The problem of weaponized insight
A participant in the Come Alive and Do the Thing! Mastermind has a brilliant term for the use of a supposedly wise observation to critique or diminish another person: weaponized insight.
Don’t you love it?
At first it was thrilling to me just to have a term for this phenomenon, but as I sat with it, I started to see some important implications.
A weaponized insight is a weapon, not an insight
The moment an insight becomes weaponized, it stops being an insight and becomes a weapon.
This goes a long way to explaining what’s going on when we use our own insights against ourselves.
Insights and weapons are inherently different
An insight produces a shift in awareness. It tends to expand awareness, deepen connection, and elevate consciousness.
A weapon has the opposite effect. It shrinks awareness as the person against whom it is being used goes into fight or flight.
It breaks the connection between the one who wields the weapon and the one against whom it is wielded.
And it tends to lower one’s level of consciousness to the realms of competition and survival.
When we use insight to assess, judge, and berate ourselves, it stops being insight
Weaponized insights aren’t always wielded by others. Some of the most pernicious are the ones we wield against ourselves.
How often have you argued with yourself about why you aren’t using your hard-won insights or following your wisdom in some area of your life?
I don’t know about you, but that has confused the hell out of me. How can I be so incredibly smart (just saying) and so incredibly stuck at the same time?
It’s because I’m confusing self flagellation with insight.
There is nothing insightful about any attack on your inherent okayness
Any so-called insight that calls into question your inherent okayness has been weaponized.
Since there is nothing wrong with you, any insight wrapped in the message that there is, is false.
Something that points at how you are (presumably) broken takes you in the wrong direction–but only entirely.
Put down the weapon first
I used to try to pry the insight apart from the weapon. My logic went something like this.
If I could only get the message of the insight, the weaponized message would not longer apply or hurt.
That didn’t work.
The weapon didn’t stop being a weapon until I simply put it down, even at the risk of dropping a seemingly good insight.
I began to see that wholeness is key
As I dropped my weaponized insights, I began to see the vital importance of beginning with the premise that every human being is created whole and deserving.
I saw how our relentless compulsions to judge, evaluate, and improve ourselves actually block access to deeper impulses toward goodness and creativity.
And I saw how authentic insight points us toward our underlying wholeness and connects us to those deeper impulses.
Here’s to freedom
Weaponized insights wound and diminish.
Authentic insight heals and expands. It can sting, but the sting is bracing and enlivening.
That distinction is liberating. Play with it. Take it for a test drive. And let me know what you discover.
Have a wonderful, wonder-filled week, and please share your thoughts and questions in the comments on my blog.
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