You know? A couple of months ago, actually just before going to prison, there was one night in which I was unable to sleep, I was quite worried about the process involved in what I was about to do, not only in and by the fact of getting in a prison to literally live with the prisoners for a entire month. And you know? The very first time that I went to give a course here in one of the prisons of Mexico City, I was able to go in and out each and every day, and it may seem just a simple and slight difference, but there was a complete change of perspective, because I will notice each day within me like a certain form of alert and attention, to understand and learn as quick as possible from every single detail of the people and their way of moving and living.
That night I was quite worried about the possibility of dealing with a situation in which someone could get angry or aggressive with me inside the prison, and in the first moment I found myself trying to fight the threat, to repeal it and keep myself away from it, without realizing that what I was actually afraid of. I was not actually afraid of the prisoners, or that angry persons in the street that we find so many times in the middle of the traffic or whenever one has an argue with anyone in our surroundings, at the end we all have our demons and we know and have imagined what we could be capable of in a situation of danger for us and our loved ones, at the very end we are and will use aggression in one way or another when we are in the face of such situations; yet, looking at this reaction of mine, the emotion of fear, the anger towards such scenario, I began to notice more and more that my real fear came directly from that very personal weaknesses that I am actually afraid of, which is myself, the things of which I understood I had no control of, which one also finds out that there is actually very little of what one has control of within one´s life, but the very first and most important part of us that we are responsible for, is ourselves, our reactions, the "who we are" within and without each and every single day, without caring if you are locked in a prison or in the street, each and every single form of reaction is our responsibility, and this would be part of the dynamics that I would be doing in the prison with a couple of Gestalt exercises, and this along with some drawing classes.
Interestingly enough, when we self honestly look at our thoughts, whenever we feel that we are in the face of a threat, there is a part of us that imagines the very different ways in which we could also hurt or damage such person to repeal the attack of the aggressor, which actually comes along with thoughts were we actually can see ourselves just as strong or even in a better position where we are able to have control of the situation that we are imagining and we can dictate the beginning and end of such scene, we repeal aggression with aggression, we fight violence with violence, and bullets with bullets (which is also part of the moral conflict that exists within the prisoners and specially on those who have been part of a criminal group of any sort, because they have been growth and married with the idea that they were fighting by something more, and one hears very often things like: "the only difference between me and they, is that they have a license to kill, and they also steal and rob to the people in the street, but they do it in the legal way, they are also abusers, just as we are"; but look slowly within that very principle: in the moment that one becomes in one´s mind the victim, by saying that "I am victim", there is a direct statement that we are by definition "less" than that to which we have given our power away, which curiously it´s in what? Money, Guns, Drugs and so on, because that kind of things have become the very principle of power that sustains this world. And if you look even closer to the very particular meaning of each element and their implications, one is able to understand even more.
Drugs: They are the main focus of entertainment in this world, and I am not even speaking about illegal drugs, I am speaking also about the legal drugs from the sugar and the coffee, to the tobacco and alcohol; and as we participate in the direct consumption of each one of them, we have therefore given all the power to the people who controls and directs the world
Guns: The guns are that which we use to defend and protect our interests, the interest that goes above life itself, as the gun has actually no other purpose than destroy life
We see how this Capitalism has created the very structures to distribute money amongst each participant of it´s structure, but then we have an unbalance of the structure amongst the very participants of the system, a disproportionate distribution of the resources for only a few, and a very little part of that amount for the rest of the participants. And I know what you are going to say now - "Now what? Are going to try to argue and protest for the rights of the prisoners only? What about the victims?". No, actually by doing this precise description of the implication of each part, I try to look out for the best interest of them both, the truth is that as long as there is separation in this world, no one will ever be free from the abuse, and by tolerating the current system that divides us, we are our very first victimizer.
Imagine yourself living in an apartment where you have your neighbors that lives in the same building that you do, but you don´t very much interact with them, so you don´t really ever know who is the person behind that door. Our daily life´s are so demanding that the very process of our entire routine leaves us exhausted with our own life´s to the point where we don´t really want to think in the life´s of all those other people outside from our direct circle of friends, family, loved ones, etc., and we don´t really get to care too much about the rest of all the other humans that are around us (because they are simply too many to get to know all of them, and we certainly don´t even have the interest to get to know the majority of them) and of course there is that inevitable moment in which one of them will fall faster than the rest and will begin to cheat and don´t care about the life of the other people because it´s not directly involved with the direct circle of his/her interest and it becomes more and more easy to consider crime as an alternative, because who cares about the rest as long as I can have my own?
Most of the times (this specially for those who don´t have at least a stable income) life becomes so hard and tiring, that the very idea of a future where we have to commit our entire life to doing and repeating that very single task forever, becomes certainly quite impossible to accept for the many, and of course we want to escape and run out of it as fast and as easy as we can (because that´s part of what our biological and physical systems are designed to do = to search for the quickest and more easy way to solve a problem without spending so much energy on it)
In the very moment we have allowed ourselves to place so much importance in the symbol of Money that we so desperately try to attain to be able to make a living. We lose sight from what is really important within this life, which is life itself and all of it´s possibilities.
I had the opportunity to get to know the life of many prisoners and part of their past. And I was able to find a very important coincidence between all of them - most of the problems in their life began at a very young age at home, where their parents would be facing financial instability, familiar violence, drug and alcohol consumption and so on, which would lead them to conflicts and fights about and around money (as this was the main issue of discussion within home), some of them would be abandoned from when they were kids (very probably by parents who were not able to maintain a baby, because of the same fear of money), and some of them would get involved in businesses that initially emerged as a need to cover basic necessities, but that would eventually become impossible to leave because of the interests involved within such business and once that the family or the loved ones where threaten, they had no way out of it.
And speaking with most of them, what I was able to notice in very similar cases is that most of this people have a lot of resentment stored in old memories from their childhood, memories implying this fights and conflicts and with which they grew believing that life in itself has no value and cannot have value without money, because it will be the only thing that will buy the food, the shelter, the water, the transport, the drugs, the alcohol, etc., and of course it sounds so... incongruent when one hears them being also "victims" of the same system, but the fact is that we all are victims of this system. Please understand, I am not trying here to disregard the suffering and pain from the direct victims of this people that by their attitudes and behavior took the decision of destroying everything in their world, but what I do want to state is that to be able to have a true and practical solution we have to begin to consider another solution than building another 400 jails around the country, to try to get in as much people as possible to "socially readapt them", only to find out that from 100% of the prison population 95% will end up again in prison and from the last 5%, only the 2 percent will stay away from the criminal life, because the 3% of that 5% will return to prison, but now with another crime of lesser or bigger nature. (Only in Santa Martha Acatitla - a prison in Mexico city - the prison that was designed to have no more than 5,000 people, today has as much as 50,000 people behind the jails... does that look like a true solution?)
It´s true that everyone is subjected to the law (or at least it should be that way with most politicians...) but it´s also true that there are behaviors that come from and are perpetrated by very few people around the globe, call it due to a psychological disease or an isolated case, but when soooo many people fit´s into the profile of that person that can be the criminal, it may imply something else... like the very fact that we are not free and will not be free from playing a role in the near future within a situation that will compromise and will put a test in our integrity... and it´s not a matter of morality, but a fact of probability this that we have to consider: one of the neighbors will not be as strong as the rest, and will look out for it´s way to the top of the "success chain" to get all the money, drugs, sex, and all the nice life as soon and quick as possible.
The system itself in which we live in, creates resentment within the very society that sustains it, and this to levels that makes of all of us, those neighbors that live in the same building, susceptible of becoming that potential asset that represents a threat to each other, your neighbor is that unknown guy across the street that rapes you, robs you, molests you and kills you, and as soon as they have a chance, believe it, they will use it against you and you will be alone, because even the rest of the society that doesn´t have a personal interest with you, will disregard you and will not care about your poverty, your death or your emotional and psychological situation (because that´s what we have also sustained in our behavior)
Do you know what I am truly afraid of? It´s not the prisoners, it´s not the criminals, robers, narcos, and so on, what I am truly afraid of, is from our very cognitive dissonance that prevails within the human mind, meaning, that which actually becomes the very reason why we live in situations that leads us to the conflicting attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that also leads us to more and more separation between us, and which is part of the same reason/argument/opinion/political party/government/country/system that keep us away from this possibility of actually finding a common path between us, the people, to see and find solutions that benefits each other so that no one has to ever consider again to rob, steal or kill for anything! A solution to see and find in each other the solution and that opportunity to understand: "If I help another, I will be also helping me" because it´s in each other, in looking sincerely and directly into each other life´s that which is hurting us so much and which is actually part of the pain that compels us to hurt each other, because we have so much fear, and we need so much love from the true places that will actually prevents the future crime... that it seems almost impossible to consider something else outside of us, outside of "who we are" because you know - "my pain is mine and my life is mine and no one but me is able to understand what I am dealing, what I am going through" No it´s not, and we don´t have to be alone, or divided (that´s what actually got us here in the first place)
I would like to tell you everything that I have lived there, unfortunately I have quite a lot of restrictions to what I am able to share, that is part of the legal aspects of the prison and the government, not to mention the code of ethic that I have to respect with regards to the prisoners, as I am not able to share their personal life, but I will share more, of me, of this process and the things that I find in the roads that I walk and the places that I am able to know in this life.
I continue in the next blog. Thanks for reading