Personal Public Problems

Personal Public Problems

Posted on Apr 27th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade

Just this past week, someone I used to work with was arrested for being involved in meth production.  He was always a bit emotionally unstable.  A very nice guy, but hardly had his life together.  He did graduate from college and used to be married with a kid, and so at one time his life must’ve been somewhat together.  But when I knew him, he wasn’t even able to keep up with his childcare payments and he wasn’t all that healthy.  He was addicted to sugar like a hummingbird.  He surely was diabetic and probably untreated.  He’d buzz with energy and then totally crash.  More of an issue was his psychological instability.  What caused what or where it all began?  I certainly don’t know.  The problems of his life were complex and multi-faceted.

A little while before this, there was another incident in town with someone’s life going severely downhill.  A banker was being investigated for stealing from the bank he worked for.  He was released on bail, and on Easter killed his family and them himself.  He was an upstanding member of his community from a very respectable family that was established in the community.  He had gone to church with his family that morning and his family had visited him that day at home.  No one, apparently, suspected a thing.  In particular, the judge who released him didn’t suspect him.

These two guys were from opposite spectrums of society, but society wasn’t able to help either of them. 

The guy I worked with obviously had problems.  It was obvious to everyone(probably including himself) that he’d eventually mess up his life.  He had been on a slow descent for many many years.  But who was able or willing to intervene.  And is he any more likely to find help in prison?  Is he just a lost cause, a casualty of the greater good?  If so, whose good?  Certainly, not his.

The other guy must also have had problems for years, but he hid his problems well because he played the game well.  Smiling face, business suit, family, church, etc.  By societies standards, he was a ‘good’ man.  A problem isn’t a problem as long as you can hide it well.  Personal issues shouldn’t be publicly aired.  Anyways, nobody wants to hear your problems.  Just be responsible, do your job, pay your bills.  Success equals happiness;  happiness equals success.

There is a sweet scene from A Scanner Darkly that comes to mind: 

“You know, Fred,” one of the doctors says, “if you keep your sense of humor like you do, you just might make it after all.”

“Make it”, says Bob Arctor. “Make what? The team? The girl? Make good? Make due? Make out? Make sense? Make money? Make time?  Define your terms.”
Who cares about the personal problems of such people as these two guys I speak of?  Well, we all care when they become public problems.  But weren’t they always everyone’s problems?  Aren’t we always responsible to and for eachother?  Doesn’t everything we do effect everyone around us?  Is there even any such entity as a ‘personal problem’?

Society is like the doctors who test Bob Arctor.  They’re just watching until its too late to help him which so happens to coincide with it being too late for him to be useful for their purposes any more.  We tend not to care about other people’s problems until they become a problem to us.  It saddens me.  Despite all our power and freeedom, despite all of our knowledge and technology, it seems there is little we can do…. or worse that we’re collectively willing to do.

Is each of us forever alone in our suffering?

 

Access_public Access: Public 19 Comments Print Post this!views (238)  

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 1 hour later

Nicole said

Dear Ben,

On the insistence of my son, I watched A scanner darkly. He should have known better. He knows how sensitive I am so no surprise I was deeply disturbed by the movie. It was so wrong on so many levels, not just the doctors, but his girlfriend who was screwing him in every way, by giving him sex, by withholding it, by giving him the drugs, by secretly being his boss and pretending she didn’t know he was hooked on the drugs, by assigning him to watch himself, and finally by condemning him to a living death on the farm.

Horrible, horrible.

It is very sad to me to read these stories. We both know these happen every day all over the world, people live and die without anyone else caring, seemingly.

Thankfully we are not all so alone in our lives. Existentially, yes, it doesn’t matter if I have 200 or 2000 Gaia friends or 50 or 500 other friends, I will still always be alone in my life.

But always with God. That is the key. We are all always alone with God, and if we only knew it then we wouldn’t have to fall to meth or kill ourselves or do all of this other shit.

And we are always much better friended by human beings than we can know or understand when depression hits and throws our judgment off kilter.

Again, thank God, that you and I, who are healthy, know how surrounded we are by a cloud of friends, like hosts of angels, cheering us on, loving us, supporting us, guiding us and being there for us.

I am concerned bout my imzadi because he is so alone with his pain. I hope he doesn’t do something foolish. But I am entrusting him daily to God. I am praying daily that he can forgive himself and allow himself to live his life joyfully and freely as he has never done till now, though he thought he was so fine before he met me and before he started writing and discovering his amazing gift. I am honouring and respecting his autonomy and his decision to distance from me, though we both lose by it, it is the loss according to his free will choice.

Light and peace to you, my friend.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 2 hours later

Marmalade said

I just experienced the suffering of part of my post disappearing.  Apparently, if I hit the backup button too many times, it deletes whatever I had written.  Good to know.  I swear I have more issues with Gaia doing weird things that never happen on other sites I visit.  Anyways….

I pray that your imazdi is doing well.  Maybe he needs to be alone for the time being, but hopefully he won’t get stuck in self-imposed isolation.  Solitude can be a very powerful path to God.  Solitude can give much needed space in which a suffering heart can heal.  It may be a loss in some regards, but it also can potentially be a clearing away, a cleansing.  I hope the best for the both of you.

BTW I was writing my blog post with my own experiences in mind.  Like you said, I do have a strong sense of the power and importance of my relationships.  I don’t know where I’d be without the support of family and friends.  Nevertheless, I know of long-term suffering… severe depression in my case.  I know what it feels like to be isolated in suffering, to be lost and alone in problems too big to deal with or even understand.  I know what it feels like when it seems no one is able or willing to help… that nothing can be done but wait it out… just hoping the clouds will disperse and the sun will shine again.  I’ve had lots of support, but for the most part dealing with my depression is something I had to figure out on my own.  Psychotherapists and psychiatrists weren’t of much help.

Maybe God supported me in my suffering.  But what I am certain of is that I found God in my suffering.  Some people might think that suffering is an odd place to find God, but I’m sure you understand what I mean.

I’m responding to your comments in reverse, and so let me say something about A Scanner Darkly. 

To understand the deeper meaning of that movie, its valuable to know about Philip K. Dick’s life… as the book it was based on was one of the more autobiographical of his books.  Philip K. Dick had a house like that with friends like that.  The scene where he is walking up to the house and speaking about how a family should live there and also the ‘memory’ he has of the wife and daughters… all of that was his life.  He was married(several times) and he did have two daughters.  He tried to live that perfect life of family, but he left that life and fell into a very dark period of struggle.

But, ya know what, he had some of his deepest spiritual experiences during that dark time.  He wasn’t just a fiction writer.  He studied Christianity and Gnosticism.  The darkness and confusion are inspired by his personal Gnostic vision of life.  The questions of identity are part of this.  Its not just Donna that betrays him.  He betrays himself.  We all do this all of the time.  We’re all double agents posing as narcs.  We all grasp at the ‘memories’ of who we are and who we were.  We look for our true selves, but we’re not sure what we’re looking for or even if it exists.

“Whatever it is that’s watching, it’s not human. Unlike little dark-eyed Donna, it doesn’t ever blink […] What does a scanner see? Into the head? Down into the heart? Does it see into me? Into us? Clearly or darkly? I hope it sees clearly because I can’t any longer see into myself.”

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 23 hours later

Nicole said

Ok, I will respond from the top, because there is a lot of really important stuff.

One thing I have learnt from painful experience here on Gaia is to be very, very careful of clicking back and having stuff disappear, also that when you type everything in perfectly, about one out of four or five times the gaia monster will give you that horrible error message and your whole comment is gone. so before I click Add comment I try to remember to copy it to the clipboard even if it is only a sentence or two, cause otherwise I so often end up rewriting that same sentence, sometimes two or three times. Grrr. Yeah, the software here is buggier than elsewhere. Don’t know why.

Imzadi. No, in this case the solitude is not helping him. He finally came out of his shell briefly yesterday to write a brief apologetic note to me explaining that he doesnt yet know how to say goodbye to me properly, but when he does, if I still want to hear from him, he will write.

You see what I mean. If? He should know my love for him is eternal. So I responded reassuring him that i have no bitterness or anger against him, that I love him and just want whatever he wants, will comply with his wish. And that he doesn’t have to write anything because I already understand him. I guess I understand him better than he understands himself because if he understood himself, he would have been able to say goodbye properly by now. So he is really confused and hurting, and lacks the perspective of insightful friends who have been down this road and can help show him the way.

I didn’t know you suffered from severe depression and that psychotherapy hasn’t helped. I am so sorry, Ben. Having suffered from moderate depression all last year and mild depression on and off in previous year, I empathise and at the same time know I can’t know how bad it is for you to suffer severely. I am glad you have the support of friends and family and that you are figuring out on your own how to move forward. I admire you even more, knowing this.

I agree, one of the places we find God the most is in our suffering. If we lose God through suffering, we haven’t gone deep enough into it. At the very bottom of the pit, God is waiting for us.

I didn’t know that background about Philip K. Dick. Is he the one who also wrote the story that the Last Mimsy was based on? Anyway, that really helps me to understand it better, thanks. That is really sad.

I hear what you are saying about the self betrayal. I see this all around me, and it’s one of the reasons I work so hard at trying to encourage people and walk alongside them, is because I know who I am and where I am going, and it hurts to see people who are lost and confused. I want to help. It is my mission from God, as a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. God has given me so much grace, truth, light, joy and peace, now I have a responsibility to testify to that, with my life. I still have areas of struggle but I know my purpose. People often ask me advice because they see I’m so clear but one thing I learned from my ex mentor is that only you can know your path. I cannot help people by telling them their path but rather by helping them find their inner compass.

Love, light and joy to you, dearest brother. I can’t believe how close we have become in this short time.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

Whatever he needs, I hope your imzadi comes to understand it.  It does seem that he could use some clarity right now.

——–

Philip K. Dick is one of my favorite writers.  A bunch of movies have been made based on his fiction, but the Last Mimsy wasn’t one of them  Bladerunner was the first film done and he viewed some of it before he died.  Another famous film of his work is Total Recall, but Schwartzeneger doesn’t make a very good Philip K. Dick character.

I have something to add to the idea of self betrayal.  Keanu Reeves character is conflicted internally which is very sad.  But confusion in one regard allows a different kind of clarity.  Of all the characters, the main character has the deepest insight and he is the only one who questions his situation, his identity.  The other characters are simply lost in the roles they’re playing. 

Its his split personality that creates his wide perspective.  He glimpses the life of his past, he knows the experience of addiction, he stands outside of himself watching himself through the scanner, and finally its he who enters the drug rehab corporation.  Its he alone who in losing his sense of self entirely in the drug discovers the source of the drug.  Its he who enters the darkest of despairs and who will return with the blue flower.

On the level of it being a story about drug addiction, its simply dark and convoluted with some psychological insight.  But on a deeper level, its a spiritual odyssey that can’t be analyzed rationally.  Philip K. Dick was hinting at a vision of reality that is almost impossible to portray.  The blue flower is a symbol.  He has gone to the mountains, to the source.  Intimations of the Gnostic demiurge can be seen in all of this, but at the same time there is something truly spiritual.  The blue flower was his god, but now he sees it in new light.  The corporation is like conventional religion offering the healing to the sickness that it creates, salvation to the sinful vision that it imposes. 

The addiction is a metaphor.  Philip K. Dick new addiction personally, but his sense of the spiritual was tied up with his struggles.  Addiction is longing misdirected, but longing nonetheless.  Its often those who feel longing the most strongly who are hurt the most intensely.

The main character needed to forget who he was, he needed to become lost and disconnected from the world.  His drug addiction was just a problem from the perspective of society, but it was an essential component of what drove him.  Most people who become lost never find their way again, and they could use someone to guide them out of their personal hells.  Even so, there are those who discover something in the darkness that those in the light would never know about.  This is the hero that, if successful, brings something back to the community on his return.

The world needs both those who hold onto the light and those who enter the darkness.  Those in the light obviously can help those in the dark, but what is less obvious is that those in the dark have something to offer also.  Related to this is the relationship in What Dreams May Come(which is also similar to the relationship in The Fountain).  In What Dreams May Come, the wife’s being lost in her hell is what saves her husband.  She had something to teach him through suffering and despair.  It may have seemed like a weakness, but there was an honesty in her approach.  She refused to pretend that something horrible hadn’t happened.

In A Scanner Darkly, when the drug rehab orderly calls Bob Arctor a loser, Donna responded with this:
“Its easy to win.  Everybody can win.”

In What Dreams May Come, Annie the wife says to Chris the husband,
“Sometimes, when you lose, you win.”

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

Yes, clarity. So hopes he, and I and everyone who knows what he is living.

Ah, I see I confused Philip K. Dick with the writer of the Last Mimsy. Thanks for correcting me. Bladerunner was excellent, one of the best sci fi dystopias. I’m glad he viewed some of it before he died.  True, Schwartzeneger doesn’t make a very good Philip K. Dick character. LOL!

Self betrayal – Of all the characters, the main character has the deepest insight and he is the only one who questions his situation, his identity.  The other characters are simply lost in the roles they’re playing. 

Yes – that is what makes it a tragedy. It is always that way from classical Greek plays like Oedipus Rex. The one with the most insight suffers the most, sees the most and is still powerless to stop the tragedy.

 Its he who enters the darkest of despairs and who will return with the blue flower.

This is the one element of the movie that stops it from being a perfect tragedy, and shines a pure ray of hope. I was grateful but still heartbroken.

On the level of it being a story about drug addiction, its simply dark and convoluted with some psychological insight.  But on a deeper level, its a spiritual odyssey that can’t be analyzed rationally.  Philip K. Dick was hinting at a vision of reality that is almost impossible to portray.  The blue flower is a symbol.  He has gone to the mountains, to the source.  Intimations of the Gnostic demiurge can be seen in all of this, but at the same time there is something truly spiritual.  The blue flower was his god, but now he sees it in new light.  The corporation is like conventional religion offering the healing to the sickness that it creates, salvation to the sinful vision that it imposes. 

The blue flower offers hope because it is the concrete proof of the evil being done. It is the tiny object that can break a mountain. But we still have no idea if it will accomplish its purpose. The chances it could do so are extremely small at that point.

The addiction is a metaphor.  Philip K. Dick knew addiction personally, but his sense of the spiritual was tied up with his struggles.  Addiction is longing misdirected, but longing nonetheless.  Its often those who feel longing the most strongly who are hurt the most intensely.

They are the sensitive… my imzadi had an excellent blog related to that topic but alas it vanished when he deleted his profile here. in brief, he explained that we should not be so hard on the gurus who fall from grace. because of their openness and sensitivity to spiritual reality, they are the most vulnerable to addiction.

The main character needed to forget who he was, he needed to become lost and disconnected from the world.  His drug addiction was just a problem from the perspective of society, but it was an essential component of what drove him.  Most people who become lost never find their way again, and they could use someone to guide them out of their personal hells.  Even so, there are those who discover something in the darkness that those in the light would never know about.  This is the hero that, if successful, brings something back to the community on his return.

In mythic terms, going to the underworld and bringing back the key to salvation. Jesus emerging from hell and breaking its bonds, freeing its captives. Promotheus coming down with the fire.

The world needs both those who hold onto the light and those who enter the darkness.  Those in the light obviously can help those in the dark, but what is less obvious is that those in the dark have something to offer also.  Related to this is the relationship in What Dreams May Come(which is also similar to the relationship in The Fountain).  In What Dreams May Come, the wife’s being lost in her hell is what saves her husband.  She had something to teach him through suffering and despair.  It may have seemed like a weakness, but there was an honesty in her approach.  She refused to pretend that something horrible hadn’t happened.

That often happens in families. One suffers from mental illness and tries to truth tell while everyone else is trapped in denial and silence.

In A Scanner Darkly, when the drug rehab orderly calls Bob Arctor a loser, Donna responded with this:
“Its easy to win.  Everybody can win.”

Winning came easily to Donna, so she despised it. So the losers, this despite only causes greater despair because nothing they do seems to bring victory.

“Sometimes, when you lose, you win.”

Sometimes. Sometimes, when you lose, you lose. Sometimes when you win you lose, and so on. All permutations are possible.

Light, peace and joy be yours, my brother.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

2 days later

Marmalade said

“Sometimes, when you lose, you win.”

Sometimes. Sometimes, when you lose, you lose. Sometimes when you win you lose, and so on. All permutations are possible.

So true.  When one enters the darkness, one doesn’t know what one will find there or if one will ever return to the light.  In real life, we don’t know if we’re in a tragedy or a comedy.  Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fictiion  becomes conscious of this dilemma as he gets to meet the author of his story.

Light and hope be yours… and your imzadi’s… and everyone’s.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

Oh Ben, I really thank you, as an unexpected turn has led to a complete dead end (see my blog). i appreciate you so much.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

You’re welcome, my dear Nicole.  The appreciation is mutual.  And, indeed, life is full of unexpected turns.

There is something about A Scanner Darkly that feels deeply hopeful, but its hard to put my finger on.  Its not rational.  Bob Arctor doesn’t have much reason to be hopeful.  His life, his mind will never be the same.

The blue flower is death incarnate, but the ending scene implies something akin to hope.  “I saw… I saw death rising from the earth from the ground itself in one blue field.”  I’m not sure what that exactly means, but immediately after this he picks a single flower and gazing up on it says, “A present for my friends at Thanksgiving.”  Its such an odd scene.  A gift… what exactly is the gift, what does it mean?

Prior to that scene, Donna says this to Bob as she drives him to the rehab center:
“And someday, a long time from now, you’ll see the way you saw before.  There’ll be a recognition and some spark in a disguised form will reveal itself to you and guide you.”

Its Donna that betrays him, but what she says here comes true.  Even though he may not have had good reasons to put his faith in her, she has good reason to put her faith in him.  And, yet, its still not clear who is the bad guy as the betrayal is so deep and complex.  Donna wants to do the right thing, but she guiltily questions what she did to Bob in trying to achieve some greater good.

In response, the guy with her at the end says this to her(and you can here PKD speaking through his character here):
“I mean, I believe God’s m.o. is to transmute evil into good and if he’s active here, he’s doing that now although our eyes can’t perceive it.  The whole process is hidden beneath the surface of our reality… will only be revealed later.”

This quote says something about my sense of this movie.  On the surface, its very dark and despairing.  Below the surface, there is something more.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

4 days later

Nicole said

unexpected turns – what wasn’t unexpected was that he would end it completed. what was unexpected was that he would do it like that – and then turn around and get angry at me for taking it personally. under the category, people are so complex, dear binyamin dovid (forgive my whimsy 🙂 )

i am intrigued that while i find A Scanner Darkly deeply depressing and discouraging you find something deeply hopeful.  “I saw… I saw death rising from the earth from the ground itself in one blue field.”  Isn’t he just talking about the significance of a field of blue flowers?

“A present for my friends at Thanksgiving.”  The tiny remnant of his mind recognises that getting this flower “out there” would have the potential to expose the massive deception and hopefully bring the ongoing enslavement to an end.

“And someday, a long time from now, you’ll see the way you saw before.  There’ll be a recognition and some spark in a disguised form will reveal itself to you and guide you.”

True, this is a harbinger of the revelation and gift of fire to come – a battered Prometheus bringing hope to humanity. So Donna is not relentless evil.

Do the ends justify the means? Had Donna truly wanted to do the right thing, could she not have striven to find a better way than deceiving, torturing and destroying Bob?

“I mean, I believe God’s m.o. is to transmute evil into good and if he’s active here, he’s doing that now although our eyes can’t perceive it.  The whole process is hidden beneath the surface of our reality… will only be revealed later.”

To this I would respond with Paul’s words in the book of Romans “So then what shall we say? Shall we do evil so good may come? Mei genoito!”  (frequent pauline expression, meaning literally, may it certainly never come into being!)

Yes, God constantly brings evil from good. But I set my face against every intrusion of Machiavellian thinking, in any subtle form.

I have only up to know found one friend to discuss things here to the depth that we do, and that one was just discussing with me on one blog. You have incredible intellectual stamina and flexibility. We are a good mutual admiration society. You and my other new friend Sun Warrior (Brock) renew my faith in the ability of men and women to be really good friends without it needing to go anywhere else.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

4 days later

Marmalade said

“(forgive my whimsy 🙂 )”

Whimsy can never be forgiven.  You will have to live the rest of your life with the guilt of knowing the whimsy you have commited against my good name… Knee-coal  🙂

“”I saw… I saw death rising from the earth from the ground itself in one blue field.”  Isn’t he just talking about the significance of a field of blue flowers?”

My simple answer would be no.  He isn’t just talking about the significance of a field of blue flowers.  He is speaking something unspeakable… a vision, he is talking about the significance of a vision of a field of blue flowers.  The glimmer he has isn’t simply of his lost sense of who he had been previously.  The glimmer is also of something more profound… below the surface…   The flower being the source of the drug is the surface meaning.  What draws him to the flower isn’t this, but rather the awe-inspiring beauty of the vision.  Yes, its death but more importantly its death rising.

“Do the ends justify the means?”

No, they don’t.  But that is just one aspect.  Philip K. Dick can often imply multiple shades of meaning in his character dialogue.  Near the end of the story, the characters aren’t really speaking for themselves any more, but acting as mouthpieces… for PKD and maybe for the divine breaking through from below the surface.

Donna betrays Bob, but she is also a victim.  She is a pawn of those above her.  She is acting on limited info and she is an addict just like Bob.  In some ways, Bob seems to handle his addiction better than she.

Part of the hope I feel comes from the perspective that PKD expresses.  PKD understands human weakness and suffering.  I can feel how much he loves and has compassion for his characters even the ones that seem to be falling into Machiavelian rationalization.  PKD wants to believe that nobody is ever lost, not entirely.

“You and my other new friend Sun Warrior (Brock) renew my faith in the ability of men and women to be really good friends without it needing to go anywhere else.”

I tend to communicate well with women.  I can talk for hours with my mom, but not so with my dad.  I can talk for hours with my sister-in-law, but not so with my brother.  Whenever the family gets together, I’m always hanging out with the women folk.  And, online, I tend to connect best with women… or at least those claiming to be women.  🙂 My closest friends tend to be men, but my male friends aren’t the average.  I don’t watch football or fix cars with my friends.  Its not unusual for my friends and I talk about feelings and relationships and spirituality. 

Some of this might be explained by my being a Feeling type and something like 70% of Feeling types are women.  Then again, even on an online forum filled with male Feeling types, I still end up talking the most with the women.  You somewhat remind me of some INFJs I’ve known but with a little more Extraversion. 

Nicole : wakingdreamer

5 days later

Nicole said

i’m sorry i’m sorry LOL! actually i am totally unrepentant… anyway! you certainly got me back good! won’t do that again lol (shuddering at desecration of beautiful nicole name)

Hmm i guess i did not convey adequately what i meant… the true meaning of the field is the vision, the deep reality of which you speak, death rising… my answer sounded superficial, sorry.

Ok, you have such a deep knowledge of  Philip K. Dick. Multiple shades of meaning in his character dialogue…   mouthpieces… for PKD and maybe for the divine breaking through from below the surface…

Donna seems so powerful i forgot she is a pawn of those above her, acting on limited info,  and an addict…  you know, that last wasn’t clear, i thought she was just pretending to be an addict. was she really? and in what sense did Bob handle his addiction better than she? I am really intrigued now.

I agree PKD understands human weakness and suffering, and you’re right, he seems to love and have  compassion for his characters even the ones that seem to be falling into Machiavelian rationalization.  And you understand him so well, that PKD probably does want to believe that nobody is ever lost, not entirely, though those housemates of Bob’s are really really sad, especially that really marginal guy…

It’s cool that you can talk for hours with your mom, sister, and women in general and those claiming to be women.  :LOL!

It makes sense, too that your closest friends tend to be men who can often talk about feelings and relationships and spirituality.  That is awesome.

Perhaps it’s partly because of being a Feeling type, but then interesting that on an online forum filled with male Feeling types, you still end up talking the most with the women… i think it could be that you are drawn to our energy because you are a man.

cause I am drawn to male energy and tend to keep trying to forge very close friendships with men, in spite of how disastrous or very problematic it has been in a few cases – I try to learn from  my mistakes and at least in one case was able to negotiate a true, stable, deep friendship from a convoluted situation, so I feel it is well worth the times it didn’t work out, even as spectacular as this week’s crisis.

I also have quite a few really close women friends, and of course it is much easier to develop those bonds by long phone calls or by going out to lunch together regularly, etc. Men are harder to get close to – if married, need to be kept at healthy distance, if single, usually still very difficult for very different reasons depending on the person.

Interesting that I somewhat remind you of some INFJs but with a little more Extraversion. i have always in the past tested as ISTJ, typical for a teacher and church board type lol. I know that I am more and more E as time goes by so by now may have tipped wholly into ESTJ, as i was on the border lasr time i checked. it isn’t likely that i would now test as ENFP right? that was my ex husband’s type.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

5 days later

Marmalade said

“Ok, you have such a deep knowledge of  Philip K. Dick.”

I’m fascinated by him.  He was a very prolific writer, and there is much info available about his life including letters and an extensive journal.  I’ve read several biographies about him.  I like him partly because he had a lot of knowledge about non-fiction subjects for a fiction writer.  He spent the last 10 yrs of his life obsessed with contemplating and philosophizing about his mystical experiences.  He also mixed his personal life into his fiction… how very postmodern of him.  🙂

“i thought she was just pretending to be an addict. was she really?”

As far as I know.  Its possible she is just pretending, but the way she was behaving in certain scenes was convincing to me.  What made you think she was pretending?

“and in what sense did Bob handle his addiction better than she?”

Good question.  I didn’t have any grand idea in mind.  I guess what I meant was that Donna at times seemed more desperate than him.  Bob, on the other hand, always held onto a strong core sense of self despite the divisions of his personality.

“I agree PKD understands human weakness and suffering, and you’re right, he seems to love and have  compassion for his characters even the ones that seem to be falling into Machiavelian rationalization.”

This is particularly true for Donna.  Bob Arctor is essentially PKD and Donna is inspired by a girl he was very fond of.  The book this movie is based on is his most personally biographical.  All of the characters are based on people he knew.

“i think it could be that you are drawn to our energy because you are a man.”

I don’t doubt there could be an element of that.  It wouldn’t be surprising.  But that isn’t it entirely. 

Like I mentioned, when all of the family gets together, I’m the only guy who is hanging out with the women.  When my brothers are around, they’ll be hanging out with my dad and I’ll be hanging around with my mom.  This is partly because I’m the youngest and thus a momma’s boy.  However, its the same with my sister-in-law.  I always end up being the one to hang out with here as my brother(her husband) hangs out with whomever else is also around.  My mom and my sister-in-law both like talking about relationships and that type of thing, and I’m the only guy in the family who will also talk about these things.  My brothers and my dad aren’t macho men, but they are more traditionally masculine than I am.

“Men are harder to get close to – if married, need to be kept at healthy distance, if single, usually still very difficult for very different reasons depending on the person.”

Yep.  Most of the women I know more personally tend to be family.  But I am fairly close to an one ex-girlfriend who is married and with a kid.  Her husband and I are very different, but we get along.  I’ve stayed friends with her mainly because she has stayed in contact with me, and it helps that there she lives far away.  Mostly, we just talk every couple of months.

“i have always in the past tested as ISTJ, typical for a teacher and church board type lol.”

My mom is ISTJ and she was a teacher.  But she is somewhat different.  She’d be less likely to talk about what we’ve been talking about here.  She would have no interest in PKD whatsoever.  She is into Hallmark movies.

I guess I could see you as an ISTJ, but its hrd to get the sense of a person’s full personality simply by seeing their words on a screen.  If you’re an ISTJ, you seem to have you Intuition function fairly well developed.

One of the reasons you remind me of INFJs I’ve known is that they’re very socially aware and respectful.  You’re always making nice comments and that can be how Extraverted Feeling manifests.  ISTJs can be more blunt than INFJs, and you’re not blunt.  You’re very much a mediator and I don’t think of ISTJs as mediators… not in a direct way.  ISTJs do value relationships a lot, but they tend to limit their affections to a few people they’re close to.

In some ways, an ISTJ can be more genuinely friendly than an INFJ.  INFJs value people, but don’t like to feel imposed upon.  INFJs dislike social expectations, and ISTJs will positively respond to expectations.  An ISTJ wants expectations of them to be clear.

Well, you can be any type you want to be.  Personality is possibly my favorite subject.  If you want a reall long discussion, just get me started about typology.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

6 days later

Nicole said

“I’m fascinated by him… I like him partly because he had a lot of knowledge about non-fiction subjects for a fiction writer.  He spent the last 10 yrs of his life obsessed with contemplating and philosophizing about his mystical experiences.  He also mixed his personal life into his fiction… how very postmodern of him.  :)”

Yes, and knowing you as I am beginning to do, I can see how all of the above are so very enticing to you.

“Its possible she is just pretending, but the way she was behaving in certain scenes was convincing to me.  What made you think she was pretending?”

Her role as revealed at the end and her relatively (apparent) mental stability do not seem to me to support her being an addict. She would have to be very convincing, so Bob wouldn’t suspect, so her behaviour in those scenes doesn’t provide me with support for her being truly addicted. What do you think? You know the book/movie better.

“I guess what I meant was that Donna at times seemed more desperate than him.”

As you can see above, I am not sure this is all real, or necessarily indicative of her not having a sense of herself. She certainly was conflicted and probably experienced some heavy guilt because of her betrayals.

“Bob Arctor is essentially PKD and Donna is inspired by a girl he was very fond of.  The book this movie is based on is his most personally biographical.  All of the characters are based on people he knew.”

This explains a lot in terms of how compassionate he is toward Donna. I can empathise. If you truly love someone, you can forgive a lot of betrayal and behaviours that others are much less tolerant of. I’ve really seen this with the way that I am much more gentle in my mind and heart toward “x” than nearly all my friends, who are horrified at his apparent betrayal of me because of writing that story.

“I don’t doubt there could be an element of that… When my brothers are around, they’ll be hanging out with my dad and I’ll be hanging around with my mom.  This is partly because I’m the youngest and thus a momma’s boy.  However, its the same with my sister-in-law.  I always end up being the one to hang out with here as my brother(her husband) hangs out with whomever else is also around.  My mom and my sister-in-law both like talking about relationships and that type of thing, and I’m the only guy in the family who will also talk about these things.  My brothers and my dad aren’t macho men, but they are more traditionally masculine than I am.”

I think you’ve put your finger on the essential dividing line for most of us. Talking about relationships and that type of thing 🙂 rather than how ’bout that football game, or that Hillary, or did you hear how my boss screwed with me in that project I had?

I know few men who are interested in talking at length about relationships and stuff, intrinsically, so my M.O., (though I don’t do it consciously, I just realise this upon reflection) is to cultivate the friendship of men I find intellectually interesting by drawing them out on topics they love that also interest me – their work, ideas and books we both find fascinating, etc – and gradually lure them into my world by sharing with them my thoughts and ideas about relationships and community. It has to stay mutual, and as long as it does, we both grow from the interactions and find them enjoyable and life-giving.

At the same time, I always have many women friends with whom I can just comfortably talk about all these wonderful topics we love so much like love and power struggles in relationships and so on.

So, whenever I find a guy who is just right there with it all, like you, it has the effect of being comfortable right away, and at the same time I can enjoy the intellectual and energic stimulation of the male approach to life. Very, very cool!

“Most of the women I know more personally tend to be family.  But I am fairly close to an one ex-girlfriend who is married and with a kid…  Mostly, we just talk every couple of months.”

Like me and the guy I dated just before getting to know the one who was to be my husband and now ex. This ex-boyfriend and I are still friends, still talk on the phone and email and occasionally get together after knowing each other for 25 years.

“My mom is ISTJ and she was a teacher.  But she is somewhat different…. She is into Hallmark movies… If you’re an ISTJ, you seem to have you Intuition function fairly well developed. One of the reasons you remind me of INFJs I’ve known is that they’re very socially aware and respectful.  You’re always making nice comments and that can be how Extraverted Feeling manifests.  ISTJs can be more blunt than INFJs, and you’re not blunt.  You’re very much a mediator and I don’t think of ISTJs as mediators… not in a direct way.  ISTJs do value relationships a lot, but they tend to limit their affections to a few people they’re close to. In some ways, an ISTJ can be more genuinely friendly than an INFJ.  INFJs value people, but don’t like to feel imposed upon.  INFJs dislike social expectations, and ISTJs will positively respond to expectations.  An ISTJ wants expectations of them to be clear. Well, you can be any type you want to be.  Personality is possibly my favorite subject.  If you want a reall long discussion, just get me started about typology.”

Ok, what you say is very interesting. I now see that I used to be exactly and only an ISTJ, when I first did the testing as a young married woman in my twenties, and was a fundamentalist Christian. I was very much as you describe, except for the Hallmark movies lol. I always had that intellectual curiosity but it was strictly in abeyance and duty came first always. I had a tiny group of very very close friends.

I have changed a tremendous lot over the past twenty years. Now I have learned to temper my natural tendency to be a loner with an ability and facility for bonding strongly and closely with a large number of people, and know how to keep friendships alive by staying in touch with my friends and showing I care in concrete ways. I don’t mind being “imposed” on most of the time, and if I do, I work on that, seeing it as a shadow issue to be resolved rather than a problem of the person who is “imposing”. I have learned to temper my tendency to be extremely blunt (because of my quick, incisive mind and tendency to cut mentally through the bullshit and smoke and mirrors people put out) with an ability to be genuinely compassionate and respectful of others, understanding that there but for the grace of God go I, and using conflict situations that arise from my knee jerk bluntness at times further to hone my mediation skills and deepen my ability to love unconditionally.

What changed me so radically? First, my very unhappy marriage made me look at the world and others with more compassion. My mission as a Christian to love unconditionally everyone was constantly being sabotaged by some natural tendencies I had as an ISTJ so I constantly challenged myself to learn and grow, and being a mother of three, running a learning centre now of nearly 250 and thus having to do with so many different types of people and families, running a church board and so having constantly to apologise, mediate and problem solve with people, my in-love experiences and friendships, and the association work I have been doing for 10 years – all these have had a profound effect on who and what I am, how I think, how I approach life and so on.

So I don’t know what type I am anymore. Maybe I have become a lot more NF than SJ.

Thanks, this is not only fascinating but it’s also helping me a lot to clear up confusions I didn’t even know I had 🙂

Marmalade : Gaia Child

7 days later

Marmalade said

Nicole,
“Her role as revealed at the end and her relatively (apparent) mental stability do not seem to me to support her being an addict. She would have to be very convincing, so Bob wouldn’t suspect, so her behaviour in those scenes doesn’t provide me with support for her being truly addicted.”

Your perspective is an interesting way to look at it.  It is a possibility.  Donna is deceiving Bob, but its uncertain how far that deception goes.  She is entirely deceiving him though.  She does seem to genuinely care about him on some level.  Its aspects of the story such as this that make it interesting.  Reality isn’t clear to the characters and neither is it to us the viewers.

The scene where Donna tells Bob not to touch her could make more sense considering your view.  She gives an unconvincing answer about it being the drugs, but Bob does believe her.  She is afraid of being close and also intentionally keeping him at a distance because of her betrayal.  Her saying that she doesn’t want to be touched because of the drugs seems false and so it could mean that her drug addiction itself is nothing but an act.  We never see her do drugs.

I mentioned PKD being Bob.  This relates to the idea of self-betrayal and the authorities.  Bob narcs on himself, and PKD did something similar.  He was a paranoid guy and he wrote numerous letters to the FBI requesting the file that he was sure they were keeping on him.  When he finally got his file, the only thing in it were his own letters to the FBI.  🙂  In his letters, he had essentially narced on himself and his friends by giving the FBI information.

PKD had a special place in his heart for marginal characters.  Donna is one example, but the other is Barris.  The conspiracy about Bob and Donna that Barris perceives/invents turns out to be true.  They are conspiring together unknown to Bob himself as he is listening with his Fred persona.  In fact, they’re conspiring together as they listen to him.  The conspiracy isn’t against the government but rather it is the government.  Barris is the one person who came closest to giving Bob insight into what was really going on.

“all these have had a profound effect on who and what I am, how I think, how I approach life and so on.”

It is interesting how much experience can influence us… even override natural tendencies.

“So I don’t know what type I am anymore. Maybe I have become a lot more NF than SJ.”

Most typologists don’t believe that people change their types.  Instead, people develop their other function-attitudes.  According to Beebe’s model, the tertiary(Introverted Feeling for an ISTJ) is the next to develop after the dominant and auxiliary.  There is a child-like quality to the tertiary.  The inferior(Extraverted Intuition for an ISTJ) is what one aspires toward and one can become proficient in it later in life, but it can only be used limitedly because it takes effort.

Helping you clear up confusions?  Don’t worry.  There is never a lack of confusions in life.  🙂

Nicole : wakingdreamer

8 days later

Nicole said

yeah, i was thinking about that scene. as a woman, i really didn’t buy it that it was about the drugs, it was about a profound unwillingness to be intimate with him that i didn’t understand until later. the levels of internal conflictedness around the betrayal etc would definitely lead to a breakdown in the ability to be physically intimate.

and right, i really noticed that we never saw her do the drugs. everyone else was shown consuming them – except her. i found that telling.

your point about reality is a good one. from the beginning i found myself very confused about the reality of what was going on and even now after all our discussions i am only slowly and hesitantly piecing it together. as we are discussing with Dom, we ourselves only have a shaky grip on reality which tends to be challenged constantly by the media, as well as (though i didn’t mention it there) our experiences and perceptions.

and speaking of experiences, yes, i am aware of the fact that it is not supposed to be possible to change one’s type. ok, i have developed my other function-attitudes then 🙂 but to a really significant extent… it is one of the things about me that people find very difficult, i think, that i really change a lot, quickly. i think people can interpret it as a basic instability of my character or something, rather than a positive.

but i believe that it is profoundly unsettling to them because they find it too challenging to the way that they feel unable to change things about themselves they really dislike, so instead project all kinds of stuff on me and safely distance. much easier that way, eh?

oh, hey, i embrace confusions, every day i dig up a whole new nest of worms of them lol.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

8 days later

Marmalade said

Nicole – I was thinking that we were getting a bit off-topic, but looking back at my blog post it seems to fit in.  The ability to change is an interesting topic.  It relates to personality tendencies, to social support and encouragement, to psychological issues(such as addiction for instance), to philosophical questions of freewill and fate, and to spiritual challenges of acceptance and faith.

“and speaking of experiences, yes, i am aware of the fact that it is not supposed to be possible to change one’s type. ok, i have developed my other function-attitudes then 🙂 but to a really significant extent…”
 
BTW I do think that typological change is theoretically possible, but probably unlikely.  For change to occur so thoroughly, I would suspect that some kind of trauma would need to occur(whether neurological or psychological).  Although maybe a major spiritual transformation(such as might be induced by a kundalini experience) could alter personality.  It would be interesting to know someone before and after they had a major personality change.

“it is one of the things about me that people find very difficult, i think, that i really change a lot, quickly. i think people can interpret it as a basic instability of my character or something, rather than a positive.”

“Interesting, very very interesting,” says Ben while thoughtfully tapping his fingers together.  hee hee

I don’t think of ISTJs as having changing natures.  Rather, I think of them as being stable as a rock, identifying with their roles and limiting themselves to a few roles that they can entirely invest themselves in.  I’d think that having a changing nature would be most prevalent amongst EXNPs(types with dominant Extraverted Intuition). 

However, Ne is the aspirational of the ISTJ and so maybe that explains why you’ve aspired towards the ability to change.  It feels positive to you because its what you aspire to, maybe even what you idealize. 

Still, your use of Ne seems to be in the manner of an ISTJ.  I get the sense that you feel that your ability to change is motivated by a sense of responsibility, and responsibility is very much an ISTJ theme.  Ne is serving your dominant functions.  A dominant Ne type would value the ability to change for its own sake and probably would dislike a sense of responsibility being placed upon them.  It would feel constraining.  A dominant Ne type would value freedom over responsibility… and, depending on how well developed they were, maybe even freedom in defiance of the seeming expectations of responsibility.  To them, as Extraverted Perceiving types, the value of freedom isn’t in what it results.

You might find this interesting… the use of Ne by ISTJs from the book Understanding Yourself and Others by Berens and Nardi:
“Early in life, they may be prone to stick with literal interpretations, rather than inferences and looser interpretations and tend not to see any possibility of situations changing from the way they are.  Over time, they wil give more credibiity to those ‘strange knowings’ they had previously tuned out and will be more open to moments of synchronicity or convergence.  They become more patient with brainstorming and learn to trust what emerges rather than having it all figured out in advance.  Later in life, they may become more spontaneous as they follow possibilities to see where they might lead and explore multiple meanings.  They can become too engaged in this process, making impulsive decisions based on inferences alone.”
———

“but i believe that it is profoundly unsettling to them because they find it too challenging to the way that they feel unable to change things about themselves they really dislike, so instead project all kinds of stuff on me and safely distance. much easier that way, eh?”

Well, yeah, projections are as common as house flies… and just as irksome.  Life is challenging indeed… especially when you factor in other people.  My cats project onto me, but their projections of me being lord and master happen to be entirely true.  🙂

To be serious for a moment, what you’re getting at is pivotal.  Its not just about willingness or unwillingness to change, the ability or inability to change.  Its also about expectations… people expecting others to change or not to change.  Sometimes people even try to change others or resist what they feel others are expecting of them. 

Projections confuse the whole situation for the reason that projections are unconscious, and some projections can be supported by collective attitudes.  We all have projections.  You feel that others are projecting onto you their desire for unchanging stability which you perceive as implying a fear of change.  On the other hand, those same people may feel that you are projecting onto them your desire for change. 

We are only free to choose to change or not to the extent we see clearly, and that is the rub.  Expectation is one aspect of projections and perception is another aspect.  This relates to the idea of ‘reality tunnels’.  Personality type is an example of this.  Type is not simpy a way of being and acting but its also a way of perceiving reality.  The vaue of learning about type is that we learn that others don’t see the same way, and that some differences are just differences.  Nonetheless, no matter how much we learn about personality(our own and that of others), our view will always make the most sense to us.  We’ll never fully understand another type.  Even within the same type, the divergences can be immense.

So, let me relate all of this back to the blog.  There is the most fundamental question: why do people like this feel unable or unwilling to change?  I don’t know the answer to that question.  People are largely mysteries even to themselves.  The second question puts the first question into context: why is society so limited in helping, supporting, and inspiring such people to change?  I’m sure they felt the expectations from society to change, but how do we go beyond expectations(that often are mired in projections)? 

I don’t think its a matter of people preferring their problems over change.  It seems to me that they probably wanted to change and probably had sought various avenues of change, but for some reason failed or otherwise came up short… or they did manage to change for a time but fell back into old habits.  Why?  Did they not try hard enough?  Did they lack the vision to see the genuine possibility of change?

Just pondering….

Nicole : wakingdreamer

9 days later

Nicole said

Hi Ben,

“I was thinking that we were getting a bit off-topic, but looking back at my blog post it seems to fit in.  The ability to change is an interesting topic.  It relates to personality tendencies, to social support and encouragement, to psychological issues(such as addiction for instance), to philosophical questions of freewill and fate, and to spiritual challenges of acceptance and faith.”

Yes, it is more and more engrossing to me – in my work with the children at my learning centre, in my work with colleagues and the company through the International Association, with my children, at church, with my friends, and in the way I think about myself – it is becoming the central focus of my life, in a way. Change and moving toward potential.

“BTW I do think that typological change is theoretically possible, but probably unlikely.  For change to occur so thoroughly, I would suspect that some kind of trauma would need to occur(whether neurological or psychological).  Although maybe a major spiritual transformation(such as might be induced by a kundalini experience) could alter personality.  It would be interesting to know someone before and after they had a major personality change.”

Wouldn’t it?

“Interesting, very very interesting,” says Ben while thoughtfully tapping his fingers together.  hee hee”

LOLOL! Ok, I will settle back here on the therapeutic couch. Go ahead!

“I don’t think of ISTJs as having changing natures.  Rather, I think of them as being stable as a rock, identifying with their roles and limiting themselves to a few roles that they can entirely invest themselves in.  I’d think that having a changing nature would be most prevalent amongst EXNPs(types with dominant Extraverted Intuition).”

Yes, that is true to what I know about M-B typology. Thanks for the reminder.

“However, Ne is the aspirational of the ISTJ and so maybe that explains why you’ve aspired towards the ability to change.  It feels positive to you because its what you aspire to, maybe even what you idealize.”

Very much so. Thank you. This is helpful.

“Still, your use of Ne seems to be in the manner of an ISTJ.  I get the sense that you feel that your ability to change is motivated by a sense of responsibility, and responsibility is very much an ISTJ theme.  Ne is serving your dominant functions.  A dominant Ne type would value the ability to change for its own sake and probably would dislike a sense of responsibility being placed upon them.  It would feel constraining.  A dominant Ne type would value freedom over responsibility… and, depending on how well developed they were, maybe even freedom in defiance of the seeming expectations of responsibility.  To them, as Extraverted Perceiving types, the value of freedom isn’t in what it results.”

You’re exactly on the mark. In every respect, my desire to see change and growth toward potential is in terms of my sense of responsibility – to my students and their families and the community at large; to the worldwide Kumon family; to the Church; to my family and friends and myself; and ultimately and always to God.

“You might find this interesting… the use of Ne by ISTJs from the book Understanding Yourself and Others by Berens and Nardi:
“Early in life, they may be prone to stick with literal interpretations, rather than inferences and looser interpretations and tend not to see any possibility of situations changing from the way they are.  Over time, they wil give more credibiity to those ‘strange knowings’ they had previously tuned out and will be more open to moments of synchronicity or convergence.  They become more patient with brainstorming and learn to trust what emerges rather than having it all figured out in advance.  Later in life, they may become more spontaneous as they follow possibilities to see where they might lead and explore multiple meanings.  They can become too engaged in this process, making impulsive decisions based on inferences alone.”

I think this is an excellent description of my life, though I hope that the last sentence is not quite true (though some may argue it is most true of me now as I always speak of following my heart! lol). I would like to think my decisions are not wholly impulsive or wholly based on inferences, as I still use reason and other dynamics as guides as well as inferences.

“Well, yeah, projections are as common as house flies… and just as irksome.  Life is challenging indeed… especially when you factor in other people.  My cats project onto me, but their projections of me being lord and master happen to be entirely true.  :)”

Ha! I don’t believe you really have cats then, those sound like dogs! Our cats know they are the household god and goddess and accept all homage as their rightful due LOL!

“To be serious for a moment, what you’re getting at is pivotal.  Its not just about willingness or unwillingness to change, the ability or inability to change.  Its also about expectations… people expecting others to change or not to change.  Sometimes people even try to change others or resist what they feel others are expecting of them.”

I think people try to change others often, in fact, the closer we are to someone, the more tempted we are to try to change him or her. I try to resist that temptation whenever it arises and instead seek to support my friend or lover in what she or he understands to be emerging.

“Projections confuse the whole situation for the reason that projections are unconscious, and some projections can be supported by collective attitudes.  We all have projections.  You feel that others are projecting onto you their desire for unchanging stability which you perceive as implying a fear of change.  On the other hand, those same people may feel that you are projecting onto them your desire for change.”

Probably!

“We are only free to choose to change or not to the extent we see clearly, and that is the rub.”

Indeed. I am disturbed by how many of my acquaintances have difficulty seeing clearly. It must be so difficult to live like that.

“Expectation is one aspect of projections and perception is another aspect.  This relates to the idea of ‘reality tunnels’.  Personality type is an example of this.  Type is not simpy a way of being and acting but its also a way of perceiving reality.  The vaue of learning about type is that we learn that others don’t see the same way, and that some differences are just differences.  Nonetheless, no matter how much we learn about personality(our own and that of others), our view will always make the most sense to us.  We’ll never fully understand another type.  Even within the same type, the divergences can be immense.”

Yes, yes, yes. This is very, very interesting. I learn so much from you every day, Ben.

“So, let me relate all of this back to the blog.  There is the most fundamental question: why do people like this feel unable or unwilling to change?  I don’t know the answer to that question.  People are largely mysteries even to themselves.  The second question puts the first question into context: why is society so limited in helping, supporting, and inspiring such people to change?  I’m sure they felt the expectations from society to change, but how do we go beyond expectations(that often are mired in projections)?”

Well you put your finger on part of it – people do not see clearly so can’t see what or how to change. But another big part is personal power. Many people I know feel powerless to change their lives, believing that power is in the hands of ______ (spouses, parents, children, friends, neighbours, government, you name it, anyone or anything but themselves).

Without clarity and power, people feel “stuck”, something for the rest of their lives.

“I don’t think its a matter of people preferring their problems over change.  It seems to me that they probably wanted to change and probably had sought various avenues of change, but for some reason failed or otherwise came up short… or they did manage to change for a time but fell back into old habits.  Why?  Did they not try hard enough?  Did they lack the vision to see the genuine possibility of change?”

Trying and failing can be profoundly discouraging, leading to more disempowerment and more fogginess of vision.

“Just pondering….”

You are one of the deepest thinkers I know. I don’t mean this in a condescending way, but very admiringly: you are young and so mature and clear in your thinking. You amaze me.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

9 days later

Marmalade said

Hiya Nicole,

I said:
“Well, yeah, projections are as common as house flies… and just as irksome.  Life is challenging indeed… especially when you factor in other people.  My cats project onto me, but their projections of me being lord and master happen to be entirely true.  :)”

You said:
“Ha! I don’t believe you really have cats then, those sound like dogs! Our cats know they are the household god and goddess and accept all homage as their rightful due LOL!”

Well, I sometimes forget whether I own cats or whether I am a cat.  Life is so very confusing.  Let us assume for the moment that I am actually human… it would explain my ability to type these words.  Possibly, I the human am projecting onto my cats my desire that they project onto me being their lord and master.  However, its quite possible(despite the seeming evidence to the contrary) that I really am a cat… I do like to nap.  So, if I’m a cat, maybe I simply like to play with my human’s mind letting him think he is lord and master… meanwhile, forcing him to type these words for me.

I think I’m having an identity crisis.  Its like, Dude, I am the Scanner Darkly.

“Whatever it is that’s watching, it’s not human. Unlike little dark-eyed Nicole, it doesn’t ever blink […] What does a kitty see? Into the food bowl? Down into the heart of smal furry creatures? Does it see into me? Into us? Sleepily or lazily? I hope it sees sleepily because I need another nap.”

Nicole : wakingdreamer

10 days later

Nicole said

“Well, I sometimes forget whether I own cats or whether I am a cat.  Life is so very confusing.  Let us assume for the moment that I am actually human… it would explain my ability to type these words.  Possibly, I the human am projecting onto my cats my desire that they project onto me being their lord and master.  However, its quite possible(despite the seeming evidence to the contrary) that I really am a cat… I do like to nap.  So, if I’m a cat, maybe I simply like to play with my human’s mind letting him think he is lord and master… meanwhile, forcing him to type these words for me.”

ROTFLOL! Ok, I surrender! I surrender! subsiding weakly on the couch, helplessly giggling.

“I think I’m having an identity crisis.  Its like, Dude, I am the Scanner Darkly.”

Uh-oh! Red alert! Red alert!

“Whatever it is that’s watching, it’s not human. Unlike little dark-eyed Nicole, it doesn’t ever blink […] What does a kitty see? Into the food bowl? Down into the heart of smal furry creatures? Does it see into me? Into us? Sleepily or lazily? I hope it sees sleepily because I need another nap.”

Well, let me tell you about one of my kitties right now. He is resting regally on top of the couch, dreaming lazily as he gazes out the window, then turns to survey his domain, the living room, and one of his human slaves doing something funny with her fingers on that metalic surfaces with all the interesting buttons that is so much fun to walk on, although she tends to squeal and speak sharply the “no” word he hates so much when he does that…

in the background, sounds from the radio of a man blah blah blahing about something or another… there will be music from Mozart, ah there it is…

also in the background, sounds of another human slave showering. she is the short one who chases him and carries him around like a baby… he is content she is in the shower, leaving him in peace for the moment…

then closes his eyes, contemplating the mystery of being… is he a cat dreaming or a human dreaming he is a cat? the eternal question…

Search Engines: biases and problems

I had a recent post disappear from listing on Word Press and shortly after it disappeared almost entirely from search engine results as well.  The post only managed to remain as a shadow in Google results in the form of indirect links and some cached pages of when Word Press had listed it, but it disappeared without a trace in Yahoo results.  The last time I checked it never even showed up at all in other search engines.  This got me wondering how search engines work.  Both Google and Yahoo had originally shown and cached the direct link to the post, and so their web crawlers had already discovered it.  However, when it disappeared from Word Press listing the search engines followed suit.  Were the web crawlers no longer able to see my post even though Google and Yahoo previously had the direct link to it?

Also, I’d noticed in the past that the search engines seem to treat the various blogging sites differently.  For a while, I had several blogs going on several hosting sites because I was testing them out.  I was posting the exact same things to each of them, but I often noticed that the My Opera blog often showed up higher in search results than my other blogs.  Now, I use only Word Press because I like its functionality the best.  This recent event, however, made me wonder how often my posts might not show up at all in search results. 

To test it out, I did a search of a blog title that was posted when I was using all of the blogging sites.  In Yahoo search results, only the My Opera post was given a direct link and the other posts such as from Word Press only were given indirect links through the blogs home link, through tag listings, or through other websites’ hyperlinking.  Google gave very different results which gave direct links to the postings on all of the blogging sites, but put Word Press as the top result.  Did Google put Word Press on top because it’s the only blog of mine that is active right now?  If so, why did Yahoo give preference to My Opera which I haven’t used in recent months?  Also, why didn’t Google show direct links to my recent disappeared post on Word Press? 

I did another comparison search between Google and Yahoo using a different early post of mine.  This time Google showed the direct links to my posts on all of the blogging sites except it left out the direct link to the Word Press post.  Yahoo, for some reason, didn’t show a direct link to my post on any of the blogging sites, but did show several indirect links.  As a further experiment, I did a search of the Word Press web address for that post and it doesn’t show up at all in either Google or Yahoo.

Another question that comes to mind is the matter of the biases of search engines.  Do search engines filter their results to fit my past searches?  I’d be fine if they do this as long as they tell me they’re doing this.  And to what degree does advertising and vested interests influence results?  Furthermore, what about the government?  Covert government sites get erased from Google Earth for example.  It wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t simply erase those sites but even replace them with natural looking terrain so that no one would realize something was missing.  It is without a doubt that the government censors some information on the internet.  The question is what kind of information and how often? 

But not everything is nefarious or intentional.  Quite possibly, my disappeared posting was just a glitch.  So, how typical are such technical failures?  If a search engine doesn’t show something as existing, how does someone know it exists?  Even if someone knows it exists and even know an exact title or phrase, how do they seek it out if search engines aren’t helpful?  Do traces remain of disappeared, removed, and lost information?  How can someone recognize a trace of something once having existed or still existing unseen?  How often can those traces lead someone to finding the information?

The first example that made me aware of problems with search engines had to do with the fairly popular writer Acharya S.  She comes up a lot on the internet.  She was partly involved with the heavily watched Zeitgeist film which created the biggest buzz on the internet than any other web realeased film before.  She runs a website that has tons of useful info about her field of expertise.  There really is no other website that is even close to being comparable if you’re interested in researching the subject of astrotheology.  However, when in the past I did a direct “in quote” Google search for the name of her website, I didn’t find it in the top results.  The direct link to her website only showed up several pages beyond the first page of results.  The first several pages were filled with her detractors and other websites linking her website.  If I do a Google search for an exact title, why doesn’t it give me the most exact result right at the top?  Why does it give pages of indirect links before showing the direct link itself?

Are there search engines that give you more control instead of feeding you the info it thinks you want?  Is there a search engine that is upfront and transparent about its biases?