Wednesday, June 15, 2016

track 9, Brighten the Corners

I'm stuck.

Well what does that mean?

Underused.  Talent, wasted.  Undervalued.

So do something about it.  Go get a job.

Well that's what I've been trying to do for several years now.  To no avail.

You're not trying hard enough.

I think you should push this boulder uphill for a while, see how it works.  Or doesn't.

That's the sort of attitude that put you in this predicament.  Everyone knows finding work is its own full-time job.  Are you putting in 8 hrs a day?

I did.  At the start.  With fervor, positive attitude, and a welcoming hand.

And...?

It yielded nothing.  Unemployment.  And the state unemployment office won't give me any money, because I left my last job voluntarily.

That can't be right.  Have you gone to the state capitol to talk to the unemployment office staff?

It's a 2 hour drive.  I have a phone.  I've called.  I've researched the unemployent laws and regulations.

So you haven't gone to the state capitol?

Why are you redirecting my comments?  Is it not unfair that I paid 5 years worth of unemployment contributions only to have them not go to me when I'm unemployed myself?

You have to work with the system you have.  Warts and all.

And that's what's left me unemployed.  Working with that system.

So go from door to door, asking employers for work.

I've done the equivalent.  I'm always overqualified.  The honest employers say, "we hire you, you get bored in 3 months and quit, and now we have to find someone else.  No dice, no sale."

Is that true?  Would you quit in 3 months?

Maybe.  I've quit jobs after 4-5 months.  Twice.  Once at age 17, once at age 24.  The first one because of a bizarre boss; the second because the work was sold as requiring a BS in biology or chemistry, but the work didn't require any of the training for either.  Anyone could have done it.  They tried to offer me a promotion to R&D where supposedly there was more intellectual challenge, but the test period in R&D showed the same methods, just a mildly different protocol.  Still lacked any implementation of undergraduate science training.  I left that job on good terms, but still, I left it.

This suggests something of a spoiled child perspective in an adult's body.  You don't want to work for a job.

On the contrary.  I worked hard in college and in law school.  I worked hard at every significant job I've ever had.  I think of it as a mutual situation:  the employer offers something, I offer something, we find a middle ground where what I offer is something the employer can make use of, and what the employer offers keeps me engaged and wanting to contribute.

That's awfully idealistic.

So we're back to the spoiled child thing, eh?

Basically.

The world's corruptions are something I should revel in?  Enjoy?  Take advantage of?

Basically.

That sounds cynical to me.  Mercenary.  And it explains why people cut corners, cheat, and lie to their co-workers or their employees.

You could always just give up.  Go live off the land.

Is that a joke?  A provocation?  I'm supposed to enjoy the so-called modern era's whacked out sense of topical propriety and actual duplicity?  I'm supposed to lie on my resume, lie about my life, lie about my expertise like everyone else does?  Have you ever noticed how people who get famous as "experts" in journalism don't know much at all about their subjects?  How come I can't get a gig paying 6 figures for fraud?

It may be the idealism is standing in the way.

So I should be a whore?

Well, didn't you used to work as a lawyer?

Yes.

And isn't that prostitution of a sort?

You've never practiced law, have you?

No, why is that relevant?

Because then you'd see that despite public stereotypes, it's very possible to work as a lawyer who doesn't end up lying about himself, his skills, his knowledge, his client's agenda, his witnesses' credibility.  I was one of those lawyers, as were the people I worked with and for.

So why did you leave that job?

Because it was in a place --a part of the country, I mean-- where everyone's a Type A+++ overdriven asshole who competes with everyone on every little trivial detail of waking life.  Because I saw myself at age 45 looking like 60 feeling like 75.  Heart attack or stroke at age 50.  Because I rarely had time to ride my bike or go for a run and I wrote off skiing for an entire decade.  Because I had no time to date, even though women do like a lawyer... or at least the idea of having a slice of the lawyer's income and prestige.

That's very cynical.  It must be hard getting dates with that attitude.

Wasn't, actually.  It wasn't getting dates that was tough.  It was keeping the relationship going when it seemed like material opportunity was the only thing sought.

Don't you think our society puts women in that bind?

That's not what I saw growing up as the child of a single-parent family whose single parent was a woman.  My mother got down to business and supported herself and me and my brother.  She didn't go looking for a sugar daddy to coddle and cosset the three of us.

Your mother is a rare woman.  Most women do not follow that path.

Maybe in polite society.  I grew up redneck.

I see.

Do you?

Well, I'm trying to.

Are you?

I am.  But cross-examining me that way makes it tough.

Not enough emphasis on how my words make you feel, eh?

Something like that.  You could stand to work on that a bit.

But I've met women who didn't have any problem with my factual tendencies or reality-grounding instead of being one of those twits who flops and flips his stated positions based on the ...what did you say?  feelings?  of whomever is within earshot.  Was I lucky enough to find mutants?

Maybe.

So I don't understand women, they don't understand me, where are we now?

We haven't gone anywhere.  You're still in your chair, I'm still in mine.

Funny.  In a way.  But not really helpful.

What would be helpful?

A conversation that doesn't go in circles.

**********************

Luddites and germophobes, the above is a slightly fictionalized version of "mental health counseling" as yours truly has experienced it.  The fictionalizing is honestly very slight, consisting mostly of paraphrasings in lieu of direct accurate word-for-word recall.

If you spend $100-200 for a 1-hour session, you should get a bit more useful feedback -- shouldn't you?

When I've worked as a lawyer talking about a new matter with a client, I haven't billed for time spent not discussing the matter while still sharing conversation.  Even if the conversation began on the clock, detours are not billed.

This type of integrity is something Chuck says is my downfall.  You've seen him mention it before, I'm sure.  We'll see him comment about it below, I'm equally positive.

***********************

One of the problems encountered in seeking work in 2016 is that people 35 or younger grew up on the Artificial Economy and they think that this artifice is reality.  They are so terrified of things not "progressing" that they think a tradition-based line of work -- law -- is relevant only to the extent it has existed, and as it has been practiced, in the Digital Era.

If you practiced law when people had paper files and signed documents with ink pens rather than a digital signature or click, you can't possibly know The New Reality.  Everything has changed; nothing that came before was useful, nor will it ever be useful again in any future setting.

**********************

It's astounding to me that employers could recognize your accomplishments in completing law school with a decent GPA, passing a bar exam, and working for a reputable law firm, but would insist that you lack the intellectual chops to get up to speed on The New Reality.

This New Reality is a blip, a nothing in history, and to give it such gravitas is an act of mere faith.

It's like religious bigotry:  not following the religion of progress, not believing that The New Reality is our definite future, and thinking that anything prior to the 21st Century is now rubbish in the big landfill of quaint, gladly forgotten history.

They're afraid of being seen as Naked Emperors, and the system they work in shares that fear but on a collective level.

**********************

You may not be inclined to believe this, but I'm sure that 10 years from now it will be an accepted fact of the era:  the reason why people gravitated to Sanders and Trump during the past year is a sneaking, growing suspicion that The New Reality is bogus and that the Naked Emperors really don't have any clothes on.

Meanwhile, good luck to you if you're trying to find a job and you're not in data analytics, internet marketing, crowdsource funding, or other ephemera.





-- Chet Redweld, the most underused person you'll ever meet, in person or online.

65 comments:

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

It's one way to destabilize a nation, confuse its citizens.

When "wisdom" is the ability to run a short con within the ether economy, actual wisdom of the sort that needs a couple of decades as a working breathing living adult who isn't buoyed by a trust fund or other independent wealth, then you know the drivers of the economy don't give two lumps of fecal matter about stability or anything close to a future.

Which is ironic, given their obsession with "progress."

Maybe it's all a fake-out. Maybe it's actual progress for them? Maybe they are increasing their slice of the pie while others are mired in confusion about what's real versus what is not.

I agree that as a practical matter, your integrity is a high hurdle, Chet. For a person of integrity, cheating and lying are suicidal moves. Seems the drivers of the present economy are encouraging such suicides.

HEY! LOOK OVER THERE! CHRISTER-CRACKER GUN NUTS!

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Yeezus Creuset cookware.

I hit publish too fast. Fixer here in bold:

When "wisdom" is the ability to run a short con within the ether economy, and not actual wisdom of the sort that needs a couple of decades as a working breathing living adult who isn't buoyed by a trust fund or other independent wealth, then you know the drivers of the economy don't give two lumps of fecal matter about stability or anything close to a future.

Chet, if I were in that counseling session, I'd have reacted the way Hal reacted to Prissy Houle-Eaton's misunderstandings.

Harold Caidagh said...

Team Hexagon sits back and laughs at people like Chet:

http://www.batr.org/negotium/090512.html

Serves you right, stupid goy!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chet Redweld,


I have a book someone showed me that I would like to share with you as it offers a new, reasonable (as far as I can see, i could be very wrong) and helpful take on life's struggles and how we can manage them.


I sincerely suggest you check the book out (it looks a bit weird at first sight). I hope this helps you as it has helped me.

A quote to think about once you have read the book.
“The man who chases two rabbits, catches neither.” ~ Confucius

https://books.google.ca/books?id=Da9lPEDayPMC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
(the whole book is free to read online)

Bye.

Paul Behrer said...

Who is chasing 2 hares and which lapins are they?

Harold Caidagh said...

It's possible our visitor doesn't realize that Pablo used to work in the mental health field.

Paul Behrer said...

Yeah, that is possible. Most likely tumbleweeds whose view is guided by Othering with Snark will assume this means I was the patient not the counselor, and they'll assume this with a prideful glee reflecting their own self-delusions.

Harold Caidagh said...

Yo Pablo, you should offer some comments on why the mental health arena is so clusterfucked as of 2016.

Paul Behrer said...

What, you want me to talk about how DSM is used to label Others for future social culling purposes?

Or about how the mental health arena is peopled mostly by shattered egos who use counseling and therapy to exact a strange and bitter form of revenge for the slights they feel?

Maybe I should discuss how the arena sanctifies "micro-aggressions" and notions of "equality" and strives to discern such artificial constructs as homophobia, misogyny, cis-het-patriarchy, anti-Semitism, or "reactionary" thinking?

Maybe I could examine the Frankfurt School origins of modern mental health "academia"?

Of course that would require talking about the origins of the Frankfurt School and the way it strove to re-write history in a manner favorable to the people who were directly responsible for large-scale negative developments in human history?

Paul Behrer said...

Maybe I would just refer to these three people.

Thomas Szasz
R.D. Laing
David Smail

If a tumbleweed thinks most "mental health professionals" are competent and well-qualified and therefore not likely to be using their position to exact that strange and bitter revenge I mentioned above, the tumbleweed is just being naive and idealistic. Naivete and idealism are typical, normal stages of developing one's own frame of reference, but they also are commonly stages occupied in the late teens through mid-20s. A person who is 30+ years old and still dwells in the land of naive idealism, that person is a disintegrated soul, not an integrated human ready to function in the world.

Naive idealism is what manipulators prey upon.

https://www.aarons.com/

Harold Caidagh said...

But I checked her CV, she went to Harvard and MIT. And she's been a TED lecture presenter.

It's like that fraud Susan Cain and her book-length discussion of introversion, which she does from the position of extraverted-and-brittle-ego'd. Susan Cain wouldn't know introversion if it slid its pecker into her pussy.

Sort of like Naomi Klein the Canadian pretending that USA's RIGHTWING problems are more significant than Volkihar Clan manipulations within the USA. Sure, I always want to talk to a Canadian Jewish Marxist about the problems of America and the cause of those problems being Christians and Republicans.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

Meanwhile, the drooling fucktard Social Justice Warrior masses gather en masse and continue to repeat the chants dictated by Team Hexagon.

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul Behrer,

The link you shared goes to an autotrader site. Im guessing this is a mistake?

I dont see a reason for you to post this comment. So it would be fine with me if you did not.

Chet Redweld said...

To our anonymous visitor:

In reading through the linked book, I saw a lot of what Pablo has mentioned in the past when I've talked with him about modern mental health and its focus/foci. Maybe Pablo will tell us he's read that linked book, or maybe there's some randomness in the universe and by some serendipitous conjunction of timing and perspective, Pablo's view is similar to that of the author but not influenced by reading the linked book.

In any case, what's on Page 105 might be useful for modern mental health practitioners. It does seem to be contrary to most practitioners' methods and by implication, inconsistent with what those practitioners believe is their entitlement, role, authority, etc. I suppose it's possible that the linked book's emphasis on control explains the inconsistency, but it doesn't do anything to fix the problems caused by practitioners who work under such an incongruity.

Chet Redweld said...

masses gather en masse

Redundancy is best used when you have no other means of communicating an idea, Karlos.

I know you have other means.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

Pound the facts
Pound the law
Pound the table

Is that what you're talking about, Chet? I'm slapping/smacking/banging the table with vigor?

Okay, how about this: the masses gather to regurgitate blindly.

Chet Redweld said...

Better, but not yet best.

Chet Redweld said...

Also, I would not suggest a "best" without meaning your best, Karlos. You can do better.

Paul Behrer said...

Hi Paul Behrer,

The link you shared goes to an autotrader site. Im guessing this is a mistake?


It's directly copied, cut/paste, from the Aaron's Rents website. Please don't ask me how it ended up being a link to an autotrader site, I'm not a coder and I don't work within the world of link redirection.

I dont see a reason for you to post this comment. So it would be fine with me if you did not.

No offense intended, but your comment reflects what you found when you used the link, and tumbleweeds might have a similar confusion of results, so you're getting posted.

It may be helpful to hear you explain what about the Timothy Carey book was useful, revelatory, etc., to you. Something must have moved you to comment about it and link to it.

Also, my Q remains, what are the two rabbits and who is chasing them?

Paul Behrer said...

Also also, while Confucius quotes seem to have durable social value, why is that old fellow's name Anglicized as "Confucius" and why does that Anglicization sound like "confuse us"?

Is it like the Korean auto maker Hyundai, who insisted that directly parallel pronunciation of that name is "too difficult for Americans," therefore it must be pronounced as "hunday"?

HYOON-DIE is too tough for stupid Americans?

Why do such gross disparagements exist?

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

Also, my Q remains, what are the two rabbits and who is chasing them?

I'm Karl not anonymous, but I have a hypothetical.

Maybe it's something like this:

1) Everyone hates me because I'm ___________.
2) I want to be popular.


Chase those two rabbits and you'll be empty-handed in short order. Especially if the person in question assumes that everyone is gregarious, status-seeking, extraverted, and in need of popularity.

Harold Caidagh said...

So when modern mental health works from these kinds of assumptions, it's doing more harm than good? --

* Humans are needy
* Humans need to have many, many friends
* Humans need to be loved by everyone
* These needs are healthy and normal
* Anyone lacking these needs is abnormal and mentally ill
* As your counselor/psychotherapist/psychiatrist, I'll determine that lack

Paul Behrer said...

Sounds like Hal knows where Susan Cain's BS treatise Quiet had some massive blind spots.

I might be moved to ask why a person who is lauded and self-impressed as brilliant and insightful and honest would conduct herself that way. "That way" = with glaring gaps in her perceptions, conclusions and explanations of "why".

Chet Redweld said...

Well, it is almost like she was trying to mislead people for social status purposes and some sort of latent agenda.

But maybe she does have those massive gaps in understanding.

The Q then becomes, why was her tome not peer-reviewed before submitted to the physical acts of publication and sale?

And of course, then we must ask, what kind of peers did the reviewing, and does the publishing house and/or do its retained reviewers actually know anything meaningful and valuable about mental health?

Which leads to this: is all of that irrelevant if the book racks up sales?

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul Behrer,

The book helped me better identify, resolve and prevent my mental health issues.

The book got me to look at my problems from another side. Rather than spending my days distressed over not having sane thoughts, it got me to understand that my problem was not so straightforward. I was not just fighting off these thoughts but at the same time paying attention to them as I thought they had some form of truth to them.

I don't want to suffer and do strange things because of my thoughts but realized I was still emotionally attached to them. I figured that if I was going to have a happy life I would have to let some of my extreme religious preoccupations go. There no big deal, there not special, they make no real difference and I have to let them go. They tell me nothing true and it makes no difference in my life without them. Other people would probally be better off without them too. I could have been on a very slippery slope if I stayed with them leading to a very unstable life.

This is abit embarrassing but ill go on...

The book helped me to stop self frustrating, it helped me understand that sometimes feelings are just feelings and need to be ignored. They have no rhyme or reason and you just need to fight through them.

Im still not 100% and need more time to think and see a therapist but I feel like a have a map for my mind. My mind is calmer.

It has helped me but "results may vary".

Who is chasing the two rabbits and what are they? I am chasing the two rabbits which are two conflicting desires.

Why did I post this?
I like being kind and I thought maybe Chet Redweld might find this useful. I don't know the state of his life but its still a clever book and he might find it useful. Also good deeds could have a ripple affect. Whats the worst that could happen by showing him a book?


These are my own personal accounts that dont reflect anything else but my personal life.

Bye.

Paul Behrer said...

Rather than spending my days distressed over not having sane thoughts, it got me to understand that my problem was not so straightforward.

This makes me wonder: what, in fact or in deed, are "sane thoughts"?

Hal's 11:47 AM comment, especially the last bullet point, may be relevant.

Your comments on religious thinking are interesting. I think it's important to recognize that religion serves an important purpose for everyone who uses it, and also, that many things not formally labeled or categorized as a religion equally can serve such an important purpose. I'm not sure it's easy to find in the archives here, but I'm almost certain that this blog has talked about the quasi-religious nature of such things as faith in technological progress, faith in economic progress, faith in social progress, or faith in the conscious avoidance of religion.

In other words, people show a parallel "religious faith" in a lot of things, concepts, myths, stories and/or ideals -- even people who claim atheism or agnosticism usually can be shown to follow a parallel faith in something. It just takes a little longer in the Q&A to discern such faith and describe it adequately to show the parallels.

By way of simple example: read the comment threads at reason.com and you will see a lot of haughty, superior posts related to the "economic ignorance" of non-libertarians or anyone who doesn't agree that "the market" is godlike. If such comments are not a display of a religious faith in economics and/or "markets," they're doing a poor job of not making that display.

What may be more thorny is when a person's religious faith leads him/her to think "I see clearly, those who do not agree with me have clouded/muddled thinking." In worse cases, it becomes (for example) "I am a Mormon, and only we Mormons know the best way to be a fully human person."

Religions are easy targets for such confusion, because most of the ones I know about tend to suggest that their tenets, etc., show or contain the most full and adequate explanation of how to be a good human being.

In case you might be thinking that any of us here is one-minded in pursuit of or attack against any particular religion, it may be useful to to look at my May 7, 2013 post here at this blog, or Chet's June 24, 2016 post here.

Paul Behrer said...

...sometimes feelings are just feelings and need to be ignored. They have no rhyme or reason and you just need to fight through them.

I might suggest that they do indeed have a rhyme/reason, but it's not clear to you what is the rhyme/reason. Feelings are related to experiences (un- or sub-conscious exposure to events/stimuli) as well as thoughts regarding experiences both real and imagined.

I might suggest further that to the extent feelings are rooted in an imagined or predicted impact upon you, they are dishonest and will lead you astray every time.

-What happened?
-How do I feel about what happened?
-Do those feelings flow naturally from what happened?
-To what extent are my personal fears & insecurities making the feelings a dishonest representation of my personal problems, "issues," etc.?

I was hit by a car on my bicycle at age 7. Many people might stop riding bicycles entirely after that sort of experience. They might still ride bicycles, but only in places where no cars are around.

It may be more useful to wonder whether the age 7 accident was attributable to cars generically, bicycles generically, bike+car interaction generically, me+bike+car generically.

I still ride my bicycle, in the presence of cars & other motor vehicles as well as away from all pavement and/or roads. How did I manage to do that first ride on a bike, on the street, mixing it up with cars and trucks?

I saw the age 7 accident as a limited situation and not a prediction of how all such bike+car+me circumstances at any later point in my life.

I don't insist others arrive at similar conclusions, however. Everyone has their own risk portfolio, where they do or do not depending on how the doing makes them feel.

Paul Behrer said...

oops

I saw the age 7 accident as a limited situation and not a prediction of how all such bike+car+me circumstances at any later point in my life.

remove that period after "life" and add this:

would necessarily happen.

Chet Redweld said...

I like being kind and I thought maybe Chet Redweld might find this useful. I don't know the state of his life but its still a clever book and he might find it useful. Also good deeds could have a ripple affect. Whats the worst that could happen by showing him a book?

It's true, you don't, but how could you?

The state of my life is no different than the state of most who are alive. I'm above the soil, still breathing, and hope to remain that way for quite a while yet.

Do you ever think about whether mentioning kindness is a way of being passive-aggressive? What, exactly, is kindness? Are there formulae for showing it, such that we can quickly discern kind from unkind?

What would Nick Lowe say? "You gotta be cruel to be kind, in the right measure."

What about "tough love"?

Is kindness always warm cuddly squishy fluffy?

Where does a topically/superficially polite, but subterranean dismissive critical statement, comment or observation reflect? Is it kind because kind on the surface?

Is passive aggression kinder than confrontational adversarial aggression? Could it be less kind rather than kinder?

Harold Caidagh said...

That Hugo Schwyzer clown was a great example of surface kindness hiding nefarious intent/agenda.

Same with Bernie Sanders' candidacy over the past year or so.

Seems to me that kindness is like religious faith: many manifestations, not all of which fall into the best-known varieties/labels/examples.

I'd be very surprised if any human who is older than 25 yrs has not experienced the effects of believing in or accepting the gestures/words of the Superficially Kind Con Artist.

Chet Redweld said...

In case you might be thinking that any of us here is one-minded in pursuit of or attack against any particular religion, it may be useful to to look at my May 7, 2013 post here at this blog, or Chet's June 24, 2016 post here.

Good call, Pablo.

I might reference the point from my gearhead days: I enjoyed having a quiet-exhaust, stock-looking 1969 Mustang that actually was much, much quicker and faster than its appearance suggested. Such cars were called "sleepers" among street racers I knew. If you popped the hood of my Mustang the "bone stock" assumption would quickly be dispelled. But listening to the exhaust note, or paying attention to the wheels & tires I ran, someone might easily assume it was little more than another 69 Mustang and nothing at all special.

If you take Pablo's May 7, 2013 post and look carefully, you might see that Pablo works an "inverse sleeper" paradigm: his posts here contain provocative humor hiding a very humanistic concern and a relative lack of hatred or spite toward others generally.

This blog has offered other examples of the "inverse sleeper" concept. For one in particular: http://pezcandy.blogspot.com/2014/04/when-failure-is-success.html

tl;dr -- People are complex.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chet Redweld,

Thanks for the questions.

Its true kindness can be passive aggressive when it treats another person as if there allot dumber than you. When you say another person has a problem it can undermine there true capacity. I learned from Alan Watts that some people get a ego high from being kind and pitying. I try to not offend a person with unneeded/egotistical pity and just give something without make a scene. You can keep in mind that they are not damned without your help yet there still can be a benefit from what ever tool/gift you may give.

I can't really say what being kind is... I still think showing you that book was kind but I don't know why. I think there is a way to be kind I am just not smart enough to think of it.

Passive aggression can be worse because you don't really teach a person a lesson. You might as well be clear about your intentions and wants rather than manipulating them with words and "playing games". Dont string along anger. Its hurts you and the "victim", maybe even the people around the drama you create. I could go on...

I have a feeling I am very wrong about something here. If I say being kind is helping another person suffer less then what if they choose to kill themselves and leave a family poor.

These questions raise more problems than answers and I can't say what is the quick line between kind and unkind. I would appreciate some advice.

One question I ask is what is the most morale way to lead you life?
What should I spend my life doing.

I felt like my writing here was a little weird so if anything comes across as a insult, sorry in advance.

Bye.

Chet Redweld said...

I learned from Alan Watts that some people get a ego high from being kind and pitying.

Curious wording. You knew him personally? You saw, in him, an example of that ego high resulting from being kind/pitying? Or you weren't aware of such people getting such ego boosts until you read Alan Watts talking about it?

I think it's a more useful thing to learn by experiencing it from the kindness and pity of another, and watching that other conduct him/herself with an orientation toward the use of others to please self.

I'm a bigger fan of the Thomist/Aristotelian idea that you should always do your best and whatever side-benefit accrues for your self-esteem/ego, whatever praise may flow, whatever accolades you can garner -- these are nothing more than icing on a cake, and it's the cake that really matters.

Personally, when I have a chance to eat cake w/icing, I cut away the icing and eat just the cake.

I think doing the overt bit of being kind toward others, with the underlying rationale and drive actually being that "this will make me feel/be good", that's a misdirected application of social energy.

Also, I think "kindness" is so fuzzy and amorphous, so cotton-candy/candy floss-like, that it holds an appeal similar to that which makes children want to believe in a Tooth Fairy, Great Pumpkin, Santa Claus, or Superman/Wonder Woman/Ubermensch/Wolverine.

Most of the kindness existing in most places in America that I've visited has been a superficial, mannerly/polite thing. We're a fake and phony culture in America. Contrast the way legislators debate in the US Congress, versus how they debate in European legislatures/governing bodies.

"My distinguished colleague from North Carolina seems to have a figurative soiling on his shoe's sole, a metaphoric smear of canine feces, as it were, where his position on this bill is concerned."

"Thank you for your gracious remarks, Senator. My learned fellow legislator from Illinois certainly has a mellifluous and generous way with the English language, and while I can appreciate his application of simile and metaphor, I must respectfully disagree with his stance on the rather awkward bit of junior draftsmanship he has introduced in this esteemed body under color of legislation."

versus

"Ye're a gobshite, McCanna, and I'll be fooked if I'll ever stand for the likes of this arse-wiping paper you've endorsed today."

"Put a sock in it, Aldershot, before I put my foot in it."

I'd have to say that if I understand each one as theater, bread&circus, etc., I find the American version pretentious and working a double-con, while the European is a single con. The Americans want you to think that their pompous and meandering language indicates great wisdom, tremendous depth, and an undying selfless service for the most defenseless members of his/her constituency.

I'd say the American version is unkind, but some people seem to like that sort of "kindness".

Paul Behrer said...

Passive aggression can be worse because you don't really teach a person a lesson. You might as well be clear about your intentions and wants rather than manipulating them with words and "playing games"

"can be" worse?

or is worse?

If you say "can be worse," you suggest there are times when passive aggression is beneficial.

I'd wonder how that can be. I'd be willing to bet that any benefit seen or felt is short-term and not durable.

As to manipulation, yes indeed. Though you may find people who suggest that manipulation is what everyone does when interacting socially in meatspace or online. That seems extra-cynical to me and I sense from such people that they want to excuse their own manipulations by painting everyone as a manipulator.

What would you imagine is the perspective, or the quasi-religious operative philosophy, of someone who considers manipulation normal and acceptable?

Dont string along anger. Its hurts you and the "victim", maybe even the people around the drama you create.

I think that's what Chet was talking about when he mentioned his Thomist/Aristotelian ideal.

Here's a good question: Chet explained that I provoke with humor, though a tumbleweed may struggle to see the humor. My sense of humor is dark, and it puts distortion and absurdity to work in service of a comic end. So -- if dark humor employs an apparent anger for the purpose of showing what another's angry rhetoric can yield in others, would that mean I'm "holding onto anger" when using such comedy? And on that note, who would be best positioned to know whether I'm doing such lingering?

Let's imagine Pedro Persona goes to the grocery store. It's a 10 block trip to the store on 25mph roads controlled by stop signs. During that trip, Pedro watches people sharing the roads, traveling the opposite direction or in cross-direction at an intersection. He sees many people driving aggressively, running stop signs, paying more attention to their cell phone than the road and adjacent properties which may contain pets or children. These aggressive drivers also are going 40mph in a 25 zone.

Pedro arrives at the grocery and people are going 25 in the parking lot, sprinting into open parking spaces as if to be "first." Inside the grocery, Pedro smiles at others he sees, but they scowl back or avert their eyes with a turn of the head, while they continue to speed-walk around the grocery as if it's a race.

Pedro finishes his grocery shopping, sharing a pleasant conversation with the woman at the checkout. He goes home and writes a funny set of observations about the unpleasant drivers and fellow shoppers.

Who's hanging onto anger there? Pedro? The aggressive drivers? The shoppers who act like everyone else is an obstacle?

Paul Behrer said...

If I say being kind is helping another person suffer less then what if they choose to kill themselves and leave a family poor.

This hypothetical person you helped committed suicide because you were kind to them?

Can you explain the causation there?

These questions raise more problems than answers and I can't say what is the quick line between kind and unkind. I would appreciate some advice.

The first sentence above I can respond to. The second is a little unctuous and maybe even a giveaway of trolling, so I'll pretend it doesn't exist.

There's no hard & fast rule on kind/unkind. Perhaps you haven't been paying much attention to American society during the past 5 years or so, but lately (during those past 5 years), people seem bent on trying to imagine slights and offenses where none exist. They can claim unkindness in things that no sane person would call unkind, because usually these imaginings are related to the blamer's own ego issues. An insecure person feels slights that are imagined rather than real.

Let's imagine a person named Veronica Vannush who thinks herself secure (existentially/psychologically) and declares a self-confident state of mind. Despite these pronouncements, Vicky pursues victimhood in every encounter of another person's acts or words. Should we trust her when she claims she was treated unkindly by someone whose acts or words happened with no awareness that Vicky was within earshot or physical proximity? Is the actor so accused of unkindness actually guilty of unkindness when random people claim slights?

Someone who leaps to find offense seems to me a very troubled soul. I'd wonder what happened to him or her in childhood.

Have you ever known anyone who served in the military and returned home with what once was called "battle fatigue," later called "shell shock," and nowadays called PTSD?

I have. Of the ones I have known, those people can be hair-trigger about their environment and can be in a victim mindset much of their waking time.

Paul Behrer said...

One question I ask is what is the most morale way to lead you life?
What should I spend my life doing.


That's not for me to answer. Though there are many blogs, books and lectures which will suggest to you that they know the answer to your questions and can tell you the best way to live your life, I would not trust a single one of them.

But you can trust whomever you like. It's your life you're living, not mine.

On the other hand, if you were to take up a pen/pencil, or a keyboard, and begin lecturing others on what they should do, and you are earnest about it rather than working a parody, satire, caricature, jape, etc., you might find someone like me telling you that you're a charlatan.

Enjoy your Serbo-Croat literature.

Paul Behrer said...

I can give an example of someone whose "kindness" is not helpful.

Archie, also known as John MICHAEL Greer on the internet.

Assuming he's actually trying to be a Guru of Gestalt rather than a very lame send-up of such a guru, Archie has spent a decade misleading his readers. He continues to this day, inculcating the readership on his own flawed, crippled view of the world: steampunk Democrat who blames Christianity for things that aren't the fault of Christianity; steampunk technophile who tells people to get rid of technology while communicating with them via computer/smartphone/internet; steampunk Green Wizard who suggests going toward simplicity when such simplicity requires a gigantic puddle of money in the first place; and steampunk Lord Omniscience who isn't very smart at all, and spends all his time regurgitating others' work either directly with attribution (he's got a few favorites like Spengler) or by reworking another's written product thinly and then passing it off as his own.

This complete lack of integrity would be a pretty good send-up if it had any comedy within, but since the comedy's missing, I tend to conclude that he imagines himself the most dependable font of wisdom and perspective, while being a complete charlatan. Worse, he suggests things that might make people's lives turn downward toward destruction, rather than upward toward enlightenment or self-improvement or happiness.

He's not alone in this. As I said above, many blogs, books, magazine/newspaper articles/essays, TED lectures, PBS programs, "documentaries," and other infotainment media sources also do it.

I see no kindness in such misleading.

H.M. Lohmann said...

Don't you think the Serbo-Croat translation of the Carey book was a giveaway, Pablo?

I'm not even that insightful or imaginative, but to me, this "anonymous" is our good friend JWDD, also known as Chalupa, writing in a way that tries to make himself sound naive and eager to learn from a blog that he long ago wrote off as misogynistic, bigoted, homophobic, reactionary, "corporate," Repthuglican, etc.

Paul Behrer said...

That would be pitiful.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

I think it's more likely that this "anonymous" is another one of the people who have been targeted by this blog's comic eviscerations.

These are the poker tells:

One question I ask is what is the most morale way to lead you life?
What should I spend my life doing.


CATFISHED YOU BRO!

I think there is a way to be kind I am just not smart enough to think of it.

PLEASE BITE MY WORM-ON-A-HOOK, MR CATFISH!

Harold Caidagh said...

It's a blog, it's the internet. Nobody is what they appear to be, and almost nobody means what they type. Fantasy Island, Roark & Tattoo are your hosts.

Chet Redweld said...

Maybe I would just refer to these three people.

Thomas Szasz
R.D. Laing
David Smail


Interesting, Pablo. I just read the wikipedia entries for each. Laing and Smail are ID'd as "leftist," Szasz as "libertarian." Yet despite this Right vs Left perspective tension, all three noted a particular problem with modern mental health, the issue of using mental health to identify, blame, and remove from society or forcibly medicate/"treat" the person identified as "mentally ill." All three can be categorized as critics of the mental health "profession" (as one might call the practice of being a counselor, etc.) and all three, despite Right vs Left tension, agree that there are problems with mental health issues being used to serve a centralized social power impulse.

This made me think of Solzhenitsyn and the Soviet Russian state's use of "diagnosis" of "mental illness" for people who questioned the communist regime's motives and practices.

It also makes me think of the 21st Century American social practice of blaming such things as misogyny, homophobia, cis-het-patriarchy, or "reactionary thinking" for mere differences in values or perspective. The blame-label serves to obscure the real question of "why do we see this issue differently?"

Paul Behrer said...

You might also want to look up Peter Breggin, Chet.

Chet Redweld said...

I'll do that.

Meanwhile, I'll note for the tumbleweeds that Szasz was Jewish, and Pablo admires the work of Szasz. I've also heard Pablo talk positively about Alice Miller, who was Jewish as well.

I don't mean to prompt cognitive dissonance in the tumbleweed populace, but instead, to suggest more of that "inverse sleeper" concept I've mentioned.

Paul Behrer said...

Might be more important to notice that I endorse sound thinking and analysis no matter where it comes from: "right wing" versus "left wing" doesn't tell me anything but whom or what another wants to demonize/degrade. To a person identifying as "right wing," seeing "left wing" in another results in dismissal. And vice versa.

One of the benefits of holding no particular political view in the D vs R, left vs right contest is that I can accept or reject whatever is said based on the content, rather than the political affiliation of the person speaking.

Harold Caidagh said...

One of the benefits of holding no particular political view in the D vs R, left vs right contest is that I can accept or reject whatever is said based on the content, rather than the political affiliation of the person speaking.

Pablo, if you lived in Missoula, you'd find yourself without friends quickly, because in Missoula, you're expected and assumed to be a lefty progressive in very dogmatic terms. Most who live in Missoula hate the rest of Montana because it's not dogmatically progressive left-ish Democrat. Though they make exceptions for pockets of well-heeled progressives in places like Whitefish and Bozeman.

Harold Caidagh said...

Maybe I could examine the Frankfurt School origins of modern mental health "academia"?

Of course that would require talking about the origins of the Frankfurt School and the way it strove to re-write history in a manner favorable to the people who were directly responsible for large-scale negative developments in human history?


I'm confused here Pablo. If the Frankfurt School is responsible for modern notions of "triggering" and "check your privilege," et cetera, then how can someone like Alice Miller, who seemed to be a thinker with thoughts derived from Frankfurt School methods & philosophy, offer useful insights?

Paul Behrer said...

If you identify as "right wing," Hal, you have to read such people's works without the reflexive rejection impulse arising when you note things like Frankfurt School affiliation.

I would add that I've also read some interesting thoughts from Erich Fromm, who was Frankfurt School to the core.

I don't go looking for reasons to reject another's views.

Chet Redweld said...

This thread may become known as the "plumbing Paul Behrer's mind" thread!

Paul Behrer said...

Sure, especially among the 4 or 5 tumbleweeds who stop by each week to find reasons to hate this blog.

H.M. Lohmann said...

How many of this thread's ideas have found their way onto Archie's blog already? Anyone know?

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

As I said above, many blogs, books, magazine/newspaper articles/essays, TED lectures, PBS programs, "documentaries," and other infotainment media sources also do it.

Since you singled out PBS and TED, both of which are progressive left-ish Democrat outlets/sources, can you truly say you're not RIGHTWING, Pablo?

Paul Behrer said...

Of course. If I spent any time looking at public TV or public internet "authority" I'd always find bias in the DemoParty direction, because "public" is a DemoParty concept.

The DemoParty worships public funding in the same way the Libertarians worship the "free market."

Those are the inherent biases, but I can still read/view inherently biased things without feeling my blood boil or my rationalism betrayed by emotion.

Chet Redweld said...

I can still read/view inherently biased things without feeling my blood boil or my rationalism betrayed by emotion.

In my experience, this sort of mindset will result in difficulty with the XX segment of the populace. It may also cause problems with the homosexual XYs, but I don't spend a lot of time around those people and haven't ever held a desire to get emotionally or physically "intimate," as it were, with them.

Chet Redweld said...

Though, I suppose, I got a bushel of their perspective in the GRH v UNSF/Caidagh lawsuit.

H.M. Lohmann said...

I'd like to hear Chet explain this:

I'm a bigger fan of the Thomist/Aristotelian idea that you should always do your best and whatever side-benefit accrues for your self-esteem/ego, whatever praise may flow, whatever accolades you can garner -- these are nothing more than icing on a cake, and it's the cake that really matters.

How about it, Chester?

Chet Redweld said...

Sure, Hy.

I've already said on this blog that I went to RC facilities for ugrad and law. In law school I took jurisprudence from a Jesuit professor/lawyer, and we studied 5 or 6 works in that semester. We started with Nicomachean Ethics and from there a book with excerpts, relative to jurisprudence, from the Summa Theologica.

After we finished the Thomist portion, I remarked to the professor, "it seems to me that Aquinas has made a Christian of Aristotle." I wasn't being literal, I wasn't saying that Aquinas tried to do a post-mortem reformation of Aristotle's theological outlook, to make Aristotle seen throughout history as a Christian.

What I meant was, the two thinkers shared many views, and also, that Aquinas was trying to make the teachings/thoughts of Aristotle understandable to the Christian/Catholic audience for Aquinas's work.

I found that both of them wrote things which resonated for me, despite my not being familiar with the doctrinal Christian/Catholic outlook or theology. I didn't feel like Aquinas was distorting Aristotle to make Christians/Catholics think they had a long tradition behind their theology. I didn't feel like Aquinas was a con artist working a ruse. I saw synthesis, not catalysis or cold fusion.

Chet Redweld said...

More particularly on my statement that you quoted, Hy -- go here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomism

and scroll down to the heading Goodness. Read that.

Chet Redweld said...

Also, don't infer too much from the last paragraph under Goodness. I'm not an evangelist, street preacher, wannabe converter, nor aspiring toward canonization as a Saint. I don't have any desire to lead myself or anyone else to Christianity or RC faith. That's a personal decision for them to make, and not a project for me to pursue.

Chet Redweld said...

One more thing: the book we read holding excerpts from Summa Theologica also contained Treatise on Law. Or maybe we had two books. I can't remember the particulars, but I know we read excerpts from Summa Theologica which held the extensions of Aristotelian thought. And we read Treatise on Law. It's possible the two were in one publication; it's possible we read two separate books. The 1980s were a long time ago and I don't know if I kept every book from the Jurisprudence class, so I can't just check my library.

Harold Caidagh said...

That's a personal decision for them to make, and not a project for me to pursue.

What, you don't enjoy beating people over the head with a construct and demanding that they agree, Chet? How can you claim to be a litigator and/or successful lawyer if you don't operate that way?

Chet Redweld said...

You tell me, Hal. How did you like my handling of the GRH lawsuit? How did I conduct myself there?

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

See, this is where Chet isn't like me. I never ask people what they think of my skiing or MTB riding skills demonstrations.

Wait a minute. There's an exception to that one. When teaching skiing technique, I'd ask students if my demonstrations or explanations were useful.

But I never asked them, "say, Student ABC, am I a skiing hero/god/ubermensch?"

Chet Redweld said...

That's because you taught skiing to help people improve their skiing, not to glorify yourself as The Skiing Expert.

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

True, no matter what stuckathuntermtn/Alex tried to allege on TGR.

I remember him saying, "creepy fossil thinks he's a badass because he's on the Snowbowl Ski School."

All he was really saying was this: "I would teach skiing so that people would think I'm a badass, so that's why creepy fossil teaches skiing."

That's his own problem talking right there. It's not an accurate prediction or diagnosis of my own motives.