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Thread: Forum Life Lessons: Questioning the TOL Experience

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Town Heretic View Post
    I was surprised at how much was eaten by whatever came our way, but that's life on the web, I suppose.

    Speaking of the alternate community, another suicide making the news today with traveling chef Bourdain found unresponsive in his luxury hotel in France. Money, beauty around him, and renown within his walk were not enough to safeguard the poor fellow. Even the love and life of his 11 year old daughter couldn't stop whatever consumed Anthony. A very sad day for people who found his travels and spirit of adventure inspiring and marveled at his appetite for exploration.
    From Medscape:
    A Psychiatrist's Elegy for Anthony Bourdain
    Robert A. Berezin, MD

    The heart of another is a dark forest, always, no matter how close it has been to one's own. – Willa Cather

    I can't call him Tony because I never met him. He is Anthony to me. I only know him from his show, Parts Unknown. I never read Kitchen Confidential, which is now next on my list. Yet I felt like he was my friend.

    His death left us all in shock and horror. It felt like such a betrayal. He was this profane Buddha. He was Walt Whitman. He brought us together with the elegant basics: good food and good company. He taught us that we are all one behind our races, our languages, our cultures, our palates. He was giving and generous. He listened. He was a citizen of the world, welcome at every table. Cultural differences added spice to our cuisines. I'm sure he'd agree that we should all intermarry but keep our ethnic foods.

    His grisly suicide seemed so outside the realm of possibility. But maybe not. The secret is, character always plays true. He had the talent, and discipline, to follow his passion and become a master chef. And yet, something always lurked back there. He was a bad boy who never quite reformed from sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It haunted us imperceptibly. It showed through like a pentimento. The heroin addiction was back there. He always had the presence of mind to correctly say it was not a disease. He took responsibility for his actions.

    He spoke the truth with that quiet smoky voice, from his cigarette-fueled past. He walked around in that tattoo-stained body. He continued to drink and smoke weed with the best of them. Despite his fearlessness, he always seemed wistful. Despite his martial arts, I felt a fragility.

    Only Left to Speculate

    I don't really know what happened. I don't know what darkness lingered there. As a psychiatrist, I'm the first person to say that the public has no idea about the real story behind the story. We all have our impressions, our projections, our fantasies, but we have no idea.

    In watching him on television, you could sense his aloneness, while the world invited him to their table, as he engaged in that charming way he had. In retrospect, his significant suicidalness after his first divorce may have foreshowed things to come. We hoped this was behind him. Certainly he'd grown up since then. He still made references to suicide. One never outgrows the need for love.

    He recently appeared very happy with his life. Relationship problems are the leading immediate cause of suicide, along with finances, failure, loneliness, and loss. But often this is not the real cause; rather, it's some internal darkness.

    Our fantasies about Anthony Bourdain died with him. He was a wonderful and inspiring, but flawed, man. It's a huge deal that he was the father of an 11-year-old girl whom he abandoned and betrayed.

    Now, again I reiterate, I don't know what caused the suicide. We are only left with speculation. Something else unimaginable may yet come to light.

    A Disturbing Trend
    We have a rising toll of suicides in our world today, characterized by extremely disturbing facts. In the United States, the suicide rate has gone up nearly 30% in the past 18 years, and suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death.[ref: Stone DM, Simon TR, Fowler KA, et al. Vital Signs: Trends in State Suicide Rates — United States, 1999–2016 and Circumstances Contributing to Suicide — 27 States, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018;67:617-624.]

    This is a very complicated issue without simple causes or solutions. We have Internet bullying. We have too much loneliness and isolation. We have families in dissolution. We have a preponderance of psychiatric treatments that now ignore the heart and soul of what it is to be human. Life is difficult and requires struggle, resilience, and caring to carry on.

    One of the things I want to emphasize is that we are all individuals. We have our own hidden worlds behind public perceptions. We have our own private motivations that others aren't privy to. Suicide weakens the faith of others to keep on going and embrace the struggle that is life. Suicide is contagious. It makes the survivors feel guilty. It makes us feel that there is something we could have and should have done. The effect is to put blood on our hands where it doesn't belong. I hope those close to him come through this misplaced guilt.

    Bourdain's suicide is particularly disturbing and undermining because he seemed to embody the courage to go on and fight, put your demons behind you, and make the world a better place. He seemed to have arrived. He seemed to embody helping people connect and not be so alone. Food is love. He was a humanitarian who bridged differences and brought truth and beauty to the world.

    I'm so angry that he did this. And I will miss him like he was someone that I know and love.

    AMR
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  3. #62
    TOL Legend annabenedetti's Avatar
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    This is a great profile of Johnathan Franzen by Taffy Brodeser-Akner, who I'd not heard of before now, but she definitely caught my ear because she's a terrific writer, and her obvious captivation by the idea of Franzen was infectious. In a good way.

    Here's a bit of her paraphrase of Franzen's view on staying away from the internet, partly because he seemed to only remember the negative, and it would eat away at him.


    People can think something about you that isn’t true, and it isn’t necessarily your job to correct them. And if you do correct them, the corrections will eat up your entire life, and then where is your life? What did you do? You don’t have to answer criticism of yourself. You don’t even have to listen to it. You don’t have to fit your thoughts into sound bites just because of character limitations.

    Has anyone considered that the interaction is the fragility? Has anyone considered that letting other people define how you fill your day and what they fill your head with — a passive, postmodern stream of other people’s thoughts — is the fragility?


    This hit right between the eyes. How many times have I done this to myself? Many. Maybe someone else might find it familiar too.

    It's not that I shouldn't have to hear an opposing view, I should. Or that it's a bad thing to have my views and beliefs checked. It's a good thing. But how much interaction results in anything other than hours and days spent on another conversation that will be forgotten? Figuratively and literally, since eventually most of them fall to the purge anyway. And what were the fragile casualties along the way?

    Exploring ideas, making connections on the internet in recent years had a profound influence on almost every facet my life. And I was and am a willing participant.

    I couldn't go as far as Franzen, I couldn't disconnect as fully as he did - but I've found that limiting online time and learning (literally) how to disengage from the desire of having to make every important point or stand for every important ideal or push back against every personal insult or lie - is going to be a choice between internet life and real life, and which I allow to have the stronger hold. And which brings the greater amount of peace.




    Jonathan Franzen Is Fine With All of It
    So keep your candles burning

    a.k.a. starchild, starburst, stardust, sweetpea, and dumber than dirt.

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  5. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by annabenedetti View Post
    This is a great profile of Johnathan Franzen by Taffy Brodeser-Akner, who I'd not heard of before now, but she definitely caught my ear because she's a terrific writer, and her obvious captivation by the idea of Franzen was infectious. In a good way.
    I read 'Freedom' a while back. He's a good writer.
    Quote Originally Posted by annabenedetti View Post
    You donít have to fit your thoughts into sound bites just because of character limitations.
    You don't, of course, but also of course, Franzen can't allow for it, since he's paid by the word more or less.

    I've found through the character limitations on Twitter that it takes great focus and clear thinking to compact what you have to say in a tweet. There are users who build 'threads' by tweeting to themselves, but it lacks the punch of saying what you mean in just one tweet, and it is also a great exercise in cutting to the quick.
    Quote Originally Posted by annabenedetti View Post
    Exploring ideas, making connections on the internet in recent years had a profound influence on almost every facet my life. And I was and am a willing participant.
    It's better than just journaling, for sure. Journaling is inestimably valuable on its own, to be sure, but adding in the interaction with many minds that comes from social media, really helps you to craft your thoughts, and as you've said, to be exposed to competing thoughts and philosophies. It can be of great value to do either and both.

    fwiw
    "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

    @Nee_Nihilo

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    Quote Originally Posted by annabenedetti View Post
    This is a great profile of Johnathan Franzen by Taffy Brodeser-Akner, who I'd not heard of before now, but she definitely caught my ear because she's a terrific writer, and her obvious captivation by the idea of Franzen was infectious. In a good way.

    Here's a bit of her paraphrase of Franzen's view on staying away from the internet, partly because he seemed to only remember the negative, and it would eat away at him.


    People can think something about you that isnít true, and it isnít necessarily your job to correct them. And if you do correct them, the corrections will eat up your entire life, and then where is your life? What did you do? You donít have to answer criticism of yourself. You donít even have to listen to it. You donít have to fit your thoughts into sound bites just because of character limitations.

    Has anyone considered that the interaction is the fragility? Has anyone considered that letting other people define how you fill your day and what they fill your head with ó a passive, postmodern stream of other peopleís thoughts ó is the fragility?


    This hit right between the eyes. How many times have I done this to myself? Many. Maybe someone else might find it familiar too.

    It's not that I shouldn't have to hear an opposing view, I should. Or that it's a bad thing to have my views and beliefs checked. It's a good thing. But how much interaction results in anything other than hours and days spent on another conversation that will be forgotten? Figuratively and literally, since eventually most of them fall to the purge anyway. And what were the fragile casualties along the way?

    Exploring ideas, making connections on the internet in recent years had a profound influence on almost every facet my life. And I was and am a willing participant.

    I couldn't go as far as Franzen, I couldn't disconnect as fully as he did - but I've found that limiting online time and learning (literally) how to disengage from the desire of having to make every important point or stand for every important ideal or push back against every personal insult or lie - is going to be a choice between internet life and real life, and which I allow to have the stronger hold. And which brings the greater amount of peace.




    Jonathan Franzen Is Fine With All of It
    Just a matter, anna, of ever asking oneself 'okay, where's the humour in this?'

    Result?

    One of these...



    ...each time, no matter what might come one's way...

    Just a matter of where one looks at things from.

    Or rather...chooses to.

    Rom. 5:6-8.

  7. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    From Medscape:
    A Psychiatrist's Elegy for Anthony Bourdain
    Robert A. Berezin, MD

    ...Suicide is contagious....

    AMR
    I didn't know this about suicide until reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church's treatment of this grave moral matter. The popes teach:
    Quote Originally Posted by The Popes
    "If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal."

    Text 2282
    (I am NOT saying that Bourdain's choice was an example of scandal.)

    They further teach, on the matter of scandal:
    Quote Originally Posted by The Popes
    "Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

    "Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing."

    Texts 2284-2285
    Calling out suicide as a form of scandal at first blush seemed disparate to me at first, unless the reality is as this psychiatrist testifies, that suicide is or can be 'contagious,' which is a shivering thought.

    Thank you for sharing.


    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_cs...2c2a5.htm#2282
    "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

    @Nee_Nihilo

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    1. I came to message boards (this was one of the first I found) from usenet. Which was like Dodge City. Usually, there was no moderation, and survival of the fittest was the rule. If you were being abused, the solution was to grab the miscreant by the collar, and have at him. Not that it affected my practice here, of course.

    2. I'm told that I'm excessively blunt. Used to be told that more often than I am now. In real life, being old tends to give you a pass on a lot of that. It's harder for me to offend people than it used to be.

    3. Not sure I'd change anything. Even the fruitcakes have their niche here.

    4. There's a rule list?

    5. I seem to have become more libertarian over the years. It was gradual, and pretty much came about from realizing that very little works better than letting people do as they will, for the vast majority of Americans.

    6. It's entertaining. On a good day, it's hilarious. And I've become fond of a lot of you, here. Even some of the obnoxious people. Hard to dislike someone after I've gotten to know them a bit.

    7. Liberating, yes. I doubt if most people would be a abrasive as most of us are, if we all worked in an office, somewhere.

    8. More so. A few of you, have inspired me to try a better imitation of Christ.

    9. My impression of atheists here, is that they are pretty much like the rest of us in most ways.

    10. Probably more libertarian. And sometimes, after reading some of the stuff here, I thank God I'm Catholic. But I do believe that I've found more empathy for religious ideas other than my own.
    Let's say that I suffer from a delusion. I will call this delusion "Fact-check Syndrome." I respond by citing facts.

    Most people online don't want to be corrected. They do not care about anything that does not agree with them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Barbarian View Post
    ...sometimes, after reading some of the stuff here, I thank God I'm Catholic....
    I'm not Catholic, but I'm not Protestant since I don't protest the papacy as the office of the supreme pastor of the Church, and not only do I thank God I've come around to His way of thinking wrt Church, but my experience of the Catholic faith growing within me, has been like watching my children grow up---it's been unconditionally wonderful.
    "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

    @Nee_Nihilo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Idolater View Post
    I'm not Catholic, but I'm not Protestant since I don't protest the papacy as the office of the supreme pastor of the Church, and not only do I thank God I've come around to His way of thinking wrt Church, but my experience of the Catholic faith growing within me, has been like watching my children grow up---it's been unconditionally wonderful.
    just don't let them grow up anywhere near a Catholic priest

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    Quote Originally Posted by ok doser View Post
    just don't let them grow up anywhere near a Catholic priest
    Since that scandal broke, I know of some parishes that explicitly warn parents not to permit their youngsters to wander around the church unaccompanied. It's a shame.
    "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

    @Nee_Nihilo

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Barbarian View Post
    1. I came to message boards (this was one of the first I found) from usenet. Which was like Dodge City. Usually, there was no moderation, and survival of the fittest was the rule. If you were being abused, the solution was to grab the miscreant by the collar, and have at him. Not that it affected my practice here, of course.

    2. I'm told that I'm excessively blunt. Used to be told that more often than I am now. In real life, being old tends to give you a pass on a lot of that. It's harder for me to offend people than it used to be.

    3. Not sure I'd change anything. Even the fruitcakes have their niche here.

    4. There's a rule list?

    5. I seem to have become more libertarian over the years. It was gradual, and pretty much came about from realizing that very little works better than letting people do as they will, for the vast majority of Americans.

    6. It's entertaining. On a good day, it's hilarious. And I've become fond of a lot of you, here. Even some of the obnoxious people. Hard to dislike someone after I've gotten to know them a bit.

    7. Liberating, yes. I doubt if most people would be a abrasive as most of us are, if we all worked in an office, somewhere.

    8. More so. A few of you, have inspired me to try a better imitation of Christ.

    9. My impression of atheists here, is that they are pretty much like the rest of us in most ways.

    10. Probably more libertarian. And sometimes, after reading some of the stuff here, I thank God I'm Catholic. But I do believe that I've found more empathy for religious ideas other than my own.
    On point # 8 there, you're welcome.



    Rom. 5:6-8.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ok doser View Post
    just don't let them grow up anywhere near a Catholic priest
    That very thought crossed my mind recently, after I posted a difference of opinion with Idolator elsewhere on TOL, and Idolator's reply was that I was "butthurt."

    As I was not raised Roman Catholic, I figured 'Idolater must be having one of those Post-Traumatic Roman Catholic Choir Boy Flashbacks, their Idol Worshipping Organization is so infamous for...'


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    Quote Originally Posted by Danoh View Post
    That very thought crossed my mind recently, after I posted a difference of opinion with Idolator elsewhere on TOL, and Idolator's reply was that I was "butthurt."

    As I was not raised Roman Catholic, I figured 'Idolater must be having one of those Post-Traumatic Roman Catholic Choir Boy Flashbacks, their Idol Worshipping Organization is so infamous for...'

    I wish you a case of gallon paintcans full of rosaries Danoh. Blessings & peace to you.
    "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

    @Nee_Nihilo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Town Heretic View Post
    Forum Life Lessons: Questioning the TOL Experience


    Considering there hasn’t been a post made in “...all the rest” since the 29th., maybe you should have titled the thread ‘Forum Death Lessons...”
    So keep your candles burning

    a.k.a. starchild, starburst, stardust, sweetpea, and dumber than dirt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by annabenedetti View Post
    Considering there hasnít been a post made in ď...all the restĒ since the 29th., maybe you should have titled the thread ĎForum Death Lessons...Ē
    23 guests and under 100 members in the last 2 days for the joint. Not good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Town Heretic View Post
    23 guests and under 100 members in the last 2 days for the joint. Not good.
    Everything will be alright.

    "The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name." Exodus 15:3

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