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11-30-05 1:09  •  Sanity

Shaku: Meds do cure insanity to a certain degree, and insanity being cured will surely feel better for the insane person and also for us, although I don't know if the Universe will for sure be guaranteed to be a better place when insanity is cured.

The notion that there is just sane and insane is the only true insanity.

There is just a strange mix of varying capacities, coping, awareness, attending, distress, elation, function, agreement, physiology, likes, etc.

Doctors are pretty good these days about getting your brain chemestry level. Of course level can be a bit boring.

Shrinks are pretty good about giving you behaviors close to the accepted norm. Of course the American norm is setting the bar a bit low.

Personally I practice purposeful sanity and insanity. Every function of the mind has its uses and took us billions of years of surviving to develop. For example, any one who thinks level brain chemistry and normal behavior is the way to approach love is going to have an uninspiring relationship.

A delusional schizophrenic trance is the only way to read fiction. I just burned through a 6000 page trilogy in 48 hours of solid reading where I was the character.

Sane is just learning to surf your own consciousness.

Sandy: Level brain chemistry when the alternative is debilitating depression leading to death seems like a good idea Swarm.

Most insanities are more involved than just giving the afflicted superior speed reading skills.

You seem to think I'm for or against something here.

What I'm saying is I enjoy some variety in my mental states and I also enjoy tweeking them.

There is nothing inherantly wrong with attaining any of the so-called insanities and many of them build character and make for interesting stories.

So you had debilitating depression for a while. It didn't kill you and you figured out something to do about it. If you like drugs as your means of tweeking your seratonin go for it, I like drugs too on the proper occasion.

A touch of ssri can be fun and its great for calming down a raging sexual appetite. In fact seratonin issues are so prevalent that there are numerous means of tweeking that receptor: sex, cheese, black current juice, SSRIs, exercise, ayuhuasca, a good book, chocolate, etc.

But why stop at level and normal like it is the only right state to be in?

Being normal and level is a great place to rest in, but it isn't very interesting or fun.

The people who have brought us our current insanity base it on the unverified musings concerning seven cases by a victorian prude mysogyist with very questionable sexual fantasies and a bad cocaine habit.

Is that the guy you want calling the shots?

Don't be afraid of your depression. You have at least one good technique for working with it.

Play with your own mind a bit. That's part of what zen is all about.

Sandy: Swarm, your comments here are coming from a more enlightened zone than many are capable of. If you ever shared them with a room full of crazy people, I think they would take great pleasure in your enabling them.

But there are degrees that need to be considered. You are referring to those that are left of center...a bit depressed....sort of nervous....a tad delusional, where I am referring to those that are full out orange stocking or tin foil cap wearers.

You mean like people who talk to their imaginary friend and believe he can do things for them?

If they can't function in our social structure, then they are crazy.
But if they dress like you approve of and work as you like, then they are just religious.

But the insanity is the same.

11-30-05 1:09  •  Why they think it

Schmendrick: Why would any person freely choose to WANT to beleive that a huge portion of humanity will be damned?

Because beneath the charade, they are evil.

11-21-05 11:08  •  Consciousness

Kat: An essential variable in all neurosciences remains elusive, that of consciousness, the cognitive "faculty" which would seem to diferentiate us from all other organisms.

No one in neuroscience I've ever read has tried to claim other animals with neurons aren't conscious to one degree or another. Even non-chordates like jellyfish and starfish are clearly aware of their environment. I think the word you may be looking for is sentience, but even there the higher mammals are arguably sentient in their own right, just not to the same degree we are.

Kat: Recent scientific developments and Buddhist philosophy would seem to act as each other's corollaries...

To a degree, in some areas.

11-21-05 11:08  •  Secular prayer for depression

Matthew: I'm depressed, and I somehow have to manage until my appointment tomorrow...sometimes being depressed is created by chemical imbalances and as such it is wrong to feel at all guilty about being like that and yet, I find myself beating myself up, saying, "You should have more faith... or if you'd just pray better and more often or if you'd let the Savior take your worries you will feel better..." but then I don't.

Or even when I do, I still feel guilty and this leads to compounded emotional turmoil, trouble with my wife, and adding to the depression....

Even though you don't know me from Adam please hook me up with a few prayers to make it through the night. Thank you, Matt

If prayers make you happy then here is one to make you happy.

Its a secular prayer and a bit complex but it works great for my sweety who is occationally troubled by a bit of melancholy.

First turn the lights up to maximum. Many people need more light in their lives for proper brain function.

Next have a nice big glass of warm milk and a banana if you have one. This helps replensh 5HT and potassium, two things you are probably lacking, while also giving to a nice full tummy.

Look your lady in the eye and tell her how you love her. This gives your brain a nice social washing.

Put on your favorite music and dance like a fool until you are tired, breathing hard, and sweaty. The "like a fool" part is important, don't gloss it over.

Take a walk out side to cool off and look up at the stars with your lady.

Take a hot shower, read something uplifting, go to bed.

Avoid any TV, radio or news. Leave your worries for another day.

Follow this prayer and you will be fine.

11-21-05 11:08  •  Relationship Timing

Donny: I have been hanging out with a girl and her boyfriend for the last year or so and became really close to both of them during this time. They recently broke up and the girl and myself have expressed that we have feelings for each other. The problem is I'm still close to the guy and it's weird because he more or less uses me as a support source for his break up while on the flip side i have feelings for his ex.

I've never had this happen before and wouldn't get involved except that I have fallen in love with the girl and think there is a future there. We want to be free with our relationship but coming out about it could damage a lot of relationships in our social web.

Any advice?

In general its a good idea to go slowly and keep the communication flowing so that there aren't surprises or problems with bounce back and what have you.

Just stay relaxed and honest with both parties and it will probably all work out reasonably smoothly.

I wouldn't worry too much about a social web which would be damaged by normal human activities, but that's just me and not necessarily "good" advice. :)

Donny: I also wonder if a foundation built on this short time of secrecy will negatively affect things in the long run.

I asked my sweety to move in with me the night we met.

That was seven years and two kids ago.

You aren't building a house, you are journeying together.

Each day counts far more than how it all began.

Donny: Swarm, I love your wise words.

Of course I am wary of this happening again and her going for one of my friends.

Don't worry about it, let her know it would be ok as long as she is honest about it.

Every relationship ends and there are only two possibilities: one of you dies or one of you leaves.

That is the natural order of things. Sure either happening is going to be poignant, but it doesn't have to be harder than it is and it never has to hang over the time you are together as a dread if you have already given each other permission to be the humans that you are.

This is how my sweety and I have worked it and it has been very helpful.

We trust each other to do what is best for each of us as individuals and what is best for us together.

11-21-05 11:08  •  Killing

Mary Ann: To become so angry as to physically murder another human being, one would, more than likley, HAVE TO have loved that person, at least at some point. Hatred is a twisted form of love.

While that is, as you show, a common path; it is not the only path.

People kill people for all kinds of reasons, including just because they like to and even because they were overcome by apathy.

We don't like to think of ourselves in those terms, but you don't become top preditor on the planet from your loving and nurturing nature.

As just one example, consider that when I was in the military I was expected to kill just because some one told me to.

Love and hatred are both impossibly complex and incredibly simple, but they are only related to each other because of some similarities in their composition. One is not a form of the other nor is one necessary for the other.

I'm not currently looking at the excuses and justifications people give for why they chose hatred. It doesn't matter for what I wanted to say that they wish to blame their choice on some failed love or that our media loves to sensationalize them for our mass hatred as entertainment.

I am interested in how they make the choice they made so that I can choose wisely and not be flung about haphazardly on the winds of chance emotion.

11-20-05 1:23  •  Now What?

Meli: In my year long journey, I've learned so much about myself and living life with a new perspective. I felt things changing within from the day I started this journey. My only question is, Now what?

Sometimes I find "now what?" (which seems like a demand that the universe entertain me) is a block. It feels like waiting for something to happen.

Instead I try to use "what/who is this?" to sharpen my paying attention to the feast already laid out before me.

Meli: Thank you sooo much for that. When you put it that way, I immediately know what/who it is that I'm to journey with and for what reasons. You're my savior for the day!

11-19-05 11:08  •  God vs. Science

Swarm had said of flowers: They are the natural expression of the way the matter/energy space/time acts in these conditions, i.e. the didn't come from any where or any one. They are the expression of how this is.

Chaz: Those creative ambiguous scientific terms you use; such as “Universe” “Natural” "This" “acts” “energy” are no different than using the term “god”.

It’s really just a way of Scientist and Atheist saying they don’t know what the heck their talking about.

Ah, but they are quite different in one way in particular and that way is of complete and utmost importance so attention please.

The scientific words have referants in reality which are actual that the words refer to.

The religious word "god" has no actual referant in reality that it refers to.

It is merely a free concept. An arbitrary symbol signifying anything one might care to have it signify devoid of any necessary meaning outside of a few traditions habitually stuck to it.

The scientist does know some of what he is talking about and he can point it out reliably and tell you things about its nature which you can verify for yourself, because what he is talking about has independent existence as a real thing.

The theologen cannot do the same because his god is not real. All he can do is talk about how he thinks god ought to be.

If you can understand and implement this, you can finally be free from the entrapment of thinking god ought to be you and get back to being who and what you are.

11-19-05 11:08  •  Love and Hate

Since this came up in another thread, I thought I'd take a moment to share a thought on the topic of love and hatred.

Far from being opposites, love and hatred are so closely similar in their qualities that many people find it difficult to seperate the two and end up flip-flopping from love to hate and back. Or worse. A couple begins in love and ends in hatred so bitter one may even kill the other.

There are two distinctions I know between the two, which can help you choose your path.

I'm not saying these are the only distinctions, only that these are sure ones. Choosing one set and it will surely lead you towards love and choosing the other and it will surely lead toward hatred.

The two points of difference are acceptence and forgiveness.

If you can find it in your heart to accept another for who they are, no matter how you like or dislike them, and if you can find it in your heart to forgive them their actions, no matter how appealing or odious you find those actions; then you can *choose* love over hatred for that person and that person could be any one.

This is how a person whose loved one has been murdered finally lets go and restores their own life free from that murderer.

This is how couples so deeply in love over come the limits of being human for seventy-five years of living day in and day out with one another.

It is a key to loving unconditionally and it also is a key to hating without let, but most importantly it is a choice which you can decide for yourself.

Od: Is it possible to truly accept without forgiving? Is it possible to truly forgive without accepting? Could these "two points" be one?

Accepting is about the person.
Forgiving is about what the person has done.

They are related, but not the same.

Od: That helps, but it doesn't answer my questions. Is it possible to truly accept a person without forgiving what the person has done? Is it possible to truly forgive what the person has done without accepting the person?

"Truly" is usually just presented as a means of injecting absolutism so that absolutism can be argued instead of whatever the point is.

The fact is people do accept without forgiving and forgive without accepting. People's behavior is more complex than simple predicate logic. Emotions are a-logical, which is to say their pre-rational processes have regularities, but not necessarily ones which can be expressed logically.

For some people that is enough, for others it isn't. As you might expect, it is a grey area.

Od: It seems like what you are saying, overall, is similar to what I hear some Christians say about "God wants us to love the sinner, but not the sin." That seems to involve acceptance and forgiveness, joined at the hip, as it were. Is this close?

This has nothing to do with christianity. I don't care about what they claim thier imaginary god says and I couldn't care less about their whack ideas of sin. Finally I am not saying anything about loving the person and hating their actions, which seems pretty stupid and results in nothing good that I've ever seen.

I am saying that the path to love is acceptence and forgiveness, while the path to hatred is to neither accept nor forgive. These aren't the only ways to get there, they simply are sure ways to get there. Accept but don't forgive and don't accept but forgive are not sure paths to anything.