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Scared Separate

by David Truman

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Chapter 3: The World Social Fear is Creating

"Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

—Dylan Thomas

Distrust is a mean boomerang

What are you invoking in others?

Make your love footprint big

Starving hearts, neurotic minds

The triumph of individualism over love, reason, and survival

Society's Downfall

Time to throw off our old, tired ways

First scream, best scream

Fight against the night

Distrust is huge. People even call it wise. But there's a true way to judge whether something is right: put the shoe on the other foot. Put it through the trusty old "what-if-everybody-did-what-I'm-doing" test? What happens if you apply that test to the popular distrust, and fear of love? Check it out:

At this point, the test is not hypothetical. We've already experienced the ugly results of pervasive distrust and fear of love. And we have seen that the world social fear creates is a lonely world indeed.

Distrust is a mean boomerang

It's a good and healthy attribute of human beings that we don't like being abandoned, hurt, or betrayed by people we love. If that happens, we want to make sure it will never happen again. But being afraid will only make things worse. It only makes love less likely for us and everyone else.

When we respond to past hurts by closing our hearts and refusing to love again, we are helping create a loveless world. We are becoming part of a system by which other people will be betrayed, other people will be hurt—by us. They will be hurt because we refuse to love them.

"Hurt people hurt people," they say. The heartbreaks you've suffered in the past were surely the result of other people's fear, unlove, withholding, distrust. Right? That's what always causes relationships to collapse—be it friendships, romances, or even work relationships. So what good will it do to become fearful, distrusting, and withholding yourself? Why multiply the problem? "Pay it forward" works best with acts of love and kindness. When we apply it to fear, distrust, and heartbreak, we're only spreading pain.

Distrust is a mean boomerang. When we are fearful, self-contained, and unwilling to give our love, we are setting a precedent for human behavior, establishing a norm. We are creating a world in which neither we nor anyone else can expect to receive much love or trust from one another. It's important for each one to consider: "Is that really the contribution I want to make to humanity?"

What are you invoking in others?

These days, many people consider it wise to begin a relationship with distrust. "I need time to warm up to people," etc. It's common not just for people to grill one another, to test their partners, but even to withhold their heart indefinitely, to keep their guard up long after someone offers them love and commitment. "It's only wise to take all the necessary precautions," people think. But we'd be wise to take into account how it affects the human heart to be treated with suspicion.

We bring out in people what we believe them to be. Did you ever have a teacher or a boss who believed you were stupid, or incompetent? If so, you know how hard it is to perform in the face of someone who thinks poorly of you.

Similarly, a man who is chronically jealous of his wife, and constantly accuses her of cheating on him, is likely to drive her to have an affair. He's pushing her in that direction.

And when people distrust you, they're pushing you in a certain direction, too. They're sending you a message. After a while, you might say: "Look, if I'm going to get credit for being that bad, I might as well just be it. I'm already being punished for it by the way I'm being treated!" This doesn't mean, literally, that people will always behave as we expect. It does mean, however, that expectation has a powerful impact.

We may think distrust is self-protective, but we should still watch what's happening around us—and why. It's easy to see that distrust brings out the worst in people, just as trust brings out the best.

By distrusting people, you ruin the opportunities for real beauty. No relationship can really thrive in an environment of fear and distrust. Hearts will remain closed, the treasures of soul will not be given—the relationship is condemned to being flat, distant, and alienated.

Beautiful flowers can't grow where there is no sun and no water. By putting out fear and distrust, and withholding love, we contribute to an emotional climate where friendships can't grow, where trust is rare, where people don't want to give their hearts or be themselves.

And our "progress" into skepticism only makes matters worse. The more we give up on love, the less love there will be in this world. If we don't help turn the tide, what kind of world will we have to live in tomorrow?

Make your love footprint big

What's interesting about love is, it's the one resource that can't be wasted by giving away too much of it. If you have a relationship in which you both give and receive a lot of love, you're not wasting love, you're creating abundance.

Of course, the concept of wasting love sounds ridiculous. But yet, many people are very precious about their love. They treat it as if it were a finite resource. They guard it. They don't want to spend it. The truth is, our hearts can be wasted only when we fail to give them. When we are thrifty with our hearts, we impoverish ourselves, and we impoverish others.

The result of thrifty loving is mediocre relationships. We get what we pay for. For example, take the average teenager living at home. They may exchange only a few words a day with their family. That's definitely thrifty, but it's a heartache for all involved.

A person whose love footprint on this Earth is small is impoverishing the whole world, as well as themselves. This Earth doesn't need any further impoverishment in the love area, don't you agree?

Starving hearts, neurotic minds

The insufficiency of true, heartfelt love and commitment is driving everyone crazy. It's making people emotionally and mentally unstable. A chimp raised by itself, without other chimps, is a neurotic, depraved and deprived animal. It's an unhealthy chimp. The same is true of love-starved people: they become neurotic.

The latchkey children, the solo men and women, living for and by themselves, as scattered islands—they are, for the most part, emotionally sick—unable to stabilize intimacies.

It's an emotional illness not to be able to get along with people, live in harmonious cooperation with others, or sustain deep intimacy. A failure of emotional development. This was well known by Jung, and by anyone who ever studied the matter: an emotionally stunted human being crippled in the area of love and commitment.

A pervasive problem of modern times, psychologists tell us, is narcissism—a condition in which the person lacks empathy for those close to them. Narcissism results in the failure to care for other human beings. Narcissists cannot see anything from their partner's point of view, their bosses' point of view, the customer's point of view—or anyone else's point of view. They are difficult employees, terrible mates or spouses, and dysfunctional human beings. They are usually incapable of cooperation or teamwork. And they are poor in love and social conscience. All because they are living for number one. Such is the vanguard of our present society. It is the epitome of fearful, self-protective living.

The triumph of individualism over love, reason, and survival

Fear has negative implications in every level of human life. The same fearfulness that creates wars in the home has sent nations to war. The same fearfulness that breaks up marriages also breaks up communities, partnerships, and the whole world. As in the microcosm, so in the macrocosm.

The doctrine of fear and selfishness, and the practice and pursuit of small and narrow self-interest, has brought human relationships at every level to their knees. Parents can't talk to their children, and teachers can't talk to parents! Husbands can't talk to wives. Employers can't talk to their employees. Republicans can't talk to Democrats, and Democrats can't talk to the Republicans. Nations can't talk to nations. Friends can't talk to friends. Human beings can't talk to one another!

Almost everyone is rallying for their own self-interest. Everyone wants whatever they want. Who wants to give? Who wants to compromise? They're just trying to get all the chips on their side of the table. Which only leads to fighting, and break-ups.

Look at the way politics works: It's commonplace for one political party to attack the other, often illegitimately, without any moral compunction. Just another day in the world of politics.

Special interest groups have helped bring the nation to its knees by pursuing their small-minded self-interest—without regard for the effects on the country, on humanity, on anyone other than themselves.

And when you look behind the difficulties of many businesses, you'll find antagonism and argument, chronic indisposition to trust, egotism, self-interest, small mindedness, and lack of willingness to compromise—all of this places a huge strain on the effectiveness and viability of any company or work team. It's incredibly hard on a business to be divided in its heart. They say, united we stand. Well, divided we fall.

Look at the auto industry. In that industry, a tremendously acrimonious relationship exists between labor and management. For forty years there has been violence, suspicion, distrust, anger, and resentment between automakers and their workers. And tremendously small self-interested moves on each part. Can you imagine if that mentality existed at one small burrito stand, owned by two guys? If they distrusted each other to that extent, if they tried that hard to get the upper hand on one another, do you think that burrito stand could survive? Of course not! It would go down in flames and bitterness.

Similar to how many marriages end, come to think of it: Fighting. Lawyers. Bitter accusations. People trying to get each other's money. Bitter divorce doesn't come from nowhere. Bitter living leads to bitter divorces.

Since all love companionship, most people will not want to divorce unless there's a serious problem. So, something must have gone south, and usually, it's that the two spouses were overly focused on their own needs, and not focused enough on the needs of the other.

We're hurting each other and ourselves with this kind of mentality: always needing to gain an advantage; suspecting that everyone else is bad and wrong, and that you have to "look out for number one"; trying to protect oneself at all costs—and the costs are high indeed! It costs us harmony on every level: relationship harmony, religious harmony, world harmony. We are living in a world full of discord, all because we thought we needed to protect ourselves. When are we going to ask ourselves: Is it working?

Society's Downfall

Society's downfall is the assumption of separateness and difference, antagonism and discord. The tragic result is chronic disharmony in relationship, particularly at the more intimate levels. We see the breakdown of marriage, of families. Failed relationships. Broken homes. We see the fractioning of society into little clusters of people, either couples or solitary people, running along their own separate ways, indifferent to one another, afraid of any type of belonging or joining together.

If we don't reverse that, and fast, human society will die. And believe me, the answer is not more solutions for solo living. That only perpetuates the fear and alienation that are bringing humanity to ruin. For life to work, we need to exercise the compassion necessary not to be scattered, dysfunctional islands of self-sufficiency and self-deficiency. We need to live in cooperative loyalty, cooperative survival, mutual dependence—and love. Without that, the world will only become less workable, less peaceful, less happy, less human. How much less of those things can we bear?

Time to throw off our old, tired ways

Granted, when you're a young person, it's grand to strike out on your own, with a bold sense of adventure and dreams of personal accomplishment. But before long, reality sets in. Living alone becomes a dreary round of self-dependence: a constant effort to make ends meet, essentially unsupported by anyone else.

The current paradigm of every man for himself has brought us to the point where we can plainly see that solitary living isn't working. We've felt the pain of it. The idea of going it alone no longer seems exciting—or even viable.

It's terribly insecure when you have to pay for your own everything: your own car, your own fridge, your own apartment. And one major problem—one illness, one disaster—could wipe you out. Surely life's more secure when you can establish your existence over a wider base. Stockbrokers say, "Diversify, diversify, diversify. If you really want to be safe, do not put all your eggs in one basket." Well, if you're a solo person, you are anything but diversified. You have absolutely all your eggs in one basket, and if that basket breaks, your entire life may fall apart.

To feel so alone, so up against the rigorous challenges of surviving as a solitary soul, wears on a person. No wonder people become disillusioned with that life. The phrase "American Dream" has become ironic and bitter. We are ready for something new, but will we create it?

First scream, best scream

You've known the answer to the world's problems all along. Your heart did not fail to guide you, but maybe you failed to listen.

Remember when you first realized what this world wanted you to become, and you had the initial scream of "N o!" When you felt you didn't want to become less generous, less trusting, less open-hearted—but your ego, and everyone else, told you that that's what life required?

When you screamed no, that was the real you talking—your heart, your soul. We haven't heard from you since, but your heart is still dissatisfied with your choice to be alone.

A woman complains, "I don't like the person I've become." A man confides, "I hate the way I treat my clients, my colleagues, my wife, my family." They are voicing the discontent of the entire humanity with the alienated lifestyles and love-styles of today. Virtually every honest person will admit to having felt these feelings, thought these thoughts, even said these words, themselves:

"This is not the way I planned and hoped my life would feel when I grew up."

"This is not the way the world should be."

"This is not as God intended man to live."

You had it right the first time. Stick with it. Your initial feeling of revulsion and rebellion against the dull, heartbreaking way of the world was right on!

So let's pick up where you left off your rationality, your sanity, your true feelings, your understanding, your intuition. That's exactly the point when you screamed against repenting of your good qualities: your generosity, your trusting nature, your love, your vulnerability, your propensity to unity, your human need.

Fight against the night

If you don't validate the things society has rejected, you're part of the problem. You're part of the fear machine that is systematically breaking every heart and bringing humanity to ruin. Have the presence of mind to recognize what's going on and say, "No, I don't want to exist as fear. I don't want to fear other people. I need to show the way by being more constructive, not merely fearful."

If you don't want to follow the path to hell, then don't. Do not go gently into that night. Don't go down so easy. Fight! The road less traveled is the only road worth taking. It's the one where we swim upstream against everything we deplore: unlove, distrust, selfishness, fearfulness, self-protective living.

If we don't reverse this landslide of distrust, this plague of suspicion and fear, human culture will be destroyed by it, without any doubt whatsoever. This is now completely obvious.

You may not be able to change the whole world single-handedly, but you can make a big difference to the people you meet and know. And if you be a good example for them, and help them live a more bold, loving, trusting life, then they could make a difference to others, too. That's how change has always come about—one person at a time chooses to stand up for and live what's right and true.

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Chapter 4: What's REALLY Killing Love

by David Truman

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