The Danger of Trigger Warnings

I think of trigger warnings as the peanut allergy campaign. Out of all the allergies people have (I’m allergic to animal hair for instance) why was the peanut allergy given such high priority? How did one allergy cause so much change in how food is served or allowed to be served?

With trigger warnings it is the same story. There are endless lists of items/ situations which could cause issues for people. Enough to shut down communication. Where does it begin and end?

For generations, people have been responsible for their own health, making sure to avoid or be careful when something could cause them to have an allergic attack. People need to self moderate. It really is the only way for everyone to manage communication. Emotional triggers in particular, are very personal and individual. Second guessing what will bother any one person in a group, or the public as a whole, is fruitless. Like a bottomless pit. Moderating everything to that extent would make communication impossible and/ or meaningless.

Over sensitivity and hyper awareness is not going to work for communication and education.

We treat an allergy with exposure, allergy shots are a little of the substance given to the immune system to deal with. When it works, the immune system will lose its sensitivity to the substance. We deal with fear in the same way. Pushing our emotions to endure and gradually understand the problem. Trigger warnings will never work because they put the fear, emotions on a pedestal, making them bigger and more important. Focusing on anything will only make it grow stronger, and more prevalent.

Trigger warnings will only silence communication.

Oxford University law students have asked to be protected from distressing material that may crop up in their studies of the criminal law. Lecturers have been told that they must issue “trigger warnings” before lecturing on subjects that may – it is claimed – lead vulnerable students into depressive episodes or even suicide. Students thus forewarned can either steel themselves to what follows, or, as some are now doing, skip the lecture altogether. The directive is primarily aimed at students studying criminal law.

Will lecturers be expected to anticipate every case in which a trigger warning must be issued? Are law lecturers to become amateur psychologists and predict in advance the topics that may conceivably cause trauma to their students?

The whole point of a university is that it is an institution in which students and academics can engage in free and uninhibited discussion. Nowhere is this more important than in the subject of legal education, which involves much more than being told what the law is.

Source: Trigger warnings are an insidious threat to academic freedom – BarristerBlogger

The Fear of Darkness

Darkness is one of the more interesting things to fear. You could write mountains out of molehills about darkness and still not really know what it is. Beautiful, mysterious and full of space for your imagination to wander. Why fear something like knives, water or bacon splashing you when there is the dark to be looked into. It’s a magical fear.

I don’t fear the dark myself. It’s more about the other side of the darkness when the lights come back on and the world, people, life floods back in filling all the little niches and cracks and making you be something understandable again. The darkness is kind of nice, simple, blank and limitless. It’s the opposite of a blank, white page waiting to be filled. The darkness is already complete but you can always add whatever comes to mind, if you feel the need. The darkness always has room for more.

How do you feel about darkness? What could you write about it and a fear of the darkness?

Keanu Reeves has been open about his fear of the darkness and sort of assumes that it comes from a philosophical standpoint: perhaps a fear of death.

Source: 9 Celebs and their STRANGE Phobias  DailyForest 

Cats Only Meow at Humans?

No wonder some people have a fear or suspicion of cats. Doesn’t this just make you want to ask cats what they really are up to?

What does meow really mean…?

Cats only meow at humans. While they do make noises and use body language to other cats and animals, the only animals that they actually meow at are humans.

Source: 15 Weird Communication Methods Of Animals And Humans – neekly – neekly

The Sweater Curse

Among knitters there is a widespread belief in a superstitious phenomenon known as the “Sweater Curse”: a belief that if the knitter gives a hand-made sweater to a significant other it will lead to a breakup; in a 2005 survey, 15 percent of hobby knitters said they had directly experienced it and 41 percent took the superstition seriously.

Source: How To Geek

Curses are all about belief in them. A curse works on faith and fear of that faith. It is scary to believe in something. Partly because that means there really is something bigger and more powerful than yourself. No wonder there are so many religions. I think early people needed all the options they could get. Do something one god/ religious party disapproves of and you need to rely on another to protect you from the ill will surely being sent your way. Curses from your former co-believers. It’s all interesting, religion always is.

Create a curse.

What is the story behind it? How did it get started? Why do people believe it and how does the belief keep going? What evidence is there to show the curse is real?

As for the sweater curse… can you prove it wrong? Do you knit?

Losing your Sense of Self?

bwpollThis is an old poll I created when I used to write for a network called BackWash. Still a good question to think about.

If you had to give up or lose one of your senses, including common sense and the possibility of a sixth sense or the other standard: hearing, smell, taste, sight or touch, which would you pick?

I think the idea of losing our senses haunts us all our lives. We see someone who can’t see or hear and we think about how it must be to live without that.

Then we get older and another fear is losing our mind, our ability to think and do things for ourselves.

Animals don’t have a sense of self, scientists say. It’s a test they try on animals – putting them in front of a mirror to see if they can understand they are looking at a reflection of themselves. I’ve seen cats go crazy, hissing and pouncing, trying to threaten (or feeling threatened) by what they see as a strange cat who hisses right back at them. Pretty scary if you don’t understand the concept of a reflection. But, they can do the same with the image of a cat on a box too.

I don’t know if not having the knowledge of reflections and photography or graphic arts should leave us to assume these animals don’t have that sense of self.

How could you prove an animal does have a sense of self? How do you know you have a sense of your own self? Do you even understand the idea of what having a sense of self is? Maybe that is the sense (not on my original list) which you might give up. How different would you be without it?

How to Work Around Phone Phobia

pink rotary phoneI don’t like answering the phone. I will do just about anything to avoid making a phone call to anyone. If it weren’t for having family who like to call me on my birthday or to make sure I’m still alive during the winter, I’d have no phone at all.

I don’t have a cell phone. I don’t want one at all. I did try one for a week. But, I never used it. So I took it back and cancelled the account. No matter how outdated it may seem not to be mobile with a phone stuck to my ear, I won’t be doing it. I do have a mini laptop, that’s mobile enough for me.

I don’t remember just when my phone problems began. I went through a time of having debt problems when I was in my early twenties. I’ve heard that’s how a lot of people develop a phone phobia. But, I had a poor attitude about phones before that.

My Dad was a small business person. Most of the time he kept a home office in the basement. Sometimes he would have a phone number for the business and leave it hooked up to the fax machine when he was supposed to be off hours (not working). But, he could never leave the phone to ring and go unanswered. He would risk breaking his neck by running up and down the stairs, leaping over laundry piles and other stuff my Mom would have (like an obstacle course) on the stairs. If anyone choose not to answer the phone with his same obsessive need to take every call, he would pitch a fit.

It didn’t matter that it was after hours for the business. It didn’t matter that we had one or even two answering machines hooked up to take calls. It didn’t matter that the calls after hours were almost always sales calls, telemarketers and people who wanted charity. Any missed call would cause a huge blow up.

I’m sure I began to resent and dislike the phone during those days. But, I didn’t dread picking it up and answering it or phoning anyone.

Later I worked in a department store. As a cashier you sometimes were required to pick up the phone and send a page out over the intercom. I hated that part of the job. I would do anything I could think of to avoid it. If it meant leaving my place and grabbing something for a customer I would do it. If it meant asking another cashier to make the page for me, that was fine with me. Sometimes I just offered customers a discount rather than paging for the floor staff to price check something for me.

It was ok for the job. They just wanted stuff sold rather than caring how much it sold for, within reason. But, it made me feel silly. So I began making the pages myself. I just made myself start doing them. After awhile it became easier. I even found it easier to answer the phone at home. But, since I stopped being a cashier several years ago I’ve gone back to my old feelings and dealings with the phone. I let the answering machine catch every call. I can listen in and see who it is, then pick it up if I want to, or need to.

It may sound funny to have a fear of the phone. Maybe fear isn’t the right word. I do have a phone in my home after all. I’m fine with the phone as long as it keeps quiet.

Help for Phone Phobia

Plan ahead when you have to make a phone call.

Write out a script, predicting how the call will go and what you will answer. Or, just go over it in your head.

Make sure you have all the information (like account numbers) and a pen and paper ready before you make the phone call.

If you have to face someone on the phone who may be argumentative, negative or hard to deal with for any reason, try getting help from a friend. Have them role play with you. Let them be the boss, service person, etc who you are not comfortable dealing with. Most likely the call won’t be as dramatic or upsetting as you think it will. A friend can give you a different outlook on it. By the end of the role play you could be laughing and the call will seem much simpler then.

Make the actual phone call when you are feeling good. If you are already upset, tired or feeling impatient you’re off to a less than ideal start.

Can You Go a Day Without a Cell Phone, or are you Addicted?

notaphoneboothCell phones have their place. When they first came out people bought them to have for emergencies. They are still good for that reason. But, they are dangerous too. Not the phones, but the way people use them and the time they choose to use them.

I’m anti-cell phone, mostly because it’s a bit lonely in a world full of people who seem to talk to imaginary friends – people who text but can’t spell.

People are addicted to their cell phones.

  • People are driving while texting and causing (or being in) accidents. New rules for the road have been created due to cell phone use and abuse.
  • Real communication is being lost. Instead of real, social interaction people are choosing to act like hermits, living inside their phone, ignoring people right in front of them, face to face.
  • Non face to face communication leaves people feeling less connected. Less concern for consequences and less care for others makes it easy to abuse phone or Internet communications. Bullying and minors ‘sexting’ (or creating and sharing porn) are bigger problems.
  • Cell phones are not reusable. They cause more garbage as they are continually being replaced rather than fixed or upgraded for the next, best thing.
  • Cell phone addicts are prone to withdrawal if they are without their phone. Then there is nomophobia – the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. People suffering withdrawal are more likely to have other unsocial behaviours, like road rage, or pick up other unhealthy habits, like smoking or over eating.

I Don’t Want a Cell Phone

I don’t own a cell phone. I had one for a week and returned it to the Bell store. I never used it and I really didn’t want anyone phoning me any time day or night. I like the land line. I like to ignore the phone. I listen to the caller, in case Timmy fell down a well, but I don’t answer it.

I’m coming to really dislike cell phones. I go to work and sit at a table with co-workers at lunch. Everyone is talking… to their phone. They share jokes that no one else can really see because the screen is too small or has a glare from the lights. I pretend to laugh. I bring a book to work now. I sit at the table in the middle of all that conversation and I read. I ignore them all just as they ignore me. It’s weird how no one wants to talk to people actually there. Cell phone is the latest unsocial medium.

I take the bus and hear people on the phone, telling their caller which bus stop they are at and estimating the time it will take them to arrive where ever they are going. They talk about their day, they swear and curse at each other and have fights while on the bus. All conversation they could have been having at home, together, face to face. I would much rather they shut their phone off so I could enjoy the peace and quiet of the bus. But, no… they have a phone attached to them like an umbilical cord and they can’t stop.

Cell Phone Addiction

How to Survive Alone in a New Town or City

Why don’t more people travel alone?

I never thought of it as being especially brave. I enjoyed being able to choose my destination each day and push myself along into meeting people, trying new things and just plain getting out there and discovering new things every day.

It’s probably easier for younger people, those who don’t stop to think about what might happen. Most of the time, all those worries are based on very little real information. Seldom did any of those worries ever become fact.

Getting lost is something I don’t even count as a problem. It’s when you do get lost that you find something really wonderful. It may be a tourist thing, a new restaurant, an attraction or an event. Sometimes the thing you discover is yourself, your own resilience, ingenuity and ability to adapt and change.

Get out there, get involved and find your way around – those are the keys I have found to living or travelling in a new place, town or city.

Getting Started by Getting Out There

The number one thing to do in a new town or city is NOT staying indoors, shut away and safe. Jump in and join in. The purpose of travel is to see new things, meet new people and broaden your horizons. Also, to enjoy yourself and relax. But, if you just stay safe inside a hotel or a safe little area you could just have stayed home and saved your money.

Start slow and build your way up, feel your way around. I often went out for breakfast somewhere. Look for a local place rather than going for a chain restaurant just like the chain restaurant you see in your own city or town. Talk to the waitress or waiter, whoever takes your order and serves the meal. Make conversation by asking them about the town, what do they recommend?

You don’t have to take any suggestions, unless something does perk your interest. The point is to find out what local people think would be good to see. Often the local people have never explored the tourist elements themselves, they just know there is a local museum or art gallery but have never taken the time to see it. Locals tend to take their own town for granted that way. If you think about it, you like do the same in your own town.

Get Involved with the Local Community

Check for event listings in the local newspaper. See how many events and group meetings (clubs and societies) you can find and attend.

Go to local shops, stores and restaurants rather than big, well-known stores and retail chains. Local places will have local people and know more about local things you can do and get involved with.

Local places will also sometimes have flyers, business cards and other media which will help you find more local things to get involved with.

Navigation in a New Place

Get local maps and learn the roads. When you plan to go somewhere study the route so you will begin to understand the streets and be able to navigate around without needing a map eventually.

Know the local transit system. Know how much bus fare costs and the general route.

Keep the phone number for the local taxi service in cause you wander too far and don’t like where you end up. You don’t even need a ride all the way back, just get dropped off somewhere you would rather be.

Don’t Fear for Your Life

Don’t be afraid to wander around on your own. Even in the “big city” you don’t have to be intimidated or afraid. Too often I hear people from smaller towns claim bigger towns and cities are dangerous, so much crime, so many guns and robberies… Of course there are more crimes in an area with more people to create them. This does not mean you are not safe.

There are more areas more places as well as more people. Actually, having lived in both big cities, small cities, small towns, villages and one town too small to have more than one traffic light – I can say you are equally safe in any of those places.

Of course, there are precautions you can take, things not to do and situations to avoid. This is regardless of your location – village, town or city.

Don’t become an easy target. Going out drinking and then stumbling around drunk is not the smartest plan. Being an ignorant loud-mouth is bound to make you less friends and give people a reason to feel resentment and anger towards you. So, mind your manners.

When you go out, have a plan. Know where you are going. Have a plan for getting there and back. This way you won’t be vulnerable if something happens and you need to leave or get back to an area you know better. Also, people who walk as if they have a purpose and a planned destination are less likely to be approached.

If people tell you are area is not good for whatever reasons, avoid that area. You can be in a small town and discover an area which is run down and usually badly kept with people who don’t have much and may be risky. This is not just a big city thing.

A Few Links

Women are Afraid Men Will Kill Them

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” – Margaret Atwood.

Do you agree, or disagree? Does your opinion reflect your gender? Do men ever feel threatened with bodily harm, assault, torture, sexual violence or death on an average day?

My Dad and my brother both make light of anything like this. Women are over reacting, being silly… but the fact is that a woman does not feel safe out in the world and it’s not because of other women.

When you write about fear, what do you draw on? I draw on my feelings at the times I have been assaulted, molested and/ or attacked. It does make me wonder what men have to draw on when they write about fear. Do they have any real experience or is it all based on stuff they have seen on TV? Isn’t it handy then, that there are so many movies and TV shows where women are attacked so men will have something both entertaining and educational to have some understanding of what it feels like to be afraid for your life.