In a number of our essays we have sharply criticized well-meaning but unconscious pundits for failing to look more deeply into the causes of self-destructive human behavior. In this, our last essay in the Current Events series we are going to take one of our favorite journalists, Nicholas Kristof, to the woodshed for a “whuppin.”
“When my wife and I wrote about my old schoolmates who had died from ‘deaths of despair,’ the reaction was sometimes ugly.” (1) In their book, Tightrope, the Kristof’s identify the causes of the growing suffering in America on lack of good jobs, addictive drugs, and a loss of dignity and hope. These are not the “causes” of the “deaths of despair,” these are the symptoms of choices made by deeply unconscious people.
Here is how Kristof explains the “ugly reactions” of some of his readers. “It arises from the myth that we live in a land of limitless opportunity and that those who struggle have simply made ‘bad choices’ and failed to muster ‘personal responsibility.’ (1) The irony is that those readers, admittedly lacking in compassion, were correct in their assessment of the cause of human suffering in the U.S. We are all failing to take responsibility (becoming self-reliant) and making the best choice (Oneness) in our worldview (beliefs, attitudes and values). Choosing a dualistic worldview gives us an egoistical identity which, in turn leads to self-destructive behaviors.
Click on the link below to learn how to make better choices.
Insight # 176: A free man thinks of nothing less than of death, and his wisdom is a meditation not on death but on life. Spinoza
- Esoteric and Exotic on this blog and in print in The ABC’s of Simple Reality: The Encyclopedia of Self-Transformation, Vol I (2018), page 161, by Roy Charles Henry.
- Kristof, Nicholas. “Are My Friends’ Deaths Their Fault or Ours?” The New York Times Sunday. January 19, 2020, page 11.