Downtime, or Isolation?

Written on February 17, 2020

The Sometimes Silent Minority

I was a concentration camp inmate in my past life. But first, here’s some reality.

My parents lived through the duration of the Nazi Occupation in the Netherlands. Maybe that’s why I took an interest in it after they died. Since then, watching several YouTube doumentaries left me very disturbed that so many victims didn’t band together and fight for their right to exist. I figured that facing a certain death either way, it would be better for the victim to at least have tried.

I give up very easily. I don’t know how long I’ve been doing this. At least for the past three years. I give up, defeated. So maybe my mission in this life is to overcome this “I’m defeated in this hopeless situation, and will only be led to my death anyway” type mentality. If you believe that we are on a multi-life spiritual path, and we escape the cycle of Karma by progressing, and not repeating lifelong patterns. Yes, gobbedy-gook for most people.

Susan Cain, in the book “Quiet” cited a famous study by Solomon Asch where he studied the dangers of group influence. Asch found that when actors were planted in a group, the number of participants in the group who gave correct answers plunged to 25 percent!

That’s all fine and well, and we all think that we are social creatures and that we may say to ourselves “ya, maybe that person is right, so I’m changing my answer”.

However, here’s the catch: In 2005, fMRI scans were conducted using the same tests, they found that the brain scans didn’t pick up on volunteers deciding consciously to abandon their own beliefs to fit in with the group. The scans suggested, instead, that the group had somehow managed to change the individual’s perceptions.

In a group, we do something very unexpected, we think we arrive at the same answer (as the stooges), and are entirely blind to how our peers influence us.

This is nasty stuff. Cain went on to point out that there are a minority of people who don’t conform to the actor’s answers, but they experience a great deal of discomfort in going contrary to the group.

It’s scary because there are many absurd ideas that get carried out by groups and societies, and there are a small minority of dissenters who may be so overcome with stress that they are prevented from speaking up and setting things right. Plus that, it’s very difficult to go contrary to the so-called consensus, there’s a great deal of social pressure to conform.

And the victims of the concentration camps? I don’t know why they did what they did. Maybe hopelessness. I heard after the war that the Jewish leaders started looking at how the Jewish culture has traditionally responded to wrongdoings around them, and started to think that it may need revisiting.

Recharging vs Isolation

I was a little overextended by mid-week and in the anticipation of Valentine’s Day coming up, which I’d just prefer to avoid altogether, and the upcoming long weekend (which technically is now), I just needed more downtime. Too much interaction with people just exhausts me. By mid-week, I thought I’d like to just take a break from humanity for, say, a week or two.

I’ve been feeling really undermotivated to get up lately, and my bedtimes are approaching dawn. On Saturday, I didn’t practice at all because I got up after noon, and decided I needed to go to the Music jam (Saturdays). Even there, I felt alone and isolated amongst people. Someone shared something there that was profound and appropriate about isolation, but I can’t recall what it was.

Antisocial Media

The American Journal for Preventative Medicine found that people who were on social media for two hours or more a day perceived themselves twice as socially isolated as those people who used social media for half an hour or less. Twitter feeds and Facebook posts paint you in an unrealistically positive light (really on your fair-weather days). That is called Social Media.

So welcome to my blog. It is Antisocial Media. Where the antisocial go to air their fowl-weather days and real life issues.

It ain’t a pretty picture, and I’m not keen on airing my dirty laundry or wearing my heart on my cyber-sleeve, but I needed a blog post, so here it is.

Oh, by the way, I don’t use Twitter nor Facebook. I was just just reading from 10 Tips to Help You Fight Loneliness in Sobriety.

The Thorn

We go through life with a thorn and manipulate our environments to avoid anyone touching this thorn. We arrange our lives, build devices to prevent this thorn from being disturbed. Then we get into relationships, and it’s even more of a problem, but we patent a device and wear it constantly to prevent this thorn from being touched.

Continuing with my last week’s blog post about how we manipulate our environment, I read this today. It’s in “The Untethered Soul” (Michael Singer). Then I put the book down. Only later, did I pick it up again to read one more page to find the solution. Nothing dramatic. Just find our inner selves. And something about when our thorn is being threatened to just let it go, because our thorn is the past not the present. It is some discomfort but just let it pass and not stay in it. Not dramatic, I say. Maybe I’ll revisit this when I know what I’m talking about. Til next time.