Don’t just blow them off

by Andrea Elizabeth

So if someone is engaging in erroneous mind reading leading to overly negative situational evaluations, I would rather ask what is your past experience rather than, ‘you’re wrong about me, you are being paranoid, groundless, and in error’ (pg 56-58 Ancient Christian Wisdom and Asron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy.)

One, they probably have a festering wound that needs healing. 

Two, mankind is united so I am connected to the person/people seen to have caused the initial wound, even if innocent of the particular bad intention, and if I remind the person of them, maybe I can help make reparations.

Three, there are bad intentions and sins of omission, committed in ignorance that are still sins even if the person didn’t mean to. Bad feelings aren’t groundless. 

a new way to be

by Andrea Elizabeth

I found the article: Raised by Parents with Low Emotional Intelligence.

Critique: The title is a little condescending and probably does fit too much in the blame your parents’ category. Nevertheless the person did feel unseen, unvalued, unloved, and unnurtured. Does the author want too much from the parents though? Was the child hypersensitive? Too self-pitying? Maybe, maybe not. I like the more positive thought training towards the end that does sound like, forgive them, they know not what they do. And I like that it says, it’s not all because you are lazy and weak.

Wanting different parents, though. That does sound like the child needs to learn to be thankful for what they have as well as work on ways not to believe sensitive people should be blamed for being weak and lazy. And I wish there was a more nuanced understanding of the parents. Their generation was more stoic and did not talk about feelings nor feel sorry for themselves. We now live in such an eggshell world, but at the same time I don’t think stoicism should be the only answer. A couple of generations before them produced some pretty subtle, nuanced, delicate art. How to be strong and sensitive…


Here’s what you do

by Andrea Elizabeth

whose fault is it?

by Andrea Elizabeth

In Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy, I am encountering difficulty with telling anxious and depressed people that it is all their fault and they just need to stoically re-spin their thoughts more positively. It may be my stage of dealing or not dealing with my own feelings and lack of faith, but I’m still not convinced there shouldn’t be a more comprehensive approach that incorporates more variables in the equation, which Father Alexis Trader may get to. So far I’m on page 57.

There was a little more nuance in subjective meaning assignment (which he says is responsible for psychological states rather than specific situations) on page 55 when he says,

According to Beck, “The function of meaning assignment (at both automatic and deliberate levels) is to control the various psychological systems (e.g., behavioral, emotional, attentional, and memory). Thus, meaning activates strategies for adaptation.” In other words, an individual interprets a given event and has an automatic thought that expresses his personal interpretation. That interpretation, in turn, becomes the first link in a chain reaction resulting in a change in how that individual feels, what he recalls, what he focuses on, and how he behaves. For example, if a person interprets a situation as dangerous, he might have a fleeting thought such as “I’m in danger,” and then feel anxious; if he interprets an action as deliberately causing him injury, he might think “I’ve been wronged” and feel angry; if he views a gesture as an expression of love, he might have the thought “I’m loved,” and feel joy. In like manner, if an individual interprets a change as a loss, he might think, “Now I”m alone,” and feel sad. These psychological processes are all perfectly normal.

Oh, so sometimes it is ok to have these negative responses. Some interpretations are normal and some excessive. Who determines this, democratic vote? A jury of peers? A medically invasive diagnostic study that measures a person’s sensitivity and pain tolerance? I prefer Louis C.K.’s statement that you don’t get to tell someone their feelings shouldn’t be hurt by what you did. Anyway, he goes on.

In psychopathology, however, a person’s meaning assignment is skewed, excessive, or inappropriate, causing dysfunctional thoughts, uncomfortable emotional states, and maladaptive strategies for behavior. For instance, people suffering from anxiety interpret situations that are perhaps mildly threatening as extrememly dangerous; people suffering from depression interpret every setback as proof that they are dismal failures, and so on.

I’m all for people learning how to be less anxious and depressed, but this suffer-er focused approach to me is just as damaging as the often criticized in Christian circles, blaming approach. The latter tell you, don’t go to counselling because they’ll blame your parents for everything. But the former puts too much responsibility on the individual who may have been unfairly blamed for things and that is why he’s anxious and depressed. The weight is too great.

So if it’s not my fault, and it’s not their fault, whose fault is it? I don’t have time to find and discuss an article I read recently about emotional intelligence right now. TBC.

More Twilight

by Andrea Elizabeth

Whether we immoralists do injury to virtue? – Just as little as Anarchists do to princes. It is only since princes have been wounded by shots that they sit firmly on their thrones again. Moral: We must wound morality by our shots.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

But he lived after the French Revolution, but maybe he doesn’t think they count? Would he amend that now?

 The disillusioned speaks. – I sought for great men; I never found aught but the apes of their ideal.

Maybe too true of many, but not all.

Why I don’t like philosophy

by Andrea Elizabeth

It’s too powerful. It can uproot tradition. It’s too easy to follow the logic and relate, and then before you know it you’re assassinating a king or czar or your brothers and sisters or even God. It can easily confuse people.

But the Church Fathers and Sts. John and Paul used philosophy. It’s also part of psychology – the study of the soul. And if our minds aren’t meant to understand complex things, aren’t they being wasted? And aren’t the Father’s pronouncements ultimately comforting? Yes, except the anathemas. Some Priests don’t read them because today’s society is so confused and we don’t want to condemn all the unorthodox. When the Church was more united, things were more black and white.

I’ve been reading a little of Nietsche and liking some of his writing, then today’s Random Psalm is 14:

14 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord.

Is there no good in Nietzsche? But how does he have songs?

Also, in the above, God does want us to understand.

But Nietzsche does have some points about antisemitism, nationalism, and Master/Slave Morality. But could his uberman have fed Nazism?

I only trust the ultimate pronouncements of the Orthodox Church, but the other truth claims are an interesting and enlightening conversation. They point to parts of reality that you may not have yet thought of. However, f you are not grounded in the Church, you can be convinced these claims are mature gospel truth instead of tiny elements in a bigger picture. Like Uberman. He could be compared to a deified man. But he calls upon God and does not deny him.

Master/Slave Morality is more difficult. From Wikipedia:

In Beyond Good and Evil and On the Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche’s genealogical account of the development of modern moral systems occupies central place. For Nietzsche, a fundamental shift took place during human history from thinking in terms of “good” and “bad” toward “good” and “evil”.

The initial form of morality was set by a warrior aristocracy and other ruling castes of ancient civilizations. Aristocratic values of “good” and “bad” coincided with and reflected their relationship to lower castes such as slaves. Nietzsche presents this “master morality” as the original system of morality—perhaps best associated with Homeric Greece. To be “good” was to be happy and to have the things related to happiness: wealth, strength, health, power, etc. To be “bad” was to be like the slaves over which the aristocracy ruled, poor, weak, sick, pathetic—an object of pity or disgust rather than hatred.

“Slave morality” comes about as a reaction to master-morality. Here, value emerges from the contrast between good and evil: good being associated with other-worldliness, charity, piety, restraint, meekness, and submission; and evil seen as worldly, cruel, selfish, wealthy, and aggressive. Nietzsche sees slave morality as pessimistic and fearful, values for them serving only to ease the existence for those who suffer from the very same thing. He associates slave-morality with the Jewish and Christian traditions, in a way that slave-morality is born out of the ressentiment of slaves. Nietzsche argued that the idea of equality allowed slaves to overcome their own condition without hating themselves. And by denying the inherent inequality of people (such as success, strength, beauty or intelligence), slaves acquired a method of escape, namely by generating new values on the basis of rejecting something that was seen as a perceived source of frustration. It was used to overcome the slave’s own sense of inferiority before the (better-off) masters. It does so by making out slave weakness to be a matter of choice, by, e.g., relabeling it as “meekness.” The “good man” of master morality is precisely the “evil man” of slave morality, while the “bad man” is recast as the “good man.”

Nietzsche sees the slave-morality as a source of the nihilism that has overtaken Europe. Modern Europe and Christianity exist in a hypocritical state due to a tension between master and slave morality, both values contradictorily determining, to varying degrees, the values of most Europeans (who are motley). Nietzsche calls for exceptional people to no longer be ashamed of their uniqueness in the face of a supposed morality-for-all, which he deems to be harmful to the flourishing of exceptional people. He cautions, however, that morality, per se, is not bad; it is good for the masses, and should be left to them. Exceptional people, on the other hand, should follow their own “inner law.” A favorite motto of Nietzsche, taken from Pindar, reads: “Become what you are.”

A long standing assumption about Nietzsche is that he preferred master over slave morality. However, the Nietzsche scholar Walter Kaufmann rejected this interpretation, writing that Nietzsche’s analyses of these two types of morality were only used in a descriptive and historic sense, they were not meant for any kind of acceptance or glorifications.[101]

There’s a lot to think about here. Did Christian slaveowners keep the slaves down by this teaching of good Christian meekness? Feminists also criticize doormat wives. Rightly? But with such talk you agitate and incense people to violent revolution. Gandhi advocated passive resistance a la Rosa Parks. That’s better, but in a documentary about the Civil Rights movement I heard that that only got them so far, then they had to get more militant. There is no one answer. I’ve heard that Jewish people are ashamed they took such a meek approach to their captivity and wish they’d been stronger. They couldn’t believe things would go that far, and that God would allow it. It’s probably why there are so many are atheists now.

I suppose the healthy thing is for the strong to help the weak and not lord it over them. But even Nietzsche believes in ressentiment among lesser ways of being:

“Aspects of Nietzsche’s philosophy, especially his ideas of the self and his relation to society, also run through much of late-twentieth and early twenty-first century thought.[250][251] His deepening of the romantic-heroic tradition of the nineteenth century, for example, as expressed in the ideal of the “grand striver” appears in the work of thinkers from Cornelius Castoriadis to Roberto Mangabeira Unger.[252] For Nietzsche this grand striver overcomes obstacles, engages in epic struggles, pursues new goals, embraces recurrent novelty, and transcends existing structures and contexts.”

He denies transcendence to the eternal or otherworldly, but where else can you go beyond “existing structures and contexts”?

by Andrea Elizabeth

On ne peut penser et ecrire qu’ assis [One cannot think and write except when seated](G. Flaubert). There have I got you, nihilist! Sedentary application is the very sin against the Holy Spirit. Only thoughts won by walking are valuable.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

by Andrea Elizabeth

“Bad men have no songs.” How is it that the Russians have songs? – Friedrich Nietzsche

why aren’t there any girl Minions?

by Andrea Elizabeth

This lady feels discriminated against because there are no female Minions. Her synopsis of the movie sounds a little like the Genesis account of God creating man initially only male. I don’t think feminists like that either. I tend to see males in stories as mainly human, so I can relate to them as a fellow human and not think too much about them only representing half the population. If I was a female actress it would probably bother me more as I would be more obviously excluded. It was someone else who mentioned that the Fellowship of the Ring was all male and then I thought hey wait a minute. Some Tolkien devotees are upset that Peter Jackson broadened the roles of women in the movies, but Tolkien can also be seen in light of not wanting to send women off to war. However I wont exclusively begrudge the opportunity to women who have a talent for it. I’ve always admired Annie Oakley, Amelia Earhart and Joan of Arc. But having a more vulnerable woman in harms way does complicate the story, and sometimes less is more. I don’t hear anyone complaining about the lack of female Orcs, though.

“For the French animator [Pierre Coffin], who co-directed the new film with Kyle Balda, the masculine-only nature of the Minions owes to their all-around cloddishness. “Seeing how dumb and stupid they often are, I just couldn’t imagine Minions being girls,” he told The Wrap.” Shouldn’t men be more offended? I would think so until I remember previous Three Stooges debates. It’s the men who like them, usually. At least used to be. Maybe women like them more now. Men don’t, or didn’t used to, have the same sensitivities about getting hurt and verbally jabbing each other as women do/did. I see women taking the falls in the recent soccer clips and wonder if maybe that is cultural and not ontological.

Or maybe men, through cultural influence,  don’t think enough of themselves and shouldn’t cut themselves down and put themselves or each other in harms way so much. I saw the American Masters episode on Carol Burnett the other day and was intrigued about her statement on how she was influenced by feminism in the 70’s to not let herself be ridiculed so much, and thought about how she got more dignified/glamorous as she aged. I kind of like her less careful, unself-conscious freedom from before that, but that was unusual too. Interesting that she was raised by her grandmother with her alcoholic mother living down the hall.

Hierarchy vs. Anarchy

by Andrea Elizabeth

In light of the two previous posts on St. Dionysius’s hierachy, despite the title referring to Bishop Alexander, and St. Symeon’s individual conscience, Bishop Alexander (Golitzin) discusses the tension in Hierarchy vs. Anarchy.

“Jan Koder, editor of the Sources chretiennes edition of Symeon’s Hymns, wonders how for example Nicetas could have placed himself in the “paradoxical position of defending simultaneously both the anarchical mysticism of Symeon and the unilateral theoritician of hierachy,” Dionysius.

…Father John’s [Meyendorff] emphasis on what we might call the “charasmatic principle” is certainly one clue to Symeon’s conscious use of Dionysius, but there are others as well. I have in mind particularly the note of “apostolic authority” struck above and, even more importantly (and never mentioned in the literature), the idea of the hierachy – and so the whole Church at worship – as the icon of the inner man. The latter is a notion that has common roots for both Symeon and Dionysius in the Macarian and Evangrian writings….”


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