Christmas may have provided a break in the mourning for some in Newtown, CT. That’s good. Too much mourning is not a good thing.
But the first thing that bothered me about the Reuters article was their description of Newtown as “mostly Christian.” I am not a terribly ardent Zionist, but I will admit I was proud of the Israeli response to the tragedy.
My heart goes out to those of any other minority religions, for I do not know who or how they are, or if their international communities have reached out to them in any way. America is neither Christian nor homogeneous. Failure to live up to the “freedom of worship” part of the Franklin D. Roosevelt and Normal Rockwell Four Freedoms is just another way we have failed, as a nation, to live up to expectations.
My heart goes out to anyone who has not felt support from the religious
People told me I would have troubles in France because it was a “Catholic” country. I do not think any trouble I can remember came from the few people who actually attended church regularly. But back to politics. The parties were grouped into “left,” “right,” and “center.” The left included the commies, whom I had to reassure that even though I was an American I did not hate them. I found “rightists” fearing change as obsessively as any conservative (read “ultra-republican” American ever could. Read more on Psychology of Politics (and Politicians)…
He was 35 and tall and thin, with beige hair and a rare grin he claimed only I could elicit. He enjoyed seeing me. He always came with a knapsack, because he didn’t really trust the other people in the residence where he lived. He probably had reason to feel that way, for things had been stolen from him before. Things like medications. He reported these things to the pharmacy involved. Both they and I believed him. After all, these things happen. He had not abused anything known to us. Besides, medications are frequently stolen.
The diagnosis was schizophrenia, that too-often debilitating disease that hits at least about 1% of the population and that is still generally considered manageable but incurable. He was actually doing pretty well, living in a residence and “stable” after countless hospitalizations. I asked him about his plans for the future. He told me he had been attending information sessions about an interesting course at a local college. Now I knew that local colleges, this one in particular, were famous for providing “practical” education. I had even heard of a bachelor’s degree in auto body work. He told me he wanted to learn to make guns. I tried not to appear nervous here, but I was impressed that he could read my emotions well enough to tell I was worried.
“Don’t worry, Dr. G. I am not going to hurt anybody and I don’t want to kill myself. You must worry a lot about that because you ask me every time.” Good — he was smart about that. But what could happen if his medicines were stolen before I could replace them? In his distant past, he had some real troubles with “false beliefs,” worrying that criminals were out to get him. What if he believed that, and tried to shoot someone? I could not ask him that, I knew he would tell me it would never happen – but I knew it could. “I really like hunting animals. Little ones, not bears or anything. Squirrels, but that was a long time ago. There are lots of squirrels and things like that around here.” He went on. He was exhibiting more insight and understanding than I had ever heard from him.
“I like the insides of the gun and how it works and I want to learn how to make them. I did like the feeling of shooting a little animal, because it meant I was smarter than he was.”
Query: Why won’t Santa’s elves work now that Santa has lowered wages and they have hastened the assembly line and there are no cookie breaks?
Answer: They all have low elf-esteem.
No I don’t know the origin of the above joke. I don’t even know about low elf-esteem, as Santa must be referring his (psychologically) non-functional elves to someone that takes his insurance.
I do know that the knowledge of “low self-esteem” as a problem has entered the language and the culture with an enthusiasm and vengeance reserved only for high-frequency psychobabble which has been divorced so completely from its academically-derived meaning that it was possible for me not long ago, when walking dangerously close to a Starbucks, to overhear two people saying it was the cause of their woes.
Our friends at Wikipedia define it as a term used by psychologists, an enduring aspect of personality encompassing beliefs, emotions and behavior.