Are You a User, Have You Been Used?

Do you recognise this sub-set of our species, the user? This is the kind of person who sequentially uses and exploits other people. Once they have been sucked dry of “blood” the user looks for the next person who will help them in the furtherance of their ambition. Around them the mood is rarely pleasant or joyous. There can be a lot of emotional manipulation, everything is dandy so long as they are getting their way. But woe betide those who do not comply exactly. The users are prone to divide and rule, they toady up to those with more power than them and exploit those with less, there is always some kind of bargain, which somehow is never honoured their end. They may “promise” to help you further but that promise comes at a price and their end of the bargain remains un-delivered especially after you have served your purpose.

The Tibetan says:

The dark brother recognizes no unity with his species, only seeing in them people to be exploited for the furtherance of his own ends. This then, on a small scale, is the mark of those who are being used by them wittingly or unwittingly. They respect no person, they regard all men as fair prey, they use everyone to get their own way enforced, and by fair means or foul they seek to break down all opposition and for the personal self, acquire that which they desire.

These people, the users, are on the dark side of life. Fear and anger, follow them like the shadow follows the form. They are skilled in setting hooks, and once the hook is set it can be difficult to extract because of the barb. Never do you leave their company feeling joyous and uplifted, more often you leave belittled and on edge. Before long you are deflated and drained. Their appetite can be voracious. That promise made by them lies in tatters, for its fulfilment was never intended, it was merely a means to an end. Persuasive they are, and they use your fears, your ambitions as levers in their persuasion. Before long you have no idea what you once stood for. They draw you into their shadow so that you forget what light looks like. They eat away at your courage and your joy. They leave you a shell, bled dry.

If you find yourself with one of these, best to get out of Dodge quick-time. Their influence can be hard to exorcise, because of the hooks. And unless you wish to remain on the dark-side of life until the end of the Kalpa, the aeon, step away and learn from the experience. Most of all they will keep you away from any light being who might help you. They will drive a wedge between you and them. In time you will see the light being as your mortal enemy, too.

Those who play with fire can get burned and badly so.

What Stops Us?

I suspect that people put up with a lot of stuff they don’t like and behaviours they are not keen on, they don’t address these “issues”. There is always tomorrow. It is possible to feel constrained and inhibited by the social climate and power structures, say at work. One can be very unhappy with the ways things are being done but hey, there is the mortgage and the much-vaunted career to think of. Stuff can really piss people off, but few actually do anything about it. One enters into a kind of devil’s bargain. That is the way the world works, and you simply have to suck it up, if you want to succeed in that world. Of late we have seen a lot in the press about how a cock waving movie mogul has taken advantage of his position of power. Only recently have people come forward to complain. I am not entirely convinced by the motives of some of the complainers. At one level they must have known that they were entering into a devil’s bargain.

Such devil’s bargains are struck because one wants something, maybe a role in a movie or a promotion. The devil has some leverage in that he / she offers much but that offer comes at a price. If you lend him a hand so to speak, he will guarantee something in return. It is transactional and often complicit. If that person is powerful they can transgress some moral code or other. The more powerful they are, the more of a sacred cow, they become. Some become untouchable but not in the sense of the caste system. We had the banks that were too big to fail, in the financial crisis.

One of the things that stops us is these devil’s bargains. They can be very helpful for the fulfilling of ambition. Before long we are turning a blind eye because the devil’s bargain has leverage over us. If we accumulate a lot of these devil’s bargains, we switch sides so to speak. In time we become a devil ourselves and start offering devil’s bargains to others. In this way we become entangled in a web of often non-verbal and unwritten pacts. We might dress some of these alliances up as strategic alliances. Some alliances are benign others have more than a hint of sulphur. It is usually ambition which deadens the nose to the sulphur content.

This trading or transactional nature of socio-political life is common practice. Ill scratch your back if you scratch mine. What differentiates is the sulphur content. Some alliances have little or no sulphur, others have a lot. It is the high sulphur content alliances that start to warp our nature. There can be a lot of game playing and a low-level game can quite quickly become wizard’s chess. As a rule of thumb the sulphur content is in proportion to the ambitions of the parties. It can be very difficult to extract oneself from a devil’s bargain. They can have longevity.

Devil’s bargains are not good for freedom or liberation.

Having cued this up here are some questions:

Do I have any devil’s bargains current and active?

If so are they of low or high sulphur content?

How do these make me feel about myself, deep down?