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Ancient Mysteries => Ancient Mysteries => Topic started by: Dawn Moline on December 12, 2007, 11:07:42 pm



Title: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Dawn Moline on December 12, 2007, 11:07:42 pm
Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace

You know, it's almost the end of the year, so I thought it might be nice to look back on the type of year each of us had. This post originally appeared in my Eternal Life topic, but, at Rockessence's suggestion, we begin a new topic to try and explore what each of us has learned.

Has your life gotten better this year or worse?

Do you feel you are making progress towards your goals or have you fallen behind?

As for me, my own life has gotten wholly different than it did last year, when I first came here. Worse for me, and filled with more adversity than I care to say, some of it of my own making.

Last year, I believed in the best in people. Now I happen to believe in the worst.

Last year, I felt the current state of the world was just a setback, now I am not certain that we shall ever come out of it.

I have seen hatred flourish without any motive given, dreams collapse without reason given at all. And throughout it all, this over-riding undercurrent of violence that seems to effect everything and everyone these days, in one fashion or another.

One thing I have learned for certain, is why, (whether God actually exists or not), people experience such an innate need to believe in God as they do. Belief and faith, at least, tend to give one hope. You don't feel so alone. Experience lack of belief, and you realize that you simply end up with yourself, and no one really wants to feel alone. So, for all the people who have more faith than I do, I suppose I understand you better now.

I don't know what lies at the end of our lives, and yet, when it all comes to an end, one thing I know for certain: if I were offered a choice, I don't think I would want another one. There's something not quite right here, I don't know what it is, but it seems to be getting worse in this world all the time.

We don't care about each other anymore. Worse to the point, some of us no longer even see the value of trying.

No sadness here, that's just the way I happen to feel. And yet, it doesn't have to be the way you feel, in fact, I hope it isn't.

Those are my own observations and I think it important to point out they need not be yours. Maybe some of you have learned lessons that I have yet to learn. If so, my friends (and that does happen to be what I consider us all to be), let's look at ourselves and ask the questions:

What did you learn this year?

Has your life gotten better or worse?

Do you feel you are making progress towards your goals or have you fallen behind?

This is meant to be an interactive topic and once again, I encourage everyone to participate.

And, of course, Happy Holidays to everyone.

Cheers,

Dawn

[ 01-07-2006, 12:12 AM: Message edited by: Dawn Moline ]

http://forums.atlantisrising.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=15;t=000531#000034


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:12:46 pm
Chronos
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Hi Dawn, with respect, I've always felt that we tend to get into trouble if we allow ourselves too much self-evaluation. You say that the world has gotten worse, and yet, to my knowledge it has always been difficult in one manner of another and each generations feels they have it hard. Actually, our advances in technology has made a lot of things easier. Far harder, of course, to make those advances in human nature.

I measure personal progress very simply, through my research, and by asking this one question: have we found Atlantis yet? The answer, as of 12/20/05, is, of course, no. And yet, we have found some very intriguing pieces of the puzzle that, taken together, leads me to believe that we will.

You mentioned "belief." I think that everyone, no matter who they are needs a cause, a reason to keep pushing on. Become the quest, and it doesn't really matter if the utility bills are sent in late or not.

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The one true academic search for Atlantis begins at Atlantis Online:

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:13:46 pm
rockessence
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Chronos,

Can you tell what you feel are the "very intriguing pieces of the puzzle" that have shown themselves this year?

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"Illigitimi non carborundum!"
All knowledge is to be used in the manner that will give help and assistance to others, and the desire is that the laws of the Creator be manifested in the physical world. E.Cayce 254-17

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:14:02 pm
Chronos
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Rockessence, I would hate to just pick a few. I tend to get a lot of my research here, and if I started saying which work I personally considered the most important, those not mentioned would most likely think I considered their work less important. And so, I'm not going to pick anything out at all.

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The one true academic search for Atlantis begins at Atlantis Online:

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:14:24 pm
Chronos
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I wonder what we might be considered the top archaeological finds of the year. In that vein, here is a website I tend to use quite a bit to get the latest archaeological news that some of you might not have visited:

http://www.archaeology.org/online/news/headlines.html

And here are China's top archaeological findings from 2004:

http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/Archaeology/149496.htm

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The one true academic search for Atlantis begins at Atlantis Online:

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:14:47 pm
Morrison
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Nice to see you again here, Dawn. Actually, both personally and professionally, I was doing much better a few years ago. I think the country was, too. I don't want to make this a Bush-bashing thread, but it's clear that the country, if not the world, is missing something it once had since September 11th. We are still a determined lot, just not a very happy one. The reason why Bush bears some responsibility for that is that he has no interest in leading, just in bombing people. While we did need to conduct a war on terror, we didn't need to handle it stupidly, as we are doing now.
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:15:06 pm
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You know, the only new thing I believe that I learned this year is just how many people out there tend to fear and don't tent to understand feminism. I always knew that the media and ultra-fanatical religious groups tended to misrepresent us. What came as a revelation is just how many people still feel threatened by us as well. I mean, hell, it's not like the women's movement has just been around, women have been fighting for their rights for better than a hundred years now. It's just basic common sense to think that, whatever sex you were born, you would want to be treated equally and have the same opportunities. Do others apply this same logic? No, of course they don't. They feel so inferior and threatened by the idea of powerful women that they try and assign us all the blame of the world. And all for what? For men, it's fear of losing their erections, I suppose. For women who are homemakers, it's because they don't want to see their whole lives be made a sham.

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http://mediamatters.org/

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:15:26 pm
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You know, the only new thing I believe that I learned this year is just how many people out there tend to fear and don't tent to understand feminism. I always knew that the media and ultra-fanatical religious groups tended to misrepresent us. What came as a revelation is just how many people still feel threatened by us as well. I mean, hell, it's not like the women's movement has just been around, women have been fighting for their rights for better than a hundred years now. It's just basic common sense to think that, whatever sex you were born, you would want to be treated equally and have the same opportunities. Do others apply this same logic? No, of course they don't. They feel so inferior and threatened by the idea of powerful women that they try and assign us all the blame of the world. And all for what? For men, it's fear of losing their erections, I suppose. For women who are homemakers, it's because they don't want to see their whole lives be made a sham.

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Sort through the media disinformation:
http://mediamatters.org/
 


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:15:46 pm
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Hmm, I seem to have cloned my post.

Well, I'm not erasing it. Some of you need to hear it twice anyway.


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http://mediamatters.org/

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:16:03 pm
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I think I have learned more tolerance for others. My semester was spent in college. For those of you who are several years removed from college (and I get the feeling that most of you are), you usually begin school with the idea that you have most, if not all of the answers. Sometimes, I still slip back into that mode, but what has been a useful experiment for me is to try and imagine where other people are coming from, if only to see if I might be missing something.

Knowledge and experience are what's most important, it doesn't really seem to matter how we get there.

This is also the first year I have actually gotten the idea of how big religious zealotry has gotten in this country. Those Bible belters were always considered freaks where I grew up. After what happened with the election and this whole "intelligent design" thing that crossed Kansas, I began to realize they are deadly serious. Those people have no business deciding the curiculum of our classrooms, let alone trying to run our country. Government should not be in the God business.
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:16:20 pm
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The only thing I`ve learn is all life tried to make it better and the only thing we can leave is doing something to better another person`s life.Dawn even a feminist can be a caregiver:)
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:16:39 pm
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A homemaker is the greatest gift you can give.
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:16:57 pm
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And what about our men in Iraq, they are lying down their lives everyday to make it better for others.
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:17:13 pm
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Q."A homemaker is the greatest gift you can give."

And a home is the greatest gift you can own.

My opinion anyway.

[ 12-20-2005, 11:05 PM: Message edited by: Jason ]
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:17:32 pm
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I have to say that at the beginning of this year, I was under the impression that a lot of you were normal, with the exception of Aristotle. Now I confess that I have never seen a bigger horde of lying, electic, pretentious pagans in my lifetime. You think nothing of spewing this pagan filth towards others, never seeming to care that there might be children present. As adults, none of you even seem to care of the example you set for others, through your words and actions. To my supreme disgust, I have seen every form of pagan worship promoted here with the exception of devil worship, and I have no doubt that many of you do Lucifer's work in secret. Even if you don't actually attend the the rituals of worshipping him, the mere fact that you aren't Christians makes you in service to Lucifer.

Oddly, the one religion that is the most dominant in the world today, that of the one true lord, Christianity, is never even discussed, except, of course, in a derogatory way. Many of you should be ashamed of yourselves, to think that you spend so much energy slandering a religion that brings so much comfort to the world.

Now then, by all means, get back to your blasphemy.

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"An atheist believes in nothing, and so he shall find nothing."

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:17:51 pm
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Dawn, I have to say that I can see where you're coming from. My main advice, if advice even be sought, is to not worry about the state of the world so much as the state of ourselves.

I can relate to Jason's sentiments. I feel I have grown, myself, a great deal this year. I'm still a skeptic at heart, don't believe in half the things around here that most people here place their faith in. However, I have come to the conclusion that there is enough negativity around here without me adding to it as well. People like Calvin are a perfect example of that. If he has served one purpose here, it's for many of us to take a good look at ourselves and see if we find any of him within us. If the world had less people like Calvin in it, and more people like Dawn Moline, than it might actually someday become a better place.

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"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
- Aristotle

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:18:07 pm
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Definitely gotten weirder, I don't know if it's better or worse yet. I get the feeling it's going to get worse, for all of us, though. Things have been happening the last few years that we never thought could happen. Our normal little world has all cracked away into s>^t. The end of the world as we know it will probably be in our lifetimes, no doubts about that right now.
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:18:26 pm
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On the bright side, my dad got back from the war. It really plays on your nerves to have a relative serving in Iraq. I like to believe we're doing some good over there, who knows, maybe we are. Maybe it's still too soon to tell..? I hope so, but something tells me to expect the worse, though. Expect the worse and you won't always be disappointed, I always say. On the other hand, that learned negative behavior doesn't exactly turn you into an optimist.

I'm a writer, for those of you who don't know, these days, The ideas are still there, but it's hard to find the time! So busy these days, and I don't want to be either, part of me doesn't want to finish it, though, because it's about Atlantis, and writing about makes me feel I'm spending time there. My Atlantis, the way I picture it, no one else's. It's fun.

Things are coming together, maybe not the way I want them to be yet, but they are. And, even though I'm not exactly an optimist, I believe in the future. Despite everything that happens to people in their lives, people are still in comtrol of their lives and the future is still what we make it.
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:18:47 pm
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Well, Dawn, returned from your sojourn away, I see, but clearly no better than you were before. And here we are, with the makings of yet another whiney liberal thread, from the sound of things so far.

I have no complaints this year myself, Dawn. God has blessed me with a good living, a beautiful family and a president who is not afraid to get the job done, regardless of what people might think of him. I'm a happy man, not ashamed to say that I'm deeply proud of my country, and I can't complain. It's a shame that your life isn't going quite so well, from the sound of things.

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"The world is not divided into men and women. It's divided into great minds and small minds;

- Anassa

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:19:02 pm
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I guess it's been kind of a weird year for me. I haven't been around much lately because I've been seeing someone and so far, I guess it feels like love. It's the last thing I expected to happen and it feels a little strange to deal with. Not to say that things are perfect, they aren't, but it does change your outlook a lot.
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:19:21 pm
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Anyway, I won't be giving up the forum, I still like a lot of the people here. But I probably won't be here as much as I've been until the newness of it all fades off.

Hey, Merry Christmas, everyone, you guys are the best. Most of you anyway...
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:19:42 pm
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My life changed pretty drastically this year, too. Last year, I was so much happier, so certain that I was going to marry Curt and that my life was all set.

This year, everything has gotten so much darker. What I used to be so certain of, I'm no longer certain of at all. I don't know how many people here know this feeling, where you suddenly feel so safe and secure, like everything has all been planned out for you, and then have all that security suddenly just gone. I felt it first back when my father died a few years ago, I felt it a second time this year when I first broke up with Curt. You know, even though I am doing better now than when I first told everyone about all this, I don't actually feel as safe and secure as I once did. Maybe I never will again, eiher. I guess, once you lose something like that, there's no getting it back.

Well, hey, Merry Christmas everyone! I would especially like to wish that to Dawn, Ren, Boreasi, Bluducky, Absonite, Aristotle, Volitzer, Jen, Jennie & Stacy and everyone who has been so nice to me here.

I think we're all due for a nice big glass of spiked eggnog!

[ 12-22-2005, 01:01 AM: Message edited by: Michelle Sandberg ]
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:19:59 pm
Brooke
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Hi Dawn,

I would like to limit my comments to my impressions, not of life in general, but to this forum.

For what is this forum but a microcosm of life in the first place?

First off, I'm here for the research and because there do happen to be some bright, intuitive people like yourself, Allison, Jade, Jason, Sarah, and one or two others.

Some of the others happen to be a mix of egocentic religious sexist zealots who are in dire need of getting a life. They don't discuss, they disgust.

It's honest to God like being with a bunch of spoiled children and the morons really need to grow up and get a life outside of this forum. Everyday here, I seem to run into a new one, I guess that misfits with personality disorders tend to flock together.

The normal ones here, no offense meant.
The pathetic attention-cravers, you can stick your heads up your you-know-whats. You're probably used to doing that anyway.

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"The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended." - Albert Einstein

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:20:17 pm
Brooke
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Anyway, sorry, just had to do some venting.

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"The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended." - Albert Einstein

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:20:32 pm
Jennie McGrath
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You're very much welcome, Michelle, and it's a pleasure, I don't think I know a nicer person!

Hey, Cal and Norm are back everyone..!
 
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:20:54 pm
Jennie McGrath
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This is kind of cool, NASA is looking for new ideas:

NIAC Seeks Phase 1 Proposals To Advance Vision For Space Exploration


Washington DC (SPX) Dec 16, 2005
The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts is seeking revolutionary ideas to advance the Vision for Space Exploration. Interested parties from outside the agency are invited to submit 2006 Phase 1 proposals by February 13, 2006.
The focus for solicitations is on revolutionary, advanced concepts for architectures and systems that meet NASA mission "grand visions." The institute's intention is to discover ideas that may result in beneficial changes to NASA's long-range plans.

"The institute employs a team of experts in science and technology to review proposals. Successful proposals are highly imaginative but grounded in reality," said Dr. Robert Cassanova of the Universities Space Research Association, the director of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts. The Universities Space Research Association runs the institute for NASA.

Previous winning proposals include systems or concepts for a spacecraft propelled by a magnetized beam of electrified gas for rapid interplanetary transportation; an electrostatic radiation shield for a lunar base; and the redesign of living organisms to survive on Mars.

The institute sponsors research in two phases. Proposals selected for Phase 1 awards typically receive as much as $75,000 for a six-month study that validates the viability of the concept and identifies challenges that must be overcome.

Phase 1 studies are evaluated using major feasibility criteria associated with cost, performance, development time, and technology. The most promising are selected for further research, through a Phase 2 award. Phase 2 studies can be up to two years long and receive as much as $400,000.

Phase 1 awards will be announced in April or May 2006. The institute awards about one dozen Phase 1 study contracts per year. The institute encourages submission of proposals via the Internet.


http://www.space-travel.com/news/spacetravel-05zzzzn.html
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:21:10 pm
Jennie McGrath
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Now's the time for one of us here to draw up blueprints for Stargate/Wormhole technology and potentially make a cool 475 grand!
 
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:21:27 pm
Europa
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I will remember this year as the year I was bitten by the "Atlantis" bug. The really odd thing about Atlantis, I've found anyway, is that each time one explores one possibility, it seems to lead to another. Is that because Atlantis is so open to interepretation or is it simply because it never really existed at all?? It's so odd that I still find myself asking that question.

Atlantis is in my blood, and so, I will find the answer. Eventually.

Professionally, I'm still taking classes, but they're progressing nicely. I have a job with the school, so I'm staying on at the university after I graduate in the spring. Personally, it got to be sort of an odd year for me. I had someone propose to me, believe it or not, after one date. It wasn't flattering, it was actually a little weird. I don't want to get married until I get more settled in my career, though, so of course, I declined.

The forum has gotten a little weird lately so that's why you haven't seen me around quite as much as I had been. Hopefully, 2006 will bring about less bickering and bizarre behavior so we can get back to our respective fields of study once again. That's what I'm here for, to take part in the research, nothing more.

[ 12-22-2005, 10:32 PM: Message edited by: Europa ]
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:21:50 pm
Author  Topic: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace 
Dawn Moline
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You know, it's almost the end of the year, so I thought it might be nice to look back on the type of year each of us had. This post originally appeared in my Eternal Life topic, but, at Rockessence's suggestion, we begin a new topic to try and explore what each of us has learned.

Has your life gotten better this year or worse?

Do you feel you are making progress towards your goals or have you fallen behind?

As for me, my own life has gotten wholly different than it did last year, when I first came here. Worse for me, and filled with more adversity than I care to say, some of it of my own making.

Last year, I believed in the best in people. Now I happen to believe in the worst.

Last year, I felt the current state of the world was just a setback, now I am not certain that we shall ever come out of it.

I have seen hatred flourish without any motive given, dreams collapse without reason given at all. And throughout it all, this over-riding undercurrent of violence that seems to effect everything and everyone these days, in one fashion or another.

One thing I have learned for certain, is why, (whether God actually exists or not), people experience such an innate need to believe in God as they do. Belief and faith, at least, tend to give one hope. You don't feel so alone. Experience lack of belief, and you realize that you simply end up with yourself, and no one really wants to feel alone. So, for all the people who have more faith than I do, I suppose I understand you better now.

I don't know what lies at the end of our lives, and yet, when it all comes to an end, one thing I know for certain: if I were offered a choice, I don't think I would want another one. There's something not quite right here, I don't know what it is, but it seems to be getting worse in this world all the time.

We don't care about each other anymore. Worse to the point, some of us no longer even see the value of trying.

No sadness here, that's just the way I happen to feel. And yet, it doesn't have to be the way you feel, in fact, I hope it isn't.

Those are my own observations and I think it important to point out they need not be yours. Maybe some of you have learned lessons that I have yet to learn. If so, my friends (and that does happen to be what I consider us all to be), let's look at ourselves and ask the questions:

What did you learn this year?

Has your life gotten better or worse?

Do you feel you are making progress towards your goals or have you fallen behind?

This is meant to be an interactive topic and once again, I encourage everyone to participate.

And, of course, Happy Holidays to everyone.

Cheers,

Dawn

[ 01-07-2006, 12:12 AM: Message edited by: Dawn Moline ]

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"The unexamined life is one not worth leading."
-Plato

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Chronos
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Hi Dawn, with respect, I've always felt that we tend to get into trouble if we allow ourselves too much self-evaluation. You say that the world has gotten worse, and yet, to my knowledge it has always been difficult in one manner of another and each generations feels they have it hard. Actually, our advances in technology has made a lot of things easier. Far harder, of course, to make those advances in human nature.

I measure personal progress very simply, through my research, and by asking this one question: have we found Atlantis yet? The answer, as of 12/20/05, is, of course, no. And yet, we have found some very intriguing pieces of the puzzle that, taken together, leads me to believe that we will.

You mentioned "belief." I think that everyone, no matter who they are needs a cause, a reason to keep pushing on. Become the quest, and it doesn't really matter if the utility bills are sent in late or not.

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The one true academic search for Atlantis begins at Atlantis Online:

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php

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rockessence
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Chronos,

Can you tell what you feel are the "very intriguing pieces of the puzzle" that have shown themselves this year?

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"Illigitimi non carborundum!"
All knowledge is to be used in the manner that will give help and assistance to others, and the desire is that the laws of the Creator be manifested in the physical world. E.Cayce 254-17

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Chronos
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Rockessence, I would hate to just pick a few. I tend to get a lot of my research here, and if I started saying which work I personally considered the most important, those not mentioned would most likely think I considered their work less important. And so, I'm not going to pick anything out at all.

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The one true academic search for Atlantis begins at Atlantis Online:

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php

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Chronos
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I wonder what we might be considered the top archaeological finds of the year. In that vein, here is a website I tend to use quite a bit to get the latest archaeological news that some of you might not have visited:

http://www.archaeology.org/online/news/headlines.html

And here are China's top archaeological findings from 2004:

http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/Archaeology/149496.htm

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The one true academic search for Atlantis begins at Atlantis Online:

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php

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Morrison
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Nice to see you again here, Dawn. Actually, both personally and professionally, I was doing much better a few years ago. I think the country was, too. I don't want to make this a Bush-bashing thread, but it's clear that the country, if not the world, is missing something it once had since September 11th. We are still a determined lot, just not a very happy one. The reason why Bush bears some responsibility for that is that he has no interest in leading, just in bombing people. While we did need to conduct a war on terror, we didn't need to handle it stupidly, as we are doing now.
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Jade Hellene
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You know, the only new thing I believe that I learned this year is just how many people out there tend to fear and don't tent to understand feminism. I always knew that the media and ultra-fanatical religious groups tended to misrepresent us. What came as a revelation is just how many people still feel threatened by us as well. I mean, hell, it's not like the women's movement has just been around, women have been fighting for their rights for better than a hundred years now. It's just basic common sense to think that, whatever sex you were born, you would want to be treated equally and have the same opportunities. Do others apply this same logic? No, of course they don't. They feel so inferior and threatened by the idea of powerful women that they try and assign us all the blame of the world. And all for what? For men, it's fear of losing their erections, I suppose. For women who are homemakers, it's because they don't want to see their whole lives be made a sham.

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Sort through the media disinformation:
http://mediamatters.org/

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Jade Hellene
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You know, the only new thing I believe that I learned this year is just how many people out there tend to fear and don't tent to understand feminism. I always knew that the media and ultra-fanatical religious groups tended to misrepresent us. What came as a revelation is just how many people still feel threatened by us as well. I mean, hell, it's not like the women's movement has just been around, women have been fighting for their rights for better than a hundred years now. It's just basic common sense to think that, whatever sex you were born, you would want to be treated equally and have the same opportunities. Do others apply this same logic? No, of course they don't. They feel so inferior and threatened by the idea of powerful women that they try and assign us all the blame of the world. And all for what? For men, it's fear of losing their erections, I suppose. For women who are homemakers, it's because they don't want to see their whole lives be made a sham.

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Sort through the media disinformation:
http://mediamatters.org/

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Jade Hellene
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Hmm, I seem to have cloned my post.

Well, I'm not erasing it. Some of you need to hear it twice anyway.


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Sort through the media disinformation:
http://mediamatters.org/

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Jason
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I think I have learned more tolerance for others. My semester was spent in college. For those of you who are several years removed from college (and I get the feeling that most of you are), you usually begin school with the idea that you have most, if not all of the answers. Sometimes, I still slip back into that mode, but what has been a useful experiment for me is to try and imagine where other people are coming from, if only to see if I might be missing something.

Knowledge and experience are what's most important, it doesn't really seem to matter how we get there.

This is also the first year I have actually gotten the idea of how big religious zealotry has gotten in this country. Those Bible belters were always considered freaks where I grew up. After what happened with the election and this whole "intelligent design" thing that crossed Kansas, I began to realize they are deadly serious. Those people have no business deciding the curiculum of our classrooms, let alone trying to run our country. Government should not be in the God business.
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docyabut
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The only thing I`ve learn is all life tried to make it better and the only thing we can leave is doing something to better another person`s life.Dawn even a feminist can be a caregiver:)
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docyabut
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A homemaker is the greatest gift you can give.
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docyabut
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And what about our men in Iraq, they are lying down their lives everyday to make it better for others.
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Jason
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Q."A homemaker is the greatest gift you can give."

And a home is the greatest gift you can own.

My opinion anyway.

[ 12-20-2005, 11:05 PM: Message edited by: Jason ]
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Calvin Noble
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I have to say that at the beginning of this year, I was under the impression that a lot of you were normal, with the exception of Aristotle. Now I confess that I have never seen a bigger horde of lying, electic, pretentious pagans in my lifetime. You think nothing of spewing this pagan filth towards others, never seeming to care that there might be children present. As adults, none of you even seem to care of the example you set for others, through your words and actions. To my supreme disgust, I have seen every form of pagan worship promoted here with the exception of devil worship, and I have no doubt that many of you do Lucifer's work in secret. Even if you don't actually attend the the rituals of worshipping him, the mere fact that you aren't Christians makes you in service to Lucifer.

Oddly, the one religion that is the most dominant in the world today, that of the one true lord, Christianity, is never even discussed, except, of course, in a derogatory way. Many of you should be ashamed of yourselves, to think that you spend so much energy slandering a religion that brings so much comfort to the world.

Now then, by all means, get back to your blasphemy.

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"An atheist believes in nothing, and so he shall find nothing."

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Aristotle
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Dawn, I have to say that I can see where you're coming from. My main advice, if advice even be sought, is to not worry about the state of the world so much as the state of ourselves.

I can relate to Jason's sentiments. I feel I have grown, myself, a great deal this year. I'm still a skeptic at heart, don't believe in half the things around here that most people here place their faith in. However, I have come to the conclusion that there is enough negativity around here without me adding to it as well. People like Calvin are a perfect example of that. If he has served one purpose here, it's for many of us to take a good look at ourselves and see if we find any of him within us. If the world had less people like Calvin in it, and more people like Dawn Moline, than it might actually someday become a better place.

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"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
- Aristotle

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Jeremy Dokken
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Definitely gotten weirder, I don't know if it's better or worse yet. I get the feeling it's going to get worse, for all of us, though. Things have been happening the last few years that we never thought could happen. Our normal little world has all cracked away into s>^t. The end of the world as we know it will probably be in our lifetimes, no doubts about that right now.
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Valerie
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On the bright side, my dad got back from the war. It really plays on your nerves to have a relative serving in Iraq. I like to believe we're doing some good over there, who knows, maybe we are. Maybe it's still too soon to tell..? I hope so, but something tells me to expect the worse, though. Expect the worse and you won't always be disappointed, I always say. On the other hand, that learned negative behavior doesn't exactly turn you into an optimist.

I'm a writer, for those of you who don't know, these days, The ideas are still there, but it's hard to find the time! So busy these days, and I don't want to be either, part of me doesn't want to finish it, though, because it's about Atlantis, and writing about makes me feel I'm spending time there. My Atlantis, the way I picture it, no one else's. It's fun.

Things are coming together, maybe not the way I want them to be yet, but they are. And, even though I'm not exactly an optimist, I believe in the future. Despite everything that happens to people in their lives, people are still in comtrol of their lives and the future is still what we make it.
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Norman Pounders
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Well, Dawn, returned from your sojourn away, I see, but clearly no better than you were before. And here we are, with the makings of yet another whiney liberal thread, from the sound of things so far.

I have no complaints this year myself, Dawn. God has blessed me with a good living, a beautiful family and a president who is not afraid to get the job done, regardless of what people might think of him. I'm a happy man, not ashamed to say that I'm deeply proud of my country, and I can't complain. It's a shame that your life isn't going quite so well, from the sound of things.

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"The world is not divided into men and women. It's divided into great minds and small minds;

- Anassa

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Jennifer O'Dell
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I guess it's been kind of a weird year for me. I haven't been around much lately because I've been seeing someone and so far, I guess it feels like love. It's the last thing I expected to happen and it feels a little strange to deal with. Not to say that things are perfect, they aren't, but it does change your outlook a lot.
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Jennifer O'Dell
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Anyway, I won't be giving up the forum, I still like a lot of the people here. But I probably won't be here as much as I've been until the newness of it all fades off.

Hey, Merry Christmas, everyone, you guys are the best. Most of you anyway...
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Michelle Sandberg
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My life changed pretty drastically this year, too. Last year, I was so much happier, so certain that I was going to marry Curt and that my life was all set.

This year, everything has gotten so much darker. What I used to be so certain of, I'm no longer certain of at all. I don't know how many people here know this feeling, where you suddenly feel so safe and secure, like everything has all been planned out for you, and then have all that security suddenly just gone. I felt it first back when my father died a few years ago, I felt it a second time this year when I first broke up with Curt. You know, even though I am doing better now than when I first told everyone about all this, I don't actually feel as safe and secure as I once did. Maybe I never will again, eiher. I guess, once you lose something like that, there's no getting it back.

Well, hey, Merry Christmas everyone! I would especially like to wish that to Dawn, Ren, Boreasi, Bluducky, Absonite, Aristotle, Volitzer, Jen, Jennie & Stacy and everyone who has been so nice to me here.

I think we're all due for a nice big glass of spiked eggnog!

[ 12-22-2005, 01:01 AM: Message edited by: Michelle Sandberg ]
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Brooke
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Hi Dawn,

I would like to limit my comments to my impressions, not of life in general, but to this forum.

For what is this forum but a microcosm of life in the first place?

First off, I'm here for the research and because there do happen to be some bright, intuitive people like yourself, Allison, Jade, Jason, Sarah, and one or two others.

Some of the others happen to be a mix of egocentic religious sexist zealots who are in dire need of getting a life. They don't discuss, they disgust.

It's honest to God like being with a bunch of spoiled children and the morons really need to grow up and get a life outside of this forum. Everyday here, I seem to run into a new one, I guess that misfits with personality disorders tend to flock together.

The normal ones here, no offense meant.
The pathetic attention-cravers, you can stick your heads up your you-know-whats. You're probably used to doing that anyway.

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"The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended." - Albert Einstein

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Brooke
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Anyway, sorry, just had to do some venting.

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"The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended." - Albert Einstein

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Jennie McGrath
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You're very much welcome, Michelle, and it's a pleasure, I don't think I know a nicer person!

Hey, Cal and Norm are back everyone..!
 
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Jennie McGrath
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This is kind of cool, NASA is looking for new ideas:

NIAC Seeks Phase 1 Proposals To Advance Vision For Space Exploration


Washington DC (SPX) Dec 16, 2005
The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts is seeking revolutionary ideas to advance the Vision for Space Exploration. Interested parties from outside the agency are invited to submit 2006 Phase 1 proposals by February 13, 2006.
The focus for solicitations is on revolutionary, advanced concepts for architectures and systems that meet NASA mission "grand visions." The institute's intention is to discover ideas that may result in beneficial changes to NASA's long-range plans.

"The institute employs a team of experts in science and technology to review proposals. Successful proposals are highly imaginative but grounded in reality," said Dr. Robert Cassanova of the Universities Space Research Association, the director of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts. The Universities Space Research Association runs the institute for NASA.

Previous winning proposals include systems or concepts for a spacecraft propelled by a magnetized beam of electrified gas for rapid interplanetary transportation; an electrostatic radiation shield for a lunar base; and the redesign of living organisms to survive on Mars.

The institute sponsors research in two phases. Proposals selected for Phase 1 awards typically receive as much as $75,000 for a six-month study that validates the viability of the concept and identifies challenges that must be overcome.

Phase 1 studies are evaluated using major feasibility criteria associated with cost, performance, development time, and technology. The most promising are selected for further research, through a Phase 2 award. Phase 2 studies can be up to two years long and receive as much as $400,000.

Phase 1 awards will be announced in April or May 2006. The institute awards about one dozen Phase 1 study contracts per year. The institute encourages submission of proposals via the Internet.


http://www.space-travel.com/news/spacetravel-05zzzzn.html
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Jennie McGrath
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Now's the time for one of us here to draw up blueprints for Stargate/Wormhole technology and potentially make a cool 475 grand!
 
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Europa
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I will remember this year as the year I was bitten by the "Atlantis" bug. The really odd thing about Atlantis, I've found anyway, is that each time one explores one possibility, it seems to lead to another. Is that because Atlantis is so open to interepretation or is it simply because it never really existed at all?? It's so odd that I still find myself asking that question.

Atlantis is in my blood, and so, I will find the answer. Eventually.

Professionally, I'm still taking classes, but they're progressing nicely. I have a job with the school, so I'm staying on at the university after I graduate in the spring. Personally, it got to be sort of an odd year for me. I had someone propose to me, believe it or not, after one date. It wasn't flattering, it was actually a little weird. I don't want to get married until I get more settled in my career, though, so of course, I declined.

The forum has gotten a little weird lately so that's why you haven't seen me around quite as much as I had been. Hopefully, 2006 will bring about less bickering and bizarre behavior so we can get back to our respective fields of study once again. That's what I'm here for, to take part in the research, nothing more.

[ 12-22-2005, 10:32 PM: Message edited by: Europa ]
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Volitzer
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quote:
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Originally posted by Michelle Sandberg:
My life changed pretty drastically this year, too. Last year, I was so much happier, so certain that I was going to marry Curt and that my life was all set.

This year, everything has gotten so much darker. What I used to be so certain of, I'm no longer certain of at all. I don't know how many people here know this feeling, where you suddenly feel so safe and secure, like everything has all been planned out for you, and then have all that security suddenly just gone. I felt it first back when my father died a few years ago, I felt it a second time this year when I first broke up with Curt. You know, even though I am doing better now than when I first told everyone about all this, I don't actually feel as safe and secure as I once did. Maybe I never will again, eiher. I guess, once you lose something like that, there's no getting it back.

Well, hey, Merry Christmas everyone! I would especially like to wish that to Dawn, Ren, Boreasi, Bluducky, Absonite, Aristotle, Volitzer, Jen, Jennie & Stacy and everyone who has been so nice to me here.

I think we're all due for a nice big glass of spiked eggnog!
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Cheers Michelle!!! 
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Posts: 6551 | From: -in transition- | Registered: Oct 20
 
 


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:22:06 pm
Trent
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Well, I'd like to say that I learned something that radically altered or added to my knowledge of ancient cultures this year, but so far it's a big negative on that. Last year, we at least had that littlerace of hobbit people discoveredm can't even say what the greatest discovery will be this year.

I guess the biggest story of the last few years will be that there is finally getting to be some evidence of a Pre-Clovis culture in the Americas!

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"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:22:23 pm
Trent
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Hang in there, Dawn & Michelle.
One of the highlights of the forum (for me, at least), was some of the personal experiences that people shared, and you two had some of the best. I like the idea of dead aliens in Hangar 51 as much as the next guy, but it puts a human touch on it when you can talk about other stufff, too.

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"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."

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Posts: 387 | From: DeKalb, IL | Registered: Oct 2004   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:22:41 pm
Sarah
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I think that perhaps the better question than how have each of us changed might be, just how much has the world changed? Has it gotten better or worse?

I say worse.

The clock has slowed a bit, but the countdown to armageddon is still on and we in this world are still right on schedule.

I'd say that calls for another drink.

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"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand fail..." - King David, Psalms 137:5

http://www.zwoje-scrolls.com/shoah/index.html

http://www.holocaustchronicle.org/

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:23:02 pm
bluducky
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Hiya 

I must say, the year in my life wasn't too bad at all.

Thanks for asking 


Merry Christmas to you too, Michelle. Thank you for remembering me after all this time...


All the best to you all, and your's,

Ducky

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So live your life and live it well, Theres not much left of me to tell, I just got back up each time I fell...

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:23:19 pm
Volitzer
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It's not all that bad considering Bush is coming under fire this term in his Presidency.

GM realizes now that it has to care what consumers think if it wants to survive.

The WTO has ruled that dumping of US trade debt is illegal so China is now obligated.

eHarmony has found me a soulmate who accepts me for who I am.

My brother and sis-in-law have become better parents.

Despite Bush, the Internationalists, and Chi-Commie-Kazis the US economy is coming back. The Lou Dobbs effect is taking hold.

Rumsfeld has announced troop withdrawls next year.

We're out of the basement and at least on the ground floor heading in the right direction.

This year may not have been so great but the cognitives are reasserting themselves with a vengence.
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:23:43 pm
Volitzer
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quote:
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Originally posted by Dawn Moline:
You know, it's almost the end of the year, so I thought it might be nice to look back on the type of year each of us had. This post originally appeared in my Eternal Life topic, but, at Rockessence's suggestion, we begin a new topic to try and explore what each of us has learned.

Has your life gotten better this year or worse?

Do you feel you are making progress towards your goals or have you fallen behind?

As for me, my own life has gotten wholly different than it did last year, when I first came here. Worse for me, and filled with more adversity than I care to say, some of it of my own making. 

Last year, I believed in the best in people. Now I happen to believe in the worst.

Perhaps a classification system is in order.

Last year, I felt the current state of the world was just a setback, now I am not certain that we shall ever come out of it.

Shoot.., Bush couldn't be having a harder time now than at any other point in his Presidency.

I have seen hatred flourish without any motive given, dreams collapse without reason given at all. And throughout it all, this over-riding undercurrent of violence that seems to effect everything and everyone these days, in one fashion or another.

Care to elaborate on the haterd part. Hatred isn't equated with evil always.

One thing I have learned for certain, is why, (whether God actually exists or not), people experience such an innate need to believe in God as they do. Belief and faith, at least, tend to give one hope. You don't feel so alone. Experience lack of belief, and you realize that you simply end up with yourself, and no one really wants to feel alone. So, for all the people who have more faith than I do, I suppose I understand you better now.

You want a faith based experience find your soulmate on eHarmony. Follow me here... First the internet as we know it has to be invented. Second all 29 dimensions of relationships need to be discovered and gauged for both men and women. Third you take broad based compatibility and make a computer program of it to measure an individual and put it on the internet. Fourth you open a business based on all this and let people sign up at random. Fifth, you discover the internet has no boudaries and limits but your matches do hence relocation becomes an issue. Sixth you go thru hundreds of matches to finally find that perfect match with clicking chemistry and relocation a non-issue. If this isn't faith based I can't think of any other better examples.

Not to say you can't get matches in your own state or area you live in. I mean not every place has the lazy woman problem NY has.

I don't know what lies at the end of our lives, and yet, when it all comes to an end, one thing I know for certain: if I were offered a choice, I don't think I would want another one. There's something not quite right here, I don't know what it is, but it seems to be getting worse in this world all the time.

NO FATE BUT WHAT YOU MAKE!

We don't care about each other anymore. Worse to the point, some of us no longer even see the value of trying.

It's a matter of focusing your efforts.

No sadness here, that's just the way I happen to feel. And yet, it doesn't have to be the way you feel, in fact, I hope it isn't.

Those are my own observations and I think it important to point out they need not be yours. Maybe some of you have learned lessons that I have yet to learn. If so, my friends (and that does happen to be what I consider us all to be), let's look at ourselves and ask the questions:

What did you learn this year?

That trying and trying again at eHarmony does pay off in finding a great soul-mate once you get past the relocation issues and the fakes.

Has your life gotten better or worse?

better

Do you feel you are making progress towards your goals or have you fallen behind?

Progess but far slower than I'd like.

This is meant to be an interactive topic and once again, I encourage everyone to participate.

And, of course, Happy Holidays to everyone.

Cheers,

Dawn
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Hope the next year is better for you Dawn.

[ 12-24-2005, 10:16 PM: Message edited by: Volitzer ]
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Posts: 6551 | From: -in transition- | Registered: Oct 2000   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:24:05 pm
Norman Pounders
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Maybe a little more prayer is in order, Dawn, then you might have a decent year. As I said, I have no complaints myself.


quote:
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This year, everything has gotten so much darker. What I used to be so certain of, I'm no longer certain of at all. I don't know how many people here know this feeling, where you suddenly feel so safe and secure, like everything has all been planned out for you, and then have all that security suddenly just gone. I felt it first back when my father died a few years ago, I felt it a second time this year when I first broke up with Curt. You know, even though I am doing better now than when I first told everyone about all this, I don't actually feel as safe and secure as I once did. Maybe I never will again, eiher. I guess, once you lose something like that, there's no getting it back.
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Michelle, maybe I'm not remembering things correctly, but I did believe you said your problems were the result of an infidelity. If that's the case, an argument could be made that there is only one person to blame for that, young lady.

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"The world is not divided into men and women. It's divided into great minds and small minds;

- Anassa

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Posts: 344 | Registered: Nov 2004  |   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:24:20 pm
Jami
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I'd like to say that I have been reading this forum since the fall and even though I don't agree with everyone, the mix of points of view that I see going on here is really interesting (and makes for good reading).

It's sort of like a mini-human drama going on. One thing I have realized is that no two people are destined to follow down the same road. Also that upbringing is not the only key to success. The more limited someone's experiences are, the less apt they are to understand others.
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:24:41 pm
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quote
One thing I have realized is that no two people are destined to follow down the same road.

The more limited someone's experiences are, the less apt they are to understand others.

Very insightful.

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“Ad initio, alea iacta est.”
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
it's Later Than You Think
 


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:24:59 pm
Ren
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Overall, things have gotten better for me, and I'm making slow progress toward my goals. I had a few very short relationships that didn't work out, but I just think of those as learning experiences. I found a long distance pen pal with whom I have a more open and caring relationship than any in person that I can remember, and she's become very special to me. I started a business (an online store), which is a great feeling even if I am barely breaking even. At work I moved to a different department, away from an egomaniacal, childish... let's just say he's a manager on a powertrip. The people I work with now are a pleasure to be around.

And I started posting a little on the forum. I must say that people like Michelle and Dawn are what keep me coming back - their light overcomes the dark clouds that also post here. Despite the problems in their own lives, they still have that effect, and it's something to be proud of.

So I'm doing fine personally, which probably intensifies my concern for the state of the world. It isn't doing well, and I think we're at a crossroads. Even if we do make all the right decisions from here out (unlikely), we seem to be on the brink of a major climate change. I don't see the human race becoming extinct, we're too resilient for that, but 20 years from now the world will be a very different place.

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"Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people." - Jawaharlal Nehru

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Posts: 53 | From: San Diego, CA | Registered: Jan 2005


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:25:15 pm
Sarah
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In ten years from now, the world might well be a different place, we're all due for a major earth change in 2012.

The biggest problems the world faces today are the three "r's," racism, religious zealotry, and the **** of the environment.

What do all these things have in common? They are all the work of man, not nature. Nature has a way of slapping the human race back down, though, once it gets too carried away with itself.

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"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand fail..." - King David, Psalms 137:5

http://www.zwoje-scrolls.com/shoah/index.html

http://www.holocaustchronicle.org/

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:25:39 pm
+Faith+

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   posted 12-26-2005 03:18 PM                       
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This will be the year that I realized that no problem that I or anyone else can have cannot be solved without understanding. that one person truly can make a difference, that we need not accept things the way that they are. We really can save the world with love.

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(Psalms) 31:5,
"Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth."

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 17, 2007, 03:26:02 pm
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   posted 12-26-2005 10:56 PM                   
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Two years ago, I came here to rigbt a wrong I saw inflicted upon a member of this forum. It is interesting how the names can change, time can pass, and yet the attitude of some remains the same. As long as people are incapable of fair, rational action, the need for justice will always prevail.

And justice is made not by the wants and desires of human beings, but by their deeds.

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"Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad."

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Posts: 192 | From: Mt. Olympus | Registered: Jun 2004   

http://forums.atlantisrising.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=15;t=000531;p=2


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:44:11 am
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   posted 12-27-2005 03:55 AM                       
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A late Happy Holidays to everyone.

I've learned that if you are blonde, 22 and decent looking, you tend to get a lot of attention in school. Odd thing? You don't tend to want most of it and it becomes more of a nuisance than anything else.

A pity that the forum has de-evolved into so many petty disagreements. I thought we were having some very enlightened discussions there for a time.

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"He who controls others maybe powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” - Lao Tsu

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Posts: 238 | From: Minnesota | Registered: Jul 2005 


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:44:34 am
ParaNormalIAm

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   posted 12-28-2005 04:34 PM                       
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And Aphrodite I have to agree with you on that last statement. However Faith, (almost named my daughter that.) Made the point of everything that matters in the world. This will be the year that I realized that no problem that I or anyone else can have cannot be solved without understanding. That one person truly can make a difference, that we need not accept things the way that they are. We really can save the world with love.

And I would like to add to this part; The reason the world is a rough place is because it's easier then opening your heart enough to forgive and understand.

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(Psalms) 31:5,
"Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth."

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Quote Apollo "As long as people are incapable of fair, rational action, the need for justice will always prevail.

And justice is made not by the wants and desires of human beings, but by their deeds."
In the end, all things come full circle.

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http://myspace.com/oharry1

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:45:09 am
Michelle Sandberg

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   posted 12-30-2005 02:00 AM                       
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Thanks for the encouragement, Trent. And thanks a lot for the compliment, Ren, it's nice people like you that make me keep coming here, too.

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Hopefully, it will be better than the last year was!

Michelle
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:45:37 am
Europa

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   posted 01-02-2006 03:23 AM                       
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Happy New Year to everyone!

Let's lighten the mood a little around here:


quote:
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Ancients Rang In New Year with Dance, Beer
By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News


Dec. 30, 2005 — Many ancient Egyptians marked the first month of the New Year by singing, dancing and drinking red beer until they passed out, according to archaeologists who have unearthed new evidence of a ritual known as the Festival of Drunkenness.

During ongoing excavations at a temple precinct in Luxor that is dedicated to the goddess Mut, the archaeologists recently found a sandstone column drum dating to 1470-1460 B.C. with writing that mentions the festival.

The discovery suggests how some Egyptians over 3,000 years ago began their New Year, which for them started around the end of August to coincide with seasonal, desired flooding that drenched farmlands where they would grow crops, such as barley and wheat. The Festival of Drunkenness usually occurred 20 days after the first big flood.

While drinking and dancing are part of many modern New Year's celebrations, the early Egyptians probably would have disapproved of the partying because they viewed such activities in a very different light.

"The Festival of Drunkenness was not a social occasion for them," said Betsy Bryan, who led the dig. "People did not come to enjoy themselves. They drank to enter an altered state so that they might witness the epiphany of a deity."

Bryan, who is chair of the Near Eastern Studies Department at Johns Hopkins University, added, "In general, the ancient Egyptians frowned upon drunkenness, but they would come together to drink for a specific purpose."

She told Discovery News that written references to the festival date to several thousand years ago, but the writing on the newly discovered sandstone column drum is one of the first pieces of evidence to directly link the festival to an Egyptian leader and to a temple location.

In this case, the leader is the female pharaoh Hatshepsut, who reigned for close to 20 years in the fifteenth century B.C. The column reads, "She (Hatshepsut) made it (the temple) as a monument for her mother Mut Mistress of Isheru, making for her a columned porch of drunkenness anew, so that she might do as one who is given life forever."

The findings are published in the new book "Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh," which contains writings that were compiled by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The book coincides with an exhibit on Hatshepsut that currently is at San Francisco's de Young Museum.

According to Bryan, the Festival of Drunkenness began with attendees appeasing a lion goddess deity, such as Mut, with red beer that received its color from red ochre.

A myth called the "Destruction of Mankind" suggested that if a goddess became drunk on red beer, she would no longer slaughter humans. The ancient Egyptians, therefore, believed that the colorful brew was associated with salvation.

Liturgical psalms used during the festival suggest that the goddess — probably depicted on a statue — was enthroned in the temple and then transported through a hall before being carried to the temple's front court. It was here that celebrants became inebriated, sang, danced, engaged in sexual activity, and waited to see the goddess.

"One commonality with modern celebrations is that they would have a 'designated driver' who was supposed to stay sober throughout the event to make sure that others were taken care of," said Bryan.
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http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20051226/drunkegypt_arc.html
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Posts: 424 | From: Illinois | Registered: Jul 2005   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:46:05 am
Jade Hellene

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   posted 01-02-2006 03:34 AM                       
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Don't

Mention

Beer.

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Sort through the media disinformation:
http://mediamatters.org/

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Posts: 719 | Registered: Feb 2005 


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:46:27 am
Jean Starling

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   posted 01-02-2006 04:50 PM                       
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Happy New Year to everyone.

Nice article, Europa.

Hopefully, this is the year we get out of Iraq, the economy turns around and the world in general gets more progressive, not as bloodthirsty.
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Posts: 110 | From: Chicago, IL | Registered: May 2005   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:46:48 am
Calvin Noble

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My wish is that all the many lost souls here find (of which there are more than I care to say here) find Jesus Christ and accept him as their savior. It has been my experience that those who have no religion (hence, no faith) tend to be the most miserable.

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"An atheist believes in nothing, and so he shall find nothing."

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Posts: 344 | Registered: Nov 2004


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:47:13 am
Brooke

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   posted 01-06-2006 12:19 AM                       
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Bunk.

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"The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended." - Albert Einstein

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Posts: 1102 | Registered: Oct 2005  |


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:47:38 am
Jason

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   posted 01-06-2006 02:07 AM                       
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Fundie bunk.
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:48:19 am
Dawn Moline

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   posted 01-07-2006 12:19 AM                       
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I have changed the name of this topic to broaden the discussion a bit.

"Year in Your life"

Becomes:

"Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace"

The chief goal in this will be a quest, for each of us to find some better way of dealing with the world. Specifically, in what manner does each of us deal with the world? Everyone feels the wounds of anger, sadness and regret. Everyone has a loss that they cannot bear, there are times when each of us feels completely alone.

What is the philosophy that sees you through it all, did you achieve some pathway to inner enlightenment or are you simply content that it shall end someday, with each of our lives?

Is life a series of challenges that we each pride ourselves on overcoming, or a war wherein each day we incur a new wound? Do you call on God, or are you more apt to depend on yourself?

When you are hurt do you turn the other cheek, or do you strike back?

Victim or aggressor?
Angel or demon?
Liberal or conservative?
A seeker of vengeance, or blessed with the ability to forgive?


Is there some new wisdom or cause you have uncovered that makes it all worthwhile?

I am, by my own nature, a very passive person and would far rather be hurt by someone than be the one to inflict the hurt. And, to be perfectly honest, mine isn't so much of phiosophy as who life has made me.

However, I sense that there are many others out there who are genuinely hurting and if there are teachings that others might have learned that be of worth, it might be part of our duty to share them.

If it isn't too much to ask, if it isn't too intimate, I would like to know everyone's personal philosophy.

[ 01-07-2006, 12:20 AM: Message edited by: Dawn Moline ]

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"The unexamined life is one not worth leading."
-Plato

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:49:03 am
Calvin Noble

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Dawn, there is an old saying that I shall now impart to you: "Let go, let God.

I have noted with interest that those who seem to drift the most aimlessly through life, and seem the most bereft of hope (as at times, you have certainly seemed to be), are the ones that also tend to lack faith.

The church gives one a mission, a purpose, and, most importantly, direction.

Our crime rates are rising these days because God has been taken out of the classroom and people have been drifting away from the church. Liberals all consider themselves bright people, too bad they haven't yet gotten bright enough to make that connection!

Religion gives one a clear list of moral virtues to live one's life by, take away religion and it;s no wonder so many people feel lost, dispirited, beset and alone.

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"An atheist believes in nothing, and so he shall find nothing."

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:49:43 am
Jennifer O'Dell

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   posted 01-07-2006 09:37 PM                       
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Religion gives people the illusion they aren't alone. The only way to actually not be alone, though, is to be seeing someone.

How's that for fortune cookie wisdom...
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:51:40 am
Brooke

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   posted 01-08-2006 01:04 AM                       
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quote:
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Victim or aggressor?
Angel or demon?
Liberal or conservative?
A seeker of vengeance, or blessed with the ability to forgive?
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No offense meant, Dawn, but I think that you have fallen into the trap that most people do these days: needing to give labels to people.

Some people are really easy to label, but others don't fall into any particular category. I don't support the war in Iraq, but hey, just because I don't support one bad idea for a war that all of a sudden makes me a liberal? There are other times when I thoght that war was neccessary.

I'm an "issue-oriented" person, I don't follow any particulare ideology.

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"The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended." - Albert Einstein

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Posts: 1102 | Registered: Oct 2005


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:56:59 am
Brooke

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   posted 01-08-2006 01:09 AM                       
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quote:
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The church gives one a mission, a purpose, and, most importantly, direction.

Our crime rates are rising these days because God has been taken out of the classroom and people have been drifting away from the church. Liberals all consider themselves bright people, too bad they haven't yet gotten bright enough to make that connection!

Religion gives one a clear list of moral virtues to live one's life by, take away religion and it;s no wonder so many people feel lost, dispirited, beset and alone.
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Then, give religion back to us and women like me tend to feel repressed, discriminated against and abhorred.

(See Jade's "Women & the Bible" thread for a list of ugly little examples).

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"The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended." - Albert Einstein

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Posts: 1102 | Registered: Oct 2005 


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:57:40 am
Jennie McGrath

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   posted 01-09-2006 10:25 PM                       
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Calvin needs to get a life...as usual!!!

I didn't even know that Calvin was still lurking around here, what an unpleasant idea! Anyway, I have no profound philosophy to share with everyone other than this: have a good time, all the time!{/i]

I think that people who are the most miserable are the ones that have forgotten how to party. People spend so much time worrying about paying their bills, well, no one's going to give a flying fig if your bills were paid or not twenty years after you're dead. So you might as well have yourself a good time!
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Posts: 730 | Registered: Nov 2004   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:58:09 am
I_am_that_I_am

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   posted 01-09-2006 10:34 PM                       
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quote:
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I think that people who are the most miserable are the ones that have forgotten how to party. People spend so much time worrying about paying their bills, well, no one's going to give a flying fig if your bills were paid or not twenty years after you're dead. So you might as well have yourself a good time!
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Wooohoo!,A great motto to live by....Live for today for tommorrow you may not be here !  ;D

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KNOW that as ye do unto the least of thy associates ye do
unto the GOD within THEE that is in the image of the God
without.
E.C.

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Posts: 1820 | From: Nashville, TN. | Registered: Nov 2002   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:58:36 am
Jennifer O'Dell

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   posted 01-09-2006 11:22 PM                       
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I saw a special tonight where someone said that the secret to inner peace is to just take seven minutes each day and get to "know" yourself.

Trouble is, who has seven minutes anymore..?
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Posts: 946 | Registered: Nov 2004   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:59:01 am
Aphrodite

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   posted 01-10-2006 08:37 PM                       
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My own personal philosophy?
Life is a struggle, don't expect anyone to be nice to you and keep everyone at arm's length. The world is not your parents. For those of us who no longer have our parents, that truth was ingrained in us early on.

But does any of that really help anyone? Most people want to believe the good in others, they hope to find some happiness. That fails to take into the account, though, that happiness is fleeting and any of it that we do find is just an illusion.

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"He who controls others maybe powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” - Lao Tsu

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Posts: 238 | From: Minnesota | Registered: Jul 2005   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:59:30 am
+Faith+

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   posted 01-10-2006 08:58 PM                       
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For anyone who feels that their life has become pointless...well, Calvin had a good suggestion as to getting more involved with the church. However, I know that some people have an aversion to religion and also that belief is something you feel, not something that can be forced upon you.

My suggestion would be to get involved with an organization to help people. You can't help but to feel you have a greater purpose and the purpose you work for is for a greater good.

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(Psalms) 31:5,
"Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth."

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Posts: 159 | Registered: Dec 2005 


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 12:59:54 am
George Erikson
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   posted 01-10-2006 09:12 PM                       
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Be aware of the god within yourself. Slow down. This does not happen easily when you're trying to meet deadlines... artificial dates for delivery of essay papers, manuscripts, etc. But you cannot let these tasks dominate. Meet them at the best moment, last moment, ignore them, or just forget them. Never regret them. If they are not important, ignore them. Do you think you'll starve? Not likely, in our country, different in Africa... where my advice is laughable! Slow down!!!

[ 01-10-2006, 10:16 PM: Message edited by: George Erikson ]
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:00:18 am
I_am_that_I_am

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   posted 01-10-2006 10:28 PM                       
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quote:
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 and keep everyone at arm's length.
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Wow, I feel sorry you feel that way !  Without family the world can seam a big lonley,non-caring place. I agree, maybe you should look for a church of your liking, which may be hard to do, so many denominations and even inside each denomination each church is different. Personaly I don't see church as a place to worship, As one can do that all day long outside of the church.(don't pray in thy synagog, pray in thy closet)But I DO VIEW THE CHURCH AS A COMMUNITY, A PLACE OF FELLOWSHIP OF LIKEMINDED INDIVIDUALS AND THE MEMBERS COME TOGETHER TO WORK AS 1 (STRENGHT IN NUMBERS) ON WHATEVER THE NEED IS. It does not have to be a church though, there are many non-religious civic groups out there also.

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KNOW that as ye do unto the least of thy associates ye do
unto the GOD within THEE that is in the image of the God
without.
E.C.

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Posts: 1820 | From: Nashville, TN. | Registered: Nov 2002   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:00:38 am
Brooke

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   posted 01-10-2006 11:24 PM                       
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quote:
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My own personal philosophy?
Life is a struggle, don't expect anyone to be nice to you and keep everyone at arm's length.
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On the other hand, I see nothing wrong with keeping people at arm's length. There are a lot of loonies out there!

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"The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended." - Albert Einstein

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Posts: 1102 | Registered: Oct 2005 


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:00:59 am
I_am_that_I_am

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   posted 01-10-2006 11:45 PM                       
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quote:
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On the other hand, I see nothing wrong with keeping people at arm's length. There are a lot of loonies out there!
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true that, but by doing so you are also missing out on some really good relationships. reminds me of..It is better to have loved and lost then not to have loved at all.

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KNOW that as ye do unto the least of thy associates ye do
unto the GOD within THEE that is in the image of the God
without.
E.C.

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Posts: 1820 | From: Nashville, TN. | Registered: Nov 2002   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:01:20 am
Aristotle

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   posted 01-11-2006 10:51 PM                       
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My own personal philosophy would be that everyone, be they man or woman, should learn how to take care of themselves because no one is going to do it for you. By my definition, that would be not learning to pray to a God, but having faith in one's own abilities to handle things. While no doubt some will see that as a bit of arrogance on my part and that there is some power that takes care of us all, to them I would say, what if there isn't? What if we have been alone all this time, here only by some cosmic accident, and that each of us actually has been handling our problems alone for all this time? The lesson I would have people take from that would not be the lesson of disillusionment, but that each of us is stronger than we know. The message would not be, "we are alone," but that "we are strong enough to make it alone," and that there is not, nor has there ever been, anything to fear.

And I'd like to dwell a bit more on that. Throughout history, I would suggest that people have committed most of their worst acts out of fear. Fear of not going to heaven, fear of beliefs that might differ from their own, fear of any people that they see as different than themselves. People who tend to believe in themselves are, by their very nature, less afraid, and that would be the lesson I would most like to impart upon everyone.

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"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
- Aristotle

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:01:44 am
Brooke

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   posted 01-11-2006 11:32 PM                       
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quote:
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true that, but by doing so you are also missing out on some really good relationships. reminds me of..It is better to have loved and lost then not to have loved at all.
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True, Iam, but most women will tell you that they have to sort of do that in order to protect themselves.

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"The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended." - Albert Einstein

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Posts: 1102 | Registered: Oct 2005 


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:02:16 am
Pagan

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   posted 01-12-2006 12:06 AM                       
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+Faith+, you also feel good if you commit a purely selfish act! In fact, I would have to say that you feel a whole lot better!

Forget everything that everyone has been saying here, expecially +Faith+ and Aphrodyke! The only one even close to the meaning of life is McGrath:

Party a lot, get laid whenever you can and don't take anything too seriously! Everyone has their own private party they can go to, and, you know where it is?

It's in your pants!!!

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╔╪╪╪╪╪╪╪╪╗
☼The Pagan ☼
╚╪╪╪╪╪╪╪╪╝

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:02:37 am
I_am_that_I_am

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   posted 01-12-2006 12:59 PM                       
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quote:
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 True, Iam, but most women will tell you that they have to sort of do that in order to protect themselves
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It require's a delicate balance, like almost everything in life, moderation is the key.

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KNOW that as ye do unto the least of thy associates ye do
unto the GOD within THEE that is in the image of the God
without.
E.C.

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Posts: 1820 | From: Nashville, TN. | Registered: Nov 2002   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:03:16 am
Heather Delaria

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   posted 01-12-2006 11:56 PM                       
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The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief:
1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarters.

2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with nature in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called ‘supernatural’, but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity – as masculine and feminine – and that this same Creative Power lies in all people and functions through the interaction of the masculine and the feminine. We value neither above the other knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sex as pleasure as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energy used in magical practice and religious worship.

5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconsciousness, the Inner Planes etc – and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magical exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.

6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

7. We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it – a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft – the Wiccan Way.

8. Calling oneself ‘Witch’ does not make a Witch – but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seek to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and without harm to others and in harmony with nature.

9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it.

10.Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be ‘the only way’ and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.

11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future.

12.We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as ‘Satan’ or ‘the Devil’ as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.

13.We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.


http://www.controverscial.com/The%2013%20Principles%20of%20Wiccan%20Belief.htm

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"An it harm none, do what ye will."
-the Wiccan Rede

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:03:42 am
Heather Delaria

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   posted 01-13-2006 12:12 AM                       
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Wicca Beliefs and Practices

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There are a wide variety of beliefs and practices in modern day Wicca. However, despite the pluralism and diversity, distinct principles derived from Gardnerian Wicca are common to most modern witches. Some of these beliefs are as follows:

Everyone has the divine (or goddess) within.
One should develop natural gifts for divination or occult magic (often spelled 'magick' by occultists.)
Divine forces or nature spirits are invoked in rituals.
The Goddess, as either a symbol or a real entity, is the focus of worship.
Nature and the earth are sacred manifestations of the Goddess.
Everyone has his or her own spiritual path to follow.
Rituals and celebrations are linked to the seasons and moon phases.
Meditation, visualization, invocation (calling on forces or gods/goddesses), chanting, burning candles and special rituals trigger a sense of the mystical, thus reinforcing the core belief system.
These beliefs will often be mixed with a combination of mystical traditions, Celtic or Norse paganism, Greek and Roman goddess worship, ancient Egyptian spirituality, Eastern Shamanism, or even Native American spiritual practices depending on the group. All of these groups revere nature, support peace, and believe society cannot be at peace if we are out of harmony with nature or are mistreating Mother Earth (also known as Gaia, the name of a pagan goddess given to Earth). This aspect of Wicca is very similar to the New Age Religion supported by the United Nations and many of it's members, NGO's and leaders. Divination techniques such as tarot cards, astrology, runes, the I Ching (from Chinese Taoism), clairvoyant or psychic readings, candle magick and other occult practices are not only common but encouraged by most groups.

Similar to Hinduism, the serpent is believed by Wiccans to be a symbol of eternal life and female spiritual awakening or power. In Hinduism, yoga and meditation results in enlightenment from awakening the kundalini, or power known as the serpent power believed to be coiled at the base of the spine. Other symbols used in witchcraft are:

Pentagram and pentacle - A 5-pointed star used for protection, spells, conjuring, etc.
The Ankh - Egyptian cross-like symbol with a loop at the top associated with the worship of Isis.
The Crescent Moon - A symbol of the Goddess also used in Islam.
Crystals - believed to contain healing and spiritual properties. Crystals are also used by many other new age cults.
One hurdle that will have to be crossed in witnessing to a person involved in Wicca is their lack of belief in a need for forgiveness or salvation. To the witch, there is no sin therefore no need for forgiveness. There is no need for salvation, as there is nothing to be saved from. The main tenet of Wicca is the "Wiccan Rede" which states "And it harm none, do as ye will". Basically, as long as you don't hurt anyone, anything goes. Of course, views of what actually causes harm vary from person to person. Most also believe that whatever you do will come back to you three-fold, so it pays to be careful. Some, however, believe that it is sometimes acceptable to cause harm as long as you are willing to accept the karmic consequence.

Views of an afterlife vary widely among groups. Witches do not believe in a heaven or hell and will usually espouse the concept of karma and endless reincarnation. Backed up by "memories" of "past lives" they insist the idea of living only once is ridiculous. Others believe in reincarnation until enlightenment, or endless rebirth until such time as the person is enlightened enough to pass on to some other existence. Again, what makes a person enlightened varies from person to person. Still others will openly admit they have no idea what will happen after death and say the will find out when they get there.

As you can see, the beliefs of Wiccans fit very well into the humanist religion that has become so widespread in modern society. As with other humanist religions everything goes as long as it doesn't oppose their claim to being god/godess or hold them accountable to a higher power. It is this point that makes Christianity the only faith they will bend the "anything goes" rule for. To them it is intolerant to believe in an absolute truth and they will often take it as an insult to be told there is evil in the world and we all sin. This is one of the biggest obstacles to sharing your faith with Wiccans and other humanist groups.

http://contenderministries.org/wicca/beliefs.php

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"An it harm none, do what ye will."
-the Wiccan Rede

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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:04:06 am
Jason

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   posted 01-13-2006 02:47 PM                       
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I actually consider myself a "moderate" myself, and I think most people are. And I'm a moderate when it comes to just about everything.

I think people tend to be a little bit too extreme in both their religious beliefs and their politics here. I'm of the opinion that almost all religions are based on fantasies so it's senseless to say that one is better or worse than the other. That goes for Wiccca as well as Christianity.

When it comes to Bush and the Republicans, I'm not able to keep an open mind about it all. So long as they keep nominating these conservative, bloated big business whores who want to keep attacking the Constiution, I will never vote for a Republican. September 11th was a horrible day for the country, but it was actually a great thing for the Bush Administration. There would be no way those crooks would still be in office if they weren't still able to use the Osama boogeymnan to keep on scaring everybody.
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Posts: 318 | From: Dorm Room | Registered: Oct 2005   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:04:32 am
Morrison

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   posted 01-26-2006 09:34 PM                       
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I thought it might be interesting if we used Dawn's old thread to also devlve into some conditions that bring disorder to a person's mental harmony, specifically disorders of the mind.

No inference should be drawn here towards any person here, I have always found the human mind to be interesting and have always found it a bit intriguing to try and fathom it.

Paranoid personality disorder

Diagnostic criteria (DSM-IV-TR)
The DSM-IV-TR, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders (see also:DSM cautionary statement), defines paranoid personality disorder as a cluster A personality disorder (along with schizoid personality disorder (301.20) and schizotypal personality disorder (301.22)):

301.00 Paranoid Personality Disorder

A. A pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events
persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights
perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack
has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner
B. Does not occur exclusively during the course of schizophrenia, a mood disorder with psychotic features, or another psychotic disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.
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Posts: 391 | From: New England | Registered: Oct 20


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:05:04 am
Morrison

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   posted 01-26-2006 09:37 PM                       
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In popular culture, the term paranoia is usually used to describe excessive concern about one's own well-being, sometimes suggesting a person holds persecutory beliefs concerning a threat to themselves or their property and is often linked to a belief in conspiracy theories.

In psychiatry, the term paranoia was used by Emil Kraepelin to describe a mental illness in which a delusional belief is the sole, or most prominent feature. This usage is now largely obsolete and the term is more typically used in a general sense to signify any delusion, or more specifically, to signify a delusion involving the fear of persecution. The exact use of the term has changed over time, and because of this, psychiatric usage may vary.

Use in psychiatry

In his original attempt at classifying different forms of mental illness, Emil Kraepelin used the term pure paranoia to describe a condition where a delusion was present, but without any apparent deterioration in intellectual abilities and without any of the other features of dementia praecox, the condition later renamed schizophrenia.

In the original Greek, παράνοια (paranoia) means simply madness (para = outside; nous = mind). Kraeplin's developed a definition from this root involving delusional beliefs. Notably, in his definition, the belief does not have to be persecutory to be classified as paranoid, so any number of delusional beliefs can be classified as paranoia. For example, a person who has the sole delusional belief that he is an important religious figure would be classified by Kraepelin as having 'pure paranoia'.

Although the diagnosis of pure paranoia is no longer used (having been superseded by the diagnosis of delusional disorder) the use of the term to signify the presence of delusions in general, rather than persecutory delusions specifically, lives on in the classification of paranoid schizophrenia, which denotes a form of schizophrenia where delusions are prominent.

More recently, the clinical use of the term has been used to describe delusions where the affected person believes they are being persecuted. Specifically, they have been defined as containing two central elements:

The individual thinks that harm is occurring, or is going to occur, to him or her.
The individual thinks that the persecutor has the intention to cause harm.
Paranoia is often associated with psychotic illnesses, particularly schizophrenia, although attenuated features may be present in other primarily non-psychotic diagnoses, such as paranoid personality disorder.
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Posts: 391 | From: New England | Registered: Oct 2004  |


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:05:39 am
Morrison

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   posted 01-26-2006 09:42 PM                       
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Delusional disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis denoting a mental illness that involves holding one or more non-bizarre delusions in the absence of any other significant psychopathology (signs or symptoms of mental illness). In particular a person with delusional disorder has never met any other criteria for schizophrenia and does not have any marked hallucinations, although tactile (touch) or olfactory (smell) hallucinations may be present if they are related to the theme of the delusion.

A person with delusional disorder can be quite functional and does not tend to show any odd or bizarre behaviour except as a direct result of the delusional belief.

It is worth noting that the term paranoia was previously used in psychiatry to denote what is now called 'delusional disorder'. The modern psychiatric use of the word paranoia is subtly different but now rarely refers to this specific diagnosis.

Delusional disorder may typically be one of the following types:

Erotomanic Type (see erotomania): delusion that another person, usually of higher status, is in love with the individual.
Grandiose Type: delusion of inflated worth, power, knowledge, identity, or special relationship to a deity or famous person (e.g. see Jerusalem syndrome)
Jealous Type: delusion that the individual's sexual partner is unfaithful (see delusional jealousy).
Persecutory Type: delusion that the person (or someone to whom the person is close) is being malevolently treated in some way.
Somatic Type: delusions that the person has some physical defect or general medical condition (for example, see delusional parasitosis).
A diagnosis of 'mixed type' or 'unspecified type' may also be given if the delusions fall into several or none of these categories


A monothematic delusion is a delusional state that only concerns one particular topic. This is contrasted by what is sometimes called multi-thematic or polythematic delusions where the person has a range of delusions (typically the case of schizophrenia). These disorders can occur within the context of schizophrenia or dementia or they can occur without any other signs of mental illness. Usually when these disorders are found outside the context of mental illness, they are often caused by organic disfunction as a result of traumatic brain injury, stroke, or neurological illness.

People who suffer from these delusions as a result of organic disfunction often do not suffer from any obvious intellectual deficiency nor do they have any other symptoms. Additionally, a few of these people even have some awareness that their beliefs are bizarre, yet they can not be persuaded that their beliefs are false.
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:06:06 am
Morrison

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   posted 01-26-2006 09:46 PM                       
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Types

The delusions that fall under this category are:

Capgras delusion is the belief that (usually) a close relative or spouse has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor.
Fregoli delusion is the belief that various people that the believer meets are actually the same person in disguise.
Intermetamorphosis is the belief that people in the environment swap identities with each other whilst maintaining the same appearance.
Subjective doubles, in which a person believes there is a doppelganger or double of him or herself carrying out independent actions.
Cotard delusion is the belief that oneself is dead or does not exist; sometimes coupled with the belief that they are putrifying or missing their internal organs.
Mirrored self-misidentification is the belief that one's reflection in a mirror is some other person.
Reduplicative paramnesia is the belief that a familiar person, place, object or body part has been duplicated. For example, a person may believe that they are in fact not in the hospital to which they were admitted, but an identical-looking hospital in a different part of the country, despite this being obviously false.
Unilateral neglect is the delusion where one denies ownership of a limb or an entire side of ones body (often connected with stroke).
delusions of alien control are delusions that someone or something else is controlling ones actions.
thought insertion is the delusion that someone else is putting words or thoughts in one's brain.
Note that some of these delusions are also sometimes grouped under the umbrella term of delusional misidentification syndrome.
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Posts: 391 | From: New England | Registered: Oct 2004   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:06:27 am
Morrison

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Causes

Current cognitive neuropsychology research points toward a two-factor approach to the cause of monothematic delusions1. The first factor being the anomalous experience—often a neurological defect—which leads to the delusion and the second factor being an impairment of the belief formation cognitive process.

For example of one of these first factors, several studies point toward Capgras delusion being the result of a disorder of the affect component of face perception. As a result, while the person can recognize their spouse (or other close relation) they do not feel the typical emotional reaction and thus the spouse does not seem like the person they once knew.

Other monothematic delusions are also assumed to precipitate from some form of neurological defect:

Cotard delusion - a global flattening of affect leading to a sense of emptiness
Fregoli delusion - heightened or misattributed affective response toward others leading to misidentifying others
Alien control, Thought insertion - loss of an experience of self-initiation of action or thought
Unilateral neglect - Loss of kinaesthetic and proprioceptive experience of a limb or side of body
Mirrored self-misidentification - disorder of face processing or inaccessibility of visuo-motor transformations for mirrored space
As studies have shown, these neurological defects are not enough on their own to cause delusional thinking. An additional second factor, a bias or impairment of the belief formation cognitive process is required to solidify and maintain the delusion. Since we do not currently have a solid cognitive model of the belief formation process, this second factor is still somewhat an unknown.

Some research has shown that delusional people are more prone to jumping to conclusions2, 3, 5 and thus they would be more likely to take their anomalous experience as veridical and make snap judgments based on these experiences. Additionally, studies5 have shown and they are more prone to making errors due to matching bias—indicative of a tendency to try and confirm the rule. These two judgment biases help explain how delusion prone people could grasp onto extreme delusions and be very resistant to change.

Some researchers claim this is enough to explain the delusional thinking. However other researchers still argue that these biases are not enough to explain why they remain completely impervious to evidence over time. They believe that there must be some additional unknown neurological defect in the patient's belief system (probably in the right hemisphere).
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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:06:53 am
Morrison

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Primary and Secondary Delusions

Jaspers originally made a distinction between primary and secondary delusions.
According to Jaspers, primary delusions (sometimes called true delusions) are distinguished by a transformation of meaning, so that the world, or aspects of it, are interpreted in a radically different way by the delusional person. To others, this interpretation is 'un-understandable' in terms of the normal mental causality, mood, environmental influences and other psychological or psychopathological factors. Jaspers describes four types of primary delusion:

delusional intuition - where delusions arrive 'out of the blue', without external cause.
delusional perception - where a normal percept is interpreted with delusional meaning. For example, a person sees a red car and knows that this means the person's food is being poisoned by the police.
delusional atmosphere - where the world seems subtly altered, uncanny, portentous or sinister. This resolves into a delusion, usually in a revelatory fashion, which seems to explain the unusual feeling of anticipation.
delusional memory - where a delusional belief is based upon the recall of memory or false memory for a past experience. For example, a man recalls seeing a woman laughing at the bus stop several weeks ago and now realises that this person was laughing because the man has animals living inside him.
Secondary delusions (sometimes called delusion-like ideas) are considered to be, at least in principle, understandable in the context of a person's life history, personality, mood state or presence of other psychopathology. For example, a person becomes depressed, suffers very low mood and self-esteem, and subsequently believes he or she is responsible for some terrible crime which he or she did not commit.

Diagnostic issues
However, the modern definition and Jaspers's original criteria have been criticised, as counter-examples can be shown for every defining feature.

Studies on psychiatric patients have shown that delusions can be seen to vary in intensity and conviction over time which suggests that certainty and incorrigibility are not necessary components of a delusional belief [1].

Delusions do not necessarily have to be false or 'incorrect inferences about external reality' [2]. Some religious or spiritual beliefs (such as 'I believe in the existence of God') including those diagnosed as delusional, by their nature may not be falsifiable, and hence cannot be described as false or incorrect [3].

In other situations the delusion may turn out to be true belief [4]. For example, delusional jealousy, where a person believes that his partner is being unfaithful (and may even follow them into the bathroom believing her to be seeing her lover even during the briefest of partings) may result in the faithful partner being driven to infidelity by the constant and unreasonable strain put on her by her delusional spouse. In this case the delusion does not cease to be a delusion because the content later turns out to be true.

In other cases, the delusion may be assumed to be false by doctor or psychiatrist assessing the belief, because it seems to be unlikely, bizarre or held with excessive conviction. Psychiatrists rarely have the time or resources to check the validity of a person’s claims leading to some true beliefs to be erroneously classified as delusional [5]. This is known as the Martha Mitchell effect, after the wife of the attorney general who alleged that illegal activity was taking place in the White House. At the time her claims were thought to be signs of mental illness, and only after the Watergate scandal broke was she proved right (and hence sane).

Similar factors have led to criticisms of Jaspers's definition of true delusions as being ultimately 'un-understandable'. Critics (such as R. D. Laing) have argued that this leads to the diagnosis of delusions being based on the subjective understanding of a particular psychiatrist, who may not have access to all the information which might make a belief otherwise interpretable.

Another difficulty with the diagnosis of delusions is that almost all of these features can be found in "normal" beliefs. Many religious beliefs hold exactly the same features, yet are not universally considered delusional. Similarly, as Thomas Kuhn demonstrated in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (his groundbreaking book on the history and sociology of science), scientists can hold strong fixed beliefs in scientific theories despite considerable counter evidence for their validity [6].

These factors have led the psychiatrist Anthony David to note that "there is no acceptable (rather than accepted) definition of a delusion" [7]. In practice psychiatrists tend to diagnose a belief as delusional if it is either patently bizarre, causing significant distress, or excessively pre-occupies the patient, especially
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Posts: 391 | From: New England | Registered: Oct 2004   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:07:17 am
Morrison

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Member # 2156

Member Rated:
   posted 01-26-2006 09:59 PM                       
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From Wikipedia. Everyone can feel free to discuss, or not, whatever the case may be.
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Posts: 391 | From: New England | Registered: Oct 2004   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:07:38 am
Volitzer

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Member # 245

Rate Member   posted 01-26-2006 10:15 PM                       
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quote:
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Originally posted by Aphrodite:
A late Happy Holidays to everyone.

I've learned that if you are blonde, 22 and decent looking, you tend to get a lot of attention in school. Odd thing? You don't tend to want most of it and it becomes more of a nuisance than anything else.

A pity that the forum has de-evolved into so many petty disagreements. I thought we were having some very enlightened discussions there for a time.
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Elliot Spitzer had his fraud to deal with on Wall Street and sometimes some of us do here as well.
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Posts: 6551 | From: -in transition- | Registered: Oct 2000


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:08:46 am
Dawn Moline

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   posted 01-27-2006 11:13 PM                       
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Why this rush towards mental illness..?

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"The unexamined life is one not worth leading."
-Plato

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Posts: 446 | From: citizen of the world | Registered: Oct 2004


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:09:07 am
Sarah

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   posted 01-28-2006 11:18 PM                       
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Why not?
Fun as inner harmony might well be, we must imagine that a discussion of disharmony might be even funner. Or funnier, whatever the case might be.

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"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand fail..." - King David, Psalms 137:5

http://www.zwoje-scrolls.com/shoah/index.html

http://www.holocaustchronicle.org/

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Posts: 822 | Registered: Oct 2005  |


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:09:44 am
Raven:

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Member Rated:
   posted 04-21-2006 07:11 PM                       
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The Myth of Mental Illness

By: Dr. Sam Vaknin

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"You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing – that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something."

Richard Feynman, Physicist and 1965 Nobel Prize laureate (1918-1988)

"You have all I dare say heard of the animal spirits and how they are transfused from father to son etcetera etcetera – well you may take my word that nine parts in ten of a man's sense or his nonsense, his successes and miscarriages in this world depend on their motions and activities, and the different tracks and trains you put them into, so that when they are once set a-going, whether right or wrong, away they go cluttering like hey-go-mad."

Lawrence Sterne (1713-1758), "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman" (1759)

I. Overview

II. Personality Disorders

III. The Biochemistry and Genetics of Mental Health

IV. The Variance of Mental Disease

V. Mental Disorders and the Social Order

VI. Mental Ailment as a Useful Metaphor

VII. The Insanity Defense

I. Overview

Someone is considered mentally "ill" if:

His conduct rigidly and consistently deviates from the typical, average behaviour of all other people in his culture and society that fit his profile (whether this conventional behaviour is moral or rational is immaterial), or

His judgment and grasp of objective, physical reality is impaired, and

His conduct is not a matter of choice but is innate and irresistible, and

His behavior causes him or others discomfort, and is

Dysfunctional, self-defeating, and self-destructive even by his own yardsticks.

Descriptive criteria aside, what is the essence of mental disorders? Are they merely physiological disorders of the brain, or, more precisely of its chemistry? If so, can they be cured by restoring the balance of substances and secretions in that mysterious organ? And, once equilibrium is reinstated – is the illness "gone" or is it still lurking there, "under wraps", waiting to erupt? Are psychiatric problems inherited, rooted in faulty genes (though amplified by environmental factors) – or brought on by abusive or wrong nurturance?

These questions are the domain of the "medical" school of mental health.

Others cling to the spiritual view of the human psyche. They believe that mental ailments amount to the metaphysical discomposure of an unknown medium – the soul. Theirs is a holistic approach, taking in the patient in his or her entirety, as well as his milieu.

The members of the functional school regard mental health disorders as perturbations in the proper, statistically "normal", behaviours and manifestations of "healthy" individuals, or as dysfunctions. The "sick" individual – ill at ease with himself (ego-dystonic) or making others unhappy (deviant) – is "mended" when rendered functional again by the prevailing standards of his social and cultural frame of reference.

In a way, the three schools are akin to the trio of blind men who render disparate descriptions of the very same elephant. Still, they share not only their subject matter – but, to a counter intuitively large degree, a faulty methodology.

As the renowned anti-psychiatrist, Thomas Szasz, of the State University of New York, notes in his article "The Lying Truths of Psychiatry", mental health scholars, regardless of academic predilection, infer the etiology of mental disorders from the success or failure of treatment modalities.

This form of "reverse engineering" of scientific models is not unknown in other fields of science, nor is it unacceptable if the experiments meet the criteria of the scientific method. The theory must be all-inclusive (anamnetic), consistent, falsifiable, logically compatible, monovalent, and parsimonious. Psychological "theories" – even the "medical" ones (the role of serotonin and dopamine in mood disorders, for instance) – are usually none of these things.

The outcome is a bewildering array of ever-shifting mental health "diagnoses" expressly centred around Western civilisation and its standards (example: the ethical objection to suicide). Neurosis, a historically fundamental "condition" vanished after 1980. Homosexuality, according to the American Psychiatric Association, was a pathology prior to 1973. Seven years later, narcissism was declared a "personality disorder", almost seven decades after it was first described by Freud.

II. Personality Disorders

Indeed, personality disorders are an excellent example of the kaleidoscopic landscape of "objective" psychiatry.

The classification of Axis II personality disorders – deeply ingrained, maladaptive, lifelong behavior patterns – in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition, text revision [American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV-TR, Washington, 2000] – or the DSM-IV-TR for short – has come under sustained and serious criticism from its inception in 1952, in the first edition of the DSM.

The DSM IV-TR adopts a categorical approach, postulating that personality disorders are "qualitatively distinct clinical syndromes" (p. 689). This is widely doubted. Even the distinction made between "normal" and "disordered" personalities is increasingly being rejected. The "diagnostic thresholds" between normal and abnormal are either absent or weakly supported.

The polythetic form of the DSM's Diagnostic Criteria – only a subset of the criteria is adequate grounds for a diagnosis – generates unacceptable diagnostic heterogeneity. In other words, people diagnosed with the same personality disorder may share only one criterion or none.
The DSM fails to clarify the exact relationship between Axis II and Axis I disorders and the way chronic childhood and developmental problems interact with personality disorders.

The differential diagnoses are vague and the personality disorders are insufficiently demarcated. The result is excessive co-morbidity (multiple Axis II diagnoses).
The DSM contains little discussion of what distinguishes normal character (personality), personality traits, or personality style (Millon) – from personality disorders.

A dearth of documented clinical experience regarding both the disorders themselves and the utility of various treatment modalities.
Numerous personality disorders are "not otherwise specified" – a catchall, basket "category".

Cultural bias is evident in certain disorders (such as the Antisocial and the Schizotypal).
The emergence of dimensional alternatives to the categorical approach is acknowledged in the DSM-IV-TR itself:

“An alternative to the categorical approach is the dimensional perspective that Personality Disorders represent maladaptive variants of personality traits that merge imperceptibly into normality and into one another” (p.689)

The following issues – long neglected in the DSM – are likely to be tackled in future editions as well as in current research. But their omission from official discourse hitherto is both startling and telling:

The longitudinal course of the disorder(s) and their temporal stability from early childhood onwards;

The genetic and biological underpinnings of personality disorder(s);

The development of personality psychopathology during childhood and its emergence in adolescence;

The interactions between physical health and disease and personality disorders;

The effectiveness of various treatments – talk therapies as well as psychopharmacology.

III. The Biochemistry and Genetics of Mental Health

Certain mental health afflictions are either correlated with a statistically abnormal biochemical activity in the brain – or are ameliorated with medication. Yet the two facts are not ineludibly facets of the same underlying phenomenon. In other words, that a given medicine reduces or abolishes certain symptoms does not necessarily mean they were caused by the processes or substances affected by the drug administered. Causation is only one of many possible connections and chains of events.

To designate a pattern of behaviour as a mental health disorder is a value judgment, or at best a statistical observation. Such designation is effected regardless of the facts of brain science. Moreover, correlation is not causation. Deviant brain or body biochemistry (once called "polluted animal spirits") do exist – but are they truly the roots of mental perversion? Nor is it clear which triggers what: do the aberrant neurochemistry or biochemistry cause mental illness – or the other way around?

That psychoactive medication alters behaviour and mood is indisputable. So do illicit and legal drugs, certain foods, and all interpersonal interactions. That the changes brought about by prescription are desirable – is debatable and involves tautological thinking. If a certain pattern of behaviour is described as (socially) "dysfunctional" or (psychologically) "sick" – clearly, every change would be welcomed as "healing" and every agent of transformation would be called a "cure".

The same applies to the alleged heredity of mental illness. Single genes or gene complexes are frequently "associated" with mental health diagnoses, personality traits, or behaviour patterns. But too little is known to establish irrefutable sequences of causes-and-effects. Even less is proven about the interaction of nature and nurture, genotype and phenotype, the plasticity of the brain and the psychological impact of trauma, abuse, upbringing, role models, peers, and other environmental elements.

Nor is the distinction between psychotropic substances and talk therapy that clear-cut. Words and the interaction with the therapist also affect the brain, its processes and chemistry - albeit more slowly and, perhaps, more profoundly and irreversibly. Medicines – as David Kaiser reminds us in "Against Biologic Psychiatry" (Psychiatric Times, Volume XIII, Issue 12, December 1996) – treat symptoms, not the underlying processes that yield them.

IV. The Variance of Mental Disease

If mental illnesses are bodily and empirical, they should be invariant both temporally and spatially, across cultures and societies. This, to some degree, is, indeed, the case. Psychological diseases are not context dependent – but the pathologizing of certain behaviours is. Suicide, substance abuse, narcissism, eating disorders, antisocial ways, schizotypal symptoms, depression, even psychosis are considered sick by some cultures – and utterly normative or advantageous in others.

This was to be expected. The human mind and its dysfunctions are alike around the world. But values differ from time to time and from one place to another. Hence, disagreements about the propriety and desirability of human actions and inaction are bound to arise in a symptom-based diagnostic system.

As long as the pseudo-medical definitions of mental health disorders continue to rely exclusively on signs and symptoms – i.e., mostly on observed or reported behaviours – they remain vulnerable to such discord and devoid of much-sought universality and rigor.

V. Mental Disorders and the Social Order

The mentally sick receive the same treatment as carriers of AIDS or SARS or the Ebola virus or smallpox. They are sometimes quarantined against their will and coerced into involuntary treatment by medication, psychosurgery, or electroconvulsive therapy. This is done in the name of the greater good, largely as a preventive policy.

Conspiracy theories notwithstanding, it is impossible to ignore the enormous interests vested in psychiatry and psychopharmacology. The multibillion dollar industries involving drug companies, hospitals, managed healthcare, private clinics, academic departments, and law enforcement agencies rely, for their continued and exponential growth, on the propagation of the concept of "mental illness" and its corollaries: treatment and research.

VI. Mental Ailment as a Useful Metaphor

Abstract concepts form the core of all branches of human knowledge. No one has ever seen a quark, or untangled a chemical bond, or surfed an electromagnetic wave, or visited the unconscious. These are useful metaphors, theoretical entities with explanatory or descriptive power.

"Mental health disorders" are no different. They are shorthand for capturing the unsettling quiddity of "the Other". Useful as taxonomies, they are also tools of social coercion and conformity, as Michel Foucault and Louis Althusser observed. Relegating both the dangerous and the idiosyncratic to the collective fringes is a vital technique of social engineering.

The aim is progress through social cohesion and the regulation of innovation and creative destruction. Psychiatry, therefore, is reifies society's preference of evolution to revolution, or, worse still, to mayhem. As is often the case with human endeavour, it is a noble cause, unscrupulously and dogmatically pursued.

VII. The Insanity Defense

"It is an ill thing to knock against a deaf-mute, an imbecile, or a minor. He that wounds them is culpable, but if they wound him they are not culpable." (Mishna, Babylonian Talmud)

If mental illness is culture-dependent and mostly serves as an organizing social principle - what should we make of the insanity defense (NGRI- Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity)?

A person is held not responsible for his criminal actions if s/he cannot tell right from wrong ("lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality (wrongfulness) of his conduct" - diminished capacity), did not intend to act the way he did (absent "mens rea") and/or could not control his behavior ("irresistible impulse"). These handicaps are often associated with "mental disease or defect" or "mental retardation".

Mental health professionals prefer to talk about an impairment of a "person's perception or understanding of reality". They hold a "guilty but mentally ill" verdict to be contradiction in terms. All "mentally-ill" people operate within a (usually coherent) worldview, with consistent internal logic, and rules of right and wrong (ethics). Yet, these rarely conform to the way most people perceive the world. The mentally-ill, therefore, cannot be guilty because s/he has a tenuous grasp on reality.

Yet, experience teaches us that a criminal maybe mentally ill even as s/he maintains a perfect reality test and thus is held criminally responsible (Jeffrey Dahmer comes to mind). The "perception and understanding of reality", in other words, can and does co-exist even with the severest forms of mental illness.

This makes it even more difficult to comprehend what is meant by "mental disease". If some mentally ill maintain a grasp on reality, know right from wrong, can anticipate the outcomes of their actions, are not subject to irresistible impulses (the official position of the American Psychiatric Association) - in what way do they differ from us, "normal" folks?

This is why the insanity defense often sits ill with mental health pathologies deemed socially "acceptable" and "normal" - such as religion or love.

Consider the following case:

A mother bashes the skulls of her three sons. Two of them die. She claims to have acted on instructions she had received from God. She is found not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury determined that she "did not know right from wrong during the killings."

But why exactly was she judged insane?

Her belief in the existence of God - a being with inordinate and inhuman attributes - may be irrational.

But it does not constitute insanity in the strictest sense because it conforms to social and cultural creeds and codes of conduct in her milieu. Billions of people faithfully subscribe to the same ideas, adhere to the same transcendental rules, observe the same mystical rituals, and claim to go through the same experiences. This shared psychosis is so widespread that it can no longer be deemed pathological, statistically speaking.

She claimed that God has spoken to her.

As do numerous other people. Behavior that is considered psychotic (paranoid-schizophrenic) in other contexts is lauded and admired in religious circles. Hearing voices and seeing visions - auditory and visual delusions - are considered rank manifestations of righteousness and sanctity.

Perhaps it was the content of her hallucinations that proved her insane?

She claimed that God had instructed her to kill her boys. Surely, God would not ordain such evil?

Alas, the Old and New Testaments both contain examples of God's appetite for human sacrifice. Abraham was ordered by God to sacrifice Isaac, his beloved son (though this savage command was rescinded at the last moment). Jesus, the son of God himself, was crucified to atone for the sins of humanity.

A divine injunction to slay one's offspring would sit well with the Holy Scriptures and the Apocrypha as well as with millennia-old Judeo-Christian traditions of martyrdom and sacrifice.

Her actions were wrong and incommensurate with both human and divine (or natural) laws.

Yes, but they were perfectly in accord with a literal interpretation of certain divinely-inspired texts, millennial scriptures, apocalyptic thought systems, and fundamentalist religious ideologies (such as the ones espousing the imminence of "rupture"). Unless one declares these doctrines and writings insane, her actions are not.

we are forced to the conclusion that the murderous mother is perfectly sane. Her frame of reference is different to ours. Hence, her definitions of right and wrong are idiosyncratic. To her, killing her babies was the right thing to do and in conformity with valued teachings and her own epiphany. Her grasp of reality - the immediate and later consequences of her actions - was never impaired.

It would seem that sanity and insanity are relative terms, dependent on frames of cultural and social reference, and statistically defined. There isn't - and, in principle, can never emerge - an "objective", medical, scientific test to determine mental health or disease unequivocally.

VIII. Adaptation and Insanity - (correspondence with Paul Shirley, MSW)

"Normal" people adapt to their environment - both human and natural.

"Abnormal" ones try to adapt their environment - both human and natural - to their idiosyncratic needs/profile.

If they succeed, their environment, both human (society) and natural is pathologized.

http://samvak.tripod.com/mentalillness.html
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Posts: 130 | From: College | Registered: Mar 2006   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:10:14 am
Raven:

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   posted 04-21-2006 07:33 PM                       
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Metaphors of the Mind (Part II)

http://samvak.tripod.com/meta1.html

Psychology and Psychotherapy

Storytelling has been with us since the days of campfire and besieging wild animals. It served a number of important functions: amelioration of fears, communication of vital information (regarding survival tactics and the characteristics of animals, for instance), the satisfaction of a sense of order (justice), the development of the ability to hypothesize, predict and introduce theories and so on.

We are all endowed with a sense of wonder. The world around us in inexplicable, baffling in its diversity and myriad forms. We experience an urge to organize it, to "explain the wonder away", to order it in order to know what to expect next (predict). These are the essentials of survival. But while we have been successful at imposing our mind's structures on the outside world – we have been much less successful when we tried to cope with our internal universe.

The relationship between the structure and functioning of our (ephemeral) mind, the structure and modes of operation of our (physical) brain and the structure and conduct of the outside world have been the matter of heated debate for millennia. Broadly speaking, there were (and still are) two ways of treating it:

There were those who, for all practical purposes, identified the origin (brain) with its product (mind). Some of them postulated the existence of a lattice of preconceived, born categorical knowledge about the universe – the vessels into which we pour our experience and which mould it. Others have regarded the mind as a black box. While it was possible in principle to know its input and output, it was impossible, again in principle, to understand its internal functioning and management of information. Pavlov coined the word "conditioning", Watson adopted it and invented "behaviourism", Skinner came up with "reinforcement". The school of epiphenomenologists (emergent phenomena) regarded the mind as the by product of the brain's "hardware" and "wiring" complexity. But all ignored the psychophysical question: what IS the mind and HOW is it linked to the brain?

The other camp was more "scientific" and "positivist". It speculated that the mind (whether a physical entity, an epiphenomenon, a non-physical principle of organization, or the result of introspection) – had a structure and a limited set of functions. They argued that a "user's manual" could be composed, replete with engineering and maintenance instructions. The most prominent of these "psychodynamists" was, of course, Freud. Though his disciples (Adler, Horney, the object-relations lot) diverged wildly from his initial theories – they all shared his belief in the need to "scientify" and objectify psychology. Freud – a medical doctor by profession (Neurologist) and Josef Breuer before him – came with a theory regarding the structure of the mind and its mechanics: (suppressed) energies and (reactive) forces. Flow charts were provided together with a method of analysis, a mathematical physics of the mind.

But this was a mirage. An essential part was missing: the ability to test the hypotheses, which derived from these "theories". They were all very convincing, though, and, surprisingly, had great explanatory power. But - non-verifiable and non-falsifiable as they were – they could not be deemed to possess the redeeming features of a scientific theory.

Deciding between the two camps was and is a crucial matter. Consider the clash - however repressed - between psychiatry and psychology. The former regards "mental disorders" as euphemisms - it acknowledges only the reality of brain dysfunctions (such as biochemical or electric imbalances) and of hereditary factors. The latter (psychology) implicitly assumes that something exists (the "mind", the "psyche") which cannot be reduced to hardware or to wiring diagrams. Talk therapy is aimed at that something and supposedly interacts with it.

But perhaps the distinction is artificial. Perhaps the mind is simply the way we experience our brains. Endowed with the gift (or curse) of introspection, we experience a duality, a split, constantly being both observer and observed. Moreover, talk therapy involves TALKING - which is the transfer of energy from one brain to another through the air. This is directed, specifically formed energy, intended to trigger certain circuits in the recipient brain. It should come as no surprise if it were to be discovered that talk therapy has clear physiological effects upon the brain of the patient (blood volume, electrical activity, discharge and absorption of hormones, etc.).

All this would be doubly true if the mind was, indeed, only an emergent phenomenon of the complex brain - two sides of the same coin.

Psychological theories of the mind are metaphors of the mind. They are fables and myths, narratives, stories, hypotheses, conjunctures. They play (exceedingly) important roles in the psychotherapeutic setting – but not in the laboratory. Their form is artistic, not rigorous, not testable, less structured than theories in the natural sciences. The language used is polyvalent, rich, effusive, and fuzzy – in short, metaphorical. They are suffused with value judgements, preferences, fears, post facto and ad hoc constructions. None of this has methodological, systematic, analytic and predictive merits.

Still, the theories in psychology are powerful instruments, admirable constructs of the mind. As such, they are bound to satisfy some needs. Their very existence proves it.

The attainment of peace of mind is a need, which was neglected by Maslow in his famous rendition. People will sacrifice material wealth and welfare, will forgo temptations, will ignore opportunities, and will put their lives in danger – just to reach this bliss of wholeness and completeness. There is, in other words, a preference of inner equilibrium over homeostasis. It is the fulfilment of this overriding need that psychological theories set out to cater to. In this, they are no different than other collective narratives (myths, for instance).

In some respects, though, there are striking differences:

Psychology is desperately trying to link up to reality and to scientific discipline by employing observation and measurement and by organizing the results and presenting them using the language of mathematics. This does not atone for its primordial sin: that its subject matter is ethereal and inaccessible. Still, it lends an air of credibility and rigorousness to it.

The second difference is that while historical narratives are "blanket" narratives – psychology is "tailored", "customized". A unique narrative is invented for every listener (patient, client) and he is incorporated in it as the main hero (or anti-hero). This flexible "production line" seems to be the result of an age of increasing individualism. True, the "language units" (large chunks of denotates and connotates) are one and the same for every "user". In psychoanalysis, the therapist is likely to always employ the tripartite structure (Id, Ego, Superego). But these are language elements and need not be confused with the plots. Each client, each person, and his own, unique, irreplicable, plot.

To qualify as a "psychological" plot, it must be:

All-inclusive (anamnetic) – It must encompass, integrate and incorporate all the facts known about the protagonist.
Coherent – It must be chronological, structured and causal.
Consistent – Self-consistent (its subplots cannot contradict one another or go against the grain of the main plot) and consistent with the observed phenomena (both those related to the protagonist and those pertaining to the rest of the universe).
Logically compatible – It must not violate the laws of logic both internally (the plot must abide by some internally imposed logic) and externally (the Aristotelian logic which is applicable to the observable world).
Insightful (diagnostic) – It must inspire in the client a sense of awe and astonishment which is the result of seeing something familiar in a new light or the result of seeing a pattern emerging out of a big body of data. The insights must be the logical conclusion of the logic, the language and of the development of the plot.
Aesthetic – The plot must be both plausible and "right", beautiful, not cumbersome, not awkward, not discontinuous, smooth and so on.
Parsimonious – The plot must employ the minimum numbers of assumptions and entities in order to satisfy all the above conditions.
Explanatory – The plot must explain the behaviour of other characters in the plot, the hero's decisions and behaviour, why events developed the way that they did.
Predictive (prognostic) – The plot must possess the ability to predict future events, the future behaviour of the hero and of other meaningful figures and the inner emotional and cognitive dynamics.
Therapeutic – With the power to induce change (whether it is for the better, is a matter of contemporary value judgements and fashions).
Imposing – The plot must be regarded by the client as the preferable organizing principle of his life's events and the torch to guide him in the darkness to come.
Elastic – The plot must possess the intrinsic abilities to self organize, reorganize, give room to emerging order, accommodate new data comfortably, avoid rigidity in its modes of reaction to attacks from within and from without.
In all these respects, a psychological plot is a theory in disguise. Scientific theories should satisfy most of the same conditions. But the equation is flawed. The important elements of testability, verifiability, refutability, falsifiability, and repeatability – are all missing. No experiment could be designed to test the statements within the plot, to establish their truth-value and, thus, to convert them to theorems.

There are four reasons to account for this shortcoming:

Ethical – Experiments would have to be conducted, involving the hero and other humans. To achieve the necessary result, the subjects will have to be ignorant of the reasons for the experiments and their aims. Sometimes even the very performance of an experiment will have to remain a secret (double blind experiments). Some experiments may involve unpleasant experiences. This is ethically unacceptable.
The Psychological Uncertainty Principle – The current position of a human subject can be fully known. But both treatment and experimentation influence the subject and void this knowledge. The very processes of measurement and observation influence the subject and change him.
Uniqueness – Psychological experiments are, therefore, bound to be unique, unrepeatable, cannot be replicated elsewhere and at other times even if they deal with the SAME subjects. The subjects are never the same due to the psychological uncertainty principle. Repeating the experiments with other subjects adversely affects the scientific value of the results.
The undergeneration of testable hypotheses – Psychology does not generate a sufficient number of hypotheses, which can be subjected to scientific testing. This has to do with the fabulous (=storytelling) nature of psychology. In a way, psychology has affinity with some private languages. It is a form of art and, as such, is self-sufficient. If structural, internal constraints and requirements are met – a statement is deemed true even if it does not satisfy external scientific requirements.
So, what are plots good for? They are the instruments used in the procedures, which induce peace of mind (even happiness) in the client. This is done with the help of a few embedded mechanisms:

The Organizing Principle – Psychological plots offer the client an organizing principle, a sense of order and ensuing justice, of an inexorable drive toward well defined (though, perhaps, hidden) goals, the ubiquity of meaning, being part of a whole. It strives to answer the "why’s" and "how’s". It is dialogic. The client asks: "why am I (here follows a syndrome)". Then, the plot is spun: "you are like this not because the world is whimsically cruel but because your parents mistreated you when you were very young, or because a person important to you died, or was taken away from you when you were still impressionable, or because you were sexually abused and so on". The client is calmed by the very fact that there is an explanation to that which until now monstrously taunted and haunted him, that he is not the plaything of vicious Gods, that there is who to blame (focussing diffused anger is a very important result) and, that, therefore, his belief in order, justice and their administration by some supreme, transcendental principle is restored. This sense of "law and order" is further enhanced when the plot yields predictions which come true (either because they are self-fulfilling or because some real "law" has been discovered).

The Integrative Principle – The client is offered, through the plot, access to the innermost, hitherto inaccessible, recesses of his mind. He feels that he is being reintegrated, that "things fall into place". In psychodynamic terms, the energy is released to do productive and positive work, rather than to induce distorted and destructive forces.

The Purgatory Principle – In most cases, the client feels sinful, debased, inhuman, decrepit, corrupting, guilty, punishable, hateful, alienated, strange, mocked and so on. The plot offers him absolution. Like the highly symbolic figure of the Saviour before him – the client's sufferings expurgate, cleanse, absolve, and atone for his sins and handicaps. A feeling of hard won achievement accompanies a successful plot. The client sheds layers of functional, adaptive clothing. This is inordinately painful. The client feels dangerously naked, precariously exposed. He then assimilates the plot offered to him, thus enjoying the benefits emanating from the previous two principles and only then does he develop new mechanisms of coping. Therapy is a mental crucifixion and resurrection and atonement for the sins. It is highly religious with the plot in the role of the scriptures from which solace and consolation can be always gleaned.


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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:10:51 am
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The Dialogue of Dreams

By: Dr. Sam Vaknin

Are dreams a source of reliable divination? Generations upon generations seem to have thought so. They incubated dreams by travelling afar, by fasting and by engaging in all other manners of self deprivation or intoxication. With the exception of this highly dubious role, dreams do seem to have three important functions:

To process repressed emotions (wishes, in Freud's speech) and other mental content which was suppressed and stored in the unconscious.
To order, classify and, generally, to pigeonhole conscious experiences of the day or days preceding the dreaming ("day residues"). A partial overlap with the former function is inevitable: some sensory input is immediately relegated to the darker and dimmer kingdoms of the subconscious and unconscious without being consciously processed at all.
To "stay in touch" with the outside world. External sensory input is interpreted by the dream and represented in its unique language of symbols and disjunction. Research has shown this to be a rare event, independent of the timing of the stimuli: during sleep or immediately prior to it. Still, when it does happen, it seems that even when the interpretation is dead wrong – the substantial information is preserved. A collapsing bedpost (as in Maury's famous dream) will become a French guillotine, for instance. The message conserved: there is physical danger to the neck and head.
All three functions are part of a much larger one:

The continuous adjustment of the model one has of one's self and of one's place in the world – to the incessant stream of sensory (external) input and of mental (internal) input. This "model modification" is carried out through an intricate, symbol laden, dialogue between the dreamer and himself. It probably also has therapeutic side benefits. It would be an over-simplification to say that the dream carries messages (even if we were to limit it to correspondence with one's self). The dream does not seem to be in a position of privileged knowledge. The dream functions more like a good friend would: listening, advising, sharing experiences, providing access to remote territories of the mind, putting events in perspective and in proportion and provoking. It, thus, induces relaxation and acceptance and a better functioning of the "client". It does so, mostly, by analysing discrepancies and incompatibilities. No wonder that it is mostly associated with bad emotions (anger, hurt, fear). This also happens in the course of successful psychotherapy. Defences are gradually dismantled and a new, more functional, view of the world is established. This is a painful and frightening process. This function of the dream is more in line with Jung's view of dreams as "compensatory". The previous three functions are "complementary" and, therefore, Freudian.

It would seem that we are all constantly engaged in maintenance, in preserving that which exists and inventing new strategies for coping. We are all in constant psychotherapy, administered by ourselves, day and night. Dreaming is just the awareness of this on-going process and its symbolic content. We are more susceptible, vulnerable, and open to dialogue while we sleep. The dissonance between how we regard ourselves, and what we really are and between our model of the world and reality – this dissonance is so enormous that it calls for a (continuous) routine of evaluation, mending and re-invention. Otherwise, the whole edifice might crumble. The delicate balance between we, the dreamers, and the world might be shattered, leaving us defenceless and dysfunctional.

To be effective, dreams must come equipped with the key to their interpretation. We all seem to possess an intuitive copy of just such a key, uniquely tailored to our needs, to our data and to our circumstances. This Areiocritica helps us to decipher the true and motivating meaning of the dialogue. This is one reason why dreaming is discontinuous: time must be given to interpret and to assimilate the new model. Four to six sessions take place every night. A session missed will be held the night after. If a person is prevented from dreaming on a permanent basis, he will become irritated, then neurotic and then psychotic. In other words: his model of himself and of the world will no longer be usable. It will be out of synch. It will represent both reality and the non-dreamer wrongly. Put more succinctly: it seems that the famous "reality test" (used in psychology to set apart the "functioning, normal" individuals from those who are not) is maintained by dreaming. It fast deteriorates when dreaming is impossible. This link between the correct apprehension of reality (reality model), psychosis and dreaming has yet to be explored in depth. A few predictions can be made, though:

The dream mechanisms and/or dream contents of psychotics must be substantially different and distinguished from ours. Their dreams must be "dysfunctional", unable to tackle the unpleasant, bad emotional residue of coping with reality. Their dialogue must be disturbed. They must be represented rigidly in their dreams. Reality must not be present in them not at all.
Most of the dreams, most of the time must deal with mundane matters. Their content must not be exotic, surrealist, extraordinary. They must be chained to the dreamer's realities, his (daily) problems, people that he knows, situations that he encountered or is likely to encounter, dilemmas that he is facing and conflicts that he would have liked resolved. This, indeed, is the case. Unfortunately, this is heavily disguised by the symbol language of the dream and by the disjointed, disjunctive, dissociative manner in which it proceeds. But a clear separation must be made between subject matter (mostly mundane and "dull", relevant to the dreamer's life) and the script or mechanism (colourful symbols, discontinuity of space, time and purposeful action).
The dreamer must be the main protagonist of his dreams, the hero of his dreamy narratives. This, overwhelmingly, is the case: dreams are egocentric. They are concerned mostly with the "patient" and use other figures, settings, locales, situations to cater to his needs, to reconstruct his reality test and to adapt it to the new input from outside and from within.
If dreams are mechanisms, which adapt the model of the world and the reality test to daily inputs – we should find a difference between dreamers and dreams in different societies and cultures. The more "information heavy" the culture, the more the dreamer is bombarded with messages and data – the fiercer should the dream activity be. Every external datum likely generates a shower of internal data. Dreamers in the West should engage in a qualitatively different type of dreaming. We will elaborate on this as we continue. Suffice it to say, at this stage, that dreams in information-cluttered societies will employ more symbols, will weave them more intricately and the dreams will be much more erratic and discontinuous. As a result, dreamers in information-rich societies will never mistake a dream for reality. They will never confuse the two. In information poor cultures (where most of the daily inputs are internal) – such confusion will arise very often and even be enshrined in religion or in the prevailing theories regarding the world. Anthropology confirms that this, indeed, is the case. In information poor societies dreams are less symbolic, less erratic, more continuous, more "real" and the dreamers often tend to fuse the two (dream and reality) into a whole and act upon it.
To complete their mission successfully (adaptation to the world using the model of reality modified by them) – dreams must make themselves felt. They must interact with the dreamer's real world, with his behaviour in it, with his moods that bring his behaviour about, in short: with his whole mental apparatus. Dreams seem to do just this: they are remembered in half the cases. Results are, probably, achieved without need for cognitive, conscious processing, in the other, unremembered, or disremembered cases. They greatly influence the immediate mood after awakening. They are discussed, interpreted, force people to think and re-think. They are dynamos of (internal and external) dialogue long after they have faded into the recesses of the mind. Sometimes they directly influence actions and many people firmly believe in the quality of the advice provided by them. In this sense, dreams are an inseparable part of reality. In many celebrated cases they even induced works of art or inventions or scientific discoveries (all adaptations of old, defunct, reality models of the dreamers). In numerous documented cases, dreams tackled, head on, issues that bothered the dreamers during their waking hours.
How does this theory fit with the hard facts?

Dreaming (D-state or D-activity) is associated with a special movement of the eyes, under the closed eyelids, called Rapid Eye Movement (REM). It is also associated with changes in the pattern of electrical activity of the brain (EEG). A dreaming person has the pattern of someone who is wide awake and alert. This seems to sit well with a theory of dreams as active therapists, engaged in the arduous task of incorporating new (often contradictory and incompatible) information into an elaborate personal model of the self and the reality that it occupies.

There are two types of dreams: visual and "thought-like" (which leave an impression of being awake on the dreamer). The latter happens without any REM cum EEG fanfare. It seems that the "model-adjustment" activities require abstract thinking (classification, theorizing, predicting, testing, etc.). The relationship is very much like the one that exists between intuition and formalism, aesthetics and scientific discipline, feeling and thinking, mentally creating and committing one's creation to a medium.

All mammals exhibit the same REM/EEG patterns and may, therefore, be dreaming as well. Some birds do it, and some reptiles as well. Dreaming seems to be associated with the brain stem (Pontine tegmentum) and with the secretion of Norepinephrine and Serotonin in the brain. The rhythm of breathing and the pulse rate change and the skeletal muscles are relaxed to the point of paralysis (presumably, to prevent injury if the dreamer should decide to engage in enacting his dream). Blood flows to the genitals (and induces penile erections in male dreamers). The uterus contracts and the muscles at the base of the tongue enjoy a relaxation in electrical activity.

These facts would indicate that dreaming is a very primordial activity. It is essential to survival. It is not necessarily connected to higher functions like speech but it is connected to reproduction and to the biochemistry of the brain. The construction of a "world-view", a model of reality is as critical to the survival of an ape as it is to ours. And the mentally disturbed and the mentally retarded dream as much as the normal do. Such a model can be innate and genetic in very simple forms of life because the amount of information that needs to be incorporated is limited. Beyond a certain amount of information that the individual is likely to be exposed to daily, two needs arise. The first is to maintain the model of the world by eliminating "noise" and by realistically incorporating negating data and the second is to pass on the function of modelling and remodelling to a much more flexible structure, to the brain. In a way, dreams are about the constant generation, construction and testing of theories regarding the dreamer and his ever-changing internal and external environments. Dreams are the scientific community of the Self. That Man carried it further and invented Scientific Activity on a larger, external, scale is small wonder.

Physiology also tells us the differences between dreaming and other hallucinatory states (nightmares, psychoses, sleepwalking, daydreaming, hallucinations, illusions and mere imagination): the REM/EEG patterns are absent and the latter states are much less "real". Dreams are mostly set in familiar places and obey the laws of nature or some logic. Their hallucinatory nature is a hermeneutic imposition. It derives mainly from their erratic, abrupt behaviour (space, time and goal discontinuities) which is ONE of the elements in hallucinations as well.

Why is dreaming conducted while we sleep? Probably, there is something in it which requires what sleep has to offer: limitation of external, sensory, inputs (especially visual ones – hence the compensatory strong visual element in dreams). An artificial environment is sought in order to maintain this periodical, self-imposed deprivation, static state and reduction in bodily functions. In the last 6-7 hours of every sleep session, 40% of the people wake up. About 40% - possibly the same dreamers – report that they had a dream in the relevant night. As we descend into sleep (the hypnagogic state) and as we emerge from it (the hypnopompic state) – we have visual dreams. But they are different. It is as though we are "thinking" these dreams. They have no emotional correlate, they are transient, undeveloped, abstract and expressly deal with the day residues. They are the "garbage collectors", the "sanitation department" of the brain. Day residues, which clearly do not need to be processed by dreams – are swept under the carpet of consciousness (maybe even erased).

Suggestible people dream what they have been instructed to dream in hypnosis – but not what they have been so instructed while (partly) awake and under direct suggestion. This further demonstrates the independence of the Dream Mechanism. It almost does not react to external sensory stimuli while in operation. It takes an almost complete suspension of judgement in order to influence the contents of dreams.

It would all seem to point at another important feature of dreams: their economy. Dreams are subject to four "articles of faith" (which govern all the phenomena of life):

Homeostasis - The preservation of the internal environment, an equilibrium between (different but interdependent) elements which make up the whole.
Equilibrium - The maintenance of an internal environment in balance with an external one.
Optimization (also known as efficiency) - The securing of maximum results with minimum invested resources and minimum damage to other resources, not directly used in the process.
Parsimony (Occam's razor) - The utilization of a minimal set of (mostly known) assumptions, constraints, boundary conditions and initial conditions in order to achieve maximum explanatory or modelling power.
In compliance with the above four principles dreams HAD to resort to visual symbols. The visual is the most condensed (and efficient) form of packaging information. "A picture is worth a thousand words" the saying goes and computer users know that to store images requires more memory than any other type of data. But dreams have an unlimited capacity of information processing at their disposal (the brain at night). In dealing with gigantic amounts of information, the natural preference (when processing power is not constrained) would be to use visuals. Moreover, non-isomorphic, polyvalent forms will be preferred. In other words: symbols that can be "mapped" to more than one meaning and those that carry a host of other associated symbols and meanings with them will be preferred. Symbols are a form of shorthand. They haul a great amount of information – most of it stored in the recipient's brain and provoked by the symbol. This is a little like the Java applets in modern programming: the application is divided to small modules, which are stored in a central computer. The symbols generated by the user's computer (using the Java programming language) "provoke" them to surface. The result is a major simplification of the processing terminal (the net-PC) and an increase in its cost efficiency.

Both collective symbols and private symbols are used. The collective symbols (Jung's archetypes?) prevent the need to re-invent the wheel. They are assumed to constitute a universal language usable by dreamers everywhere. The dreaming brain has, therefore, to attend to and to process only the "semi-private language" elements. This is less time consuming and the conventions of a universal language apply to the communication between the dream and the dreamer.

Even the discontinuities have their reason. A lot of the information that we absorb and process is either "noise" or repetitive. This fact is known to the authors of all the file compression applications in the world. Computer files can be compressed to one tenth their size without appreciably losing information. The same principle is applied in speed reading – skimming the unnecessary bits, getting straight to the point. The dream employs the same principles: it skims, it gets straight to the point and from it – to yet another point. This creates the sensation of being erratic, of abruptness, of the absence of spatial or temporal logic, of purposelessness. But this all serves the same purpose: to succeed to finish the Herculean task of refitting the model of the Self and of the World in one night.

Thus, the selection of visuals, symbols, and collective symbols and of the discontinuous mode of presentation, their preference over alternative methods of representation is not accidental. This is the most economic and unambiguous way of representation and, therefore, the most efficient and the most in compliance with the four principles. In cultures and societies, where the mass of information to be processed is less mountainous – these features are less likely to occur and indeed, they don't.


Excerpts from an Interview about DREAMS - First published in Suite101

Dreams are by far the most mysterious phenomenon in mental life. On the face of it, dreaming is a colossal waste of energy and psychic resources. Dreams carry no overt information content. They bear little resemblance to reality. They interfere with the most critical biological maintenance function - with sleep. They don't seem to be goal oriented, they have no discernible objective. In this age of technology and precision, efficiency and optimization - dreams seem to be a somewhat anachronistically quaint relic of our life in the savannah. Scientists are people who believe in the aesthetic preservation of resources. They believe that nature is intrinsically optimal, parsimonious and "wise". They dream up symmetries, "laws" of nature, minimalist theories. They believe that everything has a reason and a purpose. In their approach to dreams and dreaming, scientists commit all these sins combined. They anthropomorphesize nature, they engage in teleological explanations, they attribute purpose and paths to dreams, where there might be none. So, they say that dreaming is a maintenance function (the processing of the preceding day's experiences) - or that it keeps the sleeping person alert and aware of his environment. But no one knows for sure. We dream, no one knows why. Dreams have elements in common with dissociation or hallucinations but they are neither. They employ visuals because this is the most efficient way of packing and transferring information. But WHICH information? Freud's "Interpretation of Dreams" is a mere literary exercise. It is not a serious scientific work (which does not detract from its awesome penetration and beauty).

I have lived in Africa, the Middle East, North America, Western Europe and Eastern Europe. Dreams fulfil different societal functions and have distinct cultural roles in each of these civilizations. In Africa, dreams are perceived to be a mode of communication, as real as the internet is to us.

Dreams are pipelines through which messages flow: from the beyond (life after death), from other people (such as shamans - remember Castaneda), from the collective (Jung), from reality (this is the closest to Western interpretation), from the future (precognition), or from assorted divinities. The distinction between dream states and reality is very blurred and people act on messages contained in dreams as they would on any other information they obtain in their "waking" hours. This state of affairs is quite the same in the Middle East and Eastern Europe where dreams constitute an integral and important part of institutionalized religion and the subject of serious analyses and contemplation. In North America - the most narcissistic culture ever - dreams have been construed as communications WITHIN the dreaming person. Dreams no longer mediate between the person and his environment. They are the representation of interactions between different structures of the "self". Their role is, therefore, far more limited and their interpretation far more arbitrary (because it is highly dependent on the personal circumstances and psychology of the specific dreamer).

Narcissism IS a dream state. The narcissist is totally detached from his (human) milieu. Devoid of empathy and obsessively centred on the procurement of narcissistic supply (adulation, admiration, etc.) - the narcissist is unable to regard others as three dimensional beings with their own needs and rights. This mental picture of narcissism can easily serve as a good description of the dream state where other people are mere representations, or symbols, in a hermeneutically sealed thought system. Both narcissism and dreaming are AUTISTIC states of mind with severe cognitive and emotional distortions. By extension, one can talk about "narcissistic cultures" as "dream cultures" doomed to a rude awakening. It is interesting to note that most narcissists I know from my correspondence or personally (myself included) have a very poor dream-life and dreamscape. They remember nothing of their dreams and are rarely, if ever, motivated by insights contained in them.

The Internet is the sudden and voluptuous embodiment of my dreams. It is too good to me to be true - so, in many ways, it isn't. I think Mankind (at least in the rich, industrialized countries) is moonstruck. It surfs this beautiful, white landscape, in suspended disbelief. It holds it breath. It dares not believe and believes not its hopes. The Internet has, therefore, become a collective phantasm - at times a dream, at times a nightmare. Entrepreneurship involves massive amounts of dreaming and the net is pure entrepreneurship.


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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:11:29 am
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http://samvak.tripod.com/insanitydefense.html#personalitydisorders

The Insanity of the Defense

By: Dr. Sam Vaknin

"You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing – that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something."

Richard Feynman, Physicist and 1965 Nobel Prize laureate (1918-1988)

"You have all I dare say heard of the animal spirits and how they are transfused from father to son etcetera etcetera – well you may take my word that nine parts in ten of a man's sense or his nonsense, his successes and miscarriages in this world depend on their motions and activities, and the different tracks and trains you put them into, so that when they are once set a-going, whether right or wrong, away they go cluttering like hey-go-mad."

Lawrence Sterne (1713-1758), "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman" (1759)

I. The Insanity Defense

II. The Concept of Mental Disease - An Overview

III. Personality Disorders

IV. The Biochemistry and Genetics of Mental Health

V. The Variance of Mental Disease

VI. Mental Disorders and the Social Order

VII. Mental Ailment as a Useful Metaphor

I. The Insanity Defense

"It is an ill thing to knock against a deaf-mute, an imbecile, or a minor. He that wounds them is culpable, but if they wound him they are not culpable." (Mishna, Babylonian Talmud)

If mental illness is culture-dependent and mostly serves as an organizing social principle - what should we make of the insanity defense (NGRI- Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity)?

A person is held not responsible for his criminal actions if s/he cannot tell right from wrong ("lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality (wrongfulness) of his conduct" - diminished capacity), did not intend to act the way he did (absent "mens rea") and/or could not control his behavior ("irresistible impulse"). These handicaps are often associated with "mental disease or defect" or "mental retardation".

Mental health professionals prefer to talk about an impairment of a "person's perception or understanding of reality". They hold a "guilty but mentally ill" verdict to be contradiction in terms. All "mentally-ill" people operate within a (usually coherent) worldview, with consistent internal logic, and rules of right and wrong (ethics). Yet, these rarely conform to the way most people perceive the world. The mentally-ill, therefore, cannot be guilty because s/he has a tenuous grasp on reality.

Yet, experience teaches us that a criminal maybe mentally ill even as s/he maintains a perfect reality test and thus is held criminally responsible (Jeffrey Dahmer comes to mind). The "perception and understanding of reality", in other words, can and does co-exist even with the severest forms of mental illness.

This makes it even more difficult to comprehend what is meant by "mental disease". If some mentally ill maintain a grasp on reality, know right from wrong, can anticipate the outcomes of their actions, are not subject to irresistible impulses (the official position of the American Psychiatric Association) - in what way do they differ from us, "normal" folks?

This is why the insanity defense often sits ill with mental health pathologies deemed socially "acceptable" and "normal" - such as religion or love.

Consider the following case:

A mother bashes the skulls of her three sons. Two of them die. She claims to have acted on instructions she had received from God. She is found not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury determined that she "did not know right from wrong during the killings."

But why exactly was she judged insane?

Her belief in the existence of God - a being with inordinate and inhuman attributes - may be irrational.

But it does not constitute insanity in the strictest sense because it conforms to social and cultural creeds and codes of conduct in her milieu. Billions of people faithfully subscribe to the same ideas, adhere to the same transcendental rules, observe the same mystical rituals, and claim to go through the same experiences. This shared psychosis is so widespread that it can no longer be deemed pathological, statistically speaking.

She claimed that God has spoken to her.

As do numerous other people. Behavior that is considered psychotic (paranoid-schizophrenic) in other contexts is lauded and admired in religious circles. Hearing voices and seeing visions - auditory and visual delusions - are considered rank manifestations of righteousness and sanctity.

Perhaps it was the content of her hallucinations that proved her insane?

She claimed that God had instructed her to kill her boys. Surely, God would not ordain such evil?

Alas, the Old and New Testaments both contain examples of God's appetite for human sacrifice. Abraham was ordered by God to sacrifice Isaac, his beloved son (though this savage command was rescinded at the last moment). Jesus, the son of God himself, was crucified to atone for the sins of humanity.

A divine injunction to slay one's offspring would sit well with the Holy Scriptures and the Apocrypha as well as with millennia-old Judeo-Christian traditions of martyrdom and sacrifice.

Her actions were wrong and incommensurate with both human and divine (or natural) laws.

Yes, but they were perfectly in accord with a literal interpretation of certain divinely-inspired texts, millennial scriptures, apocalyptic thought systems, and fundamentalist religious ideologies (such as the ones espousing the imminence of "rapture"). Unless one declares these doctrines and writings insane, her actions are not.

we are forced to the conclusion that the murderous mother is perfectly sane. Her frame of reference is different to ours. Hence, her definitions of right and wrong are idiosyncratic. To her, killing her babies was the right thing to do and in conformity with valued teachings and her own epiphany. Her grasp of reality - the immediate and later consequences of her actions - was never impaired.

It would seem that sanity and insanity are relative terms, dependent on frames of cultural and social reference, and statistically defined. There isn't - and, in principle, can never emerge - an "objective", medical, scientific test to determine mental health or disease unequivocally.

II. The Concept of Mental Disease - An Overview

Someone is considered mentally "ill" if:

His conduct rigidly and consistently deviates from the typical, average behaviour of all other people in his culture and society that fit his profile (whether this conventional behaviour is moral or rational is immaterial), or

His judgment and grasp of objective, physical reality is impaired, and

His conduct is not a matter of choice but is innate and irresistible, and

His behavior causes him or others discomfort, and is

Dysfunctional, self-defeating, and self-destructive even by his own yardsticks.

Descriptive criteria aside, what is the essence of mental disorders? Are they merely physiological disorders of the brain, or, more precisely of its chemistry? If so, can they be cured by restoring the balance of substances and secretions in that mysterious organ? And, once equilibrium is reinstated – is the illness "gone" or is it still lurking there, "under wraps", waiting to erupt? Are psychiatric problems inherited, rooted in faulty genes (though amplified by environmental factors) – or brought on by abusive or wrong nurturance?

These questions are the domain of the "medical" school of mental health.

Others cling to the spiritual view of the human psyche. They believe that mental ailments amount to the metaphysical discomposure of an unknown medium – the soul. Theirs is a holistic approach, taking in the patient in his or her entirety, as well as his milieu.

The members of the functional school regard mental health disorders as perturbations in the proper, statistically "normal", behaviours and manifestations of "healthy" individuals, or as dysfunctions. The "sick" individual – ill at ease with himself (ego-dystonic) or making others unhappy (deviant) – is "mended" when rendered functional again by the prevailing standards of his social and cultural frame of reference.

In a way, the three schools are akin to the trio of blind men who render disparate descriptions of the very same elephant. Still, they share not only their subject matter – but, to a counter intuitively large degree, a faulty methodology.

As the renowned anti-psychiatrist, Thomas Szasz, of the State University of New York, notes in his article "The Lying Truths of Psychiatry", mental health scholars, regardless of academic predilection, infer the etiology of mental disorders from the success or failure of treatment modalities.

This form of "reverse engineering" of scientific models is not unknown in other fields of science, nor is it unacceptable if the experiments meet the criteria of the scientific method. The theory must be all-inclusive (anamnetic), consistent, falsifiable, logically compatible, monovalent, and parsimonious. Psychological "theories" – even the "medical" ones (the role of serotonin and dopamine in mood disorders, for instance) – are usually none of these things.

The outcome is a bewildering array of ever-shifting mental health "diagnoses" expressly centred around Western civilisation and its standards (example: the ethical objection to suicide). Neurosis, a historically fundamental "condition" vanished after 1980. Homosexuality, according to the American Psychiatric Association, was a pathology prior to 1973. Seven years later, narcissism was declared a "personality disorder", almost seven decades after it was first described by Freud.

III. Personality Disorders

Indeed, personality disorders are an excellent example of the kaleidoscopic landscape of "objective" psychiatry.

The classification of Axis II personality disorders – deeply ingrained, maladaptive, lifelong behavior patterns – in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition, text revision [American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV-TR, Washington, 2000] – or the DSM-IV-TR for short – has come under sustained and serious criticism from its inception in 1952, in the first edition of the DSM.

The DSM IV-TR adopts a categorical approach, postulating that personality disorders are "qualitatively distinct clinical syndromes" (p. 689). This is widely doubted. Even the distinction made between "normal" and "disordered" personalities is increasingly being rejected. The "diagnostic thresholds" between normal and abnormal are either absent or weakly supported.

The polythetic form of the DSM's Diagnostic Criteria – only a subset of the criteria is adequate grounds for a diagnosis – generates unacceptable diagnostic heterogeneity. In other words, people diagnosed with the same personality disorder may share only one criterion or none.
The DSM fails to clarify the exact relationship between Axis II and Axis I disorders and the way chronic childhood and developmental problems interact with personality disorders.

The differential diagnoses are vague and the personality disorders are insufficiently demarcated. The result is excessive co-morbidity (multiple Axis II diagnoses).
The DSM contains little discussion of what distinguishes normal character (personality), personality traits, or personality style (Millon) – from personality disorders.

A dearth of documented clinical experience regarding both the disorders themselves and the utility of various treatment modalities.
Numerous personality disorders are "not otherwise specified" – a catchall, basket "category".

Cultural bias is evident in certain disorders (such as the Antisocial and the Schizotypal).
The emergence of dimensional alternatives to the categorical approach is acknowledged in the DSM-IV-TR itself:

“An alternative to the categorical approach is the dimensional perspective that Personality Disorders represent maladaptive variants of personality traits that merge imperceptibly into normality and into one another” (p.689)

The following issues – long neglected in the DSM – are likely to be tackled in future editions as well as in current research. But their omission from official discourse hitherto is both startling and telling:

The longitudinal course of the disorder(s) and their temporal stability from early childhood onwards;

The genetic and biological underpinnings of personality disorder(s);

The development of personality psychopathology during childhood and its emergence in adolescence;

The interactions between physical health and disease and personality disorders;

The effectiveness of various treatments – talk therapies as well as psychopharmacology.

IV. The Biochemistry and Genetics of Mental Health

Certain mental health afflictions are either correlated with a statistically abnormal biochemical activity in the brain – or are ameliorated with medication. Yet the two facts are not ineludibly facets of the same underlying phenomenon. In other words, that a given medicine reduces or abolishes certain symptoms does not necessarily mean they were caused by the processes or substances affected by the drug administered. Causation is only one of many possible connections and chains of events.

To designate a pattern of behaviour as a mental health disorder is a value judgment, or at best a statistical observation. Such designation is effected regardless of the facts of brain science. Moreover, correlation is not causation. Deviant brain or body biochemistry (once called "polluted animal spirits") do exist – but are they truly the roots of mental perversion? Nor is it clear which triggers what: do the aberrant neurochemistry or biochemistry cause mental illness – or the other way around?

That psychoactive medication alters behaviour and mood is indisputable. So do illicit and legal drugs, certain foods, and all interpersonal interactions. That the changes brought about by prescription are desirable – is debatable and involves tautological thinking. If a certain pattern of behaviour is described as (socially) "dysfunctional" or (psychologically) "sick" – clearly, every change would be welcomed as "healing" and every agent of transformation would be called a "cure".

The same applies to the alleged heredity of mental illness. Single genes or gene complexes are frequently "associated" with mental health diagnoses, personality traits, or behaviour patterns. But too little is known to establish irrefutable sequences of causes-and-effects. Even less is proven about the interaction of nature and nurture, genotype and phenotype, the plasticity of the brain and the psychological impact of trauma, abuse, upbringing, role models, peers, and other environmental elements.

Nor is the distinction between psychotropic substances and talk therapy that clear-cut. Words and the interaction with the therapist also affect the brain, its processes and chemistry - albeit more slowly and, perhaps, more profoundly and irreversibly. Medicines – as David Kaiser reminds us in "Against Biologic Psychiatry" (Psychiatric Times, Volume XIII, Issue 12, December 1996) – treat symptoms, not the underlying processes that yield them.

V. The Variance of Mental Disease

If mental illnesses are bodily and empirical, they should be invariant both temporally and spatially, across cultures and societies. This, to some degree, is, indeed, the case. Psychological diseases are not context dependent – but the pathologizing of certain behaviours is. Suicide, substance abuse, narcissism, eating disorders, antisocial ways, schizotypal symptoms, depression, even psychosis are considered sick by some cultures – and utterly normative or advantageous in others.

This was to be expected. The human mind and its dysfunctions are alike around the world. But values differ from time to time and from one place to another. Hence, disagreements about the propriety and desirability of human actions and inaction are bound to arise in a symptom-based diagnostic system.

As long as the pseudo-medical definitions of mental health disorders continue to rely exclusively on signs and symptoms – i.e., mostly on observed or reported behaviours – they remain vulnerable to such discord and devoid of much-sought universality and rigor.

VI. Mental Disorders and the Social Order

The mentally sick receive the same treatment as carriers of AIDS or SARS or the Ebola virus or smallpox. They are sometimes quarantined against their will and coerced into involuntary treatment by medication, psychosurgery, or electroconvulsive therapy. This is done in the name of the greater good, largely as a preventive policy.

Conspiracy theories notwithstanding, it is impossible to ignore the enormous interests vested in psychiatry and psychopharmacology. The multibillion dollar industries involving drug companies, hospitals, managed healthcare, private clinics, academic departments, and law enforcement agencies rely, for their continued and exponential growth, on the propagation of the concept of "mental illness" and its corollaries: treatment and research.

VII. Mental Ailment as a Useful Metaphor

Abstract concepts form the core of all branches of human knowledge. No one has ever seen a quark, or untangled a chemical bond, or surfed an electromagnetic wave, or visited the unconscious. These are useful metaphors, theoretical entities with explanatory or descriptive power.

"Mental health disorders" are no different. They are shorthand for capturing the unsettling quiddity of "the Other". Useful as taxonomies, they are also tools of social coercion and conformity, as Michel Foucault and Louis Althusser observed. Relegating both the dangerous and the idiosyncratic to the collective fringes is a vital technique of social engineering.

The aim is progress through social cohesion and the regulation of innovation and creative destruction. Psychiatry, therefore, is reifies society's preference of evolution to revolution, or, worse still, to mayhem. As is often the case with human endeavor, it is a noble cause, unscrupulously and dogmatically pursued.


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Posts: 130 | From: College | Registered: Mar 2006   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:12:12 am
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http://samvak.tripod.com/pedophilia.html

The Roots of Pedophilia

By: Dr. Sam Vaknin


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Pedophiles are attracted to prepubescent children and act on their sexual fantasies. It is a startling fact that the etiology of this paraphilia is unknown. Pedophiles comes from all walks of life and have no common socio-economic background. Contrary to media-propagated myths, most of them had not been sexually abused in childhood and the vast majority of pedophiles are also drawn to adults of the opposite sex (are heterosexuals).

Only a few belong to the Exclusive Type - the ones who are tempted solely by kids. Nine tenths of all pedophiles are male. They are fascinated by preteen females, teenage males, or (more rarely) both.

Moreover, at least one fifth (and probably more) of the population have pedophiliac fantasies. The prevalence of child pornography and child prostitution prove it. Pedophiles start out as "normal" people and are profoundly shocked and distressed to discover their illicit sexual preference for the prepubertal. The process and mechanisms of transition from socially acceptable sexuality to much-condemned (and criminal) pedophilia are still largely mysterious.

Pedophiles seem to have narcissistic and antisocial (psychopathic) traits. They lack empathy for their victims and express no remorse for their actions. They are in denial and, being pathological confabulators, they rationalize their transgressions, claiming that the children were merely being educated for their own good and, anyhow, derived great pleasure from it.

The ****'s ego-syntony rests on his alloplastic defenses. He generally tends to blame others (or the world or the "system") for his misfortunes, failures, and deficiencies. Pedophiles frequently accuse their victims of acting promiscuously, of "coming on to them", of actively tempting, provoking, and luring (or even trapping) them.

The **** - similar to the autistic patient - misinterprets the child's body language and inter-personal cues. His social communication skills are impaired and he fails to adjust information gained to the surrounding circumstances (for instance, to the kid's age and maturity).

Coupled with his lack of empathy, this recurrent inability to truly comprehend others cause the **** to objectify the targets of his lasciviousness. Pedophilia is, in essence, auto-erotic. The **** uses children's bodies to masturbate with. Hence the success of the Internet among pedophiles: it offers disembodied, anonymous, masturbatory sex. Children in cyberspace are mere representations - often nothing more than erotic photos and screen names.

It is crucial to realize that pedophiles are not enticed by the children themselves, by their bodies, or by their budding and nubile sexuality (remember Nabokov's Lolita?). Rather, pedophiles are drawn to what children symbolize, to what preadolescents stand for and represent.

To the **** ...

I. Sex with children is "free" and "daring"

Sex with subteens implies freedom of action with impunity. It enhances the ****'s magical sense of omnipotence and immunity. By defying the authority of the state and the edicts of his culture and society, the **** experiences an adrenaline rush to which he gradually becomes addicted. Illicit sex becomes the outlet for his urgent need to live dangerously and recklessly.

The **** is on a quest to reassert control over his life. Studies have consistently shown that pedophilia is associated with anomic states (war, famine, epidemics) and with major life crises (failure, relocation, infidelity of spouse, separation, divorce, unemployment, bankruptcy, illness, death of the offender's nearest and dearest).

It is likely - though hitherto unsubstantiated by research - that the typical **** is depressive and with a borderline personality (low organization and fuzzy personal boundaries). Pedophiles are reckless and emotionally labile. The ****'s sense of self-worth is volatile and dysregulated. He is likely to suffer from abandonment anxiety and be a codependent or counterdependent.

Paradoxically, it is by seemingly losing control in one aspect of his life (sex) that the **** re-acquires a sense of mastery. The same mechanism is at work in the development of eating disorders. An inhibitory deficit is somehow magically perceived as omnipotence.

II. Sex with children is corrupt and decadent

The **** makes frequent (though unconscious) use of projection and projective identification in his relationships with children. He makes his victims treat him the way he views himself - or attributes to them traits and behaviors that are truly his.

The **** is aware of society's view of his actions as vile, corrupt, forbidden, evil, and decadent (especially if the pedophiliac act involves incest). He derives pleasure from the sleazy nature of his pursuits because it tends to sustain his view of himself as "bad", "a failure", "deserving of punishment", and "guilty".

In extreme (mercifully uncommon) cases, the **** projects these torturous feelings and self-perceptions onto his victims. The children defiled and abused by his sexual attentions thus become "rotten", "bad objects", guilty and punishable. This leads to sexual sadism, lust ****, and snuff murders.

III. Sex with children is a reenactment of a painful past

Many **** truly bond with their prey. To them, children are the reification of innocence, genuineness, trust, and faithfulness - qualities that the **** wishes to nostalgically recapture.

The relationship with the child provides the **** with a "safe passage" to his own, repressed and fearful, inner child. Through his victim, the **** gains access to his suppressed and thwarted emotions. It is a fantasy-like second chance to reenact his childhood, this time benignly. The ****'s dream to make peace with his past comes true transforming the interaction with the child to an exercise in wish fulfillment.

IV. Sex with children is a shared psychosis

The **** treats "his" chosen child as an object, an extension of himself, devoid of a separate existence and denuded of distinct needs. He finds the child's submissiveness and gullibility gratifying. He frowns on any sign of personal autonomy and regards it as a threat. By intimidating, cajoling, charming, and making false promises, the abuser isolates his prey from his family, school, peers, and from the rest of society and, thus, makes the child's dependence on him total.

To the ****, the child is a "transitional object" - a training ground on which to exercise his adult relationship skills. The **** erroneously feels that the child will never betray and abandon him, therefore guaranteeing "object constancy".

The **** – stealthily but unfailingly – exploits the vulnerabilities in the psychological makeup of his victim. The child may have low self-esteem, a fluctuating sense of self-worth, primitive defence mechanisms, phobias, mental health problems, a disability, a history of failure, bad relations with parents, siblings, teachers, or peers, or a tendency to blame herself, or to feel inadequate (autoplastic neurosis). The kid may come from an abusive family or environment – which conditioned her or him to expect abuse as inevitable and "normal". In extreme and rare cases – the victim is a masochist, possessed of an urge to seek ill-treatment and pain.

The **** is the guru at the center of a cult. Like other gurus, he demands complete obedience from his "partner". He feels entitled to adulation and special treatment by his child-mate. He punishes the wayward and the straying lambs. He enforces discipline.

The child finds himself in a twilight zone. The **** imposes on him a shared psychosis, replete with persecutory delusions, "enemies", mythical narratives, and apocalyptic scenarios if he is flouted. The child is rendered the joint guardian of a horrible secret.

The ****'s control is based on ambiguity, unpredictability, fuzziness, and ambient abuse. His ever-shifting whims exclusively define right versus wrong, desirable and unwanted, what is to be pursued and what to be avoided. He alone determines rights and obligations and alters them at will.

The typical **** is a micro-manager. He exerts control over the minutest details and behaviors. He punishes severely and abuses withholders of information and those who fail to conform to his wishes and goals.

The **** does not respect the boundaries and privacy of the (often reluctant and terrified) child. He ignores his or her wishes and treats children as objects or instruments of gratification. He seeks to control both situations and people compulsively.

The **** acts in a patronizing and condescending manner and criticizes often. He alternates between emphasizing the minutest faults (devalues) and exaggerating the looks, talents, traits, and skills (idealizes) of the child. He is wildly unrealistic in his expectations – which legitimizes his subsequent abusive conduct.

Narcissistic pedophiles claim to be infallible, superior, talented, skillful, omnipotent, and omniscient. They often lie and confabulate to support these unfounded claims and to justify their actions. Most pedophiles suffer from cognitive deficits and reinterpret reality to fit their fantasies.

In extreme cases, the **** feels above the law – any kind of law. This grandiose and haughty conviction leads to criminal acts, incestuous or polygamous relationships, and recurrent friction with the authorities.

V. The **** regards sex with children as an ego-booster

Subteen children are, by definition, "inferior". They are physically weaker, dependent on others for the fulfillment of many of their needs, cognitively and emotionally immature, and easily manipulated. Their fund of knowledge is limited and their skills restricted. His relationships with children buttress the ****'s twin grandiose delusions of omnipotence and omniscience. Compared to his victims, the pedophiles is always the stronger, the wiser, the most skillful and well-informed.

VI. Sex with children guarantees companionship

Inevitably, the **** considers his child-victims to be his best friends and companions. Pedophiles are lonely, erotomanic, people.

The **** believes that he is in love with (or simply loves) the child. Sex is merely one way to communicate his affection and caring. But there are other venues.

To show his keen interest, the common **** keeps calling the child, dropping by, writing e-mails, giving gifts, providing services, doing unsolicited errands "on the kid's behalf", getting into relationships with the preteen's parents, friends, teachers, and peers, and, in general, making himself available (stalking) at all times. The **** feels free to make legal, financial, and emotional decisions for the child.

The **** intrudes on the victim's privacy, disrespects the child's express wishes and personal boundaries and ignores his or her emotions, needs, and preferences. To the ****, "love" means enmeshment and clinging coupled with an overpowering separation anxiety (fear of being abandoned).

Moreover, no amount of denials, chastising, threats, and even outright hostile actions convince the erotomaniac that the child not in love with him. He knows better and will make the world see the light as well. The child and his guardians are simply unaware of what is good for the kid. The **** determinedly sees it as his or her task to bring life and happiness into the child's dreary and unhappy existence.

Thus, regardless of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the **** is convinced that his feelings are reciprocated - in other words, that the child is equally infatuated with him or her. He interprets everything the child does (or refrains from doing) as coded messages confessing to and conveying the child's interest in and eternal devotion to the **** and to the "relationship".

Some (by no means all) pedophiles are socially-inapt, awkward, schizoid, and suffer from a host of mood and anxiety disorders. They may also be legitimately involved with the child (e.g., stepfather, former spouse, teacher, gym instructor, sibling) - or with his parents (for instance, a former boyfriend, a one night stand, colleagues or co-workers). They are driven by their all-consuming loneliness and all-pervasive fantasies.

Consequently, pedophiles react badly to any perceived rejection by their victims. They turn on a dime and become dangerously vindictive, out to destroy the source of their mounting frustration. When the "relationship" looks hopeless, some pedophiles violently embark on a spree of self-destruction.

Pedophilia is to some extent a culture-bound syndrome, defined as it is by the chronological age of the child involved. Ephebophilia, for instance - the exclusive sexual infatuation with teenagers - is not considered to be a form of pedophilia (or even paraphilia).

In some cultures, societies and countries (Afghanistan, for instance) the age of consent is as low as 12. The marriageable age in Britain until the end of the nineteenth century was 10. Pedophilia is a common and socially-condoned practice in certain tribal societies and isolated communities (the Island of Pitcairn).

It would, therefore, be wise to redefine pedophilia as an attraction to or sexual acts with prepubescent children or with people of the equivalent mental age (e.g., retarded) in contravention of social, legal, and cultural accepted practices.


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Also Read

Sex or Gender

The Narcissist's Family

The Pathology of Love

The Natural Roots of Sexuality

Parenting - The Irrational Vocation

Ethical Relativism and Absolute Taboos

The Offspring of Aeolus: On the Incest Taboo

"Faultless Nation" by Cal Thomas


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Copyright Notice

This material is copyrighted. Free, unrestricted use is allowed on a non commercial basis.
The author's name and a link to this Website must be incorporated in any reproduction of the material for any use and by any means.


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Excerpts from Archives of the Narcissism List

The Narcissism List Home Page

Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited

A Macedonian Encounter

Internet: A Medium or a Message?

Write to me: palma@unet.com.mk or narcissisticabuse-owner@yahoogroups.com
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Posts: 130 | From: College | Registered: Mar 2006   


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:12:43 am
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   posted 04-21-2006 07:46 PM                       
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Sex or Gender

By: Dr. Sam Vaknin

http://samvak.tripod.com/sexgender.html

"One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman."

Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1949)

In nature, male and female are distinct. She-elephants are gregarious, he-elephants solitary. Male zebra finches are loquacious - the females mute. Female green spoon worms are 200,000 times larger than their male mates. These striking differences are biological - yet they lead to differentiation in social roles and skill acquisition.

Alan Pease, author of a book titled "Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps", believes that women are spatially-challenged compared to men. The British firm, Admiral Insurance, conducted a study of half a million claims. They found that "women were almost twice as likely as men to have a collision in a car park, 23 percent more likely to hit a stationary car, and 15 percent more likely to reverse into another vehicle" (Reuters).

Yet gender "differences" are often the outcomes of bad scholarship. Consider Admiral insurance's data. As Britain's Automobile Association (AA) correctly pointed out - women drivers tend to make more short journeys around towns and shopping centers and these involve frequent parking. Hence their ubiquity in certain kinds of claims. Regarding women's alleged spatial deficiency, in Britain, girls have been outperforming boys in scholastic aptitude tests - including geometry and maths - since 1988.

In an Op-Ed published by the New York Times on January 23, 2005, Olivia Judson cited this example

"Beliefs that men are intrinsically better at this or that have repeatedly led to discrimination and prejudice, and then they've been proved to be nonsense. Women were thought not to be world-class musicians. But when American symphony orchestras introduced blind auditions in the 1970's - the musician plays behind a screen so that his or her gender is invisible to those listening - the number of women offered jobs in professional orchestras increased. Similarly, in science, studies of the ways that grant applications are evaluated have shown that women are more likely to get financing when those reading the applications do not know the sex of the applicant."

On the other wing of the divide, Anthony Clare, a British psychiatrist and author of "On Men" wrote:

"At the beginning of the 21st century it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that men are in serious trouble. Throughout the world, developed and developing, antisocial behavior is essentially male. Violence, sexual abuse of children, illicit drug use, alcohol misuse, gambling, all are overwhelmingly male activities. The courts and prisons bulge with men. When it comes to aggression, delinquent behavior, risk taking and social mayhem, men win gold."

Men also mature later, die earlier, are more susceptible to infections and most types of cancer, are more likely to be dyslexic, to suffer from a host of mental health disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and to commit suicide.

In her book, "Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man", Susan Faludi describes a crisis of masculinity following the breakdown of manhood models and work and family structures in the last five decades. In the film "Boys don't Cry", a teenage girl binds her breasts and acts the male in a caricatural relish of stereotypes of virility. Being a man is merely a state of mind, the movie implies.

But what does it really mean to be a "male" or a "female"? Are gender identity and sexual preferences genetically determined? Can they be reduced to one's sex? Or are they amalgams of biological, social, and psychological factors in constant interaction? Are they immutable lifelong features or dynamically evolving frames of self-reference?

In the aforementioned New York Times Op-Ed, Olivia Judson opines:

"Many sex differences are not, therefore, the result of his having one gene while she has another. Rather, they are attributable to the way particular genes behave when they find themselves in him instead of her. The magnificent difference between male and female green spoon worms, for example, has nothing to do with their having different genes: each green spoon worm larva could go either way. Which sex it becomes depends on whether it meets a female during its first three weeks of life. If it meets a female, it becomes male and prepares to regurgitate; if it doesn't, it becomes female and settles into a crack on the sea floor."

Yet, certain traits attributed to one's sex are surely better accounted for by the demands of one's environment, by cultural factors, the process of socialization, gender roles, and what George Devereux called "ethnopsychiatry" in "Basic Problems of Ethnopsychiatry" (University of Chicago Press, 1980). He suggested to divide the unconscious into the id (the part that was always instinctual and unconscious) and the "ethnic unconscious" (repressed material that was once conscious). The latter is mostly molded by prevailing cultural mores and includes all our defense mechanisms and most of the superego.

So, how can we tell whether our sexual role is mostly in our blood or in our brains?

The scrutiny of borderline cases of human sexuality - notably the transgendered or intersexed - can yield clues as to the distribution and relative weights of biological, social, and psychological determinants of gender identity formation.

The results of a study conducted by Uwe Hartmann, Hinnerk Becker, and Claudia Rueffer-Hesse in 1997 and titled "Self and Gender: Narcissistic Pathology and Personality Factors in Gender Dysphoric Patients", published in the "International Journal of Transgenderism", "indicate significant psychopathological aspects and narcissistic dysregulation in a substantial proportion of patients." Are these "psychopathological aspects" merely reactions to underlying physiological realities and changes? Could social ostracism and labeling have induced them in the "patients"?

The authors conclude:

"The cumulative evidence of our study ... is consistent with the view that gender dysphoria is a disorder of the sense of self as has been proposed by Beitel (1985) or Pfδfflin (1993). The central problem in our patients is about identity and the self in general and the transsexual wish seems to be an attempt at reassuring and stabilizing the self-coherence which in turn can lead to a further destabilization if the self is already too fragile. In this view the body is instrumentalized to create a sense of identity and the splitting symbolized in the hiatus between the rejected body-self and other parts of the self is more between good and bad objects than between masculine and feminine."

Freud, Kraft-Ebbing, and Fliess suggested that we are all bisexual to a certain degree. As early as 1910, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld argued, in Berlin, that absolute genders are "abstractions, invented extremes". The consensus today is that one's sexuality is, mostly, a psychological construct which reflects gender role orientation.

Joanne Meyerowitz, a professor of history at Indiana University and the editor of The Journal of American History observes, in her recently published tome, "How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States", that the very meaning of masculinity and femininity is in constant flux.

Transgender activists, says Meyerowitz, insist that gender and sexuality represent "distinct analytical categories". The New York Times wrote in its review of the book: "Some male-to-female transsexuals have sex with men and call themselves homosexuals. Some female-to-male transsexuals have sex with women and call themselves lesbians. Some transsexuals call themselves asexual."

So, it is all in the mind, you see.

This would be taking it too far. A large body of scientific evidence points to the genetic and biological underpinnings of sexual behavior and preferences.

The German science magazine, "Geo", reported recently that the males of the fruit fly "drosophila melanogaster" switched from heterosexuality to homosexuality as the temperature in the lab was increased from 19 to 30 degrees Celsius. They reverted to chasing females as it was lowered.

The brain structures of homosexual sheep are different to those of straight sheep, a study conducted recently by the Oregon Health & Science University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho, revealed. Similar differences were found between gay men and straight ones in 1995 in Holland and elsewhere. The preoptic area of the hypothalamus was larger in heterosexual men than in both homosexual men and straight women.

According an article, titled "When Sexual Development Goes Awry", by Suzanne Miller, published in the September 2000 issue of the "World and I", various medical conditions give rise to sexual ambiguity. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), involving excessive androgen production by the adrenal cortex, results in mixed genitalia. A person with the complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) has a ****, external female genitalia and functioning, androgen-producing, testes - but no uterus or fallopian tubes.

People with the rare 5-alpha reductase deficiency syndrome are born with ambiguous genitalia. They appear at first to be girls. At puberty, such a person develops testicles and his clitoris swells and becomes a ****. Hermaphrodites possess both ovaries and testicles (both, in most cases, rather undeveloped). Sometimes the ovaries and testicles are combined into a chimera called ovotestis.

Most of these individuals have the chromosomal composition of a woman together with traces of the Y, male, chromosome. All hermaphrodites have a sizable ****, though rarely generate sperm. Some hermaphrodites develop breasts during puberty and menstruate. Very few even get pregnant and give birth.

Anne Fausto-Sterling, a developmental geneticist, professor of medical science at Brown University, and author of "Sexing the Body", postulated, in 1993, a continuum of 5 sexes to supplant the current dimorphism: males, merms (male pseudohermaphrodites), herms (true hermaphrodites), ferms (female pseudohermaphrodites), and females.

Intersexuality (hermpahroditism) is a natural human state. We are all conceived with the potential to develop into either sex. The embryonic developmental default is female. A series of triggers during the first weeks of pregnancy places the fetus on the path to maleness.

In rare cases, some women have a male's genetic makeup (XY chromosomes) and vice versa. But, in the vast majority of cases, one of the sexes is clearly selected. Relics of the stifled sex remain, though. Women have the clitoris as a kind of symbolic ****. Men have breasts (mammary glands) and nipples.

The Encyclopedia Britannica 2003 edition describes the formation of ovaries and testes thus:

"In the young embryo a pair of gonads develop that are indifferent or neutral, showing no indication whether they are destined to develop into testes or ovaries. There are also two different duct systems, one of which can develop into the female system of oviducts and related apparatus and the other into the male sperm duct system. As development of the embryo proceeds, either the male or the female reproductive tissue differentiates in the originally neutral gonad of the mammal."

Yet, sexual preferences, genitalia and even secondary sex characteristics, such as facial and pubic hair are first order phenomena. Can genetics and biology account for male and female behavior patterns and social interactions ("gender identity")? Can the multi-tiered complexity and richness of human masculinity and femininity arise from simpler, deterministic, building blocks?

Sociobiologists would have us think so.

For instance: the fact that we are mammals is astonishingly often overlooked. Most mammalian families are composed of mother and offspring. Males are peripatetic absentees. Arguably, high rates of divorce and birth out of wedlock coupled with rising promiscuity merely reinstate this natural "default mode", observes Lionel Tiger, a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University in New Jersey. That three quarters of all divorces are initiated by women tends to support this view.

Furthermore, gender identity is determined during gestation, claim some scholars.

Milton Diamond of the University of Hawaii and Dr. Keith Sigmundson, a practicing psychiatrist, studied the much-celebrated John/Joan case. An accidentally castrated normal male was surgically modified to look female, and raised as a girl but to no avail. He reverted to being a male at puberty.

His gender identity seems to have been inborn (assuming he was not subjected to conflicting cues from his human environment). The case is extensively described in John Colapinto's tome "As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl".

HealthScoutNews cited a study published in the November 2002 issue of "Child Development". The researchers, from City University of London, found that the level of maternal testosterone during pregnancy affects the behavior of neonatal girls and renders it more masculine. "High testosterone" girls "enjoy activities typically considered male behavior, like playing with trucks or guns". Boys' behavior remains unaltered, according to the study.

Yet, other scholars, like John Money, insist that newborns are a "blank slate" as far as their gender identity is concerned. This is also the prevailing view. Gender and sex-role identities, we are taught, are fully formed in a process of socialization which ends by the third year of life. The Encyclopedia Britannica 2003 edition sums it up thus:

"Like an individual's concept of his or her sex role, gender identity develops by means of parental example, social reinforcement, and language. Parents teach sex-appropriate behavior to their children from an early age, and this behavior is reinforced as the child grows older and enters a wider social world. As the child acquires language, he also learns very early the distinction between "he" and "she" and understands which pertains to him- or herself."

So, which is it - nature or nurture? There is no disputing the fact that our sexual physiology and, in all probability, our sexual preferences are determined in the womb. Men and women are different - physiologically and, as a result, also psychologically.

Society, through its agents - foremost amongst which are family, peers, and teachers - represses or encourages these genetic propensities. It does so by propagating "gender roles" - gender-specific lists of alleged traits, permissible behavior patterns, and prescriptive morals and norms. Our "gender identity" or "sex role" is shorthand for the way we make use of our natural genotypic-phenotypic endowments in conformity with social-cultural "gender roles".

Inevitably as the composition and bias of these lists change, so does the meaning of being "male" or "female". Gender roles are constantly redefined by tectonic shifts in the definition and functioning of basic social units, such as the nuclear family and the workplace. The cross-fertilization of gender-related cultural memes renders "masculinity" and "femininity" fluid concepts.

One's sex equals one's bodily equipment, an objective, finite, and, usually, immutable inventory. But our endowments can be put to many uses, in different cognitive and affective contexts, and subject to varying exegetic frameworks. As opposed to "sex" - "gender" is, therefore, a socio-cultural narrative. Both heterosexual and homosexual men ejaculate. Both straight and lesbian women climax. What distinguishes them from each other are subjective introjects of socio-cultural conventions, not objective, immutable "facts".

In "The New Gender Wars", published in the November/December 2000 issue of "Psychology Today", Sarah Blustain sums up the "bio-social" model proposed by Mice Eagly, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University and a former student of his, Wendy Wood, now a professor at the Texas A&M University:

"Like (the evolutionary psychologists), Eagly and Wood reject social constructionist notions that all gender differences are created by culture. But to the question of where they come from, they answer differently: not our genes but our roles in society. This narrative focuses on how societies respond to the basic biological differences - men's strength and women's reproductive capabilities - and how they encourage men and women to follow certain patterns.

'If you're spending a lot of time nursing your kid', explains Wood, 'then you don't have the opportunity to devote large amounts of time to developing specialized skills and engaging tasks outside of the home'. And, adds Eagly, 'if women are charged with caring for infants, what happens is that women are more nurturing. Societies have to make the adult system work [so] socialization of girls is arranged to give them experience in nurturing'.

According to this interpretation, as the environment changes, so will the range and texture of gender differences. At a time in Western countries when female reproduction is extremely low, nursing is totally optional, childcare alternatives are many, and mechanization lessens the importance of male size and strength, women are no longer restricted as much by their smaller size and by child-bearing. That means, argue Eagly and Wood, that role structures for men and women will change and, not surprisingly, the way we socialize people in these new roles will change too. (Indeed, says Wood, 'sex differences seem to be reduced in societies where men and women have similar status,' she says. If you're looking to live in more gender-neutral environment, try Scandinavia.)"


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Posts: 130 | From: College | Registered: Mar 2006


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:13:12 am
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   posted 04-21-2006 07:48 PM                       
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The Pathology of Love

By: Dr. Sam Vaknin

The unpalatable truth is that falling in love is, in some ways, indistinguishable from a severe pathology. Behavior changes are reminiscent of psychosis and, biochemically speaking, passionate love closely imitates substance abuse. Appearing in the BBC series Body Hits on December 4, Dr. John Marsden, the head of the British National Addiction Center, said that love is addictive, akin to **** and speed. Sex is a "booby trap", intended to bind the partners long enough to bond.

Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Andreas Bartels and Semir Zeki of University College in London showed that the same areas of the brain are active when abusing drugs and when in love. The prefrontal cortex - hyperactive in depressed patients - is inactive when besotted. How can this be reconciled with the low levels of serotonin that are the telltale sign of both depression and infatuation - is not known.

The initial drive - lust - is brought on by surges of sex hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen. These induce an indiscriminate scramble for physical gratification. Attraction transpires once a more-or-less appropriate object is found (with the right body language and speed and tone of voice) and is tied to a panoply of sleep and eating disorders.

A recent study in the University of Chicago demonstrated that testosterone levels shoot up by one third even during a casual chat with a female stranger. The stronger the hormonal reaction, the more marked the changes in behavior, concluded the authors. This loop may be part of a larger "mating response". In animals, testosterone provokes aggression and recklessness. The hormone's readings in married men and fathers are markedly lower than in single males still "playing the field".

Helen Fisher of Rutger University suggests a three-phased model of falling in love. Each stage involves a distinct set of chemicals. The BBC summed it up succinctly and sensationally: "Events occurring in the brain when we are in love have similarities with mental illness".

Moreover, we are attracted to people with the same genetic makeup and smell (pheromones) of our parents. Dr Martha McClintock of the University of Chicago studied feminine attraction to sweaty T-shirts formerly worn by males. The closer the smell resembled her father's, the more attracted and aroused the woman became. Falling in love is, therefore, an exercise in proxy incest and a vindication of Freud's much-maligned Oedipus and Electra complexes.

Writing in the February 2004 issue of the journal NeuroImage, Andreas Bartels of University College London's Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience described identical reactions in the brains of young mothers looking at their babies and in the brains of people looking at their lovers.

"Both romantic and maternal love are highly rewarding experiences that are linked to the perpetuation of the species, and consequently have a closely linked biological function of crucial evolutionary importance" - he told Reuters.

This incestuous backdrop of love was further demonstrated by psychologist David Perrett of the University of St Andrews in Scotland. The subjects in his experiments preferred their own faces - in other words, the composite of their two parents - when computer-morphed into the opposite sex.

Contrary to prevailing misconceptions, love is mostly about negative emotions. As Professor Arthur Aron from State University of New York at Stonybrook has shown, in the first few meetings, people misinterpret certain physical cues and feelings - notably fear and thrill - as (falling in) love. Thus, counterintuitively, anxious people - especially those with the "serotonin transporter" gene - are more sexually active (i.e., fall in love more often).

Obsessive thoughts regarding the Loved One and compulsive acts are also common. Perception is distorted as is cognition. "Love is blind" and the lover easily fails the reality test. Falling in love involves the enhanced secretion of b-Phenylethylamine (PEA, or the "love chemical") in the first 2 to 4 years of the relationship.

This natural drug creates an euphoric high and helps obscure the failings and shortcomings of the potential mate. Such oblivion - perceiving only the spouse's good sides while discarding her bad ones - is a pathology akin to the primitive psychological defense mechanism known as "splitting". Narcissists - patients suffering from the Narcissistic Personality Disorder - also Idealize romantic or intimate partners. A similar cognitive-emotional impairment is common in many mental health conditions.

The activity of a host of neurotransmitters - such as Dopamine, Adrenaline (Norepinephrine), and Serotonin - is heightened (or in the case of Serotonin, lowered) in both paramours. Yet, such irregularities are also associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and depression.

It is telling that once attachment is formed and infatuation gives way to a more stable and less exuberant relationship, the levels of these substances return to normal. They are replaced by two hormones (endorphins) which usually play a part in social interactions (including bonding and sex) - Oxytocin (the "cuddling chemical") and Vasopressin. Oxytocin facilitates bonding. It is released in the mother during breastfeeding, in the members of the couple when they spend time together - and when they sexually climax.

Love, in all its phases and manifestations, is an addiction, probably to the various forms of internally secreted norepinephrine, such as the aforementioned amphetamine-like PEA. Love, in other words, is a form of substance abuse. The withdrawal of romantic love has serious mental health repercussions.

A study conducted by Dr. Kenneth Kendler, professor of psychiatry and director of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, and others, and published in the September issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, revealed that breakups often lead to depression and anxiety.

Still, love cannot be reduced to its biochemical and electrical components. Love is not tantamount to our bodily processes - rather, it is the way we experience them. Love is how we interpret these flows and ebbs of compounds using a higher-level language. In other words, love is pure poetry.


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Posts: 130 | From: College | Registered: Mar 2006


Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:13:40 am
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The Natural Roots of Sexuality

http://samvak.tripod.com/sexnature.html

By: Dr. Sam Vaknin

Recent studies in animal sexuality serve to dispel two common myths: that sex is exclusively about reproduction and that homosexuality is an unnatural sexual preference. It now appears that sex is also about recreation as it frequently occurs out of the mating season. And same-sex copulation and bonding are common in hundreds of species, from bonobo apes to gulls.

Moreover, homosexual couples in the Animal Kingdom are prone to behaviors commonly - and erroneously - attributed only to heterosexuals. The New York Times reported in its February 7, 2004 issue about a couple of gay penguins who are desperately and recurrently seeking to incubate eggs together.

In the same article ("Love that Dare not Squeak its Name"), Bruce Bagemihl, author of the groundbreaking "Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity", defines homosexuality as "any of these behaviors between members of the same sex: long-term bonding, sexual contact, courtship displays or the rearing of young."

Still, that a certain behavior occurs in nature (is "natural") does not render it moral. Infanticide, patricide, suicide, gender bias, and substance abuse - are all to be found in various animal species. It is futile to argue for homosexuality or against it based on zoological observations. Ethics is about surpassing nature - not about emulating it.

The more perplexing question remains: what are the evolutionary and biological advantages of recreational sex and homosexuality? Surely, both entail the waste of scarce resources.

Convoluted explanations, such as the one proffered by Marlene Zuk (homosexuals contribute to the gene pool by nurturing and raising young relatives) defy common sense, experience, and the calculus of evolution. There are no field studies that show conclusively or even indicate that homosexuals tend to raise and nurture their younger relatives more that straights do.

Moreover, the arithmetic of genetics would rule out such a stratagem. If the aim of life is to pass on one's genes from one generation to the next, the homosexual would have been far better off raising his own children (who carry forward half his DNA) - rather than his nephew or niece (with whom he shares merely one quarter of his genetic material.)
What is more, though genetically-predisposed, homosexuality may be partly acquired, the outcome of environment and nurture, rather than nature.

An oft-overlooked fact is that recreational sex and homosexuality have one thing in common: they do not lead to reproduction. Homosexuality may, therefore, be a form of pleasurable sexual play. It may also enhance same-sex bonding and train the young to form cohesive, purposeful groups (the army and the boarding school come to mind).

Furthermore, homosexuality amounts to the culling of 10-15% of the gene pool in each generation. The genetic material of the homosexual is not propagated and is effectively excluded from the big roulette of life. Growers - of anything from cereals to cattle - similarly use random culling to improve their stock. As mathematical models show, such repeated mass removal of DNA from the common brew seems to optimize the species and increase its resilience and efficiency.

It is ironic to realize that homosexuality and other forms of non-reproductive, pleasure-seeking sex may be key evolutionary mechanisms and integral drivers of population dynamics. Reproduction is but one goal among many, equally important, end results. Heterosexuality is but one strategy among a few optimal solutions. Studying biology may yet lead to greater tolerance for the vast repertory of human sexual foibles, preferences, and predilections. Back to nature, in this case, may be forward to civilization.

Suggested Literature

Bagemihl, Bruce - "Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity" - St. Martin's Press, 1999

De-Waal, Frans and Lanting, Frans - "Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape" - University of California Press, 1997

De Waal, Frans - "Bonobo Sex and Society" - March 1995 issue of Scientific American, pp. 82-88

Trivers, Robert - Natural Selection and Social Theory: Selected Papers - Oxford University Press, 2002

Zuk, Marlene - "Sexual Selections: What We Can and Can't Learn About Sex From Animals" - University of California Press, 2002


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Title: Re: Inner Harmony & the Pathway to Spiritual Peace (Original)
Post by: Jade Hellene on December 18, 2007, 01:14:18 am
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   posted 04-21-2006 07:52 PM                       
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Ethical Relativism and Absolute Taboos
http://samvak.tripod.com/taboo.html

Incest, Suicide, and Race

By: Dr. Sam Vaknin

I. Taboos

Taboos regulate our sexual conduct, race relations, political institutions, and economic mechanisms - virtually every realm of our life. According to the 2002 edition of the "Encyclopedia Britannica", taboos are "the prohibition of an action or the use of an object based on ritualistic distinctions of them either as being sacred and consecrated or as being dangerous, unclean, and accursed".

Jews are instructed to ritually cleanse themselves after having been in contact with a Torah scroll - or a corpse. This association of the sacred with the accursed and the holy with the depraved is the key to the guilt and sense of danger which accompany the violation of a taboo.

In Polynesia, where the term originated, says the Britannica, "taboos could include prohibitions on fishing or picking fruit at certain seasons; food taboos that restrict the diet of pregnant women; prohibitions on talking to or touching chiefs or members of other high social classes; taboos on walking or traveling in certain areas, such as forests; and various taboos that function during important life events such as birth, marriage, and death".

Political correctness in all its manifestations – in academe, the media, and in politics - is a particularly pernicious kind of taboo enforcement. It entails an all-pervasive self-censorship coupled with social sanctions. Consider the treatment of the right to life, incest, suicide, and race.

II. Incest

In contemporary thought, incest is invariably associated with child abuse and its horrific, long-lasting, and often irreversible consequences. But incest is far from being the clear-cut or monolithic issue that millennia of taboo imply. Incest with minors is a private - and particularly egregious - case of pedophilia or statutory ****. It should be dealt with forcefully. But incest covers much more besides these criminal acts.

Incest is the ethical and legal prohibition to have sex with a related person or to marry him or her - even if the people involved are consenting and fully informed adults. Contrary to popular mythology, banning incest has little to do with the fear of genetic diseases. Even genetically unrelated parties (a stepfather and a stepdaughter, for example) can commit incest.

Incest is also forbidden between fictive kin or classificatory kin (that belong to the same matriline or patriline). In certain societies (such as certain Native American tribes and the Chinese) it is sufficient to carry the same family name (i.e., to belong to the same clan) to render a relationship incestuous. Clearly, in these instances, eugenic considerations have little to do with incest.

Moreover, the use of contraceptives means that incest does not need to result in pregnancy and the transmission of genetic material. Inbreeding (endogamous) or straightforward incest is the norm in many life forms, even among primates (e.g., chimpanzees). It was also quite common until recently in certain human societies - the Hindus, for instance, or many Native American tribes, and royal families everywhere. In the Ptolemaic dynasty, blood relatives married routinely. Cleopatra’s first husband was her 13 year old brother, Ptolemy XIII.

Nor is the taboo universal. In some societies, incest is mandatory or prohibited, according to the social class (Bali, Papua New Guinea, Polynesian and Melanesian islands). In others, the Royal House started a tradition of incestuous marriages, which was later imitated by lower classes (Ancient Egypt, Hawaii, Pre-Columbian Mixtec). Some societies are more tolerant of consensual incest than others (Japan, India until the 1930's, Australia). The list is long and it serves to demonstrate the diversity of attitudes towards this most universal practice.

The more primitive and aggressive the society, the more strict and elaborate the set of incest prohibitions and the fiercer the penalties for their violation. The reason may be economic. Incest interferes with rigid algorithms of inheritance in conditions of extreme scarcity (for instance, of land and water) and consequently leads to survival-threatening internecine disputes. Most of humanity is still subject to such a predicament.

Freud said that incest provokes horror because it touches upon our forbidden, ambivalent emotions towards members of our close family. This ambivalence covers both aggression towards other members (forbidden and punishable) and (sexual) attraction to them (doubly forbidden and punishable).

Edward Westermarck proffered an opposite view that the domestic proximity of the members of the family breeds sexual repulsion (the epigenetic rule known as the Westermarck effect) to counter naturally occurring genetic sexual attraction. The incest taboo simply reflects emotional and biological realities within the family rather than aiming to restrain the inbred instincts of its members, claimed Westermarck.

Both ignored the fact that the incest taboo is learned - not inherent.

We can easily imagine a society where incest is extolled, taught, and practiced - and out-breeding is regarded with horror and revulsion. The incestuous marriages among members of the royal households of Europe were intended to preserve the familial property and expand the clan's territory. They were normative, not aberrant. Marrying an outsider was considered abhorrent.

III. Suicide

Self-sacrifice, avoidable martyrdom, engaging in life risking activities, refusal to prolong one's life through medical treatment, euthanasia, overdosing, and self-destruction that is the result of coercion - are all closely related to suicide. They all involve a deliberately self-inflicted death.

But while suicide is chiefly intended to terminate a life – the other acts are aimed at perpetuating, strengthening, and defending values or other people. Many - not only religious people - are appalled by the choice implied in suicide - of death over life. They feel that it demeans life and abnegates its meaning.

Life's meaning - the outcome of active selection by the individual - is either external (such as God's plan) or internal, the outcome of an arbitrary frame of reference, such as having a career goal. Our life is rendered meaningful only by integrating into an eternal thing, process, design, or being. Suicide makes life trivial because the act is not natural - not part of the eternal framework, the undying process, the timeless cycle of birth and death. Suicide is a break with eternity.

Henry Sidgwick said that only conscious (i.e., intelligent) beings can appreciate values and meanings. So, life is significant to conscious, intelligent, though finite, beings - because it is a part of some eternal goal, plan, process, thing, design, or being. Suicide flies in the face of Sidgwick's dictum. It is a statement by an intelligent and conscious being about the meaninglessness of life.

If suicide is a statement, than society, in this case, is against the freedom of expression. In the case of suicide, free speech dissonantly clashes with the sanctity of a meaningful life. To rid itself of the anxiety brought on by this conflict, society cast suicide as a depraved or even criminal act and its perpetrators are much castigated.

The suicide violates not only the social contract - but, many will add, covenants with God or nature. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in the "Summa Theologiae" that - since organisms strive to survive - suicide is an unnatural act. Moreover, it adversely affects the community and violates the property rights of God, the imputed owner of one's spirit. Christianity regards the immortal soul as a gift and, in Jewish writings, it is a deposit. Suicide amounts to the abuse or misuse of God's possessions, temporarily lodged in a corporeal mansion.

This paternalism was propagated, centuries later, by Sir William Blackstone, the codifier of British Law. Suicide - being self-murder - is a grave felony, which the state has a right to prevent and to punish for. In certain countries this still is the case. In Israel, for instance, a soldier is considered to be "military property" and an attempted suicide is severely punished as "a corruption of an army chattel".

Paternalism, a malignant mutation of benevolence, is about objectifying people and treating them as possessions. Even fully-informed and consenting adults are not granted full, unmitigated autonomy, freedom, and privacy. This tends to breed "victimless crimes". The "culprits" - gamblers, homosexuals, communists, suicides, drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes – are "protected from themselves" by an intrusive nanny state.

The possession of a right by a person imposes on others a corresponding obligation not to act to frustrate its exercise. Suicide is often the choice of a mentally and legally competent adult. Life is such a basic and deep set phenomenon that even the incompetents - the mentally retarded or mentally insane or minors - can fully gauge its significance and make "informed" decisions, in my view.

The paternalists claim counterfactually that no competent adult "in his right mind" will ever decide to commit suicide. They cite the cases of suicides who survived and felt very happy that they have - as a compelling reason to intervene. But we all make irreversible decisions for which, sometimes, we are sorry. It gives no one the right to interfere.

Paternalism is a slippery slope. Should the state be allowed to prevent the birth of a genetically defective child or forbid his parents to marry in the first place? Should unhealthy adults be forced to abstain from smoking, or steer clear from alcohol? Should they be coerced to exercise?

Suicide is subject to a double moral standard. People are permitted - nay, encouraged - to sacrifice their life only in certain, socially sanctioned, ways. To die on the battlefield or in defense of one's religion is commendable. This hypocrisy reveals how power structures - the state, institutional religion, political parties, national movements - aim to monopolize the lives of citizens and adherents to do with as they see fit. Suicide threatens this monopoly. Hence the taboo.

IV. Race

Social Darwinism, sociobiology, and, nowadays, evolutionary psychology are all derided and disparaged because they try to prove that nature - more specifically, our genes - determine our traits, our accomplishments, our behavior patterns, our social status, and, in many ways, our destiny. Our upbringing and our environment change little. They simply select from ingrained libraries embedded in our brain.

Moreover, the discussion of race and race relations is tainted by a history of recurrent ethnocide and genocide and thwarted by the dogma of egalitarianism. The (legitimate) question "are all races equal" thus becomes a private case of the (no less legitimate) "are all men equal". To ask "can races co-exist peacefully" is thus to embark on the slippery slope to slavery and Auschwitz. These historical echoes and the overweening imposition of political correctness prevent any meaningful - let alone scientific - discourse.

The irony is that "race" - or at least race as determined by skin color - is a distinctly unscientific concept, concerned more with appearances (i.e., the color of one's skin, the shape of one's head or hair), common history, and social politics - than strictly with heredity. Dr. Richard Lewontin, a Harvard geneticist, noted in his work in the 1970s that the popularity of the idea of race is an "indication of the power of socioeconomically based ideology over the supposed objectivity of knowledge."

Still, many human classificatory traits are concordant. Different taxonomic criteria conjure up different "races" - but also real races. As Cambridge University statistician, A. W. F. Edwards, observed in 2003, certain traits and features do tend to cluster and positively correlate (dark skinned people do tend to have specific shapes of noses, skulls, eyes, bodies, and hair, for instance). IQ is a similarly contentious construct, but it is stable and does predict academic achievement effectively.

Granted, racist-sounding claims may be as unfounded as claims about racial equality. Still, while the former are treated as an abomination - the latter are accorded academic respectability and scientific scrutiny.

Consider these two hypotheses:

That the IQ (or any other measurable trait) of a given race or ethnic group is hereditarily determined (i.e., that skin color and IQ - or another measurable trait - are concordant) and is strongly correlated with certain types of behavior, life accomplishments, and social status.
That the IQ (or any other quantifiable trait) of a given race or "ethnic group" is the outcome of social and economic circumstances and even if strongly correlated with behavior patterns, academic or other achievements, and social status - which is disputable - is amenable to "social engineering".
Both theories are falsifiable and both deserve serious, unbiased, study. That we choose to ignore the first and substantiate the second demonstrates the pernicious and corrupting effect of political correctness.

Claims of the type "trait A and trait B are concordant" should be investigated by scientists, regardless of how politically incorrect they are. Not so claims of the type "people with trait A are..." or "people with trait A do...". These should be decried as racist tripe.

Thus, medical research shows the statement "The traits of being an Ashkenazi Jew (A) and suffering from Tay-Sachs induced idiocy (B) are concordant in 1 of every 2500 cases" is true.

The statements "people who are Jews (i.e., with trait A) are (narcissists)", or "people who are Jews (i.e., with trait A) do this: they drink the blood of innocent Christian children during the Passover rites" - are vile racist and paranoid statements.

People are not created equal. Human diversity - a taboo topic - is a cause for celebration. It is important to study and ascertain what are the respective contributions of nature and nurture to the way people - individuals and groups - grow, develop, and mature. In the pursuit of this invaluable and essential knowledge, taboos are dangerously counter-productive.

V. Moral Relativism

Protagoras, the Greek Sophist, was the first to notice that ethical codes are culture-dependent and vary in different societies, economies, and geographies. The pragmatist believe that what is right is merely what society thinks is right at any given moment. Good and evil are not immutable. No moral principle - and taboos are moral principles - is universally and eternally true and valid. Morality applies within cultures but not across them.

But ethical or cultural relativism and the various schools of pragmatism ignore the fact that certain ethical percepts - probably grounded in human nature - do appear to be universal and ancient. Fairness, veracity, keeping promises, moral hierarchy - permeate all the cultures we have come to know. Nor can certain moral tenets be explained away as mere expressions of emotions or behavioral prescriptions - devoid of cognitive content, logic, and a relatedness to certain facts.

Still, it is easy to prove that most taboos are, indeed, relative. Incest, suicide, feticide, infanticide, parricide, ethnocide, genocide, genital mutilation, social castes, and adultery are normative in certain cultures - and strictly proscribed in others. Taboos are pragmatic moral principles. They derive their validity from their efficacy. They are observed because they work, because they yield solutions and provide results. They disappear or are transformed when no longer useful.

Incest is likely to be tolerated in a world with limited possibilities for procreation. Suicide is bound to be encouraged in a society suffering from extreme scarcity of resources and over-population. Ethnocentrism, racism and xenophobia will inevitably rear their ugly heads again in anomic circumstances. None of these taboos is unassailable.

None of them reflects some objective truth, independent of culture and circumstances. They are convenient conventions, workable principles, and regulatory mechanisms - nothing more. That scholars are frantically trying to convince us otherwise - or to exclude such a discussion altogether - is a sign of the growing disintegration of our weakening society.


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[ 04-21-2006, 07:54 PM: Message edited by: Raven: ]
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Posts: 130 | From: College | Registered: Mar 2006