Here’s yet another blog post inspired by a dream. It was a semi-lucid dream that included two family members and several strangers. A cousin and I were relaxing in his living room while he smoked a cigarette. This was uncharacteristic of him because he’s adamantly anti-smoking.
I decided to wash my hair but there were no towels in the guest rooms. So I raided my other cousin’s supply. Her bathroom was palatial and had stacks of jumbo size, fluffy, white towels. I snagged one of the towels, then washed my hair. However, the towel was ineffective. The towel felt more like a chamois and was not absorbent. I complained to both cousins, then I awakened from the dream.
While trying to make sense of the dream, I recollected the habits of my two cousins. The behavior of one was unrecognizable from real life. The behavior of the other was similar to what I could expect from her in reality. As for my own behavior, I do not visit people’s homes then wash my hair, nor smuggle large, fluffy towels.
During our lifetimes, we encounter various people with identities that fit into various categories. Like it or not, we tend to stereotype personality traits because that’s how most of our brains work. Even if we do not pigeonhole people according to hierarchial rankings, we still unconsciously assign people into certain categories, such as billionaires, Norwegians, Christians, strangers, siblings, cousins, and so forth. These “boxes” act as shortcuts to help us interact and respond to them in various scenarios.
It might be good to tweak our responses towards others regarding socially expected reactions. That is to respond to a billionaire with humanity instead of awe; to react to a high-ranking person out of feelings of justice not fear; to be courteous to other drivers on the highways instead of with impatience.
Enlightened people are not puppets of authoritarians. With drive and determination, oppressed minorities have formed underground movments that have aided in the overthrow of tyrants. If we feel trapped in apparent fate, we can put forth honest effort to break free. When we ally ourselves with like-minded others, we mobilize our collective will and resources. We read about such people and movements in our history books. They are the those others who did not allow nature to put them into a stranglehold.
In today’s highly individualized culture, we sometimes forget the true, authentic potential and value of others. When our determination and will are unified we can accomplish much for the higher benefit of all.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 19th-20th century English mathematician and philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead. “No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.”