Stoicism: How Displaying Strength Goes Wrong

CONTENT WARNING: Murder, Suicide, Drug Use 

“Man Up.”  “Be strong!”  “Real men don’t cry.”  

These are common phrases said when a boy, man or even woman or girl perceived to be “strong” is told at a young age. This model of strength, and masculinity in the case of males, is heavily influenced by stoicism. Stoicism is an Ancient Greek school of philosophy that argues displays of emotion are due to lapses in judgment, and true strength and rationality is emotionless. It has made its way into the Model of Masculinity in America. I can’t say if it has made its way into other nations’ Model of Masculinity, though I suspect it has. Some people will admit to murder before admitting to therapy, as most men in America will.  

Modern stoicism is best defined in the basic emotional philosophy of professional wrestling. I have only seen two major emotions defined in the ring, and yes, I watched pro wrestling for years: Rage and Lust. It’s as if any emotion at all that is not rage or lust does not exist. That kind of aggressive stoicism takes a toll on a person, woman or man. Want to know something really weird? Pro wrestling is chock full of early deaths – including one which, if I remember correctly, involved family annihilation. But the man who did that has become a sort of He Who Must Not Be Named. (No, not Voldemort, my dear Harry Potter fans.) 

He Who Must Not Be Named, Chris Benoit, I briefly touched upon. He killed his wife and child. Now, it has been revealed that Benoit had brain injuries consistent with CTE, sustained during his career. I wonder if he knew he was going downhill physically? I wonder if that prompted such an extreme reaction? Unfortunately, I have previous experience in family annihilation. It happened to a friend of mine at church. The theory floating around is that his father did not think anyone could take better care of them than himself. I wonder if it a similar case? 

More examples of Stoicism abound. Many men have died of suicide due to not being able to get help for themselves. I have also heard that the success rate of suicide is four times higher among males than other genders. Also, what does modern stoicism contribute to the usage of alcohol and other drugs to evoke the “proper” state of being? How many people have fallen into addiction due to pressure to Man Up or Be Strong?  

You may think I have no business talking about Toxic Masculinity or Stoicism, but Stoicism has made its way into dealing with female emotions. How many times, when crying, have women and girls been told they are “Hysterical” or “Irrational” and unable to deal with hard issues due to emotion? By the way, “Hysterical” comes from the Ancient Roman word “Hystericus,” meaning “Of the womb.” The very idea that women are too emotional is ingrained in us from the ancient world. How are they prescribed to overcome their womanly emotions? “Woman Up!” “Be Strong!” Stoicism!  

I suspect that emotions may actually be helpful to one, if used correctly. If you’re feeling bad, there may be something wrong. If you’re depressed and putting on a face at a party, something might be wrong. If you’re feeling too good, something also might be wrong.  

I must admit, I was inspired by a segment on Sunday Morning about the toll that modern masculinity takes on young men in our culture…based on recent school shootings, mostly done by young men. We need to remove the stigma and hate of emotion from our national psyche. The Dam of Stoicism will burst eventually, and like any other dam holding back giant walls of water, the ending will not be pretty.

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Twenty-Six People Dead; NOW Will You Take Spousal Abuse Seriously?

I said it once; let me say it again. Trump is wrong about the Texas church shooter. He said it was not a gun problem; it was a mental illness problem. Now, since it has been revealed that the shooter’s family attended the church he shot up, but not that Sunday, it has been revealed to be a domestic violence problem. Twenty-six people dead, all because he wanted to kill his ex-wife and her family. The Texas church shooting was about the ultimate display of power and control over his wife; the power over life. 

Power and control have been at the core of domestic violence for all time. It was at the core of my family’s fighting and struggle. It was at the core of many a spousal murder and attempted murder; it was at the core of my life for so long. As a matter of fact, I am terrified of getting married, due to the fact that domestic violence was in my family and life for so long; what kind of wife beater will I attract? What kind of pain and abuse will I have to endure just to be comfortable? This is the effect of domestic abuse and violence in my life. As a matter of fact, domestic abuse was in the history of the Texas church shooter. He was dishonorably discharged for cracking his stepson’s skull. And he was convicted on another count for beating his wife. And he was able to buy weapons because the Air Force failed to report these crimes, so he went and shot up forty-six people in a church-where his ex-wife’s family went. So, is the Air Force almost as guilty of neglect in preventing mass murder? You be the judge.  

A Time Magazine article once stated that a soldier was going to have to kill in a big way for the military to understand domestic violence. Well, Air Force who failed to report it – twenty-six people are dead; twenty more are injured, all because the shooter wanted to control his ex-wife and her family. Now will you take domestic violence seriously?  

Do Autistic Lives Matter To You? 

I finally had to speak about the shooting of Charles Kinsey, who was trying to care for his autistic charge and got shot in the leg. What troubles me more is that they felt they had to shoot somebody. The officer said he was trying to kill the autistic subject. Seriously? Are police that trigger happy? Do they worship guns and power like a god? Is that supposed to make people like me feel better?

I wanted to talk about fun stuff, but issues like trying to kill autistic and black or brown people for not acting like servile Uncle Tom types scares me to no end. Are some police such cowards that they have to hide behind the gun? I think the answer is yes. Of course, I am wondering if I am, in someone’s mind, unfit to live.

I am autistic. Let’s see how I am portrayed in the media, followed by my reaction to the stereotype:

1) A Budding Mass Murderer. Why would I kill anyone outside of self-defense?

2) Fit for Murder. Here’s the reaction.

3) Useless. I usually do the cooking, cleaning, and general running of the house, as a caretaker for my disabled mother, as well as doing things for my aunt and uncle, who are also disabled. Would you like to call me “Useless” again? Many people with autism contribute to society in many ways. If they are taught and accepted, who knows what could be the limits of their potential?

4) A Sociopath / Psychopath. This is a common characterization, usually untrue 

5) Unemotional/Unempathetic. Have you read my last article?

*****

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I wonder how much fear and loathing I would strike if I wore a puzzle piece T-Shirt or article of clothing? It scares me.

But by no means am I talking about all of the police officers out there. The truth is, I don’t think we have “bad” policing as the culprit. What we have is a system of fear, hate and continual subjugation in the name of “order” and “power” on the side of those who have power. Also, I would point to poor training in the police departments. This is 2016, people. Not everybody is going to react to the police in the same way all the time. Why are police not trained to see and handle autistic people, as inferred by the shooting of Charles Kinsey, or should I say, the attempted shooting of an unarmed autistic man?

Why I Mourn the Orlando Shooting Victims 

I am hearing, from the dark corners of the internet, about certain so-called Christians who are not mourning the victims of the Orlando shooting.

A quick recap: Gay nightclub shot up. 50 people dead, possibly more to come. 53 people injured. The gunman among the dead. Police waited 3 hours to storm the place.

Why are these people not mourning the victims of the Orlando shooting? Simple: they were most likely homosexuals. Yes, I agree homosexuality is a sin. I am a Bible-believing Christian. Romans 1 and 2 contains several verses you may have to cut out. Sin also separates you from God.

That being said, the victims of the Orlando shooting, even those most likely gay, are no more sinful by God’s standards than anyone else. What people forget, in their crusading against other people’s sin, is that they are just as sinful. It even feels like they are using other people’s sins to mask their own – the classic “I’m not as bad as that guy!” Scenario. The trouble is, the people pointing the finger are just as sinful, as I have said before. The standard of holiness, according to God? Absolute, sinless perfection. Ever heard the saying “Nobody’s Perfect” from anyone, anyone at all? That is the trouble. Remember, people who point the finger usually have three fingers pointing back at them. It is also similar to when Christ told of the “speck” of one sin in another’s eye, you have to make sure there is a “log” of any other sin in your own eye. That illustrates another truth: that people who are pointing out one sin are often struggling with it in one form or another.

So, let me say, according to the word of God, that the best thing to do in the case of the Orlando shooting victims is, to mourn the dead. Were they targeted for their lifestyle, their differences? Yes. Were they murdered? Yes. Is their time of mercy and grace over? Yes. Do they have a chance to go back and change their minds? Of course not-they’re dead. They have no more chances. Their lives and chances were taken from them. If you were in the nightclub and got shot, you would have had a near 50/50 chance of dying from your wounds. If they deserve to die and go to hell, so do you. But Christ, in His infinite mercy and grace, paid your price. That is all I have to say about that.

It is going to be a surprise who comes into heaven. People you thought would be there are not, and people who you thought would never be there will. Sure, sin keeps you from God, but Jesus Christ received the penalty for all, so that all may come to Him. The dead of Pulse nightclub, they never had a chance. Their chances were taken away from them. Mourn for that.

Autism Does Not Cause Shootings, Autism Does Not Cause Shootings, Autism Does Not Cause Shootings….

Autism Does Not Cause Shootings, Autism Does Not Cause Shootings, Autism Does Not Cause Shootings….

Smooth move, CBS, CNN, NBC and other outlets. By putting autism in the headlines of the news concerning the Oregon Shooter’s mother, you have inexorably spread fear and hate against people with autism, like me. Your penchant for bodice-ripping headlines has made me even more hateful towards you. I am feared and hated as ever, especially now, that I have been linked to a man who killed ten people, including himself. Here’s a twist: I would have been shot for admitting I am a Christian, too! So what do I do? Where do I go for help and assurance that I am not going to get killed or run out of town a la Frankenstein’s monster?

First of all, I must say this: Autism is not linked to violence. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/12/16/aspergers-autism-not-linked-to-violence-experts reports this fact. As a matter of fact, it is more likely that I would be the victim of crime, not the criminal. Here is an article about the continued stigmatization of autism, perpetuating the likelihood of being murdered for my autism. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelle-sutton/autism-stigma-and-murder_b_5211817.html

This brings me to another point:  Do you think because I am autistic, I am going to go get a gun and shoot people? I hat guns. I know that is an unpopular opinion among my peers, especially among fellow Republicans, but I am just absolutely frightened that we have to invite an instrument of death into our houses in order to feel any sort of power over our situations. Do you think I want to involve an instrument of death and harm in my everyday life? I am not going to deny you your right to self-defense, but I am not going to be made to wield death because I am feeling a little cowardly. Even as I go about this world mostly alone, I am constantly reinforcing my bravery to live in a world which is afraid of me.

In case you haven’t noticed, there is one thing I must admit: I am the only autistic my age that I know. That troubles me. I feel so alone in all this. All the people who seem to understand me are on the internet, and most of them seem far away. This troubles me, because the distance makes me feel all alone in this world. I know that is not the case, but there are no people here with autism to dispel my loneliness that I know of. This also makes me fear for my safety.

Do I have to pick up a gun and show that I will not use it for you to believe I am not a danger to society? To end the fear of neurotypical people because I am different from them? Being feared like this is shameful, it is discriminatory, it is the textbook definition of prejudice. I’m sorry, I did not know I had to cower in the corner to appease it.

But if you want my opinion on the subject of shootings and autism, read the title again, and again, and again…until you believe it.