightness that was making visible the front of my path, was of my own make.
So, somewhere at the bottom of that wholehearted forgiveness there was an attitude similar to the one expressed by someone speaking from the cross:
"Forgive them, because they don't know what they are doing".
That was an attitude that I took with me into adulthood, as I observed the people acting out their programs chronically switched on their automatic pilot, and practically not using their own mind.
It's something that makes them responsible, and yet innocent, because in their narrowed field of consciousness they don't know that they are only acting out the spirit of their time, a matrix, a deeply hypnotic will of cultural, political, religious, medical, and business manipulators.
I saw them replaying the programs they got from their parents, who got theirs from their parents...ad infinitum back along the family history. So that over a time, this world gained a character of a grand theater, where everyone is merely playing out their script, with a relative few sitting in the audience, observing, and aware of what's going on.
It was not an easy task evolving into that audience. Not easy at all, as nothing in that early childhood seemed to give an incentive -- rather an inspiration for a self-pity.
I take no pride, and no credit for defying the outcomes which are so clearly defined in every textbook of psychoanalysis, which places such a big significance on our early upbringing.
It was something beyond my own power of reasoning which intuitively guided me on my non-religious spiritual path, in an ever persistent quest to create my reality out of a thin air.
Times Before That Inner Quantum Leap
They say how our personal emotional makeup is pretty much set for life during our first six years of life. That would have to define me as a total emotional wreck, considering my early starts in life.
They also say, that the process starts even while we are in our mother's womb, and my story sees my mom in a constant fear due to bombings and those sirens alerting people to take a cover. Besides, with all food scarcities during the war, she certainly didn't have a diet suitable for pregnancy.
Hey, damn it, now thinking about it, by all medical standards I shouldn't be alive. With a never diagnosed subclinical hypoglycemia, I was daily having sugared coffee and bread for breakfast, while dinners didn't look much better either. Low blood sugar made me an extremely sensitive little kid, afraid of dark, of strangers, shy, a true cry baby, getting tired fast, and with a terribly bad muscular coordination that made me trip over my own feet.
Now it sounds like something from a slapstick movie, but it was not that at the time, because for all that I was constantly ridiculed and yelled at, and compared to my "normal" older brother.
However, this is not going to grow into a pathetic chapter of a never written autobiography, but solely to provide some background to something that I see as a quantum leap, that could be metaphorically compared to a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly.
So bear with me for another moment, as I am mentioning how in those first crucial six years I had no luxury of running around and playing with other kids. Watched over by a polio stricken aunt who couldn't supervise me outside, I had to spend those years basically playing on the kitchen floor with some house items for which I imagined to be some toys.
And as I had my misbehaving moments, they deserved punishment, so I would bring that thin whip to my auntie and stand there until the completion of the punishment. Then I was sent to kneel in the corner, until I begged for forgiveness, which never worked for the first half hour or so.
At age of six we moved from aunt's and grandma's place to the other part of the city. Aunt's whip was replace with belt of my stern father.
And then it all started changing when he left us for another woman, who also left her little son with her probably not enough amorous husband. Suddenly I got my freedom, one that I couldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams.
It meant camping, drifting, sometimes for days, playing guitar, reading -- reading a lot. An older guy in our neighborhood, a university student who superficially knew my family story, suggested that I borrow a certain book from the library.
It was "Mental Hygiene" by dr. Milan Bedinich, and that was going to be my first in thousand next ones feeding my ever growing interest in human nature and life. I was ten at the time, and by the age of sixteen I was writing my little essay for myself, giving it the title "Nothing has a suchness until we give it one."
And that's still a sort of my intellectual motto into this age of seventy-seven.
What Is "Normal", Anyway?
It's been said that something is not necessarily normal just because it's customary, or common. Like, suffering is greatly advertised in all forms of art, and we probably wouldn't enjoy them nearly as much without some form of emotional pain in them, dignifying it as a normal part of being human.
But, when we really give it some good thinking, it's nothing but emotional malfunctioning, because our normal state is the one of emotional equilibrium, upon which we then build all emotions which feel good -- like love, happiness, friendliness, creative curiosity, wonder, playfulness, humor, etc.
So, should we draw a parallel from emotional suffering present in artistic expressions -- to our physical states -- why not go poetical about an inflamed appendix, or constipation? In both cases we are talking about an aberration from normal -- and yet, we give a special significance to emotional suffering, as a normal part of life.
It's all about those "fathers of the cultural paradigm", who defined for us in which situations we should feel pissed, sad, guilty, envious, etc. Look, in TV sitcoms they are even telling us, with that recorded laughter in the background, when it's time for us to laugh -- otherwise, we are so stupid in their eyes, that we wouldn't recognize a funny punchline.
So it's all about cultural system of beliefs. There are societies where people rejoice when their dear ones pass away, because "now their soul is passing to a better place". Hey, that might even be true. But we, Christians mourn, and it's unthinkable to us to be any other way.
Unlike Buddha, who is mostly presented in his calm, meditating lotus position, our spiritual idol is always presented as suffering on the cross. Who wanted it that way? And Why? Indeed, why not always see him as smiling and happy, and inspiring for a celebration of life, instead of reminding us of our sinfulness for which he sacrificed his life?
You see what I mean?
Really, folks, it's all about believing, and ours culturally sucks.
Hypnotize someone and tell them that it's gin in a glass where we put water-- and after they drink it, their physiology will totally react to gin, not to water. There are cases of multiple personalities, in which one "personality" is terribly allergic to citrus fruits, and the other -- residing in the same body, can have all citric fruits they want. Just a change in brain's model of functioning makes the body act different way.
So, what is "normal"?
I devoted one or two of my articles to deliberate creating of what I called "original experiences". Long, long time ago, it dawned on me one day how kids keep creating original experiences out of thin air in their process of learning new and new things, and they don't feel them as something "abnormal" happening to them, just because they don't have a reference point for it in their memory bank.
But then we grow up, we shy away from anything that we don't have in our programmed ways of processing reality.
Ever since that realization, I am deriving some incredible fun and joy out of creating new patterns of experiencing, and, again, just like in my childhood, it feels quite "normal".
As a matter of fact, I don't even want to be "people's normal". But, for sake of "normal" interactions with others, I pretend to care about the weather, prices, politics, sicknesses, Covid-19, crime rates...whatever. Hey, I even write about some of it, and it's fun presenting my own logic about events and the so called "human condition".
So, guilty as charged -- I just love being "abnormal".
Some Intellectual Oddities of My Individualism
By the standards of this western, materialistically oriented culture, I did not amount to anything worth bragging about. Well, suffice it to say that I am far from measuring my inner achievements by using that yardstick.
All those studious years spent on my spiritual path made useless those parameters of life "success", as I was turning into an intellectual orphan, or an individualist of my own design.
I created myself out of proverbial thin air -- mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and in a big sense physically as well, since I am not a typical 77 year old dude, not by looks, not by state of health and vitality.
I must admit, it gives me a pleasure to put in written words some of the details of my individualistic views. It will undoubtedly look weird to many of those with more collectivistic frame of mind -- and it's just fine, it will only prove my individualism which, at its base, has the truism that we are all different, and no one has to play anybody else's copycat.
Which brings us to probably most odd of my views which talk about nation as an "illusion".
Yes, the way I see it, we are merely a mass of unique individuals occupying the same territory, using the same language, laws, and customs.
There is nothing like a "national fingerprint" to be seen anywhere, no matter how much patriotism we may apply to make it look that way. Namely, in any society there are smart ones and idiots, rich and poor, law abiding and criminals, with any other imaginable garden varieties of humans.
Labels that would try to sort us into categories, can't remove individual differences. So, if you would ask me what I think of Americans, I might answer: "Which ones do you mean?"
As an individualist, I am awfully opposed to generalizations. So, it's pretty easy to see how far I have alienated myself from the "cultural paradigm", "Matrix", "consensus", and anything else that spells social indoctrination.
And that would include so called "common sense", as well, which only means an agreement by which we collectively use logical reasoning -- not necessarily a correct one. Paradoxically, we also agree to disagree in our logicalness, so we get selectively logical, meaning that, if you happen to be a republican, your favorite "logical" reasoning is not the same as one of a democrat.
So much for "common" sense.
If you are a hard core patriot, let me shock you a little more with my intellectual oddities. Namely, I see military personnel as only a "potential" patriotic defenders of the country -- whereas by all practical parameters they exist only to execute the political whims of their government.
For a little example, I don't remember any stories of a single Vietnamese soldier firing a gun on American soil -- as to make it a "defensive war against an intruder".
What I do remember, instead, is some nine years of killing and getting killed for some "temporary" political exhibition of power -- which changed with the next administration.
Now, why did all those people die?
Over fifty thousand dead, and another so many traumatized by horrors of war committing suicide afterwards. All that was somehow necessary, so that Vietnam would become a friend again.
Those dead are promptly pronounced "heroes having died for their country". Hmm.
I probably don't have the correct definition of patriotism. I didn't know that dying for politicians' temporary foreign policies and global interests is the same as dying for defending your country.
Well, it's from this kind of things that my individualism may sound like a symptom of sheer ignorance to so many. But I can't help it, it seems like I thrive on that kind of "ignorance", while the rest of folks are right to take for truth whatever their smart leaders are telling them.
All this portrays me pretty much as an intellectual renegade and orphan, with a long ago severed intellectual umbilical cord connecting me with collective consciousness.
However -- as always -- none of this has any ambition to change anybody's mind; it's simply been fun reminiscing about the roots of it all, and sharing it for whatever entertaining effect it might produce.
Anyhow, thanks for reading.
© 2021 Val Karas