Alcoholism

Here is a photo entitled “one year sober.” Says it all.

Here is a book on alcoholism by James Graham: Vessels of Rage, Engines of Power: The Secret History of Alcoholism.

I recommend this book for just about anyone because alcoholism affects just about everyone. There is only a small chance that your life has not been significantly impacted by an alcoholic—be it a relative, spouse, friend, teacher, boss, colleague, etc.

In his book, Graham focuses on alcoholic behavior rather than how much the person is drinking or how to stop drinking. This focus provides a needed emphasis on the harm alcoholics do to others.

I am not now and never have been an alcoholic but have relatives and friends who are. A consistent theme with this disease is the non-alcoholics close to alcoholics do not understand what is happening.

They miss hundreds of clues because they do not understand how the disease starts and progresses and what its signs are. Graham’s book does a good job of correcting this.

Most people can identify end-stage alcoholics because they have stopped concealing their drinking and because they look the part. What is needed is being able to identify the early and middle stages of this disease, the symptoms of which include egomania, malice, false accusations, denial, lying, superficial charm, emotional abuse, and sometimes violence.

The wisdom of the Buddha shows in his making the fifth of the five precepts (guidelines for lay Buddhists) “no irresponsible use of alcohol.”

I am fine with calling alcoholism a disease because it harms as surely as a virus and because there is a genetic component to it. Early and middle stage alcoholics generally can drink great quantities of alcohol and not appear drunk. And generally they do not suffer hangovers.

I have two alcoholic friends who say booze affects them like coffee and one who claims he likes hangovers “because you’re still drunk!”

Having only recently woken up to the seriousness and commonness of alcoholism (maybe 7% of US adults, maybe more), I am very sympathetic to people who simply don’t get it.

My experiences with four near-relatives and several friends, whose behaviors included two attempted suicides and numerous bouts of abuse and delirium, at last got me to see how destructive alcoholism is.

I am no moralist and have many flaws of my own and hate sounding preachy. But alcoholism is a real danger to the drinker and to others and the sooner you figure it out, the better. They’re all around you.

If you are an alcoholic, you have to stop drinking completely and never touch that shit again as long as you live.

China makes an Orwellian game that scores how good a citizen you are

I hope this isn’t true, and if it is, I hope people disrupt the hell out of it.

There’s a new game in China called Sesame Credit. You gain and lose points when you play it.

“But instead of measuring how regularly you pay your bills, it measures how obediently you follow the party line.” (see article below for link)

It goes live in January and will be voluntary until 2020 when it become mandatory.

An article with more detail can be found here: China Just Launched the Most Frightening Game Ever — and Soon It Will Be Mandatory

The importance of seeing the small in the large and the large in the small

When the subject is human behavior and we see the small in the large and the large in the small, we will be much better able to appreciate the spectrum of thought, feeling, and behavior that underlies whatever is in question.

For example, the self-centeredness of individuals scales from the individual (small) to society (large) and everything in between. Two friends can be self-centered together as can larger groups and entire societies comprising millions of people.

Similarly, when we see self in other and other in self, we are more likely to grasp the spectrums of thought, feeling, and behavior that underlie the actions of all individuals.

For example, alcoholics often make false accusations against others as their conditions worsen. They take the seed of unreasonable defensiveness that resides in all of us and expand it into malicious attacks against “adversaries” that do not even exist.

In FIML practice, partners will discover many kinds of small mistakes in themselves. Usually, it is easy to see how these small mistakes, if left uncorrected, can lead to much more serious misunderstandings and bad (because it is based on a mistake) behavior.

For example, the alcoholic who falsely attacks a friend is almost certainly magnifying some little misunderstanding into something huge, something  worrisome or insulting that demands revenge.

Nations can behave like children and all good people have at least the seeds of a malicious drunk in them.

FIML discussions can be greatly enhanced by seeing almost everything as part of spectrums that underlie all people and societies.

A voice they don’t want you to hear

The string-pullers on TV and in DC don’t like diversity of views, especially when they can’t control them.

And they  don’t like the people expressing those views for a similar reason—they say things you’re not supposed to hear.

This explains both the popular appeal of Donald Trump and the barrage of attacks he faces daily.

James Kirkpatrick describes it well:

The rise of Trump isn’t “fascism,” but long overdue resistance and self-defense from an occupied people tired of being treated like enemies of the state in the country they built.

You have to go to alternate media sites to get reasonable analyses of American politics today because mainstream media is all about controlling the message, controlling what you hear.

Kirkpatrick’s essay is well worth reading in full:  Trump’s “Fascism” Is Just White America Finally Hitting BACK.

Kirkpatrick on Obama:

But even as the lying Main Stream Media shrieks about the imminent Trumpreich, there is an eerie silence as Barack Obama’s Occupation Government engages in actions which would be termed “fascist” if directed against non-whites and non-Christians. Chief among them was Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s declaration to a group called the “Muslim Advocates” that her “greatest fear” was the “incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric.” Lynch said the Justice Department would “take action” against those who engaged in speech that “edges towards violence.” (same link as above)

It’s ironic that it takes someone who is very rich to actually speak for a huge segment of the American people who are not, but that’s how it is.

Washington and Jefferson were rich. A rich person with good intentions can do a great deal of good.

I don’t see Trump as fascist or dangerous, but rather as the first candidate in decades who may actually do what he says.

Saint Romuald

Saint Romuald lived over 1,000 years ago. He is venerated today in both the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions.

A couple of quotes from the short link below:

Empty yourself completely and sit waiting.

Sit in your cell as in paradise. Put the whole world behind you and forget it. Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish. The path you must follow is in the Psalms — never leave it.

link

I tend to see religions and beliefs as something like languages. Much of it is vocabulary and context.

I bet Romuald and Milarepa would have gotten along well and understood each other well.