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gandolfication last won the day on February 28

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About gandolfication

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    Politics, philosophy, literature, art, film, pop- neuroscience and quantum physics

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  1. Spoiled milk dead fish rotten egg toothpaste barf can dog food booger stinky socks stink bug and dirty dishwasher.

    These evidently were the flavors I ate last night, late, After finishing a legal brief.

    the first couple that I ate were regular sweet flavors so I thought ah, these are the good ones.  Nope.

    I woke up this morning still feeling queasy and had to eat an apple to stabilize my nausea stomach.

    It's not helpful that Laurel just told me that technically I ate some of the real thing because they make these by sucking the air out of these real things and putting it into the jelly bean flavor.



    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. MargotMontage


      Sorry to hear it. I wish you the best and hope that you feel better soon.

    3. JD4010


      Eek! I hope you feel better quickly!

    4. JessiesMom


      Oooo, that stinks - feel better quickly.

  2. "Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it, but can only describe it from the vantage point of distance." -- Charles Lindbergh
  3. The longing It never goes away. I'm musically illiterate. I never became obsessed with music, the influences growing up from family and mostly christina-world bubble were limited. So, the song title, Can't Get No Satisfaction is what I'll use here, even though I'm certain I've never listened the whole song, and only vaguely know anything about it. But taken literally, it describes the restless, overactive, insatiable mind/body/heart/spirit, that plagues us. At least people suffering with depression and anxiety. I think of it as shark-syndrome, because the only way it ever shuts off, is if we die. Even when we sleep, our brains--and hopefully usually different and more benevolent and healing parts of our brains--keep running. It may be in "sleep mode," but unlike a computer, it can't really be turned off temporarily. My best friend from law school, Dave, got us a couple ticket to the law school alumni monte carlo night. We went and had a good time - did a lot of good networking, catching up and probably have some good leads for writing projects. This'll be terrifically difficult for me to monetize, logistically, performance-wise, and emotionally. But...when I write (even when its not good), I feel alive. Just for moments, I'm completely engrossed in a way nothing else does. It's pure creation. I'm sure it drives judges and partners and opponents to distraction. Wonderful. Among many other people I met, was the Dean's wife, who's a psychotherapist. I have this recurring tension between thinking that while (a) I feel like I've obsessed so much about depression stuff and how to try to get better that there can't be much or anything 'new' or still useful out there that could help...because time after time, thing after thing, comes up hollow; with (b) realizing I have kept thinking most of the same thoughts over again, and this surely must limit the growth and broad-mindedness, the learning mindset I once had with hope. And so, this morning I thought, well, a new therapist at some point would still be great because after all, in terms of human knowledge, insight, and just stuff in the cosmos to discover, there's still much more in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my small philosophy. Or as one of my favorite writers famously understated it, quoting world champion baseball manager Tony LaRussa, "there's a lot goes on out there." I scavenged a couple extra free drink tickets and had we'll just say, several glasses some good Merlot. On the way home picking up the kids, I made what always feels like a mistake and called my brother, and shared some of the recent experience at the UU church, and the definition I formed/adopted that god is "exactly what I hope and need it to be." And he prattled (that's not quite fair, he's a brainiac and interacts in good faith and with a warm heart) on that I'd given the definition of a "belief" in general, not of god. I said, Pete, by definition, everyone already believes that all of their believes in god are the truest. He said sure, but that's not a commentary on the reality of god as revealed in either general or special revelation. He's probably right (about the logic and argument, not necessarily that it actually hangs together and reveals god), but he doesn't know everything either. (Great argument I know). At one point something he said felt insulting, and it got heated, and then the phone kept cutting out - bad timing (he didn't mean it personally, it's just inevitable if we're both debating sincerely as we do). But, per usual, it made me start questioning/second guessing the validity and even healthfulness of my thought process and journey about this. How silly I know, and yet, it just provides yet another endless vista to ruminate on. Nay, today, instead I'll just accept the good. I keep searching. Wondering, worrying, thinking, investigating, pushing. Even if I wanted to stop, I'm not able to. I'm listening to the score from Interstellar as I write this, and do think, as humans, exploration seems to be in our blood. Cooper, the main character played by Matthew McConaughey says, "our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us." I think it's in this film, that he also says, we will go. We have to go...because, it's there. I always liked that. Yah. There must be a lot goes on out there. So today, I'll open my eyes and ears and soul. And let it take me where it will.
  4. Those kinds of guys are disgusting. You're describing the "problem of evil / problem of pain," how can a god who is a) all powerful, and b) all-loving, also c) allow (or cause?) so much unimaginable evil and suffering including say, the gratuitous torture of innocents and animals (for whom no 'godly suffering' can produce learning through adversity)? I obsessed over this question for years, reading, discussing, listening and debating it while I was a committed Christian, after, now and always. I was fortunate, I guess, though it was incredibly tough medicine, to have some very gifted friends and family on these theological/philosophical issues, and ultimately I did at least realize the problem was much less a logical/rational one, than it is emotional. I guess I don't want to get further into it here (I've written about it a number of times elsewhere on DF).
  5. Yes, I think you're right about the reflection on us. I guess that was a large part of what I'm trying to say. Although, I do also think that the way we view God--especially if we are so thoroughly taught/indoctrinated into this animating belief--can cause and enormously influence how we see ourselves. Perhaps it's iterative, recursive, such that they can impact each other in an endless loop...that's been true in my case. To ask how I feel or felt about the one without the other, just really doesn't even make a lot of sense, so thoroughly saturating was its importance in permeating every aspect of mylife. (It's entirely possible, I'm still missing it. Blind spots, corners, etc.). I know typically god is thought of as something or someone that can't change, but in my evolving Transcendental view, there are few--almost no--preconditions or constraints on the nature of this god-force. Deliberately so, but also because my own corollary that the transcendent must exist, is that I also don't (probably can't) know almost anything else about it. (I could believe, on faith...but I guess I don't see a hard need to insist on unchangeability...I do not see changing as any kind of weakness, defect or imperfection). I think I've talked elsewhere about the tension between certainty (or "knowing") versus the mystery of faith ("If you understood him, it would not be God" - Augustine). Small point. Most of this for me is largely about letting go of very deeply-rooted beliefs about shame, guilt, condemnation, etc. I know the initial reasons I came to see God to a great deal as implacable. No matter how much I was told/read/studied, etc. that God was love, somehow it always got translated internally as something like God is love and loves you IF you do x, y, z, do them always, do them perfectly, etc. It's just what happened. I tried to change it forever by both religion and psychology. Nothing worked. It'll be a lifelong struggle. Anyhow, thanks @JessiesMom, I always find your comments insightful.
  6. A lot of my sense of hope in the practical day-to-day world comes from politics. This is dangerous, but not without warrant. For me, it will always be part of being a good civic citizen. At some point, it must return, or our culture, society, nation and world, will continue to be worse for it. Obviously it's a dark time in America. Yesterday though, I searched on You Tube for, "Unitarian Universalist Self Love." I wanted to see what the movement had to say about the topic in what I've been coming to learn is a tradition of titanic intellectual rigor. I was not disappointed. I'm about half-way through a fiery sermon by an African-American reverend about self-love, American-style. For about the first 5-10 minutes (I don't know how she makes it last so happily long), she give a great reading of Langston Huges' poem below. (Huges was also African-American). I had never heard it this way before. I'll let it speak for itself, but I recommend the video. Let America Be America Again Langston Huges - 1902-1967 Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be. Let it be the pioneer on the plain Seeking a home where he himself is free. (America never was America to me.) Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed— Let it be that great strong land of love Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme That any man be crushed by one above. (It never was America to me.) O, let my land be a land where Liberty Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, But opportunity is real, and life is free, Equality is in the air we breathe. (There's never been equality for me, Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.") Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark? And who are you that draws your veil across the stars? I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart, I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars. I am the red man driven from the land, I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek— And finding only the same old stupid plan Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak. I am the young man, full of strength and hope, Tangled in that ancient endless chain Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land! Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need! Of work the men! Of take the pay! Of owning everything for one's own greed! I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil. I am the worker sold to the machine. I am the Negro, servant to you all. I am the people, humble, hungry, mean— Hungry yet today despite the dream. Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers! I am the man who never got ahead, The poorest worker bartered through the years. Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream In the Old World while still a serf of kings, Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true, That even yet its mighty daring sings In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned That's made America the land it has become. O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas In search of what I meant to be my home— For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore, And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea, And torn from Black Africa's strand I came To build a "homeland of the free." The free? Who said the free? Not me? Surely not me? The millions on relief today? The millions shot down when we strike? The millions who have nothing for our pay? For all the dreams we've dreamed And all the songs we've sung And all the hopes we've held And all the flags we've hung, The millions who have nothing for our pay— Except the dream that's almost dead today. O, let America be America again— The land that never has been yet— And yet must be—the land where every man is free. The land that's mine—the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME— Who made America, Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain, Must bring back our mighty dream again. Sure, call me any ugly name you choose— The steel of freedom does not stain. From those who live like leeches on the people's lives, We must take back our land again, America! O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath— America will be! Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death, The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies, We, the people, must redeem The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers. The mountains and the endless plain— All, all the stretch of these great green states— And make America again!
  7. After about 2 weeks of basically sleeping as much as possible, doing very little, and just hanging on, the past few days, I've gotten back up and resumed working on several things I need to, especially finishing a sprawling research and writing project for a client who's already paid me. I got our public assistance benefits active again, which was huge. We have no $ so otherwise couldn't have bought food. I've even gotten us back on Medicaid. I've been listening to and reading various things about growth. Laurel and I have been going to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship near our house, and quite like it. It stems mostly, and most gladly for me, from the American Transcendentalists. This offers a most important starting point for me, that a) there is something transcendent - a spiritual dimension, and b) comports with both my rational belief, and more importantly need for some kind of god-force. For me, it is akin to purpose and hope. I've spent too much of my life developing an emotional center and worldview this way, for it to be otherwise. A few mornings ago, it occurred to me, I think while in the shower (a fragmented part of the day when anxiety starts to erode adaptive thought patterns), that the only definition of god I ever need, is: "exactly what I hope for it, or need it to be." It's kind of like in the Matrix, how the Oracle tells people exactly what they need to hear. I've kept referring back to this, and in between the mountains of mindless madness, it's provided slivers of oasis. This is pretty literally I think wish-fulfillment (usually implied to be a negative). But why? It's a synonym for hope or optimistic belief. Faith even, which is other than which can be certainly known. Everyone's conception of god is necessarily that which they are able to and choose to believe, anyway. Last Sunday, the reverend asked how people would define the 'sacred.' I thought, this is going to be interesting, how a congregation could define sacred apart from God*. But then they did....mysterious, special, connected, precious, rare, worth protecting, etc. As I press on, it is greatly reassuring and motivating to think that this crack of light is helping to break down the walls of old blind spots. For so long I have known--or strongly suspected and assumed--that hard as I tried, I could not see around the corner to imagine any benevolent force in the indifferent (and thus awful) universe. Which meant, in nihilistic myopia, there could not be any point or goodness in any present moment. And as if to affirm my operating theory, there weren't many moments to dispel this. I knew there was a fallacy somewhere, but searched in vain to find it. All the attempts to read and practice self love and self acceptance crashed and burned. What could stand up against the "desert of the 'real'"? I am sure this was part of the driving force for my interest (obsession) with quantum theory, psychedelic ego-death, speculative psychology, AI, and other frontiers - which all have the common disadvantage that they really can't be 'answered' in way that impacts me or the now. They are escapaist attempts at, where I already knew I had removed the predicate for, hope. But hope can be "exactly what I hope for or need it to be." Its circullarity is not an impediment. All reason is ultimately circular. I've been editing my friend Ergon's book, The Madman Laughs at Everything, which acknowledges and embraces this paradox from the outset in a beautiful and generous way. That a mystical, spiritual realm--and perchance even perfect god-force and state--hopefully exists, need not demand perfection of me now, here. There is grace. It can be exactly what I hope for or need it to be. Faith is fine. Well, I know this is existentially removed from the practicality of life and the price of tea in China, as usual. Back to work on the research memo. With a reason to keep moving through the adversity. *there are all sorts of beliefs about god, and no god, present, accepted and welcome here. My point was just that I thought the definition of sacred was necessarily limited to, of or relating to God.
  8. I think the baseline default assumption is that the universe is not sentient or intelligent. It is an indifferent, implicable, and inanimate thing, and thus indiscriminate.
  9. Very interesting how you wrote this. "The rational side of [you] says that it is only [your] perception of how things work." (bold underline added). I have often borrowed the phrase that we depressives, 'see the world with too many eyes.' Whether it is our perception that is 'off,' or everyone else's seems far-fetched, by the definition of homoclite normality being that which populates the larger middle of a bell curve's standard deviation. Or, is it just that "most" people do not have the requisite depth of vision and insight into how reality really is to notice it? The fact that a greater number of people (still apparently) hold one view, while a smaller subset perceive and hold another, does not, by itself, make one right, and another wrong. Does it even really make one more likely? When a majority of people believed the world was flat or that the sun revolved around the earth, that strength in numbers did not make the majority's beliefs about reality more likely or more true. The opposite was in fact true. And, if one subscribes to the Apple ad about the "crazy ones," it has always been the mad ones of us who have expressed and had the courage to hold to our own visions, that have pushed the world forward. There's a studied phenomenon (though not studied enough) called depressive realism, where depressed individuals are shown, in testing, to have relatively superior ability to predict outcomes, albeit usually negative ones, than normal, well-adjusted or optimists, who tend, irrationally btw, to overestimate good results. More needs to be studied, but my point, @JD4010, is that your perception of a malevolent universe, that some others do not see, has no greater chance of being inaccurate than the "normies'" belief contra.
  10. I can't seem to function adequately to move forward toward getting a job or anything else that'll sustain our family. I have tried to navigate and make use of social safety net resources, but am not going to get far enough fast enough. This intense pressure to get on with the decision to control the terms under which I live and die, keeps mounting. Against it, stands 'only' my beloved kids. (My wife and I have for some time, coexisted at best). I love my daughters and son. But increasingly, I am choosing to believe the lie (if it is a lie) that I'm not really any use to them, and in fact drag them down. Were I to leave, they would almost certainly get both life insurance and social security $. Of course I know that is a preposterous trade-off and one they would never choose. I understand the ethics of not having my own solipsistic choice given that I chose to and do have kids I am responsible for. But there's no law against pain, and it only ever gets worse. I'm so f*cking tired of this miserable existence. I feel like if there were a real devil, this kind of torturous system, is exactly what he would have set up. Insidiously evil, cruel, unrelenting, and mirthful. Back in 2008-9, when I was still clinging to Christianity, reading both psychology but also Christian books about things like spiritual warfare (yes, demons and angles and God), I was commuting every other week to a pastoral 'counselor' in Indiana. I think his name came to me through some acquaintance of my mother's from her church. He seemed okay, at least a good listener, sympathetic, non-judgmental (except of course for the underlying message about total depravity and that these things at least could be the result of unresolved sin in one's life). Anyway, he encouraged, and I did read the Frank Peretti books about demonic and angelic warfare - what crap as literature or anything else, btw. I had already read Lewis's Screwtape Letters, which I wasn't as impressed with as other Christians seemed to be. I mean there was zero evidence, or as I saw it, reason to believe in this stuff, even as I maintained full commitment to the supernatural personal God. All of this to say, though, that just given the way depression is, and feels, and attacks every fiber of every aspect of one's person, I do see why it is given so easily to religionists believing that it is actually a spiritual, demonic attack by some sentient, invisible ghouls, literally hell-bent, on destroying the person.
  11. Ever again Inside my head, a broken time machine, Always in some other time and place, in earth or space, Never any in between I pine and and long for ancient history, The way it used to be, the good old days, or could be again sometime, some ways, Brooding on ineffable mystery The same five thoughts repeat forever, Or a thousand different thoughts at once, involuntarily arise like some concupiscence, Not one completed ever Hope has left the rear-view mirror, Last time, this time, next time when, the ghoulish thoughts return again, I'll wish the road ahead was clearer No longer feeling like a person, Always asking how and why, answers never satisfy, Things only seem to worsen Viewing life too wide and narrow, One step forward, eight steps back, waking in a panic attack, Feeling pain down to the marrow. Reminiscing, longing for that phase, Now racing and chasing for that next meal, wond'ring if its even real, Now, wand'ring through the endless rat maze To have wanted so much more, To hear the things you've spoken, and "watch the things you gave your life to, broken," Smashed and scattered on the floor To probe the depths for some quaint meaning, Connection, humanism, love, something here, or chance, above, Left with vacuous demeaning "Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in" An unrequited wanting, The love, the joy, the purpose gone, And now comes the terrible dawn, An everlasting haunting The sun rises, and it starts again, To try, to seek, to strive, Another day to be survived, It always ends in pain
  12. Yah, probably not as many...though most modern christian churches don't either. This one had a grand piano, which was nice. They sing mostly from hymnals that mostly have just taken the old hymns and changed the words....which is both weird and nice. I don't know the words now, but then that's what the hymnal. Growing up, both in church and the christian university had some spectacularly good christian music, from classical symphony to chorus, to ensembles to gospel (which was too close to country music for me). Praise and worship music is a legitimate genre unto its own, which, especially when believed, has the ability to elevate the soul and mind (literally increases endorphins). So, when I hear it now--occasionally, I'll still play something--sometimes I have a kind of reaction against it as in that it's deceptive manipulative, but there are also 3-4 songs which I'll sing to myself...okay mostly in the shower...as a means of trying to calm the worst of anxious thoughts. I try not to overthink it.
  13. Yesterday, I took Laurel to a universalist unitarian service near us. We quite licked it. They call the fellowship, "UU'ers" which sounds like a chocolate drink. I did not know that universalist Unitarianism basically comes from transcendentalist thought and history. I always liked the transcendentalists I read in literature, and wished I have known more about who they really were. They were abolitionist catalysts. Frederick Douglass (possibly my biggest personal hero), was very close to them, if not a universalist himself. St. Augustine wrote,"if you can understand it, it's not God." Some pretty open-minded acceptance and pluralistic thinking. Which is fine with me. Lincoln and Martin Luther King took a couple of their most famous phrases from Theodore Parker, the radical unitarian minister. (Government of the people, by the people, and for the people, from the Gettysburg address were Parker's words shared with Lincoln by his unitarian law partner.... it always comes back to lawyers) (and King's, "the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice). One of the most interesting things I have been reading and thinking about in this regard lately is that certainty. Certainty tends to be a facet of the culture and stated beliefs of many, perhaps most, modern Christians, and other orthodox religions. All knowledge may ultimately be circular (your pastor I think was right about that), but I think all knowledge and belief need not be rightly defined as dogma. Certainty is at odds with faith, which lives instead in paradox, mystery, and ambiguity. Hence, transcendentalism is first and foremost the rejection of pure materialism and pure rationalism. Anyway, we seem to like this so will be going back.
  14. Vet bills are the main cost consideration I dread with pets, even cats. We'll need to get our 2 fixed pretty soon, oy. I rescued one of the kittens from getting her head stuck in the mini-blinds chords a couple days ago, it was bad and took 5 minutes. Good thing I saw her, or she could have been in real trouble. Now we have to keep the blinds up.
  15. That's a tough one. If you want to PM or email me a copy of your resume, I can review it in general. I'm pretty good at these from having done hundreds of my own and reviewed and tweaked thousands for candidates as a recruiter. I'd made versions of mine for peer counseling and other mental healthcare and some similar non-profit roles. My learning was that only in true "peer counseling" roles is it acceptable to put things that even reference classes, programs, certificates completed. So....if you're thinking about putting anything that actually indicates or could lead to a conversation or inquiry about depression even, DON'T. Even setting stigmatization aside, it simply isn't an advantage, unless perhaps one is engaged in creative arts like painting, writing, music, or film-making. For everything else, it is, sad to say, a net liability - and it certainly is perceived as such. The only thing I can think of (which I still didn't tie back to depression or mental illness even implicitly), is that sophisticated employers who use psychometric assessments know that traits like empathy, creativity, perceptiveness, and interpersonal effectiveness - all of which can be enhanced in relation to depression, are professional assets.
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