Grey Goo and You: Cultivating Difference

I’m being more honest about what I think in my blog, but in real life I am hiding from the people around me. Fear is a powerful tool, but in a negative way. Once we start stepping out of the acceptable bounds and into who we really are, everything becomes shaky. There is the internal crisis, trying to accept yourself when all the good sheep want you to go back to the way you were, even if that is a really unhealthy position. In my family of origin I was often picked on because I had emotional overexcitabilities that could be ridiculed. If I cried for being teased (which is a form of abuse) then they could also tell me I was wrong to cry, that I was overreacting, and that in fact they were trying to improve me by breaking me down. Emotionally breaking someone down does not make them stronger, and I know because I once planned a school shooting while I was in junior high in a redneck town being severely bullied. I can tell you about that another time, suffice it to say the only reasons I wasn’t the first Dylan Klebold was because a .22 didn’t hold enough rounds and because we moved right away. But I was an eerily accurate marksman.

People appreciate violence as a response more than tears. I don’t know why, it’s kind of sick. I did get internal abusers in my head, kind of like the internal psychiatrist I mentioned several posts ago. Getting them out is really hard, and when people see that you are starting to transcend the role you’ve been given they get really insecure. It may sound awful to say that people have investments in my psych diagnosis, but it is true. I even invested in my diagnosis, even though it told me nothing about myself when seen from the contemporary biochemical medical model. I don’t like this idea that people are so powerful they can just decide to stop being “mentally ill.” That’s wrongheaded. On the other hand, I don’t like the ideas that come along with the concept of mental illness, ones which are founded mainly on stigma and assumption than understanding. I think we favour victims over people who actually recover. But this is getting into some serious territory I am still chewing on, basically what I mean is that powerlessness is encouraged in certain individuals, usually those who are different in quantifiable ways.

When I say we are all essentially the same person in a spiritual sense, I am not saying it so that we can all have a nice calm bovine approach to life. This is a very difficult concept to grapple with. And being from the same source does not mean that difference should be denied. There are very real and important reasons that we have such diversity on this planet. I do not want to live on a planet full of all Thirza’s, I would get bored. I need all kinds of people who are seeing things in different ways from different positions so that they can bring up ideas I would not think about on my own.

Homogenity is a dangerous thing, it’s not growthful to keep differences from evolving. And for this I will go to a theory I’ve always loved, because of it’s apocalyptic nature and because of the image it evokes. This is called The Grey Goo Theory.

The Grey Goo theory begins with self replicating nanobots. These nanobots are designed to take any kind of organic matter and break it down and build it up into an identical model of itself, which also goes on to self replicate using organic matter, and on and on. Once this process starts, there is no way to stop it. Scientists have estimated that self replicating nanobots run amok can convert the entire PLANET into grey goo within seventeen hours. And that’s not just plants and houses and televisions and blenders being transformed into goo, that’s also people and dogs and monkeys and every living thing.

Now, you can just look at this from a literal perspective and say “well geez, don’t make self replicating nanobots then.” Yes, but consider it in a different way, how could this Grey Goo theory be applied to contemporary practices of colonialism, religion, or psychiatry? A vast majority of people are self replicating nanobots on this planet. Just because you make someone think or feel in a way which is more similar to the way you think or feel doesn’t mean you have improved them. Same with all differences, I have a fondness for red heads, but if ALL the women in the world were red heads I’d wouldn’t be so enamoured with the uniqueness of it, and probably a lot of people would be upset because they like brunettes or blondes or people with titian hair.

Don’t grey goo the grey matter!

I’m trying to learn how to trust the people around me though, I know at a certain point I just have to hope they “get it,” ya know? People can do crappy things to each other but still end up evolving into amazing people. If I didn’t believe that I don’t think I would still be here.

And now I’d like to post Amanda Bagg’s amazing video “In My Language,” because I think it elucidates the importance of difference the best. This is my favorite video that I’ve seen recently, and was made in response to the Ashley Treatment. I’ve wanted to post it here for a while, but I never found the right post to accompany it.

Reaching out and reaching in
Holding out holding in
I believe
This is heaven to no one else but me
And I’ll defend it as long as I can be
Left here to linger in silence
If I choose to
Would you try to understand
– Elsewhere by Sarah McLachlan

One thought on “

  1. Wow, what a great post. I won’t quote all the things I love, because it would be too long, but this just makes me stand up and applaud:

    Just because you make someone think or feel in a way which is more similar to the way you think or feel doesn’t mean you have improved them.

    Psychiatry is a multi-headed beast, isn’t it? Like you said, the “I worked on myself and overcame my mental illness” people make my blood pressure spike. But the opposite perspective is just as bad.

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