My Personal Experience with the Authoritarian Mind and why I Have Hope

I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My father had Murphy's Law framed on the wall of his office. My mother was so deeply damaged that although she managed to function she seemed inwardly dead. She never smiled. She couldn't laugh. I was never held or told that I was loved. No one in our family talked about what was taking place. I never felt safe or at ease.

When I graduated high school I went to art school and moved away from home. Being on my own and away from my parents I felt the impact of my history which had been so disordered and it left me with the need to try to create some kind of sense of order. My past left me with the feeling of being out of control so I attempted to create a sense of controlby controlling every bite of food that went into my mouth. I became anorexic before there was a name for it.

I was attempting to control myself in order to create a sense of safety but the reality was that I was engaged in the process of starving myself to death so the sense of safety that I was trying to create was an illusion. An authoritarian figure and mindset became dominant in me in order to assert control over the rest of me. As long as I maintained my strict regimen of eating I could relax and experience the illusion of safety.

From time to time the hunger would build to a point where I would break free from the controlling authoritarian aspect of myself and I would start cramming food down my throat as quickly as possible while feeling completely out of control knowing that the authoritarian was about to return to reassert the illusion of order. As soon as I was satiated the authoritarian part of me would regain power and in order to reestablish the illusion of safety I would have to pay a price for my transgressions and so my eating would have to become even more restrictive.

This went on over a few years during which I was growing in suffering from having to live under this brutal regime. One day I was feeling the rumblings of the hunger begging for relief from this heartless brutality. I could feel the building of the impulse to start eating everything in sight. That impulse sounded the alarm for the authoritarian figure in me to exert it's power but something unforeseen happened in that moment, the authoritarian aspect of myself was unable to cut itself off from the sensitivity of the agony I was feeling which caused the authoritarian aspect in me to feel the pain that it was creating which was something it had been desperate not to feel. I had a moment of realization in which I experienced compassion for myself.

From that moment the behavior completely stopped and I have never engaged in this behavior since that day. In that moment I understood that I was whole and not parts and pieces. I understood that what made sense was to nourish a sense of well being for the whole of myself. I began to understand that the authoritarian aspect of myself was not a monster but that it had qualities when used at the service of the whole of myself were very valuable and important but when used against myself caused division and were therefore destructive. It also became clear to me that the oppressed part of myself was a valuable aspect of the whole of me that in reality was not weak or out of control but contained the vital quality of sensitivity.

The authoritarian figure that I experienced in myself can be seen throughout humanity in various forms and it is in it's essence a destructive force as it is being used to impose it's will on others. The authoritarian figure just like the rest of humanity has the need to feel safe but it sees it's sense of safety taking place at the expense of everyone else. In order for the authoritarian figure to feel safe others have to suffer. It is in it's essence brutal, predatory and dogmatic. The authoritarian figure does not want to understand that it is a part in the whole of humanity just as I did not want to understand that the authoritarian mindset in me was part of the whole of myself because to understand that it is part of the whole would be it's demise. Although the authoritarian mindset is based on an illusion it has a potent will to survive.

As the authoritarian figure imposes it's will on others the force of that imposition causes a counter force of resistance to develop. As the authoritarian feels the resistance growing that creates the need to exert even more pressure in order for the authoritarian to maintain it's dominance. When one thing tries to oppress or suppress another the thing that is being oppressed or suppressed may not react immediately but as the pain and suffering increases the thing that is being suppressed will begin to resist. At some point the strength of the resistance grows to a point where it becomes greater than the force that is trying to suppress it. This is a tipping point and it's exactly what I experienced and it's why I have hope.  

The whole of creation contains a powerful will to survive. You can see that being expressed by a tree on a mountainside digging in it's roots in order to maintain it's life. It can be seen in the animals who are now busy in the fall building shelters and storing away food in order to survive the winter. I experienced it in myself by breaking through the illusion of safety that I had when I believed myself to be separate parts. The actual will to survive is greater than the illusion of safety. The will of actual survival is greater than the illusion of survival. Survival isn't maintained when things are in opposition with each other, it is nourish when things exist in harmony with each other. Since the will to survive is more powerful than the illusion of safety it will eventually grow to be the more potent force.

The authoritarian figure can believe itself to be separate from the rest of humanity but that is no more the reality than the authoritarian aspect of myself is separate from the rest of me. Just as I am one person we are one humanity. Just as I am an interconnected whole, humanity is also an interconnected whole. We are one group called humanity. We are individuals but we are profoundly and deeply interwoven. We all have the same basic human needs. We all breath the same air. The idea that we are separate from ourselves and also separate from each other is an illusion.

The authoritarian aspect of humanity has pushed the whole of humanity to a breaking point. This can be seen in the disparity in the world. Not only is the gap between the so called haves and have not grown but the bulk of the power and money is being held in the hands of fewer and fewer people while the volume of people who are suffering from this condition is growing. The number of people suffering is so vastly greater than those who live in all kinds of excess that it has become impossible not to see it. It is becoming too obvious and blatant to deny. The pain and suffering of this disparity is making it clear that the direction in which we are heading is unsustainable and therefore it must change. Some may have seen this structure of society acceptable in the past but it is becoming clearer with each passing day that this framework not only does not work but that it is an unacceptable framework for a healthy society.

There are signs of hope emerging in the world. The Pope is trying to change the message of the Catholic church from one of judgement and condemnation to one of love and forgiveness. The idea of love and forgiveness moves us in the opposite direction of authoritarian thinking and behavior. The Pope is also addressing the need to move away from fundamentalist thinking which is the mode of thinking of the authoritarian mind. As long as we stay rooted in a fundamentalist mindset we will remain divided.

Another sign of hope has been the two time election of President Obama who has said more than once that if he were able to run again he would win and I agree with that statement. He would win because of the real hunger for what he represents. President Obama is a builder of unity and that's exactly why he has brought out and exposed the division. He has set off and enraged the authoritarian barbaric forces because the ideas he represents will most certainly be their demise. The authoritarians of the world are compelled to see him fail. They are desperate to stop change just as there was an oppressive part of myself that was desperate to stop change. Those who have been seeking to stop this President have been failing because what he represents is the more potent force. The idea of unity is more powerful than the idea of division. When something is united it is more potent than when something is divided.

I wanted to use my experience as a means of describing the division we see in the world today that is being expressed through the authoritarian mindset and to explain why I have hope. I have said many times that I see us at a tipping point. My own internal experience with the authoritarian mindset has aided me in becoming aware that change is afoot. The will to survive is profound. Humanity has taken the path of division as far as it can go without destroying itself. Out of necessity the need for a complete change of direction has grown. That change of direction is one from seeing ourselves as separate and therefore divided to seeing ourselves as part of an interconnected oneness. Through seeing ourselves as interconnected we have the potential to reconstruct our systems to reflect this new understanding just a I reconstructed my behavior to reflect the new understanding I had of myself.



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