Are We Free?
Trump is hurting ALL of us! Why are we such lemmings? There is a general impression that we live in a country where we have freedom of speech, freedom of choice, freedom of opinion…but in reality, aren’t all very much ‘programmed’ by forces that determine everything about us? There are “outer” forces, which include: geography, climate, level of wealth/poverty, media, social interactions, and daily circumstances. There are inner forces which include: ancestry, upbringing, gender, wellness/”un”wellness, ideologies (religion, personality variables such ad extrovert/introvert, sense of unity vs. sense of exclusion, “liberal”/”conservative,” history….i.e., the “time” during which a person lives), and a major influence: addictions.
While many believe that addictions are the result of choice and habit, science is reporting significantly valid research indicating that addictions are in fact a function of the brain (disorder? dysfunction? anomaly?, faulty neuronal activity?). Here we find a slippery slope. Since humans are individually unique, there cannot exist a “perfect” example by which to standardize or assert “this (he/she) is the norm.” Variations, like the diversity which is constitutive of the species (all species), indicates that since uniqueness is a given, then humans, de facto, are always, necessarily, different.
So, while we say people have “preferences,” such as ‘blue eyes vs. brown eyes,’ ‘taller vs. shorter,’ ‘lighter vs. darker,’ we agree that such conclusions are culturally determined judgments. But we don’t use a similar designation when referring to realities deemed negative (e.g., mental illness, marginalization, denominational affiliation, and, most significantly, sexual/gender nomenclature). Why?
Here’s an example. I have been diagnosed ADHD. That’s ‘attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,’ for those who may be acronym savvy but logos lacking. While descriptors such as “deficit” and “disorder” clearly indicate moral judgment, folks like myself, and scads of research, now acknowledge the “features“ of ADHD that are considered beneficial and even, gifts. Personally, my “ADHD” allows me the ability to get up in front of a crowd of people and perform, spontaneously and successfully. What makes this ability noteworthy is that I am a bonafide introvert, someone who suffers great anxiety when I am in a crowd.
In other words, if being human “means” having a combination of characteristics that are ascribed and not achieved (or chosen), why are some qualities considered virtues, while others are considered deficits? Who makes (made) the call? And the fact that the preferences can change: a woman’s fair skin, umbrella protected from the sun, was once considered a social/cultural statement about beauty. Compare this to crowded ocean beaches in summertime, where the smells of coconut flavored tanning oils testify to the commitment to getting that ‘beautiful dark tan.’ Is one right? Is either right?
Do we choose? Are we “free” to choose?
And if we are free to chose, then why do a majority of people waste so much time and energy watching/listening/reading non-stop media coverage hyper-focused on the minutiae of Trump’s daily grand-standing and his every egocentric word? Why willingly subject one’s self to the haranguing banter of talking heads whose objective is to stoke the fires of discord and hostility? Do people benefit, in any way, from such exposure? Isn’t it akin to watching a movie teeming with grandiose violence and sexual depravity? Does such an experience ‘lift up your soul’?… make you a better person?… does it benefit you in any way? Then why do it?
Similarly, why expose one’s self to the harmful consequences of this ‘Trump virus?’ Why choose to feed your soul with shit?
If we are free to choose, why don’t we stop gawking at this ongoing, ever-tweeting, cultural car-wreck? Why don’t we choose to celebrate the previous gift of life, the previous one and only day we are given…..this day! Can we fill this day by choosing to gaze upon that which is beautiful?… listening to the song of Creation?… reading the signs of spring, whose current verse tells the story of magnificent new life and growth, the grandeur of the natural world, the promise of hope and future blessing, and, so clearly, each person’s intimate call to fully and consciously participate in this wild and wonderful moment?
Are we free to choose?
Can we make loving, life-giving choices?
What shall we choose?
bY: g.m.corrigan © 2017