“Care is the ultimate Generator of the quality of our experience”
– Mark Passio
Last week I opened my Windows 10 (Worst. Operating system. EVER) internet browser, which automatically brings me to a newsfeed, and I saw the following headline: “United Airlines passenger was dragged off flight because he was Asian”
I immediately rolled my eyes and did not even bother clicking on the obviously intentionally racially provocative headline. I knew what the purpose behind it was, but as an act of defiance, I refused to give it my attention. Of course, it was not something that was just a one-shot headline. It was turned into a sort of international incident (the man in question was apparently Chinese) and became yet another news soap opera. The headlines were all over my Twitter feed, so alas, my efforts to ignore this story was somewhat thwarted.
Apparently, the doctor was flying United Airlines, which, in my opinion, was his first mistake. When it comes to customer service and overall comfort, United Airlines is probably one of the worst airlines that I have ever flown (and I’ve flown it FAR more often than I would have liked to). They apparently oversold the flight to the point where they couldn’t fit some of their employees on the flight, so they selected this Chinese man to give up his seat. He refused, stating he was a doctor and had to be to work. A conflict ensued, which resulted in the man being dragged off the plane by law enforcement.
Not a shining image of customer service to say the least, but the immediate headlines, not surprisingly, became about the man’s race, and the idea that he was selected to be taken off the plane “because he was Asian”. So why was such a racially provocative spin used? My best analysis would be that it was focused on and put into the mainstream media echo-chamber to foment racial division and resentment among the Asian community, who by-and-large have been left out of the racial victim narrative fueled by the media over the past few years. This is an ethnic community that has fared quite well in Western society, so the outrage factor has not been as “organic” as it has been in the Black and Latino communities, and was obviously something that the Hollywood-owned, corporate-government-run media felt needed to be stoked- divide and rule.
Of course, now the man is suing United Airlines and their name is being dragged through the mud- which I can’t say I’m overly upset about. Conducting your business in such a way warrants these sorts of consequences. However, at the time it was certainly not an issue that made me care to the point of being compelled to write a blog article about it- that is until someone attempted to foist it on me as something that I SHOULD care that much about.
A few days ago, I was sitting on my couch writing out (on physical paper no less!) ideas for a story when my roommate, after coming home from work, posted up on the couch on the other side of the living room and proceeded to read news headlines aloud to me. In my perhaps, over-politeness, I refrained from explaining to her that I did not need her to read me news headlines, nor did I really want her to, but instead I let her proceed without any protest.
Eventually she came to the story about the Chinese man on the plane and asked if I’d heard about it. I told her I had, and regurgitated the initial racially-charged headline I had read (with which she was unfamiliar), and that I didn’t spend much time on it because I felt it to be little more than a distraction piece. She then took this as an opportunity to fill me in on more details of the event. My response was that it was “messed up” and that United Airlines was “garbage” and that they deserved to get sued.
However, apparently my simply acknowledging the event as unfortunate and as a prime example of bad business practice did not suffice. She remarked that I seemed like I was being un-empathetic and acting as though I “didn’t care”. It was at this point I remarked that I simply felt this was not an issue that warranted an outpouring of emotional outrage, or that there was any productive purpose to feeling that way. I then asked why it was that I should feel as concerned or upset about this as she obviously was. Her response was that “it could happen to you”. To which I responded that any number of unfortunate incidents that were reported on the news could potentially “happen to me”, so that was a non-issue.
She then lamented about how awful it was that this man was humiliated and that he lost money (both things I regard as superficial problems of ego). I reminded her that he was getting compensated and that he was not maimed. However, she still insisted that I was not “getting it”. Becoming frustrated, I stated that at the end of the day, this man has no connection to me as family or friend or tribe, etc., so why am I going to bleed out emotionally for someone who is, at this point, a hypothetical man in time- so no, I didn’t “care”.
After hearing this, my roommate was beside herself in disbelief, perhaps viewing me as some sort of sociopathic monster. I should point out that this particular individual has a tendency to get very upset to the point of rage when people do not share her moral views or challenge her beliefs and opinions- and when that does happen, she immediately seeks to shut down the conversation, demanding silence from the other participants. This conversation style does not work well for someone who detests people attempting to force their morality on them or attempting to censor them- which is why I am never the one to initiate conversation with her around current events and broader socio-political issues.
I did have one other thing to add, which was met by verbal hostility and a demand that I cease speaking (which of course I didn’t), and that point was this- even if I was to get outraged and upset for this individual’s situation, what would that do to ease his suffering? However, my roommate had become enraged that I had dared continue speaking after she demanded the conversation end, to which I explained to her that she did not have the right to demand my silence, but she did have the right to leave the room.
She was yelling at this point, saying I was verbally harassing her and “coming at” her. To which I had to respond by pointing out the hilarious fact that she had gotten up from her seat, thrown a pillow at my head, and proceeded to aggressively advance towards me, and was now standing right over me- all the while I had not moved from my seat. Yet somehow, I was the “aggressor”. Frustrated, she stormed out of the room and went to her bedroom.
While my prime motivation for writing this may very well be cathartic, I think there is an opportunity to address a bigger question here, which is the one in hindsight I wish I had asked her- why do YOU care? Sure, in the case of my roommate and the United Airlines story, I have my hunches, such as the fact that unfortunate man was a doctor and that she has an almost worshipful admiration of doctors. It definitely had nothing to do with the racial narrative. I don’t know for certain, and at this point, I want to shift focus to the larger issue, which is this: when certain stories are brought to our attention, what is it about them that makes us care? And should we?
First, let’s take a moment to set our definition of the word “care”. The word care stems from the Old High German word, “chara”, which translates to “grief” or “lament”. Care is one of those words that is both a verb and a noun in modern English, and as such, has several definitions. As a verb, it means either to “feel concern or interest; attach importance to something” or to “look after and provide for the needs of”. As a noun, it means either “the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something” or “serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk”.
In these definitions, we actually see a process being described in which a concern driven by a sense of being troubled causes someone to take action to remedy that trouble or disturbance. The movement through distress to a place of empowerment makes “care” a particularly potent alchemical and creative force. Occult practitioner, lecturer and activist, Mark Passio had the following to say in regard to this principle of “care”:
“The ‘Lost’ Principle, is the dynamic of CARE. What we care about on a day-to-day basis acts as the driving force of our thoughts and actions. Care is the ultimate Generator of the quality of our experience. For this reason, Care has been called the Generative Principle by many Wisdom Traditions. The word generative is derived from the Latin verb genere, which means ‘to create’”
However, as with any expression of human power and potential, there are always going to be those who wish to use the power of others to strengthen themselves in a parasitic manner. I have written at length about the media and how it uses images and simplistic emotional narratives to trigger the emotions and override logic and reason. I have also talked about the “echo chamber” the media creates to force certain stories, perspectives and moralities into the public consciousness. When certain what could be called “outrage” stories are grabbed by the media, they are given certain talking points to shape the narrative of the story, and are then repeated on station after station, and publication after publication creating the perception that THIS is what I SHOULD care about right now.
However, no one is going to care about something if someone flat out states: “This is what we want you to care about, so care about this right now!” This is why the media needs a “hook” into your emotional psyche; something that is going to mimic something or someone you already care about. Like a vampire, you need to invite it into your house before it can drain the life out of you.
I’m sure everyone remembers the image of the drowned Syrian child washed up on the beach that was plastered on literally every news media outlet a couple of years ago. Despite the inconsistencies, the constantly changing backstory around the incident, and the politics involved, the image of a dead child was enough to “hook” many people in spite of the actual story. The image of a dead child was so traumatizing for those in our western ‘bubble’ (particularly for people who had children of their own), that it resulted in an outcry for the sorts of social, political and economic policies that will ultimately serve to displace their own children. It is through manipulation of emotions that people can be made to support things that are in fact quite detrimental to their own interests and those of the people they have real life connection to and their descendants.
Everyone has these sorts of inroads to their psyche that can be exploited and used to make them “care” and feel outrage about things, which often stems from their own personal sense of morality. For me, this is obviously stories that detail things that appear to potentially threaten my own personal freedom and survival like war, the surveillance state, globalism, and the disenfranchisement and demonization of white men. But the other sorts of emotional hooks for that some may be less familiar with tend to be stories that involve people abusing children, animals, the disabled, or the elderly.
Much of the reason for this “opening” has to do in part with a strong desire to protect those who I see as genuinely needing protection. The need to protect is a primary function of the natural man. I also understand that there are other more personal reasons like my family history, my profession, and past as well as present personal experiences that are going to play a role in shaping who and what I care about when it comes to strangers in news headlines.
However, outside of instances of rape and torture, when it comes to stories of general violence towards mentally and physically capable adults, I am far less apt to have any significant emotional reaction to it (although it is admittedly MUCH harder for me to see a woman get assaulted than a man). Case in point, the Chinese man on the plane. Yeah, it probably sucked to get smacked and dragged off the plane, but at the end of the day, he’s gonna be alright. He got banged up, embarrassed, and lost some money. Again, that sucks, but at the end of the day, he’s gonna be alright.
So, now that we have established that the media uses “hooks” that mimic people and situations we already care about on some level, so we care about what they want us to, the question becomes, “is this a good thing?” or better yet, “is this a PRODUCTIVE thing?”. While we are infinite in a spiritual sense, our psychic and energetic resources are very much a finite thing, and can be drained- and emotions are great at facilitating this draining.
When we are allowing these, for all intents and purposes, hypothetical stories and people to take hold of our caring centers, there is inevitably something or someone else that is NOT getting that energy at that moment. This energy is already being designated to caring about this other situation that we have no real connection to.
Personally, I know that I have just so much energy and care I can afford to give at a given moment until it becomes detrimental to my own health and well-being. As an empath with anger issues and a history of addiction, I cannot afford to get emotional or outraged over everything that the news media wants me to be emotional or outraged at. I cannot give true care to everything (and if it isn’t true care, it’s just virtue signaling). This has been at times, somewhat of a hard reality that I have continually had to reassess in recent days, weeks and months.
The other thing that is finite in this equation is time. What could I be doing with this time I am choosing to be outraged over this situation involving these people I have no real connection to and probably never will? Is there someone who is in my life and important to me, that I am neglecting while I give my attention to this? Is there someone I could be praying for? Is there someone I could be reaching out to and connecting with? Is there someone I could be helping within my personal sphere of influence that needs it?
But perhaps you are genuinely moved by the plight of this Chinese doctor or some other stranger that you read or hear about in the news. Perhaps something about that story moved you to the core of your being. If that truly is the case, and so long as you are not being harmful or neglectful towards the people you already have responsibilities to (family, friends, tribe, etc.), then by all means, reach out to that person. Write them a letter; ask them if they need or even want your help; set up a fundraiser or a food drive; perhaps even organize a boycott if applicable- but DO SOMETHING. Show that person that you care through ACTION.
But take a moment to reflect on why it is that you care. Take a few moments to pause, look within for a moment and ask Self, “Is this a genuine care and purpose that I should follow? Or is someone just manipulating my emotions so I do what they want me to?”
And if you do find yourself “caring” about a stranger you read about, please, don’t just use their plight simply as an excuse to be angry or self-righteous about something and “rage”; or to virtue signal; or to justify an attempt to force your personal morality onto those of us who have different values or care about different things than you. When you are careless with your Care, you will inevitably suffer as a result.
Namaste and God Bless.