Introspection - Theweakeredge

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  • Theweakeredge
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    Theweakeredge
    As most know, or at least some, I'm still in high school and I still do high school stuff on the regular. What I don't think a lot of people know is that I regularly take anti-depressants, no no not because I'm suicidal or anything (though there could be an argument for me being depressed), its mostly because of my extreme anxiety. It allows me to function without having attacks where I pass out because of hyperventilation. I've come to live with the fact that I am extremely anxious, anywho, I did not take it this morning. I'm not quite sure why, probably because of a mix of being in a rush and oversleeping, but I wasn't able to take it. 

    I had an awful day, though I managed to avoid passing out on someone, yay, and as soon as my mother was available I asked if she could bring me the medicine (I most certainly don't trust myself to drive in the state), and my mother quickly brought it to me, much to my gratefulness. I excused myself from class and settled on in a corner so that I could take the pill (again, very anxious in general, but even more so about taking pills in public), but as I brought the small capsule to my lips a thought crossed my mind. Why? It would be of the utmost arrogance to assume that such a question was original or even pertinent, but it stuck all the same.

    Why?

    Why was I taking this pill? To curb my anxiety? Why was it necessary? Because I could barely function without it... what about the people with a lack of medication and similar shortcomings? I knew them to exist, did they just weather on? Did they just die of a heart attack one day? Why did I want to function? The answer seems obvious, but for the life of me, I couldn't think of an answer that wasn't inherently axiomatic or circular. Perhaps I was being exceedingly silly, but I resolved to not take that medicine until I could think of an answer. So, I went to the restroom and did a small amount of mediation, tried to center my breathing, and calm myself, I wobbly, but surely, returned to class. 

    My college arithmetics professor was going on about solving systems of inequalities and graphing them, but I was far from attentive. My mind was on the questions I had provided to myself. Why? Why did I want to avoid suffering? Because it was evolutionarily instilled in me? That was perhaps an answer, and it fit my naturalistic worldview quite well. That did, of course, lead to another question, well why then did I evolve to avoid suffering, that answer was even more obvious because if my ancestors hadn't then they wouldn't have lived. The answer was not new, it was not revolutionary, I had known it beforehand; however, it did not satisfy me.

    I was not looking for some metaphysical understanding or explanation, nor some appeal to a god or great figure, I simply wanted a philosophic reason of why I avoid pain. I've argued at length with other debaters on the site about subjective morality, but my answers were usually all scientific in nature. I wanted to go further, to think deeper. Before I knew it I was hyperventilating, I laughed, in my pursuit to find out why I was suffering, I had perpetuated my suffering. That reminded me of the phrase, "ignorance is bliss", which of course made me think, "And knowledge is cursed", and despite the, frankly, biblical undertones of such a message it still resonated inside of me.
     
    Would the answer to why I wanted to avoid suffering bound to cause me endless suffering. That thought, that realization, sparked another question. Why did I care? Why did I care that I wanted to avoid pain and suffering - it should be enough to know that I want to, no? Well, no, not if I want to explain why you ought to others. That made me realize that the question came from external sources, not internal ones. I was asking myself the question, not in response to my suffering, but in my attempt to explain the concept of suffering to others.  I would not call myself an altruist by any means, though I attempt to help others all I can, it is certainly not all I can. 

    That made the realization surprising. I cared about my own suffering because other people suffered. Ah, when its put like that, I suppose its just empathy huh? Let's tie it allll up, bring it back to the very beginning. Why did I want to avoid suffering? Because I wanted other people to avoid suffering. Although it doesn't seem quite a sequitur yet, it is where I am currently. Thanks for reading this long rambling post, if you did. I'm marking this my journal of sorts. All of you get to be subject to my inner thoughts during the day, whipee, I need to cope with stress somehow. 

    PS: I did end up taking the pill like an hour later
  • Undefeatable
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    losing flat earth debate go brrr

    (Just kidding, pretty deep post. I feel you man)
  • Tarik
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    But doesn’t that raise the question as to why you care about others suffering? Unless your willing to accept the ultimate answer you can literally why to no end and you’ll never get the opportunity to take your pills (I too don’t like to accept benefits before accomplishing a goal).
  • Lemming
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    Just wanted to say I read it,  don't have much to say, as I don't 'think you were quite asking for feedback.
    Hope you're doing alright currently.
  • janesix
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    I am dependant on pills to feel even a little bit "normal" I think it is psychosomatic, but even knowing that, they still work as a placebo.  If you want to stop taking the meds, you need to build up some coping mechanisms. Learned ones and ones you manufacture for yourself. It's still a good idea to have a range of coping mechanisms, even if you still take the meds.

    You can do certain breathing exercises, you can use verbal cues to calm down (And I also mean that "verbal" cues can be just you talking in your head, works the same as out loud)

    For the breathing, just breath very slowly, through the nose. If you are mouth breathing while having a panic attack, it can become shallow too easily, and thus the hyperventilation.

    Talking to a therapist can help too. Other things can help too. Getting enough, and regular, sleep is essential. Giving up caffeine and alcohol and drugs (not saying you do any of that) is essential too.

    I can't think of anything else right now, but I know there is more.
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @janesix
    Thank you, I certainly do practice a lot of breathing exercises, all "Meditating" is for me is sitting down, and breathing deeply through my nose and out my mouth, I also ensure that I'm breathing with my chest and not my stomach, and yeah, I really do need to - I'm able to get by without pills, but it sucks - and my anxiety shoots through the roof.
  • janesix
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    I do sympathize with you, anxiety really really sucks. 
  • Bringerofrain
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    This paper will better explain why you are actually taking antidepressants. While I disagree with the author on many things, his breakdown of industrial society is spot on. http://besser.tsoa.nyu.edu/howard/Anarchism/Unabom/manifesto2.html
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @FLRW
    I already expressed knowledge of such notions.... that isn't the point.
  • Polytheist-Witch
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    I am not sure you not wanting to suffer is related to you not wanting others too. I think you don't want to suffer cause it sucks and ruins how you function. I had anxiety with attacks where you can't breathe and have unrealistic fears.  I started meditation but still suffered from negative internal dialog. Shadow work finally stopped that but there is not issue with needing meds far as I am concerned. Diabetics need them, if you do too that's ok. But if you want a long term out from meds. You need a deeper practice or therapy. I hope you are doing therapy and not just popping meds. Meds don't cure the problem they just stop symptoms. 
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @Polytheist-Witch
    And yet another who has not read or followed the entire thing. Though I didn't mention where I got the pills from. I know, psychologically, why I have attacked as I do - I've gone to therapy regularly for the past couple of years - they recommended i be on anti-depressants. And some medicine only affects the symptoms, but that is not true of all medicine. Furthermore, some ailments can only be mitigated not cured - I haven't been able to afford therapy for the past couple of years, but on top of that I find it incredibly difficult to resolve my psychological issue

    TLDR: I'm working on it
  • Polytheist-Witch
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    I did read the whole post. If I misunderstood then excuse me.  Good luck.
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @Polytheist-Witch
    I meant in reference to the why I want to avoid suffering, I explained that that explanation wasn't sufficient for me - I apologize for the bite, I'm a tad stressed
  • Theweakeredge
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    Things move, obviously, you move, I move, the world moves. Pedestrians move about their day through the bustling streets of their home, birds soar overhead with a destination in mind, cats flee from their sight of sun-bathing. Things move. However, to say that the only movement in the world is physical would be to dramatically underestimate the movement in the world. It would be an intellectual crime to acknowledge that there is more to this mediocre spheroid of rock and water than what physically moves. There are, after all, such things as humans - who are physically advanced enough to create systems, deep, interlocking systems, which move as well. They don't just move forward or backward, horizontally or vertically, straight or diagonally, they move... inward. 

    inward? Yes. Inward is the right word for it, systems are, usually, constructed to solve a problem, resolve a conflict. Humans naturally seek out the most efficient way to do such a thing, and thus, systems develop - they move - inward. They become more efficient, they start to contain more and more of the characteristics of a system. Perhaps my language is abstract and unclear, allow me to illustrate my meaning. I mean to move, as in to change purpose, to move location, or to develop. By inward I mean closer to one's identity or self, that can be physically or metaphorically the case. Thus, whenever a system begins to resolve conflicts more efficiently, it is moving, inward. Though there are systems which move outward in more than a physical sense, the goal of a system is only accomplished by moving - inward - becoming more efficient, remember that.

    There are millions of systems on the earth, natural ones, such as the human biological system, and man-made ones; such as traffic laws. There are numerous examples of both, but I want to focus in on man-made systems. That does beg the question here, why would humans construct systems? I answered this, of course, to resolve issues, specifically issues which the natural order of things could not fix. Whenever individualistic collection was not efficient enough to feed a group of humans, they devised collective gathering groups, whenever even those failed they began to delegate - the ones most suited for their task be sent to do it - it is a tragically underappreciated step in the course of human speciation - the ability to delegate - one of the first human systems. There is, which I have failed to mention before now, a key difference in natural systems and man-made ones.

    Man. Humans are the obvious difference, not just in that humans being the creator of such systems, but humans are the upkeepers of such systems. Natural systems work according to natural laws, which are inflexible, they do not change by thought or action, they simply are. Humans on the other hand? They are full of potential and ruin, just as great as they are evil,  just as they are merciful, and just as awful as they are commendable. They change, and the ways they upkeep systems also change, and who upkeeps systems change - this is something which, today, we see as natural. As one human becomes unfit for duty, unwilling to perform it, or bad at its duty, another replaces it - however, this was not always - and is not even always - the case. There is a multitude of examples, but I think the best would be the pharaohs of ancient egypt.

    They were politically powerful individuals, in charge of one of the greatest nations in the ancient world - they had a military might to be reckoned with, and minds which not even the brutes of forces could disseminate. They created some of the most brilliant architecture in the history of the world. More than just powerful, in their day, they were said to be gods! They had come from the heavens to enforce it's sacred plan onto it's people. As one can guess, these self-identifying god's were less than willing to give up power, so unwilling, in fact, that they would purposely practice copulation with blood relatives, the closer to them, the better in their eyes. They wanted their power to never leave their veins, and for a long time of history, this story repeated itself, not just in egypt, but all over the world. The keepers of systems wanted to stay in power.

    They wanted, much like their natural counterparts, to be the keeper forever, for the power it afforded is extremely tempting for the most disciplined of individuals, much less humankind. Unlike their natural counterparts, however, they had wills and wants, and bodies which decayed at a relatively exordinate rate. As humans always have though, we adapted, we learned to pass power - at first it was only to those from us, but then it expanded to those like us, and then to those who thought like us, and know it has advanced to those who are chosen to replace us. We know of this system as a presidency and a democratic election. We have advanced far from the days of pharaohs and incest to maintain power, though some would argue perhaps not that far given... ahem... recent leaders, anyways....

    That brings up another question, one which I will not answer, one which I am satisfied, for now, to leave a philosophic pondering, if a system is meant to be a resolution to the problems of a world, and to become more efficient is to move inwards, then what will that look like for our leaders, is a democratic election the inwards movement of the system of leaders? Does it matter if such a thing is efficient? I suppose that's more than one question, but they all come from the same place, questioning the systems which govern our day to day life. To question is to expand one's base of knowledge, and that's certainly one thing I want to do, the greatest feats of human thought come from these systems, so surely to question them is to engage with these great thinkers, no? Aside aside, I do wonder... what is the future of these systems?
  • RationalMadman
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    It works the other way around.

    Unless you are wired towards psychopathy or sociopathy, the reason you don't want others to suffer is because you don't want to suffer.

    For people with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), which come in the variants of psychopaths, sociopaths and hybrids (who are between the two), their wanting not to suffer doesn't lead into the not wanting others to suffer. For sociopaths, it actually leads to the opposite (it is them suffering that makes them wish to perpetuate it, sociopaths are nastier when they are suffering). For psychopaths, they want others to suffer no matter what, it's as if others are pure objects to them and they are so sadistic and wired towards it that it wouldn't matter if the psychopath were kept completely content and occupied, they'd still wish to inflict pain and agony onto others.

    If this is true, it follows that the reason you want to avoid suffering can't really be because you want others to, instead it's working the other way around. Furthermore, the answer is rooted in psychology, not philosophy. All philosophy accepts that other than masochists, everyone is generally wired towards pleasure and away from pain. Even masochists are wired towards pleasure, it's the 'away from pain' part that is a grey area for them.

    When you felt the urge not to take the pill, what you were feeling was anxiety over your dependence on it. What if you were on a desert island after a ship wreck or plane crash? The fact is you'd experience the withdrawal symptoms and it's not a nice thing to admit. However, what may ease your concern is that the people you think exist who function without the medication, either lead very stress-free lives or have medicated themselves with things other than prescribed pills. There's noone who has brutal anxiety attacks that is coping efficiently in a highly demanding environment (which school itself is) without medication. There are people who manage with little to no medication, these people dedicate to low-stress lifestyle, they probably work in a job such as librarian, IT-related work etc where everyday is relative monotony and peace and the only 'pressure' is to meet deadlines that they're warned about far in advance.

    I would advise you to avoid situations that require you to be extroverted. I know/knew of someone who has your issues (or something similar) and I do not mean myself, my anxiety isn't to that level of attacks. The person I know of does better when he/she/they is/are able to introspectively process what is going on (as opposed to being hammered with interactions with others nonstop and no time to internally process it). Ironically, this same person is driven towards dealing with people because it helps him/her/them to avoid the nagging, negative inner voice.

    It may not be the same for you, what I am also telling you is that this person I know/knew does use medication and there is zero shame in that. In the past people like that were indeed killed off by natural causes at some point (or driven to commit suicide to escape the psychological hell). We aren't all born with biochemistry that helps our brain perfectly balance out.
  • Theweakeredge
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    I would disagree that the source of wanting yourself to not suffer cannot be held within the trait of not wanting others to suffer - and while I agree that a psychological route is what I should take if I wanted the empirical truth of the matter, I have already conceded such a thing to be a truth, just not one that I'm particularly interested in. I don't have the time to get as in depth as I can responding to your post, but I do appreciate the time you obviously spent thinking it up. Perhaps I will later respond in greater depth.