navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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  • your life, a country

    Repost (from entry way back on 2003)

    Let’s imagine for a moment you have created a country.  Would you make it a place where people would want to live.  Would a free flow of immigration and emigration be allowed?

    I believe a person’s life is somewhat like that country.  Is it the responsibility of the people with vested interest in this particular person’s life to create an environment which injects in them the desire to live?

    Everyone talks about prying guns from people’s hands and pumping out aspirin-filled stomachs.  But often by the time it has gotten this far, they are already far-gone.  I think in many ways the lust for suicide that may or may not preceed an unsuccessful or successful attempt is worse than the suicide act itself.  The desire to not exist is perhaps the most anti-instinctual drive inside of man.  Basically to get to this point, a losing battle has to be out of the person’s hands, a situation where one can neither fight nor flee.  They bloodied their hands slapping at the panic button, because no one told them it was painted on the wall.

    Starving people can hardly eat, and those who have gotten along without the desire to live for too long have trouble feeling connected to life long after fleeing whatever put their hope out.

  • placebo response

    I have a deep, insatiable desire for the placebo effect.  I have given up on seeking hope, just hope’s trappings.  I once had the only church I really loved praying for me in 2005 and the placebo response from it resulted in me looking for a lot of jobs.  Of course that ended with me being hounded and discriminated against on the basis of disability.  Since then I haven’t had enough faith in anything to elicit the placebo response.

    It’s sad.  Last fall I was with friends in Wisconsin and we played the lottery.  I didn’t win.  But how I really lost was how I looked at that losing ticket in despair.  To keep playing the lotto you need hope despite the impossible odds.  And the placebo response is what does the legwork in this whole process.  It’s what actually sustains you.

    The fact that my placebo response was shot playing the lotto bodes poorly for my chances at religion.  This is because the same mechanisms at play in aspiring to hit the powerball are also at play in religious discipline.  The obvious thing being the jackpot happening after you die but there are more nuanced things at play as well like my example with prayer.

    Faith itself is a delicate dance that requires a fortuitous relationship with the placebo response to really make work.  If you expect or don’t believe at all you’ll fall into despair.  But staying in between those two things requires hope.  And when your placebo response is shot you might still have “hope” but you won’t feel it so it won’t matter to you.