short attention span book club


#1

ok, not a book club. but “commitment free narrative club” doesn’t have the same ring. anybody game?

trigger warning: story headline sums it up.

& here is the extra short attention span version:

The hot, hour-long drive crossed through suburban sprawl and then into emerald countryside. [Maryann] Gray had the windows of her father’s 1969 Mercury Cougar down, and the radio tuned to the news. She was only fifteen minutes from the apartment, driving at the posted forty-five miles per hour along a wooded, two-lane country road, when she saw a pale flash and felt a bump.

The statement Gray gave to the police later that afternoon is written in the neat script a young student might use on a final exam: “A child (blond male) ran into the street from my left, running in front of the car. I tried to go around him (left) but couldn’t get by. I hit my brakes instantly + skidded to the left.” The signature at the bottom of the page looks as though it had been written slowly and with care.

In June, 2012, a forty-two-year-old paralegal living in Illinois, whom I’ll call Patricia, was driving home in the early evening when the sun suddenly hit her eyes. “I felt an impact, but a very strange impact. I thought maybe it was a deer,” she told me. Her air bags deployed, knocking her glasses off and burning her forearms. She pulled over, and ran into the road. There was blood everywhere. Then she saw a man, crumpled; his motorcycle lay beside him. Patricia tried to stanch his head wounds with her clothing. She whispered to him and called 911. A truck driver came upon the scene and pulled Patricia away from the body. “I couldn’t understand what was happening,” she recalled. “He started praying, but he was praying for me. I heard him say, ‘God, protect her. God, look out for her. God, give her strength.’ At that point, I just completely broke down.”

When examined closely, no life is really one’s own. We cannot control which year and in what city we are born. The phone rings when it rings, and the child scampers into the street where he wishes. [Thomas Nagel] argues that it is not just our actions that are vulnerable to moral luck but also our intentions, our dispositions, our exertions of will. A German S.S. officer, for instance, might have led a harmless or even an exemplary life had he lived elsewhere, or had the Nazis never come to power. Nagel thinks that the “area of genuine agency, and therefore of legitimate moral judgment, seems to shrink under this scrutiny to an extensionless point.” Nagel’s epigrammatic language reads more like Scripture than like philosophy. He concludes, “Everything we do belongs to a world that we have not created.”

In the Book of Numbers, God instructs Moses to tell the Israelites that they are to designate six cities of refuge “so that anyone who kills someone inadvertently may flee there.” … “If I had been exiled to a city of refuge, I might not have needed exile from myself,” [Maryann Gray] once wrote. She was moved by the idea that, in such cities, a person like her could participate fully in society without shame.

possible discussion topics:

  1. “People who are not culpable can nevertheless be responsible.”

  2. there is/is not free will.

  3. why is this so hard to think/talk about?

  4. online spaces as potential cities of refuge?
    4a. does anonymity (for ex, that of online spaces) exacerbate or relieve experience of shame?

  5. what else?


#2

I just found out the world is going to end on the 23rd so short is good.

This was heavy, but a powerful piece. It’s a terrible feeling even to hit an animal while driving. I could relate to the girl in the story, in a split second the world can become a very different place. Not even necessarily death- accidents, major traumas. No matter how we might deny it still it is the nature of living things to die after a time. It seems like modern culture rushes people through the mourning process too; it’s a problem to take more than a few days off work for something so earth shaking as a death, and no one knows what to say. I do believe in free will so that I can hold people responsible for their actions, not culpable based on these people’s stories. Very heavy baggage to carry as your life goes on after another’s is ended due to your (inadvertent) action. I do think online spaces as places for people to share their stories, fears and, feelings a good idea, knowing other carrying same load might make it more bearable.


#3

do you belive it?


#4

that’s very interesting because i actually did some research on this specific account.

so. basically when accident is caused, you ARE responsible for the consequences.
EVEN if it is accident.
but God’s loving provision was for the person who caused death ‘accidentally’ without any harmful ‘intention’.

so the rule is this, if that person doesn’t run away to the ‘city of refuge’, the family member of dead person can come after and legally and lawfully smite the person who caused the accident.

but the person who caused the accident must stay in the city of refuge in order for them to be saved from someone coming after them.
and once the high priest in the city of refuge dies, the guy who caused accidental death is free to go back to his hometown.

basically, it’s like a prison with a lot more freedom.

so that being said…

we are responsible for our action, whether it is purposeful or accidental.
we do have free will. but we don’t have the power to control every situation.
we cannot control our environment, what must come ahead of us, but we can control how we react to it.
because accidents happen, and not all things happen for a specific reason. like some deep hidden meaning behind it.
we can’t say the people who suffered natural disaster like hurricane had it coming and there’s a reason behind it.
but if they see a disaster coming their way, they have the freewill to take refuge.

i don’t know about online spaces. i feel comfortable either way. real life or online.

hmm what else? idk you tell me :smiley:


#5

i think ‘anonymity’, yeah maybe.

but i wouldn’t say online, because cyber-bullying is a big problem right now.

and even if it is anonymity, some people would rather not share them.

this one girl told me her traumatizing life story online. through messenger.

and i asked if i can use her story to inspire other people, and she strongly refused. despite her name not being mentioned or anything.

so even if her identity is sealed, the story is her’s and no one else’s.
so her identity/ego is attached to her story so it doesn’t really matter to her if it’s still ‘anonymous’ or not.

my guess is that people might safer ‘on this forum’ because many people are caring and non-judgmental. for the most part. and other people have shared their stories so there is this ‘safe’ atmosphere.

and if someone else comes in and tries to bully anybody. i will find them and destroy them.


#6

here’s my thoughts. or speculation. i’m not saying this is the truth. but… here are few signs.
you can connect the dot. don’t have to believe it. just… interesting.

in Revelation 11, it talks about 3.5 years of tribulation + another 42 month, or 1260 days.
so there is two argument about this,
some people say it’s only 3.5 years, but some people say it’s 7 years total.

in Matthew 24.
in verse 3 disciples ask Christ what will be the ‘sign’

you can read the whole thing, but i’ll point out few interesting things.

verse 6. reports of wars (north korea?)
and at the end of the verse “but the end is not yet”

verse 7. “and eathquakes in one place after another”

verse 8. “beginning of pangs of distress”

verse 29. “immediately after the tribulation, the sun will be darkned, and the moon will not give its light

first eclipse happened in august 21, 2017
7 years later. another eclipse takes place.
april 8, 2024

and the September 23 thing is when Virgin(virgo) is being impregnated and having the “pangs of distress” like the pain you feel when a woman is pregnant.

so…

PLEASE don’t just take what i say. i just think it’s interesting. that’s all.

there are more ‘signs’ but i don’t wanna get too deep into it.

but it’s kinda cool and maybe it’s just another coincidence? who knows.

it’s never good to claim to have the right answer, but we can always speculate with open minds.

edit to add: @johnonymous why don’t you look this stuff up too? it’s pretty interesting. let me know what you think. you might have to dig into tons of information


#7

Never mind the prophecy- have you felt the energetic weirdness of the last month?- not just reading by the news. I don’t know if anything significant will happen on 23rd , but some interesting cycles and indicators. Liminal posted serious content so I won’t say anymore to side track this thread.

This is interesting. I can see how the cities would be compassionate for both parties to not see each other. It does take away the potential for atonement and reconciliation to each other. The part where the family asked the girl whose car hit their daughter to pray with them in ICU was beautiful.


#8

oh dear.

thank you for your thoughtful response. i found it interesting to watch my own body/ mind responding to the people’s stories in this article-- my discomfort not only in witnessing their pain (especially as a stranger to them) but also in being pushed to acknowledge that my own sense of control over my life is an illusion. i can put it aside (“too morbid”; “well, that’s what happens”), but if i don’t, it’s hard to “make sense” of it. does it have to do with the way that we as a species rely on causal logic to move through the world: when X happens, Y happens? so our brains like to put everything in order, focus on the patterns we can find/ invent, & ignore or bracket anything outside of those patterns?

YES. somehow, when it is a disaster that affects many people we seem better able to accept it, but these individual tragedies, when life is still carrying on around the humans who are affected? this devastating thing happens & there is no reason, no sense. my brain doesn’t seem to know what to do with it. can i just meet that, bear witness to it? can we even find peace in it, in the acceptance of impermanence, in being reminded that this moment is all we have?

this concept of the city of refuge does appear to be a case of enforcing social norms, “keeping the peace” in a revenge/ honor culture. but i appreciate maryann gray’s read of it: that she sees the possibility of an escape from the shadows in a place where everyone shares a shameful (in the sense of being related to expulsion from one’s tribe/ group) experience in common.

i appreciated reading that sharing her story to help others seems to have defused the terrible shame/ self-blame gray felt in the aftermath of this accident. bringing some light to her experience, lightening her burden. & through her own vulnerability allowing others the freedom to speak.


#9

yeah kinda but i’ve been ignoring it and pushing it aside.
a lot of weird stuff has been happening to me too.

i doubt it. i think it’s just a sign in the sky.
i think the sign itself is significant.

yeah i think it’s a wonderful concept
such as meet-ups for alchoholics and stuff.

not to ruin the beautiful account but what if the guy was like “because of you, my family won’t be able to experience my love anymore… because of you…”

hahah, i mention this because sometimes people want you to feel shame and guilt over accidental stuff.

yeah, in an ideal world, i wish everyone would try to lift each others’ burden.


#10

yes. & there is also the mother who watched her child be struck & killed by the car forty years ago. her story not told here. but as a mother who has had a child dart out into the road … there are an infinity of facets to every story. the more we can hold at once … ?


#11

My husband’s reaction was,

“at least they stopped.”

He was hit by a pickup truck on his bicycle. Broken arm, leg, and some internal injuries, wrecked his semi-pro bike racing aspirations too. The guy didn’t even stop; he remembers flopping around trying to get to the side of the road so he wouldn’t get completely run over if another car came around the curve then waking up in hospital. They never caught the guy who hit him.


#12

speaking of accident,

two days ago.

i hit somebody in the gas station in the ghetto urban area.

totally my fault. i sped to the gas station.

i got out of my car to check if he was hurt and he started taking off his shirt to fight me.

and his friends were there and they were all acting crazy . like 8~10 of them.

i thought, there’s no way i’m gonna handle this situation on my own at this time, can’t even call the police. this is gonna be crazy.

so i got in my car and took off like 2 blocks away.

about 10 minutes later, i came back to the gas station and i see 3 cars pulling off. the guy and his friends.

so i went after the 3 cars, they pulled to the side, and i pulled right next to them.

at first they were yelling but long story short. i was able to calm them all down and no police needed.
it took about 5~8 minutes.
thanks to my ESTPness being able to talk to everyone all at once and trying to reason.

sometimes art of pursuasion can save you from a lot of trouble.

he wasn’t really hurt but later he was overreacting and crying tears.

i think he was more shocked than anything.


#13

I don’t believe the world will end on 23 September either (see my discussion with @supernokturnal on another thread), but I’m glad its not just me that’s freaking out over the bizarre energies afflicting the entire planet right now.

And they just keep intensifying; yesterday there was that terrible earthquake in Mexico, but the whole Pacific Ring of Fire has also been activated as New Zealand felt a series of medium sized quakes around the time of the Mexico event. No casualties here, but its put the whole country on edge since they could be a prelude to a major quake.

Earlier in the week, a digging machine in the North of NZ severed a pipeline that supplies all the aviation fuel to Auckland Airport. It’s caused major disruption to all air travel here, since the airport is the international point of entry to NZ as well as the central hub for domestic flights.

Because of our mountainous geography, air travel is the only practical means of public transport for business and private travel around the country, so this has brought much of the country to a standstill. Could be weeks before they fix the pipeline, by which time we may have run out of petrol for cars as well, due to a panic-induced run on gas stations by the mindless hordes of self-centred idiots.

I just hope they don’t start panic buying from the supermarkets next, or we could be in serious danger of a food shortage.

And on a personal note, a couple of nights ago my partner had to cancel our joint credit card as someone had hacked the account and was making lots of unauthorised online purchases. My subscriptions to the Stellar Maze are paid from this account, so if I suddenly go quiet that’s why.

Hopefully I won’t end up shivering in a cave somewhere without power, food, transport or wifi, hiding from the hungry mobs in some kind of post-apocalyptic nightmare…


#14

thanks for sharing @Stewart. from other side of the world.
because i thought it was just me noticing this too.
i feel like it could be the beginning of tribulation…

a lot of weird things are happening for me too that usually doesn’t happen.

there’s another interpretation that these are happening to ‘shake up’ the world so people can wake up and pay attention to bigger things.

and there’s another interpretation saying this is part of the test to see how much we can endure til the end.
kinda like, testing us to make us stronger?

i don’t know…
i’m trying to not make any big moves right now because i feel like things can go south.

my wife’s grandmother past away few weeks ago, she’s been visiting her every week and was making her grandmother crochet blanket , that was pretty sad. and that very day i was sleeping at odd time. i felt strange that day.
and getting swarmed by fleas. bitten all over the body. it was testing my patience. it lasted for a month.
and the random accident that happened. which i didn’t see it coming.
and my business is kinda going weird right now, which never happened before. it’s been going on for 2 months. very strange.
and random notice from doctor saying my mother might have another breast cancer.

and of course earthquakes and hurricanes and flood all over the place. which means food shortages too.

i’ve had several moments where i stopped and thought ‘why are all these things happening at once? wtf is going on?’

it’s been one of the most stressful time in 2017.

but i’m trying to stay positive and keep fighting through this obstacles.

i wasn’t going to share all that but since you shared, i feel like i’m not the only one feeling strange just not globally but personally also.

what about you @geneva?


#15

I was not aware of those troubles in NZ, wish you all the luck you need to stay safe through natural and unnatural disasters.

Last month energetically pretty roller coaster-y. In general, difficulty falling asleep and dreams are vivid. Not tired during day in spite of it, physical energy is pretty good, my mind is busy but unfocused and hard to be productive (? like a P type) intermittent plunges into a sense of deep calm and connectedness, might even tear up because of something like little leaves turning yellow and the sunset is so beautiful (and I pretend it’s allergies because I don’t do sentimental crap). Lots of tingling and buzzing between my shoulder blades and base of my skill, pretty intense yesterday afternoon.


#16

this all sounds scary. how are you managing? that experience of widespread, generalized anxiety … it’s a challenging dynamic to be in/ work with.

@geneva when you feel this way, how do you know/ choose to attribute it to something external rather than internal? i’ve been feeling similarly but always just assume it’s something gone awry with the personal wiring. (or else it’s just that here in the u.s. at least there’s been an uneasy fear energy jittering about for months now.)


#17

Internal and external tend to mirror each other so often difficult to determine direct causation. If you pay attention you can see some patterns and synchronicities, this is especially helpful if you do any meditation or energy practices.

External factors to look for: seasonal, lunar cycles, weather, people/animals/birds acting strangely, geomagnetic/solar influence which you can track here http://spaceweather.com
They also have an awesome photo gallery.

Internal- food, exercise, schedule, general activity, environment, social interactions, sleep patterns, practices.


#18

I hope everyone’s tidied up your affairs and said goodbye to your loved ones, because everything comes to an end tomorrow when the rogue planet Nibiru smashes into the Earth and kills everyone:

Skeptical scientists believe this is all utter nonsense of course, since none of their fancy gadgets have ever detected a shred of evidence for Nibiru’s existence. Little do they suspect that sneaky Nibiru has evaded their pesky scrutiny by hiding in Narnia for centuries! But now, she is finally ready to open up a dimensional wormhole and emerge from her hiding place to rain down upon us all with Fire and Fury like the world has never seen! :fire::zap::stars:

You can blame Donald Trump for all of this; the Apocalypse wasn’t meant to happen for eons, until he broke copyright by usurping her trademarked catchphrase to intimidate North Korea.

“The nerve of the man!” she cried in outrage. “How very, very dare he! I’ll show that jumped-up little upstart what Fire and Fury really means, in language even he can’t ignore!”

If it’s any consolation, my friends, you can console yourselves with the comforting thought that Nibiru has chosen Trump as Ground Zero for her strike, so he will be the first to be squashed flat by the impact. Just imagine the look on his smug piggy face when Nibiru appears out of the sky above him, moments before splattering him into smithereens so microscopically tiny that they’ll have to invent a new branch of quantum physics to even describe them! Or they would, if anyone were left alive to care…


#19

I’m confused Stewart. are you just joking or are you being serious?

don’t put me on a Ni grip!


#20

and Elton John too.