Archive for September, 2018

Wise friend,

You talked about guilt. Should we push it away? To some extent, I find it necessary though I refuse to be manipulated in taking, sometimes “urgent,” decisions based on guilt. I also don’t allow others to try to make me feel guilty to help them deal easier with their own issues. I tell those people in those situations: “I don’t do guilt.” However, I know that we can’t have integrity without any guilt.

Lovely friend,

Historically, two main groups tend to think somehow differently about errors of human beings. One group believes that the human being is easily prone to err, while the second group considers the humans are born to err. The latter group might have obsessed with qualifying as human errors what are natural and healthy inclinations, including mainly enjoying sex. This obsession led to an overdose of guilt, over good healthy feelings.
In times bygone, the solution adopted in turn, was obsessive electing from exorcism to self-flagellation (and maybe even death by hanging, burning, and other).
This created a wrong sense of wrong and good and also created psychological sick people.
In my opinion, psychiatry is not a moral system, and it seems to me that it identified an unhealthy connection, but it did not evaluate the guilt from an ethical point of view. To address this obsession psychiatry or psychology also reacted obsessively and erred in trying to be on the safe side, by labelling guilt as a sick feeling. Therapy says, “Don’t feel guilty.”
I still am in favor of therapy. We are psychological sophisticated and morally wrong.

Maybe, we need to go back and re-learn old style of ethics, as well, and what really ‘good’ and ‘wrong’ used to mean and then perhaps bring back guilt. Guilt would then involve repentance, an assumption of responsibility, acceptance of punishment, and the internal build-up of awareness of the wrong to ensure no further repetitions.

Do we need guilt?

Experience with a snake in suit

Posted: September 14, 2018 in Musings
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Sensitive friend,

How is your disliked colleague?

Wise friend,

Years ago, I had read a book “Snakes in Suits – When Psychopaths Go to Work” by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hate.

When Fabian joined our team, I was going to witness how one behaves, soon after reading the book. Now, I was able to identify such people.

Fabian is deceitful every single second. If I can have any joy, I feel that he loses his positions in the eyes of the management. I once fantasised, that he was fired and I could then tell him while waving to him, that he did that to himself and I’m happy he is gone.

Then I remember something, which some religion has been advising people: after a war, even when you win, you are not allowed to express joy for your enemies’ death and loss, and you have to pray and ask for forgiveness. You have to acknowledge the pain you created even if you had no choice. A tough way of denying the joy of winning!

 

Fabian lives in his own world of cockiness and foolish compromises. He uses pretentious words and expressions, which promise too much and give nothing! A web of lies, when none are needed! A pleasure in deceit or knowing no other way! Surrounded by intelligent people whose skill he could use to his advantage, and pick up the fruits, of their work, and sell to his own master. He accumulates one title and soon after, relinquishes any focus on it, as he proceeds to hunt for the next title, which seems more prestigious, more moneymaker while lacking any imagination for the power already invested in him.

Watching him going in different directions and almost stupid, makes me think that the human mind never stops amazing me: where does intelligence start and where does it stop based on our emotional makeup? His emotions, his unreasonable wants, and his scattered ways don’t allow him to focus. He is consumed by wanting other people’s jobs and responsibilities while he manages 30 people. Never enough for him! “Carpe diem” is there for him to say “I want this title” and when he gets what he wants, he drops the leadership role adequate for that new title, and truly believes that nobody would notice.

Not knowing that in most realities “Carpe Diem” is useless for a day only. You seize the day, and then you have to seize all the days after that, to hold on to what you really wanted.

He wants to recite like a theater actor, to bring poetry to the job and to a product or service, and refuses to bring himself down to the earth, where people live in their daily reality. Only when that reality would be good, it would make sense to bring in poetic words to beautify that reality even more. Somewhere he thinks that this stupid poetic way, almost an evangelist way, would charm us and charm our prospects and customers and that he is our savior.

As if suddenly the product or the service is the Messiah!

His ‘charm’ harms us all. He is not aware that everybody knows that he continuously lies, and there is no more room left for any trust. He twists and twists the words and enjoys the moments of our silence. At that moment he thinks that he wins. He has no idea that he touched that point in us when we saw, again and again, everything in his small dirty soul. By then we know that the discussion is useless, as he behaves like a fool, as he removed all the layers of the willingness to interact, by disregarding our talents and intelligence. Or maybe, this is a point of time where he stirred our rage, and one more word on our part would bring group discomfort where manners have to stop us to tell him exactly what we know, and therefore what we feel.

Sometimes, I confront him, and with that, I bring discomfort to the group, as I don’t do that from the position of calm, but of impatience. Nobody perceives my reaction as assertiveness, anger or impatience, but as a negative emotional response, as lowering myself to his level. A new lesson for me!

Other times, I wonder how often this guy can put me down in front of others before I say something. I feel that I have to show him that I see his game, but also to ensure that my silence is not an acknowledgment of mine for what he tries to convey. I get advice from my colleagues, while none of them is so much under his daily fire.

I’m lost.

“The Signature of All Things” took me by surprise. It is another book that I started reading trying to understand what readers like in contemporary books.

Soon after I started reading it, I completely forgot my initial intention. I was drawn into it and forgot about the rest of the world.
The book is a family saga of two generations only. It’s written in the language of the 19th century, the time of the events. A young Dutch poor adolescent boy, Henry, becomes a rich man settling in Pennsylvania. He marries a competent Dutch woman, and they have two daughters (one of them adopted). The story of the second generation focuses on Alma, the biological daughter, who has an extraordinary intellect, a scientific mind and a desire to be loved and love.

What’s striking about most of the book is the sheer amount of research Gilbert has carried out and the brilliant way she embedded that within the plot and the characters of the novel. The ability to sustain the language style of that era is also impressive. Some readers might be disappointed by the part of the story taking place in Tahiti, even though it offers an image of that population at that time that if right, it is essential to know and sense.

At some stage, I thought that I would struggle towards the end of this long novel, given its sheer size, as it has happened frequently. Alas, no, the last part of the story brings again to light the amount of research Gilbert carried out on other areas, among others the emergence of the theory of evolution. Gilbert brings daringly into the narrative the contradictions and the gaps within the evolution theory. These are essential philosophical gaps to consider, frequently forgotten or unknown. With that, the novel captivated me until the very last page.

Who would have thought after “Eat, Pray, Love,” such a different, rich book? Who?t

Expressing Love to a Grown-up Son – Discreetly

Posted: September 13, 2018 in Musings
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Wise friend,

How do you express love to your own grown-up son without embarrassment on either side?

Lovely friend,

When he was already a young adult, my son and I lived on different continents for a few years. From time to time I wrote short love messages to him. I wasn’t there so he could see the love in my look. I had to write what I felt. Rarely, and I hope discreetly enough.

Once I wrote to him:

“Do you remember those years, when we lived in that faraway suburb, before you turned a teenager, overnight? After dinner, you’d come into my arms, and we watched TV for hours like that.
So much love I feel for you, that I can’t describe and all I want is to be able to hold you like that for hours. You are too grown-up for that. At least, we are back at hugs.”

When my son turned 13, he went to a school camp for 10 days. When he came back, his voice was changed, his legs were hairy, and he made it very clear that I wasn’t supposed to touch, or hug. He kept a strict distance while being an incredibly good teenager otherwise. He would not join me anywhere – a visit to friends, a walk, a movie. Nothing. For the first six months, I was going out of my mind.

Wise friend,

For different reasons since the end of September, I was getting crazier and crazier. Much of this was related to Jonathan, or better said to missing Jonathan; a kind of lava that erupted in me after a long time of a quieter time of my emotions. Yesterday, probably due to a bad recurring flu that I had last week, but mainly due to my personality – let’s face it – I reached the highest point of this craziness. Suddenly, I fell to the ground (emotionally), it seems to me on my feet, and I relaxed. I have no idea, for how long the peace will last. The lava has cooled down, and I hope that this volcano will stay still for a long time, as I need the tranquility of my sanity.

Lovely friend,

Oh, Etna has just erupted last week, as well. I have bouts of anger – though less and less – where I advise people to stay out of my way!

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Wise friend,

I don’t have bouts of anger – I have bouts of missing this man, then I relax. While driving, I thought about you again, about anger and cursing. I’m not sure if I told you this before, but my thoughts on cursing are:
I almost never used the word “f…”; I’d rather use “Shivers” or “Gosh” (Gosh!!)
From time to time I used ‘f…’ and I noticed that it did not release, but actually it brings up more on anger.
For a while, last year, I cursed so much, and I noticed that my level of anger was seriously affected.
Since then I try not to use it – the addiction is strong, and it took a lot of willpower to stop – I’m mostly out of it.
I think that everybody uses the “f…” curse in connection with anger. It’s almost like an anchor, and hooks straight into the anger we felt during our lifetime – a bit more anger is added to the original pool each time we use it. The anger of the others, while using ‘f..’ is also chained to our own chain and we carry more and more. It anchors like a serial killer.

Lovely friend,

I use “Shivers” as a relief from stressful or unpleasant instantaneous feelings. When I want to talk about somebody who angers me, I feel tempted to use the adjective ‘f…ing.’ It’s like I can’t show the color of the situation. I make significant efforts to avoid it, as I feel stirred up.
Maybe I should write a Ph.D. about ‘f..ing’ ‘f..’ word and its derivatives.

Wise friend,

Thinking about you, my PhD on f.. and other so-called taboo words had been done, and many times over. Your interpretation is interesting but fails to touch on a major consideration of swearing which is the solidarity factor in haste.

“Ghosted” by Rosie Walsh

Posted: September 11, 2018 in Musings
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I use duckduckgo.com for my online searches. According to Urban Dictionary, ghosting in dating is, “When a person cuts off all communication with their friends or the person they’re dating, with zero warning or notice beforehand. You’ll mostly see them avoiding friend’s phone calls, social media, and avoiding them in public.” Hence “being ghosted.”

Recently, I listened to an interview with Rosie Walsh, and the interviewer mentioned the incredibly way Walsh describes emotions of love, happiness, and heartbreak. I wanted to read such descriptions in successful contemporary novels.

Many people around me don’t know the word “ghosted.” It is a terrific word, which describes so well experiences of unmarried women trying to meet that final man for once, so the relationship lasts and doesn’t disappear in a split of a second. I talked with aged women as well. Without exception, they told me how many times they experienced that. I don’t know why I felt the need to point out each time: “Married women wouldn’t know about that.” Maybe because married women were around when I mentioned the word. Some of these women had been married for decades. To my surprise, the openness of the unmarried women made me uncomfortable while married women participated in the conversation.

Back to the book.
The experience of being “ghosted” in this book, however, is unique. The story includes a few twists, mystery, some tensions. Few ghosted women would wonder if the men died and that’s why they might have disappeared. Susan, the heroine of this book, wonders a lot about such a possibility.
In real life, while angry and disappointed, women seem to accept that they had the experience of a man ghosting them, and not only once.
As I started reading the book, I felt annoyed and told Susan to let it go. Only my curiosity about what young women like reading nowadays kept me going.
The book is a romance novel. Not the cheap-quality category available on supermarket shelves. It belongs to what I would call a literary novel quality.
However, it floats almost between the two styles. Yes, Walsh captures and describes some emotions very well. She also captures very well the refusal to let it go, the persistence to want to understand the “why?”, the obsession with reviewing every detail of the seven-day blissful encounter. All women went through such phases from time to time, after a relationship suddenly disintegrated, especially when that relationship was apart from any other.
I was wondering if I could advise a male friend to read it, and whether he would enjoy it. I don’t think so.
In the end, it reads like a Hollywood feel-good script. The book has been very successful.
Still, I think that Walsh will end up with remarkable good novels. Just one more step up.

Wise Friend,

I need to share some thoughts that lately have been disturbing me. Would you allow me a rant?

Sensitive friend,

Go for it. I DO want to keep getting ALL your rants. They weave a wondrous tapestry of your life – I get a feeling for you there.

Wise friend,

I wanted to be part of my community. Until now whatever I did, took me away, sapped of time, energy and curiosity.

So when I saw this position in the community, I told myself that I can do it, that I can do it very well. I’ve applied. I knew that it would be very political. I also know by now that I handle conflicts well until I don’t. I don’t even sense when suddenly I don’t. Within my mind, I’m sure that my honesty and clarity helps the other. Surprise, surprise, I don’t notice the boundary, and I step on it and over it. I see that in their facial expressions, in their tone, or even animosity – not just a pure hostility, but a revengeful one. Each time, I’m startled – “It happened again.”, I tell myself astonished and concerned.

I’ve asked a close friend, who works with adults and children who have autism, whether I’m autistic. She wondered why I even thought about it.

“I seem to lack social skills, and I hurt people while I have no intention, I’m too honest when I should be careful. I’m careful, though it seems that I cross a boundary without alarm bells,” I tell her sincerely.
“I promise you that you do not have autism, that I love your social skill, and I adore your honesty. I’m hungry for such people,” she reacts warmly and laughingly.

Sensitive friend,

What happened with the position that for which you applied? You’d have been excellent at it.

Wise friend,

They didn’t even shortlist me for it. Pity.