Previous section: “The Desire for Power“
Today’s section from Descending into War, Descending into Contempt, pp. 22-24:
The stage before experiencing calamity is filled with hope, anxiety, and fear. Fear fills the lungs and shortens the breath. Anxiety flows through the blood and causes sleeplessness or hysteria. Hope is in the thoughts that the dreaded event will prove less dreadful than anticipated.
Shortening of the breath combined with sleeplessness can cause a weakened immune system, which can lead to sudden illness and incapacitation. Shortening of the breath combined with hysteria can cause behavior that is societally unacceptable, but is condoned at the moment. Shortening of the breath combined with sleeplessness and hysteria weakens the body’s ability to rationally process information so that violent or retrogressive actions can occur.
These changes apply to men and women; however, societal morés influence the extent of the changes. Children descend less quickly into the consequences of shortened breath, sleeplessness, and hysteria; although they may experience hope, anxiety, and fear acutely. A person’s attitude also influences the impact of hope, anxiety, and fear.
Anticipation of the calamity to come affects the spirit, indisputably. The stronger a person’s sense of connection to spiritual belief, the stronger the control of emotions and the less the sinking into anxiety and fear. The connection doesn’t prevent anxiety and fear from appearing, but the sense of support that comes from spiritual connection provides strength in self-conviction and self-dependence. The connection must be sincere to have the strengthening effects.
Calamities are different due to the circumstances in which they happen. A government-sanctioned purge has positive and negative effects on the inhabitants, depending on loyalties and societal standing. Supporters may be fearful, yet joyous, and those who resist may be hopeful, yet afraid. Rebellious uprisings, like government-sanctioned purges, have positive and negative effects. They embolden some and terrify others. Individual attackers, such as serial killers, frighten all because the targets are less clear and the locations seem random. Revenge seekers bring calamity that is frightening and demurring, because the victims can be anyone in any part of society. Honor killings come under the category of revenge seeking.
Fear, a natural emotion, is intensified by calamities that are real or anticipated. Anticipating violence can cause similar emotional distress as experiencing it. Experiencing violence creates altered behavior that invades subsequent actions. Experiencing violence also teaches forceful reactivity that can be released on others in the future.
When intense hatred has been experienced, the experience can be internalized and then used against others. When intense hatred is witnessed but not personally experienced, the demonstrations of intense hatred towards others may be digested un-consciously and then be displayed towards others (towards those displaying the hatred or those receiving it) in the future.
Intense hatred is an emotion that propels towards action or retreat. Either of these reactions causes internal turbulence, so that health can be compromised if the reactions are too extreme. After a calamity, intense hatred requires release so that people can handle the altered circumstances.
Calamities that become long-term evolve into ways of life. They push people to change routines and priorities, but they are less anxiety- and fear-causing. Depending on age, health and attitude, each person reacts to the changed reality by seeing beyond the new situations or pushing against them. Life situations are ever-evolving, and the nature of people is to adapt and learn new rhythms. Refusing to adapt is not human nature.
The stage before experiencing calamity is difficult to endure. It is not a time for judgment of others nor high expectations. It is a time to offer help and provisions. Calamity is a change, megacosmically or societally created, that occurs as a matter of course. To consider it rare is unrealistic. The more that people accept calamity’s place in life, the more they can weather the storms and upheavals.
Next section: “Preparing for the Fight”