What a wonderful question...
Posted by gkb on January 21, 1998 at 22:01:58:
In response to NA horrors today, written by Carolyn B on January 19, 1998 at 12:46:38
...or actually a pair of related questions. Thanks for bringing it up.
There is some scientific evidence that viewing images of violence and brutality desensitizes people to real-life acts of violence and brutality. People in the Holocaust who were witnesses of all those horrors had to shut down pretty far or open up to a high level of acceptance to be able to survive without going insane. Evidently lawyers know that people can be desensitized to brutality, because that is why they showed the video of Rodney King being beaten hundreds of times to the jurors.
Yet it does not seem entirely wise to look away from scenes of distress. Whenever I see pictures from Oxfam and Habitat for Humanity of how people are living in great poverty, I feel it is right for us to know that we, being 6% of the world's population are using 33% of the world's resources to live in luxury while others are suffering.
Some people think one should focus only on the ideal, to be heartened for the long struggle, never to think about negative aspects of life. To look at the worst and be depressed, or to look at the best and be uplifted? This is a modern Hamlet's dilemma.
As long as we get to choose and order the contents of our awareness, we can affect the morphogenetic field that Rupert Sheldrake talks about. We can select what is to be most manifest by focusing our consciousness. We actually create reality by the persistence of our thoughts. To do this, we must know what is really happening and what is probable, but we must also be able to sustain a vision of how things can be better or different from what we perceive at first. Things are not always what they seem--but sometimes, they are!
To me, it seems important to evaluate truth by using more than one source or viewpoint. Trying to ignore ugly things can lead to one type of blindness; focusing only on ugly things leads to another kind of blindness. Education must tend to open the mind to accept what is and hone the
judgment to make the best changes.
I think NA shows this by contrasting the horrors of the heightened imagination to the dangers of real life. Catherine is too trusting of her sources of information. She believes in the false literature and she believes in the false professions of the General. She has not learned to use her rational, critical, judging mental faculties. She does not know her history! She has relied too much on imagination and feeling. If we rely only on TV and newspapers, we do not know enough. These media appeal very strongly to emotion and feeling. We too need to use critical judgemnt in evaluating our sources of information!
] In NA, Catherine confuses what happens in fiction with what happens in real life. To what extent do we all do that? How much is our perception of reality shaped by what we read, what we see on TV and in the movies vs. what we actually experience for ourselves?
] I have heard some learned types argue that all history and non-fiction is really fiction since it can never truly present reality to us, however much it may come close. So is the real lesson of NA then to learn to pick and choose from the information we read in books, in the papers, on the net or hear on TV, from our neighbors, etc?
] Sorry to ramble....
] Carolyn B
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