Thursday, July 31, 2014

philosophy to the rescue

Fred has found that ancient Greek philosophy is helpful in coping with a difficult situation that can't be solved.  My fondness for Patanjali is good for coping with PEOPLE whom I wish didn't exist.  ;-)  Civilization insists that I MAY NOT kill them, despite our ancestors' predilection for pushing the incurably-antisocial off the edge of the ice, so SOMETHING is needed to keep them from soiling our nests.

The 33rd sutra reads:

By sympathy with the happy, compassion for the sorrowful, delight in the holy, disregard of the unholy, the psychic nature moves to gracious peace.

When we are wrapped up in ourselves, shrouded with the cloak of our egotism, absorbed in our pains and bitter thoughts, we are not willing to disturb or strain our own sickly mood by giving kindly sympathy to the happy, thus doubling their joy, or by showing compassion for the sad, thus halving their sorrow. We refuse to find delight in holy things, and let the mind brood in sad pessimism on unholy things. All these evil psychic moods must be conquered by strong effort of will. This rending of the veils will reveal to us something of the grace and peace which are of the interior consciousness of the spiritual man.

Modern thought tells us that all that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good people to do nothing.  I'm sure that's true -- but it also causes a lot of stress when we are subjected to the constant stream of bad news that IS the modern world.  We join social media to try to increase contact with distant friends and relatives, and we get trapped into seeing examples of wickedness, greed and power-mania.  We "should" be doing something when we see all that's wrong, we think -- but there's so much of it we feel helpless.

I'm finding that the way to make internet communication work is to approach it with a hefty dose of Patanjali.  It works for the problem of trolls in the comment-sections of our favorite blogs, too.  There is no reasoning with them -- their joy is to stir up shit, though why they find that enjoyable is more than I can imagine.  They obviously want the attention and to show how clever they are (despite their mistaken impression of their own wittiness).  The best way to deal with them is to I-G-N-O-R-E, or to use the yogi's term, disregard them.

If nobody argues or engages, they'll go away eventually.  If they don't experience the joy of having the last word because their comments are deleted, they're bound to find that their attempts are in vain.  "Do not feed the trolls" should probably be the motto of all comment-sections, for the peace and happiness of writers AND readers.  That leaves plenty of room for sympathizing with the happy, displaying compassion for the suffering, and delighting in the "holy" -- the good, kind and up-beat people who ARE out there, despite the competing noise.

18 comments:

  1. Very eloquent, Tess.

    I saw a cartoon today that (sort of) suits the topic- http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cartoon/2014/aug/01/firstdog-cartoon-feelings

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    1. thank you, Chips! and your cartoon is bang on....

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  2. Yes! do not feed them... don't make eye contact, etc. Sometimes it's hard not to feed them... but if you don't it's like getting time on a Starbucks card in reverse. Instead of putting money on the card and buying coffee you are putting time on your internet card and finding peace. :) Karen P

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    1. I prefer a supportive, respectful and good-natured atmosphere, where people can disagree and express contrary opinions without snark. :-) ...then something in the outside world irritates me, and I vent here....

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  3. Hi Tess

    Is it only me, who thinks so many high profile people in the paleo and low carb world, have done a 180 degree turn around in the last six months. Carbs and spuds and starch is the new way to enlightenment, they are telling us.

    Kind regards Eddie

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    1. :-) it's human nature to like novelty. but what I suspect is happening is, the "starch-converts" don't have the compelling physical limitations some of us do -- they don't HAVE to limit carbs to be healthy or feel "normal." they just have to be low-carb to control adiposity and protect veins and brain from future glucose/insulin damage. and we all see that people have a hard time planning for "tomorrow" when it means they have to restrict themselves "today."

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  4. I still see the Paleo movement as a safe channel for the people who are inclined to choose food for ideological reasons. Whatever, but not veganism is great from my perspective. It is clear that part of our society wants to belong to some lifestyle cult, let them have an extra reason not to live on soda and pizza. We, lowcarbers, also need more relaxed alternative for our family members who can eat tubers without harm.

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    1. that makes a lot of sense. the modern world makes it easy to feel isolated and the "tribe" aspect of paleo is very attractive! :-) that's also why the crossfitting set may feel discomfited by all the middle-aged people who get relief from eating cleanly -- our people aren't the kind they want in their tribe.

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    2. Hi Tess

      I hear what you are saying, but at the risk of labouring the point, I am talking about people that have promoted low carb for years, to flog books and DVD's, appear now to have jumped ship.

      Kind regards Eddie

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    3. ah -- I see. it's hard to guess what their motivation may be! it's said that CS had success at weight loss with low-carb, but would not put up with the restriction.... is it the carb-addiction with ALL of them? is there perhaps a hint of substance-abuse-tendency? who knows?

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    4. Jenny Ruhl over at the Diabetes Update blog observed long ago that people tended to go through a period of religious zealotry, three to five years of backsliding, and then they were on to another diet (or eating randomly).

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    5. Good point Lori

      I have no choice as a type diabetic so it is easy for me. Jan does have a choice but she has low carbed for over six years. Alzheimer's runs through her family, which is being described these days as type 3 diabetes. Who knows what the future holds, one thing is for sure, a diet based on sugar and starch does no one any good.

      Kind regards Eddie

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  5. I love snark....elsewhere. I have specific sites I go to that ENCOURAGE snark, and get my snark feeds there. I won't tolerate it at my blog, though. ;) (yeah, that sounds hypocritical, but it really isn't. LOL)

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    1. I don't think "hypocritical" is the word i'd use -- I liken the situation of different restaurants calling for different dress-codes! if you want to wear your workout clothes, you don't go to a dressy restaurant, and if you feel like dressing up, you'll look absurd at the diner. ;-)

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    2. Yeah. I was too lazy to think of a better analogy. LOL

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  6. Stoicism advises people to avoid low company: you're more likely to sink than they are to rise. Had Tom Naughton followed this advice, I doubt he'd have gotten caught up in starch-driven quackery or making crude comments on his blog.

    Jesus may have been surrounded by prostitutes and tax collectors, but they were followers he told to go and sin no more, not his buddies.

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    1. interesting, and impossible to deny -- I should read more classical philosophy. :-)

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  7. "Stoicism advises people to avoid low company: you're more likely to sink than they are to rise."

    Sounds like straight thinking to me. When we have grief on our blog the page views go up by thousands per week. The stats tells us they hang around reading the recipes and links to good low carb news. Is it a price worth paying, it's a point I often wonder about.

    Kind regards Eddie

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