Are You Dangerous Enough to Make a Difference?
Why is Dangerous So Attractive?
At some point, many people find themselves attracted (even if it is just secretly) to someone dangerous. If this hasn’t happened to you, maybe you wondered why your seemingly intelligent friends suddenly aligned themselves with a bully they had previously scorned. Or an ordinarily conservative person falls hard for a “bad boy” or “bad girl.” So why does dangerous equate with attractive?
The answer is as ancient as humanity.
The most basic human driver is, of course, survival. We want to know that we’re safe. Psychologically speaking, we tell ourselves that we will be safe if we place ourselves around those whom others perceive as powerful or dangerous. Over thousands of years of psychological development, we’ve learned to align ourselves with power, particularly when we feel weak. The fact is powerful people are often dangerous.
When we are around a dangerous person, there’s a sense of having permission to touch the dangerous parts of our own being. People feel safe when dangerous people are on their side, even when the enemy is manufactured. Thus, we sometimes consciously and often unconsciously align ourselves with dangerous individuals for protection.
Or, to put it more succinctly, we find it dangerous to be attractive.
Electing Dictators aka Dangerous People
Adolf Hitler is often cited as an example of an elected dictator. However, there are many elected dictators of recent history. We can, of course, argue about the integrity of those elections, or for that matter, any election. Nonetheless, the fact remains that they are elected.
Bashar Assad, a man American media tells us is a dictator, won the Syrian presidential election. Nicolás Maduro won the presidential elections in Venezuela. There is Prime Minister Erdogan in Turkey and the most famous current one of all — Vladimir Putin of Russia. All of the above, we are told, are dictators. How is this possible? The short answer is the dark side of danger is “FEAR.” Fear can grow faster than a virus in a petri dish. A fear-driven media environment perfectly facilitates a new hybrid governance system known as elected dictatorships.
The solution? It’s not eliminating the media, although a good scrub down with a journalistic carbolic soap wouldn’t hurt. No, the answer is, as always, on the individuals of a society.
Awakening The Beast
We live in a time where many people are either offended by just about everything and are screaming about it, or they’re walking on eggshells trying not to offend anyone.
You may tell yourself not to agitate the “crazies” on either side. However, if you are focused on being inoffensive and harmless, you are unconsciously instilling anxiety.
Ask yourself: do you trust someone who is focused on not offending, on being “nice” (neurotic-insecure-controlling-emotions), to tell the truth? This may shock you, but understand this: nice guys (gender-neutral) are a-holes!
When we are fixated on being “nice,” the dangerous part of ourselves remains potentially destructive to our own being and creates anxiety within. We may even sense that part of ourselves is destructive, and that’s why we avoid it. Avoiding it propagates our own anxiety.
So, if being inoffensive, harmless, and nice is the catalyst for anxiety both in others and in ourselves, what is the antidote?
The key is recognizing and owning the shadow parts of ourselves — what I call the beast. Having the courage and discipline to befriend the beast hidden within. Bringing home this disenfranchised part of our being can feel dangerous, and it is. It feels dangerous because releasing the beast will consume the lies hiding at the very essence of our front-facing persona.
Accessing Your Beast
The beast, your inner beast, is hidden behind the pain. The pain we deny imprisons the beast in the dysfunctional aspects of our own Emotional Source Code. Awakening the beast is how we own all the facets of our soul.
By connecting with and owning your inner beast, by being “dangerous,” you get to communicate your vision, your values in a way that the inoffensive or harmless cannot. Connecting with the beast within is by its very nature a magnetic pull. It makes people gravitate to you and desire to be a part of your tribe. It makes you dangerous. It is how you use danger to make a difference in your life and in the world.
The Good Are Not Harmless.
As a society, we have conflated good with harmless, and that’s not only wrong; it’s potentially lethal. In truth, a genuinely good person is someone who is decisive because they are someone who has gotten to know and befriend the beast that was hidden in the swamps of their psyche. In other words, a good person is also a dangerous person. Such a “dangerous” person has a high level of self-knowledge, self-mastery, discipline, and purpose.
We’ve become soft. However, soft is not the same as kind, empathetic, or even compassionate. Soft is indecisive. Telling ourselves if we decide to move in a certain direction, someone may be offended and may not like us. So, we tread water in the rivers of arrogant mediocrity. So much of what has made us soft has required us to repress that which is wild. But what is wild within us is also what is powerful. Being decisive may feel like you could get rejected. However, not doing so guarantees that you will be seen as weak. Pry open the bars of the prison you’ve locked yourself in. Develop the self-knowledge, self-mastery, discipline, and purpose that will tame the beast and allow you to own your power.
However, do not confuse genuine strength and power with being guarded. That is a lie! We have come to believe that someone is tough because they can repress their feelings. That’s not tough; that is armoured! As much as your armour may protect you, it also stops you from forming the mental and emotional calluses that allow you to serve your purpose. The thicker the armour, the softer the person within. Crabmeat inside a shell is far softer than the meat of a wild cow!
To grow truly strong, we must develop the calluses formed through the genuine toil of breaking through the very walls we’ve used to protect ourselves. It requires us to be strong, but not hard.
Only those who embrace their kindness, compassion, and gentle hearts, are the real warriors. To be genuinely strong, to be dangerous, to be a warrior requires us to allow the creative to flow through us with more vulnerability than we can likely think we can bear.
Know this: it is those who should have been destroyed, should have hardened their hearts, but instead rose with hearts covered in scars who have real power. They understand that the lands soaked in emotional heartbreak are the most fertile soil from which the most dangerous and wise grow.
More Fearful Than the Dangerous
Dictators are dangerous, but ask yourself who do dictators fear? Dictators fear those who are more dangerous than them. And who might that be? Artists, writers, comedians, real journalists, anyone in a creative profession! They are dangerous because they are the truth-tellers, and they will always be dangerous to those who wish to control others. These individuals are terrifyingly dangerous to dictators of a nation, a system, a family, or any corrupt and dysfunctional system.
Learn to become dangerous. It’s the only way to make a difference. Drop your armour and engage in the inner battle between your desire for something else and the fear of losing what you have.
No one who lives in fear will ever know true freedom.
You cannot get to where you want to go while holding on to where you are!
So, I ask you again, are you dangerous enough to make a real difference?
P.S. One of the most positively “dangerous” people to impact me was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Let me ask you: Who are some of the most positively “dangerous” who have impacted you?
I sincerely look forward to your feedback and insights on this.
With gratitude, respect, and curiosity, Dov…
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