Monday, February 27, 2017

Abuse, Neglect and Family Values

A question that has been on my mind quite a lot is, What is worse – abuse or neglect?

People whose parents abused them grow up to both hate and love their parents. People whose parents left them appear to have nothing toward their parents but hate. Jim Morrison wrote songs about wanting to kill his father, but Eminem wrote songs about wanting to kill his mother, and Everclear wrote a very passionately father-hating song (“Father of Mine”) about the father who left him and his family when he was a child.

What is worse: Abuse or neglect? I do not know at this time which one it is. In my own situation I've made great effort to avoid both; and my daughter loves me and is a very happy child.

Now many single mothers get all sorts of flak for it. In many situations it was not their fault. If a man is afraid of responsibility and refuses to take care of the child, then the woman is not at fault for it; he is. I once ran into a man who called himself a “producer” because he “produced” 8 different children by 8 different mothers. The women whom he had impregnated do not deserve to be blamed for his misconduct. He deserves to be blamed for his misconduct.

I come from a Jewish culture, and in the Jewish culture it would be unthinkable for a man not to take care of his children. The conservatives do not own family values. Many Jewish people are liberal; but they are at least as family-oriented as are the conservatives.

Who is worse: The father who beats or rapes his children or the father who leaves them? At this point I simply do not know. What I do know is that I for myself refuse to do either of the above; and that for as long as I have anything to do with it my daughter will grow up without either abuse or neglect.

Does Evil Exist?

Some people do not know whether or not evil exists. In the words of a wonderful friend of mine named Elizabeth, how can it not?

Anything human is capable of choice. Anything capable of choice can do good or do bad. Evil is knowingly choosing to do the wrong thing.

In a film about Richard Nixon, a member of the administration tells a journalist, “60% of what he did was right, and 30% he thought was right even though it was wrong.” The journalist responds with, “But that still leaves 10% when he was doing wrong and knew it was wrong.” For 30% there was an excuse of ignorance; for 10% there was no excuse at all.

Now there have been different conceptions of evil through history. In Christianity and Islam all evil originates in a single source – the angel who rebelled against God. According to ancient Greeks, there is no such a figure; evil is ignorance. I believe that there is a room for both conceptions of evil. There is intelligent, calculating evil. There is also evil that blindly does stupid things. Whether the person poisoning the air is a knowing villain such as Exxon or an ignorant person who thinks that global warming is a liberal scam, the air gets poisoned in either case.

There are all sorts of ways to arrive at undesirable outcomes. Sometimes the road to hell is in fact paved with good intentions; there are many times when these intentions are not good at all. Sometimes people do wrong knowingly and sometimes people do wrong unknowingly. In either case the wrong gets done. Evil can be deliberate wrongdoing and it can also be result of ignorance.

Knowing evil is less excusable than unknowing evil. However to avoid bad scenarios both need to be held in abeyance and confronted. Knowledge and education fixes evil according to Greeks. Choice and scrutiny fixes evil according to Bible and Quran. Confront ignorance with education; and if someone chooses knowingly to do wrong then stop them.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Australian Manhood and American Feminism

Australia has a reputation for violence toward women. Many men believe such things as “be mean, keep them keen” and that Australian men have “figured out that women are bitches and breed them out of that attitude.”

Do you know how such men come across to me? I'll tell you. As a bunch of ungrateful brats.

They haven't had to deal with American feminists or American feminism-influenced women. Instead they have the attention of women who are kind, generous and hard-working. And all they can think to do in return for their good fortune is to treat such women like dirt.

Australia is of course in no way the only place in the world that has this problem. My home country – Russia – does as well. So, to an even greater extent, do the Middle East and India. However my daughter is here, which obligated me to make sure that she is free of such things.

Some people are under mistaken impression that real men knock women around. I do not see how that at all qualifies as any kind of manliness. It is not hard at all for a man to beat up on a woman. It takes a lot more to love her. If someone who's been as much maligned as I can refrain from being abusive to a woman who is described by any number of people as a bitch, when she is by her own admission at her worst behavior while being with me, then any other man can likewise refrain from being violent or abusive to his wife.

I see misogynistic attitudes all around me, and all I see is a bunch of spoiled brats. Once again, these men have not had to deal with women who are actually bad. They haven't lived in Chicago or in Boston. They haven't had to go to university in America in 1990s. They have no idea what an actual “bitch” is. Instead they get all sorts of things out of their relationships with good women and in return treat their women like dirt.

Probably the reason for the behavior of Australian men is that Australian manhood has been shaped by a bunch of violent criminals. Maybe it's time that Australian men hold themselves to a higher standard of conduct. Maybe it's time that they reject the ways of the violent criminals and cultivate better conduct. Doing so will not make them any less manly. In fact it will supplement their manliness – which very much is in strong supply – and make it a force for good.

The folks who cry wolf are often in sore need of seeing a real wolf. If they think that Australian women are bitches, they need to be met with real ones. Then they will get a better sense of perspective. This will allow them to appreciate what they have in this country. And it just might also influence these men toward better behavior.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sociopaths and Aliens

One question that very rarely gets asked is, “Why are sociopaths such experts at emotional manipulation?”

My response to that is that if you've had to learn something consciously rather than unconsciously, you develop a better understanding of it than if your learning has been unconscious.

Apparently these people are aliens and do not share with others a similar emotional structure. Which means that they have to put in a lot of conscious effort into understanding other people. And a person who does that will be better at it than would a person who was not an alien.

As a non-native English speaker, I got a lot of praise for my command of the English language. The reason was that I have learned it consciously rather than unconsciously; and someone who does that gets better understanding of what he is dealing with than if his learning had been unconscious.

I have never been diagnosed as a sociopath, although a number of lay people made that claim. According to some people you cannot win. You do not have social skills, you are a social retard. You do have social skills, you are a sociopath. This is a vast hypocrisy, and it has gone on for long enough.

If you do not share with other people their concept of what is feeling, you will be described as a sociopath. The problem is that this is done far more than it is worthy of doing. You will describe those in power whom you like as good people, and you will describe those with strengthening qualities whom you do not like as a sociopath. If Reagan is in power, he is a great man. If Obama is in power, he is a sociopath.

Why do sociopaths become such experts at emotional manipulation? Because they have had to learn emotions consciously rather than unconsciously. They appear not to have come with a regular equipment. So then they have had to use their intelligence to figure out what everyone else takes for granted. The result is people who are experts at manipulating human emotions.

If you are an alien, you will have a more profound understanding of people's feelings than someone who is not an alien. You will have had to consciously learn what everyone else takes for granted. This will in all cases lead to insight, which can be used for right or for wrong. Not everyone who is a sociopath will do terrible things. But many will have insight that others lack.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Values and Likes

I have known any number of situations in which a liberal woman was with a conservative man. Typically they did not get along as to how to bring up children. The woman would attack the man for damaging the child psychologically, and the man would attack the woman for destroying the structure that he wanted to put into place. In many cases both had a point.

The problem in these situations has been the discord between likes and values. The man was attracted to artistic free-spirited women; but in a marriage he wanted a traditional wife. This is a recipe for disaster for everyone, including himself. The man would get the woman he wanted, then he would be unhappy with her behaviour. He would have gone for his lusts and found it taking him into a place that he did not want to go.

These men need to figure out what they want. Do they want a cat kind of person, or do they want a dog kind of person? A cat will be expected to act like a cat. A dog will be expected to act like a dog. If you go for a cat but want her to act like a dog, this simply will not take place. Everyone will be miserable, and that will include the man himself.
The solution is to bring values and likes into accord. It is to either learn to value the artistic kind, or else learn to find the traditional kind of women attractive. In either case, the man would be acting as a single unit rather than as a bundle of conflicting motives; and in either case he – and the woman with whom he would partner – will have a much better life.

Happiness is a function of living at the intersection of one’s values and one’s likes. Living in the place of one’s values without one’s likes creates a life of grim joyless duty. Living in a place of one’s likes without one’s values takes one into the land of guilty and shameful pleasures. It is when the values and likes are in accord that happiness can be found. And that means, once again, either bringing one’s likes to accord with one’s values or bringing one’s values to accord with one’s likes.
Not all men who do what I have written about are bastards. Most however are confused, and all without exception become miserable and make others miserable as well. The solution is to reconcile one’s values and one’s likes. Either learn to like what you value or learn to value what you like. At that point happiness – and peace – can actually become possible.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Dr. Sam Vaknin

A minor celebrity in recent years has been Sam Vaknin. He is a former businessman who got busted for some kind of white-collar crime and gained modest fame for promoting the concept of the narcissistic personality disorder. In the process he has made a number of claims that should be addressed.

Mr. Vaknin states that narcissism is common to people who are smart, handsome and lacking in conscience. Most people think that I'm smart; some people think that I'm handsome; but I very much do have a conscience, otherwise I would not feel guilty about so many things. When I was working for Oracle, I put in an atrocious performance, and this has been on my conscience for years. I have since then apologized to my former boss. We are now good friends.

Mr. Vaknin stated that Jesus had been a narcissist and a sociopath. This is something that happens when wrong people get to define mental health. A conman will always be against anything absolute, and an anal retentive will always be against anything passionate. When wrong people decide what is health and what is sickness, the world suffers. This is regardless of whether or not they are narcissists.

Mr. Vaknin has been making the case that there are things that people owe to others and that there are things that people owe to themselves. My response to that is, How dare you tell me what I owe myself. As for others, they can speak for themselves. I do not need Mr. Vaknin telling me what I owe to others. They can do so themselves.

Mr. Vaknin militates against both Renaissance and Romanticism. He claims that Renaissance produced people who were amateurs, and that Romanticism produced people who were emotive. So why is it then that we now look back to Renaissance and Romanticism? Was Michelangelo an amateur? Were Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Mary Shelley bad people? Or is this something that one might hear from someone who has no use for beauty and wisdom and is a controlling person, whether he be a narcissist or not?

The idea of narcissism of course precedes Sam Vaknin. The problem with the idea is that it would pathologize most people who make meaningful contributions. If it is narcissistic to seek great success, or if it is narcissistic to have original ideas, then everyone who's achieved great success – and everyone who has original ideas – is a narcissist. This would pathologize most of the world's greatest contributers. Do not claim to be protecting society when you are destroying what made it great in the first place.

Mr. Vaknin argues that a narcissist is someone who's lost his true self. The question to ask here is, True – according to whom? I once encountered people claiming those who adopt European and Japanese styles as posers. I can't believe that such a belief is practiced in America. What is one's true self? Is it whatever people saw you as being when you were a child? Is it however people may have pigeonholed you before you had anything to do with this matter as a conscious, volitional being? Are the people who came from Europe to America or Australia guilty of narcissism because they left the places that thought they knew them in order to build a better life elsewhere? Are we to be forever bound to the false judgments that people made of us when we were children? Or is this mentality that denies the most fundamental reality – that of choice as to who, and what, to be?

Of course people have been calling one another narcissists left and right ever since this idea was popularized. I have seen kind, genuine, compassionate people being branded narcissists as well. In most cases they are wrong. And even in cases where they are right, the question to ask is, So what? America's new president is a narcissist. He built a $9 billion business empire, and you haven't.

There will always be times when one or another profession goes off a cliff. We are seeing this today with psychology. The qualities that made America great in the first place – ingenuity, risk-taking, original thinking – are being treated as a pathology. This is terrible for America. It is more terrible for the world.

According to the definition of this concept, America was founded by narcissists. According to the definition of this concept, most of America's industrialists and inventors were narcissists. According to the definition of this concept, there is now a narcissist in the White House. Gates, Clinton and any number of others were accused of narcissism. Yet these people made vast contributions, whereas people demonizing them have not.

I take issue with the concept of untreatable disorders. All it says is that the person has no idea how to solve whatever problem a person may have. The correct solution in such situations is to stay away from people who think that way and find real solutions in other places.

One such place most certainly is religion. God promises redemption for all sinners, which psychology does not. Who is a better authority: Jesus Christ or Dr. Sam Vaknin? Who has better ideas as to what you owe yourself and what you owe other people? Who was a better person and a better teacher?

Now I do not consider myself a better person than Mr. Vaknin. I do however believe that I have better ideas. On this issue, the claim is based on simple reason. Anything human is capable of choice. And anything capable of choice can be good, bad, or a mix.

If someone is on a destructive path, fine, correct them. But do not go around claiming that some people are evil and can only be evil whatever they do. Once again, anything capable of choice can be good, bad, or a mix. This is not only limited to narcissists. This is the case for everyone.

It is in this – recognition of the fact of human choice – that solution can be found to all such problems. Choice elevates you above bestial dynamics and gives you authority as to what you want to be. Anything human – narcissist or not – can choose to act rightfully; and it is in this that lies the true solution to fascism, whatever may be its source and whatever may be its direction.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Impact and Choice

The impact you have on the world is a multiple of the number of choices you make with the impact of each choice.

Choices by themselves build upon one another exponentially. A choice (Lambda) will have two or more subchoices (sub-Lambda). Each choice will lead to either two choices (Yes or No) or to more than two choices (Yes, No, Maybe, and any number of mixes). The result will lead to choices growing exponentially. The more choices you make, the more other choices they beget.

Each choice has an impact upon the world (I). This impact can take place in any number of directions. All sorts of people – and things that are not of people – get impacted by one's choices; and [I] can be taken into any possible place.

The entire sum total of one's impact upon the world is the multiple of the Lambda and all sub-Lambdas by the [I] of each. The more choices you make, and the greater the impact of each choice, the greater becomes the effect of your life. Magnifying either one will increase one's impact.

The more choices you make, and the greater the impact of your choices, the more you do for the world.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Forgiveness and Sociopaths

Some people forgive everything and others forgive nothing. Both have ways of justifying their choices. The first tend to cite the statements of Jesus and other spiritual arguments toward that effect. The second use anything likewise, both religious and non-religious. I would like to talk about a mentality that I've seen in a number of mostly non-religious people that has been nothing less than fascist and that has gotten far too big for its merits.

The claim that they make is that the people who violate any rule – real or unofficial – are sociopaths: Cold monsters who have no conscience. They believe that these people never change and that they can only be evil whatever they do. Out of this consideration they are absolutely vicious to many people.

There are several obvious problems with this kind of thinking. One is that anything human is capable of choice; and anything capable of choice – sociopath or not – is capable of right choice. Even a sociopath can choose to act rightfully; and it is completely irrational to claim to the contrary.

Another problem is that this kind of thinking leads to de facto totalitarianism. The claim that people can be made criminal by virtue of their personality is the claim that people can be made criminal by virtue of how they think. This introduces a totalitarianism so absolute that people are not allowed to be free from it even within the privacy of their minds.

Finally, there can be any number of reasons why one would violate a rule. Often the reasons for that are conscientious enough. If your society tells you to throw sulfuric acid into the face of a child, then a conscientious person will object to such a rule.

None of this applies to me, as I have never been diagnosed as a sociopath. I am not however in favor of witch hunts; and that is what we see here. The claim is made that some people aren't even human. In this are denied them their most basic rights. Such things are not meant to be happening in Western democracies.

In this matter, religion is far ahead of psychology. Religion rightfully states that all sinners can be redeemed. Until psychology has similar realizations, it will continue to lose power to religion.

The mechanism for that, once again, is choice. Anything human is capable of choice; and anything capable of choice is capable of rightful choice. That applies as much to sociopaths as it applies to everyone else.

Being branded a sociopath or anything of the sort does not have to be a death sentence. You are human, you can choose deliberately how to think and how to behave. If you are on a bad course, change directions. People are not limited to the accident of their neurology or psychology. People are conscious beings who are able to choose their thinking and their acts.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Goodwill and Slanders

Probably the most maddening situation is when you bear good will toward someone else, but they bear ill will toward you.

There were many people in the former Soviet Union and Communist China who bore good will toward the revolution, only to find that the revolution wanted them in the gulag. For a long time I bore good will toward feminism, only to find that feminism uncompromisingly hated me. I have born good will toward any number of people only to have them viciously attack me.

In most such situations, the correct solution is not to bear such people good will any more.

I have been called all sorts of ridiculous things. I have been called a sociopath. That is ridiculous; my score on the sociopath dimension was less than that of an average person. I have also been called a misogynist. That too is ridiculous; a misogynist will not write three books of poetry for three different women. Obviously perceptions of many people are very wrong – in some cases precisely wrong. Represent things as their opposites. Tell a Big Lie, and eventually people will believe it.

Now I have at all times in my life had a hunger for contributing meaningfully. I ended up contributing all sorts of things, for some of which I was recognized and for others of which I was not. If I had been a sociopath or anything of the sort I would have not had such an interest.

Ultimately I wish harm to nobody. There are however all sorts of people whom I see doing wrong things, whom I seek to correct in their behavior. At this point in my life, this particularly relates both to feminist women who act in a vicious manner and to men who believe it their right to beat women.

Now unlike those people, I do not wish to see any of them dead, and I do not wish to see any of them in jail. I want them to correct their behavior. It is wrong that a man would go to jail for “beating up his wife's fist with his face.” It is also wrong that a man would break his wife's skull so badly that she needs 40 stitches and get full custody of the child. On both sides we see very vicious injustices; and both sides are in the wrong.

I started out on the Left, but I've moderated my views as I got older. I used to believe that women were better than men; I do not believe that any more. I did not change my stance to misogyny, as have any number of others. I changed my stance to one of reason. Anything human – male or female – is capable of choice; and anything capable of choice can be good or bad.

When my goodwill toward women was met with very aggressive ill will by American feminists, that motivated me to change my standpoint. I did not move to misogyny; I moved to reason and moderation. I came to the realization that neither gender is better or worse than the other; and that both men and women can be good or bad.

Once again, ultimately I bear ill will toward nobody, even American feminists. I want them to change their ways. I want them to stop being vicious and to become better human beings. The same is the case with the father's lobby, some of whom have been posting slanders against me and my former wife. Unlike them, I want none of them dead, and I want none of them in jail. I want them to improve their behavior.

I got attacked very badly by feminism-influenced women, and my former wife is getting attacked very badly by the father's lobby. In both cases precisely the wrong people are being attacked. I started out with good will toward women, and my former wife started out with good will toward men. Neither side has either the guts or the power to reach real perpetrators. Instead they attack people whom they think they can attack. Their behavior is worse than cowardly.

Once again, I do not want to see either party dead or in jail. I want them to improve their behavior. It is wrong that feminists attack me when men all around the world – and in many parts of America – are going around beating up women and raping kids. It is also wrong that the father's lobby attack my ex-wife when genuinely vicious women are doing horrible things to their men and whatever men they think they can attack. Neither of us deserve that kind of attention. Many others do.

I have said this before, and I will say this again. I seek to bring sanity to gender relations. I want people to have a sense of perspective on this and any number of other issues. There are miles to go between getting into an argument with one's wife and breaking her skull. I want real abuse confronted, and I want regular argument situations to be left alone.

Now a moderate stance will of course get negative attention from the extremists on both sides. However it is a sane stance, and one that carries much greater promise. Conflict in relationships is inevitable; brutality is not. Refraining from brutality is a matter of character. And if I, having been demonized by feminists and any number of others, can refrain from being abusive in a relationship with a woman who has likewise been demonized, then so can any other man.

Serial Killers, Personality Disorders and Choice

Just about everyone knows about Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer; but not many people know about another serial killer named Charles Cullen. This person was an emergency room nurse who killed 300 people under his care. At first his killings appear to have been motivated by compassion. He saw people in horrible agony, and he euthanized them. Then he appears to have gotten bloodlust and started killing people left and right. Eventually of course he got caught.

When Cullen was in jail, his former girlfriend asked him to donate a kidney to save the life of her husband. He accepted the request. His police officer questioned him about it. To this he made an intelligent response. The response was, “Well this depends on what you think about people.”

This response is indeed valid. It appears that when someone has you pegged as a bad guy, he thinks that you are incapable of doing anything good. This indeed contradicts what we do know about people. All sorts of people have done both good things and bad things. Germans did horrible things during the Second World War; then they came home and built a beautiful country.

I have seen this error all the time. All sorts of people decide that their partner is a bad person, so they do not believe it when they are actually doing something good. In some situations, it does not matter how much good you do; you still get pegged as a bad guy, and whatever good things you do get portrayed as a sneakier attempt to do evil.

In case of Charles Cullen, his behavior appears to have been a result of a very legitimate psychopathology. As a child he had to take care of his family. He learned to take care of people. He also resented the people for whom he cared. He cared for them, then he started killing them.

That someone has done something bad does not mean that he cannot also do good. Once again, we see that with the behavior of the Germans during and after the Second World War. We also see the same in much less obvious situations. The first white settlers in Australia were convicts, but they did the right thing in Australia. America's settlers slaughtered the natives, then they started the greatest country in the world.

I do not believe for one moment that doing bad things at one point disqualifies the person from doing good things later. Charles Cullen is an obvious example of that, but there are many others.

I would like at this time to address something that has been claimed for a long time about people branded with sociopathic and narcissistic personality disorders. The claim is that these people are evil and can only be evil whatever they do. This contradicts most basic rationality. If people are responsible for their behavior then anyone – including the sociopaths and the narcissists – can choose to act rightfully. And if they cannot act rightfully whatever they do, then people are not responsible for their behavior.

Anybody can choose to do the right thing. If Charles Cullen could give his kidney to save someone's life, then a sociopath or a narcissist can choose to act rightfully as well. If concentration camp guards can come home and build a great country, then so can a sociopath or a narcissist. If convicts can build Australia – and murderers of Native Americans build America – then anyone can choose to do the right thing. It is time that more people recognize this basic human reality and act accordingly in whatever situation demands it.