written 22 January 2023
published 29 January 2023
Let me tell you three stories about stories.
I heard an awakened man say: "There are only two things that are absolutely true: I am, and something is happening. Everything else is just stories."
Dr. Gabor Maté, a specialist in treating traumatized individuals, said: "An individual can be traumatized by something that happened, or by something needed, that didn't happen. The reaction to the trauma is to armor up, cutting off access to the authentic self. However, what endures is not the traumatic event, but the story we make up about our self, subsequent to the event. This can be changed." As many as 90 percent of us have been traumatized.
I recently read: "People are easier to fool than to convince they have been fooled."
The stories we tell ourselves are powerful, even if they cause us harm! If a story is similar to something we already believe, we will likely believe that, as well. After becoming part of a story with which we identify, we tend to defend against any information to change our mind, as an assault on our being.
The insidious part is core stories are laid down long before we develop a rational perspective to evaluate what we are being told. They are lodged deep in our subconscious, running all the time. Think about how difficult it is to create positive habits. If you have been told as a kid that you are bad, ugly, stupid, guilty or the world is out to get you (pick from the long list), how frequently will you have to look in the mirror, making positive affirmations, before you begin to believe differently? This depressing state of affairs explains a lot of what goes on in the world, and indicates how difficult change will be. But it still astounds me that people believe some of the things they do.
As a life-long rational, scientifically oriented, socialist democratic, progressive, mystic, I am still gob smacked by what passes as the current Republican Party. In a world heavily affected and dependent on scientific technology, how can they be so rabidly anti-scientific? Inspired by Trump's manifest limitations, the GOP is against vaccines, ignoring that 7 GOP seniors die every day for every 4 Democratic seniors, further reducing their voter base.
Since Trump can't admit losing, a vast number of Republicans believe his lie the election was stolen from him, even though other Republicans won in the same election. Despite numerous lost law suits, and confirmation by Republican authorities the election was fair, they are willing to destroy the country to "make things right". The only explanation is these folks feel cheated by life, opening them to believing the false story Trump also feels cheated.
People tend to believe stories that enhances their short-term income. It was recently verified that Exxon-Mobile accurately predicted our growing climate crisis half a century ago, and realized addressing it would cost then trillions. Instead, they chose to cancel further research and funded climate denial. Thus, the GOP, heavily dependent on fossil fuel campaign contributions, denies the reality of the climate crisis: truly suicidal politics. Recently Wyoming opposed shifting to electric vehicles to preserve their oil and gas income. As a result of massive lobbying by the fossil fuel industry, Ohio declared propane and natural gas as "green energy", ignoring that natural gas is 80 times more potent as a greenhouse gas over the first 20 years.
People believe lies from a "trusted" source. Fox News required employee Covid vaccinations, but railed against them on air, making billions in profit. Further, Fox News claimed Dominion voting machine "stole the election" by switched votes. In the current $1.6B defamation case against Fox, Dominion lawyers found Fox on-air talent knew this was a lie.
After decades of Republicans telling the story that "government is the problem", they are now proving that Republican government IS the problem! The only question is, how bad does it have to get? I am still optimistic.
These days, old stories are coming to the surface to be healed and released. We are immersed in the very old conflict story between the individual and the collective. However, reality is connected, and those who deny that eventually stub their toe, or run out of breath. In the meantime, we all must look to see what "we know for certain, that just isn't so".