If You Asked 'Why Me' (Like Me and Everybody Else), Please Read

Discussion in 'Support' started by wishingluck, Dec 19, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. wishingluck
      No Mood

      wishingluck Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure, but probably acoustic trauma
      ''We may learn the wish (will) of nature from the things in which we do not differ from one another; for instance, when your neighbor’s slave has broken his cup, or anything else, we are ready to say forthwith, that it is one of the things which happen. You must know then that when your cup also is broken, you ought to think as you did when your neigh-bor’s cup was broken. Transfer this reflection to greater things also. Is another man’s child or wife dead? There is no one who would not say, this is an event incident to man. But when a man’s own child or wife is dead, forthwith he calls out, Wo to me, how wretched I am. But we ought to remember how we feel when we hear that it has happened to others.''

      from slave turned acclaimed philosopher Epictetus (2012-03-01). Enchiridion (Dover Thrift Editions) (pp. 10-11). Dover Publications. Kindle Edition.
       
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    2. Atlantis

      Atlantis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2014
      I didn't understand any of that. How does this help my tinnitus?
       
    3. valeri

      valeri Member Benefactor Team Awareness

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2011
      Maybe he posted in the wrong forum all together!
       
    4. Cheza
      Wishful

      Cheza Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Oregon
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barking dogs/stress
      I think he's saying we're all subject to misfortune, but it feels like a greater wrong or misery when we are enduring the misfortune rather than our neighbor. Or maybe he's saying we should step back and deal objectively with our misfortune.

      Most of us feel our own pain more keenly than the pain of a neighbor, and we treasure those we love more so than our neighbor would. Pointing out that others have woes doesn't help my situation. I've had plenty of woes and hard times in my life. Now here's another one, tinnitus.
       
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    5. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      I would basically agree with @Cheza's assessment. I think the quote also suggests we should remember that others suffer as well. And that suffering is not a contest ("You may have cancer but I have tinnitus!"). All who suffer deserve our empathy and care.

      I might suggest that actually, embracing the above concept COULD help your tinnitus.,Quite
      a few people on this board have spoken about how volunteering in various ways moves their focus from their own discomfort. Look at @Markku. His tinnitus has brought much unhappiness into his life. Yet he has used it as an opportunity to help people around the world. Reaching out to others in various ways may not cure your tinnitus, but it certainly beats the alternative. It's helped me. Something to think about in the season of giving.

      And bless all of you here at TT who do for others everyday. You know who you are. I admire you.
       
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    6. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I practice loving kindness mediation as part of my daily sit.

      Empathy is useful.
       
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    7. wishingluck
      No Mood

      wishingluck Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure, but probably acoustic trauma
      Empathy wasn't the point. My quote doesn't deal with empathy, therefore there's not lack of empathy either, necessarily.

      But I agree with you about empathy being useful. I'd say necessary.
       
    8. wishingluck
      No Mood

      wishingluck Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure, but probably acoustic trauma
      Exactly. I think the message is crystal clear. The reality is that there isn't anything especially remarkable as to whether the misfortune happened to somebody else or to you or me. Misfortune is blind just as luck is blind. The lottery doesn't decide who's going to win, it's all just random chance. So if it is random chance, then why are we surprised when the misfortune happens to us, instead? Yet when we have heard it happening to somebody else before it happened to us, we just though 'oh man, that sucks. Anyways, what's on TV?'

      But then it happens to us, so all of a sudden we feel as if fate has purposefully chosen us, to have a laugh at. That's not logical, because we imply that we are special compared to somebody else. But what there is special about me, compared to you? Nothing. I am a human being, you are one too. If it's true that I am 'special', you are 'special' too, and if it's true that you are not 'special', I am not 'special' either.

      The reality is, no one is special, OR, everybody's special. It can happen to anybody, and it has happened to me, and you, and all the others through the centuries and millennia, since even 3000 years ago, people had the same hearing structure as we have today. So there's no reason to believe that it hasn't happened for a LONG time.

      Obviously, with these things, 'logic' is not a panacea. It doesn't solve the problem. But it numbs the pain.

      Epitectus himself had his share of misfortune. He was born a slave and was disabled and weak all his life, some says because of the beatings he endured. I mean, this is a guy who lived 2000 years ago as a -slave-.

      If you think about it, the world in 1300 was full of superstition, ignorance, cruelty, darkness, etc. Can you imagine 1300 years -earlier- ? As a slave? Oh my. I would not like to be in Epitectus's shoes. (ah, what the hell, I would :) )

      Yeah, it's not easy to take that 'lecturing' stuff in. Do this, don't do that. Blah blah. It's easier said than done. I too feel the anger and pain. My tinnitus is really bad, and I am completely isolated, and have other health problems too. Dealing with grief for my mother, who died suddenly at 36, 24 years ago, yet feels like last week.

      My life wasn't normal even before T, but T was the final blow to any traces of 'normality'. (but what is 'normal', anyways? When I read the news it feels like the entire world is a madhouse)

      But if I think about it, Epitectus is right. And yes the anger and pain are still there, but they are much more weakened and definitely am no longer surprised that all this happened to me. It can happen to anybody. I am anybody too. I am not 'special' anybody and am not 'not special' anybody. Anybody means anybody. It can happen to someone living in the Third World, it can happen to Mr King or Mrs Queen. It has happened to 'celebrities', I even spoke to an audiologist with tinnitus, I asked if he became an audiologist because of it, and he candidly said : 'No, not at all. Just a coincidence'.

      Coincidence= random chance = 'fate'.

      Yeah I agree, it's not like this stuff helps you much when you can't sleep because of the T or you are having a really bad time. But it's helping me when I feel a bit better.
       
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    9. wishingluck
      No Mood

      wishingluck Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure, but probably acoustic trauma
      Yeah Markku really rocks.
       
    10. dboy
      Jaded

      dboy Member Benefactor

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2007 & 8/2013
      To me it was not just about logic, but also about the difference between a subjective and an objective view of the world. We inevitably experience the world through our experience of inhabiting one specific physical body which is located in space and time, and which exists in relation to other specific bodies and minds around us (as well as the physical world more widely). Our subjective experiences and relations embedded in this context make us who we are. We can never totally get an objective view of reality - it just isn't available to us (and would surely 'blow our minds' if it was). But through the knowledge of the world and of the subjective experiences of others that we are able to accumulate, we are able to move a little closer to an objective view. We never really lose our subjectivity (until death anyway ;)), but knowledge (and knowledge of other people's subjective experiences and sufferings) can illuminate our own struggles and our suffering and can make us 'bigger' people.

      Or something.
       
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    11. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Huh, I guess I'm curious exactly what you mean by 'empathy', then, maybe we're just using different semantics. To me, the notion of feeling the pain of others as intensely as my own, is what I mean by empathy. To me, the quote is speaking to the disconnect between our usual reaction to our own pain vs others, which is related to empathic processes.

      Again, from my selfish perspective, loving kindness meditation has a lot more to do with trying to change myself, than it does with helping anyone else -- we can't really change other people, if we're lucky we can maybe reorganize our own minds to a small degree. To the extent that sticking with such practices end up making me less of a dick in general, clearly there is a benefit to the people who have to interact with me a lot -- but I can't say I always keep that first and foremost in mind. Of course, if you take the Buddhist view to the extreme, there is no "self" vs "other", that's all just maya, illusion, but while I agree with that conceptually, it's pretty hard to really embody that notion in that way one lives their day to day life, unless you're willing to go become an ascetic in the woods. I'm not at that point yet, I understand that my attachments are what brings me pain -- without an attachment to silence, what is tinnitus? It's just sensory noise in a universe that is nothing but sensory noise. But, my attachments are also what bring me a good degree of pleasure and comfort in life, and even though I likewise believe those things are basically illusory and therefore not "important" in some mystical, objective sense -- I don't want to let go of them. I like being warm, and eating chocolate, and being in love, and riding motorcycles through sunny forests in pleasant weather.
       
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    12. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      An interesting conversation. This thread is making me see different viewpoints... thanks!

      While I do think empathy plays a role in how we cope with misfortune, I also hear what @wishingluck is saying (or at least how I am interpreting it).

      I have said this on TT before: Bad shit comes for us all at some point in our lives. It is not because we are bad people, or even because we have been reckless or taken poor care of ourselves (although these last two can a factor.) Often, it is totally random.

      The question is not: Why me? It's: Why not me?

      I believe one of the most important skills we can learn in life is how to deal with catastrophe because at some point, we all are going to have to do it. Acceptance, resilience and optimism are important. I appreciate that some people are better at this than others, and I am not judging anyone. But aging research (honest) has shown these skills/traits is the most common factor when it comes to longevity, even more so than bio-genetics and health habits.
       
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    13. Cheza
      Wishful

      Cheza Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Oregon
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barking dogs/stress
      Has one of the ancient Greek philosophers reincarnated here? ;)
       
    14. dboy
      Jaded

      dboy Member Benefactor

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2007 & 8/2013
      Sadly, just an aimless waster who spent a few years looking for insight in academia after realising that psychedelic drugs weren't gonna come up trumps. :dohanimation:
       
    15. wishingluck
      No Mood

      wishingluck Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure, but probably acoustic trauma
      actually, I have to correct myself there: it's helping me a lot even when I feel really bad.
       
    16. wishingluck
      No Mood

      wishingluck Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure, but probably acoustic trauma
      And again, I do not see the quote having anything to do with empathy, or the lack thereof. My concept of empathy is exactly the same as yours, the concept of 'empathy' doesn't have multiple meanings. Maybe to you it seems non-empathic for some reason. I do not know. I am trying to understand the nature of reality, not the nature of empathy.

      To me the message is crystal clear, it reflects reality for what it really is. On the contrary, there is no subjectivity. I don't believe in subjectiveness, unless it applies to unimportant things or things that can truly be seen as ambiguous.

      I don't understand the saying 'there's no good or evil unless we think so', I think whoever said it watched too many Disney movies.

      I don't need to ask myself 'was Hitler good or bad?'. That would be stupid. I know he took 6 million people out. The whole thing is insane. How can that be good? I have read memories of survivors and cried while reading

      You mention Buddism. Buddism is already a lot more abstract. I was into it a few years ago. I don't know what you mean by 'mayan' or 'illusion'.

      As Ladydi wrote: bad shit can happen to anybody, the question is not 'why me' but 'why not me' since I am anybody too. Or is anybody a special anybody? Never heard of that. I am not saying that harshly, but I am trying to use my reason. Why would I need empathy? I am dealing with the nature of reality, not the people in it.

      That's the biggest difference between Buddism and Western philosophy. They both try even to arrive to a lot of the same things, but while Buddism tries to do it by emptying the mind and by using abstractions, western philosophy use the mind more, not less, by using reason.

      To me the quote was mindblowing. Maybe to someone else it has a different effect. I don't know.

      Ultimately, use whatever works best for you. If it works, use it. If it doesn't work, throw it away. It's that simple.
       

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