Welcome everyone to episode 209 of the Everyone’s Agnostic podcast. I’m Cass Midgley. I'm going to die. A big thanks to each and every one of our Patreon and Paypal supporters. Today my guest is Devin Andre Woodard. Devin is a young professional living and working in Austin, TX. Devin is a passionate man, who, after being burnt out of spending years pouring his entire being into Christian fundamentalism, is attempting to discover the freedom that comes with embracing life as it is, and making the most of the time we're given.
We taped this conversation on June 9th, 2018. The intro music is by Dave Weckl called "Just Groove Me" The segue music is "Ghost II" by Corey Kilgannon, a favorite of my guest.
We interview people you don’t know, about a subject no one wants to talk about. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and help curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, and leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, we offer these podcasts freely. And your support truly makes a difference. You can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge a monthly donation through Patreon. that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com.
Thanks for listening, and be a yes-sayer to what is.
You've probably received a pop-up warning on your computer or your phone saying you've been infected by a virus, click here to have it removed. But if you do click it, it will give you a virus. Just this week my son got a call from Apple Tech Support telling him his phone had been hacked and that all the phones in his family plan would soon be hacked accessing all their personal info, passwords and use their friend list to invade all their friends info. He naively fell for it and proceeded to do whatever the person on the phone told him to do, including download an app on daddy's desktop computer. Which almost completed the hack for which they were warning against. It reminded me of Trump's weak, lazy, cowardly, insecure tactic of warning people about fake news, when in fact every time he opens his mouth, its fake news. An accusation is made against someone that is not true of the accused, but IS true of the accuser. There's a quote attributed to Joseph Goebbels that says, "Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty" and although there's no proof that Goebbels ever said it, it is a common tactic throughout history. Sometimes in full knowledge of its genius; sometimes from stupidity and pure survival mode of insecure bullies. But as weak as the accuser is, this tactic is not; it is highly powerful in wreaking destruction and creates a vicious vortex that entraps any victims who fall prey to it. How does one fall prey to it? If the accused get defensive and say "no I'm not" it plays right into the hand of the accuser. As in this 10 year old scene from a SNL Weekend Update episode where Amy Poehler subtly accuses Seth Myers of having a small penis. Immediately after she jabs him with the joke she holds her hand up for a high five and says "up top." Listen to Seth's reaction.
So it's a trap to fight against the accusation but it's also a trap to agree with the accuser. When we agree with their accuser, we can fall into a trap of shame and even look to our accuser for a solution, like my son did with the fraudulent Apple Tech support guy. Either way, too much attention is given to the accuser. The best thing is to just hang up. Because both the accuser and the accused can become what they hate.
You know the phrase, "it takes one to know one?" This is a phrase of empathy, which can be good. But even empathy has its pitfalls. Many say that compassion is better because, in the metaphor of someone falling in a pit, empathy gets down in the pit and both are now worse off, whereas compassion throws the fallen a rope. Now, in this age of Jordan Peterson mania, that sounds like something he would say (and I believe he does) and so I just threw up in mouth a little bit, but as with all truth, sometimes you find it in places that make it hard to swallow. When we hate our enemies, we are apt to swing wide in the opposite direction and merely mirror the poor emotional health of our enemy. But consider a modification of that adage "it takes one to know one": It takes one to hate one. How much of my own intolerances are a result of my ‘dislike’ of my own weaknesses or past weaknesses in any particular area? Often my impatience manifests when I feel ignored or invisible. In traffic it appears. Often I see everyone as trying to block my progress or ignoring me or being insensitive or even thoughtless. At the same time, they're probably driving slow in the fast lane because they're compensating for years of having no power or voice or have been oppressed by others and this moment of power feels good to them, whether they know why or not. So our life-long developed pathologies are clashing on I-24. And if we hate or resent certain people its often because we either see their actions reflecting back to us what we don't like about ourselves OR the opposite: we're not like them at all and thus don't relate to their weaknesses and thus can feel superior and judge them, thereby hating them, and thereby becoming like them. Judgement of others and self keeps us in this fucking cyclical pit of stupidity and immorality.
Take the shanty call center of scam hackers calling my son. They're trying to get rich and they can justify it because they resent other rich people. They may never admit this but the thinking is "They’re crooked, so we’re justified in being crooked too." Victims often become victimizers. And this is all about people acting, behaving, thinking in RE-action to others, only mirroring their adversaries, as opposed to acting, behaving and thinking from one's own core. To stay above the fray of insecure bullies and accusers and jealousy and resentment. To avoid such traps and swirling eddies that pull us into that muck and mire. We can and should assess and evaluate our circumstances and relationships all day long without falling into the trap of judgement. Blame, no matter where it lands, helps the situation. Honestly, keep in mind that every fucking human being on this planet is fighting the same battles-- with their history, their abuse, their shortcomings and insufficiencies, and most will never have the wherewithal or self-awareness to understands what's happening to them in real time, but you can! Listeners of EA podcast have such a huge advantage over the rest of the unevolved world because those people are losers and we're winners and if they only knew as much or had as much knowledge as we do, they too could be as cool and healthy as us. They probably don't even read books or go to therapy. It must really suck to be them...oh wait. I've become what i hate. Ground me William Shakespeare. "Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind." What? Say that again. "Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind." So by seeing myself as guilty, as bad, as evil, I'm more prone to be suspicious of everyone else? "Something like that." And by lifting myself out of guilt, by giving myself a break, by giving myself the grace and forgiveness that I would give my own loved ones, I help alleviate the suspicious lens through which I see others? When I assume that people driving slow in the fast lane, or people that over groom their lawns, or people that scam little old ladies out of their money, or people that are ignorantly afraid of people different than them, when I assume that they are bad people, I'm letting suspicion stifle what might otherwise be curiosity. Hell even apathy would be healthier than suspicion. "I don't care why that person's being a dick" is no less moral than, "I wonder why that person's being a dick?" One is slightly more mature than the other, but requires more energy than I might have at the time. As long as I don't let myself feel too superior to their assholery, because I certainly display my share of it in other contexts. It's kinda "live and let live" with just a tad more care than that, but not much. At the end of the day, it's saying yes to what is. This place, this planet, this human race is MAJORLY fucked up, and we don't help it get well by responding in ways that are either the same type fucked up or the opposite type fucked up, we're still adding to the fucked upness of the planet when we react in kind. Nietzsche wrote, "My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati--a love of fate: that one wants nothing to be different, not in the future, not in the past. Not just to bear what is reality, much less hide myself from it, for all idealism is just dishonesty in the face of what is, but to love it. I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is the reality of things; then I will be one who helps make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be the only thing I say no to. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer." Now Nietzsche was a white, straight European male in the early 20th century, so he may be afforded privileges that allow him to apply and practice that more thoroughly than others, but it is at least a virtue and value to which to aspire. Hatred is the easiest of emotions to invoke. Love requires self-awareness and intention. At minimal, we would do well to select our enemies carefully, for more often than not, we will become like them. Thus, if your enemies are people, those people will often define you. If you are not defined from without, you will be defined from within. My hunch is that we humans kinda need enemies and will create them if that role is vacant. I suspect the enemy is within all of us and thus can have the uniting effect of a common enemy, and yet, an enemy that we will not emulate. My tattoo defines my enemies as Fear, Pity, Resentment, Victimhood, and Insecurity. If we'd all resist these enemies within, without an ounce of shame for having them, we might be able to laugh and drink and eat and cry together with those we formerly identified as enemies. That's a tall order. But I've got a short life.
In summary, there are two paths of weakness, small creativity, and short-sightedness: 1) accuses others of the same behavior the accuser is doing, and the second judges others for the same behavior the judge ends up mirroring. Both are afraid, as we all are. The high road is refusing to let fear evoke a reaction we'll later regret. Just close the false virus pop-up, hang up on the scamming caller, journalists ignore our baby-president and keep reporting the news, stop judging yourself and thus others who reflect back to you what you either don't like about yourself or don't like about them, live with a clear conscience so you'll be less suspicious of others, and don't take yourself or the size of your penis too seriously.
Corey Kilgannon Ghost II video