Living the Hero’s Journey, Amplifying the Feedback Loop!
The idea of the feedback loop in a community is obscure. People often think about it in the sense of how we get affected by the things around us that are our own design. The music that turns you sad or happy, the places that you visit and the impact they leave on you. But how about your interaction with the people?
Let’s start with this question:
Have you ever noticed how what people become is actually shaped by the individuals they live with? like their peers, family, neighborhood..etc
It is actually a fascinating process. I have seen many people changing throughout the years because of their experience at school, at university, and in the workplace. Some change to the good, others change to the bad, but that is not the point. The reason they inevitably change is simply that there are probably no other species on earth who are better than humans when it comes to adapting at a particular place for survival.
We want to belong, we want to feel like we fit. Therefore, we try to filter some part of us that we think are bad. We add artificial parts that we think others will like. It is literally an annihilation of self; a war between the ego (the self) and the surrounding environment that very few of us can survive and keep what we really are.
Reading the previous paragraph may make you think about people with plastic surgery because that is what we hear about a lot. But let’s delve into psychology for a moment, because people often change their whole character in order to assimilate with the environment.
Our parents knew this a long time ago, they said:
“choose diligently your friends and who you spend time with because a friend of yours will say a lot about who you are.”
This is not true in all cases, but it still has some truth in it. And what does this tell us? They are saying that the people you spend time with have a subconscious power that might not be obvious to you. You will have thoughts and feelings that you think are yours, but in fact, they are not.
When I went to receive my bachelor’s degree at my university, the guy in the office seemed too careless, bad-mouthing students many times to the extent you can see at his looks that he is loathing everyone…etc
He gave me my bachelor’s degree and said, “you need to make a copy of this paper and bring it back to me now.” I said, “yes, sure”, then he insisted again, “please bring the copy now or in the evening, I really need it to complete these administrative papers” to which I replied, “yes, of course. I will go downstairs, make a copy and come back”. Then he said, “the reason I am insisting is that there are some students who say they would bring it, then they go home once they walk out of this door.”
I went outside and kept thinking “why would anyone do such a thing?”. I mean, we know that this is needed in the process of administration, and if we want our country to function in the right way, we also need to contribute to that purpose by acting the right way. Not living to that duty of bringing him back a copy of the degree that is needed in each student’s profile will probably make him have a hard time trying to make up for that gap. The process might take him more time which would automatically slow down other work that he has to do.
In fact, I think that it is a natural response for him to become mean because of the experience he had with this kind of students. It only took me 10 minutes to make and come back to him. He smiled, looked at me and said, “nta nas mlah” (meaning: you’re a good person).
When reflecting on this, I do not think I did what I did because I am a good person. I think I am just aware of how my behavior can influence others. There is a type of feedback loop going in a society that we often do not notice. As a society, we are constantly building up behaviors and attitudes based on the interaction we experience with each other.
The reason I started with an explanation of the concept of the feedback loop is that I wanted to talk about how being aware of it should also make us aware of the responsibility that comes with our actions.
We often understand responsibility in the traditional meaning. The idea that it is oriented around your family, but responsibility has also something to do with how you behave with your people within a society, simply because you can also influence others badly unintentionally.
There is an action that breeds a reaction, and then a series of other reactions. We can choose to stop that cycle and start influencing the good with the power of responsibility and intelligence, or engage in the “reaction” category and react with evil every time we see evil.
“It’s easier to curse the darkness, but it’s harder to understand why it exists”
We often hear people say: “be the change you want to see in the world”, or Muslim conservatives saying: “The change starts from the individual”. I finally understood what it means or “what it could” mean.
In the Abrahamic religious books, Satan embodies the archetype of selfishness, disorder, and ego. He does not humble himself even though he knows that he should, for the benefit of the all.
Jordan Peterson describes this so well when he talks about how Satan tempts the starving Jesus to quell his hunger by transforming the desert rocks into bread. Christ responds to him by saying:
“One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”
What does this answer mean? It means that even under the conditions of privation, there are far more important things than food. Bread is of a little use to the man who has betrayed his soul. Bread is also of a little use to the people who have engaged in a moral desolation in their society. Life is about a bunch of many other things other than satisfying the desire for food.
Christ aims at something higher in value when preaching to his people. He aims at the description of a mode of being that will finally and forever put an end to his hunger and everyone else’s hunger. This latter requires each one to live, speak, produce and act in the manner that will make the good vibrates among us. To make society function properly. To live up to your responsibilities as a citizen inside a society so that the administration functions well.
Knowing all that, we should strive for making a positive impact through our actions rather than acting impulsively. Or letting the impulsive acts ruin our capacity to reason.
The nature of the butterfly effect in an increasingly inter-connected world is this:
You are constantly being watched, directly or indirectly, and what you become through the decisions you make will make an impact on other people around you. You will impact them, and they will follow you. That is the subtle control that you have.
Leonardo DaVinci once said:
“Successful people rarely let things happen to them, they actually go out and happen to things”
I would love to replace the words “successful people” with the word “leaders” and it will make so much sense. My definition of a leader is someone who challenges their environment and drives change regardless of its nature to influence everyone.
This is why I call this “The hero’s journey.” Live as the archetypal savior lives, as the leader lives, and you and those around you will hunger no more. The beneficence of the world manifests itself to those who live properly as JP says.
It is a feedback loop in society, and it is amplified by day-to-day action regardless of how small it is. So be careful about how you act with others. Do not think that life is just happening to you, because you are a living, breathing being with the power of speech and actions. You are also happening to life. It is your call to decide what your contribution will be.