This book is a Get Out of Jail Free card and a passport back into the playground.

The aim of this book is to set you free. But free from what? Free from neurosis. Free from the feeling that you have to obey authority. Free from emotional intimidation. Free from addiction. Free from inhibition.

The key to happiness, mental health and being the most that we can be is absolute and unconditional self-acceptance. The paradox is that many of our problems are caused by trying to improve ourselves, censor our thinking, make up for past misdeeds and struggling with our negative feelings whether of depression or aggression.

But if we consider ourselves in our entirety in this very moment, we know these things :

1. Anything we have done is in the past and cannot be changed, thus it is pointless to do anything else but accept it. No regrets or guilt.

2. While our actions can harm others, our thoughts and emotions, in and of themselves, never can. So we should accept them and allow them to be and go where they will. While emotions sometimes drive actions, those who completely accept their emotions and allow themselves to feel them fully, have more choice over how they act in the light of them.

Self-criticism never made anyone a better person. Anyone who does a “good deed” under pressure from their conscience or to gain the approval of others takes out the frustration involved in some other way. The basis for loving behaviour towards others is the ability to love ourselves. And loving ourselves unconditionally, means loving ourselves exactly as we are at this moment.

This might seem to be complacency, but in fact the natural activity of the individual is healthy growth, and what holds us back from it is fighting with those things we can’t change and the free thought and emotional experience which is the very substance of that growth.

How to Be Free is available as a free ebook from Smashwords, iBooks in some countries, Kobo and Barnes & Noble

It is also available in paperback from Lulu or Amazon for $10 US, plus postage.

The ebook version currently has received 593 ***** out of ***** ratings on U.S. iBooks.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Freedom Vs. Political Correctness

Copyright: lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo

Idealism is the root of all evil. The fact that this is so counter-intuitive gives some idea of why evil has been with us for so long.

This is how it works. The better we feel in ourselves the more generous and loving we are towards others. To feel good in our selves we must be self-accepting. Idealism, i.e. an unforgiving insistence on certain standards, undermines our self-acceptance. If someone says to us “I will appreciate it if you do your best” then that encourages us to do well. But if someone says “You must meet this goal” then any inability to meet that goal will be interpreted as failure and this will undermine the good feelings that would feed our efforts in the future.

What we term “political correctness” is a form of idealism. It involves an insistence on certain forms of behaviour and particularly certain forms of expression, based on whether or not they reflect a sense of equality.

A society in which all members treated others as their equals would be a very healthy society.

But does the kind of idealistic insistence represented by political correctness move us toward such a society or away from it?

The roots of injustice lie in fear. It is not for no reason that we describe intolerance towards homosexuals as “homoPHOBIA”. Very often the fear is not of the person themselves but of what they represent to the discriminator. A sexually repressed white man may fear that black men will rape his wife. He is seeing in them a reflection of his own disowned self, rather than seeing them as individuals. And embattled men often fear women because they see them as an embodiment of their own critical conscience. This doesn’t mean that black men never rape white women or that women never nag men over their unethical behaviour. What it does mean is that the fearful individual will focus on those instances where these things happen, and ignore the massive amount of evidence which demonstrates that these are exceptions.

Authoritarian structures of social organisation, such as patriarchy, take the form of a rigid defence against such fears. Much of the emotional energy arising from these fear-based feelings of hostility is channelled into maintaining the social order. Some may also be channelled into aggression against other nations. What is left may feed open acts of aggression against the underclass who represent what is feared.

Since these feelings of hostility arise from fear, any sense of threat will increase them. So one of the problems faced by social reformers is that fear of change increases the level of hostility of those whose insecurities were accommodated by the old order.

So where does political correctness come in? It is intolerance of the expression, in any form, of these fear-based feelings of hostility. It is the new Ten Commandments. One big “Thou Shalt”. And the fear of God is instilled by the threat of ostracism.

Political correctness can’t expel hatred from someone’s heart and replace it with love. All it can do is to intimidate someone who has these feelings into pretending they don’t have them in return for social acceptance.

I’ll give a personal example of the effect of political correctness on myself. My tendency has been to be very open to transexual culture. Diversity of sexual behaviour fascinates me and I get great inspiration from movies about gay men, lesbians and transvestites because they illustrate the struggle involved in being true to oneself in the face of demands for conformity. On the other hand, I don’t share the view that most transexuals have of themselves, i.e. that they are “a woman in a man’s body” or a “man in a woman’s body”. As long as I recognise their right to have this self-perception, it seems to me that I have the right not to share it. (A recent viewing of the movie The Danish Girl tended to back up my view that transsexualism arises from a fixation on an aspect of the individual’s nature which they feel is not accepted. Einar felt that his father disapproved of his feminine side, as evidenced by his response to finding Einar wearing an apron and being kissed by his male friend, and so he fixated on this part of himself for which he desperately desired acceptance. When he got that acceptance in the form of Gerda wanting him to dress as a woman, it was intoxicating to the extent that it overwhelmed and destroyed him, replacing him with Lili.) Now I find it harder to access my warm feelings towards transexuals because I feel I may be accused of being “transphobic” if I have an heretical belief about their psychology.

Freedom is essential to progress. That especially includes the freedom to be mistaken and the freedom to have negative emotions.

If we see a particular way of thinking as correct and unquestionable then we will never learn whether it is the truth. All ideas have to be questioned. They must prove themselves to be the fittest if we are to evolve towards greater understanding.

The word “emotion” contains the word “motion” for a good reason. Emotions are indicators of change occurring in our psyche. The natural movement of the psyche, when give its freedom from cultural expectations, is towards wholeness. So it is important to accept our emotions. This doesn’t mean acting on them if that would be wrong or counter-productive. Who among us has not felt like punching someone at some time when we’ve been very angry? We don’t have to do it to feel our anger and let it flow out of us.

So if someone thinks differently than you, don’t condemn them. Challenge them to a debate.

If someone expresses feelings of hostility towards someone, don’t judge them as a person. Express understanding of why they may feel that way and encourage them to give expression to those feelings in a way which won’t be hurtful to others.

Recognise that the hostile and intransigent are frightened and in need of reassurance. It isn’t always easy to find a way to give them what they need, but it is at least worth thinking about.

This is addressing political correctness for what it is on the surface. For many I think it is something else again.

For many of us, to push political correctness is an outward expression of our internal battle with our own dark side. This explains the vitriol and contempt many of us express towards those we find incorrect in this way. We need a scapegoat for the stew of hateful feelings we feel building inside us.

What is needed most is honesty. If we try to deny that we are frightened and insecure, then our fear and insecurity will divide us. If we admit that we are frightened and insecure, then we will be united by this recognition that we are all in the same boat.

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