Tuesday, May 03, 2005
This is a wonderful, impassioned piece, MickeyZ.
And, obviously, you’re sincere. You write innumerable essays, blog notes, board posts and they’re all excellent. Your books interest me very much, and I hope I’ll get to them relatively soon. You’re mantaining this site, which brings lots of folks together… You bust your ass.
Your general perspective has inspired me, really, to consider writing more than just a post here or a blog there. You’ve made me feel that maybe I can actually make a difference.
Thanks for that.Posted by joe from grants pass on 05/03 at 11:17 AM
Thanks, Joe. You CAN make a difference...not always as you imagine, but you can. Also, I appreciate your kind words and indeed, I do put much time and work into what I do. However, I never want to understate how much others have done and are doing under conditions I couldn’t dream of. Lastly, if you decide to buy a book or two of mine, let me know. I could sell ‘em directly to you for a good price.
Thanks again...I look forward to hearing more from you.Posted by Mickey Z. from Astoria on 05/03 at 12:35 PM
Thanks for this one, Mickey. This hits on one of my pet peeves. Too often “therapy” denies the reality of the situation, and implies that the flaw is in the victim. It is even worse than you describe. The problem of the “Self Help” mumbo jumbo is just part of the problem. The whole concept of Therapy needs to be examined. Every time that there is a killing in a school, they send in grief counselors. I always wonder what magic words could be said to lessen someone’s grief at the time of a loved one’s death. There are several books out there that expose the myths of therapy. I think that most therapists could be better replaced by a good bartender, or better yet, a good friend. It seems to me that we are outsourcing our need for compassion and empathy. Maybe when the workers in China and India figure out a way to do the counseling from there....oh well, just a thought…Posted by rosemarie jackowski from on 05/03 at 03:24 PM
Thanks, MickeyZ - when I buy em, I’ll buy em from you. Maybe, one day, I can write one of my own, and return the favor, though I don’t know quite where to begin. I’ll never be an essayist, I’m a storyteller, babbler… But, I suspect, good things can come in many packages, eh?
Hi Rosemarie - good to ‘read’ you! I know what you mean about the “grief counselors.” Instead of saying: “Wow, what a fucked up society we’ve created! Our kids are murdering each other in the halls, we’ve got to change EVERYTHING!” They call in a bunch of counselors… Big Brother is everywhere watchful, it seems, lest the slightest portion of Truth might leak out and ‘corrupt’ the populace.
Well, ‘corruption’ is our game, then - let us play hard…Posted by joe from grants pass on 05/03 at 06:29 PM
Thanks Joe...you said it better than I did !Posted by rosemarie from on 05/03 at 06:35 PM
Hey man. Again, I spin back to the travel thing. People are way the hell out of balance. It’s not a word, but it should be: “dis-equilibrium.” I remember back in college I had to take a health class, and there was this focus at one point that when the body is hurting, the mind screams out and vise versa. The self help industry thrives because there is a market for it. Americans don’t have to buy those books, but they (we) do. There is pain that derives from living a life out-of-balance. Guilt, self-loathing, anxiety and all that shite is real. It’s human. But being subjected to the sensory bombardment as we are (a bombardment that insults our self-images if we don’t keep up with the consumption machine) and it can be easy to lose all perspective whatsoever.
I think our country is kind of like a huge portrait. You stand on top of it, and it’s very hard to get an idea of what it looks like in its entirety. Not the only solution, but maybe one of a collection: step far enough away from the portrait to get a better initial view; see how that other 80% of the developing world looks like, smells like, sounds like. Get a perspective on what pain and misfortune really is. Maybe pick up a few recurring dreams out of the experience to boot. Then come back and set that same person loose in a bookstore.You get enough people to do that and I bet that self-help industry would dry up pretty quickly.
Keeping the bulk of us insulated maintains the consumption machine. Being chained to this machine as so many first-worlders are keeps us on a course railing against our better natures. Thus the pain. Insulation keeps us grasping toward what limited resources we have at our disposal. Thus the half-assed choices in self-help books. To sign off with a quote by Montaigne, “What is truth that is bound by these mountains, but is falsehood to the world that lives beyond.”Posted by richardjoseph from Astoria on 05/05 at 09:26 AM
Thanks, Rich...good stuff. If anyone wants to delve deeper into this, I suggest you check out Rich’s forum: http://xsorbit26.com/users5/transcend/index.php?PHPSESSID=6cfc23e2800c549f5e2dda0a8f080f79&board=12.0Posted by Mickey Z. from Astoria on 05/05 at 10:33 AM
Geez, I even hesitate to offer any disagreement, but feel I must. Since reality is oftne the veritable elephant in the midst of the blind, there are other aspects to be considered.
The most striking is why we are so adddicted to the machine. Early in my political career - which included time in Jackson, Mississippi, so I read the piece on Jackson State with interest, and I believe one non-student was killed in those times - his name was Ben Brown, and he played a mean “Heart and Soul” on any available piano - I marvelled that the mass of Americans were more concerned with the commercial support of their self esteem, and the continuation of their prejudices, than on thier own welfare. As one “white” student put it, after her arguments defending racism were soundly defeated, “I just feel that way!” It didn’t take me long to figure out that logic would not win the day, nor would enlightened self interest.
And I had to look at my own ineffectiveness. Indeed, the personal IS political. There are enough outer demons, one doesn’t really need a phalanx of inner critters creating messy relationahsips, and otherwise letting past events reenact themselves endlessly - as Dylan has so aptly stated: “to be stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again.”
The outer reality is really a composite of the hellish inner reality of the ruling class, and is given it’s power by the tendrils of dysfunction successfully rooting into the emotional reality of the rest of us. They are some really sick puppies, and if exposed would not last a minute.
The screen that hides this reality is created in our early years, both in the prelogical and early logical years. Things are seen, but denied because they have no place in the commonly accepted reality. For example, what is the mechanism that consigns some of us to the Dante’s Hell of prostitution? What is it that stops a large part of our population (and it is a large part, trust me) from enjoying sexual intimacy? And why are those who prey on others with their emotional sickness in this way, not exposed routinely, instead of throught the occasionally in the media created bouts of titillation? Why do we whisper, instead of scream? Because sexual abuse is so widespread, and its damage is so complete, we remain silent or risk being called “crazy”, “vindictive”, “seductive”, or just another person “scorned.” Our self esteem and sense of self is so damaged, we deny our own abuse, deny the abuse of others, or become abusers ourselves to avoid facing the pain of our own lives. We become involved in the lives of others in the media, both the real and the fictional, and let our own quietly waste away or engulf us in chaos.
We fail to experience the reality of our own lives, because to experience the corruption and pure meaness of our so-called leaders is too similiar to our experiences at the hands of the “authority figures” of our childhood, and the failure of our parents and the authorities to protect us.
To deny the reality contained in many of these “self help” books, is to simplify the dynamics of human behavior in the same fashion as our mass media. The power of our most effective political action has always been exemplified by the more “self actualized” among us, who touched the part of us uncontaminated by the predominate culture of abuse.Posted by Lorana Tremper from Detroit, Michigan on 05/05 at 11:11 AM
Lorana, your post highlights the limitations AND the potential of a blog post. By design, the initial post is a simplification. Limited by space (and time), I’m hoping to share a thought and perhaps provoke other thoughts (including those of disagreement). The goal of my post here was to point out how we privileged folks have the luxury to believe that some visualization or yoga can make things right. The 12-year-old making Nike sneakers in a Vietnamese sweatshop doesn’t share that luxury...and probably isn’t too keen on waiting for us to achieve Nirvana before we take a stand. Still, having said that, I agree that there’s more to self-help book industry than meets the eye. Even so, the vast majority of humans on the planet would benefit if we all spent less time trying to attain our full emotional potential and more time agitating for peace and justice.
I thank you for filling in some gaps on my original post, Lorana. That’s what a good comments section should do.Posted by Mickey Z. from Astoria on 05/05 at 12:49 PM