This is the mantra of the asshole.
Its not your fault if the listener is offended, its the listener's fault for taking an interpretation which leaves them so.
If the listener is offended, it is the listener's weakness that allows this, thus it is their fault.
If the listener doesn't respect you then why should they care what you think anyway? And if they do respect you, why are they offended by your free thoughts? There is no reason for them to be offended, it is an irrational response, isn't it?
The ability of the brain to be offended could just be a quirk of the system, a flaw, but more likely its simply a pre-emptive defense readying mechanism, and a tool which is useful to maintain social integrity. Offense serves both to irritate and ready for outgoing attack, since there is hightened probability that an act of offense preceeds an incoming physical attack, thus here the response of being offended seems rational.
How does offense additionaly serve to keep people in line socially? My hypothesis is that offense makes people conform against the fear of being subjected to further offense, taking a naive example "OMG look at the shoes he is wearing" said the teen to the other teen, consequently resulting in the offended and manipuable teen pestering his parents to give him the money for a more fashionable pair.
But getting back to the mantra "I'm not responsible for how other people feel":
The reality is, causality cannot be denied by the sane and to a certain extent, I am therefore responsible for how other people feel. I may not always anticipate the response and thus accidents can happen, but in many cases where hurt is involved, the outcome is predictable, facilitated by choice, and probably thus avoidable.
But who can really know which response is better in a given situation and whether hurting someone in the short term is in the long term of benefit to them?
Bathed in a self-generated iridescent glow of immutable confidence I feel inexorably, inevitably, and irrevocably destined to succeed at whatever I might attempt.
Freed from all fear and doubt, my focus is pure, and myself full of happiness.
Alas it is an illusionary and temporary disposition. And if I don't relax, I will crash.
Accelerating, thoughts exploding, like bombs going off on a runaway train heading into the desert, as senseless and uncontrollable as the last sentence, I become, unavoidably, a fragmented self situated in a wasteland of despair.
Anxiety, anger, and confusion circle menacingly above.
Suicidal thoughts are a temporary relief to the problem of depression. Suicide appears like a fire exit; an escape. And it feels comforting to be near it.
Imagine that there is a fire in the building of your present life, and that you have been pushed into a smokey corner. As you are choking in the smoke of confusion and self-doubt, and doubling over from the crippling pain of the emotional burns, you know of only three paths. The first is clear; an open window which you know will lead to your rapid death. The second is shrouded in smoke and full of doubt; the prospect is that there exists a path through the fire which leads to a happy life and freedom, and that you are capable of battling through it. And the third path you cannot chose for it obtains as a consequence of failure to realize the first or second; you burn to death in your struggle after some indefinite time. Which path do you choose?
You imagine that you might run around burning and screaming for a while in the fire, eventually attracting and accepting help, but this idea does not appeal to you; you feel like it is too indignified, you feel that either society would take an interest in watching your suffering and humiliation, and you cannot face that, or you feel that if you cannot make it through on your own, then you will never really make it through. So you take the alternative and scream silently in hiding, trying desperately and apparantly hopelessly to put out the consuming fire by yourself, the result being more severe burns and a repositioning of yourself back in the corner.
The prospect of trying sincerely to make it through, only to have once again to face the same fate; the fate of being pushed to a smokey corner of a burning room, is crushing. Do you still feel like trying given this prospect? Do you still feel like trying the 10th time you end up back in the corner? What about the 100th time?
At some point it begins to seem less indignified to take the suicide exit than to try and fail again.
Standing near the bright white open window of suicide provides fresh air for a while. When you face the window, the relief of the fresh air makes you forget the fire behind you, just for a second. For this reason the window is comforting.
When life seems so out of control, and so terrible, something like suicide, something so final, something so extreme in concept, is in some sense sobering. It serves to eclipse the other problems, for the other problems seem marginal in contrast.
Thus, the affinity to the window of suicide obtains from the consequences of straying from it; having to face ones problems.
The reason I don't go through the window is because it is not an escape, but an exit, and hanging onto the periphery of my life seems at the moment better than ending it. So while I still have hope of recovery, I will never exit through that window.
Its just a discussion group, at least, that's the implied front. Yet scratching beneath the surface reveals that the primary organizers are devout followers of a certain dead carpenters son.
The topic for this evenings discussion was "What makes a good leader?".
The factors are obviously reliant on the objective of the leader/group, the primary motivators of the group members, the leaders ability to generate these motivators, and a multitude of other things. Its pretty obvious that things like "hatred" can be good character traits for leaders of certain kinds of groups just as things like "compassion" can be in other cases.
The primary organizer, of course, necessarily cited the leadership qualities of said dead carpenters son as ideal. But please don't misunderstand the intentions of the organizer, for you must believe that it is just a discussion group... A discussion group whose primary organizer happens to mention the dead carpenters son more frequently than is considered healthy, and who happens also to run a bible study class. And, get this, its pretty freaky, at one point the primary organizer even said he had met one of the leaders of Aum Shinrikyo... I kid you not.
Of course, I didn't know in advance that I was walking into a honey pot, so I was duped. But I stupidly even hung around a bit after the discussion and debated for a while with a woman who used the line "But its still just a theory", with emphasis on "theory", with reference to Darwin's theory of evolution... I don't really know why I bothered to engange in such a debate, I know where it goes, I've done it before, and its a such a waste of time.
My brain is going to get me for this, its going to punish me badly for actually wasting time talking to them, when all along they had these damn hidden intentions, my brain is going to really make me pay for not leaving immediately and drastically when it became absolutely clear to me what the real purpose of the discussion was.
Frankly I feel slightly raped.
Lets face it, it wasn't just a discussion group was it? No, it was a just a stealth way for you to preach about a certain dead carpenters son wasn't it? Yes it was. A downright dirty deception, a greasy lie.
But don't worry, they can't really phase me, nah. It actually makes me laugh, it is so contraditory. How can these people be so two faced? On the one hand claiming to live by "teachings" of love, honesty, etc, yet on the other hand deceiving people by using a multi-cultural discussion group as a front to preach to people who don't want to be preached to? Maybe they genuinely believe that they are not doing this, I don't know.
Once when I was at The University of Birmingham, some religious people were asking people "Do you want a free lunch?", and then they told a time and place. The catch, of course, was that around the same time and in the same place there was going to be someone talking about their religion. What a cliche, but perhaps not as bad as the discussion group incident discussed above, at least not as covert...
Just one more thing, with respect to whether or not there really is such a thing as a free lunch. It depends on how you define free and so on. Generally its always possible to contrive some kind of "cost" into the argument, like "it takes work to eat and digest the lunch". But its a stupid question and I'm sure people could also argue convincingly the other way by eliminating certain costs as being valid or contriving some stupid scenario so lets forget it.
Are you dreaming of dogshit on your shoes? Do you hope for nothing more than dogshit on your bicycle tires? If I told you there was a place where the dogshit runs freely, a place where you can get dogshit at any time of the day, for free!, would you believe me? Does this paradise sound too good to be true?
Well think again! In Graz we are commited to providing you with the best that stinky dogshit has to offer, at no extra cost to you! Its all part of the Graz experience, and we pride ourselves on providing a top quality service.
Gone are the days of having to travel far, or off the beaten track, to get dogshit on your shoes. At Graz we deliver dogshit right to the pavement in front of your home, wherever, whenever, so there's no inconvenience to you! Home or work, the local pub, or even a surprise location, its really up to you. Just step right out and enjoy!
So what are you waiting for? Book your flight to Graz today! And experience first hand the wonderful delights of a dogshit paradise that only Graz can deliver. Think dogshit! Think Graz!
And the point of this post, as if it wasn't obvious?
I am somewhat infuriated by the sheer quantity of dogshit on the streets of Graz. I mean seriously, it enrages me. Absolutely anywhere where there is some grass next to the footpath you can guarantee that it is covered in dogshit. And much of the time the footpath itself is sprinkled with these little "drops of heaven".
I really cannot understand what kind of person lets their dog do this? What is wrong with this kind of person? Are they pathological? Do they think for one second about anybody else? Do they find it funny? Are they just lazy? Perhaps they are too embarassed to pick up shit in front of their "high-society" friends? Perhaps they like dogshit?
The crazy thing is, its obviously a collective way of thinking for many dog owners in Graz. Of course, it is not specific to Graz, this happens in many places, but Graz is by far the worst place I've seen that harbors this problem.
If you are a dog-owner who lets his dog shit all over the place and doesn't clean it up, then please post a comment and explain why you do it. Of course, if you are not such a dog-owner, you can still post a comment :)
Here is a view from the top of my block of flats in Graz:
This however is not the main point of my post. The main point is this PDF:
an autobiography, supposedly by Tesla. It is certainly a strange and interesting read irrespective of how genuine it is. Tesla studied at TUG-Graz, the University I am at now and he was a scientist that I have a great admiration for (assuming what I jhave read about him and his acheivements is true), so it is cool to know that he once walked the streets here. There is some information here which details exactly where in Graz Tesla apparantly stayed.
I am now living in Graz, Austria. And working in research for my PhD. Below are two pictures from the Schlossberg, which is a big hill with lots of manmade paths built into it so one can climb it in various interesting ways. Note that the images are actually 1024x768, but the browser usually rescales them (sometimes it does this incorrectly). Therefore click on an image to see it in the full resolution.
I had a conversation some time ago which reduced to the conversationalist and I concluding that we were not living because our lives were so tame. We were essentially arguing the point that people in survival situations live to a greater extent because they are on the edge, they are hyper-aware, and that they feel super contented as a consequence of succeeding in their struggle. We argued that everybody else lives over a safety net to a lesser or greater extent. (Incidentally the Unabomber said something similar in his manifesto...)
I have realized however that survival scenarios can be manufactured; one only has to gamble. When the extreme sports enthusiast risks his life, when the entrepreneur risks his money, when the careerperson risks their reputation on taking a job they may not be able to finish, they are living. The mind has no choice but to fight, or give up. The way to live is to put oneself in situations that demand attention, for otherwise the brain is unlikely automatically to work at its maximum, for it will know that the situation is not *really* important.
I am however convinced that self generated motivation can match external pressure, take for example the Japanese monks who mummified themselves alive, there is no doubt that such motivation, if applied to any objective, would be devastating.