Question: Last year, I made a conscious decision to stop consuming porn. I stumbled across the argument that you can never be certain if the people being filmed are being coerced. This coupled with the realization that I am a nice guy was enough to make me feel too uncomfortable to continue consuming it.
Recently the topic came up jokingly amongst friends, and I admitted to not consuming porn anymore. My friends interrogated me as to why. Apparently it isn’t enough to suspect that some of the people being filmed may be victims.
The gist of the conversation was that since there are women who become wealthy at porn, and since I wear clothes and use gadgets that are produced by exploited labor, I am a tool and a hypocrite and therefore totally wrong.
I’m still befuddled trying to fix the nice guy stuff, and now I have to defend not watching porn? I don’t require that anyone else forgo watching it; I just find the human trafficking/coercion angle very compelling. I guess that it’s possible I may have implied “and you shouldn’t either,” and that may explain the vehement resistance, but I didn’t expect it. Do I try to let it drop, do I need new friends, or am I just a hypocrite?
Dr. ZZ: I totally support your decision not to consume porn, and you don’t have to defend that decision to your friends. If they keep bringing it up and needling you with it, maybe you do need to find new friends – not because of porn or because you’re a hypocrite (you’re not) but because they are behaving like jerks. If it comes up again, you’re well within your rights to say “I’m uncomfortable with this conversation; let’s change the subject.” If they let it go, and they are generally not jerks, and everyone can be trusted to maintain a “let’s agree to disagree” posturing, then let it go. If not, that gives you an important piece of information about your so-called friends, and it may be time to changes circles.
Question: I attended a kecak a couple of weeks ago, and I may have picked up a demon there. I felt rather weird throughout the ceremony, and ever since then, I have done things like run over my cell phone with my car, cut myself fairly substantially with a knife in the kitchen, and fall down a flight of a couple of stairs. I don’t generally believe in demons and such, but people are telling me that no one leaves Bali without coming in contact with evil spirits. Could this be what happened? Could I have picked up an evil spirit? If so, please illuminate me. How do I get rid of this?
Dr. ZZ: With all due respect to people who want to believe in evil spirits, there are none. Rather, everything we consider to be “real” in the world is 99.999…% empty space. It’s all an illusion that each of us co-creates based on our fears and our desires.
If you were to point “up” right now, for example, and someone in New York were to point up, and someone in Spain and someone in Russia were to point up, you would all be pointing in different directions. Yet people would stake their lives on the belief (the illusion) that they know up from down.
Dualities like up and down (tall and short, rich and poor, good and evil, etc.) are all constructs that we were taught by people, who were taught by people, who were taught by people. . . etc.. The word “sin,” for example, is at its origin a term used in archery; it means to miss the mark. This unintentional erring is the reason why there are erasers at the end of pencils; there is no morality attached to it, no right and wrong. It is simply the behavior of living life and, at times, being unintentionally off target.
So too it is with everything we call “the real world.” The world is no more real (and no more moral or immoral) than the pixels on a silver screen. Yet we go to the movies and cringe at the edge of our seats while watching the antics before us. Our hearts pound, our hands get sweaty, and we squirm and get emotional. “Oh no! Don’t do it. No! Stop!” we say to ourselves. Then the lights come on, and we go home. There was nothing there. It did not exist.
Likewise, everything in life is an illusion and is subject to interpretation. We do not even know up from down; all we know is inside (ourselves) and out. So, when you leave a kecak, or you leave a restaurant, or you wake up in the morning, you get to co-create your life according to the wants, desires, and beliefs you hold to be true, and those wants, desires, and beliefs are in constant flux; they change and molt as quickly as you change your clothes and your preferences. Prefer not to believe in evil spirits, and you don’t have to believe in evil spirits. Believe that it’s all an illusion, and you get to live in a world that is malleable.
On the other hand, your careless behavior of the past couple of weeks may be signaling you to pay attention to something in yourself. Perhaps you are moving too fast for yourself or allowing yourself to be too busy or too distracted for your own peace of mind. Perhaps you are attempting to do too many things at once. Search within for the wisdom, and you will find it. That, my friend, is the only place of illumination.
Dr. ZZ has a Ph.D. in Counseling and a doctorate in Natural Healing. Drawing on a background of over thirty years as a professional therapist, she offers self-help in the areas health, relationship and personal growth. All queries are answered by email and, if they appear in print, are subject to editing. Please email your questions : <firstname.lastname@example.org> All identifying information is kept strictly confidential.
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