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"It makes sense that you feel that way."

August 1, 2022
Melissa and I had a great week with Dylan, besides the incredible amounts of Lake-ish fun we had some great conversations, many about mental and emotional health.

One phrase he mentioned being very useful between him and his mom, so much so that it had an accompanying gesture (motioning as if it was a tattoo inscribed along the forearm) was "it makes sense that you feel that way."

I really adore that, because it is very validating with being fully endorsing-- it has a useful ambiguity of whether the confirmed "sense" is strictly objectively and rationally true, or just true within the context of the listener's mental landscape.

It clicks well with my recent observation of how "validation" is the critical thing in so many cases. Especially for negative emotions; for anger, people want to know other folks are on their side, wiling and able to recognize the same unacceptability of some aspect of the world and join in the fight against it, for sadness that the other might mourn alongside, or for almost any emotions; that other people recognize that the feeling is a sensible response, and that the initial feeler is not diminished by having that feeling, or too out of joint with the world.

This scales up to larger groups, of course: the majority of political ads are exercises in fomenting righteous outrage, because mere negative judgement might not be enough to open the purse strings or inspire other action. (This constant sense of helpless outrage gets tiring. No wonder some people are so drawn by promises of people who claim they can fix things.)

Importantly, I also think that the demand for validation scales *down* as well; I'm a big believer in "parts"-type therapeutic models, the ones that point out we are not the consistent, monolithic beings our consciousness tries to pretend we are. For me an emotion flares up from a singular, often non-verbal part. But then my slower, more think-y self has a moment to decide if it's going to put cognitive kindling and fuel on that emotion, or if it's going to decide that a bigger feeling doesn't serve the greater me, and let the emotion die out.

(This flame metaphor may not resonate for everyone, but I see it as useful in modeling other folks, even folks living more intuitively and not as "unemotionally" as I can appear to be going. Like Dylan mentioned he might have a feeling smoldering underground, causing irritation and then flaring up after a few days. Or other people seem to have a semi-constant large flames just barely contained. Or with fear-anxiety, fire fighting is a recurring struggle. But, it makes sense that they feel that way.)

Daddy, swing... take it easy.

photos of the month july 2022

August 2, 2022

Open Photo Gallery

Arrived at parade #2 early, took photos of bees in clover.

Lady in a wiener suit perched on her wiener mobile.

August 3, 2022

The hour from night to day.
The hour from side to side.
The hour for those past thirty.

The hour swept clean to the crowing of cocks.
The hour when earth betrays us.
The hour when wind blows from extinguished stars.
The hour of and-what-if-nothing-remains-after-us.

The hollow hour.
Blank, empty.
The very pit of all other hours.

No one feels good at four in the morning.
If ants feel good at four in the morning
--three cheers for the ants. And let five o'clock come
if we're to go on living.
Wislawa Szymborska

Basically, my rationale for always using plural verb agreement for "they" regardless of whether it's being used in the singular or the plural is that "you" also always takes plural verb agreement regardless of whether it's being used in the singular or the plural (i.e., always "you are", never "you is"), and spurious consistency is a time-honoured tradition in English grammatical crackpottery.

August 4, 2022

When an article says "some scientists think" then remember this: I, a scientist, once thought I could fit a whole orange in my mouth. I could, it turns out, get it in there, but I hadn't given sufficient thought to the reverse operation.

August 5, 2022

August 6, 2022

August 7, 2022

Great long weekend up in NH w/ Melissa's ol' PPLM crew, overlooking Attitash Mountain. Admittedly the skiing is pretty bad this time of year but the Sawyer Rock swimming area Saturday was excellent.

Open Photo Gallery

On the way back Melissa and I hit the old Home of the Water Fairies, Diana's Baths.

Open Photo Gallery

August 8, 2022

But I understand what Darius is going through, I understand what that brother is going through in the sense of "revenge", you know?

"Anything to feel good."

And a lot of us the only way we know to feel good is to get revenge on somebody else. And I'm here to tell you... it DO feel good.

Oh my god, revenge feel good. I ain't saying it's full of NUTRIENTS... it ain't gonna help you in the long run, but in the short run it feels GOOD to get a little revenge on somebody sometimes.

'Cause revenge.. that's an impulse we learn at an EARLY age. We learn revenge early. It's not taught, it's something that's just in us because you see someone who got away with something, and they ain't got their thump behind their ear yet, and you got to make the world right.
Roy Wood Jr, Imperfect Messenger "Anything to Feel Good" is a theme of his special... (he compares it to getting your crab leg, that one moment of pleasure after working through all the hard stuff.)
This jumped out to me, I've been trying to better express my idea of morality as an emergent property, not one that needs to be set by a divine, out-of-the-system supernatural agent...

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