Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Attitudes about lying

From a reader:

I've just recently found your blog, and I love it. I basically skimmed through your whole blog over the weekend, so maybe you did address this and I missed it, but just in case you haven't, I thought I'd ask:

Was there ever a particular moment/epiphany where you realized that people genuinely struggle to lie - either just as a skill set, or morally they can't abide by lying?

I was never able to take fictional characters who struggled to lie seriously, and merely assumed they were yet another dumbed-down archetype meant to instill a moral objective in children, one of many that society ultimately fails at. Why should I take the grown-ups seriously about not lying when they also, in the process of telling me to "be nice", encouraged me to lie (either outright or by omission)? I struggled to understand the subtle social cues, and took them as invisible nuances of walking and talking that I worked hard to understand - and I assumed lying was apart of these 'unspoken universal actions'.

When I responded to people's various dilemmas over the years with "why don't/didn't you just like?", I never understood them when they said, "I can't!" Didn't they see how pointless this moral attitude was? It wasn't until my early teens when someone explicitly said that they froze up in that situation, and that the lies I'd thought of on the spot they were only able to conceive after careful consideration, that I realized lying was less of a universal and more of a skill-set. After all, if I knew there were people out there who could, say, do a complex math problem easily in their heads that I struggled to do with pen and paper, then of course it made sense that lies I could easily think of would come harder to some people.

Even then, it didn't really occur to me that people could feel such moral aversion to lying. I could understand disliking lying, and I could understand not being good at it. But then a very recent incident sharply reminded me how easily other people become guilt-ridden over the most ridiculous things:

A female friend of mine comes from an extremely micromanaging and conservative family. She wanted to visit a sex shop with the rest of our social group, and we suggested she tell her family that she is seeing "The Hobbit" to justify being away from home and not answering her phone for several hours straight. Simple, right? Except a day later I got a text from her asking if we can see another movie instead. I was very confused and assumed she just wanted a different time frame (preferring a 2-hour block instead of the 3-hour block to be gained with The Hobbit), and after a couple of back-and-forths it turned out now she actually wanted to take us to see a movie "so the guilt and shame would not kill her".

Considering she upheld a very active social life that often has somewhat sexual components to it without her family's knowledge, I was genuinely shocked that she had this aversion to lying. Lying about whether someone is a friend or sexual acquaintance is okay, lying about which part of the city you are in is okay, and lying about what you are doing those long hours you are supposed to be studying in college is okay, but you draw the line at lying about a movie? I'm...actually still rather confused by it. Both by the fact she, specifically, has such an aversion - and that someone can feel guilt about lying when they are doing so as a measure of self-support in the face of unnecessary social suppression. I intellectually understand that some people feel guilt when lying. But I cannot understand why someone who was lying to an overtly-controlling family just to be able to go out with some friends would feel guilty about it. The only explanation that makes sense is that it's a domestic analogue to Stockholm Syndrome - except that she obviously isn't kidnapped nor abused by her family (there was an abusive father, but he has been gone for years, now).

I'm muddling through it on my own and after poking around some of her issues I started to understand it, but now that I've stumbled across your blog, I have to ask - when did you learn people struggled with lying, or did you always know without any particular epiphany? Did you never differentiate between people who struggled with lying purely as a skillset vs those who struggled with it "morally"/emotionally? Did you ever try to explain to yourself why they struggled? If so, what are some of the explanations you've come up with? And if not, how did you handle people's bizarre attitudes towards lying?

M.E.: I don’t think I ever wondered about people’s ability to lie, but I definitely remember trying to coach my long distance cousin about how to stand up to the bullies in his life and being shocked that he wasn’t able to naturally intuit ways of subtly undermining others while maintaining a veil of innocence to onlookers. 

I myself don’t think about or understand lying much. Should we publish what you wrote to see what others have to say?


Sometimes, I still have trouble grasping how difficult it is for other people to lie. It's like saying you don't know how to brush your teeth or something. Several years into college and I still have to remind myself that just because I can immediately figure out what someone else's insecurities and psychological weaknesses are, doesn't mean everyone else can. (And it really takes some reminding, sometimes, because it just seems so obvious to me.)

And definitely, go ahead and publish it (and hell, this e-mail, too). I'm curious to see what other people would say. I've had some...interesting reactions to explaining to people (every day people in real life) that I had to 'learn' in my tweens that lying didn't come easy to most people, because I'd been doing it so naturally and easily all my life.


  1. I'm only asking ONE FAVOR of the posters here: If a person wants the
    answer to a question, they should ask the most knowledgable people, namely,
    the sociopaths themselves.
    Four years have gone by, and Casey Anthony is mostly forgotten. Even back
    in 2011, many people only payed perifiral attention to Casey's story. Some
    readers here might remember her better then other's: A young mom who saw her
    baby as excess baggage, and tossed her a few feet away from her home in a
    wooded area. People couldn't get their heads around a person who could do that,
    so through a combination of adroit jury selection, and pursuasive psychology
    and LUCK for a person born in the Year Of The Tiger, she got off.
    Many STILL hate her, but as we get firther and firther away from the case, people forget. There are people who do everything in their power to see that she
    doesn't profit, but because she is no O.J., most have moved on. She might make a quick financial score, but the lawsuits would follow like rice on rye.
    She's thought to be in hiding now, but nobody REALLY knows what her day is
    like. I hope that M.E. knows, because I hope she is actually corresponding with
    M.E. M.E. (Or some other astute, intelligent person posting here) is her only hope.
    In any case, I ask the TRUE EXPERTS, "What do you see for her?" Does she
    REALLY have to hide for the REST of her life? Do you think she is getting around with a few minor alterations? Does she live as normal a life as she can
    given the circumstances. Some say they've seen her in bars, but somehow,
    photos are never snapped. You'd think she's had sex from 2011 till now, since
    she is suppost to be so sex crazy? Why hasn't anyone talked? And why hasn't
    someone from her old circle of friends not talked?
    Radical Agnostic used to be in law enforcement. He would know. And the
    intelligent female posters here would know.
    If someone would come forth and seriously answer just ONE of these questions,

    1. I wonder if Casey Anthony can be convinced to be a part of an anarchic uprising.

    2. Wow, you're fascinated by her. I think you shouldn't worry about bringing her up again. Why stress yourself about what you're posting here? You remind me of Kenny in South Park who dies over and over again. Kenny certainly adds to South Park immensely, and so do you.

      As for her, she knew how to party in the hardest of times, I'm pretty sure she's having a blast with her life and has learned to keep it private after all that publicity.

      Keep SW weird, lol...

    3. Daughters of AnarchyJanuary 13, 2015 at 3:51 PM

      Anonymous, I am not entirely convinced she killed her own daughter. Maybe she did. Idk. Sorry to say; but have you heard all the allegations against her father? Maybe her father is the manipulative and dangerous man that's put all the blame on Casey and set up his own daughter and killed the grand-daughter? Who knows? Just look into both sides .

    4. Yes, good critical thinking, however it's fun annoying the crazy guy who visits this site once a day as we know how much he is a fan of anarchy. I think it would be fun (and probably relatively easy) convincing Casey Anthony to participate in a black bloc.

    5. Hello Dr. G :) I'm making your favourite cookies tonight.

    6. Dr.G. If you’re cheap and horny tonight. You can suck my dick

    7. hey whatever happened to her...I loved her

    8. btw, if someone is horney, how does that satisfy someone by suckin someone's dick?

    9. Her real name is Sonja something. An old ugly lady, you really don’t want her suckin your dick..

    10. Does that actually mean you are old and ugly?

    11. Old, fat, bald and ugly. Proud of it too, but Wet listen to me if Sonja can’t do it, can you?

    12. So you're one of those low end men in society who has no status, no money, is unattractive, and can't get women? Must be proud..

    13. lol, soooo many replies, no I’m 15…Anon, her name is not Sonja. Doc is an old pervert UC Davis professor/stalker.

    14. ^ You are stooping at a low level tonight with yr insults Go ahead keep talk to back & forth to yourself. Yr lovely claws are only going to scratch you in the end. But I shall feed you a dozen cookies so you feel better.

    15. Is that what UC Davis feeds to its unsatisfied professors, "cookies", Pamela De Lion! Well, then then you guys need to know constantly stalking, mocking, blaming and harassing your innocent students will not "fix" that issue...Take it somewhere else.

    16. O its you. How ya doing? Been along awhile? :) No one from the university is stalking you. No one probably knows who UC David is on this blog, I reassure you that.. It's your perception from reality right now. Take your medicine or else I'll feed you gingerbread cookies. ;)

    17. First, I don’t take any sort of drug/medicine –including tea and coffee . Second, thanks for your reassurance, but I wouldn’t have mentioned them, if they,themselves, haven’t admitted to it. Third, I’m not surprised to see the hostess who openly confesses to be a pathological liar, defending her trolls, sheltering and feeding them. Fourth, if you/your buddies don’t want to take responsibility for your own actions, at least don’t preach others, regardless of how deceptive is your “reality” .

    18. O sweetie ... was hoping the university stuff passed by now.

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  2. Any such struggle would stem from flawed logic- the supposition that empaths and psychopaths are 95% the same, followed by confusion that this one thing would be so divergent. We are not the same at all, so an empath's difficulty lying and irrational selection of when lying is okay versus when it is not constitutes nothing more than another charming deficiency of the unfortunate majority.

    No one is surprised that a dog can't drive a car.

    1. Cc you're fun...I wish you would say more about your inner life so we develop a better understanding of the differences you are perceiving. You say empaths are nothing like psychopaths...

  3. Aspies are known to stick to truth, and this is one of the reasons I also thought I might have been more of an aspie. I never felt any reason to lie, and believed not lying was my strength, not weakness.

    When you lie, you typically step out of yourself for the benefit of another, you make the other the party judging you as opposed to you yourself judging you. Now, if you're a criminal or someone who acts a certain way steadily with potential ramifications, it of course is a skill to cover your ass. If you're being abused and can get out of that situation by lying, that also is a skill.

    I think I was sheltered and unaware enough that I found not lying in my best interest growing up. Now I find, holding back information, and the timing of release of the information to be an important skill, and as a former tell-the-truth-at-all-times-and immediately, as a person who used to disclose it all this holding back of information is actually bothersome to me, but I stick to it. I'm sure that discomfort will dissipate over time.

    When you lie to someone you sort of accept tthat this person has some sort of control over you. Just that notion used to stop me from lying and sticking to my truth. And, in that sort of thinking I actually see a touch of narc.

    A high functioning rational person should think of lying more in terms of information management. What do you disclose, when do you disclose... And, possibly stick to disclosing as little as you can get by and as late as possible, at the most opportune time. Cold and calculated, treating it like cash.

    I don't see this as an empath versus sociopath issue, but more of an education and skill issue. Part of my growing wisdom based on having observed how people burned themselves with poor timing of information disclose (including myself, of course). So, this reader has made a point but s/he's far from providing a deep insight as s/he has no mention of the underlying motivation.

    We need to learn to ask ourselves even in the most basic acts we take, what is our motivation? I'm trying to learn that. As a generally goal oriented person and having taken on large long term projects and spent my life busy with them I've failed to learn analyzing my motivation in situations where there are no goals, just daily basic interactions. These are the little areas where you can really learn about yourself, and the starting point is 'what was my motivation?"

    1. Hi Sceli, Great post. A lot of what you said resonates with me. Lying takes a lot of work . . . and the truth does have a nasty way of coming to light sooner or later. Treating info like cash is an interesting and very practical way of looking at lying, too. Not sure that I see it like that but I find the analogy very apt for a culture that 'games' everybody constantly. Thanks for sharing.

  4. HLH, I was thinking about you this morning. You are at that point in life where one tells the self 'something is not right, and something has to change about me.' I'm going through the same thing. What I'm realizing is that I put the task on hand ahead of the team. The others were not as committed/efficient/competent etc. and I pushed them believing that I was doing the right thing and looking back I realize I exactly made them feel that way in the process: inefficient/incompetent, and possibly took away from sense of commitment. All that happening without any thinking, of course. Just naturally what's happening around me, when I am not consciously putting the human component into the picture. Just a touch of slowing down, just a touch of letting the process become inefficient could have been enough to make the poeple feel efficient/content. Are you thinking along the same lines? Is that why you were asking me about processing time? What would you do differently about your relationships around people if you could to make them want to stick to you and not let go? In my case, it honestly boils down to putting people ahead of the tasks. Because no matter what the tasks get done one way or the other, but people's feelings around you cannot be manipulated later, it's in that process they form their opinions.

    As engineers we've been brainwashed around efficiency, waste minimization, what not. It's the soft skills engineering education needs to incoprorate to not have engineers burned out by 40. Maybe they don't care, maybe for the system it just is best to suck out that pure efficiency brain while it's young as older brains are not as fast in processing analytical information.

    I'm sure you'll come out of this period having changed for the better (for your life). The only advice I have is that make sure your kids feel that they are top priority in your life, that's the best investment for your old age (after 70). I don't have kids, and I'm confused big time as what I need to be doing to make my old age interesting. All I can come up with is writing.

  5. Hi Sceli,

    You are right - I am at a point in life where something has to change. But I'm not sure it's really "me" that needs to change per se, but that I need to change my circumstances to suit me. I'm probably happier with "me" now than I've ever been -

    Part of the reason I was asking about time is because one of the things that makes living with Ma tough is that she seem completely oblivious to the passage of time - and doesn't really care either. Her attitude is so foreign to me that I'm searching for ways to understand it. It's really all about control with her - at least as far as I'm concerned. Your experiences as an Aspie are helpful - thank you.

    As to pushing teams - I've long recognized that I can push myself harder than the vast majority of people. For that reason, I very quickly figured out how to get the performance out of my team I needed in a more or less sustainable way.

    First and most important: are they up for being pushed? Not everyone can handle pressure. If they can't handle it, they need to be moved to positions that are a match for their temperament. Next, you need to understand enough about the individual lives and needs of your people so that you can be mindful of them and avoid the conflicts - this probably earns more appreciation and loyalty than just about anything else. Finally, I had a policy: "if no one is coming to me looking for you I won't miss you." Basically, everyone is an adult, I expect people to make and honor commitments to me and the rest of the organization and in return, I am very flexible about when they come and go. But, if I need you - you are there. That's the basics.

    There are all sorts of other tactics - if I'm keeping people late, especially a lot of people, I will feed them. While I tell them that it's a way of saying "thanks," it's also a way to keep them together and gets them back to work sooner. I'm always shocked when I have to explain this to bosses - and even more shocked when told I can't operate that way.

    Engineer burnout is a whole different conversation -

    1. HLH, it's that ability to change circumstances to suit us is the strength and the weakness that brings us to the state of isolation. As we get older this skill needs to be replaced with increased tolerance and letting the young ones start controling the circumstancesm hence a change in who we are. You may not have hurt sufficiently to come to this wisdom yet, I have. So, beware...

    2. Hi Sceli,

      Actually, there's a wonderful line from the first season of Weeds delivered by Martin Donovan about his character's ex wife: "she blew a hole in my heart that angles could dance through" (I probably got it not quite right, but you get the idea). That happened when I chose (among other things) to go to university. Took years to work it out - and I'm really only now coming to understand some of the deeper reasons.

      I know that I am better off and happier living with other people, so I'm quite mindful of that. I also know that the most comfortable and stable relationships for me are with other "creatures."

      My kids - I'm really coming to understand bonding through them and I really wonder how well I was ever bonded to anyone else. Dad was duty, mom was that and more. Sister - I'm not bonded to at all. So this is what I'm noodling on these days.

      As a parent, I am all about empowering them, not controlling them (Jr's main beef with Ma - and mine when you get down to it). I will be devastated when they go off to university, but it's part of the plan, so I have to be ready for it.

    3. Thanks for not being mad at me.

    4. Nothing to be mad about - 8)~

    5. I've actually re-read that whole exchange and I'm puzzled why you might think I would be angry. Actually, I'm touched by your concern -

      Tell me about your writing - I know you can't be too specific, but what genre and medium(s) do you like to write for? Who are some other writers that might be similar and/or inspirational to you?

    6. :)

      First let me ask you something. Are you aware that English is not my native language?

    7. Nope - I had no idea. What is your first language?

    8. Sceli, I also am curious about the themes, etc., you write. If you don't mind talking about it -- I know writers who refuse to discuss their writing and so understand if you don't.

    9. :) I can't say where I'm from originally, for all practical purposes assume I'm Hungarian, as a lot of mathematicians come out of there.

      All I've written so far are journals of relationships of all kinds, just to sort out my life and my thinking. I've read so much psychology and books on writing that once I start I'd roll but I somehow can't start.

      I like being bold in writing and don't ask me what that means, I'm not sure either. I just googled that and it looks like some people have ideas on what that means, I'd better read and see if it's aligned with what I kind of have in mind.

      I haven't yet found my voice or direction really. Have published mathematical articles years ago and have an algorithm named after me, but I want to write for the masses and am not sure if I want to keep writing under the same name.

      I read on writing of all kinds, and would like both books and screenplays. Need to focus at some point, and I keep delaying. I guess part of the problem is I'm worried about getting boxed into something or some idea, that's the last thing I want. Want to be able to write about many different things and in different styles. Maybe I should use a pseudonym for each type.

      I'm thinking of seeking an agent who could help me prioritize the stuff. Not sure how to go about that, except that it'd help to create a little summary of all that I have in mind, like a little look book.

    10. Sceli, You have an algorithm named after you -- cool!

      It sounds like you're still plumping the depths for a direction for a specific, first project. As I recall one writer of magic realism/slipstream fiction said, I keep stewing on all the ideas, chop wood, stew some more, screw my girlfriend and still nothing happens. Then one day it all gels." Maybe your brooding will hatch something sooner than you think.

      I'm not sure an agent would prioritize your stuff -- most agents I know expect the writer to do that. But maybe you know someone . . . . in any case, I hope you decide to just let the words fly. Your particular brand of boldness will very likely reveal itself in the process of writing. That's what finding your own voice is really all about, far as I know about writing. Just my opinion of course. But I do know a lot of writers, both fiction and non-fiction, and they all have warned me about "trying too hard." Flowing, not controlling, seems to bring out the best in most writers, is what I think they mean. You can always chop it up later.

      I hope I don't sound like a know it all about writing because I certainly am a very humble published writer -- my fiction has appeared in small magazines and of course, my non-fiction in astrology publications. But it's never been easy for me to write and there are so many great writers out there that oft-times I'd rather read than write. So, take all this unwanted advice with a huge grain of salt.

    11. @Sceli: Are you familiar with Hungarian culture? They are an interesting bunch. The fact that you have an algorithm named after you - that ROCKS!!!

      Like Faust, I've published some stuff in the odd journal and such - I'm more interested in what sort of stuff you are interested in writing.

      Let's try this another way - are there American authors/artists that you like and or find inspirational?

    12. :) Thank you, two. Yeah, you publish an algorithm and then someone tries to write a better one and in the comparison refers to yours with your name and from that point on you have an algorithm named after you. Helps if you're the single author, and helps if the new algorithm is only better under certain conditions and definitely worse under certain other conditions. I think I've distanced myself far enough from that world that after reading your remarks I kind of think that it's cool, too. I should tell about it to my nephews, they'd dig it.

      As for my new direction of writing, I'd definitely be the flowing type, it's just that starting of it all... I'm not sure what I'm waiting for. I really am not. Maybe I'm scared it'll further isolate me, that I won't like the way people will relate to me.

      Agents know the publishers and what books would make more money, that's why I'd like to get some feedback and prioritize. Also decide on the style. Like ME's book. She could also have published it in a narrative style and put a 'based on a true story' as opposed to nonfiction style. People react differenty to these things. People are less challenging and moe accepting of dramatic fiction (even when it says based on a true story) than a nonfiction. It's also liberating to write fiction. Who knows. It certainly is also more work to write fiction than just your story and/or opinions.

      Jack London, Hemingway, Milan Kundera for books, and Tarantino and Ingmar Bergman for screenplays definitely inspire me. I think of London, Hemingway and Tarantino as bold, not the other two but I like the sense of haze in them (again, whatever that means). Tarantino is both bold and hazy, hmmm.

      As for themes, I'd say addressing the frailty of human nature (without use of alcohol/sex/nudity/technology), beauty and difficulty of being a human, not in any particular society but in general, based on interactions with nature (including wild and domestic animals) and other human beings.

      Yeah, I know some about Eastern European cultures... I like the sophistication, their golden years of literature and science under occupation.

      What kinds of things did you two publish in fiction?

      Faust, what do you mean by nonfiction astrology?

    13. My stuff is strictly technical - I just meant that I've done a little, but nothing of any real "weight." I've toyed with adapting novels to screenplays - more as an exercise and a diversion than any serious ambition. Maybe if I had something I wanted to say...but then I fall into "essay mode" and I would make Ayn Rand's characters seem deep by comparison.

      With the exception of Milan Kundera, who I'm not familiar with, I like your list! I also really enjoy Camus and a couple of sci-fi authors. David Mamet writes some tight stuff as well (House of Games is a good one).

      I see Hungarians in a very different light - there is something crude about them as a group - endearing to me, but even I have to shake my head sometimes.

      A great example, I think, is when Obama needed to sign a treaty and congress was playing games. A delegation of diplomats from Europe held a press conference to say, "please let the guy sign it already."

      When the Hungarian representative was asked why he was there, he indicated to a couple of the female representatives and said something to the effect of, "how could I not be here with such beautiful women here."


    14. :) That's funny.

      The Unbearable Lightness of Being, that's Kundera for you.

      Milan Kundera > Quotes

      Milan Kundera quotes
      “Two people in love, alone, isolated from the world, that's beautiful.”
      ― Milan Kundera

      “You can't measure the mutual affection of two human beings by the number of words they exchange.”
      ― Milan Kundera

      “When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.”
      ― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

      “Anyone whose goal is 'something higher' must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.”
      ― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

      “Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.”
      ― Milan Kundera

      “Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.”
      ― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

      “Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).”
      ― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

    15. Sceli,

      I loved The Unbearable Lightness of Being! And London, well, I guess he was at least partly responsible for my living 13 years in the wilderness. Like Harry, I also enjoy scifi and all kinds of weird fiction (cause I'm weird, I guess). Camus, Hesse, Laird Barron, Lucius Shepard, and many others, some whom I've met at writer's workshops-- Shepard and I were very close friends. (He died last year and I'm still not over it.)

      My published fiction is strange, dark and somewhat mystical. My father gored me with his disapproval when my first story, a horror tale, hit print. He hated my writing and my interest in astrology -- mom was into both, too, and he believed that these fascinations drove her to suicide. Not true of course. Anyway, I think you're right that fiction is more free form therefore more difficult than non-fiction, and that it makes the writing a bit more frightening to contemplate. Where is this story going, will it soar or crash? I always think of writing fiction as jumping off a cliff and hoping you can fly. In non-fiction, I find myself knowing exactly where it's headed and how to line up my ducks, easily putting everything in order -- non-fiction is way more logical and predictable. But when writing fiction, I have to have faith that my non-rational mind will 'find' the story and make it work. Lots of re-writing involved in both types of writing, though. Sigh.

      You made me laugh with the line about non-fiction and astrology: If you mean astrology is really a fantasy, then I suppose I'd have to say I don't write non-fiction. But, in the world of astrology, we write articles about the 'science of light', too. I've' published a lot of astrology articles, and a couple interviews with scientists on their views of astrology. (You'd be surprised.) Those interviews caused enormous debates amongst both scientists and astrologers from all over the world. It was a blast for me to see folks from the sister sciences having a go at it, and I think it helped bring the two camps closer in some ways, at least among a few. As you know, for a scientist to even entertain the idea of astrology is a career-killer, so I greatly admire their open-mindedness and willingness to speculate in print.

      I hope you keep writing. It's a great path to self-discovery and insight about the world -- like SS said somewhere recently in the blog, writing helps us to speak of the unspeakable. (Or something like that.)

      As for making money from writing and being popular . . . I dunno. It's a hard road for sure. Lucius made a living from it but never got 6 digits for his books -- he did option out Life During Wartime to Hollywood, though, and the studio renewed the option for over twenty years, without ever turning the book into a movie. And that money was very, very good.

    16. That was a delight to read, Faust.

      The world is so full of unknowns, it's hard to accept for me that there are star connections with our birth and nature (despite the fact I indeed am a very good example of what my horoscope dictates, and not just me so many people I think I kind of know). I just never really got curious about certain concepts, like God, astrology, mind-altering intakes, sci fi. I do believe in Secret kind of stuff though, meaning if you really want something and go at it you can create miraculous realities, certainly has happened several times in my life. I'm also starting to open up to sci fi because I find the thought of time travel in fiction a further liberation of thought and expression. Yeah, fair to say that the writer in me is the one interested on sci fi, not the reader. Fair to say I'm ignorant about all those things I have paid no attention to.

    17. Thank you, Sceli. I'm happy you caught a buzz. :-)

      The world is a total mystery to me, and I can't get enough of exploring that mystery. It no longer matters whether or not I find some sort of ultimate truth -- science is a work in progress, so the scientists tell me and it rings true. From flat world to round, to bleeding cures to surgery, our comprehension of the universe is never (and never will be I think) complete. As for you not knowing about astrology -- most people don't. Why would you? Millions of people live very happily without it or god or mind-altering stuff. To each his own.

      What do you mean by Secret kind of stuff? Just curious (I'm always curious). I, too, have had some pretty far out experiences, mostly while living in the bush, sans drugs. I view drugs as very dangerous for most people, though, l do think Don Juan/Carlos Casteneda wrote some very interesting stuff about peyote, etc. And I do think indigenous cultures who believe in taking mushrooms and such as part of a vision quest are definitely on to something. There's a doctor who wrote a book on addiction called In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, who also conducts ayahuasca rituals with addicts, which supposedly helps break the addiction. As I work with addicts/criminals whose lives are a living hell and who can't seem to quit, I do believe an altered state of some kind might jolt them into going straight. When I took peyote in my teens, it changed my perception of life overnight. But then, so did reading Camus and many others. In fact, M.E.'s also struck a chord somewhere very deep that I'm still digesting. If evolution has fostered the survival of socios, then to my mind they are necessary in some way, and so, I want to learn about them. After all, as I stated somewhere else, witches, astrologers, Renaissance scientists and others have all been deemed evil by normals . . . sad.

    18. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_(2006_film)

    19. Never read it, I'm afraid. The law of attraction, the idea that thinking positively will bring into your life wealth and happiness is iffy, far as my life has gone. Though I will say that like the placebo effect, thinking positive thoughts does have a real physiological effect, in fact it fills the body with high energy. And certainly being optimistic creates better results than expecting the worst. I guess being an astrologer has tainted me somewhat to the New Age notion that all we have to do is think positive and everything will fall into our laps. When clients undergo a challenging transpersonal planet transit to their personal points, I don't see their 'positive thinking' doing much to change a negative experience, IF they are refusing to take responsibility for their own psyche. When the rain comes you either don gum boots and carry an umbrella or you get soaked. Maybe even drown. Others who are more self-aware will wind up playing in the mud and puddles.

    20. Great discussion! How about Philip Roth, are either of you interesed in his books? I went through a phase when I thought he had something to say about the human condition but eventually his misogyny and pessisism turned me off. I enjoyed The Unbearable Lightness of Being as well but the happy ending was a let down. I know it was fiction but life is not like that. It's a huge uphill struggle and eventually we lose everything. Family and friends are all that make it worthwhile. That's why I feel sorry for socios, they really cannot love despite what ME contends. I was brought up in a religious household with heaven and hell and all that stuff that I fast grew out of. Sometimes it occurs to me that hell is here - on a bad day :)

      As for lying, I have no time for liars. I'm dealing with one in a courtcase at the moment and I hope it comes back to bite him on his narc ass!


    21. In my experience, the law of attraction is a load of hooey. At one vulnerable point in my life, Louise Hay's book You Can Heal Your Life became my bible. I did all the positive thinking and visualisation and just ended up deluded and in denial. I'm more of a fatalist these days; you cannot heal your life but you can learn graceful acceptance. I have been rubbish at shaping my life according to my desires so I've learned to grab moments of happiness and joy when and where I find them instead.


    22. Hi, Carrie. Welcome to the discussion.

      I don't think the right way to interpret the Secret is to just wish something and it happens for you. It's more like 'your thinking becomes your vision.' Meaning, instead of worrying about so many stuff I rightfully could worry about, I could focus on a book I want to write and breathe that day in day out, talk about it to people, etc., simply put the intention out there and oops, you never know. I mean, theoretically, if I talk more about it here (by the way this was not an intention of mine, I can't believe I even said so much about me and my thoughts already) some agent who sees what I'm saying here could approach me, right here in SW. You know, what I mean? I've had this sort of thing happen before. I also had far out spooky things happen before, like one time (I'm fictionalizing a similar event here) here I'm craving for chocolate on the beach while suntanning and a few minutes later a family come and lay their towels right by me and nextthing you know they are asking me if I'd like some chocolate? F'ing A, yeah I wanted chocolate. Who does that? I mean, seriously, who offer you chocolate on the beach, and only after one hour of your mentally sending out this 'damn it, I really want chocolate.' Anyway, this is awesome when it happens to you. Another way of looking at this is jump on those crazy cool stuff that occasonally happens to you and keep assuming life will be good to you (without leaving your gun at ome when you're out and about in the wilderness).

      I'll amazon the author/book you mentioned.

    23. Hi Sceli, some writers believe that talking about what they are going to write will jinx it or somehow take the jizz out of it. I'm happiest when I'm writing as well but I didn't have the self-awareness to realise I was a writer when setting out on a career - or the headspace or autonomy - and so embarked on a path that took me way off course. Nowadays when I attempt to write fiction my characters are way too melancholic and get the bin before they take shape.

      I love a bit of magical thinking myself - just today I came across a book in a bookshop about a woman who claims she can see angels. She maintains each of us has a guardian angel guiding us through life. It's a comforting thought, one that takes me back to my childhood prayers. It's great to feel cherished and protected for a while. I haven't found lasting love romantically speaking so often I feel like flotsam and jetsam, drifting through life just trying to stay afloat.


    24. Hi Carrie, I can relate to a lot you said: the religious upbringing (I got kicked out of Sunday school but for a while there I wanted to be a monk) and then, after my mom's suicide, when the Calvary Memorial minister damned my mom to hell, I ditched religion and began to explore the mystical in nature -- nature was my cloister, my teacher. That's where I felt an intelligent force at work . . . hard to explain. As for hell on earth, I think any sane humanoid can see this earth shaped by civilization is not Eden. Life on earth is hell for millions of people and animals.

      I couldn't read LH's book, either. I just couldn't. ;-) Besides, the ends of desire always land us in the unknown, beyond the accomplished goal. Greek myths like Jason and the Argonauts shows where heroes wind up -- not exactly where they intended when they began. Be careful for what you wish for does seem to bear weight when I think of Trump and a few others who are married to vampires because they buy their love not earn or give it.

      Magical experiences. yeah. I dig those, too. Got some terrific examples from my own life regarding synchronicity, from Jung's perspective. I think all of the stories from around the world about interactions between 'enlightened' or open-hearted individuals and wild animals shows (at least me) that all life is interconnected on some level, because nature is pitiless . . . then again, not always. And that seems very strange to me. Not that I'm a fan of people like that guy in the film, Grizzly Man. When I heard him say that he was "like a flower in the field" to bears, I gagged. No wonder he got mauled. But, aside from idiotic smooching with bears, I've personally had some very cool experiences in the wild. And no one, not the government or anyone, can steal those exalted interactions. They are stamped in my mind and heart.

      Writing: I don't dare say another word. Er, write another word about writing. It's so bloody difficult, and I'm lazy. Truth be told. But I'm about to book off some time from work and hopefully finish a story or two that I think will sell, because the ideas are very original. Far as I know.

      Romance: Not for me. No desire whatsoever to have to nurture anyone else besides the family horde, who are all stressed to the max.

      Being cherished: That's a hard one. These days a lot of people are 'cherished' for the wrong reasons, i.e., celebs, models, etc. There seems to me a certain vacancy in the kind of ways many 1st world folk cherish each other -- or maybe I'm just saying that cause today I'm feeling rather cynical. I do know my cat loves my opposable thumbs.

      Just kidding. I actually do feel cherished by some people, too.

      Gotta go. The loving, devouring horde has arrived.

    25. Whew! You all went on quite the "book club" discussion while I was off trying to be a responsible adult (failing in an epic manner, I am sure... smirk).

      @ Sceli: Milan Kundera - I haven't read, but at least I can attach the name. I will have to read at least ULB at some point at least - I'm actually getting a bit backlogged...

      The quotes are beautiful - I can see why you are inspired by them.

      As far as sci-fi goes, I do love the classics: Heinlein and Clark and Asimov - sort of in that order, but that's strictly a personal preference ranking - all three are great. I would also include P. K. Dick - that's some interesting stuff as well...

      @Faust: My mother was into astrology and the occult and all things "new age." Most of the people I met along those lines were looking to con - even my young self (tween to university years) could see it.

      But there was one woman that came up with things that are tough for me to explain - even using the law of large numbers. Specific events and times and such on several occasions. Predictions -

      I like to cold read mostly for fun - sometimes for work. This wasn't that. This was something else.

      I identify and operate as a devout agnostic - I have no answers or faith (and my "soul searching" came up empty). Decisions are made on rational facts and/or some degree of cost/benefit analysis. Magical thinking for me, like you, is "iffy."

    26. Harry, Con men and women come in all stripes. Stock brokers, astrologers, politicians, you name it. I, too, am a devout agnostic. I think it's hubris to say that god exists or Not. How on earth can we know?

      Actually, I don't care about the existence of god. Something creates life. I exist. Stuff happens. I have the opportunity to explore it - life, whatever that is. No one knows. Not me, except that, I want, therefore I am. I want to know. The fact that I never will actually tickles. Means I get to keep on keeping on exploring, gratifying an my curious bent forever. A kind of immortality of discovery.

      Your mother calculated charts? Read them for you, your family? What sign was she? Have to ask. I'm always curious.

    27. Hi Faust,

      No worries - mom was born 01Oct1937 - a libra. My profile says I was born in October 1956 - that's BS. I was born "very early" February 1967 - a water sign and a fire horse - what to make of that? 8)~

      Day to day, I stay grounded in reality - magical thinking has a way of getting one into trouble...especially if you "ain't wired right." But, I like to think that there is something more - I like the Jungian view - *shrug*

    28. Mom was more into tarot cards - she LOVED those - lots and lots of readings.

      I had my charts done once when I was a tween, but that person was just telling mom what she wanted to hear - just a con -

      And, yeah - there are cons everywhere - some of the shit I've seen engineers pull - so it's not unique to that "field."

    29. Once things settle down, I've been toying with getting the water bearer and the fire horse tattooed on my back under the Firgga Cat -

    30. Ew aren't you like 50?

    31. And I'm fat and I've got a hairy back.

    32. "Ew aren't you like 50?" Does anybody else sense that mephitic "whiff" in this speaker's pitch?

    33. "And I'm fat and I've got a hairy back." gross

    34. Sceli,

      Have you ever experienced this?
      It sounds as though Milan Kundera has experienced it.

      “Sometimes you make up your mind about something without knowing why, and your decision persists by the power of inertia."

    35. Inertia feels to me like a real force, like gravity. I can't defy gravity . . . .

      Maybe I can. Just not working hard enough at it. You never know.

    36. Harry, I'll get back to you when the family horde departs In a very general sense, though, "early February" people are rebels with or without a cause. James Dean sans Natalie, etc. Depends on other factors which I'll need to look up. You could be the man in the gray suit. ;-)

    37. Faust,

      Inertia is a real force, and it can be powerful. Not knowing why is not always a bad thing, and that is when inertia can feel even stronger. I believe that, since I have experienced it. It dwells more in the realm of feeling as opposed to a logical thought or a specific "process."

      Sometimes, one doesn't need to work hard at it. It can be instinctual (i.e., as a type of flow), but forging ahead and going with that feeling can make it seem like it would be hard. I suppose that when rationalized, it can certainly feel that way. The "secret" is not to rationalize it too much. :)

      How else do you understand it, considering the persistence factor?

    38. "In non-fiction, I find myself knowing exactly where it's headed and how to line up my ducks, easily putting everything in order -- non-fiction is way more logical and predictable."


      I just read this, as well as this whole thread, and it sounds like you have a certain, inner attraction to non-fiction. Knowing something in an exact way is invaluable in life. Would you consider writing a non-fiction novel?

    39. Hi SS,

      I agree that inertia is more of a feeling. It pervades one's bodymind in a very generalized, non-focused way. As you know, writing is an act of extreme focus . . . I suppose one reason I'm writing here is because it's easy to blog comments rather than face the fog of inertia. Presently I feel like the alien seductress in the film, Under the Skin, where she's on the run from her fellow aliens and drives into a fog bank to lose them. Abandoning her van, she walks blindly into the mist, waiting for a sign, a direction to take. She's now surrounded by predators, both alien and human, and doesn't know where to turn. Then comes the 'clarion' call -- she hears a bird cry, then the muffled sound of a human humming a tune. She follows the sound . . . . I guess that's what inertia feels like to me. You're waiting for sign, a signal and direction and until that sound comes you are lost in the fog. Sorry if this description is hazy; I don't know what else to say. There are also many other external factors at play over which I have no control -- my time, energy and space is not my private Idaho. I am looking after a high-maintenance situation. It's very exhausting, which contributes to the inertia far as writing goes.

      I've considered writing a memoir but it doesn't really appeal, though everyone tells me I should, given my strange life and many adventures. While you are right that "knowing something in an exact way is invaluable in life" I must confess that I deviate somewhat in that belief: Nothing is as it appears to be, not even physical reality and certainly not people, Hence I've always been fascinated by the unseen, the invisible, what's going on under the surface, under the skin. Fiction allows me to soar into the land of "what if?" For whatever reason, I need that kind of excitement on a very deep level. Imagination is a potion I can't get enough of.

      I was actually thinking of writing a non-fiction astrology article about the author of this blog, but, I doubt ME would share her birth data with me. Understandable and I wouldn't want her to become more vulnerable than she already is. But without accurate birth data, I could not write an article. As well, I don't know for sure that the astrology magazine I write for would publish it -- probably, but you never know. On the other hand, Liz Greene's book on psychopathy has paved the way for discussion in even scholarly astrological circles. (Usually, it's the sensationalist astrologers who write articles on 'dark' horoscopes; I'm afraid I don't fall into that category, hence don't publish in those mags.) My university mentors are trying to talk me into writing a non-fiction article about my work with the hard-to-house, but that would raise a huge political stink and certainly I'd be black-balled from that line of work. Still, it's a tempting thought.

      Interestingly, my horoscope is getting hit with heavy Pluto/Uranus transits, so change is coming whether I like it or not. Time to meditate and see what comes through.

    40. "She follows the sound . . . . I guess that's what inertia feels like to me."


      While I can understand your point of view (i.e., more of less, that is), I strongly believe that inertia cannot be followed. I am saying so because I, and this is my true nature, am not a follower. Having said that, I "feel" that inertia is created and only a natural-born leader can sustain it in whatever goal s/he has decided to accomplish or originate. In this sense, I see inertia as originality/leadership/propelling it forward. So, what I am basically saying is that inertia is always with the leader, meaning the propelling and sustaining creator. Also, I don't believe that one should follow the inertia of another, but, then again, this is my opinion because I am not a follower. Others feel comfortable with that idea, because of their own type of personality. My inner calling is that of a leader, even when I am not working with a team. In essence, it's a strong, personal trait.

    41. Faust,

      Not following the personal inertia of another in a business situation or work is what I meant to denote in my previous message. However, when it comes to having a partner in a relationship, I believe that inertia is interconnected, and both partners build onto it as one, thus creating a lasting and distinctive bond. I chose to clarify this point because it is important to me within the specified context. There is a clear distinction between the two.

    42. SS,

      Perhaps I misspoke . . . because I am certainly not a follower at work. I have fought tooth and nail against upper management, loudly, in their face. As well, I have forged new paths in my work as an astrologer . . . but for privacy reasons, I can't get into that.

      When I said follow the sound, I meant I look for clues, internal or external, that suggest where I can flow instead of struggle against certain currents - especially my own wayward tendencies. It's odd, but I lead very well when I want to, when it seems vital to do so. But, I don't mind following so long as I'm being lead where I want to go. :-)

      In relationships I'm very relaxed, and very, very tolerant. I usually do whatever it is that the other person wants in terms of going to, say, one movie or another. I don't care about or sweat the small details that so many people find important, and a source of conflict. In fact, I've found it useful to let certain people I know think they are leading me, when the opposite is true. I think letting others have control of the steering wheel is fine, so long as they aren't driving us into a tree. And they respect my need for time alone. That's usually where the trouble starts . . . I need large swaths of time to myself, to read, to think, write and dream.

      The kind of inertia I'm experiencing right now is likely due to some depression because of a situation I can't control and keeps getting worse. When the people I love are suffering and I can't help, I seem to lose my creative zest for writing. In any case, I will simply have to push through and on, quit trying to rescue everybody. Fool's errand, that.

    43. "My profile says I was born in October 1956 - that's BS. I was born "very early" February 1967 - a water sign and a fire horse - what to make of that? 8)~"


      Those who are born in February, better known as Aquarians, are seen as an Air sign, as opposed to a water sign. Don't let the Aqua in the name and the water bearer confuse you. I just thought I'd mention this point, since many people seem to confuse the two.

    44. Faust,

      "Perhaps I misspoke . . . because I am certainly not a follower at work. I have fought tooth and nail against upper management, loudly, in their face. As well, I have forged new paths in my work as an astrologer . . . but for privacy reasons, I can't get into that."

      True, you don't sound like a follower at work, and your words clearly make that well-known. Forging new paths is what I like doing as well, having a vision and wanting to mold/make it extraordinary. It is an inner drive that I've always had, and that is when I can genuinely be myself. Because of what I do, I see leadership as being the creator (i.e., and sustaining it with ongoing, uncommon or even eccentric innovation in some areas of life), meaning that I was not referring to leadership in the sense of the word that one might think at first glance. In other words, it is more like inspiration, deviation or true creativity as opposed to à la carte leadership. However, it feels as though defining it would inadvertently take something away from it, so I choose to leave it as is, but having it take shape at the same time. It works for me, becoming part of the creative force. It is like planning and writing everything that has been carefully planned, enhancing it all with details that fascinate the mind.

      "When I said follow the sound, I meant I look for clues, internal or external, that suggest where I can flow instead of struggle against certain currents - especially my own wayward tendencies."

      Yes, so do I, and now that you've clarified this point, I can see it better in you. Flowing instead of struggling is something that I am also drawn to, just feeling as though things can proceed more naturally, but altogether uncommon. It might sound like a contradiction, but it doesn't feel like one to me.

      "And they respect my need for time alone. That's usually where the trouble starts . . . I need large swaths of time to myself, to read, to think, write and dream."

      Yes, so do I, and I can easily understand this point, especially when working on something that is essential to me.

      "The kind of inertia I'm experiencing right now is likely due to some depression because of a situation I can't control and keeps getting worse. When the people I love are suffering and I can't help, I seem to lose my creative zest for writing. In any case, I will simply have to push through and on, quit trying to rescue everybody. Fool's errand, that."

      Seeing people suffering is quite difficult to do, but pushing through and being there for them can always help in one way or another. I believe that an open and creative mind can achieve great things.

    45. Faust,

      "My published fiction is strange, dark and somewhat mystical. My father gored me with his disapproval when my first story, a horror tale, hit print."

      Can you talk about the plot and characters in this story? I also like things that are strange on some level. What inspired you to write it?

    46. SS, I concur with much you say. " Forging new paths is what I like doing as well, having a vision and wanting to mold/make it extraordinary. It is an inner drive that I've always had, and that is when I can genuinely be myself. Because of what I do, I see leadership as being the creator (i.e., and sustaining it with ongoing, uncommon or even eccentric innovation in some areas of life), " That is exactly how I feel about my creativity, which has taken many paths . . . I view my living in the wild as a creative act, too. Not many people can live deeply alone, far from people, and something changed on a spiritual level, which changed the way I experienced life. But in terms of writing, yes, I, too, feel that I am "becoming" part of the creative force. Life is creative, always diversifying, and when in the "flow" I am making not just a work of art, but a living work of inspiration of my whole life.

      I actually don't see a contraction between natural and uncommon -- looked at closely and long enough all individuals in all plants, animals and human are unique in some way.

      I think my essential alone time bothers a lot of people. They complain and wheedle, and I beg for, then demand my time . . . it's not always fun being loved by others. They want to gobble you up. And I am a very solitary person by nature.

      From reading and a few friends, I'm happy to know that open creative minds achieve great things. The librarians laugh at the stacks I haul home. I'm fortunate . . . to have been strong for a very long time for many people, partly because of the wisdom I've received from countless others. watching sentient beings suffer sucks! If I had but one superpower, it would be to heal the all the damn suffering. Then I could work unimpeded, without having to answer doors, pick up the phone, listen to wailing and screaming. Call me a selfish visionary with good intentions. :)

      The story popped into my head as a voice, while standing in line to mail my ailing father a package. He died a few months after the story placed in an international competition for aspiring writers. The plot: A woman meets a mesmerizing poet who sexually seduces and infects her with a vampire-like disease. He does this because he's lonely . . . but then he makes fun of her of her poetry. She ends up slitting his throat and cutting his head off, placing it on the mantel. The decapitation scene came from a dream I'd a month earlier, I believe, in which my I found my mother's head in the basement, and my father was coming toward me with a knife: he'd been hiding behind lines hung with dirty linen. :) I just love my unconscious, the irony!

      Btw, my father was a Scorpio, with a raging temper. He never hit me. A mean Archie Bunker, he had one gift: he could tame any wild animal. Animals adored him and my mother.

    47. Should read, "The decapitation scene came from a dream I'd had a month . . .

      And: "in which I found my mother's head in the basement . . . .

    48. Found another mistake . . . but . . .

      Instead, I wonder if you've ever read Charlotte Dacre's Zofloya, the Moor? Or The Monk by Lewis? Both stories are gothic romances and have interesting women characters named Matilda . . . both authors were highly criticized for their provocative sexual scenes. Another novel from around that same period I really love is Melmoth the Wanderer.

    49. Faust,

      You are a proficient writer, and I must say that I like your style.

      My creativity has taken several paths as well, having changed and/or inevitably altered quite a lot throughout the years. I am a writer of fiction, and, honestly, there is so much to be said about developing and carefully crafting my voice and/or style. I developed a combination of my own craft, my style having taken a turn that makes me feel content at the present time. I am currently working on something that I have a great feeling about, and I hope that my vision will turn into everything that I have envisioned. It is having a vision and planning that has given me a great deal of confidence and belief in what I try to accomplish. Becoming part of the creative force is both a gift and a true calling. I have always been aware of my calling, a drive that I can call my own. It is tied in with being original and innovating every single day/night of my life, and not just through writing, but in all areas of my life. I find that it also fuels one with a tendency toward inspiring others to do great things with their lives.

      True, not many people can live deeply alone, which is something that very few can possibly understand and cope with on a certain level. Likewise, my time alone is essential, and it does create conflict when it comes to the demands of others. I firmly believe that it takes generous understanding on the part of another who leads a less solitary life. However, being aware of one’s nature is important in all types of relationships. People will always ask for your attention, and that is a part of life, especially when living in the wild.

      When it comes to the “contradiction” that I mentioned earlier, I call it so because others have outwardly and forthrightly made me aware of it. In truth, it never feels like a contradiction to me, because this natural/uncommonness, along with its intensity, is my true nature, and I find that others have a difficult time understanding it. What’s more, I’ve had people who mistake it to be a weird attitude, so to speak, but it goes much deeper than that with me, since I don’t force it or try to make it seem as though I am different. I am sure that you are aware and highly familiar with the “weird” image that some artists/writers try to uphold. It is planned in their minds and behavior, which is never something that I do. This is truly one thing that I don’t need to work toward or control. Instead, it outwardly flows through/from me, and that is how I connect it to everything that I do. In other words, it is the most innate and familiar state that I know, and it makes me who I really am as a person. I believe that you can understand what I mean, since you’ve expressed something similar in your writing.

      Yes, open and creative minds achieve great things. You know so from reading, which I do as well, both through books and online material. “The librarians laugh at the stacks I haul home.” You have a good sense of humor, though.

      Your intentions sound visionary, and I can relate to the feeling of watching others suffer. It is hard, especially when people come to you for help, and you do your best to ensure that they feel more satisfied.

      The story you wrote about the vampire sounds quite dark, which is something that I can understand. Based on what you’ve written about it, I can see the way you combine the horror component with the humor aspect of it, which is quite entertaining. I can relate to that, although my voice/style has developed in a different direction as well. The unconscious can bring forth a variety of ideas and plots, which can be quite useful as one creates a story.

    50. Faust (Due to the character/word limit, here is the rest of it),

      I laughed as I read your way of connecting your father to Archie Bunker, having pictured a wild scorpion in my visual representation of your thoughts (i.e., my mind connected that to the Scorpio sign). Based on what you’ve written and your subconscious interpretations, I can see how you’d think that animals and your mother adored him.

      Dark subject-matter appeals to me, and while I still write in a relatively dark voice, my style and topics have changed and matured throughout the years. It has become dark with an ultimate lesson to be grasped from it, thus taking it into a different direction. I wrote a very dark story once about a talented and highly capable wizard who lived his life in hiding (i.e., better yet, his true self), but then discovered a way to make himself known in his own way. He went through many trials and tribulations, and eventually found a way to attain his goal, but, just like he initially set out to do, he did not make himself known to the masses, which would have taken away from his well-designed plan. I named him Viktorrio.

    51. Faust,

      I haven't read the first two novels you've mentioned, but I am familiar with "Melmoth the Wanderer," which is really a set of stories within other stories, relating the progression of Melmoth's life. If you were to pick one, which story would you characterize as dark(est)? By the way, Balzac, whose work I like, wrote a follow-up story, entitled "Melmoth Reconciled."

    52. SS, Thank you for the compliment regarding my writing.

      I believe that living an authentic life leads to creativity. We aren't meant to be sheep, i.e., Kens and Barbies -- trying to live up to a perfect image designed by other people invalidates one's own experience, which results in feeling false, thus isolated from our own unique force. Too much work putting on an act, ask me. Take me as I am or leave me alone. Should I ever publish a book, you won't find a glossy pic or riveting bio on the cover. I will let the work speak for itself and remain invisible. I like being anon in the world at large.

      You sound very much in touch with your core self; like me you appear imbued with passion for your creative fire, your vision. Like you, I don't need to act weird to create a public persona of the 'artist.' I'm actually very charming albeit fairly shy and quiet, especially in crowds. I hate being the center of attention -- a residual of growing up amongst people who abhorred that sort of thing. But, with Pluto in Leo on the Ascendant, I stick out. Like a magnet I attract all sorts of people. Which is sometimes fun but often not; I can't ride a bus without some poor suffering soul telling me their life story. I do enjoy exchanging ideas with others and do nurture the 'force' in them whenever I encounter it in a way I can relate to and find inspiring; unfortunately, I find most people want to talk about things I find distressing, or worse, boring: food, TV, clothes, shopping, celebrities, all the consumer mind candy society offers.

      Reading your comments, I can sense your contemplative depths, and it's a pleasure to read. Surely your work will bring forth something profound and beautiful. My intentions with my writing are very similar: I want my writing to move souls, not millions into my bank account (though I could use a hundred K or so.) I believe that great writing is as close to immortal life on earth as you can get and a way of touching others throughout time. That's how I relate to all art: If it moves me I am touched by the artist and by his/her connection to the unique force of life they are channeling. Goethe, Shakespeare, etc., are alive and well in me. These and other great writers have forever marked my spirit.

      "Viktorrio" Good one. A twist on Viktorria . . . another Gothic antihero.

      One thing I wish to clarify -- my mother did not adore my father. They fought constantly: she was a liberal Aquarian, ahead of her time, generous to a fault and always bringing home stray people and pets. Thus her Aquarian Sun squared my father's tightly controlling, jealous Scorpio Sun. Being fixed signs, neither one was about to change for the other. The only thing they seemed to really have in common was their love of animals; and the fact that animals adored them both.

      I wish you the very best in your creative work and feel quite sure you will produce something I'd very much like to read.

    53. The story of the Guzman family was the most tragic . . . but I most enjoyed Melmoth's Satanic rants about humanity to Immalee as they sat together on the island shore watching ships pass by. Melmoth's end, though mostly off-screen, ignited a slowly creeping terror that lasted for days. Not sure why, as I don't believe in hell. I think it was perhaps the futility of his 150? year journey on earth, the realization that he had sold his soul in return for no mortal satisfaction, his unquenchable fear and isolation that truly touched me.

      Matlida in The Monk is a delicious seductress and the downfall of the monk hilarious. His end was horrible and which I admit I relished: Ambrosio had reached the status of a saint yet wound up shattered on the rocks, alive and broken, unable to escape his devilish fate. Like many others who inhabit this space of SW, I have little compassion for those who think they're high and mighty, above dark thoughts and temptation. We're all worm food, after all is said and done, and we all excrete the same smelly mess, physically and mentally. No matter how good we try to be, there's always some part of us that has occasional bad thoughts. The trick is not to act on them. Some are just better at covering up their dark thoughts, to the point where they believe they don't have them, which I think is dangerous. There's nothing quite so funny as watching the holier-than-thou fall from a great height. Watching smug Ambrosio slink from his holy perch into heinous behavior made me laugh uproariously. Somehow he reminded me of the self-important minister who had damned my mother to hell for committing suicide.

    54. Faust,

      Thanks for your amiable thoughts on my writing.

      Writing a book, whether the genre is fiction or non-fiction, takes a great deal of work, practice/planning and dedication. Equally important, both fiction and non-fiction writing constitutes a reflection of the author on levels that can fascinate or absorb in one way or another. I am drawn to both, fiction and non-fiction, keeping in mind that autobiographical writing, or invaluable truths, as I call it, can take analogous shapes in both types of writing. In any case, one should not be intimidated or unsettled about writing non-fiction, since it means that s/he has something to offer to the world, which can make a significant difference in the lives of others.

      “I wish you the very best in your creative work and feel quite sure you will produce something I'd very much like to read.”

      Thanks again. I wish you the same.

    55. Faust,

      Your thoughts on "Melmoth the Wanderer" are revelatory and suggestive in ways that I anticipated based on a few of your prior comments.

      "No matter how good we try to be, there's always some part of us that has occasional bad thoughts. The trick is not to act on them."

      I agree with you, since it is both self-protective and wise not to act on them. I believe that you might also like Honoré de Balzac's "Melmoth Reconciled." In toto, it can be insightful.

    56. "I want my writing to move souls,..."


      I can relate, and I think that putting yourself into that will shape your character even further, delving deeply into your writing. This is an idea that one can act on, stemming from a deviceful vision.

      I also like these words: "I believe that living an authentic life leads to creativity."

    57. Morning SS,

      Thanks for your comments

      I like Balzac, but haven't read MR. Will put it on order at the library.

      "Your thoughts on Melmoth the Wanderer are revelatory and suggestive in ways I anticipated . . . '

      That made me chuckle. How so?

    58. Faust,

      I like Honoré de Balzac's "La Comédie Humaine." The title of the series has been viewed as an allusion to Dante's "Divine Comedy." While Balzac alluded to the all-inclusive amplitude of Dante, his title demonstrates the worldly, human enterprise of a realist-novelist. Are you familiar with the essential preface or "avant-propos" showing his major principles and the work's all-inclusive structure?

      "That made me chuckle. How so?"

      I meant to say that you have a good sense of humor, and your response was appropriate. :)

    59. SS,

      "He then describes his writer's role as a "secretary" who is transcribing society's "history"; moreover, he posits that he is interested in something that no previous historian has attempted: a history of "moeurs" (customs, manners and morals). He also notes his desire to go behind the surface of events, to show the reasons and causes for social phenomena"

      Very interesting. And very ambitious.

      I've read half of Dante's Divine Comedy . . . as a soothsayer I had to find out which circle I'm headed for . . .:)

      I like realism, too. Paul Bowles' Sheltering Sky comes to mind as an old favorite. I read all kinds of stuff -- a lot of non-fiction these days.

      I enjoy your humor, too. Yours is more sly and sophisticated.

    60. Faust,

      "I've read half of Dante's Divine Comedy . . . as a soothsayer I had to find out which circle I'm headed for . . .:)"

      I laughed as I read this, and find it increasingly humorous that you looked into it as a "soothsayer." :)

      In Dante's "Divine Comedy," Virgil represents reason, making him the appropriate guide. As the journey takes shape, his treatment of Dante changes, depending on the situation.

      Virgil is vigilant and prudent in explaining all of the functions of Hell and its diverse structures. In truth, Virgil is concerned with Dante's welfare. At times, when Dante is having difficulty with some of the "shades," Virgil tells him to be judicious and watchful.

      Having said that, as an individual, realism is my forte.

    61. SS,

      I was joking; I read Dante before I became an astrologer. :)

      " At times, when Dante is having difficulty with some of the "shades," Virgil tells him to be judicious and watchful."

      Lol. No kidding.

      As I recall, Virgil is also patient and pragmatic in explaining the punishments each class of sinner suffers. The soothsayers' heads are screwed on backwards. In any case, because diviners attempt to peer into and predict the future, they're doomed to look eternally backwards -- looking backwards is also symbolic of the astrological phenomena called retrograde, when a planet as seem from earth appears to transit in reverse in the zodiac. Dante's hell turns the sin against the sinner in great ironic detail. Which may be why I avoid making predictions in astrology in terms of concrete personal events. Wouldn't want to wake up in in the 8th circle, fourth pouch, beside Tiresias.

      Having said that, I suppose I'd have to admit that magic realism is more my game. ;)

    62. Faust,

      "I was joking; I read Dante before I became an astrologer. :)"

      I like the name soothsayer better, since it adds to your "skill." Having become a soothsayer after the first reading, how would the "Divine Comedy" read differently if you were to read it again now in this "altered state?"

    63. Faust,

      "The soothsayers' heads are screwed on backwards. In any case, because diviners attempt to peer into and predict the future, they're doomed to look eternally backwards -- looking backwards is also symbolic of the astrological phenomena called retrograde,..."

      Your humor has unquestionably reached a new height here. In retrospect, I recall having encountered some "outre" information dealing with the astrological phenomenon named retrograde. Comparative to the unorthodox circles of Hell in Dante's magnum opus, each grade had a certain "prediction" for every single person concerned (i.e., zodiac signs were involved as well). As to their heads being peculiarly twisted as a form of punishment, Dante's opposites are a good source of both insight and entertainment for me. There is an outlandish sense of doom, bearing on the edge of idiosyncratic facetiousness.

      "Wouldn't want to wake up in in the 8th circle, fourth pouch, beside Tiresias."

      I am visualizing this part, and I find it hilarious! I can also imagine Guido Bonatti and Asdente as they occupy the Fourth Bolgia, conversing with Tiresias about "the fire next door."

    64. Faust,

      "As I recall, Virgil is also patient and pragmatic in explaining the punishments each class of sinner suffers."

      Yes, Virgil's patience is noteworthy when it comes to these sentencing punishments. As Virgil continues the dark voyage, Dante creates an unconventional correspondence between the sin of a soul on Earth and the punishment s/he receives in Hell. Quite enterprisingly, the Sullen choke on mud, the Wrathful attack one another, those who charge interest on loans sit beneath a rain of fire, and the Gluttonous do the "unspeakable."

      The structure of the work is craftily created to emphasize this correspondence: in its plot, it advances from minor sins to major ones (i.e., a matter of degree); and in the "geographical" structure it conceives, the diverse regions of Hell are tied to specific kinds of sins (i.e., a matter of "kind"). In this way, punishments become a matter of nearly scientific formula, tied in to geographical locations.

      In many ways, Dante’s Inferno can be seen as a kind of taxonomy of human evil, the various types of which Dante explores, isolates and judges. Come to think of it, we are invited to question its organizing principle, wondering why, for instance, a sin punished in the Eighth Circle of Hell, such as accepting a bribe, should be considered worse than a sin punished in the Sixth Circle of Hell, such as murder. Surprisingly (i.e., a bit of a "twisted head" here with a "mysterious" purpose in mind), Dante considers violence less evil than fraud: of these two sins, fraud constitutes the greater opposition to God’s will. God wants us to treat each other with the love he gives us as individuals, whereas violence acts against this love, fraud signifies an outright perversion of it.

      Dante places much emphasis in his work on the concept of immortality through storytelling. A few shades ask Dante to recall their names and stories on Earth upon his return. They hope, perhaps, that the retelling of their stories will let them to live in people’s memories. Having said that, which "shade" do you see as truly deserving of immortality?

      Magic realism sounds like an area to be fully explored. What else can you add about it? I'm rather interested in hearing more about this topic from you.

    65. You may call me a 'soothsayer' so long as we agree that I don't read tea leaves, splotches of sacrificed blood or the entrails of animals, etc. ;) Though I do admit I like playing around with the I Ching and Greene's Mythic tarot deck, but only for myself, never clients. The I Ching and I have a very personal history -- it played a big part in steering me to a place where, quite by accident, I qualified for a grant to start and run my own business -- I was paid to upgrade my skills so that I could become a professional astrologer, develop a business plan, learn computers and marketing. Jung's forward to the Wilhem /Baynes edition in which he discusses synchronicity resonates with the kind of 'fate' that resulted in my becoming an astrologer. It was magical.

      Since studying astrology and other systems of divination I now always read all literature with an eye for numbers, certain dates, phrases, etc., pertaining to astrology and other arts like the tarot, mythology, etc. Astrology's language and influence is present everywhere . . . Saturnine, Saturday, Sunday, sunny, mercurial, lunacy, moonshine, etc. Certain texts like Shakespeare and the bible are riddled with astrology and enriched by it, sensually and artistically.

      Astrology is simply one lense out of many ways to look at life. And I often enjoy its 'altered state.'

    66. Faust,

      "You may call me a 'soothsayer' so long as we agree that I don't read tea leaves, splotches of sacrificed blood or the entrails of animals, etc. ;)"

      I knew about tea leaves, but the other two sounded quite "new" to me. In any case, they made me simper, taking them as "medium" humor with a tad of cleromancy, so to speak.

      "Since studying astrology and other systems of divination I now always read all literature with an eye for numbers, certain dates, phrases, etc.,"

      Curious thoughts....The I Ching uses cleromancy, which, as you most likely know, is a type of divination. Cleromancy produces professedly random numbers. Having said that, six (6) random numbers are turned into a hexagram, which can then be tracked down in the I Ching book, and then craftily arranged in an order known as the "King Wen sequence." Now, and this is the best part that has caught my attention, the interpretation of the readings found in the I Ching is the subject of long, protracted years of debate. Come to think of it, numerous commentators have used the book symbolically, often to bring guidance for moral decision-making as apprized by none other than Confucianism. Suitably, the hexagrams themselves have been given cosmological importance.

      In toto, how familiar are you with occlumency?

    67. I am not familiar with occlumemcy and have never read Harry Potter. The idea that one can hide one's mind via some sort of mental clearing practice may be true. But I don't worry about stuff life that: I can be charmed, but not hypnotized. (literally not be hypnotized by so-called experts).

      I live a very transparent life while mostly remaining invisible, which suits me very well.

      The I Ching is fascinating and it all depends on how good you are at reading the text in a layered fashion, learning how to apply the structure of the hexagrams to your own situation. I moved to the island where I became an astrologer because the book literally fell into my lap at a public library as a donation while I working there, and on the inside cover was the name of the person who donated the book (in German, and my co-worker was German) and the name of the island, where I was contemplating moving to at the time. It was either there or Hawaii.

      A classic question to ask the I ching is, What approach should I take to my present situation? This open-endedness creates the prospect for the I Ching to give you the best advice.

    68. Faust,

      True, the idea that one can screen his/her mind in such a style is appealing. However, I am a bit surprised that you are not familiar with the more dark arts, akin to occlumency. I suspect that it can be quite engrossing after dabbling in them for some time.

      “I live a very transparent life while mostly remaining invisible, which suits me very well.”

      I can “see” the paradox in you, but as long as it suits you well, I don’t see any obstacles in doing so continuously.

      “…the book literally fell into my lap at a public library as a donation….”

      Well, hearing this is a first for me, but “magical realism” might have something to do with it? I can’t be sure, so you tell me. The layered fashion is something that I am increasingly becoming familiar with, fitting everything into its own structure.

      “What approach should I take to my present situation? This open-endedness creates the prospect for the I Ching to give you the best advice.”

      “Midway on our life’s journey, I found myself
      In dark woods, the right road lost.”

      These famous lines, said by Dante, create the allegorical plane on which the story’s meaning is revealed to us. The use of such powerful and dynamic words as “journey” and “right road” signifies the “inner” aspect of Dante’s impending adventure, and rapidly let us know that we are leaving the realm of the literal….

      Dante’s confidence in his fate makes his passage both unusual and clear.

    69. SS,

      Kin is still here so I must be brief.

      No: magic realism had nothing to do with it. The book was donated to the library. My coworker, a German, pulled the I ching out of the deposit bin early on Saturday morning, during conversation we were having, discussing my resignation and where I was going to move: I had just informed her that it was either Hawaii or X island, AND, we're were discussing how the I Ching works on coincidence. . . it's complicated when, but when I relate the whole story, you will laugh.

      The Kin are waling. Gotta go.

  6. When it comes to lying, I believe that it, like many other things, is both nature and nurture.

    The nature part, for me, stems from a blunted fear response - nothing to fear, as it were. I'm sure the affective empathy aspect is also important, but frankly, I don't have enough direct understanding of it to be able to say much.

    But here I think nurture can have a HUGE influence. Both of my parents were consummate liars and game players. This was how I was raised to function in life. Where that line is - I expect that depends on the family/group.

    1. Had to cut that post shorter than I liked - the spawn were taking over the house...it's quiet again...

      The line for me is mostly that of "convenience" - these are lies that are along the lines of "I'm doing ok" but really I'm not, but I don't really want to discuss it with you or now or here or whatever. Sometimes it's just to move the conversation along -

      Big lies I try to avoid - not always successfully. In those cases, I've screwed up and I'm covering and/or trying to save my ass. I can be shameless in those circumstances. But, like I said - it's because I've erred. One of the great things about age (and you have to look hard for them sometimes) is that I mostly avoid situations where I need to save my ass, so to that end, the big lies are becoming mostly irrelevant and I hope to continue that - it takes energy that I'd rather spend otherwise.

    2. I can see why your wife left you.

    3. Oh stop pretending. Don't act like that didn't make you cry.

    4. Who ya gonna bang from this site?

    5. the world needs to change, not me!

    6. I think it will be Faust.

    7. Isn't anyone going to suggest that I "go fuck [myself]?"

      Come on people! - that was a softball...

  7. Big lies, little lies. All leave their indelible mark somewhere. Like fossils, a life built on lies leaves a permanent record in the hearts and minds of those who were lied to. And for the liar, when they look back on their lives I suspect there is an empty, 'what if' kind of realization, what if I'd told so-and-so the truth? Would they still love me? Because for me, when I catch people lying too much, I out them. Not with hate or even disgust -- I simply don't have enough heart, time and energy to sort out the true from the false. It's too much work interacting with pathological liar. And if you've manipulated me into loving you or feeling sorry for you, I also feel betrayed. As a person with dominant Scorpio in their chart, betrayal brings out my worst rage.

    However, I do think, as Sceli wrote, that info does need to be disclosed in the right way, at the right time. For example, an abused woman doesn't tell her husband she's leaving him until after she's escaped his grasp or she'll get creamed. So lying definitely has it uses and common sense says sometimes we have to lie, just to survive. But I myself find it depressing. I love the truth so much and enjoy shouting it from the rooftops that I'm not very good at 'info management.' I tend to tell people exactly what I think with little thought of consequences -- which is why I need a new job. It's not healthy to tell a rapist or murderer you think they are an asshole. Holding in what you really think is also not healthy -- repressing your truth takes enormous effort and for most people, a big toll.

    I think a great satire could be written about a world where every sentence uttered contains a lie, and each person is left to construct the 'truth' about the society in which they find themselves. How would anyone ever figure out what's real and what isn't?

    1. Hi, Faust. Yes, at the core we are very similar in this issue. I'm like you in that I out when I catch someone lying, especially if I've played it very straight with this person, not to mention of this is a family member. This includes lying for my benefit, as it implies manipulation behind my back either way. This also includes holding back information when family is involved. Our loved ones (like ourselves) are the last we see through. In this way, I'm so glad not to have had children as it would;ve killed me to have my child lie to me to manipulate me.

      When we say we out, though, I'm not sure what you mean. At this point in my life I'm too old to burn bridges unless they are really far from me. With family, I act unaware but make sure that I was dealing with a lie (as sometimes we may think we're dealing with a lie). Children are the best to learn the truth from. So if I suspect some parent may have lied to me I just ask the child in a very nondirect way. It hardly fails.

    2. Sceli,

      I laughed reading your comment about family lies. So true that they are the last people we suspect . . . where I differ is that it doesn't bother me nearly as much when children lie. They're kids, after all. I just call 'em on it, explain why it's not acceptable, and that I won't get mad at them if they want to say something I may not like about myself. I encourage children to tell me exactly what they think about my actions: I see it as learning opportunity, and since I like learning, even ugly truths about myself, it helps me to grow and our relationship to deepen. There's nothing like showing your true self to another and they still love you . . . .

      By out I mean people outside my family. I've never outed a family member no matter what they do. But that doesn't mean I don't call a spade a spade; I always call it as I see it. If I'm wrong, I admit it and move on, commit to not doing it again.

      Children do often mindlessly tell the truth. When the emperor is naked, they got no problem saying so. I love that about kids. My hair is long and rather wild looking and often kids say to me, You look like a witch! I'm fine with that, even though sometimes it's embarrassing when it happens while I'm out shopping. Besides, most grown-ups do view astrologers as witches, chanting at the moon and casting spells. Not true, of course, but now it amuses me to let the adults think that but not the kids . . . if the adults are that dumb to believe in magic, if they know so little about astrologers, then they deserve to think I can perform voodoo on them, and they'll leave me alone. But with kids, I feel compelled to tell them the hard truth about anything and everything they ask about. I figure the truth comes out sooner or later, and when the kid gets older and looks back, he/she will respect me more for being honest.

    3. It must be fun for the children around you. I'd like being around you. :)

    4. As I understand it, it's a normal part of development for kids to experiment with lying. It helps them to learn about reality testing and relationships.

      From that perspective, I don't respond judgmentally, but I do correct them and talk about it. But I try to avoid "why would you think/say that?" and go with something more tangential like, "what are you really trying to do/get/etc.?" Seems to be working with Jr and the kids in his class when I volunteer -

      But like Faust: with kids, it's best to just tell the truth - and I do that with my kids and it's not always comfortable. Occasionally, I will say something like, "that is way too hard to explain." But I also use that for practical questions, so it's not a "loaded" response - again, they seem to accept it.

      As they get older, we'll see how things go -

    5. Faust, if you feel this way about lying, you should love this article then :http://mentalfloss.com/article/30609/60-people-cant-go-10-minutes-without-lying

    6. Sorry, Anon. But I certainly can and do go through long periods without uttering a single lie. Perhaps because I used to live in the wild, where lies to yourself, i.e., I'm a Great White Hunter who dominates the natural world, can get you killed. I discovered very early in life that lying to yourself can very, very dangerous, and from there it just became a habit to strive to always tell the truth. Sometimes I slip, but not very often, certainly not every ten minutes.

  8. Sceli, Thank you! I take that comment very much to heart. I guess the kid in me, the part that feels compelled to call the emperor naked, is still alive and well. Maybe that's why one kid I can think of has no problem pointing out my gray hairs, with malicious glee in a loud voice, to every single guy she thinks likes me in "that way."

    Harry, You really crack me up sometimes . . . you volunteer at your kid's school? I'm trying to picture you hiding your dark wit while sitting in the classroom and my ribs are sore from cackling. As for feeling comfortable while telling the truth, or worse, hearing the truth about myself --- hahahahaha. I never feel 'comfortable' doing it. I only feel terribly compelled, sometimes against my will, to call a rose a rose if a kid asks me. Beauty is truth and I'm a sucker for beauty (not physical beauty, which these days is a dime a dozen; not counting animal beauty, which I'm also a sucker for, because it's wild, not preened by designer clothes, cosmetics and surgery, etc). So there's also an element of selfish gratification in my 'standing up for the truth.' Speaking the truth makes me feel beautiful, like I'm a part of the reality that is real life.

    1. I really enjoy it and don't think for a minute that at least some of those kids are 100% sweet and innocent.

      One very cute little girl asked me to play a game with her. But the game was really to see how much she could cheat - it was a RIOT!!! We had some great laughs - her mom cracked up when she came to pick her up and I told her the story and her mom confirmed that she's been testing those waters (and alternately blaming her husband...which was even funnier...).

      I figure while I'm looking for work, I'll spend time doing stuff with my kids I wouldn't otherwise be able to do. And Jr loves having me there, so it's the kind of thing that he and I can share. I'll do the same with Sweat Pea if I can swing it.

    2. You'll have fun with your kids -- kids are pure, purely self-interested on many levels. Easy to read and ready to romp 'n roll. ;-) Gaming is their specialty.

  9. I have been reading through your blog -- intrigued/interested -- but can't help but feel like it's a bit of a joke. Why would someone so supposedly "intelligent" feel the need to attach themselves to a name/label/diagnosis?

    When it comes down to it -- the world of psychology doesn't understand "sociopaths" -- and without an accurate understanding, how can anyone really define it or diagnose it?

    How does anyone know whether or not they feel true empathy? Being a human -- pretty much everything we know and live by -- emotions, attitudes -- are almost entirely learned behaviors. That is why you don't see these same behaviors/emotions/attitudes in many animals (not all, of course, I do think dogs, pigs, other primates, etc. are capable of learning many similar emotional responses to socially network as people do)

    Another problem I have with this blog is that you imply several times there's a difference between a sociopath and well intentioned person -- yet your blog attempts to differentiate a sociopath from an "evil" person (evil, in my opinion, is not a real thing anyway) -- it's a little contradicting. Similarly, being well-intentioned and being truly empathetic are probably different, too. I say "probably" because, I still don't think that there's any person in this world capable of truly comprehending even these ideas/emotions that we have created.

    Are most people who aren't "sociopaths" actually "empathetic" anyway?? I don't know -- I mean, my experience with people tells me different. Most of the people I have been around don't seem to care too much how they treat others, or how their actions affect people.

    "Sociopaths" are also often referred to as having disregard for and mistreatment of animals. Seems to me that MOST people fall in that category too. Obviously -- many people won't pick up a cat and strangle it -- but peoples' disregard and mistreatment of farm animals and other wild animals isn't any better. People "draw the line" there because it makes their actions excusable and it's convenient for them. "I want to eat hamburgers, so we're going to excuse the mistreatment of factory farmed animals because it works for us"

    I don't know how anyone can define such a thing as a "sociopath" in this incredibly hypocritical and ignorant world we live in. We all lie to ourselves -- want to make some sort of sense of the world around us -- so we conjure up all these definitions and diagnoses...but do they TRULY exist?

    Like I said, I enjoyed reading through the posts, the comments... interesting. Gave me a lot to think about. But I still can't help but think that humans understanding of the world is...well...bullshit -- made up, to allow us to think we know what we're doing. To make us feel like we have a place in the world. To excuse us from certain behaviors.

    1. I stopped believing humans knew what they were doing during the Vietnam war, when I old enough to comprehend the fogs of war. But that doesn't mean that I can't pretend to others and myself that they and me have a place in these world. As for making excuses . . . they only get you so far. You can't game reality, the laws of physics or the knowledge of your own heart. Even if no one else can see it, I think most people occasionally brush up against the bloody truth or lies of their own existence.

    2. Hi Faust,

      I was reflecting on you linking me with Billy Crystal (did you see the FB picture I have up?) - which I think is awesome!!! I get the impression that you are old enough and of the right temperament that you'll be OK when I say that I picture the character of Juno - the case worker from Beetlejuice. She is my favorite character and I love that movie -


    3. LOL, Harry -- I'll check you out on FB.

      As for Juno -- not really, except for the cigarettes. I'm a slender, pretty darn youthful-looking hipster who can still fit my patched jeans from when I was twenty; I'm always getting hit on, unlike Juno I suspect. But you're right about my being a 'character' in that everyone who knows me would without doubt say that. I loved Beetlejuice, too.

    4. LOL! And I look nothing like BC, but that's part of the fun. People are surprised when I tell them my age as well - but I expect that has more to do with my "winning" personality. 8)~

      More than ten years on and I still miss smoking -

  10. Faust and NM,

    The two of you might enjoy this little vignette of Harry's Childhood -

    Mom never, that I can remember, ever read me a story. What we did instead was watch TV...and her thing was Vincent Price Movies/Hammer House of Horrors/anything "splatter filled" When I was at university, we were still renting VHS video tapes from the corner mom and pop shop. And the kids working at ours were the usual misfits (goths, punks, etc.). When I would ask to rent on her account, they would universally exclaim how cool mom was and that I needed to tell her about the latest buckets of blood fest that just came in.

    1. I grew up on the same media diet, plus TV shows like Thriller, Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits. Mom's favorite movie was the Snake Pit. Dad's was King Kong. I think he loved Fay Wray getting her dress ripped off. :) That's life.

    2. Harry, that's really funny! xD

      My dad and step mum are both excessively playing ego-shooters.

    3. @Faust: I loved watching Twilight Zone and Outer Limits on Saturday mornings - better than cartoons!!!

      @NM: What's an ego-shooter? Also, are The Sisters of Mercy on your play list? The videos are terrible, but the music and concerts - good times!

    4. Harry, we call them ego-shooters over here, I don't know what they are called in English. It's those video games where you play in first person and use weapons (mainly guns and rifles) to accomplish missions, mostly shooting other characters all the time.

      I haven't heard of Sisters of Mercy until now, but they are awesome.

    5. Yeah - if old Andy E. isn't a sociopath, I would be really surprised. Years ago (...like...20...ouch! when did I get that old?! ;p) there was a Sisters forum I would hang out on - that was a rough group. Makes this bunch look tame, really. And his collaborations with Jim Steinmann yielded some seriously bombastic stuff - a lot of fun.

      Ego-shooters = first person shooters here. Got it - that's too funny! I'm sure I'll get pulled into gaming with my kids...

  11. Lying is a topic I'm really interested in.

    I'm a pathological liar – and always have been – which means my mind twists facts without any indication leaving me talking untrue stuff. It's easy to sort out the wrong data from written text and correct everything to reflect the truth, but spoken contents often include more or less wrong or twisted facts which I can't correct that easily. I find this sort of lying very interesting but at times rather annoying since I yet have to learn to control it.

    When I was a little child I thought evryone's exactly the same and I whenever I thought something might be „off“ with me I was being told everyone has the same problems and perceptions. I continued to feel there's a significant difference between me and other children.

    Anyways, thinking everyone's the same I was rather annoyed no-one was being candid at anytime in their life and absolutely everyone was play-acting all the time, showing the right reactions(emotions) where needed and only I didn't get what to look at to know when to act in a certain way.
    It led me more and more to feel only contempt toward others, seeing them as human filth or something, me being the only one capable of telling the truth (ironic, huh?). Eventually I gave in, learned to read situations and the reactions of people so I could react as needed as well and restored to be truthful only to selected few people who deserved it in my mind.

    What OP called „unspoken universal actions “ I think is similar to what I always referred to as „politeness“, I thought this was sort of the uttermost important set of rules / operational system of the world which would, once I would have mastered it, help me rule the world (thoughts of a seven year old...).
    I still think there are a hell lot of different patterns most people act upon but of course my views on what they are and how they work have changed over time.

    It has never occured to me others were actually this much different from me, especially in terms of lying until a few months ago.
    Well, I even deluded myself into thinking I never told lies... tho I will put that on the missing timeline in my memory and the lack of remembering emotional contents properly. Or at least it occures to me there must be a connection.
    Whenever I saw someone didn't execute a lie/act (from my pov, but I guess I misinterpreted most situations) as required by the situation, I interpreted it as a weakness, regardless the reasons. I always thought they just were too lazy to really look into learning it and frankly, I don't see how „normal“ people shouldn't be able to overwrite their emotions and tell lies just as I do. They probably have more difficulties doing so, but I can't wrap my head around how it should be impossible or even too difficult to do it regularly.
    I don't view it as a weakness anymore, tho. Just a difference.

    Since I always perceived it was not only totally normal, but actually expected of me to lie, I never experienced major problems doing so – however I have always preferred to stay as close to reality/truth as possible. I saw lying and displaying emotions I didn't have or had at much lower levels (it looked like everyone was extremely exaggerating) as necessity, but sort of rather looked down on it for quite some time.

    Nowadays I view it as a skill, making my life go much smoother and letting people feel much more comfortable with/through me, which in turn gets back positively on me. I don't think lies need to be necessarily vicious or cruel. A candid looking smile, a nice word even if I hate the situation, etc. there are a lot of lies I still see as essential patterns to keep harmony up.

    I still have difficulties to comprehend that people actually mean it the way they „act“ tho...

    1. I'm glad you are examining this behavior. It's interesting to hear it from the inside perspective. I was involved with someone at a young age, late teens early 20's, and he had a problem with pathological lying. It really bothered me, and it almost seemed reflexive like he just couldn't control it. Later on, I figured as he got older he would probably grow out of it, but I don't talk to him anymore so I'm not sure if it is still an issue for him or not. There was someone I worked with briefly who was in his 60's that had the same problem of pathological lying. It was really bizarre to me that he was so old, and still had this problem. I often wondered how he couldn't see how blatant it was, and how everyone saw it. It was really uncomfortable to be around, and watch. He was very narcissistic though, and thought he was smarter than everyone. He also tried several manipulations on me, and I asked him about it. He said he knew he was manipulative since his teens, and knew he could do certain things to influence others, and control events. I made a comment once about sociopathy, and he said people don't know the truth about sociopaths, and it's not what people think. Made me wonder how he came to that conclusion. Most people don't say things like that. It's usually the exact opposite kind of reaction. Maybe he had it himself? I don't know, regardless, I thought it was so strange that he felt the need to lie about the littlest, weirdest things at his age.

    2. Pathological lying is really fascinating - I have the gut feeling I can control it whenever I wish to, but encountered this is not true. I'm currently investigating the mechanisms which trigger lies as I've seen something that looks like inconsistency in frequency, tho I'm not yet sure if this really is a thing.

      Someone above posted a link about a study exposing most people are liars and stated most lies are carried out to impress or to fit in. I do the same, have learnt to do so - but my pathological lying is much more trivial and I couldn't find a purposeful lie since I have started to observe it. Most of these lies are utterly pointless or else have very little benefits which frankly look more like a by-product if anything.

      I found the most interesting fact is that I have to invest a lot of energy to maintain a conversation without drifting more and more away from the truth, whereas I have the impression it's the other way round for most people. I think it is somehow connected with some oddities about the way I save and recall information: With a partially functioning eidetic memory I can recall triggered information in great detail, mostly in more-or-less complete pictures (excluding exact words and numbers in acoustic and written media) however there is no timeline to automatically sort everything from past to present (I've got enough details to logically order them, so it's no handicap) and emotional contexts seem to erase themselves upon first recalling them. I like to track everything down to the source, so in this case I try to see how these aspects relate to each other and I suppose they are linked at some more basic level. Do you have any thoughts on this?

      I doubt this kind of lying will ever go away on its own, and how the topic presents to me it doesn't look like I could train it off either. Tho, I will need to wait some years at least to see if this is right or not.

      The 60 year old you're talking about sounds indeed like he relates to sociopaths somehow. Doesn't mean he has to be a sociopath tho, he probably he just found something familiar in this concept.
      I personally, if confronted with or asked about sociopathy would rather go for a main-stream reaction like "Ikr? They're so vicious - true monsters - born evil" bla bla bla something along these lines. I wouldn't want to risk an uncontrollable exposure if I can evade it - in most situations. However, if I see someone has no ill-intent and is open-minded and reasonable enough to understand, my reaction would be quite similar to that guy's response.

      And patho lies involve indeed always the littlest, weirdest things, mine at least - my common inward reaction upon realizing it afterwards is "What the heck did I just say??", I found it especially strange that I just didn't see it as a lie and therefore never thought of me as being a liar. Or that's the theory so far about how I managed not to see the true truth.

    3. Maybe lying is a revolt against authority. Facts seem so decisive, but it's just because everyone agrees on them. Only Einstein acknowledged his own discoveries in the beginning, and now we all more or less live under the umbrella of his thought. Until the next guy comes along. If you find actuality to be problematic, lies are a way of creating autonomy.

    4. NM, I really enjoyed reading your frank comments. Thanks for sharing. I had no idea that lying for some people is compulsive. That puts a different light on the topic. One I will have to think about. :)

    5. Faust,

      I'm the "reader"/person who wrote this e-mail. Lying isn't exactly compulsive for me, but it comes pretty close. I don't know whether it's a result of nature or nurture*, but more than once, I would lie in a situation where I didn't need to, not because I intended to but simply because the mistruth came out of my mouth/brain faster than the truth. It's not always self-serving - sometimes, I'll lie in a way that would not remotely chane the outcome than if I had told the truth. And sometimes, telling the truth would have been better - and not just in hindsight, where knowledge I came into later meant the truth would have been better. I have quite literally lied in situations where I knew full well, at the time, that the truth would have been better...but I still lied, anyway.

      The vast majority of the time, the fact that lying comes so naturally and easily to me is a great boon - it's probably saved me from a few fights/assaults, a job, and a fair amount of money over the years, not to mention staved off a ton of family and friend drama.

      But I do sometimes worry about the fact lying comes easier to me than the truth. Mostly because I wonder just how much I'm lying to myself, and what I'm lying to myself about. I know that I am, but that's all I know. And more importantly, I have pointlessly dug myself into a hole or two because I lied when I didn't need to - but the only way out would be to explain my little "lying is easier than telling the truth" problem to people with whom that would cause more drama than its worth.

      Reading through this blog did remind me of that viserable moment when I first realized lying didn't come easily to others. But while I now know, obviously, that it's not compulsive for everyone, this is the first time I've realized that maybe someone else wouldn't realize that pathological/compulsive liars are a real thing.

      You learn something new, every day.

      * = I honestly am not sure where it would come from. My mom always advocates honesty as the best policy, but also acknowledges that it's not one she follows since she lies all the time. My dad regularly encourages lying, but is probably one of the least deceitful people I've ever known.

    6. Anon @ 12 39,

      Your comment moved me. The conflict you feel appears strong. I don't know what to say, except I appreciated hearing your story.

      In a way, your uneasiness with your compulsion reminds me of the addicts I serve/protect at work. If lying controls you and not the other way around, it's rather like a drug. I don't know if that's true -- just shooting in the dark. Digging holes is one thing; lying to yourself can be very dangerous. I've seen a lot of people die from lying to themselves. Then again, many others seem to do it and suffer no harm; it's hard to measure how much people suffer from their acts of self-deception. I do know that I've suffered when I lied to myself.

      Thanks for shedding light on a fascinating topic.

  12. This blog really perpetuates a negative image of sociopaths in my opinion.

    Recent tweet: "sociopaths cry to manipulate". Oh really. Are you so sure about that?

    Why bother having a site like this if you're just feeding the angsty teenagers more disinformation.

    1. Hello Anon,

      Are you saying that socios cry for other reasons than to manipulate? If so, what makes a socio cry?

  13. The purpose of our lives on Earth is that God is replicating Himself through
    Human Beings. Our lives are a training ground for the development of
    character, so we can assume Devine responsibilites.
    We must be accquainted with knowledge of BOTH "good" and "evil", so we can
    voleentarialy choose good over evil.
    We have to see that engaging in evil leads to short term "benefits," but long term misery. We will learn that self sacrifice IS the apporiate way to behave,
    because we get a return on what we contribute: "It is more blessed to give, then
    To please God we DO NOT have to follow a "religion." Christ did that in our place. What we need is a transformation of our carnalistic Human Nature: The
    Born Again experience.
    There are two ways to become "Born Again." One way is through earnest self
    reflection. We must see that we are the sourse of our own problems. We have
    received a lot of deceptive "programming," whittingly or unwhittingly from other
    decieved people. This is a transgenerational pathology, like the child's game of
    "telephone." 99.9% of people have been MISLEAD, and they have been mislead
    in the name of "goodness." Liars can't afford to tell the truth.
    The other way to be Born Again is to express sincer appreciation to Jesus Christ
    and God The Father for what they have done. With Jesus Christ, we had GOD
    HIMSELF dying for us to save us, all He asks is a "Thank you." No religion. Just a "Thank You."

    1. "Anonymous" whatever, you have good reason to stay anonymous. You are as crazy as a hoot owl. Except I live in the woods and see and hear hoot owls and they make 100,000,000 times more sense than you do. Put a sock in it.

      NO!!! That's not where I am suggesting you put the sock! Fool!

    2. ROTFLMAO!!! RA - you ROCK!!!

      Hoot owls make more sense...Love it!!!

  14. Lying helps keep us from killing ourselves. On planet earth (the only planet we know of with life), there are many clever animals. Other primates, whales, elephants, crows, ravens, parrots, raccoons, octopuses, etc.

    Only homosapiens crossed the barrier into full self awareness. “I know I exist and think; I know others of my kind exist and think, I know I will die,” If we spent much time thinking about our mortality, almost all of us would say, “What the fuck; I might as well kill myself know and get it over with.”

    As a matter of fact, we are the only creature that (with rare and meaningless exceptions) commits suicide.

    Why don't we? As the brilliant book DENIAL exlains, it's because we are so good at lying. We lie all the time. This is a web site where you hear from some of the most brilliant and energetic liars on earth.

    Religion (and whatever you say, almost all of you know this) is a lie. There is no “god.” There is no reincarnation. There is no “soul.” There is no “heaven” and “hell.” These are all lies. We lie to each other. We lie to ourselves. I am telling you the truth.

  15. Here is an interesting story, full of lies and disorders:


  16. Surely one socio feature is serving others "blunt truths"? Just look at the Celeb Chef, he does that all the time? Empath-folks sweetening their lazy & incompetent behaviour makes him rant & cuss. Its the "storymakers" which sends him into carpet chewing-fury, the ones "confessing" (the truth) gets better treated..

  17. Do you believe in a monogamous lifestyle with a partner or a polygamous lifestyle with more than one partner? But still hold onto principles, respect, care, for all individual(s) involved.

    Why or why not? My partner believes in a monogamous one -- but I differ with his beliefs, but respect his moral code too. For me it depends on the relationship. Still kinda torn between the two. And if I chose to follow a polygamous lifestyle ...why does that make me sound like a slut to some? It's so misunderstood I think.


    1. Women have become too powerful to not enjoy sexual freedom the way that men do.

    2. Monogamy must be too civilized for you. They say you're bad, but you are just rank.

    3. 4:48, notice the commenter said you are "rank". Someday you will have to conduct an experiment, and post this comment as a male with the same interests, and see what the responses are. They will be significantly different I'm sure. Is there any justification or logic behind the double standards for women? How long will women collectively choose to endure it, and not fight back against it? These are artificial boundaries developed, and enforced by men.

  18. Consenting adults. Don't murder, torture, or rape. Avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Fuck like crazed weasels. Practice safe abortions.

  19. Hello Everyone, I am Daniel Steve by name and i live in Texas USA, i will like to talk about the goodness of God in my life after so many months of trying to get a loan on the internet and was been scammed so i became desperate in getting a loan from a legit lender online. But as God would have it, i saw a comment from a friend called William Ken and he talked about this legit loan company where he got his loan fast and easy without any stress so he introduced me to a man called Mr Mason Diego who controls a firm called Diego Loan Company, So i applied for a loan sum of ($170,000.00USD) with low interest rate of 2%, so the loan was approved and deposited into my bank account in less than 48hrs, that was how i was able to get my loan to keep my broken business running and also to pay off my bills so i am advising everyone of you who is interested in getting a loan fast and easy to kindly contact them via email: { diegoloancompany@yahoo.com } to get any kind of loan you need today, thanks as you read the greatest testimony of my life.

  20. I live in united state, Two years ago i married a lady called saline, we had two children together, we were very happy to be husband and wife, so when i travel on a business trip to Brazil, i spent a year in Brazil due to my kind of business, i and my wife talked on phone all the time, we chatted on the Internet, i never knew that my wife had started cheating on me by going out with her old school friend called Mark, i never knew something was going wrong till i came back from my trip, then i and My wife started having problems, she goes out and come back late at night, she changed in a strange way that i could not endure, i tried to do everything to please her but it got worst, so one day she left the house and never came back, i tried reaching her but no way i could reach her, i never knew she had travelled with her new lover which was Mark, i wanted her so much because of the children she left for me and because i loved her so much too, because of the heart break she has put me into, i went into search of a real magic spell caster though I was scammed twice by a spell caster, but I never relented in my search because I wanted a happy life with my wife, So one morning i saw a testimony about a spell caster Esango Priest, so i contacted him and to my greatest surprise this esangopriest@gmail.com made life manful for me again, my wife came back to me after 3 days of a love spell from this Esango Priest, i took her back and I am now settled with my wife by the magic power of Esango Priest .
    Malcolm franks'


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