Sunday, February 7, 2016

Expansion

" I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave." - Reagan

Suffering

This is one description of suffering I can offer to you. Suffering is when we lose control, and because we do not have control of much at all in life, it is essential that we understand that suffering will be a part of our lives. Denying this truth is to live in delusion.

 When everything is going your way and you’re getting everything you want – if the seeking mechanism is working for you – why would you question your reality? But what tends to happen is, sooner or later life stops going your way! Then we find out that we are not in control of life and that we can’t have what we want. This whole seeking mechanism starts to break down and we suffer.

When you are suffering you might start to ask, ‘Is this who I really am? Do I really need all this stuff I believe I need?’ Can you see the absolute necessity for suffering in our lives as it propels us to ask the deeper questions we would never ask in good times? Self is being revealed and dethroned.

- Richard Rohr - What The Mystics Know

Creep


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mimetic Theory & The Scapegoat

"Jesus’ death reveals that the foundation of culture was based on a murder and a lie.  His resurrection reveals that God didn’t want sacrificial victims to atone for another’s sin, but rather that God expects each of us to take responsibility for our own feelings of shame and envy."
 
Rene Girard, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, began developing his theories over 40 years ago, while researching the great stories in literature.  He wanted to know what made these stories great and he discovered that they had some similarities.  He further began to research the rituals and  mythologies of primitive people.  He noted the same common structural properties in those stories.  These similarities in the world’s mythologies and rituals led to the development of his theories of mimesis and the scapegoat mechanism.

Rene Girard’s Mimetic Theory is based on the principle that human beings are mimetic creatures.  We imitate what we see in others. In fact, our desires are not actually our own, but desires we have copied from others.  The more we imitate each other, the more alike we become.  Increasingly, we vie for the same desires and we become rivals. The more human beings imitate each other, the more individuals become alike.  Distinctions between individuals are blurred as they mirror each other.  The boundaries between individuals which keep order, begin to disintegrate. Increased rivalry creates increased violence and the blurred boundaries threaten to destabilize the social fabric.

"primitive man stumbled upon the solution to this threat: the scapegoat."

In Girard’s theory, primitive man stumbled upon the solution to this threat: the scapegoat.  By placing the blame for all the hatred and distress on one individual or group of individuals, the community’s violence becomes polarized toward the ones being blamed.  These responsible individuals become the scapegoats for all the bad feeling in the community. By expelling or killing the scapegoat, order is restored and the community becomes peaceful again. The single act of sanctioned violence, becomes like a vaccination against the disease of chaotic, out of control violence.

It is critical that the members of the community be completely convinced that the scapegoat is guilty for this mechanism to restore order.  That is why the scapegoat must be accused and slandered before he is killed, but after the killing, everyone attributes the restored order to the scapegoat’s sacrifice.  In this way, the sacrificial victim becomes responsible for both the violence and the peace in the community.  He becomes “the sacred”.

Girard proposes that world mythologies and religions hide the scapegoat mechanism within the sacred rituals of sacrifice.  These rituals are a re-enactment of the very first killing of the sacrificial victim through which the first community established order.  In a sense, these ritual sacrifices serve as “booster shots” to inoculate the participants against disorder.  With order established, a culture can thrive.

"By placing the blame for all the hatred and distress on one individual or group of individuals, the community’s violence becomes polarized toward the ones being blamed.  These responsible individuals become the scapegoats for all the bad feeling in the community."

This founding of a culture through the killing of an innocent victim, which was then justified through the telling of a story in which the victim deserved to die, is why Girard says that the foundation of culture was based on a murder and a lie.

To summarize, in Girardian Theory there are two principles: Mimetic desire and the sacrificial victim.

There are five themes in mythology which point to a ritual murder of a scapegoat.
  1. Chaos, lack of order, lack of differentiation, blurring of boundaries.
  2. A scapegoat is slandered and accused.
  3. Evidence is presented that the scapegoat is guilty
  4. The scapegoat is convicted, killed, or banned.
  5. Order is restored.
As Rene Girard continued to examine the mythologies of primitive peoples, he noted a difference in one particular set of stories.  The stories from the Hebrew and Christian texts seemed to have a slightly different perspective than those of other mythologies.  In these stories, the scapegoat was not always guilty.  In fact, these stories were told from 180 degrees the opposite perspective of the other world mythologies.  They were told from the perspective that the sacrificial victim was innocent. 

From the stories of Abraham and Isaac, Job, Joseph and many others, we can see that these victims were falsely accused.  Girard explains that the New Testament culminates in a story about the most innocent victim of all: Jesus Christ.  There is no question of His innocence and it is this unquestioned innocence that unveils the scapegoat mechanism, which had been used since the foundation of the world to restore order, as an injustice. The apocalypse, which means “the lifting of the veil” is the revelation of things hidden from humanity since the beginning.

Because order had been established through an unjust murder, Jesus’ death reveals that the foundation of culture was based on a murder and a lie.  His resurrection reveals that God didn’t want sacrificial victims to atone for another’s sin, but rather that God expects each of us to take responsibility for our own feelings of shame and envy.

Jesus knows that we are mimetic creatures and he asks us to imitate Him, not as rivals but as a model to aspire to.


Source: http://180rule.com/rene-girards-mimetic-theory-the-scapegoat/
 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Next Steps

There are very few who will sit with you in  the depths of your pain and loss, who will say "tell me how you got here," and listen intently to your story. Very few.

But then there is always the next step you have to take. When you can't find the bottom, when your energy is gone and you've lost any clarity to move forward.
 
That next step is huge.
 
And that next step might be rest and restoration. It might not be agreeing with the world's clamor for you to produce and get back in the saddle. That'll come. And that is when you find out who your friends are that love you. They are not only there for you, but they are ok that you are there with them.  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Sudden Good Break

Devastation, despair and a deep sense of depression has been a state of mind so extreme of late that I wanted out.  I lay my head down at night and begged God to release me from this deep fall into a bottom that I can't find. Awakening in the morning, the nightmare was continuing and only coffee would soothe the melancholy. Wine soothes at night. Self-medicating is a necessity when you get lost and need to power through.

This morning I received a text from a friend who wasn't able to find the bottom of the pit he had fallen into.  I didn't offer him any bullshit, but told him that I have wanted out lately, but that God would probably save me again and we just needed a break.

I posted this on my FB today,

"Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick,
but a sudden good break can turn life around."    
                             -  P rov. 13:12 The Message

I'm not screwing around when I tell you that the disappointment we are facing right now is unrelenting: death, loss of homes, possessions, divorce, breakups, jail cells, suicidal ideations and threats, loss of business, wandering around aimlessly, and a full-on inability to live life as it is being served up. 

I'm supposed to know that God is with us in this, but I've forgotten the former deaths and how hard it was then because I resurrected out and just lived again. Here I am in my amnesia again.

And then as I was asking God for a break that would turn my life around, I felt a rush of sorrow flow out of me for my friend, even my ex and I wept. I know I'm not supposed to think or talk about her, but both of these people were there with my in this place and I had to deal with it as it arose.

"Give my sudden break that can turn my life around to my friend and my ex-girlfriend. They need it more than I do and I want them to know that I love them and care for them, more than myself. Give them anything you would give me, my blessing and my break." 

And the sorrow subsided, a wave of love, and a change in my consciousness enveloped me. The heaviness of narcissim was gone.  Peace.

We can't get out of this, and I'm not sure it matters anymore because it's not about us and our sorrow, but about others in their sorrow.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

Clipping the Strings



"All the lines that held me to my life were sliced apart in swift cuts, like clipping the strings to a bunch of balloons. Everything that made me who I was ... disconnected from me in that second—snip, snip, snip—and floated up to space."
       
– Stephenie Meyer, Breaking Dawn