Pitfalls and Setbacks

The ideas I’ve expressed on these pages have helped me great deal but they’re not a panacea for human suffering. The ideas are mainly about coping with and mitigating suffering, but they have limits. Or, perhaps it would be fairer to say that we have limits as individual people. I have limits.

Sometimes, situational pressures and stresses still wear me down to the point where I have trouble caring enough about anything but the noxious stimulus enough to apply my own ideas and methods. Unaddressed, this would be a rapid pathway back to depression. Sometimes I can remind myself repeatedly of the hollow nature of emotionalism abused in furtherance of denial, but sometimes when I cannot escape the problems distressing me, it’s not enough.

During such moments all I care about is solving or removing myself from the problem – but I can’t – due to the nature of the problem. Sooner or later frustration sets in, in such a way that I find it difficult to dissipate through my usual methods. Whether it takes days, weeks, or even months of the noxious stimulus being present doesn’t matter. The longer the noxious stimulus is present, the worse I feel, even knowing that I’m doing this to myself. Eventually I hit my limit and have “a moment”.

While I desperately want to accept myself and my environment enough to resist the temptations of emotionalism, I want the problem, the noxious stimulus, to stop, more. I don’t know how to deal with intractable problems like the one I’m obliquely describing. We have laws to prevent and to punish such things but when the system fails due to inundation, corruption, and apathy, the laws become toothless, while the intrusive thoughts grow fangs in response.

I suppose one way would be capitulation; a passive acceptance of the belligerence and negligence of other people. To be a wimp, or a doormat. That’s not me, either. Emotionalism becomes particularly tempting for me when the source of the noxious stimulus is in the form of a perceived injustice. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that conscientious emotions have proven more difficult for me to work with. This is a good example.

What do I tell myself when my conscience demands action and there is no permissible or efficacious action evident to take? When this has happened recently I just ended up miserable, succumbing first to frustration and progressively stewing in successive layers of emotions until I can’t coherently describe the feeling. The noxious stimulus continues throughout this process and it makes it difficult to think of much else. There’s nowhere to go to escape it.

When I do this to myself, this spiraling of emotional responses each more desperate than the last, I’m causing my brain to attempt the various common forms of denial. I do this due to the values I hold, which clearly still need work, and due to the expectations and beliefs I value, beneath those values. Because the problem and noxious stimulus is real my attempts at emotional denial proves unsatisfying, yet I continue to find the stimulus intolerable. The end result is that due to the noxious stimulus I’m left in an emotional fog that has progressed as far as hatred of the people causing the noxious stimulus. And I hate them for making hate so appealing, too.

This is a perfect example of the immorality of our emotional self abuse. It illustrates how hate and belligerence spread. It illustrates how the careless actions we choose in our day to day lives can have unseen impacts on real people, and further impacts when they then act.

I can know all of this and still find myself doing it anyway. The only emotion I can think of that would be appropriate in response to this would be shame. Perhaps I am just not strong enough of character to rise above prolonged abusive stimuli with composure. Perhaps I’m just not quite sapient enough to do so. The idea that it’s an issue of my capacity doesn’t ring true with me; I think it’s a moral failing, so I’ll keep at it.