The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.
– D. Morrison
I just learned about a concept of abuse I had never hear of before – Gaslighting.
And fknell if you’re not richly grounded in the soil of your own truth and innate goodness, it is terribly easy to lose your roots and be toppled.
Gaslighting is to manipulate someone psychologically so that they doubt their sanity. It is emotional abuse where the victim is manipulated to doubt their own memory and perceptions. It happens when one person tries to overwrite another’s reality. Perception and view of self get undermined by little and big insinuations and comments such as ‘oh you couldn’t do that, you’re not organised enough’, and ‘you’re far too emotional and sensitive’. Words from a partner can seem harmless, but gaslighting is more insidious than that. It is designed to disempower, so the other person can take control and even make themselves feel better by having power over the other.
The truly destructive thing about gaslighting is that it nibbles away at your self-worth, your belief in yourself, your talents.
The worst kind of gaslighting is “spiritual” gaslighting, where the admonishments to one’s personality get couched in personal growth speak:
‘I’m telling you this because I care about you and if you become aware of how you’re acting and what you’re really like, you’ll be able to transform yourself and truly grow.’
Oh what the hell really, relationships are just so hardcore these days o_O and I consider it absolutely possible that this happens frequently in relationships, without the proponents even really fully noticing, or the acts being deliberately harmful or meant to be suppressive, but instead are a haphazardous expression of bad habits adopted from chauvinistic role models at home as a child…
Good news is, there seems a way out of this Teufelskreis:
Develop an indestructible sense of self, based in deep value and love. When you become your own best friend, cheering yourself on, and believing in your innate goodness, you will be far less easily manipulated and knocked off your course. Step-up to greater self-responsibility and power.
- Develop a strong sense of yourself.
- Believe your own intuition.
- Spend time alone and get to know yourself.
- Create your own life and live from what is real for you.
- Be immovable in your self-love and self-connection.
- Don’t put others on a pedestal.
- Listen to your heart wisdom and your intuitive nudges. Trust yourself no matter what.
- Have a strong connection with something higher than yourself.
- Develop a mindful internal barometer – stop and check-in before taking on board someone else’s opinion of you or of life.
Read more on that topic here: upliftconnect.com/gaslighted
Let’s start this year with a delightful publication to set the scene for 2018:
“On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit”
by Gordon Pennycook, Jonathan A. Fugelsang et al in ‘Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 10, No. 6, November 2015, pp. 549–563’
Although bullshit is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its (critical or ingenuous) reception has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation. Here we focus on pseudo-profound bullshit, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous. We presented participants with bullshit statements consisting of buzzwords randomly organized into statements with syntactic structure but no discernible meaning (e.g., “Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena”). Across multiple studies, the propensity to judge bullshit statements as profound was associated with a variety of conceptually relevant variables (e.g., intuitive cognitive style, supernatural belief). Parallel associations were less evident among profundity judgments for more conventionally profound (e.g., “A wet person does not fear the rain”) or mundane (e.g., “Newborn babies require constant attention”) statements. These results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bullshit and that detecting it is not merely a matter of indiscriminate skepticism but rather a discernment of deceptive vagueness in otherwise impressive sounding claims. Our results also suggest that a bias toward accepting statements as true may be an important component of pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity.
End of year situations tend to make one reflect… so this morning I sat with my coffee and spent some time pondering over the past year, and came to the conclusion that, all in all, I am living my best life. I am doing alright. I was helpful to people, and tried not to hurt anyone. I looked after myself and others. I am able to forgive myself, and hold no grudges against anyone.
I am doing alright. Thanks world.
My favourite podcast, a guaranteed pick-me up at all times:
The history of rebellion is rife with excess and burnout. But new generations have a distinctive commitment to be reflective and activist at once, to be in service as much as in charge, and to learn from history while bringing very new realities into being. Quaker wise man Parker Palmer and journalist and entrepreneur Courtney Martin come together for a cross-generational conversation about the inner work of sustainable, resilient social change.
I think, while social media is all nice and good, it has the potential to lure you into a false sense of connectedness. On the most basic human level, social interaction is much more than exchanging information, words. It is a person’s body language, their presence, that nourishes the soul. You can’t get that through a screen. But as you wilt away, starving yourself from that oldest of human needs, you don’t know why you get sick… you only know that something’s not right… and if you’re a sucker for that, you will most likely blame yourself for being unwell, for not performing.
Our current, prevalent, archaic and unfortunate mindset of “might makes right” is at the crux of all the hypocrisy and global tragedy that we’re confronted with in our modern times. The idea associated with the phrase “might makes right” connotes that a society’s view of right and wrong is determined, like its perspective on history, by those currently in power. The term is used in the descriptive, rather than prescriptive way, in the same sense that people say that “History is written by the victors”. Because every person labels what they think is good for themselves as right, only those who are able to defeat their enemies can push their idea of what is right into fruition.
‘Kratocracy’ describes a government by those who are strong enough to seize power through force or cunning. In terms of morality, those who are the strongest will rule others and have the power to determine right and wrong. By this definition, the phrase “might makes right” manifests itself in a normative sense. This meaning is often used to define a proscriptive moral code for society to follow, as well as while discussing social Darwinism and Weberian themes of the authority of the state (e.g. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft) in critical assessments of expressions of power.
More on Might makes right on Wikipedia
Related: Moral nihilism and the Plunder of Natural Resources.
Watch: Leif Wenar, Chair of Philosophy and Law at the School of Law, King’s College London https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLbFx2t5ZbA
Life is more interesting when it’s led by the heart. It promises more drama, more bloodshed, more banter. Life led by logic and reason on the other hand already sounds boring and uneventful only by the very composition.
So here we are, pathetically drawn to drama and sensationalism, even though we’re way past a point where we could still afford this lifestyle. And yet we don’t stop.
(in other news, and completely unrelated, a thought just manifesting as I type: public transport, in complete silence, is like group meditation… this silent train carriage is blessed with mindfulness)
Back to our problem of frantic avoidance of the unbearable risk of boredom. Just think the unthinkable – imagine there was no sensational news, just reoccurring bau, business as usual. Where people stick to plans, businesses keep their promises, governments improve on procedures and outcomes. Just imagine a world like that.
Where is the crossing on the road of life where we have to turn to get there? Where??
Das permanente Appellieren der Medien an die niedrigsten Instinkte, the permanent focus of the media on the lowest of instincts, that is what makes this world so sad, so bad, and mad. It’s like Goethe’s Zauberlehrling und die Geister die ich rief…
This month it’s been 5 years that I was on Twitter. Twitter is the only social platform I frequent; I find it already hard to keep one running while still meeting actual real people in the other actual real life.
People spend a lot of time looking at their phones. Even the word phone has entirely morphed from one thing to something completely different now.
I’m taking a break from Twitter. And it feels kinda odd. While I’ve already got more done in just one day than I probably would’ve in three, I miss the voices and the laughter. (no I’m not hearing voices) I was never one for herd mentality. Twitter lets you forget that not all is good only because the loudest says so. The integrity of a writer is not manifested in the amount of followers they have. In this short-attention-span world of ours, every single bit of critical thinking is important for sanity and goodness to prevail (hopefully, after all, fingers crossed), so don’t let anyone shout you out.
Anyway, end of rant. Nothing really matters. As you were.
Also, today turned out bearable after all.
Be the third donkey you want to see in the world.
Excellent Guardian article by Paul Krugman
May 2010, as Britain headed into its last general election, elites all across the western world were gripped by austerity fever, a strange malady that combined extravagant fear with blithe optimism. Every country running significant budget deficits – as nearly all were in the aftermath of the financial crisis – was deemed at imminent risk of becoming another Greece unless it immediately began cutting spending and raising taxes. Concerns that imposing such austerity in already depressed economies would deepen their depression and delay recovery were airily dismissed; fiscal probity, we were assured, would inspire business-boosting confidence, and all would be well.
People holding these beliefs came to be widely known in economic circles as “austerians” – a term coined by the economist Rob Parenteau – and for a while the austerian ideology swept all before it.
About Ayn Rand
While in high school, she determined that she was an atheist and that she valued reason above any other human virtue.
Ayn called her philosophy “Objectivism”, describing its essence as “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” She considered Objectivism a systematic philosophy and laid out positions on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy and aesthetics.
What an utterly inspiring woman.
In “Climate change as a cultural and behavioral issue: Addressing barriers and implementing solutions” Andrew J. Hoffman draws a very timely analogy –
Looking at Climate Change through the parallel of slavery:
“Climate change today still resides in the ‘pre’ social fact phase, awaiting public acceptance. But just how big a shift will this be? To that point, I turn to the abolition of slavery.
In short, the magnitude of the cultural and moral shift around climate change is as large as that which accompanied the abolition of slavery. Adam Hochschild, in his book Bury the Chains, makes the startling point that in the 18th century more than 75% of the world’s population was in slavery or serfdom. Humans were a primary source of energy and wealth, particularly for the dominant world power, Great Britain. Hochschild points out that “if you stood on a London street corner and insisted that slavery was morally wrong and should be stopped, nine out of 10 listeners would have laughed you off as a crackpot.” Abolition would lead to a collapse of the economy and their way of life. Abolitionism was a challenge to the underlying beliefs upon which the Empire was built. At the time, few people saw a moral problem with this critical institution. People simply did not believe, as we do today, that all people have a right to freedom and equality. Slavery was seen as the natural order of things, unquestioned and even supported by many through the words of the Bible. It took roughly 100 years to abolish slavery in the British Empire, and Hochschild points out that, by the end of the 19th century, slavery was, at least on paper, outlawed almost everywhere.
Now, flash forward to today. We live in a fossil fuel-based economy. Fossil fuels are our primary source of energy and support our entire way of life. As scientific evidence mounts that this critical institution is causing changes to the global climate, we are faced with a technological and social dilemma. Calls to end our dependence on fossil fuels are being met with the same kind of response as did calls to end our dependence on slavery: such a move would wreck the economy and the way of life that is built upon it. If you stood on a New York City street corner and insisted that burning fossil fuels was morally wrong and should be stopped, listeners would laugh you off as a crackpot. There is a vast physical infrastructure that depends on oil, and it cannot be simply replaced without great disruption. Abolition of the primary source of energy in the world is out of the question, both socially and technologically.
Just as few people saw a moral problem with slavery in the 18th century, few people in the 21st century see a moral problem with the burning of fossil fuels. Will people in 100 years look at us with the same incomprehension we feel toward 18th-century defenders of slavery? If we are to address the problem adequately, the answer to that question must be yes; our common atmosphere will no longer be seen as a free dumping ground for greenhouse gases and other pollutants. But this value shift will require humankind to come to terms with a new cultural reality.
The first piece of this reality is that humankind has grown to such numbers and our technologies have grown to such a capacity that we can, and do, alter the Earth’s ecological systems on a planetary scale. It is a fundamental shift in the physical order – one never before seen, and one that alters the ethics and morals by which we judge our behavior as it relates to the environment around us and to the rest of humanity that depends on that environment.
The second piece of that reality is that we share a collective responsibility and require global cooperation to solve it. The coal burned in Ann Arbor, Shanghai or Moscow has an equal impact on the environment we all share. The kind of cooperation necessary to solve this problem is far beyond anything we, as a species, have ever accomplished before. International treaties to ban land mines or eliminate ozone-depleting substances pale in comparison. Looking at climate change through the parallel of slavery helps us to see the magnitude of the issue before us.”
Excerpt from: Hoffman, A. (2010) “Climate change as a cultural and behavioral issue: Addressing barriers and implementing solutions,” Organizational Dynamics, 39 (4): 295-305.
read the full pdf here
Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854–2010
This paper presents a quantitative analysis of the historic fossil fuel and cement production records of the 50 leading investor-owned, 31 state-owned, and 9 nation-state producers of oil, natural gas, coal, and cement from as early as 1854 to 2010. This analysis traces emissions totaling 914 GtCO2e – 63 % of cumulative worldwide emissions of industrial CO2 and methane between 1751 and 2010 – to the top 90 global TNCs “carbon major” entities based on the carbon content of marketed hydrocarbon fuels (subtracting for non-energy uses), process CO2 from cement manufacture, CO2 from flaring, venting, and own fuel use, and fugitive or vented methane. Cumulatively, emissions of 315 GtCO2e have been traced to investor-owned entities, 288 GtCO2e to state-owned enterprises, and 312 GtCO2e to nation-states. Of these emissions, half has been emitted since 1986. The carbon major entities possess fossil fuel reserves that will, if produced and emitted, intensify anthropogenic climate change. The purpose of the analysis is to understand the historic emissions as a factual matter, and to invite consideration of their possible relevance to public policy.
It is imperative that you read this!
Ever had the feeling that your job might be made up? That the world would keep on turning if you weren’t doing that thing you do 9-5? David Graeber, Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics, explored the phenomenon of bullshit jobs – everyone who’s employed should read carefully…
“… a corporate lawyer working in a prominent New York firm [sic] was the first to admit that his job was utterly meaningless, contributed nothing to the world, and, in his own estimation, should not really exist.
There’s a lot of questions one could ask here, starting with, what does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians, but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: if 1% of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call “the market” reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.) But even more, it shows that most people in these jobs are ultimately aware of it. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever met a corporate lawyer who didn’t think their job was bullshit. The same goes for almost all the new industries…”
read the entire article here strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs