Sunday, March 20, 2005

Victims, saviors, and perpetrators

Following up on the last post, I'll touch here on something I devote a chapter to in Reconceiving My Body. (That's a fairly fun read--follow the link under Links on the right of this page, and you can read some of it at the store there.) The drama of the victim is formula fiction at it's best, and always requires certain characters. The victim, who in h/ir innocence is fallen upon by tragic circumstance, ill health, or apparent crime, is the main character. While people who play the victim do not generate any consciousness of options or choice, as they do not align themselves with the free will, they do usually generate a steady stream of saviors. Saviors play their role in the victim drama by coming to the rescue of the victim, and colluding with them in their perceptions regarding their helplessness and innocence. Politicians particularly love this role, as they generate voting blocks out of various victim-constituencies whom they promise to save/help if elected. The savior, while masquerading as a servant of the victim, is actually not helping them to the degree that they unconsciously collude in the victim's self perception of helplessness and innocence. To the extent that we are blind to the ways in which we design our life experience with choices past and present, to that extent is our path to maturity, self mastery, and true service limited. Completing the cast in the victim drama is the perpetrator, also known as the villian. The perpetrator need not be another individual, although it can be. For that matter, the savior needn't be a person either--we often project the role onto a pill, job, training, vacation, desired object in a catalogue, new house, or what-have-you. When I get such and such, then I will be happy, goes the mantra, certain to be repeated as soon as the empty feeling of getting that something sinks in enough to trigger the next fantasy resolution. So also the role of perpetrator, though a person or class of people may fill the bill suitably, can also be played by a disease process, germ, virus, accident, or even one's own body projected as other. Sometimes the perpetrator role is projected on to a leader, nation or race, which when sufficiently demonized can be made to bear virtually all ills and identified as the cause of all misfortune. Often times, victims will demote saviors to perpetrators. When a person with victim consciousness places someone whom they perceive in the saviour role on a pedestal (whether that person wants to be there or not), and then that savior (inevitably) fails to meet the impossible demands of their role, they are torn from that pedestal by the same one who put them their, and they are blamed for their fall. Someone steeped in victim consciousness who sticks with the role of the victim can run through quite a few saviors in search of someone who can survive the acid test of perfection AND solve the victim's problems to boot. So not everyone who lives by the tenets of the victim consciousness spends all their time in the role of the victim. We have all transitioned through each of these rolls as part of the great passion play of victim consciousness, sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly, sometimes in the roll of victim, sometimes picking up the part of the saviour, and sometimes as the perpetrator.


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