One of my most valued considerations of the past several years is an attempt to overcome unconscious prejudices, both the rigidly intellectual and gut-wrenching societal connections expressed through the judging of others. Not only am I not in a position to judge (nobody is), but I also believe that judging others severely limits potential insight into the great bottomless pit of human nature.
How do I know if I’m successful? The reality is that I don’t know, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t try my hardest, categorizing perceived conclusions along the sprawling vista of unknowns that haunt common humanity. This means not accepting that any part of me is unchangeable, a lesson that, again, should be exceedingly familiar given my circumstances with Parkinson’s disease, but seems to be relearned with Sisyphus-like repetition.
The corollary to this is to return to my pre-DBS surgery state of being, of not accepting or caring about what others might say or feel about me. This has turned out to be an even harder nut to crack. Vanity fills life’s voids like water seeks lower ground, seeping into each crack in our thin veneer of identity-armor and corroding from the inside. To be defined by others is to succumb to life’s misery, never recognizing the attendant joy that rides along nose-to-nose with despair.
Why is it so difficult to honestly disregard what others say or think of you? Is it due to the intrinsic confusion of existing, of accepting that you are as aware and enlightened as anyone else, or at least could be; to succumb to life’s ultimate vanity? And so, the circle distorts into a looping sphere of folly and detour, as we move through the world re-learning the same lessons over and over again.