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Jan 13, 2012                   

Summaries added + The damnation ritual

"To feel envy is human, to savor schadenfreude is devilish."
-- Schopenhauer

As before, I am still not feeling well, what with ME/CFS, but it's a bit better than the last few days, and there may even be another Nederlog today. The present one is about the two topics in the title:

1. Summaries added
2. The damnation ritual

1. Summaries added

I uploaded all of Nederlog for this year - 765 Kb in 12 days, but then some of that is formatting and some of that is constant, because I decided to add a link summaries at the end of each Nederlog, which links to the file called NewsEnglish aka Recent Changes, in which I keep track of the latest changes to the site, which are mostly new Nederlogs with brief summaries, often a bit ironical, but usually adequate.

The reason is simply that I find it helpful, in my own case to keep track what I did write, and when and where, and for others to find out what I did write about.

2. The damnation ritual

Yesterday I wrote about a new site of dr. Deckoff-Jones, that replaces a blog of hers that for me was to a considerable extent blighted by a comments section with incessant supplies of bullshit, rants, accusations and plain nastiness by the firms of Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous and Alias Inc. generally but not always directed at Alias, Alias, Alias and Anonymous Inc.

What irritates me most in these writings - that may take up to 90% of the comments, indeed on quite a few blogs with a Comments section that is not switched off: There's an enormous amount of this righteous namecalling  and personal bullshit against others on the internet - is the combination of stupidity, nastiness and anonymity: Surely, if these comments had to be signed with a name and an an address that had to be correct almost none of the commentators would have dared to write as they did anonymously, or as alias, e.g. to the following effect, and I quote from an earlier Nederlog that quotes a comment on the now terminated blog of Deckoff-Jones MD:

Anonymous said...

2 names comes to mind when thinking of crime against humanity; Whittemore and Hitler...

(November 20, 2011 2:43 am)

From that same Nederlog, by myself:

And as an aside, although that also applies to many of the comments I read in the above listed items, if indeed also not to all:

Why are so many people bereft of fairness when it comes to considering those they disagree with, or those they believe to be not of their group, or not of their opinion? Is man - and woman too - if indeed belonging to the huge class of ordinary men, who are since milleniums the willing tools of dictators and religious nuts or frauds, on average perhaps necessarily an ideological ape, a natural born yahoo, who feels it is no more than just to treat strangers and opponents as an inferior race against whom anything is permitted, on the force of Orwell's recipe? In case you're not sure about that most helpful of moral teachings:

"Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no outrage - torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonments without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians, which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by 'our' side."  

Well... as a partial explanation, of a sociobiological kind, indeed, I think it is a kind of apish, yahoo-like groupthinking: People indulge in anonymous namecalling and offense to draw emotional boundaries between Us and Them and to draw lines and to define sharp verbal contrasts between what and who they agree and disagree with, generally not on rational grounds at all (in fact reasons are indeed rarely given in these obsessive apish rituals of mutual damnation, on the pattern of the lovely "Elisabeth" quoted above) but on emotional ones, usually of a primitive and strong kind, much like the group-solidarity that moves hyenas, that devour each other alive if not blessed with the very same group smell.

To quote myself again, from that same Nederlog:

I have also been called "a fascist" during nearly all the years I was in university, by many, because I was well-known as being against dumbing down and politicizing the universities - and I could not protest, because I was afraid my parents, both real heroes of the Dutch Resistance, might get in trouble with my opponents (who did not know about my communist background, that they probably - since they pretended nearly all to be Revolutionary Marxists, from a bourgeois background - would have sorely envied at the time).

So... the problem with 99.99% of mankind is that they lack the intellect, the self-control and the morality to behave and think and desire like the best. And thence the mostly horrible human history as it is, filled with yahoos murdering and persecuting their betters for reason of insane ideals and ideas that anybody with a bright mind could see through.

And note that I do not have any objection of strong principle to name-calling, scatology, satire or rudeness: There are real degenerates and real psychopaths and real sadists, and the least you can do is identify them and call them for what they are - what I detest is the combination of anonymity, the lack of reasons, the plain stupidity, the rotten styles of writing, the hypocritical self-righteousness and, often, the evident personal but anonymous sadism: There simply are many people who love to offend others, anonymously, from a safe distance, unreasoned, and with great glee, without fear of consequences to their sweet selves.

See Schadenfreude (<- Wikipedia), from which I quote:

A New York Times article in 2002 cited a number of scientific studies of schadenfreude, which it defined as "delighting in others' misfortune." Many such studies are based on social comparison theory, the idea that when people around us have bad luck, we look better to ourselves. Other researchers have found that people with low self-esteem are more likely to feel schadenfreude than are people who have high self-esteem. (*)

Also from the same source: Cyber-bullying. What concerns me most here, and what I find most objectionable, is the lack of accountability through anonymity:

Unlike physical bullying, electronic bullies can remain virtually anonymous using temporary email accounts, pseudonyms in chat rooms, instant messaging programs, cell-phone text messaging, and other Internet venues to mask their identity; this perhaps frees them from normative and social constraints on their behavior.

There's no "perhaps" about it, in my estimate, and it would be interesting to see if there is a social psychologist (who publishes his or her raw data, and knows statistics) willing to investigate it experimentally. It's an interesting topic, that may teach much about man's inhumanity to man: To do evil to another is so much easier if cloaked by anonymity and unaccountability!

(*) Incidentally... although dr. Wessely will not admit it, this also is a motive that may explain many of his stances on persons with ME/CFS: Blaming the victim while "delighting in others' misfortune".

Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.


As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):
1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.  Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam/ with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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