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  • Category Archives Matters of the Heart
  • freedom

    the one with the most power
    is not the one who makes the decision for you
    but the one who forces you to choose in the first place

    People don’t understand what freedom is.  They equate freedom with having the widest array of choices.  But what they fail to grasp is the people in power and society in general are the ones forcing them to make choices in the first place.  For example these anonymous apps like Sarahah which are detrimental to those further down.  Once your peer group starts getting into the app you are pressured to get into getting it too.  You have already lost.  When I was growing up we didn’t have to make the choice whether to join this app so we had more freedom even if to the untrained eye it seemed like we had less.  Freedom is also expressed in the choices you didn’t have to make.



  • Forgiveness is an NT construct

    Forgiveness is like the horizon.  Everyone says it exists but you can never get there.  Forgiveness is like lotto winnings.  I remember being at a gas station and there was a LED ticker denoting winnings in towns around us.  And we hear about the big wins in the news.  What this sets up is we think lotto winnings happen more than they actually do.  The same goes for forgiveness.  We are taught from the cradle that it exists and, especially with Christian upbringing, read and hear about it all the time.  So it makes it seem like it happens a lot more than it actually does.  Which is bad because we think we can wrong and be forgiven when this is usually a lie.

    As for me people have done things to me that have ruined my life and I don’t have the capacity to forgive, I can treat them cordially but I can’t change my emotions around what happened.  Of course therapists would want to guilt me for not being able to let go, because guilt is like the jackhammer you pull out when none of your other manipulative tools have worked.  You wrong me, the wrong stays in my muscle memory for future dealings with you.  You can label me bitter and angry (which implies I am culpable for my emotions which I have little to no control over).

    For the NT world I would offer the advice, “don’t fetishize and romanticize forgiveness and pretend it happens more than it actually does”.  I have found (particularly looking at my brother’s divorce) that the words you say are either water off their back or mercury in the blood (remaining in them indefinitely).  Everyone opines about forgiveness but, especially for people struggling with depression, damage of words and actions is often permanent (because people struggling with depression often don’t have control what pops and remains in their mind so your wrong’s effect is amplified).

    Also stop demonizing people like me who say forgiveness is a farce.  Because more often than not, it is.



  • Men are different than women

    Imagine if you had the ability to clone adults with technology similar to the Star Trek transporter.  If you cloned a desirable women there would be another desirable women.  If you cloned a desirable man not so much.  This is because you’d have to clone his good job as well and simple economics wouldn’t make that possible.



  • The Myth of Disability ‘Sob Stories’

    Insightful post on disability:

    But most people with disabilities will not be remembered by history. They are usually living challenging lives with little to show for it: Unemployment rates are disturbingly high, health care costs are often debilitating, and the emotional toll of living with an “aberration” can rend families apart. The only thing that a fidelity to positive stereotypes accomplishes, then, is to absolve society of maintaining commitments to the disabled, like making places more accessible, since it would be ridiculous to aid people who already have a leg up with added perks.



  • Brain as Computer Revisited

    I think modern psychology has latched on to the brain as computer model of the brain and do their detriment.  It’s an easy thing to fall into.  A computer has an operating system, files, and programs.  As long as everyone has the same operating system, programs will work seamlessly on any computer you try to run them on.  Therapies seem to presuppose this brain uniformity and when one doesn’t have a brain like this they’re left not knowing what to do.  For example some therapies try to strengthen one’s positive voice in their inner monologue.  But what if they don’t have a positive voice to begin with?  Therapies claim to work seamlessly on all brains (at least ones acculturated to western values).  But the brain is messy, there is no operating system/programs/files trifecta.  I know my experience has been just tearing apart the things therapists tell me, clearly seeing them as false.  But for some people believing what makes them feel good is preferable to believing what is factual.  But my brain doesn’t play that way, especially because eventually wishful thinking will bite you in the butt.  There is some understanding in the psychology profession that therapies aren’t supercultural and that’s a good start.  But even within western culture there is such variation from brain to brain.

    I actually think the brain is more organized like a regime.  Depending on where in the world you go there can be many types of regimes.  Democracies, dictatorships, failed states, tribal power sharing arrangements, etc..  sometimes it’s better to work with the patterns of thinking that are already there than try to go full on and try to throw them all out.  Just like it’s not a good idea to forcibly change regimes in the Middle East.

    See original post



  • psychology

    If it weren’t for psychology America would be much less religious.  A lot of the millennials’ move away from Christianity can be seen as a result of them being resistant to strains of psychology that worked on the older generation.  We are in touch with our thought processes so when someone tries to get us all emotional about God it’s harder for us to believe there is an actual entity besides us involved.  “Your feelings are from you”, we’ve been told.  God just seems contrived to us, as if someone projected their fantasy upon an infinite slate.  But anything we make up is going to comprise our greatest fantasies as well as our worst fears.  But things that impose themselves violently on our senses are a lot more mundane and boring.



  • hope is social

    One of the things that will offend your pastor and especially your therapist is the idea that hope is social.  The proof for this is how people draw away from those without hope (that’s been the story of almost all my interaction with the church).  The thing the modern psychology hates about hope being social is it posits that the more hyper individualistic a society is, the less hope there is in it (particularly for those at the bottom).  This remains true controlling for other things that make people happy such as wealth.  The second problem with hope being social is it asks something of us, to take a hit on our personal happiness in the name of collective happiness of the community.  That’s not something modern psychology is keen on.

    We can view this by contrasting the help people need verses the help modern psychology offers.  Not to knock modern psychology, people really benefit from it, but its help becomes so limited in furnishing a hopeful future.

    “hope is social” help modern psychology’s help
    a ride to the store
    a hot, home cooked meal
    community
    a friend
    several hours of company
    imperative to love and be loved by others
    ability to think for oneself
    a path to virtue
    solidarity
    feel loved
    expression of our shared sorrow
    someone visiting you in the hospital
    reasons to live
    pills
    training on playing cognitive tricks
    forced autonomy
    itinerat counsel
    company until the 45 minutes is up
    imperitive to love yourself
    ability to think one is thinking for themself
    navel gazing self interest
    indepenence
    get “healthy”
    expression of our personal depression
    hospitalization for unclear thinking
    suicide prevention


  • numbness and detachment

    The events of the last six months have kind of gotten me jammed to silence.  Kind of like those old 80’s synthesizer keyboards, if you maxed out their polyphony—playing more notes than they could output at a time—you just got silence.  I just feel numb and I really shouldn’t, there are millions of people in Africa and Yemen on the cusp of starving to death in addition to everything the news makes you aware of.  I think the Buddhist notion of compassion with detachment is a feat.  Not something I can muster, maybe because of my neurophysiology I don’t know.  Detachment for me doesn’t come without the consummate numbness.

    Therapy is supposed to give you access to all kinds of extra tools and emotional experiences, kind of like being an organist and getting an upgraded organ that has twice as many registers.  Perhaps the psychologically healthy person can be compassionate and detached.  But I don’t get how that changes things in the realm of observable action.  Our actions are often an answer to pain or discomfort.  For example getting something to eat because you’re hungry.  If one is detached that takes the “pain” of the compassion which is the thing that would goad a person to action.  Because love is so often borne out of pain.



  • Privilege and Virtue

    The further you are away from privilege the more virtue you have to exhibit to get the same amount of reward of one of privilege.  Just image if Trump would have been black and exhibited the same (at least to Christians) immoral behavior.  He would not have had a shot in hell at getting elected.

    It’s bad growing up as well. Virtuous people treat you worse the further you are away from privilege (at least that’s been my and many others experience).  The friendship groups that are accepting often revolve around vices like drinking or drugs.