We as Americans, citizens of an individualized, choice oriented, freedom oriented mindset, like to think of ourselves as being in control. We hold our own destinies within our hands. We uphold our right to explore life as we see fit, to own liberty and happiness and so on and so forth. This particular stance is reflected in our culture, our government, our language, and even in our moment to moment thoughts. No one has the right to tell us what to do, to control our lives, to control our freedom. Yet there is a very strange byproduct of this very stance that seems to be in direct contradiction to our in control attitude; a culture that is continually producing a mindset of victimization.
Now when I say victimization there is surely alot of gray area to be clarified as this seems to be a very broad subject. The clearest way to say it is that we seem to be living in a culture that produces individuals who refuse or are unable to take control of their own lives and/or take responsibility for their own actions despite the facade of self righteousness that pervades the superficial layer of American and Westernized life. Individuals who continually blame others for their woes, who abuse the judicial system to gain a sense of power, who blame conspiracies for various mysteries, and who blame God for pretty much everything under the sun. I tend to feel that this particular mindset is extremely poisonous in nature. The cyclical nature of victimization and victimizing exacerbates the dangerous habits of addiction not only to mind altering substances but also to food, sex, power, distractions, and pretty much everything America holds “dear” in terms of having a choice. The aims of all these addictions is merely to gain a sense of comfort in the mist of the seeming chaos that surrounds us.
The bottom line is that we are a culture of victims. No matter how much we’d like to believe that somehow we are in control of our lives because we have a choice between going to eat at the local Sizzler’s or Fresh Choice, at the end of the day it all boils down to perspective. A victim is one who is trying to exert control over things that they have no control over, who feels helpless as to the state of the world, who feels that everything should not be as it is and they can’t do a damn thing about it. That feeling of helplessness is a short road to frustration and ultimately to anger which manifests itself in lashing out behavior either onto oneself or onto others. Now I can see the counter argument to this. How can someone possibly say that the world should be as it is? With all the helpless and suffering people in the world, something must be wrong. This is not the way that it should be. Undoubtedly there is much undue suffering in our lives, things that we absolutely wish would never happen to anybody whether it be starving children, wars, natural disasters and the like. We only need to look down the streets sometimes to see the hoards of lost souls roaming around with no purpose to watch the horror in action. But who are we to say that things should not be this way? Are we insinuating somehow that I, as a mere human being, know exactly how the world should be? I cant possibly know that. And the more we look at the world this way, the more helpless we feel, the more we become victims not to just others actions, but victims to Life as a whole.
We can only become angry through frustration, and frustration can only come about through a feeling of loss of control. The one power we always have at our fingertips is to accept, to accept what is going on, to accept how we feel, to accept what we think. In saying this am I in no way stating that we become complacent in action for sometimes we must act, but we can at least see our action in a perspective of larger purpose then of the savior coming to right all the wrongs of this world. There are things in this world, realities that we live with, that are extremely hard to swallow. It is a continuous challenge to have the vision to be able to not only accept what we see but to also keep our hearts and minds open as well as take necessary action when the opportunity arises. But to live in a state of victimization only binds our hands. When we live in such a state we are unable to help ourselves or help anybody else because we are in a constant stance of reactivity, not responsiveness. True responsibility for oneself does not use blame as a tool to right a wrong. Only an ownership of one’s ability to accept and to embrace what is can do that.