The Burden of “Woke”

Whether used in jest or deliberately, the term “woke” has become more popular than ever. What does it really mean though? How is it internalized? Am I doing the most because it’s 2am on a school night and I really just need to go back in time three hours ago and sit down somewhere?

Anyways, woke is defined by Urban Dictionary as “being aware; knowing what’s going on in the community” (relating to racism and social injustice). In my own definition, I would venture to broaden the spectrum of awareness to include spirituality, history. etc. — essentially anything where one discovers a sobering truth that changes the way they view the world.

This past weekend, I saw Dr Strange. Besides the obvious mystical theme, there are several other underlying concepts (e.g., low-key Adam and Eve-esque synopsis and Luciferianism, neither of which I will talk about any further in this blog). But at the basic level of consciousness, you see a group of individuals who more or less become “woke” to new dimensional realms and mysticism, and are forced to decide how to go on living with this newfound awareness.

**WARNING: the below contains mild Dr. Strange spoilers. DO NOT proceed unless you’ve seen the movie or don’t care to see it.

The obvious example is Dr. Strange himself. He is initially super arrogant, but due to a terrible car accident, he goes on a journey east to be physically healed after Western medicine has failed him. He gets healed in addition to much more than what he had originally bargained for, however, as he is forced to decide whether or not he wants to go back to his old life or to serve a greater purpose. He chooses to become the protector of one of the three Sanctum Sanctorums, guarding earth from inter-dimensional threats.

Jonathan Pangborn is another character in the movie who was once paralyzed, but took a similar journey as Dr. Strange. He also learned the Mystic Arts, and taught himself to draw from its magic to heal his own paralysis. Given a similar choice to return to his old life or serve a greater purpose, he chose to go back.

Kaecilius (same journey and choice), chose to pursue his own egotistical path of eternal life (at planet Earth’s expense). Karl Mordo chose his own convoluted path, etc etc. What I’m saying is that there is some degree of choice and burden associated with any level of awareness.

Proverbs 30 begins with, “The words of Agur…; an oracle.” The word “oracle” translates to the word “hammasa” — or just “massa,” according to Strong’s concordance) — either of which translates to “burden.” If you were to read the rest of the chapter, Agur speaks with wisdom and awareness, but you also get the sense that he’s at least a little weary with life.

My own search for consciousness began with the music industry and permeated throughout pretty much anything I cared about: the food industry, the healthcare system, American history, etc. I was obsessed. The more I learned, the deeper I wanted to go. But it took a real toll on me. I was left feeling afraid, angry, resentful, and helpless, to name a few. I had to pull the plug.

“ I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race …I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil — this is the gift of God.” — Ecclesiastes 3:10–13

This is pretty much where I’m at with it, and here’s why: I see the world different now. Like, I legit spend half the day contemplating how complex we are. I observe how people interact. I think about what makes them tick, why they are the way they are, and how they communicate. I empathize to the point that I feel their pain, in some instances. I wish that was something I could help, but I can’t.

I believe that the human nature is naturally divisive. It’s the curse that comes with the gift of individuality. 100 people could want the same thing 100 different ways. Our experiences largely drive how we think, perceive, communicate, and react. This can apply to any individual in “system” where any type of conspiracy or corruption exists … from top to bottom, oppressor to the oppressed. The world, in my opinion, is too diverse and convoluted to ever really have the peace we all desire.

So practically speaking, I just try to do good to as many people as I can, give when I can, and please God. I am okay with the extent to which I allow myself to know (or not know). At this stage, I am not equipped to go any further than that. James Baldwin once said, “to be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” I certainly understand why anyone would feel that way, but I have to try my best to choose happiness. Life is hard enough as it is.

To those who have chosen the path of consciousness and whatever comes with it, I pray that you go the “Dr. Strange” route and use it to protect and empower as many others as you can. Pangborn will be rooting for you.