We all have it... unnoticed, unidentified, undistinguished, sneaking past your conscious awareness, the strings that make you a puppet on a string, robbing you of your life, using it for its own purposes... laughing at you. I can hear the laugh.
The racket. The insidious, ubiquitous racket.
The desire for attention, for significance, for winning every transaction, for love, for filling your gaping hole inside.
No matter how much of what you get, it is never enough. It doesn't scratch the itch. You are always unfulfilled, you are always needing more of isn't really doing it for you.
In essence that is the deepest level of the machine we call racket.
A protection racket works like this: someone shows up at your business and pretends to sell you fire insurance, or life insurance. You know that unless you "buy" the fire will come, the murder will come... from the mob the salesman represents. That is a racket. Extortion. Extorting money for nefarious reasons. Nefarious... meaning criminal reasons.
Now, back to our type of racket: You (and everyone around you) are an extortionist (a person who tries to obtain something through force or violence; a racketeer.) You extort strokes...
Strokes are a particular type of reaction that you can get and give... A smile, a pat on the back, a good morning, and "I love you", an encouragement, an "atta boy", or a frown, a sneer, a beating, a hit over the head. Positive strokes, negative strokes, given that humans are social animals, any stroke will do.
My itch is sympathy. I still catch myself, not too often any more, telling my own sob story to people, extorting sympathy... while sympathy is wholly useless to me... and yet.
You have the itch you have, and you extort whatever you extort.
What you extort will be quite predictable by your Soul Correction, by the way.
- Some soul corrections exclusively extort negative strokes... Removing Hatred is one of those. They are looking for a reason to hate... the consolation prize. "But I am good" is the hidden agenda, the itch.
- In my experience, Silent Partner, another soul correction, is also about extorting negative strokes... so they can remain underachievers, idle, parasitic, and self-righteous.
Counter intuitive... but it is what it is... extortion that makes your life hell on earth.
It is not easy to get to the itch... when you look at an iceberg, the itch is the pinnacle... on the bottom... and there are, potentially, countless of pretenders... pretend itches. Most people stop there... and stopping there doesn't make a difference.
Once you can see your real itch, and can see how it uses your life, you can stop going to scratch it... scratching it gives you no satisfaction, and robs you from what you could do instead: become a person with a real meaning in their life... so that you can become fulfilled.
Scratching the itch leaves you hungrier than you were before scratching.
I know, I had to go through whatever it took to get to where I am... It took me a long long time, because this is the kind of knowledge that no one (to my knowledge) teaches... so I could not have a coach or a teacher or a mentor.
I did have some anti-coaches, some anti-teachers... especially women. They said "I AM NOT YOUR MOTHER!"
You can hear the screaming indicated by the all-caps... they screamed at me. I got stuck with looking at it with the word "mother"... and could not, for decades, see that they are telling me: no sympathy, f... off!
When I was a magazine publisher, I complained in every editorial... my most faithful fans were asking me to cut it out, but I never did.
And even in my articles on this website, if you pay attention, I complain in every single article... not as much any more, but I still do. Feel bad for me...
And when people do, it churns my stomach... I feel contempt for them... just like a racketeer feels contempt for their victims...
Learn what contempt feels like: it is what you feel for someone you have successfully duped... Not pretty, but it is part of this machine.
The hardest thing to see is the connection between your racket, your stroke-seeking behavior, and your shitty life.
I have activated the Seeing Reason DNA capacity. I could have also called it "Connecting the Dots". Famous and famously miserable Steve Jobs, also said famously: you cannot connect the dots until after... in hindsight. 1 But when I look at Steve Jobs: he didn't have the See Reason (Connecting the Dots" capacity open, or to be precise, he had it 10% open. Not enough... not enough to be able to see your itch and how it wreaks havoc in your life.
So what can you really do, if this itch thing, this racket thing is in everybody?
- You can get to the core of things, so you can start taking control of yourself, your behavior.
- So you can know what to provide yourself with... so you can stop expecting it from others.
Hillel the elder famously said:
If I am not for me, who is for me?
If I am only for myself, who am I?
If not now, when?
Extorting strokes? Your question is: if you are only for yourself, about yourself, about what you want, etc... who are you? Your answer is not pretty.
If you consider that you can give yourself strokes... i.e. accept that you can give them to yourself, if you just decide, like I did, that if you want something, then give it to yourself... right now, and right now, and right now. Then you are obeying the first question.
But first you need to find what is the itch you are trying to scratch.
I did a whole workshop for that work a few years ago. Its recordings are available for purchase.
pS: Can you identify the strokes, the itch that you cannot scratch in the below quote from Steinbeck in his East of Eden famous novel?
Remember: strokes extorted with the racket: they are not satisfying...
'The Salinas was only a part-time river. The summer sun drove it underground. It was not a fine river at all, but it was the only one we had and so we boasted about it – how dangerous it was in a wet winter and how dry it was in a dry summer. You can boast about anything if it's all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast.' ~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden, p. 4
- The Steve Jobs quote on connecting the dots: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”