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 13, 2017 - 12:02 p.m.
I'm having my first general anxiety day in a while. I am going to have to meditate today. I don't know why I've been resisting it. I should meditate every day. I have been afraid to read the responses to the evite for my birthday party. I take pride in my rationality which makes it that much harder to deal when my amygdala says, "I don't care what your forebrain is telling you; never forget I'm in charge." At least the amygdala is part of my brain, it's worse when the other organs start talking. I shush them but they just start talking again as soon as my head is turned. Humor is a good defense mechanism for anxiety; too bad nobody else thinks this is funny.
I didn't go out yesterday, that was deliberate but I should have gone out for milk and half & half. I'm finishing it up today. I hope I have enough for my coffee. I bought seltzer and chocolate syrup to make egg creams. That means I'm going to use more milk. It was not U-Bet but the Aldi brand. I know that's sacrilege but it's a third the price. Some poor people worry about having enough to eat, I worry about the quality of my egg creams. I get every level of the irony.
I need to get outside of my head and I see a path. At least once every day I have an internal rant about politics. I was going to say, "Trump" but this has been going on long before he hit the political scene. I get angry at the conservative mind set and I get mad at liberals who use bad arguments or don't know how to prioritize. I can't read the paper or look at Facebook without my blood pressure rising. Despite that I try very hard to not express it. I don't always succeed but it's my goal. You don't convince people with outrage. You can charge up your base but not change minds. Changing the way people think is one of the things I try to accomplish here and in all political discussions. Changing the way, you think about changing the way other people think is today's topic.
When was the last time you changed your opinion based on somebody haranguing you? The answer is never. Yet people harangue you. You probably harangue people It feels good to tell people how wrong they are. You want to call people racist or stupid and you think; "they are racist or stupid;" it's being honest. Is that your objective to feel good and pat yourself on the back for not lying when you do it?
I'm going to narrow my focus to bigotry just to use it as an example. It's something I feel strongly about and it triggers anger in me. Racist and bigot are words I want to use. That doesn't mean I should. When you start by calling someone a racist, you've lost the argument. Unless they are in the KKK they don't think of themselves as racists. They think that they just recognize truths; blacks are freeloaders, Jews are greedy, Mexicans are drug dealers. Usually it's far subtler than that. It's closer to "blacks blame everything on racism and society gives them breaks that we don't get." People want to feel good about themselves so they put it in terms of wanting to help blacks, that the safety net is a hammock that they don't want to leave. It's just tough love, not bigotry. You are not going to win people over who think along these lines by attacking their self-image. As soon as you call them a bigot they "know" you are wrong. To win people over, you have to resist the urge to attack. It's not just morally inferior to act morally superior it's ineffective. You have to lead not push; incrementally get them to see the truth for themselves. It's difficult; I fail all the time but I try.
People all too often do the opposite. Even when objectively their positions are close they see slight deviations as apostasy. Think of the Republicans who called Romney a RINO, Republican In Name Only. Obama got attacked for not acting angry. Disagreements on tactics are treated as heresy.
It makes political argument difficult. I'm having difficulty now. You have to resist saying things that you feel strongly about. You have to hold back your anger. I remind myself those are feelings and are as much my amygdala bossing me around as my anxiety.
Guess what, this brought my anxiety level down. Now I'll make breakfast, I'm thinking bacon and eggs, then read those RSVPs which are not all people saying they don't love me. My amygdala is a bigot and a Bino, brain in name only. But it's not all bad, there's a lot of love in there too. I should treat my amygdala the way I say to treat others I disagree with. I'll lead it down the path of enlightenment.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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