Debra Smith


This conversation is closed.

What makes you truly angry? How do you handle this emotion?

Our societies tend to avoid anger. Do you? What can anger accomplish? anything?

Closing Statement from Debra Smith

Life is an adventure in forgiveness.
Norman Cousins- US editor & essayist (1915 - 1990)

I believe that learning to forgive is the Masters class in being human. It is a central lesson in Christianity and although I have not studied the others to the same depth, I assume it is central to most of the others as well.

Forgiving others starts in small ways. A child learns to forgive the bumps and bruises of playground play in order to keep their playmates. Those who cannot end up in the sand box alone. As life progresses we must learn to forgive the social injuries that come of dealing with people at all stages of their development and spiritual growth (spiritual not in a religious sense but meaning their inner set of guiding principles). High school is particularly tough for many because the pecking order and the sharp beaks of the chickens and the hard fists of those feeling the power flow through their muscles for the first time. Forgiving and remembering where the traps lie is often the only route through those years where many feel like prey.

We graduate highschool and our hormones settle in for adult life and still we find forgiveness is a necessary tool. I remember once in graduate school taking a course where I had helped a woman extensively with notes and free tutoring. One day, before class, I walked up to join this woman (who was a lab helper at the University) and my prof in conversation. I stood back just a bit waiting for acknowledgement to join the conversation and caught the prof's eye. Then I overheard the woman that I had helped so extensively denegrading me. It was only when I turned to leave that she realized I was there and later joined me to lie and say that she had been telling him wonderful things about me. It was then, for the first time in my life, that I really learned to forgive in a way that relieved me and was not just a 'right thing to do'.

I came up with a cognitive pretend that helped me so much. I pretended to pick that woman up and place her in China, leaving a spot open in my life for someone new. I reasoned that there were a billion wonderful people in China that I would never get the chance to meet thus I was putting her in a category of unmet people. From that moment on, I could interact with her as though I had never met her before. I could easily treat her with the kindness and politeness that I would treat a person I had just met (but with none of the interest that would allow her into my life). This was a massive break through for me.

That worked well for peripheral relationships of my life but what about those closest to me/ Love covers a multitude of sins but when love dies the forgiveness from the heart is the thing that is needed. It took a new brand or depth of forgiveness after my divorce but I have made it - for real. I have never understood how people who once loved each other could allow it to devolve into hatred. I loved a man for almost 30 years of my life and now he is just the father of my children but it was a process. Now I can even acknowledge his wisdom in diagnosing that the marriage was over.

Now, I face a hillarious challenge. I am planning to go to China for at least a year in the near future. I can't help but wonder if the universe will rotate so that I have to now deal with all those sorts of personalities that I had trouble with in the past when I pretended to move them to China? My own spiritual development often has me repeat lessons until I get them right. So, among the lovely and beautiful people there in China, I have braced myself to be ready to grow again in the lessons of forgiveness that I yet need.

And I also know that the hardest part of forgiveness is to learn to forgive ourselves for foibles, brokenness and all. Here's to the journey and the lessons!

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    May 28 2012: Nothing "makes" me angry because to me, anger and the many outward manifestations of anger are a choice. We can use anger to move us to action, we can get "stuck" in anger, which sometimes disables us, and there are many levels in between.

    "Grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference".

    These words are firmly planted in my heart and mind to remind myself of how, when, where, and for what reason I want to be angry, and where it might lead me. How we "spend" our energy is a choice in each and every moment and it doesn't make much sense to me to spend very much energy on anger. If I percieve something that I think/feel I can change, I move toward the change in whatever way I can.
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      May 28 2012: Good points Colleen, I knew I could count on you to set me straight. Do you ever get angry?
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        May 28 2012: What do you mean by "get angry"? I think all humans "get angry", including me:>)
        Are you talking about a particular outward manifestation of anger?
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          May 28 2012: NO, it was a general question referring to any maniifestation of that emotion that you feel. When you do feel it, i am wonder how healthy people tend to deal with it. (I very often sublimate it so i do not even think I experienced it).
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        May 28 2012: OK...I answered your question in my recent comment to Pat:>)
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          Jun 11 2012: Hi Colleen. I read your response (about using anger as a constructive motivator) and thought “what a great idea”.

          Then I thought “hey, I do that too”.

          In fact, that’s why I started weDialog. It was the frustration (anger) with TED policies of terminating conversations, deleting comments (and allowing others to delete comments), not permitting multiple conversations on similar topics, defining what’s on-topic and what’s off-topic, etc., etc. etc. that gave me the energy to act.

          At times vengeance (la vendetta) can be put to good use. Isn’t that what Luigi Vampa (may he rest in peace) taught us?
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        Jun 6 2012: Dear Debra,
        My intention has never been to "set you straight" about anything, but rather to share my perception regarding a topic. I realize that we all have choices and preferences as to how we want to "BE" in this world in each and every moment.

        I choose to use thoughts, feelings, emotions and ideas to create change when it is needed or desired. I believe all thoughts, feelings and emotions can "flow", and become a catalyst to continue on the path of our particular life journey.

        I sincerely hope the healing path you are on now because of your recent surgery/complications/illness is not too difficult.
        My thoughts and loving energy are with you in your quest.
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        Jun 11 2012: Hi Tim,
        Nice to see you pop into TED every once in awhile:>) I know you were frustrated with the TED administration, and took action because of it. I miss you and your insightful comments.

        I don't think/feel vengeance is particularly useful, but we can indeed use the feeling of anger to create change...either in ourselves, or our environment:>)
  • May 30 2012: People need time and usually few reasons to overcome their angre.

    And being part of the right solution.
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    Zaz Tao

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    May 30 2012: "What makes you truly angry? How do you handle this emotion?"

    1) I'm too angry to say.

    2) Try not to let it out in a post in TED conversations.

    posted the above about an hour ago, and I can't reply to my own comment, but get this:

    I log out and go back to the infuriating, ugly business of searching for employment and someone rings my doorbell in a rather assertive manner. I open the door and what do I see? A kid in a T-shirt covering a saffron robe. Tells me he's a Hari Krishna. The Muslims gave up on me months ago after our lengthy conversations proved fruitless for them. I couldn't afford to donate and thus sadly passed up a paperback copy of the Bhagavad Gita, but after a fun bit of conversing was left with a small book titled "Chant And Be Happy" with pictures of John Lennon and George Harrison on the front. I kid thee all not.

    I asked them when they escaped the airport haunting that is the well-known locus of Hari Krishna proselytizing, and they said just a month or two.

    It is just this type of outlandish coincidence that makes it hard to stay a hard atheist for long, though most often I would say I subscribe to a Carl Sagan agnosticism.

    Even if the universe is entirely run by mathematics, somewhere in that math is a serious sense of humor.

    Scratch my initial comments, the next time I find anger accumulating, I'll be testing (albeit subjectively) the maha-mantra.

    Man, this has been and continues to be one real weird incarnation.
  • May 29 2012: I think Marshall Rosenberg explain it very well in Non-Violent Communication.

    If yoy get a change read the book, or I think you can find it in youtube.

    It is easy to get angry (spend money) but it is never easy to do it at the right time, in the right place, for the right reason, at the right person.

    We simply grow old and learn
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    May 29 2012: Well Debra,
    There are several things which make us angry as we are human beings and it is one of our weakness ...
    I wish to answer the how to handle this situation..Trust me we have lots of blogs on and google which are beautifully written and its not hard to implement the procedure.Since I have personally tried it.
    My answer may be generic but I hope that has answered the question.
    We just need to remember that when we are angry on a person , that person is may or may not even be aware that we are angry on that person .
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    May 28 2012: Hi Debra,

    Anger is part of the fight/flight refex. The basic animal part of us will respond instantly to a threat.
    However, the basic animal responds from a primary field of perception - the core self.
    In humans we have a secondary field of perception that is enabled via communication.
    To navigate this secondary field of perception we create "autobiographical" selves to represent our self and others in the secondary field of perception.
    Although the secondary field of perception gives us massive advantage in our choices, it is also quite noisy and subject to false assumptions about causality.
    The autobiographical selves are necessarily connected to our fight/flight as well as all the rest of body regulation - this allows for communicative convergence (understanding) and empathy.
    The connections to fight/flight will largely be modelled on causal patterns learned in childhood, and are often subconscious.
    If the child had to adapt to an abusive environment, the fight/flight will be strongly linked in the adult.
    THis can lead to the adult finding him/herself in a fight/flight body state without truly understanding how they got there. There will be a fear resonse that will tend into either agression, withdrawal or freeze-up that can be difficult to escape - because the causality was from a child's perspective and was never resolved as a child.
    THe autobiographical self is the one that indulges in all the brain chatter (amongst other things).
    One can recognise when it is getting stuck in anger responses by "flame talk" this is where you are thinking derogatory things about the person who has triggered your fear. THe flame talk serves to deepen the irrational link to fight/flight. One must consciously overcome such flame talk before the anger will subside. If the anger does not subside, it can result in violence or inappropriate emotional responses.
    To help others it is important to respect their anger and, if possible find a mutual resolution to it.
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      May 28 2012: Hi Mitch,
      You write..."If the child had to adapt to an abusive environment, the fight/flight will be strongly linked in the adult. THis can lead to the adult finding him/herself in a fight/flight body state without truly understanding how they got there".

      This could happen IF the person has not done any exploration of him/her self, and simply follows the patterns s/he was taught. It is not "difficult to escape" as you say, if we are mindfully aware. As you say...some things can be resolved.

      I adapted to an abusive frightening environment as a child, and I used that information to decide how I DO NOT want to "be" as an adult. If a person experiences a fight/flight body state without truly understanding how they got there, I suggest that this person can do a little more exploration of him/her "self". When we "know" our body, mind, emotions, and the reasons for our actions and reactions, we don't end up in a state without knowing how we got there.

      There are a LOT of people (way too many) who experienced abusive environments as children, and discovered how to use that information in a more positive, productive way throughout the life experience.
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        May 28 2012: HI Collen,

        What you say is true.
        I am only describing the default mechanism of irrational anger.
        As you say - you found resolution to your figh/flight response. Not everyone does.
        I know a few people who have turned past trauma into a driving engine of success .. but one in particular was still subject to inapropriate agression.
        I'm curious - was there someone in your childhood that helped you gain your resolution - or was it your own counsel that prevailed?
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          May 28 2012: I understand what you are trying to describe Mitch, and I think it's always nice to share the other side of the story. Sometimes, you write things as if it is etched in stone, and there is usually another possibility.

          Lots of people turn past trauma into a driving engine of success.

          I didn't really have anything to resolve. My mother was respectful, compassionate, empathic, kind, generous, peaceful, joyful, shared humor and unconditional love... always...all ways.

          My father was violent and abusive. My mother was total love and father was total fear. As I observed both polarities throughout my childhood, I was aware of the impact the behaviors had on themselves and all those around them. I decided which way I wanted to "be" in this world. Did I want to live my life coming from a place of love? Or a place of fear? It was not a difficult decision:>)
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          May 29 2012: Mitch...BTW...
          I've heard your argument above many times while working with men who are incarcerated.
          You write..."The connections to fight/flight will largely be modelled on causal patterns learned in childhood, and are often subconscious. "or freeze-up" as you put it.

          The angry, abusive guys often said..."it's what I learned...I lost control....didn't know what I was doing"...basically the same thing you are saying. Mitch.
          Another popular saying for them was... "I'm ADHD...what do you expect?"

          I saw my father, many, many, many times apologize and say he would never do it again...he lost control...didn't know what he was doing. The fact is, most of the guys I dealt with, including my father, were abusive, assaulted and attacked certain people. So there was/is some cognitive realization involved.

          One of my jobs, while working with offenders, was to remind them that they have choices. We are not totally ruled by what we faced as children, nor is our brain forever programmed. We have choices.

          We definitely do have a fight/flight refex and the basic animal part of us MAY respond instantly to a threat.

          We are however, evolving human beings, and have the intellect to move past those animal based reflexes.
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        May 29 2012: HI Colleen,

        Once again - totally agree.

        Unfortunately, the 2000 character limit constrained the emphasis somewhat - I had hoped to go on more about possible strategies for cognitive control. But I had to have another reply before I could expand. Your contribution of experience and suggested strategies kinda made that uneccessary :)

        Your development sounds pretty close to mine. I also have an amazing loving mother.
        This, for me, provided the light at the end of the tunnel. But the process can be difficult, and is on-going. Some need more help than others, and effective strategies have to be out there in the community. You identify the role of choice and mindfull awareness as transformative tools - I could not agree more!

        I add my observation that "flame talk" is like a warning sign - recognising it and finding ways to quench it quickly is a good way to re-wire habitual destructive behaviours. Switching to mindfullness is particularly effective.

        Please forgive my "set in stone" style, I am merely describing a model - any flaw in it should be pointed out. SO far it seems to be standing up in broad structure, teh details are still finding their way in. I appreciate your assistance.
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          May 29 2012: Mitch,
          Of course the process can be challenging. Did anyone ever tell you life would be easy?
 is "on-going".
          "Effective strategies" ARE out there in the community, and it is a choice as to whether people will embrace them or not. "Effective strategies" have been passed down throughout history, by teachers, prophets, gurus, sages, psychologist, etc. etc. It is a choice for all of us to accept these strategies.......or not!

          I understand you are "describing a model" Mitch. I also understand that humans are evolving. If we want to move forward, we need to change our perceptions, ideas, and possibly re-evaluate how we have been using the information.
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        May 29 2012: I have to add that my post was a description, not a justification.
        But the prevalence of the justification in society seems to point at some underlying structure that needs attention.
        I cannot see choice as being so black and white .. for instance, a person very close to me suffers with BPD - the resulting behavioural extremes were completely out of her control. It was not until we found a tallented Psychiatrist to get the correct medications - it was this that allowed her the window of choice to claim her life back - she has thrived ever since.
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          May 29 2012: I understand that your post was a description Mitch. Descriptions are sometimes used to justify. Of course there are some underlying "structures that need attention". It doesn't help to continue to "describe" the underlying structures in a way that says "this is how it be it". We use the underlying structures to understand why things were as they were, then we move on. People get "stuck" in the underlying structures, and it feels like that is where you are with your exploration.

          I'm glad your friend is thriving, because of finding the appropriate tools to support that effort.
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        May 30 2012: Understood .. but I don't agree that effective strategies are out there. THey exist passively in churches, psych practices and health programs. They should be taught in schools, they should be at the disposal of the people just as CPR or the Heinlich maneuovre.
        It is true that people become stuck in description - we call that "paralysis through analysis".

        However, there is a method of purposeful analysis that defines the structure with intention to use and adjust it actively. My description also contains teh dynamics of active improvement. Behaviour is essentially topological - the topology is dynamic to varying degree. The active use of the description is to work within it to access that dynamism - to identify and refine the tools that apply within the definition of the structure.
        Plasticity is the tool - we need to learn it and use it.
        I am in the process of just that.

        (edit: I once had the outlook of merciless disregard for those who failed to be their own masters - after all, if I could do it, anyone could. Life showed me differently - my merciles disregard was visited upon me in full strength of realisation .. my friend's journey to mastery could only have occured with the support of me and others - most with BPD are on a crash course with cumulative dysfunction - she is the only one I have seen escape that bottomless pit - it was a horrendous struggle that took years - her resulting climb out of that pit was heroic)
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          May 30 2012: It's ok don't have to agree....I respect your choice. I have been "out there", involved with the practical applications, and I DO believe there are opportunities for those who want to explore the possibilities.

          I am aware of "paralysis through analysis". Or as Ernest Holmes states in "Science of Mind"..."One of the great difficulties in the new order of thought is that we are likely to indulge in too much theory and too little practice".

          I totally agree with this statement because I am not one to get stuck in theory. I like to put theories into practice. I am not into "identifying and refining the tools that apply within the definition of the structure". I am into "using" the tools for change. I understand you are in that process.

          Thankfully, I have seen many escape that "bottomless pit" with practical applications. That is probably why I am not willing to talk about, and/or get stuck in the discussion of theory:>)
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        May 30 2012: Colleen, I would argue that there needs to be a whole lot more like you "out there".
        While my friend was finding the window of escape, we would identify others who were trapped.
        Several times we picked people up off the street who were collapsed - passed-out with alcahol or other self-meds displaying the cuts and manerisms. Helped them back home or to the church hostel - where it was evident that no succour awaited them .. We explained how my friend overcame her condition . and that is all we could do. It felt somewhat hopeless and lonely.
        More Colleens - please!
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          May 30 2012: There are millions of people in our world Mitch, who are trapped, and I get angry at that!

          My anger, however translates into action. I have held a women in my arms who was repeatedly raped, beaten and tortured for 3 days while tied to a bed in a supossedly "civilized" neighborhood.

          I held in my arms, a teenager, who was pregnant for the 3rd time by her father and carried the scars and new open wounds that she sustained while her parents and their friends used her in satonic torture rituals....the horrific stories go on and on...

          In my humble perception NOTHING is hopeless, and none of us are alone...that is the message I carry in my heart and mind in each and every moment.

          Mitch, this last post of yours is SOOOOOO much more meaningful than all your long winded attempts to analyze, and I appreciate that very much:>)
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        May 30 2012: The sentiment was always there Colleen - as it always has been in our discussions.
        I'm just an analytical kinda guy - I've achieved much through it .. "measure twice cut once".
        With the anger theme, I think the long way round has encircled 2 modes of anger - the pathalogical type and the healthy type.
        To overcome anger, one must first understand which it is.
        Your anger against the hearless cruelty of twisted monsters demonstrates a donation of your fight/flight on behalf of the community - a healthy motivation to give your value as a healer. What do you do with such anger? Translate it into positive action.
        What do you do with pathalogical anger? Abandon deflective justifications. Resolve to reclaim choice and practice it. Get help to re-wire through therapy (anger management programs, etc), practice mindful awareness.
        I hope our discussion has brought value to Debra.
        Each is a translation into action - but different actions.
        (edit: the role of the secondary field of perception [community] is to widen the field of agency[choices] .. healthy anger widens the field of choices for all, pathalogical anger destroys our choices .. underlying all this is the essential power of empathy .. all roads keep leading back to it)
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          May 30 2012: Mitch,
          I am aware that "the sentiment was always there... in our discussions". I'm aware that you are "an analytical kinda guy" and that you have "achieved much through it" .. I'm aware of the quote... "measure twice cut once", I am very aware of how I use anger, and the underlying factors.

          22 years ago, I sustained a near fatal brain injury, had an emergency craniotomy, NDE, and the body was very close to clinical death. When I did live, medical professionals believed that I would never function "normally" again. One of my first questions to myself was....what does that mean to me for the rest of my life? I was determined to understand the situation to the best of my ability, so I studied the brain functions, psychology, human behaviors, etc. etc. I can be analytical and I find it useful at times. I don't feel like continually regurgitating information. I put the information to work. Do you remember in another conversation, I asked you "what is the practical application"? You kept going on and on with analysis, and I finally said..."your comments make me tired...see ya".

          One thing that may be helpful to you, is to understand where another person is with the conversation Mitch. We are all teachers and students in this earth school, and you are not always the one with the most information to share. Listening, and being in tune with another person is a practical application for some of the information you share:>)
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          May 30 2012: Paul,
          Thank you for your kind words and feedback.

          You write..."I know empathy is key to controlling my behavior but do either of you have any ideas on first steps to take in reigning in my "reactions" I may have in my social life? I'm starting to understand why I behave certain ways but I truly want to break the chain. Simple Eastern phillosophy has worked the best for me in the past but I've struggled to incorporate it on a frequent basis".

          I simply reinforce Eastern philosophy Paul. BE in the moment. Take time to really listen. Rather than "struggle" with it, allow it to pass through. Are you aware of one belief of Martial Arts, which advises to come from the core with strength and yield? Rather than struggling with "reigning in "reactions" or trying to "control" them, how would it feel to be aware of your reactions, why you react as you do, where they are coming from, etc.? Take that moment to understand your "self", and why you react as you do.

          You write..."I noticed I often become overly defensive and can hit back harder with comments than your "average" person. Sometimes I'll be overly critical on specific people and let things slide with others".

          This feels like a knee jerk reaction on your part? Again, take time to relax and determine what you really feel, how and why you want to express your thoughts and feelings.

          You write...
          "One of the reasons I love reading Mitch is because I often can see where my patterns come from in his writing. I however struggle to bypass some of these subconcious mechanisms that cause my actions/reactions".

          Awareness is the first step toward change. Take time and effort to really "listen" to the other person, rather than jumping in with your own agenda. Read does the other person communicate? There are many different styles of communication. Sometimes,
          I read comments including the whole thread, several times before responding. Really listening and being in tune with another person helps both parties.
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          Jun 1 2012: Paul,
          I'm glad you joined the TED community:>)

          We all need reminders all the time Paul, that's why I keep saying we are like mirrors reflecting information back and forth to each other all the time....reminding each other:>)
          "We are not here to see through one another...we are here to see one another through"

          I think you are wise to take one step at a time. Change is difficult, and sometimes, people set themselves up for failure when maybe not giving themselves enough time. Remember that happiness is a way of travel....not just a destination:>)

          There are a ton of books out there, and LOTs of good videos on TED.
          Try an experiment...walk into the book store or library with a totally open mind, and see what is calling to you:>) Do the same thing with the videos...browse, until one is calling to's fun:>) If you open your heart and mind to little things like that, it opens wider and wider all the time:>)

          I have NOT found that Tedcred gives me extra privilidges. Believe me, I would like spell check on TED too!!! LOL:>) Anyway, I've noticed that your writing skills are pretty good:>)
          Sometimes, if I'm really tired or something like that, I write the comment on "word", do the spell check, then transfer it to the comment section:>)

          You have a question about this quote...
          "It doesn't matter what others think of you, it only matters what you think others think of you."

          Honestly, at the end of the day, what is important to me is what I think of myself. Others sometimes have all kinds of assumptions, interpretations, etc. I "know" me better than anyone, and wherever I go, there I am. I live with myself moment to moment. I like to like the person I spend all my time with:>)
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        May 30 2012: @ PAul,

        From the way I see things, behaviour is the result of a very complicated topology in our body/brain.

        If we accept the neural topology basis of thought and potential, then one must first gain an understanding about topology in a neural network.
        Put in its simplest image, it is like a ball rolling down a slope. The ball is the signal, the slope is the synapses (synaptic strength).
        SO with the ball analogy, it will prefer to roll toward the steepest slope - if the hill was perfectly smoothe, the point it stops rolling will be exactly determined by the point it started at - each starting point will have a different stopping point.
        Now imagine that most stopping points are undesirable. And that the slope can change itself to "reward" desirable stopping points by steepening the path over which the ball had run. It creates a little groove in the slope.
        THis will have the affect that all starting points near to the rewarded point will tend to fall into the groove and the groove wil deepen. In this way, all starting points will end up in a desirable stopping point and the slope will be carved into a complex topology of valleys - much like river valleys.
        To alter one of these valleys and re-rout a start/stop path, one has to exert choice. There are a couple of ways of doing this, but I'd suggest that the quickest way is to alter the "desirability" of outcomes. Then the topology will shift to the new desired outcome. THis is not altogether obvious - many of our "desired outcomes" are wired directly into optimal body state - any shift in the topology will have to comply to that or it will not work.
        THis is where empathy is so powerful - our models of others (in our brains) have access to the pain/pleasure outcomes in our own bodies. If you strengthen your empathy for others, you will begin to move away from behaviours that "hurt" them. This can be done through visualisation and practice. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy works very well for this.But It starts with choice
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        May 31 2012: BTW - compared to me and my achievements, Colleen is a giant. I am in great admiration of her.

        With my style of analysis .. well, it's partly from being a computer nerd for so long - one could not assume a single thing when a full-stop in the wrong place could crash the system. Over time I was able to visualise systems on their entirity, and I can still compare rows of hex data to identify desynchronizations. Most of what I write here is formed in an instantaneous flash - it takes ages to get the shape of it down in text, and sometimes I have to "re-flash" to recapture the gestault. THis is how I go about my day-to-day life - there is motive, there is perception, the perception resolved to a gestault flash and I know what to do - where to exert and what outcomes to expect. It is very reliable. However, any sensory based gestault can be subject to error in the perceptive assumptions - one must be open at all times to update - perceptions are subject to "optical illusions".
        This is where I have great regard for Colleen. I have learned much from her and her ballanced outlook.
        The theme of the core self keeps coming back to my awareness .. as Colleen mentions - it is incredibly powerful, and I am reading her descriptions very carefully.
        I go away from these conversations and create experiments to identify techniques - amongst them the path to the core self. I am having some success with this, but will not be claiming anything until the results proove reliablity of the technique. And some of it will not be loved by the religious until I get a nice political shell on it.
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        May 31 2012: (Here is a guide):
        The problem is with words themselves .. I am intensely aware of the etomology that governs what the word I say is the word you hear. THey are not the same. I go into excruciating analysis to pop every bubble of assumptions hidden in words, so that anyone who truly reads what I write can pop their own bubbles of assumptions. In this I cannot assume what you have already "popped" .. and I "Pop" my own identified assumptions - and I invite you to pop mine!

        This I know:

        All languages - human and computer, contain words that have no real meaning until you explode them to their basic truth or assumption. THis is, sometimes., an infinite task .. and assumptions will remain.

        But what is most important is "grain" of communication. The grain is set by the size of assumptive bubbles.. And, unfortunately, every single organism alive has a different grain size.

        To meet another organism is to find the common denominator of grain size - and both organisms will benefit from the process - and untill that common grain size has been achieved, no organism will ever know another.

        But we are compelled to do so.

        Empathy is the driver.

        Commit to listen to that other - learn their grain size, gain trust and mutually refine your grain. Both win in almost magical ways.

        No man is an island. There is no such thing as a human - there are only people.

        I have found that this also includes cats, dogs and other organisms.

        Ultimately, there is no human, there are no people, there is only life.

        Anger arises from a mis-match of grain. It indicates a need to listen.
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        May 31 2012: @ Paul,

        With the quote:
        "It doesn't matter what others think of you, it only matters what you think others think of you."
        THis is the very thing that I am investigating at the moment.
        On the face of it, the statement is close to the description of empathy.
        BUT There are problems with the words "think" and "matters".
        Thought happens at different levels. So it makes the statement ambiguous.
        And I dissagree with " it only matters what you think others think of you"
        because that can be chronically mistaken if you have not properly converged "others" in your autobiographical self-system.
        The way I see it, empathy is the process of convergence .. getting to "know" someone.
        So it would be more accurate to say:
        "It doesn't matter what others think of you, it only matters what you CORRECTLY think others think of you." Which is the same as saying that "it does matter what others think of you - but you can't know it unless you know others well." .. I would go on to say, that you cannot know others well until you know yourself well - because the autobiographical "others" are based on yourself.

        I have to go back to primary and secondary metaspace. Primary metaspace is tightly linked to the senses - it is relatively accurate but will be subject to "optical illusions" and any flaws developed in the primary field of perception. Secondary metaspace is inherently noisy - there is a lot of rubbish and untruth being propogated in secondary metaspace. THe only way to cut through the noise is through empathetic convergence - mutual knowledge with others is noise-reducing. To go a little further, convergence with just one other may only converge to the lowest common denominator between yourself and that other self, it will not resolve common perceptional flaws. However, convergence with many others will tend to identify perceptual flaws. And that still leaves an error if the error is ambient in the community (e.g. worshipping money).
        As Colleen said we must know our true self.
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          Jun 1 2012: Paul,
          You ask..."do I want to totally understand and know what everyone thinks or I do want to have some of my own assumptions albiet wrong?".

          I don't believe we EVER totally understand and know what everyone thinks. What we CAN do, is be as open as possible to information, take in the information, sift through it and "know" what we "think" we know at any given time. If we are constantly exploring life, our perceptions, and what we "think" we know may change many times. The information coming from others OR coming from our own thought process does NOT have to feel like "pressure". It is simply information. What feels like "pressure" to "know" is often our need to be "right". When we let go of that need to "know" or the need to be "right", it frees us from the pressure....make any sense?

          If we percieve life as an adventurous exploration, as I do, there is no "struggle" about when to venture in any direction. In my perception, Eastern Phillosophy is not at all passive. It encourages being in the moment, and every moment can be passionate, aggresive/accertive, restful, joyfull, humorous, and content as the next moment. Being in a flurry of activity all the time does not necessarily mean that we are making a positive impact on humankind.

          This topic of anger for example...
          People often equate anger with ranting, raving, outward manifestations. We can be angry, and put the emotion to use without all the aggresive outward manifestations, as I've suggested in other comments on this thread.

          This quote has served me well...
          "Grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference".

          Sometimes, folks are ranting and raving, jousting at windmills, spending energy, when they CANNOT realistically change the situation. If we know our "self" well enough, we can be more clear about where, when, why and with whom we choose to "spend" our energy.
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        Jun 1 2012: @ Paul,
        You demonstrate the correct heart - be true to it.
        I urge you to visit this website and view all the contents - it takes a week or 2 .. this is small time when compared to a lifetime.
        I am reminded of the seeker who went into the mountain to find truth.
        He searched the rocks and stones and suffered ascetic existence for years until he thought he knew the answer. Then he descended to share that truth with all.
        On his way, the water and the stones challenged his truth and he retreated time and again to perfect his truth. At last he passed the waters and the stones and approached a settlement.
        On the side of the road he saw an injured dog. His empathy went out for the dog - he saw the open wounds and the maggots, and he went to remove the maggots, but he saw the travail of the maggots, and his heart went out for them also .. he cut a peice of his thigh and with his tongue he gently lifted every maggot onto his own piece of flesh to honour them.
        THen the dog became Brahma in great glorious light and blessed him.
        He hoisted Brahma on to his shoulder and ran into the village shouting "The way has come!"
        THe villagers saw a raggeddy, raving, bleeding man with a rancid dog on his shoulder and drove him away.
        Such is the path of light.
        Be prepared.
        The light of Brahma is plain to your friends.
        Take time to watch them all - and take very special notice of the silence!
        You are not alone.
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          Jun 1 2012: Mitch,
          That's an interesting story. To the best of my knowledge, maggots only feed on decaying tissue. They will not feed on healthy tissue, so they may have been helping the dog to rid itself of decaying tissue.

          So, with this story, are you demonstrating that sometimes we may give a gift to someone that may not be the appropriate gift?
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        Jun 1 2012: No. I am saying that the light of Brahma is in the sacrifice.
        And that the light is what we are here for.
        And that we are not alone.
        My sister is a teacher in the art of the application of maggots for tissue cleansing.
        This was discovered in the first world war and discarded for years after the advent of pennicillin.
        Similarly, the application of leaches was a study of my sister's friend .. unfortunatlely, while her friend was on holliday, my sister neglected to feed the leaches and they all died. She feel bad about that. But I forgive her because she and her husband run the nurses union in my state and gain great healing power for the discipline against massive opposition.
        My brother in law is a master midwife, and my Romany forebares were midwives in London.
        The circle never ends.
        The light is the sacrifice .. however you interpret it.
        When you sacrifice - you meet god.
        But first you must know what sacrifice means - it is not just killing stuff.
        It is dedication.
        There is no human - there are only people - and that is the light.
        (Edit: I seek the error. I seek it in neural topology, and in that I have found the correction. And in your criticism, I have found the background error. My search in TED is a sacrifice. I have learned much. I expose myself to the fire as did Castor. I go willingly ito the flame to be burned while Polluck mourns - and I hear his voice still. But burn we must. There is no other way.)
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          Jun 1 2012: Mitch,
          I am aware of the history of maggots and leaches, and also aware that some medical practices in our world are using them again:>)

          What I was trying to demonstrate, is that sometimes, sacrifices are made without having all appropriate information. If we give someone something s/he does not want at the moment, it's not really a "gift". There are many different angles and underlying information for each and every situation. The more information we have the more we can be effective in our world:>)

          I don't agree that "the light is the sacrifice". That sounds like an old catholic teaching to me. There is plenty of light that evolves without the perception of my humble opinion:>)

          I agree...the circle never ends:>)
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          Jun 1 2012: So, to get back on topic...

          I believe that much of the anger and anxiety in our world is caused by this perception of "the light is the sacrifice". People feel that there needs to be suffering, anger and anxiety to be productive?

          Look at the topics here on do I find peace, happiness, contentment, passion, etc. etc. To me, these are natural feelings/emotions in the life experience, and yet people are searching...seeking...that which is natural and available to all of us.

          This underlying concept has been taught to us for a long must suffer to be productive/effective in the life experience....sacrifice is the light!

          Tell me how we can experience happiness, contentment, joy, peace, harmony, etc., if we have an underlying belief that we need to sacrifice and suffer to "see the light"?
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        Jun 1 2012: Hi Colleen,

        I once thought as you do that there were no gods or angels or demons.
        And so it is. there are only people.
        However, I have done sacrifice to certain demigods - I did not know I was doing it at the time, but I was surprised when they came physically to meet me to give me their blessing.
        In this I met the Indic gods Durga,Shiva, Mahishha and Kali.
        I'm a bloody presbyterian protestant - you can imagine my confusion!
        My sacrifice was the dedication to produce a set of instruments based on the Mysore festival of Durga rendered in rosewood from Mysore as removed from India with the British Raj. That wood was found by my friend, a whislte-maker who lives in Barrow upon Humber in England, and we contrived to make whistles in dedication to these demigods acording to their indic raags and enscribed in sanskrit to identify them.
        The legend was told to me by a northern indian musician from sanskrit scrolls belonging to his family for centuries - he took 2 hours translating the legend from the original text to me over the phone. And in honour of the legend, I researched the traditional notes, and between me and my English friend, we made the instruments.
        Everywhere I took them and demonstrated the legend, unbelievable things happened.
        Reality shifted in dramatic ways, and the gods in the instruments made themselves plain.
        5 years hence - the places we demonstrated and met these gods are verdant - the grass cutters cannot cut or supress the growth - and the green is like nothing surrounding.
        2 of the set of 3 are circulating beyond my control, but I retain teh buffalo demon Mahishha. The one who challenged the gods of heaven and was defeated by DUrga - the creation of all the gods, who defeated the imortal - using the discus of Shiva.
        I keep him as a reminder of the falicy of the Raj.
        I am his keeper.
        And that is part of my sacrifice - the transition of circle to spiral.
        The failure of teh village to discern Brahma in a bleeding raggedy madman with a rancid dog.
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          Jun 1 2012: Mitch,
          You don't know what I think about "gods, angels or demons"'ve never asked me, and that is the ONLY way you're going to get information regarding what my thoughts are.

          Still trying to get back on topic...
          I believe that much of the anger and anxiety in our world is caused by this perception of "the light is the sacrifice". People feel that there needs to be suffering, anger and anxiety to be productive?

          Tell me how we can experience happiness, contentment, joy, peace, harmony, etc., if we have an underlying belief that we need to sacrifice and suffer to "see the light"?
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          Jun 1 2012: Paul,
          Seems like your computer is indeed giving you a GREAT test in anger management!!! LOL:>)

          OK....if you think/feel "happiness and joy come from experiencing some suffering/sacrifice", so be it. Lows? Yes. Pain? Yes . Challenges? Yes.
          Suffering, is holding onto pain, and it is not my choice to do that, but if you need that as "a way to gauge ones emotions", so be it. I prefer to "know" myself as well as possible, and THAT is how I gauge my emotions.

          "Pain is inevitable, suffering optional"
          (Dalai Lama)
          I totally agree with this wise statement:>)

          I agree, anger, apathy and hopelessness, directed inward, causes challenges for young people, AND older people as well, if they have not made an attempt to "know thyself"
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        Jun 1 2012: HI Colleen,

        That's the problem with words - they get loaded with associations of context that skew the communicated intent.
        My "sacrifice" had nothing to do with suffering or struggle. It was a dedication to the quest.
        So a part of my available agency went to inscribing the Mysorian legend of Durga in musical instruments - who's wood told the spiral journey of Mahishha as demon buffalo then Mahishha as the Raj. It was a poem in wood and music. It was a total joy. The research took me into the rich panapoly of intertwined music/culture/religion/history of Northern and Southern India. Expecting no rewards but to honour and complete the work.
        Anyone who suggests that sacrifice requires self-harm or struggle is totally missing the point. I'll add that if they do that kind of thing, it simply won't work. I didn't even know it was a sacrifice until I felt the blessing. But now I know what sacrifice truly is - I see the error in the word.
        It is very curious, and I am still looking at how to integrate that experience in my life model .. I suspect it has to do with the parrameters governing secondary metaspace. ;)
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          Jun 2 2012: Mitch,
          Words don't get skewed, unless we skew them.

 you are refering to the part of the definition of sacrifice, which is...
          "an act of offering to deity something precious".

          I will ignore the other parts of the definition of sacrifice...
          "the killing of a victim; destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else; something given up or lost; to suffer loss of, give up, renounce, injure, or destroy for an ideal, belief or end........"

          You say...
          "Anyone who suggests that sacrifice requires self-harm or struggle is totally missing the point".
          Mitch, I was not missing the point. I was reading your story, and you said you made a sacrifice. I know what the definition of sacrifice is. Maybe YOU "see the error in the word", but the rest of us may be actually looking at the definition.

          I suspect the experience is alredy integrated in your life, based on what you have written.
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        Jun 2 2012: @PAul,

        Monetary ethics might be off topic, but generating a lot of anger around the world right now.
        The action of usury and gross speculation on currency must be addresed pretty soon. Here are a few links that discuss some options:

        It might help to find a book on the difference between monetarist and credit based currency.
        The underlying issue with currency is that the issuer gains absolute power over those who use it (render unto Caesar). This can't be avoided - rigorous checks and balances have to be exerted on the issuer to make it remotely moral.
        I recommend you conduct the exercise of designing a currency - keep it in context with other currencies(rules of exchange) and go into detail with how it is supplied and transacted, how the value is underpinned, how loans are conducted, how to avoid inflation. Incorporate taxation, administrative overhead and establish the rules governing entry and exit from teh economy (birth and death). Then run it through as many simulations as you can based on the flows in existing economy. The exercise is enlightening and will refine your search for support material and publications.
        If Larouche is correct, it will become an urgent need very shortly.
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        Jun 2 2012: @Colleen,

        True, the skew is in my own perception. But as you point out, the word is loaded with many different shades of context. Overloading symbolic vehicles indicates a need to split the vehicle. Perhaps the causality I am describing needs a new word? None of the dictionary definitions work.
        For instance, the definition "an act of offering to deity something precious". infers that something precious is destroyed or foregone in the process - self-harm again. My process describes the creation of something precious - the cost was time, but my time was dedicated to the art anyway - the Deities were ancillory to the purpose..

        There's the computer programmer in me again: syntax and taxonomy have essential roles in any language. The exactitude of human language is determined by a ballance of ambiguity against redundancy. In system terms, the overloading of a function gives rise to logical traps - specifically the "fan trap" where entry cannot be determined by exit. For instance: "Sam sacrifice his goat to Fred." does not reveal whether it was a religious obligation, an apeasement, an atonement, a dedication or a strategic move on the part of Sam. It puts the emphasis on ever-widening contexts that might, themselves, contain further ambiguities.
        Computer languages cannot tollerate ambiguity - with the notable exception of object-oriented languages that may overload a word based on the context of the type of data input - I still regard this as a mistake - it causes a lot of system crashes when you assume a function will accept an ambiguity.
        Please forgive my flight into systemese ..that is also something I've integrated. But it reflects my thinking (for what it's worth ;)

        (Must say - thank you for allowing me the opportunity to refine my understanding!)
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        Jun 2 2012: @Paul,

        Please contact me through my profile - we can organise the conversation offline.
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      Jun 1 2012: I really enjoy your responses! Are people allowed to feel angry if they have tried all those avenues. No one here was equating anger with violent action intensionally. That is an anathma to me.
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        Jun 1 2012: Hi Debra,
        Sorry. The topic goes long. And serpentine .. but seeking.
        The thing I have learned is to respect anger in others - a signal for me to listen and learn. That anger might be irrational, or true.
        If it is irrational - I am in for a fight, if it is true, I must be prepared to change.
        The challenge is for you to act on true anger - to stand up for your truth.
        If you do not do this, you will be asked by life time and again to stand up.
        Most die with their truth suppressed.
        If you stand up, your truth wil be tested and may be false - and that hurts, but is as it is.
        You walk away to find true truth - and stand up again.
        Each time you stand up, you stand for a better truth, so you must not stop.
        Here's a hint - violence is the mark of a false truth.
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          Jun 1 2012: I am glad you chose that picture because your smiile makes you so approachable! My name, Debra, means 'The seeker". I guess I was well named. Having read many of my entries here how do you perceive that I am doing in this process? Do not shy away please. It is an earnest question.
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        Jun 1 2012: @Debra,
        I percieve a clarity and directness in you.
        You ask the right questions with few words.
        The activity and breadth of answers in this thread are testiment to that.

        My picture? Most things make me smile.
        Right now the cockatoos are playing on my roof and raising a ruckus - they've been waking me up every morning for a week. It's a joy to wake up to a world of such rambunctious cacophany - they are mischievous and inquisitive and enjoy playing pranks on each other. There is usually a smile to be had.
        I had trouble smiling in the corporate world, but I would pause and put a smile on my face before entering the office door. I would say "be still, all is well" and put aside my darkness each time I went in.
        With anger ... I have described the rolling ball analogy - the behaviours can be modified by choosing where the ball enters our network of reactions. A smile helps in that choice, and the mantra of "be still, all is well" gives pause for the choice.
        Right now I am channeling an anger arising from a good friend's treatment at the hands of his family and the courts. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to "jump to solutions" this can lead to frustration and make things worse, but I've learned to take my criticisms, back off and re-enter better prepared. Nothing is perfect of course .. I sometimes smile at my own stupidity :)
  • May 28 2012: Any perceived threat to my children is what gets me truly angry, everything else is just a varying level of annoyance. Fortunately since reaching adulthood I have never been in a situation when any level of annoyance or anger has required me to take immediate action. Anger can be a good motivation but I think it is best to let ones anger cool for at least a second or two so ones response can be measured. The trap of anger is that it makes you think that what ever action you take is justified, so even if immediate action is required, by all means react but as you are always get things under control as that reaction happens.
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    May 28 2012: Debra, I do not allow the emotional rollacoaster. When you allow yourself to be overcome by emotions then you allow someone else to take charge of your life. We call that "having a button that can be push". We all know someone we can set on fire with a simple inference. Here is the key. Analyze the comment / situation and if you can help do so. If it is beyond your scope either join a group for change or work for change within your circle. If, like death, it is not within your control seek closure and put it behind you.

    Summary: Do not allow either emotions or others run your life. Take charge of your own destiny. All the best. Bob
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      May 28 2012: Totally agree Bob!
      That is where my mantra comes in..."Grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference".

      Analyze the situation and if we can help, do so. If it is beyond our scope either join a group, or work toward change in whatever way possible. I agree to take charge of the choices we make in each moment:>)
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    May 28 2012: It would seem that most African nations end up with the most dodgy,crooked and foolish people at the helm of affairs. Just as it was in the days of slave trade, African nations are ruled by a class of people with promises of a rosy future but delivery of oppression,corruption and war. In today's Africa, the ruling class sells its people into slavery by looting the nation's treasuries,sqandering precious resources and collaborating with exploiters from other nations.
    The dreams of individuals is sometimes tied to the dreams of a nation; the fact that corruption and lack of accountability aborts people's dreams, makes me sad.

    It makes me angry.
    Sometimes I was a radio presenter, and even though mine was an entertainment programme, I used the medium to encourage people to demand quality leadership, to stop venerating bad leaders,and not to celebrate mediocrity.
    It may be hard, or even impossible to change the world; but certainly I can change myself.
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      May 28 2012: Wow and thank you Feyisayo!
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      May 28 2012: Feysayo, I really undersatand your anger but I ask you: do you think this situation is getting better or worse in the last 5-10 years?
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        May 28 2012: I think its been better in the last 5 to 10 years. There was a time when dictators owned the media, but now the internet and social media makes it possible to mobilize against injustice and tyranny. Of course there are a few nations where people are docile because of the religious and traditional beliefs on the power of leaders(isn't rulers more appropraite?)
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    May 28 2012: What makes me angry?

    !) injustice in almost all forms.

    2) Being totally and willfully ignored (one of Hilton's small things)

    3) Bullying

    4) Cruelty

    There may be more.
    3) I am getting pretty annoyed when people expect me to be some characateur because i am injured. It reminds me of when black people were first in movies. they were allowed in only if they participated as the white lipped happy cartooon. They did not represent a single real black person but this characteur seemed to make white people feel safe and unthreatened.
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    May 28 2012: Bureaucracy mostly. The Law is an ass.

    I deal with it by letting it go. Best solution I've found.

    theSlacks (my band) believe in the return of the Saturnalia because we all need to connect with our primitive selves and let it all out.

    George Santayana said that depression is rage spread thin. In modern society, we're expected to ignore anger, which is unhealthy.

    I think depression is the suppression of your growing suspicion that society is fucked.
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      May 28 2012: Hi Scott!
      Thanks for this meaty response! I will be wpending time reflecting on it. I hope you know that I adore reading what you write!
      "Rage spread thni" WOW I think that might be really profound.
      Wishing you life's very best.
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        May 28 2012: Cheers. George Santayana was a lucid chap. Very sharp observations.
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      Jun 1 2012: Hi Adriaan! You mean you never feel angry when a bully taunts and humilates someone? You never feel anger when a huge injustice sails on by or when evil doers prosper by stepping on people's heads? I am not sure if this is really a higher form of existance if you can view these things with equanimity.
      Am I allowed to be angry that I need a walker at 56 because the surgeon screwed up (BTW it appears that it might have killed another woman at the same time_.
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          Jun 1 2012: My suggestion is that next time you tell someone that your answer will be blunt- stop and reconsider your answer. Prefacing with a warning about bluntness may work to intimidate or to ease your conscience in daily life but nothing about gender or size works here.

          Second suggestion is' SEE PAGE 26-30 in Vine's complete expository dictionary for greater insight to anger in the bible.

          In fact, i think that dealing properly with anger may be the master class in being human.
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    May 28 2012: What makes me angry is when people have the audacity to have peccadillo similar to my own. That pettiness aside I get angry about the things that I should be angry about and that is how it should be. This is usually about this country failing because of the complacency created by government programs.

    You will notice that in some societies anger gets suppressed because when someone gets angry they get jailed or worse this is way south of healthy and seems to metastasize as the nanny state grows.
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      May 28 2012: Hey Pat thank you for the great answer!What counrties are you referring to? It was my understanding that the USA has more of its citizens incarcerated than any other country but I will admit that since I have had this injury to my brain, I am wrong ALOT.
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        May 28 2012: China, N Korea, Iran, Russia, et al.

        I may be ignorant on this but I think the high incarceration rate in the U.S. has to do with drug violations
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          May 28 2012: Pat,
          I think you're partially correct regarding the high rate of incarcerations. The last statistics I saw, indicate that approx. 95% of those incarcerated are drug and/or alcohol addicted. If the incarcerations are not directly related to drug violations, they are often motivated by the need for drugs...breaking and entering for example, is often for the purpose of getting money or goods to sell to support the drug habit.

          p.s. It just occured to may think of my example as a "drug violation"? B&E is different than a drug violation. Assault and robery is different than drug violation even though there may be drugs involved. I volunteered with the dept. of corrections for 6 years...gotta get my terms "right"!!! LOL

          That's one thing I got angry about Debra...crime.
          So, I put my anger to work and volunteered with the dept. of corrections facilitating "cognitive self change" sessions and various other programs. Also volunteered working with kids at risk.

          I got angry at a toxic business in town, so brought it to the attention of the district environmental court. Even though my life was threatened for awhile, I believed I could change the situation and I did. Even though they warned ME to get the hell out of town or else....guess who was ordered by the court to move out of town!!!

          I got angry about violence and abuse in relationships, so I guest lectured at the university for years about that topic and volunteered at the women and children's shelter and family center for years. I used my home for a safe house for women fleeing abusive relationships for years....bla...bla...bla...

          That's how I use anger:>)
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    May 28 2012: My marginal, sometimes completely lacking, ability to respond without anger when I perceive provocation.
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      May 28 2012: That is an earnest answer.
      What are those petty provocations caused by normally? Does anger ever serve us.
      Didn't Christ get angry?
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        May 29 2012: They are caused by injury to my pride.
        Anger can serve to energize and motivate under the proper circumstances.
        Jesus Christ displayed anger on several occasions. Each time it was righteous anger.
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          May 31 2012: Would the posting have been better if i had framed the question as righteous anger? i realize that is was my assumption.
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        May 31 2012: Debra,
        Your question seems clear..."What makes you truly angry? How do you handle this emotion?...What can anger accomplish? anything?".

        I think/feel you framed the question PERFECTLY, and with clear intent.
        Whether anger is "righteous" or not is another question and is my humble opinion:>)

        I've had incarcerated guys tell me that beating another person was justified and righteous because that person made him angry!
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        May 31 2012: That change would make your question different, but not better. Both are relevant, worthwhile questions. Thanks Debra..
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    May 28 2012: Debra.
    Sometimes small things make me very angry. Later on, I realize that these small things were not important at all. What I don't understand is WHY these small things provoked such reaction in my person.
    What I mean is that there is not necessarily a relation between the importance of the cause and the intensity of the reaction.
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      May 28 2012: Hi Hilton! Thanks so much for your response.
      Psychologists might suggest that the things you call small actually tap into or represent the real issues- sort of the straw that broke the camel's back.