9/4/20: The Evolution of Mistaken Criticism on the Road to Quiet Self-Contained Joy #poetry

9/4/20: The Evolution of Mistaken Criticism on the Road to Quiet Self-Contained Joy #poetry

When a person is fully living their own life

Fulfilling their destiny

Honoring their character


Fortunate enough to be born surrounded by love

Not spoiled but cherished

Endowed with a natural sense of entitlement

not in the social superior way

but in the existential respect for humanity way

grateful for the very gift of life

in awe of the vast array of possibilities associated with that gift

Possessed of self-esteem

before he or she could talk or walk

The imprint for all human interactions set as a baby

a mother’s nurturing warmth

a father’s strong admiration and protection

bestowed upon the person

not as a reward for any success, achievement or attainment

not for any beauty or intelligence or any other extraordinary attribute

but simply for the fact of his or her life

The blessed person is welcomed into the world with great hospitality

The second womb

For the first two or three years of life

the lucky fetus-like soul is cared for and grows

Then …

the happy little fellow or girl is introduced to the broader world

Teachers, friends, aunts and uncles, grandparents, kindly neighbors

initially continue to build the environment that the golden child knew at home

but sometimes slowly

and sometimes in abrupt and shocking ways

the little one is unfairly criticized

out of misguided concern

what was seen as a blessing is now characterized as a disability

out of an assertion of societal authority

the little one can’t be allowed to be and do as he or she pleases

There are rules


The child learns a new word

“You should do this”

There is the shock of being mocked and condemned

for the very qualities that led to such love and admiration at home


Why the fall from paradise?

Most people never receive the unconditional love that our little hero or heroine got consistently and without interruption from day one

That love is necessary

and when it is denied people suffer greatly

They become misshapen


The absence of love leads to ignorance — a lack of curiosity and interest in the world, because the world is seen as a harsh and mean place to be avoided

The absence of love leads to lust and aggression — power as an ultimately inadequate love substitute

The absence of love leads to envy of those who are loved — a hate for those who have what is desperately desired and believed to be unattainable

The absence of love leads to fear and identification with societal authority to provide a facsimile of the security that love provides

The absence of love leads to criminality — life is seen as a war, a fight, a field of murder, rape and thievery

The absence of love leads to pride — armored souls mistaking their ability to survive as proof that they live lives of self-determination

The absence of love leads to greed’s golden false idols

The absence of love leads to the worship of success — the need to prove oneself in a way that is wholly unnecessary for the loved one — the loved one never had to earn his or her right to feel worthy, wanted, cared for

… of course,

our little protagonist begins his or her journey

completely unprepared to meet all the sorrow and anger and pain and stupidity of the world

and all of its assaults

At first, the loved one thinks all criticism directed toward him or her is right

and all criticism is sincere

The loved one thinks love is the nature of the world

without exception


So the innocent listens and learns

and of course suffers

The loved one becomes exiled from his or her essence

His or her excellence

That special quality

becomes a source of shame

He or she began life as a unity

and is, at this point, divided

This might go on for several years

Self-betrayal has its rewards

Once plucky and independent

our main character now

fits in

This goes on for years

But the soul is a nag

Shame tuned into compromise and acceptance

which turned into a legitimate doubt

and legitimate guilt

something isn’t right

which turned into anger

which turned into argument

who was right? The loved or the unloved

Which turned into frustration

and resentment

and finally the unloved completely disappear

beyond being objects in an artist’s studio

still lifes

The only trace of the unloved

is the as a weakening delusional voice

in the loved one’s mind

that finally disappears

after decades of an odyssey

he or she returns back to hearth and home

quiet, peaceful and happy

this time aware of the sad storm outside …

Nothing to prove …

nothing to earn …

no one to please

love and work unite

the greatest social forces

are forces of nature.

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas

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