There is a lens to our awareness of others that we constantly have to adjust for context and proximity. For example, the personality of a comedian is one that often explodes the personal to mythic proportions for laughs, and as the audience grows, the message changes because the audience and impact also changes and the comic must take responsibility or create derision. But, as ego also inflates with the kind of surreal success of celebrity (often) it tends to shut off empathy. The very thing that gave them insight when they started, becomes their blind spot. And those they love, loved and lost, suffer in that darkness too. It is a trajectory we see often in those we once considered “great”.
What I learned about migraine from his book made such a difference to my life, though not enough G.P.’s read it or understand that a migraine is not just a bad headache! But more, what I learned about being neurologically different, that it didn’t mean you were “wrong” and that the difficulties one might suffer making connections with others didn’t define the value of those connections or the person who often has had to be very strong, very brave and very creative to be known, well, that changed the world for me.
I just finished “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande and now I am reading, “The Man Who Wasn’t There, Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self” by Anil Ananthaswarmy. The first made me feel a lot better about my mother’s death, which was a “good death” all in all. He makes reference to several other books which put me on another path of reading, hence “The Man Who…”
“Thinking Fast and Slow” is the next one I hope to get from the library although I am 369th on a waiting list.
I have had a few experiences and I possess a few patterns, at times frightening and other times wonderful . But I have never enjoyed being “odd” or “weird” except perhaps when I finally gave up trying and just practiced Zazen and Tai Chi a lot. It is exciting for me to learn that neurology is coming up with some very neat connections; New ideas that sometime sound like Buddhist psychology, Zen, Shinjin. 🙂
Originally posted 2010
A few years ago I had just gotten out of the hospital when I learned of the tsunami that hit South East Asia. I remember thinking, wow, the earth is way more upset than I am. I had started crying for no reason and could not stop so I checked in to the hospital after not […]
I am very sorry for those affected by the shootings on the Danforth in Toronto. I was heading away from the Danforth to my home in Scarborough a short time before this and went to bed without ever a thought that this could happen, especially in such a friendly neighbourhood…
I woke up this morning thinking about people who hate.
I know the popular rhetoric is to call all violent acts “terrorism” and then look for ways to identify an individual with a group; hell, the sad and crazy bastards greatest hope is that you will do this rather than look at how sad and crazy they are.
I know it is not a popular idea to examine the machinery of hatred as mental illness. (I don’t believe in letting anyone off the hook, I just think there has to be a response to hatred that has the greatest success in disarming the hater).
People Who Just Hate: PWJH
This group is easy to identify. They justify things by blaming others. They think if they get away with something it is divine providence, and when the shit hits the fan they imagine they are martyrs for some greater cause, regardless of how nuts it might be, or that they are victims themselves. They have no perspective, no empathy and are either isolated or only associating with others who are equally unhappy and insane.
Some of them have children. All of them were children once.
Everything that causes suffering starts with what we show and teach children. If we don’t have a society that puts the care and education of its children first, this includes helping parents, fathers, mothers, single mothers also, in getting the emotional, nutritional and housing support they need; addressing child abuse; addressing domestic abuse; we will end up with fractures in the society that will frequently lead to violence.