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#424791 - 02/09/13 05:09 PM Our lives, glass half empty or half full?
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2670
Loc: durham, north england
I was reading Cosmos topic about feeling alone and the many comments that various chaps were making their about their different life styles.

One thing that occurred to me is that I could describe my life two completely different ways dependent upon my own perception and state of mind at the time.

on the one hand, I have a very beautifull flat in the heart of a very pretty and historical town (durham is only a city by tradition, the population is less than ten thousand and four thousand of those are university students). Had I bought my flat, it would've cost a good two or three hundred thousand pounds with a morgage I'd be paying off for years, yet because the counsel gave it to me under a priority housing scheme, I got this due to it being in the city center and my lack of a car, yet it is still on a very green and tree lined road for all that the prison is at the end of it :D, I don't actually have to pay this, heck, I would only have to pay wrent if I started earning sufficiently. Admittedly, this means it isn't my name on the deeds and I'm not the owner, but I don't give a dam about that since for all intents and purposes it is mine.

Odds are that betwene economics and prejudice, I couldn't get a job, much less one that actually took someone with a brain (it took my brother close to 13 years), yet this means I can devote my time to doing things that are worthwhile for free, working hard on my singing, learning spoken Italian, finalizing my thesis, and working voluntarily for the accessible computer games group who I write for, rather than things that are pointless, for money as many of my friends have.

Admitedly living on disability bennifits I will never be rich, but then again I don't particularly have any materialistic wants or really major expenses, neither do I have, (or want), children. Even on a basic life style front, I don't drink, go to bars or have any luxury expenses, indeed I probably live rather simply compared to some people.

To many people I know who are struggling hard with different jobs and financial matters, this probably sounds pretty idilic, and I will confess I've felt rather guilty when I see friends of mine really struggling with housing, jobs and the like. That however is another point, since I tend to make friends easily and have some extremely good friends not to mention parents and a brother I get on very well with and a very wonderfull dog.

I am even starting to recognize that because I possess the level of Intelligence, modes of perception and the rather individualized outlook I have, this gives me the possibility to understand and appreciate a lot of things that are not open to others, from synaesthesic viewings of sensory impressions and music, to the interlectual pleasures inherent in knolidge, language and creativity, not to mention literature. These of course are things open to everyone, I am not claiming any sort of superiority, only that many people who just follow fashion and the clock and think anything without car crashes is boring don't seem to realize as much.

More to the point, I get to devote my time to the things I love doing best, singing and writing, as well as lots of other things without destractions, and when! I am singing and communicating that love of music to others I feel something fantastic.

So, yes, I can say in some ways I've been lucky.

Looked at in another light however, (and on other days), things are entirely different.

I do! spend lots of money on travel, trains, taxies etc often requiring me to budgit carefuly, and while I have no overriding desire to drive a car for the sake of driving a car (I've driven one in fact), it does! irritate me that I can't for instance just drive up to scotland into the mountains, or indeed anywhere else, a fact I doubly curse when sitting around on yet another station platform waiting for a late and over priced train or ringing a dozen taxi firms just to try and get somewhere very close that I could! walk but for knowing the directions. i must often put my own fate into the hands of others for things as simple as getting grosseries or even getting around a train station I'm not familiar with.

Many things that I do, which other people do quite casually automatically, such as cooking, laundry, heck even just walking to the shops to get some milk, take more effort, memory, and concentration, and don't get me started on the fact that most people will treat me as though I'm a different species, have the intelligence of a four year old or just down right ignore me, (perceptions not helped by so many less than commpitant blind people and organizations who propergate their rahter narrow view of people's capabilities which is why I have so little to do with other blind people in this country). It takes all my social skills, empathy and emotional sense to push people past this point, ---- something I am quite capable of doing, but something which becomes increasingly annoying having to do so constantly.

Most judgements people make about me will be biased, indeed the reason that I am concentrating so hard on my voice is because of the numerous occasions I've been told varients of "bugger off we can't have a visually impared person on stage" or just given a blatant excuse, which pretty much precludes me from trying a lot of group activities as well as jobs.

I do not have access to a lot of information, books and things available to everyone else from news papers to cooking instructions, and I have no access to eye contact, glances and none verbal communication (another thing that makes social situations difficult). With my genophobia and tactile defensiveness (neither of which I seem to be able to do anything about), I find myself at least discomforted fairly often (particularly since people happen to think that having a visual imparement automatically gives them the right to invade my personal space). I often feel a huge sense of my own worthlessness and above all I struggle with a desire for an experience of intimacy, the kind I've seen my friends who are in long term relationships have.

So, which is it? half empty or half full. The problem is it seems to be both and neither dependent entirely upon my state of mind at the time, indeed trying to be positive about any evaluation or future experience is something I find rather difficult, since while I can enjoy what is in front of me, I cannot expect! something good to come in the future, or even on my bad days to considder that all I have and have achieved amounts to much beside that which I have not.

I do not know if there is a solution to this, since it just seems entirely dependent upon how my perception is running at any particular moment, however one thing I am starting to realize is that because! I know that the evaluation of my life is dependent upon my emotions not upon any sort of objective or even rational standard, it is entirely up for grabs and I am quite free to make changes when I can.

For instance, two years ago i'd have never considdered studdying voice because my sense of inertia was far too extreme. now however I recognize that however I evaluate my life as a hole I do! have the power to change certain parts of it including my over all academic career. So maybe that is the solution, not evaluation, but control?

#424881 - 02/11/13 02:58 AM Re: Our lives, glass half empty or half full? [Re: dark empathy]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4199
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
D E -

sounds like you have a very nice place in a beautiful town. and much of your life does sound very pleasant and fulfilling and comfortable - as you describe it.

i love Durham. a vivid memory i have from my teens is standing in the cathedral on a Saturday afternoon while someone was practicing the pipe organ. those massive pillars impressed me - the age and size - seemed like 4-5 adults would not be able to link hands around a single one. and yet when i placed my palm against one, the very stone was vibrating with the music being played and it was pulsing up through my feet from the floor. truly and literally an awesome moment!

yes - so much depends upon our state of mind, point of view, perception, emotional status. even if circumstances do not vary that much, i know my attitude can completely reverse my own approach to a situation. i can see a particular thing as either an obstacle that is preventing me from being happy, content and fulfilled - or as a challenge to be overcome to make the victory all the sweeter - or as a turn in the road while i avoid it and find another path. and i flip-flop wildly between the approaches.

your last sentence especially caught my interest - "So maybe that is the solution, not evaluation, but control?" i guess i have recently come to exactly the opposite conclusion. i have failed miserably for most of my life in trying to gain control over most of the things in my life - ended up stressed out, disappointed, discouraged, feeling helpless, weak and inadequate. i finally decided i do not have to be in control of everything. that goal is doomed from the start. i am now more accepting of "what is." not that i will not ever try to change or improve or better myself or a situation. but my input may not carry the day. and i will not continue to rage against the machine. i can walk away and be content that i did what i could and it is not on my conscience or shoulders. and it is a lot easier to change my evaluation than to change the world.

but - i guess it's all in how you look at it!
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#424884 - 02/11/13 03:20 AM Re: Our lives, glass half empty or half full? [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2670
Loc: durham, north england
Hi Lee, wow, interesting you've visited Durham, I am quite fond of the cathedral for all I've not really been in their much accept for the odd concert and of course uni events such as my graduations.

As regards changing of perceptions, I'd generally agree, however one problem I tend to get stuck with is inertia. i've worked on my perceptions, my mind and my desires so much it often feels that I can't! do anything else with my life and must just change myself to fit matters.

I suppose this is a typical academic (especially philosopher), response, to think first and do second. What I am starting to realize is that while I can! control my perceptions, this should not stop me from trying to control my circumstances, rather than just sitting around saying "well maybe things will get better" as I have done previously.

It's a balance of course, but maybe I've been mising part of that balance.


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