This morning at work I did something I often do – speak freely. We had returned to our desks from a meeting and a few metres away the wallpaper on someone’s desktop (computer screen) caught my eye. “Why does Sam* have a picture of a bergie** on her desktop,” I blurted out aloud. A few heads turned to look and then someone said it’s a picture of Jesus. There was a few laughs; it was a weird moment. I didn’t mean to put anyone of the spot.
Looking at the image again I noticed that it did indeed look like the countless replicas of the white Jesus many of us may be accustomed to. Sam had turned and asked, what if Jesus was a bergie? (Our teams recently moved into the same office and we didn’t know one another too well.) She didn’t appear to find the situation humourous. She seemed offended and a bit angry. She didn’t engage in a conversation about the topic; she just turned to screen and continued working.
I find it scary that our minds are so easily manipulated; that one man’s personal agenda can become a prison for a multitude of minds with little or no coercion. It’s even more profound that people perpetuate ideals, visions and missions that they do not fully understand out of fear or complacency and throughout their lives never, ever, question it.
This week I had a moment of weakness and decided that I should give people a break (sometimes). It must be hard, especially in adulthood, to learn that the fundamental parts of your life and your belief systems are not necessary for survival. I imagine it would be near impossible to admit that some parts don’t even make a shred of sense and actually cause harm in the greater scheme of things. I love this dialogue from The Matrix:
Neo: “Why do my eyes hurt?”
Morpheus: “You’ve never used them before.”
I suppose what’s real is simply what we choose to perceive as real. And the truth is what you accept to be true, regardless of it’s sensibility or source. We are that powerful. We bend minds, break them, give it away, take them. We waste minds. We write and re-write our stories, our history. We are, in essence, gods and that is scary.
*not her real name
**bergie – slang Afrikaans reference to a homeless person