How To Do Life

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Realistic Sources of Hope

There may be more hope than you realize. Read More

Hope is one of my prime

Hope is one of my prime motivators - I've found that both mental 'illness' combined subsequently with long term unemployment have, with hindsight been exceptionally positive as they have given me chances and opportunities to explore my 'self' and the universe beyond the bubble I was previously trapped in. This has been a terribly challenging process, which is still continuing as I have found little help and support via available therapies or society. It is essentially a journey I have undertaken alone, and if advised prior to my meltdown the challenges I would face and struggles and suffering I was going to have to endure - I would have definitely said I would never have made it, and there are still many times that I ask myself - What is the point? So hope is a key factor.
As far as the planet going to hell in a handbasket - I can totally relate to that - in fact synchronistically my current counsellor mentioned Stephen Pinker's book in our last session. Governmental circumstances have pretty much forced me back into counselling, but thought I might as well give it another try as I've nothing to lose and might gain something, doubtful, but I'm open to options.
Whilst I'm totally open to the good in the world - I have developed a very deep connection to nature - the bad is glaringly obvious, and I very much feel, literally, the suffering that takes place - not only around me, but throughout our planet - both in humanity and other animate life.
So back to Stephen Pinker's assessment, I haven't read the book so I don't know what statistics he's used and on the assumption that he's right, that war and crime is reducing - it is necessary for me to point out that war and crime are generally considered physical abuses. It's my thinking/feeling/perception that the more pervasive battles that are taking place in the world are those of the mind. This is highly apparent within the scientific realms.
What we consider to be 'normal' or 'socially acceptable' is generally very psychologically abusive - imposing sanctions on individuals, taking away what little security they may have, taking away their ability to feed themselves or have some form of shelter, on the basis of that's the 'way things are' or in order to acheive someone's imposed ideologies of 'economic growth' is pretty inhumane in my book. Criminalising the poor as a consequence of them being poor. So regardless of how 'good' the good stuff is, and personally I think it's pretty amazing and awe inspiring - the 'bad' stuff is exceptionally dismal and depressing. And thats the ultimate reality and truth of our current 'civilised' circumstance - whether we like it or not. I would love to 'see' things differently, however if I were to see things differently then I would just be lying to myself and living in denial. If we could just wake up to these facts as opposed to ignoring them, but the mind is a wonderful and terrible thing that too many people just aren't prepared to confront - the work required is far too hard, so the vast majority continue with their 'normal' existence and never even 'real'ise the breadth, depth or fantastic bizareness of life and our ability to live it. If people could feel what I feel and see what I see then things would change very very quickly for the better for all - but that's just a pipe dream - so, I live, mainly in hope.

economic unkindness

While unbridled capitalism yields many losers, it's not clear that socialism, net yields more good. Difficult topic.

I'm not a fan of socialism

I'm not a fan of socialism either - the best philosophy I've come across to date is one of dynamic paradoxicalism - but I doubt if it will gain many advocates as it requires a high degree of fluidity and ambiguity. The aristotelian mindset, which is pervasive throughout Western civilisation is one of either/or - whereas the East has adopted the both/and - I happen to think that either/or/both/and styles of thinking can be acheived, with the flexibility to move between them all leading to dynamic balance. It's not the topic that's difficult but the way we think when we approach the topic. That's my opinion anyway. Capitalism/socialism and the vast majority of 'ism's' are based in intellect and reason - we've left out the heart somewhere along the way and hence lost our compassion, care and capability to love.

Unfortunately, many of us are no one to everybody

Every time someone says that every one of us matters to at least one person—I just feel like punching someone.
People die every day. Homeless people, runaways, fugitives, and people who just want to disappear. Then there's the ordinary people who die at home, and no one finds their bodies for 2 or 3 years. And only then because the smell was so bad. Too many people have no one to miss them, no one who would look if they disappeared.
I think if someone is chronically lonely, they have every right to commit suicide if they want to. That is a life of too much pain; loneliness is not cured by simply being around other people.

dynamic paradoxicalism

Thank you, Helen. I've now read a bit about dynamic paraxodicalism--Jonathan Zap's original formulation of it and AM impressed. Yes, this makes much sense to me. If only we--in govt, private sector, and our own lives--all thought that fluidly, requiring fewer inviolate postulates. Ironically I recently wrote a brief piece here on PsychologyToday.com on the importance of resolving apparent paradox as an approach to discovery: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-do-life/201403/can-anyone-figure...

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Marty Nemko is a career and personal coach based in Oakland, Ca. and the author of 7 books. 
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