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 “Don’t find blame.  Find a solution.”—Henry Ford

 

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“God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.  Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it; Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next—Amen.”—REINHOLD NIEBUHR

   


 


 

  Self-Help  Computer  Program

     

 

 

The part of the Serenity Prayer that’s usually edited out could be called the body of the paragraph, the part that contains the real content, while that famous first sentence is only the introductory sentence, the part that sums up what the body says.  We’re to serenely accept whatever we’re helpless to change and to courageously change whatever we’re not helpless to change.  The only difference that makes a difference is whether or not we could solve our own problem through self-help.  This is irrespective of how much hardship sinfulness and surrender are involved, how much one must simply surrender his own will to the hands of fate.  Though many associate “self-help” with guides in how to succeed in the business world, even the famous first sentence of The Serenity Prayer is obviously all about how one should deal with any and every problem that comes his way.  Even the first sentence alone, strains at resentment and swallows sinfulness.  If you’re strong then naturally you’d courageously change reality, and if you’re weak then naturally you’d serenely accept reality.  No problem could really be a problem if the victim prevented solved or dealt with it well enough, so victims who don’t take care of their own problems well enough seem omni-responsible.  If one rationale for victim correction doesn’t work, it’s replaced by another.  Since AA founder Bill Wilson was a stockbroker, and the Big Book was written during the Great Depression, AA-style self-help is basically a stockbroker lecturing those living in the Great Depression that they should just take response-ability for their own welfare, and stop whining.

And since no situation is the epitome of hardship sinfulness and surrender, one could always concentrate on sophistry as to why a victim should realize that his situation is tolerable, which ends up meaning absolutely tolerable.  Depression is the only dread disease of which many of the causes seem sacrosanct.

Since this is a panacea, problems are seen in the same ways mutatis mutandis, meaning that they’re interchangeable as long as whatever specifics must be changed, are changed.  Sure, something very vital is missing here, but one could always say that the pragmatism of holding responsible the person who’s most motivated to solve a problem, is more vital.  Of course, one doesn’t question expectations that he be well-adjusted, self-reliant, non-controlling, etc.  NOTHING CAN LIMIT HOW MUCH ALL THIS COULD AFFECT YOU.

A computer program might not even be necessary.  All that you’d really need to give self-help advice on dealing with problems, would be a tape recording that says, “It would really do you a lot of good if you changed what you can and accepted what you can’t!  That’s just the way the real world works!”  Then, as the person talks about what happened to him, even if it involves hardship, sinfulness, etc., ad infinitum, you just keep playing that tape recording over and over again.  Like any other reductionism, if you listened to many victim correctors’ insistent solutions to peoples’ problems, these solutions would all say basically the same things: change the specifics of one solution to the specifics of any other, and the one could sound just like the other.

 

 

To end the description of each and every traumatic experience with, “So now I’m supposed to just shut up and deal with this reality, since doing so would benefit me,” might sound like the punch line of a sick joke, but the bottom line must always be pragmatic and well-adjusted.  That’s how victim correctors are supposed to operate, since correction is good, and a lack of it is self-defeating.  This is the language of letting go.  AA slogans such as “Anger is one letter short of danger,” would apply, but “Easy does it,” wouldn’t.  Unless what happened was so extreme that this would sound untenable, trying to correct the person who caused the problem, even assertively, could very easily seem or suggest: unrealistic, unreliable, others-helping, naïve, stupid, conditional, optional, half-hearted, limited, judgmental, troublemaking, “on principle,” moralistic, unattractive, sophistry-rewarding, altruistic, controlling, whiny, mollycoddling, intellectualist, philosophical, pathetic, resentful, maladjusted, negative, blaming, subjective, unproven, emotionalistic, manipulative, passive, etc.  Trying to correct the person who has the problem in ways that would help him “take care of himself” better, could very easily seem or suggest: realistic, reliable, self-helping, natural, wise, necessary, vital, steadfast, limitless, forgiving, peace-making, pragmatic, trendy, marketable, achievement-oriented, “getting on with life,” self-empowering, gutsy, achievement-oriented, down-to-earth, material, proud, competitive, well-adjusted, hopeful, solving, objective, self-justifying, practical, self-reliant, active, etc.  And if what happened was extreme, it could seem that expecting the person who did it to take moral responsibility for that much would be unrealistic: as a saying in the financial world says, “If you owe the bank $50,000 and can’t repay, you have a problem; if you owe the bank $50,000,000 and can’t repay, the bank has a problem.”  The worse was what he did, the more that expecting him to take moral responsibility for that much could seem draconian, naïve, etc.  This is red-blooded self-responsibility, not tyranny, submission, etc., so few will respond to this as if it’s extremist. 

 

 

The only disadvantage that that would have, would be that it can’t involve the diplomatic hedging that one would usually have when encouraging people to take care of their own problems.  Yet in the end, the bottom line would be the same: that if it’s your problem, then your only choices are that either you take care of yourself as best you can, or you don’t.

As a section from the self-help book The Swan Curriculum, by Nely Galán, from that TV show that feminists hated since it treated plastic surgery for women as if it’s normal, is headed,

 

 

This could pretty much be summed up by the title of the magnum opus of ultra-German Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation.  Schopenhauer was a major inspiration of Richard Wagner, so we could go beyond calling this sort of zeitgeist “Wagnerian,” to say that Wagner was Schopenhauerian.

A webpage about Hitler, A Born Soldier, says, “Hitler’s favorite writer during the war was the early 19th century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer....  Hitler, like Thomas Mann, was greatly impressed by Schopenhauer’s book: The World as Will and Idea.  Hitler read the book over and over again during the war and was greatly influenced by Schopenhauer’s teaching.”

 

 

Another way of saying “The World as Will and Representation,” is, “Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it.”  The whole idea is that you’re just going to have to accept others’ willfulness since you can’t change it, aggression seems ineradicable, etc.  Yet you must correct how you react to your realities, including how innocuous your representations of them, perceptions of them, are, a la cognitive therapy.  Schopenhauer wrote that he defined the word translated as “Representation,” Vorstellung, as an “exceedingly complicated physiological process in the brain of an animal, the result of which is the consciousness of a picture there.”  And this isn’t just any old picture, but how a person perceives what happens to him, particularly his problems.  (Schopenhauer admitted that he, and his expectations of how you must think in order to cope, were as pessimistic as, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it.”)  A person’s Vorstellung is what cognitive therapy would call his “outlook,” preferably a preternaturally contrived, serene outlook, even in the face of hardship and/or sinfulness.

Also, your representations of the world would have to reflect your SELF-WILL, so your sincere unhappy opinion about what happens to you might as well have been consciously contrived and/or exploitive.  If that Vorstellung results from the physiological process in the brain of an animal, it results from our wills rather than logic.  Even if your untermensch conception of what happens to you is absolutely sincere, it would still seem to result from your animal nature, so you might as well have contrived it to serve a purpose, whether this be melodramatic, manipulative, proud, blame-finding, etc.  While sinfulness must be forgiven, supposed manipulativeness mustn’t be.  Impugning the weak is pretty much the norm.  And this purview is to constitute one’s entire worldview, since this is the most productive way to address each problem.

Serious apologies, compunctions, or other equivocations about all this, seem bad, since they could weaken the self-reliant problem solving, and strengthen the willfulness of victims’ objections.  The basic pattern is that of the cognitive distortions of modern Western depression, which Dr. David Burns listed as: all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, mental filter, disqualifying the positive, jumping to conclusions, magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization, emotional reasoning, should statements, labeling and mislabeling, and personalization, which Dr. Burns defines as, “You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.”

The reason why this comes with pragmatism, is that when one person absolutely must to deal with his own problem, even if he played absolutely no part in causing it, he absolutely can change himself, absolutely can’t change anyone else, and probably can change at least some elements of his problem if he’s resilient and resourceful enough.

He’s very aware that he doesn’t know enough to make a well-founded logical conclusion, and should label everything absolutely in terms of how it goes for or against his goal of self-empowerment.  Red-blooded anti-intellectuals could love emotional reasoning.  Since the only thing that really matters is how effectively you’re dealing with whatever your realities are, you’d be amazed by the degree to which how powerless you are, determines how your actions or inactions are labeled, as successful or failing, etc.

For example, a book of Al-Anon, a group that’s a role model in the self-help field, has a book titled, ...In All Our Affairs: Making Crises Work for You.  For alkies’ spouses, their specifics are that they absolutely can’t change the alkies, absolutely can change their own coping skills, and should be optimistic that they have the opportunities to make the best of their lives if they were adequate people.  Apply mutatis mutandis to that, and you’ll have a strategy to cope productively with the specifics of your problem or crisis.

 

 

In fact, it should be pretty easy to write a computer program, or even one sheet of paper with questions on it, that could give self-help advice for any and every problem.  In books on codependency, you could see women being told to use exactly the following approach to deal with men who can commit any and every outrage, including domestic violence, incest, you name it.  This logic must remain completely morally bankrupt, since even the most worldly ethical concerns would seem abstract, immaterial, whiny, manipulative, controlling, unforgiving, judgmental, etc.  If the woman isn’t morally bankrupt, so she holds her problem husband as morally responsible as the law would, that would seem to constitute several symptoms of her codependency: self-righteousness, desires to control, desires to fix people, creating a melodrama, self-defeating futility, etc.  After all, the law doesn’t treat the disease of addiction as if it makes addicts completely not guilty by reason of insanity, so the law doesn’t serenely accept the effects of their disease.  Bucking up and taking response-ability for her own welfare amidst the storm, is the only way in which she wouldn’t seem codependent.  Everybody needs a moral compass, and this is theirs.  This is what you could see a constant flow of, on the newsgroup alt.recovery.codependency.

Though George Carlin joked, “How could there be a self-help group,” a group could be self-help if it tells its members that they’d better just take care of their own problems, even those unambiguously caused by others.  It may have been Carlin who joked, “I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’  She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose,” though here too, as long as the person who has the problem is the one who provides the help to solve it, that would be self-help.  Self-help talk isn’t self-determined but self-help action is, and talk (including assertive talk) means nothing while action means everything.

       

One form of victim correction as a panacea, is medication for depression, anxiety disorders, etc., under the pretense that these conditions are simply medication deficiencies, and if you don’t think so, you’re not savvy about all that’s recently been discovered about how the brain’s biology affects the mind.  For example, the Learning About Depression webpage on the Zoloft website, says, “If you have depression, this sad mood along with other symptoms can last weeks, months, or even years if not treated.  Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw.  It’s a real medical condition, but there are ways to successfully treat depression....  Depressive disorders affect about 34 million American adults.”  Seeing our rampant depression as consisting of either 34,000,000 rather severe character flaws or 34,000,000 rather severe medical conditions, has become our conditioned reflex.  If instead, this were treated as a social problem in the same way that many social movements in the 1960s treated social problems, it would seem very strange to talk about millions of Americans suffering from depression, as millions of Americans who’d better get fixed through antidepressant medication, cognitive therapy, etc.  In the 60s it was Big Brother AND the Holding Company, but now it’s Big Brother OR the Holding Company, since it seems that either we accept Wall Street excesses or we’ll have Big Brother.

 

 

You could probably imagine what the following computer program would tell the teens in that Alateen comic.

 

(For more on this comic and how it applies to everyone, click here.)

 

Sure, for alkies’ kids in general to stop blaming others and look at themselves instead, is an extreme version of people holding themselves response-able for their own problems simply because these are their problems.  Yet this conception of personal responsibility is far more likely to work, since one’s own motivations to deal with his own problems are always more reliable, than are the motivations of those who caused the problems to take moral responsibility for them.  The worse are one’s problems, the more that he can’t afford not to address them with enough serenity, courage, and tactical wisdom.  As British author Douglas Adams wrote, “When you blame others, you give up the power to change yourself.”

Victim correctors only want addicts’ kids, etc., to be more self-efficacious, serene, etc.  This computer program would follow the Al-Anon formula, telling alkies’ kids:

  They should choose to see the problems that their alkie parents cause, in such a way that they wouldn’t bother the teens as much.  After all, serenity is good, and neo-Buddhism means failsafe coping skills.

  Even teens could prevent problems by using their own survival skills; plenty of teens are street~wise.

  Their stopping blaming others, and instead looking at themselves, would increase the chances that they’d find ways to succeed, so could be called “productive,” and “self~empowering.”

  This problem solving approach could be called “no~nonsense,” free of “analysis paralysis”  and “abstract philosophizing,” etc.

  That way even alkie’s kids could be well adjusted, which is synonymous with “mentally normal.”

  In the real world, anyone could have to recover from significant problems, resiliently.  Who’s to say whether one’s problem is so extreme, that expectations that he simply deal with it are beyond the pale?

  There’s always room for improvement, and alkies’ kids want to face their own problems as serenely and courageously as they could, right?

  If they must take antidepressants to deal with this, then that, also, wouldn’t be at all unusual.  As long as they’re not among the teens made suicidal and/or aggressive by them, that would be a productive thing to do.

  They can’t afford to do without the pragmatic advantages that would come from that serenity, courage, and tactical wisdom.  This expectation must be notwithstanding everything else, since their abilities to cope with whatever their realities are, can’t be conditional.

  They also should want to be self~reliant, rather than weak passive and pathetic.

  Since the real world requires that people buck up and deal with their own problems self~reliantly, they could seem manipulative and/or passive~aggressive even if all that they did was not deal with their own problems adequately.

  They should want to be forgivingly spiritual, rather than judgmental.

  Self~help is trendy, and they wouldn’t have self~help if anyone beside themselves helped

  Sure, this sort of thinking isn’t natural, but it’s more important that they get all these possibly vital advantages from pragmatism, self~reliant honorability, and forgiving spirituality.

  Sure, the cognitive distortions of modern Western depression also consist of absolutistic self~blame, which many find very offensive.  Yet the reasons why this is such a standard part of our culture, are that: the victims of any problem are the ones who have the most reliable motivation to resolve it, we honor self~reliance, and we don’t want to be unforgiving.

 

 

       

This would give alkies’ kids

 

and hope is good.  You’re supposed to have hope since optimism would make you most likely to succeed, despite the fact that this distorting our conceptions of “personal responsibility” and “weaknesses of character,” to so greatly emphasize response-ability for one’s own problems, says that there’s always an out when it comes to others taking responsibility for what they might do at your expense in the future.  (Yes, “Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” or anything that implies that, says that there’s always an out.)

 

 

 

 

No matter what the problem is, a self-help computer program would ask the following questions and make the following statements:

 

 

The Program:

 


eep all of the following in mind, for your own good:

 

ow could you choose to care about the only thing that, in practical terms, really matters?  The more that you’re in trouble, the more that you could afford to care only about correcting yourself.  Sure, when each and every problem is looked at like this, it could end up seeming that each and every problem is the fault of the victim not taking care of himself well enough.  It could very easily seem that in reality, the ultimate reason for our unnaturally high rates of depression, anxiety disorders, etc., is a whiny and negativist victim culture, and or something else that’s simply mollycoddle.  Anything could be ultimately blamed on the victim not stopping preventing or dealing with it well enough.  This offers the hope of unconditional solutions, and in the real world, we can’t afford conditions.  This is optimistic that the person who really wants to solve the problem, has self-determination.  Satisfying winners’ SELF-WILLS is productive; satisfying losers’ runs the risk of parasitism, controlling, etc.  People must be motivated to win, not whine.  If the government didn’t cause it, then it’s a part of freedom.  This self-responsibility, and figuring that winner equals worthy, are always objective, but other conceptions of personal responsibility and worthiness, aren’t.  That’s the role that good victims will play.  As is typical for dogma, the more that you’d disagree, the more that you’d seem to be one of the dreaded, omni-responsible, whiny negativists and mollycoddles.  It could end up looking as if the weak, the victims, etc., are ultimately responsible for all problems, just as Marxists think that the rich are responsible for all problems, orthodox psychoanalysts think that repressed sexual and/or aggressive impulses are responsible for all problems, etc.

 

(Cartoon generated by “Build Your Own Meat”)

 

This could seem both very distorted, and very offensive, since it goes after victims.  Yet Which would you rather be, logical and sensitive toward victims, or successful in dealing with your own problems?

How could you choose to see the problem as being as innocuous as possible, as temporary, limited in scope, or not motivated by malevolent intent?  Recent books by Dr. Albert Ellis have such titles as, “How to Control Your Anxiety Before It Controls You,” and, “How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything—Yes, Anything,” so this isn’t a matter of making sure your feelings are rational, or warranted, or proportional to what happened.  This is la belle indifference, which is belle, beautiful.  If any sinner chooses to do something that harms another, then the victim would tell himself that he could choose not to get perturbed by his problem.  You can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought, and the worse that your problem is, the less that you could afford such disruptive luxuries.  It’s pretty safe to say that there’s always an out, in that if the person who has the problem wants to be well-adjusted and non-passive, then she’ll see how what caused the problem is at least excusable, and how much she plays an active role.  Therefore, Which would you rather be, right, or happy?

How could you perfect your survival skills as much as possible?  As Dorothy Day wrote about social activism, “No one has a right to sit down and feel helpless.  There’s too much work to do,” and the same would apply to those whose work consists of remedying their own personal helplessness.  Since we’re all personally responsible for our own welfare, the onus is on whoever’s welfare is at stake.  The coping skills of accepting hardship as a pathway to peace and taking as Jesus did this sinful world, are

Nowadays, when battered wives are blamed for being beaten, they’re no longer blamed for setting their husbands off, but rather, for not recognizing how serious and permanent his problem is, and escaping.  Yet this sort of victim-blaming is productive, since the better that her survival skills are, the more self-empowered she is.  Which would you rather be, naïve, or street-savvy?

Your productivity or counterproductivity would be assessed as a test of performance would, according to the success or failure of the outcome, if this could seem tenable.  Your getting corrected is what gets the benefit of the doubt.  Since you’d want to effectively take advantage of all of the opportunities available to solve your problem, you’d want to be optimistic and confident you have real opportunities.  You’d want as much self-improvement as possible.

Even Puritanism was self-improvement, since the whole idea was for each individual to make himself as virtuous as possible, rather than Catholic asceticism’s desire to devote oneself to others.  Prohibition even came close to modern self-help, since the idea of ridding people of booze was to make them more productive and thriving.

The productivity or counterproductivity of the person who caused the problem would be determined according to his intent, so even if the consequences are bad, there will probably always be excuses, mitigations, or at least a desire on your part to think whatever would make you feel the least RESENTMENT.  Minimizing what he does wrong, also gets the benefit of the doubt, since he’s innocent until proven guilty, you want to avoid RESENTMENT, controlling others is intolerably bad, etc.  Which would you rather do, give yourself credit for your productive intent, or make sure the problem gets solved?  Which would you rather do, object to others’ behavior, which you can’t change, or serenely accept what’s going to happen anyway?

Wouldn’t you prefer simplicity?  One great advantage to this approach to solving problems is that it has the advantages of both direct simplicity, and inarguability.  Former Senator John Danforth of Missouri, nominated to be the US ambassador to the UN, said that he joined the Republican Party for, “the same reason you sometimes choose which movie to see—the one with the shortest line.”  Missouri is “The Show Me State.”  Yet if the person facing the hardship and/or sinfulness makes a real effort to show why the specifics of the situation make someone else morally responsible, this effort would seem to be resentful, whiny, immature, self-pitying, manipulative, intellectualized, etc.

Victim correction as a panacea, like movies that focus highly on a simple concept, could be called “high concept.”  And when high-concept ethos are favored, they’re advocated with a lot more vehemence than high-concept films are.  Simplistic populism can get very vituperative against those who disagree with it, and we all know the negative labels that attack politics puts on them.  High-concept ethos have the practical advantages of the emotional appeal of Populism, and eliminating the problems of intellectualism.  Which would you rather have, an ethos that includes abstractions and all the confusions that could come with them, or an objective gutsy ethos?

Don’t you want to live up to normal expectations?  What this expects of you, is what everyone knows is normal.  Just ask anyone who lives around you, and they’ll tell you that of course normal, mature, functional people would live up to such expectations.  Sure, the scientists could prove both that this normalcy leads to extraordinary rates of depression, anxiety, etc., and that such diverse emotional injuries have a strange tendency to come with self-blame.  Yet we can’t care about such academic matters.  Right now, you’ve got a big problem that you’ve got to take care of.  As you could see in many ads for antidepressants, our culture’s mores tend to define “strong character,” “personal responsibility,” etc., as facing one’s own problems with fortitude, rather than as taking moral responsibility, which seems subjective, naïve, restrictive, potentially manipulative, judgmental, etc.  (After all, moral responsibility includes so many mitigating factors!)  As can be seen in Nietzsche, the weak could easily seem to be the dangerously WILLFUL ones, since everyone’s beliefs regarding what they deserve are shaped by their own SELF-WILLS, and the weak can exercise their supposed SELF-WILLS only in ways that would seem mollycoddle, “dishonest” and “ignominious,” whereas red-blooded strength is “honest,” proud, and at least forgivable (i.e. must be forgiven).  We must appreciate all the hidden dangers of unchecked “victim-power.”  As Niebuhr wrote, power, which would include victim-power, “cannot be wielded without guilt, since it is never transcendent over interest,” over (hidden and surreptitious) SELF-WILL, though we dare not talk in such overgeneralized terms when passing judgment on overt sinful power.  The fabric of our society depends on the self-responsibility of, “I’ve stopped blaming others and I’m looking at myself!”  Blaming victims helps them find solutions.  We fear fearmongering, but not greed-mongering.  “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” could happen to anyone.

As one could see in the Great Crash of 2008, such a laissez faire concept of personal response-ability could seem good ’n’ gutsy, until you see the consequences of the moral bankruptcy.  (Of course, this self-response-ability must include the same self-justifying, fatalistic, conformist, simplistic, “upbeat,” absolutist, unconditional, predictable, and dogmatically necessary illusions as laissez faire economics has, the very illusions that got our economy into such trouble; after all, people will do only what they feel motivated to do.)  Economist Steven Landsburg said, “Most of economics can be summarized in four words: ‘People respond to incentives.’  The rest is commentary,” and that’s also how this sort of self-help could be summarized: You’re the only one who has a reliable incentive to solve your problems, and nothing that disagrees with this “natural” pragmatism could matter, no matter what chaos and helplessness result.  Realism simply must be oriented around the fact that you absolutely can change what’s tactically wrong with your own reactions, and absolutely can’t change what’s morally wrong with others’ actions; not being realistic would be ridiculous (said sardonically, or maybe to encourage victims to empower themselves in what laissez faire economists would call “tough love,” though the expression “tough love” originally meant the authoritarian and coercive approach that parents could use on their teenagers who have drug problems and the like).  Our economy reward$ those who think like this.  And even if this sort of thinking leads to a worldwide economic catastrophe, it could always be blamed absolutely on the supposedly mollycoddle weak.  (We all know how insidiously dangerous they are!)  All relationships and marriages considered codependent are treated just as fatalistically, whether or not the problem person is addicted.  As Greenspan said, that’s what works; even behavior problems who aren’t addicted aren’t motivated to change so expecting them to do what they don’t feel an incentive to do won’t work.  Victimhood doesn’t produce anything, so why should we give it any credit?  The ends justify the means, since the ends, functionability and good coping skills, are necessary.  Is someone sociopathic?  Avoid him since you’re incompatible!  End of story!  NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO ENDURABILITY!  Endurability has to come from somewhere.  Either we have self-responsible self-reliance, or we have nanny-ism, whining, trauma-drama, etc.  Both the economics that led to the financial crash, and self-help for anyone in trouble including addicts’ family members, wear the cloak of realism, which is both all-important and expected of all red-blooded people.  One could say that the fix is in, not in the sense that a conspiracy put the fix in, but in the sense that our untermensch-bashing cultural norms did, so it’s predictable that if you’re the one with the problem, you’d be held response-able for “empowering yourself,” “taking care of yourself,” etc., by solving it.

 

THE GREATEST RISK IS NOT TAKING ONE, AIG ad from 2001, so if you tried to restrain this you’d seem profoundly: weak, whiny, defeatist, controlling, unrealistic, counterproductive, opinionated, manipulative, negative, moralistic, etc.  Sure, post-scandal AIG CEO Edward M. Liddy said, “I have seen the good side of capitalism.  But over the past six months, since agreeing to take the reins of AIG and reviewing how it was run in prior years, I have also seen instances of the bad side of capitalism,” but one could also call the gutsiness of AIG in its PIG era, “character-building,” giving plenty of backbone and fortitude.

 

After all, we must have an un-ignorable incentive to do certain things that we may or may not be able to do.  We must accept this level of society-wide undeserved helplessness, since treating the markets as God seems to be the only way that we could maximize people’s incentive to try to achieve and otherwise succeed.  Sure, in the financial crisis, your worthy effort wouldn’t necessarily lead to your getting success, and your undeserved failure would be everyone’s loss.  Yet if you could get what you wanted without trying to succeed, there would be the danger that you’d try to get what you wanted by cooking up enough sophistry to “prove” that you deserve it.  Yes, sometimes striving for success but not getting it would mean in a ridiculous situation like this, but it would still seem that a society could motivate people to try to achieve even with this level of unfairness and small odds of success, but couldn’t motivate people with fairness, since then people would “prove what’s fair” rather than try to achieve and earn.

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In theory this means self-responsibility, self-reliance, gutsiness, anti-controlling, good coping skills, realism, conventionality, respectability, etc., but in practice this means that nothing except, “Can I change this?” including the most basic morality and concern for the weak, can really seem to matter.  Sure, you could recognize that destructive sinfulness is destructive sinfulness, but in the end you’d have to forgive it, or you’d be maladjusted and suffer the consequences of this weakness.  (“YOU VILL ENJOY!”)  Frank Buchman, leader of the Oxford Groups, the club on which AA and then Al-Anon was based and until recently was called “Moral Re-Armament,” (Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here, from 1935, includes Buchman in its list of currently trendy “Messiahs.”) said, “D’you know Heinrich Himmler?...  Say, you ought to know Heinrich.  He’s a great lad....  [Hitler] lets us have house-parties whenever we like.”  Anti-Nazi British travel-writer and journalist Robert Byron, who got a chance to observe Nazism up close, wrote in his diary, “Himmler apparently dotes on the Oxford Group [How cute.] and writes to its English members discussing their troubles with them,” so he was their Dear Abby.  If Himmler had sent you some “Dear Abby” letters that didn’t mention the Nazi practices that Buchman didn’t like, the advice that the letters would have given would have helped you become more resilient, courageous, self-responsible, realistic, and abiding by Gelassenheit (a fatalism that teaches that willfulness leads to self-defeating frustration if you’re helpless to get what you want or need), so you would have ended up with a stronger character.  Victim Correction as a Panacea, is Gelassenheit and similar all-encompassing attitudes about physical response-ability for one’s own problems, exactly what a society with rampant depression, anxiety disorders, etc., would most need.  The wave of the future, the “new economy” of self-responsibility, requires that we want to be responsible members of society, take response-ability for our own welfare.

Sure, Niebuhr wrote that he was shocked about Buchman’s admiration of Hitler, though The Serenity Prayer summarizes the book that most shaped Hitler’s thinking, Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation:   As with a panacea, we must see the entire world in terms of the ineradicable SELF-WILLS of the sinful, the ignominious and surreptitious SELF-WILLS of victims who don’t represent their own bad experiences to themselves as being as innocuous as possible (“Those manipulative whiners want to believe that someone owes them something!”), and, therefore, our responsibility to do this.  Niebuhr wrote that Buchman’s faith that dictators, business tycoons, etc., should use their power to push Christianity, vapidly ignored how realpolitik would affect the outcome, “The slightest acquaintance with the history of Christian thought on the problem of the relation of the absolute demands of the gospel to the relativities of politics and economics would prove its childishness,” but the same could also be said about applying a simplistic sloganeering spirituality to the situations that contribute to our rampant depression.  It isn’t possible to get any more vapid than,“Serenely accept everything that happens to you in a society with rampant depression, that you’re helpless to change.”

This was the same Himmler who said, in his speech on October 4, 1943 to the SS Group Leaders in Poznan, “Most of you know what it means to see a hundred corpses lying together, five hundred, or a thousand.  To have stuck it out and at the same time—apart from exceptions caused by human weakness—to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard,” but that personal strength concerned one of the Nazi practices that Buchman didn’t like.  It’s pretty obvious what the “Dear Abby” version of that would advise those in trouble, who are members of an honored group of people who are working on their own resolute and impassively accepting attitudes.  Anything less than, “Happiness is an inside job,” (in general), or, “Things happen.  It’s what we do when they happen that’s key,” (in general), would have been too weak-spirited and blaming for Himmler, so he was their perfect “Dear Abby.”  The only suggestions that Himmler would have made in a Dear Abby letter would have been, (1) courageously change what you can, and, (2) serenely accept what you can’t, since anything else would have mollycoddled WEAKNESS.

Himmler Logic, after all, would focus on whether the person with the problem seems to have a weak (as in literally WEAK) character, and would be quick to interpret inadequacies in problem-solving as weaknesses of character, so the weak seem contemptible, blameworthy, and, possibly, insidiously dangerous.  This self-responsible self-help approach is also like the “exemplary dualism” of the Militia Movement, like classifying people as redbloods or mollycoddles, or as übermenschen or untermenschen; this preaches that those who seem to have (literally) strong characters are the allies of decent people so are at least forgiven, and those who seem to have (literally) weak characters are the enemies of decent people.  This leads to some predictable distortions in our conceptions of right, wrong, shame, etc.  Take the Nazi might-makes-right ethos, remove the racism and war crimes, and you’d have what Western culture considers to be the only conception of personal responsibility that works, which is what Hitler’s Wagner’s and Nietzsche’s main inspiration, Schopenhauer, actually wrote about.

The question of whether “it” can happen here, all depends on whether or not “it” includes the aspects of Nazism and Himmler that Buchman’s formula for living didn’t include; if not, “it” happens every day.  The “it” in It Can’t Happen Here included merely an ambiguous, covert, attitude-of-gratitude racism (“It was understood... that all Jews of all conditions were frequently to sound their ecstasy at having found in America a sanctuary, after their deplorable experiences among the prejudices of Europe....  The allegiance of all such Negroes as had the sense to be content with safety and good pay instead of ridiculous yearnings for personal integrity Sarason got by being photographed shaking hands with the celebrated Negro Fundamentalist clergyman, the Reverend Dr. Alexander Nibbs, and through the highly publicized Sarason Prizes for the Negroes with the largest families, the fastest time in floor-scrubbing, and the longest periods of work without taking a vacation.”), so the “it” in modern America could include merely an ambiguous, covert, attitude-of-gratitude form of the strong horrifying the weak.  A classic cliché expression is, “There is no alternative,” to the power dynamics of our economy, and another way to say this is that there is no alternative besides dictatorship and/or Zimbabwe-style economic failures, so every time that these power dynamics horrify us, we should be grateful that we’re not instead dealing with dictators’ outrages, and/or economic failures including massive unemployment, irrespective of any indefinable abstractions such as integrity.  If you’re in a Wagnerian conflict, and you simply must deal with your realities, then you simply must deal with them as Schopenhauer prescribed.  The psychology of, “You don’t want to think/act like a weak person, do you?” could be called a form of neo-Nazism.

 

 

Yet, in a society with rampant depression, one could just as easily call that “pragmatic logic”: the weak courageously change what they can (themselves) and serenely accept what they can’t (everyone else), and what one deserves is completely irrelevant.  You can’t change your enemies, except for one.  Yet the limits of the threshold of human endurance are a fact, and if we don’t deal with it, it will deal with us.

“Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” is all about what the weak should do, believe, and take responsibility for.  Even sophisticated psychology tends to classify people, aspects of human nature, desires, etc., into categories that are very German, Freudian: übermensch means ineradicable so at least forgivable, while untermensch means true shamefulness, suspiciousness.  (And, of course, treating this moral bankruptcy as necessary for realism seems a lot better than does treating this as admirably open-minded and gutsy.)  These Oxford members no doubt tended to take his ideas about coping skills, to heart, since they wanted self-improvement that would build fiber.  After all, we must accept that if you win, you win, and if you lose, you lose.  That self-responsible self-motivation is also how, and why, market discipline works; we must discipline even perfectly innocent failures.  The more that the weakness of the weak is blamed (What exactly is to blame when someone doesn’t protect himself well enough to succeed?): the more that they’d be motivated to take responsibility for taking care of themselves, the more hope that they’d have that they could change what causes their problems (themselves), and the more that we could all have faith in this red-blooded worldview.   Prejudice against the weak means an optimistic and patriotic faith in The System, and focusing on how the weak could hopefully solve their own problems if only they made themselves worthy, changed what they can.  “Personal strength,” “strength of character,” etc., tend to mean literally strength, transcending “weak” but natural and warranted feelings.  As Langdon Gilkey’s On Niebuhr says, “Thus transcendence is perhaps the key word in Niebuhr...”

 

 

Übermensch imperfection such as sinfulness would have to seem at least forgivable, while untermensch supposed imperfection would have to seem to be an insidious (as in “the hidden lie,” and, “We are all victims of victims.”) expression of weak people’s SELF-WILLS.  Dictator or no dictator, just about all of those in any society must define “personal responsibility” in basically the same predictable way and truly believe it, or different people would play by different rules, and plenty of people wouldn’t take the rules to heart when fortitude would be most necessary.  No doubt plenty of Oxford members who weren’t Himmler’s advisees, could have been just as easily, since they were just as free of whiny resentment; all “good” members followed the same school of psychology.

 

Dubya said about values, “The culture of America is changing from one that has said ‘If it feels good, do it, and if you’ve got a problem, blame somebody else’ to a culture in which each of us understands we are responsible for the decisions we make in life.”  In this all-or-nothing and unconditional fashion, it seems that if you blame someone else for YOUR PROBLEM, you might as well be shirking responsibility for decisions that you made.  Which would you rather do, fall short of normal expectations, or live up to them?

 

This could be expected of you.  The cover letter of the final report from The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, titled Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America, dated July 22, 2003, “recommends a fundamental transformation” that “must ensure that the mental health services and supports[,] actively facilitate recovery, and build resiliency to face life’s challenges.”  The report defines “resilience” as “the personal and community qualities that enable us to rebound from adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or other stresses — and to go on with life with a sense of mastery, competence, and hope.”  What hardship and/or sinfulness that could affect you, wouldn’t be covered by “adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or other stresses”?  Which would you rather do, draw the line somewhere, or fit in with the mental health community that is trying to help you?  You can do this by accepting the rubric of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, which doesn’t draw any lines between the adversities traumas and tragedies that you’re to cope with, and the adversities traumas and tragedies that go too far.

 

 

The New Freedom Commission defines “recovery,” along with “resiliency” in a special box, as, “the process in which people are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities.”  The Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines “recover,” in this sense, as “to regain normal health.”  Which would you rather do, insist on regaining normal health after your adversities traumas and tragedies, or be satisfied with living working learning and participating fully in your community?

There’s always room for improvement, and you can’t afford any more failings than can be avoided.  Often, “almost prevented or solved” absolutely isn’t good enough.  The worse was what was done to you, the more that you can’t afford not to take response-ability for the outcome.  You should be optimistic about how much of an opportunity that you have to solve your problem, since then you’ll likely feel more confident, and try harder.  Of course, that means that when you size up how well you took advantage of all those supposed opportunities, you’ll look as if you failed in handling those opportunities.  The only mitigating factor for you would be, “Sure, you didn’t get your problem completely solved this time, so you’re going to have to try again, after you’ve corrected your internal inadequacies that kept you from succeeding this time!”  Which would you rather be, pessimistic or optimistic regarding what you have the opportunity to resolve if only you handled your problem well enough?  Which would you rather be, satisfied with solving your problems less than you optimistically think that they could have been solved, or not satisfied with such failures?

Could you take any medication to get any ensuing depression, etc., under control?  No matter how distressing is the idea of tens of millions of Americans controlling their brains through medication, for you to take medication is certainly better than the only other alternative available to you, becoming very dysfunctional, possibly including suicide.  The trademark marketing slogan for Zoloft is, “When you know more about what’s wrong, you can help make it right,” and you can make it right a lot more effectively if you think that “what’s wrong” is your brain chemistry, than if you think that “what’s wrong” is that your husband indisputably is a butthead.  You want effectiveness, don’t you?  The Lilly company, in connection with its biopsychiatric medication, has used the slogan “Answers That Matter,” and the answer to the question, “Can I change this?” matters infinitely more than does the answer to the question, “Who or what is morally responsible for this?”  The marketing slogan for Paxil is “Your life is waiting,” and no matter what outside of yourself is triggering your problem, you’ll be able to get a life a lot sooner if you correct what’s inside of you.

William Ryan’s Blaming the Victim says, “The stigma that marks the victim and accounts for his victimization is an acquired stigma, a stigma of social, rather than genetic origin.  But the stigma, the defect, the fatal difference—though derived in the past from environmental forces—is still located within the victim, inside his skin.”  Yet when it comes to depression, anxiety disorders, etc., blaming the victims’ genetic defects doesn’t really seem to be blaming the victim.  For example, a webpage on the Zoloft website says, “Depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It is a medical condition,” and another webpage on that same website says, “Social anxiety disorder is a real medical condition.  It affects over 16 million Americans.”  If you have mood or anxiety disorders, and if you saw this as resulting from your genetic defects, you could feel free of personal responsibility for letting your problem happen continue or bother you.  Which would you rather do, care that our being a “Prozac Nation” constitutes a major crisis rather than the way that naturally millions of people deal with their problems, or make sure that you thrive and don’t kill yourself?

 

From Paxil’s website

Above all else, all these are pragmatic. 1 Corinthians 6:12 says, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any,” and that’s what pragmatism looks like.  Moral lawfulness is unreliable: immaterial flexible knotty subjective self-denying judgmental abstract idealistic cloying and dispensable.  Expediency is reliable: material intrinsic self-evident objective self-reliant uncritical concrete realistic self-motivated and indispensable.  As long as you have enough expediency and wiles, hopefully you won’t be brought under the power of any unlawful person or behavior, and all’s well that ends well.  Even when a woman’s boyfriend or husband is undoubtedly victimizing her, maybe in extreme ways, she’s motivated to solve her problem but he isn’t, so she’s the one who’s held responsible.  After the Great Wall Street Bailout of 2008 was completed, John McCain said, “The option of doing nothing is simply not an option,” and all pragmatism looks something like this: no matter how much others caused your problem, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to get it under control.

You’ve got the greatest impetus to solve your problem, so you’re the one who you should trust the most.  You certainly wouldn’t want that sociopath who caused the problem, to be the one on whom its solution depends.  Though the Serenity Prayer prays for the tactical wisdom to know whether or not we can change something, sometimes we can’t know until we try, in which case it would be more pragmatic to be optimistic, confident, that we can change it.  It’s realistic to anathematize an attitude of, “if you’ve got a problem [with behaving destructively], blame somebody else,” but unrealistic to anathematize an attitude of, “if you’ve got a problem [with behaving destructively], blame sinful human nature.”

 

The “Five W’s and an H” that journalism school teaches, are who, what, where, when, why, and how.  Of these, if the person who has the problem asks, who, when, and why, this is counterproductive.  The only who that matters is that he take care of his own problems, the only when that matters is when this would be the most advantageous (probably right away), and the only why that matters is that he does this because it’s his problem.  On the other hand, if he asks what, where, or how, that could be productive, since he could be asking what he should do, where he should do it, and how he should do it.

This encourages the thinking that would naturally lead to self-blame for failure, examples of which are all around us, such as in Being and Caring, which tells the story of John Mendoza, that he became resigned to living in poverty because he figured, “It doesn’t matter what I do.  There’s no way for me to come out a winner.”  About this, the book comments, “What he doesn’t see is that by putting himself down, he’s doing the Man’s job for him.  If I’m John Mendoza, I don’t have to cooperate with the Man’s attempt to make me feel incompetent.”  Yet the Man would say that if Mendoza puts himself down and considers himself incompetent, he’ll figure that it does matter what he does.  He’ll optimistically figure that  if he stopped his own incompetence, he’d stop his own failures.

One very typical example of pragmatism that’s as one-track-minded as are the cognitive distortions of modern Western depression, is “you must understand” logic.  As long as you can’t change your problem, you must understand that you must serenely accept it, and if you can change it, you must understand that you must courageously change it.  Whatever is reality, mental health means you must understand.  When someone decides to do something destructive, you must understand that that’s human nature.  (Of course, if depressive disorders affect 34,000,000 American adults then that would qualify as human nature, too, but untermensch human nature could be chemically re-engineered.  The quaint jazz-age self-help book Eugenics and Sex Harmony by Dr. Herman H. Rubin, from 1933,

says, “The best way to control the self-preservation instincts, such as fear and anger, Doctor [Josephine] Jackson insists, is to refuse to stimulate the emotion when the external situation is not suitable for action,” in other words, when victims can’t change their own victimization.)  Once someone has already done anything destructive, you must understand that he can’t turn back the clock and undo it.  (Therefore, he’s the helpless one, and you’re the responsible one.)  The worse was what someone did at your expense, the more that you must understand that you’d better take response-ability for your own problem, since it’s so grave, and you certainly wouldn’t want to depend on someone like that to take responsibility for it.  If he doesn’t accept his own moral responsibility for the problem he caused you since that would be too burdensome, you must understand that you couldn’t expect him to be a saint, but if your self-responsibility to solve your own problem is too burdensome, you must understand that that’s life.  As long as what happened wasn’t absolutely evil, you must understand why your refusals to forgive it are just your unforgiving opinion, which is bound to reflect your own SELF-WILL.  If your partner is commitment-phobic and he tries to end your relationship or marriage by treating you outrageously, you must understand that for your own good, you shouldn’t stay with someone like that.  If your society’s rate of depression is astoundingly unnaturally high, you must understand.  And, of course, if you must understand that others’ moral responsibility is to be minimized in such a way that would let people get away with the devastation that contributes to our rampant depression and anxiety disorders, then if you don’t, what would seem to be wrong with your supposed untermensch maladjustment would be magnified.  After all, someone simply has to take responsibility for your problem, and this must be as uncompromising and unconditional as the cognitive distortions of modern Western depression.  If everyone were forgiven, who’d provide the homeostasis that our society needs?

Therefore, which would you rather do, find blame or find a solution?

William James wrote that Americans tend to classify people as either redbloods or mollycoddles.  This is a somewhat subtle version of the traditional German thinking, which says that strength is honorable and weakness is cunning.  And since self-help for women in trouble, tells some victims how they could take response-ability for their own welfare, self-help says that in order for these women to help themselves, they must choose to act stolid rather than pathetic. If you really do care how scary our rate of depression is, it would be you who’d seem scary, because of all the untermensch victim-power you’d have.  It seems that we must fear the untermenschen and their victim-power, and mustn’t fear the übermenschen and their freedoms.

 

 

Not seeing the problem as being innocuous, and/or not doggedly working until you solve it, aren’t only unpragmatic.  Naturally, redbloods have rights, and mollycoddles have response-abilities.  If you don’t basically shut up and deal with your problem self-reliantly, you’d be classified as a mollycoddle.  If you don’t just shut up and solve your own problem, that would be treated as whining for fun and profit.  Even if all that you did was to try to curb the tide of what causes depressive disorders to affect about 34 million American adults, one could always say that this involved emotionality, which could be called insidiously manipulative.  After all, if people figured that they didn’t have to do all that they could to take response-ability for their own problems since others would step in and take care of them for them, that would be a considerable moral hazard, the sort of moral hazard that could be very powerful, very forceful and compelling, and one can’t defend himself against it without looking as if he’s re-victimizing victims.  A central concept to Nazism is that even the most sincere fights for what’s morally right, reflect the aggressive but insidious SELF-WILLS of those who fight for this, but to see even such sincerity as self-serving is usually tenable, and much more likely to get productive results than would be holding the morally responsible people, morally accountable.  Sure, plenty of Americans were outraged that the Great Bailout was the powerful coddling the irresponsible powerful, but this sentiment would have been far stronger if it were the poor who’d be given hundreds of billions of dollars since, if they didn’t feel safe, they’d cause big problems for everybody.

 

Here is another reason why self-empowerment would benefit you.  The sinner would probably be classified as a redblood.  Those who don’t want to be classified as mollycoddles would be very hesitant to hold him accountable, pass judgment, etc.  If you’re classified as a mollycoddle, everyone knows that mollycoddles are into weakness for fun and profit, so your intent could seem to be self-defeating and/or passive-aggressive.  You don’t want to be someone who gets solutions for his problems by getting others to feel sorry for him, do you?  This assessment of honorability tells how you could correct yourself, so you should see it as positive and productive.  Quite literally, it can’t matter how much someone else is responsible for your problem,

since if people’s response-ability for their own welfare weren’t unconditional, then those in situations for which others are clearly responsible, wouldn’t strive to become better happier people, which they’d probably need to do to deal adequately with their own problems.  And many AA slogans ridicule those who don’t have what Niebuhr (disapprovingly) called “Buddhistic” spirituality like this.  (Yet I could make the following guarantee: The very same all-American types who’d be the first to condemn Buddhistic spirituality as alien, extinguishing people’s autonomy and selfhood, brainwashing, etc., would also be the first to practice what Buddhism calls “mindfulness” when they’re in situations that contribute to our rampant depression.  It isn’t possible to get any more vapid than,“Serenely accept everything that happens to you in a society with rampant depression, that you’re helpless to change.”  After all, their chances of coping with them would be a lot higher if they chose to contrive a serene acceptance of whatever they’re helpless to change, than if they drew their own honest conclusions about it.)  Therefore, which would you rather do, rely on your own whiny opinionated words to try to control someone and/or get someone else to solve your problem, or nobly and unobtrusively take care of yourself?

“Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” applies more to family members.  As one could see in groups for addicts’ friends and loved ones, family members simply have to tolerate a lot more than do those outside of the family.  Especially ever since the Reagan era, if the law treated addicts who committed their crimes due to their addictions, such as alcoholics’ DWI, as not guilty by reason of insanity, this would seem outrageously permissive, yet addicts’ family members are simply supposed to accept that when the addictions lead to the addicts harming them, the addicts were just passive victims of their diseases.  In one way the family members do have the power to deter the addicts, by not enabling them so they’d face the natural consequences of their addictions, though simply facing the natural consequences of any truly debilitating mental disease wouldn’t lead to recovery from it.   This has plenty of social norms, social circles, and positive associations backing it up; even if someone along the lines of John Wayne, who said, “Republic... it means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose,” did something destructive, of course that wouldn’t give us the right to restrict him, act as if those hurt by him who could have protected themselves better are his victims, etc.

 

Formerly, it seemed only natural to figure that domestic violence was a lot more understandable than any other violence, since naturally some men would lash out within their comfort zones but wouldn’t lash out anywhere else.  One could still be expected to accept like this, some non-violent destructive behavior, since, in realistic terms, people really are more likely to act out within their own families.  Also, just like the families who were burdened by the men going to prison for domestic violence, even if it were possible for you to hold your family member responsible, you could suffer far more indirect effects than if you held a stranger responsible.  If you’re the wife and your husband is the problem, then you absolutely can’t change him but absolutely can change where you live, even if this means that you and your kids join the feminization of poverty.  This might sound like a radical feminist’s idea of how our culture insists that we accept a lot of oppression within the family, except that the realism of “Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” really would apply far more to the family.  Therefore, which would you rather be, realistic enough to accept that people are more likely to do things like this within their own families, or unrealistically resentful?

 

Are you sure you’re not just a manipulative Adullamite? As I Samuel 22:1, 2, says, David in his flight from Saul, “escaped to the cave Adullam; and every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him.”  In the 19th Century, those who joined social movements out of a desire to blame their own personal failures on social problems, were called Adullamites.  You could find blame like this without joining any social movement, which would be just as manipulative, mollycoddle.

The logical question would then be, how does one determine to what degree social problems contribute to his own personal problems?  But both logical questions, and asking to what degree something is true, would seem too intellectualist.  What really matters is that, absolutely, no matter what caused your problem, you could always make the best of it, or, at the very least, not let it bother you.

As  Schopenhauer wrote in The World as Will and Representation, “The concept of good is divided into two subspecies, that of the directly present satisfaction of the will in each case, and that of its merely indirect satisfaction concerning the future, in other words, the agreeable and the useful.  The concept of the opposite, so long as we are speaking of beings without knowledge, is expressed by the word bad, more rarely and abstractly by the word evil, which therefore denotes everything that is not agreeable to the striving of the will in each case.”  Even when one honestly and assertively holds that he’d been hurt, then naturally, he’d want to believe that he deserves better that what he got.  This would reflect his striving, since he’d expect to get more than what he won.  Anyone who’d blame his own personal problems on social problems, would seem to be an Adullamite.  Therefore, which would you rather do, give your opinion on who’s at fault, or look at the objective truths of the situation, i.e. what would solve the problem?

Our Christian conceptions of spirituality are also very important.  These greatly emphasize forgiveness and transcendence over bitterness.  These greatly de-emphasize transcendence over desires to cause problems for others, though.  You don’t want to be judgmental and unforgiving, do you?

The Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary says that the etymology of the word “victim” is perhaps akin to OHG wih meaning holy, and gives as its first definition of the word victim, “a living being sacrificed to a deity or in the performance of a religious rite,” and as the second, “one that is acted on and usually adversely affected by a force or agent.”  Matthew 5:43-48 says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Niebuhr’s The Nature and Destiny of Man includes, “The Biblical warning ‘if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye,’ is certainly relevant to historical realities; for the failure of pure love to calculate possible reciprocal responses to it is the force which makes new ventures in brotherhood possible,” without bothering to mention that this is a very codependent love, where no matter how much someone sins at your expense, you perfectly take as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as you’d have it.  Which would you rather be, judgmental or forgiving?

The victim’s solving his own problem would be self-help.  For the person who caused the problem to solve it, would be tantamount to altruism.  Choosing to be a self-reliant, self-sufficient redblood, rather than a mollycoddle who depends on assertive words and moralizing to solve your problems, would also be self-help.  To define “cowardly evasions of personal responsibility” as evading moral responsibility, wouldn’t.  The victim’s taking medication to get his depression under control would constitute self-help.  For the person who causes the problem to take medication to get his problem behavior under control, unless the behavior is blue-collar crime, would seem to be mind-control out of a science fiction novel.  Sure, self-help books before the Reagan/Thatcher era encouraged assertiveness.  Self-help books afterward would say that assertiveness that couldn’t be backed up by the power to change the problem, would only seem mollycoddle.  Therefore, which would you rather do, live according to what seems right to you, which has been labeled self-defeating, or according to what the trendy realize is self-efficacious?

(Yes, that pamphlet that she’s reading, which she got from her first Al-Anon meeting, is titled “Living with an Alcoholic.”  Learning how to live happily with an alcoholic, is what would constitute self-help for her, since that’s the reality that she must deal with.)

Obviously this isn’t a matter of doing what comes naturally, since you mustn’t let your natural feelings flow.  You’re used to being told that your aggressive feelings evolved in a society where they benefited your ancestors, but now they’re counterproductive so you have to keep them under control.  Well, the same also applies to your hurt feelings that don’t simply motivate you to courageously change what you can.  They also obviously did your ancestors some good, but in modern society they’d have a self-defeating or passive-aggressive effect, so you must keep them under control.  In fact, people’s aggressive feelings tend to seem far more ineradicable, forgivable, honest, pro-freedom, etc., than people’s hurt and resentful feelings.  When Niebuhr wrote, in The Nature and Destiny of Man, “romanticism [the era that most influenced Nazism] is primarily concerned to assert the vitality of nature and to preserve it against the peril of enervation,” clearly this meant the vitality of our übermensch human nature, never our untermensch human nature.  Therefore, which would you rather do, what comes naturally, or what would most benefit you?

In essence, the cognitive distortions of modern Western depression, though self-blaming and distorted, are a good idea, since self-blame would let you focus your attention on correcting the only person who you could change.  This goal-oriented distortion is therefore more realistic than would be an objective assessment of reality.

All-or-nothing thinking is expedient, since either your life is back to normal or it isn’t.  When you start looking at the relevant issues in relative rather than absolute  terms, that could lead to analysis paralysis, niggling, time-wasting opinionating, and judgmentalism.

Overgeneralization is pragmatic, since if the only distinction you’re allowed to make is whether or not you can change something, then you’d be finding solutions rather than finding blame.

A mental filter is effective, since no matter how much others are morally responsible, you did the right things, etc., if you focus your attention on only correcting yourself, you’d be focusing your attention on your own self-protection, self-empowerment, self-efficacy, and self-help.

Disqualifying the positive is judicious, since what you have to focus your attention on is dealing with what’s wrong.  If you solved only 90% of your problem, that wouldn’t mean that since you scored a 90% you deserve an A grade.

Jumping to conclusions is sometimes necessary in panicky situations.

Magnification or minimization would be essential, since courageously changing what you can, your own faults, requires magnification of what inside yourself could be leading to your failures, and minimization of what inside yourself you don’t have to work on.  Serene acceptance of what you can’t change, requires minimization of others’ faults and magnification of what’s right with them.

Emotional reasoning comes with the territory.  Such labels as “redblood,” “mollycoddle,” and “unforgiving,” which say that this is what the person “is,” characterologically aims to do, etc., are very emotionalist in both cause and effect.

Should statements would be the whole idea, since this is all about what the devastated and other victims should do better.

Labeling and mislabeling would be very goal-oriented, since these labels are based solely on whether or not the victim reached the goal of solving his problem.  “Realism” would mean, rather than making one’s Vorstellung as accurate as possible, making it as goal-oriented, optimistic, self-responsible, resilient, etc., as possible.

Personalization is the bottom line, since you’d seem very maladjusted if you responded to the Serenity Prayer or the like by saying, “But I’m not primarily responsible for what I now need to change, so don’t treat me as I allowed it to happen continue or bother me.”  If someone is a loser, then the winners are at least partially responsible for his losing, but that gets completely ignored.  Your Vorstellung should ignore any “elephant in the living room” that you can’t change, since it’s outside of you, so it can hurt you only if you let it bother you.  If you’re in big trouble, it’s all-important that your  Vorstellung sees how much self-determination you have, in that your tactical failures determined your loss.  The worse is the person who was primarily responsible, the more important it is that you take response-ability rather than counting on someone like that to solve your problem for you.  Therefore, how would you rather define “realism,” what best reflects reality, or which perceptions interpretations and attributions are the most goal-oriented?

 

 

 

 

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My Story

  To The [Abuse] Survivors ♥♥♥♥♥

Men Dying for Love

On Doping

Oh, Yeah?” Upbeat Echoes from the First Great Stock Market Crash

Victim Correction as a Panacea, the Summary (Page 1)

(Top of Page 2)(Main Page 3)

Cancer Victims Corrected Too

The Main Victim Correction as a Panacea

 Documentation On the Social Problem of Unnaturally Rampant Depression

 Standard Rationales for Victim Correction as a Panacea

 Schopenhauer on Predators

 Emphasis on Victim-Self-Blaming

Darwinist Lehman Brothers’ INSIDE Sales Tips

Darwinist Lehman Brothers’ INSIDE Introduction to Management Book

Out of the Same Mold as the Great Crash of 2008

Message for Intellectuals in the Islamic World

Candace Newmaker’s Experience

Breaking Important Confidences for Your Own Good

A Glimpse Into the Soul of Victim Correction

Cigarette Industry and Victim Correction

Niebuhr’s Ideas on Our Nature and Destiny

Herbal Experiences for Women

Some Ideas for Rapport

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