Tag Archives: Empowerement

Luckier Than Fox Mulder: From Wanting to Believe to Believing

The now iconic poster that graced Fox Mulder’s basement office for all ten seasons has meant a lot of things to a lot of people in an array of different circumstances.  Back in August 2008, I shared some thoughts of what it meant within the narrow context of alien life.  As I reread that post, I couldn’t help but think of a much important application of this mantra: to nurture hope.

There is a lot happening in the world that gives us reason to believe that humans are a horrible lot and that nothing can save us from self-extinction.  I can’t blame people for having this view—I don’t watch the news on television anymore because it’s just all too much.

But because I wanted to believe, I went looking for concrete signs of the possibility of a better life, one lead by our higher, spiritual nature, right here on earth.  And I have to say, I find signs of it everywhere.  Not just that—but there seems to have been a sharp increase of positive news and stories to share in recent years.  I’m not sure if it’s because there are more such stories to share in the first place, or because more and more people are doing the same thing as I am: choosing to be positive in the face of a world painted black by mainstream news outlets.

So yes, I want to believe—but more importantly, unlike Mulder, I have increasing and solid proof that the world can indeed become a better place, and that an increasing number of people are actively taking part in making it so.

{ Sahar’s Blog is all about being in a constant state of learning.  So it only made sense for me to go back to all my previous posts and see how my thoughts on certain topics have changed over the last nine years.  In this new, ongoing series of posts, I’ll be rereading some of my older posts and reflecting on the same topic in light of what I’ve learned since then.  It’s going to be very interesting to see how things have changed! }

Choosing to Turn Towards the Good: A Powerful, Empowering Choice

When I twisted my ankle back in 2008, I remember how a whole new world opened up to me right where I had been living for a number of years.  On the one hand, I saw just how selfish, self-centered, and unaware people were, as they would rush by me and ignore the fact that I couldn’t get through doors, or wouldn’t get up to let me sit in the bus or the train.  On the other hand, I also saw amazing and inspiring displays of good cheer and selflessness—free rides, letting me pass in front of a long line, and rearranging the seating in a food court so that I could take the table on the side where I could stretch my leg out comfortably.

One of the things that I have always struggled with, that I struggled with during that time dealing with life with a twisted ankle, and that I continue to deal with is the choice to see the world either as half full, or half empty, of goodness.  Let’s be honest: there is a lot that is going wrong in the world, and a lot that needs some serious fixing, if not outright replacement.  But on the other hand, there is so much that is going right in the world, so much goodness that we can build on and create a better world.

It’s all the more important today, with some of the things that have happened since I first posted these Chronicles of a Twisted Ankle, to remain optimistic.  It doesn’t mean burying one’s head in the sand.  Rather, it means looking at the reality that surrounds us, but never forgetting that there are more than enough good things happening in the world that we can build on.

{ Sahar’s Blog is all about being in a constant state of learning.  So it only made sense for me to go back to all my previous posts and see how my thoughts on certain topics have changed over the last nine years.  In this new, ongoing series of posts, I’ll be rereading some of my older posts and reflecting on the same topic in light of what I’ve learned since then.  It’s going to be very interesting to see how things have changed! }

Dana Scully’s Real Journey: Arising To Help Humanity despite the Steep Price

The X-Files 03
It has been a couple of years since The X-Files ended… OK, fine, it has been more than a “couple” of years, but I still avidly look for anything related to the show. Thanks to the wonderful World Wide Web, there is always something new.

I recently rediscovered a commentary on the show written a couple of years ago which features a point of view I have seldom (if ever) read before. In X-Files: Scully’s Tragic Journey, Scott Mendelson discusses how the show was about the journey of Dana Scully’s assimilation and her ultimate destruction as she got increasingly wrapped in the alien conspiracy (i.e. the mythology), paying a steep price (the murder of her sister, her own abduction, her ensuing infertility, etc.) While Mendelson acknowledges that Fox Mulder also paid a dear price, he argues that, as the quest was his to begin with, it cannot compare to what Scully, an innocent bystander of sorts, paid.

No doubt Scully’s life would have ended up quite differently had she never met Mulder. But to blame him for her destruction seems quite patronizing. On the one hand, it implies that Mulder’s position as a believer, the one she has joined him in, is below that of a non-believer. On the other hand, it places the onus of her current position on Mulder, making of Scully a helpless, hapless, weak female caught in the grasp of stronger male. This of course completely demeans the capacity of one of the strongest, most empowered female protagonists in recent television history.

After all, Scully is a very intelligent, strong, independent woman. To blame Mulder for ruining her life implies that she was unable to make decisions for herself and thus, had no choice in the matter. It also reflects a lack of understanding of the process that both characters went through while the show was on air. Mulder, who was prone to believing anything at the drop of the hat, was consistently, continuously, and successfully challenged by Scully to become a little more scientific about the matter. Scully, who believed only in what the hard sciences could prove, was also consistently, continuously, and successfully challenged by Mulder to open her mind to new possibilities. They became a complimentary team. And when Mulder was thought dead, Scully attempted to keep his legacy alive by clinging obstinately to the same tenants that Mulder once clung to, but managed to step out of her grief to reach her previous, more balanced approach to work.

At the conclusion of Season 9, is Scully’s life actually wrecked? In The Matrix, was Neo’s life wrecked because his eyes were opened to the truth? Of course not. Rather, his life truly began when he was ‘unplugged’ and lived in the real world, however more difficult that was. Scully was ‘unplugged’, in a way, from her narrow minded perception of the world through the hard sciences and she opened her eyes to a broader perspective of the world. Because she is a strong, highly intelligent woman, she was also able to do the same for Mulder.

If one believes that a successful life for Scully would have been an amazing career, a family, and a house with a white picket fence in which she and her husband would have hosted dinner parties on Saturdays and the whole nine yards, then yes, Scully’s life did get ruined. But what if life is about something else? In the universe of The X-Files, there are aliens, and there is a government conspiracy selling out the human race. Is dedicating one’s life to stand up for justice really wrecking one’s life? In my opinion, the only really sad thing about Scully as we last saw her is that she lost her voice; while in Season 1, she vociferously would counter Mulder, she doesn’t quite have that passion to expose the truth anymore.

One can of course easily see the reflection of Scully’s journey in the ‘real world’ universe, where more and more individuals are denouncing the status quo – the career and the white picket fence – to adopt alternative lifestyles that allow them to contribute to the betterment of society, from people who go on volunteer vacations instead of going to resorts, to those downsizing their homes quite significantly, to those quitting high paying jobs to dedicate themselves to noble causes. The decreasing passion Scully demonstrates as the experiences of the nine years of The X-Files deflate her passion are also reflected in the hopelessness that many today feel in the face of seemingly omnipresent injustice.

Mendelson is right in that Scully is bitter, but perhaps that’s because she has been reading or listening to people like him, telling her that her life is wrecked. Does she believe that the conspiracy is real? If so, does she believe that she did everything she could to counter it? If the answer to both questions is yes, then she should be proud of the sacrifices she did in the name of her fellow humans, and try to look for another way to spread the truth.

Because, my friends, the truth is out there.

The Shady Friend that is Leniency

Chad - Detailed Carving, Shrine

The process of refining one’s character is a highly exciting one, but isn’t always easy. While there are a lot of great tools that help us along, there are also many pitfalls we can get stuck behind.

There seem to be a lot of self-empowering messages in North American society. Some of the first ones that come to my mind are “just do it”, “I was born this way”, “I am who I am”, and “I’m worth it”, and no doubt there are many more I could come up with a simple Google search.

These calls are usually born out of the best of intentions; “I was born this way” and “I am who I am” are asking for acceptance of diversity, tolerance of differences, and love for the various human forms that exist. However, the best of intentions are also prey to the negative forces of society, one of which is passivity. Under the influence of passivity, calls for acceptance become attitudes of lenience.

Of course, it’s pretty clear why leniency is not a good thing when trying to refine one’s character: instead of looking at one’s weaknesses as opportunities for improvement, they become a staple of one’s character. But refining one’s character requires that we look honestly and objectively at who we are, both the positive and the negative.

Let’s imagine a continuum of your attributes, from positive to negative. Being lenient encourages a person to look only at the positive, which would probably boost the ego. The solution can’t be the other extreme, that is to say, constantly looking at the negative. This can easily led to a disempowering spiral landing straight in the land of despair.

Like with so many other things, moderation and balance are key. Looking at positive attributes helps define the foundation on and the tools with which you can further refine your character. Looking at negative attributes helps identify the best strategy with which the positive attributes can be used for the same purpose. A dynamic, constant relationship between reflecting on the positive and using it to compensate for the negative requires honesty with oneself and infinite patience for our shortcomings, but does not allow for leniency. It’s a relationship I find demonstrated consistently in the arts. A carving comes to life as the artist, taking into account the strong and weak areas of the stone he is working with, constantly adjusts the his work according to what he meets layer after layer.

Those who manage to strike such a balance are usually the happiest individuals I have met. They are truly inspiring, and yet are also very humble. No doubt their humility comes in part from knowing their negative attributes, and their joy comes in part from constantly using their positive attributes to continuously refine their character.

Image credit: Chad Mauger