self mortification

The best ENTP rant/description you’ve never heard 

Here’s my take with all the dirt. An ENTP looks great from the outside because we make you laugh, we give you true insightful criticism, we know all about your interests, and really “understand” you -we know logically why you feel like you do, even if you don’t. We find creative “why didn’t I think of that” solutions to not only your life problems but your computer problems too. We can charm your grandparents, your parents, and your friends. We can party with the extraverts, and sit in silence with the introverts. We can talk Trek with nerds, and Baudelaire with artsy-fartsies. You probably didn’t notice us in high school because we were in our embryonic pseudo INTP/INTJ morph. But you got surprised when you saw us back from college break and though we looked different (aka more desirable). We seem now just oh so dreamy and exciting.

But all that takes a -lot- of energy. It’s a performance we put on tailor made, on the spot, just for you. Eventually we get tired and the mask slips off. That’s when you think we’re shallow or self-centered, but the truth is, you misunderstood our performance for personal interest. (And maybe we did too — it’s easy to lose yourself as a method actor.) But we’re just as cold and analytical ruthless as the other NTs: We don’t nitpick you apart like an INTJ, or categorize your usefulness like an ENTJ, or test your mental capacity like an INTP. We understand you by (subconsciously) pushing all your secret buttons…for good or bad. Maybe you fell in love with us, but now your angry and conflicted because you don’t understand why we’re suddenly being cold and distant. We’ve retreated — because while we’re good at faking emotion, and logically understanding why people feel a certain way, we’re really terrible at actually handling emotion. We get overpowered by it and annoyed by the illogicalness of it. ( Besides, we’ve already found a new shiny.) Now you hate us…but here is some consolation. We have a built-in nemesis and he’s a real bastard.

We turn that critical wide-ranging eye on ourselves. You can’t see it from the outside, but were utter perfectionists in our heads and we relentlessly measure ourselves against the realistically unachievable. Somehow we can’t find the same easy solutions to our problems as to everyone else’s, and we become mired in too many possibilities, haunted by how inadequate our own creative efforts seem to us. We at once believe our own hype, and ruthlessly condemn ourselves. We’ll may you our creations (probably something ½ finished). We secretly want your praise, like an 8 yo child. We don’t accept your garlands though (unless you’re an expert we respect) — because we’ve already judged ourself against Perfection and came out wanting. If you tell us you think it’s good, we won’t believe you. For what you mistook as bravado and arrogance, is really very wry, very sarcastic self-mortification. 

We can stagnate in our mess of ideas, with no external system of organization to help us move forward. We have brief mad rushes of energy —back, forward, right, left, a random walk of ideas with a net movement of zero. If you’re really smart, being an ENTP is a double curse…because your ideas are loftier, your movements more wide-ranging, your internal critic all the more perniciously accurate. You stand on the shoulders of titans, glimpsing something wonderful across the jungle of possibilities, and sketch out a map.

But then it happens: SJ reality. They turn off your water because you forgot to pay the bill. A check bounces because you didn’t know how much money you had in the account. You burn dinner because you’re suddenly obsessed with typing out a manifesto on a blog. You tell a friend you’ll meet him at 7:00 and show up at 9:00. You forget to call your mother on her birthday. You put off simple annoyances (like depositing a check) for weeks. Your mighty creative intuition gets mostly employed to talk your way out of the stupid jams your procrastination landed you in. People with lesser talents, pass you by and you make excuses: (The internal critic says it’s because your stupid and lazy). You don’t get the promotion because while you have a lot of good ideas, you don’t follow through. You’re unreliable. You have no problems expressing your boredom with your job or critiquing your boss publicly in front of his superiors, not realizing the implications. SJ boss now -really- doesn’t like you. You get A’s in some college classes and F’s in others — but all your NT professors still think you’re intelligent, even the one’s giving your F’s, because they’ve fallen for your charms and excuses. 

But people like you — they think your unique, clever and entertaining, because you are. They give you chances. So you pick yourself up, dust yourself off from your failures, and try again. Maybe you get your self another brilliant ENTP friend and start Apple Computer. Or write Candide. Or invent Quantum Electrodynamics. Or host the Daily Show. Maybe tomorrow. Or Next week. But what you’ll probably do, instead of working on finishing a paper your supposed to be readying for peer review, you’ll spend an hour typing out a cathartic blog post that’s maybe more about your own insecurities than being an ENTP.

So is ENTP the best of all the types? Hell yes it is. =)”



20 February – Blessed Memorial of Blesseds Francisco (11 June 1908 – 4 April 1919 died aged 10), his sister Jacinta Marto (11 March 1910 – 20 February 1920 died aged 9) - two of the children of Fatima.

The youngest children of Manuel and Olimpia Marto, Francisco and Jacinta were typical of Portuguese village children of that time.    They were illiterate but had a rich oral tradition.  According to Lúcia’s memoirs, Francisco had a placid disposition, was somewhat musically inclined, and liked to be by himself to think.    Jacinta was affectionate if a bit spoiled.    She had a sweet singing voice and a gift for dancing.    Following their experiences, their fundamental personalities remained the same.    Francisco preferred to pray alone, saying that this would “console Jesus for the sins of the world”.    Jacinta said she was deeply affected by a terrifying vision of Hell shown to the children at the third apparition and deeply convinced of the need to save sinners through penance and sacrifice as the Virgin had told the children to do.    All three children but particularly Francisco and Jacinta, practised stringent self-mortifications to this end.

The brother and sister, who tended to their families’ sheep with their cousin Lucia in the fields of Fatima, Portugal, are said to have witnessed several apparitions of an angel in 1916.    Lucia later recorded the words of several prayers she said they learned from this angel.   Lucia wrote in her memoirs that she and her cousins saw the first apparition of Mary on May 13, 1917.    At the time of the apparition, Francisco was 9 years old and Jacinta was 7.   During the first apparition, Mary is said to have asked the three children to say the Rosary and to make sacrifices, offering them for the conversion of sinners.    She also asked them to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months.

Illness and death
The siblings were victims of the great 1918 influenza epidemic that swept through Europe that year.    In October 1918, Mary appeared and said she would take them to heaven soon.  Both lingered for many months, insisting on walking to church to make Eucharistic devotions and prostrating themselves to pray for hours, kneeling with their heads on the ground as they said the angel had instructed them to do.   Francisco declined hospital treatment on April 3, 1919 and died at home the next day.    Jacinta was moved from one hospital to another in an attempt to save her life, which she insisted was futile.   She developed purulent pleurisy and endured an operation in which two of her ribs were removed.    Because of the condition of her heart, she could not be fully anesthetized only local and later suffered terrible pain, which she said would help to convert many sinners. On February 19, 1920, Jacinta asked the hospital chaplain who heard her confession to bring her Holy Communion and administer Extreme Unction because she was going to die “the next night”.    He told her that her condition was not that serious and that he would return the next day.    The next day Jacinta was dead; she had died, as she had often said she would, alone.   In 1920, shortly before her death at age nine, Jacinta Marto reportedly discussed the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary with a then 12-year-old Lúcia Santos and said:

“When you are to say this, don’t go and hide.    Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary;   that people are to ask her for them;   and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at His side.    Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God entrusted it to her.”

Jacinta and Francisco are both buried at the Our Lady of Fátima Basilica


The cause for the siblings’ canonisation began in 1946.    Exhumed in 1935 and again in 1951, Jacinta’s face was found incorrupt;   Francisco’s had decomposed.

In 1937 Pope Pius XI decided that causes for minors should not be accepted as they could not fully understand heroic virtue or practice it repeatedly, both of which are essential for canonisation.    For the next four decades, no sainthood processes for children were pursued.    In 1979 the bishop of Leiria-Fatima asked all the world’s bishops to write to the Pope, petitioning him to make an exception for Francisco, who had died at age 10 and Jacinta, who had died at age 9.    More than 300 bishops sent letters to the Pope, writing that “the children were known, admired and attracted people to the way of sanctity. Favours were received through their intercession.”    The bishops also said that the children’s canonization was a pastoral necessity for the children and teenagers of the day.  In 1979 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints convened a general assembly.  Cardinals, bishops, theologians and other experts debated whether it was possible for children to display heroic virtue.    Eventually, they decided that, like the very few children who have a genius for music or mathematics, “in some supernatural way, some children could be spiritual prodigies.”  They were declared venerable by Pope John Paul II in 1989.   On May 13, 2000, they were declared “blessed” in a decree from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.    Jacinta is the youngest non-martyred child ever to be beatified.

In her biography of Jacinta, Lúcia said that Jacinta had told her of having had many personal visions outside of the Marian visitations;   one involved a pope who prayed alone in a room while people outside shouted ugly things and threw rocks through the window. At another time, Jacinta said she saw a pope who had gathered a huge number of people together to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

When Pope John Paul II arrived in Fatima for the first time, in 1982, he said that he had come “because, on this exact date last year in St. Peter’s Square, in Rome, there was an attempt on the life of your Pope, which mysteriously coincided with the anniversary of the first vision at Fatima, that of 13 May 1917. The coincidence of these dates was so great that it seemed to be a special invitation for me to come here.”

Sister Lúcia, when questioned about the Third Secret, said that the three of them had been very sad about the suffering of a Pope and that Jacinta kept saying:  Coitadinho do Santo Padre, tenho muita pena dos pecadores! (“Poor Holy Father, I feel a lot of pity for the sinners!”)   Another miracle was found to have been attributed to their intercession and the process that investigated the miracle was validated on 8 February 2013. Reports indicate the canonisation could occur on the centenary of the apparitions in 2017, together with Lúcia.

The Quiet Social Crisis: Land Shortages and Popular Unrest in the Iron Islands

A feudal society in the midst of a chronic land shortage is a society with a powerful downward pull for everyone who isn’t a great lord. Lords and landowners are free to charge their tenants higher rents for land use, while an increased population of landless laborers means workers face more competition when selling their labor power, which lowers compensation. As landowning families naturally concentrate ownership to avoid diluting economic and military power, this results in landless cadet branches doomed to fall in status. More mouths to feed and stagnant cultivation means lowered food security and increased danger of famine. Prospects of upward mobility, already low, become nigh impossible. The families at the very top of the hierarchy therefore become richer, while everyone else sees their lives become poorer and more precarious. For a geographically small country with a very concentrated population and few prospects for emigration, land shortages would be incredibly destabilizing, increasing social tensions and warping the nation’s political system. The glimpse of the Iron Islands’ provided in A Clash of Kings and A Feast of Crows paints them as just such a society, a kingdom brought to the brink of dissolution by decades of overpopulation and chronic land shortage.

Our first hints of the Iron Island’s need for land is the fact that Balon’s Second Rebellion is as much an attempt to seize land as it is an ideological crusade to restore the Old Way. After laying out his plans to invade the North, the Iron King declares: “The [North] shall be ours, forest and field and hall, and we shall make the folk our thralls and salt wives” (CoK Theon II). Aeron Damphair then sanctions the entire undertaking with a prayer: “And the waters of wrath will rise high, and the Drowned God will spread his dominion across the green lands!” (CoK Theon II). The Damphair later recollects of having dreamed of continental conquest after seeing the red star: “We shall sweep over the green lands with fire and sword, root out the seven gods of the septons and the white trees of the northmen…” (FfC Aeron II). It’s not traditional smash and grab Old Way reaving that is on the minds of these supposed traditionalists, it is land acquisition and colonization. Ironmen were already thinking in terms of stealing entire countries before Euron showed up. Even, it turns out, Ironmen opposed to the Old Way.

After Balon’s death Rodrik Harlaw bemoans the madness and stupidity of the Second Rebellion because it means the Ironborn are wasting a perfectly good opportunity to acquire some land nice and legal:

“This dream of kingship is a madness in our blood. I told your father so the first time he rose, and it is more true now than it was then. It’s land we need, not crowns. With Stannis Baratheon and Tywin Lannister contending for the Iron Throne, we have a rare chance to improve our lot. Let us take one side or the other, help them to victory with our fleets, and claim the lands we need from a grateful king.”(FfC Asha)

Rodrik the Reader is often described as pro-peace and anti-war. Yet here he reveals his real position to be more along the lines of anti-rebellion but pro-war, provided the goal of the war is to win land with the sanction of the central government. Hypothetically, had Balon remained a lord, made a deal with the Lannister regime, and then helped to defeat the Starks in exchange for pieces of the North, the Reader would have been in favor. If Lord Rodrik of all people believes a war of conquest and colonization is necessary to improve life on the Iron Islands, then the situation on the Islands must be very serious indeed.

At Aeron’s Kingsmoot there are several more references to the oppressive reality of land shortage and overpopulation. Lord Gylbert Farwynd of Lonely Light promises, with what could be prophecy, madness or parody, to lead the Ironborn across the Sunset Sea to a magical land without want or death, where “every man shall be a king and every wife a queen” (FfC Aeron II). Asha’s plan for ending the war and allying with the North is also a gigantic land swap aimed at addressing the Islands’ land shortages:

“If we hand back Deepwood Motte, Torrhen’s Square, and Moat Cailin, [Lady Glover] says, the northmen will cede us Sea Dragon Point and all the Stony Shore. Those lands are thinly peopled, yet ten times larger than all the isles put together.” (FfC Victarion I)

When Asha addresses the Kingsmoot, she promises the captains and the kings:

“Peace. Land. Victory. I’ll give you Sea Dragon Point and the Stony Shore, black earth and tall trees and stones enough for every younger son to build a hall” (FfC Aeron II).

After going into exile, Asha defends her obsessive interest in Sea Dragon Point by listing its numerous subsistence resources:

“What’s there? I’ll tell you. Two long coastlines, a hundred hidden coves, otters in the lakes, salmon in the rivers, clams along the shore, colonies of seals offshore, tall pines for building ships.” (DwD The Wayward Bride)

And of course, coming at the end of the Kingsmoot, is Euron’s promise to conquer all of Westeros with dragons, which would certainly solve any land crisis.

Capping all of this off, we have the reaction of Nute the Barber when Victarion pleads with him to refuse the lordship of Oakenshield:

Victarion grabbed [Nute the Barber] by the forearm. “Refuse him!”

Nute looked at him as if he had gone mad. “Refuse him? Lands and lordship? Will you make me a lord?” He wrenched his arm away and stood, basking in the cheers. (FfC Victarion II)

Nute is not the sharpest of axes (he thinks the Ironmen can easily hold the Shields for a start), but Andrik the Unsmiling, Maron Volmark, and the no doubt intelligent Harras Harlaw (the Reader’s chosen heir for Ten Towers) accept these bequeathments as well. On the Iron Islands you just don’t say no to land if you’re landless, however risky or potentially poisonous the offer might be.

If the lords and warriors are feeling the land pinch, imagine how stressed the commons must be. Land shortage, intensifying labor competition and the resulting poverty are probably the reasons why so many in the Ironborn laboring class choose to essentially give up and become Drowned Men. Despite the priesthood requiring a second drowning, the wearing of rough clothes, regular exposure to the elements, monastic isolation, and masochistic self-mortification, Aeron finds no shortage of recruits:

Aeron continued on alone, up hills and down vales along a stony track that drew wider and more traveled as he neared the sea. In every village he paused to preach, and in the yards of petty lords as well… Some of those who heard him threw down their hoes and picks to follow, so by the time he heard the crash of waves a dozen men walked behind his horse, touched by god and desirous of drowning. (FfC Aeron I)

It’s also worth remembering that Aeron is himself a fourth born noble son with few responsibilities and little chance of inheriting anything; he is as much a dropout as those farmers and miners. Every landless worker or surplus noble who becomes a Drowned Man means one more speaker calling for the restoration of the Islands through the Old Way (and implicitly criticizing the weakness and impiety of the powers-that-be in the process, which is no doubt satisfying for people driven to such a life by economic disappointment). We’d go so far as to argue that the reactionary fervor of Balon’s reign is less the general sentiment of the Islands’ and more the result of several decades of work by an ever growing cadre of determined activists with literally nothing to lose. As priestly discourse is highly critical of how most of the aristocracy lives (insufficiently Old Way, insufficiently dedicated to the Drowned God), it has considerable revolutionary potential should the priests decide to switch from reforming the political establishment to completely overthrowing it.

Not every poor Islander though has it within themselves to give up and become a wandering priest. Many more apparently turn to thievery or worse and are summarily meted out savage punishment. At the Kingsmoot Erik Ironmaker, also called Erik Anvil-Breaker and Erik the Just, presents himself as a serious law and order candidate who can keep lower class disorder under firm control:

One of [Erik’s] champions lifted [his warhammer] up for all to see; a monstrous thing it was, its haft wrapped in old leather, its head a brick of steel as large as a loaf of bread.

I can’t count how many hands I’ve smashed to pulp with that hammer…but might be some thief could tell you. I can’t say how many heads I’ve crushed against my anvil neither, but there’s some widows could.” (FfC Aeron II).

This is a very revealing boast. Lowborn murderers and rebels are savagely put to death everywhere, but this systematic maiming of convicted thieves is notably extreme. On the mainland simple thievery is traditionally punished by the amputation of one finger per theft. While severe, the loss of a single finger to a hot knife is not as debilitating or painful as the loss of a whole hand to a warhammer. It is also notable that it is the sheer quantity of such punishments, literally uncountable by Erik’s recollection, which gives the Ironmaker claim to being a just man.

To illustrate just how out of the ordinary this Ironborn “justice” truly is, it necessary to compare and contrast it with green lander examples. Young Stannis Baratheon “shortened” the fingers of Davos’ left hand by cutting them off at the first joint, but this was punishment a lifetime of confessed smuggling, which Davos perceives as fair. It is nowhere comparable to destroying a whole hand for a theft. At the other end of the scale, Joffrey sadistically forces a cheeky smallfolk singer to choose between losing all his fingers or his tongue for a politically offensive song, linking the loss of usable hands for minor offenses with the worst sort of judicial tyranny.

But the closest example to Erik’s justice is the Maidenpool court wherein Lord Randyll Tarly capriciously and disproportionately punished a onetime sept looter with the loss of seven fingers, the rough equivalent of a hand and a half. Tarly is a brutal military man and tyrannical patriarch, quite comfortable with harsh rulings, but this judgment is, in contrast with Joffrey, no mere sadistic whim. The man robbed a deserted sept, a blasphemous act that in the eyes of some would put him well below the character of a common thief. The widespread despoliation of septs has in turn caused considerable unrest among the peasantry and priests of the Seven Kingdoms, resulting in the Sparrow movement, and Tarly no doubt intended to quiet said unrest by savagely punishing conveniently powerless desecrators. This is compounded by the fact that only a little while ago Maidenpool and the surrounding lands were in a state of anarchy owing to the depravations of reavers, rebels, outlaws, and broken men. Lastly, the approach of Winter promises widespread famine, which means Tarly is likely setting examples that he hopes will deter future crimes against order and discipline. Tarly’s harsh ruling is therefore driven by massive social insecurity and the fear of widespread lower class disorder. We can infer from this that the hand crushing Ironborn elite are similarly fearful of disorder spreading through their own commons and have been so for most of the last century, Erik “the Just” being eighty-eight years old and still at it.

These twin factors, a cadre of potentially revolutionary priests and a restless commons, come to the fore after the Kingsmoot, when Aeron threatens to mobilize the common folk against the ungodly King chosen by the lords and captains:

“The ironborn shall be waves,” the Damphair said. “Not the great and lordly, but the simple folk, tillers of the soil and fishers of the sea. The captains and the kings raised Euron up, but the common folk shall tear him down. I shall go to Great Wyk, to Harlaw, to Orkmont, to Pyke itself. In every town and village shall my words be heard. No godless man may sit the Seastone Chair!” (FfC Victarion II)

In response to these threats, Euron secretly abducts Aeron and tasks Erik Ironmaker (Erik the Hand-Smasher) with rounding up and suppressing the Drowned Men and all other priests. This purge is performed with ruthless efficiency; the only priests who are spared shackles and what is probably water torture in the dungeons of Pyke (being “put to the question”) are those who successfully hide (DwD Asha I). That the lords and captains support such risky violence against the people’s revered aesthetic holy men with nary a protest indicates that the Damphair’s threat is taken very seriously indeed. It is also clear that the upper class as a whole gravely fears lower class unrest and revolt and is willing to go to any length to suppress it. This in turn reveals that underneath the brittle façade of religious and cultural unity there are unbridgeable class divisions which, stoked by land shortages, are increasingly verging on outright civil war.

view of the lodge of sufi saint shaykh abu bakr, outskirts of aleppo, 1930.

today the followers of this saint are respectable, law-abiding members of society and his modern biographies consist of just some bland facts but back in the day the shaykh and his followers were wild as fuck, known for drinking, eating hashish, and refusing to pray or fast. it was a time of upheaval in aleppo (the jelali revolts) matched by an increase in religiosity and mysticism. extreme self-mortification was one of the shaykh’s practices; one time he ripped out all his teeth. he went around naked and chose to sleep in garbage dumps and cemeteries, part of his taking on the appearance of a corpse following the injunction “die before you die”. like most ascetics, he renounced marriage or sex but maybe only sex with women cause he was known for making suggestive comments to men like the time he grabbed an ottoman official’s ass and said “you’re good for such a thing.” another story goes that he made an enemy of the governor of aleppo, who let a hungry lion loose on him but as is common for saints, abu bakr could communicate with animals and so the lion laid peacefully between his arms while the shaykh’s followers ran to get it some food.

What, then, constitutes the alienation of labor?

First, the fact that labor is external to the worker, i.e., it does not belong to his intrinsic nature; that in his work, therefore, he does not affirm himself but denies himself, does not feel content but unhappy, does not develop freely his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and ruins his mind. The worker therefore only feels himself outside his work, and in his work feels outside himself. He feels at home when he is not working, and when he is working he does not feel at home. His labor is therefore not voluntary, but coerced; it is forced labor. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need; it is merely a means to satisfy needs external to it. Its alien character emerges clearly in the fact that as soon as no physical or other compulsion exists, labor is shunned like the plague. External labor, labor in which man alienates himself, is a labor of self-sacrifice, of mortification. Lastly, the external character of labor for the worker appears in the fact that it is not his own, but someone else’s, that it does not belong to him, that in it he belongs, not to himself, but to another. Just as in religion the spontaneous activity of the human imagination, of the human brain and the human heart, operates on the individual independently of him – that is, operates as an alien, divine or diabolical activity – so is the worker’s activity not his spontaneous activity. It belongs to another; it is the loss of his self.

—  Mark, Karl, 1844. ‘Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844′. Estranged Labour

From Albert Fish’s early years he was fascinated by the Bible and at one point actually dreamed of becoming a minister. As he grew older, his religious interests blossomed into a full-fledged mania. Obsessed with the story of Abraham and Isaac, he became convinced that he, too, should sacrifice a young child - an atrocity he actually carried out on more than one occasion. From time to time, he heard strange, archaic-sounding words - correcteth, delighteth, chastiseth - that he interpreted as divine commandments to torment and kill. He would organize these words into quasi-biblical messages: “Blessed is the man who correcteth his son in whom he delighteth with stripes”; “Happy is he that taketh Thy little ones and dasheth their heads against the stones.” Fish not only tortured and killed children in response to these delusions but subjected himself to a variety a masochistic torments in atonement for his sins. On of his favourite forms of self-mortification was to shove sewing needles so deeply into his own groin that they remained embedded around his bladder. For the hopelessly demented Fish, his ultimate crime - the murder, dismemberment, and cannibalization of a ten-year-old girl - also had religious overtones. As he told a psychiatrist who examined him in prison, he associated the eating of the child’s flesh and the drinking of her blood with the “idea of Holy Communion.”

“Historically, Christian mysticism has taught that for Christians the major emphasis of mysticism concerns a spiritual transformation of the egoic self, the following of a path designed to produce more fully realized human persons, "created in the Image and Likeness of God” and as such, living in harmonious communion with God, the Church, the rest of world, and all creation, including oneself. For Christians, this human potential is realized most perfectly in Jesus, precisely because he is both God and human, and is manifested in others through their association with him, whether conscious, as in the case of Christian mystics, or unconscious, with regard to spiritual persons who follow other traditions, such as Gandhi. The Eastern Christian tradition speaks of this transformation in terms of theosis or divinization, perhaps best summed up by an ancient aphorism usually attributed to Athanasius of Alexandria: “God became human so that man might become god.”

Threefold path
Going back to Evagrius Ponticus, Christian mystics have been described as pursuing a threefold path corresponding to body (soma), soul (psyche), and spirit (pneuma). In 869, the 8th Ecumenical Council reduced the image of the human to only body and soul but within mystics a model of three aspects continued. The three aspects later became purgative, illuminative, and unitive in the western churches and prayer of the lips, the mind, the heart in the eastern churches. The first, purification is where aspiring traditionally Christian mystics start. This aspect focuses on discipline, particularly in terms of the human body; thus, it emphasizes prayer at certain times, either alone or with others, and in certain postures, often standing or kneeling. It also emphasizes the other disciplines of fasting and alms-giving, the latter including those activities called “the works of mercy,” both spiritual and corporal, such as feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless.

Purification, which grounds Christian spirituality in general, is primarily focused on efforts to, in the words of St. Paul, “put to death the deeds of the flesh by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 8:13). This is considered a result of the Spirit working in the person and is not a result of personal deeds. Also in the words of St. Paul, “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Epistle to the Philippians 1:6). The “deeds of the flesh” here include not only external behavior, but also those habits, attitudes, compulsions, addictions, etc. (sometimes called egoic passions) which oppose themselves to true being and living as a Christian not only exteriorly, but interiorly as well. Evelyn Underhill describes purification as an awareness of one’s own imperfections and finiteness, followed by self-discipline and mortification. Because of its physical, disciplinary aspect, this phase, as well as the entire Christian spiritual path, is often referred to as “ascetic,” a term which is derived from a Greek word which connotes athletic training. Because of this, in ancient Christian literature, prominent mystics are often called “spiritual athletes,” an image which is also used several times in the New Testament to describe the Christian life. What is sought here is salvation in the original sense of the word, referring not only to one’s eternal fate, but also to healing in all areas of life, including the restoration of spiritual, psychological, and physical health.

It remains a paradox of the mystics that the passivity at which they appear to aim is really a state of the most intense activity: more, that where it is wholly absent no great creative action can take place. In it, the superficial self compels itself to be still, in order that it may liberate another more deep-seated power which is, in the ecstasy of the contemplative genius, raised to the highest pitch of efficiency.

The second phase, the path of illumination, has to do with the activity of the Holy Spirit enlightening the mind, giving insights into truths not only explicit in scripture and the rest of the Christian tradition, but also those implicit in nature, not in the scientific sense, but rather in terms of an illumination of the “depth” aspects of reality and natural happenings, such that the working of God is perceived in all that one experiences. Underhill describes it as marked by a consciousness of a transcendent order and a vision of a new heaven and a new earth.

The third phase, usually called contemplation (or Mystical Contemplative Prayer) in the Western tradition, refers to the experience of oneself as in some way united with God. The experience of union varies, but it is first and foremost always associated with a reuniting with Divine love, the underlying theme being that God, the perfect goodness, is known or experienced at least as much by the heart as by the intellect since, in the words 1 John 4:16: “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.” Some approaches to classical mysticism would consider the first two phases as preparatory to the third, explicitly mystical experience, but others state that these three phases overlap and intertwine.

Mystical Contemplative Prayer is the blessing for which the Christian mystic hopes. No human effort can produce it. This form of prayer has three characteristics. (a) It is infused (i.e. implanted by God in the soul, not the result of human effort.) (b) It is extraordinary (i.e. indicating that the intellect operates in new way). © Moreover, It is passive (i.e. showing that the soul receives something from God, and is conscious of receiving it.) It can manifest itself in one of four degrees. The four degrees are the prayer of quiet, the prayer of union, ecstatic union, and transforming deifying union.

Underhill’s five-stage path
Author and mystic Evelyn Underhill recognizes two additional phases to the mystical path. First comes the awakening, the stage in which one begins to have some consciousness of absolute or divine reality. Purgation and illumination are followed by a fourth stage which Underhill, borrowing the language of St. John of the Cross, calls the dark night of the soul. This stage, experienced by the few, is one of final and complete purification and is marked by confusion, helplessness, stagnation of the will, and a sense of the withdrawal of God’s presence. This dark night of the soul is not, in Underhill’s conception, the Divine Darkness of the pseudo-Dionysius and German Christian mysticism. It is the period of final “unselfing” and the surrender to the hidden purposes of the divine will. Her fifth and final stage is union with the object of love, the one Reality, God. Here the self has been permanently established on a transcendental level and liberated for a new purpose.

Types of meditation
Within theistic mysticism two broad tendencies can be identified. One is a tendency to understand God by asserting what He is not and the other by asserting what He is. The former leads to what is called apophatic theology and the latter to cataphatic theology.

Apophatic (imageless, stillness, and wordlessness) – e.g., The Cloud of the Unknowing, Meister Eckhart; and
Cataphatic (imaging God, imagination or words) – e.g.,The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Dame Julian, Francis of Assisi…This second type is considered by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.
Scholars such as Urban T. Holmes, III have also categorized mystical theology in terms of whether it focuses on illuminating the mind, which Holmes refers to as speculative practice, or the heart/emotions, which he calls affective practice. Combining the speculative/affective scale with the apophatic/cataphatic scale allows for a range of categories:

Rationalism = Cataphatic and speculative
Pietism = Cataphatic and affective
Encratism = Apophatic and speculative
Quietism = Apophatic and affective
Ascetic practices
Many mystics, following the model of Paul’s metaphor of the athlete, as well as the story of the disciples sleeping while Jesus prayed, disciplined their bodies through activities ranging from fasting and sleep-deprivation to more extreme forms, such as self-flagellation.

Sensory experiences
Many mystics experience visions. But other sensory experiences are common as well. For instance, Richard Rolle heard heavenly music and felt a fire in his chest.

Religious ecstasy is common for many mystics, such as Teresa of Avila, whose experience was immortalized in the sculpture Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Bernini.

Physical transformations
One of the most familiar examples of mystical physical transformation is the appearance of stigmata on the body of the mystic, such as those received by Francis of Assisi and Padre Pio. But other transformations are possible, such as the odour of sanctity that accompanies the body of the deceased mystic, such as Teresa of Avila and Therese of Liseaux.

Some mystics are said to have been able to perform miracles. But for many mystics, the miracles occurred to them. In the Middle Ages, one common form of mystical miracle, especially for women, was the Eucharistic miracle, such as being able to eat nothing other than the communion host. Catherine of Genoa was an example of someone who experienced this type of miracle.“

Symptoms of victimization (PTSD) and Derek Hale

Collect them all!

  1. Shame: Deep embarrassment, often characterized as humiliation or mortification.
  2. Self-blame: Exaggerated feelings of responsibility for the traumatic event, with guilt and remorse, despite obvious evidence of innocence.
  3. Subjugation: Feeling belittled, dehumanized, lowered in dominance, and powerless as a direct result of the trauma.
  4. Morbid hatred: Obsessions of vengeance and preoccupation with hurting or humiliating the perpetrator, with or without outbursts of anger or rage.
  5. Paradoxical gratitude: Positive feelings toward the victimizer ranging from compassion to romantic love, including attachment but not necessarily identification. The feelings are usually experienced as ironic but profound gratitude for the gift of life from one who has demonstrated the will to kill. (Also known as pathological transference and/or Stockholm syndrome).
  6. Defilement: Feeling dirty, disgusted, disgusting, tainted, “like spoiled goods,” and in extreme cases, rotten and evil.
  7. Sexual inhibition: Loss of libido, reduced capacity for intimacy, more frequently associated with sexual assault.
  8. Resignation: A state of broken will or despair, often associated with repetitive victimization or prolonged exploitation, with markedly diminished interest in past or future.
  9. Second injury or second wound: Revictimization through participation in the criminal justice, health, mental health, and other systems.
  10. Socioeconomic status downward drift: Reduction of opportunity or life-style, and increased risk of repeat criminal victimization due to psychological, social, and vocational impairment.

A lot of these should be easily recognizable in Derek in relation to the various villains, but what is often overlooked or made light of is the symptoms he displays (even in season 3B!) as a result of Scott’s abuse and betrayal of Derek in 2x12.

In 2x12 alone we see at least #1, #3, #6, and #8. #3, subjugation, where Derek is literally made powerless to do anything to protect himself. He is then dehumanized, made into a tool that Scott uses to bite Gerard. He is made to feel #6, defiled, by being forced into this act. #1, shame at being used like this. You can see #8, resignation, because of how often he has been used by others, as if this has become his purpose in the world. Let’s not forget the betrayal of “you might be an alpha, but you’re not mine” and the implication that joining Derek’s pack was a deceptive power play and spying on Derek’s pack for Gerard all along instead of an actual desire to join Derek and work together.

In 3A his resignation (#8) is made even more clear by how much he has no interest in working with Scott, how he tells Scott to go home multiple times. This isn’t Derek telling Scott to go be a normal teenager, this is Derek telling Scott to leave him alone after Scott took a staring role in a trauma Derek endured. I have already spoken at length about this in my meta Derek’s change in demeanor and emotional health from 2x12 to 3x01.

Now for the big one in 3B that people keep making light of: #5 Paradoxical gratitude. Yes, overall Scott is maturing into a good person, but Derek’s hero worship is going a bit too far to be uninfluenced by his PTSD. In Derek’s mind he’s likely explained away what Scott did to him as “saving the day,” as that was the end result, and ignored the means that were used to get there and the trauma caused to him because of it.

This is where Derek “President of the Scott McCall Fan Club” and Derek “I was hiding under your porch because I love you” came from and it makes me cringe every time I see posts like that. I know people want to think it’s cute, but this is at a minimum partly influenced by PTSD from Scott’s abuse of Derek in 2x12 that has still not been addressed. This is also why I DO NOT WANT Derek to become Scott’s beta.

With everything else he’s endured so far and with Kate resurfacing to torment Derek, possibly having him in captivity for the full two month time skip between 3x24 and 4x01, Derek’s mental health outlook is especially grim.

(ps I would love to analyze all of Derek via the above list, but I’m out of steam at the moment. Feel free to continue with Scott or move on to other aspects of Derek’s life as you please)

Edit: Oh, hey! Look, a post I reblogged almost a year ago that relates to this.

i’m the kind of person who realizes they made a grammatical error in something and thinks about it for the rest of the day in silent shame and self-mortification 

James Wood reviews Hermione Lee’s biography of Penelope Fitzgerald:

Lee stays close to the evidence, and is wary of speculation. But it’s hard not to see the story of Fitzgerald’s life—at least, until its improbable late renaissance—as painfully symptomatic of its period and nation, a self half-maimed by familial emotional reticence, unhappy boarding schools (Fitzgerald was sent away at the age of eight, and hated her schools), male privilege, the religious self-mortification of leftover Victorian evangelicalism, the devastations of two world wars, and a distinctively English postwar parsimoniousness.

Illustration by Conor Langton

anonymous asked:

any advice for climbing out of depression after you make a fool of yourself publiclly?

I could make an offhanded joke about this, but it is – hilariously – something with which I have a lot of experience.

I think the key to this is to force yourself to change your thinking about what you did to make a fool out of yourself and the subsequent depression. Humans in general respond badly to showing their asses in public, but I think in our crippling anxiety about it we forget how constantly, endlessly, always we are making hideous hilarious embarrassments of ourselves. And so is everybody else.

We spend so much psychic energy worrying ourselves sick about what other people think. I know people who sit there and obsess over their lost opportunities for staircase wit, for something else they should have said to explain. Or they come back awkwardly a week later looking sweaty and miserable and try to add to what they told me ages ago, that I already forgot about. Nobody spends as much time reviewing and worrying over what you’ve done and said as much as you do.

(This is presuming you haven’t like, committed murder one or something, in which case the situation changes a bit.)

As impossible as it sounds, I think one of the major indicators of adulthood I’ve noted is the ability to just embarrass the shit out of yourself, sigh, and keep on going. It’s not comfortable, but it’s a necessary skill. But the reason we manage it is because we’ve had a lot of opportunities to take stock of the situation and recognize we’re taking this harder than anybody else, nobody remembers this other than me, and that in the long run, it doesn’t matter. These moments and these few people cannot dictate your life. You’ve got too much stuff to do. You owe it to yourself not to let this eat you up.

I have two actual not fucking around real life examples.

One – when I was in high school, I was so fucking terrible at math. Like garbage thrown in a dumpster that will filled with jizz and also on fire levels of bad. For reasons inexplicable, I signed up to take AP calculus AB anyway, because I am Asian and I thought that’s just what we did. I made it through the first quarter with a C- because I went to after school tutoring. For reasons that don’t bear further exploration at this juncture, I managed during second quarter to accidentally offer my math teacher sex in exchange for a better grade. I’m not joking: I accidentally did this. In a hallway. At school. I said, “Oh God. Did I say that out loud?” and then I fled the scene and didn’t make eye contact for like, 6 million years. I stopped going to tutoring, for obvious reasons. I also bombed out the rest of my year – straight Fs. It killed my GPA, and may or may not have played heavily into why I didn’t get into some of my more-preferred at the time universities. That was a stupidly high price to pay to indulge in my self pity and mortification; I should have brazened it out, and I fully believe with the benefit of age and further humiliation that after an awkward few weeks, it would have been fine.

Two – my first Real Internship, I ended up walking home from the first day of work with the back zipper on my pencil skirt busted wide open. Thankfully, I was wearing a cherry red underpants and sashaying down a major thoroughfare in Washington DC, so I assume every human person in America including all of my coworkers saw me. I realized this when I got home and burst into a combination of mortified tears and hysterical laughter. I forced myself to go to work anyway the next day because I had to go to work the next day, and when one of my coworkers – who had waved at me to try and get my attention as I was leaving the office – asked me, “Uh, how was getting home yesterday?” I just stared straight at her and said, “IT WAS FINE.” And you know what? It was. It turned into this big dumb story that I tell youths at my office whenever they start freaking out about something embarrassing they’ve done. It’s fine.

That small feeling you sometimes get, where you look at the sky or the ocean or a sea of people milling around a city, and you feel meaningless and tiny? That feeling is not the whole truth, but it is true: you’re a small part of the larger fabric. Whatever you’ve done to embarrass yourself is an even smaller part of that, a tiny microfraction of who you are and your life. Don’t let it ruin the rest of it for you, because in 10 years it’s going to be an amazingly funny story. 

Good luck. Let yourself cry it out, feel awful for a little while. But don’t let this own you for any longer. It’s too small to let it hold you down.

Buddha did not show a rough, uncompromising way to enlightenment; his path does not demand such ascetic practices as fire-walking and self-mortification. Instead, he shows a comfortable and happy path leading to a joyful result. Therefore, we should never let ourselves become discouraged by thinking that there is no way for us to attain enlightenment. If we apply the proper effort there is nothing to prevent our reaching this goal.
—  Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Meaningful to Behold”

anonymous asked:

Is being gay accepted in buddhism religion?

All the Buddhist texts were generally written near the end of the Verdic era, when the Buddha undergoes the reclamation to give up his life as a prince and the comforts of his life to live 6 years in the woods trying to find the means to end suffering.After experiencing comforts of highest degree and also terrible self-mortification, he understood the “middle way”which is based on the doctrine of 8 Noble Truths. Following the death of the Buddha, because they didnt have written scripts of his accounts, the council gathered to write this text. These scripts, called the Vinaya, are what the monks are to learn and live their life as, for the Buddha was seeking to spread the knowledge to end suffering in farther lands. Because of this, Buddhism doesnt really touch on  relationships, gay or not, however mentions of the importance of good intent


Forrest Curran