Commentary: Musings on simulated stoicism versus self-deceit

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Mickel Allen is a native of Jamaica, previously an English Linguistics and Literature Teacher. She is an active women’s advocate and sits on several boards.

By Mickel A. Allen

Our experiential background and perception largely influences one’s day to day choices, thoughts and outcomes, which overshadow the manner in which we receive and process auditory, visual, gustatory or tactile sensory detail. We traverse the floors of hell, sometimes meandering our way fearfully through the dark, low valleys until we sojourn beside still waters, find illuminated pathways to hope and some semblance of freedom.

But as we journey we tend to often focalize the physical — sometimes too much — to the point that or senses are over-stimulated. We tarry and complain, and plummet into patterns that serve nothing more than falling prey to the “evil demon” as a result of our “brain in vat” mentality.

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” ~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

One must remain mindful that in those “alone”, under-stimulated, dormant moments; those moments when one has elected to alienate self or has been forced into a theoretical corner — if you prefer — that self-deceit and guile do not infiltrate the crevices of one’s mind.

Our mind has the ability to shape all we see, affect what and how we feel and craft all we verbalize while simultaneously molding and masticating false and over grandiose illusionary ideals; in the foreground it subtly instigates a laconic attack against self which then makes itself manifest in unusually, uneventful and combatant episodic behavior much like a familiar yet unexpectedly sudden gust of wind.

Two weeks ago I listened to a politely orated explication of Psalm 73, which I now in retrospect realize may be juxtaposed to some of Marcus Aurelius’ aforementioned postulation. In the psalm, Asaph, during a period of moratorium, seems to meander his way through a series of “thoughts” about his situation and social positioning gleaned through his sense perception in the physical sphere.

His mind catalyzes bitterness because of his senses and feelings towards the wealthy and those who seemed to be prospering despite their “evil” ways. He is embattled and angry and questions his God as to why affliction remains despite his devotion to Him –God. So inundated by negative emotion evoked due to what he is seeing and feeling to the point that he is unable to be at peace — “His pain is due to his estimate of it”…

“When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” ~ Psalm 73:16-17

Now Asaph realizes that he needs to look to his source and return to the “sanctuary” be it a theoretical sanctuary — state of being — or a physical structure and that it is by choosing to focalize the right things and not over-thinking or over-perceiving through his senses that he can “revoke the power of that moment” Meditations — the negative moment.

What does this say to us then as self-ascribed, autonomous beings? It says that stoicism is nothing more than self-deceit. In essence, it is foolish to think you can outrun yourself, while “sins” weigh heavily upon you and cover you like a cloud. The obscenity one seeks to rid oneself of cannot be dispelled if one continues to coexist with its allies. If you remain connected to contaminated vines — sometimes the misconceived self, sometimes others in the externalities — then in a matter of time you will be “cut off” or wither away.

The attacks we sometimes view as external to us are in fact “self-inflicted” attacks of and on self, which through simulated stoicism and sometimes under the “unction” of religion one may try to dispel; whilst some walk around projecting on everyone else.

It is equally important to note that some graciousness is self-seeking; simulated and covertly impious. Gratitude cannot coexist nor thrive simultaneously with cunning much in the same way it is consistently difficult to be a “Glory bearer” while navigating one’s unpredictable and treacherous carnal spheres; but where there exists a “Sanctuary” be it literal or metaphorical — there is an indwelling; a symbiotic and recognizable synergy that prevails between the Source, the uncaused cause; God; and mitigates one falling into destructive patterns catalyzed by false and over stated notions of who we think ourselves to be — simulated stoics — whilst our mind and judgement is clouded by self-deceit.

Ponder on all I have said above and may it enlighten you in hope one day your truth will be:

“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.” ~ Psalm 73:28

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