Although I believe some of you understand my philosophy of life, perhaps, others may not. Especially after yesterday’s newsletter. So, this newsletter is dedicated to one of you who has the name Sallie Marvill (and, to my mind, she is a “marvel”). For example, she wrote to me in reply to my yesterday’s rather desultory newsletter with a concern for me and my mental health. In response, I told her that she might not know much about Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism and that I believed too much “positivity” or “negativity” leads to the abyss of nothingness. As with most “bitch slaps” of reality, she responded with a “holy” response:
Do you know about the Indonesian kecak dance? It may be Balinese, rather than Indonesian. They believe in perfect balance in life. Their sarongs are printed all over with black and white squares (checked material) to show this balance. Good v Evil. Neither wins. In the west, our stories usually end with good triumphing over evil. I found Japanese children’s stories unusual, as they often end badly – cautionary tales to keep the children on the straight and narrow, I presume.
Ergo, my response to her was private, but the rest of this newsletter will be a more elaborate explanation of how I maintained sobriety for 38 years and even mental acuity! In fact, I wrote a long horror story that demonstrates exactly what Sallie marvelous alludes to in the “uniform” of a shaman from the Philippines. The story is called The Babaylan and it’s about a mother and daughter who proceed to destroy the ghost of serial killer Richard Speck inside the same maximum security prison in parallel dimensions, of all things! They, also, attempt to “balance” good and evil in the their reality at the same time.
At any rate, here’s how I started my day on my version of a “positive note,” to my friends on Facebook, as I worked at Caltech and have a great affinity for science:
Sober Saturday! What a miracle of molecules. All is energy and moving all the time. Solid matter moves at such magnificent speeds that we imagine it’s not moving. The Earth’s moving on its axis, also around the Sun, and the galaxy is moving toward another galaxy, and billions and billions (to paraphrase Carl Sagan) of other galaxies are also circling and moving.
Thanks for allowing me to survive to see this daily miracle!
I am the Cosmos, the Cosmos is me, so I must pay attention at all times to see we understand that miracle and try to preserve the dream as long as we can. Humans are the only ones with self and Self awareness. That is also miraculous.
I then take a “jab” at our former President and his vow to stop trans gender folks from moving into female athletics. Feel free to disagree:
I find it quite ironic when a culture of psychotherapy wants mentally ill folks to “write about their problems” in order to confront the demons in their past and present so as to show “sanity.” However, when that same patient learns to love creativity and the inner world they have at their beck-and-call, 24/7, and they decide that the outside world is the place that’s fucked up, then it becomes problematic if this mentally ill person decides to write more than they socialize with these “monsters” outside themselves.
These same doctors admit that one of the most difficult mental illnesses to treat is psychopathy. Why? Because the psychopath, who has no social conscience, will use “reality” to lie and invent any proof and argument he/she can in order to become ingratiated to the other or to manipulate the other person for his/her selfish needs. Our business sales courses are filled with such “techniques.” Watch the films Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller or Glengarry, Glen Ross, by David Mamet.
When I hear guys like Donald J. Trump do this, on the campaign trail for President of the United States, and his exaggerations and lies are dissected the next day, much of the public is not outraged at all. In fact, Mr. Trump is applauded as a “rebel and savior of true freedom” because he can manipulate facts to weave a different story that satisfies the “shadow world” of the listeners he’s trying to reach.
Wowza! When I taught argument, one of the first things I instructed was that “ad hominem” attacks are the easiest way to argue, and one of the most successful ways, until the adversary confronts it by saying it is “fallacious reasoning.” However, in a modern media style debate, where there is a stage of moving humans, and moving mouths, the attackers seem to be favored over calm, rational arguments of those who are calm and rational. Why is this? You tell me. Perhaps it’s the same reason villains are more interesting than heroes sometimes.
At his rally in New Hampshire, former President Trump mocked a trans gender male picking up weights. To contrast this, he also mocked a weakling female doing the same thing. This was his argument against allowing trans gender “males” to participate in women’s sports.
This pictured woman (above), I dare say, could probably compete against a trans gender male. After all, Mr. President, training is 98% of the feat in weightlifting or in any other sport. In fact, she would out lift you now, and probably when you were in your prime “macho man” youth.
I’ve had female members of the Armed Forces in my classes that could kick the former President’s ass, especially women in the Marine Corps or SEALS. Kick his ass with one hand tied behind her back.
I then question the knee-jerk condemnation of ancient cultures in Papua New Guinea:
The “ass kicker” for most enlightened humans is the fact that evil must exist along with good. For example, many religions believe they must compete with other religions and even against “sinners” (flexible definitions for that entity) in order to make enough moolah to stay in existence. Which is why, in my opinion, the forefathers in the United States, who were mostly Diests (only human reason can solve human problems), decided to not establish any national religion.
Alas, we seem to be turning against our forefathers and their thoughts (read them, as they’re in historical writings), and we’re also condemning religion and those who interpret their own religions and cultures differently than ours.
One small example, in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, they still believe in sorcery and witchcraft. Women and children are tortured to confess and often killed because of the curses they are alleged to have committed.
I’m not saying I agree with such decisions, as modern medical practices and research have shown in lab and field studies that diseases are not “curses” cast upon others because of such a power in the mind of somebody, but when a culture that has not been educated in such sciences, and has believed in “sorcery” for so many thousands of years, comes up against another culture that seems to be encroaching on their way of life and traditions in other ways, (like causing cancer and other terminal diseases) through mining and drilling for oil in their waters and hunting/farming lands, then who are they going to trust?
All I’m saying is that sometimes there is a balance in existence that has survived much longer than “Modern Industrial Hypocrisies,” and instead of automatically seeing other, “primitive” cultures as inhuman, so we can then take over their properties to exploit for our own purposes (such as we did to aborigines in our early histories), then a lot of thinking about this problem should take place before such condemnations.
Finally, here’s the review of a wonderful autobiographical film that I’ve watched twice. I’ve written about mental health in several of my historical mysteries and how women were so badly treated, but Ms. Janet Frame, a fellow author from New Zealand perhaps received one of the most imposing punishments of all, which turned out to be an escape for her into success. Most, however, do not escape, and she understood that:
Watched An Angel at My Table again. The autobiography of Janet Frame from New Zealand. It is miraculous to me every time I see that film. Here was a highly creative woman, who won the national prize for her short fiction, and yet the college, even after reading her work, allowed her to be committed to an insane asylum for eight years simply because she was introverted and shy to be with others. She was so shy she couldn’t teach, which was the usual occupation for women in those years. She was also refused work as a nurse, after she was discharged from Seaside Lunatic Asylum, because they diagnosed her as a schizophrenic.
Another hospital in London refuted that diagnosis completely. Therefore, the system of mental care in New Zealand had completely wasted eight years of this brilliant writer’s life, giving her over 200 electroshock “treatments,” as well as nearly lobotomizing her, just before she won her book award.
I really felt empathy for her, as I have mental illness in my family also. My mother’s aunt was hospitalized and had to live in what my mom called “a snake pit,” which was very close to the conditions at Seaside Asylum. Western society is so focused on being “sociable” with others that they can condemn a human being to brain death. I will always remember this.
I have put her work on my “to read” schedule, as I feel so close to her now. I only succeeded at teaching mostly because I could write out creative exercises, as my lectures were nothing to be appreciated because of my own introverted tendencies because of former traumas.
She is a model for all folks who write, in my opinion.
I haven’t read any of her stories/poems/ or novels as yet, but I know from watching this film that I will enjoy them. I have an inner sense about these things. There is an eternity of creativity inside the mind, which is all we are, in the final analysis, as the body and mind must always be appreciated before condemning people for not “talking to others,” in my opinion.
That’s about the gist of my spiel for today’s newsletter, and thanks again “Ms. Marvelous (Marvill).”