I am about to finally re-commence with my “Other People’s Stories” posts, but before I do, I want to make clear that I am not saying that we are helpless to change the world, our situations, or that we are pawns without any autonomy or will.
Quite the contrary – my MAIN concern is that many people invoke the “we create reality” philosophy as a way to shrug off injustice, as a way to absolve themselves of caring about others. The status quo is upheld, poor people are blamed for poverty, and people who face bigotry are blamed for the hurt that causes. None of this is OK.
Yes, a “good attitude” can go a long way in my life and that of many of my peers, but there are things that can’t be changed by a “good” attitude and there are times when expecting a good attitude out of someone facing injustice (subtle or violent) is inhumane.
Another concern is I have, and I have this one from first hand experience, is that if a person buys into this philosophy, then faces cruelty *or even random but painful events* beyond her control, the result can be devastating. One is left wondering how she MADE thus and such happen, when in fact, only the perpetrator is to blame, or in the case of some things, events without a perpetrator, NO ONE is to blame.
I believe, deep down, someone who really NEEDS to read that will, one day, wander across what I have written here and think, “Wait, if X didn’t make Y happen, maybe I can stop blaming myself for this awful thing that I endured.”
What I am NOT saying is that we have no self-will, or that we are powerless to effect change in the world. What I am saying is that we are not gods – we can only do so much, and we should not expect our fellow humans to be gods either.
I have also SO very often seen this philosophy used against people, usually women, to the tune of “Why are you letting this person hurt you?” when the real words should be “This person is an ass for hurting you.” Somehow the person in the power seat is never held responsible (“She made an enemy of me” is one phrase I have heard from a man who supposedly buys the philosophy. Hmmm…so she created HER reality and YOURS?????)
I do have some wonderful friends who live by the “you create reality” philosophy in other ways, not as stated above:
One woman VERY bravely left a loveless marriage, a great-paying job she hated, and sold her nice house to pursue her dreams. She now lets a room and lives very differently, AND she is very happily supporting herself doing what she loves. However, I don’t think she would deny that the financial net created by some of the things she was able to “let go of” helped.
Now, I believe she probably would have tried anyway, with or without that net. She may well have succeeded regardless. And she was incredibly brave to make the choices she did. But to my mind, this is not so much “creating reality” as taking control of one’s course in life, going after a dream, and going after happiness, even while knowing she’d be giving up things many things some people would think she couldn’t live without. That to me is RECOGNIZING one’s reality and making the risky changes, and accepting the new life-style sometimes required to achieve happiness. I realize that THIS is what some folks mean by “create your own reality” but it, all too easily, morphs into something else, something ugly…
Another friend tries to create reality by creating goodness as her part of the collective consciousness. This is a beautiful thought to me, but is also, to my mind, way too much responsibility. Not as much as believing one is a little god, running reality, but still too much. If my thoughts have that kind of power, that kind of realness, then I am in seriously deep shit. And honestly, I need to be free, at times, to have unkind thoughts without feeling guilty about them.
What about you?