What if everything you knew was wrong?

What if everything you knew was wrong?

Posted on Sep 17th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade
I noticed an interesting thread question in the QaR group.

What if everything you knew was wrong?

I must admit I didn’t resonate with many of the answers.  That is a very profound question, but many of the answers seemed to take it lightly.  I don’t get how people can answer with confident certainty to a question that asks about the possibility of the complete disappearance of the very foundation of all certainty in your life, in your very sense of reality.  Its quite obvious that I have a very different read on that question.

I can only guess that anyone who answers with confidence is someone who has never had the type of experience implied by the question.  I have had experiences that undermined my sense of reality and my sense of self, and my experience is that there is no answer to this question.  Any answer would be a further claim of knowledge which according to the scenario would be wrong.  My sense is that most respondants in that thread weren’t interpeting that questioning in its deepest meaning.  Some even seemed to just take it as a linguistic game rather than as a soul-wrenching inquiry.

I’m not surprised by the responses.  As this is Gaia, it was unsurprising that they largely were typical New Agey viewpoints.  This makes me think of the research on optimism.  From my understanding, an optimist (almost by definition) can’t take such a question seriously.  The question presents a non-optimistic scenario, and so the optimistic response to it is how to reinterpret the question.  The research I’ve looked at concludes that optimists tend to not accurately see reality as it is but instead as it might be.  There is a correlation between optimism and extraversion, and so an optimist generally desires to turn outward.  This question, on the other hand, offers us to turn within to the very ground (or rather groundlessness) of our being.

I’m not saying that the answers in that thread are wrong, but they are quite different than my own view.  The main point of my writing all of this is about how much our experience determines our responses.  Experience comes first and the responses we give based on that experience come after.  In that sense, our verbal explanations always carry an element of rationalization.  We feel such a strong need to explain and justify our experiences to ourselves and to others, but ultimately our experiences are non-rational.  Our experiences can’t really be explained or even communicated.  Our experiences seem to be at best their own justification, but the tricky part of the question is to consider that maybe our experiences aren’t justified.

I have felt frustrated by this recently.  The most deeply genuine experiences I’ve had in my life seem impossible to communicate.  In fact, they bewilder me to the point I hardly understand them.  As implied by the question, they undermine my very sense of being able to know anything at all.  I partly get annoyed at others’ confident certainty because I lack it.  Then again, I’m grateful for my lack of confident certainty because it allows me to more easily see multiple perspectives.

The real frustration comes because I do want to communicate.  I identify as a writer… and, yet, the most important experiences of my whole existence can’t even be touched upon by words.  So, I spend a lot of time talking around in circles never coming to any satisfactory conclusion.  The reason I write so often about ideas is that I can write about ideas.  That is relatively easy.  However, related to the question, that which exists beyond all ideas forever nags at my awareness.

I’ve been feeling a desire to instead turn to fiction.  In some ways, fiction can get at these non-rational experiences better than other modes of verbal expression.  But I don’t know if even fiction can capture or satisfactorily allude to my confused sense of reality.  The challenge as I see it isn’t how to answer the question.  What I want is to find a way to get beyond the question itself.

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Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 5 hours later

Nicole said

did you also read John’s answer near the end of the thread? I thought that he had really got it, as you describe – that really if everything we knew was wrong, we would literally be nowhere.

But I’m more interested in your dilemma. I agree that fiction is probably the better way for you to approach explorations of what is beyond ideas and questions. I’m wondering what some of the fictional approaches you have at the moment in mind might be.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 10 hours later

Marmalade said

I did like some of the answers in that thread. 

John’s answer was pointing out the philosophical difficulties of dualistic language, but all language is dualistic.  I was looking past such problems of language which are mostly surface problems.  I don’t agree with simple dualistic value judgments either. 

However, I was looking past this surface level to the deeper implications of the scenario and the experience that such a scenario would incur.  The term ‘wrong’ may not be the best term, but its adequate for conveying a certain kind of experience.  As I mentioned, I have had experiences where everything I knew felt ‘wrong’ and not in a dualistic sense but rather in an absolute sense.

I’ve been slowly reading A Scanner Darkly in bits and pieces.  I just came across a favorite section which is also conveyed well in the movie.  Its showing the degeneration of his mind really kicking in.  In a single scene, he switches between several cognitive perspectives talking about himself the whole time as if he were someone else.  PKD does it so smoothly which is extremely impressive. 

I can feel confused at times, but this goes to a whole other level.  PKD shows from the inside what it might feel like as your psyche disitegrated.  At the same time, the tone becomes evermore philosophical as the charcter not only tries to figure out what is going on but also what it means.

Subjective experience is difficult to convey in all its complexity.  Most writers stick to more normal characters because the challenge of writing well is already difficult enough.  I want to read more good examples of the type of writing that PKD does in certain of his books.  I’m thinking over the many novels and stories I’ve read over the years, but offhand its hard for me to remember which authors might’ve done this well.  I would definitely point out Kafka for he is good at deeply conveying a subjective mood.  I like Hesse’s writings, but I’m not sure that he exactly fits into what I’m thinking about here.

I’ve been very specifically thinking of fiction this past month.  I even have a story I want to write.  My motivation for the story is to convey this feeling I’ve been having lately and so the whole story hinges on how well I could convey it.  I don’t know that I could convey it, but I’m willing to try.  An aspect of the story is also about the sense of connection that one can feel with others at times and the utter disconnection at other times.  The disconnection part fits in with the difficulties of communication.

The story I’m thinking of has a different type of narrative than a typical PKD story.  I’m thinking of a very short story that happens in a single location with very little action.  The story will be as much about the past as its about the present which is another challenge.

We’ll see what I come up with.  I’ll keep you apprised.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 13 hours later

Marmalade said

There are 3 elements to storytelling that I’m considering:
 – Conveying multiple perspectives within a single character and smoothly transitioning between those perspectives.
 – Creating an atmosphere, a mood, a subjective sense of reality that permeates all aspects of a story.
 – Using imagery and themes that are potent and subtle, that bridge between ephemeral inner experiences and concrete outer descriptions.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

you’re getting me lathered up in a fervour of anticipation! really, i can hardly wait to see what you come up with, Ben. It sounds absolutely fascinating.

1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"

1 day later

1Vector3 said

Boy do I ever resonate with the experiences and challenges. Plus, as spiritual discussions try to get ever more precise about what is “experienced” even the word “experience” drops out of the running, and we are left with elusive stuff like “the suchness of Beingness” or “the ground of Beingness” or “Being.” Blech.

I was in a spiritually-oriented discussion group last night, and oddly enough was talking about one of your points: I have written and blogged about many of my inner illuminations and experiences and insights and transformations but the most profound ones – and even many of the less profound ones! – I have felt a disinclination to even TRY to write about.

So I am very frustrated, in a way, as a teacher-via-writing because the stuff I write is not the really IMPORTANT stuff, which part of me thinks I not only COULD write about but MUST be writing about, yet I cannot bring myself to do it. That’s all related to letting go of lots of my “Should’s” but it also means I end up feeling as if I am simply presenting surface stuff, misleading folks into thinking that’s all that’s going on, or the most important stuff going on. So I am breaking my identity of Rescuer, but not without the good fight, haha.

I once made a stab at trying to describe what it’s like to break through the sound barrier of “knowing” and live at the speed of “the living Truth” but it didn’t seem a particularly effective stab.

I don’t have the ability to write fiction, but I do have some poetry skills, but they don’t seem to have aligned yet with any of the kinds of purposes-of-writing we are talking about here. Perhaps they will.

In face to face life – and actually even via print and computer words – there are ways to transcend worded communication/influence. Sometimes I just give up on words, even though most of the time I live in them, as my personal arena of Divine Expression.

It was sooooooo wonderful to read your thoughts, so wonderfully expressed. Thank you for sharing, and for being in my world, kindred spirit.
Blessings, OM Bastet

Marmalade : Gaia Child

2 days later

Marmalade said

Hey OM!

Writing is difficult no doubt.  I gave up on words for a period of time some years ago.  I stopped reading and writing not for ideological reasons but because language just didn’t fit my experience at that time.  This is impressive considering how much of my life has revolved around words.  Of course, my love of (or addiction to) language won out.

I don’t see language as the enemy as some spiritual people do.  Like you, I usually see it as my personal arena of Divine Expression or something like that.  I’d like to find a different way of using language.  Fiction is what I know and so I plan on focusing on that, but poetry definitely works for many people.

I’ve decided to focus more on my own writing and less time on pods.  I think I’ll only keep the God Pod and Community Film Picks on notification.  I did finish a very rough draft of the story I’ve been thinking of, but it will probably be a while before I’m satisfied enough with it to share it.  I plan on trying multiple different ways of telling the story before even getting much into the editing process.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

that sounds like an excellent plan. The more I try to keep pods under control the more they proliferate – I’m back up to 31 Lol fortunately not all of them active. Time to trim some of the inactive ones again!

starlight : StarLight Dancing

13 days later

starlight said

Ben, have you just tried to do some honest journaling…not really anything specific to begin with…just honest feelings about experiencing?  this helps, and it also helps to always write what you know…so, if you ‘don’t know’, write about the ways you know you don’t know…this will open up areas that are blocked in your psyche…also, you mentioned feeling connected…then feeling disconnected…write about these experiences honestly…putting these honest feelings down on paper, then looking at them, opens up other areas of awareness…

will look forward to reading you…when we can honestly speak from our hearts…the experience resonates…and touches all that are listening with their heart…

much love and joy…star…

Marmalade : Gaia Child

13 days later

Marmalade said

Yeah, for years I used to do lots of that kind of honest journalling.  I still do it some, but not as much as I used to because it ultimately felt unsatisfying.  It was useful for a period of my life.

Part of my frustration lately is not just that I ‘don’t know’, but also that I ‘don’t know’ what to do with what I ‘do know’.  Specifically, my present frustration relates to being on Gaia because my frustrations are amplified.  There are three overlapping types on Gaia.  There are the rationalists which are mostly represented by the integralists here.  There are the spiritual believers who are heavily weighted towards the new age.  And there are the activists who are extremely politically-oriented specifically liberal and progressive.  I find these three types interesting, but I don’t really fit into any of them. 

All three of these types (and this entire community) is dominated by optimists.  I’m not an optimist… far from it.  I have certain ideals that occasionally inspire me, but I’m not that idealistic.  If anything, my view of life is tragic.

So, in many ways I ‘don’t know’ about my own experience.  More importantly, I feel most people ‘don’t know’ my experience.  I realize this is a common experience of feeling not understood, but I think this feeling is more accurate for some people than for others.  In our society, statistics show that pessimists are an extreme minority.  This probably has always been true because optimism has more of an evolutionary advantage.  My pessimism is out of sync with society (especially in the US) and maybe with the human race in general.  Furthermore, Gaia has an even higher concentration of optimists than probably anywhere else on the web.

The obvious question… so why am I here?  I don’t know. I was raised with the New Age and I’m apparently drawn to it like a moth to a flame.  How tragic.  🙂

When you read my writing on gaia, you are reading a highly censored version of me.  I partly don’t speak about certain experiences because I don’t fully understand them, but I also don’t speak about certain experiences because I doubt most others here would fully understand them.  So, what is the point?!  No one on Gaia has ever seen my darker side and probably no one here cares to see it.  And I don’t care to hear all the optimism I’d get in response to it.

The reason I’m here is similar to an explanation of the universe that I find humorous.  Some people claim that this universe is the best of all possible worlds.  Now that is a depressing thought.  This is the best God could do?  Anyways, it seems ironically funny to me because its usually stated as a way of countering pessimism.  My point being is I’m on Gaia because its the best of all possible blogging communities which can simultaneously be seen as praise for Gaia and criticism of blogging communities in general. 

I’m a dissatisfied person and that is the way it is.  The problem isn’t anything in particular.  The problem is everything.  Our inability to understand and to communicate.  Our inability to do anything actually significant about all of the suffering in the world.  Our inability to see outside of our limited perspectives.  I don’t think we can honestly speak from our hearts or at least I have yet to either personally experience it or observe it in others.  The only ‘honest’ experiences of the heart I’ve had brought on silence and a sense of existential ignorance… which isn’t a bad thing… in fact, I suspect the world might be a better (or more intereting) place if more people had such humbling experiences.

The difficulty I have with a place like Gaia is that too many people here have agendas and are too certain about their agendas.  This isn’t a bad thing per se.  The purpose of Zaadz was to be a place for people who want to change the world.  But I don’t want to change the world and I don’t resonate with people who do.  Its not a judgment of them.  I’m glad some people feel compelled towards change… whatever inspires you or whatever is your nature.  My attitude is just different because my experience is different.  My attitude is how to let the world deeply and profoundly change me.  One of my highest ideals is to let go of all ideals, but that is of course an impossible ideal.  lol

starlight : StarLight Dancing

13 days later

starlight said

Ben…again, i encourage you in honesty…how do you know that other’s will not resonate with your experiences of the darker side until you put it out there?  and, relatively speaking…is that not in and of itself your purpose for being here?  i write about horrible experiences that i have had in reality…smoking crack…prostitution…sexual abuse…and yet, i also write about the real inner peace and joy that i experience…

imho, and b/c of my real life experiencing of my own dark nights of my soul…i was not able to get past them until i saw them for what they were…and got honest with me about it…seems like, you are doing that, but your frustration just might be, your lack of expression…iow, your creative ability to express in words what you have experienced or are experiencing now…and the way to solve that is just to do it…write what you feel…be honest…to hell with the optimist…fuck em…lol…like Adam said…

FEEL TO HEAL AND KEEP IT REAL…

how do you know that other’s don’t ‘feel’ the same ways?  by speaking your truths no matter how dark they may be, you release that frustration, and you give other’s the right to be who and what they are…and feel what they feel…

these are just suggestions, but b/c i deal with the ‘dark side’ of life every day…i no longer deny this in myself, in other’s, or in the world at large…

much love and joy…and if you don’t want me to say that…tell me to ‘fuck off!’  LOL…

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

13 days later

Marmalade said

I hear ya.  I’m sure some would resonate with experiences I could communicate.  I’m not saying I won’t try to write about these more difficult issues.  I’m not sure what my purpose is for being here other than writing.  I do want to try to express something of my viewpoint as far as I feel capable.

My frustrations go beyond difficulties of communication.  I’m just frustrated, but I don’t see my frustration as something to be solved.  I feel the world is inherently dissatisfying.  For me, frustration is the seed of my spiritual experiences.  Suffering and longing go hand in hand.  I can put this into personal terms, but I don’t have the time at the moment.  I’ve spoken about my depression in various places on Gaia.  This might sound strange to some people but part of me doesn’t want my depression to go away.  I don’t want to forget the world’s suffering.  I don’t want to distract myself not even by ideals of love and compassion.  I don’t know what this means, but I do know that suffering is the most real experience I know of.

All of this means little.  Either you’ve had experiences similar to mine and agree with my perspective, or you’ve had different experiences and thus have different perspectives.  Another thing is that I don’t have the belief that you seem to have that expressing something will change it.  I have no expectations that my frustration will ever be released or rather not until I’m released from this mortal coil.

I don’t know what the point of any of it is.  I’m just a writer.  Its what I do and so here I am.

One last thing about this frustration is that I feel immense shame.  I’m far from being successful by most standards of society.  My only level of success is that I hold down a job, pay the bills, and haven’t killed myself.  I pretty much live my life day by day.  I have no excuses for myself or my life.  I’ve had more opportunities than most people ever have.  Most people would see my failure as being completely personal.  My parents worked themselves through college and into professional careers.  Both of them started off fairly poor and are now upper middleclass.  I, on the other hand, have slowly worked myself back down to working class.  My parents are accomplished and have intense work ethics.  I can’t even get the motivation to do the dishes. 

I live my life in fear.  I’m afraid of everything.  Life will only get worse.  My depression will only increase with age.  Pain and suffering will only increase with age.  Loneliness will only become more intense as people I know and love die over the years.  To be completely honest,  I’ll be ‘lucky’ if I don’t either end up killing myself, becoming institutionalized or else homeless.  That is my darker side.

I’m not seeking pity.  And I’m definitely not looking for good advice or optimistic outlooks.  I very well may say ‘fuck off!’ to anyone who does offer any of this.

starlight : StarLight Dancing

13 days later

starlight said

LOL…there ya go!  rotf…least you made me laugh…which is something i love to do…

i spent my life trying to kill myself with drugs and alcohol….today i am thankful for another way to live and enjoy  my life…i am really a very simple person…and i don’t have a belief system anymore, cause i had an experience where all my conceptual beliefs, including the religious ones crumbled…i cannot think conceptually now…i don’t know why i am here…fuck it…don’t care…just going to try and enjoy my life as much as possible…cause that is what i want to do…lol…if you like your depression…happy depressing…lol…i don’t see much point to all the suffering…but i, like you, am not willing to look the other way concerning it,  or pretend that it does not really exist…even if it is just temporary…but, unlike you…i fucking love my life now…i love nature…i love to write…i love to feel joy…i love to cry…i love music…i love to sing…my songs…i love to play guitar…my keyboard…congas…i love to dance…in the rain…play with kids…i love…rainbows…sunsets…stars…i love to fuck…and i love to say the word fuck…i love food…i love the internet…i love movies…books…i love to learn…and sometimes i love just being lazy…well, i love that a lot…mostly…i just stay honest and real with me…cause that makes me happy…

anyways…this has been a very enlightening discussion…for me anyways…always, *

Marmalade : Gaia Child

13 days later

Marmalade said

Your attitude is fine by me. 

My theory is that I am what I am and I experience what I experience… and as far as I can tell this theory applies to everyone.  I’m happy when I’m happy and I enjoy life when I enjoy it.  Conversely, I’m depressed when I’m depressed and I gladly curse God almighty when I’m in a bad mood.

For happy people, I say more power to them.  Overall, I’m not a happy person myself.  But who wouldn’t choose to be a happy person if such things were actually choices.  I’ve tried to be one of those happy people.  It just didn’t work out.  We all have our fates.  Some people just have easier fates than others.  I can hear people responding with the opinion that nothing is fated, and all I can say is that such a person believes this way because
their nature and life experience has led them to do so.

Freewill is a sacred cow for optimists, but it doesn’t mean much to me.  I’ve spent much of my life trying to choose something other than this life I have.  Nevertheless, here I am as I am.  I’ve tried to just love life and enjoy the simple things.  I have found some basic sense of contentment, but depression always returns and my periods of depression last way longer than my brief moments of carefree happiness.

I suspect that everyone tries and enjoy their lives as much as possible, but what is possible is not the same for everyone.  That reminds me of what my Grandmother used to say: “Everyone is doing the best for where they’re at.”  Not much more can be said than that.

1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"

13 days later

1Vector3 said

Your position is coming through loud and clear, Ben, and I believe I’m hearing it. As someone who values you, I had to at first be sure that, re your depression, you had covered all the possible avenues of change that I am aware of, and since you seem to have done that, it does appear that “not much more can be said.” Until and unless something changes……

I don’t identify with any of the three groups here you mentioned. Do you consider me a New Ager and optimist? Both labels would be just about the opposite of the truth of me !!!! I am a heretic on at least 40 points wrt New Age, and as a perfectionist down to my cells and in every second of my consciousness, I am a card-carrying pessimist, always focusing first and foremost and at length on what is wrong and what could go wrong. For example I have had a long hard struggle for decades to even begin to entertain the notion that “Things could turn out the best way I could imagine, not the worst way.”  Give me anything and I will tell you all the downsides of it, past, present, and future. But I also see ways it could be improved, and ways the improvements could be accomplished. That is part of the gifts in the garbage, as one of my friends calls it.

So I am an optimist in believing everything CAN be improved, it’s just a matter of willingness and resources. And I am an optimist in believing that there ARE gifts in every garbage. In fact, that’s why the garbage exists, to call attention to the gifts.

Then again, I am usually hopeless about things actually improving……

Free will ain’t a sacred cow for me. I have a heretical view of that notion, which most people would (sloppily and inaccurately) interpret as no free will. One of my New Age heresies, a very severe one. Very severe, as it impacts how we approach changing the world.
I don’t feel like a happy person, overall either. Too much guilt, too much hopelessness, too much anger at God and blaming of God. But I have my moments not of optimism but of “knowing” [not accurate word]  the Bigger Picture, in which all that fades to less than nothing. Less. Like it never existed.

That somehow feels like a deeper and more authentic Me than the rest. And, fortunately, those moments are expanding in number and length, which I desire, but which I am only cooperating with; it’s a happening, not a doing….

Anyway, what I value most is honesty/authenticity, which is a version of Truth I treasure in self and others, and you reek of that !!!!!

Namaste, OM

Marmalade : Gaia Child

14 days later

Marmalade said

re my depression, maybe it’ll change but I’d be surprised if it did.  I tried to change it… and, since that didn’t work, I tried the opposite tactic.  That is my version of being practical.

I didn’t have you in mind when I was thinking of those three groups.  I was mostly thinking about broad categories.  I’ve heard your views on the New Age and so I know you don’t self-identify as a New Ager.  I don’t know you well enough to say what I think you are to tell you the truth, but for some reason to me you’ve come across as an optimist.  Of course, labels are relative in how we personally interpret them.  You seem more optimistic than myself anyways.  I do sometimes see the gifts in the garbage, but first and foremost I see the garbage.  Actually, I usually don’t see a clear difference between the supposed garbage and the supposed gifts.

I like the distinction you made between CAN be improved vs actually improving.  Sounds like the type of think I’d say.

Freewill… that is a heck of an issue.  I’ve thought about blogging about it.  Maybe I will.  I could write a very long and detailed blog or even series of blogs about that subject.  I’ve been thinking a fair bit about it.  I was reading about freewill online and came across compatibalism which states that freewill and determinism are not in contradiction.  The freewill/determinism debate is like the theism/atheism debate.  According to compatibalism, freewill is relative.  Freewill is meaningless as an abstraction, but in practical terms we must define the specific context.  What specifically do we believe we are free from?  Or what do we want to be free from?

I dig what you say about your “deeper and more authentic Me”.  Good luck on expanding those moments in number and length.  A happening, not a doing… yes, indeedy!

I reek?  ummm… thanks.  🙂

Nicole : wakingdreamer

14 days later

Nicole said

Ben, I am really moved by what you are saying. Thank you for showing up as yourself to this extent though you are clearly very doubtful of getting what you need.

I have seen over and over here people expressing deep negativity, pain, suffering, heart cries – and finding others who resonate – yes! someone else who understands how deeply messed up the world is, thank you! So I believe the same will be of you, if you choose to show the “darker side” of Ben.

One of my closest friends here on the site loves really dark, angry music, has lived a very very difficult past (and blogs often about it) and sometimes shows up with very violent or heavy energy. He teaches me a lot , as you have done and are doing now much more, about how really unhelpful or inappropriate it can be to try to cheer people up or be optimistic at times. Now, when he gets in those kinds of places, I just walk over to him mentally and verbally and sit next to him, and we talk about it, and when he is ready to be alone again he lets me know and I quietly go.

I have no illusions about being able to understand what you live. I hear what you are saying about depression and it brings light for me, reminding me somewhat of times I have been depressed and had something I needed to work through about that, and just quietly turning away from all my friends who were telling me I had to “fix” the depression because they were uncomfortable with me being depressed. It wasn’t about them and I knew they couldn’t understand that.

I am greedy, Ben. I will admit it. I want to know about all of you, not just the parts of you that you think that I can relate to. In return, I promise to do my best to honour you and not impose my thoughts, feelings and beliefs all over that honesty.

14 days later

Centria said

Ben, thank you for writing this and sharing more of who you are and feel and think.  As someone who definitely leans towards optimism, I suddenly felt a rush of shame and guilt…..that so much obvious optimism might somehow not be honoring or respecting or allowing the more pessimistic sides to have their say, as well.  Just reading your words and story helps balance something.  Well, hopefully, anyway.

Last fall and winter I sat with a good friend who was very depressed.  She was thinking of killing herself.  It was tough to witness, tough to stay there with her, tough to honor exactly where she was in her life.  Like you, part of her did not want to be optimistic.  Part of her, as she expressed it, wanted to deeply feel the suffering of all beings.  She didn’t want to hear any change-your-thinking-and-change-your-life mentality.  So I listened.  And she spoke sometimes, and didn’t speak for long months.  And I did eventually recommend that she consider medication, and she eventually decided to seek help for her depression, and now she’s doing pretty well in her life.  But it did seem very important not to “fix” the depression, not to turn immediately towards the light and cheery and bubbly and optimistic. 
The words to express things are SO hard.  Because we don’t know.  But we use words and stories to attempt to explain….something…..but it’s never true and never accurate and is very often frustrating.  I feel frustrated just trying to find any words to comment here.  What could I possibly know of your life?  Nothing, only the glimmering edges.  And maybe not even those.
Yet I am always amazed when words come out of me pretending like they know or mean something.  Because when I look closely at what’s inside there doesn’t seem to be much there.  Emptiness.  Yes, a structure exists, in which one can claim optimism or pessimism.  But other than that….well, I feel there’s not much I can say that can express anything valuable here.  Except I value your presence here on Gaia so much, your honesty, your thoughtfulness, the way you can’t be pinned down into any definitive category.  Thank you Ben for continuing to share your truth…..and hopefully that fiction, as well.

1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"

14 days later

1Vector3 said

Yeah, that was a tongue in cheek compliment, just for the fun of the language play. Glad you got it !!

Well if you do write about free will, Ben, I have a lot of comments ready !! Like determinism is definitely not the only alternative to the common notion of “free will,” not by a long shot. And that free will as commonly defined is not a necessary precondition of personal responsibility or morality.

Something Nicole said has indirectly triggered this thought which I am not sure I have expressed here before: “Depression” is to me a pretty meaningless catchall medical term. I often encounter people who consider themselves depressed, are labelled depressed, are treated as depressed, and to me they are just profoundly SAD, or feeling hopeless. To me, there is biochemically-induced depression, which is real and common, and a painkiller did that to me once, but on the very rare occasions when I have(fortunately for very brief periods)  felt slow, heavy, apathetic, tight, weepy, paralyzed, untalkative, withdrawn / dissociated, it’s because I am sad or hopeless ABOUT SOMETHING. True depression is kinda about everything and nothing in particular, as I understand it.

I feel more optimistic haha about people being able to pull out of sadness or hopelessness (or any of the other particulars mentioned below) than I do biochemical depression, or true depression if that exists. But I don’t feel hopeless about any of it. Anything can change. Miracles do happen.

Oh, and lots and lots of people labelled depressed are of course suffering from anger turned toward self, or guilt or self-blame, that’s the classic psychological mechanism, but most of the ones I encounter are actually in deep grief or mourning, often about the state or condition of the world !!!! They are sensitive souls, and bear the grief and suffering of all, as personal. To label this as a psychological or psychiatric illness or disorder is to kinda miss the point; it’s a soul-level response to an observed situation. It is optional, but only if one realizes exactly what is going on.

So “depression” to me is vague and meaningless, unless further specified. Not that I am saying you need to, just sharing my view on a subject that’s commonly discussed these days.

So the checklist would be:
sad?
hopeless?
biochemical source?
anger at self, self-blame, guilt?
grief, mourning? personal or world?
None of the above?

Blessings, OM Bastet

1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"

14 days later

1Vector3 said

Centria posted while I was composing. Point made: I do not consider her friend “clinically depressed” or mentally ill in any way shape or form. She is one of those I precisely mentioned; The souls who feel the suffering of everyone, as their own. I hate it when those people are put on medication – except for my OTOH below. I believe there are spiritually-based perspectives that could alleviate the perspective which is causing their “depression.” That “depression” or in truth empathetic sadness  is based on an OPTIONAL way of looking at the world, at people, at suffering.

OTOH I believe that a prolonged time spent in any of the other “causes” I outlined above, ends up causing biochemical depression, in addition to any other cause, as the body adapts, and some holistic approach including body mind and spirit would be needed to really make a difference. At that point, anti-depressants might make the person more functional, but they are walking wounded, and the causative perspective still operates.
 
All this sounds like theory but I hope the passionate desire to alleviate needless suffering which is the engine of my life, comes through in somehow. I do it my way, not always very personal or cuddly, those ways too are marvelous. I resonate with and respect and in fact sometimes do, in personal life, the kinds of “being with” and “grokking” that Nicole and Centria have described.

Hey, Ben, this is becoming Collective Wisdom on a very very common issue. Would you be willing????? Any others object???  Perhaps not really soon, but sometime after the energy has moved on from here??

Blessings, OM 

starlight : StarLight Dancing

14 days later

starlight said

My theory is that I am what I am and I experience what I experience… and as far as I can
tell this theory applies to everyone.  I’m happy when I’m happy and I enjoy life when I
enjoy it.  Conversely, I’m depressed when I’m depressed and I gladly curse God almighty
when I’m in a bad mood.

see, i think this is way cool…that you know and accept where you are…and that you are
not running around trying to pretend otherwise…which is what i did for years…never
facing myself…running from drugs and alcohol back to religion always escaping from the
now i was in…shew…today, b/c of my recovery program, i do not have to live that way…
i could never just be honest with me…until…i was able to be…of course, once i was
finally able to get honest…that enabled me to really use the 12 steps and to open up
that awareness…now, i deal with life on life’s terms…it has been a lot of work…and
much of it has been very painful…but i would not trade my life now for anything…
For happy people, I say more power to them.  Overall, I’m not a happy person myself. 
But who wouldn’t choose to be a happy person if such things were actually choices. 
I’ve tried to be one of those happy people.  It just didn’t work out.  We all have our
fates.  Some people just have easier fates than others.  I can hear people responding
with the opinion that nothing is fated, and all I can say is that such a person believes
this way because their nature and life experience has led them to do so.

i would say, from my experience, that happiness and depression both, are way’s of
experiencing this reality…and i tend to agree that there is no choice…on another forum
many of us went round and round on this…here is my story as it relates to choices…

when situations unfolded several years ago, that have led me along this journey that i
got sober on, i would say that i had no control over them, nor did i have a choice at
that very moment when the officer put handcuffs on me and dragged me off to face my own consequences of my behavior…however; everything i had done up to that point…had led me to that point…and looking back, no one put a gun to my head and made me behave in the ways that i had…so, i had to take responsibility for my actions…

i soon ran out of people, places, and things to blame for my behavior, b/c i had started
looking honestly at me…i am grateful that i had the awareness to do this, for i am
reminded that many near and dear to me, do not…i eventually even ran out of the idea
of a god to blame anything on, or to depend on persay, or to praise and thank for even
the grace of awareness…it just is…and i have accepted that today…and for those that
it is not…well, that just is too…

my own experience however, of taking these steps, which are just a journey within, taught
me that though i did not have a choice once i picked up that first drug or drink, or even a choice as to whether or not i used then…that b/c of the clarity of awareness i have today, i do have a choice whether or not to go down that road of insanity again…tomorrow,
i don’t know about…but today i am aware, and i am emotionally sober, as well as clean from chemical substances…i also learned that using was not my problem…it was my solution…my problem was a lack of power to live life on life’s terms…i have sense found that power within my own awareness…and it is way cool…lol

i learned through this program how to live life on it’s own terms…to stay awake to the
moment of now, and stay out of yesterday…out of tomorrow…and out of my head…i found
too, that every negative or positive feeling was due to conditioned awareness…and the
reason that i believe anything…is also due to that conditioning…so i really resonate
with that last sentence of yours in the paragraph above…

this way of thinking gave me an opening though…if i am responsible for how i feel…
what i think…what i believe…and my behavior…then that meant that i could change it…
first by recognizing it…accepting it…then remaining open to the now of awareness of the
moment…and it’s potential for change…THIS WAS VERY POWERFUL FOR ME…AND IS STILL…
when i am able to remain aware, i tap into that inner power, that inner strength, that we all have within our own awareness…
i might not be able to change or control the fact that a tornado destroys my house and all
my material possessions, but i do have the ability…today…to choose what i think about
that…and by changing my thoughts…i change my feelings…on a very simple level…
instead of reacting by conditioned beliefs and habitual emotions…i am free, in this
moment, to look at it another way…

there is a saying in recovery…

we cannot hear until we hear…we cannot see until we see…

iow…IT TAKES WHAT IT TAKES…


Freewill is a sacred cow for optimists, but it doesn’t mean much to me.  I’ve spent much
of my life trying to choose something other than this life I have.  Nevertheless, here I
am as I am.  I’ve tried to just love life and enjoy the simple things.  I have found some
basic sense of contentment, but depression always returns and my periods of depression last way longer than my brief moments of carefree happiness.

concerning freewill…i tend to think that we are puppets of awareness for the most part…
and yet, as i mentioned, in each moment of pristine awareness, there is the potential for
change…but even that change is not concrete…it just is…and i have learned to
experience my life in that ever-free moment of now…awake…present…even to the feelings
that i may not enjoy…like last night…i had gas…damn…it hurt…LOL

what i have experienced too…is that this very journey of life…is an awakening…if i
but pay attention…and remain present in the moment…

i have come to know depression and happiness as the protective layers of our conditioned awareness…we protect ourselves with both of them…and in my experience…they both have been necessary…to get me to right here right now…underneath all those layers of conditioning…i found my own true nature…and when i can remain there, which i can now most of the time…it is beyond awesome…beyond happy…beyond peace…beyond depression beyond suffering…beyond physical pain…beyond now…like Buddha said…it is bliss…nonconceptual…and free…(i am not a buddhist however)…i have even gone beyond being labeled as anything…(religiously speaking…lol)

i am a human being…and i still own my suffering and pain…my joy and sorrow…in the moment when i experience it…but it does not control my life, the way i think, believe, feel or act today…and i still have conditioning i am working through…mostly opening up further and integrating awareness with life experiencing…which you dear Ben, sharing yourself so honestly, have helped me with…

my sister is very sick with depression…my mother is very mentally ill…and we both were raised with this; it affected us differently, but needless to say we both were very much affected…and it has been so difficult for me (accepting her depression), b/c i have been on the other end of it…but i watched my sister start opening up…she was going to meetings with me, and she was blossoming…but she began shutting down again when she had to get honest…her critical thinking muscles are lazy…she holds on to her beliefs of religion like a little child not letting go of her blankie…and she is addicted to the idea of depression….and i stopped trying to push her here after her last two threats to kill herself…but i do not feed into her depression either…i allow her to be just what she is…and she is a beautiful being…very funny and intelligent…she just really is not aware of that…her mind is so tangled with guilt and shoulda, woulda, coulda’s…and a lot of childhood trauma…she is not at this time capable of facing herself…and with the medicines she is having to take, i don’t expect this to change…but, i do not believe that it cannot change…just like…i may wake up tomorrow
with the beginning of Alzheimers…some things again…we have no control over…but i am
awake and aware at this very moment…and it is within my control at this moment…to allow
my own true nature to just be…our conversations here, will no doubt enable me to be of more service to her…if nothing more than on the level of understanding…i thank you for that…


I suspect that everyone tries and enjoy their lives as much as possible, but what is
possible is not the same for everyone.  That reminds me of what my Grandmother used
to say: “Everyone is doing the best for where they’re at.”  Not much more can be said
than that.

there is another saying similar to that that i love…

“When we know better…we can do better.”

today…i take responsibility for my knowing…and my doing…but i realize today too…that this is a gift of the grace of awareness…

much love Ben…always, star…

Marmalade : Gaia Child

14 days later

Marmalade said

The thing is that I fully realize that when speaking about depression online like this only invites people offering advice and whatever.  Its to be expected even if its not what I want.  I’ve a number of times responded to someone’s sharing of hardships only to discover they didn’t even want any response at all.  I’m not like that because I always appreciate responses, but years of hearing advice has soured me on those kind of responses.  How I see advice is that if something works for you, then that is good… but it may not be useful to anyone else.

To some extent I understand other viewpoints, but I don’t know how to bridge the distance between my viewpoint and those of others.  My personal understanding is complex and contradictory.  Sometimes, I sense a genuine goodness and at othe times I would declare without a doubt that this world is a living hell.  At other times, I feel they may both be simultaneously true.

Hey OM, feel free to start a thread in the Collective Wisdom pod.

starlight : StarLight Dancing

14 days later

starlight said

well, i  cannot speak for anyone else, but i really was trying to just share my experience, strength, and hope…and specifically that…i understand that it might seem that i was trying to give advice…however; i assure you that i am aware that my path is not yours and vice a versa…but i cannot deny, that i would think it way cool, if you got something from it you could use…i would hope that you would be open to that…

the only way to bridge the difference between viewpoints, is to remain open as far as i can see…iow, allow yourself the willingness to see things differently…but again, that is a tool i use…that has worked for me…

always, star…

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

14 days later

Marmalade said

I’m just not in the mood for positive intentions, be it advice or not.  I’m open to what you’ve said, but at this point in my life I feel like I’ve heard it all.

I was raised in New Thought Christianity.  I spent years reading about and practicing positive thinking.  I’ve been to a Landmark Forum which teaches how to take control of your life.  I used to have a regular yoga and meditation practice for years.  I’ve been to many psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and even a shamanic healer.  And I went to a Shiatsu massage school where I learned alternative healing including energy work.  Sounds like a resume.  lol

I understand not wanting to blame God or other external forces, but I neither want to blame myself.  If doing all that I’ve tried isn’t good enough, then just hell with it all.  Its not your fault that I’m feeling irritable, and I’m not saying that I don’t want to hear other people’s perspectives.  I’m almost always willing to see things differently.  I’ve dedicated most of my life trying to see things differently.  But maybe at the moment I’m not in the best of moods for feeling open towards certain perspectives.

I’m sorry if I sounded critical, but afterall I am feeling quite critical.  Please understand that it isn’t you personally or anything specific.  Its just how I feel, but I don’t expect anyone else would want to listen to my griping.  I’m just expressing my criticalness because its worse if I don’t. 

15 days later

Centria said

There’s no other option, Mr. Cat, then to take you exactly as you are in this very moment.  That’s good enough for me.  🙂

Nicole : wakingdreamer

15 days later

Nicole said

You’ve explored so many avenues… I fall silent next to you and simply offer U2 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

If you do want feedback or if there is anything else I can do, I’m here, Ben. Love you.

starlight : StarLight Dancing

15 days later

starlight said

well, take your irritable ass to a 12 step meeting!  LOL…i don’t see that on your list…and it really sounds like you need one…LMAO…(just a suggestion…lol)

27 thoughts on “What if everything you knew was wrong?

  1. There’s a song by a Finnish rck band, Poets of the Fall ‘Heal My Wounds’, here’s the chorus (touches me so, hope it does you too):

    ‘Here and now
    With all dreams realised
    Would you choose
    Still more time to do

    Don’ t fall down
    When it’s time to arise
    No one else
    Can heal your wounds’

    For me, the only dream I have realised is realising that I Am. There isn’t really a dream for me, just that I am here ‘live my life as story’. I’ve had that experience of ‘groundlessness’ you speak of, it’s probably the death I speak of in my posts, cos to me, I was dead

    ‘Tis true, this question can’t be answered but I think I have an answer but is inexpressible, words can’t carry it (so it’s a problem of word?). I think it can only be felt cos to me i’m pretty much dead alive. I was dead when I started this blog, I was dead when I met you, I’m still dead but now I’m starting to live in that death. By that death, I have dissolved into everything, I realise I’m not really separate from everythig though I am one man, one thing, one soul; apart but belonging

    I walk unknown, I live unknown, my writing and everything I do, I just do, not for any particular reason, i just do them. I’ve also realised like you, like Siddhartha, that no answer can answer our personal questions. Only we can answer them cos it can only be felt. That’s what Jiddu Krishnamurti tried to teach for years but got nowhere, that’s what I try to say in my posts but knowing all along that it’s all inadequate, can’t really relate it. Sometimes, I feel like Vasudeva, just going into the forest or being a vagrant, but I try to stay here, home, anchored. It seems to be a symbolic meaning, as I learn through Jung, after my meeting with myself to explore my Self, I don’t know cos for me I don’t really have dreams, I feel them or I have visions, sort of flashes, I like to think of it as what Jung would say, a man whose psyche is external. So, that panther (courage), eagle (insight), woman (feeling) in my gravatar hovercard are all my expressions, like dreams, of what I feel, sort of my private art

    When we follow these, we get close to “Ezekiel’s four creatures” but I’ve always loved the panther and the eagle since I was a kid. the panther signified mystery, the eagle (perhaps cos of it’s scowl) signified thought or insight and I’ve always felt the compassion of woman so… I’ve recently done some unconscious work (perhaps active imagination?) that led me to flesh out the symbology more but with my own creatures. Just the ideas that they represent led me to them but as I said I always loved the panther and eagle for no reason

    So have you found the mode of expression that would carry that ‘non-rational’?

    So, you do know what I was talkin about ‘trying to connect (with others through writing)’ but not doing enough to. You said I might do well in flash fiction, now, doing that is another story but I’m still growing in this thing, spiritual or psychological or whatever it’s called. I also feel i might die before any heed is paid to me and my writing maybe not at all. I too identify as a writer, all I ever wanted to do was explore and tell, what I saw as philosophy. But, now, I see you have to be trained to do something I was born with

    I think I’ve told you this before but I prefer Plato’s Academy to this shit. Bullshit deadlines, bullshit grades, bullshit standards. Back then, there were no ‘superior’ teachers and ‘inferior’ students, it was flat, straight, from the get-go. I’ve been hearing some whisperings that philosophy is dying. People think we can shut up with our thought and that science is more useful, science is the only truth, but I say, the day philosophy falls, the world falls. Now, you have to wait till you’re some age before you’re introduced to some ideas. I can’t help feeling that each time I step forward, I have already outgrown that stage

    I’ve been tinkering with a world ordered by personality (started out as psych similarity i.e. before I met you) so that each nation is a certain personality. I’m not saying it well but as I said, I’m tinkering

    • It’s late and I’m tired. I just got off work an hour ago. I’m about ready for bed, but let me give a quick response because your comment amused me. I like to be amused. I hope you don’t mind being the source of my amusement.

      I’m listening to the song you mentioned. Interesting lyrics. I’m willing to bet Pink Floyd could do an awesome cover of that song. Or maybe Magnetic Fields.

      By the way, I didn’t know you were dead. How long have you had this condition? So are you the living dead? That’s pretty cool. Do you eat brains?

      Ya know, I don’t think I’ve previously noticed the pictures on your gravatar hovercard. Have you had them there for a while?

      Have I found the mode of expression that would carry that ‘non-rational’? Damn good question. Unfortunately, I can’t claim to have a good answer. I don’t know, maybe the closest I’ve come is when I’ve played around with making mandalas. Jung favored that approach at a certain time in his life. I don’t know what a mandala expresses, but there is some satisfaction in creating one.

      Philosophy is dying? Oh no! Quick, call an ambulance. Philosophy must be saved! Nah, I wouldn’t worry about it. Philosophy is a tough ol’ bugger. Philosophy will kill you before you can kill it. I mean think about it. Philosophy has been around at least a couple millennia or so. I doubt it’s going anywhere any time soon.

      Science is like a dog and philosophy is like the flea biting it as the dog runs around and whimpers. The dog may be more useful than the flea from our perspective, but it’s the flea that makes the dog go round. That is my theory and I’m sticking to it.

      So, you have a theory as well? You’ve been tinkering, have ya? I dig the basic concept. I do suspect there are connections between individual personalities and cultural identities. It intuitively makes sense. I also know that different personality traits will measure differently in various populations. I posted some info (in my recent post about US North/South divide) about different personality traits in the different regions of the US. This might be the result of modern society where people can move around and so many people probably unconsciously or consciously choose to live near people with similar personalities. I wonder if this could lead to concentration of genetics that might speed up evolution.

  2. Now, I have a disorder, IBS, can’t really eat well; should I not control myself, the pain is unbearable so I eat sparingly. Besides, my thought gives me high metabolism so I’m always below my RDA. Plus, I have a lot of food incompatibilities; whether they come with it, I don’t know, but lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance do. My appetite is not too good too and most days I have a premonition that I’ll go off food altogether and starve to death; I’ve been faced by that once before. That’s how much Kafka’s story touched my soul, so much that, I’ve even started to like his work (laughing at that one).

    Why am I telling you? I just want to tell somebody and I’ve known you enough to open up to you. Curious thing too is I don’t want anybody’s help. I’ve already given my word to ‘give all my secrets away’ and I’m doing it steadily; all the illusions are coming off.

    It might kill me, it might cause some serious harm but like I told a nutritionist who asked if I’d consent to surgery to excise it or something “it’s my body, I don’t want to do away with any part, I like it like this”. This is my defining characteristic. The boy with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and all my eccentricities that place me in the category of other-worldly or abnormal!!

    Hail to the Odd!!!

    And, had I not been the person to strengthen myself, it could be very worrying but like Siddhartha, “I can think, I can fast, I can wait’. I can go without food for a long time so it doesn’t worry me. I’ve had it since I was a kid, didn’t really recognize it for what it was until it returned recently with great, great force after being absent for about 2 years.

    • I combined your two comments as you requested. Did I do it correctly?

      IBS, eh? Is that inherited? Lactose and gluten intolerance… that must be difficult. I’m of Northern European stock which is a population that also has such intolerances. I have a bit of lactose intolerance, but not horrible. As a kid, I had to drink soy milk. My dad stopped eating gluten because of intolerance.

      I can see how Kafka’s story would be personally relevant to your own life. Yep, hail to the odd!

      • I read about it for a while sometime back but there is no conclusive data on it. There seems to be some hereditary factor to it as well as personal traumatic experiences. Stress, over-eating, inactivity, certain foods (esp gas-producing ones and they are a lot) bring on the symptoms. It’s a functional disorder. Every food starts to be gassy, the abdomen bloats and feels heavy. You feel every movement in the colon, every peristaltic movement; maybe I’m just sensitive cos I am normally. Sometimes I just go with water for a whole day

        Yeah, you did it well

        So how do you like the song

        • I enjoyed it. Is there a particular version, live or on an album, that you prefer? Or do you just like it in general? I’d have to listen to the band some more to decide what I think of them. I like their style of music. Are there any other songs by them that you also like?

          • I haven’t heard a live version but I’m sure it’ll present a radically novel quality to the sound. I have their albums: ‘Signs of Life’, ‘Carnival of Rust’, ‘Revolution Roulette’ and the one that contains this Heal My Wounds, ‘Twilight Theater’. I like every song of theirs, just perhaps depends on the mood. I tend to focus on the aura of the sound. This particular sound has such a dramatic soundscape that so befits the lyrics. Another album that uses the sound to good effect is ‘This Is War’ by 30 Seconds to Mars. Both bands make good use of opera which I am highly endeared to.

            Another band I like is Incubus, they are an experimental rock band and I like how their sounds are always so difficult to categorize. I like to pick out the meanings of soundscapes but theirs is a pretty daunting task. Then there is Celtic music with the bagpipes, the bagpipe is naturally care-free instrument (care-free like a kid roaming the highlands playing his bagpipe) but it’s also very good for dirges, there it communicates the sorrow of the heart so well like the flute which is, in my opinion, the best dirge instrument. Check out this track from the ‘3 Idiots’ OST ‘Jaane Nahin Denge’, it has that operatic quality to it too. We’ve talked of the music I like before; my interests are wide.

  3. Ben’s flea uh? Funny. I’m wondering, though you were not thinking of Socrates’ gadfly, can you tell if it didn’t influence the thought? It’s a pretty normal metaphor but can we not say that the use in such a context did not influence you? This is how it is, we can go on and on questioning, so then another question arises, are the questions necessary? Does it matter, so far as the point has been made humorously and understandably? What is all the questioning for at all? I’m questioning my fundamental functions here, that’s just it, I can question till I question my own soul, question everything, that leads to ‘groundlessness’ but what can I do, i like it that way, at least I’m not as sure of myself as the other people I see around me daily.

    • I have to be honest. This is what happened. I was traveling back through time and ended up in Athens. Guess who I ran into? Yep, ol’ Socrates. Ya see, I was telling Socrates about my flea. And wouldn’t ya know he stole my idea. Anyway, who ever heard of a gadfly? My flea makes way more sense.

  4. So, do you still don’t want your depression to go away? You know, I resonate with you on that. Partially, I’ve been thinking ‘so if all the suffering goes away, what would I cry over’, pretty callous eh?

    Perhaps, unless we immerse ourselves and lose sight of the ‘groundlessness’, ‘vanity’, we won’t get over the depression. Reminds me of my friend quoting from the ‘myth of sisyphus’ by Camus; we are aware of the futility but nothing makes anything more worthwhile than scorn. And, I can’t help but see that the guys who come to advise are just speaking vicariously, someone else’s words. Man, you’re depressed? So is the top of your head flattened like a golfpin? Hahaha. Gotcha, you laughed at my death, yea, yea, I’m livin dead, at least, Tiger Woods doesn’t carry me around in his pocket like a puppet. Hahahahaha. I’ve been looking for a chance to get back atcha. Revenge is a sweet mother

    • Maybe I want my depression to go away and maybe not. I don’t know. If there was an actual happy pill that made my depression disappear, I’d probably take it. But I’ve never come across such a pill. I’ve tried anti-depressants and all they do is have a very mild effect.

      I have been feeling particularly depressed lately. The reason I’m often so critical in my blogs is mostly because of my depression. I’m a much more forgiving person when in a better mood.

      Depression sucks. Still, there is something authentic about my experience of depression… although that authenticity comes at a high price. Maybe being happily inauthentic wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

      A flattened head? That sounds interesting. And it would be convenient. I’d always have a flat surface to put a drinking glass on. Also, just imagine how easy it would be to do headstands. I really like this idea of yours. I’m not insulted at all. I plan on immediately looking into plastic surgery to flatten my skull. Come to think of it, I’d probably be better looking with a flat head. Thanks! You’re a good friend.

      • I read on some site that, for INFPs, there seems to be some sort of tragedy all the time. Like, there’s always some hopeless situation somewhere. You know something, an NT will be one (perhaps even first) to get enthusiastic about something like p-types and first to doubt it esp the xNTPs.

        My man, you write, that’s all you do. Writing, all that shia tsu, parking lot, energy voodoo stuff is all secondary, you find, you write, that’s all. But you got like 15000 hits, what’s eating you? :-D. Me, I’m now verging 2000. I think it’s linked to you having been blogging for quite some time; Gaia and all. And, you being so active on the web; youtube debates and all. Honestly, the way you deflected my taunt deflated the fun completely, my man. Masterstroke ;-D

        So, for Se’s (MBTI), they notice everything eh? Seems they also have a short memory, their long term is in their Ni. Si’s seem to have long memories but not as detailed as Se’s, Si seems to only notice differences, changes and their memory is quite personal (I don’t know if that is clear enough in meaning). Se sees everything but is not discriminative as Si. That discriminative deficiency seems a general characteristic with extraverted functions.

        I’ve been watching people for some time and this is what I see so far

        • I do think that many INFPs, such as myself, have a stronger predisposition toward the tragic. INFPs want grand meanings or grand narratives. It’s the INFP tendency to give great import to life. An INFP sees the world in terms of patterns and possibilities… and, of course, these are all meaningful. INFPs absolutely love lost causes and impossible ideals. Anyway, why be merely sad when you can have Tragedy?

          I should, however, point out that there are some happier, more well adjusted INFPs who seem to be able grasp personal meaning without the tragic. So, certainly a version of non-tragic authenticity is possible for the aspiring INFP. But, for most INFPs, tragedy is probably closer to the norm.

          INTPs maybe don’t have as much of the tragic bent, but I think both INFPs and INTPs can enjoy a good pity party. An INTP is less prone to care as deeply about other people in the empathetic soul-searching way that INFPs are prone. Still, there can be some of the tragic in the loner INTP. The difference is that an INTP probably won’t see themselves fighting a battle of Good vs Evil.

          I’m not sure about the other NT types. Maybe an INTJ could have more of a sense of the profound which could include the tragic. The INXJ types can be very deep with an emotional undercurrent, but they’re less likely to have the passionate zeal to go tilting at windmills.

          I know my blog is relatively ‘successful’ in terms of view count. I average maybe 150 hits a day which goes up or down depending on how much I’ve been recently writing, but it has been steadily going up over the past year or so. What do I have to complain about? I need a reason to complain? My reason is that I’m a disgruntled INFP and complaining is what disgruntled INFPs do. As for taunts, I deflect them because I’m rubber and you’re glue; what bounces off me sticks to you. Nya nya nya nya nya!

          I’d guess that Se types notice things more than most people, but they might not ever focus on any given thing. Their sensory distractedness might make them forgetful. An Si type will have more of a mind for the concrete which can include memories of actual events and hard facts. Also, they’d have a mind for traditions, special dates like anniversaries, cultural customs, family history, etc. An Si would notice differences more than an Se maybe in the sense that an Si would be more focused. The Se would be barraged by sensory data whereas the Si would see concrete objects.

          As you say, the discriminative deficiency is an issue of Extraversion, but even more so Extraversion combined with Perceiving (Se and Ne). I often use my Ne to indiscriminately gobble up data, factoids, experiences, thoughts, connections… then I sit down and barf it all back up… sorting through my cognitive vomit like a sear looking at the entrails of some sacrificed animal.

          I’d say we share similar observations of people.

  5. Well, I did a socionics test and came out INTp (NiTe) but their dynamic is so so different. Their INTj is TiNe. Interesting, isn’t it? Me, I don’t know where I fit cos I’m all over the place in these typings. That’s why I incline to ENTP cos they’re naturally chameleons and their true selves (let me say ‘ego’ to avoid confusion) are somewhat obscure to themselves. Besides, I was in my youth a more outgoing person, dunno what happened. Probably, that’s why when I came to have to think more, it was such an arduous process, sifting through all that I had collected for so many years; similar to your metaphor on entrails (though mine might have been a protracted process, I say ‘might’ cos this is tentative analysis). By the way, did you mean ‘sear’ or ‘seer’?

    Perhaps, I do have the ‘mastermind’ bent but it’s usually due to my love for ‘schemes’.

    If anything, if we use philosophical categories, I identify as a possibilist. Another maxim of mine is ‘anything is possible’. A maxim I gleaned from my big brother and before that I was one who believed all kinds of outrageous things but being a rational person, I doubted, my brother was my ‘go-to guy’ for evaluation and his response? That’s it up there: possibilism, so far as you can think it, it’s possible.

    The worst thing, in my opinion, he did for me was instigating my ‘thinking’. He first urged me to think through what do I get? A long drawn-out process which resembles Ti. I could have done well being the happy-go-lucky kid I was and been some explorer or biologist or wandering philosopher or any thing involving exploration. But, it was bound to happen and as I accepted it at the time, it seems that was the right time cos it wasn’t that foreign to me. Logic has always been something I innately do, though I think also in terms of alternatives. Logic doesn’t like paradoxes but intuition is almost built by it, how paradoxical is an NT? And, it is well cos I feel the satisfaction within me even if this Ti-esque bent of mine makes me ascetic and thus socially less successful

    What work do your parents do that you say they are in the intellectual sphere? I think you mention it up there but I don’t want to be incited by anything so I prefer to stay clear, one thing leads to many, for me.

    Ben, Ben in his den
    The hen crowed
    And then, Ben
    Fell into a sleep of Ten
    Ben, Ben, the man of When

    • Yes, I meant seer. That was an odd typo. I know how to spell that word and I had the word clearly in mind while writing it, but for some reason it came out as ‘sear’. If it’s a Freudian slip, I don’t know what it means.

      Socionics is a whole other complex matter. I’ve never fully understood it. They often use the same lettering system as MBTI, but beyond that there is no direct correlation between the two systems. It’s not only the dynamic that is different. The letters don’t even refer to the same thing.

      I must say that I don’t think of you as an ENTP. I get more of an Introverted and NF sense of you. If you’re an NT, I’d be more likely to think of you as an INTP than an ENTP. But it’s hard to make accurate guesses of someone I’ve never personally met. Also, the differences of our cultures makes it hard for me to evaluate. Anyway, no doubt you’re a better judge of your own personality. You don’t remind me of the few ENTPs I’ve knowingly come across, but I’m not overly familiar with the ENTP personality.

      Any type with Ne would have some capacity and tendency toward chameleon like behavior. The difference for an Introvert is that they might be more likely to use their chameleon like behavior to blend in or else to better connect with another person. In particular for an Introvert, they can be chameleon like because their dominant function is hidden behind Ne. This would be even more true for an INFP because there is something a bit inscrutable about Fi.

      What do my parents do in the intellectual sphere? Well, both recently retired. But I can tell you what there careers were. My dad was a professor of business management. And my mom was a speech pathologist. It’s my dad who is more of the intellectual and he is definitely an NT. I’m naturally a thinker, but it’s my dad that taught me to think analytically and precisely. Using your terms, I’d add that both of my parents are possibilists. I’ve tended to connect intellectual thinking and possibility thinking. Using my Ne, the two never seem far apart.

      By the way, a lovely poem in tribute to me. However, there are some inaccuracies. I unfortunately don’t have a den. And there aren’t any hens near my house. Still, a lovely poem. It does rhyme. Also, I appreciate that you recognize that I am ‘the’ man of When… not ‘a’ man of When but ‘the’ man of When.

  6. By the way, taste Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sky Blue’, it’s like ‘Blue cream’. And, I’ve heard ‘Rhythm of the Heat’. I see that Peter Gabriel likes African rhythms very much. Both songs mentioned use African rhythms profoundly i.e. on drums. You know it’s not like we don’t have a spirituality, it’s that it’s been denigrated by christianity and by itself becoming a religion with all the mambo jambo. Who says I don’t have animal spirits? They’re there in my gravatar and that’s not the end of spirituality

    • I don’t know how much I like the music of Peter Gabriel. I can’t say I dislike it, but I’ve never really gotten into it. I guess I enjoy some of his hits such as ‘In Your Eyes’… when I happen to hear them on the radio.

      Also, I have a hard time getting into African rhythms. I don’t emotionally connect with them. I’m sure it’s just because I wasn’t raised hearing them.

      Monotheism in all of it’s forms tends to consume everything it meets. Monotheism is truly the religion of modern civilization with it’s industrialization and globalization where everything is made into the same thing. I can’t speak for African spirituality. I wonder what possibility of survival such traditional religions have in the face of monotheism. Africa is a battleground of religions: monotheism vs traditional African religions, Christianity vs Islam.

  7. I’ve been looking at INFJ ever since you mentioned this. Though, you had mentioned it before and I also encountered it at typealyzer (it also twisted my mind), I never gave it much consideration cos the ones I’ve seen on forums appear a bit too mushy for my liking and the typealyzer description did the same. Besides, I’ve always been given to thought which however succumbs to empathy when I am in the social though if you fuck around, I’ll remove that sweet scent and expose you to the sulfur of criticism. They call them the Romantics, ah, that’s me but I, like the rest, hide it. I thought I was just an INTP with high Fe. Do you know how much the crucifix means to me? That sacrifice for ‘the cause’, INTPs are also prone to that, if they develop themselves cos they would develop the cause and die for it. And I love honesty, that you already know, truth; what I say has to be veracious, though we can not be perfect, that is, a human is perfectly dual. And my system-building, that one is spot-on, it’s easy to see the humanistic values within my systems.

    That brings me to psychology which I have always been given to. Some tutors of mine were worried about my mental state and recommended seeing a shrink to my mum, she told them I was a psychologist myself. It’s always been sort of a gift for me, related to my being able to tell even through the computer that you wore glasses. And what I say that things appear to me in flashes, I just know. Plus, I’ve always been a feminine boy, cross-dressing, nail painting, I never really saw the boundary between feminine and masculine cos I saw it as being inside us all. I wonder if you as an NF also did these feminine things. Also, my love for chivalrous Bushido, that really tells a lot. I’ve always seen myself as possessing good reason but for some reason, it always deferred to feeling (which has changed now).

    And, my interest in personal growth and art (I’ve always been poetic and musical; all being poetry for me, that attracted me to rap in the first place), this diagnosis, even if tentative tells a lot. All things mystical have always been at heart, been very real to me, dreaming all the time, now I face the real and I’m shocked. Just look at my posts, Anniversary Notes #3: No Normal Boy 1 and 2 and the last one, I forget the name; my very great value of personal growth. I think we all as humans are to help each other grow, if we can stop with the sanctimony.

    • In terms of Fe, both INTP and INFJ can fit. Also, in terms of tendencies of small ‘t’ thinking, both types can fit.

      It’s obvious that an INTP would be prone to intellectuality with dominant Ti and auxiliary Ne. Their Ti is at their core and very personal, but will be mediated through Ne. Like Fi, Ti is never seen directly, although it’s experienced strongly by the individual. An INTP has Fe as their aspirational since it’s opposite of their dominant Ti. The aspirational may never manifest, but if it does it can manifest very strongly (maybe with less expertise, maybe more overbearing, maybe as an obsession). If it doesn’t manifest, one can hold it as an ideal which one respects when seen in others and one can hold it as a particular lack within oneself.

      An INFJ has Ni at their core. There is a distinct difference between dominant Ti and dominant Ni. I’m not sure how to explain it. There is a directness about Ti and an indirectness about Ni. If personality is a river, Ti is a rock just below the surface creating ripples and Ni is a recession in the riverbed causing an eddy. Also, Ni in INFJs, especially male INFJs, cant manifest with a strong intellectual bent. The INFJs I’ve known tend to be more narrow in their interests. They don’t have that boundless wandering curiosity of Ne. INFJs would rather focus on a single author, a single subject, or a single tradition. There is something that gets caught in the eddy of their Ni.

      Another difference is that Ni is much more hidden in itself and because of Fe. An INTP has Ne which gives an appearance of openness, but an INFJ’s Ni has a hidden quality not seen in any other function-attitude. Fe allows INFJs to be very good at playing social roles and they tend not to want to cause conflict or have to directly deal with it. INFJs are more likely to mediators than an INFP. An INFj’s Fe serves relating to others. An INFP’s Fi serves values and ideals which of course influences relationships but isn’t limited to them.

      One of your statements, however, could be interpreted according to the INFP type:

      “Besides, I’ve always been given to thought which however succumbs to empathy when I am in the social though if you fuck around, I’ll remove that sweet scent and expose you to the sulfur of criticism.”

      It’s not unusual for INFP’s to develop intellectuality. It’s just their intellectuality will tend to serve some value or ideal… rather than the INTP’s thinking for it’s own sake. INFPs are also prone to empathy. The Fi makes them care and Ne makes them able to enter into another’s experience. An INFP (who isn’t disgruntled) won’t seek out conflict, but will fight when they feel something of value is being challenged: “I’ll remove that sweet scent and expose you to the sulfur of criticism.” That statement could describe me and many other INFPs.

      Another statement of yours caught my attention:

      “And my system-building, that one is spot-on, it’s easy to see the humanistic values within my systems.”

      That would go against the INFJ type. They aren’t known for system-building per se, although they might be interested in studying the system of a tradition such as Catholic theology.

      Any of the NT types could be potentially into system-building, but only the INTP would be interested in endless system-building and system-nitpicking. An ENTP could be this way except with less emphasis on system-building because they don’t have as strong of a sense of Ti to build systems around. An ENTJ would only care about system-building if it served some purpose for personal success or for helping others succeed. An INTJ would be more likely to create systems of conspiracy theories and mistrust any systems built by others.

      The only NF type that would be strongly prone to actively building systems is the INFP and they have similar tendencies as the INTP in building systems around a strong core of values or pinciples. And they are the type most likely to build systems with humanistic values such as the MBTI.

      This next comment in it’s entirety reminds me of INFP:

      “That brings me to psychology which I have always been given to. Some tutors of mine were worried about my mental state and recommended seeing a shrink to my mum, she told them I was a psychologist myself. It’s always been sort of a gift for me, related to my being able to tell even through the computer that you wore glasses. And what I say that things appear to me in flashes, I just know. Plus, I’ve always been a feminine boy, cross-dressing, nail painting, I never really saw the boundary between feminine and masculine cos I saw it as being inside us all.”

      Many types could be attracted to psychology for different reasons, but the types most attracted are the NF types. Also, going by the type forums, for some reason the two types most active are INFPs and INTPs. So, there is something about INXP that makes one drawn to psychological theory. However, without the strong subjective/intersubjecte edge, INTPs don’t seem to go as deeply into MBTI as INFPs (maybe because it was originated by an INFP). NTs in general are more interested in the psychological system or the pscyhological data than they are interested in the actual psychologies of real people. But a more developed NT type, of course, can develop this interest.

      INFP is the only type that is both a NF type and an INXP type. Fi gives INFPs a strong sense of subjective/intersubjective certainty, a sense of knowing oneself and knowing human nature, a sense of feeling the core reality of things and of people. Ne gives INFPs an ability to imagine another’s experience so clearly that they can imagine being that other person. Combined together, Fi and Ne can make an INFP feel they know another person sometimes even better than the other person knows themselves. Only other INFPs seem to understand this just knowing. Other types, especially Thinking types, assume INFPs are just projecting or speculating.

      As for gender uncertainty/openness, this can possibly relate to two factors. First, male Feeling types (or female Thinking types) will have a predisposition to gender confusion, the questioning of and exerimenting with gender identity. This is because most societies seem to make clear gender distinctions and it’s just a fact that most males are Thinking types and most females are Feeling types. Second, Intuition types (especially NP types with Ne) are more open to new experiences, new identities, and new possibilities in general. An Intuition type is less bothered by blurred boundaries. Combining Intuitition and Feeling, the NF types are often obsessively questioning themselves and experimenting with their sense of identity.

      And I wanted to respond to one last comment of yours:

      “And, my interest in personal growth and art (I’ve always been poetic and musical; all being poetry for me, that attracted me to rap in the first place), this diagnosis, even if tentative tells a lot. All things mystical have always been at heart, been very real to me, dreaming all the time, now I face the real and I’m shocked.”

      The NF types are those most interested in personal growth and art. Also, NF types are those most drawn to all things mystical and most likely to say that all things mystical have always been at heart. For an NF, the mystical is real because it’s experienced, it’s intuitively known. The NF types are all dreamers and idealists, but the INFP is the one type more idealistic than the rest and most likely to be an unrepentant dreamer. It’s because of NF’s idealism (especially INFP’s radical idealism) that they can be shocked when faced with ‘reality’.

      As an INFP, I’ve often thought along the lines of what you said here:

      “I think we all as humans are to help each other grow, if we can stop with the sanctimony.”

      I don’t know if you’re the same type as me, but there is a lot of similarity between our personality predispositions and between our overall worldviews. You seem like too much of an idealistic dreamer to be an NT.

    • I’ve been smiling ever since I finally took the time to read the INFJ. That explains why I thought I was ENTP cos of that devil’s advocate mind I have. Thinkning that everyone deserves a chance, classic psychiatrist. It explains a lot. Naturally, one would say, ‘oh, it’s your experiences that produced this’ but therein is the answer, I reacted to my experiences quite uniquely, I learned uniquely. An INTP at the personality cafe wrote that the INFJ is the most easily mistaken type. He wrote that the INFJ is the most easily mistaken type. He wrote about and under the rubric ‘The Many Faces of the INFJ’, the Revolutionary (he says this is the INFJ, true, true), the Guru, the Academic, the False Guru, Destroyer of Worlds and some others, you can check it out, it’s an interesting article and he highlights those limitations of the system I’ve been talking about. An INTJ (my bro seems to be one) also said that they are seen as one of the rarest, if not the rarest, and that might be due to mistyping as a result of the mentioned limitations, I’d add also that idealists in general might be in shorter number given their inclination to suicide but still, how significant is proportion within the idealist group? i wonder what the rates are in your place.

      Revolutionary. That fits well, but I learn and agree that Hitler was an INFJ, they’re natural orators too. They call them counselors, that I’ve always done as well as my gifted aunt telling me so, but have shied away from as self-doubt has grown. But, the more apt designation should be ‘Revolutionary’. They call them mystics, very fitting considerig I always wanted to be a monk. My other name: J-Monc

      I just found a connection in soccer players with personality development, that their careers, the archetypal footballer’s career follows a pattern predicted by personality development. Ah then, my fellow idealist, I just feel like I’ve come further home, you know what I mean, they say you guys are healers, I see why

      This was supposed to post yesterday but it wasn’t going up onto the page

      • I checked out the INFJ article. It’s interesting. A couple of things come to mind.

        In order to understand subtypes, the first thing should do is look at Beebe’s model of functional roles. That will give you a basic way of understanding how each type will manifest each function-attitude. Also, there are models of how function-attitudes develop… which might be similar to your noticing a pattern of personality development in soccer players. Every type uses every function, but the use of a function is used differently if it is used consciously or unconsciously, expertly or inexpertly.

        Secondly, MBTI was designed to explain types; i.e., the typical patterns of personality. The article was exploring some of the atypical patterns of personality which is much more complex because it’s touching upon abnormal psychology. It’s more difficult to try to create categories of the atypical for the very reason that they are atypical. Every atypical once categorized becomes a new type which then can also be broken further down into other atypicals. Ad Infinitum.

        I’ve seen various theories about subtypes. I once created a theory about the subtypes of INFPs. It was posted on a forum that is now gone. Google used to have a cache of it, but that seems to be gone as well. I guess I should have saved it. They claim that once something is posted on the internet that it will never disappear. I guess they were wrong about that. Oh well.

  8. You see, if I can think about something, what makes it untrue or unreal or impossible?, these are three different terms with the first the most difficult to define. If I have hallucinations intermittently, what makes my brother who I see everyday more real than my hallucination? Or what makes my brother who I can touch more real than my vacuous hallucination? Or let’s take the Vanilla Sky premise, what makes the ‘real’ world without the corporation’s help more real than the one with the help? How is the corporation also not a hallucination? And doesn’t that make everything a hallucination? So, do I create the world, my world, real and ‘hallucinated’ alike? If I do, how come things that I don’t like come in? If it’s like this then there are things or parts of me I don’t control to my liking thus I don’t know how to use them or I don’t know them or I don’t control at all which tells me that I don’t create the world after all, but the world just comes to be; real and imaginary, all in the same box

    This was inspired by reading your convo with Vector, OM, I think.

    You see that’s the thing about objective thinking, there’s no good or bad, no life or death, they have no value. When one thing is possible, it’s negation is possible as well as it’s absence. To imagine the absence of something not it’s positive or negative is to remove a piece in an edifice and that means perhaps, the entire part above the piece is extinguished for that piece was the logical premise for them. That is, logically, which influences imaginative thought and says ‘so, now, what?’. A number of scenarios are conceived from how these can possibly interact (not really) which, if we are true to objective thought, are limitless. So as soon as we say this should be the case, we have to be willing for the other case and then answer why the one and not the other. And if we answer, there is further need to justify the answer, always and always justifying the next.

    In the end, whatever possibility is just as tenuous as the other. Those that say ‘this is the “best” of possible worlds’ actually mean ‘this is the one we have of many possible worlds’. Unfortunately, when I am in thought mode, values rarely matter anymore, everything breaks

    You know something, I am sort of a person who just wants to ask questions. A wandering philosopher, that has always been what I have been in for. Is it realistic as far as living is concerned? I don’t know, the rest of everything doesn’t really matter to me, I just want to observe and say ‘mmm…’

    That’s my thinking side, and I have observed that thinking (as I have seen in myself) is very callous.

    You see, my thinking throws everything of value away but I also value everything. That is my paradox.

    That part about hallucination and stuff all is from the frame of reference. The subject cannot behold another way than through his frame and any other frame is already refuted by their being ‘hallucinations’. It’s the subject that sees and does all the believing so how does he believe now? He chooses what he wants to believe. In the end, it’s not a matter of life or death or whatever value or whatever belief, it’s what one does, even if it’s self-negating. But, how can one who is hallucinating be a hallucination himself? Perhaps, it’s not a matter of who does the hallucination, and the logical matter just put forward but just a matter of doubt. There then, we are not permitted to ask ‘who doubts’ cos we have said just a ‘matter of doubt’, everything being vacuous. In there then is Nothing, everything involutes but everything is potential by the simple fact that all can be doubted to be ‘Absolute True’. It is either All or None

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