✊🏾 Mental Self-Defense ✌🏼

You may not know it yet but you’ve been drafted into a war. A conflict of cognitive warfare, in which the battlefield is your mind.

We are all unwitting participants in an information war that isn’t just plaguing U.S. politics to the point of making our neighbors and allies worry about us — it’s all around the globe. The right-wing authoritarian faction has banded together like proverbial evil villains to take over the world, including of course, American democracy.

Activists, Take Heart!

I know we’ve all been exhausted for what feels like forever and a day now, but there’s really no choice but to soldier on — we owe it to democracy, to justice, to history, and to our children and grandchildren. We owe it to the world to figure out how to pull antisocial anger and bigotry back from the brink. We owe it to ourselves to re-articulate all the things we keep going for — to achieve a clarity of mind and purpose that we can convey to others, who will help us tell a new story of patriotism and regain our better angels’ sense of pragmatic optimism.

Be sure to give yourself time to rest, and for self-care. We have to prepare ourselves for a marathon, not just a sprint — don’t let yourself get run ragged. Remember that part of the apartheid right-wing’s strategy is to try and wear you out, wear you down, and knock you out of the game. Don’t lose heart! Success isn’t just about the external wins and losses — it’s about the integrity of living our values and modeling that conviction to others. It’s about being the change we seek.

Psychological Self-Defense

I’ve collected and will be adding some more to this set of pieces relating to the “inner game” we all have — the pretty constantly-running narrative always going on inside our heads (meditators know this “monkey mind” all too well!). Turns out this inner game is fantastically more important than we ever hear about other than indirectly through things like productivity tips and career development writ large.

The inner game is everything.

It’s the difference between being able to modulate your energy levels directly and consciously, or being led blindly about without awareness. The inner game allows you to invest time and energy into improving one of the few things you’re guaranteed to have with you your entire life: your brain. Fortune and luck may come and go, but the actual structure of your mind is with you no matter what. You could call it your “sovereign intellectual property” — except in (hopefully!) rare cases of brain injury and so forth.

And beyond just knowledge, working on your inner game pays dividends in areas of your life from stress level to “command presence” at work to negotiating skill. The benefits can be financial, medical, psychological, spiritual, political, and potentially beyond in ways we can’t yet imagine.

Some thoughts to start:

see also: Save Democracy, Model Thinking