Amount in unjust tickets I have received in the last 3 months: $1,478 (bankrupt and/or corrupt governments steal from citizens because they have to and because they can)
Some explanations to take the sting out:
-How you would react if someone had actually robbed you, like a gun or knife-point? You’d simply hand over the money and be glad it didn’t end badly. You wouldn’t go around whining about the injustice of it all.
-That awesome thing you got to do for free but thought, man if I had paid for that, I totally would have gotten my money’s worth. Well, you just did.
-Some of the best stories are about times when something unfortunate happened, something you thought was unfair/scary/unbearable/ridiculous at the time. You’ll find it funny later, so skip the intermediate step and find it funny now.
-Can you afford it? Yes. Then shut up, that’s why you make lots of money—to make these inconvenient things just go away.
-If they’d increased your taxes X%, you’d have given the government the same amount of money but not noticed. You know that’s why they’re putting up speed trap cameras and selectively enforcing the laws—because they’re broke. What does it matter what form or with what bogus pretense it leaves your pocket and goes into theirs?
True, it would make anyone bitter and disaffected. But you can’t be. You have to live your life. Isn’t it bad enough that they stole from you—shook you down and abused their trust? Do you have to seethe with rage for weeks afterward too? No, see that part is your choice. They started it, they did the wrong, but you decide when that ends. You decide how far it goes, whether the unfortunate event is a forgettable blip or a black hole of anger.
I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but I’m a first-time commenter.
Yes, unfortunate events happen in life and allowing them to disturb your tranquility for weeks on end is an even worse kind of unfortunate, i.e., the kind you can control. If the injustice can be fought, you have to decide if it’s worth fighting it. If it can’t be fought, I think Seneca would remind us of the following words: “Everlasting misfortune does have one blessing, that it ends up by toughening those whom it constantly afflicts.”
Ahah I guess it’s the same everywhere, France is also going mad crazy on speeding tickets and other hidden-taxes related stuff… Simple exemple : if a company worked for the state it used to take a week to get your money. If you sent a check it used to take 6 months for them to cash it in. Now, the exact contrary…
It’s no unfortunate event, it’s a problem to solve : move out to any country you’re not from. Whatever country, it doesn’t matter, they can’t charge you speeding tickets or any of those…
I’m in New Orleans which is like a crummier version France at times, so we would probably have a lot to commiserate about.
I’m consistently amazed at how you seem to be able to mind-read what issues your readers are dealing with and break them down in a simple and practical way. Can’t wait to read your book.
This is the device I used to get through the IRS taking me under. I didn’t do anything deliberate…to draw their ire. It was bad news. (For those scoring at home, don’t depreciate rental real estate against ordinary income- even when a CPA suggests it).
…but I’d just left a business that was committing brazen fraud (double invoicing). I didn’t (ever) get caught for the fraud we committed. My take was that I simply needed to pay a price. Everything was way more bearable because I was “the reason” for the drama/angst.
I had to tell myself that to not be miserable. “This is just what I have to do….”
If the the tickets are legitimately false, why don’t you fight them? Did you actually violate the law?
It really is one of the prices you pay for New Orleans. Or at least that’s what I told myself when I lived there. It’s kinda funny how the roads remain consistently bad, considering how much of a revenue generator they are.
I’ve had or witnessed tickets for parking <2 hours in a 2 hour parking zone near the universities, parking in the wrong area come Mardi Gras season (just accept it now and budget some money for that if you plan on sticking around, especially if you have out of state plates,) "speeding" in a school zone that is inexplicably active at midnight, making a legal right or the much rarer legal left hand turn.
You make a good point. Some of those things I witnessed managed to ruin the entire day of people who had lived there all their lives.
Failed sexual encounters make great stories. Given the perspective and delivery even blue balls can be funny.
“You wouldn’t go around whining about the injustice of it all.”
“You’ll find it funny later, so skip the intermediate step and find it funny now.”
“Can you afford it? Yes. Then shut up,”
“True, it would make anyone bitter and disaffected. But you can’t be.”
Whinning, “finding it funny now”, shutting up, not being able to feel a certain way….
It feels to me as thought you’re trying to deny yourself the right to feel certain feelings in order to replace them forcefully with something else. For instance, when you basically order yourself to “find it funny now”, isn’t it refusing to acknowledge that the person that you’ll be in the futur is a different person than the one you are now and that this natural process of distancing is precisely the reason you’ll end up finding it funny? Can you really skip this intermediary process?
I mean, I don’t want to nitpick because boy have I seen some people get slapped around here for doing so, but your approach seems to be about pitting one force (the force of reason) against another force (emotion) in order to eliminate the bad feelings. Why not instead accept them and recognize that they’re not that dangerous anyway?
“True, it would make anyone bitter and disaffected. But you can’t be.” Well, why not? It won’t stop you to accept the way you feel (you’re not what you feel, btw). I think it would be a perfectly correct strategy to state “I feel bitter, I feel disaffected and that’s ok.” It would dissipate the tension you might create if you’re just trying to block a certain kind of feelings all the while sending the signal to yourself that there’s nothing to be afraid of in experiencing emotions as opposed to thinking “Shit I feel angry. I should not feel angry. This is bad. Let’s kill it with fire.” And note that everything you said above in regard to this situation not being this bad can still be said even once you’ve acknowledged the way you feel.
Or maybe it’s just a pitting of an emotion (guilt) against other emotions (what I’m saying is that an edit function would be nice even thought there’s good reason not to have one).
But I just thought of the Stoic and one of the thing Marcus Aurelius says. I can’t find the exact quote, but the idea is that, since the universe is a whole which your are a natural part of, then being angry at the natural occurences of the universe would be like rejecting said universe and you would, therefore, cut yourself from it. This reasonning isn’t that much different from what is encapsulated in the sentence “True, it would make anyone bitter and disaffected. But you can’t be. You have to live you life. ”
It’s rejecting a range of possible emotions with the reasonning that it’s somehow alienating yourself from something fundamental. But this is where the stoic loose me. Here’s a bunch of people arguing that one should not fear death for it is an ordinance of fate and, thus, a natural occurence, yet maintain the position that there is a range of feelings which are unacceptable because, even thought they happen all the time and are thus contained within the boundaries of the natural order, they make you alien from nature and thus yourself.
There is a better quote: “You get angry at the world, as if the world would notice.”
Anyway, I actually agree with your point. Denying emotions isn’t healthy, but transforming them (from negative into positive) is.
What’s really happening though when an emotion is transformed? I’m not sure it happens by us making a decision to transform it.
My understanding is that there’s basically suppression or acceptance. I think of indulging the desire to transform an emotion as another form of denial or suppression. On the other hand, when we accept an emotion we’re having, it transforms of it’s own accord.
Tell me Matthew, what is the purpose of being angry at something we cannot control? What does that anger accomplish? I see it having a single effect: it makes us feel shitty.
Look, there is no question that anger or fear can be just as appropriate as an emotion as happiness or love. But the reality is that often we feel those things in inappropriate settings because we misunderstand the situation or are simply looking at it the wrong way. If by chance, we’d seen the EXACT same thing from a different perspective we’d find it funny or humbling instead of aggravating. And from that logic, extends a question: why not make ourselves see it from these other perspectives instead of being a slave to the unhealthy, unpleasant or unnecessary emotions?
“What does anger accomplish?”
Anger can be an opportunity for us to find acceptance and develop compassion for ourselves and others.
“Why not change our thoughts so that we don’t feel enslaved by unpleasant or unwanted emotions?”
We are slaves as long as we are reacting to our thoughts and feelings as things that are true – as long as we believe them. As long as we treat our thoughts and feelings as things to be manipulated so that we find life more pleasant or less unpleasant we are captive to them.
It may be cliche, but that doesn’t make it any less important or any easier to incorporate into our personal experience: we are not our thoughts and feelings.
Dude, to call this a stretch would be more than kind. It would be a lie. Give it up, and move on. You’re arguing a position you can’t possibly believe.
What comment is this in reference to?
I can’t answer to your post above so I’ll answer here.
Go the “TheLastPsychiatrist” blog a go to the July 23rd post called “Crazy” and read it. In section VI and then IX, you’re gonna see the steps I’ve described.
1. Rob in a protracted state of being miserable (he got dumped)
2. The identification of a process creating that state (a cinematic fantasy about his ex) and him taking control of that process to disrupt it
3. The identification of an underlying rational motivating the process (it helps him reminding something about himself)
I can’t post the link because I think it automatically recognize the post as spam.
“But this is where the stoic loose me. Here’s a bunch of people arguing that one should not fear death for it is an ordinance of fate and, thus, a natural occurence, yet maintain the position that there is a range of feelings which are unacceptable because, even thought they happen all the time and are thus contained within the boundaries of the natural order, they make you alien from nature and thus yourself.” You’re misrepresenting the Stoic. The range of feelings are acceptable, as is death, but you don’t see the Stoic killing himself.
Book II —- XVI.
“A man’s soul doth wrong and disrespect itself first and especially, when as much as in itself lies it becomes an aposteme, and as it were an excrescency of the world, for to be grieved and displeased with anything that happens in the world, is direct apostacy from the nature of the universe; part of which, all particular natures of the world, are. […]”
Interpret it as you wish but it does sound to me as though he’s making the emotional state the primary focus and then tries to declare it unacceptable (unless you consider being an apostate from nature as acceptable).
I’ll try and be succinct, but if you were to consider feelings as “a result of a process with its own rational”, you’d see that making the feeling the focus of your effort must fail because it’s merely the end of something. Instead of trying to squash the emotion, you must use it as a starting point toward self-knowledge.
That the feeling is useful or not is fairely irrelevent considering that it didn’t arise as a consequence of its usefulness in the first place so why should it go away on those terms?
I went into this in the last thread. Don’t ever quote some philosopher to prove that something is right or wrong. Or try to interpret it–as you’re using the word, anyway. Their words are not the words of Christ or some other unworldly being. They are just people man, people saying things about life. They are not “authorities” in the sense that we should use them as replies as we might a scientific finding.
“Instead of trying to squash the emotion, you must use it as a starting point toward self-knowledge.
“That the feeling is useful or not is fairely irrelevent considering that it didn’t arise as a consequence of its usefulness in the first place so why should it go away on those terms?”
I’m curious, where/how did you come across this idea? You seem to be saying that accepting emotions allows us to understand their antecedents more clearly, and adjust accordingly. Even though it’s also a very familiar idea, you phrase it and frame it in a way I’ve not heard before.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
What would be the benefit of being bitter and disaffected?
What’s the benefit of being happy and having peace of mind? You don’t ask because you don’t seek to rationalize the feeling and because the answer would be obvious.
“Feeling good is good because it feels good.”
It becomes evident that the feeling is an end in itself. So adding guilt to bitterness would just leave you with guilt and bitterness.
The idea of your question is that since you don’t see any objective reason for the feeling to exist (“feeling bad feels bad”) then it should not be there to begin with. But it’s already there and you can’t do much about it but understand it on its own term.
What I mean by that is that you could ask the very same question in a different way. You could ask: “What would be the benefit of being bitter and disaffected?” with the understanding that since the feeling is there, there’s a reason (a benefit) for you to experience it even thought those benefits may not really make sense.
Very much the same way Dr.Rob was torturing himself with image of his ex fucking super hot men (http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2011/07/crazy.html the IX section). There was a use for that.
Great article. The first tip (reacting to an actual robbery) reminded me of that feeling which every now and then creeps in: when you think about something you’re doing, you realize that in a similar situation you would do/react differently (in a better, but more difficult way), and then you choose to ignore exploring that road of thought because it might lead you to a conclusion that you’ll have to work on changing your ways of conduct, and the Resistance in us (or our ego) wouldn’t like that. Sort of excusing yourself out of exploring how you could be a better person.
“-It’s unfortunate that this has happened.
No. It’s fortunate that this has happened and I’ve remained unharmed by it – not shattered by the present or frightened of the future. It could have happened to anyone. But not everyone could have remained unharmed by it. Does was what happened keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence, honesty, straightforwardness and all the qualities that allow a person’s nature to fulfill itself?”
Loving it so far.
A great Stoic by the name of Kanye West once said, “Drive slow homie.”