The Will Smith Slap & the Tension of Opposites
Okay, everyone’s talking about it, which could easily be considered silly in and of itself. But there is something about this that is sending a shockwave into the ethers, right? I think the whole debacle is quite reflective of many of the present culture-war issues in the west today, and many points of view as well as the pendulums swing has been ignited through this otherwise completely irrelevant and forgettable evening at the Oscars (did anyone even know it was on? LOL)…
I want to give my own thoughts and reflections on the matter and then contrast these with some other POVs for further investigation and invitation for a deeper personal inquiry as to how we as individuals might learn more about ourselves.
MY IMMEDIATE IMPRESSIONS AND INTUITIONS
1. The Context of The Marriage
On the one hand it may easily seem like petty gossip to speak about a celebrity marriage. I mean, isn’t it a little tabloid-y? But let’s be clear about the facts: we know that there was a pretty serious transgression in the marriage from a 3 year affair between Jada and another man. Yeah right, celebrity affairs and drama. Nothing new here…
But Will and Jada decided to talk about their personal affairs publicly on her talk-show. They chose to bring the world into their private affairs. And while it was very self-praised as being in the name of open communication and transparency, I felt the whole thing to be quite egocentric most particularly on the part of Jada. I found her especially cringeworthy and difficult to watch in that discussion; I mostly saw a person trying to distance themselves from the responsibility and shame of their actions, mostly attempt to justify herself and bring people into her narrative, and a quietly emasculated Will Smith repressing some pretty deep rage and emotional pain. Wouldn’t this have been better as a family (also, for the damn KIDS – did they not cross their minds?!) to have dealt with this in private counselling?
For a 20+ year marriage, I did not get the sense that the two had transparent or honest communication with each other and of course not themselves individually. I say this as someone who had very poor relational examples growing up, had pretty shitty relationships myself with many mistakes and distortions, and who later made it a real commitment to work out these issues (no matter how challenging) which has resulted now in a deeply caring and beautiful relationship which reveals a new petal of beauty, abundance, trust and friendship by the months (if not often the weeks) that go by…
Perhaps there isn’t too many differences in the couple compared with other Hollywood celebrities. There are impressions of being out of touch with reality, pretty self-involved, and blindly undiscerning and irresponsible, in part demonstrated via the poor decisions regarding PR and over exposure to the public. Will Smith has had more of a nice guy persona which has pretty much always come across as inauthentic and very shallow to me – not particularly offensive, but not particularly notable either. And there is something that sets off pretty violent alarm bells in me with Jada… the reasons for this partially stated above, and I will say too that having had to untangle from a many warped relationships and twisted people in my life that one can develop a bit of an automatic instinctual/wisdom sense around quality of character – at least some of the time. Not gonna lie, there was something about her in that interview that made me want to give her a bit of slap (i.e. “Pull yourself together, woman!”).
2. The Precursor to Explosion, & the Hot Bald Lady
When I saw the slap, my immediate thought was: talk about misplaced anger towards his own damn wife and likely his own neglect of responsibility. Yikes. I found the whole thing quite embarrassing, and the shouting afterwards… well, it just felt like the emotional tantrum of a child. Childish in expression, and childish in its completely inaccurate reaction to a Nothing of a situation.
Do I think he defended his wife’s honour? No. In fact, he weakened them both incredibly. For one, the joke was forgettable and actually not offensive. It was pointing out Jada Smiths baldness. Yes, she has alopecia. But let’s not forget that Will and Jada are hot, rich, Hollywood celebrities, and Jada Smith has the hotness and facial bone structure to rock the bald look. The joke merely was based on pointing out the baldness, nothing else. And otherwise would’ve been a forgettable joke. Ultimately, the emotional fit felt incredibly childish and also abusive to Chris Rock. He also immortalised the joke in his reaction to it.
3. The King, The Court Jester, and the generation of Entitlement
In the archetypal sense, it was always a marker of a poor Kingdom destined for desolation, barren lands and tyrannical leadership when the King punished or tossed out the Court Jester. Unfortunately, my generation is often one of entitled rage and micro-aggression nonsense, deluded enough to think that because someone says something that hurts their feelings, they are entitled to react violently and then control speech. These are the true tyrants and committers of collective evil in the modern era, make no mistake about it. To EXIST is to risk being offensive to someone. Hell, they bloody crucified Jesus for being the *literal* saviour. And having hurt emotional feelings does not automatically mean you are right. Sometimes subjective emotionality is indicative of something poor happening in a real life situation, and other times it is a completely deluded emotional experience from a childish ego. The fact of the matter is, Tyrants Kill Comics.
In the case of the Oscars, Chris Rock cracked a mild and extremely minimal joke. I actually felt Chris had a mild shock and trauma response after being whacked for doing his job as comic relief at the Oscars… having shame and aggression dumped into you in such a fashion would've been pretty uncomfortable.
Remember, these Hollywood elites in a large majority knew about Harvey Weinstein and did nothing – often praised him – all the while preaching political wokeness with the air of righteous superiority in their acceptance speeches. (Ricky Gervais was on the money about this.) Please remember this about American celebrity culture. It is extremely shame-based and allows for the exaggeration of narcissistic traits. While we can certainly hold compassion for those in these environments, this should never trump the reality of FACTS, lack of integrity and irresponsibility. Defending immature identities is not the same as standing up for the soul, and so often people frustratingly conflate the two which is not only an idiotically naive mistake but also a dangerous one.
Are we really more predisposed to give undifferentiated empathy and “kindness” to those who are blindly incompetent, and dishonour the actual victims of such blind and deliberate ignorance? It seems often to me in this day and age that people unconsciously polarise into excusing selfish behaviour of others and often end up attacking those who speak honestly in the name of integrity – collective Stockholm syndrome? An unconscious mechanism to protect the abusers from their narcissistic injury? I sense something to this affect may be much closer to the truth, at least in most cases…
A COUPLE OF OTHER KEY POINTS OF VIEW FOR CONSIDERATION
1. Will Smith stood up for his wife who was disrespected. This is what a man does.
I’ve already shared my thoughts on this above. I don’t find this POV to carry much merit. Ultimately the move felt disempowered, entitled and unconsciously reactive, and more indicative of issues concerning the Smiths personal affairs, rather than being reasonable relative to the situation.
2. Will Smith is struggling through an awakening so we should be extra sensitive
I don’t know how much I can comment on this. I’m not sure what evidence there is of an awakening and don’t have enough info. If this is referring to his ayahuasca experience, I would say this in and of itself does not demonstrate anything to do with the evolution of human character. Psychedelics do not solve any problems on their own and I think it is childish to get excited about Hollywood celebrities mucking around in neo-consciousness trends. I know people with many drug experiences under their belts who can be pretty useless, unconscious and deluded people. In some cases the drug can actually enhance the ego-centricism of a personality, and push a pre/trans fallacy whereby someone attributes Being states or mystical experiences with actual character & competency, and uses this to justify their own selfishness, shadows and unhealthy behaviours. Character is forged through deep inner pursuit, beginning to unpack ones unconscious contents and examine behaviours/beliefs/principles etc. As Robert Johnson says:
“One has no right to talk about the oneness of the Universe until he is aware of its separateness and duality. We can do all manner of mental acrobatics and talk of the unity of the world; but we have no chance of functioning truly in this manner until we have succeeded in differentiating the inner and outer worlds.” (From HE: Masculine Psychology)
A drug may temporarily allow someone to peer into the depths, but no transpersonal or even direct mystical experience says shit about the quality of a human. I can not comment on Smiths experience with this but wanted to make this point in general in case this youthful idealism is being projected onto a celebrity.
3. Will Smith is still just a human, and we all make mistakes. We shouldn’t be harsh and make judgments.
Absolutely. And perhaps my agreement with this point – at least in part – goes against my analysis above. What I would ask here is, how can we hold empathy and responsibility in balance? How do these poles of opposition come to reconcile? We are all human, and we are messily so. We also carry responsibility for our actions and how we chose to respond in the world, and how we bring our lives into greater integrity. Avoiding this latter fact in the name of being empathic only serves to prevent evolution and remain dissociated from the Shadow – from the TRUTH – only giving it power to swallow us up at a later time. Can we be sensitive to a situation, hold it in love, and also invite for greater consciousness and maturity?
This issue goes far deeper into that complex human experience of forgiveness, in part. I actually find myself quite forgiving in nature… However, forgiveness when extended onto another for their transgressions can only work practically in progressing a relationship when there has been proper acknowledgement and processing of the act/situation. If someone refuses to grow from that experience, we can still care for them, but may have to choose to leave or hold some other boundary in place. This is required not only for basic self-care and protection, but to stand up for the integrity of another’s Soul, too.
At the deepest level, while I feel my assessments of the event to be pretty reasonable given the information (and open to change if there was contrasting and accurate evidence), I sense this whole debacle serving as a far greater mirror into the collective unconscious and the challenges we are presented with in the modern times. In particular, America’s collective inner battle and the West.
The invitation is for us always comes down to responsibility for our inner experience. To really wrestle with our perceptions, thoughts, and the information at hand, and to discover how we might best orient ourselves accordingly. Perhaps we may be encouraged to move beyond superficial images reflected in Hollywood Media. Or to discover aspects of our own shadow… Where do we see our own reactivity? Where do we misplace our own emotions and challenges? What does our polarisation on the issue tell us about ourselves…? Where am I in this situation; have I been the Will Smith or the Chris Rock? Perhaps both?
On a final note, I find myself having to mediate these Points of View and levels of analysis and get them into proper relationship with each other (if it is, in fact, possible at all). It is difficult for human consciousness to hold multiple viewpoints at once… the key is to develop the ability to discern what is closest to the truth *at that level of analysis*, and see how we might partner the view points together. I claim no expertise in this myself, but can only share my own inner thoughts and investigations. Surely there is some merit at least in the attempt.
Consciousness contains a multiplicity of notes, and playing them together – with the challenge of actually bringing them into proper harmony – takes painstaking time and psychic energy, but it sure as hell is more dynamic and interesting than playing a single note.
Risa #theslap #willsmithslapschrisrock #individuation #byrisa