Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Chill Factor's High (not only via the weather)

Yesterday morning, with my first mug of coffee I read three articles at Common Dreams:
Tom Engelhardt:
Scared to Death in the USA

Chris Hedges:
Shielding a Flickering Flame

Paul Buchheit:
Unequal Beyond the Edge of Humanness

I then felt absolutely dispirited, generally depressed. There was nothing in the articles of which I was not already aware, but seeing it all put into words - again - by good and knowledgeable writers turns up the chill factor by many notches.

What's the best antidote to this kind of affliction? I took a quick look around the net for advice. There are such suggestions as replacing negative thoughts with positive ones; challenging the reasonableness of negative thoughts; escaping via listening to music, reading a novel, watching TV, taking a break from whatever work one does; sharing worries with a trusted companion.


Replace negative with positive thoughts: "we're all going to Hell in a handbasket one way or another" / "No!. We can slow down the journey, there are ways".

Challenge reasonableness of negative thoughts: Messrs Engelhardt, Hedges and Buchheit write well, are well-meaning, but could tend to overstate problems in order to attract readers. There are problems, of course, serious ones, but spreading negativity will not solve them, it'll simply depress enthusiasm for doing so.

Escaping? Fine, for a time, for as long as it takes to achieve renewed enthusiasm to fight for better things - getting a "second wind".

Sharing worries - good idea, but trying not to also share negativity by doing so would be better. Sharing and seeking the positive from the negative - there always has to be a positive, to balance the negative - nature demands it!

I'm not sure whether that helped at all, so does anyone else have ideas on how to deal with what we have to deal with - apart from not reading articles at Common Dreams, sticking our heads in the sand and letting the rest of the world go by?


Anonymous said...

Here's some news we could use:

mike said...

Well, Twilight, I believe Earth-life is best comprehended when not on Earth...it probably will make a lot more sense at that time. But, that requires a notion of something beyond Earth-life. I can say only for myself that my life resembles a bit of "agony & ecstasy"...something that I must have needed, as the lessons I've learned could only be administered through this life.

Kicking that a bit further along the trail, there is a uniqueness that can only be discovered and experienced when shared with humanity. I suspect in the end, we are all one, and not the separate entities we experience while in this life. What we do to another, we do to ourselves. Karma in the fast lane.

Being the amateur astrologer that I am, I also know that we are in a very perplexing era...it's meant to have a frustrating edge...that's what will further us all along, somehow. Changes can come faster through discontent rather than contentment. So, we are right on schedule.

Regarding the three writers that you've linked, these three writers make a living and a lot of money appealing to their audiences through their prose of reiterating unpleasant truths. Nothing that I can't do on my own via my local and national news, but these three do it so much better and with such zeal. It brings-out the "victim" in us, which I know that you disagree, Twilight, but their missives are very selective toward "it's their fault" and we are mere innocents of "them". We all play a role in how things came about to haunt us now, like it or not...and we constantly make decisions that keep us entrained (or not).

I think it's very helpful to keep a sense of humor about it all...it's history repeating itself over and over. People have roles to play (astrology at work?) just like the entire world is a stage (haven't I heard that before?).

I like to get lost in a delightful novel that can call upon my mind to be creative with filling-in the scenery between the words. As we've both discussed lightly, "The Paradise" was a very pleasant distraction, albeit, scenery filled-in. I bake bread, bicycle, garden, walk, read, and have a jobby. Important to be creative within our lives and to take time to take-in the natural scenery (mixed with the human edifices of modern civilization).

There's much to marvel about, if one leaves the human domain.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ Thank you! The positive side sounds promising - negative not so much. But that's as expected. :-)

mike (again) said...

Re: Paul Buchheit's very last line quoting Ayn Rand's, "If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject."

"Those who reject the principle of selfishness will find in the history of ethics two main alternatives. One is the primordial and medieval theory that man should sacrifice himself to the supernatural. The second is the theory that man should sacrifice himself for the sake of other men. The second is known as "altruism," which is not a synonym for kindness, generosity, or good will, but the doctrine that man should place others above self as the fundamental rule of life."

"The problem is a conflict in terms. People tend to assume that "altruism" is semantically synonymous with "generosity," but not everyone is using that definition. David Kelly, the executive director of the Atlas Society writes in his essay, "Altruists argue that life presents us with a basic choice: we must either sacrifice others to ourselves, or sacrifice ourselves to others." Rand and Kelly reject this choice as false."

I am not an altruist by its true definition, nor am I selfish, by its true definition. I am somewhere between, much like Rand would propose that most should be.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks mike. You're right, these feelings of discontent and frustration will, when felt widely enough, spur some kind of action and change. It's nature's way, I guess.

And yes, I agree also that we are at a rather dark and sticky recurring stage of our natural cycle of history and destiny. It has to be lived through to get to t'other side of it.

Sense of humour is essential, especially when living, as we do in red red states. Maybe this is our role then - to be some of the few. :-/

I still dislike the word "victim" in this context, but understand what you mean about the 3 writers' pieces I mentioned. However, I do feel that it has been "their fault" and not the fault of "we the people" in most recent years/decade(s). Things have become impossible for "we the people" to attempt change due, in large part, to the Supreme Court's decision on citizen's United, which opened the gate for corporate money to buy elections, and media already bought off, on a bigger scale then ever before.

We've been through (on this blog) all the ways and choices open to each of us to make our changes in our own little worlds - I admire all of such efforts but they ain't gonna change much in the big picture, sorry to say. These efforts probably act as a salve to frustrations though, which is good, as long as not blinding people to that all important big picture.

There is much to marvel about in nature - for now. The foliage colours this fall, just around and about our town has been the best I've seen since I've lived here. Gorgeous!

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ You have great faith in Ayn Rand!

"the morality of altruism" to me means concern for the welfare of others, not necessarily sacrificing self - that'd be extreme, except perhaps in times of war. Balancing one's own needs and those of one's family and dependents with the needs of those worse off seems to me to be a civilised frame of mind rather than any high fallutin' -ism.