In fact, some people get quite pissed at me for writing a less-than-glowing review of a book or deck. The irate may be the author, or it may be a friend of the author--or just a long time fan of a particular author's work.
Recently, I noticed some fall-out from a particular review I wrote about three months ago. Some in the Tarot community went so far as to block my Twitter account so I couldn't follow them, while one insulted me rather uglily (is that a word?) in a Forum. I refused to defend my review or allow myself to be baited in what was really a personal attack on me (and even my book).
Silly playground games, I thought.
I can certainly understand the impulse to want to "protect our own" or even become outraged when someone presents an idea or behavior that clashes with our own belief, experience or world-view. But what I find intriguing (now that some time has passed!) is how reactive we are as humans--even ones aiming towards expanded awareness or even Zen-like magnanimity.
We are so quick to "throw the baby out with the bath water", to borrow a cliche, ready to cut off, squash, drown or hide anything that offends us or our sensibilities--even when such actions may be to our detriment. That is, we are so eager to invalidate, castigate or marginalize a person--even when we used to be a "fan" of an author's work and having benefiting greatly from his/her insights. But we're ready to toss it all out when one of our sacred cows or personal beliefs get sacrificed or stepped upon.
Maybe we write off an author because she irks us. Or maybe we seek to destroy a person in a rather public way (anyone remember what Oprah did to James Frey on her show? At least she apologized, but only personally).
I wonder if Oprah would have behaved differently had she known that Frey's son had a genetic neuromuscular disorder? (In fact, the 11-year-old died during the three-year span of the controversy). Or would her personal self-righteousness gave way to compassion?
Could Oprah's public vindictiveness arise out of the unclaimed shadow parts of herself, I wonder? After reading some of Kitty Kelly's biography on Oprah (click here for a surprising New York Times interview), I have to wonder if Oprah reacted in response to her own disowned parts--the ones that she lies about or tries to suppress via intimidation, "freezing out" or even food consumption.
No doubt, we are a fragmented people, we humans. The quest for wholeness and awareness, and the end of suffering, calls for us to seek out those fragmented parts of ourselves--recognizing, integrating and healing those "cast off" parts of our personality or archetypal patterns that we just can't seem to accept.
Those parts may be deemed "bad" or they may be deemed "good". When we deem parts "bad", we tend to demonize others who display that very same trait. When we deem parts "good", we tend to project them in the form of adoration. Either way, we aren't owning them.
And this fragmented Self desperately tries to find wholeness, but it can't even accept the fragmented parts that make up the whole. And if we can't accept ourselves--warts and wondrousness both--we usually can't truly accept it another, let alone actually see it.
Fragmentation, or disowning our shadow (either "dark" or "light") is what causes ministers to condemn homosexuality while having gay affairs or politicians crusading to eradicate prostitution while frequenting escorts. When someone pounds a particular drum in a repeated, public way, it's usually their own music that they're really trying to drown out.
So I thought I'd share my musings about shadow work (something I've embraced for years--painful stuff!) and how our fragmented humanity often causes us to cut others off...and makes us the poorer.
What are your experiences? Your thoughts? I'd love to hear them, if you're willing to share.