Are we being “paranoid” and over-suspicious of state surveillance and control allegedly conducted in our interests or do we simply accept what we can’t influence? Is state (and organisational) surveillance by democratically elected bodies something that we have nothing to be fearful of so long as we act in integrity and are law-abiding? How far is surveillance and individual autonomy a hazy boundary and to some extent something we also create through our own insecurities. Is this sort of issue also an aspect of a human tendency to be fear-based at the ego level?
In a week in which we have contrasting manifestations of the oft-times precarious relationship between state power and personal rights, there has been a massive protest movement in Turkey and revelations of state snooping on digital data in the US. Both confront us perhaps with matters of consideration that are relevant not just in politics but in our personal lives too and how we function at the civic level and in relationship with others.
In personal development terms it can be worth reflecting on the extent to which you (or I) get “caught up” in concerns about authority, control, independence, individuality, and autonomy. One way this can manifest is, as Transactional Analysis would have it, in the ego style of the rebel when in “child” mode as opposed to adult mode. It’s worth being aware of when we can get into “rebel” mode in relation to people or bodies who have an authority role. The paranoid style might be present when we get overly suspicious of others and their motives and not trust others as we might. Also the preoccupation with secrecy and control “out there” might also be part of our shadow, where we don’t acknowledge our own fear of others and our own tendency to want to be secret and controlling. When the rebel gets overly invested in reacting to authority they might be also projecting their own characteristics on to others. And in writing like this about these human psychological characteristics, I might be being paranoid too!
When stuff is going on at the macro level we might have our views about that, and express those views. But it is also worth having humility and looking within and asking, “Is this also a part of me?” This is often a useful self enquiry, since it helps us get things into balance, not get too wrapped up in things like a sense of injustice and anger, and become more balanced. Also, when we let go and centre ourselves, we let go of attachment to “issues” and “right and wrong”. As Rumi wrote,
“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there” (Rumi)
Whenever the ego gets invested in anger and injustice, there’s a time too to let it go and have peace. While invested in anger, we also have polarity and difference, and we become unable to reach each other and find our common connection. This anger begets more anger and we remain stuck in the polarity and are unable to find common ground and connect. So when we observe humans beating hell out of each other, it is worth remembering the field. I’ll meet you there.
(Youtube video by enea)