Questioning role-models

by Matilde Magro

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I had a body memory last week.

Standing in my kitchen, after speaking for a while with an Indigenous friend about certain aspects of Indigenous Science that the West is mostly oblivious about, I suddenly remembered quite intensely the feeling of true community — family, sanity, belonging to this Earth. My bare feet touching the ground I could feel the Earth’s heartbeat as my own, perfectly in synch with every natural aspect of who I am, what I am, and with the perfect know-how of what I’m doing here, truly connected to everyone else around me.

Fleeting, left me with a longing for a past that I do not only not really remember, but know it is there.

We all do, we search for this meaning in whatever we do, all of us. From the supermarket cashier to the bus driver. We all want and crave for this Heaven to be Earthbound again.

Then I opened Facebook and a Graham Norton Show clip appeared, with someone making rude comments about the importance of whatever dress in whatever gala and it got me thinking that that person is considered by millions of people as a social role model, and I have no idea who they are, what they do and how they behave like human beings. It got me a sense that in this society where everyone can be a spiritual-fast-food guru, it also makes sense that our ideas of role models have become quite distant from the true aspects of what we believe a role model can even be.

I think some of us have given up on trying to reach “remaining humans” outside of our bubbles. I remember at some point we all agreed that there is a threshold of just how much we can take the lack of dialogue and open verbal wars about the validity of certain things. Most of all, a lot of us started making actual changes that don’t fit in the social stratosphere of the contemplative normality of a “highly developed but maybe not so much” western world.

Even the validity of community, given we can and do attract all sorts of social degeneration to be healed, is somewhat of a burden — we do not wish to sanctify ourselves to the point of our detriment. Valid, valid thought — that’s why we left most behind. It’s somewhat of a pull — to be a supporting hand to those who feel too frail to change anything at all. And it backfires, people start to turn on you. They feel invalidated in their degeneration like self-destruction isn’t good enough for us to take it as seriously as happiness, contentment, and having fulfilling lives.

I’ve been somewhat on both ends, but not enough in the self-destructive end to be considered a burden — at least to the right people.

I feel that somehow the sense of community has a catch now — “as long as you fit perfectly with the role model we are trying to be”.

I often also wonder how can groups of people who have made barely any internal work, who feed off other’s energies instead of a collective-lift-up and thrive on cultural appropriation for their daily habits, can create other communities which can serve as the highlights and temples of change they wish to be.

This, as it sounds, is not criticism. It’s a genuine worry.

A lot of what we see today, “the Trump spark”, comes from this — the insanity of belonging. Even very anarcho-primitive friends of mine subscribe to some of these ideals of conspiracy, and I confess I have too in the past. These days I believe the only true conspiracy is to maintain incompetency. Took a lot of therapy to realize the insanity of others was not my own. The community cannot have a sense of belonging when there is actual insanity happening in the heart of it.

For me drugs was the culprit. As long as they were in my body in a self-destructive non-conducive manner of realizing how things happen both bodily and spiritually and mentally and manifesting in my life, I could not appreciate the beauty of belonging. This type of counter-culture happens out of a lack of appreciation of one’s land whose feet are on. If we do not love our land, our true history, our ancestry, we cannot truly love ourselves.

How to love something that gave birth to a heavily destructive, colonialist past? Obviously, people who thrive on doing harm do not feel they belong. So, I need to go past that into what were the actual roots of the land I have my feet on. Islamic cultures, Celts, Northern African people, Neanderthals, whatever it takes, everything these people fight against.

Bacterias act in a certain way, in which a lot of humans can maybe relate to: there’s a group of bacteria doing some sort of social role, one single bacteria who does not conform to the normal paradigm is excluded and left to die alone.

Humanity was once brotherhood. We all know this, we still feel it, the kinship, in empathy and compassion towards others. We understood the kinship of a flower and a tree, of other’s religions and belief systems, of the inherent different aspects we have for being unique beings, even if somewhat similar. We all loved what the other was for who they were, what they represented. This kinship we had with life is coming back with the sweeping aspect of the natural force Mother Earth wishes for us to feel. The maternal embrace we don’t find in our battled-down parents who saw life as a mechanism to existence with barely anything to look forward to besides 9–5 until old age.

I made the sweeping Instagram Reel, although private for my friends alone: Which god are you fighting against, if Nature is Earth and the Earth is your God? What are you actually fighting against?

I often see a friend of mine speaking that “life is this” and “life is that”, and I need to remind her that other people are not life in general, that other people are small specks of light in an 8 billion mirrored lighting fiesta that is humanity.

During the fall of the Roman Empire, Christians had the idea to Evangelize Europe and free what are now Europeans from the shackles of the Romans. The Christening of Europe has two patrons, their day is marked by the Vatican on February 14, as the day of the Patrons of Europe. These two Christian Monks swept crossed the vast remaining Roman Empire speaking of one true God and a messiah who the Romans killed. It’s quite possible it was all a lie to gain followers. What best to indoctrinate people like saying: hey they were the ones who killed your role model? Assumptions aside, the idea took root and some centuries later, after it was a well-watered and rooted idea in the hearts of people, the Inquisition, and the Witch Burning, the Colonization of territory which was never truly “discovered” because, and hey… I’m sorry, human beings existed way before all this and had shipping abilities, so the world was pretty much an oyster on a plate already. The Chinese had trading systems with the Africas and the Americas for ages before even the Roman Empire was just an idea.

So, if you know anything about collectiveness and community, you know that we begin to live in synch with each other’s ideas and stories, imagination to reality, a manifestation of patterns that emotion-wise become social patterns as well. So these people who had rooted ideas about ancestry began having to silence themselves to not be oppressed, and they silenced and brought forth the future things that to this day, millennia later, we are still rediscovering, deeply rooted in rural country and untouched genetic ancestry and interests in life, from the daily living habits of millennia-old forests and communities. So the collective imagination was demonized by evil spirits and things the Christians did not allow that were not part of their scriptures. It becomes a terrorized notion of being different from what was supposed to.

Humans have a genuine ingenuity about love and others that a lot of people who have drifted from love, out of necessity, trauma, or simply affliction, try to take advantage of.

And so, the demonization of our ways became so rooted that we collectively envisioned that maybe we deserved to belong to lower statuses of our larger communities, we began idealizing that we are what we are, and are born where we are to be what we are supposed to be. Because that made sense in the past when we all belonged. Before we were deemed as ignorant fools who believe in nonsense.

So this general idea about the world we live in, that began being for the rich and monarch powers instead of each other, put us in a place of hiding within ourselves. We are all inside ourselves, waiting for the day in which there is room to flourish. The bus driver and the supermarket cashier too.

Colonization or the discovery period in Europe happened mostly out of monarchies wanting more power and territory, and the people just following along hoping for a better king to come eventually, much like we are hoping there are better voting options on the next elections, continuously. There are thousands of anticolonialist tales from the people, from pirates to what were proto-anarchists and even some protected by Kings because they were useful. Anticolonialism began with colonialism. It happens due to this sense of protecting the community, protecting the realness of our ancestry.

Some populations know as much as 100 generations before the current one, I can name one of my great grandparents and that’s saying a lot. I have very little information on my family, it wasn’t passed down to me the important values learned. Only in therapy, I realized my inherent worth given to unconditionality of love and affection, comes from family traditions. And that the genuinity of fierce women who study a lot, too. And also other aspects, such as herbalism and sewing and making art. I’m rediscovering the aspects of my belonging and it’s a joy and wonder to do this scavenger hunt to learn more about the disruptions and worth all these people before my incarnation on this beautiful body of mine.

So the ego-tripping of current role modeling comes from two factors: one, we don’t really know what we appreciate in others. Seldom are those who make the effort of trying to understand what is there to appreciate in the people around us. And two, we don’t know our ancestry so we rely on other people who seem at least what we somewhat hope to be in light of feeling more included in our sense of un-belonging.

So Tom Cruise gains millions of dollars a week and a guy like Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best-known people in the world.

We deem heroes people who made a lot of harm to our planet and way of life. We admit a certain amount of respect for people who clearly have no respect for anything we stand for and then, we build stories upon stories, somewhat to the point of collective insanity, about how amazing and grand we can be if we just truly believe that we are superior to them in any way. This idea of inferiority, superiority, is the furthest away from kinship and belonging possible. Is the anti-love thy neighbor and feed-thy-cat because it leads us to a place of still battling nonsensical to this day the validity of animal intelligence. The validity of grass intelligence, of life intelligence, of planet intelligence.

People, others, animals, grass, planet, are seen as commodities. Utilitarian. Things we can use to move forward.

Forward sometimes is just where the bus is passing.

The planet is clearly stating its intelligence in everything we do, say and think, and feel. Are we listening?

I speak to her a lot. I do nothing else, really.

A long time ago, I decided I wanted to do the actual spiritual and internal work needed to be a genuine person in this amazing Mother Earth of a World that loves me so much. I feel so loved every day, and it shows in how people treat me with kindness and respect, and it shows in my ability to cook a good meal, and it shows in my ability to make art for others that they enjoy and in my kinship and ability to tell others off when they’re being jerks. Because this love, this unconditionality, is also heavily rooted in my ability to respect this intelligence that is so much greater than my own, than our collective, that it is simply patient enough to tell us what we are not willing to listen to.

This trust, this love we all share for life, saves us countless times from being trampled on by ourselves.

The Earth is my only true role model. The trees, the rivers, the kindness of animals, and the genuinity of life are my role models.

Humans still have a long way, but that does not mean I don’t feel kin, love, respect for what they stand for, differently and so variedly. Most people are really confused, and we judge a lot what we don’t understand. Trusting everyone is here for a purpose is trusting the inherent goodness of us all, and believe me, that saves lives.

So in choosing role models, we can’t divide the world into science vs spirituality, ignorant vs smart. But we can surely come up with ways in which we can build bridges of understanding, for companion and kinship. If we can make someone who doesn’t love others understand the meaning of being unconditionally loved because they are simply alive, that’s a battle won. If we can help others maintain a healthy level of respect for everything living, that’s another battle won. And when we understand there is no need for battle, what’s in the past is in the past, and the harm done can be healed, those idiots who harmed us will also understand the idiocy in which they live in, if not only by the end of their lives when they are old and have nothing true to hold dear.

We do not need to make others role models so they can feel better about themselves, we do need to hold people in a place of kinship instead of worshiping because we feel so inferior to their seeming success and accomplishment.

The ancestry of our roots, whether you identify with this European notion of ancestry or not, which is so difficult to rediscover, or with any other place in the world, it’s the true worship we need. That’s where we get our knowledge to live better lives and be in communion with love and respect for ourselves and everything living.

Be with that in your heart. Carry it with you. Breathe and be free, no one is really holding your shackles, they aren’t there anymore, we’ve all cut through it.

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