Choose Conscience

choose-peace-through-conscience

Peace Mural, Belfast, N. Ireland (2004). Archive photo by JJM.

When faced with difficult choices, especially amongst bad options, conscience can always show the way. Needless to say, what the planet needs right now, more than ever, is a return to conscience. Conscience lends itself to a variety of peaceful solutions.

Moral relativity does not fit well into the realm of a well developed and active conscience. Conscience intuitively knows the difference between right and wrong. What is appropriate or correct within a given context or what is not. What is creative and what is destructive. What is life-giving and what is life-killing. What is nurturing and what is eroding. What is authentically (not superficially) progressive and what is truly regressive.

Not all situations call for distinctions to be made, but when they do, a healthy conscience would normally step in automatically. Of course, conscience interacts with ethics, etiquette, morality, religion and other frameworks for rules of conduct, but personal conscience can and does act autonomously, and will override externally imposed morality, where necessary. As long as conscience is maintained, conscience is the only inner guiding system which has almost full  independence and autonomy. It is independent from the ego-self and the group-self and it is autonomous in prompting one to correct one’s course.

Conscience will override questionable morals and will adjust approaches and actions accordingly. Conscience is an autonomous guidance system within, whereas morals depend on customs and norms without. The more relative morals become in a society as a whole, the more consciousness dims collectively and the more unconscious society becomes as a group. It is during such times that inner conscience is especially needed to guide individuals.

Only a very small percentage of individuals are born without any conscience at all – and they are considered to be “disabled” (psychologically), meaning that they don’t have the full range of emotions and feelings that would usually be accessible to the average person. They are also unlikely to ever develop (a) conscience. Other than these exceptions, conscience holds much more universality than ethics or morals do, and therefore we would be much better off aspiring to universal conscience than universal morals or ethics. A healthy conscience leads to expanded consciousness on an individual level, which is expressed on a universal level.

The small percentage of conscience-less (without conscience) individuals we find in society are naturally the proverbial  “foxes” as described in the Chicken Little fable (See Parts 5 & 7) and we find them in all walks of life. However, there is a significant percentage of average individuals who eventually revert to similar behaviors after having lost (or given up) their consciences as they went along. Very often a conscious decision was made to do so, in order to gain certain advantages. The nature of conscience itself does not allow for it to be given up unconsciously, so the suppression of conscience is certainly a conscious process initially and subsequently the decision is swiftly put out of mind and henceforth avoided at all costs.

If the majority of individuals in a society learn to suppress their conscience – to the extent that a general moral relativity sets in – and once the virtues of conscience are lost by adults in general, they are unlikely to be instilled, cultivated or strengthened within children either. When a society has more “foxes” than “chickens”, parasitism, prejudice, projection, exploitation, bigotry, double standards, hypocrisy, abuse of power, corruption and the active destruction of old value systems ensue and a general regression leading to potential repression sets in. A strong accompanying feature of such a scenario is often decadence.

It has been determined that historically mass decadence (and sometimes war) has almost always preceded the collapse of civilizations. In other words, the idea of the destruction of values on the basis of them being “old fashioned” or “conservative” in order to facilitate decadence (boundary-less living) often have unintended consequences, because all systems need structure in order to function, externally and (importantly) internally – structure being what value systems are meant to provide in societies and civilizations. No limits, no restrictions, no boundaries, means no structure, which results in a vacuum. In a big enough vacuum, collapse is inevitable.

Therefore, going forward, decisions and choices based on conscience may be the only available tool to rescue (individuals in) a declining civilization from internal (and external) collapse. Conscience can save individuals, and in the present-day context, the world.

By Jean-Jacques M

Originally published at gypsycafe.org


Happy-Go-Lucky Faster

fried-grey-matter-2

It’s All Theatre

Tabloid press, reality TV, TV talk shows, social networking and, perhaps, increasingly also, modern-day politics have all got something in common – they contain similar ingredients to those found in soap operas. A trademark of soap opera is that the less exemplary elements of human behaviour are exaggerated and dramatised for effect. A hallmark of the tabloid press is the use of emotional and sensational language which draws readers into the drama.

Gossip and the lives of others had always been of interest to people, but tabloids converted sideshows into the main show. This growing preoccupation spread into other mediums, too, and eventually it went well beyond the lives of only the officially rich and famous. Despite, perhaps, a few protestations to the contrary, those designated as celebrities hardly shy away from being in the limelight. As the saying goes: “All publicity is good publicity”, and over time being famous has taken on major significance in modern societies.

By introducing “real-life” elements into the mix, reality TV took the soap opera concept a step further. Selected members of the public could now become famous, too. They would brush shoulders with genuine celebrities and, just like them, have large audiences observe and follow their every move. Taking a cue, perhaps, from soap opera, participants could spice up and dramatise their actions and activities for effect, bringing greater audiences and improved ratings with regard to the shows and themselves.

In these shows, participants were becoming adept at promoting themselves by sometimes being outrageous, controversial or provocative. Audiences were lapping it up and learning from it, too. Reality TV was hugely popular for its novelty value at first but, in due course, the concept influenced and was blended in with various other genres. Some of these shows, at least to a small extent, contain(ed) educational elements such as the celebrity chefs series. A particular type of TV talk show – which came to be known as “Trash TV” – preceded reality TV by a couple of decades already and was based on outrage creation and stirring up animosity amongst participants.

Initially, as with the tabloid genre which slowly spread around the world, not everyone considered the depiction of the lowest common denominator on television as being optimum entertainment. Many viewers actively avoided soap opera, trash TV and reality TV. The majority of professionals preferred to continue reading their broadsheets and magazines. Likewise, discerning television viewers continued to opt for quality TV programmes. On the other hand, more than enough readers and viewers were becoming eager consumers of dramatised and sensationalised entertainment and news media.

That humans have always been intrigued by the weird, the outlandish and the obscure is not in doubt, and an apt analogy would be that the modern-day version of “freak shows” increasingly came to town in some of these shows on a screen and in a newspaper near you. In the press, the tabloid media formula continued to spread and, eventually, even organisations once-known as conservative and well-established news publications adopted the model or blended it in.

Tabloid newspapers had already been using “tabloid headlines” for decades to prompt people to buy the paper. The “tabloid language” used in news content contained special “tabloid vocabulary” (short, emotional and ambiguous key words) to create intrigue which draws readers into the emotional drama. These days, online tabloid-style headlines are referred to as “click-bait”.

Read Further

By Jean-Jacques M

Full article is published at gypsycafe.org

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Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Gypsy Café


The Yin and Yang of Spirituality

The Rights of Every Child

Carl Jung is famous for having brought the concept of working on shadow elements within the psyche into Western psychotherapy, although the process of self-therapy, self-transformation and psychic self-evaluation with subsequent spiritual elevation is indeed a very ancient practice. Advanced practice was perhaps considered to be found mainly in the realm of shamanism, priesthood and other high level spiritual roles. However, ancient civilizations and cultures integrated the identifying and processing of shadow characteristics also into their general spiritual and cosmological belief systems, but we find that these aspects are often not featured in popular spirituality today.

By having become relatively unconscious of the depth and nature of the individual shadow (which is a back-door to the collective shadow), behaviours and tendencies related to it have become more socially accepted. Unfortunately, the commercialization of spirituality means  that the positive, pleasant and easy elements of being spiritual are usually focused upon. The deeper, underlying issues often remain unexplored, so the necessary (challenging) transformation processes are not always engaged with and the shadow elements remain active or are only temporarily resolved. This means that modern forms of spirituality often serve predominantly as spiritual entertainment or forms of escapism without reaching its full potential.

Perhaps if we had been paying more attention to the collective shadow elements within our societies (as a priority) since the end of the Second World War, as Carl Jung had strongly suggested, we may have been more prepared for some of the crises we are experiencing at present and those yet to come. However, as Jung’s also said, large portions of society remain blissfully unaware of how world peace and stability hang on a fine thread (back then and now). We have never been this connected as a species in our entire history and so distracted at the same time, mostly by choice.

As Carl Jung explained in a documentary interview (Matter of Heart), we are all uniquely born with certain characteristics within a certain historical and cultural context. We each have a personal responsibility to reach the highest state possible as an individual person within that context. By doing so we participate fully and play our part to the best of our ability as individual elements within the large organism that us humanity, in the theatre of life and the universe.

The very first step is having respect for yourself (your Self, not your ego) and that process starts within. The nature of that respect is respect for your higher-self and that higher self can take a third person view to approaching and resolving internal and external conflicts. The advantage of the third person view is that almost everything can be viewed as “theatre”, (but) with a proactive, problem solving objective in mind. In other words, the spectator is observing in order to learn how to improve, adjust, or resolve his or her own approach or behaviour by comparing with what is being observed. Without taking the third person point of view, what is being observed is often copied instead of transcended.

The higher-self is beyond the ego and has a much wider perspective and expanded comprehension. By living our lives from that position we are the closest we can get to non-duality on a permanent basis. A person who is peaceful within, will shun conflict. A person who comes from the heart, won’t have the heart to harm another – and will motivate others not to do so either. Those who have maintained (and have respect for) their traditions and values within their own countries, will have respect for others who have maintained theirs within their countries.

Mutual respect amongst nations is the bedrock of international peace and stability, but it relies on everyone participating equally. Similarly, for democracy to work a respect for its institutions is required. Over and above that, democracy relies on a certain level of morality being present within those that ascribe or commit to it and also on a basic understanding of what democracy means in the first place.

Within the framework of international cooperation and conflict resolution, in a balanced world, nations who come from histories of dominance would do their best to refrain from returning to or repeating such history – and take the High Road. Nations, cultures or groups with histories of having been harmed or persecuted or wronged, would refrain from enacting retribution or turning to the same methods as those who have harmed them – and take the High Road. This of course is a tall order, but when we observe and learn from the theatre of history, taking the high road is the only road which will lead to genuine progress and spirituality, as opposed to a false sense of progress (“progressiveness”) to the disadvantage of others and at the cost of perpetuating the cycle of violence indefinitely.

By considering the rights of children, within the context of various conflict zones around the world and also within our own societies in relation to what they are exposed to, we may be able to reflect on how far we have drifted away from our claims of being humanitarian, peace-loving, democratic and a force for good. Perhaps it is time for all peace-loving peoples to request their governments to kindly de-escalate all tensions which could potentially lead to major conflicts and the harming of civilians and children. We owe it to the future of a stable and balanced world. We owe it to the future of our children and to their children’s children. Not least, we owe it  to our higher-selves and the legacy that we leave behind.

“The human being who starts by withdrawing his own shadow from his neighbor is doing work of immense, immediate political and social importance.” – Carl Jung (as quoted by Sir Laurence v.d. Post)

Archive Photo: Mural, Belfast, N. Ireland (2005).

By Jean-Jacques M.

Also see: Shift Of The Stages

This article was originally posted at GypsyCafé.org

© 2016. All Rights Reserved.


What is Enlightenment?

The Wall

Theatre

Theatre has many objectives. It can entertain or educate or both. It can mesmerise or bring consciousness. It can motivate and inspire. It can provoke or shock. Theatre holds a mirror up to reality and can evoke inner change. Theatre can be evolutionary. It all depends on how we engage with it. By merely passively observing the play in front of us no (positive) transformation can or will take place. When we engage with it we can either do so positively or negatively.

Enlightenment

“Enlightenment doesn’t occur from sitting around visualizing images of light but from integrating the darker aspects of the Self into the conscious personality” – Carl Jung

“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people.” – Carl Jung

When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate. You meet your destiny on the road you take to avoid it. – Carl Jung

What is the connection between theatre and enlightenment?

Read the Full Post at GypsyCafe.org

By Jean-Jacques M.


Shift of the Stages

Recoleta Angel

All the world’s a stage. As actors in the theatre of life we are all here to play our part(s), consciously or unconsciously. We find ourselves present at this time during a significant transformation stage. In the old, but still present age it felt like the stage had been set and most of us were simply reading our lines. It was perhaps not always understood why we were in the theatre in the first place. In the incoming age our destined roles are more clear and the new paradigm is more fluid.

Roles are changing. Transitioning actors are becoming scriptwriters while watching themselves on stage. They are rewriting the script and adjusting their parts.  A drama, currently scripted to end in tragedy is being rewritten into a coming of age tale of transformation, rebirth and altered fate. This is a multi-dimensional theatre and shifting actors are becoming aware that by being in this stage, they are also present in others.

Read Further…


Building the New World Within (9) -What is Progress?

Thoughts are like traces of Birds in Heaven

Berlin Wall, Germany. Photographed by JJM.

“We are living in what the Greeks called the right time for a ‘metamorphosis of the gods’, i.e. of the fundamental principles and symbols. This peculiarity of our time, which is certainly not of our conscious choosing, is the expression of the unconscious man within us who is changing. Coming generations will have to take account of this momentous transformation if humanity is not to destroy itself through the might of its own technology and science” (Carl Gustav Jung, 1957: The Undiscovered Self, p.110).

Jung was suggesting that we should not get completely carried away with technology and science, to the extent that we lose sight of ourselves (our Selves). Being unconscious and excessively distracted could preclude us from doing just that, because without taking stock of ourselves from time to time, there can be no self-awareness and without self-awareness there can be no self-knowledge. Without self-knowledge, we would not become aware of “the unconscious man within us changing“. This change that Jung was referring to was related to the collective unconscious of humanity entering into a time of transition, the faint beginnings of which he could already sense in 1957.

Continue Reading at GypsyCafe.org

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by Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

© 2016. All Rights Reserved. Gypsycafe.org


Peruvian Selection

People, Landscapes, Churches & Ruins

Girl with Alpaca - Peru

Girl with Alpaca – Peru

I patched together an itinerary by working out a route which would connect the main places I was going to visit (Arequipa & Colca Canyon, Puno & Lake Titicaca, Cusco & Inca Trail) with coach journeys in-between, which would include stopping at various points of interest along the way..

Read More and View 20 Photographs

Visiting Peru
Photography by Jean-Jacques M
Copyright © 2016 – All Rights Reserved – Gypsy Café


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