THIS is empathological

Imagine I take down the image of black and white ghosts in my banner. I cannot recall where I got that image. Nor do I recall what sort of mind fugue I was in to see it as relevant to my blog’s name. Nevertheless, if I pulled it, what would I put in its place? If I took a screen shot of this blog post and cropped it just right, leaving some of the writing readable, it would make a fine, and powerfully relevant banner. But I’m not going to do that even if it does mention empathy. That and a strange new-to-me kind of irony makes me feel something or other.

Instead of using an image of the blog as my banner,  I’ll just parse the post. Hopefully I won’t make hash out of it. Yuk yuk yuk, you’ll laugh with me in a few minutes. Really.

The blogger’s name is H.R. Hosmer. Here, you can find this brief bio:

Gryphyn-Bloodheart (H.R. Hosmer) is a young alumnus of the University of Central Florida, with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in creative writing. She interned for The Florida Review, and has been published in The Cypress Dome. She volunteered with the Literary Arts Partnership at UCF, teaching writing workshops at the Boys Town in Oviedo, and volunteered for the Page 15 Young Writers Summer Camp and Homework Room as a tutor. She worked for a time as a youth care worker with Family Resources in Bradenton, and is currently at home with her one-year-old son.

She is on about #YesAllWomen, a hash tagged Twitter movement spawned by the other men and women. You know the ones, NAWALT and NAMALT. (I had a twitter movement once, caused by downing a glass of water handed me by a hotel employee in Mumbai.)

Armed with a bachelors degree in psychology, Ms. Hosmer climbs on the back of the other backs that climbed on the back of the media coverage of the recent shooting and assigns cause as a lack of empathy and effect as murder.

As with most shooting sprees, calling the killer a madman, crazy, or sicko is in no way a satisfying explanation for why this happened, and only serves to stigmatize mental illness on the whole.

Lets put mental illness on our list of things not to stigmatize. Karma. earlier reading Matt Walsh’s blog, he had written a marriage permanence piece and the “don’t stigmatize divorce” crowd came out. Divorce,  mental illness, and nose picking while driving….Keep ’em under the radar.

She then links to a twitter conversation where some truly crass men made flip comments. Tastless jokes. Really tasteless.  Women do this thing where they take cause and effect and either inextricably link them or they make linking them utterly taboo. Once they have done it on a certain matter, they will not budge from it.Let me give unrelated examples for illustrative purposes.

First, where cause and effect work for her:

woman rejects man sexually for months, years. She says her husband isn’t pursuing her and loving her and listening to her heart. She is asserting cause and effect. Try introducing her marital biblical and vowed commitment to sexual access and you will be called a marital rape advocate. She will not de-link the man’s actions with hers.

Next, where cause and effect are verboten:

woman screams and spits in mans face, following him room to room, blocks his       entrance  or exit, man eventually shoves woman down. Women describe this as man physically abusing woman. And if someone dare mention the other, they are excusing the man’s actions. You’d best forget holding her accountable because that means cause and effect.

They move easily between both frames depending on the issue. Its easy to see which one they want to take regarding the men’s tweets saying things about being treated poorly by women. Women cannot read that objectively. They cannot separate the two things. Therefore they think men cannot separate the two things, the murder and their mistreatment complains, hence men are excusing murder. NOTHING can be solved, ever, when nothing can be discussed with intellectual honesty. before it even starts, NO, I’m not inclined to defend the remarks in those tweets because they lack decency. But they do NOT excuse murder as a response.

In predictable fashion the ladies grabbed those tweets and showed the world “the attitude of men after the shooting”. And Ms. Hosmer is in the camp that would say these men are excusing murder and that we cannot write them off as a few cranks online.

the killer justifying his actions by blaming women for choosing lesser men than him and leaving him a virgin was something that seemed to resonate well with certain individuals on the internet, namely men’s rights activists and certain other men who felt victimized by being friendzoned.

After this absurdity, its tough to take her psychological meandering seriously. If she reasons as above, she therefore lacks as an armchair diagnostician.

This so-called “nice guy” was likely rejected by women precisely because he lacked empathy – a distinguishing trait of his personality disorder, as well as many other antisocial personality disorders. It is the human capacity to experience the emotions of another person, as well as to respond appropriately to those feelings.

I wonder if she has explored the growing body of work and opinion that suggests there really is no such thing as empathy. There are types of sympathy, one type being the one we’d conflate with empathy, but empathy where we can indeed feel what someone else is feeling is a quaint but impossible idea. If women accept that empathy is a trait they seek in men they should also add that he live in a windmill. You’re gonna tilt? Then tilt.

Someone you are talking to says they are sad, they lost their mom or dad the month prior. Is it good form to suggest you know how they feel? Can you know how they feel? Is it not annoying when someone says they know because their aunt died and they were really close. Like that. Empathy is egoism and self centered. You do not know how they feel, you cannot know how they feel, and you do not get to have any of the sympathy they need. Its your craving of sympathy and attention that makes you celebrate empathy as a virtue.

Finally, she offers another blatant example of the comfy chair called the normalcy bias. Conventional wisdom has become not conventional wisdom, wisdom learned from life experience. Perhaps as a side effect of our lack of direct connectedness, conventional wisdom is what someone writes that it is, and another repeats it. That’s what she does here:

For too long we have told our young men that they were weak for shedding tears, that their feelings didn’t matter, even that they need to turn in their “man” card if they do feel too much. This misguided socialization is at the heart of what creates men’s violence. We train our boys to have as little empathy as possible, so that when the government sends them off to war, they can kill other humans without batting an eye (and when they do bat an eye, they go home with PTSD, and encounter barriers to treatment and even diagnosis). Their reward when they return: women and sex. With this system reinforced by the media and art, it’s no wonder men learn to objectify women so. It is absolutely despicable what we are doing to young men. And it’s killing women and men, and leaving women to lead lives in perpetual fear of men.

 

Straight from the women’s studies book. Not much refection of reality. How can anyone with eyes and ears live in this country, experience the media, the schools, the parenting skills that are taught, the fiction in the form of programming and books, how can they see all of that and make a statement that is 180 degrees off? Because it feels right. It feels right because it lets her keep her belief set. Her belief set is a well defined thing, cozy to stay in, and not something she wants to have challenged. Because its all interconnected. if one bit of reality gets in, the house of cards collapses.

Women have progressed from whatever you’d call it 75 years ago to something that’s grown easier and easier, to now not even being held to account for their wrongs. Is it any wonder they must create from whole cloth the monsters that reside under their beds? The best way to be perceived as a weighty advocate is to advocate against something that has the reliability of an urban legend. reliable in the sense that one can say it and anyone who disagrees will be disagreeing with what everyone knows.

Worse, if you challenge or disagree, she throws down this gauntlet:

So go and read #YesAllWomen as an empathy exercise. It’s okay to cry (we’ve certainly shed our share of tears). The more hostile you are to the idea of even checking it out, the more likely it is that you are the problem.

See. if I’m disinclined to go read the bilge, I am the problem. Brilliant emotional argumentation. The forensics, however, would be featured on Romper Room.

She closes by referring to a pending personal anecdote that she will share in a subsequent post. I read it. She describes a man walking up to her asking, “how ya doin?”. Then grabbing his crotch and asking if she wants to guess how ‘big this is”. Go read it here, then, if you’ve ever sat through a corporate training film on sexual harassment and seen how pat and silly the scenarios to actors on them run through, tell me if this doesn’t seem like one of those.

Some folks desperately want to be taken seriously when they say “I know how you feel”. Some, like my example above will strain an analogy, comparing the death of an aunt to that of a parent. Others will do quite something else.

 

 

 

 

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27 thoughts on “THIS is empathological

  1. You know, one of the reasons why this is a problem is not enough rational women speak up as a group to denounce what you’re talking about. By contrast Mars Hill Church for example openly opposed Westboro Baptist Church’s policy against homosexuals up to debating Phelps, while nevertheless stating that homosexuality is a sin. So when there is no institutional opposition, people like Camille Paglia, Sommers and GWW can be dismissed by feminist spokespersons as cranks.

    We also saw this on CF how any woman talking about accountability for both men and women were denounced.tl

    [recently CF deleted an entire thread because it was a little bit tough on women. That Christianity has become Kumbaya and Rodney Kingish, why cant we just get along]

  2. It’s curious you mention nose-picking-while-driving; the other day I was stuck behind one of those drivers of whom you wonder what planet they’re living on; I’m sure you know the ones: a clear, open road ahead, no hazards to be overly cautious of or nervous about, no other vehicles within coo-ee, yet crawling along way under the speed limit, speed constantly varying up and down (when they could easily engage the cruise control), and generally looking very hesitant and nervous, and just downright getting in your way. If they’re even aware that you’re behind them, they obviously don’t seem to care that they’re being a royal pain in the arse: no consideration. After 5 or 10 minutes of frustration, I say to myself: ‘Well, might as well simply kick back, relax, and pick my nose,’ as my nose did need a bit of a pick at the time. I think this will be my ongoing strategy with such road users, whether I need to pick my nose or not. Heaven forbid that nose-picking-while-driving ever becomes stigmatized.

  3. Good show snowy. I live in a city that basks in its obliviousness. In keeping with the topical nature of this blog I will generalize and say its mostly women doing this blissful unaware driving, the fearful clenched hands driving, all that. But more, Ive noted that I can approach a woman in the grocer with a huge cart filled with stuff, and if I am not truly straight in front of her she will not register me until I either speak, or come into contact with her. The woman may have 5 degrees either direction of peripheral awareness. That’s whats causing the issue with driving. Utterly oblivious and here we can still yakyakyak on cell phones and more than 9/10 women in cars are doing just that.

    Its terribly frustrating.

  4. Pingback: Bury the Lede for June (because no one would ever take allegations of micronukes seriously) | vulture of critique

  5. Since this whole post is basically a critique of my whole post, I figured it warranted a (partial) rebuttal, since there can’t really be much of a dialogue unless we’re on the same page. http://bit.ly/SmvQqM

    And in regards to your critique of my anecdote: yes, it does sound like a cliche sexual harassment video, which was part of what made it so unbelievable to me at the time, it was just so ridiculous. I can assure you though, if I was making it up, I would have written a much more compelling story.

  6. I haven’t time to structure a fluid response.Lately I haven’t had time to do a proper edit or rework on anything I write for my blog.

    Having said that, attacks about incoherence are pedestrian as openers, akin to calling one out for spelling, or pasting a Webster’s definition as a response. Those usually precede vacuous arguments in the main.

    I didn’t assume anything about your position on men’s rights. I didn’t call you a feminist. And I am not a men’s rights advocate in the sense one thinks when seeing the MRA label. My corner of the manosphere is about men and the church. That I even wrote about the topic of #YesAllWomen is an outlier for me.

    You’ve made some false assumptions, built straw men from them, and set to work vivisecting those straw men. I don’t need to have feminism defined for me. I suffer none of the caricaturist views you assign to me and then refute, wasting a few paragraphs on same, but to your readers….you are establishing your bonafides that way. That feminism is fluid….. I sincerely needn’t sit through 100 level women’s studies lectures.

    I’ll put paid to the check about feminism and MRAs and gender equality and so forth as far as I am concerned.

    Gender equality has been achieved. What I mean is, there are no laws that can be changed to further advance the cause and not simultaneously directly hurt other people. What can be codified has been codified.

    I read a comment from a feminist a couple of years ago that went something like this (regarding college admissions): “Incoming freshman are approaching 65% female 35% male, be encouraged soon we will reach equality”

    I have had direct and not public discourse with some well known feminists, mainly business leaders who are highly accomplished, well known names, and warriors for gender equality, they’d say. Ive asked them to describe the world where those ostensibly fighting for gender equality under the banner of feminism could finally dust their hands and go home. its a powerful thought exercise. Please try it. So far no one could even answer the question. In fact they may attack my syntax or something to avoid the question. same question applies to racism and race baiting by the way. Its as if I asked them to imagine the moon is made of aardvark feces. Lack of an answer IS an answer.

    Maybe you can do it. If in your visage you then pick out a few features and describe them, brainstorming ways to achieve them, ask how many of those can be done via codifying laws and rules? And how many of them are just part of the human experience where some vestige of suspicion and dislike and mistrust and prejudice has always and will always exist. Even the mere definition of equality in these terms is suspect. If equality means same….not going to happen. Should not happen.

    I’m left with a sense of a cause that feeds itself. that is why I am not an MRA. I don’t blanch at the label, and I certainly will not fall into the pedantic trap of this wave and that wave and this definition so forth. The only winner there are university endowments and coffee poetry houses because it boils down to nearly useless philosophical musings.

    You will notice there is a keen difference between even those types of feminists and MRAs. MRA will list things that CAN BE rectified by law. Those items represent codified things in which feminist backlash has set women over men in terms of law. They can be fixed with law, and the fix has zero tit for tat effect on women. They are not inversely related.

    Shared custody presumption, for example, with deviation from it being a matter of evidence rather than female primacy of custody as presumed starting point, for example.

    Most MRAs will fixate on one or two very specific legal issues. When they finally reach a point of actually trying to foist change….they run smack into who? Feminists. Check IOWA shared parenting initiative a few years back, which had broad public support until feminists poured $$$$$$$ in buckets into the state fear mongering and overpowering the grass roots locals who sought something that is the pristine image of equality. 50/50. (notwithstanding the women who said 65/35 – female/male was approaching women equality)

    Alternatively, list some feminist grievances that truly, practically can be fixed with laws, laws that are NOT inversely related to men’s rights.

    You cannot fix prejudice, ignorance, hatred, idiots who grab crotches and make remarks. Using these things as grievances for a movement is not only useless because there is no tangible codified solution, but it is harmful because it angers people. So what happens? More laws are written that push men further from equal. And a feminist says that 65/35 is ALMOST equal. And the beat goes on. #YesAllWomen

    Germane to this situation, those crass remarks by those men on twitter are not fixable by law, or by indoctrination such as you described in schools. Its the height of human arrogance, these micro management of the human psyche, to fix all manner of social pathology. Seeing gender equality in the mix is equally wrong headed.

    A 35,000 foot view has all the information needed to see where the issues reside. And why. People, men and women, could have set before them irrefutable mega-trends and cause/effect correlations and our present nature would be to try and change the font labeling the axis, the width of the lines, the store from which the paper is bought for printing the graphs, anything to ignore what is plain to anyone with enough grasp of statistics to understand what it means to say 70% of group X is characteristic A. There would be, for example, a direct correlation to increases in social pathologies and massive increases in silly programs to combat same. And another generation comes and says they just didnt try it correctly, and double down. Some people reach an age where they realize that this isn’t The Game of Life, constrained to a board, people behaving as amoebas running from the point of a pin, predictably.

    I could not care less what I am called, equalist, feminist, ististist, or Shamu. All of that is mind numbingly paralytic to moving through this life and staying close to normal and well adjusted.

    Maybe read some other things Ive written in case you doubt me. My issues are not MRA issues. And I do not really care that there are a Baskin Robbins worthy number of flavors of feminism. I’m an engineer. Things like that make me nutty in their impracticality, undefinable, ad nauseum refining, complaining, myopic, selectivity, and in-groupism. Its when a society has time to waste on things like that that it has reached a point where the people are creating their own bread and circuses.

  7. I don’t think that you’ve ever put your point of view more clearly than this, empath.

    It would be good if such words could be taken for what they are. Recently certain people at the University of BC talked about requiring a sort of indoctrination course on equality in order for students to qualify for a degree, after a stupid incident involving a student association chanting things that some deemed offensive. I’m not sure how this sort of thing helps.

  8. Well, at least we’re on the same page now. At least, we know where the other stands. It certainly seemed like you were making broad assumptions about what I thought or believed, not necessarily on the basis of believing I was a feminist, but on the basis of me being a woman. There’s a lot of “women do this” and “women do that” in the body of your argument that only tangentially relates to anything I said, which made it seem rambling and off point, to the point where sometimes I’m not sure what you might have had to say if you believed I was man. And the way you chose to frame a bias against men in your “cause and effect” illustration did sound like what one might hear from a MRA. The broad generalizations made any argument you were making confusing and not exactly relevant to the material you were critiquing. I’ll chalk it up to time constraints, as you said.

    I would like to address some points you brought up that either were relevant, or that you seemed to be reading with blinders on.

    First, you minimize the impact of the stigma on mental illness by equating it to a stigma against “nose picking while driving.” There is a huge body of work on the damaging effect of stigmatizing mental illness, and I could go on for pages and pages about it and why you should not be dismissing it as an issue. But I will try to keep it brief, and limit myself to illustrating how the stigma against mental illness impacted the situation I was referring to in the first place, the UCSB killer. It is worth noting that he was diagnosed as autistic, not as a sociopath. Only in retrospect, after he killed half a dozen people and himself, do we venture to say that he was a sociopath, even though all the signs were there beforehand. Had he been diagnosed as a sociopath, the police would have had more power to intervene when his therapists and family blew the whistle shortly before the killings. However, psychologists resist labeling someone with such a diagnosis even though all the signs may be there because the stigma against sociopaths is so powerful. Such a diagnosis marks them, in society’s eyes, as “evil madmen” instead of as individuals who’s brains are disabled or do not otherwise function normally. The diagnosis itself is so damaging because of the stigma, that professionals hesitate to make the proper diagnosis, and therefore fail to treat the individual appropriately. Using derogatory, generalized language about people with mental illnesses, especially sociopathy, creates a barrier to treatment that ends up hurting everyone. (I read a really great article that elaborated on this, but unfortunately I can’t find it again. Sorry bout that.)

    Then you argue that by posting the screenshot of the men who made crass statements, I was saying that those men were excusing murder. I said that the shooter’s actions “resonated” with them, not that they thought he did the right thing. Just because they sympathized with the shooter does not mean they were excusing his actions. I point out that the attitudes reflected in those statements were things myself and most other people who regular the internet have seen time and time again, well before this tragedy took place. At one point, Rodger was the one making those tasteless statements, and instead of having them shot down, his sentiments were echoed by other men with similar struggles. You may not be the one making those kind of statements, and I’m glad you’re not, but I think it’s important to call people out when they say things like that, and recognize it for what it is: misogyny. Instead, for so long we’ve been told to just ignore it, block those users, and dismiss the statements as trolling. “They don’t actually mean those things, they’re just trying to get a rise out of you.” This approach ignores the fact that these attitudes are often sincere, and that those beliefs in the wrong head can be deadly. If it were Rodger making those statements, if someone had called him out on it, would it have made a difference? Maybe, maybe not. But if we called out more people who make similar statements, perhaps he would not have found so much support, perhaps he would not have felt quite so justified in his actions.

    Next you attack the very existence of empathy as a psychological criterion. You allude to a body of work that suggests it’s not a thing, but make no citations, and don’t even reference the citations I made that identify the brain regions responsible for the experience of empathy. You go on to illustrate an example of sympathy, erroneously conflating it with an act of empathy. To clarify, empathy is that sick feeling you get when you even imagine hurting another person. It is your brain’s capacity to imagine what something would feel like if it were done to you. It is something that happens in our frontal cortex, the seat of our higher reasoning. When we act out in violence, out of anger perhaps, that is our hindbrain, our animal brain, overriding our frontal cortex. If we develop our empathy, exercise that part of our frontal cortex by actively putting ourselves in another’s shoes, it can help to keep violent impulses in check. This is the thing violent sociopaths lack the capacity for. But if you’re normal and do have the capacity for it, I argue that it’s something you need to exercise. The “use it or lose it” principle should be applied.

    Your last two critiques about couching my argument in a normalcy bias and making an emotional argument, I concede that it’s shorthand. I could have added several pages making less lazy arguments. Chalk it up to time constraints. On the point of teaching our boys to be less empathetic, yes, it is not nearly as bad as it was in decades previous. We’re certainly not raising our son to be ashamed of emotional experiences. But what you’re looking at is the rearing of a future generation; hopefully that means things will be improving in terms of violence. But the current generation, and the ones that came before them, they are the men who remember being told as boys to “man up” every time they shed a tear. They are the ones who were most negatively impacted by that model of socialization. Unless they are able to recognize that now, they can’t take action to correct the damage.

    As far as reading #YesAllWomen, at this point it’s moot. It was a wonderful sharing of women’s experiences for a time, but as soon as the media started going on about the trend, it attracted a lot of trolls, and man-haters and woman-haters in equal distribution. It has mutated away from it’s original purpose: to shed light on the experiences of women. There are still valuable things being shared there, but it’s harder to see past all the garbage now. Some of the articles that were written about the trend highlighted some excellent tweets, and it would probably be easier to check some of those out at this point. For most men, opening themselves up to these stories enough to try to imagine themselves in the shoes of a woman is extremely difficult. It’s asking for a lot of vulnerability, from a group of people that has largely been socialized to be paralyzingly stoic. There are definitely some men who get it, who described reading the hashtag as “sobering” and I think that’s perhaps the best way to describe the feeling when it really clicks.

    Well, hopefully that clarifies a few things, even if you don’t agree with absolutely everything.

  9. If mohammed won’t come to the mountain, then by golly the mountain will come to mohammed.

  10. The hashtag was sobering to read. That so many women could make so many inane comments….. “The most horrible thing she’s ever seen”, said one woman, about a survey result that asked questions about what constituted consent….its the nature of the platform to try and be sensational, but seeing ever escalating rhetoric cum histrionics as important or sobering in the sense that someone, after reading them, suddenly realized something new and profound…..this is the folly of youth steeped in liberal arts education and an upper middle class coddled raising (this is not referring to you, rather to the endless prattling of 20 something women’s studies wannabes and sycophants on Twitter).

    to shed light on the experiences of women.

    See, this is my problem. There are not enough candelas in the universe, the sum of all stars since God’s Big Bang, to shed more light on the experiences of women than has been shed already. I’m flipping sick of hearing about the same crap with a new generation’s flavor of hyperbole attached. Nothing new under the sun….an apt verse reference.

    That’s what you don’t realize, apparently. This awareness raising is like someone who is OCD washing their hands until they bleed. ENOUGH. Its not new. Its not news. Its tedious, its boring. Its annoying. I have a wife and two daughters and if any of them started yammering about this I’d say the same. If my 23 year old daughter had a man say something to her, I’d be concerned that she not travel that path again. I’d admonish her to be more careful. But I’d not place my faith in a gaggle of vocal women in slut walks “raising awareness” as a curative for what are sadly and simply social pathologies. Utopia is a small town in Texas, and they are very very sexist there.

    For the rest…..I dont care

  11. Sojourner

    In about 1984, I was a senior in college. Me and some friends were seated in a storefront bar window along the main street of the uni town. We were holding signs with humbers rating the girls passing by. OK, I wouldn’t do it now, but anyway.

    The student newspaper caught a picture of it and it was above the fold, front page the next day. Our names were mentioned. Nothing else happened.

    Letters to the editor started. We were vilified. So I wrote an editorial that was satirical. I had a small Pekinese dog at the time, and this part of the story was true. I was often stopped by girls who wanted to pet my dog. (nuff said). One had said “that dog looks like an Ewok” (Star Wars characters). So my editorial said I had proof that female students were less intelligent than males. I repeated that anecdote and said, SEE, Ewoks don’t even exist!

    Even then, in the mid-sized uni I attended, I received a letter from some feminist student organization and I was called in to see the Dean of Something or other who told me I had to attend some gender awareness class for a few sessions, or “they could interfere with my graduation”

    I still have copies of those two newspapers, with the pic and with my letter, as well as the letter I received. I did not attend squat. I graduated just fine.

    This crap started in 1984 for me and I didn’t even know it.

  12. Of all the ways that women lack sympathy, women are LEAST sympathetic sexually, especially for undesired men.

  13. @empathologism, re: “Nothing new under the sun….an apt verse reference.”

    Is this meant to imply that the new mutant stuff is engendered in darkness?

    [genetic engineered seed? You risk sending me into a seizure mentioning that]

  14. That twitter thing is one of the dumbest things I have seen in a long time, all these women complaining about ALL of them sexually harassed.

  15. [genetic engineered seed? You risk sending me into a seizure mentioning that]

    LOL.

  16. @empathologism, re: “You risk sending me into a seizure mentioning that”

    It’s probably because we weren’t raised to get in touch with our own feelings, so we have to grope on other’s feelings in order to palpate the vulnerability of, er, uh, um

    I don’t know about you, but growing up it was never other men who didn’t want to hear about MY feelings. And still today it is women who want to control men’s expressions.

  17. “Men have trouble expressing themselves” becomes
    “Men have trouble expressing themselves appropriately” becomes
    “Men have trouble expressing themselves appropriately towards me” becomes
    “The men that I want have trouble expressing what I want them to say appropriately towards me.”

    Sigh. Women tend to be really boring, when you get down to it. It’s always the same thing.

  18. H.R.:
    “The stigma on mental illness.”

    This is going to sound politically incorrect; but it’s high time our culture did a little MORE stigmatizing of so-called ‘mental illness’. Dr. Sigmund Freud defined that over a century ago as an inability to function in a civilized society. I’m not sure what part of this definition people don’t understand: a mentally ill person is BY DEFINITION not a functional member of society.

    It doesn’t seem to matter how many people these ‘mentally ill’ impact—there’s no call to remove them from society, as they should be. Our culture seems to have reverted back to the opinions of savages, who regarded the mentally ill as sacred, or possessed of kind of spirit. People today consider locking up the mentally ill as ‘barbaric’ but if Elliot Roger had been locked up, six people in Santa Barbara would still be alive. It’s social tolerance of the intolerable that killed them.

  19. @ Eric: I disagree. What you’re talking about is the general subject we deal with on here–the excessive approach to empathy. The other word for it is compassion, which is closer to what love is defined as in the Bible than the modern usage. It actually irritates me when the word ‘triggering’ is used to casually because I am in recovery from PTSD, but I have yet to use it to shut down a discussion in a public forum. There’s a difference.

    @jjf12: it’s a kind of trap for men. Really, there are certain feelings (sympathy for women, hating the Patriarchy) that are acceptable in some circles, others (love of sports or nation) that might be accepted in others. But I have to say that I have rarely had issues with talking about important personal things with men as opposed to with women. Most men I know grasp the idea that it is unwise to talk too much about personal things with most women. There is a gulf of a lack of desire to understand. The ‘common wisdom’ is that men are generally okay and women are troubled, and suggesting that it is a common human condition is offensive.

  20. Another form of seizure…..geesh,

    I mentioned that there are people who see Asperger’s as something that sets their kids apart, hence almost a backhanded boast, so, yea. No, I would not suggest stigmatizing the autistic (though there is a mental illness that will cause some to read my words as such)

  21. @Eric Mental illness is a blanket term that not only encompasses sociopaths and the more dangerous personality disorders, but also bipolar, depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, ADHD, OCD, autism spectrum disorders, etc. I guarantee there is at least one person in your life who suffers from some kind of mental illness, and you would probably not want to have them locked up in an asylum as they did in Freud’s time. These days we know a hell of a lot more about how the brain works and can do much more to help people with mental illness than he was able to do. He pioneered psychotherapy, but most of his theories are useless. Most people who are mentally ill, if properly diagnosed and treated, can perform as functional members of society. However, stigmatizing mental illness leaves most people disinclined to even talk to a therapist, let alone accept medication or other treatments, for fear of being seen as crazy, dangerous, or even incompetent.

    We DO still institutionalize the mentally ill who are a danger to themselves or others, and Rodger’s family and therapists did their part in pushing to have him Baker Acted. It was law enforcement who failed to take action.

  22. disinclined to even talk to a therapist, let alone accept medication or other treatments

    I admit, I grabbed one of the first google results.

    Overall, the number of Americans on medications used to treat psychological and behavioral
    disorders has substantially increased since 2001; more than one‐in‐five adults was on at least one
    of these medications in 2010, up 22 percent from ten years earlier. Women are far more likely to
    take a drug to treat a mental health condition than men
    , with more than a quarter of the adult
    female population on these drugs in 2010 as compared to 15 percent of men.

    America’s State of Mind Report

    I do not think stigma is holding anyone back. Especially women It helps explain #YesAllWomen

  23. Unfortunately, though, mental illness has become an ‘industry’. Most of the terminology is badly overused and designed to sell drugs to people who don’t need them. For example, what is often diagnosed as ‘depression’ is really nothing more than acute sadness. By designating these things as ‘illnesses’ we deter people from seeking proactive solutions and hook them on drugs instead.

  24. Sojourner & H.R:
    There are degrees of psychological disturbances. Some people suffer a trauma situation which makes it difficult to function in society; but this is not mental illness. Mental illness is pathological. Most people who simply suffer from problems in life are being diagnosed as ‘ill’ and in need of drugs, &c. What they really need is constructive therapy. The others need to be locked up.

  25. Re: ” it’s high time our culture did a little MORE stigmatizing”

    Thoreau said “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” But along with him, and considering that the source felt compelled to isolate himself, I’d say the mass of people aren’t nearly quiet enough. We have some newish neighbors, and now that their teen granddaughter, who stays with them whenever her mother is looking for trouble all around town, which evidently is two or three weeks a month, is out for the summer there are people coming and going at all hours and none of them know how to be quiet and all think the only way to close doors is to slam.

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