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  • #16
    Originally posted by Harrdy
    .
    Seems to me life is made up of two sayings : 'Life's what you make it' and 'Life is what happens while you're making plans'.

    The trouble is they are often incompatible.
    "En wat als tijd de helft van echtheid was, was alles dan dubbelsnel verbaal?"

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Harrdy
      (edit add: ) By the way, one of the reasons why JMS Midnight Nation was so good for me was because of the scene where people where sitting around a campfire, telling the others about how their life went to the worse, because THEY COULDN'T DO ANYTHING. And that scene is so very good, because it shows they COULD have done something, but they where afraid. Or as in the Book of lost Souls: "Better the evil you know...", or "better save than sorry"... the scene where people are walking along the road, never arriving...
      Those are powerful images, indeed, Harrdy. I've sometimes wished I could take that one issue of Midnight Nation and hand it out to...oh, about 2 dozen people I know. Sure, I realize that change isn't easy but it can be done and if you're working toward something you want, that helps. FWIW, I've also found that if I simply (not easy, though) don't allow myself to feel negative, feeling positive becomes a habit.

      Originally posted by Towelmaster
      It is also a 'reason' that does not require us to think too much about the motives.
      That's the trouble, isn't it? What real motives are there? When Columbine happened, there was all sorts of talk about how the shooters were teased and taunted and tormented until they snapped. Possibly true, I don't have any way of knowing. But kids are the most self-centered, cruel creatures ever spawned and I don't think anything's ever going to change that. What're we going to do, teach them that if they're not nice to each other they might get their lives shortened? Kids think they're invulnerable. Anyway, there's no way to keep every kid from getting hurt and no way of knowing what's festering inside somebody's mind, waiting to erupt.

      I do wonder if the 'ten nines' phone number that Brunner had might be a pressure valve for some, though. For anybody who hasn't read Brunner, in one of his books there was an organization which promised to listen. You could call that number and say (or do) anything at all and the person on the other end would listen. Never interact, just listen. I learned when I hosted grief chats that sometimes telling strangers about our pain was easier than telling those close to us.

      Jan
      "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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      • #18
        Seems to me life is made up of two sayings : 'Life's what you make it' and 'Life is what happens while you're making plans'.
        Man is an animal of reasoning, so far that he names himself the "sapiens sapiens". We plan, we think, we construct, it is what we do. Problem is the world is NOT working according to a plan, randomness and chance are the rule, if you want to find any. If you are born here or in africa or somewhere else, you cannot change it. If you have rich parents or poor ones, you cannot change it. If you get education or live experiences while living on the street, you cannot change it (easily, here you begin to be able to *DO* something). You can try to change the way live takes you, like with a ship. You cannot go back and do something different, you make plans and throw them away as you go.

        People are very often hurt that live has so much randomness, that is the whole reason why they need a god, someone who makes sense of all that randomness. Someone who cares. Someone who let their ego survive, even if they can see their parents "disappear". That is fine, I don't blame anyone for that. BUT I blame people for forcing everybody to function according to their "ruleset". I don't buy that god-idea. Yes, I can see that there is more to live, and I HOPE there is some reason.

        Why am I talking about all that? Well, one of the very stupid things I encounter is the "good world" lie. I don't remember where I read about it, it is not *my* idea, but it is a very good and disturbing one. If people *believe* that there is a god, that the world is basically good or even only there is a reason why someone has bad luck or is poor or anything like that... well, the MUST believe it, or they must accept that BLIND LUCK gave them something that poor fella hasn't got. They need to condem someone who is to lazy or to stupid, because else they would need to care, and there are just to many people to care about them all. That frightens, that shakes the foundations of personal happiness. Most people cannot stand accepting that they where just lucky, they need to point out that they "worked hard for success". Yes, they did, I don't want to dimish their work. BUT they where in a position where they COULD work to their success, there are some countries where you just cannot do that, or personal situations where you cannot "shug it off and go on".

        So yes, there are those two sentences, and yes, they collide in reality... the binding element is to LOOK and SEE what is really happening (very hard, it needs us to overcome our presets, our prejudices) and to care, at least for the people around us...

        PeAcE
        Last edited by Harrdy; 10-03-2006, 05:07 AM.
        greetings from austria, best known for its history and fine wine... feels like a wine cellar on a graveyard 8-)

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        • #19
          FWIW, I've also found that if I simply (not easy, though) don't allow myself to feel negative, feeling positive becomes a habit.
          Well, *feelings* are not easily changed, but "perspective" can be changed. If I think "oh my god, a girl dumped me, I missed the last train, and now I am walking home while it is raining, cold and surely somebody will mug me soon", I feel bad. If I change the "frame", to the things that worked out, I can cushion the downwards spiral. That works sometimes with me. But some things are not easily cushioned that way, pain that happened in childhood, and is repeated as a grown up. Even after you understand that you are acting out of "old memories" it is very hard to avoid the feelings that come up then. Best thing is to build yourself up, to become independent (or at least MORE independent). So you can take a hit and could go, so you don't need something and are bound to stay. It is very hard with work, at least nowadays... you cannot easily go and find something new (at least here in austria, we have about 10%, more if you count the fellas who get "re-educated"). So sometimes I "celebrate" my pain. Yes, that sounds perverse and strange, but if I give space to my feelings I also take myself serious, that I care about myself, if nobody else. Point is, one should learn to find the difference between true pain and "feeling sorry for oneself". Because, the picture of oneself being always on the receiving end of bad luck is a wrong one, if you stay foccused on the bad/painful part of live you stop seeing the nice bits, and that would be a shame...

          PeAcE
          greetings from austria, best known for its history and fine wine... feels like a wine cellar on a graveyard 8-)

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          • #20
            That's the trouble, isn't it? What real motives are there? When Columbine happened, there was all sorts of talk about how the shooters were teased and taunted and tormented until they snapped. Possibly true, I don't have any way of knowing.
            One thing you can be SURE of is: Every perpetrator was a victim once. It doesn't dimish his guilt, it is just true. Someone who had the luck of living in relative peace and a caring environment wouldn't commit such acts. So the very best thing to stop those acts would be to look into the families, watching how people live and if they care. But, of course, that would cost money (time), and it is just cheaper to bury someone who was in the unlucky position of being the victim...

            By the way, we had a similar act in vienna, much smaller thou (as we are a smaller country *g*). In a school there was a knife fight, and the victim died. The parents of the perpetrator couldn't understand why that happened, but if you listend closely to what they said you could see they didn't know their child. ALSO the parents of the victim didn't know their child, and at least in that case the victim was partly to blame, as he showed physical weakness but no fear. The perpetrator tried to bully him into submission, but the later victim wouldn't. Even as the knife was pulled out he wouldn't submit. Now, one can argue one should never submit, but that only works if you are physical fit, if you can protect yourself. If you cannot, the you should save your life, better being alive than proud and dead...

            PeAcE
            greetings from austria, best known for its history and fine wine... feels like a wine cellar on a graveyard 8-)

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Harrdy
              Well, *feelings* are not easily changed, but "perspective" can be changed.
              We may be talking about the same thing, just using different words. IME, the mind seems to like being a creature of habit and so tends to think the same things, react the same way, over and over until those thoughts and reactions seem to wear a groove in the brain. An example, again from grief chats, is when a grieving person can't seem to stop seeing and reliving whatever their last interaction or experience was with somebody who died. Until they could 'derail' their mind and learn to stop that tape, they couldn't seem to move on. It's *hard* to do, because you have to be more aware than usual of what's going on in your head but it can be done.

              Jan
              "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Harrdy
                One thing you can be SURE of is: Every perpetrator was a victim once. It doesn't dimish his guilt, it is just true. Someone who had the luck of living in relative peace and a caring environment wouldn't commit such acts. So the very best thing to stop those acts would be to look into the families, watching how people live and if they care. But, of course, that would cost money (time), and it is just cheaper to bury someone who was in the unlucky position of being the victim...
                This may sound harsh but...tough. There's simply *no way* to keep somebody's self-esteem from taking blows sometimes and there's *no way* to know what'll fester. What's trivial to one person is monumental to another. Which means that, societally, there's *no way*, regardless of time or money or eternal vigilance to prevent somebody who's mentally ill from snapping. What we *can* do individually is to try to be kind to each other but sometimes that still means hurting another person emotionally. Societally, all we can do is try to have help available to people who realize that they need it. If they don't realize it, or can't/won't reach out for help, I don't think that there's anything that can be done.

                But I wish I could think of something.

                Jan
                "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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                • #23
                  I know that in our country there are child getting beaten, I see childs living on the street, begging and being ignored. Yes, you cannot prevent 100% of all possible problems, life is just to random to allow that... BUT I see the main part of the problem in the tendency of looking "the other way". I heard that one cannot care for more than 100 persons, any more and you stop caring. In a city there are just to many, you are not able to care, so there needs to be a system, an agency, who cares. We have child welfare, but it is seriously underpaid, and they have not enough people to look into all cases of child abuse. That buggers me...

                  PeAcE
                  greetings from austria, best known for its history and fine wine... feels like a wine cellar on a graveyard 8-)

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                  • #24
                    As for the "why," see the Boomtown Rats song, "I Don't Like Mondays". The message of which is, there is no real reason. It's whatever the gunman says it is, which is never enough. It's just....just awful.

                    I have to add, in reading about this story online last night (I'm an hour east of the small town in Lancaster where this happened), I was more than a little disturbed by the images of the Amish men -- close up, with their faces visible -- that were being used on many major news outlets. Aren't the photojournalists aware that the Amish do not allow their pictures to be taken? Or do they simply not care? My husband's comment was, "Apparently, coverage of killing sprees trumps religious objection." Yeesh.

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                    • #25
                      Harrdy -- very very interesting posts; thanks. Although I might not agree with or might not quite understand some of your viewpoints, I admire your ability to express yourself on a complex, difficult, highly personal subject like depression -- and you have my sincerest empathy. I've struggled with it for over 15 years (serious enough to have required early retirement), along with a few other weird and/or potentially complicating conditions.

                      Looking at my life/parents/education/careers/social life/marriages/etc, and of course knowing my 'former-self' up to the breakdown point, there's so extremely little over which to be even minorly or temporarily depressed about -- never mind seriously, clinically depressed -- that even to me, it's almost laughable.
                      Undoubtedly though, it's no better to be in your situation with maybe at least some situational or other causes, than it is to be in mine with nothing but the ole 'suddenly mysteriously screwed-up brain chemicals' diagnosis. Either way, the condition truly isn't a laughing matter.


                      I too lost all but a couple of my former socalled friends.
                      Some of that may have had to do with my 'relative non-functionality', e.g. : memory & concentration are very iffy; can't tolerate anything even vaguely approaching crowds or noise; for some odd reason the mere thought of flying makes me insane (thus no more leisure travel except by car so no more traveling pals -- seems very few people have either patience or time for that any more); & so on and so forth. Maybe being friends with me just required too much, er, 'maintenance'... lol.

                      And yes some of it may have something to do with money. Thankfully we've been ok financially but did lose quite a few years of my salary so not quite as well off in the area of 'frivolity-disposable' income as we might otherwise have been.

                      But I suspect a big part of it is a rather medieval attitude many people may have without realizing it : depression is something they might somehow 'catch' if they stick around.
                      Well, either it's that or it's some sort of But-For-The-Grace-Of-God feeling which may be part fear but also part pity -- and maybe it's kinda tough to be friends with someone whom one pities.



                      Perhaps more along the general lines of this thread ---


                      Hideous though it may sound.. yes, there have indeed been times when I thought I could almost understand how/why someone might go get a gun & go shoot people.
                      It actually happened once where I worked (not my office nor anywhere near where I was at the time) -- coworker opened fire on coworkers & killed self shortly afterward. And sheesh I found myself halfway understanding it.

                      I'd already had one breakdown myself and was fairly ill.. hm, not that that's any real defense for claiming to understand monstrous occurrences, I guess.. but then too that was an adult and so was I, and we worked in similar conditions/same organization.

                      To me what seems totally incomprehensible is kids shooting kids. Of course my childhood occurred pretty long ago -- almost seems like some magical, fairytale era, rather different from what I imagine childhood in the last couple of decades up to now might be like (also quite different from what I heard & from what I went through vicariously with our various nieces/nephews and their parents).

                      Can't say kids 'never ever' mass-murdered other kids back in the day, but if so I'd be kinda surprised, especially if it happened at school. Maybe in gang-related circumstances? I dunno. Think the first instance I ever heard of -- iirc, I was in graduate school at the time -- was the belltower shooter.. university campus, maybe somewhere in Texas? sheesh this iffy memory. Not sure the shooter was even a student though.


                      As for identifying signs&portents regarding who'd be most likely to do bad things..
                      hmmmm.. double-hmmmm.
                      Mayyyybe if there were some absolutely infallible way to tell.. but then what could or should we 'do' with such info? To get just the barest inkling of the possible pitfalls, one has only to see some fairly ordinary innocent lil silver-haired lady being treated as a potential terrorist at the airport..

                      [btw, this ain't the first time around for them pore lil ole ladies at airports :
                      Back in the hijacking days, one of my utterly-elegant teensytiny elderly aunties was 'detained' -- i.e., literally whisked away by four big guys right before our horrified eyes -- due to a highly suspicious, potentially deadly item in her posh little leather carryon traincase : a bottle of fairly expensive perfume which just about anyone at all could've identified by the merest whiff and which happened to have a small thin metal-filigree decoration.]
                      Last edited by enjo; 10-03-2006, 08:23 AM.

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                      • #26
                        @enjo: I guess only one who has experienced how depression "works" understands the problems with it. In my case it was a "self-defence", a possibility to survive (and NOT go out and shoot people, eg.) in a hurting environment. But it differs, of course. The brain and the mind are an unity, you can have chemical inbalances and get psychological depression and the other way round, if you are depressed your chemicals get inbalanced.

                        And regarding to the act of children killing children. I never wanted to excuse anyone, if that came up, sorry. In therapy we learn to see connections, why something happens. Only after one understands WHY something happens one can go on and make moral decisions. So I tried to understand why a child would do something and found some points in my life where I could have done something (if I had less empathy, more pressure and maybe not being able to "disconnect" from emotions altogether, via depression) like that. And yes, I think it is even easier in childhood, because you care less for others (empathy is something you learn) and for you (I remember thinking: Live has nothing more for me, I could die now, I don't care). You also don't have bad experiences to base your judgment on, when you where "bad/evil" once you know that you do not only hurt your environment BUT YOURSELF that way. It is really problematic if children are not protected enough, IMHO

                        PeAcE
                        greetings from austria, best known for its history and fine wine... feels like a wine cellar on a graveyard 8-)

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Dunblane is just up the road from me. This isn't an wholly American phenomenon.

                          I think that something happens in the minds of these people to sever the empathic relationship that most humans have (to varying degrees) with each other and particularly with the vulnerable.

                          Caring for the weak isn't a biological impulse (unless it's extended to one's immediate progeny) it's a social one.

                          Some cultures (like Ancient Sparta and Rome and Nazi Germany saw such 'meek' sentiment as vulgar). Nature favours the strong but modern western cultures, through it's Judaeo-Christian heritage has a code of care for the old, young and weak.

                          Modern democracy has included minority interests into that code and we (on the surface at least) promote tolerance as the ideal.

                          If someone is sufficiently isolated or feels disenfranchised from that social influence (or becomes under the sway of a stronger contrary mindset). It is sadly all too easy for such people to revert to the baser instincts that are buried in us all and attack the 'outsider' or the weak.

                          The fact that the victims of this crime were both Amish and children would doubly enforce the 'appeal' of the deed to a distorted mind like this one and knowing that the crime would be severely punished would leave suicide as the 'prefered' option to many such a criminal.
                          I have the wings for Bingo.

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                          • #28
                            Amazing how stupid humans can be.

                            I am supposed to visit that Amish community in my intercultural communications class, wonder if it will be cancelled now.
                            http://card.mygamercard.net/Wicked%20Vorlon.jpg

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by AmyG
                              I have to add, in reading about this story online last night (I'm an hour east of the small town in Lancaster where this happened), I was more than a little disturbed by the images of the Amish men -- close up, with their faces visible -- that were being used on many major news outlets. Aren't the photojournalists aware that the Amish do not allow their pictures to be taken? Or do they simply not care? My husband's comment was, "Apparently, coverage of killing sprees trumps religious objection." Yeesh.
                              I wouldn't care. If top secret information is apparently fair game, then so are religious men in public view. Don't expect anybody to know the tenets of every single religion in the nation, much less the world. I, for one, had no clue about the photograph thing.
                              Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by LessonInMachismo
                                I wouldn't care. If top secret information is apparently fair game, then so are religious men in public view. Don't expect anybody to know the tenets of every single religion in the nation, much less the world. I, for one, had no clue about the photograph thing.
                                I agree. If the Amish would care about such a thing as cameras at a moment like this there would be something seriously wrong with them. Btw: Did they actually complain about it? Or is this one of those things that are brought up by other people? Just askin'.
                                "En wat als tijd de helft van echtheid was, was alles dan dubbelsnel verbaal?"

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