Words

Life

JP and Milo 2

by Andrea Elizabeth

On Dr. Jordan B. Peterson’s Facebook page he quoted the part of the conversation that I didn’t directly address in my last post on the convo. “Did you know that about 20 years ago the American Psychological Association published a paper showing that most people who were sexually abused as children recovered with very little psychological damage? This is an unsayable truth.”

1. who’s to say how many “most people” are, or what kind of sampling they did. Some people in the comments blamed the opinion on the infamous Kinsey Report from the ’50’s that pretty much lead to the ‘everybody’s doing it so join ’em’ immorality of the following decades. On further thought, I’m wondering if this colors JP’s topic of the depravity everyone is capable of. I don’t think he’s off balance on that yet, but if he says, how depraved everyone actually is then I think he would teeter wrongly. See how he reacts to Dennis Prager calling him good for more on that.

2. I’m not confident they can accurately measure how a person’s life was changed. That which does not kill you can make you stronger, but sometimes the strength is hideous. And how many people has it killed through leading them into temptation, low self-esteem, drugs, alcohol, dysfunction, and/or to be repeat offenders?

3. What I’m most disappointed about is that Peterson wasn’t more detailed in his description. He’s famous for how people with the 5 personality types react differently, so I would expect him to analyze how each responds to sexual abuse. Perhaps an open person has more energy to at least appear to move on, but a conscientious person may be more thrown helplessly out of wack. I bet he would criticize fundamentalists for feeling absolutely ruined. (He does criticize overprotected people for developing PTSD after combat in the Prager convo.) I’ve actually never heard him address virginity. He talks about overbearing mothers a lot, and I think he’s mentioned Mary somewhat as a good example, but not her virginity. Still, what Elizabeth Smart said sticks with me about why she didn’t try harder to get out of her kidnappers’ hands. I remember her saying she felt ruined and sullied and therefore stuck with her fate. As an adult she tries to help other victims not feel like dirty trash. A character in Shetland gets raped and I think they get the aftereffects about right. A year later she says that it’s important for her to not be affected, so that now she has to step outside herself and monitor if she’s acting normal or not. She says it’s exhausting.

 

Is death natural?

by Andrea Elizabeth

Chapter 9 of Pet Sematery is profound.

Experiencing God

by Andrea Elizabeth

John Vervaeke has interesting terms in Ep 17, Gnosis and Existential Inertia to describe what comes across to me as a habitable zone. Sometimes we cannot countenance a different zone than where we are, even if it is the wrong place to be. The zone I first thought of was belief or disbelief in God. I can imagine that if one is not convinced there is a God, it would be just as hard to believe there is as for one who does believe to stop. It does happen, but while in the midst, it seems an alien zone.

He suggests the taste and see method in order to break out of an undesired zone. One could experiment with simulation or entry level doses in order to become convinced or accustomed.

I remember Fr. Hopko saying that if Orthodoxy seems too foreign, then just stand in Liturgy or the other services and let it do its work. I think Dr. Vervaeke is the son of a pastor, and not to necessarily blame it on Protestantism, but I think it is possible to even live through Orthodoxy and not believe it. And maybe to wonder why you don’t sense God or his grace like everybody seems to. I’ve also heard of people who are committed despite not feeling it.

Belief in God in one’s mind is a little different than belief in the Church. A lot of people believe in God but can’t countenance Churches. A lot of atheists have problems with the Church, but still have problems with the existence of God.

Dr. Vervaeke also talked about a person who who wants a romantic relationship. I don’t remember if he connected it in particular to feeling stuck outside of one. I’m thinking this could be related to feeling stuck outside of belief in God. Let’s say one wants to try the taste and see method. One still has the problem of false expectations, and the unpredictability of who the other person is, and how one’s hopes and dreams may not be grounded in reality, not to mention our ability to deceive ourselves once we get started.

I like how Dr. Peterson says to take a moment to ask a question, and stop and listen and see what occurs to you. I sense Dr. Vervaeke asks very good questions, but takes control of the answers himself.* He doesn’t trust the silence. When he meditates he listens to his body, which is very interesting to hear as he describes various tensions and directions. I think it is a nice tool for becoming aware of and working through anxiety. A danger of listening to silence is that it can bring things forward that one is not prepared to handle. This is why we pray Lord have mercy while we’re listening.

* As uncontrollable as psychedelics are, it still seems that users are taking the reigns from God and are spiritually self-medicating.

Another recurring issue is that academic atheists seem to believe that Darwin and Nietzsche killed God 150 years ago, and thus the Churches that refuse to accept this are no longer places to go for wisdom and enlightenment. I will have to concede that the prophetic oracles that will speak personally to them beyond a certain level are probably too few and far between.

Milo and Peterson

by Andrea Elizabeth

I’ve been waiting for this conversation since I first became aware of Milo. I respect Jordan Peterson so much for having it with him and for Milo answering his questions. Peterson voiced my ambivalence about Milo’s statements about pedophilia and pederasty, and I think got to the heart of the matter.

Milo is trying so hard to be resilient. When something devastating happens, we seem to either hear, “this is why my life is messed up” or “I will not let this define me.” Do we have the power to decide between the two? Is it ok to admit defeat? I had caught the Australian talk show where Milo called in to confront Jordan Peterson for not supporting him during his “tumble”. Peterson is trying to make amends in this interview.

My lasting question is, can a lack of parental support ever be made up for? I think this is what Milo wanted from Peterson, and this is also why Peterson is so popular right now. Peterson has the courage to dig down deep into the problem in a non judgmental way. And since he understands what it is to be a hero, and is so smart and intuitive, I think he still has a lot of life left in his popularity, despite Milo’s prediction.

Milo claims not to need anything from anyone right now, but he is bitter about the Evangelical Right’s censure. He has very interesting things to say about it. I very much enjoyed the conversation between these two. As for another one, one thing about Peterson’s convos is that he seems to be done after one. Sam Harris was worth 2 or three, but Russell Brand’s first was more engaging than his second, and I can’t really see another Camille Paglia one happening. Peterson seems to enjoy sizing people up, and can get the job done in one sitting.

Personhood

by Andrea Elizabeth

I thought John Vervaeke’s discriminating between a baby and a person was odd, but evolutionary when he said we have to teach an animal human baby to become a person*.  I inferred that he has a moral development definition of what makes a person.** So many things, but first, the instigation for posting about it is the Alabama effort to ban abortions today, and I was just reminded on Fox News that Roe Vs. Wade’s decision was based on the idea that an unborn baby’s personhood needs to be proven. Here’s the google summary statement from this site, “U.S. Supreme Court decides Roe v. Wade, making abortion legal in all 50 states. But in his majority opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun notes, “If this suggestion of personhood is established, [Roe’s] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”

*This is the biggest reason that I have a disgust (conscientiousness trait) reaction to evolution. That means we can be treated like animals, including euthanasia and enslavement, btw. By that logic, there go your child labor laws because children are morally undeveloped. They’re just animals, after all. I’m not disgusted at animals, but how people mistreat animals, and because of the ontological difference between them and us. If a little kid is an animal, why not let him sleep unsheltered in the back yard, or drop him by the road if the new ritzy apartment complex doesn’t allow animals or kids? People aren’t required to teach animals impressive tricks, so why make kids go to school? The ones who don’t are animals, and the ones who graduate are people. Gross.

**And who gets to decide what is moral or not? Sam Harris speaks like morality is an obvious given, and you must be a sociopath if you don’t believe in his. This is such a slippery slope and can turn into a polarized political fight in 2 seconds. Personhood should be based on respect for humanity, whatever a person’s stage of development. De-humanization/de-personalization of anyone is repellent.

A new kind of conversation

by Andrea Elizabeth

Tomorrow, A New Kind of Conversation, Rebel Wisdom Summit, will be held. Click for the detailed trailer. I worry that it’s preaching to the choir because the older leftists who are upset with the new leftists for replacing reason with emotionalism are now on the rightests’ side of the discussion. They, like Camille Paglia and Jordan Peterson, and some of the other people I have recently linked to, have already figured out how to talk to the right, which is refreshing. They are much more respectful of religion now.

This summit is a way to use reason to de escalate hot topic subjects. The new left aren’t really interested in doing this as escalation is their means of self defense. Without it they feel they will lose power. It’s not that some of their issues will automatically get dropped… maybe it’s that they will move from the sphere of emotion to reason and that will knock the technically inexperienced ones (millennials and other perceived disenfranchised people), as well as those who exploit them, out of power. So I see the place for this summit to be to unite and equip the left brained people* to possibly figure out how to remove the unbalanced power of the right brained people, mainly from the education system, media**, and politics. One way is to respectfully listen to their concerns but to address them practically instead of emotionally.

One reason we’ve gotten in this mess is that the right (left brained) had forgotten about the weak since they are more stoic and bootstrappy, and value overcoming above all else. But weak people can become overstressed trying to keep up. It takes a lot of discernment to accommodate that. Emotionalism spoils, but rationalism can neglect. I think rationalism is better though because most people should be incentivized and motivated to improve themselves, and rationalism can eventually figure out how to measure and accommodate true weakness. For example, measuring stress hormones, bio chemical feedback, etc. Emotionalism/compassion is too easily manipulated and used to incite people.

*one of the speakers is an expert on the left and right brain.

** they talk a lot about the new alternative media.

Meanings

by Andrea Elizabeth

I’ve now listened to episodes 14 and 15 of Vervaeke’s Meaning Crisis where he discusses the Cynics and the Stoics. What has left an impression is 1, separating meaning from an event, and 2, not wanting immortality because of perpetuating mistakes or unworthiness.

They probably left an impression because I disagree. I have noticed that the stimulations of conflict, being upset, or problem analysis does help me form my words. It’s probably an Aspergers thing.

Regarding the first, let’s say one feels one was wrong to attach meaningfulness to a wedding ceremony that proved not to be permanent or was based on mis-informed consent. I would say this opens a whole can of worms regarding the nature of sacraments, but let’s simplify it by reducing it to a vow or promise. Btw, there are no vows in an Orthodox wedding ceremony. How about we say there is not just one meaning attached to a promise like that it only means simplistic fidelity. How about the possibility that there are 20 meaningful levels to a promise including those made at different levels of awareness and understanding of the different natures and depths of the promise and the different ways of breaking it, such as thoughts and flirtations vs consummations. There is also the complication of agreeing where the line is and how much one is willing to overlook and forgive. And expectations of associated feelings. Since there are so many ways of looking at a promise, does that mean the meaning has been taken out of the event? I’d say only if one breaks it, whatever that means. And is a person still bound though one thinks it is broken or never existed?

Same with life after death. Let’s say you are living at a certain level of self awareness and disappointment that you don’t want to be in perpetually. Who’s to say that that is your only level? What if it can get better? And just because you don’t want to keep existing doesn’t mean no one else wants you to. If you blew it with your family, maybe you have other valuable contributions that make you worth while to other people. I think most people need disappointment management rather than just meditative emptying.

Would someone who believes in resurrection believe that the meaning of death has been taken out of the event? I’d say it again shows the different levels of meanings. One is separated to a large extent from their bodies. Not completely, because of miracle working relics and perhaps a heightened since of awareness of what is going on around their bodies, which is one reason it is important to lay the person to rest properly.

I won’t go into the materialist view of minds not existing without brains, but it is curious to me how such a person can speak of meanings not being attached to events. Or meaning at all. I’m still listening though and could maybe benefit from a second viewing.

And separating meaning from having sex probably causes more problems than it solves. This is why it bothers me when they say rape is about violence and control rather than sex. How about sex means joining with someone no matter what. Thus the raped woman has been joined involuntarily to someone who has changed her forever so that now she and her possible child are now joined to a violent thief whom they don’t love for the rest of their lives. You can’t just rationalize it away.

Trigger response

by Andrea Elizabeth

I’m trying to catch up on the Vervaeke series, but meanwhile I’ve watched a couple of Rebel Wisdom Jamie Wheal videos (first one). He’s an Integral Theory expander.

The nice thing about meditation, discussed in the second one, is that it can calm you down. The thing I’m not hearing is proper threat analysis. We have a fight or flight response on purpose. What I didn’t like and what the left did like about Obama was that he hypnotized everyone into not caring. This is great for people who hate confrontation and conflict. I agree however that bringing a hammer to a taffy pulling party is overkill.

In the first video of Wheal, he mentioned Trump as a catastrophe without substantiating the claim. That is a triggered response. I read a NYT article on exactly how Trump is supposedly “destabilizing democracy” and did not recognize any of the points as actually happening. I agree that sometimes Trump’s descriptions are a little simplistic and should be more nuanced, but so should the critics’. They should also look at his actions to get a better picture, as well as be more honest about precedents of such actions.

Hypervillification is annoying, but so is minimalization. Maybe being triggered isn’t the only problem, but also how the others respond. What I see is an equal and opposite trigger, or a condescending patronizing relativism. At the end Wheal said an advanced move is when you can dispassionately name your response. I think it was a turning point in the Newman channel 4 interview when Jordan Peterson said, ‘you are coming at me very hard, and it is very uncomfortable’. Did Wheal try that when the identity politicians side-railed the ocean conference?

addendum: could the decreased energy in the last 10 minutes be due to being asked to reveal too much content in the new book?

And did Jordan Peterson deflate in the Zizek interview when Zizek went overboard in his criticism when asked why he supported Marxism after he’d spent all his time before that preempting criticism of it?

Co-suffering

by Andrea Elizabeth

For the past several years my daughter has suffered nosebleeds either during the Pascha service, Holy Friday or Holy Saturday. We usually attribute it to the lack of regular sources of protein during Lent. Lots of people get sick at the end too. This year I joked with her that maybe it’s the stigmata. She didn’t know what the stigmata is, so after explaining it to her I ended up looking up famous stigmatists. The most credible one to me is (warning, hers is copious) Therese Neuman. This article is a bit sarcastic, but has good information.

All this got me thinking about different roles attributed to suffering. It seems to me that the Orthodox view is that we suffer as a consequence of our own sinfulness and that we can be purified through pain. Catholics, on the other hand, have instances of vicarious suffering, where one can donate their suffering to help another, sort of like an indulgence, or that they can co-suffer with Christ – the stigmata. This implies that they’re already good enough with God so that their own suffering is superfluous unless they give it to someone else.

I have thought that some suffering can be viewed as a tool to understand how Christ felt and to appreciate his Passion. But is voluntary suffering in order to take on the punishment that will thus be redirected from another, either from Christ or other recipients? As if God is offended and there is a mandatory reaction that must be vented because to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The score must be settled. This is the substitutionary atonement theory, as far as I understand it.

Or one could say that there is a certain amount of existential damage in the world, from our sin, that results in indiscriminate suffering by random people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time, and anyone can make themselves a purposeful target so that they can draw it away from someone who may not be prepared for it. It’s not retribution but mathematical consequence, like a side effect.

I heard one Orthodox person say in response to the question, why do people still die since Christ conquered death? We die because Christ died. But ours is not voluntary, and everyone does it, so dying doesn’t seem like a particularly Christian thing to do.

I also don’t think every suffering is a result of personal sin. Psalms 37 says don’t be envious if sinful people have it easy, and righteous people don’t. I’m sure a lot of it is a consequence of personal sin, but not all. Martyrs suffer as witnesses to righteousness, not sin.

My answer is, what is mercy if it doesn’t hurt? Mercy cost Mary stabbing pain in her heart. It caused Christ’s wounds on the cross and his forbearance with people who should have known better. I don’t think we can be confident that our ledger is so in the black that we can donate our surplus of suffering, but it can help us recall  and appreciate Christ’s and His Mother’s sufferings for our salvation and motivate us to pray for others for whatever benefit it may give to them.

Stunning male displays

by Andrea Elizabeth

Up until Dawkins refused to discuss evolutionary contributions to genocidal tendencies a la The Selfish Gene, maybe a third of the way through, there was substantive discussion. After that they stayed in the weeds, although Weinstein later said the latter part was purposeful in confronting Dawkins’s wrong headed definition of religion as a mind virus.

But before that they were discussing natural selection in female birds choosing male birds with the best displays. The problem with evolutionary thought peaking in the 60’s and 70’s is that they think everything is about sexiness. In watching my cardinals in my backyard, I see the committed bright red male serving as a decoy to potential predators. The more distractingly dazzling he is and the more mousy she is, the more approachers will watch him instead of her so that she can safely bear the young. Women are very largely interested in being protected by capable men. They also discuss how few males get all the girls, and blame it on women always choosing the sexiest guy. Many male courtship rituals involve them violently getting rid of each other. Also, conquering males tend to be the most energetic and motivated to take all the females either by force or by having the most energy which is also attractive to females, which has many advantages besides sexiness.

Svante Paabo in one of his talks said that it is likely that the contribution of Neanderthals to humans was because human females found the males sexy. That is such a narrow assumption. Maybe it makes some feminists happy to believe that women are the drivers of evolution, but others who think many women are made to be mothers by victimization see it differently.

Disclaimer, I am not a proponent of natural selection except in micro evolution, aka adaptation.

IMO, the selfish gene came about through the fall when man rejected God’s provision and had to fend for himself. The pleasure/pain mode is second choice but is a reasonably good way for secular people to behave through consequences. We do seem to be at a crossroads with technology becoming powerful enough to make humans more capable of permanent harm, but I am optimistic that humans will find health and beauty pleasurable enough to fix things. Weinstein seems more pessimistic.