I saw a mother goose and her three goslings trying to cross the Turnpike this morning on my way to work. Now I will worry about them all day. I've adopted all their woes in my mind. It will be my fault if one of them or all of them is squished by a passing truck because I failed to shepherd them to safety. I know that seems a small thing in the scheme of things, such a tiny dot on the landscape of life's horizon. But still I heap it on me, all of it, one event after another until I am suffocating beneath a mountain of guilt.
I read recently over on Jung at Heart, that perhaps some of us would rather be bad than weak. That some us would rather create a fiction in our own minds that we have some kind of omnipotence over all things, over the actions of other people. In this way, we can carry the delusion of power around with us and we don't have to admit that, in actuality, we are helpless. It is so much easier to point a finger at myself or others than to admit that there was nothing that could have been done. I see it everyday, not just in myself but in the world at large. This principle reenacted over and over and over again. When some catastrophe occurs the first thing I see is people trying to figure out why. Piecing all the facts of the case together, hoping the puzzle presents a clear picture of the reasons, what went wrong, who messed up, how can we stop it from happening again.
Somebody always has to pay. And maybe that's justice, I don't know. Of course, people mess up and need to own up to what they've done. But there are times when that shit just happened and it's nobody's fault. The world is fraught with dangers. We are never safe. As I write that, I feel the panic swell up inside me, in my chest. I need to breathe slow and deep. It's hard to admit that all our solid institutions are founded on chaos. It's hard to acknowledge that random events in a tempestuous universe brought us all here, to this place together. When I think too much about that, I start to feel an unreality, a disconnect with solid ground. Sanity, insanity. Order, chaos. Mind, body. Everything starts to blur together in a massive whirl. Who are we to say what's real for somebody else? Who are we to define someone else's reality for them?
Holding on to the guilt, the illusion of control over that which is inherently uncontrollable is easier than accepting that I am a seedling on the wind, that I am a seashell tossed about in an unfathomable ocean of things I can never understand. It's easier to be bad. It's easier to think I killed those geese, strangled their scrawny necks with my bare hands than to think I couldn't stop them from dying no matter what I did. I mean, even if if I pulled over my car, got out, pulled them to safety on the other side, something else will eventually kill them. Later today, tomorrow, next week. I can't stop it from happening no matter how hard I try. I'm tired, so very tired from carrying these countless burdens of guilt on my back like a pack animal, like a fucking beast of burden. But I need to learn another way of living, of negotiating the world, before I can release them. What terrible things will happen once I give up my super power? Will the world as I know it come crumbling down if I relinquished my unique ability to bear responsibility for every bad event that has happened or will happen?
I just realized that by posting these thoughts I have released them. I'm still alive. The world is still spinning quietly on its axis. Disaster has not ensued. The institutions around me are still standing as they always were. I am still able to assess reality with a sane mind. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Right before your very eyes. Does it ruin the magic a little to see how the trick works?
7 hours ago