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ivwshane

Lifer
May 15, 2000
29,847
10,299
136
I think the part you might remember me describing is thus: It took someone on the same "side" as me to question the Iraq war. To view the inconsistencies between actions taken and values expressed. Shattering that partisan barrier, that great divide, it became obvious some things I read here were true. An economic lesson followed 2008, slowly eroding my partisanship over the next several years. Might not have been until 2014 before I was willing to give Obama a fair shake. By 2016 I would have loved to vote for a third term.



Correct. Raised conservative.

However badly a person is distanced from us. We need to keep that porch light on - keep that offer open for them to come in out of the storm.

You are right, you did say it was someone who you agreed with or came from a similar political ideology as you.

Hmm...

I don't think your situation is similar to what I've observed with others but I could be wrong because I don't remember you being particularly detached from reality versus believing in a particular ideology.

For example, and I really hate to use names in this thread, people like greenman and Starbuck, who I strongly disagree with, I would not say they are people who this thread applies to. In fact, there is actually one poster here who I have seen slowly, very slowly, transform from being an example of the people this thread is about to a normal person who I simply vehemently disagree with.

That raises the question though, are they changing because, like you, they've started to question their ideology, or are they changing because their stress has been removed or is going away?
 
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ivwshane

Lifer
May 15, 2000
29,847
10,299
136
2016 sure enraged a lot of people. I mean, Inauguration on Jan 20, 2017, protests on Jan 21? I wasn't on board that train, I cautioned against such reactionary vile spewed over the election. Honestly, I also underestimated the Cheeto. America has faced a lot of tension since that moment. Yet Obama's presidency was also riddled with ridiculous opposition behavior. When you step back and think about it America is a snowball rolling down a hill. Yesterday a pebble, today a boulder, tomorrow the whole mountain comes down.

We are sliding into a place of civil unrest. Been that way for some time now, and I have posted my theory on how modern communication overwhelms the human brain. How we generally cannot cope with it and it fuels and enrages petty partisan tribalism. I do think we are afflicted in that way, and each year it seems to slowly get worse.

Enter 2020, the grand crescendo of the Trump Era. Let us hope it stops here, but I also suspect there will be acts of terrorism to follow this bitterly contested and divided election. And that's the rosy picture. I can paint a much more twisted one of what I fear may occur following November 3rd. Sure I made a post or two like that already.

You say rising stress levels, I can only look around and nod. Yup, that's America. Year by year, drip by drip.... trickle down saps the wealth out of the American worker. Our stress level rises. 24/7 cable and internet partisanship. More stress. Social media in your face day and night. Minute by minute the cell phone beeps. More conflict. More rage. More stress. Yeah, it'll break people.

I suppose now I gleam your topic is a bit different than what I first thought it was.

I mean, how do we deal with people who snapped and joined a cult? Oh dear...
Bingo!!

At first I didn't see it and I couldn't imagine how external "worldly" events could impact people but then 2020 hit and omg! You've got trump constantly taking up all the news, then covid hit and no one is safe and people are dying! Then we go into lock down and defense mode where everyday tasks are completely upended and behaviors have to be modified and masks! Masks which are so uncontroversial are now political! Then you have business closures and job uncertainty and everything that comes along with that (rent, mortgage, evictions, etc)! Add in fires, massive fires and a shit ton of smoke! Or add protests, riots, looting. Plus extreme weather. And its an election year, the most important one ever!!

So now I see it and I wonder if previous crisis have impacted people more than they thought and I start to realize what this country, what the world has gone through these past decades. Then I read a story about a guy whose stress led him to qanon and I started thinking that these posters who I cannot stand are people too. That maybe instead of being deplorables, they are simply people who have been pushed past their breaking point. I imagine the level of stress I feel and I can't imagine the level of stress they feel that would leave them down such a path. I also think about the hate some of them have that they genuinely believe that killing their fellow Americans is an option and I think we have to figure out a way to stop this before this get worse.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,650
4,257
126
There is just so much going on in this thread, so many thoughts and feelings from different people to deal with. I have just now tried to catch up with the content and have read a number of threads. One thing that stands out that of all that I find so meaningful and touching here is really quite simple and I don't wish to forget to mention is @pmv, I am sorry to hear you are in poor health. I hope that is something that will improve.

OK just some thoughts:

Stress. What is it? I believe it is a emotional condition of frustration at failure to reach some sort of goal, aim, or personal ambition. The world is not according to one's ideals. One is personally imperfect. It is the frustration of expectations but what are those. Well I think the answer lies in the idea that the meek shall inherit the earth. To be humble, selfless, a nobody, to be without hope of improvement or change, to be, in religious terms, submissive, egoless or dead to the world, to die on the cross, so surrender to fate, to say that all is the will of God, how can there be for people like that any source of frustration. Stress is the lack of the realization of expectations but what are we entitled to expect.

Why do we experience entitlement? Is it not because we were programmed to believe we had to be somebody in order to be loved. What if you can be totally worthless and be loved. What if you can leave behind comparison with others as to one's own worthiness. What if you knew that God loves you no matter who you are.

Stress then, I would say is created within us via expectations we now believe in ourselves. What if as in religious tradition if you die to all of this you go to heaven, a world that is perfect as it is, the world that you create by being conscious of it as reality.

There is a hidden door out of stress.

So the answer to how to help others is very simple. First save yourself. (And if this proves of any help, then please come save me. :) )

In order to really help others you have to really be interested in them, you have to be able to love them. I believe I can't truly love anyone because I can't love myself. I will constantly be threatened by the possibility that something about someone else will set off my competativeness, my need to feel superior to others because of my hidden self contempt.

But as I can't really love, I can't expect it from others. I am lost and without hope and I think that is a good thing. It helps me to overcome expectations.

And another thing about being totally crazy like I am is that there is a lot to laugh at. The ego can be spectaculary funny to watch in action. Imagine for a moment being the biggest fool on the planet and becoming indignent about something. Hehehehe, Self, thy name is Hubris.

A mute and a deaf person can't do much to help each other but a sighted man with no legs and a bilnd one who has them can get someplace. A saying.

Truth isn't a theory or a methodology. It is a transformation of conscious awareness. It is at a different level of consciousness that the right and the left are two sides of the same coin. We see the sides but miss the means by which they are united.
 

interchange

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
7,631
2,286
136
If it was a matter of thinking that only the people who I don't agree with as the ones with the issue, then I could see your point. Unfortunately this isn't about that (because if it was then that would point to the issue as being me), as there are several posters on this forum who I agree with politically who I have witnessed go down a similar path. They were once reasonable, who's posts were tethered in reality but then over time (almost exponentially) cracks in their posts start to appear and its like watching someone slowly lose their grip with reality until, finally, they are repeating or putting forth full on conspiracies. There are several on this sub forum right now that I see who are going through such transformations and you can almost sense their rising stress levels from their posts.

The right wingers on this site, I arrogantly assume, have already completed that transition. Or perhaps they are just so crazy that I cannot fathom how a person could function and still be able to put together a comprehensible post. Maybe I'm more of an optimist then I think and instead of thinking such people can exist without having some underlying issue, I think there must be some underlying issue that can be fixed and once fixed they will be "normal".

Of course, I could be totally projecting right now or I could be naïve enough to think a forum full of strangers could help anyone. Maybe my desire to feel like us or I could help anyone is my way of dealing with these stressful times. If it is, then would I be doing more harm than good? I don't see how responding to posters with questions that may or may not get them to reflect would be worse than indulging in their conspiracies. You are the expert so you tell me.
Whoo boy. I'm not writing as an expert here. I do have training and knowledge that's probably relevant, but "how to defeat conspiracy theories" wasn't covered in my training. How to talk with someone with a psychotic disorder was, though. But the answer was not "confront their psychosis and show them how it's wrong". That was, as you've described, something explicitly advised against. Mixed impressions about engaging in reasoning with a person to get them to question their own psychotic reasoning. Some people are capable of reality testing, sometimes not. I write this realizing that I put on the expert hat to quip about denial of reality not being pathologic inherently, so I walked right into that one.

To get back to the point. I think firstly, how could you possibly realize if you yourself are in denial about something unless you make yourself open to things that seem ludicrous? You'll probably find a lot that is genuinely ludicrous, but maybe not.

But I don't think that's it. I spend a lot of time with grossly psychotic people. Many are really difficult to connect to as people, largely because what are called the "negative" symptoms of schizophrenia. Many others have psychosis but not schizophrenia. That someone lives in a separate reality in many ways is never the barrier. I feel really privileged to do this with my life, and I really didn't know what I was signing up for. If I saw it more as a "job" and my role as trying to make people "normal" or "healthy", I think I would be pretty dissatisfied and burnt out. I know a lot of perfectly good doctors that have that experience. But because I have such a privileged position in being able to get to know people in ways in which they are immensely vulnerable, I end up having a lot more depth in my human interactions with them than I do in almost all of the rest of my life. There are huge limits here in my professional role. It would be terrible if I found myself unable to maintain boundaries reasonably. I'd hurt a lot of people and myself in the process. Not that neither has never happened, but I don't think I do a poor job of this. It is only that I am human and incapable of doing it perfectly. But if I weren't human, I wouldn't be capable of doing it all.

I'm going off into the weeds here. I don't expect you to go to a homeless shelter and look for conversation partners to find out what I have. At least for me, I realized that putting a priority on people being "tethered in reality" in order for them to be considered a meaningful part of my experience is a really limiting, unnecessary, and self-serving constraint.

My imagination is that what's keeping you from fully committing isn't really about learning the truth of what I'm saying to you. I think there is something driving you to think it's dangerous to do so. And that is a product of the times we live in. Not reflective of who you are inherently. These times are in reality very dangerous. Way more than we can bear to look at. We want safety more than anything, and it's really hard to imagine you could have safety by giving up all that you believe in, even temporarily, to consort with the other at the risk of losing your place within your own group.

Me? I was taught from the very beginning of my life that who I was inside didn't belong anywhere. So I never had the option to feel safe in the company of others. It sounds like it would be a very hard thing to turn away from voluntarily if I did. To see you wrestle with it here with me gives me hope for the world. Hope may be all there really is to have, but that won't keep me from being grateful for having it.
 

RamIt

Senior member
Nov 12, 2001
777
186
116
Whoo boy. I'm not writing as an expert here. I do have training and knowledge that's probably relevant, but "how to defeat conspiracy theories" wasn't covered in my training. How to talk with someone with a psychotic disorder was, though. But the answer was not "confront their psychosis and show them how it's wrong". That was, as you've described, something explicitly advised against. Mixed impressions about engaging in reasoning with a person to get them to question their own psychotic reasoning. Some people are capable of reality testing, sometimes not. I write this realizing that I put on the expert hat to quip about denial of reality not being pathologic inherently, so I walked right into that one.

To get back to the point. I think firstly, how could you possibly realize if you yourself are in denial about something unless you make yourself open to things that seem ludicrous? You'll probably find a lot that is genuinely ludicrous, but maybe not.

But I don't think that's it. I spend a lot of time with grossly psychotic people. Many are really difficult to connect to as people, largely because what are called the "negative" symptoms of schizophrenia. Many others have psychosis but not schizophrenia. That someone lives in a separate reality in many ways is never the barrier. I feel really privileged to do this with my life, and I really didn't know what I was signing up for. If I saw it more as a "job" and my role as trying to make people "normal" or "healthy", I think I would be pretty dissatisfied and burnt out. I know a lot of perfectly good doctors that have that experience. But because I have such a privileged position in being able to get to know people in ways in which they are immensely vulnerable, I end up having a lot more depth in my human interactions with them than I do in almost all of the rest of my life. There are huge limits here in my professional role. It would be terrible if I found myself unable to maintain boundaries reasonably. I'd hurt a lot of people and myself in the process. Not that neither has never happened, but I don't think I do a poor job of this. It is only that I am human and incapable of doing it perfectly. But if I weren't human, I wouldn't be capable of doing it all.

I'm going off into the weeds here. I don't expect you to go to a homeless shelter and look for conversation partners to find out what I have. At least for me, I realized that putting a priority on people being "tethered in reality" in order for them to be considered a meaningful part of my experience is a really limiting, unnecessary, and self-serving constraint.

My imagination is that what's keeping you from fully committing isn't really about learning the truth of what I'm saying to you. I think there is something driving you to think it's dangerous to do so. And that is a product of the times we live in. Not reflective of who you are inherently. These times are in reality very dangerous. Way more than we can bear to look at. We want safety more than anything, and it's really hard to imagine you could have safety by giving up all that you believe in, even temporarily, to consort with the other at the risk of losing your place within your own group.

Me? I was taught from the very beginning of my life that who I was inside didn't belong anywhere. So I never had the option to feel safe in the company of others. It sounds like it would be a very hard thing to turn away from voluntarily if I did. To see you wrestle with it here with me gives me hope for the world. Hope may be all there really is to have, but that won't keep me from being grateful for having it.
Thank god for people like you. :) Thank you for your service to the community.
 

ivwshane

Lifer
May 15, 2000
29,847
10,299
136
Whoo boy. I'm not writing as an expert here. I do have training and knowledge that's probably relevant, but "how to defeat conspiracy theories" wasn't covered in my training. How to talk with someone with a psychotic disorder was, though. But the answer was not "confront their psychosis and show them how it's wrong". That was, as you've described, something explicitly advised against. Mixed impressions about engaging in reasoning with a person to get them to question their own psychotic reasoning. Some people are capable of reality testing, sometimes not. I write this realizing that I put on the expert hat to quip about denial of reality not being pathologic inherently, so I walked right into that one.

To get back to the point. I think firstly, how could you possibly realize if you yourself are in denial about something unless you make yourself open to things that seem ludicrous? You'll probably find a lot that is genuinely ludicrous, but maybe not.

But I don't think that's it. I spend a lot of time with grossly psychotic people. Many are really difficult to connect to as people, largely because what are called the "negative" symptoms of schizophrenia. Many others have psychosis but not schizophrenia. That someone lives in a separate reality in many ways is never the barrier. I feel really privileged to do this with my life, and I really didn't know what I was signing up for. If I saw it more as a "job" and my role as trying to make people "normal" or "healthy", I think I would be pretty dissatisfied and burnt out. I know a lot of perfectly good doctors that have that experience. But because I have such a privileged position in being able to get to know people in ways in which they are immensely vulnerable, I end up having a lot more depth in my human interactions with them than I do in almost all of the rest of my life. There are huge limits here in my professional role. It would be terrible if I found myself unable to maintain boundaries reasonably. I'd hurt a lot of people and myself in the process. Not that neither has never happened, but I don't think I do a poor job of this. It is only that I am human and incapable of doing it perfectly. But if I weren't human, I wouldn't be capable of doing it all.

I'm going off into the weeds here. I don't expect you to go to a homeless shelter and look for conversation partners to find out what I have. At least for me, I realized that putting a priority on people being "tethered in reality" in order for them to be considered a meaningful part of my experience is a really limiting, unnecessary, and self-serving constraint.

My imagination is that what's keeping you from fully committing isn't really about learning the truth of what I'm saying to you. I think there is something driving you to think it's dangerous to do so. And that is a product of the times we live in. Not reflective of who you are inherently. These times are in reality very dangerous. Way more than we can bear to look at. We want safety more than anything, and it's really hard to imagine you could have safety by giving up all that you believe in, even temporarily, to consort with the other at the risk of losing your place within your own group.

Me? I was taught from the very beginning of my life that who I was inside didn't belong anywhere. So I never had the option to feel safe in the company of others. It sounds like it would be a very hard thing to turn away from voluntarily if I did. To see you wrestle with it here with me gives me hope for the world. Hope may be all there really is to have, but that won't keep me from being grateful for having it.

I think part of the issue is that I'm using terms incorrectly and they mean very different things to you in your profession. The people I'm describing in this thread I would not classify as people with mental issues, I'm almost positive you wouldn't classify them that way either. The people I'm talking about are seemingly normal people, they function just fine in the work place and in social gatherings so long as politics isn't brought up.

Now to you there may not be a difference and its just a matter of severity but hopefully my distinction clarifies things a bit.
 

interchange

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
7,631
2,286
136
I think part of the issue is that I'm using terms incorrectly and they mean very different things to you in your profession. The people I'm describing in this thread I would not classify as people with mental issues, I'm almost positive you wouldn't classify them that way either. The people I'm talking about are seemingly normal people, they function just fine in the work place and in social gatherings so long as politics isn't brought up.

Now to you there may not be a difference and its just a matter of severity but hopefully my distinction clarifies things a bit.
I don't think these folks have psychotic disorders or anything like that. But all of us can have strong motivations to be rigid in our perceptions and see even curiosity coming from outside as an attempt to undo us. That condition isn't different than being delusional. You'll probably never have hope of undoing someone's delusions. But that doesn't stop you from relating to them unless you let it. Thankfully, if you can find a way to relate to the people who are in denial instead of being delusional, they will have understood that you have genuine care for their well-being. And that may allow them to loosen the grip of denial. It does good things for the delusional folks, too, even if it doesn't "heal them of their psychosis".
 

ivwshane

Lifer
May 15, 2000
29,847
10,299
136
I don't think these folks have psychotic disorders or anything like that. But all of us can have strong motivations to be rigid in our perceptions and see even curiosity coming from outside as an attempt to undo us. That condition isn't different than being delusional. You'll probably never have hope of undoing someone's delusions. But that doesn't stop you from relating to them unless you let it. Thankfully, if you can find a way to relate to the people who are in denial instead of being delusional, they will have understood that you have genuine care for their well-being. And that may allow them to loosen the grip of denial. It does good things for the delusional folks, too, even if it doesn't "heal them of their psychosis".
Well that's my hope.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,650
4,257
126
Hope, an interesting word..... To have hope, what does that mean? Do we even have the faintest idea what it is we have hope of, or why our longing for it has such meaning? What if a genie could give you three wishes. For what would those wishes be. Would you wish for the Midas Touch? Would your final wish be to wish all your former wishes undone? Be careful what you wish for because it may be the reality that you see. The one you may actually have wished into existence.

When I was young I wished for a world without conflict, where love for the other was everywhere to be found, where people would care for each other and end uncertainty, want, loneliness, and despair. And I was told there was a place like that that would be there for all who had faith in God and lived properly. And so my wish was on Earth as it is in Heaven. I was just a kid, why not I wanted for that which I did not have but wanted dearly.

And so it seems have billions of others done, killing untold numbers of those why had the same wish from rival god not the one and only one of which there have been also numbers uncounted.

And none of that made any sense to me. How can it be that the wish for the good can bring so much evil. The problem of course is faith. Without faith you are lost to damnation, utter ruin and hopelessness.

So I set out on the Hero's journey, the search for the Holy Grail, to unlock the sacred seal and to find the light, the proof that my God exists. I rejected first faith as insufficient for proof that God exists and then at the end of my rope the hope that such proof exists. I did all I could to save myself and failed. Woe unto those who ask questions and demand only honest answers.

Well I was luck I guess because in my search for answers I happened upon the ridiculous ideas presented in Zen and their Koans. What is the sound of thought that ends. What is the strawberry presented to those who have no hope. How can one find someone who can take your hope if you have it and give it to you if you don't. What is the price of insanity?

So I ask, what is the hope of one who has no hope. What is my story and how did I get to this hopeless place? I used to be happy when I didn't know the world had no meaning. Where did that person go and how did he get lost? Why does it hurt so bad to have no hope because life is utterly without any meaning. And one night deep in thought, the mind killer, it hit me. The strawberry appeared. I was born happy and life never ever has any meaning. I am and aside from all of everything I am I am also meaning. The universe is me and I am it. Good bye suffering, good bye meaning. I am even if only the little thing that grew up in the dark in a tiny cage.

There is a Sufi teacher I once read named Hazrat Inayat Khan I think, who said something to the effect that for every hundred that cross the barrier between 'illusion and being' just words that point to what can't be put into words, via the bridge offered by religious faith, one will cross via traversing the valley. In a forum full of atheists perhaps one like that is here.
 

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