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Dysfunctional, or just different?


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#1    pantodragon

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:02 PM

In our modern society we have become much more tolerant of disability than in former times.  This has been taken as far as to consider the disabled as ‘different’ rather than deformed or dysfunctional.

These tolerated ‘abnormalities’ can take all sorts of forms, from the simple absence of limbs, or of one or more senses, such as sight, to psychological ‘defects’, some of which can be very anti-social and bizarre. For example, Tourette’s Syndrome can take the form of a person being unable to stop insulting or abusing those around the ‘sufferer’.

My question would be: how far do we take this?

It will inevitably put a heavy burden on the able-bodied if they have to look after a large number of disabled, and especially if the numbers of disabled continues to grow as it has been doing.

Who should we include?  One might, for example, say that those classed as criminals might be re-classed as dysfunctional.  There might, of course, have to be distinction drawn between those who are considered dangerous and those who are not.  That is already done with the mentally ill where those who are considered a danger to themselves or others are kept out of society.


My own take on the matter is this:

It does not matter how we have got to this state of affairs, how our society has become so full of people who are sick or disabled. (On one of the threads someone referred to a mental health reference book in which it is claimed that psychologists are now saying that EVERYONE is, in some way or other, mentally ill.)  What matters is that we accept things as they are and move on from here, hopefully in such a way as to ‘make the best of things’, even turn things around so that we can create a richer, more varied society out of our present situation.

To do that I think we have to see everyone, no matter how odd or dysfunctional, or even dangerous they may be as in some sense ‘normal’, but different.  That is, we make no distinction between the ‘healthy’, the ‘normal’ and the disabled or dysfunctional; every human being is a UNIQUE individual.

This does not mean one should approve of everything everyone does.  One need not approve of the abuse that the Tourette Syndrome boy is constantly hurling about, or the sticky fingers of the thief, or the antics of the bully etc.  Rather one looks for something good in them, something that they would not have had if they had not been who they were, had not been Tourette’s Syndrome, a thief or a bully.  One could say that each of these has unique abilities, and the only problem is that, thus far, they have been putting their abilities to bad use.  I mean not all of us has what it takes to be a thief or a bully or could go around hurling abuse at everyone we met, so there are abilities there that we do not all share.

In some North American Indian mythologies, the spider is a wise creature who told the Indians that they should remember only what is good and forget what is bad.  This is the origin of the dream-catcher, a web that is supposed to catch good dreams but let the bad ones pass through.

I think this is the kind of attitude we need.  So we celebrate and praise what we like about other people, and forget what we do not like……I use the word ‘like’, because this operates through likes and dislikes, not through making intellectual decisions.

What I like about this system is that BOTH parties benefit.

The benefits to the disabled and dysfunctional are fairly obvious, but the way in which those offering approval also benefit is less obvious, I think.

It is down to this: there is not a person (or thing) in this world in whom one cannot find SOMETHING to like.  This is not a passive process, but an active one, but again, it is not an intellectual process, but something more like ‘developing a taste for’.  In the first place, you have to adopt the right attitude, an attitude that you can get to like a person no matter how abhorrent they may seem at first meeting.  Then you have to give it time.  It is just like developing a taste for foreign food.  The work goes on in the subconscious driven by the desire to like, and in time the liking will come.

(That one does not treat this as an intellectual process is important because you may have to deal with bad feelings.  If someone makes you angry or sad or frightened or whatever, then if you just turn around and decide you are going to approve of this person in spite of that then you will just end up burying the bad feelings in the subconscious, and that will lead to trouble.  If you allow yourself to ‘develop a taste for’ some characteristics of that person then when the liking does come it will come without any attendant bad feelings.)

The benefit is simply that you get to like everyone and everything, and you remember the good things and forget the bad, so your mind and memory becomes full of things you like, and the world becomes a place that is full of people and things that you like.  Of course, you don’t like everything straight out, but your world is ever expanding, and once you know that every new place you go and every new thing you do and every new person you meet you are going to like, then the motivation to go places and do things and meet people is very high.

This leads to all sorts of other benefits.  For example, when you welcome all ideas into your head because you know you are going to like them, then creativity blossoms.  This means not only artistic creativity but problem solving creativity, and that means life becomes easier.  This state of mind is also one of great self-confidence, and it is one where anger and fear and most other negative emotions are minimal.

Recently Ealdwita made two judgements concerning my posts: they are boring but eloquent.  If he decided that he WANTED to like my writing, he could home in on the ‘eloquent’ and ignore the ‘boring’.  He could then read my posts, or even part of my posts, simply to enjoy the eloquence and just ignore the intellectual content.  This would have the advantage that he would develop his own eloquence the more --- you develop eloquence best by reading and talking with people who do not just say or express the same thoughts and ideas as yourself --- and that whole new worlds of reading would open up because he no longer requires that what he reads satisfies him intellectually; it only has to be eloquent.

The advantage to me is that I can move forward with positive criticism.  To tell me that I am boring leaves me nowhere to go --- it just shuts me up, if I let it, and that is not good for me.


#2    Frank Merton

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:17 PM

What gets boring is not the way you say things, but the irrational things you say.  I read the above paragraph without a single yawn.


#3    Ashotep

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:31 PM

I think most criminals are dysfunctional as well or they wouldn't have committed a crime but they are still criminals.


#4    pantodragon

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:11 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 29 April 2013 - 03:17 PM, said:

What gets boring is not the way you say things, but the irrational things you say.  I read the above paragraph without a single yawn.

Eh?  Excuse me.....I thought you didn't read my posts.


#5    Ryu

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 09:42 PM

View Postpantodragon, on 29 April 2013 - 03:02 PM, said:

The advantage to me is that I can move forward with positive criticism.  To tell me that I am boring leaves me nowhere to go --- it just shuts me up, if I let it, and that is not good for me.

No one can move forward if all they hear is the 'good' stuff and none of the criticisms which actually allow them to improve in areas that need it.
An artist, for example, cannot improve if all he hears is the typical and often syrupy praise but hears nothing of how he could fine tune his works.

When discussing topics, it gets boring if everyone just blindly nods in agreement for fear of 'upsetting' someone else. That is how we learn is by hearing all sides even if we don't agree on all the points.
It's the delivery and the reaction to opposing views that can present a sticking point.

If you are being told that you are redundant and boring then maybe, instead of being mortally offended, you could try to find out what it is about your methods that make your delivery 'boring'.

Again progress never happens if we only focus on the good and ignore the bad because the 'bad' is a valuable tool too.


#6    Star of the Sea

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 09:58 PM

Hi Pantodragon,

Focusing on what you 'like' sounds marvellous, but your concept falls flat when you start with parenting. If you don't point out the truth to children (whether they have a disability or mental health issues) then the kids would grow up with no concept of 'self' and boundaries. Society for sure would go down the pan with an 'egotistical' generation by your concepts.

Perhaps a better suggestion (JIMO) would be: learn to listen to constructive criticism, which is not always palatable, without getting offended. If you are affronted then dust yourself down, move on and the key word is 'forgive'. Sometimes the 'truth' does hurt but there can be no room for personal growth if you get a pat on the back all the time. :)

Edited by Star of the Sea, 29 April 2013 - 10:03 PM.

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#7    Star of the Sea

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:02 PM

View PostRyu, on 29 April 2013 - 09:42 PM, said:

No one can move forward if all they hear is the 'good' stuff and none of the criticisms which actually allow them to improve in areas that need it.
An artist, for example, cannot improve if all he hears is the typical and often syrupy praise but hears nothing of how he could fine tune his works.

When discussing topics, it gets boring if everyone just blindly nods in agreement for fear of 'upsetting' someone else. That is how we learn is by hearing all sides even if we don't agree on all the points.
It's the delivery and the reaction to opposing views that can present a sticking point.

If you are being told that you are redundant and boring then maybe, instead of being mortally offended, you could try to find out what it is about your methods that make your delivery 'boring'.

Again progress never happens if we only focus on the good and ignore the bad because the 'bad' is a valuable tool too.


Nicely put and you beat me to it Ryu :tu:

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#8    Mr Right Wing

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 11:02 PM

View PostStar of the Sea, on 29 April 2013 - 09:58 PM, said:

Hi Pantodragon,

Focusing on what you 'like' sounds marvellous, but your concept falls flat when you start with parenting. If you don't point out the truth to children (whether they have a disability or mental health issues) then the kids would grow up with no concept of 'self' and boundaries. Society for sure would go down the pan with an 'egotistical' generation by your concepts.

Perhaps a better suggestion (JIMO) would be: learn to listen to constructive criticism, which is not always palatable, without getting offended. If you are affronted then dust yourself down, move on and the key word is 'forgive'. Sometimes the 'truth' does hurt but there can be no room for personal growth if you get a pat on the back all the time. :)

I agree with you Star of the Sea.

Children need to learn how to regulate their thoughts and feelings so that they can cope with whatever situations life will throw at them. When a parent shields them from reality they dont learn proper coping skills.

The result is a high chance of mental illness, dysfunctional and criminal behaviour later in life.

Edited by Giant Killer B, 29 April 2013 - 11:03 PM.


#9    Nathan DiYorio

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:25 AM

View PostStar of the Sea, on 29 April 2013 - 09:58 PM, said:

Society for sure would go down the pan with an 'egotistical' generation...

So... my generation and the generations following mine.

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#10    pallidin

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:45 AM

View PostGiant Killer B, on 29 April 2013 - 11:02 PM, said:

I agree with you Star of the Sea.

Children need to learn how to regulate their thoughts and feelings so that they can cope with whatever situations life will throw at them. When a parent shields them from reality they dont learn proper coping skills.

The result is a high chance of mental illness, dysfunctional and criminal behaviour later in life.

By direct experience of my children and grandchildren, my opinion is that SOME of the youth today have a MUCH higher chance of expressing anti-social behavior because, well...

We can't responsibly spank them without getting arrested. And THEY know it and use it against parents and all adults.

Ticks me off.

I was occassionaly spanked "for good reason" and I turned-out just fine AND grew-up to actually respect my parents and authority. But, that's my story. Might not be anyone else's.

Edited by pallidin, 02 May 2013 - 05:55 AM.


#11    Frank Merton

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:56 AM

You know I don't think what we as parents do or don't do has nearly as much influence on how our kids turn out as we think.  My kids were never punished (unless being sent to Temple is a punishment), and they turned out reasonably fine (with a couple of problems, having to do with gambling, that fortunately now seems cured).  Others in the same neighborhood got whipped often, and they too turned out reasonably fine (I don't approve, but I just say kids seem to live through it).

I think peers and teachers have more influence than parents; even TV and computers do, and all this pales to whatever the inherent nature of the child is to start with.


#12    Jessica Christ

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:58 AM

View Postpantodragon, on 29 April 2013 - 03:02 PM, said:

Recently Ealdwita made two judgements concerning my posts: they are boring but eloquent.  If he decided that he WANTED to like my writing, he could home in on the ‘eloquent’ and ignore the ‘boring’.  He could then read my posts, or even part of my posts, simply to enjoy the eloquence and just ignore the intellectual content.  This would have the advantage that he would develop his own eloquence the more --- you develop eloquence best by reading and talking with people who do not just say or express the same thoughts and ideas as yourself --- and that whole new worlds of reading would open up because he no longer requires that what he reads satisfies him intellectually; it only has to be eloquent.

The advantage to me is that I can move forward with positive criticism.  To tell me that I am boring leaves me nowhere to go --- it just shuts me up, if I let it, and that is not good for me.

Me and him rarely see eye to eye on the forum but you should visit him in chat where you can get a clearer picture.

I have something else regarding the rest of your post.

Many use mental shields, imagining that a shield surrounds them and everything that is coming from a negative person will bounce back.

A better alternative is to simply create a shield that allows whatever is positive to be received and what is negative to slide down the shield, into the earth to be reabsorbed, and to be recyled as poistive energy by the earth.

This not only eliminates us getting our hands dirty by projecting negativity back to others but also sees someone else not merely as a negative person (which is unrealistic since we are all a blend of both positive and negative) but simply allows us to see others as people while accepting the best they have to offer.

Those who don't use visualization techniques do this anyways on a fundemanetal level. This is why we always hear that if someone is insutling you it is really because deep down inside they don't feel good about themselves, while not quite the same it is connected. There is no such thing  as being completley above board but desiring whatever negativity someone sends you to be bounced back, you do get your hands dirty, what is bounced back is not just their negativity but your own as well.

I am not perfect, I should use the preferred visualization technique more often, and I should not cut others off so easily in real life but at least I have my own dysfunction: borderline, which includes a symptom called splitting which is exactly about cutting people off. Well that just gives me more incentive to overcome my shortcomings than excuse them.


#13    pantodragon

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 01:56 PM

View PostRyu, on 29 April 2013 - 09:42 PM, said:



If you are being told that you are redundant and boring then maybe, instead of being mortally offended, you could try to find out what it is about your methods that make your delivery 'boring'.

Again progress never happens if we only focus on the good and ignore the bad because the 'bad' is a valuable tool too.

The Jews take that attitude.  They are quite determined no one is going to forget the holocaust, nor any of the other ills that have been visited upon them throughout history.  They even teach the holocaust in their schools in Isreal.  But the only thing that is going to achieve is more bad things happening to them.  People are constantly going on about learning from the mistakes of history, and they do: they learn to do the same thing again.

A hypothetical situation: imagine that you are a writer who has every reason to believe that their writing is vital and rich and hugely entertaining.  You then join an internet forum and everybody wades in and tells you you are boring.  What would you do?


#14    Star of the Sea

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 04:39 PM

View PostNathan DiYorio, on 02 May 2013 - 05:25 AM, said:

So... my generation and the generations following mine.

We are talking hypothetically :P

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#15    Mr Right Wing

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 04:58 PM

View Postpallidin, on 02 May 2013 - 05:45 AM, said:

By direct experience of my children and grandchildren, my opinion is that SOME of the youth today have a MUCH higher chance of expressing anti-social behavior because, well...

We can't responsibly spank them without getting arrested. And THEY know it and use it against parents and all adults.

Ticks me off.

I was occassionaly spanked "for good reason" and I turned-out just fine AND grew-up to actually respect my parents and authority. But, that's my story. Might not be anyone else's.

I agree with you.

When a kid gets spanked for doing something wrong they quickly learn to regulate their thoughts to avoid a similar red bottom incident. Those who get left to bring up themselves dont learn about feedback loops.

Edited by Giant Killer B, 02 May 2013 - 04:58 PM.





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