When it is said that “the world is in horrible shape” or “the world going to hell in a hand basket” or “the world just keeps getting worse”, we must remember to consider the perspective from which these thought pattern are being produced from. In North America and the Western world we are looking through the lens of a society that was built with great emphasis being put on defending and protecting ourselves. To look at the world in this way, is to imprison ourselves in our own expectations.
Long ago the active government was the Catholic Church. The church brought a system of beliefs that it defended in every way possible, including witch-hunts, hangings, and the overturning and denial of any evidence contrary to it’s imposed belief system. This act by the church stunted the growth of science for tens or hundreds of years. People were actively hung for insisting that the world was round, instead of flat.
Dissenter: One who refuses to accept the doctrines or usages of an established organization; One who disagrees in matters of opinion, belief, etc.
Many of the ideals of current North American society grew out of the idea that we as nations and as individuals must declare what we represent, and defend it without exception. To be caught doing something we once said we were against is scandalous. But more importantly, to be caught doing something that someone else thinks we should be against, based on our position or status is also unforgivable.
We see this idea in politics all the time, in the same way that the Church felt it needed to defend itself against anyone who had an idea that seemed to show that it was fallible. Politicians defend themselves against anything that may make them appear as though they are not the pillars of justice and moral righteousness they represent themselves as. Looking at it this way, any admittance or acceptance of the words of the heretics would diminish their own power.
Embracing Our Humanity By Releasing False Expectations
This concept causes many situations that this article does not have time to go into. Among other things, this perspective creates a false us vs. them duality. It creates a desire to see those in power fail by those without power, or by those who want their power. It breeds jealousy, gloating, deception, and coveting. It’s important to remember that holding our heroes, leaders, celebrities, and spiritual mentors up to a rigid standard that they cannot be allowed to disappoint, is not the only way to interact with them.
Creating false standards in our minds for ourselves and for others will only lead to suffering and disappointment. One must try to remember that we are all human beings and we are all worthy of the gift of being imperfect. To place unrelenting expectations on others, is to say that they are unworthy of our understanding and forgiveness. To give in to the expectations others place on us, is to say that we are not responsible enough to make our own decisions. To place such expectations on ourselves is to live in fear, never allowing ourselves the freedom to be what we are.
It is important to not treat the world as though it needs to live up to our standards. If we are able to accept the world, it’s people, and ourselves for what they really are, we release ourselves from the burden of having to judge every circumstance we encounter. To look at the world in this way, is to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery.