At the end of every year I look at my friends posts and invariably, someone describes the closing year as the worst of their life. I take pause and feel really bad for them. I often think: ‘That sucks… I hope it gets better’. I can’t say I’ve ever felt that way before… until now.
So what was 2017 like for me and my family? THE MOST CHALLENGING AND EXPLOSIVE YEAR OF MY LIFE.
Before you feel tempted to plaster me with new age platitudes of hope and Disney happy endings… let me vent.
For those of you who’ve read Episode 1 and Episode 2 of my blog, have read the numerous New York Times articles, the hundreds of other news publications and have seen the VICE, ABC 20/20, MEGAN KELLY coverage etc. You know a tiny little bit of what we’ve all been going through. Was it a shit-storm of a year? UNPARALLELED.
But there’s an even shittier aspect that people are still dealing with and some don’t even realize yet. I’d like to give you a METAPHOR to help explain how I and others have felt this year. Imagine this...
Imagine you found a group of wonderful people who shared many of your most cherished values. You co-created a wonderful community in the pursuit of goodness, service to mankind, ethics, entrepreneurial endeavors, scientific exploration and the advancement of human possibility. You worked extremely hard and pruned away frivolous and unproductive activities out of your life. Maximum efficiency. Maximum effort.
There were people 'on the outside' who frowned upon your community and disapproved of your endeavors, but they didn’t understand what you were building! Now and again, ugly lies came up about people in your community being abused, imprisoned, disappearing, committing suicide but you all knew they were just that… LIES. Imagine being unperturbed by the enemies slanderous attempts to malign the community and instead being so very proud of what was being accomplished! A new, better, more humane civilization.
(Metaphor Alert) Imagine one day, walking under the familiar sign at the front gate of the headquarters. You'd seen the sign so many times and swelled with pride every time. But on this particular day there was a stench in the air that smelled acrid and disturbing. You look at the sign again. Funny how sometimes when you are SO familiar with a word or words they almost seem like strange new things.
‘Arbeit macht frei’.
'Work makes you free’.
The same words you'd seen every single day. You look beyond the buildings towards the off-limits part of the camp and see black smoke spewing into the air. Somethings wrong you say to yourself. But what is it?
You are strongly dissuaded from asking questions about it and are instead, whisked away to the officers quarters where a new years party is underway. The party doesn’t feel right. Somethings eating at your soul. Unable to shake your concerns you creep out and find what had been hidden from you all these years - in the restricted part of the camp. What you thought was a kind of noble ‘utopia' is in actual fact, quite the opposite. *** See note at end.
Everything you’ve done…
the long hours...
the holding people to a standard…
sacrificing your personal dreams…
the philosophical discourses...
was all for a nefarious outcome.
A horrifying outcome.
To satisfy the twisted appetites of a leader.
What would it be like to realize this? What would occur in your psyche?
If you could truly absorb this METAPHOR... you would begin to understand my feeling of horror this year. The heart wrenching discovery that everything I thought I was involved with... was actually the polar opposite of everything I cherish and want to be. And such is the nature of involvement in what some call a High Control Group and the rapid and shocking emergence from the fog of deceit and misrepresentation.
It is not something I can just walk away from and shrug… oh well... that was an interesting experience. I am deeply disturbed and horrified on a daily basis as to what I feel happens in the METAPHORICAL camp.
Am I disturbed that the people running the camp believe what was discovered was all a lie and that they are being unfairly characterized by society and the FAKE NEWS media? Yes. That is definitely fucked up... but not the MOST disturbing. The most disturbing are our moral injuries.
Our raison d’etre has been abused. We put all of our goodness into an endeavor that was tragically immoral and dark.
That was 2017. Waking up into a horror story. All the good actions and endeavors we believed we were part of, are now tainted with a darkness. It’s as if goodness itself has been soiled. That is an adjustment, to say the least. But, despite the discovery of this darkness in our lives… our innocence is still there… It is still alive.
So 2017. You were definitely a fucking doozy. But I am still here. I will continue holding my middle finger up to all the abusers in the world as I regain my spirit of belief in the goodness of humanity.
2018, it's good to meet you. I am FREE.
*** Sidebar before the torrent of indignation from readers. There are many human rights violations that occurred in Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia to name but a few. For some audiences they are obscure. The violations that occurred in WW2 Germany are VERY well known and horrifying to most. As such they are a good metaphor for horror and they are the most publicized in the Western World. I apologize in advance for the offense this may cause but the metaphor matches how I feel.
Mark Vicente ©2017