Authority and Today's Pain

If you make decisions you can feel proud of then you're able to respect yourself.


I like having authority figures in my life. Not the kind of authority where people decide who is in charge and that they have the right to tell you what to do. That's delegated authority and it generally becomes awful because it's too easy for self interest to take over. I recognise that authority when its wise to do so, but I don't like it.

The authority I like is to find people in my life who know more than me on a topic, and who demonstrate in practise that they do. They're not hard to find, I doubt there's a single topic where I know more than anyone else in the world. There's always someone, somewhere, who knows more. I will then consider them an authority on the topic and be more likely to believe what they say, including within the area of ethics and morality. It's very easy to hurt people and it's very nice to have people in your life, or in a situation, where you feel you can trust their advice. It can help you avoid hurting people unnecessarily and hurting people is really bad if you can avoid it.

I still make my own decisions, I still act on advice or follow rules because I've considered it and think it's good advice. Not taking personal responsibility for your decisions and owning them, letting other people tell you what to do, can mean you make bad decisions and hurt people without realising it (we all do it anyway to be fair) and its still your fault even if you let someone else make the decision for you. Be a human, not a part of a machine that no-one is really driving.

Part of the fun of any social situation is working out what rules of behaviour people seem to be following, what's the sense of group identity at work? You don't always have to follow it, sometimes it's bad. But where you do follow it it's easier for people to interact with you because the code of social conduct provides a framework for people to know each other safely. The rules of conduct, in a good community or setting, will help you to avoid hurting people. This is why consent is such an important topic in many modern communities, because so many people have been hurt because we haven't cared enough about consent.

Today's Pain

It's really interesting how a pain caused by external life circumstances brings back similar pain from the past. Like it touches the same part of your soul.

If you haven't dealt with the pain of the past and aren't willing to face it then you won't be able to face the pain of today. You won't be able to cope with the same pain in other people either. If you recognise your pain in another person empathy will cause you to feel that pain. If you're subconsciously blocking yourself from feeling that pain because you're not yet ready to deal with it then you will have to shut out people with the same pain, or at least that part of them. You won't be able to really see it and you can't help them even if you know they're hurting. The ugly part is when we rationalise shutting out the other person in a way that doesn't require us to admit to ourselves that we can't cope. We often do that by finding a way to blame, to judge, the other person.

If you are willing to face yourself then the pain of today, as inconvenient as it is, can be used as a powerful tool to uncover the pain of the past. Use your pain wisely. It is a sharp tool.

If you don't deal with today's pain honourably then life, the normal operation of your unresolved subconscious, will just engineer circumstances one way or another so you can have another try. Best just to give in as quickly as you're able.

"Given what we know about DNA, we're all just a jumbled up mix of everyone else anyway."

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