Monday, July 28, 2014

Addiction

It feels to me like the relationship of an addict to his or her "poison" is exactly that: a relationship.  It is not different in kind or principle with the relationship one has with another human being.  It has feeling qualities.  It has variation.  It changes day to day.

And it seems to me the essence of addiction is getting from chemicals a sense of connection with something, with feelings, and I think in particular the sense of relief from isolation, which is not quite the same as belonging, but awfully close. and as close as most addicts think they can get.

The cure lies in developing new relationships that over time exceed in value the relationship with the substance, which after all cannot quite speak for itself, and onto which feelings must be projected.

As I have said before, this is the principle innovation of AA.  It is not the 12 steps, but the inclusion of groups of like-minded people saying and believing the same things.  It is the creation of a tribe, or if you like, a church.

One can with justice ask how and why we are all--or if you like, why I particularly am--so stupid, why we (I) fail to meet our (my) needs in effective and harmonious ways.  I don't know the Answer, but I will continue to come up with answers.

Perception

Sometimes one blind man has the trunk of the elephant, one the leg of an elephant, and a third the ass of a donkey.

Death

Can you imagine your own non-existence?

For my part, I believe that consciousness survives death.  I believe, based on considerable study, that this is the only conclusion supported by the actual evidence.

And yet, our goal, we are told by those who have apparently passed on, is evolution, growth.  We have to expand, grow beyond our ego selves.

But who is left when this is done?  Are you still recognizably you? Is there a point where you take a final, divine breath, and merge with something?

It seems to me that we are built to fear dissolution.  We are built to favor survival, continuation.  This is in our genes, in our bodies, in our animal selves.

Yet, I would contend that even if there is no final moment when we cease to be as discrete entities, it is still useful to be able to visualize it.  It is when work is done.

We die nightly.  We "fall" into sleep. We throw ourselves into sleep.  We lose consciousness, assuming we will awaken again, and of course most of the time we do.

But we have to consent to die.  We have loosen our grasp on our faculties, on our senses, on our minds and bodies.

And I think it is precisely the openness needed to consent to die which facilitates growth.

I did Holotropic Breathwork last week, and one of my "emergences"--this may be the word I use in the future--was being nailed to a cross.  It filled me with grief and terror, and I had some powerful physical reactions.

But the space was filled with green.  It was not a sad space.

And in my next session I was hanging on the cross, and found it congenial.  I laugh to say this, but I did feel supported by the cross (in the sense that I was physically hanging from it).  From this vantage point I watched humanity in all its griefs, stupidities, and futile efforts.  I saw failure from ignorance, failure from pain, failure from violence.

There were moments when I was sitting, too, where the room darkened (visibly: I assumed a cloud was passing over the sun, but it felt deeper than that), where people were crying and moaning, that I felt a deep sense of the terror of being human, of feeling lost, of struggling and falling, never knowing which way is up, who to trust, where to go.

Death gives you this.  As Carlos Castaneda said, it is a valuable adviser.

I continue to make progress.

Communist Motto

This is the way it works, but I'm not sure anyone has ever expressed it clearly:

You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet; and if you never actually get around to making an omelet, at least you got to break a few eggs.

This is why I call it Cultural Sadeism. The punishment is the point, not an incidental by-product.  Egalitarianism rests on a deeply rooted emotional need to place people on Procrustean beds and cut their limbs or rack their bodies.

Resentment--and Socialism is merely a cover for an intellectually respectable, if not defensible, expression of resentment--is the creed of those incapable of self directed happiness.

And I will say this: I am decreasingly inclined to anger at evil.  Some people need to be stopped--they need to be confronted in public, they need to be imprisoned, and some are likely best just put to death--but when I look at evil what I see increasingly is human beings turned into machines by trauma.  They are trapped, and do not know they are trapped.  Evil feels like a way out, but it cannot be escaped.

Goodness is freedom.  Goodness is happiness.  Goodness is creation, love and contentment.

And it is inherently generous.  When you can make more than you need, it is pleasurable to give it away.  We assume that what people most need are things, but this is of course stupid.  What everyone needs is love, which is to say a sense of being understood, of being accepted, and of being safe.  And being safe can mean having the freedom to take risks.  We all need risk in life.

What sane loving mother would protect her children from all possible harm?  Put another way, what sane, loving mother would build a cage around her children and call it love?

Yet, this is precisely the Socialist project.

Few musings.  I had not intended to write that much.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Unfairness

I'm debating someone on Facebook, and that is the wrong place, so I agreed to post statements I made that she disagreed with, and debate at length.

My invitation: Pick a statement you believe to be clearly true that contradicts anything I said; or pick a statement I made that you believe clearly wrong. I will cut and paste it verbatim to my blog, post a link to it, and we can debate until you start contradicting yourself, or we agree that insufficient data exists to formulate definitive positions. Or, until you embarrass me, and cause me to realize my sense of the strength of my positions is entirely unwarranted. I have never censored any comment, and for any lurkers will note that Anonymous is enabled. Feel free to pile on. 
Response: 

"Anyone who has ever formed a corporation, particularly a C Corp, is struck immediately by the gross unfairness of getting taxed both at the corporate level AND at the individual level." My husband, Peter C. above, formed a C Corp and ran it for 30 years, and he posted Noam Chomsky's video in response to that. 
Here is that video.

Second Response"I suspect most people who are surprised that for-profit entities would seek to maximize revenues have never seriously thought about going into business, much less run one." [this is my comment, to which she is responding]. Ummm, also inaccurate. Both my husband and I ran for-profit businesses and we did not engage in unethical actions to maximize profits. Putting profits above all else has resulted in egregious behaviors in many businesses. Presumably you don't need me to provide examples (I am highly educated and just covered corporate crime less than a year ago and would have no problem finding ample evidence for this.)

Third Response"None of you are emotionally capable of" [full statement, from me, in response to what I perceived as generalized repetition of bad propaganda: None of you are actually emotionally capable of seeing beyond your patent biases, or engaging in meaningful, useful dialogue].... I am a cognitive neuroscientist by training (PhD-ABD with an additional degree in psychology),. Do you have any idea what type of experiments you would have to run to determine anyone's emotional capabilities? And yet you made this pronouncement to a group of strangers based on your own emotional responses. I don't even need to refute this as it is patently absurd.

I do not have time tonight to respond in depth, but will over the next few days, in comments.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Happiness

Logically, if Goodness is a volitional character disposition in which you take pleasure from the happiness of others, and can live happily on your own--my definition--then to the extent one pursues Goodness, happiness becomes a moral duty, which is to say a means.

Truly, deeply Good people are happy on the inside.

TSA

I get pissed off every time I have to fly.  As a general rule, I drive everywhere, if I have time.  I mean everywhere.

This last time, going through, it struck me that a resilient organism reacts to trauma with an appropriate fight or flight response, shakes it off, learns from the experience, then returns to a status quo leavened by new experience.

What happens when the government is involved, though, is that a new organism is created.  This new organism is unconnected with the old trauma.  Rather, like any organism, it comes into being and immediately sets out to expand and propagate, to ensure its continued existence.  It develops survival instincts, expressed through metastatis into domains and activities which can only tangentially be connected to its ostensible mission.

No one is trying to hijack airplanes in this country.  To the extent of my awareness, in BILLIONS of interventions--and forcing people to take off their shoes and belts, as one example, is an intervention--the TSA has not stopped ONE attack. None.

But people continue to diligently consent to full body scans, and getting every piece of luggage opened, and in general dealing with the stupidity of the process of security theater.

We all know 9/11 can't happen again the same way.  Passengers will fight back.  The cockpit door is bolted and reinforced.

We all know that airplanes are much safer than cars, and I think anyone with a shred of sense would realize that they are safer not because the TSA does a good job, but because nobody is trying to hijack airplanes.

Yes, of course there are pockets of deluded, violent people.  Yes, the NSA can and should spy on them.  But this nonsense of patting people down and forcing them through ridiculous levels of security needs to stop.

Airlines should be allowed to opt out of airport security protocols, and passengers, having been informed of this decision, should be allowed to fly them.  If I run the risk of being shot down if the plane IS hijacked, I am willing to take that risk, and so too would many Americans.  I have known a number of people seriously hurt in car accidents.  I have never known, and never expect to know, anyone hurt in an airplane accident, much less an act of terrorism.

Groundhog Day

I give up booze, then get back on it, give it up, get back on it.  But every time, now, the hold is less and less.  I am doing daily relaxation practices that get me the same state, complete relaxation, that I want, without the hangover.

I have had alcohol now twice in 3 weeks, but the 3-4 days in when I was starting my booze-fast--roughly two weeks ago (I've been traveling, and am just now posting some thoughts I've had), I went to see "Edge of Tomorrow" with my oldest, and I had the most unpleasant night.  I kept waking up thinking no time had passed, that the clock said the same thing; that I was stuck in a never ending night.

And I got to thinking about it: trauma is like Groundhog Day/Edge of Tomorrow.  It is the same, the exact same, day in day out across a lifetime until you deal with it.  Its very timelessness is its defining quality.  All things that exist in time evolve and change; but trauma does not exist in time.  This is what this recurring dream/hynogogic nightmare was telling me.

Bringing trauma into time, inherently, is healing.  Inherently, it places it in the moving current of change, and nothing hard can long endure such circumstances.

I am reading a very, very interesting book by Peter Levine called "In an Unspoken Voice".  I will have more to say about it presently.

In the meantime, I wanted to offer one more observation in this vein: we call hear about how we humans use only some small percentage of our potential brainpower.  I can't comment on this (other than to say it appears a LOT of guesswork and abuse of the authority implied by credentials seems to be going on), but I can say this: we only use a fraction of our potential selves.

Now, I think most people use 80-90% of their potential selves, but there are in almost all people locked away traumas and negative feelings that they don't process.  I would say further that the difference between 80 and 100% is not purely quantitative--in the sense of creating a ratio of feelings felt consciously, and dividing it by the sum of those feelings and feelings not felt consciously.

Rather, there is a qualitative difference between a robust, complete capacity to digest emotion, and ANY degree of emotional indigestion.  Certain feelings are impossible, I feel, without full awareness.

This is speculative, but it feels right.  For my part, I've been doing some deep work over the past week, and it seems to have done some good.  I'm still shedding emotional fur.

Can I say that?  Fuck it.  I'm allowed bad metaphors.  Shedding, as a gradual process of letting go, seems appropriate.

Order

So, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, and saying to myself "what I don't understand is 100x greater than what I do understand", then I sit back a bit, and realize: what EVERYONE can understand is what they intend to do, and how they intend to do it.  The universe has nothing to do with this.  You push it out.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fear

It occurred to me the other day that fear is to the emotional realm roughly what the inner ear is to balance.  You can't walk without the orienting information your inner ear provides; and you cannot interpret your social environment without the capacity for recognizing something is wrong and dangerous. If you had no capacity for fear, you would miss large sections of what was going on around you.

This is a subtle but important point I do not have time to flesh out more at the moment.

Misery

As I wake up, I am increasingly feeling the people around me.  What you see is a lot of misery, and this can be overwhelming, IF you decide it is your problem.

But it occurred to me the other day: there is ALSO a lot of courage, persistence, selflessness, giving, ingenuity, patience.

Then it occurred to me that one of the greatest crimes you can commit is to attempt to deprive someone of useful suffering.  Useful suffering is transformation is growth.  Depriving them of it, is telling them to remain permanently stunted as human beings, and to fail--to the extent you can manage as their alleged guardian--to reach anything close to the potential with which they were born.

The essence of productive, useful culture is making emotional pain useful.

Our salient problem in the modern world is that we have rejected the notion of THROUGH, that you can get through depression or anxiety by embracing it, and accepting it, internalizing it, and using it as a teacher.  Anything short of a superficially happy Worker and Consumer is considered maladaptive and treated as a deficiency of neurotransmitters, or happy thoughts.

Fuck this.  It is stupid.

I am tempted to state as definitive, and will certainly state provisionally: the sole honest purpose of spiritual teachers is to teach people how to make pain productive.  It is in no cases to deny them the opportunities their pain grants them.

Thus, no one--not me, not you, not the local pastor or rabbi, or yogi--need concern him or herself with helping people directly.  Their concern is with good ideas, which enable them to help themselves.

I would draw an analogy between Socialism and Capitalism.

In Socialism, a fascist state is enacted to a varying degree, so that a core group of emotionally constipated individuals can avoid processing their own internal emotional trauma by claiming to care in the abstract for the misery of everyone else; they do this by promising something for nothing to ignorant and greedy people.  In the end, by working hard to deny people their actual misery, and by denying the need for pain in the abstract, they actually make everyone MORE unhappy.  There is no point in pain, in either a Sybaritic Leftist society like they have in northern Europe; and there is no redemptive pain in a Communist hell.  There are only lies.

In Capitalism, the goal is to create universal opportunity for people to choose their own work, to make their own way, to build their own fortunes.  Morally, this system is empty, except to the extent that functional emotional behaviors tend to lead to financial gain.

Are you beginning to see where this modern world went so wrong?

Cessation of Illness

If you have been ill a long time, the end can feel like falling.

In my own case, I am finally ending the grip unprocessed trauma has had on me, and it feels like falling,  But it is like jumping into the deep end of a pool: you go down, but you also come back up.  It's good.  You jump into a pool because you want to be surrounded by water.  Once you can swim, this is very enjoyable.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Why isn't Lois Lerner in jail?

Until she is cuffed, fingerprinted, and dumped in a cell with bars, we cannot view Congress as equal to the task of doing their part in governing this nation.

Eric Holder is a bit more tricky, but if I were John Boehner, I would figure out a way to put him next to Lois.  Both have been convicted of the crime, effectively, of obstructing justice and of lying to Congress.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Listening

There is always peace in war, and war in peace.

Of all the sensory modalities, listening seems most appropriate to this perceptual task.  I don't know why.

Ponder.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sanity and Experience

Two points:

1) I was wandering the grocery store yesterday, and it hit me that it is very possible I have never met a fully sane person.  In pursuing optimal functioning, I may need to discover many things no one I have ever met has been capable of teaching me.  There is a solitude inherent in this, but over time, I feel, a compensatory relief from the problems that have always dogged humankind.

If we all pursue enlightenment in our own way, we all pursue it, in the end, alone.  [Note to self: deal with it.]

2) How inefficient it is to pursue experience, rather than the capability of processing and using experience.

With regard to overpopulation, there seems to be a clear pattern of economic growth, population growth, then population stability, then in the case of all developed nations but the United States and I believe Israel, population decline.

Can we perhaps posit a curve similar to this over time with regard to consumption?  Can we not imagine that with a better, more fulfilling culture, we can all learn not just to make do with less, but prefer it?

We are at a point in time where we can turn left, towards the eradication of culture in a socialist tyranny, or turn right to a graceful age filled with a cultural and social fulfillment that satiates even the aspiring despots.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hard Luck Blues

https://play.spotify.com/track/0zerx1p4hzPfb2qSELm65S

Can you see how this turns into angry hip hop?

Can you feel how this song retains some hope, hope now largely lost?

Hobby Lobby

I saw the argument offered by George Takei--who I follow on Facebook because he often posts somewhat amusing bits--that this case would be much clearer if they were attempting to impose Sharia law.

With all due respect to whatever else he does well, this actually argues FOR the decision, not against it.

Freedom, if it is anything, is freedom of conscience.  It is freedom both from coercion to do things you think are wrong, and freedom TO do things you feel are right.  You can both not support abortion directly AND give to charities which oppose abortion.  Congress shall neither impose a national religion, nor interfere with existing ones.  This is very clear, and very logical.

The entirety of the outrage over the decision arises from the assumption by the left that their viewpoint is the only morally valid one, that "reproductive rights" are absolute.  This is not different in principle from the idea that all morality proceeds from the Koran and Hadith and Sunnah.  Both are absolutisms, dogmatisms.  All their arguments proceed from this assumption, from this failure to recognize the right of anyone anywhere in our body politic to oppose their version of moral reality.

I think all of us would oppose a national mandate for women to wear the hijab, and would support a Supreme Court decision which reversed it.  This is the point: our national government does not have the right and authority under the Constitution to make people violate their moral beliefs, to force them to do things they don't want to do.

Women are not prohibited from getting Morning After pills by law, even if they work at Hobby Lobby.  Nor are they prohibited from buying their own insurance elsewhere.  They are neither forced to do anything they don't want to do, nor prohibited from doing what they do want to do.  This is freedom.

What freedom is not is using the power of law to impose one set of moral views on a heterogeneous group.  All genuine diversity requires compromise, respect, and efforts at understanding.  The left does not do this with ANY group which genuinely differs from them.  That is why they are fascist at their core.

And to be clear, the argument, from the perspective of Hobby Lobby, is whether or not they can be forced by law to facilitate murder.  All one has to do transform this debate from one side to the other is put an = between "woman's body" and "baby".  The former construction, self evidently, is propagandistic, and in my view has led directly to a coarsening of our actual public morality, capacity for empathy, and even the skill with which we raise children.  There is a cost to treating helpless infants as lumps of unimportant flesh; and life itself as a disposable commodity.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Ten Thousand

No, not the Greek Ten Thousand, although that is a great story.

I have often quoted the Taoist--proverb, can I call it?--"the ten thousand things rise and fall without ceasing."  You might say it is a motto of mine, like "que sera sera" (however you spell it).

Can I add that the ten thousand legs move forward and back without ceasing?  And who looks back when they are moving forward?  Forward, when they are moving back?

You might doubt me, you might and probably should laugh at me, but I am approaching lucidity.

The Wolverine

I liked the second Wolverine movie, set largely in Japan.  I watched it the other day with my kids.

If you have seen it, note how Wolverine feels the need to protect people he has just met, in a culture and country he does not understand, simply because it is the right thing to do.

This impulse is largely Western.  Specifically, it is Anglo-American.  It is based in abstract notions of right and wrong, and in absolute principles.  It is chivalry, the code of the Horse.  This is quite different from the absolute loyalty to a specific man implied by the Way of the Bushi.  Both imply courage and honor, but deployed, potentially, in very, very different ways.

Some ideas are better than others, when measured against a global goal, which I argue often should be Goodness.

I believe I have mentioned this, but during the Vietnam War era, among the Vietnamese, it was apparently a commonplace that all you had to do was get an American drunk, and they would do anything for you.  They would give you the shirt off their back.  I personally experienced this: a Vietnamese man I was taking a Chinese class with got me drunk, then asked me to help him get his girlfriend back.  I did it.  The stereotype in my case was true.

I will contrast this with an example given by a martial arts teacher with many years experience dealing with Japaneses.  He said the Japanese will give you the shirt off their back, but they will resent you for it.

The female protagonist, throughout, wrestles with duty and honor.  It is noted clearly in the chopsticks scene that she understand herself to live in a world filled with humble obeisance to tradition and those who enforce it (men).

In the end, though, she "betrays" her grandfather.  Her father wanted to kill her, and her grandfather is trying to kill Logan.  She chooses Goodness, the right thing, over tradition.

In the course of human history, allegiance to principle over tribe is a very new innovation.  It is, in my view, an innovation which has most taken root in the United States, in our traditional, actually Liberal, culture.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Red and Blue

My therapist (who I have seen twice, and I think may have done enough, at least for now) said that blue is safe, red is activated.  I noticed she wore blue in both meetings.

Can we not safely assume that even this detail of propaganda was managed by those who value influence over truth, tricks over reason, conformity over public discussion?

Have conservatives not ceded again the high ground to those who don't deserve it?  It is likely this concession is as large as granting the word Liberal to fascists.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tower 7



Does this look like something that would fail because the curtains were on fire?  This is what most office towers look like when you take the tiles out.  The failure of a column like this, "fueled by the combustion of office furnishings", is what supposedly led to the failure of the entire building, at the speed of gravity.

Can anyone with an IQ above room temperature fail to grasp this is farcical, impossible, stupid, ludicrous, an insult?

Loyalty

I wrote on my Facebook something close to: "Loyalty is a reciprocal virtue; or it is abuse.  No one need feel loyalty to anyone or anything that cannot or will not offer it back."

I said this after a discussion with an electrician who has been working 90-100 hour weeks.  The people asking him to do this don't give a shit, but he said that "when I make a promise I keep it."

This is a good sentiment, but can you see, in a painfully obvious way, how it can and is being abused?  These assholes don't deserve that level of effort out of him.  My current suspicion is that the GC, who is too lazy to even create a schedule, gets a bonus for hitting his date.

Most wars are fought by people that feel loyalty to people who, at the top at least, do not feel loyalty to them in turn.

There are many good people in this world, and a great many of them fail to grasp how many bastards there are.

Grief

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_mFzOudxng&feature=youtu.be

I am increasingly of the opinion that most persistent anxiety is caused by unprocessed trauma, and that trauma is processed by activation and motion.

This is more or less the opinion stated here, shared by Barry McDonough [sp?], in a personal interview with an MD.  You lean in.  You pull the knife or circular saw in, as I saw in my breathwork session.  When you realize something terrifies you, you activate that fear, then move, in any direction.

Last night was awful for me, but I woke up peaceful.  I asked unconscious parts of me to process an activation of grief, anxiety, and this sense of unreality that had me wondering if I was going to lose it.  I fell asleep, but it was like I woke periodically to the sound/sense of battle all night long, with horrible shaking.  I got up about 5:30, did a relaxation exercise, and slept peacefully for two more hours.  The battle, I feel, is won, although tonight will be the first test.

We all have all the tools we need to process anything, although many will remain unaware of this across their lifetime.  This overwork, paradoxically, has been enormously good for me.  I am activating grief, then dissolving/releasing it in motion.  I am activating trauma, then dissolving/releasing it in motion.

Healing is work.  There is no other word for it.  It does not just happen.

But large segments of our unconscious know EXACTLY what we need, and are quite willing to provide it.

And I want to be clear that what I am discussing is mainstream psychology. I  am referencing techniques most good therapists use every day.

Choice

I am doing work at a large, publicly traded company I am tempted to name, because I am angry with them, but will choose not to, for self protective reasons.

They have a large rework of an Executive suite that was supposed to begin in January, but which they held off on, so as to make a LOT of revisions.  Work commenced some time in March.  The original deadline was July 1, based on a January start date.  They decided to keep the July 1 date, despite the delay.

This has meant numerous trades not only working 80-90 hour weeks, but also constant redoing of work already done, that has been damaged by other trades.  The painters, for example, have more or less had to paint the place twice. It is the second biggest cluster-fuck I have ever seen, and by far the largest preventable one I have seen.  There is no urgency, outside of the stupidity and cupidity of the top executives.  The punch list will be so long it may as well be viewed as on-going construction. The final, end date of absolute completion will 2-3 weeks AFTER it would have been, had a tough but sensible schedule been put in place.

Here is the point I wanted to make: pretty much EVERY trade has had fantasies of walking off the job, but chosen to stay because they need the work.  Choice, as in worker self determination and freedom, can ONLY come in conditions of economic prosperity.  Nowhere else.

In any negotiation, the strength of your position is your BATNA: Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement.  This is the one idea of which I know that has originated at Harvard in the past 50 years that has been useful.

In conditions of economic malaise, such as characterizes every foray into socialism, your BATNA is shit.  You have no choice.  Workers are screwed.

And it doesn't matter if you have a union.  Unions make everything more expensive, and thus cause decreased overall economic activity.  Find me a Rust Belt, and I will find you States which allow unions to coerce membership.

It doesn't matter if you have protective regulations.  Workers who need the work are going to overlook abusive practices.

The ONLY thing which reliably empowers workers, which would allow these guys and gals to tell this large corporation FUCK YOU, you sorry, abusive sacks of shit who don't give a flying fuck about us, our lives, our safety or our families, would be plentiful economic activities elsewhere.  The GC would then be forced to actually treat them with some sense of fairness and consideration.

As always, the policies pursued by the Democrats and their apologists in the Republican Party work to disempower the very people they rhetorically claim to support.  The problem is that they don't really care.  They perhaps did at one point, but that was 50 years ago.

I will add as well that the root cause of economic malaise is monetary inflation and the wealth transfers it enables.  Everything else is window dressing.  Of course relative economic freedom is a good thing--we should in my view abolish corporate income taxes, for example--but if you ponder that 90% of our collective wealth has done to banks and the government over the past century, via devaluation of the currency, you should readily see this is the single most important factor.

Given sound monetary policy--such as the Germans appear to practice--we could all work less, earn more, and have more time for pursuing happiness as we conceive it.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Multiculturalism

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9477.2007.00176.x/abstract

If you are unfamiliar with Robert Putnam, here is a place to start.

His finding, which he himself suppressed for something like 10 years, is that the more diverse a neighborhood is, the less people interact, and the less they trust one another.

"Melting Pots" are schools for isolation.

All of our problems can be solved, but only if we tell the truth about them.

"Mexico"

The main difference between developed nations like the U.S. and Canada, and the rest of the world, is that we value honesty and hard work.

Mexicans, to take but one example, value family and leisure.  This is a stereotype, but in my own experience largely an accurate one.  When Americans are busting their asses to get things done, Mexicans are sitting around talking.  Where Americans, given the opportunity for corruption or theft, by and large do the right thing, Mexicans take bribes and steal, if the victims are not a part of their social group.

These two factors, and these two factors alone, are the principle reason that our nations differ so much in their economic success.  Put simply, it is as simple as math figuring out why nations prosper.  We trust one another, because most of us can be counted on to do the right thing.  Mexicans do not trust one another, because a great many of them cannot be counted on to do the right thing.  That is why their nation is so awful millions of them choose to abandon it and come here illegally.

One is not supposed to say these things, of course, but I am not saying anything many are not thinking.

How did it get so hard to speak the truth in public?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Professional Spirituality

What honest teacher doesn't want to be confused with you?  It's all about the adventure, no?  It's about what you can figure out, not what you can be told.

I am tired and drinking, again.  But I will say again this life is endlessly fascinating.  My god there is so much to see and experience.  And even the ugly is glorious.

That sad looking kid on the bus, three rows back listening to his iPod?  He can teach you something.  And you can teach him.

Go to it!!!

Endless Compassion

Starting to get in touch with my own trauma is enabling me to see the world in a completely new way.  Everywhere I look I see unhealed trauma.

I got into a minor pissing contest with someone today, who I have gotten into similar situations with before.  I look at him and all I see is a severely abusive father, and probably some sexual paraphilias of some sort.  He is a mess.

To the point, something pushed the present moment away from him, like a raft or life preserver that could have saved him from drowning in water that terrified him.  Nothing was there.  No one saved him.  And so he goes on, attacking the world, controlling the world to the extent of his ability.

For my part, of course, I am a bit vain and oversensitive.  I whine more than I ought to.  I'm working with guys whose work ethic I cannot but admire.  One electrician told me he had a severely strained groin muscle.  The doctor told him to stay off his feet for three weeks and ice it up.  Instead, he is working 80 hour weeks.  He is a better, tougher man than me.

I am still processing a story a guy I met in a bar told me last week.  He is a mortician, and his company does body pick up.  The cops find a suicide or homicide or simple death from natural causes, and after they have mapped out the scene, he takes the body to the Medical Examiner.

2 weeks ago he had to haul away two women, mother and daughter, who had had their home broken into, been ducktaped to chairs, and beaten so severely with something that their heads were gone.

The person or people who did this are still walking the streets, as far as I know.

Feel the horror of that image, then imagine, if you can, which is doubtful, a horror ten times that within the person who did that, a fear and sense of utter and complete powerlessness so overwhelming that it drives you mad.  You break, you stumble, you fall, and you never, ever get back up.  Your brain decays until it takes all your will and powerful intoxicants just to get through the day.

Morality in many respects is psychology.  The task is not to set rules, but to help people understand how the world works so that they can make good decisions.

And some people are so far gone they cannot be redeemed.  They can only be imprisoned or put to death.

That, at any rate, is the present state of our technology.  Perhaps one day methods can be devised to help even homicidal psychopaths deal with the absolute tyranny with which their souls are governed, by evils they likely in most cases can't even recall.

This is random, but I felt I needed to post it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Love and Service

My gut tells me that to love people effectively, you have to open an emotional corridor, a connection; and you can't be afraid of what comes out, or the corridor will shut; the communication at that level will cease, even if verbality (neologism of the day) continues.  We can always talk about feelings, and say the simple and banal things.

To be capable of deep love for people who suffer deeply, you must be capable both of suffering deeply, and TURNING IT AROUND.  Pace, then lead.  That is basic NLP.  No wave is too large for the brave.  Let it break on you, then counterattack.

And I think to myself that if goodness is taking pleasure from the happiness of others, service of the sort most religions call for is really an act which brings pleasure.  We assume, mistakenly, that the deepest pleasures are those we generate for ourselves and ourselves alone.  But why do we think and feel this?  Why can't I be HAPPIER, say, that my kid is happy, than in any other activity I can think of?

Nothing in this universe demands of us abject servitude, or unrelenting self abnegation. These are human constructions, derived from sadists and other malefactors.

The equation is simple: give up the easy and immediate for the harder but much, much better and longer lasting.

Goodness of this sort is not different in principle from the test sometimes given to 4 year olds, in which they are offered one cookie now, or two cookies in an hour.  Those who held out for two cookies scored very substantially better on the SAT 13 years or so later, and were better adjusted.

Ayn Rand's mother made a similar proposition to her when she was about 3.  She had to give up a favorite doll for a year, if memory serves, to get 2 a year later.  Rand chose to do this, but her mother forgot about it, and had thrown away her doll.  That in my view is the ultimate source of Atlas Shrugged.

Life is endlessly fascinating.  How much we can see if we only look.

I am happy at this moment, and wish you the same.  It is quite possible for all of us.

Intellectuals

Ponder for a moment the sheer practical uselessness of intellectuals.  They think, they talk, they write, they fret, but even if they wind up in political office, the actual WORK is done by other people.  Their practical power is purely theoretical, purely abstract.

And I think this is the point.

Unprocessed trauma (our stereotypical egghead gets bullied, but the trauma certainly can stem from childhood or other trauma, such as a failure of maternal bonding) breeds intellectualism--emotional dissociation, detachment--which finds its natural resting place in places where abstraction is valued.  If you look at a typical English department, or Philosophy, or Sociology, or Cultural Studies, or Linguistics, etc., what you will find is that they generate almost nothing of any practical use.

English, for example, might teach people to express themselves well, and in theory could help people learn to feel more deeply, but practically what seems to happen is that they are given an open license of open ended, completely useless navel ruminating.  Foucault, Derrida, de Man, Ricoeur, Habermas: what fucking good are these people? If they had never lived, never written, what difference would it have made?  Clearly, they would have needed to be invented to facilitate emotional avoidance through intellectualism, but the names and words don't matter at all.

Here is the thing: actual, practical impotence leads to fantasies of power. It leads to fantasies of global government, global Fascism under some kinder name.  It leads to the empowerment, in the abstract, of the intellectual, who by means of his or her ideas becomes not just relevant, not just important, but powerful.  And from this they derive the sense of personal meaning that otherwise eludes them.

This psychological dynamic underlies most of the very preventable misery which happened in the 20th century, and which may yet happen in this century.

It is in my view clinically accurate to describe Leftism as a mental disorder.

1403

99th percentile for my age, and if I'm honest I have to say my suspicion is that Lumosity is mainly used by white collar professionals.

There is some room for bragging, right?  I'll take my victories where I find them.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Joy

Driving home tonight I felt again the presence, the possibility of a deep joy, that is analogous to the best sex you have ever had, but so much better that the sex feels weak and inauthentic.  What wild connections are possible, how much deeper we can all go, how much fun it is to be alive, to breathe, to undergo the adventure.

I can cover leagues with a single step, a life in a breath.

Yes, I am drinking, but it only makes me more honest.

Music

I'm sitting here listening to music, and noticing the effect "it" has on me.

Can anyone  argue that we are infants, stupid, ignorant, just-at-the-beginning, when it comes to understanding the complex interactions of various sorts of music, dance, and mood?

Brainwashing, coercion: these are likely more advanced than I like to think.

But elicitive techniques, those which pull out, which facilitate expression, self creation, re-formation, joy formation: we are primitives.

And the primitives are likely advanced.

Never, ever, ever assume you know what needs knowing. You are likely a dumbass of the first order, not having even reached the level of being capable of learning.

Certainly, that applies to me.

Who can imagine the heights the human race can reach, if it ever applies its full creative instincts to qualitative joy, to Goodness, to harmony, peace, and the death of wars of various sorts?

I am a Humanist.  I do not believe we are the measure of all things.  That would imply many bad things about the things.  But I do believe we are, relatively, perfectable, that social life is perfectable, that many useful things are knowable that are not yet known or sufficiently widely practiced.

I think we need to keep plugging.  We need to keep trying.  We need to foster hope and accomplishment.  Believe more is possible, and dammit if it doesn't show up on cue.

Positive Resonant Constellations

We, I, think of Condensed Experience or Resonant Constellations as the aggregation of negative experience; but why could we not build positive Constellations, such that happy memories trigger other happy memories?

This whole happy thing is a bit new to me, but I am running with it.

There is a cycle of releasing trauma, but also of building the opposite.  I have tapped into all my underground reservoirs; I feel confident in this.  I have connection.  All the parts are in communication.  No part is forgotten.  Now my core self needs to build a home filled with light and love.

That no doubt sounds odd and vague.  Shit, I'm still figuring it out.  It will take time.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Lucky Day

I've been working a lot of 12 hour days lately.  I have a few drinks on the way home to relieve the pain.

I watch people.  That's what I do.  I talk to people, listen to them, listen and learn about their stories, their beliefs, what defines them.

And what I see is pain all around.  Most every person you deal with during the day, or see walking down the road, or who changes your oil: they have demons, traumas, they have not dealt with.

I look at our world, and all of us wandering around, crazy.

And I remember my job is to not be crazy, but to understand it.  And I go on.

That, my friends, is a boring drunk man's tale.

And if you are crazy, be good at it, then come home.  We will welcome you, perhaps for the first time ever.

There is so much love in this universe.  If we can but manifest a fraction of it, we can change the world.

I would give everything I have and am to learn this skill.

Friday, June 20, 2014

World Cup

I am going to avoid intellectual posts for the time being, but this occurred to me.  It is an interesting fact that at least in my own personal space, the World Cup is most popular among internationalists, people who tend to self identify with "social democracy:", with what we call Liberalism in this country, mistakenly.

What connection does the Cote D'Ivoire have with soccer?  Colonialism.  Soccer--Football--is an export a great many colonized countries choose to continue.

It is a cultural meme, repeated.  It is something We created, and which They want.

Oh, when will we pursue It, Goodness?

All the abstractions float, hover.  They exist as possibilities in minds, as thoughts that could move.  We in turn live by rote.  We assume of today what we assumed of yesterday.

I am so dumb.  So are you.  I will try to remember this tomorrow.   Will you?

Here is a random link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePIImGMjn_8

Maybe not fully random.

Mild Brag

This thing that has had me is breaking.  I can feel it.

I will return momentarily to this task, but feel a need to permit myself a small brag.  I reached 1395 on my BPI for Lumosity today.  It's not 1400, which  is a goal I have set, but I feel the need to brag, to assert myself.  It's 98.9th percentile for my age.  On Attention I am at 99.5, which is as good as you can get with their system.

It is worth noting as well that these percentile scores are among people who USE Lumosity.  It is likely safe to assume that only roughly the top third of Americans use it, so that score is even better.

It is perhaps a bit pathetic to feel the need to point this out, but part of my healing will be, I think, openly asserting myself more often and more directly.  I have never had a place in the room.  Now I will.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Adventure

I texted my oldest, on the verge of a Major Life Event, that "life is an adventure, and an adventure is just difficulty and stress that you accept, laugh at, and learn from."  I will be honest and admit that I had the Walter Mitty movie in mind.  It was cliched in some respects, but cliches exist because they usually represent abundant realities.

Well, I am having my own adventure.  I sent that in part to myself.  I just cancelled all my Facebook news feeds, and am going to put myself, to the extent possible, on a news fast.  I am going to try and see my new therapist twice a week until most of the horror is gone.  As I believe I've shared, the movie which best represents the emotional tone of my family is "Texas Chainsaw Massacre".  When I told that to the last therapist (who is in another State, hence the new one), she said "we may have some work to do." [I will add, can we not assume that Toby Hooper had his own share of trauma, that this movie came from somewhere, and not somewhere pleasant?]

As I've shared, I like to think of myself as a Master Sergeant, as a professional NCO, but not yet at the fully politicized level.  I try to do my work well, silently (you can laugh out loud at that), and with full commitment.

I am relieving myself of my operational duties for the time being.  I am not going to fight anyone on anything for a while.  There are others who can and will take my place.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spirituality

Logically, if the "spiritual" path is about increasing pain tolerance, then pain is a principle method.  This of course has long been a precept of many religions, and is the basis for all asceticism.

At the same time, pain is so often replaced as an end, rather than a means, that one can rightly question how well it has been used in most religions for most of history.

Everything useful can be made harmful.  All good ideas can be perverted by applying them too much or too little.

Let me frame this in 21st Century terms: all of us must come to terms with all traumas, large and small, in our past, and we must learn the skill of emotional processing, even of difficult information.  This is the task both of individual and social maturity.

Once this is done, expanded perceptions become possible, and those, in turn, facilitate further growth.

This is the model I am convinced is "correct", to the extent one can apply a word like that to abstractions.

I will add as well, that this model precludes the Sybaritic path of assuming life is meant to be easy, and that only circumstances prevent us from being happy.

That last sentence is a paraphrase from a book I found immensely useful at a certain point in my life, Garth Woods "The Myth of Neurosis".  Easily one of the five most useful self help books I have ever read, with others being "Learned Optimism", "Trauma and Recovery", and "The Drama of the Gifted Child." I'd have to think about number 5.

The Middle Way

The purpose of asceticism is to accept asceticism.  Once this has happened, it is no longer useful.  Mere austerity is quite sufficient, and that only to avoid an overabundance of things you might miss.

Buddhism is first and foremost a psychological process.  Whatever we call "spirituality" is simply a continuation of the developed ability to see in this world.  The world simply expands; rather, your awareness of the size of this "world" expands.

I think of the monks sitting in their caves for 3 years.  Do you not think powerful feelings of fear and fatigue and loneliness plague them?  Do they not fear going mad?  We tend, I think, to think of them as other than  us, but this is not true.  They merely go farther than most of us are willing to go, but they suffer for it.  Of this I have no doubt.  But that suffering has another side; it ends; it can be traversed.

But becoming comfortable with suffering: this is the asceticism of the soul, of the emotions.  If you can handle a lot of pain, you can process trauma as it happens, and leave it behind when it is done.  The value of this knowledge for your capacity for tranquility cannot be overstated.  Most of us know there are things that could happen that would deeply disturb us.  If we have already learned the skill of being disturbed, letting it flow through us--ripping us to shreds before we reconstitute--then we need fear nothing.

And fearlessness is life.

Auditing

Scientologists audit one another to identify and remove emotional knots and unresolved trauma.  As I understand the method, one person is hooked up to the equivalent of a lie detector, while anothe reads words, to see what produces a reaction.  When one happens, they go into it.  How, I don't know, but Stan Grof talked about it as an abreactive therapy.

Scientology is a cult, but why could this process not be reintroduced and improved within an open, free, non-coercive setting?  Why could we not use this process to elicit reactions, then whenever an unprocessed memory comes up use EMDR or something else to process it?

We could add Multi-Dimensional Eye Movement, or a variant called Brainspotting.

Most of those who aspire to tyrannize us are filled with unresolved traumas.  If it is true, for example, that the Rockefellers want us all tagged with RFID chips, then this can only be the result a maladaptive sadism and power-mongering that is the direct result of emotional undernourishment and unresolved trauma.

No serious person can claim the "environment" is so endangered, or that overpopulation is such a risk, that a global tyranny is a rational, reasonable, humanistic, empowering response.  No: it is the response of sick, sick people who are unable to live happy lives.

This situation need not endure. It is possible to develop, in a gradualistic way, a more harmonious, healthy, empowering, GOOD society that will decrease its demands on the physical environment absent coercion, precisely as happiness becomes more available, and our economic system rationalizes in conditions of sound money.

Everything good anyone claims to want--a smaller global population, increased access to opportunity and wealth, a decreased burden on the environment and a less materialistic society--can be achieved without coercive government.  On the contrary, the government makes these things impossible outside of generalized inequality and misery.

No socialist can claim they value egalitarianism when their chosen method is an omnipotent and definitionally unequal State.

We can get everything good we want.  All the tools are there.  All the opportunities are there.  We just must deal with the reckless demons who never see anything they don't want to tear down and break, while claiming they value and love it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Salvation

Salvation lies in embracing what destroys you.  That was Part One.

Part two: prior to figuring out how to move forward Sunday, I felt an acute resentment at God and the world for inflicting such pain on me.  I understood, experientially, how a Sade could come to hate the world, hate the idea of Goodness, and subsist entirely on pain and suffering.

Part Three: I am riffing on Nietzsche, of course.  But his ideas were incomplete.  I would like to propose the following concept: the Philosophy of Unresolved Trauma.  If myth precedes philosophy, as I argued some 5 years ago, then trauma, as expressed in myth, in underlying, prerational, unexamined assumptions about the world, also precedes philosophy.

I am going to get this shit figured out, so help me God.

I just worked 16 hard hours, though, and I think that will suffice.  I am punchy enough.

Solipsism

I am the only one reading this post.

I don't know why I wrote that.  I am very tired, and it popped in my head.  I usually go with instincts, because if you don't feed them, they stop coming.

But I still don't know why I wrote that.  Maybe I'll figure it out tomorrow.

DHS

Read this and ponder its implications: http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/friendswood/opinion/whitehead-has-the-dept-of-homeland-security-become-america-s/article_81acf508-4660-5e0a-87fc-fee9c447f61f.html

This supports perfectly my contention that the principle role of the DHS is militarizing our nations police forces, for no apparently useful reason, unless and until one assumes tyranny is an end goal, and the cooperation of LEO's in the suppression of the expression of dissent a means.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Christina Grof

I read today with surprise and sadness that the co-creator of Holotropic Breathwork, Stan Grof's long term wife and friend--Lebesgefaehrtin--has unexpectedly passed away.  I overheard him talking to her on the phone at a retreat, and there is no doubt that even after so many years he loved her very much.  That is such a beautiful thing, and I cannot begin to imagine the pain he must be suffering, because I cannot imagine the amount of love he enjoyed.  It is foreign to me. But I was glad to see it shown to be possible.

According to my world view of how things work, Christina was greeted with light and love and joy, and shown all the lives she touched for the better, including my own.  What a blessing.

Some people live their lives fit for heaven--not as angels, not as perfect beings, but as striving, trying, caring, giving human beings, who try to do what they can with what they have--and I feel she was such a person.

So much human progress comes in fits and starts.  Not many people in the  United States have heard of HB, but that is no reason someone like me cannot take it, modify it, and generalize it, and be able to do so ONLY because she and Stan were attentive back in the 1970's, and had the courage to experiment in processes that were wholly new.

All my current progress started with Holotropic Breathwork, and HB in turn started with her and Stan.

The Lebensgestalt they promoted in the idea of Spiritual Emergency has also been hugely useful.  I would frame it as: there is a back end to madness, a tunnel on the other side, an out, a way through.  That is hugely important.

I do wonder if the prevalence of depression in this and many other countries is not due in part to the ease of our lives.  Yesterday, I made myself move while in the thrall of gripping sadness.  Was this once common, such that many people experienced, albeit accidentally, what I did?

Oh, I know she will be missed, which meant she meant something.  The Holotropic Breathwork tribe is like a bunch of cats.  They hide somewhere, come down from the hills for retreats, then disappear again. I know well this thirst for solitude.

But her loss will leave a hole.  Those closest will mourn, and move on as best they can.

There are not enough good people in this world, and it hurts to lose them.  But as always let us use this as a reminder to do better, to be better, to carry on work which needs to be carried on.  Let us envision our best efforts ahead of us, and continue on, renewed in our inspiration by the beauty of the life that has fallen.

Tarot and my new therapy

Unbelievably--or believably, depending on your viewpoint--I have in roughly 8-10 weeks drawn the same card twice now three times: the Fool, the five of swords, and the 9 of swords, just now.

This, just after I decided to invent a new therapy for myself.  I am talking with the fear generating part of myself (this sounds crazy, but anyone who does deep exploration can readily see that our personality, until it is fully integrated, has "parts", and you can and should talk to them; this is easier done than conceptualized) and telling it that if it allows me to do anything or go anywhere without excessive fear, it is failing me.  It is not doing its job.  I am telling it to do its job.

I tell it, when I walk down this hallway, I want fear.  And I have been able to trigger shaking.  What I've noticed is the shaking builds, then subsides suddenly.  It has a run time, and my guess, based in part on the notions I read about in Somatic Experiencing, is that you only need a finite amount of shaking.  For severe trauma, it may be a lot, but if I can integrate it daily, I will make steady progress.

This makes me happy.  There is an end in sight.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Trauma, wanderings

I'm probably sharing too much here, but I have come to view this blog as emotionally beneficial.  It may be that people I know read it, a thought which makes me uncomfortable, but the benefits are worth the risk of embarrassment.  Hell, what could be worse than what I've already experienced, and sometimes still do?

Where in school did you learn that unprocessed trauma from your baby years could affect you for life?  I don't remember it, but it seems to be true.

I have awakened something substantial.  If I don't more or less drink myself to sleep, I wake up multiple times a night--something like every 90 minutes--shaking from head to toe.  Apparently, people "with" PTSD have dreams they can't remember, but which wake them up.  I woke up punching the bed repeatedly the other night, and wonder if I was punched as a baby.  One reads stories of mothers smashing their babies skulls on the wall, microwaving them, smothering them.  I have recently noticed PSA signs saying "It's OK to walk away", targeted at mothers of babies whose crying drives them insane.  I know personally how tiring it can be to wake up every half an hour all night, and that is presumably what happened to my mother.

Still, I was allergic to milk, and they kept giving me milk.  I watched her burn 10 pancakes in a row one time.   She is quite able to avoid learning anything she doesn't want to learn.

But this is all very interesting.  It is unexpected.  It is a nice trip into the unknown.  I really wonder how many people wander through life with undiagnosed PTSD from the period when their every last instinct is emotionally and physically exhausting for their mother.  Who tests for this?

Could Multi Dimensional Eye Movement be added to physical exams, to uncover hidden and unsuspected trauma?  I would bet 1 in 10 people have it to some degree.  Is that why Kurt Cobain really killed himself?  What about Hemingway?  Were they fighting demons that were completely invisible to them, other than through the manifestation of pain?

And I got to thinking: logically, if an effect of trauma is a timeless, unchanging state, then could we infer that those incapable of breathing life into their notions about the world are by that very fact indicating some degree of trauma inheres in their beliefs?

Very short transition: leftism.  Classes that don't change.  Historical processes that are abstract, ubiquitous, and inevitable.  Usual suspects.  Clumsy thinking that turns the whole world into a wax museum devoid of personality and ideosyncracy in motion.

Is Leftism the product of trauma, and if so, of what sort?  It is the trauma of grasping, finally, the horror of history, of humankind's very human defiling and murdering of other humans?  Is it the unresolved trauma of the failure of the French or Russian Revolutions to accomplish anything but mass death and misery?

I will add two more things, then conduct my current process (as I think I said, I am going back into counseling, now that the value of abreaction is apparently better understood, again): I had a very unpleasant episode this morning.  I am working very hard, physically, and by and large all alone.  I was heading into a very hard piece of work this morning, in another city, processing memories that had arisen in the night from my baby period, and anticipating another 7 days straight of equally hard work, and it overwhelmed me briefly.  Anyone who has felt severe clinical monopolar depression knows what it feels like.  It is like a panic attack combined with wanting to cry but being unable to.  Your head spins a bit, and this sense of unreality sets in, which makes you feel like you are going to collapse or have a nervous breakdown.  You may just wind up in the looney bin.

No, no, no.  I knew I had to fight it, but something like that you can't battle with will, not directly.  You can suppress many feelings; that is not one of them, not in my experience.

So I went through my inventory.  This list, you see, was created by me for me, and then shared with the world, in that order.

Self pity: not a shred.  I am in fucking pain.

Perseverance: I can do that.  I can always keep going.  A little voice in my head (no, not that sort of voice, just the intuitive kind) said that if I persevered in my work for 10 minutes, the crazy would go away.

Perception: Hell, why not simultaneously encourage the craziness, AND keep moving.  EMDR is basically getting into a state, then adding motion.  That is all trauma is: a state without motion, frozen.

So while consciously increasing my sense of depression, I kept working, and damned if ALL the symptoms didn't disappear in short order.  I worked 9 hours, largely by myself, in an office tower, and I felt and feel fine.  In fact, I have noticed my irritability has decreased.  Things that used to upset me, no longer do so.

I think that most people have all sorts of unresolved trauma that trigger things.  What happens when someone cuts you off in traffic?  Well, of course that can be dangerous, but that is not why you flip out, is it?  Someone just told you you were UNIMPORTANT, you don't matter.   Fuck you, you nobody.

THAT is what creates road rage.  There is a little nexus in there of potent content, and somebody just triggered it.  I am realizing I have all sorts of triggers, that are diminishing as I get at the REAL trauma, the root of all of it.

Couple more thoughts: Spiritual Emergency might be thought of as an extended nervous breakdown with a beneficial end.  As I tend to do, I feel almost everything most Westerners need to do has NOTHING to do with religion or spirituality: we simply need to become human, and many of us fail.  Being human is where spirituality STARTS.

I also wanted to add that unresolved PTSD from the early years is a potent starter or seed for the formation of complex and strong Resonant Constellations, as I call them: it is invisible, real, and affects everything.

Also, of course, the birth process can play a role here as well.  The thing about the birth process is that it is no doubt somewhat traumatizing for every baby, but I think babies that get the love and affection and attention they need get over it in short order. If, however, you add a hard birth to a barren emotional world, that, again, can create problems whose source is unclear that last a lifetime.

If your only tool is a hammer, it is not necessarily that every problem starts to look like a nail, but rather that you only try to solve problems that look like nails.  You ignore the rest.

Until recently, hypnosis was the only mainstream method of getting access to these primitive states.  Therefore, even though I am going to say with confidence the birth to 2 year old period is often a major source of unresolved and life altering trauma, psychologists, and psychiatrists largely ignore it.  Anything they don't know how to treat, they would rather not know about.  It makes them look stupid, and they don't like looking stupid.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lois Lerner

The games will continue until she sees the inside of a jail cell. Our target is His Highness, so I ser no reason not to grant her immunity, once she's stewed in a celll long enough to get some clarity.

Eric Holder belongs in jail. Given some balls on the part of Congress, it could and should happen today.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A modest point

I am going to speak Acadamese, which iis like jive, but for people with greatly constrained emotional and social skills.

The narrative "Conservatives essentialize others" is itself an essentializing narrative.

I have made this point before, but thought it worth reitetating.

The halls of our best universities are filled with crappy thinking and emotional infantilism.

There is no idea so stupid that someone smart has never hrld it. People still think Communism is something other than an orgy of horror papered over in comic book thinking.

Time and the Other

This is a book by Johannes Fabian, that I would been responsible for understanding had I continued in graduate school.  Most everyone in some form of cultural studies will have to read this book.

I have not read the book, but am familiar with the thesis: white men want to rule the world and this really sucks because everyone else is better than us.  That's pretty close.  A longer summary is here: http://strongreading.blogspot.com/2011/07/johannes-fabian-time-and-other.html

Seriously, the gist of the book as I understand it is that Western culture tends to assume things about cultural Others which are untrue and patronizing, namely that they are culturally static, and absent outside contact tend to remain the same.

Here is the point I want to make: it is debatable whether this is true or not of the West--clearly many military veterans understand Afghans and Iraqis far better than people who have never even been over there--but it is CATEGORICALLY true for leftists.

What got me to thinking about this was the widespread belief among Leftists, then and now, that our retreat from Vietnam--from a war we had won and which only needed maintenance, exactly like Iraq--was a GOOD thing.  They assume that since we were over there shooting people, that this was intrinsically, definitionally, a bad thing.  They assume the Vietnamese were a static, homogeneous, culturally united, peaceful people, and that war only came because of us.

They see, in other words, a picture they have created in their minds, not what is actually there.

Place yourself imaginarily in Mosul at this moment.  There is shooting in the streets. People are being executed.  Women and children are being raped.  Imagine families hiding in terror in their bedrooms, knowing the lock on their front door will never hold.  Imagine children looking to their father for protection, and him knowing he cannot do anything.

This is what Obama has engineered.  This is what he has  created as a policy.

The thing with narcissists is they never see the world as it is.  It could be seen primarily as a perceptual defect, a type of hallucinatory capacity to see things which are not there.  If you simply define America as always an oppressor, then leaving a theater of oppression is a good thing, period.  There is no ambiguity.

But this calculus makes not even a RUDIMENTARY effort at defining the Good, at weighing one option against another.  It does not consider rape and murder to be crimes against humanity.  They are only crimes when committed by one set of predefined, timeless Others against a predefined Us.

This is the very tribalism which Fabian's  book seeks to explore and reduce.   As always with the leftists, they are pursuing in reality the very evil they claim to oppose.

As it often does with me, this becomes personal.  I have a great many emotional scars to heal, and this is one of them.  There is no difference between my mothers refusal to recognize me as I matured--to recognize that I existed in my own Time--and the Left's refusal to recognize the horror and very human suffering they have enabled through their idiotic blindness.

And there is a sadism to all this, underlaying it all.  Obama almost consciously is spitting in the face of our military, who are cultural Others to him, in exactly the Fabian sense, and getting satisfaction from it.  The Left delighted in the torment our chosen retreat from Vietnam caused our veterans.

This is all madness.

The American Soldier

In my previous post I could, of course, have spoken of our war dead, and our war wounded.  Men and women who lost legs, eyes, suffered traumatic brain injuries, or who wake up screaming every night, and whose spouses rightly fear them.

I feel the pain of these people too.  But what I want to speak to, the people I want to speak for, who are never spoken for because they are the least whiny human beings on the planet, are all those who WORKED, hard, for a very long time, who stayed up all night many nights, poring over maps, analyzing intercepts, who CARED about getting this thing right, about winning the war not just because it was their job, but because it was the right thing to do.  These people come back home, get civilian jobs, and largely disappear.  "You were in Iraq?",  "Yes, ma'am, in 2005-2006, and again in 2010-2011."

I just feel horror at looking at all this waste, this willful, unnecessary waste of human energy and talent.

This is another variant of PTSD: the bitterness of watching what you gave your life to torn apart and scattered.  That, I guess, is the use of Kipling.  I have If on my wall.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Iraq

Goddamn it.  Goddamnit.  Fuck Fuck Fuck.

These people are going to cut off at least hundreds and probably thousands of heads.  They are going to start a war with Iran, and turn the Iraqi cultural landscape into an arid, spirit-less desert.  They are going to assert their misogyny vigorously.  Death and destruction, hate and fear follow them wherever they go.

From all I hear, the Iraqi military is filled with pussies, and the Iraqi government has disarmed the populace.  Baghdad will likely fall.

Within a couple months, Obama will have stood and watched the vitiation of all the work our soldiers did in Iraq, and established the basis of the failure of our work in Afghanistan.  The parallels with Vietnam are uncanny.  In Vietnam, we clearly, unambiguously, beyond any doubt, beyond any debate, factually, won the war in the South.  If further evidence were needed, it comes handily in the form of the fact that the Easter invasion was led by tanks provided by the Soviets that originated openly in the North.  So too did the final invasion in 1974-1975.

Yes, of course the amoral whores who run our press have suppressed general understanding of these facts, and even more critically, an understanding of the MEANING of these facts.

We won in Iraq.  Then we lost.

We won in Afghanistan.  But now we will likely lose.

I am tired, irritable, and maybe have some  vodka in a cup next to me, but I want to offer a general statement that feels right to me.  Shit, I'm going to do all caps, and give it a carriage return

NO WAR THAT AMERICA CAN OR WILL FIGHT IN THE FUTURE WILL ACTUALLY BE FOR "FREEDOM" OR "DEMOCRACY" UNTIL WE ELIMINATE THE POWER AND INFLUENCE OF TRAITORS IN OUR MIDST.

I know soldiers.  I talk with them.  I sympathize with them.  I'm a working class joe who rubs elbows with sheet rockers and painters every day.  I like ordinary people.  I respect them.  I don't like intellectuals, as a rule.

And goddamn it if they are not getting fucking screwed.  I have no personal idea how hard these soldiers, sailors, airmen marines worked, but 16 hour days for a year straight is probably a good guess for most of them.  I know a nice, easy schedule is 12 on/12 off with the Navy.  7 days a week, for the duration of your deployment.

Obama DOES NOT GIVE A SHIT.  I have said this elsewhere several times in the past few days, with regard to his dumping of illegal aliens other than back in Mexico: he values nothing.  I have said he values power.  But that is a craving, a "sehnsucht", to use an apposite German word.  It is not something he values, cares about.  It is simply a defining aspect of his insanity, his craziness, his poorly constructed reconciliation with unprocessed trauma.  He does not love Americans.  He does not love Valerie Jarrett or even his own children.  There is no love there.  There is only the horror of emotionally detached abstraction.

Perhaps that glass of vodka has shrunk.  Let me ask this question: ISIS--Islamic State in Iraq and Syria--originate in Syria.  Did we arm these mother fuckers?  Did we give them guns, ammo, jeeps, APG's?

We know Obama has been arming blood thirsty savages in Syria.  Were these some of them?

Was this invasion part of the plan?  Should some little bird have warbled in our ear when Obama talked about how sweet the sound of the muezzin was?

Oh, the birds have been shrieking at us like hysterical monkeys for some time.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Soothing music

I was talking with someone today about Alison Krauss, and how amazingly soothing her voice is, and it occurred to me that I filled my children's childhood with soothing music.  We listened to the soundtrack to "Oh, Brother where art thou" over and over.  We listened to a LOT of Alison Krauss.  That was about all we listened to in the car for a year or two.  We rotated three albums.  We listened to the album I'm listening to now, Hem's "Funnel Cloud".  We listened to the soundtrack to "Secret of Roan Inish".  That track is delightful.  Highly recommended.  We listened to a lot of Alan Jackson.

Music is a water you swim in. It is an atmosphere you imbibe.  It fills you, and if it does not quite define you, it affects you, it alters you, it moves you towards or away from balance, wholeness, and emotional satiety and happiness.

Ponder where you go musically, and if you have children, ponder how you make their water both soothing and enriching.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Monetary Reform proposal simplified.

I am getting to where this thing is simple.  That in my view is good.

All of our economic problems would be solved in short order and permanently if people simply grasped that the root of our trouble is the existence of two classes: those with the ability to create money, and those who cannot. Those with access to free money will always prosper relative to those who have to earn it.
The solution is simple. Use the Fed to pay off all American debt: all private debt, all corporate debt, all municipal, State and Federal debt. This can be done easily, as there are no restrictions, now, on the Feds ability to create money.
Require banks to have 100% reserves, and to make money solely by charging for checking accounts, by making a spread on CD's, and by processing electronic payments.
All dollars in existence that were not created as loans remain in existence.
The value of the dollar and of every hour worked by an American will steadily increase. Monetary deflation--which is really a misnomer, as the value, which is what we should care about, is increasing, not decreasing--is not a danger if there is no debt.
We end the Fed, and enjoy continual and widely distributed prosperity. We never alter the quantity of money again. We pass a Balanced Budget Amendment, which requires all wars to be actually funded by tax increases, making their true costs transparent and obvious to all.
This is simple, but it requires a radical rethinking of economics. This is compounded by the problem that most Marxists are really suffering from profound emotional psychopathology, and not actually seeking solutions to real economic problems; rather, they seek in policy relief from the misery their distorted, warped world view causes them.

I would append to this that the economic use of gold would be radically altered in this proposal.  If there is no inflation, there is no economic need for gold.  We could sell off the vaults of Fort Knox and the New York Fed (if anything is still there; and if it isn't we could find out who took it and put them in jail, if they are still alive) for use in jewelry.  That would fund a lot of government activities, one would think.

I really think this would work.  I have yet to receive substantive criticism of this proposal from people who show evidence of having read and understood it.  It has of course been misunderstood many times.

To be great is to be misunderstood

Emerson.

I have this on my wall, as I am misunderstood multiple times each day.  I don't know that I am great, but I am certainly misunderstood.  In fact, I can't recall ever being understood with regard to any of my more complex ideas.

One must have some ego to keep slugging, and this is one bit I grant myself.

Aromatherapy

One thing I have found that consistently lifts my mood is, after I take my shower, taking some unscented lotion, adding 5-10 drops of Essential Oils to it, mixing it up, and spreading it across my chest.  I particularly like Rosemary, Basil, Lime, Orange, Grapefruit, and Lemongrass.  Putting them in an aromalamp always seems like a waste, since you have to use so much to get any effect, but this way you have that smell for at least a few hours.

There is no reason not to seek comfort in small things.  You may smell funny, but unless it's going to cost you your job, fuck it.

Complex trauma

This could be added to my previous post, but I don't have the emotional energy for it.  In any event, I think it sufficient unto itself.

To the whole discussion of trauma must be added the complex trauma.  It seems to be a fact that those most traumatized by war--or anything else--were already traumatized.  People who start with emotional problems find them exacerbated by war.

Many vets who are alcoholics started out that way.

Life being what it is, shit can be additive.  Things can get stuck on other things.  This is what Stan Grof calls Condensed Experience, or CoEx, and what I call a Resonant Constellation.

Unresolved childhood grief can get aggregated with lost comrades in arms. Unresolved childhood terror can get added to battlefield terror.

So therapy for battle induced PTSD may also need to include therapy for other things as well.  The same logic applies though: what works for the one, will work for the other.

Stay in the fight.  Success is inevitable over some time domain.

Open letter to veterans with PTSD

Trauma and Recovery, Part 1

I would like to offer a message of honest hope for veterans suffering from PTSD, and their spouses.  I would like, specifically, to offer a plan of attack that may be better than the one you are pursuing now.

I myself was recently diagnosed with “severe, complex, PTSD with dissociation”, as a result of a series of as-yet unremembered events that happened to me or that I was a part of some time before age 2.

This diagnosis is about as bad as it gets in the trauma domain, but it fills me with optimism and confidence in the future, for many reasons.

First and foremost, this diagnosis was only made possible by therapeutic advances, specifically a technique called Multi-Dimensional Eye Movement, which itself is a part of a larger method called “Emotional Transformation Therapy”.  20 years ago, when I did seek out therapy, there was nothing that could have touched this, much less helped resolve it.

Secondly, it allows me to give a name to a feeling I have not been able to name.  One of the aspects of unresolved trauma is a sense of emotional disconnection.  If you have PTSD, you know what I am talking about.  You feel like you are going crazy, and you don’t know why.  You can’t run from it, but you can hide from it in alcohol and drugs and other distractions.  In my own case, I have managed it with a relentless application of will, but this saps psychic energy that can be put to better uses.

This disconnectedness is one aspect of trauma; the other is the “intrusion”, the flashback, the inability to stop seeing images, smelling smells, hearing things, thinking thoughts, and feeling again things from long ago.  This is the classic PTSD symptom.

Here is the good news: if you can remember what it is that is bothering you, very good techniques exist now to treat it.  If you have not tried Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, you should.

And before I describe it, let me make an important point: the default therapies the VA offers, at least in my understanding, are not only largely useless, they in many cases make things worse.  They are fifty year old techniques that should be discarded, but socialized medicine makes progress difficult.  Specifically, they use what are called exposure, or immersion, or in vitro methods, which ask you to go through the memories or triggering stimuli over and over.  This is stupid.  The goal is to PROCESS the trauma, go through the trauma, so that you can make it go away.  It is not to retraumatize you over and over.

And another piece of good news is that you can almost certainly self fund your own therapeutic journey. Most of the new methods allow for tremendous progress in as little as 1 2 hour session.  I paid $150/hour for 6 hours of therapy, and that $900 was some of the smartest money I ever spent.  Any serious alcoholic is spending at least $60-$100/week on booze, so if you can get off the bottle your payback on this investment is rapid.

And what you are doing is getting rid of the very valid and understandable reasons you drink.  If you go to an AA meeting, you will see a lot of vaguely sad people who miss their old friend, but had to quit because it was killing them and their relationships.  In my view, most all of them have untreated PTSD, likely from things they can’t even remember.  What you are doing here is treating the root of the problem.

This is good news as well because the VA takes forever to treat people anyway.  So ignore them.  Ignore what insurance you do or do not have.  Pay cash.

And if you don’t have somebody local, schedule a trip to go somewhere, and book 2-5 days of 2 hour sessions.  Your sanity, your mental health is worth it.  This is a battle, and this is the battle plan.

Returning to EMDR, you have perhaps heard the idea that trauma permanently rewires your brain.  It appears to be true that it rewires the brain, but not true that that damage cannot be undone.  EMDR exists specifically to facilitate new connections, so as to enable the processing of trauma, and cessation or substantial mitigation of symptoms.

And the techniques as I have experienced them are simplicity itself.  First off, while you are talking with the therapist, he or she will give you a headset that puts alternating tones in your ears; and combine this with little modules that vibrate alternately, that you put on your hands.  This helps balance the brain hemispheres, and facilitates processing of information, with trauma merely being painful information.

What you will do is establish a hierarchy of traumas, and if you can remember everything that bothers you—I can’t, which will make my own treatment a bit trickier—then you are in an excellent position.  As I understand the process, you can either start with the least traumatizing memory, or most.  Which is chosen will depend on you and your therapist. 

And the therapist will then take out a stick about 18” long, with a color on the end, and simply move it back and forth horizontally, and ask you to follow it with your eyes as you think about that memory.  If your experience is anything like mine, this will elicit a powerful reaction.  You might shake, you might feel deep sadness, you might feel terror, or disgust, or nausea.  And it will build.  It will get larger and larger, then it will crescendo, and dissipate.  And you will then close your eyes, take a deep breath, and sit there as long as you need to to let the feeling subside.

As I understand it, with simple trauma—which is to say single traumatizing events that you can remember—a couple run throughs of this may be sufficient to make the intrusions disappear permanently.  My therapist said she has often gotten substantial resolution in a single session.

And I want to be clear, this is really not “talk therapy” in a classical sense, where the therapist starts out “tell me about your mother”.  It is not confessional, and you don’t have to sit there endlessly talking about feelings.  Many rightly fear this as useless.

It is task oriented.  It is “what are the problems”, then the implementing of a solution.  It is efficient in a great many, perhaps most, cases.

And there is an add-on therapy for unresolved grief.  According to my therapist, PTSD among veterans in particular is often oriented around mourning the deaths of comrades, or mourning the deaths of those they have killed.  It is the survivor guilt.

The solution for this in many cases—75% is the number the founder has been using—is a modified EMDR called Induced After Death Communication.  I have not personally experienced this, but the gist of it is that it enables a brief contact with the dead person, a brief communication, the substance of which is usually “I am alright.  I am fine.  Let me go.”

And it does not matter what your beliefs are.  If you are an atheist, that is fine.  Many veterans who have benefited from this technique were skeptical, but left with tremendous relief.  I will post a link to a video on this at the end of this where they discuss their experience.

And it would be foolish of me to say that this one method will help everyone.  But what I want to say is that methods have advanced, and that I have absolute confidence that if you persevere, you will prevail over your demons. 

There is the Multi-Dimensional Eye Movement I mentioned.  This consists in creating a bundle of colored wooden sticks—each color has a meaning and target—and slowly moving the bundle through your range of vision until something is triggered.  In my own case, I triggered a deep feeling of sadness, and the image of blood on the floor.  I still don’t know what it was, but it was powerful, very real, and unsuspected.  It was probably the most therapeutically useful thing that has ever happened to me. 

Then the therapist will slowly rotate the wands to see if one direction or the other relieves that feeling.  Then he or she will move it away from you, which creates relief.  This is a way of directly contacting traumas and releasing them.

There is a light therapy which is also a part of Emotional Tranformation that is apparently very useful.  Again, this is not talk therapy.  This is getting at synapses and allowing them to self correct.  Our brains have a powerful ability to regenerate.

There is Somatic Experiencing, which is something I am looking at.  Prey animals in the wild often experience violence.  They will be chased by some predator, get away, then shake for a while, then allow that fear to dissipate completely.  Despite spending their lives at risk of sudden death, they remain relaxed.  This shaking apparently helps resolve trauma.

Part of my own therapy for some time has been doing what I can to help others and improve the world.   I know firsthand the pain that PTSD causes, and this letter is written in the hope of helping some person get through it, and to bring relief both to them and their loved ones who care for them, but are largely helpless.

You are not helpless.  This is the substance of what I am saying.  It is my understanding the VA, unless things have changed--and the news in the last month makes this seem doubtful--is worse than useless.  Your insurance does not matter.  You can and should seek out effective treatment modalities.  They exist, and you have access to them over some period of time.

I wish you all the best!!!

Video with veterans who used IADC: http://www.healingafterthewar.org/videos.html
Emotional Transformation Therapy: http://www.ettia.org/
 Somatic Experiencing: http://www.traumahealing.com/somatic-experiencing/index.html

P.S. If you know anyone with emotional problems, they may be the result of unresolved trauma and grief.  Please forward this link to them.  Also, of course, if you know anyone who certainly has PTSD.  This world is filled with bullshit.  I am doing what little I can to help address this.