Coping

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lowbart
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Re: Coping

Postby lowbart » Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:37 am UTC

It's not much, but I hope this helps. I've been in a spot like that before, and the main thing that got me out of it was that I realized I really like making other people happy. Even if I don't know how to satisfy myself, I find it very rewarding to satisfy other people in some way. It depends, of course, as the effect is stronger if you know them, but whether you're giving advice, or telling a joke, or just getting someone out of a jam when they need it, that can be a big thing.

Yeah, maybe we're all going into oblivion eventually, but there's still some things you can do to make life on earth a little easier for a few people.

If you're dead set on converting to a religion, I'd reccommend Buddhism. It doesn't take as much doublethink.
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Re: Coping

Postby Freakish » Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:07 am UTC

I don't cope. In the end nothing is really going to matter, but that doesn't stop me from "living" (computers, games, pop, etc...). I've thought about post death many times, always coming to the conclusion that my nothing really matters, but... well... there is no "but". I just hit a knot in my mind.

Just this second I have come up with some bullshit thing that I don't really believe in, "In the end what you do doesn't matter, but right now it does." If that works for you, use it.

I don't know... I guess I just don't feel the need to have my life matter.
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Re: Coping

Postby aleflamedyud » Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:45 am UTC

If you're dead set on converting to a religion, I'd reccommend Buddhism. It doesn't take as much doublethink.

Feh to the lack of doublethink: the Buddhists are the happiest! But none of that Zen bull. Zen is just Buddhism rejiggered to conform to the Japanese social system. Go for real deal, compassion-for-all-living-things Buddhism.
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Re: Coping

Postby lowbart » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:03 pm UTC

Yeah, that was the kind I was referring to. I really like Buddhism. It just doesn't work for me because I think everyone has to find their own path - or at least I do.
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Re: Coping

Postby noonie » Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:44 pm UTC

you can be atheist and be spiritual. i recommend starting with famous religions and spiritual paths. then famous philosophers, then not so famous religions and philosophers. you're right, you can't force yourself to be anything, but you can research and see what's out there and see what you stumble into.

someone else has already done the hard thinking for you. if you don't know what to think it never hurts finding out what other people think. if that fails, all i can say is near death experiences tend to straighten people out. binge drinking maybe? although i guess not for a 13 year old.

if you want to stop thinking, find something to obsess about. having one huge focal point tends to take your mind off other things. get addicted to poetry or music or painting or decoupage or sculpting with a chain saw or rearranging diesel engine parts to make furniture. pick a math problem no one's solved yet and solve it. or work on cold fission. learn a new language, fluently, or make up your own. find something you do well and do it better and then to the best of your ability. find something you do poorly and then do it better and to the best of your ability. find something you think is wrong and fix it. find many things you think are wrong and fix them. sometimes when you're done you've found what you were looking for. sometimes when you're done you've found you haven't and have to look again. sometimes you never finish but don't notice anyway.
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Re: Coping

Postby litework » Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:23 pm UTC

Chase Watkins wrote:I've found myself fighting off somewhat of an "existential coma" where all thoughts lead to the question why and sometimes repressed tears. It may be my new found obsession with Pink Floyd, and I am an Atheist. Seeing as this is a place where one can find many of those, I was wondering how some of you cope with the near positivity that we are all just part of a random entity and will soon fall into oblivion. I've just had no desire to do anything lately and it is ruining my grades. It's just odd to think that I can be depressed and accept it as fact but still not have any power over it. Frankly, I just wish I could force myself to be Christian, just so I can have some sort of ambition in the time being.


I agree with what was said about spirituality and atheism; that's my path of choice. Christianity, IMO, lacks in answers, is way too dogma-heavy, makes absolutely no sense and basically worsens things. Sorry if anyone reading this is Christian and offended - I was "raised Catholic" and have an extreme aversion to organized religion of any sort. I'd say closest thing to palatable religion is Buddhism, which is more a philosophy or lifestyle choice anyway.

Spirituality, I have found, is pretty much where it's at in terms of coping. I have been through A LOT of shit in my life and am always falling in and out of existential crises... a sense that things do, somehow and at times inexplicably, have a purpose has helped keep me borderline sane, as opposed to my previous raving lunacy.

And finding people with whom I can identify and spill my innermost difficulties has also really helped. Once I discovered I don't have to keep everything bottled up, I highly doubt I can live without "sharing." Yay for 12 step groups.
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Re: Coping

Postby TizzyFoe » Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:57 am UTC

Chase Watkins wrote:Thank you al, that was all very insightful. However, I was more asking how exactly do you just stop thinking about the world's purpose. Also, I am only thirteen, which I find is a deppressing age therein to be worrying about these things already. Mind you, I do not want to hurt myself or anything, I am not becoming the steriotypical 'emo'. Now, a big problem with doing what I enjoy (hanging out with friends, playing guitar and laughing my ass off) is that my being a minor in addition to my poor grades plus my strict, self-concious/anti social (I know, it's an odd combination) dad really confines me to only playing guitar and briefly contacting my friends a few minutes a day, and I live in a district where I only have, and want, a few friends because nearly everyone is so damn ignorant! And out of all of my friends, only one gives a shit about any of this kind of stuff. And whenever I try to forget about my existential being, my damn hippy-teacher has to give us a bloody assignment about our goals in life! It all boils down to one thing, a philosophy, if you will, ones I came up with while mowing the lawn one day.


Your pain and pleasure are real. Getting better grades means you will (probably) get a better job when you graduate which (probably) means you'll have more money or a job you enjoy more. So you should work rather hard on grades solely for your future profit. Or you could follow of policy of living for the moment. Since theres probably no afterlife you should have as much fun as possible.

Thats my philosophy anyway.

I'm not entirely sure what you want help coping with. I'm fine with there not being a God, but i suppose it would be better to have an almighty being supporting me.
"My folks were always on me to groom myself and wear underpants. What am I, the pope?"
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Re: Coping

Postby Pyrotix » Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:44 am UTC

the same thing happened to me sort of. Went through a time (~4-5 years ago, triggered by moving houses) when I couldn't help questioning everything and would sometimes break down to tears. In hindsight it seems sort of odd.

Every now and again I would start trying to puzzle a reason for existence and I'd feel like I was being suffocated.

In the end I took to accepting that we are gifted with every moment of life we experience, and that all of them, even the painful ones are in their own ways things of beauty.

That we (or at least I) cannot really conclusively say why we're here, but as we have a chance to be here, we should enjoy it, and try to make the most of it.

Thus, we can try to puzzle for the why (or the how's) if we want to, but in the end they don't really matter. What matters is life itself. Reading philosophy helped (buddhism stuff is generally good), and a change of music could aid in taking your mind to less frightening places (just don't switch from Pink Floyd to radiohead.) In terms of general strategies keeping busy is good. Put your mind in the moment and concentrate on and enjoy both the process of making food and eating it for instance. Or pay attention to nature while walking. Try to be mindful. Or if you feel like it, and weather permits, run.

Enjoy stuff. Become depressed by stuff (if you want to be). If you're trying to "cope" I think you may be going at it from the wrong angle

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Re: Coping

Postby segmentation fault » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:08 pm UTC

Sarcio wrote:But i know exactly what you mean. And let me express it this way. Atheism is a religion. It may be one based on logic, fact, and reason, but it is still just like any other. a religion. What's that mean? It can be wrong.


how exactly is atheism a religion? if atheism is a religion, then what exactly isnt a religion?

to address the OP, dont dwell on it too much. live in the now. be happy. thats all.

if youre concerned about fading into oblivion, think of life as a game which takes 80 or so years to beat. it lacks replay value, doesnt it? also, being an atheist, the fact is we are unsure of what happens. there might be a heaven, or reincarnation, or nirvana. noone knows except those who cant tell us. but if youre going to live your life concerned with death and what comes after, you need to take a step back and reevaluate things.
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Re: Coping

Postby ThomasS » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:56 pm UTC

Going back to the OP...

Chase Watkins wrote:Thank you al, that was all very insightful. However, I was more asking how exactly do you just stop thinking about the world's purpose. Also, I am only thirteen, which I find is a deppressing age therein to be worrying about these things already. Mind you, I do not want to hurt myself or anything, I am not becoming the steriotypical 'emo'.


It is self evident (to me anyway) that the purpose of life is to live it well, not to navel gaze. However, you are getting to the age where you should start figuring out what living life well means to you. Friends? What type of friends? Puzzles? What type of puzzles? Experiences? What type of experiences? Start to figure that out, and start to develop confidence that have, and you might start to find more motivation.

If you are having real trouble controlling how much you spend time thinking about things, you might investigate the less formal approaches to Zen and/or meditation. To a certain extent, it is all about calming the mind. Of course, to a certain extent it isn't, but some aspects are easier to put into words than others.

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Re: Coping

Postby cor_pen » Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:37 pm UTC

i have found that there is an internal struggle associated with nihilism, namely that the rational part of you is trying to free your mind from the baser instincts that motivate and propagate you in your biological context. you might become resentful of your need to eat, sleep, socialize, and of your peers' apparent inability to relate to your situation. you will probably become depressed as you deprive yourself the social and chemical goals targeted by these impulses. frustration ensues. though i agree that the ideal of achieving pure reason is admirable, you must accept the fact that you exist as a biological body, and that the pursuit of social + biological needs is required if you want to be able to further explore the world

i can recommend the application of energy towards a constructive goal (engineering, art) as a good outlet of frustration and as a cause of praise from your eventual peers in that field. sure, the pursuit of others' approval may seem masturbatory in a pure nihilist perspective, but if you are unable to break yourself from the loop of self-criticism you may find yourself not to exist sooner rather than later

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Re: Coping

Postby mosc » Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:56 pm UTC

Chase Watkins wrote:I've found myself fighting off somewhat of an "existential coma" where all thoughts lead to the question why and sometimes repressed tears. It may be my new found obsession with Pink Floyd, and I am an Atheist. Seeing as this is a place where one can find many of those, I was wondering how some of you cope with the near positivity that we are all just part of a random entity and will soon fall into oblivion. I've just had no desire to do anything lately and it is ruining my grades. It's just odd to think that I can be depressed and accept it as fact but still not have any power over it. Frankly, I just wish I could force myself to be Christian, just so I can have some sort of ambition in the time being.
I have felt much the same way at times. I find three things comfort me:

1) Feeling good is it's own reward. Hedonism is inherently appealing and a little bit of it seems to be necessary to get out of this funk. You must decide that there are things you enjoy (whatever they are) and the enjoyment is worth the effort. You can thus justify things you don't like to do by showing how they allow you to do things you do like. EX: Doing well in school lets you pick your college, your career, your job, and has a positive impact on your income throughout your life which generally means you have more means to get to the fun stuff.

2) You don't know shit. Human beings have limited perception and consciousness. We are learning a lot about the universe around us but just think about what we knew 100 years ago and what we know today and imagine what we'll know in the far distant future. Thinking that you are meaningless in the vast universe may not be so true, who knows. Take comfort in the unknown. Accept that you, nor anybody else, knows the true nature of the universe. It is liberating.

3) Making other people happy makes you happy. There's something bizarre in the biology of this one but it's fairly true. Do something to make someone around you happy. You'll find that the ties between people are both comforting and tangible. You are not alone and the best way to realize this is to make somebody's day. The simple interaction in life where you can have such a profound impact (even if it's just the short term) on another person reminds what kind of effect you CAN have in this world.
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Re: Coping

Postby lowbart » Thu Jan 10, 2008 2:41 am UTC

Pyrotix wrote:and a change of music could aid in taking your mind to less frightening places (just don't switch from Pink Floyd to radiohead.)


What happens if you do that? I haven't listened to much Radiohead. I have one album but I've been trying to give it away.
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Re: Coping

Postby xopherck » Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:14 am UTC

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you up with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one anothers' throats.

Man hands on misery to man,
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

***

Philip Larkin was in his 50s when he wrote that poem. It's a fair representation of his world view. And so it seems he coped for years. He just discovered a more eloquent manner of articulating the same sentiment.

Ol' Phil passed away on December 2, 1985. So much for 'get out as early as you can.' I'm not calling him a coward; I'm merely pointing out that he lived to a good old age and still struggled with the same issues.

But if that's what it means to be an adult... I don't want to grow up either.

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Re: Coping

Postby ducknerd » Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:07 am UTC

Fiddlemath: Judging by your page, I have to conclude that you and I are actually the same person. Also, please remove the question mark before Bond in your "Media to Consume" page, drop whatever you're doing, and check that shit OUT.

Chris: To be looking at this at 13, you are amazingly intelligent and perceptive, just for the record. These are things I've been struggling with for the past few months myself. If they're any help, here are a few semi-philosophical approaches I've found:

*Meaning is defined as a relationship. Of course objects, and the universe as a whole, don't mean anything; things never objectively mean something. Things matter to other things. Yes, you and everyone you know and matter to will die, eventually it almost certainly won't matter a lick what you did, but that doesn't mean you didn't matter. You absolutely did. The price (or possibly the creator?) of appreciability is transience.

*Regardless of whether a god exists, holy shit! You are, for whatever reason, a chunk of the universe capable of appreciating itself! Maybe there's no overarching purpose, or maybe now there is a purpose now that something capable of even imagining a purpose exists.

*The future significance of an action is subservient to whatever happiness comes from it. Perhaps we're all working toward something amazing and beautiful, but aren't some things already amazing and beautiful? If you're not enjoying and appreciating your life, then it's already meaningless. Depressing life philosophies are self-fulfilling prophecies, IMHO.

Reading back over this, I kinda sound like a bad motivational speaker, but I think they're valid points all the same. Best of wishes to you.
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Re: Coping

Postby Kidrik » Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:46 am UTC

Chase Watkins wrote:I've found myself fighting off somewhat of an "existential coma" where all thoughts lead to the question why and sometimes repressed tears. It may be my new found obsession with Pink Floyd, and I am an Atheist. Seeing as this is a place where one can find many of those, I was wondering how some of you cope with the near positivity that we are all just part of a random entity and will soon fall into oblivion. I've just had no desire to do anything lately and it is ruining my grades. It's just odd to think that I can be depressed and accept it as fact but still not have any power over it. Frankly, I just wish I could force myself to be Christian, just so I can have some sort of ambition in the time being.

This is completely different from everything everyone else has said(sort of), but try reading Francis Schaeffer's books. Yes he's a Christian writer, but he writes about this sort of thing. Even if you don't care for Christianity, or the possibility of God, it may be worth a read.

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Re: Coping

Postby aleflamedyud » Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:14 am UTC

lowbart wrote:
Pyrotix wrote:and a change of music could aid in taking your mind to less frightening places (just don't switch from Pink Floyd to radiohead.)


What happens if you do that? I haven't listened to much Radiohead. I have one album but I've been trying to give it away.

Such frickin bingo right there. My life became much happier when I stopped listening to depressing music. See signature.

Angry music doesn't work either. You need to feel like you've got something to stand for in life, including yourself. If you ain't got yourself, you ain't got nothing.
"With kindness comes naïveté. Courage becomes foolhardiness. And dedication has no reward. If you can't accept any of that, you are not fit to be a graduate student."

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Re: Coping

Postby pKp » Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:56 am UTC

Can't believe nobody posted this before :
Spoiler:
Image


I think that Life is absurd and cruel, and that the trick is to laugh at the absurd more than you cry at the cruelty.

I remember a LSD-fuelled night that I spent talking about this exact subject with my friend (we both are philosophy buffs). The most accurate depiction of our viewpoint can be translated (I'm French) by "Magnificent Loser".
The magnificent loser is he who acknowledges the fact that life is essentially meaningless and chooses to live and act on. Fuck objectivity, it leads to fatalism and suicide. Knowing that I'm meaningless and that I'll finally die and return to cosmic ashes with everything I may have happened to realise, I am a loser. Being magnificent is laughing at this bad joke we call life and move anyway : if what I am and do is meaningless, then I can be and do whatever I want.

Hope this helps. Broadly, from what I can recall, it can really suck to be thirteen. Give'em hell ! :twisted:
Experience is a thing you can't have for nothing - Oscar wilde

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Re: Coping

Postby DougP » Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:35 am UTC

There is no external meaning, you've got to decide for yourself. The beauty of it is, you CAN decide for yourself. Rather than getting hung up on trying to DISCOVER meaning, CREATE meaning.

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Re: Coping

Postby Masuri » Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:26 am UTC

DougP wrote:There is no external meaning, you've got to decide for yourself. The beauty of it is, you CAN decide for yourself. Rather than getting hung up on trying to DISCOVER meaning, CREATE meaning.

I agree with this whole-heartedly.

That's one reason why I loathe organized religion. They give you meaning in a neat package, no thinking required. Here you go, this is why you're here. Now tithe, obey, and don't question. For someone to whom the idea of introspection is anathema, it's a perfect fit. They give you the rules, the penalties, and then send you on your way with the idea that you'll come back regularly for scheduled indoctrination.

Unfortunately, life is messy. You might not always be able to apply your packaged morality to every situation. You may have to think for yourself and make decisions that aren't clear cut. Not everything is as black and white as seen on TV. I think this is commonly known as a crisis of faith - not everything occurred as advertised. Now what?

Find your own reason for being. It will be more powerful, more real to you than one that someone else assigns to you.


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