I am going to go out on a limb—or a flagpole, as it were. I just heard again some coverage regarding South Carolina and the flag. The person being interviewed said that it should not be at the State Capitol, which is a place for everyone, and no one should have to drive past there and feel pain. But rather it should be in a museum where it can be honored appropriately.

First of all, what is appropriate? For whom? At what time?

Second, how are you going to affect that someone honors the flag in whatever way is deemed appropriate?

In addition, if someone feels pain, is it because of the symbol or is it because of what they tell themselves, what story they have about that symbol in their mind? So, what should be changed: The story or the symbol?

What are symbols anyway? Isn’t it just something that evokes a story in our mind? So, what is it that has the power: The symbol or the story?

I remember a while ago hearing a story about a black man, who adopted the Confederate flag, or whatever it’s called, because it is not just the Confederate flag, it was a flag before that and there is a name for it (I must research this further). He adopted it as his own; he had it proudly waving on his car. As you can imagine, some Blacks on one side, and some Whites on the other side, had different reactions to his adoption of that symbol.

He owned that flag. He refused to let someone else tell him what story to make up about it. It was amusing to see how, on the one hand, some people were horrified that he could adopt it. But he realized it was just a symbol, and he hoped others would embrace the same philosophy towards this symbol. It was amazing how some of the white men he encountered all of a sudden rejected the symbol; they wanted to have nothing to do with it. So, he helped them change their story about it. He might not have changed their way of thinking immediately, but at least the symbol they had wielded like a weapon was relinquished. This can ultimately diffuse the hate and fear behind a symbol, because it no longer has one rationale on which to cling or one single story which to propagate. Rather than upholding mental bondage, a symbol is slowly sapped of power.

Is that not the more effective way of honoring a symbol? To see it for what it is?

The more we uphold what it stands for—the story based on one time frame, based on hate and fear—the more that is real. And directly or indirectly, even if you don’t want to, that upholds it, that honors that story of hate and fear. What he was doing was turning it into love—seeing the reality occluded by the fear. He was seeing it for the symbol that it was—nothing more and nothing less.

In the same way, that is the lesson we can implement in our every day lives: to take behaviors that we see from our friends, family, and colleagues as symbols. We are the ones, who write the story about it. We are the ones who interpret it, attach meaning to it for ourselves. They are just symbols and we make of them what we want to make of them.

The person in traffic who …, the friend who didn’t …, or the colleague who …

What story are you telling yourself? Is it based on Fear, or is it based on Love?  ~BlinkNFlow

Idiom: Whistling Dixie–If someone is whistling Dixie, they talk about things in a more positive way than the reality. [Whose reality? ;-)]