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Sherapy

Religion and shame

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hyperactive
I guess my point could have been better made, but Sheri and hyper say that they would never be in a situation where they would come across someone molesting a child and you never know a thing like that.

i said i have never been in a similar situation, and the likelihood of me being in such a situation is low, but you are correct in that it could happen.

In todays soceity with all it's scientific and medical breakthroughs surely we can do something to help such people who both victimize and are also victims? Or is it that man isnt as intelligent and moral as he makes out?

Man is not as moral as he makes out.

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brave_new_world
I guess my point could have been better made, but Sheri and hyper say that they would never be in a situation where they would come across someone molesting a child and you never know a thing like that.

But whether they ever are in a situation like that or not and whether act accordingly is beyond my power. I have faith in mankind in general and suppose that people will always do the best to do the right thing. Whom am I to judge sheri or hyper? I mean I live like a king. I have computer in my room, i eat good food, i have all the material and emotional support a man could want. Yet I dont go out and protest against slavery everyday in other countries nor do I participate in anti-war demonstrations. I am as lousy as the next and knowing how morally imperfect i am gives me a sense of empathy with others. We all make mistakes and none of us should be eternally punished for it.

Amazing how some atheists dont believe in god or heaven and hell and yet have the mentality that certain criminals should be eternally punished and never forgiven for past misdeeds.

Very sad indeed.

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brave_new_world
Man is not as moral as he makes out.

Hence why when he strives to be more moral than is asked of him ,I find it a beautiful thing.

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hyperactive
Ya, whatever Hyperactive, you basically are saying what I said some jazillion posts ago. You don't know until you are presented with the situation. I in fact gave two examples way back when where in one case I acted immediately, and in another case where I did not. Both I had good reasons for.

What we're talking about is right and wrong, guilt and shame. These issues DO exist. Denying they don't is preposterous.

Look at my example above. The case of Two Wrongs. What was done was done. Both parties paid for their wrong doings. One was guilty and lost his life. The other was guilty and lost 10 years of his life.

did i say guilt does not exist? i don't think i did. the same goes for shame. We may have discussed the origins and outcomes, but we did not debate their existance.

right and wrong, on the other hand, we have discussed with you holding an absolute position and me holding a relativistic position.

just clarifying.

Hence why when he strives to be more moral than is asked of him ,I find it a beautiful thing.

i agree.

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MissMelsWell
That's a horrid damn shame.

Makes you wonder where intellectuals and hippies get their ideas of "I don't feel guilt, I am free of that religious construct." crap, doesn't it? People like your boyfriend are the true victims of shame and guilt, and don't deserve dehumanizing at the hands of those people, and surely don't deserve to be told that they somehow are responsible for their OWN shame or guilt. I sincerely hope this man can get his life back on track, and do his grieving, get help and support where needed, and be a productive, useful HAPPY member of society! I hope it doesn't sound trite, I'm being as sincere as I can be over the internet. Kinda makes me wanna do one of those gross *huggs* things Sheri does... :no: *shakes it off*

Whew, close one.

He does very well Eggy. Thanks. He's actually one of the kindest, sweetest, stable people I know believe it or not. He's had a tremendous amount of good care over the years, even in prison. He's been "out" for almost 5 years now. He owns his own company that he started pretty much the day he was released, it's grown so huge in 5 years, he's almost out of his mind with business and loves it.

What's the most sad though? He's an amazing athlete, adores kids (and they dig him too) and would never harm a hair on any child's head, would never harm a woman for sure, he might be aggressive toward a man he feels is stepping over the line though (he's working on that). More than anything, he'd love to coach a baseball team, or a soccer team or mentor kids... but that's a BIG HUGE no can do. Why? Because society won't give him a chance to do those things because he was abused, made a poor decision, and the stigma is way too great for him to actually be formally involved with children in any way even though he's never ever harmed a child ever. The only person he ever harmed was the guy that tortured him for 10 years but that doesn't matter.... that's what's sad. (well I guess when he was in prison he did clock a guy in the ear who was picking on someone smaller and weaker , but that only happened once in 10 years. lol)

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brave_new_world
He does very well Eggy. Thanks. He's actually one of the kindest, sweetest, stable people I know believe it or not. He's had a tremendous amount of good care over the years, even in prison. He's been "out" for almost 5 years now. He owns his own company that he started pretty much the day he was released, it's grown so huge in 5 years, he's almost out of his mind with business and loves it.

What's the most sad though? He's an amazing athlete, adores kids (and they dig him too) and would never harm a hair on any child's head, would never harm a woman for sure, he might be aggressive toward a man he feels is stepping over the line though (he's working on that). More than anything, he'd love to coach a baseball team, or a soccer team or mentor kids... but that's a BIG HUGE no can do. Why? Because society won't give him a chance to do those things because he was abused, made a poor decision, and the stigma is way too great for him to actually be formally involved with children in any way even though he's never ever harmed a child ever. The only person he ever harmed was the guy that tortured him for 10 years but that doesn't matter.... that's what's sad. (well I guess when he was in prison he did clock a guy in the ear who was picking on someone smaller and weaker , but that only happened once in 10 years. lol)

I think it is good that you have the heart to forgive him and embrace him the way you have. To me that is what true christian values are about.

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eqgumby
Ya, whatever Hyperactive, you basically are saying what I said some jazillion posts ago. You don't know until you are presented with the situation. I in fact gave two examples way back when where in one case I acted immediately, and in another case where I did not. Both I had good reasons for.

What we're talking about is right and wrong, guilt and shame. These issues DO exist. Denying they don't is preposterous.

Look at my example above. The case of Two Wrongs. What was done was done. Both parties paid for their wrong doings. One was guilty and lost his life. The other was guilty and lost 10 years of his life.

More of the usual obfuscation, answering questions with questions...low budget psychology. :wacko:

This has blown so far off course, you'll never get a straight answer.

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hyperactive
More of the usual obfuscation, answering questions with questions...low budget psychology. :wacko:

This has blown so far off course, you'll never get a straight answer.

what are you talking about eggy?

guilt? shame? what would you do? morality? what?

a couple days ago we were having an engaging conversation on guilt and shame.

since you are so upset over the shift of the thread, lets go back to the last discussion we had.

you asked if guilt and shame would occur within a society with no religion, to which I said yes. You never responded. Care to continue?

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brave_new_world

Is there a greater fault than being conscious of the other person's faults? --Kahlil Gibran

For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst? ---Kahlil Gibran

And how shall you punish those whose remorse is already greater than their misdeeds?

I love Kahlil Gibran :wub:

And since this thread is about religion as well:

Your daily life is your temple and your religion. --Kahlil Gibran

Typing error hence the edit.

Edited by brave_new_world

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eqgumby
He does very well Eggy. Thanks. He's actually one of the kindest, sweetest, stable people I know believe it or not. He's had a tremendous amount of good care over the years, even in prison. He's been "out" for almost 5 years now. He owns his own company that he started pretty much the day he was released, it's grown so huge in 5 years, he's almost out of his mind with business and loves it.

What's the most sad though? He's an amazing athlete, adores kids (and they dig him too) and would never harm a hair on any child's head, would never harm a woman for sure, he might be aggressive toward a man he feels is stepping over the line though (he's working on that). More than anything, he'd love to coach a baseball team, or a soccer team or mentor kids... but that's a BIG HUGE no can do. Why? Because society won't give him a chance to do those things because he was abused, made a poor decision, and the stigma is way too great for him to actually be formally involved with children in any way even though he's never ever harmed a child ever. The only person he ever harmed was the guy that tortured him for 10 years but that doesn't matter.... that's what's sad. (well I guess when he was in prison he did clock a guy in the ear who was picking on someone smaller and weaker , but that only happened once in 10 years. lol)

That is a shame, but in our current society, it's understandable I guess. Maybe he could get involved with some groups for troubled youths? With some training and perseverance, he could fulfill his own desire and maybe help someone out. The best drug counselor I ever met was also the biggest druggie I ever met. Not an addict mind you, but a real "recreational" user before he got his head screwed on straight.

I guess my point is, that in a certain population of young people, his own experiences could really find a positive release and make a profound difference for another human. Does that make sense?

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MissMelsWell

Honestly BNW, there was nothing for me to forgive, he's forgiven himself. I did not know him before he went to prison, but met him after he'd been released. He took me to dinner once, I couldn't shake the feeling that I recognized his name from somewhere but didn't mention it. He didn't either.

The following day I figured it out on my own. No fewer than a few hours after I figured it out, he showed up at my house and told me that he had something to tell me about his past. I let him. Needless to say, the first month or so I saw him I frankly was torn between being extremely concerned and in fact quite enamoured with his honesty, openess and positive outlook on life. Honesty, openess, and a positive attitude won out over fear. But he deals with people's fear all the time now, I don't think he realized how bad it would be and he does struggle at times.... but don't we all?

He works hard every single day to put it all behind him, but the reality is that it will never be "behind him" it's part of who he is and he knows it, he owns it, and that's KEY.

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brave_new_world
Honestly BNW, there was nothing for me to forgive, he's forgiven himself.

Superb point. Forgiveness of others can only come after forgiveness of self.

I did not know him before he went to prison, but met him after he'd been released. He took me to dinner once, I couldn't shake the feeling that I recognized his name from somewhere but didn't mention it. He didn't either.

The following day I figured it out on my own. No fewer than a few hours after I figured it out, he showed up at my house and told me that he had something to tell me about his past. I let him. Needless to say, the first month or so I saw him I frankly was torn between being extremely concerned and in fact quite enamoured with his honesty, openess and positive outlook on life. Honesty, openess, and a positive attitude won out over fear. But he deals with people's fear all the time now, I don't think he realized how bad it would be and he does struggle at times.... but don't we all?

He works hard every single day to put it all behind him, but the reality is that it will never be "behind him" it's part of who he is and he knows it, he owns it, and that's KEY.

I appreciate your modesty.

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Radian
That doesnt mean they are incapable of being able to reform themselves. Why should anyone suffer chronic remorse? Why shouldnt someone be able to turn over a new leaf? and make ammends thebest they can? What kind of society is so rigid that it that it cant find room to forgive? Forgiveness is letting go. It is letting go and being able to move on with oneself so that the forgiver isnt tied down or preoccupied with past misdoings. It is psychologically freeing for the forgiver.

I understand what you are saying, and I can truly respect that. Really. It's just been overwhelming at the repetitiveness of these offenders. It IS unlikely they recieve full rehabilitation-- There is NO cure-- There is only the solution to take them away from all opportunities to commit. To NOT allow these pedos to have the opportunity to make another victim... who would be responsible for absolute assurance that it would NEVER occure again? The rehab center?? The pedo's promise? That at a moment of emotional/soc deficiency they look for the next victim.. hope they don't find one.. The issues are seeded far into their being.. similar to the urge to control/overpower as a rapists, these offenders work (basically) the same way.. They all feel guilty afterward, sure, but soon as they feel inadequate again, there he goes to the school yard.... We can't take those chances.. we just can't. There are too many victims now. To me, its the victims and the would be victims that need the treatment-- therapy-- That should be our focus... our concentration. Sorry, but I wont budge on this one. Treatment of the VICTIMOLOGY of the victim-- not potential successful rehab for the offender.

im tired, please ignore misspelled words.. :innocent:

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MissMelsWell
That is a shame, but in our current society, it's understandable I guess. Maybe he could get involved with some groups for troubled youths? With some training and perseverance, he could fulfill his own desire and maybe help someone out. The best drug counselor I ever met was also the biggest druggie I ever met. Not an addict mind you, but a real "recreational" user before he got his head screwed on straight.

I guess my point is, that in a certain population of young people, his own experiences could really find a positive release and make a profound difference for another human. Does that make sense?

Actually it does Eggy. But what he's decided that he might do would be an even bigger bonus to society. He has a degree in Sociology from a good university, he's actually concidering passing his business off to his partner in a few years and going to work for the Department of Corrections as a pre-release counselor (career counseling, general counseling on how to stay on the right path I guess). He feels like this might be the best way to give back. He's still thinking about it, but I can actually see this being a good step for him if he chooses to take it on. He's already discovered that the opportunity is available to him where other job opportunities are not given his status as a convicted murderer. He's really decided that it's not worth the pain of everyone judging him just to work with kids, he thinks he can do other things to make himself useful to society besides running a successful business. I like the way he thinks actually.

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eqgumby
what are you talking about eggy?

guilt? shame? what would you do? morality? what?

a couple days ago we were having an engaging conversation on guilt and shame.

since you are so upset over the shift of the thread, lets go back to the last discussion we had.

you asked if guilt and shame would occur within a society with no religion, to which I said yes. You never responded. Care to continue?

QUOTE(hyperactive @ May 22 2007, 08:31 PM)

agreed. they are linked to our empathic capabilities.

agreed. I stated this earlier.

The issue is that religion has played such a fundamental "foundation" role in societys that being a social construct has also made it a religious construct, throughout much of history. We are now separating these two functions but the ambiguity as to where the "origin" lies remains. You don't have to look far for a behaviour where the actor makes no connection to a religious orgin, yet the act has a religious origin.

Is that what you were referring to? If so, I was unaware it required a response.

Earlier it was stated by several people that shame and/or guilt were purely religious constructs. That was the the premise early in the thread. My posts were made to refute that idea. To show that shame/guilt do occur in nature, and there is even an evolutionary explanation for it. Therefore I think it's pretty safe to assume feeling no guilt or no shame would be an "un-natural" state. Much like feeling no fear, no anger, no lust. It's one thing to rise above these NATURALLY occurring emotions or mental states and do "the right thing" whatever society says that is, another to claim to have totally eliminated from your psyche.

At the time I made these remarks, I believe YOU were the only responder. Even the OP couldn't be bothered to engage in what I think was a potentially illuminating discussion on the topic SHE started.

Instead, I got to this point.

http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum...t&p=1691960

Total p***er, but par for the course.

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brave_new_world
I understand what you are saying, and I can truly respect that. Really. It's just been overwhelming at the repetitiveness of these offenders. It IS unlikely they recieve full rehabilitation-- There is NO cure-- There is only the solution to take them away from all opportunities to commit. To NOT allow these pedos to have the opportunity to make another victim... who would be responsible for absolute assurance that it would NEVER occure again? The rehab center?? The pedo's promise? That at a moment of emotional/soc deficiency they look for the next victim.. hope they don't find one.. The issues are seeded far into their being.. similar to the urge to control/overpower as a rapists, these offenders work (basically) the same way.. They all feel guilty afterward, sure, but soon as they feel inadequate again, there he goes to the school yard.... We can't take those chances.. we just can't. There are too many victims now. To me, its the victims and the would be victims that need the treatment-- therapy-- That should be our focus... our concentration. Sorry, but I wont budge on this one. Treatment of the VICTIMOLOGY of the victim-- not potential successful rehab for the offender.

im tired, please ignore misspelled words.. :innocent:

Well they should at least be treated humanly in prison. There are wrose things for them than this.

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MissMelsWell
Well they should at least be treated humanly in prison. There are wrose things for them than this.

Well from what I understand from a real reliable source... prison ain't what you see on TV or hear as "stories" ... in reality, it's boring, you eat, it's boring, you run around outside for an hour, it's boring, and it's annoying when you have to live in a 12x12 room with 4 other guys farting, belching and who talk to hear themselves talk. And it's boring. Did I mention that it's boring? :rofl:

There's no big dude named Bubba who's waiting for you to drop the soap in the shower. My bf nor anyone he knew "the joint" ever met "Bubba". People's idea of what prison is really like is so skewed it's almost comical.

Edited by MissMelsWell

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Mr Walker

First, I am going to have to give up any pretention to psychic ability, because i missed this thread completely. Second, I now see why so many regulars seemed to have gone missing. They were all on this thread, and third, Sheri, how do you do it? Such a simple question, and such a wonderful lot of responses. I will try and read them when I get time, but to look at your original question.

Shame is one of our natural emotions such as; fear, humour etc. If, along with all those emotions, it is a learned response to social context and situation, this does not make it either a good or a bad thing. Like all emotions, it can serve either productive or non poductive purposes. The choice is ours.

Shame is the emotion we normally reserve for when we know we have broken a (moral ethical religious or other) code which is either valued by us, or by someone whose opinions matter to us. It is the indicator/ warning sign that something is wrong, just as anger is a warning sign that one of our other emotioal triggers has been set off.

We can

a. learn to ignore it. This may alleviate any angst we are feeling but does tend to devalue our code and act like the boy who cried wolf. Eventually we will require an appropriate level of shame but will not be able to feel it.

b. analyse it critically, work out why we feel this way and whether it is a valid response. We can then choose to act to allieviate the shame, if we feel that is appropiate, or ignore it if it is not valid.

c. act on it, uncritically, as an emotional response (this is the way most people react to all emotional stimuli, particularly; frustration, anger, or denial by others). Some people may see this as the most human response, but it generally creates negative consequences. This is the general reaction of young or immature people to whom self is very important and whose being is centred on an emotional core.

The dangers are in the extremes, both denying the validity of shame as a response or in acting/reacting uncritically in response.

Finally there is no point "feeling " shame for others' actions. It is only valid as a personal response, in that only you can chose to do anything about your feelings and your actions.

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brave_new_world
Well from what I understand from a real reliable source... prison ain't what you see on TV or hear as "stories" ... in reality, it's boring, you eat, it's boring, you run around outside for an hour, it's boring, and it's annoying when you have to live in a 12x12 room with 4 other guys farting, belching and who talk to hear themselves talk. And it's boring. Did I mention that it's boring? :rofl:

They shouldnt make prison like that. But I lack the intellectual prowess and creativity of what to do with extreme cases. I know jail is ineffective overall because it is concentrated criminality. But what is to be done? Place them in the presence of a genuine Guru and let them be affected by the humble atmosphere and vibrations? Either way I know that ultimately that it is only through love that you can heal anything ugly and extreme.

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eqgumby
First, I am going to have to give up any pretention to psychic ability, because i missed this thread completely. Second, the validity of shame as a response or in acting/reacting uncritically in response.

..................................snip for space...............................

Finally there is no point "feeling " shame for others' actions. It is only valid as a personal response, in that only you can chose to do anything about your feelings and your actions.

:sleepy:

Good post, but talk about a day late and a dollar short.... :lol:

I'll actually read it tomorrow, and try to reply.

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hyperactive

we could start there.

religion has codified what is meant by guilt within its own framework, but more interesting is exploring the evolutionary roots of it.

I can not think of any anthropological studies that have tried to address at what point of social development guilt would have arisen. It would be difficult to pinpoint, but if demonstration of what we could conclude is guilt can be identified in other primates we would be off to a good start. I can't think of any primate guilt research, but closely related are the chimp justice research which demonstrate core social concepts exist without any religion.

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Mr Walker

A more personal response.

Once, as as a lad of about 18, I borrowed my parent's car. That was Ok as i had their permission. However, I also borrowed/took the keys to our shack/beach house, about 30 K's away. I did not tell my parents this, because i knew they would not approve of the fact that i was taking a young lady there for the evening.

As fate would have it i got unlucky, rather than lucky, hitting a Kangaroo a few Kilometers before we got to the shack. The car was driveable but had considerable front end damage. I then had to explain how I could have hit a kangaroo, and fortunately decided to be honest with my parents, because i knew that their disappointment in my actions would only be compounded if I lied about it. This was lucky, because, as always, my parents already knew what i had planned, having noticed that the shack key was missing from the refrigerator.

My parents never expressed any anger, disappointment or other negative emotion over this incident, and yet then, and even now, i felt some shame. I have tried to analyse why and it comes down to my earlier post.

What i had chosen to do was "wrong," both by my moral code and by my parents ( I accept that this code is not universal). It was wrong slightly, in my actions with the girl, and more significantly, in my chosing to deceive my parents. This was wrong because I had already learned that a positive relationship depends on trust, and my parents had always trusted me. Therefore, my actions were inappropriate.

I was lucky that i was honest with them, after the event, as this reduced both my level of shame and their disappointment in my choices. I don't remember my parents inducing any feeling of shame in me, it was just an appropriate response to the situation.

Edited by Mr Walker

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MissMelsWell

Well, a vast majority of inmates in max security prisons are violent offenders. The prison system tries programs to help folks out, but they can't force anyone to get help or "reform."

There isn't a complete lack of violence in prisons, of course it happens, these are angry pent up men. Most of them think society screwed them in some way. All the love in the world isn't going to cure some of these guys.

He also rather suspects that there is a large number of men in prisons who don't care if they re-offend because on some level, they want to end up back in prison. Life is easier for them when someone else (the prison system) forcibly makes them follow the rules.

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Mr Walker
:sleepy:

Good post, but talk about a day late and a dollar short.... :lol:

I'll actually read it tomorrow, and try to reply.

Thought that might be the case but I did read the first few pages and the last few pages, and it did not seem that anyone was getting to Sheri's basic premise about shame and guilt as societal constructs. I guess that happened somewhere in the intervening 90 or so pages.

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MissMelsWell

LOL Mr. Walker, what you did as a kid sounds a tiny bit like what my daughter did a few years ago. I think she was maybe 17. She'd gone out with friends, a boy was driving, and she told me she'd be home around mid-night. Mid-night came and went and she rolled in around 3:30am and I was still up. I actually wasn't waiting up for her, I just happened to be awake working.

She waltzed in the door, looked at me and said the strangest thing "Ya, ya, I know, I'm late, and I'm totally busted. I'll be in my room and I'm not going out again until I'm 40." She was dead serious too.

1. it was funny because I'd never grounded her for anything

2. she's never had a curfew

3. she's been emmancipated and in college since she was 15

I never ever gave her the impression that, at 17, she'd be busted for coming home late, or even not at all. I just called down the hall to her "ya, well, I guess you could have called but I didn't notice how late it was anyway"

Where in the heck did she come up with the idea that I'd "bust" her? Especially by grounding her? Obviously she got the idea somewhere, likely from TV or something, no clue. Most of her friends are 4 or 5 years older than she is.

I think there was a part of her that wanted me to "ground" her so she could avoid going out with that group of friends again and being in a situation where she was around a bunch of drunk people and couldn't come home at the time she wanted to. I made it clear to her that I would not be her scapegoat, but that I didn't care where she was and I'd come get her if she needed a ride. She was with a sober driver, but was ticked at herself for ending up in the situation at all. I think she felt guilty that she'd ended up in the situation, in fact I know she did, then she realized that she was somewhat ashamed for wanting me to be the scapegoat. It was crafty on her part. But cleared up within a few moments.

If that makes any sense at all.

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