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I have had many years to consider the relationship between my diagnosis of Schizophrenia (subsequently changed to a lessor charge) and being sexually molested as a child by those presumably in network with the Catholic Church. Much of my conclusions are related in my memoir (atheoryof.me: a memoir) but perhaps more indirectly than should be the case for the gravity of the matter. The problem with firm conclusions, however, revolve around the complexity of the following issues:
1) Schizophrenia is a symptomatic disorder, which is to say that you are given this diagnosis based on symptoms not based on underlying conditions. Symptoms may vary, they need not include ‘hearing voices’, and people may be misdiagnosed, but there is no biological test, because the illness itself is symptomatic.
2) There is not one condition which brings about the symptoms of Schizophrenia; there are multiple potential underlying conditions, ‘a cluster’ (see “Surviving Schizophrenia”); and none of them – even if present and to some degree ‘apparent’ – amount to Schizophrenia, neither on their own nor taken together.
3) Even if being molested as a child did help bring about the symptoms of Schizophrenia – as it can clearly cause, among other things, a persistent fear, which is a close cousin of paranoia – there is no reason to believe the sexual molestation causes the underlying conditions.
The link missing in the explanation is why, or if, those with the underlying conditions are in fact more likely to be abused; or whether that should be dismissed as coincidence. The truth is, I believe, to be found in the nature of the abuse.
In my experience, the sexual molestation was not for anyone’s gratification. It was for control via humiliation. A certain lack of an ability to control a person can be perceived in the basic symptoms of the conditions underlying Schizophrenia itself. This is what I have indicated as the ‘apparent’ nature of the conditions, independent of any symptoms warranting a diagnosis of Schizophrenia, proper. The result is that the abuser can, quite clearly, be seen as punishing the abused for their condition, in order to better control them (by humiliation). And certainly the unspeakable harm done by the abusers can give rise to symptoms (given the conditions) warranting a proper diagnosis of Schizophrenia.
Of course, if the connection between Schizophrenia and a history of being abused holds true generally (albeit probablistically and statistically), it creates further problems for those with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia. First, there are studies linking a history of having been abused to being abusers. If authorities take these studies at their word, they could place those with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia under greater suspicion than they already are. Meanwhile, those who sought to humiliate their victims with abuse when they were young are more than happy to raise suspicion against their victims (and deflect blame from themselves) by calling them abusers (not to mention ‘Schiz’) in what can amount to a persecution within a community at a later time in life. Management of this burden, while overcoming economic hardship due to the shadow cast by stigma, can lead to homelessness or suicide. These are extremely weighty matters for a community as well as those who are or have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia and/or have been abused, and it is important to consider the degree of validity in the connections involved.
First, not all those diagnosed with Schizophrenia were sexually molested; the rate at which this is the case is unknown and the connection not generally established. The studies on the probability of the abused becoming abusers principally give the percentages of those who have been found guilty of abuse who were also abused as children; and it should not be forgotten that the probability that one was abused given one is an abuser is not the same as the probability that one is an abuser given that one was abused. Furthermore, if the data on whether an abuser was abused is collected by asking the abuser if they were abused, one can expect that these numbers would be inflated by a propensity to deflect blame. Finally, the propensity of abused to become abusers depends to a great extent on, among other matters, the stability of the home and family they grew up in. All of this makes it very strictly a mistake to fear or raise suspicion against anyone who was abused or has been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, on this basis alone or rumor alike (not to mention the possible fabrication of corroborating evidence); and puts a responsibility on society to intervene in those situations where suspicion against a child, later in life, might be due, if nothing is done today.
The most important thing for our society to realize is that in the middle of all of this, there is a person. They are not some preprogrammed automaton simply programmed by competing forces forever incapable of acting according to their will, but a thinking, living human being who can make choices to be a good citizen and decide their role in serving their community. If they are ostracized, they are not given that chance.
Trump is an old man. He is no stranger to the history of the cold war. He is also no stranger to America’s continued efforts to maintain its standing in the world against some of its historic enemies. Yet with every move he makes, America loses ground in Europe against our two most feared rivals: Russian Intelligence and Islamic Terrorism. And a single failure in judgment could set American back fifty years, at home and abroad.
If there is a question of motive as to why Trump was propped up by connections in Russia during the election, you have to look no further than Europe. With the Muslim immigration into Europe – some of whom have a propensity for violence and distaste, if not hatred, toward America – there is the making of an Anti-American army on the continent. And there could be no better Emmanuel Goldstein for Big Brother to lambaste in order to drum up hate for, than our current president. Making Americans and American affiliations heightened targets of terrorism. The result is the capacity for the Kremlin to create further distance between America and a European citizenry hostage to random acts of violence, explicated as Anti-American sentiment – true or false. The perceptions are as important as the reality. Should a people, not knowing otherwise what they can do to protect themselves from violence, decide that they can at least disassociate, just in case, then they may – provided they do not see it for what it is.
The Kremlin wants, and at all cost, for Europe and the world not to see it for what it is, and America cannot dawdle bringing it to light.
Should the Europeans see this presidency for what it is – an attempt to prop up a (notably non-Jewish, though not anti-Jewish) Goldstein in order to win hate against America – they are integral enough not to collapse under the weight of pressure from anti-American sentiment. Should the means and methods by which Trump came into power remain even too slowly dragged into the public consciousness, a single misstep can destroy American objectives for years to come in the meantime. This may well be the intended purpose of this presidency itself. And with it the Kremlin gains what Authoritarians always desire most, control.
The best hope is for the FBI to move swiftly with their investigations – something that Trump is now fighting with the release, and threat of release, of previously classified intelligence documents. But the best case scenario is admitting we have been had by the Kremlin, so in any case, America will have to realize it has some fighting to do, but at least we stem the tide of tyranny.
When you know a lot about a person, there is at least two ways you can approach them. The first is as a human. Compliment them on their positive qualities; compliment them on their good ideas and good actions; try to help them where they are failing, both in action and in principle; help them to help themselves with what they have to offer and by correcting where they are failing.
The second approach is to ask how a person may be used (exploited?); how can we take (steal?) from a person as much as we can while paying as little as possible; how a person can be made (coerced?) to agree; how can a person be made a non-factor by playing them against others or by stripping them of wealth, credibility, relationships, etc.
It goes without saying that a capitalism without ethics lends itself to the second approach, and breeds a species of men which are sad at best; but it must also be remembered that we cannot legislate ethics – it must come from us as a people.
There are no provisions in the constitution for attaining a warhead. Yet we allow people to attain automatic weapons – legally – which can do the same damage to human life in a short period of time as a warhead. We have a constitutional right to bear arms, but there is no constitutional right to human destruction. The notion of a slippery slope applies equally in the other direction and if one has to choose, they should choose peace over mutual destruction in the name of ideological self-defense. It is just not that difficult to realize that legislation against automatic weapons is not only appropriate but necessary.
Homosexuality is a victimless crime, if it were a crime at all. As such no self-respecting libertarian would consider making it a crime. Additionally, homosexuals are a fact of life. There are people who prefer the company of their own sex for sex. So the short answer to anyone who does not like homosexuality is: deal with it. The long answer is that we should welcome the day when we ask someone of their sexual orientation and they respond with an answer which we believe and have no reason to doubt – and have no real interest in unless we ourselves are sexually interested or know someone who might be. Not only is this a reprieve from deception, but it would give those who wish to manipulate with what-does-not-matter-in-the-first-place less ammunition. It is a sad fact that although the western world is largely able to see the progress in this direction, the eastern world does not. The eastern world, at least as represented by the Arabic countries, largely allow for – if not dictate – the persecution of people based on their sexual orientation.
I have been a long time supporter of Islamic Americans. They have quite clearly drawn the short end of the stick. But there is a fact of intolerance in antiquated Sharia law which the Arabic countries must overcome in their quest to catch up to the western world. And it should be said that despite the intolerance, there is this ambition. The Islamic world has been trying to catch up and we should not hesitate to help them, but they remain woefully behind if this map from the Washington Post has any credibility.
But therein, too, is the problem. The Washington Post does a lot to overemphasize the importance of homosexuality to the Islamic world. They say nothing of the actual convictions for homosexual behavior and instead are inciting the flames against Islam at a very critical moment. The shooting on Sunday of this week cannot be thought of anything but the worst of intolerance, but we cannot let the shooter himself speak for Islam – doing so stinks of the very kind of manipulation which the US is being accused of overseas.
I released my latest book this week and it is freely available on kindle for a limited time here. It is short, readable, and yet complex and a little absurd. I hope you enjoy.
In this follow up to Should The Pope offer St. Maria’s of Alhambra to Islam, I want to consider what the Catholic church has to gain by offering St. Maria’s as an offering to interfaith worship.
The short answer is that The Church has peace to gain, with a start toward reconciliation among faiths, which need to come together rather than grow further apart. The long answer is that it is only through an unsolicited offer by The Catholic Church, in advance of pressure from outside events, that The Church can authentically make a gesture that other faiths can trust as an offering to peace. The act needs to take place prior to strife, for it to be clear that The Church’s hand was not forced in the matter – which it is not, but could seem so, should such an offering occur after an event of great distress. This means that it is the right moment for such an offering.
Open dialog between faiths is much needed, so that theoretical reconciliations can be reached, which promise to support a broader day to day acceptance of other faiths living together in the same community. There is no better way to reach a state in which reconciliation can be achieved than through a community of shared worship. Seeing and hearing and feeling those in prayer and worship inevitably makes the practice and people of other faith less alien, more akin to yourself and your own needs and fulfillment. And the setting at Alhambra is the most perfect given the history of intolerance in Spain and the history of Alhambra, not to mention its beauty.
The Office of the President is the face of the nation and ours is a nation with a big footprint. That footprint extends well into other nations as we willfully take on the task of policing the world from at least the worst of its ills. That life abroad is occasionally neglected and occasionally abused by our Presidents, but it really can be neither if we want America at its best.
While the Office of the President is consistently fighting domestic political battles which make them more narrow-minded than we can afford our administrations to be, America is busy being America abroad, trying to defend what is right, while fighting the concurrent battle over the visage of America as domineering where it doesn’t belong.
It is the latter where our president can be decidedly understanding or standoffish and in the past they have been both, but in the interconnected world which America built, we cannot afford the latter when it is not overwhelmingly due. Our current president has done well with diplomacy, despite occasional botched communications, and we can’t afford anything less from our future presidents.
The presidents of the near future – born and raised before the rise of the internet – threaten to misunderstand a younger generation who are to make up America and much of the first-world, in short order. And it is a persistent and perpetrated misunderstanding, which is America’s greatest foe.