Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Will You Join Me in My Fight Against the Scourge of Normality? (1.04.12)

What causes the tragedy of normality? You might say that it is a result of an immaculate conception, minus the conception. Or perhaps a misconception. That is, as Bollas explains, "it is striking how this person [the Normal] seems to be unborn." They often appear to be "content and happy" on the surface, but are "lost in the concrete," so to speak, and never make the full leap into the "originating subjectivity which informs our use of the symbolic."

And "since he does not perceive himself as a subject, he does not ask to be seen by the other," nor is he able to look deeply into the other. That italicized part is key, for these people have no conscious desire for true subject-to-subject contact. They cannot make real contact with themselves, and therefore, others.

In the past, I have posted about how quickly one may determine this capacity in the other, as it will be felt as an almost physical constraint that you cannot get past. The real tragedy is that you have to imagine what it is like for an infant -- who knows no such restrictions -- to be raised by such a constricted parent. In order to adapt to this kind of parent, the infant will have to gradually excise parts of himself, so that he too becomes a psychic stillborn.

I am aware of a vast difference between my parents' ability to know me, vs. my ability to know my child. I was very aware from an early age that my parents mostly interacted with an image of me instead of the actual me, and I think this is what saved me. Had I not been aware of this failure on their part, I too may have met the fate of the unborn. My son won't have that problem. But, of course, what he does with his birth is another thing altogether. Being vibrantly alive is not necessarily synonymous with being virtuous. It just saves you from being among the ranks of the living dead.

Here is how Bollas describes it: "At the most fundamental level, the normotic was only partly seen by the mother and father, mirrored by parents whose reflective ability was dulled, yielding only the glimmer of an outline of self to a child." This is an example of something that is as deeply problematic as, say, the need to vaccinate all children against various diseases. But because it is in the realm of the subjective, no one really talks about it.

Furthermore, it is not particularly dramatic, being that such children typically do not suffer material deprivation. The problem is that "neither of the parents is inclined towards the celebration of the child's imaginative life." And when they do enter play, it has a kind of covert sadism that terminates the play and brings the child back to reality instead of further into imagination.

Have you ever seen this take place? I certainly have. Again, we have already lost friends because we let our child play with imaginary guns to shoot imaginary bad guys. With relish. But to deny a boy his manly aggressiveness is a psychic castration. The aggression won't just magically disappear, but return in a disguised and dysfunctional form; I'm thinking of someone like Keith Olbermann, who just bristles with a kind of toxic, infantile rage. But he seems emblematic of much of the "new castrati" (as Vanderleun calls them) of the left. One could say the same of dailykos.

Now that I have a child, I am even more aware of how some parents interact with their children in such a way as to guarantee a psychic catastrophe. Frankly, it is quite painful to observe, because you naturally empathize with the poor child, who is undergoing a slow psychic death before your eyes. When the parent fails to respond to who the child actually is, the unrecognized parts become "negative hallucinations," or "not there" particles that float aimlessly around the psyche. Then, when the child reaches adolescence, he is suddenly thrust into "the horrifying dilemma of being unable to symbolize his pain." Predictable consequences follow.

It's not really a big mystery why humans are the way they are, and why they are such persistent underachievers. They just keep doing to the next generation what was done to them. True, mankind is "fallen," but there are nevertheless covert mechanisms through which the fall operates. It's not just magic.

There is a "dialectic of death" between the normotic parent and child, which conspires to suppress "the creative expression of the inner core of the self." Looking back on it, I believe this is why my first real relationship was such a catastrophe, because I was so "hungry" for this kind of contact, in a way that far exceeded the bounds of the relationship. Therefore, when the relationship ended, it was like the conscious experience of a psychic death that must have actually occurred previously, only unconsciously. In hindsight, I can see that this was totally inevitable. I'm just glad I got it out of the way at 18 instead of 40 or 50.

Bollas says that he does not fully understand "why some children give in to such a family atmosphere and become normotic, and why others do not." Psychology is not deterministic. For example, while most children are naturally traumatized by abuse, some children seem to emerge unscathed. Likewise, some children are just so temperamentally sensitive that they are crushed by the most benign empathic failures on the part of the parents. So a lot of this is no doubt temperamental, to differing degrees in different people. Some people are born with such a strong "destiny drive," that it seems that nothing can stop them from becoming what they were meant to be. Other people can be blessed with ideal circumstances and become nothing.

Many people escape normotic parents by becoming rebellious. One thinks of the drug-addicted child of a robot such as Al Gore, or the delinquent child of a fundamentalist preacher. But rebellion is not freedom; rather, it is a kind of knee-jerk reaction to unfreedom, which is what makes it so infantile and wearisome, like the entirely predictable lives of rock stars and other celebrities. It's hard to think of anything more pathetic than, say, the Rolling Stones, still singing their adolescent songs of rebellion at the age of 65 or 70. Creepy.

Bollas suggests that perhaps the children who escape normotic parents "find a way to be mirrored even if the parents are not providing this." I am quite sure that this is what happened with me. I found other models that served this mirroring function, and in looking back on it, I can see that it clearly wasn't a chance phenomenon, at least not totally. That is, my unborns were looking for particular exemplars to assist in their own birth. A fair number of people have testified that this very blog has been instrumental in helping to bring their unborns into the world, and for that I am profoundly grateful. Didn't Socrates consider himself to be nothing more than a humble midwife?

Here is another subtle point that I am sure is accurate: "I think it is highly likely that the children who give in to the normotic element perceive in the parents' way of being a form of hate that we might conceptualize as a death instinct." It is not necessarily the case that the child feels hated by the parent. Rather, "it may be more accurate to say that the child experiences the parents' attack on life itself, and that such a parent is trying to squeeze the life out of existence."

It is more the case that the intense frustration provoked by the normotic parents engenders a kind of hatred that can at times boil over. To this day, I still have the occasional dream in which my parents simply do not understand, which always causes a kind of unbearable frustration. Again, I hate to think what would have become of me had I not been consciously aware of this frustration early on, or if I had blamed myself for it.

I think of the British royal family, which seems like a vast, intergenerational conspiracy of psychic murder -- which in turn leads to all the crazy acting out. Princess Di was unwelcome in this environment, because her craziness was way too close to the surface, and unable to be tamped down by the royal death instinct. She was the wrong kind of crazy. In such a psychic environment, "parent and child organize a foreclosure of the human mentality. They find a certain intimacy in shutting down life together, and in mastering existence with the unconscious skill of a military operation."

Have you all seen the outstanding film, The Queen? I think it captures this beautifully. In fact, come to think of it, so too does the film Ordinary People, which uses the literal death of a child as a metaphor for the psychic death of the family. And just as in this post, the psychologist is the gallant superhero who slays the unconscious dragon.

55 Comments:

Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

In order to adapt to this kind of parent, the infant will have to gradually excise parts of himself, so that he too becomes a psychic stillborn.

Just... wow. That is so aptly put. I remember when I first realized certain aspects of this emotional negation. I remember telling my counselor, "I need to give myself permission to live."

12/10/2008 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

"...this is why my first real relationship was such a catastrophe, because I was so "hungry" for this kind of contact..."

After my first relationship, more than two decades passed before I realized that what I had mis-taken for "love" had actually been the overwhelming experience of finally being "seen" by someone ... and uh, you know, the sex and stuff too.

12/10/2008 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, originally Freud thought of relationships as a sort of excuse for sex, but modern psychoanalysis regards sex as more of a link between subjects, with psychic roots that go all the way back to preverbal infancy.

12/10/2008 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

"I think it is highly likely that the children who give in to the normotic element perceive in the parents' way of being a form of hate that we might conceptualize as a death instinct."

I love my parents very much, but I've always kept them at a distance. I tend to keep a lot of people at a distance. I never understood why until I read the sentence above. I avoided folks because I never felt I could truly express myself around them. Of course with most people this is all in my head, but you get in the habit of being normal, and I, at least, blame others for forcing this unhappiness on me.
I've felt this deadness between my Mom and I for a few years. It has bothered me something fierce. This post I think highlights the problem. She has been in the business world for years, and well, normal is what she does. I also know she is not very happy. This understanding helps tremendously. I need to be myself rather then the perfect son.
Thanks Bob. These last two posts have been personally fruitful. I feel like I can forgive my parents now, because I understand what I need to forgive them for. I certainly don't need to keep blaming them, or anyone else for that matter.
What a queer feeling this is, to look at the house of your soul and suddenly realize there are whole wings that have been boarded up, and unused because you thought they were dangerous. Now suddenly you have permission to go anywhere you want. It's a raccoon moment. God Bless

12/10/2008 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, notice that the Bible says to honor your mother and father, but not necessarily to love them, for that would invite all sorts of pathologies.

12/10/2008 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Sort of like respecting the office of the President, even if you don't necessarily love the one we're stuck with.

12/10/2008 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Vis-a-vis what James just said, here's a critical observation by the great psychoanalyst Fairbairn, who said that most psychopathology results not from us repressing our hatred and aggression, but repressing and denying our love. This is because from the standpoint of an infant, when love is rejected, they internalize the idea that there is something fundamentally dangerous or "toxic" about their love. Therefore, they spend the rest of their lives "protecting" others from their primitive (because undeveloped) love, which begins to feel like it would "devour"and destroy the other if let loose. (Of course, this is all going on unconsciously.)

12/10/2008 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a freaking troll, doncha know. However, I find this particular post absolutely fascinating. The painful truth just oozes from it.

The subjective damage which you have described as "normotic" must be pervasise; I doubt there is any reader who cannot relate some personal experience of being normoticized.

However, being as that I have to ply my trade and take exception to things, I must ask Bob to explain what he means by:

"Other people can be blessed with ideal circumstances and become nothing."

What do you mean, become nothing? How can a person be nothing? It sounds like another classic Bob slip-up where he falls into the dialectic of the normotic.

Cut that @#$% out, sez the troll. Like you care what I want.

12/10/2008 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

To not become and identify with your spiritual essence is to remain a cosmic nothing. Any spiritual teacher will tell you that. Only the ego dies, because it is already dead.

12/10/2008 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

My dad was wildly individual. In order to fit in in a small close-knit community, he found ways to deal with that and channel it. It was a long time before I figured out what I had learned from him.

It appears now that my older brother never understood the difference between our real eccentric father and the relatively normal exterior.

Of course, we could get away with more in the boonies, anyway. In the city they would have hauled Dad off in handcuffs (as once happened to me), or a straitjacket. There are still quite a few oddballs out in the country.

Again we come back to that rural/urban split in America.

12/10/2008 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Bob,

I see the wisdom of that. Loving someone can be dangerous.

Walt,

Being seen by someone Hmmm... I don't know if I've ever had that experience. That one will have to digest for awhile.

12/10/2008 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Wow, a real keeper of a post today. Particularly striking,
"In order to adapt to this kind of parent, the infant will have to gradually excise parts of himself, so that he too becomes a psychic stillborn. "

and,

" That is, my unborns were looking for particular exemplars to assist in their own birth."

What clear imagery of what must be happening interiorly.

And this by James, go so well with it,
"What a queer feeling this is, to look at the house of your soul and suddenly realize there are whole wings that have been boarded up, and unused because you thought they were dangerous. Now suddenly you have permission to go anywhere you want. It's a raccoon moment. God Bless"

12/10/2008 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

James -

I just meant to agree with Bob's post, in the sense of having someone "recognize" me for who I was, rather than how I "should be" in the world. As Bob said, at that young age, I felt "starved" for that sort of contact.

12/10/2008 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Petey said ...Only the ego dies, because it is already dead.

(blink)

GooOoonnnnggggg......

12/10/2008 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Bollas suggests that perhaps the children who escape normotic parents "find a way to be mirrored even if the parents are not providing this."

A remarkable statement. Those mirrors don't necessarily need to be any less disfigured to do their good work. For me, it required a circus house of mirrors with plenty of feedback and distortion and scary clowns to slowly cause me to understand that they were mirrors at all. That is, I got what I needed - individually tailored mirrors, each at the right time and place. Eventually I learned to pay attention.

My father's untimely death shattered most of what was left of the fun house. And through the years I've learned imperfectly how to honor and care for my mother while being repelled by her at the same time. Duty matters, love not so much in this regard.

Thanks Bob. Soothing soul balm today, and perfectly timed.

12/10/2008 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

James,
Reading your comments today was like being present with you in a dark smothering room when suddenly Grace touched down, creating a skylight, ripping the covering off the windows to let the air rush in. I felt it wash over me too.

How very cool

12/10/2008 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

Ximeze,

Yes. It's so cool I almost had to leave work. My insides are shaking. Although this is not the first time this has happened here. Deep stuff.

Bob,

...but repressing and denying our love...

This is profound. I hope your muse allows you to expand upon this idea. Gold plated truth there. I think that sums up what I've been doing wrong all my life. I didn't even realize it until now.

Thanks again all.

12/10/2008 01:27:00 PM  
OpenID ropata said...

Perceptive as always Bob. I haven't seen "The Queen" but "The Good Shepherd" exemplifies your theme.

Matt Damon plays Edward Wilson, spy. The movie opens with Wilson and father putting a model ship in a bottle and then watching it spring to life like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, protected and safe from the forces that lurk outside. The father also passes to his son a small keepsake of a sailboat captured in amber. Not much later, the father commits suicide and leaves a note to his son exhorting him NOT to submit to convention, to be free and follow his own path.

But Wilson burns this 'dishonorable' note, treasures the sailboat keepsake, and follows the path prescribed for him by his elite social class. Relationships, authenticity, and love are suffocated by duty.

Later in the movie Wilson's own son attempts to break free from his influence by running away to Africa, but he has become a security risk and is assassinated. In his hotel room we see that he had inherited the sailboat in amber, and further encased it in a large jar.

The Washington elite (and Wilson himself) is portrayed as deeply dysfunctional and controlling, and the only freedom from its power lies in death.

12/10/2008 01:43:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

"My insides are shaking"

That's all the previouly stuck-to-the-floor furniture getting tossed around. Bet the chandelier is also swinging wildly & the wall-art is askew.

12/10/2008 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

James - what Ximeze already said. *raises a toast*
Here's to seeing and being seen.

"Some people are born with such a strong "destiny drive," that it seems that nothing can stop them from becoming what they were meant to be."

I think maybe I can relate to that, though I'm not sure if it's been so much of a destiny drive as being destiny driven. Only trouble is, I haven't the faintest idea what I'm actually supposed to be headed for.

By the way, thanks for the midwifery, Bob :)

12/10/2008 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Only trouble is, I haven't the faintest idea what I'm actually supposed to be headed for.

Ha ha! I gno - process of elimination!

12/10/2008 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

I haven't the faintest idea what I'm actually supposed to be headed for.

I was standing near a group of carpenters once, and one fellow -- just "making conversation" -- asked another, "Is everything under control?"

The other fellow replied, "It isn't supposed to be under control."

12/10/2008 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Holy Schniekes - according to the Telegraph's "How About That" page, this is what increasingly is considered normal among young adults, at least in England. Complete and total inversion of traditional ideals. Granted, this is probably a completely unscientific survey and there's no way to tell how honest the respondents were, but the results and interpretation are telling:

"Our results show that after decades of lying back and thinking of England, today's twenty-something women are taking control of their sex lives and getting what they want in bed."

If you read the paragraphs after that one, can you but feel a deep chill, knowing that the kind of emotional deadness required for women to behave that way is becoming the encouraged norm? (I know, lads - "The Isle of Promiscuous Women" probably sounds delightful, but we all know the reality is anything but.) Whether young women are honestly behaving this way or whether they are merely being encouraged through societal pressures to at least pretend that's who they are, this does not bode well for the future of Great Britain.

12/10/2008 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Walt - I used the word "trouble," but then again being utterly clueless does keep things interesting :)

12/10/2008 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Caprice said...

My rabbi saw me. It was an utterly transformative experience and I haven't been the same since. (yay!)
I couldn't even begin to describe my parents or my childhood which I actually don't remember all that much about. But yeah these two posts hit home.

12/10/2008 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I had to go back and re-read this about three different times today. Not that I don't do that with other posts, but the conversation here at the Pirate Palapa the last few days has been all about mentoring.

Bollas suggests that perhaps the children who escape normotic parents "find a way to be mirrored even if the parents are not providing this."

Ah yes. There were many mirrors of blessed mentoring, and this den of Raccoons has been the latest.

12/10/2008 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ho! The last two posts and comments have been outstanding!
You keep raisin' the bar, Bob!
Thanks! You answered some tough questions I couldn't express!

I also wanna thank y'all for all the real witnessing.
Mysteries n' revelations galore!
Heck, I'm gonna run outta ! points!

This is the kinda O that energizes me, and speaks to me you gno?!
I mean, this is exciting...no thrills up my leg but definitely a thrill in my heart n' soul!

It's a mystery as to why I'm so blessed with a Destiny drive, 'cause when I was a kid I mainly had a fantasy drive.

It took some major refitting and updating for me to be see worthy,
but lookin' back I can see that Destiny was inside me nonetheless, just waitin' for me to get ready to sail the high see's.

And now, O wow! No way could I ever sail back to the bogs of normal. No, my course is set by the Sun, Moon n' Stars! :^)

I ain't got no family I can talk to like this. I'm mighty thankful for you guys. Dear Leader, Petey, and all you Raccoons. Ain't no better shipmates around!

I'm happy to see you Raccoons that rarely comment. Thanks! Your comments have touched my heart and opened up some hatches that needed opened. I hope y'all comment more often if your able. :^)

12/10/2008 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Cap'n Ben sez, "Ain't no better shipmates around!"

Ah, yes, well, you've shown us a thing or two as well ...

12/10/2008 05:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Very Well Done!!

I would love to comment but so much of what you said reads like my autobiography that i'm dang near speechless.

Ordinary People, the movie, ripped such a huge hole in my deathmask 20+ years ago that i still tremble at the thought of revisiting it.

Pursuing Destiny has been waaaay more fun since i "stumbled" onto your collection of mirrors.

God Bless you all.
Sean

12/10/2008 05:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Been posting as Anonymous for a bit. Been reading a bit longer.

I'm definitely hip to the Coon credo. I even like Wii bowling AND Honeymooners reruns.

I'm Canadian (pause for 2 minutes while jokes/chortles petey out).

Like a few others I know, a refugee from LGF since you know who went all megalomaniacal. In Toronto there was a circlel of us who used to congregate to discuss LGF stuff. That circle eventually boiled down to a hard core of Jewish/Christian believers who were feeling increasingly shut out at LGF. Anyhoo, here I am.

Northern = Canada
Bandit = Raccoon

Other than that, I've noticed several coons are in the IT/software field (Van in particular). Not surprising. Bob has a musical soul -- well to some of us software "sings" somewhere in between music and math. It's a craft, like woodworking, but one which is potentially very deep and wide.

I love music. I have many of Bob's recommendations already. Bob (forgive me if I seem as though I'm speaking for Bob -- not my intention) is attuned to jazz. Me too, to an extent. Certainly his essays have increassed my appreciation. I'm attuned to rock somewhat, but the real -- let me get my symbols straight, the real... well I don't know the symbol -- the real descent for me is in Back, Beethoven, Mozart et al.

Anyhoo, just thought I'd into. Gotta run! Back soon.

12/10/2008 07:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Back = Bach

Phone was ringing as I hit publish, before I had a chance to read (blush)

12/10/2008 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous cassandra said...

I am oddly ambivalent about this post. Perhaps, as a member of the baby boomer generation, I have simply heard too much of this nonsense all my life to find it palatable, much less enlightening.
Yes, Mommy and Daddy (who pay your college tuition) are dullards! Teaching a kid how to spell, never mind teaching him the mechanics of drawing, is supressing his precious creativity. Normality is oppression! Be a non-conformist! Free your authentic self from the constraints of bourgeois morality!

I saw The Queen. I was on her side. I liked her and her sense of honor, decorum, and tradition. I even preferred her cold reserve to the media-driven emotion of the mooniacal Diana-worshippers.

I said I was "ambivalent." Normality can, indeed, be a scourge. Be to what extent, in what way, and under what circumstances?

I suspect I am missing something here, but I think it would be helpful to distinguish clearly between your own thesis and the standard antinomian claptrap of the Left.

12/10/2008 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Welcome aboard, Northern Bandit!
Another brightside is you don't hafta worry about gettin' banned here, even if you are a Canuck. :^)

12/10/2008 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thesis?
Bwahahaha! Ahem. Yeah, I would say you missed it alright.

12/10/2008 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good news! Gary Sinise received the Presidential Citizen Medal!

Gary Sinise

A well deserved honor. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Mr. Sinise is a true Patriot.

12/10/2008 07:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Thanks Ben, you old Salt!

Well, I'll go back to listening for a bit. One thing I can say about today's essay from Bob -- I'm not normal.

Now, can I get that on a T-shirt, preferably with a bowling raccoon for illustration?

12/10/2008 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Waylon Jennings got it right:
I've always been crazy but it's kept me from goin' insane...

That's a great idea, Northern Bandit!
T-shirts (or see shirts), mugs, steins, Raccoon hats, a Gagdad swimsuit calendar, ...merchandising! Bob can start a Gagdad Bob Mart.
I would buy stuff...except for the swimsuit calendar (not that there's anything wrong with that).

12/10/2008 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Hi, NB

"can I get that on a T-shirt, preferably with a bowling raccoon for illustration?"

if you're serious, that could certainly be arranged...

12/10/2008 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Cassandra,

"I suspect I am missing something here,"

Probably, yes. Speaking for myself, my parents weren't normotic; I was ridiculously fortunate in that, while they didn't necessarily get me, they nevertheless allowed me to be myself, more or less. This doesn't mean there was no structure, rather that they recognized that I had a personality of my own, which they did their best to allow to develop. Partly, this had to do with the fact that my mother went through some extensive therapy. Her mother managed to take the normotic lifestyle to an extreme. Appearances were all that mattered. The negative repercussions of that excessive, obsessive drive to be the most normal family in the neighborhood are being felt through several generations now, and they have been truly awful.

12/10/2008 08:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

You know how Bob has this way of describing great jazz so that you know that he has had these electifying, transformative encounters with (what was that!?!?)...

Mozart's 21st and 23rd piano concertos contain epiphanic passages for me that tweaked something connected vertically as far back as I can remember -- LONG before I knew God in any way at all.

12/10/2008 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Northern Bandit said "Back = Bach
Phone was ringing as I hit publish, before I had a chance to read (blush) "

Sheesh... imagine someone not spell chekang thair commeants. The nearve.

;-)


(Welcome!)

12/10/2008 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Cassandra,
Yep, you're missing a bit of context... stick around, there's more to it than has met your eye today. No one here mistakes flighty blurtings and pretentious eccentricities for creativity, or has patience for those who do - and those who do usually are flatly leftist - doubly damned in these bandits eyes.

Might want to look back through the Knowa's Arkive... you'll get the picture.
And you don't need to worry about any of us here ignoring your forewarnings of doom - we already know about it.
(psst... when Queen Clytemnestra, say's follow me... don't. Just sayin')

12/10/2008 08:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Julie,

Was relfecting on your last post...

The people you describe seem more like desperate souls trying to cram themselves into externally imposed roles.

The kind of "Normal" I get from Bob's description is something vastly more troubling. It is manifested here famously by the austistic -- yet highly intelligent -- persona known colloquially as the jester. It is an absence of a range of apperceptive functionality which leaves one with the gnawing sense that there is a gaping hole -- a nothing where the rest of us at least are constantly wrestling. I'd contrast the jester with someone like Chris Hitchens -- a first-rank intellect in some respects who when dealing with spiritual matters comes across as a rather nonplussed and defiant mouse in the shadow of a seductive cat.

The "normals" are the spiritual Stepford Wives. They are almost universally on the Left. The purest litmus test is abortion: the pure "Normal" will be a bit queasy about an 8th month "termination", but for exactly the same reason he is queasy about stepping on large bugs, small rodents, lizards, etc.

12/10/2008 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

NB said "Mozart's 21st and 23rd piano concertos contain epiphanic passages for me that tweaked something connected vertically as far back as I can remember -- LONG before I knew God in any way at all. "

I agree. It's fun when the musical top 10 lists come out here... the raccoon hand washing manners get set aside, and the screeching howlers of the night fights break out.

(Keep your eye on Dupree)

Personally I do like some jazz, especially piano bar Trio's & Quartets (acoustic)... I used to be a Rocker' myself, and certainly don't mind it today (the good stuff anyway), but, with many exceptions, I think of Rock as being more musical enthusiasm or emotional aerobics, than as true Music. When I want to listen to Music, that's where Mozart, Beethoven, Back (ahem) & Co. come in.

That's music, that can transport me.

12/10/2008 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Once a Fool...

still stuck in normal
raised in the wild by monkeys
no mirrors allowed

Jest kidding, Ray.

12/10/2008 09:05:00 PM  
OpenID ropata said...

As an INFP (intorverted touchy-feely idealist) I have always had an inner quest for authenticity. But most "Normals" are relatively disonnected from the subjective world of emotion and spirituality, and think a search for meaning is a waste of time. Only later do they realize that their whole life was a waste of time if it was spent on things of no lasting significance.

But then again I'm just one of those Gen X losers, and my parents were hard-working Boomers with important things to do... no time for impractical conversations about silly notions like God

12/10/2008 09:08:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

"I have simply heard too much of this nonsense all my life to find it palatable, much less enlightening.
Yes, Mommy and Daddy (who pay your college tuition) are dullards! Teaching a kid how to spell, never mind teaching him the mechanics of drawing, is supressing his precious creativity. Normality is oppression! Be a non-conformist! Free your authentic self from the constraints of bourgeois morality!"

Cassandra, Bob's post was not at all about what you've written above. Try rereading it a few times looking for meanings quite different & deeper than saturated, loaded phrases that come to mind. Another pass after sleeping on it might unlock it for you, since lots of stuff plays musical chairs in your head while you sleep.

Bob's unsense is dancing-nonsense & unlike the nonsense you've heard all your life from the outside. Listen inside, that's where the unsense lives.

12/10/2008 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

get Back, get Back.
get Back to where you once belonged

Canuck or no, anycoon who grooves to Johann da Man is ok by me

12/10/2008 09:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Listening to Amazing Grace tonight by massed Scottish Canadian bagpipe. Canada surrendered her 100th son to the Taliban last week since 2001. Virtually none of them (literally) from the big cities (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver) which account for the 60% of Canadians who vote "Democrat" reflexively.

12/10/2008 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Heroes, all 100 of those guys.
God bless them and their families.

12/10/2008 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Cassandra said...

Thanks Van, Julie, ximeze, ropata, and ALL other commenters. I think I understand more or less what all of you are saying. Your personal testimony helps. And I will reread the post.

Oh! Thank you, Van, for the warning! (Although,to be sure, I have already foreseen the danger!)

12/10/2008 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Cassandra said "...Oh! Thank you, Van, for the warning! (Although,to be sure, I have already foreseen the danger!)"

You did? Really?... Nyahhh... I don't believe you.

(Doh!)

;-)

Oh my... sleep typing again... g'nite all!

12/10/2008 10:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Northern Bandit: Welcome from this Canadian expat (living in the other CA) also in the technology industry. Glad you've uncloaked and are participating.

Bob: After reading today's post, I was first wallowing in my own upbringing but quickly switched the how to I turn this little bit of extra light into something better for my kids. Thank you.

Walt: great quote re control - it was part of the brilliance of the founding of the US that this was understood.

12/11/2008 03:24:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

What if the stress of being raised by parents who didn't 'get' you led to a hypersensitivity to not being fully 'got'? A tendency to overdiagnose simple misunderstanding or disagreement (or even different 'styles') as pathological?

Just raising the possibility of a mote in the eye that corresponds to the beam in everyone else's.

12/11/2008 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger QP said...

URGENT request for love and support for ALL
Soldiers!

Sadly, they do not have the funds for postage to ship out the remaining 40,000 care packages for our troops. That’s why they desperately need our help.

12/11/2008 06:39:00 AM  

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