“There must always be a discrepncy between concepts and reality, because the former are static and discontinuous while the latter is dynamic and flowing”
William James

Some Problems of Philosophy

Defeated?

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A few days ago Andreea told me about a comment that was left on our Bhudeva Romanian speaking website. It was from a Romanian woman who had been following Andreea’s website Feminitate and then discovered Bhudeva where she learned about our life-journey here in Romania. She feels remote, alienated and isolated in her life and is also looking to make a change and was inspired by our efforts and wrote to share that with us.

In her comment she mentioned that others in her social circles speak about “the likes of us”  as people who were defeated by society and that moving out to the village is an act of surrender. I have to admit that at first and in a round-about way this rang true. We were not offended by the idea but it did continue to move in me.

This morning my thoughts on this came into focus. I followed a link that appeared in my Twitter feed with an invitation to join a free online-event with a practitioner and teacher of non-violent communication. I read the post, I browsed around the website some more. There was a spark of interest in me. Then there appeared technical difficulties – the seminar would have required me to dial in (expensive and not really possible for us since we are not in the USA and don’t yet have a decent Internet connection), the time difference placed it in the middle of the night … so the spark began to fade.

Yet even with the spark dimmed I continued to observe. First I asked myself what is it that interests me. I found a basic curiosity and an inherent movement in me that still surfaces now and again to connect with and maybe contribute to others. Then the spark was gone. I am simply not interested any more.

I participated in society in the past. At the same time my consciousness changed … I believe for the better. Then I could no longer participate, I could only try to participate … and for the most part failed. And my consciousness continued to change … I believe for the better. Then I left society.

Is this defeat?

I can see how the societies I lived in would view this as a defeat – as in “society defeated me”. I had different views, different values, I was very critical – that could be perceived as a threat to society and  therefore my departure could be viewed as a defeat.

I could also choose to see this as a defeat of society – as in “I defeated society”. I felt a huge oppressive force before leaving. It was threatening to me – it made me feel stagnated, unworthy. It almost put out my motivation to live. I struggled against it (sometimes not knowing I was struggling nor what I was struggling with) … a long and difficult and unrelenting struggle. In the end I managed to break free from it. I defeated it.

I could also choose to see this as a self-defeating act of society – as in “society defeated itself”. I believe I had (still have) something to contibute to society. I believe that by “defeating” me society may have lost a precious resource – an agent of change. Societies are in a constant struggle to get better. To move away from stagnant and often obsolete patterns towards better ones. Despite my harsh criticism (which I offer and view as contribution) of the societies I left behind I cannot deny that I am their child – they created me. They gave me a set of tools and sent me out to explore the world. I came back with discoveries and society rejected those discoveries together with me. Yes, I can see that as a self-defeating act of society.

But I do not see defeat. I do see peaceful resolution. Though I live purposefuly remote from society I do not disillusion myself into thinking I can live outside of society. I can and choose to live on the fringe. A comment from an unknown woman living in a far away city tells me that from the fringe I am also a contributing member of a society. I have stuck to my views and values and in doing so it seems I have gravitated toward a correct relationship with society. It seems that I have found my  place in society after all. I may not reach many people, I do look forward to reaching the right ones.

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