Human Contact

I have a bad attitude, sure. There’s the waiver, and if you think that means I must be wrong, then move along, we’re not going to be able to actually communicate across that gulf. We live in different worlds.

You know I basically think it about those of you who stay, too. Sorry, Canadian “Aloha,” or “Shalom.” I am sorry, my sorry butt apologizes. If it helps, this one’s about me falling for positive nonsense too, most of the time. And I’m at the computer because I’m ready to fight back, I think I’ve got an answer, and yes, it’s sort of automatic at this point, much of this I don’t have to sit down and work through like arithmetic, it’s compulsive and these answers grab me when I’m pouring a cup of tea, or planning something else and they send me here in a hurry, like some sort of textual IBS.

(But then I get lost in the usual ten years and first page of preamble and often forget the insight and it’s back again next week. I don’t want to work myself out of a job, I guess.)

It’s all the same principle, but I seem to believe it and I’m engaged in an ongoing audit of what I used to think, what you all apparently think now, and this Murphy’s Law of Nature/Antisocialization Theory is slowly replacing everything it touches, like evolution audited and continues to audit the life sciences.

The pressure for positivity is constant.

I’ve always felt it, always sort of railed against it – but don’t listen to me, I have “depression.” It used to mean sad for no reason, pathological, and I railed against it then. These days it means sad when you have to go to work, no matter what the reason. Imagine how much I like that sort of talk now. OK, on with it, sort of.

You know, my whole focus, my “theory,” basically to talk about stuff everyone knows and no-one considers worth talking about, it’s all about us messing with one another, about us hurting one another, reinforcing one another’s anger and madness, basically being bad influences upon each other, much of it done for reasons, good, inescapable reasons, if you believe what humans say on the subject, and Good Lord, see paragraph one.

When I first cracked Trivers’ book on deception and self deception, I was beyond excited, I was scared, not kidding. My inner life is my life, yours isn’t? How are you supposed to think about self-deception, like with your own brain? Learning about learning, thinking about thinking, that’s taking the editor to you operating code, isn’t it? OK, it isn’t, or maybe not for everyone, but it sounded like it. When he opened with his self-effacing story about his own thieving left hand apparently operating autonomously, that didn’t exactly put me at ease. I almost went to “what kind of monster thinks he can write this book?”

But mostly I just thought how is it possible?

I didn’t assume he’d miss it and it would suck. I suppose it could be “positivity,” and I try to shoot my own sacred cows if I see them, but the idea that Bob is smarter than me is one such cow I have not yet considered shooting, that and death. Taxes, well that’s a political lie. Of course some folks escape taxes.

Well, he didn’t completely turn his whole brain inside out, not permanently, or mine either, thank goodness. It was the Nurture Assumption did that! And for opposite reasons. That one was a right-wing lie, a status quo tome marketed as a revolution. From my POV now, it exposed a deep human truth as a foundationless lie we all live with for no apparent reason. It gave me my insight though, inspiringly offensive, that was! I loved her voice, she’s a real pro writer, and it doesn’t seem malicious – just misguided. Her guide, on the other hand, he seems to not mind being associated with the wrong sorts of people.

The Folly of Fools, on the other hand, is a level up in one’s understanding, a maturation all around.

Nothing to fear but fear itself! It’s all just electrons moving around in the end, same as the computer, right? Happiness is resilience, I do better when I think I’m learning, even if it’s nasty old nature stuff.

Man, I wasn’t kidding! What was today’s topic again?

(Scrolling up . . . ah yes! That’s why the hurry. Sometimes if I pick a meaningful title and get it down fast, that helps.)

Human contact, social connections – first, on a personal note, that’s YOU for me. YOU could interact a little, just saying. I don’t think it’s a coincidence I am left alone to my thoughts and feelings so utterly and then when I try to talk, I call you all dumb, violent apes. Chicken or egg deal, but I wasn’t always alone, I’ve been thoroughly dumped, so I’m going with “egg.”(I do anyway in that riddle, for real. Evolution means that the first chicken egg did indeed not issue from a chicken, but from some ancestor because there weren’t always chickens because there wasn’t always everything just as God made it, world without beginning or end. Because that. Riddles show your paradigm to be past its usefulness.) OK, to business, you trapped and used and wishing for better dumb, violent apes with dreams!

Any better? I said I was sorry.

You need your human contact, everyone says it, and frankly, we are not such an agreeable species that consensuses like these should not be viewed with the utmost cynicism. Everybody always says things that are clearly true all day long, right, because we all somehow intuit that only we can see this obvious truth? Truths that everyone knows and agree with always require constant vocalization and support, right? Call me paranoid; it doesn’t matter. I know you’re one of them, ha.

To repeat, my whole idea is that humans spend a whole lot of time bashing each other into line and brutalizing one another’s feelings in endless cycles of abuse that add up to any other nation would be insane to invade us, because we are wild, crazy, uncontrollable armed  . . . I am trying not to swear. Have I already? No? Good for me! Armed . . . good ol’ boys, then, I guess. This is my narrative, my EP, which I set against the world of illusion story about how this abusive control of one another has made us good, kind, cooperative, empathetic – sorry to repeat a recent blog, but, this sure is a lovely list of words, isn’t it?

This, from punishment, which, I am going to swear, I am going to scream, which shut up and don’t argue, I’m sorry, this is why no-one engages, I know, good, civilized punishment and discipline are composed mostly of abuse, it’s the obvious major component. You’ve told me a million times, everyone always, and again messaging you can never escape must be true, right, but tell me how, tell me why that’s supposed to be “good” for you?

So you’re lying about even believing that the bad, illegal stuff is actually “bad” for you with this line of reasoning? This one hundred percent pure alcohol is poison, but this ninety present stuff will restore your health? I’m saying, if you drink the ninety percent stuff, you don’t really believe it’s good for you. If you drink the ninety percent stuff, you know every morning that the truth is the other way around.

OK, I have been beating that drum forever now, websites have been born and died while I screamed that same, seems to me simple bit of logic. Humour me for a moment, assume it’s true yourself, just a little thought experiment:

If it’s true, how is this other meme true, we all need social connections, we die without them? Isn’t it just saying again, what humans have for you, that’s good for you, like no matter what the . . oops, no matter what that may be? Again, blanket statements everyone is compelled to make at one another all day long, I don’t think Bob spent a lot of time on that, but that’s what I got out of it – of course those must be true!

I was in a very bad way when I first began my new life alone, and I bought in, I had had a breakdown, I was alone for the first time, I was terrified, and Facebook over that first Christmas was torture. Remember folks, while you’re celebrating, to reach out to those less fortunate, some folks in your life are having a hard time, people need people, it’s hormones, science . . .

I’ve been dumped, I’m alone and what am I doing, that’s dangerous, you fool! You need those connections, you are at risk!

I bought in, scared me more, it’s science, right? Who am I to argue?

Well, therein lies another joke, another upside-down thing in the world: who is this particular would be writer if I don’t? That’s pretty much my gender and my identity. Sorry. You’re reading me online, so you know. Some things can’t be unseen. Even unseen things, oddly enough.

I know, complain about Facebook, fine, but that’s actual science, from folks I am still impressed by, too, Trivers, Sapolsky. Not to forget Alice Miller and psychology either, I know, so there is truth, we need the eggs. All I’m saying is that that truth will have to coexist with AST, with me and Murphy’s Law of Nature. It’s true, sure it’s true – but it’s a social lie that it carries along with it that it’s the only thing that’s true.

And that is clearly not the case.

The ubiquity of the message, that everyone gives it, that it leaves no room for anything else . . . a fourth time, these are not the hallmarks of veracity.

If it were even the majority truth, that human contact is good for you, then we would get more and more passive with population pressure, wouldn’t we? Your kid would slowly get nicer at school and if human contact makes us better, then what monsters were we when we were born to have been molded and nurtured by all this healthy contact for twenty years and turn out as a standard, no frills, twenty-year-old man?

Do I need to spell that out?

All that nice psychology and science on Facebook (and everywhere else, of course) supports the warrior society status quo, of course, if you know me, of course that’s what’s going on, what the ladies call “the patriarchy,” and honestly, that’s close enough for me, it’s a world closer than the stupid origin story the boys tell about war and civilization. It hasn’t been easy for me to separate this patriarchy talk, to stop defending my own penis, but this is the truth, we are close, Ladies, two orders of magnitude closer to one another than I am to the boys in this conversation. I would hand you the world right now; it couldn’t hurt. Hoit, I mean. Sorry, Bugs, I don’t mean to steal without citation.

Basically, this society’s consensus when you’re alone is you need to get up and back into the battle, some battle. That’s why a testosterone supplement gets as much respect as therapy. And maybe it’s all true, God forbid, but I’m too dumb to be afraid to ask the question: what if that’s true, what if I need the contact, the oxytocin or whatever and if I have to join the war, well, soldiers really do make big, important social connections, right, brothers in arms? It’s possible that is also a description of what Facebook and Sapolsky are telling us, isn’t it?

(Gawd, he must be a sad one. He’s been thirty years ahead of me on this, he’s been here forever, poor bastard, to put it in Hunter S. Thompson terms.)

Well, that’s the part of the story I wanted to make sure you don’t escape anyway. We will be, I’m tired of this meme, subject to our unconscious biology forever if we can only think that single step ahead, like “you need social connections,” like, your social connections are problematic.

We have to grow up and start to ask, sure human contact, but to what end?

What is it they do when they get together?

OK, that was almost an ending, but I should try to make a case, maybe a personal one. I reacted badly, I admit it, and honestly, I did so, almost consciously, or at least I’m believing my own “I meant to do that” story now. I reacted badly to my ousting and divorce, and I can’t imagine how I wouldn’t have chosen the same again if I could have again. It was high time for me to react, period, somehow, to something, and maybe a good reaction wouldn’t have satisfied.

This has felt like trauma happening to me from external sources, but I know I’m the one making the following choices, even if I still think there weren’t other options: once I lost my ladies, I shed everyone else too, and I have failed to make new friends, some online folks being the exceptions. But at least some I cannot regret.

One fellow was a real bro type, a Trumpie type, a soldier. I parted with him over Roy Moore and him calling Moore’s accusers “fake.” This fellow’s best friend half his life was exactly a Roy Moore type, and everyone knew it, forever. Must be fake, right?

One was a cocaine addict who would call having fronted to get high and needed money to keep him out of the harbour. Those were my last two male friends within a thousand miles, Trumpie misogynist and an addict with enforcers in tow – do I need those connections? What if I’m a believer, I think I need connections, and that’s all that’s available?

Then Facebook and science and the whole world is advising me, it’s a matter of life and death!

To be fair, none of them say “even when they’re this bad,” but they don’t not say it either. Aren’t we all sinners, deserve a chance and need the connections – even guys with guy problems like that? That’s the message and it works for the never-ending warrior society. I felt the pressure.

But I’m feeling much better now, ha.

 

Jeff,

Sept. 21st., 2019

My Journey into Parenting

When we finally caught pregnant and made it past the first three months, we decided we were on our way, and we set up a bedroom for the baby. We cleaned a room, painted it, and found a nice crib – but before the baby arrived, we had changed our minds. We’d been thinking and talking a lot about raising children, and it had occurred to us that no animal on earth except Homo Sapiens Sapiens puts their infants away from them like that, out of arms’ reach, especially down the hallway in another room. Just imagine our closest primate relatives, the chimpanzees or bonobos having a separate nest for their babies, where they would be easy pickings for predators of all sorts! We had learned to see that idea as counter-intuitive at best, completely unnatural in the mid-range, and a total set-up for even the worst kinds of abuse – privacy for any horrible act by anyone –in the worst case. We placed the crib against our bed, with the bedside wall taken off. We became a ‘family bed’ family, and remained as one for longer than we ever would have imagined, long past what was to be a lengthy nursing period. It was just the most natural, most loving, and the safest thing to do.

I don’t know when it hit me exactly. I know it came out of what I’ve called ‘the many problems’ in the first few chapters, the umpteen sorts of failed childhoods that people spend their lives recovering from and my suspicion that everyone is suffering that sort of pain, even those who can’t claim one of the popular abuse syndromes. There was something else, too. It was the disenchantment of growing up, the feeling of having been lied to – well, that’s too strong, but I never have been free of a certain childish judgement that life was not what it should be. As a young man, I read about Maya, the world of illusion, in “The Glass Bead Game” the Hermann Hesse novel, and some yoga book, and it struck a chord in me. I think I’ve always seen two worlds at once, the world we have and the one we only say we have. I think in the one we say we have, children are loved, the policeman is your friend, the western world is full of functional democracies, and there are good people and bad people. In that world, we can change the bad people by hurting them.

In the world we have, however, hurting people only hurts them.

In the world we really have, punishing people only hurts them. Punishing people has all the negative effects that abusing them has, and that is our state of affairs, that is what has happened to very nearly all of us. This was my epiphany. Punishment is abuse, only legitimate: abuse with an excuse.

The Common Denominator

There are many ways in which child-rearing can be mishandled, many sorts of trauma and many corresponding types of damage that we suffer. As I said earlier, raising children is not what we call a ‘mature science,’ and although we may think it is, in actuality, the scientific method has really never been applied to it. In a sense, I think the old one about the elephant being examined and described by a group of blind men is appropriate –

One man at the elephant’s backside feels the tail and says “an elephant is very like a rope.”

One at the side says “an elephant is very like a wall.”

One at the trunk says “an elephant is very like a snake.”

One feels a leg and declares “an elephant is very like a tree.”

The story has many versions and there is more to it, but the aspect I’m going for here are the several different views from various limited perceptions of one unimaginable thing. I think it’s most likely that the varying forms of childhood trauma may all be aspects of a single, larger thing, and that thing is our belief in punishing, our faith that a process of ‘bringing the pain’ produces good things in us and in the world. It is this belief that helps to make all the forms of childhood trauma either more justifiable, or at least easier to hide.

Psychology has put forth the idea that abuse and trauma are damaging to people, particularly developing people, meaning children. I think this broad idea is largely accepted among the majority. There is a lot of material about it, and types of abuse and its effects are many and well documented. There is no end to the number of the types of childhood damage that can be named, among them, issues of

– Physical abuse
– Sexual abuse
– Abandonment
– Alcoholism and drug addiction
– Verbal abuse
– Emotional abuse

This is not a complete list, and of course some of these categories overlap, and include one another to some degree or other, but it serves to make a point. Again, there are many ways in which child-rearing can go wrong, many types of trauma that can affect us, and many sorts of damage that former children can and do live with, with varying degrees of success.

Much of psychology and personal counselling deals in the details of these particular sorts of problems. There are substance abuse counsellors, rape or incest counsellors and support groups. Often there are very specific things that can be pointed out to people, very specific errors left in the victims’ minds due to the type of abusive environment, or more to the point, many specific kinds of emotional support for the type of feelings that result from it. Of course, these kinds of support and therapies are well informed and well intentioned, and provide a great deal of help for a lot of people. It’s all good. Having said that however, it does sometimes seem that everybody can find one or more of these specific errors in their own childhoods, it can become unavoidable to think that everyone has problems, and if so, that maybe we are getting bogged down in the details, and that all the various forms of abuse might be masking a bigger problem. At some point, it starts to appear that rather than all these kinds of trauma being distinct things in themselves, that they may in fact be various aspects of a larger, almost universal cause, the common denominator in the equation, or perhaps a common facilitator that makes them all possible.

– here’s part #2

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2013/12/16/the-common-denominator-part-2/