Good people do bad things and bad people do good things. A truth we must face about our humanity.
I am passionate about trauma. Especially sexual abuse. Because it happened to me. I am passionate about trauma because I personally understand that trauma is not linear and I exist in a world that must intellectualise and linearise every issue. That pain, misery and suffering must always be understood, compared, prioritised. That we must always divide people into good and bad people; by income, by race, by sexuality, by profession, by belief system, by religion, by political views, by mental health. Punish those that are bad. Reward those that are good. Fix those that are disorderly, accept those who are orderly. I believe this gross inadequacy to accept the non linearity of the human experience is at the core of our inability to transcend oppression, power dynamics and abuse.
Good people do bad things.
Bad people do good things.
This is a truth we must accept, in ourselves and in the world and most importantly in our humanity.
Our human history has continuously divided these two things into two different worlds, heaven or hell, criminal or good citizen, oppressor and the oppressed, sinner and saint. Always cleanly trying to figure out who is good and who is bad. Often for our own sense of inner peace, to believe we are good or we somehow know what is good. To think we understand the difference between good and bad. To believe we are loveable, to believe we deserve good and deserve to be loved. That we are protected. That we are doing things the right way. That there is a wrong way. To create systems and control measures and checks and balances to catch those that are bad and protect those that are good. All linear in nature. A linear line in the sand. A law. Order. The good and the bad. Them and us.
We erect religions and systems and governments and monuments and communities and spaces around our belief of our good natures. We impose our hubris of knowing what is good and bad onto people. We construct their reality. We hold them from seeing the bad in all of us. The shadow in all of us. The other side of all of us that if we don’t accept, we turn into the other. We create the opposition. We create the divisions. When chaos creeps in, in the form of new sexual expression, in the form of new confusing ways of existing, expressing, living, culture, or a difference to our perception of normality. We fear it. We demonise it. It becomes a sin. Hell. A disorder. Madness. The other. We suffer it. We hate it. We fear it.
Good people do bad things.
Bad people do good things.
There is no heaven for good people. There is no hell for bad people.
At the core of our suffering, misery, trauma and abuse is the ugly and intolerable nature of our shadow selves: a dimension of darkness that lurks in all of us. That line we all create of our own morality. To define or think of ourselves as good and bad; by our actions, our empathy, our mental and intellectual capabilities, how much we help, how much we listen, how much we act, what political side we are on, which community we stand by, who deserves our attention, who needs more care. Making everything linear, a scale of trauma, a scale of oppression, a hierarchy of pain.
Our art, pop culture and religions all reflect these two worlds. The heroes and the villains. The force. The dark side. The pain of fully accepting that we can be bad. The fear of it pulling us into its depths and destruction. The need to repent. But the dark side is everywhere. It is in trauma, it is in abuse, it is in addiction, it is in love and sex, it is in desire, it is in fame, it is in power, it is in religion, it is everywhere, all the time, always. It is part of us. There is no true light side and good side. There is just light and dark. Both balancing each other and both part of our experience. Not linear. Not binary. Helplessly mixed together. We are not better if we only accept the light, we are just in denial of the darkness. We remain fearful, scared and unable to truly accept it. It hunts us down until we accept it. It robs us of peace and quiet until we surrender to it. Until we become the abused, the traumatised, the suffering. Because true freedom and equality only comes when we invite this darkness into our experience. To accept the chaos. The non linearity. That we are all susceptible to it. We are all reflective of it. We are darkness. We are light. And it is our capacity to be both that gives us the rich emotional vibrancy of the lived experience of being human. In the friction of both we are able to perceive the infinite depths of beauty that our cosmos, humanity, god and universe is capable of. Creation and destruction. Good and bad. Order and complete chaos. To find peace, tranquility, freedom and to fill our voids, it will never come from constructing peace, eliminating suffering and avoiding pain. It will only come from making peace with pain. Making peace with the darkness and making peace with our suffering. Accepting the permanence of human mortality. That permanence is trauma. That we suffer all our limitations. We suffer them so we know how to break them. That if we do not accept our shadow, we suffer the very experience of being human. We do not break out the potential our life gives us but live in fear of the chaos of death. And not in peace and freedom of surrendering to it.
The true reality of the shadow and the darkness is that if we surrender to it, accept it and bring it from our subconscious into our conscious awareness. It rarely kills us, makes us bad, makes us evil or break us. It brings us into the full experience of equality and humanity. It connects us at a deeper level than we can ever perceive in the physical linear reality of rules and structures and equations, experiments and systems. We can experience the painful truth that we are all the same. We are all good and bad. We are all equal. The moment we act, we both create and destroy something. That to live is to create and to create is to destroy: anew system destroys the old.
Accepting the reality of life, and our human expression of it, allows us to have empathy for seemingly bad people who have endured abuse and pain. It destroys the perception we have of good people and the blinders we put on when they do bad things. It shows us that even our greatest enemy suffers. That we all do. Because we all share the darkness. It allows us to accept even the greatest or gifted of people can to do the most horrible of things. It allows us to feel and experience what we desperately need to… the pain of knowing our true nature and the freedom this brings to fully accept ourselves and to move from being semi-conscious beings, pushing our true nature into the depths of our unseen subconscious — out of sight and out of mind, giving it power to work through us without our control. To accepting the full misery and pain of knowing that our humanity is not just infinitely good, but infinitely bad. It is the most fundamental process of healing, forgiving and accepting. It is a giant leap of faith. A risk most us are unwilling to take. But it heals. Because it moves us from our intellectually constructed identity and belief of being good or bad to a deep knowledge and connection to our shared humanity, a god-like force of interconnectivity, that through the pain of knowing, wakes us up to accept every single living being as part of ourselves. This awareness is the only cure for the repetitive cycles of abuse that call us to this experience of understanding. To know if I hurt another, I hurt myself. To be fully knowledgable about this and in the awe of feeling the oneness that we truly are, understanding and embracing the absurdity of our existence, the duality of our nature and to accept that we will never ever be able to linearise one dimension of it. That chaos will always remain chaos. And to find peace with it, we can only accept it. And to accept it we must experience it. And to experience it we must surrender our need to understand it. That understanding comes last, not first.
Good people do bad things… and bad people do good things. The truth is messy. The truth is not linear.
Abuse and trauma are not linear. It is not bad people doing bad things to good people. It is not good people being hurt by bad people. It is the fucked up realities of so many of the abused becoming the abusers, it is repressed memories, unexplained anxiety, ptsd, fears, pains, diseases, addiction, obsession, fetish, hedonism, confusion, delusion, disassociation and disorder. It is utterly and incomprehensibly non linear. We can never feed it into a linear understanding, a clean scale of what is good and what is bad. A social construct that defines it. It will always be chaos. Because it is chaos. Our inability to accept its non linearity holds us all from fully accepting and feeling our collective humanity and holds us away from truly experiencing, and not merely trying to understand and implement, equality. Accepting the chaos allows us greater empathy towards criminals, prison reform, drug abuse, addicts, violence and sexual abuse. It opens a space where we can truly empathise with the perceived other and not build a wall between, or around us and them.
We are equal because good people do bad things and bad people do good things.
We are equal because we all have a shadow self.
In the right conditions, environments and situations we are all capable of monstrous acts. Nobody is inherently good. There are just those of us who have had the luck of learning acceptable and contextual social morality, by the people we have met, the experiences we have had, the parents our life lottery gave us, the society we were lucky to be born in, the lotteries of our pain and traumas, the colour of our skin that gave us certain privileges and/or pains, accessibility to information, the time period we were a part of, the money we were born into, the diseases we are lucky to avoid or unlucky to experience, our mental and physical disabilities, the greater randomness of becoming the abused or the abuser, the bully or the bullied. The way the chaos creeps into our individual experiences. We have to face fully these fears: of darkness, of pain, of trauma, of suffering, of not being in control.
The nature of our shadow self is that if we don’t accept it and fully embrace the reality that we are all sometimes also bad, dark, evil, jealous, cunning, manipulative, liars, assholes, say stupid things, do stupid things, cheat, make mistakes, hurt people, hurt ourselves... denying all of this annihilates the ability for us to truly accept each other and every other human in the full equality of our experience of humanity. We will always repeat oppression, hierarchies that put people in power over others and systems that reward people over others, based on their ability to mask the bad and prove the good within a system… or against an existing system. We continue to live in a world of lies, superficiality, acting, masks, hidden danger, fear, ego and identity. We don’t face our true selves. We don’t face our humanity and we don’t heal. The more we suppress our shadow selves, the more we increase the inevitability of war, violence, abuse and oppressive power dynamics. Split ourselves into sides: creating the other, creates a hierarchy. Which will continuously swap places. The intellect is a hierarchy. The ego says, “I am better because I look like, think like, act like or believe I am good”. It is terrified of knowing the truth. It forms elaborate identities, traps and prisons around our nature shielding us from the chaos. Keeping us comfortable, protected, cosy, avoidant, opinionated and opposed.
I believe we are ready.
The current social movements pushing us to see and face that oppression and abuse is so painfully widespread in our world, affecting every person directly or indirectly is showing us we are ready to take this journey. To heal and balance our true nature. Truly accepting on a massive scale the harsh realities of humanity; Embracing our obsession with anti-heroes like Walter White, Tony Montana, Tony Soprano and almost every famed dualistic character in the zeitgeists of storytelling is merely a reflection of what we sense deep within ourselves. That we can all break bad. That Hitler was good before he went bad — that he wanted to be a painter but became a genocidal maniac. That Donald Trump probably suffered his life being a privileged rich kid, that his ego is a defense mechanism that is holding him, like all of us, from our perceived trauma and chaos. That the Isrealis are capable of committing the same atrocities to Palestinians as the Nazis did to the Jews. That people who have endured inconceivable traumas can also traumatise other people. That Michael Jackson could be both a humanitarian saviour to children and also an abuser. To step into the darkness of our experience and invite the suffering, because to invite it sets us free. It destroys our hubris, ego, sense of entitlement and the idea we know and understand the truth. We have to go through this, we have to feel it. But this will not feel good. This will not feel positive. It is something we must come together, facilitate and help each other through. We cannot numb it nor medicate it away, or the chaos will just grow and creep further into our experience, via our collective subconscious inability to accept and integrate it into our experience. This delusional idea that we can somehow control it. We need to help each other through it. We need to facilitate the experience of knowing the darkness. Of embracing the chaos. We must let go of our need to understand it. Because it is not meant to be understood. It is meant to be experienced… the dark matters of our human experience. When we accept it and allow it, we no longer need to fear it. It no longer drives us from deep within but we can access it willingly and integrate it into our experience. We can see what it is trying to show us, connect us to and merge us with — the infinite beauty of it becomes a lived experience for all of us. That “god”, is the chaos. That pain, suffering, abuse, fear, anxiety, depression, darkness, confusion, horror, trauma is what connects us all — like love — the richness and depth of truly being one with everything. The pain of this is the pain that sets us free. By letting it in we no longer project our terror onto darkness but are able to see the beauty in it, an infinite beauty unbound by rules; imaginative, perfect, indescribable by our limited words and languages. The integration of the shadow self. No longer needing to define things as good or bad and fight for our misguided and egotistical perceptions of what that is, but to allow ourselves to move through it, surrender to it and in turn experience the truth that lurks beneath our linear perception of reality.
We need to face our shadow selves.
If we don’t, humanity, as a species, will fail. We will not ascend.
There are those who will look at my words and assume I think I know the truth. That how can I? Nobody does. Therefore I am egotistical, narcissistic, delusional. But it is intellectualism that is egotistical to me. The more books I read: the more I know, the less others know unless they read the books that I have read. It creates a separation of intellect and intelligence. The primitive darwinist survival of the fittest, simply upgraded from braun to brain. The better education I have: the better I am. It is intellectualism that enforces and traps us in the ego, compounds narcissism and delusion. The truth beneath suffering is true because we all have access to it. You do not need to compete and work harder to be better at knowing it. You only need to surrender to it. And this is not selective. Anybody rich, poor, black ,white, man, woman, tall, short, abled, disabled, healthy, or sick can surrender. There is no hierarchy to this truth. There is only the capacity to surrender to it. To give up and give in. To allow it and embrace it. To let go of needing to understand and to simply experience it. The path to this, of course, is different for every individual. But what we share together is the terror that we experience to face the chaos. Because death is chaos… and to confront chaos is to confront our mortality. Our intellect, whose original purpose is to preserve our life. That looming expiration date of our identity and attachments. The experiential truth of life is not to be told, only to be felt. Those depths of experience do not make a hierarchy, they are equal and in that it destroys our separateness. It destroys the other. The deeper you go, the more you merge, the more you achieve inner equality. It is not “me” that I discover in my shadow self, it is “us”. Once you fully accept the duality of yourself, it is harder to judge others, it is harder to be shocked by the chaos, the chaos becomes a beautiful infinite experience of being alive. Because it lives beneath our experience and does not require for us to compete in any way to access it. It is not about knowing any truth, it is about feeling it, accepting it and surrendering to it. The intellect does not allow us to truly feel, it only allows us to perceive, which will always be subjective to our perspectives. That is the fundamental relationship order has to knowing/intellect and chaos has to experiencing/feeling. Knowing is a construction of our intelligence. Experiencing is the deconstruction of our intelligence. Accepting fully we don’t know and allowing it to be shown to us. Diving into the zero point. Of being nothing, useless, meaningless and absurd. Facing depression, pain, loneliness, anxiety, anger, fear and resentment. Moving through it. A portal to deeper perceptions.
So how do we move forward? We must prioritise creating an environment of accepted suffering. Create room for suffering. Stop our need to always be functional, actionable and constructing. To slow down and feel through things; loss, break-ups, violence, war and pain. Not avoid, medicate, fix and overcome suffering but to accept its experience is a necessary component of life and being human. Move through and sink into the truth. Stop looking out for it and look inside. It is there we connect to our shared humanity and it is there that we can ascend. I believe as humans we have moved from physical beings into an expanding realm of non physical conscious perception — perceiving the darkness only expands this, expands our awareness and deepens our perception of our existence.