Monday, May 14, 2018

How Self-Aware Are We, Really?

My cynicism is never far from the surface, but during election campaigns, it is front and centre. For me, those are times in which my faith and belief in my fellow human beings are sorely tested. And believe me, I do not exclude myself in my darker deliberations about our nature.

For the past few days, I have been reflecting upon self-awareness, which evolutionary pathways defines as the following:
Self awareness basically describes a situation where the light of awareness is turned onto ourselves. While awareness is our ability to take note; self-awareness is our ability to take note of ourselves.

When we turn our awareness to shine on ourselves, we may become conscious of a great deal of internal activity. We may notice specific thoughts or thought patterns. We may notice particular emotions or flows of energy. We may awaken to physiological processes happening in our body such as heartbeat, heat, sweating. We may notice intuitions or gut feelings.
Awareness, on the other hand, is this:
Simply put, awareness is our capacity to notice things. We may be aware of the time or aware of a particular situation - we may notice that we are late or that someone is watching us. Being aware of such things means we have taken note of them.
All of which leads me to think that many of us are merely aware, a condition traditionally attributed to lower animal forms. The inability to reflect means there is no possibility of positive change. Only by being able to rise above ourselves and recognize others as important components of existence can anything substantive be accomplished.

Where is this leading to? How about a screed against that thing called "Ford Nation'? Touted by Doug Ford as 'for the people'or 'for the little guy.' they are people to whom the bromide of new efficiencies, tax cuts and better service appeal. They are people who, apparently caught in a solipsistic feedback loop, seek to impose their view of reality on all. How else to explain their rowdy support for people like PC London West candidate Andrew Lawton?
A longtime radio host and blogger whom Ford chose to be the Progressive Conservative candidate in London West, Lawton used his platforms from 2010 to 2015 in ways opponents say disparaged the disabled, homosexuals, Muslims and the mentally infirm, among others.
He now attributes those denigrations to mental illness.

As someone well-familiar with depression, I can tell you that mental illness is not a get-out-of-jail-free card, just as drunkenness is hardly the genesis for racist screeds.

Here are some of the things Lawton said when "he wasn't in his right mind."
-In 2015, Lawton responded to a poll that found homophobia was a concern for London’s gay community, writing on Facebook, “Number of sexual orientation-motivated hate crimes in Canada per year: 185. Number of HIV/AIDS infections from men (who) have sex with men in Canada per year: 1,450. Who is the real enemy?’

-Accused of mocking the deaf on his show in 2015, he tweeted, “I don’t think anyone impacted heard the segment.”

-In a 2010 podcast, when his guest, flame-throwing conservative Ann Coulter, said of censorship, “It’s sad to see ‘retard’ go, but at least we have ‘negro,’ ” Lawton laughed and said, “Yeah. Exactly.”

-A screen grab of an apparent Lawton tweet from October 2011: “An immigrant, a Muslim and a communist walk into a bar. The bartender says ‘Hello Mr. President’”

-A screen grab from an apparent Lawton tweet in November 2011: “I left the Anglican church when they made the decision to allow gay marriage.”

-A screen grab of a Lawton tweet in July 2011: “The official internet code for gay sex is ‘ENTER : ###’ (sound it out)”
There is yet another dandy of a Ford candidate running in Kanata-Carleton, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton:
According to her website, Fullerton is a doctor who stands for “values of responsibility, compassion, integrity and accountability.”

A look at her past writings provides some guidance regarding these values. A tweet in November 2015 pulled out a quote from a story on Islamic radicalism: “Usually it is not the first generation (of refugees or immigrants) that is the most dangerous, it’s the second.”

Before that was a tweet referencing Breitbart News exhorting people to watch a march by thousands of supporters of the anti-Islam group PEGIDA in Dresden, Germany.

Another tweet reads: “the ghetto.” And it goes on to define that as “home to almost 20,000 immigrants, overwhelmingly Muslim, almost half of them jobless.” This tweet, which appears to refer to the Rosengard housing scheme in Sweden, is taken out of context from a story in the Guardian five years prior about a Swedish backlash against immigration.

In others tweets, she rails against a “wear-a-hijab” day in Ottawa in 2016.
Not surprisingly, those endearing tweets by the good doctor no longer exist.

So, to end where I began, there are questions one can ask about voters who are attracted to such candidates:

Do they believe that by electing a Lawton or a Fullerton, they will be advancing anything other than hatred and racism? Are those the values that define them?

Do they believe that having such people in the legislature will somehow send gays scurrying back into the shadows, and that Muslims will be put on notice that they are under suspicion and surveillance and thus be recognized for the 'threat' they pose to all 'good Christians'?

Do they believe electing such miscreants will lead to a new world order that will reflect their 'values'?

Those are but a few questions one could ask of a benighted group of people who do not even seem to be making an effort to achieve true self-awareness.

Of course, to them, any criticism I or others make simply means we are part of the 'elites.' But then again, why would I care what they think?

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