Tuesday, November 24, 2015

If life gives you grenades...

...can you make grenadine? I guess not, but maybe if you're sufficiently "deluded in good ways about your abilities" you might think you can, and perhaps that's all you need.

Charley Chase in  Mighty Like a Moose (1926), directed by Leo Carey.
Shorter David Brooks, "Tales of the Super Survivors", November 24 2015:
This is the age of terror, when people are constantly subject to unexpected stabbings, shootings, and bombings, but I think we need to maintain some sense of proportion here. After all, scientific research demonstrates that a good 75% of people never develop post-traumatic stress disorder under these kinds of conditions. So really. what's all the fuss about? Moreover, of those who do get PTSD, some are "super survivors" who heal from the damage, and come out radiating love and joy, and you know how I feel about people who radiate stuff.
Such fortunate people escape trauma by following these three weird tricks: they have experienced unconditional love in childhood, they have a delusional faith in their own abilities, and they tell themselves a nice story about the meaningful life they will lead in the future instead of dwelling on the unpleasantness of the past. I mean, get a grip, people, it's not brain surgery! I myself have a deluded estimation of my abilities and enjoy thinking about the meaningful life I'll lead when I become a deep, virtuous person, and I'm only moderately unhappy.
Also, if individuals do it, countries can, too. So buck up, France, stop grousing, and tell yourself a story!
That bit about the nations telling themselves stories—
Just as individuals need moral stories if they are going to recover, so probably do nations. France will most likely need a parable to make sense of what happened, just as the United States still has competing parables about the meaning of 9/11.
—has a pretty weird resonance as we deal with one competing parable from Donald Trump, talk about being deluded as to your abilities, and his False Memory Syndrome tale of the thousands of joyous Jersey City jihadis on the night of September 11 2001. Dr. Ben Carson remembered seeing that too (though, oddly, at least 34 years before it happened),
"I saw the film of it, yes," he said. Asked what kind of film, he said: "The news reels."
But then unremembered it again, or had his memory modified, after the evidence it didn't happen became overwhelming enough. The mind reels too.

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