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Confessions of a Lightworker Lemming

One definite outcome of lemming behavior

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

I am a lightworker lemming. Not a teenage werewolf or survivor of a chain gang, but a lightworker lemming. To escape from the ravages of Lemming Disease, I made the task a lifelong study. I now experience moments of release and then periodic onset of the disease again. I cannot relax my vigil even for an instant because the disease re-presents itself if given the slightest opening.

Because the condition can be serious, can spread in a very short time and can reach epidemic proportions seemingly overnight, I am issuing this medical alert. I recommend that everyone familiarize themselves with the facts of this disease. I can only refer to my own experience to show how difficult it is to treat and how extensive are its ravages.

Epidemiology

Lemming Disease is ancient. It was known in Roman times, the Middle Ages, on the frontier, and in the modern city. It is found in all climates. It has been seen in the Holy Land as well as less holy lands. It afflicts a large proportion of the population. When it breaks out, it can quickly spread throughout the masses – particularly throughout the masses.

It is named after an innocuous creature, which, when it abandons individual judgment or discernment, can take catastrophic steps, even extending to extinguishing its own life in service to the emotionally-aroused group.

It has been called by different names at different times: following the crowd, mob rule, redneck behavior, etc. It is spread by a carrier clinically known as a demagogue but popularly known as a rabble-rouser. It thrives on rhetoric and what one doctor has called “memes.” Memes are slogan-like encapsulations of events, which leave out as much as they explain. Lemmings thrive on memes just as fruitflies thrive on table scraps.

Contracted early in life, it can be episodic and periodic. Left untreated over time, it can gain control of the organism and quickly become chronic. It grows by repeated episodes.

Signs and Symptoms

The leading sign of the disease is self-righteousness, a sense communicated by word or gesture that one is right, one’s side is right, one’s side has God on it, will win, will leave the other in the ash heap of history, etc. This sign gradually resolves itself into a particular facial mask which displays disdain for others and unfailing confidence in the rightness of one’s own cause.

Lemming Disease can be spread in seemingly-innocuous situations

Its symptoms are snap judgments and knee-jerk reactions to events, the onset of mental and emotional arthritis, with a general stiffening of the mental and emotional joints. Eventually our voices and ideas become restricted in their range and we become living fossils.

Target Population

It can affect anyone. But it particularly afflicts the brave, those who are willing to stand out from the usual passivity of the group and protest an unwanted condition. To find strength, they join in numbers and engage in antipathetic behavior, which can quickly go to excess and does not yield to reason.

Ironically, having initially stood out from the group, the victim of Lemming Disease now succumbs to the group.

In its extreme form, redneck victims of it can be found in any population – darkworker or lightworker. The same sclerosis or arthritis results no matter what one’s view or intentions. It spreads quickly among men. Locker-room behavior is a particularly-fruitful medium. But it does not spare women.

Etiology

Advanced case of sclerosis from Lemming Disease. Notice the button where the Third Eye should be.

Lemming Disease has many causes. It spreads because numbers offer a sense of comfort and safety. People under its influence do what they never would have done alone. It is seen to spread wildly under conditions of public assembly or discussion.

In its beginning stages, the condition is temporary and leaves one feeling ashamed upon subsidence, if one has any residual connection with one’s inner doctor, that is. Lingering self-righteousness perpetuates it by allowing one to live with the results of an outbreak. It is a form of compensation for the damage caused by one’s behavior.

Much worse than alcoholism, an outbreak of Lemming Disease can utterly throw one off the wagon and induce one to do monstrous things. One loses connection with one’s conscience. One can commit all manner of unspeakable crimes. One can even kill while under the influence.

It is known to induce temporary euphoria which has a hypnotic effect. During an outbreak, one could throw oneself off a cliff or do other things that could result in harm to onseself or death. One would never  ordinarily do these things while calm or sane.

Hindus have a compendium of natural remedies called the Bhagavad-Gita, which describes the disease and its eventual outcome.

Be angry, and you confuse the mind;
Confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience;
Forget experience, you lose discrimination;
Lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose. (1)

Lemming Disease works its effects by causing one to lose discrimination or discernment. Pandemonium is the result.  It is a form of temporary insanity or delusion. Slowly it results in a change of state, inducing a chronic form of mental and emotional sclerosis, arthritis, calcification, and petrification.

The Cure

A peculiar feature of this condition is that it cannot be cured in a period of remission. An outbreak must occur for it to be seen and treated. While a “sleeping volcano,” its presence cannot be detected. Only an eruption brings it to the surface, within reach of treatment. This is the only reason why an outbreak might be welcomed. But feeling it and yet not acting on it can be a delicate art.

To cure it requires our removal from the issue of the moment and a calm reception to the mind’s deeper layers, until the real source of the upset becomes revealed and cleared. I call this the “emotional clearing process” and have written a number of medical texts on it. (2)

Some varieties of meditation can help. I particularly recommend a ten-day Vipassana meditation retreat, to bathe in the calm waters of the discerning mind and observe the upset, or a seven-day stay at an “Enlightenment Intensive” sanatorium, there to engage in a group process that addresses the disease. A single stay will simply reveal to us the presence of the disease. It takes repeated treatments to escape from it.

Many feel that the achievement of a particular state of “enlightenment” makes one immune to Lemming Disease, but apparently not. The tendency to respond in a kneejerk manner can afflict the enlightened as well. The death of kneejerk responses apparently does not come, alas, until a very advanced state of enlightenment (clinically known as “sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi”). Or it comes from liberal, repeated, and sustained use of the disease-clearing protocol.

I have tended to follow my own twelve-step program to extricate myself from its clutches. I own that I am powerless over my condition. Only a higher power can restore me to sanity. I have made a searching and fearless moral inventory and admitted the exact nature of my wrongs. And now I soberly carry this message out to others who are susceptible to the disease.

At this time of year, we remember a particular victim of this condition, one Ebenezer Scrooge. Once a recognized success and a man ahead of his time, Scrooge gradually became fossilized by repeated outbursts. He was redeemed by a series of epiphanies which shocked him into a new way of being. Let his emotional sclerosis and mental arthritis be a warning to us all. Turn aside from lemming behavior, O reader, to avoid peril to your immortal soul.

Footnotes

(1) Sri Krishna in Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans., Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of God. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1972; c1944, 42.

(2) A full list of medical texts follows:

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5 Comments
  1. Hey wait a minute. I thought Saturday was one of your days off. Is one of the symptoms and inability to let go of the usual focus?

    Nice post.

  2. Your diagnosis was spot-on, Steve. “Lemming” is a delightful word. I shall use it from now on as a mantra, with the distinction of emphasizing the second syllable, just for fun. Lem-MING!

  3. Priceless !!!

  4. A most excellent post, Mr. Steve! I enjoyed it thoroughly.

  5. Beautiful.