“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
– John 8:32
Political victories are intoxicating. The passion of the movement. The zeal of a shared purpose. The consummation of esprit de corps. Being party to something larger than one’s self. All of it is intoxicating… but, like all things that intoxicate the mind and the spirit, there are inevitable downsides. Eventually, the high wears off, the glowing facade fades with it, and you’re left with the world as it is, the sum of all your choices in the unforgiving light of sobriety.
You realize that you smell and feel like filth, your head hammering as you stagger to a toilet and regurgitate the last bits of whatever remains of last night’s bender. Flashes of hours or days worth of your life burst through your memory in disjointed and unsettling waves, robbed of the rosy glow they once had. Then you see yourself in a mirror. It takes a moment to even recognize that it’s you that you’re looking at. You look older than you remember. Sick. Pale.
You splash water on your face, but it doesn’t get any better. The moment comes when you become dangerously close to wondering just how long were you in that state, and, in that instant, you make an unconscious decision. It doesn’t even matter how long you were out. Whether hours or days is irrelevant. The time is lost to you and is never coming back. What matters is that you became depraved. Full stop.
In that moment, the only thing that matters is if your own depravity bothers you?
“We’re often afraid of looking at our shadow because we want to avoid the shame or embarrassment that comes along with admitting mistakes.”
– Marianne Williamson, The Shadow Effect
Some people rationalize it, partition it, pack it away, ignore it, and that works for a while, or at least until the next time it happens, and they go through the same agonizing process all over again. Other people embrace the depravity, accept it as “who they are“, and leap gleefully into a cycle of self destruction so blasted out of their minds they don’t have to watch what they are doing to themselves and to everyone around them.
Then there’s the people that look back into that face in the mirror, and realize in the cold light of sobriety that face is what everyone else sees, not because they boring squares that can’t take a joke, but because it’s reality. The sick, pale, and diminished reality. Only if and when this hollow realization sinks in, all the way to their stomach, do these people admit they have a problem. Only then do they realize that they need help.
It is in these few seconds of sobriety between intoxication and rationalization that lives change or are lost, and the choice comes from within. Even more insidious than mind altering substances, like drugs or alcohol, the brain can become consumed with false beliefs and delusions, especially when fed a constant diet of fear, resentment, suspicion, and misinformation. In this case, the individual has the illusion of their own sobriety, believing that their brain state is the result of “facts“.
“[Religion] is meant to transform anxiety into peace, arrogance into humility, envy into compassion, to awaken the pure soul in man and his love for the Source, which is God… It is when we see differences with other human beings which awaken arrogance, fear and hate. This is not religion, it’s material politics and internal insecurity.”
– Radhanath Swami
Just like a drug addict believes their addiction is under control, these people become obsessed with “being right” and will vehemently resist any attempt to “fix” their noxious beliefs. Because their beliefs diverge so obviously from true reality, they gorge themselves on sources of confirmation for their distorted biases, latching on to anything that remotely supports their delusions, no matter how ridiculous that source may be, and fiercely rejecting any sources of disconfirmation, no matter how much they were once trusted.
After all, it’s never their problem. It’s everyone else that has the problem.
We now live in a country of minds addicted to their own delusions, on both sides of the political aisle, unwilling to consider for even a moment that they need help. They simply cannot see the depravity that is thinking of their countrymen as foes to be conquered, which eats away at their souls. They haven’t taken that long look in the mirror yet, looking into their own souls. Until they have this moment in the unforgiving light of true sobriety, there is no hope of resolution or of reunification.
America is divided because Americans, on both sides of the aisle, care more about their delusions of “rightness” than they do about their countrymen. This ugliness isn’t America. It’s depravity.
E Pluribus Unum.
Liberty is For The Win!