Some months ago, for about two weeks, Rachel Dolezal was all the news. Rachel is the white woman who identifies herself as “black”. When asked how she had come to this conclusion she stated, “At around age five I was drawing pictures of myself with the brown crayon, so I knew myself to be black.” Her Caucasian parents’ testimony not-withstanding, Rachel insists that she is black because she thinks of herself as black: I think, therefore I AM! Personally, just because I think that I can fly does not mean that it is advisable for me to jump out of the nearest window! Delusional thinking has a long history in the human species: At one time people were convinced that the world was flat because they thought that it was flat; and yet, oddly enough, our planet remained defiantly round! Why is it so hard for us to face up to reality? There are those who would counter this statement by saying that most people do not go around saying “no” to reality. There is, however, another way of defying Life other than by saying “no” and that is by convincing ourselves that our cooperation with it is optional. Like good Passive-Aggressives, we don’t say “no” but we also don’t live out a “yes”. By living this way we tell Life that we will neither accept nor accede to its wishes. What creates such unhappiness in our life is that we fail to perceive that Life is persistently insistent in its demands!
A mindset of duplicitous evasiveness serves as a license that we grant ourselves to continue feeding our self-destructive habits and vices which enables us to continue indulging in delusion… even while telling ourselves that this is not what we are doing. We spend a night drinking too much and the next morning we vow “I’ll never do that again”; by cocktail time that evening we tell ourselves, “Well, just one won’t hurt.” We’re in debt up to our eyeballs and yet we go online and convince ourselves “Oh, I’ve just got to HAVE that!” We engage in serial relationships convinced that we simply have not yet found “the right one” when, in reality, the problem is not others, but ourselves! Evasive delusion enables us to not acknowledge what we don’t wish to know; the dangerous thing about this is that it also allows us to think that there are no consequences to our remaining ignorant!
A friend of mine has a great word which, to me, describes this state of mind: Befuggery. This word makes me think of a state of confusion willfully induced by one’s own participation in it! This brings to mind the tale about the Tar Baby. There are a number of versions of this tale but in one Br’er Fox constructs a doll out of a lump of tar and dresses it with some clothes in order to snare Br’er Rabbit. When Br’er Rabbit comes along he addresses the tar “baby” amiably, but receiving no response takes instant offense and lashes out at it, and in doing so becomes stuck to it. Enraged, the more that Br’er Rabbit punches and kicks the Tar Baby the worse he gets stuck to it. My point is that the more we indulge in our evasive delusion the more we get stuck in a state of befuggery which only serves to increase our confusion about ourselves and about our life.
If, in our bewildered state, we continue to wonder why we can’t seem to make sense of our life, or of our finances, or of our relationships… then perhaps there is a chance that we are under the false idea that Reality must conform to our wish to be perceived as black, or the world as being flat… rather than the other way around! Well, guess what: Reality is not impressed with what we think or want or don’t want! At its most basic, Life wants us to finally learn: Calling a rock a loaf of bread will not give us very much nourishment!
Willful befuggery be damned!