pilogue~

 

 

 


ancer Victims Corrected, Too

 




 

“I have told millions of readers who desperately need this kind of inspiration to read The Cancer Conqueror.”—Abigail Van Buren, “Dear Abby”

 

Go to Page 3-36

 

 

 

 

ollowing are some quotes and other ideas from motivational speaker Greg Anderson’s self-help book for cancer patients, The Cancer Conqueror, along with my comments.  This applies the usual self-help psychology and spirituality to cancer patients, since chances are that no matter what happens to them, the stronger is their state of mind, the stronger will be their immune system’s fight against the cancer.  Therefore it would seem that they should think like the prototypical gutsy German, Arthur Schopenhauer, doing their best to represent their own bad experiences to themselves, as being as innocuous as they could.  After all, if you simply must get up enough mettle to fight something, no matter what happens to you, then you simply must.

This might seem like an obscure and extreme book, that isn’t really relevant to anything else.  Yet this so perfectly fits the pattern of victim correction as a panacea, and was published in the mid-1980s, when this victim correction first became popular, that it really is relevant to just about anything.  This says that cancer patients should apply the same stolid ideals to controlling their own cancers, that self-help says that we should apply to our day-to-day conflicts.  The self-help version of this is, “God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.  Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it; Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next—Amen.”  Though those who believe in The Serenity Prayer might not think that they believe in, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” anyone who truly believes that whatever your problem is you’ll just have to courageously change what you can and serenely accept what you can’t, would have to truly believe that this is how one must deal with hardship, others’ sinfulness, etc., ad infinitum.  The version of this that would treat cancer, would have to focus its attention just as much on the victims’ reactions, and away from what would have naturally caused any hurt feelings.  This would have to be just as absolutist; if a cancer patient judged himself according to the old-fashioned standard of mental health means that one’s feelings are proportional to what happens to him, then when bad things happen to them, they’d have too much of a victim outlook to adequately control the cancer.  A motivational speaker is going to talk about how people could correct what they’re motivated to correct, as enthusiastically as necessary.

As Susan Faludi’s Backlash says, while in the early 1980s self-help books for women tended to advocate that they fill traditional roles, in the late 1980s self-help books and groups for women tended toward sexist victim-blaming.  When someone blames victims, unless they’re blamed for not being meek enough, then even if their supposed blameworthiness fits bigoted stereotypes (i.e. the masochistic melodramatic or manipulative woman), what the victim-blamers are really saying is that the victims should practice self-empowerment; they should empower themselves better, and that would solve their problems.

As Backlash says,

In the late ’80s, with the rise of “codependency,” the addiction or disease model of female neurosis quickly spread to other forms of therapy.  It helped to double membership in self-help counseling organizations, spawning an endless variety of “support” groups for codependents from Women for Sobriety to Women with Multiple Addictions.  There was even a group for Formerly Employed Mothers at Loose Ends, or FEMALE.  Apparently now even a poor job market was seen as an individual woman’s personal psychosis.

Well, The Cancer Conqueror, from that same era, certainly has got that one beat.  This book says that if any cancer patient got control over his own bad feelings, including those that are very warranted, then that might strengthen his own immune system’s response to the cancer, or, at the very least, would improve whatever life he has left.  This has the same advantages that unemployed people would get from correcting themselves, but to a far greater degree.  People like Abigail Van Buren would have to advise unemployed people to see how they’re responsible for their own unemployment, since then they’d see ways in which they could improve their chances of getting hired more quickly. To paraphrase The Cancer Conqueror:  Now here is the hopeful part: If you believe that you may have contributed to your continuing unemployment, then you must also believe that you have the power to contribute to your being hired sooner, irrespective of what the job market currently is.  The same would even go for those who are in romantic relationships bad enough that they could conceivably seem to be codependent: that they could see themselves as responsible for “letting themselves in for trouble” by being attracted to problem lovers, and if not, the fact would still remain that if they focused their own attention on correcting their own reactions, they’d benefit.  Claiming, “You caused your own problem,” makes Victim Correction as a Panacea sound the most justifiable, while, “You’ve simply got to take response-ability for your own welfare, your own problem,” is the fallback position, since all problems must get taken care of.  The self-help formula for conflict resolution is for general public consumption, and it works.  If you believe that you may have contributed to your being seriously exploited in your relationship, then you must also believe that you have the power to contribute to your ridding your life of serious exploitation.

One difference that this approach to cancer might have with the same approach to living in a society with rampant depression, is that plenty of skeptics would question whether getting rid of cancer patients’ resentment really would improve his chances of overcoming it.  This can be objectively determined, by comparing the rate of improvement of those who do think like victims, with the rate of those who don’t.  If no one has proven that this works, then skepticism of it would seem plenty productive.  On the other hand, if several researchers were able to prove that a resilient outlook does improve cancer patients’ chances of success, then the only attitude toward this that could possibly seem productive, would be to accept that cancer victims should think right.  This no doubt would accept attempts to control those who generate carcinogens, while the self-help approach would tend to insist that victims not try to control the sinful.  Yet if it can be proven that the more that cancer victims feel helpless the lower their chances of overcoming the cancer gets, then if the helplessness is caused by people who could be called “sinful,” it would seem just as important that the victims not really care about what they can’t change.  Not only that, as one could see in this book, even if these ideas regarding self-improvement are neither proved nor disproved, cancer patients who require proof could seem self-defeating.

This book even has the same strange tendency to talk about a social problem as if the problem is inside of the victims, that ads, books, etc., on depression, anxiety disorders, etc., have of giving mind-numbing statistics on how common they are, and then going on to talk about this as if it’s to be solved by fixing the victims.  Many, many of these are quoted on my Making the Political, Personal webpage, for example, a Zoloft webpage that says “If you have depression, this sad mood along with other symptoms can last weeks, months, or even years if not treated.  Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw.  It’s a real medical condition, but there are ways to successfully treat depression....  Depressive disorders affect about 34 million American adults,” as if such a big problem is basically a Zoloft deficiency, so mega-medication would stop The Problem.  No victim-blaming that could work in getting the victims to solve their own problems, could shock the conscience.  When you consider that, as the principles of psychoneuroimmunology discussed in the following would indicate, depression could increase the risk of cancer, you could call depression, and whatever causes unnaturally high rates of it, carcinogens.

 

 

As The Cancer Conqueror says, stress has been proven to increase the likelihood of cancer, but, of course, the remedy is for potential victims to transcend their own stressed-out thoughts.  Another book, Dr. Anthony J. Sattilaro’s Living Well Naturally, from 1984, says,

However, recent studies conducted on the subject leave little doubt that the mind can both reduce and enhance the effectiveness of the immune system.  Mice have been found to contract cancer rapidly and in great numbers when they are placed under high levels of stress from noise, odor, and distress sounds from other animals, very much like the kinds of stressful stimuli many of us are subject to daily.  However, when the same types of mice are provided with more comfortable living conditions, they experience less than 10 percent of the cancer rate suffered by the high-stress group.

Studies have shown that shocks administered to animals once every sixty seconds for only one hour shorten the time it takes for tumors to develop, increase the size of the tumors, and decrease the length of time the animals can survive once they have contracted the cancer.  Other studies have demonstrated that the immune response can be conditioned to turn on and off simply by manipulation of the environment and emotional factors.

Obviously, such stresses aren’t matters of “the mind,” as if these stressors are all in the animals’ or people’s heads.  It really isn’t too coincidental that Martin Seligman’s groundbreaking learned helplessness experiments caused many animals to go into clinical depression by giving them painful electric shocks that they couldn’t escape, and that a self-help book he wrote, Learned Optimism, was about how to unlearn the human version of this helplessness, by choosing to have a pragmatic outlook.  If reactions to inescapable electric shocks are considered to be comparable to the ways in which “the mind” could cause cancer, then reactions to inescapable electric shocks are considered to be comparable to the ways in which “the mind” could cause depression.

The blurb on the jacket of The Cancer Conqueror begins, “This is a profound message of hope for cancer patients and their families—particularly for those patients and their families who, in addition to their conventional medical treatment, want to summon the courage to answer the questions, ‘What can I do to help myself?’ and ‘How do I tap the mental and spiritual resources available to me?’”.  This sort of spirituality is actually as banal as you could get.  Though the fans of self-help spirituality advocate that it doesn’t have the disadvantages of preachy moralism, that does have the disadvantages of Yang Buddhism, that the people who are to transcend their own perfectly normal feelings are the weak, the victims; the goal is to increase their strength, forgive the strong, etc.

Like many self-help books, several of the pages of this book contain one affirmation, in bigger type.  These affirmations include:

 I am In Charge Of My Cancer.  My Cancer Is Not In Charge Of Me.

 You May Not Be Given Long To Live, But Live As Long As You Are Given.

 You Can Choose Your Beliefs.

 Cancer Is Not A Disease Of Which You Are A Victim.  It Is A Process Which You Can Master.

 Cancer Is A Message To Change.

 Beliefs, Attitudes, And Feelings Lead To Illness Or Wellness.

 Hope And Hopelessness Are Both A Choice.  Why Not Choose Hope?

 My Job Is To Forgive—Myself And Others.

 Our Emotions Don’t So Much Happen To Us; We Choose Them.

 Nonjudgmental Unconditional Love Conquers Cancer.

 My Task Is To Accept Others, Not Approve Of Others.

 Other People Do Not Have To Change For Me To Love Them—I Have To Change For Me To Love Them.

And, of course, one big difference between the victim correction in The Cancer Conqueror, and self-help victim correcting psychology, is that while victim correction for cancer patients can correct only victims’ feelings about what happens to them, victim correcting psychology would have to correct both how well victims courageously change what they can, and how well they serenely accept what they can’t.  Therefore, as you read the following, and see how absolutistically it tells people to deal emotionally with whatever happens to them, keep in mind that the psychological version of this would tell everyone that they’re just going to have to deal physically with whatever happens to them, irrespective of: how morally wrong was what caused it, how big the problems are, how much effort and sacrifice it would take to deal with them, how little responsibility they’d have for what happened to them, etc.

All that you’d have to do is read the following, and you could see how our cultural norms would allow both what causes our rampant depression, and what caused such outrageous behavior by those on Wall Street who we’d admired as if they were exciting and gutsy.

 

       

 

The book begins, in Section 1, with a cancer patient, referred to as “the man,” looking for The Cancer Conqueror after getting thorough medical treatment.  After all, medical treatment for cancer doesn’t guarantee success.

Section 2, The Perspective of Personal Responsibility, has the patient meeting with the Cancer Conqueror.  At first he mentions the necessity of good medical care, but then goes on to talk about personal responsibility:

“What I was really doing was taking personal responsibility for my health—personal responsibility for getting well.”

“I’m not sure what you mean,” said the man.  “What is personal responsibility for getting well?”

The Cancer Conqueror leaned forward and looked deeply into the man’s eyes.

“Personal responsibility for getting well—for conquering cancer—is one of the most important principles in the cancer journey.  If you choose this path—the cancer-conqueror path—personal responsibility will come up again and again.  It is one of those cornerstone principles that supports everything else.

“Personal responsibility for health means refusing to be a victim.  It means participation in recovery by recognizing and changing self-destructive beliefs and behavior.  Personal responsibility for health means believing, ‘I am in charge of my cancer.  My cancer is not in charge of me.’

Section 3 tells of the patient visiting a woman, who talks about how cancer isn’t certainly going to kill the person who has it, which should counter despair.  A positive attitude should improve a cancer patient’s chances of survival.

Mary went on, “The Cancer Conqueror taught me that cancer has a significant psychological, emotional, and spiritual component.  We can understand more about this part by looking at stress and the way we handle it.

“You’ll learn more about stress later.  But the essentials are that mismanaged stress can lead to both a physical and psychological reaction that primes the body to respond.  This priming is mind-controlled.  Either responding inappropriately or suppressing a response can give the body confusing signals.  The result is that our own immune systems become depressed and less effective in warding off potential cancer cells.

“These essentials are documented in a field of medicine called psychoneuroimmunology.  Very basically, it recognizes that the mind and spirit do affect the body.

“Thoughts of fear, anger, and guilt can lead to sickness on more levels than just the physical.  Yet thoughts of love, joy, and peace lead to health and well-being on more than just the physical level.”

The man put all this in his notes.  Most of what Mary said was new thinking for him.

The man hesitated a moment, “Does this mean I gave myself cancer?”

“No, no!” said Mary.  “That’s much too rigid a view.  You didn’t give yourself cancer.  However, our inability to handle stress constructively, to resolve conflicts creatively, and to manage anxieties may have contributed to the beginning of illness.  Of course, it wasn’t a conscious decision.  We never set out to give ourselves cancer.  But yes, we may have contributed to the onset on a subconscious level.

“Now here is the hopeful part: If you believe that you may have contributed to your illness, then you must also believe that you have the power to contribute to your recovery.

“The psychological and spiritual components can work either for us or against us.  The choice is ours.”

...“First, we need to understand that not every cancer patient’s experience would fit this pattern.  Certainly there are genetic causes of cancer.  Some people are born with that unfortunate physical predisposition.  And there is no question that carcinogens in our environment, in our foods, all around us, can trigger malignancy.

“Even so, there is increasing evidence that many cancers are stress-related.  In fact, the percentage may be much higher than first imagined.  One group of researchers in a recent study found that more than 90 percent of the participants could trace the onset of cancer to a period, of high stress.  The researchers went so far as to say that, in their opinion, this same percentage probably applied to nearly all cancers.”

“Astounding,” said the man.

“The evidence is becoming overwhelming.  Many times the body will start cancering because of the prolonged emotional conflict that has its base in stress.  And this emotional conflict—the feelings of loss, hopelessness, and despair—can lead to mental depression.  Today scientists feel that there must be some sort of direct link between mental depression and immune system depression.  The result can be the onset of disease.

...“Our task is to choose harmony at the level of the mind and the spirit.  Only then can we help our bodies regenerate and achieve physical harmony.

...“Cancer becomes a message to change.”

As usual, this doesn’t say just what constitutes “inability to handle stress constructively, to resolve conflicts creatively, and to manage anxieties.”  Conceivably, this could mean, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” if those are the stresses conflicts and anxieties with which one must deal spiritually, and he’d have to get rid of all resentment in order to have the right state of mind for the necessary psychoneuroimmunology.  Like those ads, books, etc., about our rampant depression, anxiety, etc., this starts out with a link between an epidemic and problems outside of those who have the disease, and then go on to tell of how we could solve the problem by training the victims to have positive attitudes.  Self-blame, as long as it doesn’t involve too many conscious thoughts of, “I’m guilty!” seems productive, since if you believe that you may have contributed to your problem, then you must also believe that you have the power to contribute to the solution.  Just as spiritual self-help psychology would have to treat hardship that one can’t change as a pathway to peace, this treats cancer as a pathway to peace.

Section 4 has the patient visiting the home of Barbara.  This says:

“My role is the area that confuses me most.  Frankly, I really doubt that what I think or feel will have much effect on the cancer.  So I’m not sure about my role.

“Let’s discuss that,” said Barbara.  “The Cancer Conqueror teaches us that much our role is in the area he calls ‘resolve.’”

...“Resolve goes much deeper than the externals of diet and exercise. When we examine the issue of resolve, we are really focusing on identifying and clearing our lives of emotional roadblocks and self-destructive behavior. This is very important because the resolve principle is based on the premise that emotions affect us physically.”

“Is that really provable?” asked the man.

“I’m not certain what you require in terms of proof,” continued Barbara. “The whole area of psychoneuroimmunology, or PNI for short, is documenting this mind over illness phenomenon.  And it is for real.  I encourage you to be open to the possibilities in it.

“Simply stated, the Cancer Conqueror encourages us to acknowledge that attitudes, beliefs, and thoughts go together to create a mental and emotional outlook toward life, an emotional lifestyle.  Those emotions, either positive or negative, translate to the physical.  Our beliefs, attitudes, and feelings lead to illness or wellness.

“Perhaps even more astounding, the Cancer Conqueror teaches us that emotions can play a central role in cancer’s onset and course.

“[When encountering stress] Instead of fighting or fleeing, which actually puts to use adrenaline, rapid heartbeat, and faster breathing, modern-day people often suppress or even deny their response.  The body’s response to an emotional reaction does not get discharged.  When we have no outward action available, the stress is internalized.  And internalized stress can set us up for trouble.

“It’s amazing.  Research has found that stress is related to both negative and positive change.  While an event like the death of a spouse ranks at the very top of the chart and is certainly negative, a normally positive event such as marriage also produces significant stress.  The point is that both negative and positive events of life require new coping skills.  Both can often be experienced as emotional conflict.”

...The Cancer Conqueror calls this management the StresSolverSystem:

CHANGE YOUR PERCEPTION OF YOURSELF
AND
CHANGE YOUR PERCEPTION OF YOUR PROBLEM!

...“There is no 100 percent fixed link.  But PNI studies are demonstrating there is some correlation between a depressed mind and a depressed immune system.”

“How is that?” pursued the man.

“The heart of the immune system is the person’s white blood cells. In an amazing discovery recently, white blood cells were shown to have neuroreceptors.  This means that feelings, our emotions, may be biochemically transmitted to and ‘felt’ by the immune system. This is significant.

“Just as negative and positive emotions can and do affect the human spirit, they also would seem to affect the immune system.  And a chronically depressed immune system can lead to illnesses of many kinds, including cancer.

...The man looked thoughtful, pondering what Barbara was saying. “It fits my case,” he said.  “I lost my job about a year ago.  I’ve tried everything I can think of, but there is nothing I can do to get suitable work.  It makes me so mad.  I just hate my old boss.  And I feel so worthless.  I’m really depressed.”

Barbara realized now what the problem was.  What the man said gave her some of the insight she needed to assist him in resolving his particular situation.  Realizing that this was a delicate task of self-discovery, she proceeded gently but firmly.

“I think I can understand how you feel.  It has to be tough.  But let’s stop for a moment and apply what I’ve just said. Like it or not, losing a job doesn’t make you angry....  You make you angry.  Being fired doesn’t make you feel worthless....  You make you feel worthless.  You choose those feelings.

...“Interesting that you should say that,” said Barbara.  “The Cancer Conqueror helped me so much when he shared the three most consistent traits of the cancer-prone personality:

“First, the typical cancer personality has a tendency to bottle up emotions.  You’ve just shared your thoughts on how you express your feelings as ’best left unsaid.’  In my case, continued Barbara, “I tended to play ’poor me’ and go into a prolonged silence.”

The man chuckled.  “I’ve done some of that.”

“We all have,” said Barbara.  “And it is related to the second tendency, excessive difficulty grieving loss.  In my divorce, I felt as if I had been done the ultimate wrong.  I felt abandoned by my husband.  And when the children wouldn’t take my side, I felt totally unappreciated.  It was an overwhelming sense of loss.  And I continued living with those feelings until the Cancer Conqueror began to work with me on expressing my grief over those losses.”

The man responded, “I’ve never thought of my job loss in terms of grief.  I suppose that is one framework in which to analyze it, though.  I do know it has been a very difficult year.  And I feel profoundly empty.  I suppose some mourning is taking place inside.”

Barbara nodded her agreement; she was encouraged.  The man was trying.  He was working at this very sensitive assignment.  And he was making progress.  She continued:

“The third most common characteristic of a typical cancer profile is judgmentalism, being unduly critical of others.  No question—I certainly did that, particularly where it concerned my husband.  In fact, I’m ashamed to say that I really went through life being critical of others. It was a twisted attempt to pull myself up by pushing others down.”

The man was contemplative.  “I suppose I carry some of all three personality traits.”

“Perhaps,” said Barbara.  “Those personality characteristics can lead to fear, anger, and guilt that can depress the immune system and allow cancer, and other illnesses, to flourish.”

“Here we are again.  I keep thinking I caused my own cancer!” sighed the man.

“Recall our beliefs?” asked Barbara.  “Just remember that we probably did contribute to the illness on a subconscious level.

“But the real key is this: If you acknowledge that you may have contributed to the illness, then, by definition, you must also acknowledge that you have the ability to contribute to your wellness.”

“I do remember,” said the man.  “I need to find out how I contributed negatively.  Then it follows that I can reverse it and contribute to health positively.”

“Exactly!  Excellent!” said Barbara.  “Remember, cancer is a reversible disease.  You can contribute to that reversal.”

“That’s powerful!” said the man.

The man thought, This is simple yet so profound.  On an intuitive level, the mind-affects-body principles make sense.  And if science can’t accurately explain electricity, yet embraces it, why do I demand a full explanation of psychoneuroimmunology?  I want to reverse my disease.  I want LIFE!

“Okay,” said the man.  “I want to get well!  I’m choosing life!  Where do I start to resolve?”

Barbara beamed!  Choosing life!  Those words affirming the will to live were powerful.  Perhaps he had turned the corner in his thinking.

“You’ve already started,” smiled Barbara.  “What you do next is take a rigorous emotional inventory of yourself.  The Cancer Conqueror gives us three questions that, if treated with seriousness, will lead us to higher self-awareness.  You’ll want to take notes here.

“First, ask yourself what high-stress, emotionally disruptive events happened to you in the year or two prior to diagnosis?  This is the stress-management issue.  High-stress events can be identified in many patients.  But what the Cancer Conqueror really wants us to do is get in touch with the way we reacted to those events.  Did we respond to the events with paralyzing fear?  Or did we get angry and let anger turn to smoldering resentment?  Or did guilt cause such a sense of shame that we may have felt we deserved some kind of punishment?  And given the perspective of time, can we now look at different and more constructive ways of handling the situation?

“Second, what emotional needs might you be meeting or masking with the cancer?”

“What do you mean?” asked the man.

“Just this.  Cancer gets you cards and get well wishes from friends and relatives.  It can certainly get you out of work.  You can stay at home in bed.  It gets you attention, no small amount of sympathy, and may even serve as a means of obtaining nurturing from an otherwise non-nurturing spouse.  Just think of that power!

“Cancer is a great permission-giver, allowing both patient and family an acceptable reason to say no to the demands of others.  It can also provide a reason to say yes to things that have been put off or otherwise neglected in a person’s life.”

“I’ve never really thought about cancer that way before,” said the man.

“The Cancer Conqueror,” continued Barbara, “calls these cancer games.  His real point is to get us to look at the motivation behind our illness-related behavior.  It is a fact—in our society sickness is a very powerful force, one that is often rewarded.  Patients can manipulate that force, misusing it to meet their needs.  Some people emotionally cling to the disease.  It’s their newfound way of fulfilling emotional needs that otherwise have gone unmet.”

“That seems incredible to me,” said the man.

“Incredible but true,” said Barbara.  “You will be invited to join a group of us who meet regularly.  There you will meet a woman who not only has cancer, but in her lifetime has had nine elective surgeries, currently takes eleven different prescriptive medications, and claims this is the best she has felt in twenty-five years!

“She may be feeling better now than at anytime in the last twenty-five years, but the fact that she still recounts her many illnesses over and over again is a give-away that she probably is manipulating her disease.  It’s her best way of getting love and even some attention from her otherwise angry and resentful husband.

“The Cancer Conqueror brings us back again and again to this point of examining what needs we might be meeting or masking with the illness.  ‘Why do I need this illness?’ and ‘What am I gaining from this illness?’ become important issues for us to understand fully.  I encourage you to spend all the time you need here.

This leads to the third question, what healthy options might you choose to fulfill these needs?  Emotional needs are real.  Denying them has probably been part of our problem.  The Cancer Conqueror encourages us to recognize the real needs that we feel; he encourages us to look at them squarely and not deny them.  He also gives us permission to fulfill those needs but encourages us to do it in a positive, healthy way.”

...“The Cancer Conqueror helped me resolve nearly all those issues when he said that my job was to forgive—myself and others.  Then he traced how certain processes help people release resentments and forgive both real and perceived wrongs, thus opening the mind and the body to healing.  In fact, the Cancer Conqueror believes this is an essential part in getting well.

“Forgiveness was a breakthrough issue for me.  It was the process of letting go of the thoughts I had harbored about people who I perceived were harming me.  It was equally a process of letting go of the thoughts I had kept about my harming others.

...“Time after time the people who conquer cancer are the ones who work systematically at resolving their emotional conflicts.  The main issues are accepting personal responsibility on all levels of life, frank examination of fundamental beliefs, better management of stress, improving self-image, and nurturing better relationships through loving and forgiving.  There’s more, but that’s the heart of it.

...“Your experience of extended unemployment is common.  I’m thinking of a man who is part of our Cancer Conqueror group who was also fired from his job.  He was a senior officer in one of the largest companies in this city.  In fact, his departure was carried in the newspapers.  He felt disgraced.  His entire self-image was centered around his job.  And within one year, cancer.

“He spent time with the Cancer Conqueror, who helped him analyze his resentment.  ‘I’m so mad because I don’t have a job,’ he said.  The Cancer Conqueror helped him realize a new truth—perhaps he didn’t have a job because he was so mad.  He had to grasp his real need.  For years he had harbored resentment.  It was time to change—not just jobs, but some deep emotions.”

...“It wasn’t until the Cancer Conqueror helped me reframe these negative emotions and taught me forgiveness that I was able to realize I could actually determine my own emotions.  I realized I wasn’t a captive of my fear, anger, and guilt—instead I was, or at least could choose to be, a product of love, joy, and peace.

“For the first time, I realized that we can’t control life but we can control our response to life.  And I also saw cancer as a message—as negative feedback—that up to now, I had not been making all the right choices.  I changed.  I chose life.  I chose to LIVE!

The man remained silent, deep in thought.

Barbara paused for a moment, and when the man was ready, she continued, “It all brings us back to the core of resolve—the changing of our emotional lifestyles.  By doing that, we prepare the body to heal.  Clearing our lives of emotional difficulty is a LIVE message.  This is resolving!”

“It’s interesting,” said the man.  “Resolve isn’t changing the circumstances so much as changing ourselves.”

“Precisely,” said Barbara.  “We can’t ever change anyone but ourselves.  That is the key.  It’s true.”

Therefore, this supposed cancer-prone personality isn’t necessarily anything unusual.  Rather, this personality could mean merely someone who doesn’t abide by the Prayer of St. Francis, “Lord, make me an instrument of your Peace.  Where there is hatred, Let me sow Love.  Where there is injury, Pardon.  Where there is doubt, Faith.  Where there is despair, Hope.  Where there is darkness, Light.  Where there is sadness, Joy.—Amen.”  (This would constitute coping skills that don’t suppress or deny stress, simply transcend it.)  If people go through “high-stress, emotionally disruptive events,” then what would really seem to matter is that they should choose to supplant their own hatred, sense of being injured, doubt, despair, and sadness, with love pardon faith hope and joy.  This is Yang Buddhism, in that it insists on re-engineering untermensch human nature since the fact that “It’s only natural” means that it’s just a relic of how we evolved in the wild, inappropriate for modern-day realities, but would also tend to insist that we not try to re-engineer übermensch human nature since the fact that “It’s only natural” means that we must accept it.  Nazism’s favorite era, the Romantic Era (Nineteenth Century), was a reaction to the Enlightenment Era’s (Eighteenth Century) faith that rational thinking could lead people to build thriving societies, but tended to accept übermensch irrational emotions such as greed since “That’s human nature,” but reject untermensch irrational emotions such as fear since they have hidden insidious dangers.  During the Romantic Era, William James wrote that Americans tend to classify people as either redbloods or mollycoddles (a word that originated among the working class in Nineteenth Century England), and this dichotomy is basically the same as the dichotomy between the noble and dynamic übermenschen and ignominious and manipulative untermenschen.

Just because the person who has the problem could prove that he didn’t “let himself in for trouble,” wouldn’t mean that self-help psychology wouldn’t hold him any less responsible for taking care of his own problems, and just because the cancer patient’s bad feelings are warranted wouldn’t mean that this approach would hold him any less responsible for getting control over them.  The terms “primary prevention” means preventing the risk of a problem, “secondary prevention” means stopping a problem as it’s developing, and “tertiary prevention” means solving it once it already exists, and victims and potential victims seem just as responsible for these.  Advisors like Abigail Van Buren could just as easily say that those dealing with a high unemployment rate, exploitative lovers, etc.: would benefit by having as much resolve as they could, could only do themselves some good by doing this even if the advisor couldn’t prove this, can change their perceptions of themselves and their problems, should let go and stop being so judgmental, should choose success, have plenty of high-stress emotionally disruptive events happening to them but that doesn’t mean they have to be bitter resentful and judgmental, might be fulfilling certain subconscious emotional needs by being the victims, should find other ways to fulfill these needs with the help of forgiveness, should courageously change themselves and serenely accept everyone else, etc.  What else would these advisors say, “Go right ahead and draw your own honest conclusions about what happens to you, even when they’d discourage and therefore weaken you.”?

This idea that those with cancer might be satisfying their own emotional needs with it, is a caricature of a more severe victim-blaming idea that was especially popular in the late 1980s, the idea that some people manipulatively use their own victim-power, which, therefore, they must have at least allowed to happen.  This is the same idea behind codependency, that some people (mostly women) “let themselves in for trouble” by getting romantically involved with lovers who are addicts or their functional equivalents, since what the codependents seem to want is the drama, to be martyrs, etc.  The only codependents who’d seem to be “letting themselves in for trouble” in a way that puts their own lives at risk and causes them a great deal of pain, would be those who’d seem to be attracted to battering men.  Yet since this book corrects the victims of cancer since they can’t control life but can control their responses to life, then that’s what some of the victims must seem to choose to have.

Section 5 begins, “The man spent an uncomfortable week trying to deal with the issues of resolve.”  He then meets with John to discuss this.  He says that this is something like the fairy tale of the princess who kisses the frog and turns him into a handsome prince.  This magic is very similar to the magic in the “kind of love that cures cancer!”  “And my advice would be to love yourself first—to kiss the frog in the mirror.”  And of course, this love should be unconditional.  If we choose to have a positive attitude, just about anything could seem at least acceptable.  At the very least, relatively minimizing people’s destructive behavior as only an accident, mistake, etc., means that you’d minimized it so much that you could then take one more step and minimize it absolutely, as if it’s within the range that we must forgive.  “I once heard a person describe it this way, ‘All our efforts are like a long string of zeros.  They mean nothing without a digit in front of them.  That digit is peace of mind.’”

“But when you say ‘Let go,’ what do you mean?” pondered the man.

“You’ve asked a profound question that has been asked through the ages.  To me,” continued John, “letting go means adopting an attitude of relaxed trust.  Relaxed trust is that sense of inner harmony—that serenity, that contentment—which comes from knowing all is well, even if you have cancer.

“You can let go.  You don’t have to judge.  You don’t have to approve.  You don’t have to control.  You don’t have to be right every time.  You can give yourself a vacation from trying to be Manager of the Universe!  That’s letting go.

To any self-help fan, “letting go” might seem to be as natural as, “God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”  Yet, as you could see here, accepting cancer along the lines of, “Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will,” is interchangeable with accepting normal imperfections like this.  To say that you don’t have to judge, approve, etc. serious things, sounds just as natural as does saying that you don’t have to judge, approve, etc., trivialities.

Section 6 talks about the potentially serious results from cancer. The cancer patient talks with The Cancer Conqueror about the possibility of relapses even years after the remission, that fears of death could come with fears of incapacity for a while before the death, and leaving the friends and loved-ones behind.  The Cancer Conqueror says that one could still have a relatively positive outlook, since friends and loved-ones would still remember those who died, and that the length of time that death from cancer takes also means, “Unlike many causes of death, cancer usually allows ample time to prepare.  This preparation, this taking control can be very comforting.”  And, of course, one could always have faith in life after death.

“It’s back again to fearing a low quality of death.  [The Cancer Conqueror] observes that patients who live a resentful life many times experience a ‘resentful’ death, full of prolonged suffering.  And likewise, many patients who live a life of anger may experience an ‘angry’ death.  But also, those who live a life of love, joy, and peace nearly always reflect this in their death.”

...“It is healthy to believe that even cancer is a message for us to become more aligned with those natural laws.  That is what life is trying to teach us—to become more aligned with God’s will.”

...“If you’re looking for a sure cure on the purely physical level, nobody can offer you one with integrity.  But on a spiritual level, the answer is right before you.  You are known.  You are loved.  You are acceptable.  Yes.  It’s guaranteed.”

Section 7 tells of the cancer patient going on to become more and more dedicated to this.

 

       

 

his must be inevitable.  If a society has rampant depression that doesn’t come directly from the government, then in it, “realism” must mean certain things.  This is basically Gelassenheit, which is German for Serenity.  The Addiction Process, Effective Social Work Approaches, by Edith M. Freeman, when describing the philosophy of Twelve-Step groups, tells of, “the existential understanding of Gelassenheit, which teaches that willfulness leads to self-defeating frustration.”  Of course, in life, the need that we deal with our own problems often also means that we deal with them physically.  In a society with rampant depression, this must be as unconditional as Gelassenheit, since dealing with the real world and solving your own problems can’t be conditional.  Irrespective of: what caused your problem, how morally wrong it was, how innocent you were in what caused it, what you must do and/or sacrifice to solve it, etc., in the real world everyone must take response-ability for taking care of himself.  This principle could be called Tapkerkeit, a German word for courage.  The unconditionality of both Gelassenheit and Tapkerkeit is inevitable since whenever this level of personal responsibility becomes necessary, conformists would accept that in the real world everyone must take response-ability for taking care of themselves.

One sure sign of this inevitability is the cognitive distortions of modern Western depression.  Pragmatism would have to be called a set of cognitive distortions, since one must distort his own thinking in ways that would make him most likely to succeed, rather than what best reflects what happened.  Intercultural studies have consistently found that depressed people who’ve lived in developed areas outside of the modern West have tended to feel paranoid, but modern Westerners, whether depressed or not, tend to figure that even if someone did “get you,” that would mean only that you lost the battle so you’re a loser.  The cognitive therapy self-help book Feeling Good, by Dr. David Burns, from 1983, lists these cognitive distortions as: All-or-Nothing Thinking, Overgeneralization, Mental Filter, Disqualifying the Positive, Jumping to Conclusions, Magnification [of what’s wrong with yourself or right with others] or Minimization [of what’s wrong with others or right with yourself], Emotional Reasoning, Should Statements, Labeling and Mislabeling, and Personalization, which Dr. Burns defines as, “You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.”  Yet this same book explicitly states something that The Cancer Conqueror seems to be implying:

Now we come to a truth you may see either as a bitter pill or an enlightening revelation.  There is no such thing as a universally accepted concept of fairness and justice.  There is an undeniable relativity of fairness, just as Einstein showed the relativity of time and space....

Here’s proof: When a lion devours a sheep, is this unfair?  From the point of view of the sheep, it is unfair, he’s being viciously and intentionally murdered with no provocation.  From the point of view of the lion, it is fair.  He’s hungry, and this is the daily bread he feels entitled to.  Who is “right”?  There is no ultimate or universal answer to this question because there’s no “absolute fairness” floating around to resolve the issue.  In fact, fairness is simply a perceptual interpretation, an abstraction, a self-created concept.  How about when you eat a hamburger?  Is this “unfair”?  To you, it’s not.  From the point of view of the cow, it certainly is (or was)!  Who’s “right”?  There is no ultimate “true” answer.

Feeling Good gives this not as an example of what victims’ pragmatic All-or-Nothing Thinking, Overgeneralization, Mental Filter, Disqualifying the Positive, Jumping to Conclusions, Magnification or Minimization, Emotional Reasoning, Should Statements, Labeling and Mislabeling, and Personalization, would look like, but as an example of how all victims should think so that they’d have great coping skills in all situations.  This is how Gelassenheit works, not because every situation that we must cope with would involve such unambiguous helplessness, but because no matter how unambiguous the helplessness is, coping with reality can’t be conditional.  Very mild depression may be the most appropriate state for this, since with it you don’t care much about catastrophes.  The Tapkerkeit version of the above quote, which would also follow the pattern of the cognitive distortions of modern Western depression, would say that if predatorial person(s) impact your life but you could at least partially fix what they did, then of course you must take care of yourself no matter how unfair that could be.  Or, as Lee Greenwood put it at the beginning of the great Reagan-era patriotic song, God Bless the USA,

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.

I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin’ here today.
’Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.

That’s classic Tapkerkeit:  It’s your problem, so deal with it, end of story.  And, of course, if he and his family somehow couldn’t rebuild completely, they’d have to settle for serene acceptance, Gelassenheit, “Oh, well, when lions eat lambs, that isn’t really unfair, so what happened to us wasn’t really unfair.”  God Bless the USA goes on to say, “Well there’s pride in every American heart, and its time we stand and say.  That I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free,” though if depression and helplessness were provably big problems in one’s own society, it would be only natural for him to feel ashamed if he stood and said, “If tomorrow all the things were gone, I’d worked for all my life....”

Gelassenheit doesn’t suppress or deny natural responses to stress, but mindfully transcends them.  If The Cancer Conqueror didn’t imply doing this to an unlimited degree, then any time that a cancer patient had the sort of bad experience that could make distress seem warranted, he’d have inadequate resolve to control his own cancer.  And who could judge whether or not the reactions were warranted?  Often enough, “In fact, fairness is simply a perceptual interpretation, an abstraction, a self-created concept,” means that naturally people would want to believe that “fairness” means that they’d be entitled to more than what they have.  Emotional reasoning that would result from outrage at this would be pragmatic, self-empowering.

Those cognitive distortions agree with The Cancer Conqueror, as to who is the person in “personal responsibility.”  That is, the person who has the problem that must get dealt with.  If you’re the one who has the cancer, and others have caused you aggravating problems, then you’re responsible for not getting aggravated a la David Burns.  This follows the modern Western pattern that can be seen in the cognitive distortions of modern Western depression, wherein the helpless person absolutely can’t change others’ actions, absolutely can change his own reactions, and absolutely must get his own problems under control, so he must focus his attention on correcting himself in an absolutist fashion.  This conception of personal responsibility is very self-justifying and self-perpetuating, both because it constitutes “necessary realism,” and because this red-blooded self-reliance looks a lot more honorable than does a conception of personal responsibility that could whiningly say that one person owes something to another, is to blame, etc.  When you consider that, as Antidepressant Treatment—the Essentials, by John H. Greist, MD and Thomas H. Greist, MD, says, “According to National Institutes of Mental Health figures, 20,000,000 people or approximately 15% of the U.S. adult population suffers from a serious depressive disorder in any given year,” that means a lot of self-blaming devastated victims.

 

 

 

These distortions really have to have the absolutist quality of Ayn Rand’s expectations.  Her absolutism would target those who seem to have weak, as in literally WEAK, characters, which probably also means that they’re pretty powerless to begin with.  In a society with rampant depression, beginning a patriotic song with, “If tomorrow all the things were gone, I’d worked for all my life.  And I had to start again, with just my children and my wife,” might not sound too faith-building.  While the Randroids, also, wouldn’t find that inspiring, they may be the first to insist that if you don’t face your own problems like that, you’re a simpering little loser.

This philosophy would blame as many of society’s problems as possible on the weak, figuring that if everyone tried to think and act like winners, then market forces and market discipline would make sure that everyone got what they truly deserved.  Sure, plenty of whiners would say that they deserve better than what market forces had given them, but naturally everyone wants to believe that they’re entitled to getting more.  Sure, those statements from Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation, the book that most shaped Hitler’s thinking, “Wrong through violence is not so ignominious for the perpetrator as wrong through cunning, because the former is evidence of physical strength, which in all circumstances powerfully impresses the human race.  The latter, on the other hand, by using the crooked way, betrays weakness, and at the same time degrades the perpetrator as a physical and moral being,” and, “The concept of good is divided into two subspecies, that of the directly present satisfaction of the will in each case, and that of its merely indirect satisfaction concerning the future, in other words, the agreeable and the useful.  The concept of the opposite, so long as we are speaking of beings without knowledge, is expressed by the word bad, more rarely and abstractly by the word evil, which therefore denotes everything that is not agreeable to the striving of the will in each case,” might sound stereotypically Nazi, but as any self-help guru could tell you, what people believe that they have a moral right to have, would have to reflect what they’d want to believe they’re entitled to, and your whining and demanding would degrade and weaken you.

 

 

 

Just as The Cancer Conqueror targets the “cancer-prone personality,” Libertarianism, in order for society to keep functioning, would have to target a supposed whiny manipulative victimhood personality.  If you then asked exactly what this personality is, the bottom line would have to be that if a person’s resolve isn’t adequate to deal with whatever his realities are, then he’s inadequate in his resolve.  Even in a society with rampant depression, the question of how severe is any helplessness that didn’t come directly from the government, is subjective, and Libertarianism is also called Objectivism.  (Not only that, naturally the whiners would want to believe that someone owes them something, and this would naturally shape what they sincerely believe that they deserve.)  Similar to what The Cancer Conqueror calls “cancer games,” is similar to what Libertarians would call “victim games,” including the fact that the weakness that the person supposedly chose to play his game, would be so self-destructive that obviously he couldn’t have chosen it for petty reasons.

In order for a society to keep functioning, everyone in it must deal with reality, and be motivated to show resolve.  Everyone: would benefit by having as much resolve as they could, could only do themselves some good by doing this even if the advisor couldn’t prove this, can change their perceptions of themselves and their problems, should let go and stop being so judgmental, should choose success, have plenty of high-stress emotionally disruptive events happening to them but that doesn’t mean they have to be bitter resentful and judgmental, might be fulfilling certain subconscious emotional needs by being the victims, should find other ways to fulfill these needs with the help of forgiveness, should courageously change themselves and serenely accept everyone else, etc.  Also, an adversarial competitive society couldn’t thrive if when it looks as if someone isn’t taking care of himself as well as he could, we’d have to be able to prove it before we could hold him accountable.  Sure, plenty of innocent people would end up getting blamed, but, realistically speaking, it seems that

 

 

Not only must it seem that market forces are good and whiny victim-power is bad, but this must be as absolutist and uncompromising as Rand was.  When Ron Paul acts concerned and other Libertarians act sardonic, the people that they’re trying to save us from are the weak.  And weak characters are what The Cancer Conqueror regards as The Enemy, even if this supposedly inadequate character would mean that the person experienced some extreme helplessness and his resiliency would be inadequate for him to maintain a confident outlook.  Just imagine how both Rand’s disciples, and Anderson’s believers, would respond if you did have hardship, others’ sinfulness, etc., etc., impact your life, and now you’re judging yourself by a standard of, “Are my feelings proportional to what happened?” rather than, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it.”   And this absolutism wouldn’t even require Rand’s philosophy: just as “God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference,” would necessarily mean “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” in situations involving hardship and/or sinfulness, realism would necessarily mean absolutism in situations where you absolutely can change yourself, absolutely can’t change anyone else, and absolutely must solve your problem.

This realism applies to economic issues in general, including what’s most pragmatic for dealing with the Great Crash of 2008.  Some of this would qualify as laissez faire, and some wouldn’t.  Yet either way, what’s realistic, is what’s realistic.  Either way, the more resolve that someone who’s looking for a job, has, the more likely he’d get a job, no matter how badly the economy is doing.  Plenty of those who could now seem to have “losers’ personalities” since they haven’t shown enough resolve to get decent jobs, wouldn’t have seemed to have losers’ personalities before the Great Crash, since then they could and did get decent jobs.

It should also be very obvious how much this self-help approach to cancer is out of the same mold as the self-help psychology pioneered by Twelve-Step groups, including those that train addicts’ friends and family members in how to cope with their own realities whatever they may be.  AA’s approach strongly reflects the fact that it has to appeal to addictive personalities, so it can’t be too “moralistic” “preachy” and “controlling” for them.  If some sociopaths who realized how much their own sociopathy was hurting themselves, were to set up a self-help group to coach each other into stopping the sociopathic behavior, then the principles of this group couldn’t sound too moralistic, preachy, controlling, etc., to sociopaths, or the coaching wouldn’t work, would turn off the members.

Another problem with basing programs for the thinking of addicts’ friends and family members, on programs for the thinking of addicts, is that such programs couldn’t have much respect for the people’s natural personalities and opinions.  As cult exit-counselor Steve Hassan’s book Combatting Cult Mind Control says,

Even so, it’s worth noting, a mind control group’s purpose may not be at all bad.  For example, many drug rehabilitation and juvenile delinquency programs use some of these same methods to destroy a person’s old identity as an addict or criminal.

When similar strategies are used on addicts’ friends and loved-ones, then these are the people who’d have their natural identities and personalities replaced by “what is good” in the Gelassenheit sense.  And one who has cancer and must get up enough resolve to make his own immune system fight hard enough, must break down his own thinking as Al-Anon would, not as AA would.

Also, Bill Wilson, the main person who wrote AA’s philosophy, was a stockbroker during the Great Depression, so naturally he’d want to believe that the people who have the problems should simply take care of themselves and adjust to reality.  Soon after the Great Crash of 1929, plenty of Wall Street’s fans preached about how we must accept economic problems like this, i.e. Joseph Schumpeter’s “creative destruction.”  Bill Wilson’s writings on adjusting to any reality that one can’t change are in the same genre.  In the end, the coping skills that self-help psychology picked up from Twelve-Step groups for addicts’ friends and loved-ones, have to be very similar to the principles of laissez faire economics.  Both must say that it doesn’t really matter who is morally responsible for what, only who is reliably motivated to do what must get done, so if we cared about “who’s to blame,” that would be both unfairly strong, self-righteous, and too weak, passive.  The Cancer Conqueror fits this same pattern, in that one who said to one of Wilson’s disciples, “But my feelings are proportional to what happened!” would get the same response as if he said the same thing to one of Anderson’s believers.

Connected to these groups for addicts, are Twelve Step groups for addicts’ friends and loved ones.  They must apply this same anti-resentment and pro-resolve logic, to however the addicts affect members, which they can’t change.

 

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(For more on this comic and how it applies to everyone, click here.)

 

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Frank Buchman, leader of the Oxford Groups, the club on which AA and then Al-Anon was based and until recently was called “Moral Re-Armament,” (Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here, from 1935, includes Buchman in its list of currently trendy “Messiahs.”) said, “D’you know Heinrich Himmler?...  Say, you ought to know Heinrich.  He’s a great lad....  [Hitler] lets us have house-parties whenever we like.”  Anti-Nazi British travel-writer and journalist Robert Byron, who got a chance to observe Nazism up close, wrote in his diary, “Himmler apparently dotes on the Oxford Group [How cute.] and writes to its English members discussing their troubles with them,” so he was their Dear Abby.  If Himmler had sent you some “Dear Abby” letters that didn’t mention the Nazi practices that Buchman didn’t like, the advice that the letters would have given would have helped you become more resilient, courageous, self-responsible, realistic, and abiding by Gelassenheit (a fatalism that teaches that willfulness leads to self-defeating frustration if you’re helpless to get what you want or need), so you would have ended up with a stronger character.  Victim Correction as a Panacea, is Gelassenheit and similar all-encompassing attitudes about physical response-ability for one’s own problems, exactly what a society with rampant depression, anxiety disorders, etc., would most need.  The wave of the future, the “new economy” of self-responsibility, requires that we want to be responsible members of society, take response-ability for our own welfare.

Sure, Niebuhr wrote that he was shocked about Buchman’s admiration of Hitler, though The Serenity Prayer summarizes the book that most shaped Hitler’s thinking, Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation:   As with a panacea, we must see the entire world in terms of the ineradicable SELF-WILLS of the sinful, the ignominious and surreptitious SELF-WILLS of victims who don’t represent their own bad experiences to themselves as being as innocuous as possible (“Those manipulative whiners want to believe that someone owes them something!”), and, therefore, our responsibility to do this.  Niebuhr wrote that Buchman’s faith that dictators, business tycoons, etc., should use their power to push Christianity, vapidly ignored how realpolitik would affect the outcome, “The slightest acquaintance with the history of Christian thought on the problem of the relation of the absolute demands of the gospel to the relativities of politics and economics would prove its childishness,” but the same could also be said about applying a simplistic sloganeering spirituality to the situations that contribute to our rampant depression.  It isn’t possible to get any more vapid than,“Serenely accept everything that happens to you in a society with rampant depression, that you’re helpless to change.”

The question of whether “it” can happen here, all depends on whether or not “it” includes the aspects of Nazism and Himmler that Buchman’s formula for living didn’t include; if not, “it” happens every day.  The “it” in It Can’t Happen Here included merely an ambiguous, covert, attitude-of-gratitude racism (“It was understood... that all Jews of all conditions were frequently to sound their ecstasy at having found in America a sanctuary, after their deplorable experiences among the prejudices of Europe....  The allegiance of all such Negroes as had the sense to be content with safety and good pay instead of ridiculous yearnings for personal integrity Sarason got by being photographed shaking hands with the celebrated Negro Fundamentalist clergyman, the Reverend Dr. Alexander Nibbs, and through the highly publicized Sarason Prizes for the Negroes with the largest families, the fastest time in floor-scrubbing, and the longest periods of work without taking a vacation.”), so the “it” in modern America could include merely an ambiguous, covert, attitude-of-gratitude form of the strong horrifying the weak.  A classic cliché expression is, “There is no alternative,” to the power dynamics of our economy, and another way to say this is that there is no alternative besides dictatorship and/or Zimbabwe-style economic failures, so every time that these power dynamics horrify us, we should be grateful that we’re not instead dealing with dictators’ outrages, and/or economic failures including massive unemployment, irrespective of any indefinable abstractions such as integrity.  If you’re in a Wagnerian conflict, and you simply must deal with your realities, then you simply must deal with them as Schopenhauer prescribed.  The psychology of, “You don’t want to think/act like a weak person, do you?” could be called a form of neo-Nazism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Schopenhauer on Predators

 Emphasis on Victim-Self-Blaming

Darwinist Lehman Brothers’ INSIDE Sales Tips

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Out of the Same Mold as the Great Crash of 2008

Message for Intellectuals in the Islamic World

Candace Newmaker’s Experience

Breaking Important Confidences for Your Own Good

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Cigarette Industry and Victim Correction

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