Has anyone been especially aware of the critic in themselves and others over the past week or two? The critic has been on my mind a lot in the past few weeks. I have been watching my own criticism and judgement towards myself and others. I am usually fairly tolerant and like to see both sides but I must also own that I am at times a pretty impatient person. I have issues when I think people fail to show consideration for others on the road or if they seem to be dawdelling, but I am aware that my idea of something dragging the chain may be someone else’s idea of a relaxing drive.
This week in Australia a controversial episode of the social experiment Married At First Sight was screened on national television. This episode was controversial as there was a passionate exchange which involved one of the participants stepping all over the boundaries of another and then criticism and aggression came into the mix as a result, things escalated when the person aggressively pursuing their own agenda incited the ire of the person whose boundaries were being pushed, more criticism was levelled against him (unfair, undue, unwarranted) and the person being pushed challenged the partner of the other one to ‘take it outside’. He was then talked down by the other male participants.
The episode evoked a storm of comments on social media, most siding with the person who under threat of having his personal boundaries stepped all over took up the challenge and got aggressive. However others accused this guy of being a thug, using aggression and all sorts of accusations were levelled against him. The person who stepped over his boundaries also received a lot of criticism as well as a lot of name calling.
Much as I sided with the guy who in getting his boundaries validated arked up in response to more damaging criticism from those who did not know him, I was not really comfortable with all of the criticisms levelled against the other female participant who in choosing to bear all about the details of her and her partners sexual involvement on the first night of the experiment evoked the ire of a large part of the Australian population. Being able to read through all of the comments on Facebook to me was a very interesting exercise in how the critic functions when we see something happening that we don’t like and we want to justify our own take on things.
It really got me to thinking about how we can set up divides. How the ego when hurt or challenged will fight back. I felt angry myself that some people could not see that the person evoked to aggression was on some level justified. He had his boundaries trampled on. His partner got up and left him alone in it. He was cruelly judged and name called. He was really just trying to defend himself. He probably didn’t handle it in the best way but in the face of what I saw as narcissistic abuse he was trying to express valid frustration. I was aware when I started to get very involved in the comment stream myself that it was triggering something deeply for me. I had been in that guy’s position many times, judged or criticised by people when they did not understand the full spectrum of what I was dealing with.
It was heartening to see the support for this person on social media by most people who understood his position and were empathetic. There were those there who wanted to lambast him and one woman accused him of being an abuser, which frankly I could just not see. He had treated his partner with respect and part of the reason he got so upset was the this desire to maintain their privacy was not respected by the other person. But I still did not think that she needed to be judged for choosing to pursue a sexual relationship on the first night and I don’t think some of the nasty comments made about her were fair.
The whole thing has died down a little now but it really got me to thinking about the function of the critic, how tied into hurt the critic is. When we feel hurt we are more likely to criticise. And there are discriminative functions of our being which need to operate and act to keep us safe from harm and protected to demark the boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable for us. If we just abandon our discriminative function we end up without a functioning ego that can keep us together and moving in the direction that we need for physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual health.
We are deep in Virgo territory at the moment and the sign of Virgo being ruled by Mercury the energy of mind and perception is highlighted now. Mercury (along with Mars) also rules our movements and choices powered by desire and discrimination. With this sign highlighted there is concern with the operation of the daily discriminations that we make in order to keep our life functioning at an optimum level. What time do we choose to get up? What fuel do we decide to give our body? Who do we choose to interact with today? Do we need time to connect or time to be alone? Can we share this part of ourselves with that person? If so how much should we share? Is it a time to rest or to move? Should we take action on that concern or just sit with it in order to get a better perspective on the issue? How did we feel when that person said that too us? How can we deal with our feelings well? How can we take care of ourselves and show compassion, discrimination and love?
Over the next few days Mercury in Virgo will be moving backwards to form a conjunction with the Sun at 20-21 degrees of this sign. This may be a time of growing insight or a time in which a seed is planted. That c0njunction (called in astrology the inferior conjunction) takes place midway through the Mercury Retrograde cycle. The full Moon Lunar eclipse takes place opposing this in the sign of Pisces on the 16fh of September three days later.
In thinking about what this full moon opposition to Mercury and the Sun in Virgo might mean we must also take into account that the Moon will be meeting up with Chiron in the sign of Pisces. The wounding power of our words will be highlighted during this full moon which in being a lunar eclipse means the bringing to light of some areas of our mind that may have lived in the shadows. We may find ourselves on the receiving end of criticism, or we may be feeling especially critical either of ourselves or others. This criticism might not be all bad, there may be elements of discrimination contained within it. Things we need to see or adjust to keep our lives growing and functioning better.
Virgo is for me the sign of adjustment. In the 360 degree phase it rules what astrologers call the waxing inconjunct, this Virgo ruled phase of the cycle is where two or more opposing energies need to make adjustments to each other, but the adjustment comes before a fuller insight occurs, which takes place in the next phase related to Libra and the opposition. Seeds of awareness are growing within us now about how our discriminative faculties may have been wounded or affected by criticisms or perceptions born our of past pain. We may get insights how we react when we are in pain or how pain is projected through criticism or misunderstanding, an inability as yet to see things from the other person’s side.
This is what I have seen playing out over the past week within the context of the Married At First Sight social experiment programme and in the communities reaction to it. It will be interesting to see what plays out this week as things unravel or progress on the programme. I believe we can learn much about ourselves in seeing how others relate and how we react to what they go through, how their wounds are stirred, how they respond when they are and how fuel is added to the fire or how the burning embers of the fire are husbanded and contained through the powers of empathy, understanding, love and discrimination.