navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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used on you

There is often a very easy explanation for the beliefs one uses to navigate this world of ours.  How beliefs are used.  People figure if someone is using a belief on them it must be good enough for them to use.  A few hypothetical examples:

Susie is a 23 year old college graduate who is 30 pounds overweight.  She double majored in math and psychology.  Like many women her age she has body image issues and doesn’t have the metabolism needed to become slender.  She has seen therapists before who told her she was fine just the way she was but she called bullshit on them.  In conflict here is business to business (b2b) verses and business to consumer (b2c) psychology.  Susie absorbed the messages from advertisements vetted by b2b psychologists and felt their direct and indirect (mediated by male and female peers) effects of a thin-obsessed culture.  For Susie poor body image isn’t an anomaly, it’s something handed down deliberately with the aid of b2b psychologist by a culture obsessed with thinness.  A b2c psychologist would stick the pejorative “insecure” label on her.  This same therapist might tell her she has innate worth regardless of her weight but outside the psychologist’s office this belief is not being used on her.  So she doesn’t use it.

Bill is an unemployed 26 year old who had to move back to a town with no jobs to take care of his dad who had a stroke.  His parents are religious and are always trying to get him to go to church.  Bill goes to a few services and the church talks about how there is hope for everybody, even the least of these.  However the people in the church treat Bill like he’s invisible.  They use conjecture to assess his future and come to the conclusion that he has none.  Bill assumes rightly that if conjecture is ultimately what’s going to be used on him, it’s worth him using.  Bill tunes out all the blathering about hope and stops going to church.

Nathaniel is a 28 year old working at a small local animal rights nonprofit.  Every day he’s writing grants and soliciting donors.  He wanted to work in a nonprofit to get away from the dollar driven world but it just didn’t work out.  When he gets home he’s greeted with oodles of mail from places he’s donated to once asking for more money.  Eventually Nathaniel succumbs to the idea he was running away from so hard, that money is the most important thing.