Self-Serving Guilt

Guilt is the most destructive, paralyzing feeling of all. It’s a horrible burden that crushes people and demolishes their lives. I want to suggest a productive way of addressing guilt and getting from under its weight. Please understand that I’m not talking about a short-term, situational experience. I accidentally stepped on a person’s foot in line for coffee today and I felt bad. But I’m now very much over it. The guilt that I want to address here is the kind that people carry around for a long time. Weeks, months, years. 

We all know that guilt is painful. However, if we cling to it for such a protracted period of time, this means it is serving some purpose for us. Nobody would engage in an activity over a significant period of time if that activity didn’t carry significant benefits. If we feel guilty, it means we need to feel this way. Unearthing the benefits guilt brings to our lives will be the first step on the way of healing.

Here are some possibilities:

1. Guilt can offer an illusion of control. If I caused these horrible events, then the world can ultimately be controlled by me in all of its unpredictability.

2. Guilt can offer an excuse for stasis. If things I do have such bad consequences, here is a great excuse to do nothing.

3. Guilt can allow one not to grow. If I’m stuck on this action I feel so guilty about, I will forever remain at the age when I committed it. People who feel guilty about things they did 30 years ago show this same kind of immaturity in every single other context, as well. 

4. Guilt can reinforce the image of oneself as a hopelessly rotten, bad individual. There is nothing than the human psyche values more than stability and lack of change. Guilt might be a nifty little mechanism that perpetuates this sweet feeling of personal uselessness and rottenness. 

Now, the purpose of the exercise is not to feel even more guilty for being a controlling, infantile individual with no desire to move ahead. Doing so would not change the situation. What would help is identify the roots of the problem. How did I come by the feeling of myself as bad? Why am I afraid of growth? Which responsibilities that the guilt is allowing me to avoid do I fear? Why do I fear them so much?

The important thing to remember is that guilt is destroying you and people around you. There are no healthy purposes it can serve, none whatsoever. Whenever you engage in feeling guilty, you are doing something deeply unhealthy. Now is the time to stop. Lay down this burden and start walking away from it. And this will be the best thing you can do for yourself and everybody else.

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The Two Sides of the Climate Change Debate

The climate change issue has very kooky people on both sides. There are the denialists who think that “it snowed a lot last winter which means there isn’t any global warming” is an actual argument that it is acceptable to use in conversations with adults. They also have a second argument which sounds something like, “Scientists who study climate change get paid for their work which means there is no global warming.” We haven’t yet heard this argument applied to cancer research but I’m not discarding the possibility we might one day.

On the other side of the issue, we have the believers. If they managed to be at least marginally calm and non-hysterical, they could do a lot of good. Sadly, however, they have chosen as their only strategy the painting of apocalyptic pictures of everybody’s imminent demise amidst excruciating suffering. A psychologically healthy person is not going to listen to this doom-and-gloom howling for longer than two minutes.

So the issue is stuck between the idiots and the weirdos and nothing gets done.

World ‘s Most Powerful Leader

An article in the leading newspaper of Spain is discussing the idea that Putin is the world’s most powerful leader as a very wide-spread and commonly accepted one. The article’s author agrees with this belief but points out that Putin’s power will not be long-lasting.

Be that as it may, today nobody even doubts that Putin is the most powerful leader in the world. As the Russians say, a holy place will never remain empty. When the US steps back, somebody has to step forward, and the likelihood it will be somebody better is pretty much nil.

Russia’s Next President

The billionaire gangster Khodorkovsky has announced he wants to become the president of Russia. If anybody has been wondering what could be worse than Putin, this is worse.

Both of these animals belong to the same organization – the one that used to be called KGB. So ideologically, the difference is nil. However, Khodorkovsky has pumped enormous amounts of money into buying the loyalty of every public intellectual and dissident (these words mean the same thing) in Russia. Putin is supported by 86% of Russians. Khodorkovsky will do all the same things but his support will be 100%. Even the current anemic and pathetic dissident movement will not exist any longer.

Rapes in Rotherham, Part II

In societies that have more or less entered into modernity, women can afford to discuss at enormous length whether they are victimized by a stranger greeting them in the street or by the invention of a roofie-detecting nail polish. And that’s not a bad thing. To the contrary, it is absolutely phenomenal because it means that all of the more serious problems have already been resolved.

Such places, however, are small oases in the desert of the horrifying, degrading treatment women are subjected to in pre- modern societies. The only way for women in these pre-modern societies at least minimally to reduce constant brutalization is to position themselves, as vividly as possible, as some man’s possession. Then they will be animalized by that man but it will be just one torturer instead of a thousand. Last week, UNICEF released a detailed report on this. Please read it if you are still in any doubt as to how horrifying the lives of women are in today’s pre-modern societies.

So what happens when a man from such a pre-modern society arrives in a fully modern one? If the man in question is uneducated, stupid, and scared of an incomprehensible world, he will look around Derby or Rotherham or Montreal, see women who are marked as a man’s possession by all sorts of shrouds and let them be. Then he will see women who are not draped and hidden, i. e. not marked as possessions, and will feel free to brutalize them and make them his own possessions.

When I was in the UK 2 years ago, I was horrified by the sight of veritable procession of these shrouded women who only had small holes in the shrouds for their eyes. The shrouded women were normally accompanied by men who were ogling the non-shrouded women in really offensive ways. I found it impossible to understand why the British society felt it was ok to degrade me in this way for the sake of protecting somebody’s right to mark women as possessions.

Some people are tempted to make this about religion. But if you are one of those people, then you are not adapting to modernity all that well either. In modern societies, religion doesn’t matter because it is relegated to the realm of the deeply personal. The need to inflict your holy book on others is a sign of pre-modern mentality. People who are comfortable with modernity don’t mind keeping their holy books to themselves.

Now, what can be done about all this?

The only way to prevent the horror of Rotherham from repeating itself over and over again is to reverse the idiotic policies of multiculturalism immediately. The idea that all cultures are equally valuable should be abandoned. All forms of attire that mark women as possessions should be banned and prosecuted in civilized countries in the same way as incitement to hate crimes is prosecuted. There should be intense public shaming of anybody who suggests segregation of women, selling children in marriage, etc. There should be constant efforts to desegregate immigrants and educate them about modern values.

In Quebec, there was an attempt to position the society as a fully modern one by banning religious garb in publicly owned spaces. Sadly, the people of Quebec haven’t seen the enormous civilizational potential of this initiative and chose to sacrifice it to identity politics. Obviously, there was not a peep out of Quebec’s feminist organizations on the subject. There is hardly a woman in Quebec who hasn’t been harassed or degraded by a man from a pre- modern society, yet the sacred cow of “all cultures are equally valuable” is preventing Québécois feminists from doing anything about the problem.

It seems that even the absolute horror of female victimization in Rotherham is not enough for us to accept that cultures where girls are genitally mutilated, sold into marriage at the age of 8, denied the right to control their bodies and manage their lives are worse than cultures where none of this is happening. A culture where a gay couple is arguing over what flower arrangement to select for the wedding is better than a culture where this couple is terrified of imprisonment or death. A culture that debates whether it’s ok to let 8-year-olds play in the park unsupervised is better than a culture where it is normal to marry them, send them to work, send them to war, or sell them to coyotes.

It is only after we accept that civilization is better than barbarity that we will be able to start the work of preventing another Rotherham.

Rapes in Rotherham, Part I

Over 1,400 girls were raped in Rotherham, UK by gangs of Pakistani pedophiles. Similar horrors have been taking place in Rothdale, Derby, Oxford and Telford. I’ve read some articles about these crimes but every single source I’ve seen so far is disappointingly stupid.

The most painful and dangerous issue facing humanity today is the unequal entrance into modernity. Some societies, cultures and groups are handling the inevitable advent of modernity better than others. The ones who are not handling it well (e. g. ISIS) are erupting in rage against those who are managing it better (e. g. USA).

What is modernity? It is the era of human existence where human beings started losing their terror of the unknowable universe and realized that human reason can learn to understand and even change the world. This intellectual and philosophical revolution took place in the XVIIITH-century Europe and culminated in the realization that it was not only possible but also necessary to improve the lives of individuals and the structure of societies.

This led to a rethinking of the concept of individuals. It soon became clear that considering women – half of the population of the planet – subhuman was neither reasonable nor productive. It also became clear that treating children as small-statured adults was also neither reasonable nor productive. Of course, these things became clear only to a tiny highly educated minority. The rest of the population preferred grasping onto its stupidity and terror of life.

Little by little, the tiny minority of these enlightened thinkers managed to attract more people to their ranks. They also developed brilliant means if propaganda to disseminate their ideas. The struggle between civilization and barbarity is still ongoing. Dragging the entire humankind out of the quagmire of fear, stupidity and impotent rage at life isn’t easy.

[To be continued...]

Putin’s Tools

Ukraine’s President Poroshenko suggested to President Obama that Ukraine should receive the status of a preferred NATO non-member. Obama’s response was a categoric “no.”

Do you remember how every pundit under the Sun kept repeating that Putin is messing with Ukraine because he doesn’t want NATO coming closer to his borders? Of course, every bit of evidence in the world demonstrates that NATO doesn’t want Ukraine, and until just a month ago Ukraine didn’t want NATO. But the pundits kept repeating this bit of idiocy like unhinged monkeys. They were doing it because it’s one of the lies promoted by Putin’s propaganda machine with a great degree of success.

Like Monsieur Jourdain who was shocked to find out that he spoke in prose, all of these idiots who regurgitate Putin’s lies like his dutiful little robots get mortally offended when one points out that
saying “Putin doesn’t want the NATO to spread its zone of influence, Ukrainian separatists, rebels in Ukraine, Ukrainian neo-Nazis, Russia is fighting for its dignity, the Maidan was organized by the CIA” makes one Putin’s tool, his useful idiot and pawn.

There are so many excruciatingly stupid people in the world that it’s just sad. They go through life, repeating these idiotic lines they caught somewhere and feeling super proud and content of themselves. Those who actually try to come up with an analysis of their own are extremely few. And it seems like they are all located right here on my blog. We are such a haven of reason and intelligence, people.

Pied Piper

It’s great to have a husband who appreciates one’s stories. N got so imbibed in my lecture on the movie-making process the other day, that he left the shower and followed me out of the bathroom without washing shampoo out of his hair.

We have these Hamelin-like occurrences every day. On another occasion, he got so mesmerized by my story of a committee meeting that he forgot to bring the spoon with soup that he was holding to his mouth.

And that is exactly what I enjoy.

Ig Nobel

An Ig Nobel Prize award has been given to a study that every single reader of my blog will find relevant:

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE [AUSTRALIA, UK, USA]: Peter K. Jonason, Amy Jones, and Minna Lyons, for amassing evidence that people who habitually stay up late are, on average, more self-admiring, more manipulative, and more psychopathic than people who habitually arise early in the morning.

REFERENCE: “Creatures of the Night: Chronotypes and the Dark Triad Traits,” Peter K. Jonason, Amy Jones, and Minna Lyons, Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 55, no. 5, 2013, pp. 538-541.

Maybe we should rename to blog to “Self-Admiring, Manipulative Psychopaths’ Blog.”