Thursday, 3 November 2016

Sensitivity as Emotional Astuteness

There is much confusion surrounding the concept of sensitivity but I think the best definition of it ever given to me was that sensitivity is emotional astuteness

In other words, sensitivity and emotional intelligence are the same thing. 

Being sensitive and in touch with one's emotions is a very positive trait but can have knock on side-effects such as being affected by negative vibes, upsetting events and interactions and the general toxicity of mainstream culture as I see it. 

Those who are sensitive, i.e. in touch with their emotions, will have to learn not to fall prey to them but listen to them and apply care, knowledge and will to overcome confusions as to whose emotions they are feeling - us sensitive types pick up on others' emotions sometimes confusing them with our own - and steer them carefully by monitoring the content of their thoughts. 

This monitoring of one's thoughts is an essential skill for sensitive people because high emotionality can lead to being ruled by one's emotions and even attempting to think with one's emotions when at best emotions should only be the framework within and from which thoughts manifest themselves.

This skill can be developed into a fine art and it is amazing the extent to which the content of one's thoughts can affect the body's chemistry and general well-being but the goal, and this is the goal, is to achieve what Mark Passio calls present moment awareness, i.e being aware of the whole whilst being engaged in the now.

As a sensitive teenager I erroneously believed that present moment awareness involved being entirely focused on tiny minutiae but as I grew older and more self-confident I learnt that true living in the now means being aware of the whole at all times. 

This awareness of the whole is the greatest remedy against neurosis, provided one has fully accepted oneself, because everything appears as it truly is and as I wrote in my blog post below, fear is illusion. Being aware of the whole lets you be unphased and largely unaffected by (sudden) externals occurring in physical reality and being unaffected essentially means being relaxed and in control. 

So the lesson I've learnt as a sensitive person is to never allow myself to be ruled by emotional re-actions and always monitor my thoughts carefully so that I may be psychically aware of the whole in which my physical existence takes place and benefit from the serenity that comes with that union with the whole or, put differently, the universe.

Intelligence and Unhappiness: My Own Example

It was claimed by a study that 99% of down's syndrome people were happy with their lives and 97% of them liked who they were. 

I doubt these numbers are as high when surveying the general population, let alone the moderately to highly intelligent demographic. 

This is not to say that down's syndrome people don't have intelligence but those of us who don't have down's syndrome could definitely learn from their example, especially if trapped in the woes of persistent unhappiness. 

I know a thing or two about unhappiness, as do the vast majority of my close friends, having attempted suicide when I was 23 and being in a long-term relationship with a life-long depressive. I also know a thing or two about down's syndrome individuals, supporting as I do adult students with learning disabilities in the classroom every Thursday. 

Intelligent people have the ability to process more data, particularly of an abstract nature, and with this ability comes increased awareness. And awareness encapsulates the positives and the many negatives that surround us in what is sometimes called the human condition. 

With intelligence can come undesirable side-effects like overthinking, rumination, perfectionism and when the emotional framework within which thoughts occur is disharmonious and upset, for example after experiencing a trauma of some kind, the intensity of those negative thoughts will have a tremendously poor effect on the body's psyche and nervous system. 

It could also be argued that the less mediocre you are, the more gifted and able you are, the harder life gets, the more fierce the competition, the higher the demands placed on you by others as well as your own self and the harder it is to relate to others and make friends because people simply don't get you and won't always respond in a positive way to your unusualness.

With intelligence can come toxic ways of thinking, such as focusing too much on the future with anxiety or too much on the past with regret, and imagination, if used against oneself, can be a mighty enemy. 

The down's syndrome people I support in the classroom overwhelmingly do have sunny and jaunty personalities. They live in the present moment, they are blissfully unaware of planetary and political issues, they do not self-doubt or engage in self-bullying and while they are of course vulnerable to predation they generally lead pretty easy lives with little to no responsibility. 

Ignorance or, rather, nescience is indeed bliss. And responsibility and its attending obligations and duties can be a pain in the butt as far as happiness is concerned. 

The link between intelligence and unhappiness is pretty well established - one need simply take a cursory overview of the lives of great thinkers and artists and see that many of them were replete with agony, pain and neurosis. The cost of genius can be very high indeed. Many others have suffered terribly throughout history on account of poverty and general human cruelty.

My twenties were, generally speaking, a bloody miserable period. After experiencing a series of emotional traumas, I was plagued by self-doubt, low self-confidence, acute awareness of painful and unpleasant realities, fear of the future and others around me, a ridiculously small amount of friends and so on. 

Now in my thirty second year (I'm currently 31) I've never been happier. What did it take to go from unhappiness to happiness?

Largely it took full self-acceptance, getting to know myself and the world around me (I was particularly empowered by the teachings of Mark Passio), learning the value of morality, i.e. going from moral relativism to moral absolutism, getting over intellectual confusion born of a lack of genuine external guidance, using my intelligence creatively on the piano and in the arts, generally not giving a fuck about fitting in or having a job, quieting my critical mind to accept others as they are as well as my own achievements and last, but far from least, losing my social phobia, i.e. unease around people. 

As I've written below on this blog, if neurosis is the enemy, relaxation is the remedy. And to become relaxed you need to accept yourself 100% in all circumstances and banish the nasty habit of negative self-talk. This in itself can take a long time and many hard lessons to achieve. 

Another key element is filtering and selecting who to engage with and what to spend time doing. For example, I banished mainstream television entirely from my life, as well as mainstream radio, and avoid going out to pubs and night clubs and have been very discriminating about who and what I choose to associate with and who and what I choose to avoid, life becoming in effect a constant act of repeated self-therapy.

This is all about learning and becoming who one is. In fact, rather oddly given popular prejudice, reading up on conspiracy research had a wonderfully liberating effect on my psyche, making me realise (real-eyes) once and for all that I was not the problem but that the problems I perceived but couldn't put my finger on had a reason external to myself. Seeing the truth about mind control and the toxic nightmare of mainstream politics helped me liberate myself from those energy-sucking demons. 

Perhaps most helpful of all was heeding Mark Passio's arguably most important teaching; the distinction between love, the force that expands consciousness, and fear, the force that shuts consciousness down. I chose love over fear and immediately reaped the benefits. Fear, when confronted and taken care of, reveals itself to be illusion. In other words, I started listening to what my heart was telling me, after I opened myself up to it, rather than what society's voice in my head was telling me. 
"You shall learn the truth and the truth shall set you free."
"To look into the sickness of the world and one's fellow human beings is a terrible undertaking, but those who do will become well."
"Follow your heart for there lies your treasure." 
I would argue that it was getting to grips with truth, that which is, but really getting to the bottom of it and not what I initially and mistakenly thought it was, that made me become well and happy in the long run and in order to get to grips with truth you need to listen to what your heart tells you so that the head (thoughts), heart (emotions) and guts (action) can finally work as one as part of that unified entity which is the person you really are. 

The path to self-realisation is indeed fraught with pain and difficulty but once you become enlightened and have exorcised all your demons you will experience the tranquil and authentic happiness known as serenity or, in Greek, σωφροσύνη. 

Free Will as Acquired

To the tired and over-beaten debate over whether or not free will exists and to what extent I offer the following suggestion, inspired by the Mystery Tradition of Freemasonry and others:

Free will is acquired and not innate.

The journey towards enlightenment is precisely about acquiring free will which is to say, dominion, otherwise known as self-ownership. Unenlightened people do not possess free will as their thoughts, emotions and actions are disjunctive; they are not properly speaking individuals but rather divi-duals as they are both divided and dual. 

Unity consciousness, whether of a light or dark kind, is what enables free will to occur and be exercised at will, pardon the pun. Without it one is slave to one's emotions or one's thoughts, or both of these in opposition or, worse still, we engage in actions that are out of sync with both our thoughts and emotions.

Free will occurs and occurs only when you can say without hypocrisy
"As I think, so I feel and so I act" 
in that precise order.

In other words, free will is a possibility that can emerge when one has aligned one's thoughts with one's emotions and with one's actions. 

Victor v Balzac

I have read a great deal more of Balzac than Hugo but it struck me how different their moral characterisation was. While Hugo seems to deal with heroic figures, such as the bishop in Les Misérables, who is unambiguously portrayed as being a charitable man, not to mention the hard-bitten monument that is Jean Valjean, Balzac seems to deal far more with weasely ambitious types who are given to Satan's game, as mastered by the character of VautrinLucien de Rubempré and Eugène Rastignac immediately come to mind. 

Obscuranti and Light-Concealers

From the little I have garnered about both practicing Luciferians and the all-mighty Illuminati both terms are obviously misnomers

Luciferians, the dark ones at least, do not bring light - as the word Lucifer implies in its etymology - and instead promote their own toxic creed of obscurantism.

Ditto the illuminati, if the claims about them are true, are pretty fucking far from being as enlightened as their name would suggest. Rather in their manipulating and seeking to control others they would appear to be at the lowest possible level of human consciousness.

So, in light of this, let us rename Luciferians 'Light Concealers' and the Illuminati the Obscuranti (the Unenlightened Ones).

Emotional Visibility

The view that women are more emotional than men, even more neurotic, may have something to do with the degree to which they visibly display emotion and the way in which such emotion is expressed. 

Men may conceal their emotional life a greater deal than women, and may be slower to show emotion, other than anger and bravado, but that in no way equates to being less emotional.

After all most of us have heard the saying boys don't cry. Perhaps feminist thinkers attribute this emotional divide to culturally determined gender roles according to which men must be placid providers and women allowed to be their own emotional selves, as long as they are nurturing spouses and mothers. 

But the tale told by male suicide rates suggests that men are indeed prey to neurosis and many men are seriously damaged by romantic break-ups and take a long time to recover from the abandonment that comes with such break-ups. 

It can also happen, as it has in my life, that men show lots of emotion to women  (I am no authority on homoerotic relationships) in their vulnerable or not so vulnerable moments and that it is women who are put off by these unwanted expressions of emotion. 

So this idea that women are more emotional than men is perhaps pure bogus, based on a superficial equation between emotions visibly expressed and the presence (or, as the case may be, absence) of emotional events actually going on inside. 

In addition, some may not regard male expressions of anger as being emotional when of course they absolutely are. 

France and the Collective

It is an arduous task to generalise about France without falling into easy cliché. That being said, I have the advantage of understanding French culture from an insider's perspective, having grown up in that country and experienced both its educational and professional environments. 

The thing that in my opinion sets France apart from many nations, particularly English-speaking ones, is that it is a nation that embraces collectivist philosophy and largely views the State with a benign eye, seeing it largely as a proper caretaker and representative of collective desire, political polemics aside. 

The word taxpayer in English, with all its connotations of being thieved upon by centralised authority and being a mug, shares little common ground with its French translation: contribuable, i.e. contributor, but in the sense of someone who happens to contribute. 

France is a dirigiste nation par excellence, at least on this side of the global map, and whereas in America everything philosophically stems from the individual, the government being largely seen as an illegitimate form of control and exploitation (including by the Founding Fathers themselves), in France it is the collective will which matters - as captured by the ubiquitous French expression "l'intérêt général" (the common good) - and this collective will is ultimately what government is there to give voice to and put into action. 

Of course this is a very idealised summation of French collectivism, as dissent against authority is a French specialty, but unlike in the American tradition, the individual matters little as compared to the volonté générale as determined by the permanent negotiation between centralised authority and popular dissent. 

Anarchism is not a particularly strong current in France - not to say it is elsewhere - as few French people view the State with quite the same level of hostility as Americans do theirs. Is this the sign of some French cultural flaw or is it to be welcomed as a refreshing change from anti-government neurosis which never considers the good that could potentially come from centralised authority acting morally? 

It is true that the general problem with collectivist philosophy, which has as its desire the purported greatest good for the greatest amount of people, is that it winds up being determined in practical reality by a select few who happen to be in power and who may well decide to act in their own self-interest rather than the collective's or be misguided entirely in their idea of the greatest good. 

Ultimately, however, government is made up of individual people, and history has seen more enlightened rulers and aristocracies than others, which goes to show that the value of a system of power organisation is always determined by the morality of its deeds, whether it be democracy, monarchy or anarchy. 

My ideal is and always will be moral anarchy but should government be here to stay, it is preferable in my view to coax it towards greater morality through collective pressure and other democratic methods. Many American anarchists view government as intrinsically evil but fail often to see that anarchy, should it be immoral, would always lead to non governmental but nonetheless real forms of coercion and power abuse over others. 

Knowledge and Sensibility

In his book Human All Too Human, A Book for Free Spirits, Nietzsche penned the following observation within the text of aphorism 34
"I believe that the decision with regards to the aftereffects of [...] knowledge will be given through the temperament of a man."
I wholeheartedly agree with this insight with the proviso that I would be tempted to add "through the temperament and sensibility of a man."

Temperament in English contains the word temper and generally covers in its meaning the mood dispositions of an individual. Thus new in-formation has to be interpreted  and the ensuing decision over how to interpret this in-formation is, according to Nietzsche, largely governed by basic mood disposition

While sensibility undoubtedly includes temperament, i.e. mood disposition, it also includes other elements of the psyche such as character, imagination, taste, physiological make-up, personality preferences, comfort zones, discomfort zones, sensitivities, neuroses, creativity, morality, intellect and so forth. 

Thus, in my way of thinking, the way one chooses to deal with information, to accept it or fight it, to modify it or subscribe wholly to it, to ignore it or engage with it, is the result of a conscious or even unconscious decision governed by one's unique sensibility, as described above. 

Although apparently mundane, this insight governs a huge proportion of human intellectual and artistic life, in so far as everyone has a potentially and relatively unique sensibility - including the victims of mass mind control techniques who've yet to come to consciousness - which will colour how all sensory data (visual, audio, tactile) and consequently knowledge as well as art will be received, propagated and passed down.

Sensibilities vary hugely among the human population and over time, even though modern psychological research has tried to categorise and narrow them down to basic 'personality' traits, and that variety in sensibility will ensure a permanent diversity of opinions, likes, dislikes, beliefs, fashions and so forth. 

Some sensibilities will clash, others will complement each other, still more will derive inspiration and energy from each other and all this chemical reaction contributes to the intellectual as well as physical reality we co-exist in and constitutes perhaps the true motor of history, if indeed there is such a thing. 

A good example is the rather taboo world of conspiracy research. Narratives that seek to undermine consensus reality and manufactured worldviews will be received with glee by some, with hostility by others or else completely ignored in favour of safer, less threatening narratives.  

As such, it is not just your focus that determines your reality, as claimed in Star Wars Episode One by a Jedi master, but your sensibility which includes character. Or better still, it is your sensibility that will determine what you choose to focus on, and therefore your psychic reality. In schematic form we may say that, following Star Wars philosophy, sensibility leads to focus itself leading to self-reality, both received and manifested. 

Knowledge, or art for that matter, are not objective quantities but always first received and decided upon according to individual and collective sensibility and as I've written elsewhere on this blog (Political Diversity) this diversity may be the saving grace of humanity ensuring not only our survival but also our flourishing. 

[However the same could be said of a people's decline if their sensibilities are misguided, i.e. unable to distinguish truth from falsehood,  and under the influence of toxic influences stemming from environmental and spiritual bankruptcy.

Controversial philosopher Martin Heidegger sought to redress this decline in sensibility by restating the problem of Being, what is, but Heideggerian sensibility remains a rarity.]

There is one problem I have left ambiguous so far on this blog post which is the question that asks: at what point does information become knowledge? Is it precisely when in-formation has been received and decided upon, that is to say, interpreted? Is knowledge in essence interpretation which, as we have seen, is itself determined by sensibility?

In-formation, a most felicitous green language, will form you from within and thus contribute to your sensibility for, as Mark Passio repeats on his podcast series, we are all that we take into ourselves (which includes food, obviously, but also what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears). 

This in-formation will presumably, given the right circumstances, give rise to knowledge when it has been ingested and digested, interpreted and critically evaluated. This process of ingestion, digestion, interpretation and critical evaluation will be governed by sensibility by whatever means, moral or immoral, sensibility comes to be shaped and influenced in the first place. 

Addendum - another word that captures the idea of sensibility is attunement which is perhaps a better translation of the German term Stimmung than temperament. Attunement is the preferred choice in Heideggerian scholarship for translating Stimmung

Intellect is not Intelligence

It amuses me how the media portrays Stephen Hawking as being one of the most intelligent people on the planet. 

They fail to see that intellect alone, however great, is not the same as intelligence which includes creative aptitudes as well as logical faculties. 

And even intelligence is still not the same as being enlightened, even though a modicum of intelligence is arguably a necessary psychological component for enlightenment to manifest.

Rewards for Psychos, No Rewards for Empaths

Monetary mainstream society rewards those with psychopathic tendencies, be it in law, business, finance, politics, academia or entertainment. 

Being empathetic is never financially rewarding. Money is the devil's currency that ensnares people to living in contradiction with moral law and their own (and others') human selves.

By contrast to money, attention and time are God's currencies. Unlike money, these currencies give rise to care, for oneself and for others (see Meaning of Enlightenment). 

Empathy and Intelligence

Empathy takes intelligence and a good heart which many, if not most, do not have. 

Healing Power of Jazz Music

No matter how dire the world seems to get, whenever I listen to jazz music everything seems to be in order. Such is the power of improvised harmony.