Saturday, October 3, 2020

Broken and Stuck

I used to have a cassette player when I was younger, maybe a little fancy, that had different modes. It could play in reverse, but there were other modes as well. It's been a while since I had it, so I don't remember specifically what they did. I do remember that there were some switches that, after many years of use (or abuse), were either broken, so you could move them without changing anything, or they were jammed to one setting, I can't remember which -- either way, you couldn't affect the cassette player on that dimension. The cassette player was broken and stuck.

Sometimes things become less stable when they're broken. But other times, being broken makes you more stable, by making you stuck. Maturity is (in part) a process of becoming more stable. But it may come through being broken. There can be an emotional meaning to "broken", a sense of being messed-up. But there's also a functional sense. Things just don't work the way they used to.

When do you need to be right? When you have something valuable to say. Nobody is right about everything, but if you're in an environment where people are trying to shut you up, and will use your mistakes as reason to discount you as a voice, overall, and you have something valuable to say, you had better act like you're right about everything. So you gravitate toward being stuck.

Can you forgive people? You need to be on your own side, if you're in an environment where people are trying to shut you up. You can forgive people on some levels. But like the word "listen", there's a stronger and weaker version of the term "forgive". To listen to someone is to really take into account what they're saying, which in some contexts is to act in accordance with what they say, not just be able to make sense of the words they say. To forgive someone can mean, in its stronger form, "to enter into a relationship as close as or closer than the one that was lost". If you do that, there is no doubt that you have forgiven someone. Do all relationships need to be restored? Maybe not. But if there is a good reason to restore a relationship, can you do that? Or are you stuck, unable to let go of your threatenedness?

Can you deal with your own contradictions? In the old days, we would have called these hypocrisies. Being a hypocrite is too much fun for our days. Nowadays, we are self-contradictory, holding contradictory views, and not living out the views we have, out of fatigue and brokenness. We want to move the switch that makes us turn toward consistency, but as it's broken, it moves too easily, disconnected from the mechanism that really changes us on the inside.

Can you convert to a religion or worldview -- to any religion, or any worldview? Can you see things as being true that you didn't see as being true before? On what level? Can you deeply change as a person, even if it is merely to acknowledge the facts? If your will and intellect can't affect the rest of you, because the switches are broken or stuck, then it is not so easy.

Can you hold to a religion or worldview? You may try to stay in tune with your religion / worldview, by repeatedly moving the switches back to "ADHERING". But if the switch is broken, you may not really adhere, no matter how often you get the switch in the right place.

You can feel stuckness in your brain, a physical sense of rigidity. And the broken switches can be felt. For some people, just recognizing that there are these problems can help to fix them.

No comments:

Post a Comment