Posted by: silverback | 2012/08/08

the problem of self-proclamation

My subconscious is a moody sonofabitch.

It always hears the things I say consciously, it’s always aware of my conscious declarations and intentions. But sometimes, when it catches the scent of fear, it messily asserts itself as the stronger force. It usually goes to great lengths to put on a garish show of its displeasure, and doesn’t stop its dervish until everybody is hurting just a little bit.

I think we all have this disconnect in one way or another. Somebody will say, “Oh I’m a vegan because the commercial meat industry is killing us all,” while lighting their tenth additive-free cigarette of the day. I used to always hear serious statements like, “Oh no I’m not racist at all. I think most of those people are just lazy because they’ve been given welfare all their lives.”  The best stuff comes from the religious sector these days, simultaneously preaching the gospel of Christ which tells us all to love one another as God loves us, while simultaneously spewing hatred for persons of a certain sexuality. You could label it simple hypocrisy, but I think it’s deeper than that. I think we actually believe the shit we say for the most part.

I’m having a big problem with people in my life lately who claim to be inclined to behave a certain way or proclaim themselves determined to do a specific thing.  When the time comes to follow through, or when their true intent is tested by my reactions, I’m disappointed because they don’t seem to remember what they said. Sometimes, in fact, an argument will surface about my well-reasoned reaction to that thing they just said! “You’re being overly dramatic,” or “you don’t understand,” or even better, “you can’t possibly understand.”

Apparently, you are correct. I do not understand.

I’m sure the problem is mine, because I took what you said at face value, because I don’t listen for subtext. Because I do the exact same thing.

You see, I think what’s happening when I talk about intangible things, about situations that haven’t happened yet, or about complex matters of emotion – is that during the discussion I am always inclined to state my ideals. My conscious replies are always going to be “honest,” in the sense that  I’m not under the gun, but in a controlled event where I get to make unilateral determinations of “how things will go down should this situation become reality.”

When the reality hits, though, the other parties involved act in unexpected ways. Self-preservation and fear – of not getting something I want or of losing something I have – enters the mix, and I’m actually going to surprise myself with the size of the crisis I can create. I’m going to behave in a way that causes me the least discomfort in the moment. My subconscious comes to the fore, and fearlessly defends itself from the insurgence of reality.

It is never pretty. It’s probably going to be full of irrational recriminations, accusations, and reversals, and is likely going to look much like a train wreck before all is said and done. And I’m sure somebody is going to get hurt.


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