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Bullying and humility

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Bullying and humility

There is a certain understanding of “Christian humility” in the Church, and especially outside it. Humility is understood as enjoying your own humiliation.

We know the greasy-leafy, difficultly characterized, but unmistakably recognizable tone of some believers who speak of humility with a barely noticeable glimpse of pleasure. “It’s necessary to humble oneself, and not engage in philosophy” – a person writes to me in a personal person who, if he didn’t get into the Church, could satisfy his passion for humiliating the young and rebellious in a less implicit way.

The Orthodox themselves have already learned to joke about the misunderstood “Orthodox attitudes”. Image Archpriest Alexander Ponomarenko

“It’s necessary to humble oneself, humble oneself,” an old friend tells me, and I think – how long has he become so Vologda-Orthodox and turn around and pull vowels?

Understanding "humility" as a sadomasochistic game, as enjoying one's own or someone else's humiliation, scares away many unbelievers.

Suppose that they themselves are engaged in these sick games in their Church, and I am a healthy and holistic person.

And we will be asked that we make this abomination a part of church life.

Humility is not the enjoyment of humiliation.

However, often, while reading life, we encounter exactly this seemingly behavior. What is really hidden behind this?

Consider the life of the holy fool Isidora.

The young girl came to the monastery. There, she suddenly began to behave like a silly and crazy woman. Instead of a monastic cockle, an old rag was tied to her head. She ate only bread crumbs and slops. All day I washed the floor in the monastery and endured impurities. Never talked to anyone. Demolished all the names and bullying of the nuns. When the holy ascetic Pitirim arrived at the monastery, who received a vision about her from the Lord, the nuns went out to meet him, but they did not take Isidora with them. He asked if there was anyone inside — and when the nuns replied no. But he still demanded to bring the holy fool, and when they brought her against her will, he prostrated himself before her and began to ask for blessings. The sisters were surprised, and he explained to them that Isidora is actually a saint and worthy of being their spiritual mother. The nuns began to cry and tell in turn what suffering they had caused their sister. Isidora, as soon as her holiness was revealed to everyone, left the monastery and left for a distant place.

Icon of St. Isidore, Christ for the sake of the holy fool

The saint commits humiliating actions over herself – she puts a rag on her head, eats slop, and tinkers with dirt all day. A modern Orthodox would say: for humility. Resigned. Pacifies the sins of gluttony, disgust, vanity.

The saint does not talk with sisters. Tradition reports: she did not conduct short or long conversations with anyone. A modern Orthodox would say: for humility. Pacifies the passion of multilingualism.

The saint suffers beatings and humiliation from the monastery community. It would seem – obviously. For humility. It is saved.

The ascetic Pitirim, a holy man, comes to the monastery. Isidora is locked in a monastery, does not go outside. Obviously again. Humility.

However, pay attention to the composition of life. The girl is a “scapegoat” in the team, the coals of aggression of the entire monastery community are pouring on her head. In the hierarchy of sisters she is at the very bottom. But the time comes, and by the hand of the Lord she becomes the "head of the corner." Catharsis. Everyone is crying, she is leaving.

What is always missed in this story: life does not show this girl as crazy, as captured by her craziness. Real lunatics do not wash floors and cannot stand impurities. They do more harm than good.

The girl became, I repeat, the scapegoat. Her behavior was aimed precisely at being the "black sheep" of a closed monastery community and taking on her own head all the aggression that accumulated in the walls of the monastery.

Did she understand what she was doing? Yes. Her actions of a different nature do not add up well to the “crazy” frame, but perfectly fit the goal: to become a whipping girl.

A madwoman can eat crumbs from the floor and slop, but she won’t wash the floors for days and keep quiet. To become a whipping girl, you need to be associated with dirt, with waste, with something unpleasant. And – to be silent, not to fight back. Do not talk at all, lose your voice.

Could the team have noticed that the madwoman is not real? Engaged in black labor, does not speak incoherence. They could, but they didn’t: because the victim is not interesting, the victim is not a person, the victim is just the point of application of the aggression force of the collective, which must be merged, and it does not matter where.

When the denouement comes, and the holy ascetic enlightens the nuns: the one that you did not bring with you to greet me is a saint and could become your spiritual mother, then suddenly the “collective” becomes bewitched. The sisters understand that they poisoned the saint, that the “point of application of the power of evil”, that the “drain tank” of the collective, that the victim is innocent (and after all she is innocent: she didn’t beat anyone, washed the floors, but dared to associate with impurities and not give a vote, do not respond to chuckles), and cry, and repent of their sins.

The sisters, like us, see how they became the cogs of what ancient and terrible mechanism of utilization of human aggression. They see themselves as human centipedes of violence and bullying, and are horrified.

We do not know and cannot know whether the saint herself was aware of the logic of human society she had put to shame with her long-term “action”. Whether the whole plan was revealed to her from the very beginning or only at the end of the story. Perhaps she, as a historical figure, did not at all realize what role she played in exposing one of the levers of the nature of the human community. We know for sure that history itself, life itself reflected popular intuition about the victim and the etcher; about the despicable and the one who despises; about bullied and about bully.

Nastenka from the movie "Frost"

Cinderella, Nastya from Morozko, Ivan the Fool, these pre-Christian human intuitions look at Saint Isidora with emotion, as at their hero.

Cinderella gets a man. She will not receive justice and publicity. Nastya receives retribution and wealth, truths – does not receive. Ivan the Fool receives male honor and a good name, but does not become the face of every victim, a proof of every innocence. He becomes a prince, but his brothers will never know: even a prince, even a fool, you can’t beat.

Saint Isidore is beautiful. She is eternal. You cry with the nuns when they list all their kicks and slaps in the face of the saint.

Do you feel the contrast with “humble yourself, obey your husband” from another Orthodox bearded man with sparkling eyes?

One of the Internet jokes on misunderstood humility

Orthodox bearded men feel that the victim is right, that "blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek." But they miss that the one who kicks the victim is wrong. Wrong are those who crucified Christ. Wrong Cinderella sisters. And woe to those who take on the role of such a Cinderella sister — all these Dickens and Charlotte-Bronte-born teachers with rulers and rods who decided what to do crying and meek ones – their prerogative.

The mistake of the "Orthodox" is that they want to lock up the victim inside the very mechanism shown by the holy fool Isidore. Endure endlessly, and I will endlessly kick you. But the saint eventually exposed this system. The meaning of her “humility” was not in himself, but in the further opening of the mentioned mechanism, in redirecting the channels of aggression from the “lower” member of the hierarchy.

It is erroneous, however, to consider that the mechanism can be “broken” by means of victim behavior of the participant. If not for Saint Pitirim, the holy fool would have been beaten to death. The "humility" of Isidora does not save her, but merely serves as a means to create a situation that will expose the unreasonable aggression of the sisters. Her behavior does not solve anything – only in conjunction with the participant who appeared at the behest of God, the whole story gets meaning.

There is no beauty in patience of pain. The beauty is that the hierarchy as a tool of pain can be broken. It is not that Christ died, but that Christ was resurrected.

So keep your hands off the victim. The stone rejected by the builders will be at the forefront.


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