Tag Archives: Tyranny of the Weak

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Politically Correct is a term which is relatively new but stems from a perspective eons old. To put it simply, being Politically Correct is when you refrain from speaking from a perspective that might offend a social or political group even if your perspective is a fundamental principle that you ardently believe in. But then we must look at what might be considered offensive and determine if preventing someone else’s feelings from being hurt is actually our responsibility. We now must question where we draw the line between being actually assaultive or damaging and merely being expressive. What now happens to our right to be expressive? Does someone’s right to feel safe or secure now supersede our right to be expressive? There are many factors that contribute to how this may play out in our daily lives such as mixed company, political settings, proximity of children, vulnerability of participants, laws, customs, traditions and a whole host of other venues that may be used as a premise for the demand of its support or negation. Where do we begin? How did we arrive at this point? Probably the best place to start is our culturally progressive evolution toward tending to looking outside of ourselves for validation and approval through putting the importance of the feelings and opinions of others over our own. In this, self-effacement has become a required norm rather than an option. Here an example would be best in keeping with clarifying what we’re dealing with.

In my recent participation in a primarily spiritual group I encountered a circumstance that exemplifies the dilemma we face in understanding Political Correctness and how it can positively or adversely affect the participants in a situation.

The scenario occurred in a weekly meditation group that usually begins with good spirits, playful bantering, discussion of political and social events and relating personal encounters from the previous week before our sessions begin. The moderator was already present as I entered. No one else was present. Greetings were exchanged and a discussion ensued replaying some of the political and social issues and perspectives that had highlighted popular concerns during the week. Our discussion progressed to potential alternatives to actions that might be taken to ease some of the concerns people generally felt. At the peak of an engaging part of the discussion an older gentleman entered the room and shuffled to a seat. He listened for a few moments and then commented that the conversation was upsetting to him. He then stated that “the good lord had put us here to love one another.” I answered that that is just his opinion. He then stated that he didn’t want to be in this vibration and left the room. The moderator said he was sorry as the man left and then others entered the room. The usual bantering and joking ensued and we soon moved into silence for the beginning of our session. Before we began the moderator told the group that he’d like to apologize for his part in upsetting one of the participants who had left the room and asked that in future sessions the participants restrain their energies and expression as they entered the room to prevent disturbing other members in the group. The request was met with silence. It was obvious that this had put a damper on the elevated energy that usually permeates the group. We conducted our session and the group broke normally at its conclusion. I left very quietly while being pensive about what I had experienced. It had disturbed me but I couldn’t quite figure out why. It was a while before I came to understand what had actually transpired.

Let me first start off by saying that it is my choice to be either insulted or complemented by what someone else says. I must take responsibility for my own reactions. I really can’t blame anyone else for what I internally feel or generate myself. Therefore, I have no right to complain that someone has verbally hurt me even if I let myself buy into what they’ve said to me or about me. What I feel is my responsibility not a function of what someone else does or says. This being said, I am also not responsible for what anyone else feels as a result of what I say. They also have no right or room to complain. There is an old childhood saying that says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.” That alone says we either have or should have control over our own feelings and well being short of any physical contact. Let’s move a little deeper.

Our culture has become infected with a trending feeling that we must “dumb ourselves down” so others may feel comfortable and secure around us if we even think that they might feel frightened, jealous or intimidated by how we express ourselves. This perspective can very quickly become a slippery slope. It is a type of suppression that lends itself well to manipulation from within the cloak of political correctness and social etiquette. Psychologists call this the tyranny of the weak; those who use helplessness or infirmity as a guilt inducing tool evoking the relinquishing of our personal control and self-preference. In a crude fashion I can liken this type of behavior to someone dressing up as a beggar to panhandle in order to prevent having to get a job or a person who feigns sickness in order to evoke sympathy and special favors. Their behavior and assumption is geared toward us giving them deference in a number of ways. Currently, in our culture, we have become so brainwashed into believing that we are responsible for everyone else that when we do what’s good for ourselves we’re viewed as selfish or narcissistic.

I’m not promoting emotional anarchism as there are many instances where kindness for the frailty of another may be called for. But there are those of us who use that frailty as a tool for manipulation. Hypochondriacs are a prime example. And there are those of us who use the frailty and helplessness of others as a platform for their self-interest and our manipulation. We see this through guilt inducing tactics in blood drives, charity organizations, pet rescue commercials, feed the children commercials and more all insinuating that it is our responsibility to take care of those “less fortunate” while encouraging us to feel guilty if we don’t donate. A political example of this is “affirmative action;” the manipulation of one group to the advantage of another. The pendulum of who we should feel responsible for has swung way to the “others are more important than we are” side. In politics, I believe this is a stark reflection our population’s reaction and cheering on of Mr. Trump’s “America First” over the continued draining of our own country’s resources supporting every country who “whines” at us complaining about their woes and needs for rebuilding after they’ve done irreparable damage to their own resources themselves.

Now that we’ve done some exploration and laid some groundwork for how and what political correctness might encourage, let’s move back to my group experience expressed previously.

Was the older gentleman wrong in expressing his discomfort in remaining at the session? Not at all. He said what he felt and took action that reflected his feelings. He acknowledged his feelings and acted according to what he thought would be best for himself. A mature and commendable action.

Was the moderator wrong in apologizing for his part in the elder gentleman’s choice? No. He also made a decision based on what he felt and took action by informing the group of what he wished for his group in future sessions.

Were my feelings about what occurred wrong? No again. Although it took a little while before I clearly understood the dynamics of what had occurred. None of us had ill will at heart. Just preference based on what each of us had felt and decided based on our own previous and individual experiences. I doubt any of us felt manipulated or pressured toward any kind of action beyond our own choice as conditioned by our own historical experience.

I have not gone back to the group. I feel that if I can’t freely express myself there that it would not be a place for me to flourish or feel comfortable. But again, that was my choice based on my own preferences about how I’d like to live, whom I’d like to interact with and to what degree of freedom I’d like to have in doing so.

The important part of all of our individual decisions is that we didn’t take the actions of one another personally. Had we done so, blame, insult and all the other imagined insults would have led us toward taking immature and insecurity based manipulative action in order to exercise control or save face. Since we all remained responsible for our own feelings, the experience simply resulted in our individual choices leading us to put ourselves on an individual path comfortable for each of us.

If we are honest with ourselves, political correctness becomes unnecessary. In my opinion, political correctness is simply a manipulation and self-deception under the guise of needing a required personal sacrifice or suppression of one’s expression…yours or someone you’re “acting on behalf of.”

So the next time you hear the words politically correct, take a closer look. Is someone or something being shielded from the light of day or the truth? Is someone benefiting from the suppression of someone else? Odds are, most likely there is.

Hyper-sensitive-2In this world of being politically correct, socially acceptable and morally accountable comes a new participant bringing with it the ability to regulate how others perceive who you are, what you should say and how you say it. Our sensitivity cuts two ways. Either we can be considered too sensitive (hyper) or insensitive (hypo). But before we get too deep into pros and cons it would be best to be clear on what we mean by being sensitive.

Bodily senses-1Most of us, at least initially, associate sensitivity with our physical modes in connecting with our environment. That is to say, what we see, hear, taste, smell and feel (tactile) is usually what first comes to mind when we talk about our senses. But the word itself isn’t limited to just the physical. When we’re by ourselves or just dealing with bodily sensations our perceptions are mostly just physical. But when we connect with others the field becomes expanded to other domains which are structured and monitored by our minds and our perceptions of how we are affecting others or being affected or perceived by others.

The word sense can be used in terms of a noun or a verb. The noun will describe a state of being and the verb will describe our action. This differentiation is at the root of how we apply its meaning. As a noun it will be what we perceive or believe to be true or not. As a verb it will be the act of sensing itself but not necessarily what we are sensing.

When we are by ourselves sense is more about the verb or the act of sensing such as “I see the sun is setting” or “I feel the chair slipping out from under me” which we most likely feel but not necessarily say to ourselves. In contrast, when we are with others its emphasis is more on the noun and a statement about what’s being sensed. Such as “I sense that you’re wanting to leave” Thinking-vs-Doingor “I sense that you’re being considerate.” So, when the sensing is connected to others and the state of things the mind assesses and pronounces the condition. When the sensing only involves ourselves, the verb or the action is felt and the mind doesn’t come into play. Although the state may only be the direction of the sensing when we’re alone, it’s the action of sensing that is most important. But when the sensing involves others, it’s the state, condition or conclusions arrived at that’s most important. Notice that in both cases, alone or with others, both the noun and verb are in use but which has more emphasis is determined by whether we are alone or not.

This may seem like splitting hairs but it’s very important for understanding how we process our sensing and how it’s perceived differently when dealing with other people. When we’re alone, we focus mostly on the action. When we’re with others we focus mostly on the results of that action. That being said, let’s move on to understand our thresholds for sensing relative to the intensity of what we’re receiving.

For some of us, we limit our ability to sense to our physical faculties. In doing this it also mutes our capability to sense beyond what we sense physically. Why? Because when we open up to other dimensions such as intuition or feeling we can become overwhelmed if our environment is perceived as being very stressful. It feels like there is too much happening for us to comfortably process. Much of the stress we feel in our day to day environment comes from waves and energy surges coming from others that broadcast below our physical senses that run contrary to where we prefer our head space to be. That is, what comes from the outside world often seems to feel overly coercive and interferes with the peace and comfort we work at establishing within our own space. This seems to be felt the strongest by those of us who are introverts. Introverts are, the most often, very sensitive receivers of emotional currents. Generally, extroverts are too busy projecting to notice that anything is being received, let alone, that it might have any effect on them. What is ironic is that many extroverts project as strongly as they do so they don’t have to feel or receive. They may be conscious of what they’re doing but most often they’re not. So the extrovert projects their own current to mute or dampen the incoming interference and the introvert simply turns off or mutes their “receptors.” Both extroverts and introverts receive but they handle the “overload” differently.

Hyper-sensitive-3Senior business man shouting at young business man, studio shotSo, back to our hyper and hypo sensitivity. If what I say follows, then introverts are perceived as being hyper-sensitive because they are being perceived as being too sensitive to what others project and extroverts are perceived as being hypo-sensitive because by projecting they are being perceived by others as being insensitive or not listening to what others might feel from their projections. Remember, both are simply trying to prevent being overloaded and losing their balance and comfort.

Now, let’s take this understanding a step further. It is usually the introverts that accuse the extroverts of being hypo-sensitive or insensitive and it is usually the extroverts who accuse the introverts of being hyper-sensitive or over-sensitive.

Let’s bring one more dimension into play; the method or ploy used by each to get what they want. Now mind you, I’m looking at their individual conditions as being representative of personalities who are imbalanced.

Bully-1People who feel ineffectual in dealing with the world and who are extroverts often assume the position of a bully. They will use their projection as a means of overwhelming others into behaving in a way that makes them feel like they have control. The extrovert’s tool of choice is fear. When the ones they bully object to their attempted coercion, the extrovert accuses them of being hyper-sensitive.

Poor-me-2People who feel ineffectual in dealing with the world and who are introverts often assume the position of the persecuted. They will use accusations of oppression and persecution as a means of shaming others into behaving in a way that makes them feel entitled and must be compensated for their oppression. The introvert’s tool of choice is guilt. When the oppressors refuse to offer retribution, the introverts accuse them of being insensitive. This method of manipulation has often been referred to as the Tyranny of the Weak.

So, when someone accuses you of being hyper-sensitive, a little red flag should be raised in your awareness. Where is this accusation coming from? Am I really being hyper-sensitive or is it simply a ploy to manipulate me into giving them what they want?

When someone accuses you of being insensitive, are you really being so or is it simply their ploy to make you open up to what they want you to believe that they are entitled to?

Both ploys are immature and come from a place of low self-esteem. They believe that their feeling of being undeserving has left them no other option but to get what they want from you than through manipulation. Whether they get what they want this way or not, either way, it is a hollow victory for them. If these are people who you value and are close to you, your only Tough love-2option is applying tough love and adhering to what you want but making them aware that when you give to them it is because you choose to not because of their manipulation. Over time, your repeated pointing to this understanding might eventually make them feel comfortable enough with you to trust your right to choose your own life path and values and to trust that what you feel about their worth might be enough for them to accept themselves as being “worthy.” Realize, you may be counteracting years of childhood training that told them otherwise. Do what you can do in this way and it may provide enough encouragement for them to change their opinion about their own value. The need for manipulation may then just fall away.