A Blog about Sensory Processing Sensitivity from the Worldview of a High Sensing Male
Fragility of Society
I have been like many people watching the news closely on the pandemic Coronovirus-19. The story has been a constant droning of pessimism as of late as things start to become more alarming as the virus continues to spread. It dawned on me while watching this unfold that our society, our culture, and our civilization is very fragile.
We talk a lot about the effects that we humans are having on the planet, with climate change, overpopulation, and consumption of natural resources. Still, it generally has not sunken into the head of the average person on the street. It's a someday thing, not a now thing. Coronavirus is a now thing. Its spread is quick and exponential and for many fatal. Still, many are ignoring the warnings.
This thing we call civilization is propped up by the most fragile support mechanisms. But in the end, it's now clear that it all depends on people. Imagine civilization could come undone because of a microscopic organism that can replicate indiscriminately at machine speed. The virus following its primal objective to survive has found pay dirt in human bodies. We are the unfortunate hosts.
Do I expect a wholesale collapse of our civilization? No. But, this should be a warning on the fragility of life in our modern world. Sandwiched between the layers of environmental factors, some outside of our control, and our free will lies the core of our existence. A fragile balance at best.
The Economy is a Fantasy
One of the first things to react was the stock market. The stock market is our legally sanctioned monetary casino, where many millions place their hopes and dreams and their lifelong savings, subject to skittish "corrections" to any provocation in the environment. The market is a place where wild emotional reactions can vaporize trillions of dollars in a single week. These stampedes caused by a panicked herd mentality can bring the economy down with such rapidity that sanctions had to be put in place to prevent massive sell-offs. It is the high temple of our world.
We live in a world where the table is tilted for the few and away from the many. This disparity has unfolded more evidently in the last forty years as the rich get richer, and the poor and middle class fall off the map.
A crisis, like the Coronavirus, points out the crack in the exterior walls of our economic fortress. The erosion of the middle class, through government, corporate, and political machinations, has left our once robust middle class vulnerable and weakened. The middle class has always been the engine that drives the economy. Couple this with the disregard for the poor, we find ourselves in a situation which is like channeling precious water away from our rich grasslands and fields and, allowing them to wither and become dried out and wondering why the brush fire wipes out our valuable resources.
Every day we are shown indicators of prosperity – numbers that belie and mask the truth that wealth is not inclusive and is full of inequities. The reality is prosperity is there for the few and not for the masses. We thrive on scarcity and deny abundance, and this is costing us our souls. I wonder if the Coronavirus simply exposed the underlying virus that has been with us for years.
We Operate on Assumptions
Our whole society is based on assumptions. One assumption is that our healthcare system is world-class. Yet, access to healthcare is often limited, prohibitively expensive, and surplus in a crisis is non-existent. We assume that most of us will be well, and the system will never be taxed. Yet here we are. This assumption is based more on business models than medical models.
Business drives every decision. Economy and efficiency are the drivers of profits. "Just in time" planning has been our mantra since the '80s. It may be efficient and profit-oriented, but it does not do well for contingencies, such as our current dilemma. Under stress, this system crumbles, and ad hoc planning must be invoked. We scramble to make sense of this disjointed jigsaw puzzle.
We also assume that our elected leaders are true leaders, that they have the "right stuff" that they know how to direct, how to delegate, how to stay calm, and take responsibility. That they have empathy and compassion as they aid us in navigating any given crisis. Pay attention and watch how this unfolds. It's not looking good.
Finally, we assume we live in a free society. We have free enterprise, free access to information, and we are free to move and free to live the life we want. We value our independence, which we falsely assume is our freedom. But when a crisis hits, do we resort to our selfish self-focused nature, or do we move towards the higher-order mammalian nature? From what I've seen thus far, we are split as a nation on this notion. That internal divide will continue as the crisis unfolds, or we will overcome it and unite. The choice is before us.
How Things are Breaking Down
I've said this before, but hegemonic masculinity is killing us, also known as toxic masculinity. This form of masculinity supports the rule by the privileged, the elite, the uncompassionate, and the unempathetic. Men and women can assume this role. Reptilian leadership is an oxymoron, for reptilian leaders only think of their own interests. Think today, think self. Their decisions are not cooperative but competitive and self-serving. Years of thinking this way has gotten us to the place we are today. The herd does not serve a purpose if all members are working in their own interests. We cannot survive as a species if we continue this type of thinking.
Marginalizing large sectors of the population – people of color, women, LGBTQ, and new immigrant communities is like trying to thin the herd by ostracizing the very ones that make the herd healthy. It's the diversity that makes us resilient. We are a diverse herd; we need each other right now. The virus does not care about the superficial differences-- to Coronavirus; we are all humans. We are all hosts.
Our economy is propped up by "the system." The government selectively props up Wall Street, big banks, large corporations, and wealthy investors, but shirks those less powerful. The error of thought here is becoming evident. The virus has exposed that the ultimate economic engine, is the workers, the people. As the workers retreat or are ordered to their sanctuary for self-protection, the wheels are coming off the bus. Alas, the system for the few, depends entirely on the many to survive. With no safety nets at the bottom, the whole game falls apart—great foresight by the elite.
The global economy has given us inexpensive products to match our meager wages but has taken away our ability to remain self-sufficient. Without the free flow of people and goods, the system comes to a halt. No one gets spared, save a very select few.
Why hasn't our government promoted small businesses, small industry, US manufacturing, and individual entrepreneurship? Politicians know there's no money in it. The money flows where the cheapest labor costs are, and that is not here in the US. We have been devaluing labor for over forty years. Fat corporate types own the purse strings. Now we have to depend on foreign businesses to support us in our crisis -not a sound strategy for managing a crisis from within.
We need to find better ways to measure wealth. Why not measure wealth by how healthy the population is? Why not measure satisfaction and happiness in life? Why not measure for right livelihood or mental health? I'm not talking about not responsibly measuring money metrics but instead expanding the terms for abundance and prosperity.
It's the American People, Stupid!
Since the founding of our nation, the American people have tended to rally and solidify in crisis. We are pretty good at that when we can get on the same page. Yet, today politics, small-minded religion, and small outlier groups of highly agendized people have found a way to polarize us. Even now, we take sides as the crisis worsens. It seems the Reptilians are winning—their Social Darwinism eclipses compassion and caring.
Most Americans just want the macro things to work in their lives, leaving that to government, while they pursue their micro interests. Most of us want the same fundamentals: home, educational opportunities, some savings, a good-paying job, balance in life, and a sense of worth and accomplishment. This basic premise should be completely reasonable in this country. Each year that goes by, we see more and more Americans watching this dream sail away. Why?
And now nature has given us this crisis. Figure it out, people -- or we die, or at least collapse our flimsy straw house.
How do HSPs figure into all of this?
I suspect that many HSPs have been sensing for some time that this day would come. We are the canary in the coal mine – if we haven't completely grasped the entirety of it all or the implications of our fragile society, we have certainly felt it. It is uncomfortable, like a scratchy shirt, and these types of things we notice. We are designed for this task.
As I have said, we HSPs need to become more visible, more noticed, and more vocal. And, in some cases, reluctant but needed empathetic thought leaders. We need to help with the leveling of the table. We need to give our wise and cautious counsel. We need to let our light shine. We see this; we sense this, we feel this.
HSPs are not going to change the world on our own, but we have a responsibility because of our gifts of observation and deep thought to share our views with those who don't often see our acute world view. It's not too late. The virus is a wake-up call.
Bill Allen lives in Bend, Oregon. He is a certified hypnotist and brain training coach at BrainPilots.com. He believes that male sensitivity is not so rare, but it can be confounding for most males living in a culture of masculine insensitivity which teaches boys and men to disconnect from their feelings and emotions. His intent is to use this blog to chronicle his personal journey and share with others.