I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
July 03, 2017 - 10:56 a.m.
Despite procrastinating I'm starting this before ten! Sure, I would prefer to finish writing before ten but I'll take my victories where I can find them.
I didn't leave the house yesterday; I'm doing that far too often. Today I will. I have nothing planned but I'm getting out. If nothing else I'll check my PO Box and go shopping.
Do you ever read the quotes at the top of the page? I used to change them regularly. I haven't in ages. I should start again. The first is there to fit the title of the blog. The others say things that are important. They express some of the ideas that guide my philosophy. The Mencken came to mind last night.
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.I found myself defending Trump, a scoundrel if there ever were one. It's not unjust laws that are the problem but unjust arguments. Trump posted that ridiculous video of him wrestling with CNN. It's ridiculous, infantile, and against the spirit of the First Amendment. But it is not a call for violence against the press. All of a sudden people can't understand symbolism? I mean it's Vince McMahon with a CNN logo replacing his head. People are taking that literally? If you make arguments like that you have to accept when others do it to your side. False outrage is wrong, even when it's object is someone that generates legitimate outrage.
Even worse is diagnosing Trump with mental illness. Are you a mental health professional? Have you given him a thorough examination? Then you aren't competent to judge his mental health any more than he is competent to judge climate science. Being a terrible person is not the same as being mentally ill. It's not just unfair to Trump, it's unfair to mentally ill people. Calling someone mentally ill is not an insult. There is nothing morally wrong with mental illness. The entire mind set is harmful.
I hope I'm not coming off as a scold. I'm not making moral judgments. I'm attempting to educate. I'm a teacher to my bones. There is nothing more important thing to teach than how to think.
This is ironic and I just noticed it. The other thing I want to write about my mental health. I write about that often because it's something I know more about than My Gentle Readers. Something came to me this in the place where therapy, blogging, and sitting and thinking meet. When I sit and think I often imagine what I'd be saying to my therapist or to my readers; it gives me an outside perspective.
I have two diagnoses, anxiety and depression. When I'm in therapy I try to work more on the anxiety as that's the one that has caused all the practical problems in my life. The depression just makes me feel bad. It probably also has something to do with me not leaving the house. That could be anxiety too.
I think it's more useful to work on my anxiety so that's what I force myself to discuss in therapy. One of the things wrong with my first therapist is that she let me spend too much time on the depression. The reason I have to force myself to discuss the anxiety is that it's less satisfying. What I recently realized is that's because when I'm talking about depression it feels like I'm finding fault in the outside world but when I'm discussing anxiety it's feels like I'm finding fault in myself. I know intellectually that's not true. They are both a mixture of the external and the internal. I know I should not feel guilty about behavior created by my anxiety but I do. Hey, I'm Jewish, I was born feeling guilty. Every time my anxiety impacts other people it hurts me. It gets reinforced through other people understandably blaming me. I don't blame them for that. If I don't understand what's going on in my head how can I expect others to?
When I talk about depression in therapy it revolves around my complaining about the world being unfair. It's things that other people do and things that happen by chance. Those are far more comfortable thoughts.
My new therapist and my middle one help me keep on track. I don't ignore the depression but I try and not go on and on about how something hurt me. There are exceptions. I'm not going to ignore my pain. Depression is all in my head but it is no less real than physical pain. I handle physical pain much better.
I am not a mental health professional and I'm not saying that any of this applies to anyone else. These are not theories; I'm simply trying to convey my subjective experience.
The eponymous protagonist of James Branch Cabell's Jurgen enjoyed nothing as much as observing the workings of his own mind. One of the reasons I love the book is that I'm the same way. I love peeling away the layers of the onion even though I know the layers never end. My mind is an onion, it smells and it makes people cry. That is perhaps not the best metaphor. Right now, my mind is hungry. That's a problem I can easily solve with grits ala Horvendile.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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