Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Fig Leaf


The saddest expression I have ever seen is when someone smiles through the dying.
More and more we are suppressing emotion because the emotional experience has become so predictable that even the mere thought of expressing an emotion of any kind presents us with a fear that people will start pointing out our behaviors to us. It has become quite easy to identify the behavioral and psychological dynamics that people operate from and because these human traits are common to man, all of us are susceptible to displaying them. And the more we display them, the easier it is to point and make an accusation. Fear of shame and the perception of weakness causes us to recoil away from expressing our emotions and this naturally causes us to suppress emotion. So, we pretend that we're not bothered by that, but we are.
People have adopted the belief that any expression of emotion is the equivalent of behavioral and psychological disrobing...sharing honestly has become self prohibitive as a defense mechanism because no one has the right to be vulnerable without shame or fear of attack. We watch what we say, what we do, even what we think because of social ramifications and the possibility of being behaviorally identified and classified. So, we ultimately conform and resort to living in emotional stealth mode. Conformity is social camouflage that allows us to hide in plain view, and the more we learn about human nature, the more camouflage we need.
Everyone walks around smiling and sharing pleasantries, but underneath it all, we are groaning. That groaning is a desire to not be so easily sized up psychologically or intellectually...and especially not emotionally.
Human behavior has been so analyzed at this point that it's been chalked up to instinct and stimuli and how we respond to it ...all lumped together in coffee table books. That desensitized and clinical approach to the human condition presents a view of the human experience that reduces the emotional being of a person towards obsolescence and human interaction and sharing is in decline right alongside it. Isolation becomes a safe haven for emotions because predictability of human behavior doesn't provide adequate social camouflage so instead, we hide.
As a result, the human experience is facing a relational winter and has been for quite some time. Relationships are distant and superficial despite the fact that we have a very common and intimate understanding of what makes us tick. Our intentions, motivations and behaviors have become transparent and hiding is how we cloth ourselves. Since we can't literally hide, we have to camouflage ourselves with emotional obsolescence to mask our emotional and psychological nudity. What appears to others as apathy or indifference is really just a mask to hide our desperation to express emotion without judgment and condemnation.
We have become hyper vigilant and trust is difficult if not impossible to cultivate, because the minute you lower your defenses and become vulnerable, it is seen as weakness and weakness is an intolerable crime in society everywhere. This is why we turn to intimate relationships as a consolation for the suffering of hiding in plain view. Relationships become a place where you don't have to hide.
You take away emotion and you take away experience and both are linked to social interaction. When we reach out to no one or that diminishes to suppression of emotion and we give up on consolation, we become non beneficial to each other. We no longer build relationships because we can gain no benefit of consolation, because emotions are devalued and obsolete.
If taking away the fig leaf of human nature leads us to hiding behind masks and apathetic responses to conceal any perception of vulnerability, then our existence has become pathetic. We really have been a buzz kill to each other, and lowering our quality of life by eviscerating emotion and exposing motives is how we've done it. We have stomped the mystery of the human experience into the ground.
People operate from fear of perception. They seek to hide in plain view. They will look for camouflage to conceal their true self. Conformity is that very thing. The emotional and psychological manifestation of the human experience has been laid bare. Everyone is metaphorically naked and conformity is camouflage for being seen. It is the elephant in the room that everyone pretends is not there. Everyone is a social policeman on patrol and there is only one crime and it's recoil.
And what recoil do we attempt to conceal? The fact that we are not ok with detachment and apathy as camouflage. It's recoil from the fact that our camouflage doesn't make us feel safe, any more than sitting in a room naked with ten other people who are naked makes us feel safe. It's uncomfortable but we pretend it's not.
It's the pretending that bothers us the most. That is the elephant. Take away the fig leaf and we isolate ourselves and we do this because we fear judgment for being our true selves. This is why trust is built on the foundation of non judgment and non condemnation and this is why no one trusts anyone because that's what we do...judge and condemn each other.
The safeguards we seek are trusting relationships and trust is in decline. If people had the power to touch another person and know a person as well that person knows themselves...people would recoil. Rightly so. Taking away the fig leaf of human behavior exposes us to unhealthy perceptions of ourselves and others and we become naturally suspicious of people looking too closely. This can threaten our sense of privacy and personal safety.
Mutual disclosure and getting to know someone and allowing someone to know us as well as we know ourselves is a choice to disrobe psychologically, physically, spiritually intellectually and emotionally. That choice can only be expressed in freedom...And it's a freedom that we afford to each other mutually. The human experience is about experiencing life and the deepest connections that we share, and those connections are deeply personal and based in a desire to be known as well as we know ourselves and have it be ok, but then again, this is why we pull away, because it's not ok.
 The minute you can't express the desire to be known and feel safe, we begin pretending. The minute we can't express how the pretending bothers us, we become a suspect and promote our own emotional obsolescence. Emotional obsolescence is our alibi.
Are emotions obsolete?
Well, you tell me. If they are, then maybe the entire human experience is as well.
With that said...May the paths you take in life lead you only deeper into each others' hearts.
As for me, I suppose I'll continue to pretend and like everyone else...smile through the dying.
Take care

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