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July 11, 2011 / twocrows1023

Refining Ourselves — The Attitutudes [2]

The Inspirational Attitudes —Stoic and Spiritualist
The Attitude is our primary life-outlook. It colors how we perceive the world and our place in it. It influences how we respond to life. Though primarily an intellectual perspective it affects how we respond emotionally, as well, and what we are most likely to do.

Stoic [5%]
Stoics can be described as the pessimistic Attitude. It isn’t that Stoics perceive everything as contemptible like the Cynic does, or that they perceive everything to be questionable like the Skeptic does. It is that there is very little that is of much importance. A Stoic finds the world bland, uninspiring and drab— “Things are tough all over”.
Stoicism lends patience and forbearance to the personality and can be helpful during especially trying lifetimes.

The advantage here is that Stoics are not easily upset because they can put up with much negativity. It is as if they were insulated from it. Nor are they deceived by false hopes. On the other hand, there is the disadvantage that Stoics do not “fight the system” when it is in need of reform. They may not see real dangers to avoid.

Stoics hold a certain insensitivity to what is happening around them — “Who cares?”. They are psychologically “nearsighted”, so to speak.
They are unaffected by things that provoke others, and indifferent to things that draw others— “So what?”
Because they tend to minimize what they see, it often takes the proverbial two-by-four hitting them between the eyes to get their attention. Only in severe trauma do they realize that something serious may be wrong.

Stoicism isn’t chosen in order to change the world. It’s chosen in order to get by. Often the choice of people born in Asia, these days, imagine how much of a help it can be in China where things have been changing so fast that, for several generations now, the only safe topic of conversation has been the weather.

The idea here is to accept what is with tranquility rather than to attempt to change things. Stoics reserve their feelings— even from themselves.

In the positive pole, you find tranquility and reserve. The underlying statement is, ‘Whatever,’ or ‘What will be will be.’ Stoics make a virtue out of necessity.
It may have been a stoic who coined the phrase about making lemonade out of the lemons life hands you.

In the negative pole, the stoic can become more and more resigned to a terrible situation. They tend to hang in there— never attempting to make anything better. They may become so exhausted they simply plod along, granite faced.

John Dortmunder MAY live constantly in the negative pole of Stoicism, fwiw.

Spiritualist [5%]
Tiny Bulcher— a monster of a man who can pick up a small car and walk away with it or grab a growling rottweiller and toss it into a closet without a second thought may be a Spiritualist.
On the other hand, he MAY be a Realist in that he tells stories though they’re more likely to be about his own actions rather than those of others. Mercifully, the reader usually comes in at the tale-end of the story —just when he is wiping the blood off the hatchet and putting it back where he found it [at the Girl Scout camp] or just after he has shown that cocky guy who swore that you can’t kiss your own elbow— how he could, after all.
But, Tiny has certain principles that are extremely important to him. Politeness, for instance. He will explain very patiently, while holding someone by the throat, exactly WHAT the guy did to merit such treatment—and, often, it’s because the guy was impolite in some way.

And, 2nd, there is a friend of Kelp’s [he has lots of friends] named Wally Knurr. A little butterball of a guy who is slightly taller sitting in a standard-sized chair than he is standing up and about as wide [Tiny has been known to say he might be fun to play basketball with—but no one has asked him precisely what he means by that].
Wally sees the best in everyone. He knows that Kelp is a thief but also understands that Kelp is, at heart, a good person. So, being the geek he is, he will, on occasion, use his computer skills to help Andy figure out how to get something he needs.

And Wally is unfailingly polite [Tiny will never need to explain that to him]. He always calls John’s girlfriend ‘Miss May’ and says ‘Thank you’ when she gives him cheese and crackers.
Spirituality is the optimistic Attitude. Remember that Attitudes reveal what perceptions people project onto the world, or what part of reality people tend to see.
Spiritualists typically see the world as improving, evolving, developing to a higher plane. They have high anticipations of it, so they tend to get upset when it does not live up to their expectations [note Tiny’s disappointment with impoliteness]. They want to see it fulfill its highest potential. They hope there is a steady stream of progress in the future. A person in Spiritualism perceives the world as evolving toward higher realms.
Spiritualist’s are far-sighted visionaries. They look down the road a long way, to see where it is all leading. They expect things to head toward a better world, a more highly evolved society, a finer place to live, a happier place and with fewer problems. Obviously there is a degree of distortion in this, because the world is at times a dreary, depressing place [just ask John], and situations often get worse rather than better.

The Spiritualist Attitude is the complement of the Stoic Attitude. That is, Spiritualists tend to lack Tranquility and Resignation. Whereas Stoics tolerate suffering well— they regard it as an inevitable part of life in the world —Spiritualists cannot understand why it exists. They hide their eyes from it when they can, and if they can’t, they beseech the Deity to heal it.

Because Spiritualists tend to be hopeful and optimistic, they are subject to turmoil when reality does not live up to their expectation. Spiritualists do not easily resign themselves to reality. Instead, they tend to resist destiny/fate when it is not as noble, virtuous, or as good as they expect.
They do not tolerate bad fortune well. They will anguish in their minds and scream in their hearts— unable to serenely go along with an inferior reality. Spiritualists are the most likely to blame God for making a mistake in creating an imperfect world. [And Tiny will seek revenge against the person who brought it to his attention.]

The biggest problem of Spiritualists is that they lack peace of mind, whereas Stoics tend to have it too much of it. The world with it’s many imperfections so often disappoints. Reality itself is a letdown to Spiritualists, because it does not live up to their vision of how things could be if only people would let go of all the garbage.

Spiritualists really enjoy comedy and fun. They are not always able to produce it but they do like it. And, just as they look for fun and enjoyment in the world, they also look for religious feelings.

Spiritualists have a difficult time with emotionality. They regard their feelings as part of their “lower” nature. If they have strong Emotions which include moodiness, for instance, they try to “rise above” it.

Often this Attitude gives a person an inherent interest in religion or spirituality of some kind. From an early age Spiritualists tend to have a sense that there are realms beyond the physical. Or the person may be interested in psychology— the “spiritual” aspect of people.
Another major factor among Spiritualists is their interest in ethics or morality. This comes from their perception of the world as becoming a better place, and out of their own noble aspirations. This can make them difficult to be around, as they will examine the ethics of every situation. They want to do what is “right”—and they expect the same of others. They can be surprised when other people do not share their ethical sensitivities. So, those others can perceive them as moralistic and self-righteous— Little Goody Two-Shoes.

The Positive Pole of Spirituality is Verification. This means to authenticate the truth. This is not to be understood in the sense of Investigation, the Positive Pole of the Skeptic Attitude, which means to seek out the facts. Verification means seeing the truth among the lies.
Spiritualists look for transcendent factors at work in the world. They see these grains of divine awareness among the chaff of falsehood and, in fact, ignore the lies. They focus instead on the part of the universe that is in fact evolving to higher realms. The whole cosmos is a “morality play.”

The Negative Pole is Faith. The meaning of this word should not be confused with the meaning in Christian theology— trust in God or belief in Christ or anything like that. It does not concern adherence to religious dogmas. Nor does it concern unproven beliefs of any kind, for those are more a factor of the Intellectual Centers.

This sort of Faith is a felt thing, not a thought thing. This Faith refers to wishing and hoping in an emotional sense.
As indicated above, people with this Attitude are optimistic — they expect things will turn out for the best, no matter how bad it seems in the present. If they are being unreasonably optimistic, having no cause to be so, they are denying reality and deluding themselves.
Whereas people in the Positive Pole see what is true and good in the world, People in the Negative Pole get their hopes up that a miracle will deliver them. Thus they continually set themselves up for disappointment.

To see what their fate may be, they consult astrology, tarot, psychics, tea leaves, the crystal ball, the I-Ching or whatever. These are exhibitions of Faith motivated by fear.
People in Faith may develop their own collection of superstitions. People in Faith may look to omens to foretell the future. There may be attempts to influence destiny through magick rituals, or through charms such as the rabbits foot or a Saint Christopher medal.
The passive person may just hope and wishfully think that things will turn out OK— cross your fingers and look toward the heavens.

The way to overcome the Negative Pole of Faith is to consider and apply the Positive Pole of Stoicism: Tranquility. Don’t let the setbacks in life get you down. Realize that the world is not really becoming a better place. It just grinds on inexorably with both ups and downs in the process. Do not expect things to always get better or worse in the long run, because it is not the way of the world.


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