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« The Achebe Colloquium: In Celebration of Nigerian Excellence | Main | Nigerians in Exile »

January 22, 2006

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Series on Psychology 2006, #4 of 52: The Alienating Nature of Criticalness

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji (Seatle, Washington) --- I grew up with a father who forever was criticizing all those around him. Nothing any one did was ever good enough for the man. He judged everything we did as not good enough and found us imperfect. His criticisms and judgmentalness was so much that our house was literally tense and one could cut the tension with a knife.

No one likes to live in a tense environment. Therefore, we sought every opportunity to leave our house, to escape from father’s critical and judgmental behaviors. We looked forward to returning to schools (boarding) to avoid father’s presence. Indeed, during inter quarter recess, we would either go to friends homes or, if we came home, we would seek every opportunity to avoid father’s critical mouth. Instead of just welcoming us home from school, father would make much ado about our poor grades at school. God forgive you if you did not make excellent grades. Anything other than perfect grades brought out the man’s wrath. I do not remember the man praising me, not once; it was always finding fault with me, my brothers, our mother and every person around him.

Because of father’s criticalness and judgmentalness, I was alienated from him and so were his other children and, indeed, his wife. Nevertheless, he sacrificed to train us and we respected him for doing that.

My goal in this paper is not so much to focus on father but to use him as a jumping off point to talk about why people are critical and what it does to those criticized and to the criticizer. My goal is not to blame any one, but to understand the phenomenon and seek a solution to it.

CAUSAL FACTORS IN THE ETIOLOGY OF CRITICALNESS

It is very easy to observe who is critical and judgmental, what is difficult is to understand why he is so and to find a solution for his problematic behavior.
I believe that father and his fellow critical and judgmental persons hated and rejected their real selves; they hated their bodily selves, and juxtaposed ideal selves as replacement selves. They rejected the real self and replaced it with an ideal, perfect self. They then strive to become the substitute perfect self that they want to be but clearly are not.
There must be a reason why an individual hates his body. There are probably numerous reasons why different folks hate and reject their bodies. In the case of father, I think that it has something to do with his over excitable body. He had physical and chemical allergies. Heat made his body feel itchy and irritable. Paint and the smell of food being cooked made him feel very uncomfortable. Father inherited an over sensitive body. His nervous system was extremely excitable, too quick to stimulation. He was almost always feeling somatically over aroused. His problematic body contributed to his obvious hatred of his body. Any one who inherited his overly excitable nervous system probably would hate and reject and seek a calmer somatic constitution. I certainly would not like to have Johnson, that is, father’s body; although I do not mind inheriting his obvious superior intelligence (his IQ is over 140). When father was not busy criticizing people, he could be a joy to be around. Some evenings, he would give us lectures on astronomy, the origin of the universe, the nature of stars etc. At other times, he would talk about philosophy better any college professor I have ever encountered. He liked to debate with me on whether God existed or not. He would say: “Tom, do you really believe in God?” There we go. We could debate the existence of God for the next several hours, with him trying to prove to me hat God cannot possibly be what is written in the Bible. He would bring out his bible and use its contradictions to make his obvious agnostic case. He would say, referring to our parish priest: “Father owu onye okpere?” Is a Catholic Priest a Church person? To him, the Catholic priest seldom knows a damn thing about theology. He saw them as mere bureaucrats, functionaries performing a necessary function in society. As he sees it, human beings are born anti social and need belief in a punitive God that punishes them to make them somewhat prosocial. Without belief in a punitive God, he said that most people would be criminal in their behavior. If you are of the intellectual type, father would satisfy most your curiosity about the nature of phenomena, but be prepared to accept his negative side, his devastating critical nature.

Whatever are the reasons folks hate their bodies; they posit ideal, perfect selves and identify with them.
(This is not a technical paper, if you are interested in the literature on the origin of neurosis, aka anxiety disorder, father is clearly neurotic, see Karen Horney, Neurosis and Human Growth; Alfred Adler, The Neurotic Constitution. Also see the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Father meets most of the diagnostic categories for Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, just as I meet the criteria for avoidant personality, both neuroses.)
The ideal ego self is not real; it is a mental construct, the person the individual wants to become, but is not the person he is in fact. No matter what the individual does, he is never going to become an ideal self, for the ideal is mentalistic, is a mental construct and is devoid of the limitations imposed by the realities of matter, space and time. In our thinking and imagination, aka mind, we can be perfect, but in the real world we cannot be perfect, for our external world limits what we can do or not do. You can wish all you want; the fact is that you cannot fly unless you have wings.
The ideal self concept and its image form, the ideal self image has its ideal standards, perfect standards.
The neurotic identifies with the ideal ego’s perfect standards and uses them to judge himself and other people. The neurotic denies his real self and its real body and identifies with an imaginary ideal ego.
Such persons, which are all human beings, in degrees, stand apart from their real selves and put on the hat of their desired ideal selves. From the standpoint of their ideal, perfect selves, they judge the behavior of real human beings. Naturally, real human beings are never going to measure up to the ideal standards of the ideal self. Thus, neurotics find real people imperfect and reject them.

Father constructed an ideal self concept and ideal self image with ideal, perfect standards and identifies with those pure mental constructs. He, in effect, rejected the real, self and the world, and sought to become the imaginary ideal. He used his ideal perfect self to judge his real self and other people’s real selves and found them not good enough.
Nobody likes to be subjected to perpetual criticism and judgment and found imperfect. All human beings seem to want to be accepted as they are in what Carl Rogers called unconditional positive manner. When we are accepted in an unconditionally positive manner, we tend to relax and enjoy ourselves. But when we feel judged, found wanting and rejected, we tend to feel tense and unhappy.
Nobody likes to be anxious, tense and unhappy. Thus, people tend to avoid the presence of those who criticize and judge them and make them anxious and tense.
As noted, father’s children avoided his company. Thus, he was largely abandoned by his offspring. The critical and judgmental person tends to be avoided by other people hence tends to be alone.
Nobody likes to be abandoned and feel alone. The critical person, who is socially abandoned, obviously does not like to be socially rejected. He, in fact, struggles to be accepted by other people, but, alas, he does not seem to recognize that his criticalness is correlated with his social abandonment and he keeps criticizing people hence keeps pushing them away from him. Indeed, since he judges people with the standards of a perfect self, in his mind, he wants people to be perfect and naturally thinks that he has their best interests at heart. Father must have first that he has our best interests at heart by expecting us to be “A” students. Indeed, he worked two jobs to send all his children to universities and in his mind that made him a good person. What he did not realize is the tension he put into our lives by always expecting us to excel in whatever we do. It is that tension that made us abandon his presence. We left him to go seek folks who accepted us as we are, imperfect, not as we could become, perfect.

The judgmental and critical person tends to do what he does rather obsessively and compulsively and tends to feel like he is doing it for the good of those he is judging; after all, he wants them to be better. Father would tell us that he wants us to become better students and attend the right schools. Unfortunately, his favor is a very painful one. He wanted us to approximate perfect states and no human being can be perfect, so, in effect, he was really not doing us a favor.
In fact, father was attacking our real selves. To hold people to ideal standards is literally to ask them to reject their real selves and to insist that they become ideal selves. It is like the critical and judgmental person is trying to kill people’s real, imperfect selves and replace them with his mentally construct ideal selves for them.
The criticizer and the judge is not a nice human being; he is at war with real people and wants to replace them with imaginary ideal people of his making.
The criticizer and judger are at war with reality; he wants to destroy people’s present reality, for he does not like it, and replace it with his mentally constructed abstract ideal reality. As it were, he is playing God. He wants to replace the self that God created us as with a self his imagination invented for us.
To criticize and judge is not to accept and love people as they are; it is to want to love them only when they approximate an ego ideal one invented for them and since they are not going to attain the imaginary self the criticizer ends up not loving any one.
Those subjected to intense criticism actually know that the criticizer and judger do not love them, that he wants to kill them and replace them with imaginary ideal selves. They feel attacked by him hence resent him. We resented father, even though, materially speaking, he was probably one of the most caring fathers on earth. A man with scant education whose children went to graduate schools must have done something right. Nevertheless, we resented his refusal to accept our real selves. He did not love our real selves but wanted to love our imaginary ideal selves, this is impossibility, for only the real can be loved.
If you expect people to be ideal before you love them, they would put on a mask of being perfect, become phony for you to love that pretentious self. Love, real love, accepts the imperfect real self.
Love does not criticize, love does not judge, love does not condemn; love accepts people as they are, not as they could become.

To love is to unify with the person one loves. To not love is to not unify with the person one did not love. Thus, not loving people, the criticizer and judger ends up not joining people; he feels cut off from people and feels all alone in this universe.
Those around the judger and criticizer do not feel joined to him. His wife and children particularly do not feel joined to him. They do not feel joined to him at several levels. At the physical and ego level they do not feel joined to him. At the spiritual level they do not feel joined to him. In effect, he gives to people around him what he has given to himself: aloneness. He feels alone and those around him feel alone. All of them feel alone and pained. (Because I was subjected to intense criticisms, I tend to expect those around me to criticize me. To avoid being criticized and rejected, I tend to stay away from other people. When I relate to people, I do not do so intimately. Deep down, I suspect that they could judge and find me not good enough and reject me. To avoid such judgment and rejection, I emotionally put a distance between me and other people. I may physically be with people, but I have a defensive wall around my psyche. I developed avoidant personality lifestyle.)

ANALYSIS AND CRITICISM ARE THE SAME

I am very cerebral. I would rather live in the world of thinking, philosophy, psychology, the world of ideas than deal with real people. I tend to be very analytical. I tend to analyze people’s behaviors. What does this mean in real life?

To analyze is to posit an ideal standard and use its methodology to analyze real people’s behaviors. To analyze is very much the same thing as to criticize and judge. To analyze is to point out how people are not ideal. In effect, I am doing what my father did, albeit in a different mode.

As a teenager, I wanted to understand why father was always critical. I generalized that pattern of behavior to wanting to understand why people do what they do. Instead of relating intimately with folks, I stand apart from them and subject them to intense psychoanalysis. (All analysis of other people is done with ones own ego and its yardsticks hence is seldom objective; one mostly projects to other people.)

Like the criticizer and judger, the analyzer is inflicting pain on people. He is, therefore, almost always left alone by other people. People are, in effect, telling him to stop his silly analysis of them, his comparing them to ideal states and to simply accept them as they are in the here and now world: imperfect.

I hated my father for always judging and criticizing me. I recognized that his judgmental nature meant that he did not accept and love me as I am. But here I am doing the same thing he did in a different manner, via analysis. In effect, I, too, am inflicting pain and tension to those I analyze. I, too, am creating tension for those around me.

My wife and children feel that I created a tense household where every person was expected to be perfect or he or she is considered not good enough, this time via analysis. My wife once told me to “quit your god damned analysis of why I do what I do and simply love me as I am”. I thought that she had lost her mind. How could I accept her imperfect self? I wanted her to be perfect, a saint, before I accepted her. Since neither her nor any other person is about to become a saint, it followed that I could never accept her.

For our present purposes, my father, in pursuit of the ego ideal, inflicted pain on his family; I replicated the same phenomenon and inflicted psychological pain on my family via my pursuit of ego ideal.

My immediate family and anteceding families have the same problem I have. We all invent tense and anxious households where failure is unacceptable. (We have several PhDs in the kindred.) Therefore, those around us tend to feel attacked by us and resent us. They tend to abandon us and leave us.

People tend to do what their parents did, albeit in different forms. Therefore, this phenomenon must be understood and changed (that is, healed). Moralization, talking about how bad it is will not change it; what will change it is cool headed understanding of it, how it works and effort to change it. Religious precepts are as good as useless, so we cannot take recourse to religion in trying to understand this aspect of the human condition, only science of thinking, aka psychology, can help us.

(Religion is primitive man’s psychology; psychology is civilized man’s religion; the high priest of yesterday’s religion is today’s psychotherapist; my ancestors were their people’s Amadioha high priests and I am the people’s psychotherapist; it figures, I am performing my family’s existential function.)

To change a pattern of behavior is to heal it. My family’s pattern of thinking, that is, expecting people to become ideal selves, is literally an attack on people and inflicts pain on them. We must change this pattern of thinking and behaving, that is, we must heal our neurosis.

To heal is to change the mind, to change ones pattern of thinking and behaving, from pursuing ego ideal to accepting the real self in all people and over looking their empirical imperfect selves, their obvious problematic personalities, self concepts, and self images.

GIVING UP THE ILLUSION OF TRANSFORMING PEOPLE TO IDEAL SELVES

One cannot change other people. People are like trees and leaves and other things in phenomena. They are what they are and will behave as they do just as trees and leaves will be trees and leaves. You cannot change a tree or a leaf; all you can do is accepting it as it is. People cannot be changed, all you have to do is accept them as they are, not as your ego ideal wants them to become. (People’s personalities are actually largely produced by their inherited body types and early childhood experiences; by adolescence it is virtually impossible to change any human being.)

The only thing that you can do is change how you look at people. See their inner Christ self, loving selves, and accept that and over look their empirical external, imperfect selves.

Accept your and other people’s personalities as they are, you cannot change them. Over look people’s imperfect personalities and bodies and accept the perfect, loving Christ in people. That is all you can do.

To over look the imperfect self and its world and accept the perfect loving Christ self in ones self and in other people is what is meant by being forgiving.

In forgiveness one over looks the apparent self, the human personality and its behaviors and accept the hidden Son of God in people.


THE EGO IDEAL AND WORK

Father was an intellectually gifted man but he wound up doing jobs that were not exactly intellectually challenging. I have pondered this situation. I think that it has to do with his pursuit of ego ideal and the colonial environment he found himself in. In the colonial world, pre 1960 Africa, Africans were relegated to certain types of jobs; they could not just go do whatever type of job they wanted to.

Nevertheless, it was not the colonial situation alone that determined father’s job choices or lack of it. His personality played a key role in it. He looked at the empirical self and empirical world and found them not perfect, not good enough and hated and rejected them. He looked at the work world and found all of them not good enough, not perfect. No one particular profession was good enough for him. He could not reconcile himself to one vocation and channel his considerable mental energy to it. Instead, he looked for an ideal profession to suit his idea ego self concept and ideal self image.

Of course, there is no ideal profession out there. Thus, he ended up not in any meaningful profession. He, therefore, did whatever he could, trading and odds jobs, to make a living.

Once his children were out of universities, since he did not find any line of work interesting and satisfying enough, since none of them was perfect, he chose not to work any more. He retired.

Unfortunately, he still needed money to subsist on. So how was he supposed to get the money given his lack of income, savings and pension? He expected his children and wife to support him. He literally expected us to take care of his material needs.

But we had our own ideas of what life ought to be. My idea of the good life was not to sacrifice for my father. I was into understanding human behavior and could care less for money.

Father’s children could not support him. His wife kept working and literally supported him from about age sixty-five onwards. On my part, I tried to coerce him to return to work to no avail.

Apparently, the man preferred to be doing nothing productive and instead sat around nursing his ego ideal. In idleness, he fancied himself his ego ideal, a perfect self. Poor chap. If I had the power, I would prevent retirement for all men until they die, at least until they are eighty years old.

It is all too easy to say that one would force people to work until they drop dead. The fact is that until a person finds a line of work that he has interest and aptitude in, he tends not to want to work very hard, and if compelled to do so would only do so half-heartedly. Father did not find any extant line of work interesting. As I have pointed out, he was seeking for ideal work to suit his ideal self concept and no extant work was ideal enough for him.

Given what I know about him, what line of work would have suited father? Clearly, there are no ideal professions out there. Idealism is a neurotic proposition, is a mental construct of how one, other people and reality ought to be but are not, in fact. There is simply no ideal line of work that I know of. What is realistic is for one to resign ones self to a line of work that approximates ones idea of ideal but is within realism.

Total idealism is actually grandiosity; it is trying to have the power of God and recreate ones self, recreate other people and recreate the world and make them as one likes them to be. This is an impossible wish. It is a psychotic wish that can only be satisfied in imagination, not in reality.

Father could have resigned himself to being a realistic psychologist, not an idealistic psychologist. An idealistic psychologist is out to change people, to make them become what his ego wants them to become, perfect. A realistic psychologist knows that people cannot really be changed. The most that you can do is study people as they are and accept them as they are.

You can understand people but you cannot change them. You cannot even change you. Certainly, you cannot change your body and since your body influenced the formation of your personality, you cannot change your personality. All you can do is over look your personality and other people’s bodies and personalities and their behaviors and do not fret about them.

Overlook the world and accept the loving self in people, the Christ self in people, but do not expect their empirical selves to be loving selves. This is not cynicism and skepticism but realism.

PEOPLE’S BAD BEHAVIORS ARE ACTUALLY GOOD IN DISGUISE

We often focus on the bad that people do to us, but the fact is that if we reinterpret those bad differently, we see that good come out of them. Bad is good and good is bad.

Let us say that somebody did something bad to you. You can choose to be upset and angry with him or her. If you do so, you get bogged down in emotional upset. On the other hand, you can choose to over look what other people did to you. If you over look what another person did to you, that is, forgive it, you experience peace and joy.
The very bad that some one did that could have irritated you, if forgiven gives you peace and happiness.

If you forgive and overlook the wrongs of others and obtain peace and joy, you are now a beneficiary from their apparent bad behaviors. Their wrong has benefited you, instead of hurt you.

It all depends on how you choose to look at what people do; look at it one way and you feel upset and another way, you feel peaceful and happy. The choice is up to you how you look at the events in your life.

The events that could destroy you could also save you. Whatever gives you peace and happiness serves you well, would you not say that? Forgiveness of the wrong that other people did to one gives one peace and happiness and therefore serves one well.


PEOPLE CHOOSE THEIR BEHAVIOR AND WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM

Another way of looking at what people do is to see it as chosen behavior. People are thinking agents and choose their behaviors. Not only do they choose their behaviors they choose whatever they experience in their lives. This is one way of looking at phenomena, the religious alternative.

The other alternative, the scientific one, is to say that whatever happens to people are accidental, making the world an accidental, random and chancy place. Science is neat and simple; it sees everything happening to one as a product of chance. William Shakespeare wrote his great plays as a product of biological and social chances. This is an Interesting biosocial reductionism.

The alternative, metaphysical reductionism is to say that people choose their experiences and what happens to them.

I talked about my father’s critical and judgmental nature. If we adopt the metaphysical methodological approach to phenomena, which I tend to adopt, without negating science, of course, it can be said that father chose to be who he is, hyper critical. Why did he choose that painful life style? In being critical and judgmental he vicariously attained his cherished desire to be godlike and be the creator of his self, other people and the world.

You must be the creator of what you judge/criticize with your ideal standards, for you are, in effect, saying that what you judge ought to be as you want it to be, and ought to be according to your ego ideal standards.

Criticism and judgmentalness is playing neurotic god (and if you believe in your ego ideals, playing psychotic god).

Going along with my metaphysical take on reality, I would say that I chose to have a father who is critical and judgmental. Exposure to him enabled me to understand what judgmentalness and criticalness is all about, to understand the psychodynamics of it.

In as much as I am motivated to understand human behavior, I chose a father that did something that created tension and anxiety in those around him, so as to learn about his apparent neurotic behavior.

Father and I chose each other. I wanted to learn about problematic behaviors and he volunteered to play a role of a problematic person for me to learn from it.

Of course, he, too, learned from it and learned from my own behaviors. (I leave it to him to decide what he learned from my avoiding his presence…could he have learned the silliness of being critical and judgmental hence gave them up, let him decide.)

People choose their physical illnesses. Geoffrey, my brother, (he had a serious physical illness) chose his illness. He did so, to feel like is a body and deny his spirit self, his Christhood.

In physical sickness body is made real. Body houses the separated ego self, so he chose it to make his ego and its body seem real in his awareness. Initially, he denied that he chose it and felt that it was something that happened to him against his wishes hence felt angry with God (and his parents and society for allowing that to happen to him). He felt like a victim.

The real lesson to be learned from the illness is that it taught him that he is not a separated self housed in body, but is Christ spirit having physical experience. He learned that it does not matter what happens to ones body, that body can be made sick and die. The ultimate lesson for all of us to learn is that our real self is unified spirit.

Unified spirit is eternal and what harms or destroys the body cannot touch it. Thus, Geoffrey’s sickness taught him that he is an immortal spirit, a Christ self.

Christ is love, so his sickness taught him love. Geoffrey, despite his physical issues, is a very loving person. He exists to work for the welfare of his wife and children. What a great guy.

METAPHYSICS AS NEGATION OF THE REAL WORLD

Generally, metaphysics negates this imperfect world of ours and posits an ideal alternative to it. It then urges people to escape into the better world it conceptualizes and for them to ignore the exigencies of this empirical world. If the persons told to so, does so, do nothing related to adapting to the realities of this world and concentrate on meeting the conditions of God and his heaven, he ends up poor.

Because they are focused on other worldly affairs, those who embrace metaphysics tend to ignore the affairs of this world; indeed, they tend to die from diseases. India is a good example of this phenomenon.

Indians are, perhaps, one of the world’s smartest people. They ignored empiricism and focused on metaphysics and philosophy. For three thousand years, they filled the world with writings on metaphysics, writings unequaled by any other group on earth. Think of the Veda, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Upanishad, Patanjali’s Yogas, the philosophies of Shankara, Ramanuja, the insightful views of Guru Nanak, the avatar Ramakrishna and his foremost disciple, Vivekananda and others and you see the outpouring of Indian religious thinking. I do not believe that any other human group rivaled Indians in philosophical thinking. In the meantime, Indians ignored scientific, that is, empirical thinking, and the result is that despite possessing the best minds in the world they remained poor.

I say these things because my frequent incursion into religion can give the reader the impression that only religion matters. That is not so. While religion is certainly important, folks must do what they have to do to adapt to the exigencies of this material world. Adaptation to this world requires science and technology, dealing with this world on its own terms.

EGO, NARCISSISM, PRIDE, FEAR, ANGER, DEPRESSION, PARANOIA ETC ARE INEVITABLE IN THIS WORLD

Metaphysics tends to take an either or approach to human affairs. This is correct, but in this world, we must combine things. This is a world of opposites, good and bad, light and darkness, life and death, not either or. Heaven may be all good and light, but in this world we cannot have just good and light for that would mean returning to heaven. On earth, there must be bad, as well as good.

Metaphysics, for example, suggests that to have an ego and seek narcissistic goals is not good for one. It rails against vanity, pride and other neurotic goals and urges people to give them up. But the fact is that whereas the less vanity and ego people have the happier and more peaceful they are, if they were to give up all vanity, pride and narcissism, they would cease existing in this world.

If human beings were not vain, that is, were not in hell, for to be vain is to be in hell, they would not be in this world; they would escape from this world and return to bliss, peace and joy, to oneness, to heaven. As long as human beings are in this world, they need to be egotistical, vain and narcissistic, for those adapt to the exigencies of this world. Yes those mental states do cause pain, but if they are given up, the individual escapes from this world, from pain to a painless world, to heaven; he leaves the empirical world and returns to the formless spirit world.

The same applies to fear and anxiety. Clearly, fear is a noxious affect and very few people consciously like to be in a state of fear. Yet to be on earth, to be human, the individual must experience fear and anxiety, that is, must lives in psychological pain and suffers. Why so?

Fear is used to protect the individual’s separated self, his ego and its chosen home, the human body. Fear is the primary defense mechanism of the separated self, the ego. Fear alerts the individual to threats to his physical existence. He takes measures to protect him hence exist as a separated being. Without fear, the individual would not do what it takes to survive on planet earth hence would be harmed and die and exit from the realm of separation.

Children who were born without capacity to feel pain and fear tend not to take precautionary measures to protect themselves hence tend to die from physical injuries and die young. Fear and pain protects people and keeps them in ego existence. Without fear and pain people cannot live on planet earth.

Yet to live in fear is to live in pain, to live in hell. To live fearlessly is to live in heaven. But to live fearlessly, the individual must not be concerned with defending his separated ego self and its body.

To live fearlessly, the individual must extinguish his separated self and return to unified spirit self. But in as much as the individual wants to live in separated self, on earth, he must live in fear, hence live in hell.

To be on earth, what Carl Jung called individuation, is to be in hell, a hell of ones choosing. It is in undifferentiated unified state that pure joy and happiness lies.

We came to earth to experience the opposite of union, opposite of God, opposite of heaven and to experience hell, the opposite of heaven. We came here to experience pain, the opposite of heaven’s joy.

To be separated, to be individuated from the whole is to be in pain and in hell, period. In as much as the individual seeks to be on earth, in the abode of egotism and separation and body that defends it, he must live in fear, pain and hell.

Metaphysics urges him to give those up, so as to attain heaven, peace and joy. Well, is the individual willing to negate this world, to die out from it? If not, then he must not give up fear, shame, vanity, pride, fear and pain, depression, paranoia; he must choose to live in his hell.


DO NOT RY TO CHANGE PEOPLE

On earth, people play by the rules of the game. In the game, they live in flesh, are born and must die; they are limited by space, time and matter. They cannot do many things due to those limitations. It takes courage to do things in the world of limitations.

In this world, folks must do certain something despite awareness of the end game, death, and in the present, possible harm to their bodies.

The individual may opt out of this game and choose to live only in his imagination. He merely dreams about how things ought to become. In wishes he has godlike powers to change reality, but in the real world he cannot change reality given the limitations set by space, time and matter.

Living in the world of wishes and idealism is actually a wish not to play by the rules of this world and to play by a set of rules one made up, rules that are not shared with other people. (When something is shared it is realistic, if it is not shared by other people, it is fantasy, in the imagination only.)

Some persons latch unto their definition of God and hope that that God would intervene in this world and use his magical wand to change the limitations of this world. These persons are also living in fantasy land, for God does not intervene in the world’s affairs. You can pray all you want to win the Lotto and become rich; you will not win it, for the Lotto is a game of statistical chance, it is not controlled by God. You are better served to get a job and earn your living the old fashioned way, work for it.

Idealism, be it ego idealism or religious idealism, really means that the individual does not want to do what it takes to adapt to the exigencies of this world; it means that he wants to escape from this world to a never, never land of perfection that would never come into being. Such a person lacks animal courage to do what it takes to adapt to this world and merely flees into an imaginary world.

A world where things and people are whatever the idealist dreamer makes of them is a fantasy world. Indeed, the idealist lacks the courage to persuade other people to help him realize that imaginary world of his, for in reality nothing is ever accomplished without working with other people.

No dream is ever realized, in dream or reality, on earth and in heaven, without working in conjunction with other people. Ideal goals generally end up only in the imagination of their neurotic and or psychotic dreamers. Idealists live in fantasy, feeling vicarious power from it but in fact are powerless.

What I am saying is that whereas metaphysics clearly states the truth in an either or manner, that to meet its conditions, one must voluntarily choose to negate ones ego and the egos world; one must give up separation and return to unified state.

One does not have to do so. One has the freedom to live in separation for however long one wants to. Indeed, when one lives the optimal 120 years on earth and dies, one can choose to return to earth, and do so many times. There is no hurry to exit this world.

Living on earth, in separation, is a choice. Because it is a choice, one should never work to change other people, one cannot change other people, any way. Other people are who they are by choice. People choose to be who they are. They choose whatever condition they seem to be in. They choose their happiness and or suffering. They choose their wealth and or poverty. When they are sick, they choose their physical illness. They choose these conditions and want to experience them and learn from them. They do not want to change and experience something else; otherwise they would choose something else.

Even when people are mentally ill, they choose to be so, and if you try to make them mentally healthy, they would resist you. I should know, for I worked in the mental health field and initially had the illusion that I could change people. I learned from bitter experience that you cannot change the mentally ill. Only they can change them selves…and since to change is to heal; only they can heal themselves.

The mentally ill choose extreme individuation, extreme separation, extreme egotism and that is what they want to experience. They choose bodies to make their choices possible, for there is always a biological aspect to mental disorders.

When they have had enough of that, they would choose differently, but you cannot make them give up their choice.
The garden variety neurotic chose his anxiety. He is the one who insists on being egoistic and defending his idealized self concept and self image and in so doing feels anxiety. All he has to do to escape from anxiety and fear is give up defending his separated self, his ego, and convince himself that he has no separated self housed in body and see his ego and body as dream self, as illusion and stop defending it and he would no longer experience anxiety. He experiences anxiety, fear and tension because he wants to have a separated self; he wants to be an illusion and by definition must experience anxiety, for illusions are maintained with fear and other defenses.

Slaves chose to be slaves. If you try to change their status, you run into problems, for they want to be slaves and do not want freedom. They prefer to experience themselves as victims of their brother’s oppression and abuse and being slaves optimizes that experience.

But the moment a slave no longer wants to be a slave, no one can enslave him. All he has to do is take a gun and kill his slave master. It is as simple as that to end slavery. Kill the sadistic person who wants to enslave you and he would no longer enslave you. At the societal level, rises up against your social oppressors. Destroy the oppressor or he destroys you, in which case there will be no you for him to oppress.

Consider the dance of blacks and whites in America. Any one with eyes knows that blacks are physically stronger than whites and can easily destroy whites any time they so desire. So why did blacks tolerate slavery in the hands of physically inferior persons? Is it because whites are smarter than them? Whites are not even intelligent; for if they were intelligent they would not enslave or discriminate against any one…their civilization will eventually be overthrown by those they maltreated.

The point is that though blacks had the capacity to not give in to slavery and discrimination, they chose to experience those negative states. It was their choice not to be freemen.

If you doubt this fact try to enable black Americans gain their liberty and you realize how much they like their second class status in America; they like their slavery; it is their choice.

Slavery is a choice and as such only the slave can choose to regain his or her liberty, you cannot choose for him.

On a larger scale, we are all slaves of the ego and choose it and only we can choose freedom from the ego, other people cannot choose union for us.

Nobody can compel you to give up your separated self and live as your unified self. Even God can not choose for his son, you, for, like him, you have perfect freedom to choose what you want to experience.

For God to take away your freedom is for him to take away his own freedom, for, after all, you a part of him and what he does to you he effectively does to himself.

God is perfect freedom and his children are perfect freedom, so God cannot take away his children’s freedom without destroying his own freedom. For God not to be freedom is for God to die and since that is impossible, for God is everlasting, he cannot take away his freedom and cannot take away his sons freedom.

Thus, you are left free to dream that you are separated from God, from other people and from your real self. It is your choice to dream and you can dream for however long you desire.

God knows that dream is not reality. Your dream of separation does not alter the reality of union, for, in reality, you are always in union with God and all creation, while dreaming that you are separated from them.

God wills union and we are all in unified state. To separate from God is to die; to defy the will of God is to die. No one can separate from God/union, hence no one can die and, therefore, in reality we all obey the will of God, are unified and always love one another.

On earth, our acts that do not love others if seen from the Holy Spirit’s perspective are really acts of loving. Slavery, racism discrimination are really acts of love, for they enable blacks to give up their identification with separated self, egos and embrace unified spirit self hence regain peace and joy and return to heaven and its bliss.

Do not try to change other people, that is, do not try to heal other people, do not try to save other people, do not try to redeem other people, and do not try to deliver other people.

All that you can do is try to change you, to change your identity from separated self to unify self, from ego to Christ, from body to spirit, from belief in death to acceptance of immortality. The sole function of the atonement worker, Sister Helen Schucman reminds us, is to atone for his own sins.

To sin is to separate from the whole. To atone for ones sins is to give up separation and return to unified state, to God. When one relinquishes ones ego and embraces the truth of unified spirit, one is healed; one is a changed person, one is now living from Christ self, from love. One becomes an example of a changed person, so that those who wish to change, to be healed, can emulate one. One lives in peace and those who want to live in peace can emulate one.

CONCLUSION

One does not have to go about trying to change people, all that one needs to do is change ones self and one becomes an example of a changed human being for the rest of the world to emulate, if they so desire.
One does not have to criticize people, urging them to live as ego ideal selves. The pursuit of ego ideal self, which is the pursuit of fantasy, is really an attempt to replicate the perfect self of God’s unified real self on earth. Alas, God’s real son is spirit and is perfect in spirit, in unified spirit and is always so and cannot be perfect in body, in separation, so one must stop criticizing him and asking him to be ideal, for he cannot be ideal in separation, in body.

The son of God, your real self, is already ideal and perfect in unified spirit, in heaven. All he has to do is let go of his desire for separation, an ego housed in body and he recognizes that he is always in perfect state, while dreaming that he is imperfect in body and ego.

Instead of criticizing and judging people, recognize your union with them and live it via love and forgiveness for all creation. Leave other people to choose when to live out of their unified self, when to love and forgive all hence live in peace and joy.

* Africans, generally, do not pay much attention to their personalities and behaviors. When you examine them, you see lots of psychopathologies, but they do not know that they have these disorders. It is the case of ignorance is bliss! If you attempt to point out their screwed up life styles, they may think that you do not like them. Some may even think that by talking about my father’s issues publicly that I hate him. They could not be further from the truth. I love him more than I love any man on earth. I just want to understand his problem. Now that I have, more or less, understood it, I can stand his presence. He is now my greatest friend, but as a child I sought every opportunity to avoid his presence. Try, my dear reader, to understand your and your family’s behavior patterns, your personalities, and improve on the problematic aspects to them. There are too many warped and stunted Africans running around. Much of the misgovernance of Africa is attributable to many Africans problematic personalities and behaviors.

Ozodi@africainstituteseattle.org

Posted by Administrator at January 22, 2006 10:05 PM

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