Working Backwards

The clear and present danger lies within our very own minds. If a man trusts himself without question, he falls prey to fantasy over reality. This is simply a fact. Men have singular names — like Matthew, Mohammed, Marcello and Mao — so it is intuitive and natural for them to assume that this also means they have a singular mind. In fact, this is a belief that is adopted in each and every single soul by default. It is the unspoken laws, regardless of their actual veracity, that rules the¬†undergirding pathways of who we are.

It is the fundamental laws, the most simple and basic, that reap the most havoc. Laws such as…”I am right”. No man admits to it, of course, nor is he necessarily conscious of it, or even responsible. It would be fair to say that the majority will live out their entire lives without even questioning the basic tenets of their subconscious makeup. The framework and overriding structure of their belief system will remain the same from adolescence all the way to infirmity, having only fossilized in form as years pass on by.

On a blank cultural canvas, many things are right and true from the very start. Men are honest, for instance, at the very core of what and who they are. Allow cultural complication to proceed with its twists and turns throughout several millennia, and the fashion of humanity becomes more important than its skin, and the blood and bones beneath even that. If we are to be good to ourselves, if even for a moment, we should be able to entertain the idea very easily that we are not responsible for a great many assumptions that we inherently harbour without an iota of awareness.

For someone to seriously undertake a questioning of the skeleton of his beliefs, emotional discomfort is the quintessential experience. Here, also, we meet with one of our fundamental laws, that is, to feel secure, safe and comfortable. In ordinary life, we do not notice how many warts and blemishes of our character and actions we ignore, or justify with subtle fabrications in order that a situation be made right. To be right and to feel good are woven very deeply within the threads of who we are. Rules like these are obviously bent on occasion in more or less average men, but they are never definitively broken.

For this precise reason, a man who questions himself and feels emotional discomfort will very soon find himself mustering up decisions in such a way as to justify an avoidance of further attempts in this direction. The engine of self-justification is immensely sophisticated, subtle and remarkably versatile. We possess a propaganda machine of our own vanity and pride which serves as a microcosmic example of what you see through the corrupted lens of modern media channels.

So the story unfolds as a journey down a perilous road, without any certainty or assurance as to any rewards, other than self-knowledge. Or it doesn’t, and a man lives out the remainder of his life wearing a numb mask, vicariously pleasing himself with half-steeped experiences. For the emotional discomfort of working backwards is part of a temporary process, exactly similar to the symptoms of physical detoxification. The catch here is that men will often work at it like most, if not all, of his general pursuits: lazily and full of silly compromise. In that case, his life becomes one of perennially swinging back and forth from sinning to repenting, and repenting to sinning.

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