By Robert J. Burrowes, New Age Islam
23 November 2016
One of the more subtle manifestations of
the intimate link between (unconscious) human emotions and behaviour is
illustrated by the simple concept of choice and how this is so often reduced to
a dichotomy between two bad options. In such circumstances, most people choose
whatever they consider to be ‘the lesser evil’.
But how often are there only two options,
even if they appear ‘good’ and ‘bad’? Frankly, I cannot think of one
circumstance in which my choices are limited to two, however good or bad they
appear to be.
Why Does This Belief In Just Two Options
When we are born, our evolutionary
inheritance includes a phenomenally powerful capacity to feel a complex range
of emotions. However, because what sociologists refer to as ‘socialization’ (a
process by which babies and children are supposedly taught the ways of their
society) is actually a process of terrorizing babies and children into
suppressing their awareness of these emotions so that they can be forced to
conform to societal ‘norms’ (no matter how dysfunctional), the disastrous
outcomes of ‘socialization’ are obscured. If you wish to read more about the
terrorization of children, you can do so in 'Why Violence?' tinyurl.com/whyviolence
and 'Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice'. anitamckone.wordpress.com/articles-2/fearless-and-fearful-psychology/
This terrorizing of babies and children
takes many forms but one of the most common ways it occurs is through simply
telling a child what they must do under threat of punishment for non-compliance
which all parents, teachers, religious figures and other adults do routinely.
This imperative to obey will always run counter to the child’s own Self-will.
Why is this? Because every single human baby is genetically programmed to
follow their own Self-will, not to obey the will of another.
This individual Self-will is generated by
the integrated sense of how to behave in response to the mental and physical
feedback – including feelings, thoughts, memory, conscience, sensory perception
(sight, smell, sound, touch, taste), truth register, intuition… – which each person receives and which their
mind processes and integrates to crystallise the precisely appropriate
behaviour in any given circumstance.
But once a child is routinely terrorized
into submitting to the will of another – no matter how benign either the person
giving the instruction or the instruction itself – they lose trust and faith in
their own capacity to decide on a course of action and undertake it powerfully.
They are now adrift without clear internal guidance and, as they grow up, they
are now readily vulnerable to the ‘persuasion’ of others whether it be the
opinion of someone else, the advice of an ‘expert’ or the inanity of an
advertisement for a commercial product.
Adrift from their own unique and powerful
internal mental processor – with its emotional, intellectual, sensory,
intuitive, memory, conscience and other components – they are the victim of
their own fear of being disobedient, wrong, in the minority, isolated … if they
follow their own Self-will.
Unconsciously, the child feels trapped.
They are terrified to do what they want without permission (which is routinely
denied) but unconsciously angry about this (because they have been scared out of
being openly angry at their parents and teachers) which usually manifests as
something powerless such as resentment.
What does the child do in this
circumstance? Obey the parent/teacher or attempt to follow their own Self-will
and risk (and probably receive) punishment for doing so? What is the ‘good’
option here? Or is the child faced with a choice between two evils and must try
to choose the ‘lesser’ one? In the words of Anita McKone: ‘It feels like you
must either put up with abuse or die.’
Routine abuse of the child in this manner
by their parents, teachers and other adults throughout their early life leaves
virtually all adults with an unconscious belief that life is a series of
choices between ‘lesser evils’ with an occasional ‘good’ choice allowed in
limited circumstances. We might choose our meal, the colour and style of our
clothing, what film to watch and other such trivia. But what of anything
important? No way!
Most people end up believing that there are
only ever two choices on anything that matters and neither is particularly
desirable. Unconsciously, they feel trapped and it makes no sense when they are
told that they have many options from which to choose. This is not their
experience and it just feels untrue. They will endlessly choose the lesser evil
of two bad options on virtually everything that matters in their life and
accept the trinket ‘goods’ they are allowed to choose, such as the nature of
Long before adulthood, the child accepts a life
path of conformity to the most mundane human existence imaginable: school,
work, the occasional holiday, illness and death. A life never lived.
In essence, the terrorized child, now an
adult, never looks beyond the choices given, even when both are ‘bad’ or one is
Most people have no sense of their own
Self-will in the profound sense, no faith in where this Self-will might take
them if followed and, if they could/can feel it, no courage to do what their
Self-will tells them.
The tragedy of virtually every human life
is that they never seek out what was taken from them as a child: the Self-will
that would guide them unerringly to seek out and become everything they were
born to be. They are so full of fear, self-hatred and powerlessness as a result
of the violence they suffered as a child, that they endlessly settle for ‘the
lesser evil’ on anything important and settle for trinkets in the form of
‘good’: the choice of ice-cream flavour, the colour of their socks, the novel
to read, the holiday destination.
Is there a way out? Yes, but it requires
you to feel your fear, anger, sadness and other feelings at what has happened
to you until you are powerful enough to reject both/all ‘bad’ options and to
refuse the trinkets that parody ‘good’. And to ask ‘What do I want?’ It is only
by consciously and deliberately rejecting all ‘lesser evil’ options that the
magnificent array of incredible opportunities which you have never
contemplated/discovered will open before you to choose as you wish.
And that is why it is so difficult. You
must have the courage to cut off, without the option of turning back, all
options that do not give you what you need. This is because what matters is not
whether you get what you need in the short term, but whether you live your
truth, no matter how difficult this might be in the immediate sense.
It is the fear of burning all bridges that
holds us back because, as a child, we were too scared to walk out on those who
told us, one way or another, that we had no choice but to suffer their abuse or
But the more bridges you burn, the more
magnificent will be the vista of undreamt opportunities that will open before
you. And you will wonder why you never considered/saw them before. Imagine if
everyone had the courage to burn the bridges of fear and to set out on their
own unique path.
And to experience the sheer joy of living
powerfully in every moment of their life.
But our own personal effort does not need
to exclude the possibility of making it easier for others in future too. So if
you would like to participate in the ongoing effort to create a world in which
living powerfully is more possible for each of us, you are welcome to consider
signing the online pledge of 'The People's Charter to Create a Nonviolent
If people are not afraid of violence, they
are genuinely free to seek their true path.
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending
human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to
understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist
since 1981. He is the author of 'Why Violence?' http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence
His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his website is at
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