What do the blind dream of if they cannot see? What do babies dream of if they have not experienced? How conscious are we when we are unconscious. slithering about in our subconscious? How do you separate dream from reality if your mind reads it as one and the same? How are those who are mentally unstable any different? And yet, even in our dreams, we know what is and isn’t. The rules may bend as the landscape, but we always know truths, as if we are never really asleep. If our minds are always on, where does it go and what does it seek? We create our own nightmares and fantasies that we would never encounter or imagine in our waking lives, because at our core, we are explorers and experiencers. We want to experience what can and what can never be.
R. Kelly has been in the news as of late due to a Buzzfeed article that details how he allegedly keeps women in a ‘cult.’ I’ve seen comments defending him from either side, some saying that no one batted an eye when Hefner did the same. Some also argue that these are grown women who are free to do what they want. I agree with that sentiment. You are free to be in any abusive relationship you want to be in, even if it is slowly choking the life out of you. R. Kelly has committed no crimes, but morally, he is a reprehensible person who seeks out the companionship of young, impressionable women who he can easily manipulate by using his fame and fortune to leverage control. There is no law that prevents you from being manipulated, and people confuse manipulation and abuse because the one may lead to the other, but they are not the same.
In my opinion, these young women are being mentally trained to not question their roles in his home. Is it it a cult? No, but is it unhealthy? Yes. He is using his cult of stardom to wow them and let them know who is the star, but there are no beliefs to be shared. A cult uses the same strategies to maintain their lambs, but they are not the same thing. He can be seen as a cult leader because he is charismatic and forceful, but he is not one. What he is is a man who craves control because it makes him feel more powerful. He enjoys the position of power as did Warren Jeffs, of a Utah Mormon sect that abused his position by having sex with underage girls. Once again, similar, but not the same. It’s easy to bandy that word about, but do not confuse the two situations. R. Kelly is simply a man who uses his position to get what he wants sexually, but Warren Jeffs is a man who uses his religion and position to get what he wants sexually, and religion can easily be eschewed to line up to his benefit. Religion is a far more damaging agent because it can encompass your whole life and way of thinking.
I do not agree with the fact that these women chose to stay with him, but I also do not agree with the fact that women in the Mormon sect decide to stay within that society, that women all over stay in abused marriages, and that a lot of harm befall women because this is how they are kept from rebelling. If we keep letting women believe that they are less than, they will keep trying to and not ask for more. As with manipulators and cults of any sorts, the antidote is to question, for when you start questioning, you start unraveling. If there is the one thing you teach your children, I hope it is that they always have the right to question.
There are those of us who wonder why they keep choosing the wrong person every time. There could be a plethora of reasons why, but in most cases, it is because they themselves are also damaged in some way, so they seek out partners who are also damaged because picking a partner who isn’t damaged will point out their glaring faults and the fact that they actually need to work on themselves. When the other person is just as damaged, they do not need to look within themselves as to what they need to work on, but rather project all their problems onto their other half, and exclaim that if only this person shaped up, their lives would be much better, when in fact, the majority of these individuals will go on to choose the same type of partner if they never own up to what is in their past.
Sometimes, when someone who is more well-adjusted gets in a relationship with a person who is damaged, they will try to fix them. A damaged person will always let you know that you are too good for them. They do not say it with words, but with their actions. If they belittle you all the time, they are trying to lower your self-esteem and bring you down to their ‘perceived’ level. If they ever cheat on you, they are letting you know that you are too good for them and that they are giving you an opportunity to leave. You can never fix a damaged person unless the person in question wants to be fixed. Oftentimes, that person is in denial about who they are and will bring you down to make themselves feel better. The best thing you can do for them is to leave, which will cause them to become more introspective, but if you stay, they have no reason to change.
I hate when famous people break up and they show a clip from 2005 where the couple says they are very happy and content in their marriage. And inevitable, the commentary goes the way of ‘perhaps she was covering something up because now they are divorced,’ not taking into consideration that the initial clip was from 10 years ago. And those who view the relationship through their own eyes try to analyze the demise of a relationship they know little of. Perhaps they were never happy. Perhaps he cheated. Perhaps people like to make up stuff to fit narratives in their heads. People refuse to see that relationships are organic and change over time. Just because they were happy in that moment in time does not guarantee that it will stay like that forever. People change and situations change and in turn, the dynamics of the relationship change.
People want to know what led to the break up so they can feel satisfied in knowing what happened, but they seldom care about the individuals themselves. If we view success as never breaking up, how do we react to those who can’t leave a bad relationship? The demise of a relationship means the relationship ended, but it doesn’t mean the person lost. Oftentimes, we view break ups with a victor and a loser and love to assign blame, but in actuality, break ups can be one of the most healthy things to happen in a relationship. It is nothing to be ashamed of or looked down on. It is also none of anyone’s business what happened in that relationship except for the two who were in it. Just like relationships are organic, so are we as human beings. We are growing and learning all the time, and perhaps, we can learn to be a little more understanding.
To create and bring forth is to harness a sort of power. When you create something from nothing, you can a sense of godliness because you have made something. There is power in creating and power is always sought after. I really came to understand this when I read The Girl with the Pearl Earring. The artist in the book holds power because he creates, and his wife wanted power, so she created children. To give life to someone is the greatest power. And if you can’t create, you destroy, because there is power in that as well. Those who take a life also feel the power that they hold when they decide to do so. Those who tear down what others build learn they can be just as powerful as those who create. We remember creators and destroyers alike, for they have bled into our lexicon and world. If it were not for Ed Gein, there would be no Pyscho, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Silence of the Lamb.
We’re all looking for the next level, whether it be personal or for all of mankind. What is the next level? It’s the perceived idea of where we should be. There is no real next level. It simply exists in our minds as an ideal. And yet, we reach for it because we know we must do better. It is this notion that separates us from other species, for we aspire to more. Ambition is our strength and weakness, for we seek it without knowing how to get there. Personally, many of us are wondering what our lives mean. Not on a grand scale, but just our individual lives. On a whole, we want to know ‘when are we going to get flying cars?’ Many people speak of the next level, but very few know how to get there.
On a personal level, I’ve heard people ask before what it all means. How their life fits into this? They want to know answers. The questions always differ, but in the end, they want answers. I can give you an answer: nobody can answer it and help you but yourself. Honestly, it is not the answer you are truly seeking for it will bring you no joy. What you should seek is who you are and what you want out of this life. If no one can help you in this journey, that means you only have yourself, and if you do not build yourself, then you will not reach the end. Once you have worked on who you are, you will come to realize that it was you you were searching for all along. Everything else is secondary. When you find yourself, you find your place in the world and see how it all fits. When you haven’t found yourself, you feel like an outsider.
On a global scale, people want to know when our lives will resemble that of a science fiction movie or novel. I can tell you when: when there is no more hunger and homelessness. If we cannot take care of societies’s most basic needs, we will never progress as a people. The only way you can judge a nation’s success is between the gap between the poor and the rich. Once people have found themselves, they are more apt to see their role in society and help others. Once they see how society functions, they will realize that we must all work as one and that we are no better than the poorest among us. When you have eliminated these basic needs, people will be able to function better and contribute more to society. Once they contribute more, society as a whole becomes more enlightened. So you see, the next level is about being selfless and that is where change comes from.
The French Revolution changed the face of mankind the social structure of who we are because people were angry and demanded change that was not materializing. When those in the aristocracy and clergy went along with rules that always favored them in a time of want, those under them rose up and had their heads on a platter. There will always be those who are in power. There will always be factions that curry favor and are above the law because of who they are. There will always be the rich and the powerful, but there is one thing that they cannot escape, and that is the wrath of the mob. Those who are powerful can escape prison sentences, skirt laws, not pay taxes, and commit murder with impunity, but the one thing they are not above is the anger of the mob. Remember that when you think you hold no power.
Mob mentality is not always great as it can lead to unjust lynchings, mass hysteria, and general havoc, but it can also bring about revolution. The anger of the mob is what elected Donald Trump and that means it is not something to be ignored. It may not always be right, but we must acknowledge that there is much power there and that it transcends those with money and high positions. The French Revolution brought about many modern changes, but it also brought the death of many innocent people who were swept up in the search for equality. Sometimes, in the fight for equality, you forget that the people you oppose are still the people you should fight for and infringe on their rights.
If we are to progress forward, there must be anger from the mob, because for so long, the elite rich have taught us not to envy them their ‘earned’ pay. That we are not to question what they do with their money because they have worked for it, and as such, we have bought into this idea because we decry those who misuse five hundred dollars of food stamps, but do not bat an eye when the Koch brothers’ PAC gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, who then spent $65,000 on independent expenditures in support of Governor Scott Walker, whose bill to kill collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions has sparked many protests across Wisconsin. Or how about a private concert thrown by David Bonderman that cost $7 million? How is it that we have been conditioned to be upset about poor people who misuse their government allowances, but not the millions of dollars that are wasted on lavish parties and politics? Where is the outrage?
If they keep your outrage at bay long enough and tell you that you can’t be upset at them because they have actually ‘earned’ their money, they hope you will direct your anger about your situation else where and blame those who supposedly do not work for their keep and are asking for hand outs. When you do that, you keep the revolution at bay and won’t go after the rich and powerful because you believe that they get away with everything all the time anyways. So you start to believe that they have a right to spend their money as they please because they ‘earned’ it, while you barely survive paycheck to paycheck like a large majority of Americans. How long can you live like this until you realize that the power of the mob is stronger than the power of the rich? It has taken down kings and men of God alike, and it will fuel a new revolution.