THE VICTIM-VICTIMISER DYNAMIC IS A CENTRAL PLOT DEVICE IN THE WORLD OF FORM
Given the world was made as a direct reflection of the ego’s wrong-minded thought system, it is by definition imperfect, because its source (the wrong-minded thought system) is imperfect. Unfortunately, that means there are always going to appear to be victims and victimisers in the world of separation. In many ways, this should hardly be surprising. You don’t need the Course or current news to predict this. A cursory look at world history clearly illustrates the enduring stability of this narrative on the macro world level.
The ‘victim-victimiser’ plot is as old as time itself and recycles constantly throughout the ages precisely because it originates in the mind, and thus predates the world of time itself. Over time, different groups get switched up and allotted the role of victims and victimizers in different epochs and places. The only thing that changes then, is the way the victim-victimiser dynamic specifically plays out in form.
THE “VICTIM” & “VICTIMISER” ARE FLUID ROLES PROJECTED ONTO THE WORLD
It’s not just that these are rigid and static roles inhabited by different people and groups in the world at different times either. Because they form the foundation of the wrong-minded thought system that we all have access to, the role of victim and victimiser are fluid roles that live within our very psyche.
On the micro inter-personal level, we appear to hurt (victimise) others and be hurt (victimised) by others simultaneously: unintentionally and sometimes intentionally, in big and significant, or small and barely perceptible ways. We are also very adept at hurting ourselves, as different, competing parts or impulses within our individual personality can victimise or dominate other parts of us on the micro intra-personal level.
ALL RELATIONSHIPS CAN BE USED FOR THE EGO’S PURPOSE OF PROJECTING GUILT
In other words, all types of relationships in the world are prone to expressing the mind’s guilt-attack cycle that results in the victim-victimiser dynamic. In fact, this is exactly the purpose the ego would have us use all of our relationships for while we are identified with it. This includes macro relationships between different groups (e.g., conflict between nations, ethnicities, religions etc.), micro inter-personal relationships between people (e.g., family, friends, partners colleagues, acquaintances etc.), and the micro intra-personal relationship we have with ourselves.
This is the case regardless of how good, easy, and loving, or indifferent, difficult, and toxic any relationship may predominantly seem to be. Feeling wronged, hurt, slighted by, imposed upon, and thus victimised by yourself, someone else, or a group of people is a staple of the ego’s MO. Blaming external factors (people, things, situations etc.) for our lack of peace (anger, sadness, annoyance etc.) is an egoic talent we all share irrespective of how right or wrong we may objectively appear to be on the level of the world to others. While in our wrong mind, we are all expert blamers.
THE EGO IS THE INTERNALISED OPPRESSOR
A helpful way of thinking about this is that the ego is essentially the internalised oppressor that lives within all our minds because we all share the same split mind. It is the root cause of all externally directed, and self-destructive, impulses. The result of choosing this internal oppressor on the level of the mind, is always suffering in our wrong mind first, which is then reflected in external and/or internal harm on the level of the body/world.
And all the pain we suffer from in our wrong mind is induced by the original Self-harm or Self-attack that is the nature of our ontological belief in the separation from God. In short, believing that we could and did separate from God is an attack on our Self, and therefore constitutes Self-harm because it destroys our awareness of our true Self.
THE EGO WOULD HAVE US DENY OR GLORIFY SUFFERING
If we zoom back into our lives as individuals, what does all this mean in practice? All forms of attack always establish perpetrators and victims, and stem from the attack-guilt cycle in the mind. Understanding that the wrong mind is the source of the world, and the world therefore reflects the content of the wrong-minded thought system, explains why this is inevitable. As such, it’s important that we don’t deny or glorify what occurs on the level of form, which is exactly what the ego would have us do. To deny or glorify as holy or special, the hatred, fear, pain and suffering that is evident in the world and we experience in our personal lives is not helpful.
Keeping the metaphysics in mind, its more fruitful to instead commit to seeing the world as a window into the ideas that we must have first made real in the unconscious mind, and therefore require undoing to heal our mind. In this sense, we don’t need to ignore blatant cruelty, inequality, nor the pain and disadvantage suffered as a result of oppression in whatever form. We don’t deny the terrible acts that occur in the world, or casually dismiss them with hastily uttered spiritual affirmations to escape the fear or anger the world seems to provoke in us. Nor do we reinforce our guilt by separating ourselves from others in thought (i.e., perceptually), by believing that what happens in form can ever make differences between victims and victimisers (in the world) meaningful in Truth (in God).
WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHOOSE OUR STATE OF MIND BECAUSE WE ARE THE MIND
What we do is deny the reality of the world of form, and the notion that anything in it is ever the true cause of our suffering or anyone else’s- no matter what the apparent reality and incontrovertible evidence in form may be. By doing that, we deny its capacity- and therefore the ability of anything not of God (i.e., of illusions)- to rob us of the peace and love of God that is always available to us because it is innate to who we truly are. We apply this principle to the way we view our own personal suffering and that of others when we/others subjectively feel like, or objectively are, victims in form as individuals. We also apply it to our own specific sources of guilt and shame and the guilt we see in others when we/others feel like, or objectively are, victimisers in our lives within the world.
In other words, we start recognising that we, and we alone, are responsible for our state of mind and inner experience no matter what seems to happen to our bodies (physically, emotionally, and psychologically) in the world. That is, we recognise that we have the power to be at peace and remain connected to an inner wellspring of love and joy no matter what seems to happen to our bodies in the world. To do this, we must train ourselves to remember that we are the mind, not the body. Namely that we are the decision-making part of the split mind that has the ability to remember that we are still one with God in Truth as Spirit, by embracing our power to decide for the Holy Spirit as our inner Teacher.
REPEAT AFTER ME: I WILL NOT LET APPEARANCES FOOL ME!
Choosing to be right-minded in turn frees us from continuing to use external people and situations to justify the ego’s insane thought system, which keeps us trapped in the idea and experience that we are powerless. We will no longer be deceived by the illusion that anything external to us- no person, situation or action we take- is ever truly responsible for the way we feel or what we believe, even if that’s exactly what it objectively looks like here in the world.
The Holy Spirit would have us look on the devastation and suffering in the world, in others, within our individual self, and recognise it for what it is: an illusion of devastation and suffering that mirrors the devastating thought system we chose on the level of the mind that we are not conscious of, and is the source of our suffering. It is unreal only because there is no separation from God. God is still all there is, and God is perfect love without opposite.
This means that the appearance of anything that is not perfect love, is false and unreal. And let’s face it- that covers everything we see in the world of form. This is why we are being asked to look beyond appearances- beyond form- as students of the Course. There’s no need to pretend you don’t see what your eyes show you. Rather, looking beyond form simply means to consciously remember that we have an unconscious split mind with two mutually exclusive thought systems we must choose between. To accomplish this then, we first need to become adept at consistently identifying appearances as appearances, rather than confusing appearance (dualistic form) with reality (God’s non-dualistic oneness), which is what we’ve always done and are constantly tempted to do.
CHOOSE TO LOOK AT EVERYTHING WITH JESUS & THE HOLY SPIRIT
Oppression, victimisation, attack, hatred, suffering and pain do not exist in God. They can only appear to exist in illusions; visually represented in a dream in which what is not possible, seems possible and accomplished. Do not be afraid then to face the hatred and pain you see in the world; they merely reflect the hatred and pain within our own split mind. Look then at all the images of pain, oppression, suffering, and hatred with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, knowing they are images that don’t represent anyone’s true reality.
Allow yourself to be reminded that they are symbolic representations of your own investment in the ideas of pain and hatred that exist within, and that can therefore be corrected right now, with your willingness and their Help. These false beliefs are protected by nothing more than our own misplaced ego-allegiance and faith in illusions, which we can change at any moment, no matter what the world appears to show us.
“Do not be afraid of the ego. It depends on your mind, and as you made it by believing in it, so you can dispel it by withdrawing belief from it. Do not project the responsibility for your belief in it onto anyone else, or you will preserve the belief.” (T-7.VIII.5:1-3)
THE WORLD VISUALLY REPRESENTS THE FALSE BELIEFS WITHIN OUR SPLIT MIND
As Jesus puts it in the Course, the world “…is the witness to your state of mind, an outside picture of an inward condition” (T-21.in.1:5). The inward condition is the content of the wrong mind that birthed the illusion of a material universe of time and space. You aren’t required to ignore the facts of the external world any more than you’re asked to opt out of the world, stop brushing your teeth, stop breathing, or deny any aspect of your physical experience here.
Rather, the Holy Spirit would simply ask that as you go about your individual life that seems so compellingly real, and that you internally reinterpret everything from the ego’s perspective, to that of the right mind’s. The right-minded perspective will be the opposite of what the overt set-up in form has been designed to convince you of: that is, the ‘truth’ of the ego’s wrong-minded narrative that separation, sin, guilt, and fear are true. This specifically means remembering that everything you see is an “outward picture of an inward condition.” If you see conflict and suffering, you just need to remember that you’re getting a glimpse into the pain and conflict buried within your wrong mind.
USE THE WORLD TO HELP YOU BECOME CONSCIOUS OF THE EGOIC BELIEFS IN YOUR WRONG MIND, THEN CORRECT THEM
Said differently, your only task as a student of the Course is to attain true perception. You do this by learning to become more and more conscious of your false egoic beliefs that the world and your life mirrors back to you. Then choose to correct them by accepting the Holy Spirit’s thought system instead. It’s worth emphasising that you need only focus on correcting the ego in your mind- not anyone else’s. The process for accomplishing this is true forgiveness.
This will allow you to see everything for what it is: an illusion that gives form to the insane beliefs in your wrong mind, which is where the one problem beneath all apparent problems really lies, along with its one correction. Here in the mind is where this true correction- the Atonement- needs to be accepted and can be accepted right now.
* This concludes part 4 of the 5-part series titled, ‘ACIM on Racism & Injustice in the World.’ Please click on the arrow below to continue reading part 5 in the series.
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