Victor Frankl (1985) was an Austrian Neurologist that survived the holocaust and is one of the founders of existential psychology. Existential Psychology is based on the idea that we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it. This has never been a better time to reflect on this (Frankl, 2005).
Before Trump there was racism in the U.S. While Clinton was president racism, racial profiling and the war on drugs was in full swing. Even after we elected our first black president, thousands of immigrants were mistreated and deported without due process (Wadhia, 2014).
So tell me. What’s the difference?
Racism is a part of the U.S like guns, Christianity and apple pie. Maybe if your white you never noticed (and even some white folk have realized it). Trump getting to where here is, while making racist statements, is proof of how racist the U.S. is and will always be.
Iraq and the Invasion of the Middle East
After 9/11 Americans decided that they would kill well over 4 million people to feel better about 2,996 Americans lives lost in the terrorist attacks. Of course it’s not fair to count 4 million Muslim lives, because that number reflect the tally that started before the attacks, during the original invasion of Iraq, by Bush Sr. and later ended by George W. Bush. Not to mention the number is still rising with our on going occupation of the Middle East.
Not that republicans are to blame, after all both political parties approved to invade the entire Middle East based on false information. Even Hillary Clinton voted to go to war in Iraq. As mentioned in the link to above, Collin Powel knew the information was false, the CIA recently declassifies these files, and Americans still don’t seem to care. Even if they did how do you reverse a 20 + year invasion?
The 2016 election reminds me of a story I read in Dainin Katagiri’s (1988) book Returning to Silence:
Once there was a Buddha who lived in a village that was always at the brink of war against a large empire. Although the village was small, the King of the empire was angered because the Chief of the small village promised to marry his daughter to him and took back his word.
The King decided to march on the village. The Buddha sat under a tree meditating at the entrance of the village, waiting for the king to pass. As the King passed he asked the Buddha “Are you not going to try to stop me?” The King was worried because many of his soldiers respected the Buddha and did not want his own men to revolt. The Buddha replied, “ what is will be is and there is nothing I can do to change that”. The King was moved by the Buddha’s acceptance and decided to withdraw.
Several weeks later the Chief betrayed the King again. In a wrath the King destroyed the village and enslaved any survivors. The Buddha sat under the tree and wept for his people while meditating.
Perspective is everything. Although you may find peace within yourself this does not mean the world is at peace. The world, politics, people, these things remain the same. You can try to influence them. But in the end you may end up just like the Buddha.
Finding peace doesn’t guarantee peace. So your perspective is all you have when confronted with these overwhelming situations. The Buddha could not stop the King, but it did not stop the Buddha from continuing with his practice.
The damage has already been done. Me personally I’ve chosen to delete all negative stimuli from my life. This includes old friends and family. Life is too short to be arguing all the time. There are plenty of people who are positive and help build me. I have chosen to give these people more of my time. I will continue my practice and my training.
4 years from now a new leader will come and things may change or remain the same. But I will not let that change how I live my life. I survived Bush and I will survive this as well.
Social Gelo with Angelo
Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)
Frankl, V. E. (1985). Man's search for meaning. Simon and Schuster.
Frankl, V. (2005). On the theory and therapy of mental disorders: an introduction to logotherapy and existential analysis. Routledge.
Katagiri D. (1988). Returning to Silence. Shambhala Dragon Editions
Wadhia, S. S. (2014). The Rise of Speed Deportation and the Role of Discretion. Columbia Journal of Race and Law (Volume, 5 Issue 1).