Paradise vs. Parasite
Buzz Submitted by : Dr Ali Anani
Buzz: Parasitic Thoughts
In his buzz (linked above) Dr Ali Anani began it featuring statistics about the Top 10 Fears of Americans in 2016 he saw at a buzz by Oliver McGee. It is the relationship basis of these fears to the topic of "parasitic thoughts" that I found immediately interesting.
I believe that my own mind becomes parasitic if I draw statistical reference that what happens in America is representative of what happens in the world. It is usually the other way around, what happens in the world is due to what America is trying to make happen.
When we use America as the baseline for global reality, distortions immediately come into play. Alissa Miller showed in TEDtalk what American news coverage would look like as a map of the world, and this is just one distortion in a number of distortions caused by a culture that in many ways is not that much different in attitude to the days when "manifest destiny" defined values.
I don't live in the United States yet the barometer we usually use is an American context. Is it surprising then that we are more likely to use that context to asset parasitic mindset rather than a mindset that contemplates paradise. That barometer is not just a measure of self-importance as a global power, but in matters of consumption also. Another part of American cultural tradition, the movie industry, loves to take self-deprecating digs at its own culture and the clip from the movie Matrix expresses this :
So the paradox wisdom I see here is how I choose to view my own world if I shift the context from America to Iceland. Writer Eric Weiner "The Geography of Bliss" in which he detailed that Iceland is one of the happiest places on Earth. In 2008 when the global economic order was on a fragile precipice, Iceland was also hit by this financial storm, but Weiner continued to address the relative resilience of Icelandic people, with similiar reactions to adverse conditions in places like America. Why is it that a population in one part of the world has a fundamentally different reaction to fear than those in a far richer and more powerful corner of the Earth?
When the 2008 too-big-to-fail financial institutions began to fail, our next door neighbour employed a maid before the financial panic and employed a maid well after the financial panic of 2008. Life however as shown on the television and media outlets was a maelstrom of end-of-the-world as we know it scenario's. Yet his lifestyle continues to be one of paradise, a paradise that comes from the reality of sacrifice, whether it is global or in our own gut.
This tradition of sacrifice is explained as a religious mindset Both Joseph Campbell and Eric Weiner show me that no matter how fearful the circumstances we dwell upon, the actual evidence base of fear is not often proportional to the way we react. This proportionality is tempered with other religious conceptions such as the way we look at blessings and the way we dwell on curses.
In this context the curses are parasitic and the blessings are paradise. Are we engaged with fear the same way that the American audience engages with the news map that Alissa Miller shared in her TEDtalk.
My mother is getting into her elder years and in her retirement she occupies her time watching news from an Indian satellite broadcast, and this broadcast is not one I watch, because it is always projecting the savagery and ills of this world. She is not insensitive to these stories of human crisis that pour forth day after day after day, but it does not make sense to me to overwhelm our minds with something where we cannot control the controllable.
Yet there is the option on the remote control to watch that which which we can control, which is our own attention. To be able to operate a remote control and have signals arrive to a media unit in our home would have been seen as paradise by societies that had very little of the technologies we today take for granted.
If I were to physically engage what it is we do mentally to our minds, that would be considered an assault - yet here we are day after day listening to the that media which simply accumulates as an assault of the chemical balance inside our bodies - an assault that our hormones consider to be a real external attack.
That way of coming to the world does not diminish or reduce parasitic thinking, it leaves our attention diverted and closed to the assault of modern media - that not only do we not notice the grassroots that are tomorrow's future, but we trample on those very roots in our own internal battle with our own fear - a fear that becomes a potentially self-fulfilling prophesy. Even the most reasoned scientists can fall into what then is an exercise in religiosity.
If what we consume leads us to a millimeter of actions that transform our world, the the net aggregate effect is a multiplier - and we know that change as a fashion tends to spread rather quickly, yet change as a human transformation - the one thing we hope and dream for, this paradise is the parasite we actually become, because then we begin to eat our own hope, and such eating of hope is at the end of the day, merely an entertainment and not transformation.