My blog

My blog covers all the subjects that I’m confronted with as well as my autobiography. I hope that it is entertaining for family, friends and acquaintances – or for those people that just happen upon it.

I use only my own photos, and where I have written in German, I hope that I haven’t made too many mistakes. I would be happy for you to comment. The facility is there. I can only stress that if you find anything that should be corrected, for whatever reason, please tell me.
Love
Rob

Spiritual Emergency and Depression

I have been reading Spiritual Emergency from a number of authors edited by Stan Grof MD, and I’ve been thinking about the crisis I went through. I have also investigated personality types via the enneagram and found the symptoms I went through as normal for my type under stress. It makes me wonder whether depression is sometimes just the normal reaction of some people to stress – especially when it continues for years, like in my case. It is questionable, whether there is an organic cause. Bodily problems are more likely physical symptoms – the body screaming at my mind, so as to say.
I associate this with the spiritual crisis that accompanied my depression and find a myriad of questions going through my mind at that time. Since then I have started a tentative approach to Christianity in order to find the ground where I can stand spiritually. I had made the mistake of following the reasoning of laypeople who are more fundamentalist in their outlook. Since then I have been looking at what more informed people have to say and there are more people qualified nowadays, and they are available on YouTube too. This is where I found authors like Stan Grof, James K.A. Smith, Richard Rohr, and Andreas Ebert.
I have also been reading my way through Jörg Zink’s mystical books (Dornen können Rosen tragen, Unten dem großen Bogen), which are more Anthologies of mystical thought. I think it has been a grave mistake to underestimate our need for spirituality, and how the lack can lead to depression. I was also in the wrong job, as it turns out. I did my best, but throughout the years I have been struggling, frequently calling on abilities that I had learned, but which were not my inherent abilities. I had seen my job as a vocation, a calling, and perhaps it was the right thing to do up until a point. I had been advised by experts to take a therapeutic vocation, which was my intention, but it didn’t happen. Richard Rohr even said in his book, that many people with my enneagram type are monks, which should have rung a bell.
What I now have considered is, perhaps my depression wasn’t just my body screaming at my mind, but my soul yearning for spiritual guidance. Stress may have been just a catalyst for something more meaningful.

2020 – Can it get worse?

There has been a lot written about COV-19 and I’m not the right person to give my advice, but why didn’t we think that anything like this has been could happen? There have been people warning governments and health organisations for years.

The biggest threat has been to the lives of people who are not healthy to begin with. A cynic could suggest that capitalist governments could use the crisis to relieve the costs of the health care of these people, but I’m not a cynic. I don’t want to believe that. It is disturbing that in the UK and America there are so many deaths in comparison to their neighbours, and still the nationalistic choirs chant how good they are dealing with it.

So this is Christmas

The day after Christmas, when everything becomes relatively normal again, reminds me of this title from John Lennon. In the past, I have been in the place of work, a home for the elderly and sick, over the Christmas period. I held meetings, we sang the old songs, and read the texts connected to Christmas. This time it was different and we stayed at home. I needed time to get over the things that contributed to my condition and start anew. It is sometimes very difficult for people to understand, which I can understand.

From a distance, Christmas isn’t that impressive. That explains why people in other cultures don’t feel that they are missing much. In fact, it became very clear to me that unless you are immersed in some tradition, it doesn’t occur to you that you’re missing out on something. However, outside of Christmas, I found that I was drifting without much connection to anything. I didn’t feel that I belonged anywhere, which is a strange feeling. We all need to belong somewhere, even to something that we have a critical attitude towards. In fact, the critical attitude means that you belong all the more because you wouldn’t be critical if it wasn’t somehow important.

I think that there are many people who think they are outside of something that they can’t help criticising, but they’re not. If you are really outside, you don’t care and therefore don’t criticise. Thinking about this, it appears to me that there are people who think they are outside of a tradition who are really inside, and people who think they are inside but are really outside. If you spend time and thought, then you are not outside. That may come as a surprise to some.

18.11.2019

I’ve not written for a while because I’ve been reading rather a lot lately. Jordan Peterson’s “Maps of Meaning”, Lewis Hyde’s “The Gift”, and an Anthology of Classical Science Fiction. There has been a lot to learn in these books, far more than I could fully present in a coherent report, but I thought I would start off by mentioning what I have learnt from Jordan Peterson’s huge contribution to people looking for meaning.

The first thing that occurred to me after just 20 (of 403) pages was the depth to which he goes to explain how people think and find meaning in anything. He portrays the transition from “What is” to “What should be” in such detail, providing diagrams to help, that it becomes apparent that there have been numerous professional people who have thought about this, and exponentially more, who haven’t. I, of course, belonged to the latter until now. The fact that we are all wearing a mask, which sometimes becomes our fixed identity, seems straightforward. But it is when people come to the end of their working lives and try to become themselves that they suddenly realise, how much they have become one with their mask. Something which I can personally bear witness to.

The purpose of mythology in society has been ignored in my lifetime, much of it thrown out “with the bathwater,” leaving us trying to find other sources of inspiration for our dull lives. Religion has either become redundant or become radical. The difference between the field of science and the field of mythology and religion being that the first provides a description of things, whereas the latter provides the value of things, why they matter. These two aspects of life automatically happen in our minds, without conscious effort. The question needs to be asked, what do we find valuable?

Sub-cultures have become overly important, sometimes the complete content of peoples lives. The elderly are left trying to fathom what is important in the apparently shallow lives of younger people. Other people are completely under stress because they aren’t aware of what is causing it and therefore can’t find a way out of it, despite countless self-help applications available. Looking for meaning has become terribly difficult after the ideologies of the twentieth century have failed. Many people are left without their lives having meaning, and the numbers of mental-health patients have risen rapidly. Depression and even traumatic disruptions of everyday lives are not uncommon.

The Gift, by Lewis Hyde, is an older book, but interestingly, it does try to help people find meaning in their lives. The Gift describes the way that gifts have been part of communal life for thousands of years, how societies were inspired by them to be strong collectives. The Potlatch is a ritual of this kind, designed to keep the members of the community in touch with each other. It also promotes generosity. Strangely, Hyde tells of opponents to the type of commerce based society that we have today, who were against making things into commodities that were previously gifts, which are now subject to buying and selling. These “anarchists”, as they were called, wanted to preserve the Gift community and knew that modernity was forcing another, inferior community upon them.

Order and Chaos

I found Maps of Meaning difficult to listen to on Audible, probably a book in hand would have made it easier. The videos on the same subject have the problem that Jordan Peterson needs a while to get to the point that suffering is real and being a “good person” has to do with how you alleviate suffering. The opposite, he points out, was demonstrated by the Nazi extermination camps, and was how malevolent people can be. This leads to the question of what matters. What should I be aiming for?
It seems to be the difference between what is and what should be. The latter should be in some way better than the first, but just how do we decide, or better, how do we agree on what should be? I think it is becoming increasingly difficult to ascertain, what with all the aspirations to separate and differ around. The worst things that man has done happened when this was the case. The best things man has produced has come from working and pulling together for a common goal. This should make us sit up and think.
I think that in many areas where people at odds today are unexplored territory. JBP showed that this is traditionally chaos. It is where we are most destructive but in the same way the place where new things can come from. It is generally where things aren’t working out the way we’d hoped. In fact, the West seems to be undermining what has brought us so far and welcoming chaos. Radical movements on the fringe do their best to create chaos and thereby hope to install their particular take on what is good. Of course, there are umpteen groups and movements at any one time.
Young people seem to find order oppressive although it is explored territory and familiar. We know that all forms of culture can be tyrannical as much as they’re beneficial. But we underestimate the benefit of being where things work out the way they were planned. Living in a reliable society that is balanced and even seems to be the worst thing imaginable for investors and entrepreneurs, who also value a chaos that they can offer their special order to solve. In this way we could see chaos as a valuable balance in the yin and yang of society, as indeed JBP points out. The question remains, what is enough order and enough chaos, but not so much as to push the world over the edge?
Traversing good and evil, order and chaos is the task of us all. All called to follow the mythological hero, and be the hero in our own way. I think that the more we live this way individually, the less danger there would be collectively. As JBP points out, ancient traditions have shown for thousands of years that the line between good and evil passes through the heart of each of us. The more balanced we are, the more balanced society will be.

Truncated Communication

In a world in which “Toxic Masculinity” has become something that supposedly needs attention, it is easy to forget all the love songs in which men mourn a relationship. These songs reflect issues which are seldom subject to open discussion because men aren’t like that. Very often they mourn in silence. In that way, women are often let off the hook. They become free to begin a new relationship. Many women can pick and choose up until a certain age, then age turns on many of them. Men are rejected at youth and middle age and may find a connection later. Some obviously don’t.
We need to look into this, because the lack of reliability is spreading. It is hard to depend on people if they are not reliable. It is hard to trust if people are not trustworthy. If people don’t want responsibility, who can ensure that a relationship will hold more than ten years? The problem goes deeper into the fabric of society than just in romantic relationships. When I grow used to being the independent person with no liabilities, it becomes a lifestyle. The more people with this kind of lifestyle, the less reliability in society there is.
It was said that Jordan Peterson’s comments on women’s tendency to pick and choose was an example of “toxic masculinity” because he addressed the problems that arise if men don’t find sexual partners. The agreeableness of women is met with the lack of agreeableness in men. Men become aggressive and disorderly when frustrated. They have no other way to react, other than depression and, in more cases of a ruined relationship than women, suicide. Women are more likely to experience guilty feelings and attempt suicide, although they actually kill themselves less often than men. In women, depression is more likely to be associated with stressful life events and be more sensitive to seasonal changes.
It seems to me that the greatest problem in relationships, in general, is that people are communicating less, except via social media and mobile apps. It may be easier to avoid seeing the emotional distress one causes when communicating in this way, but in general, relationships of any kind deteriorate when less one-on-one communication takes place. The (love) letter has also lost its attraction, so that communication is truncated. Feelings are not felt and at best presented in Emojis. This is a situation we have to address before we all become lonely behind our computer and mobile screens.

Toxische Beziehungen

In einer Welt, in der „Toxic Masculinity“ zu etwas geworden ist, das angeblich Aufmerksamkeit braucht, vergisst man leicht all die Liebeslieder, in denen Männer um eine Beziehung trauern. Diese Lieder spiegeln Themen wider, die selten Gegenstand offener Diskussionen sind, denn Männer sind nicht so. Sehr oft trauern sie schweigend. Auf diese Weise werden Frauen oft „vom Haken“ gelassen. Sie werden frei, eine neue Beziehung zu beginnen. Viele Frauen können bis zu einem bestimmten Alter wählen, was im Alter bei viele von ihnen sich ändert. Männer werden in der Jugend und im mittleren Alter abgelehnt und können manchmal später eine Verbindung finden. Einige, aber, offensichtlich nicht.

Wir müssen uns damit befassen, denn der Mangel an Zuverlässigkeit nimmt zu. Es ist schwer, sich auf Menschen zu verlassen, wenn sie nicht zuverlässig sind. Es ist schwer zu vertrauen, wenn Menschen nicht vertrauenswürdig sind. Wenn die Menschen keine Verantwortung wollen, wer kann dann sicherstellen, dass eine Beziehung mehr als zehn Jahre hält? Das Problem geht tiefer in das Gefüge der Gesellschaft als nur in romantischen Beziehungen. Wenn ich mich daran gewöhnt habe, die unabhängige Person ohne Verpflichtungen zu sein, wird es zu einem Lebensstil. Je mehr Menschen diese Art von Lebensstil haben, desto weniger Zuverlässigkeit gibt es in der Gesellschaft.

Es wurde gesagt, dass Jordan Petersons Kommentare zur Tendenz der Frauen, wählerisch zu sein, ein Beispiel für „toxische Männlichkeit“ seien, weil er die Probleme ansprach, die entstehen, wenn Männer keine Sexualpartner finden. Die Verträglichkeit von Frauen wird durch den Mangel an Verträglichkeit bei Männern in die Waage gehalten. Männer werden aggressiv und ungeordnet, wenn sie frustriert sind. Sie haben keine andere Möglichkeit zu reagieren, als Depressionen und, in mehr Fällen einer ruinierten Beziehung als Frauen, Selbstmord. Frauen haben eine höhere Wahrscheinlichkeit, schuldig zu fühlen und Selbstmord in Betracht zu ziehen, obwohl sie sich selbst weniger oft töten als Männer. Bei Frauen ist es wahrscheinlicher, dass Depressionen mit stressigen Lebensereignissen verbunden sind und sie reagieren empfindlicher auf saisonale Veränderungen.

Es scheint mir, dass das größte Problem in Beziehungen im Allgemeinen darin besteht, dass die Menschen weniger kommunizieren, außer über Social Media und mobile Apps. Es mag einfacher sein, die emotionale Belastung zu vermeiden, die man durch diese Art der Kommunikation verursacht, aber im Allgemeinen verschlechtern sich Beziehungen jeglicher Art, wenn weniger Einzelkommunikation stattfindet. Auch der (Liebes-)Brief hat seine Anziehungskraft verloren, so dass die Kommunikation unterbrochen wird. Gefühle werden nicht gespürt und bestenfalls in Emojis präsentiert. Dies ist eine Situation, die wir angehen müssen, bevor wir alle hinter unseren Computer- und Mobilbildschirmen einsam werden.

Toxic Relationships

In a world in which “Toxic Masculinity” has become something that supposedly needs attention, it is easy to forget all the love songs in which men mourn a relationship. These songs reflect issues which are seldom subject to open discussion because men aren’t like that. Very often they mourn in silence. In that way, women are often let off the hook. They become free to begin a new relationship. Many women can pick and choose up until a certain age, then age turns on many of them. Men are rejected at youth and middle age and may find a connection later. Some obviously don’t.

We need to look into this, because the lack of reliability is spreading. It is hard to depend on people if they are not reliable. It is hard to trust if people are not trustworthy. If people don’t want responsibility, who can ensure that a relationship will hold more than ten years? The problem goes deeper into the fabric of society than just in romantic relationships. When I grow used to being the independent person with no liabilities, it becomes a lifestyle. The more people with this kind of lifestyle, the less reliability in society there is.

It was said that Jordan Peterson’s comments on women’s tendency to pick and choose was an example of “toxic masculinity” because he addressed the problems that arise if men don’t find sexual partners. The agreeableness of women is met with the lack of agreeableness in men. Men become aggressive and disorderly when frustrated. They have no other way to react, other than depression and, in more cases of a ruined relationship than women, suicide. Women are more likely to experience guilty feelings and attempt suicide, although they actually kill themselves less often than men. In women, depression is more likely to be associated with stressful life events and be more sensitive to seasonal changes.

It seems to me that the greatest problem in relationships in general is that people are communicating less, except via social media and mobile apps. It may be easier to avoid seeing the emotional distress one causes when communicating in this way, but in general, relationships of any kind deteriorate when less one-on-one communication takes place. The (love) letter has also lost its attraction so that communication is truncated. Feelings are not felt and at best presented in Emojis. This is a situation we have to address before we all become lonely behind our computer and mobile screens.

Colliding with Reality

It’s significant that today’s movies are geared to the fact that there’s a perfect technology, a superhero, or a monotonously overpowering enemy in order to be interesting. It has little to do with the life that most of us have. That’s what’s wanted, of course. Nothing is more boring than everyday life, and it’s regularly portrayed that way. The stories that are interesting today are excursions into a fantasy world. The times in which a story about special, but quite human, people who have come to a special situation are rare.

Even if there is such a situation that might be interesting, people are often as the media wants them to be. It has to be politically correct. The heroes are now homosexual or transsexual, which was not „PC“ ten years ago. But that way we can see how the media goes one step further and imposes its portrayal of reality on us. It’s a power, and that power expects us to swallow the pill.

Whoever does not want this version of the truth is immediately suspicious. In student circles, one can even be excluded if one does not take part. The gender discussion is also here and there not to be questioned. Such things that are present in Anglo-American societies precede German society – as always. It is imported, no matter what. If the Europeans were as careful with (sub)cultures as with food, we wouldn’t have some problems.

I recently saw a video of a transsexual Person who had herself surgically transformed into a man. She wouldn’t do it today – and regret it or not, it can’t be changed. Like so many things in life. Must it get that far before you collide with reality?