I awoke before four in the morning today with words and images twirling nonstop in my mind. I felt like a giant lollipop being dipped in the swirls of sweet wisdom. Although I was sleepy, and wanting to fall back into a deep slumber, I was made awake, wrapped spiritually in what could essentially be called a lesson review of sorts.
The images and thoughts came swiftly, and with a touch of deliberate humor, ended with memories of my first college course, where I sat a plum-faced, shy freshman girl, surrounded by upper classmen. I had signed up for Psychology of Human Sexuality Course on a whim, having had no clue that the course would actually be about real sex!
I giggled this early morn, as the lesson dancing in my head wrapped up, and I was reminded of the term penis envy, a popular belief back in the early days of my schooling: the thought that many of women’s psychological insecurities are caused by their subconscious desire to have the same package as men.
I chuckled inside at the memory of class, of going around in a circle, and each of us female members of the group describing our degree of envy. Back then, I was so malleable, still am, that any belief system set upon me, I innocently absorbed as truth. Thusly, I went around for many years thinking I wanted to grow male stuff.
Today, in the wee hours of the morn, as the lesson began, with my mind’s eye, I saw numerous dogs and cats posed in various ways in their silly hats and wearing their silly expressions. And then I saw a massive amount of other animals, starting with the more common American pets of snakes, turtles, and hamsters, and ending with pigs and rats, and even monkeys. The debate came to my mind between cat lovers and dog lovers, and then I saw how silly the debate was. I saw that as a society we created these pets as our favorites, and then divided the camps. I thought about why they were our favorites: cuddly, responsive, expressive, fairly clean and predictable, sensitive, and perhaps even thoughtful.
And then I thought that the love of dogs and cats was all by choice, that as a collective we could easily have chosen a pig and a rat as our favorite pets, that instead of cats and dogs that pigs and rats could be there in their place…perhaps in another time or universe.
I began to visualize the various poses of pigs in their holiday wear and with their big eyes, and with captions written across their photos. I could see the rats too, all decked out for the season, with jingle bell vests, and more. It wasn’t such a leap out of our current reality.
In truth, much of what happens is all about what we as a whole choose to make our reality.
Then I realized that the expectations we have upon animals do actually affect the behavior of the overall species. With millions of people thinking dogs are awesomely friendly, no wonder they walk around with goofy grins and wagging tails. I imagine that if the collective believed all natural brunettes were brilliant, fascinating, and someone to aspire to be, I would walk around with my bum shaking a bit too, with goofy smile to boot.
I began to wonder what would happen if we replaced all the cats and dogs (temporarily and in theory only) with two other animals. I visualized the majority of pet owners with a snake at their side, cuddling during a television show, with the turtle tucked under the covers with their owner at bedtime. And the thoughts didn’t seem so farfetched; for with enough conditioning and collective belief, we have the potential to mold any species’ behavior.
I had intense laughable visuals of a pet owner holding their ant farm during a movie or even housing a bee’s nest in their home and keeping a window open for free access to the fields. I began to see how anything was possible, if enough people believed or accepted a norm. This is evident from culture to culture, when considering what animals are revered, accepted as pets, or eaten for supper.
These thoughts led to the concept of ownership, and the fact that most domesticated dogs are entirely dependent upon their owner. I imagined what that dependency must feel like for dogs, how they must wonder when the food will come, the fresh water, the walks, the grooming, the holding, the words “good dog.” How they live their lives essentially as a prisoner to their master’s behavior, wherein the pet is entirely dependent on what their owner does.
I began to think that perhaps this dependency could cause some dogs a type of sadness, as I believe was in the case of my Goldendoodle, Scooby. For the first couple years of Scooby’s life, Scoob appeared mostly sad and withdrawn, until we brought home another dog. Then his spirit lit up and he seemed to come alive. But then he fell into another sadness spell, shortly after we moved to Washington, and he had less of a yard for roaming. He began to crave walks, and beg for walks, and on the days there were no walks, he sat in the corner forlorn. Scoob also despised all dog food. Most of his days he set about to steal whatever people food he could from out of the sink or atop the stove—like some grizzly bear at a picnic. He was adorable, but primarily a sad pup. Being empathetic to animals, I always sought to cheer him up, through fur massages and rough housing with a stuffed toy, even dancing to music. Still, he seemed to feel as if he was trapped in a life I ordained for him, that I ran, that I created.
This thought led me to the idea of the human experience, that we, too, as a people, have our own masters: our accepted beliefs; and that in truth, the only thing we can control, as many ancient teachings state, are our thoughts.
I suppose my Scooby didn’t have that capacity—to control his thoughts. Instead all he could see at certain times was missed opportunity. Even on the days we walked, he longed for more. Perhaps he would have been the happiest on a ranch estate. Perhaps if he’d had the capacity to daydream, that is where he went, to the golden fields where he could run until his legs gave out beneath him. I like to think that is where he is now, with a perpetual wet-nosed smile upon his face.
From here my thoughts turned to the social taboos of societies. It was at the age of eighteen, in that human sexuality college course, I first learned about how a society actually creates what is socially acceptable. I remember pondering about the collective creating ideals of rights and wrong, popular and unpopular, and loved and unloved.
The way my professor explained social taboo, forever stayed in my mind. The professor asked the class to visualize a planet in which it was socially unacceptable to eat in front of another person; to imagine a place where you were only allowed to eat in private or with a special significant other, a world in which people ate in the dark of their bedrooms, even under the covers; a place where chewing in public was seen as vulgar and disgusting, and punishable by law. My professor explained about how the body opening of the mouth was only to be used for practical purposes in public: for breathing, drinking, and talking. Laughing was a risk, for the mouth might open too wide.
This other world’s eating taboo he then compared to sexual intercourse and the naked flesh taboos of this world.
I remember then that a light bulb turned on in my mind. It was in that classroom I understood that much of what I was told and much of what was modeled were based on a collective’s culture and belief system, and that I was living in a world with unpredictable and shifting values.
In theory what was a norm that day and what was deemed taboo at the same moment would shift with the passing of time. I remember feeling extreme discomfort. I recall analyzing the current taboos of the time, particularly mixed-race marriage and homosexuality. I concluded that in time people’s views would shift, and as a whole our outlook and perception would change, that the unacceptable would become accepted, or at least move in the direction of the majority accepting.
The reality of the collective establishing truth boggled my mind. I could see clearly how I was a part of the collective and even though I was aware that I lived in a society that created truths and rights and wrongs, that even with my awareness I was continually molded by these created truths. I was in essence powerless.
I wondered where the truth really rested, how I could reach it, and how would I know.
I recognized that at a certain level, beyond conscious awareness, I was affected by what others accepted as truth. I recognized ultimately I was affected by what others thought. Living on this planet, the collective belief system was to a degree always to be a cornerstone of my own belief system—their reality, my reality; their conclusions, my conclusions.
I innately knew, I wouldn’t be able to fully grasp multi-dimensions, the supernatural, and the magic of the world, until the majority accepted this as a possibility, but that even then, whatever was believed and grasped onto by the whole could and would once again shift.
I was a dependent part of an intricate and mind-blowing mechanism, no less and no more, and entirely unable to escape. In a sense, I was my dog, my Scooby, waiting in my chair to see what the masters did.
It wasn’t until this morning, through all of these aforementioned thoughts that manifested in a span of twenty-minutes, that I recognized what was happening to me with more clarity: a shift was occurring.
More and more people were expanding their awareness and understanding of the illusion of the world and the power of thought, and thusly so was I.