Sometimes, we believe things that aren’t true so that they can become so. This is more effective than it sounds, especially if we consider how we already live, in part, in an intangible reality made up of beliefs that shouldn’t be true. If we truly released all of our unexamined prejudices related to gender, race, class, physicality and conventions of physical attractiveness, religious affiliation, and so on…well, our world would be very different. The shift in personal perspective influences the behavior, which then has an effect on economics, legislation, and artistic expression among many other things. As well as the effects of prejudice, privilege, and oppression on culture, society, and civilization, there remains an effect upon the individual psyche that does not simply dissipate when an individual quits investing belief in those prejudices. This investment can even be done passively, taking for granted that these notions are true, and therefore not even noticing that they are notions; what’s required to negate this is not conscious effort, but insight. (Or circumstances to the contrary. That works, too. It’s nigh impossible with some issues to find or cultivate such a circumstance, but I think that should principally be effective because I personally believe in a “real world” outside of our minds and beyond our psychological projections. So, it’s not always a matter of blacksmything internal work or silversmyth reframing.)
There are some things that do dissipate when they’re no longer believed in. This doesn’t mean that honor, duty, purpose, principles, values, virtues, the pursuit of truth, and even reasoning are unworthy of sustaining just because they don’t technically exist if people don’t believe in them.
The notion of potential effect forms the centerpiece of a process that I like to call silversmything. This is the actualization of potential. That’s silversmything in its positive form.
The first lesson that I had in silversmything was in its negative form: willful ignorance of notions unworthy of attention.
We have no dominion, directly over the attitudes that other people would have towards us, although I was also taught that I could influence other people’s attitudes with my own behavior. To this point, I invested too much of my early life. I did my best not to get caught in someone else’s crosshairs, and had hostility and vitriol heaped upon me anyway.
The potential for the next attack became a constant preoccupation, which had the same effects of an actual attack anyway except that I would be doing it to myself. Although, I wouldn’t have “done it to myself” had that first attack never happened, or if I’d attributed it to something other than an irrepressible evil innate to me, or…this next thing.
I never got the concept of “just ignore them.” Wasn’t responding to environmental stimuli a sign of life? Life was misery.
Until, that is, I overheard a schoolteacher advising another student to, “Look inside yourself for the switch that says ‘care for what other people think’ and flick it OFF.”
Maybe I’m less of a conceptual learner and more of a tactile-kinaesthetic learner, because the way my teacher put it just cleared up all sorts of distortions that had prevented me from enjoying life.
That’s the distinction that I would make between this “perishing the thought” and mere repression, denial, or delusion that comes about from inappropriately willful ignorance. In the latter three cases, what one resists will persist. In basic silversmything, that which is unworthy of attention will dissipate. So, it probably did really help that, when I heard this, it was a matter of shaking off a habit I’d taken to that wasn’t appropriately responsive to the situations, rather than trying to cultivate ignorance while still being mired in some very real, inescapable, undeniable circumstances.
If only this worked the other way, too, that I’d still be bothered by the unmet needs or violated boundaries of other people when I should be so bothered, but this method really is a privilege (which, as I just mentioned, can be revoked…for the wrong reasons, as well as perhaps some contextually correct reasons.)
At the same time, another result would be essentially staying within one’s boundaries. It was none of my business, really, what other people thought about me…at least, to the extent to which I had concerned myself.