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Complete Psychological Topics 1: Chapters 6-7

 

by Ben Huot

July 15, 2012

in more formats

Table of Contents

Chapter 6
How to Respond Positively

by Ben Huot

6.1 Stop Getting Mad

6.1.1 Why They Hate America

Unpredictability

One of the things that makes people hostile to America is not that we are worse than any other empire or even that we are not really promoting democracy and equality, but that we are more than any other thing terribly inconsistent and unpredictable. Many nations are also unstable, but they don’t have the most powerful military in the world, in addition to being a very globally aggressive country. People don’t know whether the US is going to be involved in the Middle East, support Israel or the Palestinians, is fighting terrorism or Islamic fundamentalism, is going to intervene to prevent unstable regimes from getting nuclear weapons, is going to be a friend or foe of Russia, is going to support or undermine communist China, or is going to work through the UN or going to fight wars unilaterally.

Naive Americans

As I said before, many Americans are very naive about global politics. One of the things that Americans don’t understand is that all the problems we are experiencing in the Middle East are not our fault and existed long before America was even a British colony. Another thing we don’t seem to understand is what we call democracy the rest of the world calls Imperialism.

Find Out Why

We don’t really understand that not every country has a political will and infrastructure, and military and economic base to support a liberal democracy like ours. When getting involved in things we have little knowledge about, we need to find out why those who made the decisions, that they did, in the past, before we make a major change in our approach. This is certainly true of not only politics, but also true of almost any situation.

6.1.2 Lose-Lose Situation

We Lose

When we don’t have the patience, or the will, to stay in a country, for a thousand years or more, before we overthrow a government, we need to find supporters, in the region, that can stay in power, when we leave. It is not in the interests of either the United States nor the local population in having democracies in the Middle East outside of Israel. The reason why the US doesn’t want more democracies in the Middle East and has helped support dictators like those running Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and formerly in Iraq is that we know that the local populations would vote in terrorists as their leaders, if given the chance to vote.

They Lose

The US and Saudi Arabia want to smooth over this reality and not emphasis this situation, as it makes things difficult, for both our countries, if it is announced on the nightly news. Right after the World Trade Center was bombed on 911, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were celebrating in the public streets. Osama bin Laden is revered as a hero in the Muslim world. The Palestinians voted in the Hamas terrorist organization into power in the Gaza Strip. When we invaded Iraq, and the Shiites grabbed power in Iraq, the few Christians still in Iraq suffered worse under them, than under Saddam Hussein. And people think that Bush was loyal to Christians.

6.1.3 Money is Power

Money=Politics

The reason why the people in the Middle East don’t want democracy is that is just another word for Imperialism. We say democracy, but what we mean is capitalism. American democracy means more of their kids are getting addicted to MacDonald’s restaurants and Playboy magazines, in the middle of the holy city of Mecca. We think of ourselves as so different from the colonial powers, but we were allied with all of them and helped them keep their empires, before they lost them, over the last 50 years. The exact same oil companies, that controlled Iraqi oil, when the British owned Iraq are the same ones that control it now. Like any addiction, just because someone indulges in it doesn’t mean they want their kids doing the same, or even wants to keep being controlled by it.

Money Runs the Media

American entertainment culture, the media, and the marketing departments of the major multinational brands have the power they do, because they have got people all over the world addicted to their products. Do you really think that you are saving money, by having advertising pay for your TV and newspapers? Do you think that even though the only legal responsibility of a CEO is to make as much money, for its shareholders as possible is going to sacrifice profit, to help the environment or to be non-partisan, in their news reports?

6.1.4 Recognizing the Problem

Cost of Advertising

Do you really think that newspapers are not a business, like every other and that they are run and controlled, by those who pay their salaries, meaning the advertisers? It would be much cheaper for us to buy our media, than support it with advertising. The only reason why companies are willing to give away free entertainment or news is because they know that you and your children will spend more money on their products, than you would spend paying, for the free Cable programming.

Keeping Kids Safe

Just like you don’t want your children’s values destroyed, by their exposure to sex and violence, so parents of those in the Middle East don’t want their children exposed, to this same American culture. When American tanks role in, shortly behind them come Coca-Cola, Disney, Playboy, Time Warner, Nike, Mac Donalds, Walmart, MTV, and all the other top multinational corporations start appearing next to mosques and holy sites. When Muslim men see how typical American women on movies dress and behave, the rights of women in the Middle East go backwards about a thousand years. We like to think that you can separate money from politics, but it doesn’t matter what you think, because they all own your souls and so you will think whatever the advertisers on the American media tell you to believe.

Unequal Politics

Do you think that the current conservative-liberal political divide in America was not invented by mass media corporations? Isn’t it surprising that liberals are elected, when the economy goes bad and bail out corporations and that conservatives get in power, when the economy is going well and remove all rules for corporations and give them the seed money, to gamble away, and this money on both situations comes from middle and working class Americans? Why is it that you can steal the retirements of millions of people and not go to jail, but if you rob a convenience store, you serve big time in prison? Why is it that most people who are in prison are poor and most convictions are from plea bargains?

6.1.5 The Solution

Divide and Conquer

The way to beat this thing is to stop watching the news. The way we are manipulated, by the big corporations, is when we get mad at what happens, in politics. Why aren’t moral liberals and moral conservatives on the same side? Why aren’t social liberals and fiscal conservatives on the same side? Did you know the best way to destroy a country is by siding with one local group and against the other one and then the remaining ally is slowly exterminated?

Stop Getting Mad

Let stop trying to change others minds and start focusing on liberating our own souls. If something happens in the world, that you need to know, they will stop the TV and the radio and break into tour shows or games to announce it. And after you have been watching the news for a while, you will realize it is a waste of your time, because nothing ever changes, year after year.

6.2 Everything is Useful

As it says in Ecclesiastes there is a time for everything and every skill and every person has a place of value.

6.2.1 For Individuals

Personality Traits

Some of the personality characteristics, that are considered to be negative, have a positive side and vice versa. The same people, who make good leaders and can be depended on, for their strength of character can also have problems with anger and have control issues. People who are moody and perfectionists often have surprising abilities like passion, perseverance, and commitment to a project. People who always make jokes and are silly can be very encouraging and optimistic, in situations, where others would break down.

Useful Skills

Some of the things that are valued the least are sometimes the most necessary and useful, depending on the situation. A manager may not have what is considered practical skills, when it comes to building something, but they will prove to be useful, when you need to organize people and solve relationship problems. A computer programmer may not seem important in a survival situation, when electronics break down, but they might be able to use these skills, to solve engineering problems. An engineer may look down on a machinist, but they may need to work together, to complete the building of a machine.

The Most Important

The most important jobs in society are farmer, sanitation worker, truck driver, and the people who maintain the power lines and the pipes that bring us water and electricity. The first thing that needs to be cut in a difficult situation is often the person at the top, rather than the workers. We may not need many people with farming knowledge right now, but if our technology fails, we need to know how to make a plow.

6.2.2 For Society

Don’t Cut Taxes Now

Many people may feel that the police are a waste of money, or that they don’t need hospitals, because of their good health. But even when things you don’t use yourself stop working, the systems around you, that you do depend on, cease to function properly, when even an unrelated service is interrupted. Just like people who use computers don’t need to worry about the technical details, when things break down, you need someone who does have this knowledge. People often want to save money, by not buying insurance, but then are surprised that the police usually don’t recover stolen items. People rarely value janitors, until there is a sewage leak and things need to be sanitized.

Every Service is Essential

This is the situation we are in now, where businesses and government decide to cut non-essential services, when the economy goes bad. But the problem is that most government services are necessary and are often preventative measures, that are only visibly necessary, when they are stopped. And they are often more expensive and may take considerable time to restart them. Just like when you are on certain psychological medicines and then you feel better and stop taking them, by the time you then realize what they were doing for you, it makes it that much harder, to restore yourself to your previous state.

The Downside of Efficiency

What makes our are society so easy to break down is that people are just doing enough, to keep things going, when everything works fine, so that money is saved and the system is as efficient as it can be. The problem with pursuing efficiency is that your infrastructure becomes brittle, when it does not have fallback support and extra insulation, to protect from those unusual times, when society needs more than is expected or something else fails. When I was in the military, many things were starting to be done by computers, which had previously been done manually, and I remember many of the NCOs were concerned about relying on computers, because everybody know that computer break, when they are needed most.

Everything Fails

When building and maintaining infrastructure and basic government services, we need to plan and expect things to fail and develop solutions, that need to be maintained, for when things inevitably fail. Just because it is unlikely that most cities other than New York City, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles will be attacked by a terrorist, the severity of the possible damage makes it worthwhile to plan, for this possibility, in every major city.

Preparing for the Unlikely

There are many things that can be done, to prepare us, for things, that are very rare, like asteroid impacts, super volcanoes, or natural disasters, in areas where they were not expected, but they require a tremendous investment, which only pays itself off, when you end up not having to spend as much money, to rebuild after the disasters. New York city doesn’t get hurricanes very often, but when it does the glass used in most skyscrapers cannot withstand even minor hurricane winds, and so this would cause enormous loss of life, injuries, and damage, if people are unwilling to invest the money, to replace them with stronger glass.

6.2.3 What You Can Do

Necessities Not Glamorous

Just like the news reporters focus on cars chases and fires, because they look exciting on film, so society seems to want to focus on spending money on exciting things and often decides to pass on the necessary, but unglamorous things. This is one of the reasons why it is good to have survival supplies in place, before disaster strikes. Even in areas that are hurricane prone, most people wait until the last minute to buy supplies and the stores empty in a matter of hours of everything.

Don’t Procrastinate

We always see on movies about the elite military and government agencies, that are tasked with preventing catastrophic events, like nuclear wars, that they wait until the very last second, to prevent the disaster. If the Department of Defense really did everything at the very last possible moment, it would continue to run into times, where they had a delay and we would be living in a post apocalypse world tomorrow.

Prepare Now

Everything is necessary, at a time, when you don’t think you will need it. Always prepare for the unforeseen events, that are going to happen, at any time. The time to prepare, for living without an income, or outside help and without basic services, like modern plumbing and electricity is now. If you wait until it happens, it will already be too late. There is a reason why the kids you called nerds, in high school you call boss, later on in life. Responsibility and preparation pay off.

6.3 Affecting Change

6.3.1 Learning Helpful Concepts

Memories and Attitude

Just as life is more than choices, ethics is more than how you treat others. The most important things in life our are our memories and our attitude. This means that we need to focus first on our own lives and find peace and joy within who we are and what we do with our time, before we can expect to have fulfilling relationships with others. God comes first, but your family comes before your community or your country. It is better to be family man than a patriot.

Realistic Ambitions

One of the reasons we get to the point, where we have no more energy and are completely without hope, is that we are unwilling, to scale back our ambitions, to what is realistic. Having more power gives you no more influence, as you sacrifice the degree of influence you have, by extending how the number of people you influence. Who influences your child more: you or the President? When we look to expand our lives into new frontiers, the largest frontier is the human heart.

Mind Body Connection

We often see reason and emotions and mind and body as being opposing forces in our lives, but everything in our lives influences everything else in our lives. Having good self esteem can help you be more rational and getting enough sleep increases your spiritual health. Just as the people, who have the most important jobs are often the least powerful, so aspects of ourselves that we take for granted are the key to our complete health.

Stop Doing

When we think that changing our lives involves buying something or joining something, maybe the answer is to cut back and do less. We often think to transform our mind, that we need to read books, but maybe the answers to our problems are not intellectual. Sometimes taking a nap or watching a movie can give you a better insight, just because you allowed yourself time to think.

6.3.2 Starting with Ourselves

Changing Our Own Minds

We spend so much time increasing our resumes and our relationships with others, that we often forget about how important our own well being is, in creating a better life. To change the world we need to first change our own mind. The most important factor in our growth as a complete person is often a series of experiences over a long period of time. Sometimes being a man of action requires a person to first be a thinking person, in order for the actions to be beneficial.

Time to Think

We spend too much time worrying and too little time allowing our mind enough rest, to work through all possible solutions. Getting enough sleep can be more important than psychological therapy. The way to improve our lives lies less in what we do and more in how we think about it. Having a job you do not like, while having a lot of free time may be better than enjoying your job, but not having a break from it.

Attitude Trumps Action

Instead of sending more money to the United Way, you may affect greater change by volunteering in your community. Sometimes we are so focused on the tangible influences like sending letters and canvassing door to door, that we don’t realize that way we make members of our families feel when we talk to them. There is more to charity than how many people you help.

Thinking for Ourselves

When we learn new things about ourselves, we often focus on acquiring knowledge and forget that we need to spend time thinking and this second part is the more important, in our emotional growth. Stopping doing something harmful to yourself can be more useful for your self improvement than doing more to help others. When we only spend time on how others perceive us our relationships will become more shallow and less meaningful to our lives.

6.4 Learning to Say No

6.4.1 Total Situations

Definition

I have narrowed down the precise reason why I am so intense and serious. I got so serious because of my total experiences. A total situation or experience is where you are in a situation where: you do not want to be there, you have no power or choice over what happens to you, you cannot leave no matter how much pain you are in or how scared you are, you are in the situation 24 hours a day, there is no break or relief, and other people are the ones who make all your decisions for you.

My Situations

Most people never have this kind of experience, but, if you do, it will change you profoundly. My total situations include: my time in the military, being in the gas chamber during basic training, my stay in the psychiatric ward of a private hospital, when I lived in a group home, and when I lived in a retirement home. You can never really appreciate your freedom and having legal rights, until they are taken away from you.

Psychological Impact

I think these experiences made me feel like I didn’t have any control over my life, so it drove me to continue to work hard, to create something that I did have control over. It was hard, for me, to take breaks, because I found that I was able to deal with my total situations, by focusing my whole self on something else and taking a break made it harder, to keep my mind off my situation. I think setting limits on myself will be empowering and help me feel more in control, even though it is me that is making the decisions, because I am not really in control, when I have an addiction to work.

Truth in Experiences

Just like when I ran, I didn’t focus on running, but rather thought of other things, because I found running to be boring and painful, and I used the same strategy in these total situations. This desire to be in control of my own destiny also made my appreciate being an adult and being able, to make my own decisions, over how I spend my money and my time. I remember during basic training, I was happiest when I was running, because the drill sergeants finally stopped yelling at me and gave me some space during that time, probably because I was fast enough, by their standards, so that they had little to say.

6.4.2 Limits

Everyone has Limits

When people asked for my help in the past, I felt that I should always help, but I am finally ok with saying no. Everyone and everything has its limits. When I was living in a retirement home in my mid twenties, everyone thought that I worked there and constantly came to me for help. Anything I would do for them was basically pointless as their memory only lasted for about 5 minutes. I think that the CNAs on staff at night may have been tempted to just not give the residents pain medicine or help them with whatever problem they had, because they would ask again 5 minutes later no matter what you did.

Limits Improve Relationships

When giving money to people, either homeless or not, the people you are helping tell others and continue to ask, and become increasing aggressive, until you finally say no. It is not good to loan money to most people or even give someone money to buy something for you. I remember that one of the guys living in my quad, while I was in advanced training, in the military, I have him money to buy me some boots, when he went to help the drill sergeants trade in the clothes, that we were issued during basic training, if they did not fit. He never bought the boots and never returned the money and it ruined our friendship.

6.4.3 Humility Requires Weakness

Pace Yourself

Everyone has his limits even Jesus and his Disciples left the crowds, they were ministering to, on occasion. If you allow people to push you too far, then you will end up resenting them and your attitude will be so bad, that it would be better to do less and be positive about it. Everyone needs time to rest and recover. You cannot just do good deeds continually, without pacing yourself, or you will give up and become bitter. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to stop helping, when your focus is entirely on getting things done.

Be Patient with the Process

Life is a process and not an outcome. Service only needs to be one part of your walk with God. If it becomes the focus, then you will destroy yourself eventually. To grow spiritually, we need have the patience, to allow God to work with us and ask for other people to help us. We are not islands and we cannot just go into a cave and meditate non-stop. We need to balance our service with rest, fellowship, worship, and prayer.

It’s Ok to Have Needs

This idea that we can be happy, if only we had more discipline, is a very destructive and biblically wrong attitude, that many people in churches perpetuate. It is ok to be weak and to need others and God. This is what being humble is all about. Our life as a Christian needs to meet our needs, as much as we need to meet the needs of others. You can only be spiritually strong, when you are emotionally and physically rested and balanced. Before you can be of use for others, you need to strengthen your own body and mind.

6.5 Little Things Matter

6.5.1 We Worry Too Much

When people want to change the world, they often set their sights too high. Then, when they inevitably discover, that the world is the way it is, for a reason and powerful people actually want it to be the way it is, they realize that things are not so easy to change. I think many also find some exciting new theory, which they think will cause a revolution and have a hard time being able to embrace a more subtle and complex worldview. Most people are afraid of and hate change and with change there is always a risk of things getting worse. But nowadays Americans are so beaten down, by current problems, that we have trouble seeing the big picture.

6.5.2 Assault on Christianity

Focused Attack

American Christians are even more worried about the future. They believe that people will find the church irrelevant in these times. Christians have taken a beating, for the last 300 years or more, from all directions, in academia. These ideas are not coming, from individual people and it is not a coincidence, that so many people were coming up, with such a well thought out plan, to destroy faith in Christ. This was a spiritual battle, that played out in academia. I think one of the reasons why academia was chosen was because the Church, in all its original sects, including the Latin, Greek, Syriac, and even modern Protestant based Christian churches were all very committed to education. The Church became the center of learning, everywhere is existed.

Ok to Bash Christians

It seems that the only acceptable prejudice is to denigrate the Bible and Christians. People who pride themselves on being rational and objective, use entirely emotion-based reasons, which based on their personal experiences, to make Christians seem as backwards and irrational as possible. Academics have gone to such great lengths, to make it sound like Christians have caused all the problems in this world, that anyone coming from another planet would think our intellectuals were not very bright or logical.

Being the Scapegoat

Some for these often repeated messages are factually and historically plain wrong. As I have said a number of times, Rome is not the original church, is not true to the theology of the early church, and European civilization is based on the Enlightenment and on the Greek and Roman classics and has nothing to do with Christianity. Most Christians are not white and that was true throughout most of Christian history and European and American leaders have not ever followed the Bible, especially not for the last hundred years. Europe did not reject Christianity, because it caused world problems, but rather Europe caused world problems, because they rejected Christianity.

Factually Wrong

Christianity was not bad for the environment either - the Bible says that humans are responsible for taking care of the environment and the prophets talk about environmental disasters, in the future, that were caused by sin. It never says anywhere in the Bible that the world is flat, that the earth is the center of the universe, or anything racist. These things all came from ancient Greek thinkers. Christ was never in India, nor is what Jesus said based on Indian or Chinese belief systems. Isaiah gave a complete and accurate prediction about Christ before Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, or Socrates was born. Most of the major Indian religious, cultural, and literary writings were written down well after Christ was born.

Christianity Won Anyway

But despite all these denigrations of the Bible, Christians, and Christian theology, more people are Christians today then ever before. Pentecostalism and Catholicism are successful international phenomenons, that are popular across at least 3 major continents, with very few white people. Christians outnumber Muslims 2 to 1, in the third world and most of the areas with mostly muslim populations converted hundreds of years ago. Christianity only arrived in most parts of Africa and the Orient a hundred years ago and the practices and beliefs of Catholic church in Latin America, for hundreds of years now, is only superficially Christian. And most Africans were converted by other Africans.

6.5.3 Spiritual Battle

Finding Small Solutions

So many Christians and Americans in general are worried about the future and at the same time have no big solutions, nor the power to change things, nor even to have our voices heard. But little acts of kindness, manners, and civility make a big difference. We often feel we are not making a difference, because we do not count everything we do, like the small things, like holding open doors, for other people, or saying thank you. Most of the big political events in history are the result of spiritual warfare and are only one part of the picture. The most important battle goes on in our own minds. The attitude with which we do our work is more of a witness than a televangelist giving a sermon, to hundred million people.

Ok to Be Emotional and Weak

The big reason why many people do not become Christian, or drop out of the church, or the faith is not because they do not believe in the Bible, or find it important in their lives, but that Christians are so negative and unrealistic about what they expect of their members. We can make a difference in the world today with very humble acts, that we may never see the results of. No one is going to thank the person, that was the final straw, that led them to Christ. We have to realize that Christianity is not a science and we need to understand how God works and His power through faith. Faith can only exist, when you have no sufficient rational explanation for something.

Focus on Relationships

Having a relationship with someone is more powerful than sending lots of money to charities. People are much more influenced, by their friends, than their political or church leaders. It takes time and patience, to really make a difference in someone’s life and there are no shortcuts, to real spiritual and emotional growth. It is worth our whole lives, to save just one person, or improve just one person’s life. Individual people coming to faith in Christ are more important than which party controls congress or our nation’s foreign policy. A few Christians praying together affect more change than all the political leaders in the world.

See with Faith

Stop seeing with your eyes and hearing with your ears. Dream bigger than saving the world. Save yourself and your family. That is the greatest achievement. Stop limiting yourself to the physical world and the rational reasons for your situation. We can only see what really matters through faith and God prefers to work, through people, who have no power and no abilities, so that He gets the credit. We never have to deal with things alone and God wants to fight the battle for us, if only we would open our hearts to Him.

Chapter 7
More Insights and Inspiration

by Ben Huot

7.1 Dealing with Self Esteem

7.1.1 The Military

As I have said before, I think that my continued study of psychology, compared to studying other things, will give me the best opportunity, to grow emotionally and be a happier person. I believe that my greatest enemy is myself. I believe that the most important factors in how I live my life are the choices I make. One of the things I have realized over time, that causes my great stress, is my low self esteem, coming mostly from my experience in the military.

Soldier with Schizophrenia

I always was more sensitive, than most people, and held onto things others did to me, for too long and was overly occupied, with what others thought of me. But in the military, these situations became much more intense and my emotional response became ingrained, much deeper. A lot of my motivation, to try to make life more fair for myself and others, comes from some of the extreme circumstances, that I had experienced, while in the military. Like most people, I already knew what was important to me, so that later in life, most experiences just re-enforced, what I had believed all along.

Also, as a person with Schizophrenia, the main disability that I have, which covers most symptoms, is that everything in my life is exponentially more emotionally intense, than it was for me beforehand, or it is for others, like me, in similar circumstances, that do not have Schizophrenia. Some of the things in the military, that caused my great stress was my fear of even tear gas and my constant failures, to be able to perform the combat skills correctly, while under such extreme stress.

Recognizing Ranks

An even bigger stress was, for me, to recognize and correctly respond, to the correct rank of the person walking by me (you only salute officers and you have to use the correct exact rank, when referring to the soldier, whether enlisted or officer - if you get this wrong, then you get into a lot of trouble and are publicly embarrassed). One of the reason why this was so hard for me is that the ranking system works different, depending on service, but also the ranks, for enlisted, are on the upper arm and for the officers, on their shoulders or on their lapel.

This makes it very hard to see what their rank is, when you pass by them. You constantly need to know the rank of everyone in the room, at any given time. This is because the highest ranking person in the room has to tell everyone, to stand at attention, whenever an officer comes in, or stand at ease, whenever an NCO comes in.

Rifle Training

I realized soon on, that if I was in a combat situation, that I would be of no use. I remember, when we did the manual of arms (this is how you learn how to move your rifle, in a marching formation, which also helps you keep your rifle away, from being pointed at others, during basic rifle marksmanship target practice), I had to drop for push-ups, after each move, because I would always get it wrong.

I was so bad at shooting (although I had to shoot and qualify, with my left hand, even though I am right handed) that the drill sergeant gave me the spot on the test range, where it was rigged, for the farthest target to pop-up and do down and it count it as hit, no matter if I hit it or not (when you qualify with the rifle, you shoot at targets, that look like green soldier outlines, which pop up for 3-5 seconds and then go down, to simulated the difficulty, of hitting a moving enemy solider).

7.1.2 Coping with Stress

Deflecting Criticism

There are many coping mechanisms people, who have low self esteem, use to cope, with their relationships with other people. Some of the major ones are minimizing, blaming, non-competing, overachieving, inflating, and projecting. I use a lot of these, to cope with my low self esteem.

Basically, I try to find a way to deflect any kind of ranking, because I want to find equal relationships and am not interested in fighting for control. Arrogance is what bothers me most and I link that with leadership and any kind of hierarchy or ranking. But it would be good for me to be aware of this, because at an extreme level, this will make it harder for me, to meet new people.

Biggest Deflectors

Probably the ones I use most is non-competing. I am very good at a lot of things, but I never have the ability to perform under pressure. That is one of the reasons why I never enter any competitions, or take any tests or classes, to prove my abilities.

I also would say I overachieve, which is partly because I really care about the future of humanity and the rest of the creatures that live on this earth, but also I constantly run into people, who tell me my life is easy, because I don’t work.

Other Deflectors

I also use minimizing as a strategy, because I often find that others will challenge me and say that I am wrong, because they disagree with me, even though I have more experience than them. I don’t wish to get in an argument, to prove what I know, partly because I don’t think of good responses, while I am under stress.

I think I do projecting often, too, as for most people the things, that bother me most, about others are things I don’t like about myself. I don’t like anyone who is loud, intense, and controversial.

7.2 Dealing with My Illness

The symptoms of my mental illness expound these problems. One of my most disabling symptom of Schizophrenia for myself is paranoia. I think that people are against me or that they can hear my thoughts. I worry that people will reject me and and that is why I have a hard time making new friends or find new hobbies. In the military I took lots of risks, so now I am very careful not to risk anything important and I over emphasize this, in my mind.

7.2.1 Power Issues

Avoiding Abuse

I also see people sense my fear as a weakness and abuse that knowledge, which happens with abusive mental health workers. These people think that I won’t or can’t speak up for myself, but, of course this isn’t true. Whenever I run into a situation where a person is abusive, I leave the situation, as soon as possible.

There are lot of people on the bus, that are looking for an easy target, to solve their problems, so I keep an unpleasant expression and do not make eye contact. Old people are the worst, in my experiences, and I don’t mean retired people, but people who cannot even walk and are very rude and thoughtless and expect everyone else to stop what they are doing and sacrifice their time and energy, to help them.

The most traumatic situations I had to deal with all occurred for me as an adult. My parents weren’t perfect, but they did a very good job and I am still friends with them to this very day. My sister and I did not get along well when we were kids, but she has been a close friend, since we became adults. The traumas I experienced are what I refer to as total situations.

No Control

A total situation is where you have no power and no control over almost everything in your life and you have no way of getting out of it, nor is their any break from it. These are situations in which I never was able to relax, or trust the people in power. The total situations, that I dealt with were in the military, being voluntarily committed to a behavioral psychology ward in a private hospital, living with 9 other mentally ill men in a group home, and living in a retirement home in my mid twenties.

These situations reinforced my sense of wrong and right and my commitment, to do all I could to bring social justice, to the poor and persecuted. They have also permanently altered how I see others and myself, so that I now am able to appreciate even small freedoms in life. It has also convinced me to be very risk adverse and to not trust other people, especially people in the mental health establishment.

7.2.2 Breakdown of Trust

Chemical Weapons

I felt helpless in the military because I had no control over my freedom. I felt that I was lied to by my recruiter. I specifically asked about the NBC training and its possible use in wars. I was told that none of our enemies would use it and that the gas chamber doesn’t hurt at all and you only have a little trouble breathing for half a minute.

When I went into the gas chamber, we had out protective masks on at first and I could fell my hands burning terribly. Then we were told to take off our masks and open our eyes all the way. I felt like I was drowning in fire and I could barely breath. My lungs and my eyes hurt the worst. When I got in my platoon was in the last group so as they added another stick of CS gas for each platoon, we then had the highest concentration. We were in for only 5 minutes, but it felt like an eternity.

My Psychotic Break

I asked to be let out when it was my turn to leave, but the drill sergeant threw me back in to the end of the line. I found out later that you have to go through the gas chamber once a year for active duty soldiers. Other soldiers in my platoon later said my experience sounded like a bad trip on LSD. Later on I found out that during the first and second Persian Gulf wars that the US military expected to be gassed and the front line troops all went in in full MOPP4 gear (protective masks and chemical suits).

This time in the gas chamber was when the Psychiatrist reviewing my pension case for the VA said that my mental breakdown and first paranoid episode occurred. The military is actually the most common stressful event that brings about a mental illness if you have a a high genetic probability, meaning close family with the same mental illness.

Lessons Learned

When people vote for wars in the Middle East, they need to understand that the chemical weapons that will likely be used in future conflicts, are many times more painful than CS gas, by factors of 100 or 1,000, and most often they are not fatal, although most would likely wish to die. People wishing to serve in the military need to understand this very well. The only reason why we do not have as many deaths as in Vietnam as we do in Iraq and Afghanistan is that we keep people alive, that are so badly burned, that they would have died, of their wounds, in any other time in history.

My situation, where I was able to leave the Army, with an honorable discharge, and receive a full pension was a miracle and I would be in Iraq or Afghanistan to this day, if my pension was not approved a few months before September 11th. All enlistments are 8 years long and the military can call you back at any time, especially if you have a specialized skill, or they don’t have enough troops. Everyone, who passes through basic training, is considered first and foremost an infantry soldier and no matter what speciality you have, you will be on the front lines, carrying that special equipment, in addition to your combat gear.

Mental Health

I often have trouble making relationships because I do not trust other people. It takes a long time for someone to gain my trust. I am especially untrusting of people in power over me. I remember what it was like to at once point to be honest and let them help me and the next thing I knew I was locked in and couldn’t leave. When you admit to having emotional problems, you quickly lose your rights and another person gets to decide what you are allowed to do and what kind of freedom you have.

You lose control over how you spend your time, what you can eat, where you can live, where you can go, and most importantly they are in control of your access to your medication. The people are paid very little and have almost no knowledge of mental illness. It is common for them to never believe anything you say and they are attracted to this field because they enjoy having power over others.

I will never seek help when I have an emotional crisis, because of how I was treated by the mental health caregivers. My latest experience going to the hospital when I was severely depressed, I was put in a padded room and told I could not leave with nothing to do and a camera focused on myself. When I am depressed, locking me up is just going to increase my stress and my emotional pain.

7.2.3 Other People’s Problems

Taking Advantage

I am quick to say no to others and am not very friendly, when I am walking on the street or waiting for the bus, because I know that when you appear weak, people take advantage of it. If I see someone in distress, or someone asks for anything, who I don’t know, I always refuse and, if I can, get away as fast as possible. I have learned the hard way, that many people are opportunists and have various scams set up, to make easy money and profit from nice people, trying to help out. Just because I see someone who is dressed in rags or can barely walk, I know that it is likely a trick.

Too Good to Be True

Whenever anything I read seems to good to be true, and I cannot find enough information about it online, then I stay away from that group. I used to try to find another person with a website that is from a Liberal Christian point of view, but all I have found is people mixing Paganism with Christianity, social liberals, or the Christians involved in the paranormal. Whenever I read something about an interesting scientific discovery like quantum mechanics or string theory, new abundant energy sources, or environmental solutions all paths lead to very dark and disturbing places. I have found out that most things alternative are either very depressing, anti-Bible or both.

Religious Boundaries

I think most of the good things going on in the world are done by Christian groups and that there is a good reason why so many Evangelical organizations have decided to be very narrow theologically and conservative socially. When people get creative with theology, they have no sense on what areas they should stay away from. I guess I have a good understanding of what the Bible says, so I know very well what is clear and what is not. It seems pretty obvious to me, but most people don’t research the subject well enough, before making major decisions, that will affect the rest of their lives, like joining groups, purely based on personalities they like. There are certain decisions, that you cannot just undo like: sexually transmitted diseases, drug addiction, committing crimes, and making poor decisions, in other aspects of their lives.

7.3 Going Forward

7.3.1 My Decisions

Leaving the Stage

I have learned, to be happy, without taking major risks, in my life. I know that this part of America is the best part of the world and I have no desire, to see the destruction to the rest of the world and the injustice and violence, that is only intensifying. I have realized, that no one cares about what I say and people do know what to do, to solve the major world problems, but the reason why they won’ take these steps is that they would require giving up things, that they are addicted to and cannot imagine living without. I don’t know the future, but I won’t be surprised if the future looks more like the past, and it might be the best thing for us.

Internal Growth

That is why the path forward for me is focused on making my life, my home, and my family the best it can be. Just as the monks of the Eastern Orthodox church decided to withdraw, to the wilderness and pursue their relationship with God and forsake worldly ambition, as Christian Constantinople fell to the Muslim Turks, so I end my criticism of my generation. I am only responsible for myself and my own actions. Whatever happens to the world will happen, as the result of the collective decisions we make, and even more directly, as God moves it.

7.3.2 Who I am

Highly Sensitive

I am not just sensitized due to trauma and due to my illness, but I am also sensitive by nature. I am risk adverse, by my very nature. I spend a lot of time and effort trying to understand all the factors and consequences of a perceived mistake. I try to prepare for the loss of everything and am religious about making backups of my files. I spent a whole year getting ready for disaster survival, even though few disasters have or even would likely happen, where I live.

I take it personally, when I am rejected or exploited. I am more sensitive to physical pain and social problems. I like calm and organized places like libraries and movie theaters. I do poorly under pressure and am very sensitive to negative feedback. I find the Internet hard to navigate as I am overstimulated, I have too many options, and everyone is so negative and rude.

Honesty

I think that honesty with ourselves and with others we work with is a good start in dealing with stress and trauma. I have found that despite people’s lack of education about mental illness and the perpetuation in the media, that we are serial killers and terrorists, that most people are open to the idea of my having mental illness. They don’t know much about it and don’t seem to hold any stereotypical views about it.

Many people are also very interested, in what it is like, to have a mental illness. Some people, after seeing and talking to me, think that I was too smart and that is there is some connection between insanity and brilliance. That is not true, in any sense, but it is a better stereotype than thinking I am violent. Some people also talk about famous people, who supposedly have mental illnesses, although these people generally have clinical depression or are bipolar (manic depression), which are much less disabling.

Uniquely Me

One of the things, that makes me so unusual, is that I take my medicine regularly and didn’t have any trouble accepting my illness. I also am highly motivated and can understand abstract thought and very subtle ideas. None of this is supposed to be possible. I think that it is a miracle.

The reason why I have been able to write so many useful books about philosophy is just like how God chose a shepherd to be king of Israel, Moses was a person with a speech impediment, and Sarah was elderly when she had a baby - I have this ability because it gives credit to God and not to myself or my training. The reason why I accepted my illness, at first, was that I knew something was wrong with me and then I asked, if it was going to get worse, and I was told that it wouldn’t. Only in this last year, when I read about some of the other symptoms of Schizophrenia, was I depressed about what I had lost.

One of the things that helps me most is a good night’s sleep. That is the most important thing I can do, to stay positive and motivated. I also produce better work, when I have enough rest.

7.3.3 Building Relationships

I am the kind of person, who wants deep and intimate (emotionally) relationships, with a couple people. When I am in groups, I have learned to say little, so that I do not say anything controversial and end up alienating others. But, since I did not feel relaxed, in these situations, I have a hard time feeling part of the group. Often I am so uncomfortable in these situations, that I end up not going at all.

Equal Relationships

I am looking for equal relationships. One of the ways, to have equal relationships, is to have an equal amount of time talking about yourself, as they do talking about themselves. It is good to be concerned about the other person, but it is not always appropriate to respond, by giving advice, on how to solve the problems they face. Don’t ever assume that their situation is like yours.

It is important to think about what the other person is saying and adjust your responses accordingly. And when you ask, for the other person to open up to you, you must sincerely want them to, or it will alienate you. It is important, to get emotionally involved and empathize, with the other person. But most importantly, you must stop trying to use specific formulas, because they can be transparent.

Deepening Relationships

When someone offers help, if you do not agree the first time, they likely will never ask again. Another important factor is that for the relationship to be equal, you must offer a roughly equivalent amount of help, to the other person, in the relationship. When accepting help, make sure that it is something, that the other person is able to do easily, and that you really would be helped by their contribution.

You need to know what to do, at the right time, to ask for something, or reveal more about yourself. The right time will be when the other person is in that place too. Feel out how much they are willing to get involved and allow them to make the decision, without pressure. But you must continue to be honest, straightforward, and direct. Temper this with your friend’s point of view and emotional state.

Often asking for input about situations, that you thought went bad, is often a good way to get a more balanced view, on whether you need to improve, as we tend to over personalize other’s reactions to us. Giving and receiving must be balanced, in a healthy and equal relationship.

Rejection

When someone rejects you, there are generally four major reasons for the rejection. One of the reasons for rejection is when the other person sees every relationship as a part of climbing the social latter. Sometimes asking for a relationship with another, in this situation can be considered weak and therefore they are repulsed, by your offer. In some groups, this is the general tone or culture of the group. Try making relationships elsewhere.

Another reason, for why you may be rejected, is that the other person is using a coping skill, for dealing with being under valued. You may get a response that is part of minimizing, blaming, or noncompeting. Let go of trying to respond directly, to the accusations, but understand why the other person feel this way. The best response is to acknowledge the other other person’s feelings as normal and empathize with them.

Add that you want to pursue a relationship, with the other person, and admire one of their great qualities. Talk about this situation, in the context of the whole length of your relationship, with them. Keep avoiding blaming either one of you, but keep acknowledging the frustrations, of the other and agree with them.

Some people have a hard time building relationships and are afraid to take the risk, because they think they will always be rejected. There is no way to get them to open up to you, but you can express your concern for them.

Some people will constantly respond to your attempts to form a relationship, by starting an argument. The other person sounds very emotional, but loud and intense, or the other response is that the other person starts a debate and never lets you respond.

If you will never see the person again, then just ignore them. Otherwise, you can try to deal with the other’s emotional trauma by refusing to argue, refusing to agree something negative about yourself, by not allowing the other person to blame you, by trying to reduce the other person’s shame, and by talking it over the next time you see them.

Avoid Simple Formulas

Make sure you are genuine and honest. You can build on what you have read, but without really caring and acting natural, you will be obviously superficial. The worst thing to do is have some predictable way of responding to people, so it is better to be clumsy and shy than to overemphasize what you have read.

Like no theory explains things for everyone, so must even the best advice must be filtered, through our experiences, and we should not put all our faith, in the latest books we read. People do not like being treated, like some kind of experiment and will respond very negatively, if you seem too predictable.

7.4 Artistic Freedom

7.4.1 Emotions

Controlling Emotions

I wanted to say something about emotions. I believe that emotions are important and useful, but they can also easily spiral out of control. Some people recommend mediation, tai chi, yoga, guided relaxation, and those kind of things. While many of these things can be useful, to certain people, in certain occasions, it isn’t for me.

The big reason why is that it is too difficult and complex for me. Something I can do and look forward to doing more often is to take recreational breaks every so often and to walk a good ways each day. I am starting to like playing simple games, drawing sketches, listening to music, and seeing pictures of maps, art, and scenery on my iPad.

Religion and Emotions

I have some incredibly strong emotions, in my relationship with God. I said recently, that reading a whole chapter of scripture was scary to me, because it felt like I was going to burn up, due to the intensity of God, that I could gather from reading the Bible. Sometimes, when I am swept up in emotions, I think that having no free will, or that not doing anything for myself would make me closer to God.

I have enjoyed Pentecostal/Charismatic churches in the past, because they are one of the few churches, that don’t teach you to suppress and dominate your emotions, with your intellect. It is good to be rational and have a good grasp, of the mortal world, in which we live, but I think it is dangerous, to ignore what we think our emotions are telling us.

Faith is a belief in something that you cannot prove and Paul called Christ’s death on the cross the foolishness of God, that is greater than man’s knowledge. Like it or not, we have a number of parts of us, that need to take control or give up control, much like instruments start and stop, at various points, in the symphony. The key point to remember is that God is the conductor.

7.4.2 New Developments

My Life

One of the things that makes me very grateful and gives me much peace is that God helped me write 50 books. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit as my muse, but I will take credit for the mistakes. I finally feel like I can relax and just enjoy life. My situation is difficult, for a number of reasons. Some of the major ones I just wrote about and the vast majority of people will never have to deal with it. On the other hand, I have some unique assets, that other people would kill for: I have no debt, I can’t lose my source of income, and I have plenty of money for what I want to do.

I also live in the best place on earth and my apartment is the best in the town and is close enough, so I can walk to the bus station. My place is also beautiful and a gated community and my landlords are really nice and helpful. It seemed that there were people out cleaning and keeping things up, all summer and they really seem to care about the place. I have my own clothes washer and dryer, that came with the apartment, I am renting an air conditioner, that they set up, my house is very well insulated and the sound doesn’t penetrate. I can get up whenever I want to, I can eat whatever I want to, I can spend my money anyway I want to.

The Fall

I am excited that it the fall season has just arrived and I can already imagine the holidays. My sister lives in the same city as me and my parent only live about 45 minutes north of me. My sister just got her own house and so we will likely celebrate, at least one of the holidays there. All of us have put in a tremendous amount of work into improving our lives and it has really paid off for all of us. We also use our creative abilities in unusual ways, that make us happy and help others.

I love the fall, because it starts getting cool, cloudy, and rainy again this time of year. I do badly in the heat and I also have sensitive eyes, so summers can be rough on me. Summers are often downers for me, because hardly anything is going on. If I walk by the local University, in the summer and on a Sunday, the streets are deserted. I likes the fall, as it is like a new beginning, because this is when school starts again. A lot of my best memories happened in the rain and the cold and on cloudy days. A lot of those are memories from high school, when I was on an event for cross country or speech.

7.4.3 Sources of Strength

Parent’s Influence

The biggest factors in my resilience and ability to overcome the odds stacked against me in the combination of my personality, my traumas, and my mental illness are prayer and family support. One of the biggest reasons why people are not well adjusted, confident, and content with their lives is that they experienced profound traumas, in their formative years.

The way you raise a child makes the most difference, in what a young adult has to draw from, when encountering obstacles and tragedies, that arise due to conditions we mostly have no control over. When you can build your sense of self on a good foundation, it makes emotional recovery much easier and more successful.

Divine Intervention

Not only has having a good relationship with my family and being raised in a supportive and healthy environment been a key to my success, but the divine intervention of the Christian God has made all the difference. No matter how damaged you are, due to living through difficult circumstances, God can always transform you into a better person, if you are willing to make the effort. Real spiritual and emotional growth does not come quickly or easily.

God works on a different time frame and in a complex series of events, that we cannot discern. The most important thing that God gives those who are willing to ask is grace. And it is His grace that gives purpose and value, to any circumstance you are in, for whatever reason. This grace is what makes life worth living and gives purpose to our lives.

Personality Traits

The final major influence has been my inheritance of certain personality traits of my parents, like stubbornness and curiosity. As I said before, all character traits have dual aspects. No matter how bad people assume a personality trait is, there is always an equally great positive aspect, to every one.

Stubbornness is often thought to cause people to not ask for help, but, if you have the grace to use it in a useful way, it can be a great source of strength and motivation, to do what is right, even when others don’t understand or appreciate the importance, of what you know in your heart is right. Curiosity has sometimes led me to study things that only led to dark and depressing thoughts, but everything I have learned has made me a better person and helped me understand how the world works, how I can change it, and how to get along well with others, who don’t share my values.

My Understanding of God

One of the things that makes me so different is the things I am sure of and those I am unsure of. Sometimes I have no doubt about a certain direction I should take or insights into why things happen the way they do. Other times I doubt everything. The most important thing I just intuitively know is that the God of the Bible is the real God.

I know from nature, from experience, and from intuition that the universe was created by an eternal, all-powerful, and perfectly good God. I know that His personality is the same as the one described in the Christian Bible. And the Bible continues to amaze me, with how well it explains why the world works the way it does, or why I experience life the way I do. I always feel there is so much more that I could understand, when God would choose to reveal it to me. The God of the Bible is beyond everything I could hope for or imagine.