There’s this guy I know from high school.
A life free from addiction – On Friday, he made the headlines of one of our national papers. And not in a good way.
He stands accused of sexual harassment by quite a few young ladies. See, he’s the co-founder and one of the leaders of an NGO. The accusations are that he used his powerful position within the NGO field to attempt to coerce women into sexual relationships.
It’s believable. I could believe it.
At the same time, one of his explanations as to why he could never be a sexual predator carries weight. He said, essentially, that he is so unsure of himself that he keeps asking, “Are you sure?” in the bedroom. He seemed like that kind of guy, in high school. Unconfident with women. Feeling intrusive in their space. Even when they’d already indicated he was welcome in it.
So which is the truth?
The Necker Cube, used in this week’s feature image, is an optical illusion. It has no visual cues as to the right way to view the image. Most people will initially see the cube as front, lower facing. But look at it for long enough.
It switches to front, upper right facing.
Did you do it? Did you stare?
It’s weird, huh?
Like a flick happens in your brain?
It’s because both perspectives are equally true ways of looking at the cube. Do it again. Stare at it. Switches. And when it does, it’s like it was always meant to be that way. Fascinating example of how our brains experience the world.
Well, the way I experience the world is one where I can hold both perspectives in my head at the same time. The cube is lower left facing. The cube is higher right facing. At the same time.
So it is in my old school friend’s case. He is both innocent and guilty at the same time. People might say, how could he be innocent if so many (it wasn’t that many) women came out against him?
Well, there are possibilities. There are always possibilities.
For one thing, I am not saying he is innocent and these women are lying. I know this is a very possible truth. Hence the cube is lower left facing for me.
I also know that sometimes people lie to get back at a person. Perhaps one person does this maliciously, but it cascades into a wave which sucks in other people. This is the cube upper right facing.
Let me explain.
As a drug addict, in recovery, I know all about delusions. Heck, I’ve been sober for over one year and five months, and I’ve experienced delusions during it. Remember the tapeworm incident? People’s minds are more frail than you think. For instance, in the 1400s medieval Europe, in the wake of the Black Plague wiping out more than 50% of the population, and general destruction burning down people’s ways of life, there was…
A dancing plague.
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People danced. Like they were infected. What would happen is one person would start dancing randomly, and it would attract others. Soon, a crowd of people joined in, dancing. For no good reason. For hours. For days. Some died of exhaustion. No one could stop them. Even frightened family members trying to pull them from the dancing throng couldn’t stop them.
These plagues occurred numerous times through that century. It used to be called mass hysteria. Now we call it psychogenic.
It is powerful, and shows us the warbles of the human psyche. People can go mad when a crowd goes mad. We are infected by “mind viruses” called memes all the time. Not literal viruses, but thoughts, ideas, suggestions, they all affect the way we think and act.
Like how a new hairstyle catches on. A new fashion. Or a fad that fades away quickly. Mass hysteria was so called because people got… hysterical.
It’s as powerful as a psychedelic drug.
I believe that IT IS POSSIBLE after the Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby scandals occurred and the #metoo movement blossomed, it created a kind of hysteria. Both those incidences were, I believe, completely genuine. I also believe that most of the time a woman claims she’s being harassed sexually, it is true.
But not always.
Life free from addiction
Never forget, some humans are as$h@les. Women are human. Therefore…
Some of these occurrences of harassment claims may be sparked off by hysteria. For instance, a man makes weak flirtation attempts. Slightly creepy. But he’s not sure exactly how to do it right. Or he happens to be ugly, and the exact same actions by a guy much better looking would be received differently.
I know how I feel when a very attractive woman makes a suggestion to me – I feel delightfully embarrassed and flattered. When an unattractive woman does the same, I feel threatened. Does it mean one is right and the other is wrong?
What matters is extent.
We as a society need to decide what is acceptable. Maybe we can never make sexual innuendos. Though this takes some of the fun out of flirtation, and trust me, I’ve had it, haha, thrust my way before.
Perhaps this guy merely made inappropriate remarks. He wasn’t threatening. Claims he was later were embellished to back up a story a person really believed in. After all, who doesn’t add “supporting evidence” when they believe a certain line of reality is true?
We delude ourselves. And maybe he was the deluded one, thinking he could get away with imposing his masculine power over women below him at his NGO. Then when they wouldn’t submit, but fled in fear, he’d threaten them their very careers. Make them feel powerless and small. Because he was such a useless dork in high school, he couldn’t help flexing his metaphorical muscles now – in a way punishing women for not giving him a second glance decades back because he is certainly no oil painting. Perhaps a miles-away Monet. Maybe.
I don’t know.
Both could be true.
I can’t judge.
The best I can do is see both perspectives and hold them in mind as long as I can. So I don’t judge either of them. So I don’t create one reality that isn’t true.
I did that in active addiction. My reality was always false and distorted.
Now, thanks to Houghton House, my reality is somewhat stable, somewhat.
The truth, regarding this guy, may or may not come out.
Perhaps there will be enough evidence, i.e. strong witness testimony, that supports the story he is guilty of sexual harassment. Perhaps there won’t be, and he’ll be found innocent.
Sadly, even if he is innocent, chances are his name is ruined forever. Doubt will always stain his name.
Which reality is true?
If we’re honest with ourselves, right now, he’s both a predator and an innocent.
The Necker Cube flicks both ways.
Until we know for sure, and maybe we cannot, we just don’t know.
In my reality, I often experience great deals of paranoia. I’m both being conspired about and people are barely aware of me.
In addiction, the disparity in reality is even worse for me.
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Ultimately, without strong evidence, our reality is merely informed by our mind taking a perspective. It shapes our reality.
How often have you been wrong about something you’ve assumed to be truth?
Resist riding the wave of mass human group-think.
See the Necker Cube of reality both ways.
We must never let the Individual we are submit to the mob.