Stockholm Syndome

Did you ever think about the fact that no one realizes they are in a situation Stockholm Syndrome describes?

I am getting ahead of myself again. Let me define this, give an example, then explain what I mean.

Stockholm Syndrome describes a situation where someone falls in a semblance of dependence on an overbearing situation. The most famous example, also where the name comes from, is a crew of bank robbers enters their intended target. They are there for hours, while police and security arrives on location, but is not able to enter for fear of something happening to a hostage. Over the time that they are kept as prisoners, the hostages start to relate more and more to the insurgents plea. They become sympathetic, some even falling in love with their captures. When the event is finally quelled, police are forced to let the majority of criminals go because no one is willing to give any information to police that would harm their new obsession.

Why would no one be able to identify they are afflicted by Stockholm Syndrome if they are, indeed, in the throws of it? They, by definition, would be so embroiled in a kind of narrative where the person they love could do no wrong.The relationship is never described as symbiotic. There is always described a strong power imbalance that favours the target of “desire”. If someone realised that they were giving in to this kind of pseudo-machasistic machination, it would cause the illusion to falter. They would, by acknowledging this, be admitting that their “captor” is bad, therefore, accepting what everyone is trying to tell them.

If you suspect that someone is stuck in the middle of some sort of power vacuum, start interrogations by asking them their opinion first. Launching into why they should be more worried could just cause them to real back and ignore everything they are saying. No one likes being reminded that they are weak. However, if you voice it as noticing something off and highlighting the issue instead of condemning, you will probably have a better chance of cracking a fincade.

In a situation like this, be prepared to cause a chain reaction. Make sure that before you remove a brick, you can have things in place to save the person you are trying to help. There is always the chance that pointing out an issue will wake someone from not thinking things are that bad, to noticing how everything is horrible and they don’t know how to fix it. If you can put out a hand to assist, that could make everything clearer. Just keep yourself open, keep your thoughts pure, and make everything you say as truthful as possible.

Yes, I am aware that Stockholm Syndrome (as a term) has been discredited. I am using the term as a shorthand that a majority of people will understand.

The Trolly Problem is Broken

I love “The Trolly Problem” and have for a very long time. I will stick with the version I know best, but Saania proposed a fantastic version involving a mad man and some theatrics that is very much worth your time.

The concept is simple: you are the conductor of a trolly. Driving your route, you notice that the breaks are out. Ahead, there are three people working on the tracks. Their equipment makes them completely unaware of your impending vehicle, and, the way they are situated, you will surly kill them all.

You then notice that there is a fork in the track that you are able to activate and take advantage of. Unfortunately, there is a solitary person sitting, enjoying the view away from you, clearly unaware of the impending doom. Of course, if you switch the track, he will surely be killed by the metric tonne of steel you drive.

The question that is supposed to sit at the end of this situation is “What do you do?”

Do you kill three to save one? Or do you go the path of sacrifice one for the many?

I have noticed that in every version I have seen of this conundrum, you are always given a situation that is out of your control. It has been my experience that people will rationalize and find ways to avoid blame.

It’s the mechanics fault. He should have checked the breaks better.
It’s the cities fault. They shouldn’t have workers on an active track without notifying the right people.
The solitary man should know better than to be near the tracks at that time.

This brings you to now, where I am trying to solve this issue with a situation that can not be thwarted.

The exercise is supposed to be about where the value in a human life sits. Is it actually better to kill three? Or is it better to destroy one life?

I really enjoy how The Good Place illustrated it.

The episode kept swapping out the solitary man or the workers for people the protagonist knew. One time, it was his mother or three important people from history. One time it was a mother with a stroller vs. a collection of nuns. It quickly became greater than one life vs. many and became more a question of morality.

Does one appearance matter more than another?

Again, my frustration with the question is that it is in a bubble. There is no credence placed on the guilt that forms after the event. No ramifications of resulting law suits or familial issues arise.

To be fair; the problem was devised to see what people would do in one situation and there was never supposed to be emphasis placed on any long term issues that arise. MIT released a version looking more in depth, but it still avoided “the next day” in every version that it brought up.

None of the issues detract from how much “fun” the thought experiment is, though!

What is a “Friend”?

Let us consider what a friend truly is, because I think the internet has distorted the definition greatly. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, just a fact.

The Google definition is fun, if kind of vague. The idea of a friend being someone you know is a bit, well, bleak. I have plenty of people that I consider friends whom I have never and will never meet. We met online, and continue to speak online. I guess you could argue that we know each other mentally, and have no regard for physical appearance. I also know many people who consider me a friend that I have not spoken to in years. Some of which, and I hope no one gets offended by this concept, I would no longer like. This does not change that I would happily tell someone they are a “friend” if the topic gets brought up.

So, if someone says they have no friends, do they mean that literally? I was in a conversation with someone that I consider a sister, and she stated the harrowing fact that she “has no friends.” My reply was asking what I am. She then tried to reverse what she was saying, very non-gracefully. Eventually, she had to change her definition to “no friends around me” which is a point that I was in no position to argue. We do live over an hour apart, and I haven’t spent time with her in over a year.

I shouldn’t bitch. I played in bands for about a decade. I played hundreds of shows and in front of thousands of people. I have gone to cities not knowing anyone, and stayed the night at a random persons house surrounded by dozens of people. In the end of those events, I am guilty for going on a self-pitting rant about how I do not have any friends.

If even in situations when surrounded by people I can feel alone and hollow, what is a friend? I have had more important and impactful conversations with people I have never (and, most likely, will never) meet.

So, I raise the question: What is a friend?

I contend a rather sterile answer. What if friends are who we need at that moment? What if they are who we can categorize as a friend, and not actually “a friend”? That would alleviate the social pressure to be the classical definition of a friend. I cannot promise that this plan would fix much, or even should be considered, but I ask that it should be contemplated.

We all need to relieve the pressure to have a friend. We all need to stop changing ourselves to be a friend.

The Good Place

My wife and I have been making our way through The Good Place for the second-ish time. I say “ish” because we saw the first season about five times before the second and third came to Netflix. We love this show for many reasons, but I know that I am drawn to it through its mockery of moral philosophy and the people who wrote papers on the subject.

I am in no way a philosophy learned person. I am, however, drawn to the quandaries they present. Especially when faced head on with questions that may come up in the common day to day. The Good Place does that bit perfectly. It is the opposite of preachy, and just poignant enough to be deep.

It got me wondering where I would wind up. Without spoiling the show, the good place and bad place are what they sound like: places for your “soul” to end up after you leave this mortal coil. Looking back at my life, I can say with great confidence that I have no clue where I would end up.

It raises the question that because I am even asking the question of how things would end up, is that actually a negative trait or a positive one? Is it selfish to dilute actions without taking into consideration intentions and mitigating factors?

The very concept that we have papers and books and essays written on the topics of moral decisions, would they even matter in the grander scheme?

Then, I got wondering if “The Good Place” is really just something we do to ourselves? If our actions and self-punishment is potentially worse than any scripture or text could ever predict?

It’s very possible, in my mind, that we create our own heaven and hell. The way that we perceive our actions today dictates how pleasant our today is. To assume that we are going to be tormented for all time for something I do today is a bit, well, silly. There is a good chance that our own self aware mind is punishment enough.

I have toucher’d and tormented myself for things I have done over the last 30 years. Some of them, I should really get over and accept that either it was situational or an accident. Some things I am so ashamed that I have ever considered. Some things only I see as horrible because I know the motivation behind it.

Maybe, we’re all Good.
Maybe, none of it matters in the long run.

That brings me to a mild and brief explanation of my view: nothing matters. What matters is making now great. Now, does that mean live in extravagance? Look at it this way: is what you’re doing now hurting you later? That’s more what I think about when I say “nothing matters”. Now is all that you can admit to ever experiencing, so why not make now better?

On this topic, amazon.ca and amazon.co.uk have fully updated my book release to the newest version. amazon.com is giving me a world of grief, but I have been informed there is NOTHING I can do. As soon as I see this rectified, I will make sure to post something about it.

In the meantime, the Friessen Press bookstore continues to be the more reliable way if you want to pick up your copy. Unfortunately, I have no information on how their digital copies hold up, but hardcover and softcover? Unmatched, somehow. They do printing in the states, the UK, and Canada, and they do individual orders. And, for full transparency, they are the best for me. Just saying.

Jeremy {ANEWSIN VOL. 9 — Jason Garden}

//Edited by Luka Riot

Jeremy rolls over in bed, legs and arms sore. His head still misty from his day prior. The sun has started rolling its beams of light through the window. His blinds do little against the cascade of morning light.

His dog, Tidus, barks and whimpers at the foot of the bed. Tidus is making it very clear that he wants to go outside, and requires someone with thumbs to make that a reality. Jeremy, however, refuses to donate his thumbs. This is a day that he wants little to do with.

The night before had been busy. Jeremy was in charge of making sure that business went well in his department. His department, in this instance, was being a decoy. The plots were not nefarious, or he did not think so. He was to distract onlookers, security, and anyone else who would otherwise tamper with what the event planner was concocting in the background. Usually, it was just harmless tagging or some superficial defacing of a government monument.

Last night was different.

The original plan, from what Jeremy was told, was to simply tag a wall. Victimless crime, more or less. The wall in question was erected to celebrate the corporation coming to power over the citizens in the area. The actual takeover was quiet, and the corporation did little to be considered corrupt. Their intentions actually seemed to be for the greater good, and most people were happy.

Keyword: most.

The economy was swapped from a monetary focus to that of a point-based system. If you had x-amount of points, you were just given things to keep your life at a certain comfort. You could work your way up to a higher echelon, but it was very easy to falter. To make it less fair, faltering could be against your will.

Disability, mental health, and region swapping. These were just three ways that things could turn in a heart beat. If you were walking down the street, and were stricken down by something resulting in a broken back, you would go onto some sort of recovery program set up by the state. If you were high in the ranks of society, you could expect a shift in your day-to-day, but that is about it. If, God forbid, you were in the lower tier, you could assume that everything you knew or held dear would come crashing down around you. Not only would you lose everything that made you feel human, but you would actually be forced to depend on things that are in place to hinder progression.

So, what was Jeremy doing? He was working with a group that wanted to raise awareness of the practice of this corporation. He was to run interference with the forces that would stop any sort of progress the rest of the group would be making with the wall. He was told that they were just spray painting and generally defacing the exterior which points towards the masses. He was to ride his wheelchair up and down the street, asking for help opening doors and crossing roads. The kinds of things that people assumed that people needed when they were as broken as he appeared to be.

His evening was going well, until he heard the blasts.

Two explosions rang out over the otherwise calm night. Jeremy was not harmed by debris flying through the air, nor by any glass erupting from storefronts. It was the cascade of panicked humans who forgot any compassion and pushed him out of the way. He hit the ground, his chair one full metre from his body. It had fallen onto the side, which made it cumbersome to right. All of this would have been a non-issue if it happened in the safety of Jeremy’s house; streets being pounded by hundreds of people is hard to prepare for.

No one offered to help him. It took the better part of an hour to right himself, and that was after many failed attempts.

That was a brief overview of what Jeremy had to deal with last night. Today was a new day, but that fact does not mend his sore muscles. Mend his joints from the forces they were not used to. Mend his already fragile ego from feeling dejected and used.

Tidus barks, and pulls Jeremy out of the fog his mind was in. Jeremy needed to let the dog out. In that moment he figured that keeping his head to one plan at a time was better than circling a drain of remembrance and rerouting. What was done is done, and no matter his roll, he could not change a thing.

Jeremy transferred into his wheelchair and rolled towards the patio door, all the while making sure that Tidus is behind him. He opened the door for the dog, who thanks him with a playful snort in his direction. Closing the door, Jeremy lazily rolled towards the kitchen. Coffee is the only thing that he craves. He places the cup under a filter and drains water through the beans. The whole process takes about five minuets, in which time Tidus makes it clear that he is ready to come inside.

He places the mug full of the hot coffee between his knees and rolls over to open the door. As expected, he is greeted by the big, slobbering face of his best friend. Less expected was the bullet travelling right over the head of Tidus and between the eyes of Jeremy. It appears that he was marked – that he was made the scape-goat for the entire operation.

The coffee cup crashes to the concrete and brown liquid graces his spokes. Tidus gets upset and ducks his head down as he scampered away.

Dare to be Morbid

I hit on this topic a month ago or so, but it came to light recently by a friend. He pointed out that I need a “Positive attitude.” I agreed, and acknowledged that I can be a bit morose, but I use my bleak outlook as comic alleviation. They immediately started pointing out how that is wrong. I am not denying that having a positive outlook is admirable, but being ostracized for being dark is extreme.

To look at the darker things in life can be shallow, but what does that say about life? If it is easier to point out and wallow in everything bleak and horrible, we have to look at our current climate and question the direction of society as a whole.

Where I deviate is that I point out the dark to accentuate the positive. I will help 10 old women across the road, then explain how patronizing and ridiculous it is that doing so makes me a good person. I am not doing it to minimize my actions, or to ridicule those who do not take them. I am simply examining what is going on and finding some sort of silver lining.

This world is scary. Life is horrible. We are all going to die. Now spin that! The world is scary, but it is scary because we do not look at what is possible. Did you know that your liver can reconstruct itself when just a quarter of its original size? That is fucking cool!

Life hurts. Heart ache, death, abandonment… So many things to fear and hate. It can also bring so much joy it can be overwhelming. Just look into the disabled community for stories that very much define how life can be amazing. Look at child birth to literally see a life that didn’t exist, exist! What the holy aweifoweifawefasfaweio — that’s so cool!

Yes, we are all going to die. That is a fact of, well, life. So, if that is such a fact, why ignore any part of what’s around you? Amazing things are only amazing in contrast to the less-than amazing. The time you don’t think that you made it across the street without getting hit will be the time you get hit. If you just celebrate the good all of the time, it will feel less good. If your zero is awesome, how could much be better? I’m done with metaphors to explain this. You need to look and laugh at the bad. It is a part of life – I would argue the most important part. It gives highs and lows definition.

That Guy.

(Okay. Last change of this post. You got this.)

Ironic that a post I have scrapped due to being too open and too distant turned out to be a rant on forgiving yourself, but these appear to be the times we live in.

I have spent the last five years battling with the demons that we hoisted upon me when I died.

I read pages, literal pages, of comments talking about what I meant to people throughout the time we knew each other. I was toted as being amazing by someone who, before I came out of the coma, decided that I was no longer worthy of knowing them at all. I have let my wife down just because I am who I am, and she sticks around because apparently I am worth it.

All of these things keep circling in my mind while I try to decide whether I am or not the person I strive to be, or if I am just an avatar cloaking the body of a monster. I have done some horrible things in my 30 years on the earth. Should I keep dwelling on those, or should I accept that I might not be a halfway bad human?

I am very curious if my attachment to what I have done in the past is actually even normal. My mind is stuck on the idea that I, and I alone, realize that I am capable of the dumb-shittery that I have done in the past. I guess, in a way, you can describe me as haunted by my decisions. One thing I will bow to is my arrogance in trying to do this publication bullshit on my own. All of my endeavours in the arts have all been independent. Not by complete choice, but I wonder if because I half know how to do it alone (kind of) I create a kind of false-bravado and tricks me into thinking “I can do it if I just do one more thing oh God I can do it just let me do it this time…”

Fill me in, internet! Tell me if you also experience this loop of self-doubt and self-loathing. Fill me in if you second-guess everything you do, as well! I am in need of vindication that this is normal. I would also like the heads-up if I need to seek a psychiatrist.

Philosophy & More

Interrupting this update to point you towards the rules for reviews on “You’re Not Dead”

I have started fantasizing about being a philosopher. I have no clue what becoming one would entail, but it would be so fascinating. To create ideas about what life is and human condition would be such an interesting endeavour.

I think my recent fascination has been caused by a stint of watching biographies brought to you by the School of Life on YouTube. They summarize a philosopher’s body of work and they do a quick biography on their life. It is a great way to waste a few hours.

At the same time, philosophers never seem to have a fantastic life (on the whole. Occasionally. Parts). I think what I hope for is that I will be remembered for doing something interesting after I die. Not by children, family, or others that are horribly biased, but by the masses. I realize that comes off as entitled, but it would be neat.

Of course, I say this not knowing if that will ever happen. I just want a Wikipedia page based on me because I am that vain.

Update: THE DEAD CAT

My fiancée called me in a crying panic earlier this morning [Saturday, May 20th]. While waiting for a cab to take her to work, she saw a cat on the road.
Dead.

The reason she got so upset (aside from seeing a dead cat) is that the cat apparently looked identical to ours. Hank was, meanwhile, sleeping behind me. We sorted it out very quickly, of course, but had no idea where to go next. Does anyone know the next step in Canada? We resorted to her asking the cab driver and I have no idea what happened next.

ANYWAY, the moral of this story is “please be careful with your pets.” Tasha and I have three that we love more than anything and could not fathom the idea of letting them escape the apartment, but I am quite aware that not everyone is that way.

Update Two: THE VERY DEPRESSING MOMENT

[a few hours after The Dead Cat]

The owner of the cat in question came to my door about an hour ago.

Apparently, the cat pushed its way through a screen and escaped outside.

The owner of the cat kept his composure as he told me over the baying of my two dogs, but it was clear he was upset.

After he departed, I held Hank for over an hour.

I love my cat.

Hank. Sleeping. Happy.