INTRODUCTION: The Modern Urge to Shoot the Messenger
When one writes in the manner in which I do, often on controversial subjects or ones which are designed to stretch the mind, there will always be some people who get bent out of shape or offended, or even outraged. So be it. One of the signs of emotional maturity, and especially of spiritual maturity (which should involve the overcoming of ego issues), is being able to read or hear something with which one doesn’t agree without having apoplexy or being filled with the urge to shoot down the messenger! As a sign of the immaturity which is seemingly inherent in cyberspace is the lurking bunch of people who are always waiting to shoot you down in flames for the least little contradiction of the ways they want to control you and your manner of thinking. It goes with the territory, especially in the Wild West social media scene!
From time to time, these critics become downright abusive, sending messages with accusations and insults and, occasionally, even threats of a more serious nature (though I haven’t had actual death-threats for more than a decade). Such desperation always makes me smile with bemusement and weariness. 🙄 These complaints and judgements can be, for example, from “woke” [sic] leftists and feminists who think I’m a sexist ultra-right misogynist, or from dismayed conservatives who think that I’m a traitor to the cause because I believe that Donald Trump is a personality-disordered patsy for the power-elite’s mind-control PsyOps. (There’s a mouthful for you!). Anyone who imagines that Trump is heroically waging a battle against the so-called “deep state” or that he is “a lightworker” bringing in the New Age [both of which I have seen claimed in a number of places by prominent popular posters on social media] must surely be on skunk-weed! 🙂. Fact is, I will never be able to please those who are dyed-in-the-wool lefties or righties, neither of which give much credence to independent thought outside of their boxes. Neither do they really understand the concept of freedom, because far too many of them desire you to be a clone of their respective philosophies, or else, and I will resist that to the death. I am neither a leftie nor a rightie but I am an unashamed Truthie! I’m not interested in ideology but in Truth. Or these abusive messages can be from triggered folks whose hair stands on end with horror if one mentions the words “Christ”, “Bible”, “Satan” or “archons”/“demons”. Or they can be messages from people who are simply itching to tell me that my music “is crap”. Or that I am a “spiritual Neanderthal”. Or that I am a “conspiracy nut” (though they never check out the easily obtainable evidence that the conspiracies which I write about are not theories but facts). And many more accusations. There is no end to the number of people who will queue up to reprimand you online for not being how they want you to be. One thing is sure: Today, mob-rule rules okay! Only these days it isn’t with pitchforks and torches outside your cottage in an “à la Shrek” ogre-hunt, but through cyber-bullying and keyboard pseudo-warriordom. One can tell from their sneering tone that their aim is to beat you down, break you down, close you down. That tone also tells you that there is something dark which lies behind their critiques.
Is Copyright Unspiritual?
It is always intriguing to see the different internet tactics that these folks who want to close you down will use in order to score points over you. Some people will just be out and out rude, critiquing your lack of “political awareness” (aka your lack of political correctness) and doing everything they can to put you right. Others will use more passive-aggressive techniques to put you down by making subtle insinuations about your character. One of those is to make out as if you’re a hypocrite by highlighting certain aspects of your life and making out as if they are incompatible with your professed philosophy. I’ve had this happen to me many times. It’s as if people are looking for any excuse to criticise you and find fault.
A recent example was when a guy said I couldn’t possibly be a spiritual person because I make my writings copyright and then he promptly blocked me on social media. No discussion. No seeking to ascertain why I do this. People are strange (though I do believe that he had other issues, such as some kind of competitive jealousy). If he had checked with me, I would have told him that my primary reason for copyright is to protect the message. Between 2002 and 2006, I went through a spate of my articles being plagiarised and then republished with parts altered to suit the beliefs of the plagiariser. Sometimes it was just a bit; but other times huge chunks were taken out. So I began to copyright all my stuff. Not that it would stop any rabid plagiarisers, but it was at least a gesture (and I haven’t had any plagiarising since then, to my knowledge). Does that make me less spiritual? I think it actually makes me more responsible. Copyright means that people have to exercise their manners to ask permission to use your work (though such manners are becoming increasingly rare). I have a message which I want to get out there. Why should I see it lifted from source, then mashed out of recognition? The idea that copyrighting is somehow unspiritual is typical of a kind of idealistic mysticism which says that everything should be given away free without any conditions whatsoever and that everyone owns everything of anyone else’s. Well, I don’t mind my writings being freely available for distribution, which they are. But I do have a responsibility to protect them from distortion. So I copyright them; and to the copyright notice in my book I added the rider: “Although copyright, this work is a labour of love and may be freely distributed, on condition that such distribution keeps exactly the same title, file format and design in which it was published, and that nothing is added to the text and nothing is taken away from it”. I hope that explains things. It’s not complicated and, in my mind, it is totally logical.
The Hypocrisy of the Other
People seem to love to try and prove that other people are hypocrites and phonies — that their actions don’t match the standards they espouse. It is always the hypocrisy of the other. A typical accusation of this nature which I’ve received on a few occasions I have here conflated into this:
“I’ve noticed that you dye your hair. How ironic that someone who harps on about authenticity the whole time should be so artificial as to dye his hair to change his appearance. Authentic? More like pathetic!”
Well, here is my response to such a complaint: Please don’t think that I haven’t thought very deeply about this subject and related ones. I am constantly aware that there should be no gaping hole between what I say and how I live — not in order to placate critics such as this (for they will always look for holes in one’s behaviour), but because my God desires that His disciples do not live a lie. The truth is that no genuinely spiritual person could live (nor would want to live) in any state of real inauthenticity for long. Such a person continually practises the art of self-awareness so as to spot any inconsistencies of character, and the Spirit within has a challenging habit of pricking one’s conscience with a mighty spear if needed… from the inside (much more painful than from the outside)! As a result of that self-awareness, the genuinely spiritual person finds inauthenticity or moral dishonesty far more repugnant within his or her own character than in any other people. For the genuinely spiritual person, self-scrutiny is de rigueur, and s/he is his or her own best critic. Improvement in comportment should be noticeable increasingly as one grows in grace and wisdom throughout the years (even though one’s critics may not want to recognise that 😉). Perfection, even though it is unattainable in this fallen 3-D world, should be striven for nevertheless.
Calling someone else a hypocrite is a very easy accusation to make (and I have noticed that very often those who so readily accuse others of hypocrisy are doing so because there is some other issue which they have with the one they are accusing, about which they are not being honest). But, until one has walked some miles in that other person’s moccasins, one should be very wary of making such a judgement unless one is sure of the ground on which one stands. I am very happy for a trusted friend to point out to me with genuine concern if I am plainly being hypocritical or dishonest to myself. But nobody knows my inner wrestlings except me. There are times when I do indeed feel like a terrible hypocrite. Not for something as trifling and stupidly inconsequential as dyeing my hair; but, for example, I often wonder how I could have the audacity to write as I do, or claim to be a disciple of Christ, or any kind of teacher, when I am such a manifestly imperfect human being in so many ways, having such silly thoughts and immature desires. Believe me… I wrestle with these things night and day. Night and day!
The Seven Questions Which Ascertain Integrity
Coming back to the subject of hair dye, having closely examined my use of it, I am at peace about the whole thing. It’s ridiculous that I should have to write about this at all; and I don’t do so to make excuses for myself, as there is nothing about it for which I feel I need to be excused. But I can use this as a peg on which to hang a hat, for it provides an opportunity for some communication about the touchstones and benchmarks I use to measure my behaviour to see if it is consistent with being an authentic, genuinely spiritual human being. I have seven litmus-test questions which I generally use in all debatable situations and I will here apply these to my use of hair dye. I hope you will also find them helpful. Here are those questions and how the dyeing of hair squares up to them:
QUESTION 1: “Am I at Risk of Becoming Addicted to it?”
This is one thing I always ask. For I want to be a slave of nothing; and if I feel something could take me over in some way then I eschew and overcome it. This is one of the reasons why I do not smoke, do not drink alcohol nor do drugs (though I leave it to others to make their own choices on this). So with regard to dyeing my hair, the answer is “No”. I can take it or leave it. I am not compelled to dye my hair or else woe betide me! This, for me, is always an important pointer in matters of human comportment. For the genuinely spiritual person, nothing should have a hold over him or her. Absolutely nothing. I know that I could just as easily stop dyeing my hair as continue dyeing it; which is why I use a temporary dye which only lasts for about a month. It isn’t a compulsion — it is merely a cosmetic option. 🙂 (PS: If you challenge me to prove it by not dyeing it for a while or forever, then I might take you up on that 😉).
QUESTION 2: “Is it Harmful to me?”
By harmful, I mean causing harm physically or psychologically. Well, I use a very gentle dye which is not permanent but washes out in a few weeks. I use the same one every time. So no harm done. No psycho harm either. In fact, it’s probably psychologically beneficial because when I use it, I look the same age as I feel, which is surely more authentic! 😃
QUESTION 3: “Does it Waste my Precious Time?”
It’s not a woman’s dye, which can involve up to an hour of work! It’s a man’s dye which is done in 5 minutes or less, once per month or so. I whack it on, then shower as normal. So I do not feel any significant time is wasted on this.
QUESTION 4: “Could it Have a Negative Influence on Anyone Else?”
This is another important question to ask. For even if we think something is okay for ourselves, it may be a bad influence for someone else. For example, the effect which smoking, drinking alcohol or doing drugs may have on our children at home, etc. Also, some people are stronger and can cope with certain things better than others. For example, I can research or even attend incognito, without participation, for the purposes of research, something dark, so that I am better equipped to write about it or understand it (as I have done a number of times). But others could be ensnared by it or badly affected by it. So I must be sensitive about what I expose others to if I do them. Thus, I keep quiet about my involvement in it so that others do not try and mimic what I do. Just because I want to be armed well through my understanding of things and be better equipped to be at the forefront of the spiritual battle doesn’t mean that others could deal with it in the same way. In fact, I know that many cannot. So that, too, is something I take into consideration. Could it have a negative influence on anyone else? Regarding dyeing my hair, I can’t imagine how it might have a negative influence on anyone. It’s not as if I’m shooting up heroin outside some school gates! Regarding its influence on children… well it was actually my kids who encouraged me to dye my hair in the first place back in 2002 (when they were aged between 8 and 13). They thought it would be a gas, so I did it as a fun surprise one day! 😃 So I can’t see any genuine negative influences of this on others. The only negative influence I’ve noticed on anyone else is that it seems to annoy people who don’t like the things I write about and so want to find holes in my integrity! 🤣
QUESTION 5: “Is it Beneficial to me?”
I believe that it is. I want to present myself to the world not as some kind of vanity project but as the best possible version of me which represents who I really am. Let’s face it, our physical projection is only a hologramlike graphical user interface in this fallen world! It’s just a temporary vessel with some aspects fixed by DNA, and other stuff that is pliable and plastic (more on this below). Frankly, I don’t yet see myself as a little old man with white hair shuffling down the street with difficulty, even though I am now in my 70s! I feel somewhere in my late 40s or early 50s who eats well, does physical exercise (cycling and swimming every day), uses metrosexual face-cream and who looks after himself! 😃 Sure, I could collapse in a heap and drop dead at any moment. That’s why I can’t take it all seriously. It’s just a suitcase. Life is always lived on a knife edge, and we are one missed heartbeat away from death in every second. But when I look in the mirror and see my hair as it currently is, it looks about right. (Though I wouldn’t mind if I looked like an active so-called “silver fox” either! Might try that soon). That to me is beneficial. It certainly isn’t detrimental. Besides, life is plastic… but I’ll explain about that below 😉
QUESTION 6: “Is it Unnatural?”
Well, this is an interesting one. People have said to me, “It’s not natural to dye your hair. Therefore, you are not behaving with integrity”. But how natural do you want to get? It isn’t natural to shave but you never tell me I shouldn’t have a smooth face. If you want to be consistent about telling me to be natural, then surely you should want me to grow a beard too! So why don’t these same people tell me not to shave? 🙂 Surely, on your said basis, it is also just as “unnatural” to get one’s hair cut or have its style altered, if the same value is to be applied. Is it unnatural for women to shave or wax their armpits and legs (and in some cases, arms too), yet a great many do? Just as a woman is free to shave or not shave her body without recriminations from others (though if she is married, from a standpoint of love they would have to work that out together 😉), my view is that I am free to dye my hair if I want, have a beard if I want, have no beard if I want, have half a beard or a full one; just as I am free to have short hair or longer hair (though I would never have it in imitation of a woman, as I believe I have a duty to live my God-given maleness in every way, despite the current satanic push to eradicate any difference between male and female. And don’t start getting on my case about that; you can do what you like, and I will do what I like!). People may have a personal opinion about that, but that is all it is. They have no right to accuse anyone else of hypocrisy or a lack of authenticity or integrity over mere preferences of grooming; for that is all that we are dealing with here.
Social media has encouraged people to make themselves so busy criticising others. That seems to be all that Twitter is about, which is why I will never bother with it. It is as if a kind of madness has come over humanity. The same mentality prevails in the Christian scene too (except a number of people there will also tell lies about you). Many people in churches are so ready to judge others’ personal idiosyncrasies, traits or mannerisms. The clothes they wear (or the ones they don’t wear), the earrings or jewellery they have, and so on. In some churches, people are told that it is vain to have any kind of embellishment or adornment and for someone to dye their hair is a sign that they are “worldly” or “vain” and therefore “not truly born again”, bla-bla. Then rumours and calumnies are spread about the offenders. This I have often seen. It is control-freak behaviour of the highest order. (I am currently writing a hard-hitting article about all this, entitled “Truth Attracts Lies & There Are Good Reasons Why”).
QUESTION 7: “Could it Be Dishonouring to my Creator?”
This is a question which has to be asked. When one knows that one has received the gift of life from a higher being — the Highest possible Being — then it is only right that such a life is lived in a way which reflects gratitude and in conformity to the laws which have been embedded in the creation by nature. (For there is a story here which is more awesome and mindblowing than the greatest science-fiction story you could ever read!). This is just a deeper way of saying, “Is what I am doing or saying inconsistent with Truth and Love?” Frankly, I believe that God is more concerned about the purity of my actions than the tint of my hair! I have actually prayed about this and received no specific guidance. So my heart is at peace. Would God be concerned about whether or not I shave my beard, or about whether or not a woman shaves her armpits or waxes her legs? Would God really be bothered if I shaved my head, as many do today? Truthfully, I think that these things would only be a concern if we were obsessed with them and wasted an inordinate amount of time preening ourselves, as if every day was a beauty contest! Then we would be dealing with serious vanity and futility. So I will just get on with doing God’s work, spreading the message of Truth and on the side I will amuse myself with whatever hair colour or length or beard/non-beard takes my fancy.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
That I should have to write about this subject at all is a sign of how daft things have become in the hysterical finger-pointing, mob-driven scene of today, in which virtue is so often only ‘signalled’ as an empty boast rather than actually lived for real. Bathos, triteness, triviality, legalism, prosaicism, unimaginativeness and dumbed-down banality have become the order of the day. So many seem to be more concerned about picking other individuals to pieces rather than looking at the degenerate direction in which this world is moving and then seeing how their own ignorance and lack of discernment about it is part of that degeneracy. Finger-pointing at others with disapproval is very often a smokescreen, a façade, to avoid having to face up to one’s own jealousies, inadequacies or peccadilloes. It is also a failure to realise that this theatre we call “the world” is more of a playground than we have been brainwashed to believe. What do I mean by “playground”? Well, it’s connected to what I mentioned about plasticity earlier and what I will finish explaining in the conclusion below.
Conclusion (& A Reprise About Plasticity)
Well, here we come back to what I said earlier about life being “plastic”, which it is; for we can bend it in any way that we wish (if it fits in well with the above seven touchstone questions). Life is plastic. We can play with it. There are some things which are (literally and/or figuratively) written in stone (e.g. you must not kill, you must not steal, you must love the Lord God with all your heart, or you must love your neighbour as yourself, etc.). But there are many things which we can mould in any way we wish, as if we were artists using atoms like a set of marbles, or angels throwing arcs of lightning across the universe from their vantage point in the heavens. There is nothing wrong with trying to ameliorate things in this fallen world. Just as we can add mould-inhibitors to bread to give it a longer life, or we can spray our flowers to prevent them from being ravaged by pests, so we can do stuff to ourselves which ameliorates our experience. We are not here to be hemmed-in by would-be jailers and killjoys. We are not here to be limited by the small-minded makers of legalistic regulations. Unfortunately, the mindset of the Pharisees has never been confined to the sect which lived in Israel two thousand years ago! It is an epidemic which knows no particular era yet is present in all. When I hear people (even among my own relatives!) saying stuff like this to me: “You should regularize yourself, Alan, and stop living like you’re a teenage hippie anarchist, floating around Europe, living off sponsors, while writing and making music. Act your age and settle down!”, I have to laugh out loud at that petit bourgeois mindset which is so stuck in a matchbox toy from yesteryear. You don’t know who I am at all. Yes, I am a hypocrite (but not in the ways you may think). Yes, I am desperately imperfect, but I never cease working to overturn any possible hypocrisy and imperfection. You will just have to trust me on that. I do not need the bad blood of others in order to be motivated for personal change. I am a disciple, breathlessly awaiting the call of my God. I am like a dog at the heels of his Master, watching for his cues and commands. In this broken world, I am a vagrant on the hinterland of time… but meanwhile… I will do all that I can to rhyme. For so much can be poetry, if only one undoes the knots, and sees the asymmetry of signs and surprise in places where they habitually (and secretly) hide.
This is the Silver Fox in disguise signing out and checking in! 👴🏼 👨🏼🦳 👦🏽 😎
© Alan Morrison, 2019