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The Overwhelming Sense of Helplessness and the Death of Hope

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posted on Feb, 26 2011 @ 07:39 PM
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I debated with myself, (something I avoid doing because it never fails that whenever I do, I always lose), whether I should post this in The Gray Area forum, or here. My own sense of helplessness is overwhelming indeed, and for that reason I believed that whatever it is I have to say about that belonged in The Gray Area, but just as overwhelming is the sense of helplessness, I still carry hope. It would seem, for the moment at least, that I have not succumbed to hopelessness. Hope is still alive. Seemingly on a life support system, with all sorts of tubes and gee gaws going in and sticking out of it, hope hangs on...by a limb, but stubbornly hangs on.

Part of the reason I thought about posting this in The Gray Area is because I can only speak intelligently to my own sense of helplessness. That overwhelming sense of helplessness is strong today, and in a large part because I am a still a smoker. I still smoke cigarettes even though I cannot remember the last time I actually enjoyed smoking one. Life has been a struggle for as long as I can remember, and I sure ain't getting any younger, but life keeps getting harder and harder, and the fact that I am still smoking strikes me as a remarkably stupid habit. Walking up hills is a struggle now, and embarrassingly I have to stop and catch my breath often when doing so. Even when I don't stop to catch my breath, it is not as if I am not horribly winded. Yet, soon after I will light up a cigarette and not enjoy it.

I write a lot about personal power in these forums, and I hold a strong belief in the power of one, and have great faith in my own power. I am not alone in that faith - and I mean not alone in people who have faith in my own personal power - there are others who insist they have faith in me too. These people, most of them, clearly have faith in their own personal power as well. It is always heartening to hear it when someone - many times out of the blue - tells me they have faith in me, but sometimes it is not enough to stay the overwhelming sense of helplessness I struggle with. The smoking addiction is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to me doing stupid things in spite of possessing the knowledge that such stupidity is not only killing me, it is greatly diminishing my quality of life.

I bring up the smoking to make this personal, and to share with those who read this that I am far from wise, no where near as powerful as I pretend to be, and just as overwhelmed by the sense of helplessness as the next person. The reality is that when any of us decide to take on a difficult task, usually the first thing that happens is that we are met with a wave of emotions that are largely negative. I can only speak for myself, but I am fairly certain that most of us, when beginning a difficult task, feel incompetent and doubt our own abilities. Often times I feel like an imposter, which is fitting to discuss here since I am writing under an assumed name, but even when I am not and just plain old me, I feel as if I am a poser who knows deep down inside that I cannot accomplish what I am about to set out to accomplish.

My first thoughts regarding this wave of negative emotions is that it is a normal reaction and that most, if not all people experience them, but then I wonder. Is it normal to feel incompetent? Is it normal to be incompetent? Of course, I suppose it depends on what is meant by normal. When we feel these waves of negative emotions are we conforming with a standard, or level, or type, or some social norm? Is it a social norm to feel incompetent when faced with difficult tasks? Is that what we have become as a society that it is normal to feel incompetent, or is there something else at play?

Is it normal to have negative thoughts? Are emotions such as fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, and anger, normal? When I was much younger I had a wise old man - an archetypal figure who imparted wisdom to to better prepare the hero, (in this case me), for the trials and tribulations ahead - who told me that all things come down to multiples of two. It is either this, or it is that. If it is this, then that comes down to two more choices, which that can be divided by two, and that divided by two, and so on and so on. I was younger then, and didn't understand this the way I understand it today. All things do come down to multiples of two, and with emotions, it is either fear based, or it is love based. So, in that regard, I suppose fear is "normal", but let's think about that for a moment.

Is fear all it is cracked up to be? Of course, if we are going to seriously consider that question, I suppose it is fair to ask if love is all it is cracked up to be. So, before we get into fear, and all that entails, let's discuss love for a moment. Love is often equated with romance, but I am not talking about roses, hearts and valentines when I ask if love is all it is cracked it up to be, I am talking about unequivocal, unconditional love. Is such a thing normal? In my experience of it, it is not. Unconditional love? Who loves unconditionally, and I mean the humans walking among us today? Do you love unconditionally? Do I? God knows I try, but tragically I fall way short of that mark. Is it even possible to love unconditionally some person who is clearly trying to harm us? Shouldn't we understandably fear them?

The problem with fear is that it is a contraction, not an expansion. Love is an expansion. Multiples of two. We are either expanding, or we are contracting, and I am not talking about weight gain or loss, because God knows that my waist keeps expanding, and all my efforts to lose weight, whatever accomplishments I find in that area, it is only a matter of time before I discover that I didn't really lose that weight, and it was right where I left it...on my waist, but what I am talking about is our spirit. Would we could expand our minds as easily as we can expand our waists. If only a Big Mac could add to our intellect instead of our girth. If only a cigarette could expand my mind instead of my lungs, and oddly, as much as I fear insanity, I keep smoking cigarettes, and even keep stuffing Quarter Pounder's down my throat once or twice a week, as if these actions are sane. It is not that I expect a different result each time, and frankly I am not operating under the impression that Einstein's crack about insanity is the proper definition of it, I am just saying, that's all.

Like a deer caught in the headlights, I keep doing stupid things. So much for love. So much for expansion. Fear is certainly a normal emotion in my biological lexicon, and it sure as hell seems to be a social norm as well. Fear too often leads to helplessness. Just ask the deer caught in the headlights...thud...never mind, don't ask. Fear, it would seem, is not very productive at all, and yet fear permeates our psyche's, and our civilizations. If we are not fearing the terrorists, we are fearing the government, or fearing the inevitability of aliens landing, or Niburu coming to spank us soundly, or just the normal everyday disasters that seem to be increasing at an alarming rate. Much to be afraid of, no time to worry about love. Unconditional love? Do you have any idea how overwhelming my sense of helplessness is? I have a hard enough time just loving my family, and you want me to love everyone on the planet unconditionally? Pfffffttttt.

Love is a discipline, fear is a habit. Like smoking cigarettes, fear may in the early habit forming stages bring some pleasure, but after a while it is just a nasty habit that causes damage and offers no benefit what-so-ever. This is not to argue that by loving each other we must tolerate nonsense, but we do not have to hate - a fear based emotion - the nonsensical person, and we certainly do not have to fear them. We can love them and show compassion, all the while taking them to task for their lunacies, and we can, while we're at it, take ourselves to task for our own lunacies. Who the hell am I to lecture people on love when I clearly do not love myself enough to just stop smoking?

What does all of this have to do with General Conspiracies? I am wondering if fear has not been used against the individual personal power since time immemorial, and has been used by those who cast a longing eye on positions of power as a means by which to gain, and maintain positions of power. Going back to the question of normalcy regarding fear and an overwhelming sense of helplessness, perhaps the better question to ask is it natural? There surely was no conspiracy involved in convincing the deer to freeze up when faced with its inevitable death in front of oncoming headlights, or at least I don't think there was, so maybe to some degree fear is natural. A survival mechanism designed to get us to act, and yet, how strange that a deer would freeze up in front of an oncoming car with headlights. Of course, deer are crepuscular, perhaps both biologically and metaphorically, although I am not so sure that deer are as dim as people claim they are.

I used to live up in the Hollywood Hills, and up towards the Hollywood sign there is a grocery market. One day i was walking up Beachwood Avenue on my way to the market, and at some point wanted to cross the street to make my way directly to that market. It was just before twilight, so the sun was still out, and at that time of the day traffic is at a peak. Many people coming home from work were driving up Beachwood which made it difficult to cross. As I was waiting to cross, a deer walked up beside me. (Hollywood has its magical state, but the Hollywood Hills is even more magical). The deer was not nearly as patient as me and clearly wanted to cross Beachwood, stepping forward, but then stepping back to avoid the oncoming traffic. This little dance of deer went on for a few minutes before some guy stopped so that the deer and I could cross.

I started to cross but noticed that the deer was hesitant, still sort of doing that dance of his. I stopped and waited to see what the deer would do. The deer looked at me, then looked at the guy behind the wheel of his car, then back at me, then back at the guy in his car. Finally, the guy behind the wheel of his car motioned for the deer to cross, and with that the deer darted off across the street and disappeared into to wooded yard of someone's house. I watched the deer dart off and then looked at the guy behind the wheel and we both laughed at this magical moment we shared together, and then I crossed the street and went to the market. I don't know how dim deer are in general, but that particular deer didn't seem to be all that stupid. Anyway, deer are, as I'm told, crepuscular, which means their activity peaks about an hour after sunrise, and an hour before sunset, and at this time their vision is optimized for low light. When a deers eyes are dilated and caught the beams of a headlight and it captures all this light, the deer just can't see at, so they just freeze and do nothing at all until their eyes can adjust. Is that fear? If it is, then I guess it is natural, although a deer being slammed by an oncoming car is not all that natural, and certainly wasn't all that natural one hundred years ago.

Is fear natural, or is it much more insidious than that? Must we be afraid in order to act in brave ways, or is bravery better facilitated by love? Why is it that it seems that civilizations are paralyzed by fear and have so much fear of love? How in the hell did civilization even begin when so much of it today is paralyzed by fear? This is why I tend to think there very well may be some sort of conspiracy afoot, and yet, if there is, what the hell is the plan? What sort of conspiracy is it where people would conspire to convince masses of people that fear is better than love? What is gained by such a conspiracy? Power? Depopulation? Is it depopulation, and isn't a conspiracy to reduce the human population of the planet fear based? Are those who are conspiring - if they indeed are - to convince the masses to live in fear, free of fear themselves?

It can boggle the mind, all this wondering how and why fear has become the operative in so many peoples lives. It boggles the mind so much so that it can lead to an overwhelming sense of helplessness. All my life I have held great faith in humanity and the phenomenal potential this species possesses. Then...there are days like today...not that I have suddenly lost my faith in humanity, I haven't. I just feel an overwhelming sense of helplessness. I feel incompetent. Like an imposter. I don't know, maybe I am about to embark on my next great adventure, and without even knowing it, I can see just how difficult my next project is - whatever that is - and so now the waves of negative emotions just keep pouring in.

What makes me think I can take on any new great adventure, let alone the undisclosed one that hides in the dark shadows of my mind that seems to be generating this sense of overwhelming helplessness. What makes me think I can handle any adventure when I can't even quit smoking? It's not that I can't quit, it's that I won't. Why won't I? What the hell is wrong with me? What a poser! Do you see how these negative thoughts can spiral out of control and only exacerbate the overwhelming sense of helplessness? Am I just the product of some big insidious conspiracy that has been going on since time immemorial, or is all of this just natural...just normal stuff that everybody goes through, or is all this natural normal stuff that everybody goes through a product of some big insidious conspiracy that has been in play since time immemorial?

In the end, I just don't know. What I do know is that I still have hope. No matter how hard life gets, no matter how many times I stumble - and believe me, boy do I stumble - no matter how many times I fail, I still have hope. If I were to lose hope, I suspect that would be the end of me. The death of hope is the death of life itself. That thought is genuinely disturbing thought if you believe, as I do, that we are immortal spirits that inhabit these mortal bodies. It is disturbing because if the death of hope is the death of life itself, that means that long before the physical body dies, for those who lose hope, something else dies first, that something else being their immortal spirit. Such a thought strikes me as remarkably insane. How can an immortal spirit die? What happens to an immortal spirit who brings about their own physical death by killing their sense of hope? What happens to that spirit after physical death? Does the spirit inhabit yet another body, only this time with no sense of hope? What does such a cycle create? Could it possibly create the situation we are in today?

Now if this kind of thinking doesn't bring on an overwhelming sense of helplessness, I don't know what will, and if that is the case and there are people who can navigate through such kind of thinking unscathed by the negative emotions that follow, that is someone worth admiring! Sadly, that someone is not me. I believe in the personal power of the individual. I believe all individuals have this personal power. I believe we are capable of so much more than we ever seem to accomplish, and maybe because I believe this, I tend to succumb to an overwhelming sense of helplessness. Then again, maybe there is a conspiracy afoot, and I am just doing what I can to fight this insidious conspiracy that seeks to not only kill the ability of people as physical beings, but seeks to kill their spirit. Maybe someday I will become strong enough to fight such a conspiracy, but for today, maybe it is best I begin the painful process of quitting smoking...maybe not today, but maybe tomorrow...I may be overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness, but I still hold hope.




posted on Feb, 26 2011 @ 07:43 PM
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edit on 26/2/11 by shr4n because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 26 2011 @ 07:48 PM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 


Death of hope?

People around the world are waking up and fighting because they have hope. It is our responsibility to help them. They have the guts, we have the resources.

I feel far from helpless. This is an exciting time to live.

We are not pawns, as long as we are awake and realize it.



posted on Feb, 26 2011 @ 08:10 PM
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Great summatiion of your inner turmoil bro. You are a very gifted writer.

I will be equally hesitant to post the full depth of my feelings on this, as I know I will get attacked for my views by many here.

But I will ask, do you meditate?

Are you familiar with the intricacies of the mind and ego? Are you able to still your mind?

The reason I ask is that I feel, based on the struggle you are feeling, that at least PART of what you are feeling is being generated within the mind and ego. It is THIS which is speaking imho, not your actual spirit.

These "vehicles" which we use to navigate this reality, and their bio-computers, are subject to seemingly a LOT of stress and trauma, and tests.

But there is something, deep down inside, which is aware of ALL of the above. It sits under the surface, almost behind the scenes, watching, observing, very quietly. It is aware of all the ups and downs, all of the emotional states---Anger, sadness, love, joy, despair, hopelessness, even apathy. But it is UNMOVED by ANY of them. It remains as it is, the WATCHER of them all. And through them all, I feel, it is EXPERIENCING. And it does not care, nor judge the experience (at least that I have been able to tell), but just adds to its own collective experiences. Even the experience of hopelessness.

If you do not meditate, I HIGHLY suggest beginning to do so, ESPECIALLY as part of your mental battle in this physiological endeavor to overcome smoking. See if you can center into this watcher as often as possible. If you can, I promise you, you will begin to smile MUCH more, as you realize you are something MUCH more than the one who is currently feeling this helplessness. You are indeed immortal, timeless consciousness, having one of many "human" experiences.

Of course, this is just my own views, not meant to be accepted as fact or gospel by anyone.


I wish you well on your journey brother. Dont give up hope.



posted on Feb, 26 2011 @ 08:17 PM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 


It is interesting you have started such a discussion. Feeling helpless when all hope is lost; while retaining hope, is a distinctly unique human trait. To utilize your metaphor of a deer stuck in the head lights of an oncoming automobile, does that deer still hold onto hope? Does a deer hope? What is hope?

Hope, is a word we have devised to explain a dire situation that we experience with a certain outcome, but still for some reason we defy nature and believe in a different outcome. We hope that our kids will grow up to be better than ourselves. We hope that the homeless man we gave a dollar to will use it for food and not booze. We hope that we live long enough to see our offspring's offspring.

To lose that ability and to lose sight of such a strong emotion would be allowing that helplessness to dictate the direction of ones thought and action. If we have no hope, we have not desire; only apathy. With apathy, we cannot feel at all. Thus, hope....hope is a crucial emotion we experience.

While I was writing the above, I came to an epiphany. The emotion of hope is born from the knowledge that we can acquire from being human. We have the ability to see the world for what it was, is and could be. With that knowledge we postulate and contrive many outcomes from what we currently know and see. Without hope, such vision would leave us completely helpless and demoralized that we would never want to move forward. We would just learn to accept the fate we have been dealt and be at peace with the absolute certainty of death.

Enter hope. With hope we still view and contrive possibilities. We still can when all is lost, but yet we push forward. Why? Why does someone run into a burning building to try and save someone? Should we be so naive that such a person has not calculated the possibility that they are acting in vain? Yet, they still do so because the emotion of hope overcomes our natural, animal instincts of fight or flight.

We know that we will die. We know that our time is limited. We know that the world is cruel. We know that the cards are stacked against us. We know bringing a child into the world today is unfavorable. We know we are being lied to. We know....

In the end, holding onto hope is what has driven mankind to the heights we have witnessed today. It is what millions, if not billions of people still hold onto. If there is anything uniquely human, it is the ability to hope.



posted on Feb, 26 2011 @ 08:18 PM
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reply to post by DimensionalDetective
 


No matter what your beliefs are, I respect your insight and integrity DD. You have proven that time and again, you are an original thinker sir.



posted on Feb, 26 2011 @ 08:22 PM
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Hope is probably the most needed of all human states. Without that sense of things possibly improving, without the glimmer of somehow, someway, things will just get 'better',well, you are correct: things look grim indeed.

Like yourself, I've always, always had some deep inner burning spark of that same elusive Hope. Even when things around me were dark and strange and unfamiliar, I've had it.

In recent times, probably due to the fast-as-lightning approach of my being alive a half-century, it seems my own little personal reserve of Hope has been battered and bashed and slapped around. Again, like you or most of us, I've questioned about everything I see or feel or hear around me.....looking to rebuild Hope, looking to sustain it somehow.

Philosophy, Mysticism, Religion in general, they all try and , in my case fail, to rebuild it. So too, does nostalgia, history, or any sense of continuity.

So, where exactly does that next little crumb of Hope come from?

I wish I knew, but like so many of us, I find myself just along for the ride as well. Clinging to something spinning ever faster, sort of. Either a world gone mad, or just me personally realizing, finally, my own mortality, hell, who knows?

Not me, which makes me realize that while I had hoped(ironic usage) to actually contribute something here, I have actually done nothing except ramble. At the very least though, I think it's important that we realize that we are never truly alone on this rock in space. That even the best or the worst of us ,with Hope or without, still live in a world where, occasionally, a flower will STILL bloom somewhere, at some time. The stars overhead will still sparkle like they always have.

And I guess, ultimately, as long as we have that sense that SOMETHING beyond our control will actually be eternal, will actually endure...well, maybe thats what Hope actually is after all.

Something eternal.

At any rate, good luck to us all.



posted on Feb, 26 2011 @ 08:45 PM
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reply to post by DimensionalDetective
 


Thank you, brother, for your genuine concerns. It is interesting, as I am in communication with OBE by Gmail chat as this thread remains in play, and he has spoken to the dark tone it has. It was not at all my intention to write a dark piece, and honestly had no idea I was doing so. It was the day, I suppose, and where my thoughts took me today that compelled me to write this piece.

I make this post at this moment with some sense of trepidation, and do not feel at liberty to discuss the behind the scenes politics that went on this past half hour since I posted this thread - I don't even understand them or even know exactly what happened myself- but suffice it to say that whatever sense of helplessness I was feeling were only exacerbated by these behind the scenes politics...and yet, to my great surprise, here this thread remains. I would like to think it remains because in spite of this overwhelming sense of helplessness, hope prevailed, and the power of the individual and that power exponentially combined saved a thread doomed for a trash bin.

I do meditate, but maybe not nearly enough. I find myself falling into ruts where I spend too much time desperately trying to keep up with the daily bread of living, and not near enough time just enjoying what the daily bread of living provides.

I only spoke to the smoking habit to illustrate a personal flaw that plays into my own sense of helplessness. I thought it prudent to not ascribe this personal sense of helplessness to a population world wide over, and just keep it personal. If that somehow came across as causing anyone to have concern for me, I sincerely apologize. I only thought that this sense of overwhelming helplessness, and the hope I cling to merited a thread and this fascinating discussion that has followed.

Thank you so much Dimensional Detective, for taking the time to read this thread, and to respond to it. I am truly honored.



posted on Feb, 26 2011 @ 10:49 PM
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A sense of helplessness arises when the ego realizes the extent of it's own impotency.

From a spiritual point of view, this is a fortuitous time to surrender one's will to a higher power and become receptive to the needed support from within.

This is the first step of AA, and may be applied to the smoking addiction.


edit on 26-2-2011 by mysticnoon because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 26 2011 @ 11:06 PM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 


Beautifully written as usual. I have trouble with narratives, because I like my facts drier, but I always plow though yours anyway and am glad for it.

Have you ever wondered why hope might have been in Pandoras box of the ills that plague humanity? I always did. That troubled me from the first time I read the story at around age 6? 7? It wasnt until later that I discovered how it could have been in there. Its because it is at best a mixed blessing. There is a lot of relief, peace, bliss even, in the loss of hope. It actually can land you smack in the middle of the most profound type of unconditional love/acceptance of "what is" you have ever known. When you lose hope, you find yourself. Who you are now. What your life is now. What humanity is now. Hope is dissatisfaction with what is, and peace, love, bliss, is the total and unconditional acceptance of it.

Dont get too hung up on liking everyone. You can accept and love what you dont like. And since unconditional acceptance has to begin at home, you might have to accept unconditionally that you are imperfect. I did. Its not too bitter a pill.

Not everyone feels like an impostor, but it is odd you should mention it because there was an article on just that in a recent issue of a science magazine. Apparently, it is not uncommon. My science magazine is chintzy about allowing people to read their articles for free, so here is a similar one.

www.forbes.com...


These individuals often have the belief they are "fooling" other people, "faking it" or getting by because they have the right contacts or are just plain "lucky." Many hold a belief they'll be exposed as frauds or fakes. Impostor Syndrome goes far beyond normal bouts of self-doubt.


I personally do not feel like a fraud. I am realistic. I know I am incompetent in some areas. And I dont pretend to myself or others that I am not. But in "my" areas, I know I am competent. And not a million people with pitch forks and torches could convince me otherwise. But everyone has their own cross to bear. When I want something very badly, when it means a lot to me, I am sometimes afraid to even go after it at first. Like your deer in the headlights, I freeze. If I can make myself move forward, I can do it. But its overcoming that inertia that is the trick for me. And all the mental defenses I sent in to keep myself there. Like "oh its too expensive" or "its too late, Ive waited too long" or "think of all the drudgery.' Im incredibly logical, and I can build a logical argument to paralyze myself with great skill. And have. Many times.

I dont know if its fear of failure, or fear that the success will just leave me with yet another goal achieved and no lasting sense of accomplishment. For me, often the having of a thing is far less satisfying than the pursuit of it.

(And deer dont freeze because of their eyesight. Its something many animals do, a first line of defense it to avoid being seen by the thing that might kill you, and many predators see motion much better than detail. Sorry the nerd in me had to say that.)

As for your smoking my friend, try Chantix. I have quit and started up and quit and started up many times. And I quit for long times, too, years at a time. But sooner or later something will happen that makes me feel insecure, and like a child I reach for the pacifier.

So, I have tried many things, from cold turkey to tapering to patches, and Chantix makes it much easier. Its what I used the last time. Its pricey and you do want to keep an eye out for crazy side effects, but I know several people who have used it successfully, (which is why I tried it this time) and they swear by it to. The biggest drawback for me was it interrupted my sleep. I woke up several times in the night while using it. Which I did not enjoy, as I am normally a "like the dead" sleeper.

Anyway. I really enjoyed the post. You are a very impressive human being, and its not because you have me fooled.
You dont. Its because you really are a very impressive human being, warts, flaws, and all.



posted on Feb, 26 2011 @ 11:31 PM
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Why quit smoking? You know the reasons why you should, but those reasons aren't enough for you to quit.
Are they...
No. Because life is not rewarding enough for you to preserve it. You are not enjoying life, but only YOU can take it...and on YOUR terms. Suicide on your terms.
Your body is not "sacred" in your mind, so it is okay to harm it.
Nicotine rewires the brain. This is a challenge, JPZ. Are you greater than nicotine?

Now. Look at the paragraph above. Read it again. Whose therapy is it?


It is mine. Help me, by helping yourself.



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 12:13 AM
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reply to post by ownbestenemy
 





It is interesting you have started such a discussion. Feeling helpless when all hope is lost; while retaining hope, is a distinctly unique human trait. To utilize your metaphor of a deer stuck in the head lights of an oncoming automobile, does that deer still hold onto hope? Does a deer hope? What is hope?


What is hope indeed. How nicely stated, that entire paragraph. What a strange dichotomy to retain hope when all hope is lost. Does a deer have hope? I don't know, my friend, but I know you and I do, and I know that even when "all hope is lost" this is just the inefficiency of language speaking and that all hope is not lost, it is not even misplaced, it is that which we possess. It is ours, we own it, and no one can take it away from us, at best, all anyone can do is convince us to relinquish it.




To lose that ability and to lose sight of such a strong emotion would be allowing that helplessness to dictate the direction of ones thought and action. If we have no hope, we have not desire; only apathy. With apathy, we cannot feel at all. Thus, hope....hope is a crucial emotion we experience.


Is hope an emotion? By that question I mean to ask is hope merely a level on the spiral of emotional tones? If it comes down to multiples of two, and hope is one of them, what is the other...thought? Is emotion different than thought? Surely an emotion can generate thoughts, and conversely thoughts can generate emotions, so they seem to be inextricably intertwined, and yet - given this inefficiency of language - they are different. Is hope a thought, or is it an emotion? Apathy, in my not so humble opinion, is an emotion, but is hope? Being hopeful as a phrase in the context of language comes off as an emotion, but still I can't help but wonder, is emotion the proper label to impose on hope?




While I was writing the above, I came to an epiphany. The emotion of hope is born from the knowledge that we can acquire from being human. We have the ability to see the world for what it was, is and could be. With that knowledge we postulate and contrive many outcomes from what we currently know and see. Without hope, such vision would leave us completely helpless and demoralized that we would never want to move forward. We would just learn to accept the fate we have been dealt and be at peace with the absolute certainty of death.


Epiphanies are cool, are they not? See? From this epiphany, I ask you again, is hope an emotion, or is it some other mechanism...thought? Gordon Gekko say's that it is greed that has marked the upward surge of mankind, but I suspect that it has been hope.




Enter hope. With hope we still view and contrive possibilities. We still can when all is lost, but yet we push forward. Why? Why does someone run into a burning building to try and save someone? Should we be so naive that such a person has not calculated the possibility that they are acting in vain? Yet, they still do so because the emotion of hope overcomes our natural, animal instincts of fight or flight.


Fight or flight are emotional responses, but hope? Hope is the mechanism by which we use to control these emotions. Earlier I suggested that hope was thought, but better than thought, much like faith, hope is a decision. Decision is much more than thought, it is a combination of thought, or thoughts and action. Hope is action.




We know that we will die. We know that our time is limited. We know that the world is cruel. We know that the cards are stacked against us. We know bringing a child into the world today is unfavorable. We know we are being lied to. We know....


I attempted to briefly touch on this in the O.P. but how can one briefly touch upon this subject? Do we know that we will die? Are we nothing more than our physical state? Are we just neurons popping off and is hope just a nervous response and some signal sent from the brain to where ever? I suspect...I am sure...I strongly suspect...I hold faith that...I indeed hope this is true, that we are spirits that inhabit these physical states, and that our spirits are eternal. We are immortal, and for whatever reasons, we have made the choice to inhabit mortal bodies.

Herein lies the great insanity of mortal life. It is fairly well assumed that all biological beings respond to the singular command to survive. Think about that. If we are immortal spiritual beings inhabiting mortal bodies that demand we survive, how insane is that? Here is the game. To somehow come to terms with our spirit inhabiting a physical mortal self. To know we are immortal, and to know that this immortality will be strongly affected by what we do here and now in this mortal body. This is the conspiracy I am suggesting is afoot. Have people conspired to not just control the physical state of humanity, but the spirits as well? Has there been some concerted effort to break down our spirits and is it possible that when we pass from our physical state, that at some point we return to a new one, and is it possible that if we have allowed our spirits to be broken, that when we return to a new physical state, we return broken?




In the end, holding onto hope is what has driven mankind to the heights we have witnessed today. It is what millions, if not billions of people still hold onto. If there is anything uniquely human, it is the ability to hope.


Amen brother, amen.



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 12:26 AM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 


Thank you for sharing another beautiful post with us my friend. I always enjoy reading your posts as you have quite a gift with the words.

My thoughts on hopelessness is that it is merely a product of our environment. Man is a social beast and has a natural desire to share itself with those around it. Unfortunately, we have built a social structure based on competition rather than cooperation. Where once we leaned on each other for support, we now look with disdain at any sign of weakness, hopelessness, even love and compassion. We like our warriors! We do not want to share our burdens with others nor do we want to hear of theirs. Fend for yourself or get out of the way!

Sometimes I wonder how we made it this far in our development. Then I look back at history and remember that for all the glory our past generations had accomplished, they kept buried in the family skeleton closet a great deal of pain. Drug addictions, spousal abuse, alcoholism, child abuse, all things we try to confront in society today, but are ill equipped to do so. We try through legislation to do those things that can only be done through the heart.

I am a smoker myself and have been for about 23 years now. I quit when my ex-wife was pregnant with my daughter. I simply put the pack down for the whole nine months she was pregnant. It was easy to do because I was doing it for the health of my daughter. When she was born I had the celebratory cigar and have been smoking ever since. I enjoy it though I know the poisons that are involved with it. It is a kind of sick pleasure, but it is one of my few vices I have left. Since I gave up money I have been supporting my habit by raiding ash trays outside local stores. I strip the tobacco out of the left over butts and smoke it in a pipe. While others are struggling to support a habit they cannot afford, I always have a full tobacco pouch for my little guilty pleasure. I have absolutely no desire to quit as it has not impacted my health as yet. I still take my dog for a three mile walk everyday with no problems. I cannot run like I used to, but I never enjoyed running anyway and wouldn't do it if I could.

No one wants to do something they have very little chance at succeeding at. Why set oneself up for failure? The brain is hooked, it isn't going to allow reasoning to suggest such a thing. It is one of those things you either decide to do, or you just keep on down the same path you are on. There is no easy road.

You do not have to face it alone though. If you really want to quit and are ready to do it, I will quit with you. Maybe we could start an ATS Smoke out where we all quit the same day, then come back to the thread and share our struggles. We may fall down, we may kick and scream, but I bet if we all share the burdens, our load will be lighter.

Mankind has hopelessness because we have stopped being our Brothers Keeper. I am my Brothers Keeper, and I will walk this road with you if you decide to take it.

You are not alone in this world.

With Love,

Your Brother





edit on 27-2-2011 by IAMIAM because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 12:32 AM
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The opposite of hope is despair. Hope implies a focused positive action of some sort, an innate fight for survival. Despair indicates a "giving up", and therefore a corresponding inaction. The basic primal human instinct is to try to prevail and survive.



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 12:45 AM
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"Love is a discipline, fear is a habit" is amazingly deep and I hope you understand the depth of that in your life with regards to smoking (I am sure you do). I quit with the patch and I am sure you can to. Do whatever it takes to quit as well as avoid the fast food. Just to clarify, I didn't quit because I wanted to and didn't do so out of love or respect for myself. I quit to potentially have more time with the one I am in love with. I wish you the best jean!

p.s no kid on the way to a candy store feels hopeless...

edit on 27-2-2011 by SmokeandShadow because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 12:53 AM
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reply to post by mysticnoon
 





From a spiritual point of view, this is a fortuitous time to surrender one's will to a higher power and become receptive to the needed support from within.

This is the first step of AA, and may be applied to the smoking addiction.


Is it my own will that is keeping me smoking? Really? It seems to me it is in spite of my will that I keep smoking, but the thought is appreciated, to be sure.

An interesting thought, though...I don't want to quit smoking, I want to stop. What I mean by that, is that I want my will to be strong enough that I am not afflicted by some incurable disease, but instead I am overcoming an addiction that has no benefit to me. Addicted to breathing that is one thing, addicted to a product that makes it hard to breathe, that is something else all together. Just a thought on that.



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 01:37 AM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 





Is it my own will that is keeping me smoking? Really? It seems to me it is in spite of my will that I keep smoking, but the thought is appreciated, to be sure.


I think in my desire for brevity, I have failed to impart clearly the meaning with my words.

One of the points I was trying to make was that you have come to realize how impotent is your own will to effect the changes you wish in your life, specifically the goal to stop smoking. This is often the basis of the feeling of helplessness, when our will falls short of our want.

Sometimes, though, there may just be a lack of clarity about the matter, and all that is needed is a slight shift in perspective. You may not need as much will-power as imagined, only a willingness to change your mental perception.

When I gave up smoking, I found that all my struggles against resisting a cigarette virtually disappeared overnight when I changed my perception of myself from being an ex-smoker to being a non-smoker. Each time the habit to reach for a cigarette arose, I reminded myself that I am a non-smoker, so thinking of smoking was an absurd notion, and I admonished myself accordingly. After a day or so of this conversation with self, my mind acquiesced, and I became precisely what I convinced myself that I am, namely a non-smoker. Practically no will-power was required, to my great relief.



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 01:37 AM
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I like this thread. Heartfelt, enlightening topic and posts

I'm going to post a quote I found true

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. "
Marianne Williamson

Negative thoughts, helplessness feelings, Check, check. Being human.

What is true about the two paths the person shared with you is also, once you recognize the two paths and choose one, what is your attitude about that path. Another hill story...not Hollywood. Many, many years ago, backpacking, ignorant of weather forecasts, July, 10,000 ft Sierras pass, stuck for the night with my future husband when rain...downpour...started.

I knew the storm was warm, no fear of freezing, so settled in to fall asleep. What the hell else could one do? I'll tell you what else one could do. My mate kept interrupting my sleep to ask what we should do 'cause the rain was soaking into the tent (there was no way in the pitch darkness to backtrack down a rocky path!) or to say "It's raining!".

By the first hint of dawn light, there was a 6-inch square of dry left. But I had had a good night's rest. He was tired. We packed up and left.

We had had warnings the day before while on the trail, but, duh!, went right on hiking upward. Looking back, there were a lot of warnings I've missed in Life. Like I should not have married my tent mate, but I did, but I have no regrets. Life goes on.

Remember Y2K? I had friends and family members bunkered down in their houses New Years Eve, eating cans of cold beans, afraid of what would happen. My, by then, new (and forever) husband and I chose instead to go out of town, wine and dine gourmet, and party like it was 1999. Hell, if an airplane was going to fall on us, at least we'ld be partying. Don't get me wrong, I love cold beans, just on my terms, though.

I look around at people surviving in horrible situations, choosing to survive with dignity. With compassion. I've been comforted at times by people who needed comforting themselves. I've learned lessons by the most amazing of society's insignificant people. I've learned to learn lessons.

Two paths, what is our attitude about the one we choose. What are we going to do about it.



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 01:48 AM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 


I really enjoyed reading this, thanks for posting.

"There are two things that should not linger long in large towns: Deer and contemplative hermits." -Medieval East Asian saying



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 01:55 AM
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reply to post by IAMIAM
 




Since I gave up money I have been supporting my habit by raiding ash trays outside local stores. I strip the tobacco out of the left over butts and smoke it in a pipe.


This brought back memories of one of the lowest points in my life, when I found myself "raiding ashtrays" and even picking up butts off the pavement. To me, that was rock bottom, that I would demean myself to smoke the dregs of tobacco which others had discarded in order to support my addiction. In my case, it was a wake-up call, and my life slowly changed around from that point onwards.

I hope that you may reconsider maintaining your "guilty pleasure" at such a cost. You have everything you need within yourself to let it go, right now, for good.




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