Originally posted on January 9th, 2001: Sunday visit from Amy & Steve + Miles & Nathaniel + new Lego kits + playoff football = perfect afternoon.
I figured some Lego shots were due, given the name of the blog.
Originally posted on June 15th 2010
We used to stand against countries that did this sort of thing. Our Democratic and Republican leaders are morally bankrupt.
To which a friend responded: Are you sure about that? Or were they always morally bankrupt and now they are morally bankrupt and stupid so they don’t know how to cover these things up anymore.
My response to that question: That’s a good point. I guess when the Soviet Union was around, there was a great deal of political capital to be made by opposing all they and totalitarianism stood for, though I suspect more sincerely as the USSR was a legitimate threat. So it’s possible they were morally bankrupt then but with good and evil so explicitly defined there was no way to dance around the edges.
I still tend towards morally bankrupt, because not only are they not trying to cover this up, but are in fact putting forth the case that they had legitimate reasons for abducting a completely innocent man and shipping him off for 10 months of torture. The whole point of the US outlawing torture was to prevent exactly this sort of thing when the inevitable screw up happened and an innocent person was detained. Now we’ve abandoned that for what every study proves is worthless information.
So we support an evil system that we know produces no legitimate information, prop up the governments of those countries like Syria that ensure the crimes are not committed on US soil, reap the results of the oppression those countries use to keep their own citizens in line, and ultimately try to pass it all off as necessary for protecting the liberty of the citizens of the United States. So yes, at the point at which my liberty is purchased through the unwarranted abduction and torture of an innocent man, who’s greatest crime was not being lucky enough in the geographic local of his birth, I say the price of that “liberty” – if it can exist at all under the thumb of a government willing to commit and defend these crimes – has reached a point where it has morally bankrupted us and for which we have no tangible asset to display in return for having sold out.
Originally posted on April 9th, 2010
Just finished reading Everyman by Philip Roth. Good story, great writing. This quote, even though the gender roles are reversed in my case, rang fantastically true:
“You can weather anything,” Phoebe was telling him, “even if the trust is violated, if it’s owned up to. Then you become life partners in a different way, but it’s still possible to remain partners. But lying–lying is cheap, contemptible control over the other person. It’s watching the other person acting on incomplete information–in other words, humiliating herself. Lying is so commonplace and yet, if you’re on the receiving end, it’s such an astonishing thing. The people you liars are betraying put up with a growing list of insults until you really can’t help but think less of them, can you? I’m sure that liars as skillful and persistent and devious as you reach the point where it’s the one you’re lying to, and not you, who seems like the one with the serious limitations. You probably don’t even think you’re lying–you think of it as an act of kindness to spare the feelings of your poor sexless mate. You probably think your lying is in the nature of a virtue, an act of generosity toward the dumb cluck who loves you. Or maybe it’s just what it is–a fucking lie, one fucking lie after another.”
My views on this since that time have changed. I don’t see the lying I was subjected to when it came to the affair as the direct assault that I did at the time and for years after. That change in viewpoint came about as a result of this insight: “The only enemy to have ever existed is an internal one.” I can understand why my ex lied now and it really was more about protecting herself than harming me. That small shift in perspective makes it so much easier to let go of anger and resentment. From her point of view, she stalled on asking for a divorce for several reasons – she didn’t want to break up the family, she didn’t want to hurt me, and she was worried that I would react angrily.
At that point in my life, she was right to be worried. I can see now how my own ego caused my anger to be directed outwards to deflect attention from my personal shortcomings. I certainly wasn’t at fault for the things that I was disappointed about or frustrated with, or so my ego led me to believe.
As the credits run at the end of the movie Revolver, several psychologists and psychiatrists speak about the ego. Looking at the quote above now, after having come to a greater understanding of how my own brain works, I can see now who was telling the biggest lies in my life and how a radical shift in my perception, combined with just a bit more knowledge, has changed the way I look at myself and the world around me. Lying will still be a violation of trust, but it won’t ever again have the kind of control over me that Roth describes above.
“The ego is the worst confidence trickster we could ever figure, we could ever imagine. Because you don’t see it…”
Dr. Yoav Dattilo, Ph.D.
“And the single biggest con is that, ‘I am you.’”
Dr. Steven C. Hayes, Ph.D.
“The problem, is that the ego hides in the last place you’d ever look, within itself.”
Dr. Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., FBA
“It disguises it’s thoughts as your thoughts, it’s feelings with your feelings, you think it’s you.”
“People’s need to protect their own ego knows no bounds, they will lie, cheat, steal, kill, do whatever it takes to maintain what we call, ego boundaries.”
Andrew Samuels, Ph.D.
“People have no clue that they’re in prison, they don’t know that there is an ego, they don’t know the distinction.”
“At first it’s difficult for the mind to accept that there’s something beyond itself, that there’s something of greater value and of greater capacity for discerning truth than itself.”
Dr. David Hawkins M.D., Ph.D.
“In religion the ego manifests as the devil, and of course no one realizes how smart the ego is because it created the devil so you could blame someone else.”
Dr. Deepak Chopra M.D.
“In creating this imaginary external enemy we usually made a real enemy for ourselves and that becomes a real danger to the ego but it’s also the ego’s creation.”
Dr. Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., FBA
“There is no such thing as an external enemy, no matter what that voice in your head is telling you. All perception of an enemy is a projection of the ego as the enemy.”
Dr. Deepak Chopra M.D.
“In that sense, you can say that 100% of our external enemies are of our own creation.”
Dr. Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., FBA
“Your greatest enemy is your own inner perception, your own ignorance, is your own ego.”
Dr. Obadiah S. Harris, Ph.D.
We are animated bits of carbon on a ball of rock and mud whipping around a contained explosion that keeps us warm.
And yet many of us think that marriage is supposed to be forever and that people don’t change, as if those were somehow bedrock certainties in the universe.
Those are the myths that lead to articles like this. People change, even married people, and years or decades later can discover that they need to take a different path than the one they started out on.
If you love and respect them, you will let them walk that new path, encourage them even, recognizing that it could have just as easily been you that felt the need to break away. There’s something twisted about a person that would keep another bound to something that was essentially dead. It’s deep, deep insecurity and fear that drives one partner to demand that the other partner remain even with the knowledge that they no longer want to be involved.
This woman reeks of that kind of insecurity. It’s all of her average friends on Facebook and Instagram that are the root cause of her husband judging her looks – not the multi-billion dollar advertising that surrounds him with images of impossible to obtain glamor, beauty, luxury, and sex.
Screw her for the chauvinist that she is for these lines: “Because our men are much less emotional and are much more visual. And as quickly as I can forget your picture, it is filed away in his mind, ready to be pulled back out whenever he so chooses.” Yes, yes, all of the problems with marriages, unfaithfulness, and divorce are because men are such simple, base creatures. Keep pushing the myth that women never cheat and that men only cheat because they are men.
The other repeating theme the writer harps on is ownership. He is hers and she is his. They own each other. That’s disturbing to me. One person can’t own another, even if there are vows exchanged. At best, through honest and open communication we can have an understanding of the other person and what they need and want to continue to stay involved with us.
A good, functioning relationship takes ongoing, persistent effort. The minute assumption creeps in and one party starts taking the situation for granted the off ramps on the highway suddenly start looking more appealing, promising new and exciting experiences. If instead, one practices letting go on a daily basis, acknowledging and accepting that things must and will change, then perhaps more effort and care is put into understanding, cherishing, and supporting the person you are involved with and appreciating what exists in the moment.
The writer strikes me as someone who has in her mind the ideal, successful marriage. A certain number of kids, the eventual grandkids, the large family celebration on their 50th wedding anniversary. Extremely judgmental of me, especially based on just one article, but it sure does seem like she has a larger goal in mind and anything that might threaten that must be fended off.
But fended off by others; her friends and her husband.
FTA: “After Memorial Day, I noticed so much skin on social media that I half-yelled a warning to him as I ran out the door one morning. It’s summertime, honey! Beware the beach pics and half nude girls on Instagram! And like that, he was in solitary confinement from all virtual community for the next two days.
Protecting his eyes, protecting his heart.
I know you don’t mean anything by it. But I need to share one more thing with you.
When your bare shoulders and stretchmark-less bellies and tanned legs pop up, I not only worry if my husband will linger over your picture. I worry how he will compare me to you.
As I wrap myself into his arms at night, I wonder if he is seeing you there instead of my mess of a body left over from pregnancy. I wonder if he thinks I’m lazy and that I don’t take good care of myself. I wonder if he wishes I looked more like you than who I really am.
And then the insecurity monster comes back to bite at our relationship again…me, begging for affirmation, and him tiring from saying the same thing over and over.”
What if she is lazy? What if she isn’t taking good care of her body? What if he just wishes she looked more like what she used to look like? Does that make him terrible? As she runs out the door each morning to tend to her hectic life, does she ponder if her ambition is causing more damage to her marriage than social media? Why did she marry a man so shallow that he only cares about her physical appearance and thus all of her toned and bikini-clad friends are threats to her marriage?
That insecurity monster didn’t come back, it never left, because inherently she knows she doesn’t actually own her husband, he is there because he chooses to be there. Maybe because of his vows, maybe because when he knows wearing a pink Oxford with a brown blazer is admitting he doesn’t really have a lot of other options in the dating pool.
But likely, it’s because he really loves her and because being with her makes his life better.
And on some days, watching Kate Upton in zero gravity also makes his life better, while not in any way undermining his marriage, turning him into a sex-crazed, objectifying animal, or damaging his heart.
Well, that’s a lot of words! I clearly had a reaction to that article.