What is a Misfit?

Society has a set of norms to which many comply at least outwardly. What goes on in the minds may differ from the outer presentation. And we have to be careful in what we say, in electronic media for example, lest the wrath of these normative pressures be turned against. What is acceptable is loosely defined but those tut-tut-tuts are never far away, they come from the conservative and the narrow minded. One doesn’t have to be an out and out bomb wielding anarchist to be a misfit. Anything which strays too far from the centre of expectation automatically has you no longer fitting, hence you are a misfit. And so, the psychologists have developed a plethora of disorders to categorize, coral and explain any “wayward” behaviour. Maybe in time we will all have a label, a badge. And in the limit unless you too have such a badge, you will be a misfit.

Of course, I am talking about prejudice here for that is the final arbiter in what is and isn’t a misfit. People cannot handle those who stray to far from the “accepted” norms. Rather than learning to accommodate, the finger points, “ooh look he is a misfit, a whacko”. If things aren’t packaged in a way we like, then they cannot have value. They are simply wrong, off. If we can’t control them, they are scary. People must comply to the societal norms.

I have a hypothesis in regard of the mental health crisis and it is that minds are starting to reject en masse the way we currently live. Instead of looking at this we dish out more pills which keeps big pharma happy. Before long we may all be on pills.

It is in this misfit phenomena whereby some change begins. Unless there are misfits, nothing changes. And it is only in some unrealistic and unattainable utopia that we would find any absence of misfits. We have two choices, to exclude the misfits or learn from them. It takes some courage, some character, to stop compliance and kowtow.

The major problem stems from a lack of familiarity, anything which is unfamiliar can evoke a prejudicial fear. Things not in our family are strange. Even if our family is fucked up, it is best. Everyone else is wrong. The problem with family style thinking is that the thinking is incestuous and prone to mutation. We get Galápagos syndrome on a macroscopic scale, an institutional one.

There is a shit load of snobbery in this world, where anything not according is looked down upon. There are some very pompous people out there utterly convinced that they know best, even though they lack personal experience of that which they profess their knowledge about. This Nanny attitude sucks, especially when nanny doesn’t have much of an idea outside of her nice warm nursery. Ideas and strategies sound all highfalutin, but they may diverge significantly from reality. It is all about control but that which is controlled can go pop.

I wonder what percentage of the population consider themselves to be misfits? It is probably a lot higher than we might imagine. Back when I did pastoral care the “misfits” used to come to my office and I spoke with them, often. I had a little “gang” of misfits, my waifs and strays, as I heard others refer to them. Which in itself speaks volumes of the mind-set of the norm.

Although I am not perfect, I am not freaked out by the freaks, nor those with rough edges. I can walk into the roughest of bars, and the poshest of hotels. I can talk for hours with a drug dealer on a Jamaican beach, who by the way changed my life. He called me on my bullshit. Why is it that we have to be so fucking prejudiced?

Having cued this up, one question:

Do you consider yourself to be a misfit?

Getting the Wrong End of the Stick

Have you ever gotten entirely the wrong end of the stick about someone?

I’ll speculate that, at one time or another, we all have. How badly wrong we have been may vary. Someone we assume to be a “great guy” can be an utter bastard, someone who we imagine the devil incarnate may be a paragon of virtue. We all make mistakes, some big, some small. If we rely on the presented face value we may be way off the mark, if we trust what “they” say we can be misguided. If we rely on repute alone we may in fact be missing a lot. But this getting the wrong end of the stick is a part of the human experience, and it is only by experience that we learn to discern more accurately. It is possible that we get the wrong end of the stick on purpose, for to get the right end of the stick has implications we don’t like; it would place us in a sticky situation. We may plead ignorance about our selection of the end of the stick.

Sometimes however getting the wrong end of the stick can be a fuck up of huge proportions. The less close to our expectations things are, people are, the more likely it is that we will misjudge them. Our expectations and suppositions may impact badly on our choice of stick end. And once we have made this choice we can be stuck with it for a very long time. The wrong end of the stick is often coated with superglue and we can’t free our hands from it, no matter how hard we shake that stick is stuck fast.

Having cued this up:

Do I often get the wrong end of the stick?

Has any one of these caused me big problems?

Once I have gotten the wrong end of the stick is it hard to let go of that stick?

De baard maakt geen wijsgeer;

anders was er de bok goed aan.

La barbe ne fait pas le philosophe.

We place a lot of stock in appearances and repute; how much stock we invest depends upon our fondness and reliance upon these things. We might like groovy beards, gowns and hats, robes, or even a paragraph of post nominals. And what with all the hipsters around these days, who to trust?

We can be very hasty in forming our opinions and strangely we rely on the opinions and hearsay of others. This reliance can preclude us from finding out for ourselves and making up our own minds. If someone is clean shaven then it stands to reason they cannot be a philosopher. Or does it?

A couple of years back I looked into doing a Ph.D. in philosophy and philosophy of science to boot. In a number of cases my prior Ph.D. was an impediment and in others my lack of formal training as a philosopher was the deal breaker. I am not without some ability. There are a lot of these pre-conditions in the world today and if you don’t look the part, have loads of referees and the right kind of beard, that is the end of that.

We are prejudiced.

We might call this criteria for a vacancy, we may have an entire grid of these. If someone does not look the part, on paper, we never even get to check out his beard. We may even formally agree about our prejudices when drawing up a specification. And of course, people can be ageist and prejudiced against cancer as well.

We may lose out because of our prejudices.

Having cued this up:

Is it even possible that I have lost out on something because of my prejudices and pre-conditions?

No Man’s Land

No man’s land is land that is unoccupied or is under dispute between parties who leave it unoccupied due to fear or uncertainty. The term was originally used to define a contested territory or a dumping ground for refuse between fiefdoms. In modern times, it is commonly associated with World War I to describe the area of land between two enemy trench systems, which neither side wished to cross or seize due to fear of being attacked by the enemy in the process.”

Wiki has the above statement.

I was speculating this morning on how no man’s land is exactly where I find myself.

Dr Hot Potato, No Man’s Land, The other side of the barbed wire, and not in Our trench.

This is my new postal address, please note and add it to your records.

There is a real problem in going out of discipline, out of gang. It is scary to leave the ‘hood because you can’t go back. You may go back physically but you are no longer of the ‘hood entirely. You have perhaps been infected with other ideas and we would not want that contagion spreading.

It has been quite funny over the years. I have explored “new age” groups and from the get go they were suspicious because I was a mainstream scientist. They did not like the critical thinking, perhaps. And being a “crystal feeler” in a science establishment, is frowned on. Strange that a lot of my science work has been to do with crystals, man, far out. I once did a course with The University of Arts to get scientists and artists to collaborate. The artists were suspicious, until I started talking about my poetry and creativity in general, after that I was the translator. I even bought myself a beret and a stripy shirt 😊.

The quote from wiki points direct at the fear and uncertainty. This is the crux. Many are afraid of looking foolish, so they stay behind the barbed wire of their prejudices, in the trench and pointing guns. Sometimes at idiots like me. It is safer there…

The thing is, no man’s land is where the learning is at.

Hmnn….

Unidimensional?

If your life is fixated in one dimension and has boundary conditions, then you will oscillate around in that one dimension, much like a frog trapped in a well. You will not see the world outside the well and all you will know is the well. It will be the entirety of your local reality.

If you start to break down a few of your prejudices, some of your consciousness may tunnel through the barriers and you might be able to experience a little of another world beyond your well. Whilst the barriers are high, you are trapped. The tunnelling probability is vanishingly small.

 

Having cued this up:

Is it possible that I am trapped by my own prejudices and preconceptions?

Would the entire universe change if I softened the walls of these just a little?

Prejudice and Illusion

There are many historical precedents for scientists being interested in magic and alchemy. Though this side is rarely talked about. If I were to start speaking about pentagrams at a conference on Molecular Beam Epitaxy of SiGe Heterostructures, it is likely that I would be tarred and feathered, or simply ridiculed. I have a seventh ray personality, so I am interested in things magical. There is an illusion, born out of prejudice and ignorance, that pentagrams exclusively mean black magic, no not the chocolates. And such things can scare the bejesus out of allegedly rational and sane people. To be scared, a priori, is a bit silly. Da Vinci draws the pentagram, the symbol of man.

If you look at the post previous, the seventh ray is the ray of entrepreneurship.

Wherever there is prejudice there is some level of illusion about the target of prejudice. People don’t know, they have already made their mind up, without inquiry and by definition, there is some illusion about the subject. If people could admit that there was even the tiniest smidgeon of chance that they may not know, it might help. But people are convinced without basis for that conviction.

Because so much weight is placed upon the physical form, some imagine themselves to be just that. They worry about the appearance of their body and its function. If you have any understanding of how light interacts with matter then, if your thinking is joined up, you cannot stress quite so much about how light reflects off the surface of the soft-wet matter which is your body. The photons from which go into the eyes of other beings or reflect off some mirrored glass and back into your eye. Your awareness operates through the means of a blob of soft-wet matter, how can one blob of matter be any more “attractive” than any other? It is mental. The illusion is all in the mind, or rather the internal dialogue. The image of the reflected photons is made in mind, we assimilate it and compare it. The image is man or woman made. If you apply various powders and dyes, you have altered the spectral reflectivity of your blob, temporarily. If you apply some organic compounds with moderate vapour pressures, perfumes, does that make the underlying being more attractive? No. It is just a game. And one that some people take so very seriously. People spend a lot of money on illusion and there is much prejudice about what is and isn’t attractive. Irrespective of all that crap, most people manage to find a mate or partner. Amazing…

People get all het up about illusions. They have some preconceived ideas which can get in the way of being. It is hard to be, when you are up in brain-mind inundated with prejudices.

Until You Have Tried It

To some extent or other, people are susceptible to the opinions of others, they are relied on. But much of that opinion is not based upon personal experience, it is just what “they” say. They say a lot of things and often with a level of assertion that one might expect from an expert. Again, that expertise is not based on deep personal experience, rather a pressing need to opine. The truth is that until you have tried it yourself, you simply don’t know and the reliance upon hearsay is prejudicial. One judges a situation based upon the hearsay of what “they” say. Conclusion comes before experience. This is scientifically suspect and yet not uncommon. Even scientists do this especially when it comes to defining what is and is not whacko. We are social animals and what our peers or “they” say, can outweigh experimentally and experientially determined fact. People are a bit lazy. Anecdotal evidence garnered at the font of “they” influences a whole bunch of stuff. Weight is given to opinion and that opinion is sourced in those keen to opine without any actual evidence. The urge to opine is strong in some.

Until you have tried something and given it a good go, immersed yourself in it, you simply don’t know what it is all about. If you take up a martial art, you probably won’t understand it all that much, until you have been doing it for about three years. Then you will have given it a fair go and have started to understand something about it. Until such time as this, you are scratching the surface. There are many people who are instant experts about a whole bunch of stuff. It is a bit like a sachet of instant soup, you open up the soup, pour it in a cup, and add boiling water. It looks like soup, but it is not real home-made soup. Drinking a few cups of this does not confer an in-depth knowledge of all soups.

Some things we kind of know we don’t want to try. However, we might be prejudiced from the get-go. We may not want to go somewhere because of what we have read or heard about it. We may want to go somewhere because of reviews. People rely on opinions. And we can make ours up without any basis, especially after a glass or two. There is a real danger that when someone is bullshitting it becomes a part of the set of what “they” say. The set of what “they” say has amongst its members bullshit. Many do not use discernment all that much.

If you want to know something you must try it yourself. That is, you need to apply it not simply talk about it. If you want to know what someone is thinking, then asking them is the only way to hear it from the horse’s mouth. Even this is not sure-fire, because communication between beings is an inexact science. Hearsay is an unreliable evidence base. At one level everybody knows this, yet we forget as and when it suits.

Having cued this up:

How much do I rely on the opinions of others?

Have these ever strengthened my prejudices?

Have I ever stopped myself from doing things because I already “know” about it without trying it for myself?