How Dare You Be Happy When I am Miserable?

There is a lot of shaming going on.

There is a lot of shaming going on.

Who is getting blasted? Naturally, it’s the little guy who breaks the “rules.”

What rules?

Any arbitrary rules du jour imposed by the world’s finest superpredators who are making ‘em, breaking ‘em, and paying for the “content” that instructs us whom to trust and what to think in order to maintain a worldview that maximizes their profits and ensures their lasting economic dominance, whether it requires a status quo or a “Great Reset.”

And the heart?

The heart picks up the tab. The pandemic of shaming people for feeling dignified as individuals or entitled to spiritual and physical sovereignty is nothing new. I remember that strange and toxic beast from my Soviet childhood. There was an implied idea of “them,” the “majority,” “the people,” an entity that was above any individual. It was personified by posters of workers with hammers, by old women full of pain caused by men, and by movie characters dying for the people. “They” were always struggling and thus always “right” because it was pain that made “them” pure and entitled to castigating others. Now I understand that it was a meme put together by the government from scraps of the existing culture—but back then it was just an unhappy, obligating entity that was there because it was a part of the universe. A dictatorship of the unhealed.

The moral case for “masking” the collective spiritual defeat and making it invisible by making everyone participate was so heavy on my soul that I ran away from the cultural bulldozer all the way to the United States. After many years of living in America, the land whose culture swings the other way and favors Big Commerce and Big Indifference, I forgot about my homeland’s mandatory pain. But now that the self-righteous bulldozer is here and at the service of the %0.0001 and their wallets, I am having none of it. I understand this beast’s toxicity no matter how it’s contextualized and spun for aching peasants, and I am really having none of it. This deliberate confusion of love for others with self-betrayal is an ancient weapon in a recent wrapper. I refuse. The heart is sacred.

So how does this poison work?

Back in the Soviet days, the need to punish the “sticker out” was internalized by adults so deeply that many pursued it without even thinking. A psychologist looking at the dynamic could say that it was “envy” or “generational trauma” born out of dealing with cruel masters and Christian guilt, the sentiment that was subsequently weaponized by the Soviet apparatchiks to keep the people down. A historian could say that centuries ago, a liar with a sword engaged in propaganda and convinced the people that joylessness was the will of God—and since that day, many liars had come along and robbed the people of their joy and sovereignty, to enrich and elevate themselves.

But on the inside, it was just an assumption that life was hard—and that it was deeply selfish and insulting to feel sovereign, to dress bold, to desire comfort that others didn’t have, or to act happy when other people felt sad or wronged—which other people always did, you could bet on that. In the language of emotional mechanics, it was a situation in which the ”majority” particles—dancing to the drum that encouraged defeat while singing own song of mutigenerational hardship—equalized the “minority” particles by forcing them to move and vibrate at the same speed and in the same direction, in order to keep the status quo of shared sadness and individual unimportance in the particle community. The odd, unrealistic happiness of one selfish particle insulted the equilibrium of the default collective struggle.

As a “sticker out” by birth, I suffered. I oscillated between being me and pleasing “them.” Being loyal to my soul brought me tremendous harmony but went against the grain and invoked aggression from my peers—and pleasing “them” required castrating my soul and made me dull. When I was little, the girls would get on my case for “smiling all the time” or “selfishly” outcompeting the existing academic queens in my class. Once I grew up, it became about my pants that unwittingly flattered my anatomy or the awful act of making out with a boyfriend on the bus. But the most traumatizing proposition was the need to feel guilty for my spiritual beliefs.

Overnight, the citizens were liberated from over seventy years of fanatical “scientific atheism.” Many desperately craved a filler for the soul—and thus they embraced the Orthodox church with matching fanaticism. I was trying to find my truth outside of the beaten path and I found that my quest came with a side effect of making others suffer by being who I was! I was a sticker out! It was as if my soul didn’t belong to me but was the property of “them,” the community, and “they” had the authority to moralize all over my beliefs because the only correct way to see the world was theirs!

The dilemma was impossible: Be happy and thus contribute to the suffering of those around you—because your freedom causes them real pain—or submit your spirit to the communal fest of unimportance. If you choose the former, you are authentic and alone—and if you choose the latter, you betray your sacred heart, and you are forced to spend the rest of your life trying to fill the void with approval of your peers who were just ready to murder you for your authenticity but who will now praise you for being good and not sticking out. And once you check your soul at the door, with time, you’ll surely join the army of equalizers—because the void hurts.


If I weren’t familiar with this genre of linguistic trickery I’d entertain the possibility but sorry, no. No, I don’t trust the corporatchiks, why should I? Are they doing theirs?

Bad election candidates? Squeeze your teeth and vote for the lesser evil! What do you mean we rigged? Look Tru-u-u-u-u-ump! Shame on you, little guy, shame on you.

Climate change? Take shorter showers, get off the land, stop flying, and change your diet to lab-grown poison, would you? We obviously won’t—but we are in a different league. Look pla-a-a-a-anet!! Shame on you, little guy, shame on you!

The plague? Mask up, especially when having sex. Close your business. Go hungry. Hey, kill yourself for all we care as long as you comply. There are trillions at stake for us, and we really need you to go comply this time. WE are the science and the facts, so DO. YOUR. PART. Shame on you, little guy, shame on you.

Cynically, underneath each corporate campaign to shame for “public good,” there is a money trail. Why? Because the dealers of fear and angst are dishonest human beings who, on top of being dishonest, are distorting science and weaponizing pain. The tragic truth is that the people who are commanding us are predators, and they are unqualified to moralize or teach others about moralizing. We have a vortex where the formal heart of the society is supposed to be. Conformity is silly.

How do “community values” work in practice?

In order for the values to be spiritually whole and genuinely good for the community, the person coming up with them needs to be spiritually whole as well. Without honesty on top, “good” language at the bottom is meaningless. There is no way around that dependency! It is preposterous to appoint dishonest people as moral guides or science pickers, especially given that our science is as broken and compromised as the rest of our society. We, sadly, are living in a world where “the facts” depend on who is talking, and where “community values” are created by the people who are anything but whole. Those people are dishonest opportunists vampiring human emotions for a profit. Thus, since the source is dirty, the resulting values are also dirty. And while the opportunists don’t care about the community, they have marketing departments and employ experts in psychology and neurolinguistic programming who know all about “pain points” and “triggers.” They know how to transform a thirst for dignity and security into a lucrative scream of agony directed where the market gotta give.

Yes, the thirst for dignity is real and so is the pain but the suggested interpretations of causality and the “solutions” roadmap are a disaster and a cheat. And while we can talk about systems, it really is about human beings—yes, human beings—who choose to lie about important things—and who ultimately carry the responsibility for the resulting pain. History will not be kind to them, just like history wasn’t kind to the bolsheviks who screamed, “Power to the people!” while what they really meant was, “Get angry, help me get rid of competition, and then get lost in poverty and pain!”

The will of the community isn’t good or bad because it is communal, its goodness depends on the spiritual state of the “particles.” When everyone is broken, the will of the community is a bulldozer, with envy and resentment running rampant, witches burned at the stake, and hearts open to manipulation by the villains. When the community is rooted in sincerity and spiritually grounded—for real, your heart will know!—it provides nourishment and healing, and there is no brawl between “public good” and “individual rights” because individual rights are worked into the definition of the public good in earnest—as well as mechanisms for resolving conflict from the heart. “Collective” values of today feel oppressive because they are a cheat constructed by liars and weaponized by the unhealed.

Now, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking why many of my comfortable friends are acting a bit like trusty domestic pets when it comes to this. Perhaps it’s because America IS the land of Big Indifference, and the lack of a “community” narrative has created such a hunger for cooperative action that their longing souls are willing to accept anything that resembles cooperation. Perhaps it’s that. Perhaps it’s the kind of trauma that impacts the comfortable who want to suffer a bit and sacrifice a bit—unless it really hurts, then no—to feel like they are not left out of the trendy “collective struggle.” Or maybe it’s just an honest reaction to abuse. Or all of the above.

But seriously, if countless public figures touting dystopian and cruel pandemic measures for “public good” really believed that we were are still in the middle of a deadly plague, they would be wearing spacesuits—no exception—and they would not be regularly caught bare-faced or in violation of own rules, on or off camera. They also wouldn’t be hypocritically allowing one kind of protest and not the other. Because the plague is not a joke and does not tolerate performance art.

And no, the argument that goes, “We still are in the middle of a plague but these officials are imperfect” doesn’t work—because it’s them who are telling us we need to be afraid, and if it weren’t for them, we would be living in a world where we would be protecting the vulnerable—the opposite of what the hypocrites have done—and going about our lives like it’s 2019. My God, so much to ask! And yes, the world is not a simulation. It’s beautiful but it’s not 100% safe. And—please allow me a tangent for logic’s sake—if we applied the same shaming principle to, say, car accidents, then anybody whose family member passed in a car accident would be yelling at drivers who selfishly want to continue driving even though people die from cars, and at a much higher rate.

And if you only knew how many times homeless people coughed on me this summer…

So, away with shame. The heart is sacred.