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Friday, 30 October 2015

I Think I Love You - part 2

Some time ago, I wrote that "I am sorry" and "NO" are some of the hardest words to express. For me, there is another example and I am not alone in that one. It's very, very hard for me to say "I love you". I can only say these words when I genuinely mean it. Hence, it rarely happens.

Obviously, there are ways to circumvent saying "I Love You" and especially, "I think I love you", which is also a famous David Cassidy / Partridge Family song. You wouldn't be inclined to substitute the word "feel" for "think" though. Your thinking may change any time but your feeling not really.

Saying these 3 words allegedly makes us vulnerable. In movies it's even advised not to be the first one saying these 3 words. The one who says it first has actually lost. Love is viewed as a game of power and the last one saying these 3 words has won.

The PsychologyToday ("PT") article What Does The Phrase "I Love You" Really Mean? is truly interesting: If you ask most people, they'll likely tell you that the phrase "I love you" stands as a sign of true long-term devotion and that men are much more hesitant to say it. But a 2011 study ("Let's get serious: Communicating commitment in romantic relationships") shows that they would be wrong. This study [..] came up with some truly surprising findings. (PT)

Through multiple studies [..], the researchers found that although most people believe women are more likely to say "I love you" first, it's actually men who do (by a 2:1 ratio). Why? Most likely, as the authors speculate, it's because men do not want to miss any opportunity to move the relationship to the next level (read sex here). The researchers also found that after the start of sexual activity in a relationship, men reported much less happiness at being told "I love you" by their partners than did women. (PT) In plain English: men just say "I love you" to get laid but do not actually mean it.

When the researchers asked their participants how honest they felt expressions of love were, a fascinating pattern emerged. Women believed it to be more honest post-sex than pre-sex. Men, however, viewed it as more honest pre-sex. It seems that men and women may have different senses of what "I love you" actually means: You hear it as "Let's take it to the next level" if you're a man but as "I'm in it for the long haul" if you're a woman. (PT)

Yesterday someone wrote "I love you" to me. I cannot say these same words to her - if only as I have never even met her. Saying these same words to her would feel the same to me as lying and I hate liars. And I also lack any "evidence" for claiming this feeling. I do like her though.

Several months ago, I published a blog called "The 7 stages of Love - for men" which is even #2 in my Top 10 of most read blogs. That blog outlines the vast differences in male and female psychology when it comes to Love. I have also written about "the 7 hurdles" (for men) before entering into a relationship. And developing relationships is a miracle in itself given the fundamental lack of trust between men and women. Exchanging the bonding hormone oxytocin by gazing into each other's eyes is crucial and makes falling in love the easiest part. Staying in love is the real challenge.

I think and feel that staying in love - or any successful relationship - is built on 4 basic corner stones: Communication, Intimacy, Respect and Trust. So far I haven't been able to discover any other pillar. Communication and Intimacy need frequent maintenance but are easy to repair. Interestingly, the pillar Trust can be repaired through (sexual) Intimacy as the hormone oxytocin is not only responsible for bonding but also for developing trust in a relationship (see my 7 August 2015 blog). Damage to the pillar "Respect" may often be beyond repair. Also see my 18 July 2015 blog.

I think I love you, so what am I so afraid of? I'm afraid that I'm not sure of a love there is no cure for.
I think I love you, isn't that what life is made of? Though it worries me to say that I've never felt this way. David Cassidy / The Partridge Family

David Cassidy - I Think I Love You (1970) - artist, lyrics, Wiki


Thursday, 29 October 2015

Politics versus Population

Tuesday's evening newspaper, Het Parool, had an item that even surprised me: 92% of all Dutch people are of the opinion that migrants should leave Holland within a couple of months or years. The newspaper went on by saying that the Dutch are most troubled with the influx of refugees, compared to all Western European nations. The refugee debate in Holland has become a heated one. Even the Dutch King interfered in this debate during his official visit to China.

Politics and Population have never been so far apart before. The Western representative democracies have a serious problem as they are less and less representative. In my view, this explains the (protest) voting on extreme parties or (Presidential) candidates. People are looking more and more for a "strong man" to fix the country's / nation's problems. The Turkish President was very open in that: "The biggest advantage would be in abolishing policy-making through multiple channels" (Reuters).

Western representative democracies (e.g., Europe, USA) must reinvent themselves to prevent further inefficiency and ineffectiveness. The political deadlock in the USA between Democrats and Republicans is a perfect example of what should be prevented. The success of non-political US Presidential candidates (e.g., Carson, Trump) and even the success of Bernie Sanders is a plea for "change". Yet not the "change" that brought Barack Obama into office. A very different kind of change. It may well bring a copy of the Presidential "democracy" of China and Russia.

The increasing "failure" of Western representative democracies and the increasing "success" of Presidential "democracies" is related to the "too big to fail" dilemma and its perceived solutions. The worrying part is that Western elected politicians have no reason to reinvent themselves. In fact, chaos is probably in their benefit. It allows for fear management, blame-games, the occasional shifts in power, and - obviously - an overall status quo of the representative democracy.

To some extent, separation (e.g., Catalonia in Spain, Flanders in Belgium, Scotland in the UK) may be a solution for the "too big to fail dilemma. It would indeed bring Politics closer to the Population. At least for some time. In my view, Europe is unlikely to elect for a Presidential democracy and thus disintegration - or separation - becomes a more logical solution.

I would be in favour of Presidential democracies if I had any trust in the candidates running for that office. Unfortunately, in some professions there is an increased likelihood for psychopaths. In business, it's the CEO and in politics it's - eh - the politicians. "Psychopaths are not delusional or psychotic; in fact, two of the hallmarks of psychopathy are a calculating mind and a seemingly easy charm". (e.g., AtlanticForbesHuffingtonPost, TimeWiki and my 14 April 2015 blog)

To date, I only see one viable alternative: a non-partisan, direct democracy, similar to ancient Greece.
"The democracy of ancient Athens was a nonpartisan, direct democracy where eligible citizens voted on laws themselves rather than electing representatives". Excerpt from my 22 October 2015 blog. Also see my blogs of 5 March 2015 (To vote or not to vote?) and 9 February 2015 (Parliamentary democracy in the Age of Wisdom).

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Abraham Lincoln quote

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Wasted Time

As a kid I always played outside and usually clueless about time (e.g., no iPhone, no watch). Usually someone told us that we had to go home for dinner. Time was irrelevant to us then. Nowadays, I only hear kids complaining that they are bored. Bored despite their iPhone, iPad, game consoles, school, sports and Twitter. Essentially, boredom is just too much time and nothing (much) to do.

When I was studying for my CPA exam and also fulltime working, time management became the daily challenge: completing all necessary tasks within the available daily 24 hours. After mastering time management, a new feeling entered into my life - wasted time.

The feeling of wasted time is somehow similar to the "what, if" question. To me, that question is one of the most dangerous questions in life. It makes you focus on the rear view mirror of your life and prevents you from moving on. However, to some extent the feeling of wasted time is also a wake-up call. It may make you realise that priorities in life need to change.

So what comes after this feeling of wasted time? Essentially, the wake-up call may have 2 different consequences: things get better - or worse. Thanksgiving versus 'grumpy old men' (IMDb). The best example of grumpy old men are Waldorf and Statler from the The Muppet Show.

These feelings about time clearly correlate to our age and life expectancy: kids - too much, young adult - time struggle, adult - time management, senior adult - wasted time. Latter feeling may then further culminate in either a negative outlook (e.g., memento mori, whining) or a positive outlook (e.g., carpe diem, thanksgiving) on life in general. Recognising the wake-up call is crucial.

In 1964, the Rolling Stones released their famous song "Time is on my side" (lyrics, YouTube). I sincerely doubt they could have written that song at a later age. Time is never really on your side as of a certain age. For a long period in our lives it's a feeling of too much to do and so little time.

Marc Bolan (1947-1977), the former lead singer of the band T-Rex, has a very good quote on this: "There is so little time for us all, I need to be able to say what I want quickly and to as many people as possible. Time passes so slowly if you are unaware of it and so quickly if you are aware of it".

My blog is my way of addressing as many people as possible. I have chosen for this form (1x A4) as it allows me to create many topics. The blog's length will also accommodate the attention span of most readers. And I neither want to waste my time nor the time of my readers by using (too) many words. "Less is more" remains my ambition - also in writing. 

Some time ago, my brother advised me this topic also given the beautiful Eagles song and lyrics that would accompany that blog. It has been on my list of topics for quite a while as I didn't really know how to write that blog. Nowadays, I am thankful - and grateful - for each new day. This is however a major mind shift from before. Today I realised its connection with Wasted Time.

You never thought you'd be alone this far down the line. And I know what's been on your mind.
You're afraid it's all been wasted time. Eagles - Hotel California (album) - Wasted Time (song)

Eagles - Wasted Time (1976) - artists, lyrics, Wiki


Eagles - Wasted Time (reprise)

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Falling in love is the easy part (part 1)

Today I realised that there is an intriguing connection between Oscar Wilde's quote on male/female friendship and a TED video by Mandy Len Catron called "Falling in love is the easy part". I have also used this Wilde quote in my blogs of 10 December 2014, 15 December 2014, 19 February 2015 and 16 September 2015. This ample coverage is warranted by its provoking nature: "Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship".

In January 2015, Mandy Len Catron published an article in the New York Times called: "To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This". The article is about a psychological study designed to create romantic love in the laboratory, and her own experience while trying the study herself in 2014. By just asking 36 questions, you can fall in love with anyone. The procedure is fairly simple: two strangers take turns asking each other 36 increasingly personal questions and then they stare into each other's eyes without speaking for four minutes. Mandy Len Catron tried this experiment, it worked, and she wrote a viral article about it. Only the TED video has 1,269,345 views. (NYTTED)

The gazing into the eyes is very important in this experiment as humans bond emotionally when we gaze into each other's eyes, a process mediated by the hormone oxytocin. Also see my blog of 22 April 2015, called "Eyes are the mirror of the soul", and my blogs of 14 and 22 September 2015.

The intriguing connection is that friendship always involves exchanging personal information. Amongst heterosexual men this would normally not result into intimate bonding and neither amongst heterosexual women. In any heterosexual female/male friendship, the exchanging of personal information could actually result into a copy of Mandy Len Catron's psychological study. The more information you exchange, the more close you become to the other person.

The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. To quote the study’s authors, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.” Allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult, so this exercise forces the issue. (NYT - 36 questions)

Attractiveness between men and women has two different aspects: physical and emotional. To be very blunt: the first applies to most men and the second to many - if not most - women. It probably even explains songs like Joe Jackson's "Is she really going out with him" of which the very first line of the lyrics bluntly states: "Pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street". Also see my 27 August 2015 blog called Sapiosexual: many women claim to be sexually attracted to intelligence.

For most men it's very different. To explain this I will use a quote from the 1989 movie "When Harry met Sally" (IMDb): Harry: "Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her". Sally: "So, you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?" Harry: "No. You pretty much want to nail 'em too". Sally: "What if THEY don't want to have sex with YOU?" Harry: "Doesn't matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story".

By now you many wonder: "But … is that real love? Did it last? And what’s the difference between falling in love and staying in love?" To be continued.

10CC - I'm not in love (1975) - artists, lyrics, Wiki

Monday, 26 October 2015

Forgive and Forget

I really thought that I had forgiven her but lately I am less sure. I notice that I still get upset when those memories become the topic of a conversation. The thought of what she did to me still causes anger. I try hard avoiding this topic. Now I wonder whether perhaps I have been confusing forgetting and forgiving. How do you really know when you have forgiven somebody??

To me it is inconceivable to act as if things are normal now. I have no appetite to talk to her as I know very well that this would not benefit my emotional well-being. Avoiding seeing or meeting her is a valid option but not a good one - to me. That would - again - give her control over my life and that is no option - to me. Basically, there is now a status quo of "live and let live".

I am confused as I did "move on" and moving on in life is really hard without forgiveness - perhaps even impossible. Nevertheless, I do feel this anger flaring up when I am reminded of my past with her. Obviously, forgiving does not imply that you are erasing memories - permanently forgetting is not an option to anyone. Ultimately, my anger is the confusing part. Anger is negative emotion. Forgiveness should imply positive - or a lack of - emotion - shouldn't it?

The topic of Forgiveness came to my mind again following last Friday's conversation with my brother and a recent article in Greater Good, called the Eight keys to Forgiveness by Robert Enright. Reading these 8 keys to Forgiveness did not give rise to a feeling that I have omitted a step in my forgiveness towards her. So, what is the relationship between forgiving and forgetting?

When you have forgiven someone, then, it's valuable also to forget the details of what they have done. But does that actually work? Does forgiveness allow you to forget those details? This question was explored in an interesting paper in the July 2014 issue of Psychological Science. The authors note that the study “represents the first empirical demonstration of a link between forgiveness and intentional forgetting.” (PsychologyToday-1, PsychologyToday-2)

The result of their research suggests that forgiveness may actually give people permission to forget—that is, when people are willing to forgive, they are willing to give up the details of an episode. But when they are unwilling to forgive, they keep those details around. Presumably, they will also re-experience those details negatively when they remember them in the future. (PT-1)

I am inclined to conclude that I'm willing to forgive but unwilling to forget although that combination is not mentioned in the free abstract that is available to me. I suppose that I am unwilling to forget, partly as I am unable to erase her out of my life, and partly as I remain suspicious about her future intentions. Hence, I am always on my guard. Latter may be good enough reason not to forget.

In essence, the phrase "Forgive and Forget" does make sense as the above mentioned study has demonstrated. I feel less worried now that my forgiveness would still be outstanding. It is not. Else I wouldn't be able to move on in my life. And I do. Yet, my suspicion makes it impossible to forget.

“Everyone suffers at least one bad betrayal in their lifetime. It’s what unites us. The trick is not to let it destroy your trust in others when that happens. Don’t let them take that from you.” Quote from
Sherrilyn Kenyon's book called Invincible

Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up (1970) - artist, lyrics, Wiki


Sunday, 25 October 2015

Accountability versus Responsibility

Several days ago, I introduced the terms accountability and responsibility to help explain the concepts of Regret and Remorse. "In case you neither feel accountable nor responsible then there will be no regret or remorse. It is possible to feel accountable yet not responsible. Hence, no regret or remorse. Accountability may cause a serious emotion though: shame (regret) and guilt (remorse)". Also see my October 15 blog.

I didn't expect to see a "perfect" example in the global news within a few days from my blog and one which leaves zero doubt about the difference between accountability and responsibility. According to the Prime Minister of Israel, the idea for the Jewish extinction was not of Adolf Hitler but of Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian Arab nationalist, Muslim leader, and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Following that news, the Germans immediately claimed full responsibility and denied having any doubt about their responsibility in the extinction of Jews.

Let's first suppose that the Israeli PM was not plain lying. According to Wikipedia, Amin al-Husseini indeed actively opposed Zionism. However, that is only circumstantial evidence - at best. Even if Amin al-Husseini would have been able to convince Adolf Hitler to murder the Jewish population, then that fact would make Amin al-Husseini merely accountable (at best!) but never ever responsible. The Germans immediately understood this very important difference between accountability and responsibility.

The concepts of accountability and responsibility are often confused and probably even with a deliberate aim: "if you can't convince them, confuse them". This old saying was made popular by former US President Harry S. Truman but has an unclear origin that dates back at least to 1919. To confuse accountability and responsibility in this specific case - and at this senior level - is genuinely worrisome. 

The factual correctness of the PM's remark is questioned inside and outside Israel. To me it is even less relevant as lying is - or has become - a second nature in Politics. The aim to confuse - between accountability and responsibility - is by far the most interesting part. Until now this remark seems to have united Israel's friend and enemies. Such an aim would only make sense in case of a victim role strategy. In recent years, we have seen that - successful - strategy before in some other countries. 

A victim role strategy may - once again - be the start of an authoritarian style of leadership. Fear management is an excellent tool to bypass democracy. Yet, you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. A quote often attributed to US President Abraham Lincoln but Quote Investigator disagrees.

I used to be a full supporter of Israel but that nation makes it extremely difficult - near impossible - to continue to feel any sympathy. I have never switched to the other side though, unlike many others. In that dirty war nobody has clean hands. Today, I have little sympathy for both parties, mostly as they are reluctant to resolve their differences. Nobody will win that dirty war. It just takes time, many casualties, an outside power broker, and common sense to come up with a sensible arrangement. That area is now the home of two rather than one people. Cohabitation is the only solution. 

Dotan (b. Jerusalem, 1986) - Home (2014) - artist, lyrics, Wiki


Dotan - Let The River In

Friday, 23 October 2015

In pursuit of happiness - part 3

Subsequent to Wednesday's blog, a friend said to me: "This is truly food for thought!! Waiting on the conclusion!!". Actually, I wasn't planning for a part 3 - or a conclusion. Her comment was valid though as to some extent it's on my mind too. Is there a conclusion about the pursuit of happiness?? Yes, there might be. It's all about finding the relevant ingredients for living a "full life" during the various phases of your life. So these ingredients will vary over time - both in quantity and quality.

Let's use the example (see diagram below) from my 8 May 2015 blog on Success and Failure.
Most of the above phases represent a life of engagement (e.g., study, sports, career, family), yet to some extent they may also represent the pleasant life (e.g., sports). And in rare cases, a career may even represent a meaningful life. The combination of study, sport, career and family will represent a full life to many of us. It's our own choice of ingredients that constitutes a full and happy life.

In accordance with the Law of diminishing marginal returns (Wiki), our satisfaction in life is not a constant: it will increase or decrease over time. Each additional stimulus has a diminishing marginal return to our overall satisfaction in life. Changing the quantity and quality of the ingredients over time will help to optimise our satisfaction. Picking the right moment is an illusion and there is no insider trading or front running.

Although my life satisfaction is very high right now, I do already feel that I need to consider to amend the quantity and quality of the ingredients as I will not be able to maintain this level over time. In essence, the pursuit is about finding the right ingredients. The mix - or recipe - of the ingredients brings happiness - or not. Changing the mix - both in time and over time - is the real challenge.

Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. Ayn Rand. Also see my March 20 blog on her.

I also like the approach of Orhan Pamuk: “Happiness means being close to the one you love, that's all. (Taking immediate possession is not necessary.)”. Quote from The Museum of Innocence.

"I once found the recipe, for what to do to cure my needs. I packed some things just what I need, only bare necessities. Asked Mrs. Walsh to feed my cat, call landlord Tate to tell him that I'm going home where my people live, I need a little bit of happiness, yeah". Jonathan Jeremiah - Happiness

Jonathan Jeremiah - Happiness (2011) - artist, lyrics, AllMusic, Wiki

Thursday, 22 October 2015

7 Belief Systems - Under Pressure

One of the most depressing movies that I have ever seen is Fallen (IMDb). Its cast is great though: Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland, James Gandolfini, etcetera. Yet it is the sheer lack of hope that makes this movie utterly depressing unlike that other movie Constantine (IMDb) which still offers hope. For some time, it feels as if we are a live participating audience in a real-time sequel of Fallen.

I have no appetite to repeat or even focus on the vast amount of negativity that is surrounding us. I think and feel that the heptagon (see left diagram) which - in my view - represents the 7 Belief systems (i.e., Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science, and the Truth) is becoming like a hot air balloon that may burst in case of too much pressure.

In my view, all current chaos is related to most - if not all - of these 7 Belief systems. Chaos represents disorder and also the search for a new Equilibrium. The mere fact that most sides of the heptagon are under pressure is genuinely worrisome - to say the least.

In my 24 August 2015 blog, I used a 1976 (!!) Stevie Wonder song: Love is in need of Love today (lyricsYouTube). The lack of Love and the increase of Hatred is clearly visible all over our planet. Only in human beings of course as we are our own worst enemy.

At times, I wonder about the solution. In my other 24 August 2015 blog, called "Après nous le déluge!", I mentioned that we do have an - albeit individual - option: Pay it Forward (IMDb). In essence, that concept is as simple as "be good and do good" or “Don't do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you.” (Confucius, Golden Rule a.k.a. Ethic of Reciprocity)

On a global scale, I only see one solution that is able to remove adequate global pressure: a reconciliation between Judaism, and its first derivative Christianity, and its second derivative Islam. This idea may sound farfetched but actually it is not at all. In essence, they are all monotheistic religions with several - often mutually recognised - prophets.

Religion is the only (serious) countervailing power to Politics. However, the real challenge lies in Politics: will Politics follow a unified Religion or will the relentless human ambition for (authoritarian) power win? The increase in (large) authoritarian regimes may indicate the latter.

Is there an alternative to Politics? That seems to be the ultimate question. Wikipedia: "The democracy of ancient Athens was a nonpartisan, direct democracy where eligible citizens voted on laws themselves rather than electing representatives". Also see my blogs of 5 March 2015 (To vote or not to vote?) and 9 February 2015 (Parliamentary democracy in the Age of Wisdom).

Cynics may argue that the people (voters) get what they deserve (politicians). And cynicism always works in favour of the (more) extreme political parties. As Marvin Gaye once sang: "We don't need to escalate. War is not the answer, because only love can conquer hate". 

Why can't we give love that one more chance? 'Cause love's such an old-fashioned word. And love dares you to care for The people on the edge of the night. And love dares you to change our way of Caring about ourselves. Queen - Under Pressure

Queen featuring David Bowie - Under Pressure (1981) - lyrics, Wiki


Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (1971) - artist, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

In pursuit of happiness - part 2

Yesterday's blog mentioned the 3 basic alternatives for living a happy life: the pleasant life, the life of engagement and the meaningful life. These 3 lives do not exclude each other. All of these 3 lives may even be combined in 1 person. When I look back then I see that most of my life was a life of engagement, during a brief period I pursued a pleasant life, and now it's all about a meaningful life. My current way of living gives me my greatest life satisfaction ever. Each new day is a blessing.

I have nothing to prove anymore to anyone. I have achieved everything I ever dreamt of. I have no regrets, no remorse and no guilt. My mind is free to wander into any direction of interest to me. To date, the 7 Belief systems (Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth) constitute my inner compass. I haven't found any other topic which one would be willing to die for.

Each new blog that I write aims to support at least 1 person. That alone would give ample meaning to each new day. I would be immensely proud if my legacy of 300+ blogs would be helpful to others for years to come. I suppose that is the essence of living a meaningful life.

I have never been particularly good in living a pleasant life. In my case, the satisfaction of any pleasure is short-lived. It's impossible for me to keep adding additional pleasures to maintain - let alone increase - my level of satisfaction. Somehow I relate well to the famous Rolling Stones song "I can't get no satisfaction". Living a life of (hedonistic) pleasures is clearly not meant for me.

For many years, I have lived a life of engagement and usually that life was quite fulfilling although subconsciously I did feel that something was missing. At times the question popped up: "Is that all there is?" Apparently, that same question has been a hit song for various people (Wiki). Obviously, this mere fact already implies that many of us struggle with that same question.

Martin Seligman has asked thousands of people the question "to what extent does the pursuit of pleasure, the pursuit of positive emotion, the pleasant life, the pursuit of engagement, time stopping for you, and the pursuit of meaning contribute to life satisfaction?" (TED)

Seligman: "And our results surprised us, but they were backward of what we thought. It turns out the pursuit of pleasure has almost no contribution to life satisfaction. The pursuit of meaning is the strongest. The pursuit of engagement is also very strong. Where pleasure matters is if you have both engagement and you have meaning, then pleasure's the whipped cream and the cherry. Which is to say, the full life -- the sum is greater than the parts, if you've got all three. Conversely, if you have none of the three, the empty life, the sum is less than the parts." (TED)

To me, the conclusion of Dr Martin Seligman makes perfect sense now that I experienced all 3 basic alternatives for living a happy life. Nevertheless, I think and feel that living a meaningful life requires even "more": less is more. The more ballast I get rid of in life, the more satisfaction I feel. Today, my main fear is selling out on what I now have, do and feel.

Obviously, less is more has a clear link to consumerism and ecology. To be continued.........

The Rolling Stones - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (1965) - artists, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Peggy Lee - Is That All There Is? (1969) - artist, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Paul Weller - Headstart For Happiness (1984) - artist, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

In pursuit of happiness

In my 18 October 2015 blog, I casually included a TED video by Martin Seligman on Positive Psychology. Actually, I didn't watch this video until now. I just felt that it would be important to mention it. Indeed it's an important video - and perhaps even more than that. This remarkable TED video learns us a lot about the pursuit of happiness. Not the movie (IMDb) but the real thing.

Seligman: "For more than 60 years, psychology worked within the disease model. [ ] People were saying psychology is about finding what's wrong with you. [ ] And the conclusion of that is that psychology and psychiatry, over the last 60 years, can actually claim that we can make miserable people less miserable. And I think that's terrific. I'm proud of it. But what was not good, the consequences of that were three things."

Seligman: "The first was moral, that psychologists and psychiatrists became victimologists [ ]. The second cost was that we forgot about [ ] improving normal lives. And the third problem [ ] is, [ ] it never occurred to us to develop interventions to make people happier, positive interventions." This has led Seligman and others to work on what they call positive psychology - or authentic happiness.

Positive Psychology has determined that there are 3 ways for the pursuit to happiness. Seligman: "The first happy life is the pleasant life. This is a life in which you have as much positive emotion as you possibly can, and the skills to amplify it. The second is a life of engagement - a life in your work, your parenting, your love, your leisure, time stops for you. [ ] And third, the meaningful life."

Seligman: "The first life is the pleasant life and it's simply [ ] having as many of the pleasures as you can, as much positive emotion as you can, and learning the skills - savouring, mindfulness - that amplify them, that stretch them over time and space. But the pleasant life has three drawbacks": (1) it's inherited for about 50%, (2) people get used to it very quickly, and (3) it's not very modifiable.

Seligman: The second happy life is "about flow. And it's distinct from pleasure in a very important way. Pleasure has raw feels: you know it's happening. It's thought and feeling. But [ ] during flow, you can't feel anything. You're one with the music. Time stops. You have intense concentration."

Seligman: "And the third path is meaning. This is the most venerable of the happinesses, traditionally. And meaning, in this view, consists of - very parallel to eudaimonia - it consists of knowing what your highest strengths are, and using them to belong to and in the service of something larger than you are."

Seligman: "It turns out the pursuit of pleasure has almost no contribution to life satisfaction. The pursuit of meaning is the strongest. The pursuit of engagement is also very strong. Where pleasure matters is if you have both engagement and you have meaning, then pleasure's the whipped cream and the cherry. Which is to say, the full life -- the sum is greater than the parts, if you've got all three. Conversely, if you have none of the three, the empty life, the sum is less than the parts."

This TED video - and its script - has helped me enormously. I know understand why I feel happy - even in my circumstances / situation.

Pharrell Williams - Happy (2013) - artist, lyrics, Wiki-1Wiki-2


Monday, 19 October 2015

EU - Turkey

Recent developments between EU and Turkey are confusing. I cannot imagine that the Turkish President has a sincere interest in joining the EU as that act would strip some of his authoritarian powers. And I cannot imagine that the majority of the EU population would ever agree with 100 million Turkish Muslims joining a Christian dominated EU.  The delicate balance of powers in Europe would seriously shift. So what's really going on?

I think and feel that a lot of this has to do with Russia. Turkey has become an outcast in NATO (e.g., Cyprus, Greece), faces regional conflicts (Kurds, Syria), and is a reluctant applicant of a true EU membership (e.g., EU harmonisation). Nevertheless, the Turkish fear over its Russian "neighbour" (e.g., Armenia, Bosporus, Black Sea Fleet, WW-II), may even be stronger than the sum of all other fears. It's easier to manipulate a divided Europe than an determined, expanding "neighbour". Also see my blogs of June 6 (Bosporus) and August 6 (Kurdistan).

Considering the Turkish expertise in doing business, the accommodation of refugees in their vast country will no doubt become a profitable one. The abolishment of European visum restrictions would be an excellent opportunity for the Turkish government to get rid of domestic critics. Even the Turkish Kurds may need to seek a new future in Europe. It seems a win-win situation for the Turks.

I am afraid that even a discussion about admitting Turkey into the EU is too much for the European Union. It will unleash strong sentiments in various parts of the EU. Exits become more realistic than ever before (e.g., Brexit, Grexit). The only good thing that may happen is that the errors of Helmut Kohl and Francois Mitterand will finally be repaired: big is not beautiful - less is more. Hence, I sympathise with the ideas of Guy Verhofstadt in his new (Dutch language) book on Europe.

I think and feel that the current Turkish situation is a backlash from its 2012 ambitions to "become the “master, leader and servant” of a new Middle East. But the country’s ties with allies and neighbours alike have been strained — whether over Mr Erdogan’s personalised style of diplomacy, Ankara’s support for Islamists elsewhere or the knock-on effects of a feud between Islamic factions inside Turkey itself". (FT 3 March 2015)

Tensions have spread across the Atlantic as well as the Gulf. Gone are the days — also in 2012 — when President Barack Obama named Mr Erdogan as one of five international leaders with whom he had “bonds of trust”. [ ] Mr Erdogan himself appears puzzled by his country’s lack of friends. Last month, he said if Turkey appeared isolated it was because other leaders were jealous, although he did not say of what. “When Obama came to office we got along very well,” he added. “Afterwards things began to change and I don’t know why.” (FT 3 March 2015)

In my view, the problem with Turkey lies in its path of self isolation. FT 3 March 2015: “We do not care about being alone in the world . . . What we care about is what our people think about us.” So said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish president, as he flew back from a trip abroad.

Turkey's lack of friends and its increasing number of enemies constitutes a new geo-political threat. The EU and NATO should prevent Turkey from going overboard but not at all costs. 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Future

During my conversation with a friend, about being unable to afford a relationship (see my October 17 blog - Unaffordable), I also said to her that I don't have a future. She disagreed. And she was right. I should have been more careful in choosing my words: I don't see a future. However, sometimes both words feel the same to me - in my current circumstances.

To be entirely honest, I am actually very glad that I cannot (fore)see my future. To some extent, the 2006 predictions of a Feng Shui Master from New York still haunt me (also see my March 26 blog). Knowing your future is depressing - either way. When things should/would improve then you get (very) impatient. When things would/should deteriorate you sincerely regret that you even asked for this information. Also see my October 15 blog on regret and remorse.

Another term for foreseeing the future is the French word clairvoyance (or clear vision). Wikipedia states: "Claims for the existence of paranormal and psychic abilities such as clairvoyance have not been supported by scientific evidence published in high impact factor peer reviewed journals. Parapsychology explores this possibility, but the existence of the paranormal is not accepted by the scientific community. Parapsychology, including the study of clairvoyance, is an example of pseudoscience."

One of the greatest - well documented - clairvoyants (a.k.a. psychics) in human history is Michel Nostradamus (1503-1566). All over the world, people are still busy to decipher his many prophecies. To date his work is still in print (e.g., Amazon). The (alleged) prophecies of Nostradamus have also been used for hoaxes. Other - more recent - clairvoyants have been listed here: link 1link 2.

Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin (1869-1916) was a Russian peasant, mystical faith healer and a trusted friend to the family of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. To some extent he is also considered a clairvoyant. He became an influential figure in Saint Petersburg. Allegedly, the grandfather of the current Russian President changed his name from Rasputin to Putin to avoid attention (source). Even a 2002 Pravda article states that: "The president’s family tree is not traced after Putin’s grandfather Spiridon Putin".
To my surprise, I found quite some articles focusing on this similarity in names (e.g., 1, 2, 3).

With the many pressures we face in our busy lives, it's easy to become preoccupied with the stresses of everyday life. The last thing on your mind might be what you'll be doing in a couple of months, years, or decades. However, some surprising research on future time perspective shows that thinking about where you're headed in life can actually get you through the rough times you might be facing now. Even if things are going well, a focus on tomorrow will help you today. (PsychologyToday)

Well-known psychologist Martin Seligman, who helped to found the Positive Psychology movement, stated that "the one thing we know about health, longevity, and flourishing [..]... is [it's important] to live in the future, not in the past, and not in the present." (PsychologyToday)

Do you know where you're going to. Do you like the things that life is showing you. Where are you going to. Do you know. Do you get, What you're hoping for. When you look behind you, There's no open doors. What are you hoping for. Do you know. Diana Ross

Diana Ross - Do You Know Where You're Going To (1975) - artist, lyrics, Wiki


Saturday, 17 October 2015

Unaffordable

A recent Zembla TV broadcast stated that people over 50 years have little to no chance finding a job in today's labour market. It was a Dutch broadcast but I have little doubt that the same statement applies to many other countries all over the world. On top of that, I am an independent contractor (i.e., self-employed) and thus not eligible for Dutch social benefits for employees. Obviously, it does not help that the legal retirement age - and thus the state pension entitlement - is also lifted upwards.

For men, their unemployment status can also make it more likely their wives will divorce them, a new study finds. Whether or not a woman had a job, however, had no effect on the likelihood that her husband would decide to leave the marriage, the researchers said. The findings reveal that despite more women entering the workplace, the pressure on husbands to be breadwinners largely remains, according to researchers at Ohio State University. (LiveScience)

A recent study by ForbesWoman and YourTango found that 75% of women polled, would not marry a man who was unemployed. But regardless of this barrier to marriage, singles are dating more than ever during the recession. Patti Stanger of Millionaire Matchmaker says it depends on gender. Men should avoid the topic or wait until they’re employed to start dating. “If you’re a man and you said [you were unemployed] to a woman, we’d run to the nearest exit,” she told CNN. “If you can’t take a girl out for dinner or cocktails, or even Olive Garden, you shouldn’t be dating.” For women though, being unemployed can sometimes be an advantage. “If you’re downtrodden, the man wants to rescue you. He wants a woman that doesn’t challenge him and doesn’t have a better job than him,” said Stanger. (BusinessInsider)

Although having a job is important, more than 91 percent of single women saying they would marry for love over money. "It is ironic that women place more weight on love than money, yet won't marry if they or their potential suitor is unemployed," said Meghan Casserly, Reporter, ForbesWoman. "A job can make or break the longevity of a relationship and the results of the survey demonstrate just what an important role careers play in romance." (YourTango)

Although the above words may sound harsh, I cannot but agree. Basically, dating or a relationship is unaffordable in case of unemployment. This also brings some ambiguity in my answers to many women's first, second or third question: What do you do (for a living)? Nowadays, I feel quite fine to answer that I am a writer. Most writers have a certain social stigma anyway. And I would not mind losing this overwhelming 75% majority.

Unemployment usually leads to some form of depression and any kind of depression is a serious handicap for employment. The irony of the situation is that being in a (good) relationship generally makes you feel happier. And feeling happy is likely to improve your prospects in the labour market. In essence, unemployment leads to an accumulation of (social) punishments - or "sanctions".

Today, I think and feel unemployment makes us reinvent ourselves. The 'old ways' no longer suffice. It's similar to the tales from the superb booklet Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson. I am still looking for something in between a penniless writer and a "fat cat" CFO. It's hard to give up on Love until that moment and I am unlikely to give up anyway.

Old ways, it sure is hard to change 'em. Come what may. It's hard to teach a dinosaur a new trick.
Lately I've been finding out I'm set in my ways. Old ways, can be your ball and chain. Neil Young

Neil Young - Old Ways (1985) - artist, lyrics, Wiki-1Wiki-2

Friday, 16 October 2015

Sanctions

Sanctions are a relevant element in wrongdoing. Relevant but not essential. Our conscience is defined by our risk appetite and our risk perception (see my October 9 blog). Sanctions represent only one dimension in our risk perception. The other main dimension is the likelihood of getting away with the wrongdoing. The nature of the sanction is another dimension in our risk perception. Some sanctions have zero impact in our decision making.

Sanctions should comply with the so called SMART criteria (i.e., Specific, Measurable,  Assignable, Realistic and Time-related) in order to have an impact. Else it may even be counterproductive. Generic sanctions, which involve others than the perpetrators, may even cause sympathy for the perpetrators. The perpetrator becomes a victim. Ideally, the perpetrator should feel that the imposed sanction is justified (SMART). This would however first require accountability and responsibility.

Monetary sanctions (e.g., fines) comply with 4 out of 5 SMART criteria but lack realism. For some people the monetary sanction will be far too much given their financial background and for others it's a total joke. Economic sanctions are likely to affect far more people than the ones responsible and are likely to become counterproductive over time. Given its irreversibility, a death penalty must be in full and utter compliance with each SMART criterion, especially the "Assignable" criterion. Any shadow of a doubt on that criterion should be good enough reason for not applying it.

In case of taking accountability and responsibility by the perpetrator, a sanction could even by self-imposed by the perpetrator. A judge - or a jury - could then assess the SMARTness of the self-imposed sanction. In case of an (alleged) perpetrator not assuming accountability and responsibility, sanctions should be much more severe - at least in case of a conviction. Such a system may actually work much better for the victim, the perpetrator, and the likelihood of recurrence.

The word sanction has a double meaning in the English language as it can either be openly restrictive or secretly permissive in nature. Vocabulary.com gives an interesting example of this double meaning. In Dutch, we use the word "gedogen" for the secretly permissive nature - in spite of an official sanction policy. Gedogen is not the same as tolerating. It's about not enforcing sanctions.

Why do people obey the law? The two traditional theories are based on 'deterrence' (i.e., people obey the law to avoid legal consequences and sanctions) and 'legitimacy' (i.e., people obey the law because it possesses legitimate authority in their eyes). These two explanations have dominated legal discussions for decades. In recent years, however, Professor Richard McAdams at the University of Chicago Law School has been developing new theories about how the law works. Professor McAdams argues that in addition to deterrence and legitimacy, the law works "expressively" by allowing people to coordinate and by signalling new information and beliefs. (PsychologyToday)

The essential intention of a sanction is to change our behaviour in order to prevent recurrence. In reality, sanctions are much more like an indulgence (NL: "aflaat") to pay for our wrongdoing. There is hardly any behavioural impact anymore. The behavioural impact of a sanction should affect the risk appetite of the perpetrator rather than being a - more or less - neutral component in the risk perception.

People talk about smart sanctions and crippling sanctions. I've never seen smart sanctions, and crippling sanctions cripple everyone, including innocent civilians, and make the government more popular. Quote by Mohamed ElBaradei

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Regret versus Remorse

Remorse was casually mentioned in my October 9 blog on Morality versus Conscience. Regret was mentioned in several blogs (e.g., 7 June, 26 June, 15 August). There have also been other related blogs: Apologies (17 August), Guilt (22 August), Mistakes vs Lessons Learned (10 August), and Honesty (29 July). Today's blog aims to bring some context in these related topics.

Actually, I had to make a mind map to visualise the interconnectedness between regret and remorse as these two apparently simple words, hide a lot of emotions and other important stuff. Although regret and remorse come from very different directions, they do have something essential in common: the intention to "move on" in life. Without expressing regret or remorse, one may get "stuck".

The American author and journalist, Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983), stated: “True remorse is never just regret over consequence; it is regret over motive.” This statement perfectly shows the interconnectedness and also its sheer difficulty in verifying this emotion. Remorse can easily be faked and might be nothing more than regret over getting caught.

Other issues that regret and remorse have in common are accountability and responsibility. In case you neither feel accountable nor responsible then there will be no regret or remorse. It is possible to feel accountable yet not responsible. Hence, no regret or remorse. Accountability may cause a serious emotion though: shame (regret) and guilt (remorse). I should even update my April 12 blog on human emotions and facial expressions as guilt - unlike shame - is not likely to cause blushing.

Regret is caused by making a conscious mistake or an unconscious error. Accountability for that error / mistake causes shame. Feeling responsibility for that error / mistake causes regret. Regret has 2 sides: towards ourselves (lessons learned) and towards others. Regret towards others may give rise to an apology. The reason for apologising is taking formal responsibility, accepting "punishment" as retribution for the error / mistake, and with the intention to bury the past and to "move on".

Remorse is caused by a conscious sin. A sin is the violation of a moral code of conduct. Also see my October 9 blog on morality versus conscience. The seven sins are: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. These 7 sins are the core theme of the famous movie "Se7en" (IMDb). Psychopaths do not feel accountable for their sins. Accountability causes guilt or a guilty conscience. Apart from politics, there can be no responsibility without accountability. True remorse requires both. Remorse may lead to an apology. The reason for that is redemption or retribution by the perpetrator and forgiveness by the victims. Forgiving yourself is the final stage of remorse. The ultimate intention of remorse is "moving on" with your life.

To some extent, regret and remorse have another issue in common: sanctions. Expressing regret or remorse is also - yet indirectly - expressing the willingness to accept the sanction associated with that error, mistake or sin. Often an "I am so sorry" is enough for the absence of further sanctions in case of an error or mistake. Nevertheless, the longer you wait, the more likely sanctions will occur. Time is a distinct factor in the truthfulness of the apology.

Repentance is not so much remorse for what we have done as the fear of the consequences.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

The Walker Brothers - No Regrets (1975) - (artists, lyrics, Wiki)


Friday, 9 October 2015

Morality versus Conscience

My mother always says that one of our family members has a conscience that is so big that a tilt car (NL: huifkar) can ride circles in it. This expression came to my mind when I was thinking about the relationship between conscience, morality, vices and virtues. A PsychologyToday article, called "Conscience does not explain Morality", was a little helpful for this blog.

Vices and virtues are defined in (legal and/or religious) morality. Morality is culturally bound and may vary from region to region. Our conscience defines our tolerance that we apply to this morality.

The law defines speed limits (morality). However, our individual driving habits define whether we adhere (virtue) to these speed limits. Our individual conscience defines which speed is causing a vice and which speed deviation still allows for perceiving a virtue. This tolerance is based on our individual risk appetite. This risk appetite is different from risk perception: the probability of getting caught when breaking a law or regulation.

Since a few days, I am watching season 1 of The Killing, a Danish crime drama, which is also rated an 8.4 on IMDb, similar to its English equivalent Broadchurch. I feel that the mother of the murdered girl is contemplating retaliation. Morality teaches us that killing and murder is wrong. Nevertheless, our conscience may well allow for killing the murderer of our child.

Apart from our individual tolerance level, our conscience also takes into account the circumstances to define the end of a virtue and the start of a vice. Urgency is a well-known circumstance that allows for adjusting our tolerance upwards. However, in certain circumstances risk appetite and risk perception become meaningless. In such a case, the legal punishment for breaking a law becomes irrelevant - whether getting caught or not. Our conscience then allows for - temporarily - skipping morality. Afterwards, morality may sink in again and remorse may take over.

The default level of individual tolerance towards morality is far more interesting than its exceptional level. Why do some people have a huge default individual tolerance? Based on the stories of my mother, the default risk appetite of my family member was far higher than most people around him. My family member also led an adventurous life. These two go hand in hand I suppose.

I think and feel that our default individual conscience is a "mathematical" function of our risk perception and our risk appetite. A high risk perception and a low risk appetite give a very high / narrow conscience. A low risk perception and a high risk appetite result in a very low/broad/loose conscience. At some point on the curve the risk appetite wins from the risk perception. That is the point where the individual conscience deteriorates quickly.

Increasing the risk perception in society - i.e., the perceived likelihood of getting caught - will no doubt increase adherence to laws and regulations (morality). However, even in countries like North Korea, the risk perception will never be a full 100%. Risk appetite is basically the (reversed) accelerator for our conscience. Risk perception is the brake in that analogy.

“A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.” Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Laura Branigan (1952-2004) - Self Control (1984) - (artist, lyrics, Wiki)


Thursday, 8 October 2015

Curiosity

The trigger for yesterday's two blogs was curiosity. Nevertheless, for one blog (5 happiest countries) my curiosity was a virtue, and for the other blog (hatred) my curiosity was a vice. An article in PsychologyToday stated: "The fundamental human capacity for curiosity is a two-edged [..] sword: It is a gift that can bite." Between humans, curiosity often becomes a vice. In nearly any other situation, this quest for knowledge is considered a virtue.

A recent Greater Good blog mentions "6 surprising benefits of curiosity" being: survival, happiness, achievement, understanding, empathy, and healthcare. Three out of the 6 deal with human interaction and its examples do underpin a virtue rather than a vice. However, curiosity (virtue) may lead to nosiness (vice). Nosiness is defined as 'unduly curious about the affairs of others' or 'too ​interested in what other ​people are doing and ​wanting to ​discover too much about them' (source).

The adjective 'too' and/or 'unduly' are irrelevant within science. You can never really know too much. That's why curiosity is a virtue within science. Amongst humans, curiosity may also become a vice because people have secrets. It's easy to see why uncovering secrets is considered a vice. Keeping secrets is entirely a human concept. Also see my 6 October blog about Secrets.

In the romantic realm, people typically wish to know as much as possible about their beloved since this gives them a more comprehensive and profound picture of the partner, further enhancing their intimacy. However, our inability to acquire full knowledge, together with the value of positive illusions, indicates that knowledge is not paramount. PsychologyToday

Information about a partner's past lovers is of some importance in order to understand the person's personality, but it may cause an unpleasant interaction within the couple. For many, a detailed description of a partner's previous sexual interactions can cast a disagreeable cloud over their own sexual interactions with that person. Ignorance may also be preferable in cases of unfaithfulness. Some people feel that "if I don't know about it, it does not exist for me." Others certainly prefer to know about a partner’s affairs, but may still not want to know all the specifics of positions, frequency, and locations. PsychologyToday

Lack of curiosity, or the lack of a desire to know more, is often associated with ignorance, which is the lack of knowledge. But the two are different. Ignorance expresses the state of lack of knowledge, while lack of curiosity expresses a lack of desire to overcome it. PsychologyToday

Actually, this blog has become an eye opener to me. There is a very thin line when it comes to curiosity about a new partner's past lovers. I now understand the female questions which I faced in the past. I now also realise my hesitance in answering them. Each answer leads to a new question and soon context is missing and assumptions will fill the voids. I have never really felt the urge to ask such questions myself as I know that I may not like the answers. 

In friendship as well as love, ignorance very often contributes more to our happiness than knowledge.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

Curiosity Killed The Cat - Down To Earth (1987) - (artists, lyrics, Wiki)


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The 5 happiest countries

Following my previous blog of today, I needed to relax my mind and opened a magazine. While glancing through it I noticed an interesting topic and something odd. According to ABN AMRO's 2015 edition of its magazine Relevant, the 5 happiest countries are: Canada, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland. I am not disputing the ranking or the selection of countries. The real odd thing is their geographical location: above the 49th parallel (north) and just below the artic circle and also below the 67th parallel (north). I don't believe in coincidences. So what's the reason?

A Google search on the words 'happiness' and 'latitude' revealed a 2003 Working Paper from the Hamburg University on "Climate and Happiness" by Katrin Rehdanz and David Maddison. This paper concludes: "We find that higher mean temperatures in the coldest month increase happiness, whereas higher mean temperatures in the hottest month decrease happiness".

Basically, the 49th parallel (north) is the border between Canada and USA.

The picture to the left could suggest that having 4 seasons rather than 2 may be very relevant.

Nevertheless, all mid latitudes on the south are excluded and several European countries above the 49th parallel are also not included: e.g., Austria, (northern) France, (most of) Germany, BeNeLux and Poland.

The second picture to the left explains why there are no "happy" countries included in the southern latitudes as basically there are none. Argentina, Australia and Chile all disqualify given their latitudes.

Interestingly, all countries - apart from Switzerland - are located near seas or oceans.
To a very large extent, this 2003 study confirms the ABN AMRO list of happiest countries. 

This 2003 study makes an interesting comment in its conclusion: "In general, our results support findings that high latitude countries benefit from limited climate changes whereas low latitude countries would suffer losses". 

Actually, Belgium and The Netherlands rank pretty high in this 2003 paper. 


Het Goede Doel - Belgium (1982) - (artists, lyrics, Wiki


Hatred

This morning I read some messages which I am not supposed to read. A certain password still hasn't been changed. Even though I don't even know this password, the keychain of my browser does remember. Reading these messages infuriated me. I felt a feeling that is very unwelcome: hatred. This negative feeling has been consuming my thoughts for almost an hour. I'm trying to block it.

For years, I have been saying that you can only hate someone if you also love(d) that person. This statement is now back into my face and feels very confusing. The other person in those messages seems to be a Judas Iscariot. I have no clue to whom that person is really telling the truth. It's not a big deal anyway as I have never been genuinely interested in knowing that person.

My 12 April 2015 blog, which was about a new classification for human emotions and corresponding facial expressions, classifies love and hate as opposite long term emotions. A genuine feeling of hatred may well mask a hidden love. Some kinds of homophobia actually mask such a hidden love. A 1996 study even states: "Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies." (NCBI)

My feeling of (heterosexual) hatred may well disguise emotions about which I am in denial. It may sound weird but I hate this feeling of hatred as it's like a poison for which an antidote is hard to find. I hope and trust that the keyword in this feeling is genuine. In that case, I was just angry and upset. If not, then I have a serious issue to deal with. Denial is a very strong emotion. Also see my 4 August 2015 blog on this issue.

Hatred exists and has to be acknowledged or its power persists. It’s not the same thing as ‘evil’ which is usually describes a cold-blooded moral choice. Hatred is passionate. Hatred is what we feel when our love appears to be rejected: when we reach out and no one’s there, when we call out and no one answers, when we love and our love isn’t reciprocated, when we hope and our hopes are dashed. (PT)

Hatred is defensive. It’s safer to hate than to carry on loving and risk the humiliation of that love being rejected. When [..] people’s love is rejected, they hate themselves for having loved in the first place. They hate the impulse that leaves them vulnerable and they try to crush that impulse [..]. (PT)

When any relationship ends, it's not uncommon for one or both partners to feel intense hatred for the other at some point. Some people feel intense dislike for their spouse even before their marriage ends. There are several reasons this can occur. They may feel this when they believe their trust has been betrayed. Or they may feel it as a response to a great deal of mental or emotional damage experienced during their marital relationship, which may continue happening until they decide to divorce. Some people need to feel this hatred in order to justify leaving the relationship. Their intense anger is used to separate (or even repel) them from their spouse. PsychologyToday

Only when you reach the place called indifference will you know that you are on the other side of the healing process. When you are indifferent [..] you will know that you've worked through the pain that you experienced [..]. You can't will yourself to be in indifferent but you can certainly think of indifference as a goal you want to reach. PsychologyToday