Moral Outrage is a Crude Thrill But an Addictive One

It’s evident from the body language of virtue signallers that they exult in the feelings of moral superiority provided by their aggression

It’s possible to become addicted to a wide range of different thrills. Adrenaline, oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine and a slew of other neurotransmitters all create a very specific kind of pleasurable buzz that a person can easily become hooked on. This essay examines the most fashionable addiction in current year: the addiction to moral outrage.

Moral outrage belongs to the class of ego thrills. Within this class are all actions that lead to pleasure on account of letting you think, even if only for a short moment, that you’re better than other people. Belonging to this class are a large number of activities relating to competition and domination.

Alchemically speaking, there are three ways that one person can dominate another person, and these correspond to the three orientations of bravery. One can dominate physically, one can dominate mentally, or one can dominate morally.

Dominating physically is generally looked down upon as an activity befitting children and thugs. Dominating mentally is the obsession of the young adult learning to be a man of silver, and incredible amounts of energy are expended to this end at universities, but most people soon grow out of that.

Dominating morally is where the real self-aggrandisement comes into play, because if this can be achieved then the other forms can be dismissed as less worthy or meaningful. It doesn’t matter if someone dominates you physically or mentally, because you can claim that the act of domination is itself immoral by virtue of being aggressive, and that therefore you, in fact, dominated them where it counts – morally!

As it happens, the modern world gives us plenty of opportunity to get a kick out of moral outrage. So much so that some people may have become clinically addicted to the thrill. Much like smoking cigarettes or snorting cocaine, working oneself into a towering moral fury has a near-immediately gratifying payoff and is therefore more likely to become habitual.

Signs of addiction can be seen in the compulsive bleating of “Racist!” whenever someone criticises a group of people that contains some black or brown individuals. Here, the person getting a buzz off moral outrage doesn’t bother to wait to make sure that the person they’re attacking really is a racist, because that might mean that they don’t get to accuse anyone and so don’t get the buzz.

Other signs include getting outraged at things that are entirely natural, such as the gender pay gap. Taking something that’s clearly the result of female choice and spinning it to make out like there’s a massive anti-female conspiracy to drive down wages is the kind of thing that could get someone a diagnosis of paranoia in other contexts, but when politics are involved no pile of bullshit is too high.

In truth, moral outrage is a form of bullying. It’s a way of running another person down because of their perceived lack of virtue, and this moral shaming is little different to shaming someone for being fat, poor or slovenly. The main distinction is that it is more passive-aggressive than physical bullying.

The driving force behind moral outrage is a combination of slave morality and mob mentality. The slave morality is always a feature because people susceptible to moral outrage have inevitably been told what their morals are, and usually told early enough in life that, by adulthood, they’re convinced their behaviour is natural. The mob mentality, likewise, is always a feature because people need to whip each other up into a frenzy to generate the self-righteousness necessary for a truly gratifying state of moral outrage.

The question then arises: should crude expressions of moral outrage be banned, or at least socially discouraged? It’s possible to combat them by making the virtue signaller look bad themselves.

For instance, virtue signallers shrieking “Racist!” when they hear criticism of Islam could be discouraged by being told how stupid they are for not being able to see the difference between dislike of a religion and dislike of a race. After all, the two concepts are radically different – the first is a meme complex, the second is a gene complex. It could fairly be pointed out that someone unable to tell the difference is pretty thick.

Even better, when someone is aggressively expressing their moral outrage at you, is to ask that person if they think they’re better than you on account of their beliefs. Of course they think they are, which is why they’re outraged in the first place – but if they admit that, they immediately lose their moral high ground on account of confessing to egotism.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Writing Depersonalisation Disorder

Depersonalisation Disorder is a brutally surreal experience. Also known as Derealisation Disorder, this condition is characterised by feeling like an outside observer of one’s own body despite being in it, and feeling like one isn’t actually in control of that body’s actions. Also common are feelings about reality being vague, dream-like, or less real than usual. This article gives some hints for how writers can handle characters with Depersonalisation Disorder.

This condition is almost always the result of stress, but a distinction needs to be made between a person who is temporarily dissociating in the moment because of an intensely traumatic event that has just happened, a person who has an established pattern of dissociating when exposed to certain stimuli that should not themselves be distressing, and a person who has a tendency to dissociate under small amounts of stress owing to psychological damage from past trauma.

It has to be made clear that Depersonalisation Disorder is not the same thing as psychosis. A person in a dissociated state will be aware that their perceptions are altered (or, at the very least, that something is wrong). In other words, they will not have lost touch with reality, which is a necessary quality of a psychotic experience. They will just have dissociation.

Dissociation is when one starts to feel emotions and sensations that aren’t usually associated with the environment that one is in. For example, one might be in an extremely stressful situation but not actually feel any stress: one simply watches everything from the perspective of consciousness, as if floating outside the body. Things feel unreal, surreal, so that sometimes one feels as if one is watching a film with one’s life on it instead of actually living it.

This lack of connection with the body is the strangest and most difficult thing about the condition. A person with depersonalisation can look at their own hand and not feel like they’re looking at their own body, which is a highly disconcerting experience. It’s also disconcerting to look at yourself in the mirror and not really understand who it is or that it’s you, or to recall a past memory and feel as if it really happened to someone else.

If written from a first person perspective, and written well, the experience of a character with Depersonalisation Disorder might be terrifying to the reader. Dissociation is often terrifying to experience personally, especially for the first time, and may be difficult to distinguish from a panic attack. However, often it is more weird than frightening, especially when the alternative is genuine suffering.

If the dissociation is occurring in a character being observed by the protagonist, that character might seem distant, vacant and “spaced-out”. The protagonist might get emotionless, zombie-like responses from the character undergoing dissociation, which might be a problem if there is something that has to be done quickly. It’s very possible that the protagonist mistakes the person dissociating for being under the influence of a psychoactive substance.

Most readers don’t do a lot of drugs. If they do, they might find the experience amusing to read about. After all, dissociation is a common effect of many recreational drugs. For such an audience, a character’s bout of dissociation might come across as highly comical, and doubly so when paired with another character who is perfectly straight in all regards.

Like most psychiatric conditions, Depersonalisation Disorder is believed to have an origin in psychological trauma. It’s very possible that a character with the condition will have experienced repeated trauma in childhood (usually emotional) that was so relentless it caused the mind to dissociate with reality in order to protect itself. This could be abuse, or a witnessed tragedy, or even simply a realisation about the true nature of things.

The case of Depersonalisation Disorder might then be an ego protection response to extreme trauma so that the person suffering the trauma doesn’t become cruel as a consequence of the suffering. Essentially one goes mad, when under inhumane stresses, in preference to becoming evil. This might be a way of showing the inherent goodness of a character, or their inherent naivety, depending on one’s approach.

Writing about a character who has dissociation might not be very interesting if the story revolves around the dissociation itself. The story might be more interesting if your character is an otherwise mentally healthy person who becomes dissociated as a result of extreme circumstances. This might be a one-time event or it could be part of a pattern.

If it’s a one-time event, it might be a reaction to a grisly sight like a car accident or something seen on a battlefield. This need not, then, be the central role in the story, but might rather be something that befalls the protagonist at a particular juncture, possibly transforming them or causing them to grow.

If part of a pattern, it might play a more central role in the story. It may be that the sight of a certain thing triggers an episode of dissociation on account of being associated with what caused the initial trauma, or it could be that relatively small amounts of stress or uncertainty are enough to tip a character over the edge.

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This article is an excerpt from Writing With The DSM (Writing With Psychology Book 5), edited by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

Truthophobia

A new mental illness has been observed in the modern world. It’s found among people who have irrational, fear-based responses to hearing true statements. Instead of responding to these statements like rational adults, and acknowledging their truth value, they tend to have abusive outbursts: they have truthophobia.

We can define truthophobia along the lines of other phobias, which are defined as: “exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fears of a particular object, class of objects, or situation”. In short, truthophobia is an exaggerated, inexplicable and illogical fear of statements of truth.

It may have a second meaning, along the lines of homophobia and Islamophobia, which is to say a political meaning alongside its linguistic meaning. In this sense, truthophobia refers to the act of denying the truth specifically because that truth is politically inconvenient.

Characteristic of a truthophobe are theatrical displays of moral outrage intended to distract from good points made by truth-tellers. For example, they like to scream “Racist!” when statistics about the sexual assault rates of Muslim and African immigrants to Europe are brought up. They also like to scream “Racist!” whenever criticisms of Islam are made, even when those criticisms have nothing to do with any racial distinctions.

What’s telling here is that truthophobes don’t ask questions about these true statements in an effort to understand them, like an honest person would do. The truthophobe simply reacts, on the basis that the truth might harm a belief that they hold, and that this belief needs to be defended by any means necessary. They are dishonest as well as cowardly.

Any learned Buddhist could quickly determine what was wrong with the average truthophobe. Clinging to material phenomena causes suffering, and clinging to a particular interpretation of reality so tightly that expressions of any alternative interpretation are taken as threats is a fitting example of such. The more truthophobic a person, the harder they dig in; the harder they dig in, the more suffering they cause themselves and others.

Why do people become truthophobics? We can group them into three major groups.

The first are the simply dumb. Being dumb is not enough by itself to be a truthophobe, but it can be a major contributing factor, especially if the dumb person has already been brainwashed into believing something untrue. Dumb people mostly are truthophobic because of the cognitive dissonance arising from really thinking about things properly. Consequently they prefer comfortable lies to truths.

This first group are arguably the least malicious of the three, because they are the most likely to admit the truth once it is evident. Being dumb doesn’t necessarily preclude one from being honest, and dumb people are often capable of seeing the truth if they are given the time and space in which to do so. The other two groups lack the shame to admit the truth no matter how evident it is, but this first group will often change their mind if the truth is presented to them correctly.

The second group of truthophobes are the fanatics. This group believes fervently in a particular doctrine, usually political, and so much so that any statement contradicting it is aggressively attacked regardless of any truth value that statement may possess. This group is worse than the first, because not only do they refuse to accept the truth when it’s presented to them, but they actively talk a lot of shit and thereby obscure the truth from those honestly seeking it.

Fanatics are also dumb, because their fanaticism invariably creates more suffering than their ideology would prevent, even under the best possible circumstances. Fanatics degrade the quality of public discourse by being unreasonable and dishonest, which makes the truth harder to see. In this group can be found a large number of Marxists as well as the religious fanatics that they resemble.

The third group are evil. The unfortunate truth is that a particularly malicious strain of truthophobes exist – one who tell lies and deny the truth specifically because to do so brings suffering into the world. Many in this category spread confusion and fear because they directly profit from it. Invariably they don’t simply reject the truth but actively seek to destroy the reputations of anyone speaking it, so as to discourage them from trying to speak the truth again.

People in this third group are mostly afraid of the truth about themselves, because it’s this fundamental fear that motivates their evil. Their ultimate fear is that they are truthfully not worth very much themselves, and the key to defeating these people is to never let them suspect otherwise.

Anyone trying to speak the truth in today’s environment will certainly encounter all three of these types in short order.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Have You Realised Yet That We’re The Bad Guys Now?

In order for a person to be found guilty of a crime, the Police first have to be presented with enough evidence to justify an arrest, and then that person has to be tried in front of an impartial jury summoned to examine the evidence. In realpolitik however, as this essay will examine, such trivialities can be cast aside at the first sound of the war drums – provided you accept you’re the bad guys.

The leaders of the Anglo-French alliance just started a war without the approval of the representatives of their people. The US Congress, by law, has to give its approval before wars can be started. The precedent set by George W. Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq, however, is that the American armed forces will do whatever the fuck they’re told to do. Donald Trump, in ordering airstrikes in co-operation with British and French forces, is simply following this precedent.

Supposedly the reason for the missile strikes was to respond to a chemical strike allegedly ordered by the Government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the civilian population of Douma. The difficulty comes from the fact that the leaders of the Anglo-French alliance did not wait for widely accepted proof of the chemical attack to be made public. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has yet to complete its fact-finding mission, meaning that there is no expert opinion yet on who was responsible.

Proof doesn’t matter for those leading the Anglo-French countries. Proof only matters to those who care about their reputation, and bad guys have no need to care about their reputation, long since lost. Worst of all, these countries have no credibility when it comes to claiming that the actions of a second party were heinous enough to justify military action – they’ve gone to war on utterly fictitious casus belli several times before.

New Zealand says it “accepts” what has happened, on the grounds that any attempt to go through the United Nations Security Council for approval would have been vetoed by Russia. This threat of veto is considered justification for ignoring the UN entirely. No questions are asked by the mainstream media. Neither do they mention where the New Zealand special forces are right now, or what they are doing there, or how long they have been there.

Nobody in any of the countries whose armed forces just committed an act of war without Congressional or Parliamentary approval (i.e. legal approval) will take any action to hold the politicians who gave the orders to account. We don’t care that our countries are run by war criminals. We didn’t lift a finger to make either Bush or Tony Blair pay for Iraq, and we won’t lift one here either.

It’s time to chew on a bitter realisation: we are now the bad guys. The Anglo-French alliance is not fighting for freedom or liberty or human rights or anything like it. We’re not fighting to reduce the amount of human suffering in the world. Such considerations are inconsequential. What matters is silver and iron – i.e. money and strategic positioning.

We’re fighting for power, or what of it we can hold onto as the West slides into irrelevance from our own greed, hubris and crapulence. We’re not fighting for any higher moral value. Proof for this contention comes from simply reviewing the evidence.

The American soldiers who just fired cruise missiles into Syria don’t get paid in one decade what one of those missiles costs. Some American cities – Detroit the most notable – already look worse than Damascus, without having to get bombed. This decay of physical infrastructure simply reflects the decay in psychological infrastructure that is the root cause of our civilisational failure.

We know this because we can observe how poorly we treat our psychologically vulnerable. We don’t invest anything into healing them, and the collective psychological damage incurred by this negligence has grown to monstrous proportions. America regularly denies housing or benefit coverage to the veterans of its military adventures, and the thought of them getting proper mental health care for their PTSD is a bitter joke. There’s only money for defence contractors.

New Zealand is no better, spending $400,000,000 of its own citizens’ money every year (over $100 per adult) to persecute them for using medicinal cannabis, while thousands of its children go to school too hungry to concentrate on studies. In a double cruelty, many of those children going to school hungry are the same children of the parents imprisoned for medicinal cannabis growing. How could we possibly be the good guys?

This pattern of gross indifference to the suffering within their own borders is characteristic of the fading powers of the West and the cowardice of its population. The political class uses our tax money to build missiles to fire into Syria, and they use our votes to give themselves permission, and we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re too scared, too lazy, too weak – we’re the bad guys now.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Why is it So Fashionable to Defend Islam?

It’s extremely fashionable right now, in some circles, to make a show of defending the virtues of Islam and of Muslims. Strangely, in those very same circles, it’s extremely unfashionable to defend the very same moral values supported and asserted by Islam and Muslims. This essay attempts to make sense of this curious contradiction.

Let’s be clear: Islam is an ideology of hate. Its holy scripture makes it very clear that Allah commands the subjugation of non-Muslims, women and homosexuals. There are numerous admonitions to violence in the Koran, and it is widely accepted – even by Muslims – that Mohammed, the Perfect Man, chopped the heads off 600 Jews on one particular day.

An extremely odd, but common, phenomenon nowadays is of people claiming to be enlightened humanists while defending Islamic ideology. In truth, defending Islam in the name of Enlightenment values is insanity. It doesn’t make any more sense than defending the same fundamentalist Abrahamism that the great thinkers of the Enlightenment valiantly struggled against for 300 years in its guise of Christianity.

This point can’t be overemphasised: the people defending Islam right now are attacking the same people who criticised fundamentalist Christianity for being supremacist, xenophobic, misogynistic and homophobic! In other words, the defenders of Islam are attacking the same people who won us our freedoms from fundamentalist Abrahamism. Freedoms that took hundreds – in some cases, thousands – of years to establish.

So what if the Muslims take over and install a new patriarchy ten times worse than the old one, the gutmenschen cry, like they did in Lebanon and a hundred other places? At least no-one called us racists!

The question has to be asked: why is it suddenly so fashionable to make a big show out of defending such a disgusting ideology, one which would see women stripped of the right to vote and homosexuals thrown from rooftops? This phenomenon can be explained in four major ways: some sensible, some not.

Much of the sentiment behind shrieking “Nazi!” at people who criticise Islam appears to come from a desire to avoid another genocide. The logic appears to be that the white working classes, twisted with the malice and hate natural to people of that station, are only one excuse away from stuffing millions of Muslims into gas chambers. All that’s needed to light a spark to this powderkeg is hate speech from some Islamophobic demogogue.

If anyone is allowed to criticise Islam openly, the reasoning goes, the working class will inevitably chimp out and everyone will get carried away until we’re beating out the brains of Muslim children in the street Lord of the Flies-style. Obviously it’s mostly just middle-class wankers who think like this, but there are a fair number who defend Islam on this reasoning.

Part of it is also pure submission. As this column has pointed out previously, terrorism works, and many cowards have calculated that it’s better not to criticise Islam in case doing so paints a target on the back. The hope of many Westerners is, as the old phrase has it, that “the crocodile will eat them last”. No need to go out like Theo van Gogh, after all.

A third reason is more narcissistic. Some people believe that by accusing someone else of unvirtuous conduct they draw positive attention to themselves, as if by making the accusation they must automatically be innocent of the same. It’s a narcissistic sentiment because it holds that by casting other people down into shame, the accuser brings glory upon themselves.

Leaving aside the obvious application of Haggard’s Law, this virtue signalling is the sign of a true dickhead. It can be observed every time that someone defends Islam by accusing its critic of making their criticism from a place of dumb hate or prejudice, as if Islam could not possibly be criticised on any other basis. It’s no less petty than ripping another person down for not being au fait with any other meaningless fashion.

The major explanation as for why people defend Islam, however, is simply our old favourite, human retardation. Many of these defenders have neither read the Koran nor studied Islamic history in any detail, and they simply aren’t aware of the amount of blood shed by people encouraged by these supposedly holy words. If they are aware, they blithely write it off as “no worse than Christianity”.

Some other retards have observed that most people who hate all other races also hate Muslims, and so, in the manner of retards, have reasoned themselves to the conclusion that anyone who dislikes Muslims must be a racist. Failing to realise that one can distinguish a racist from someone who doesn’t like Islam simply by asking a person their opinion of brown-skinned apostates, these retards tend to reflexively bleat about racism every time they hear a person express any misgiving whatsoever about the religion.

Unfortunately for lovers of peace and reason, it appears that defending Islam is currently fashionable for many reasons, which means it will continue to be defended for a long time yet, which means there will be many more terror attacks on Western soil before we wake up. Sit tight.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Why Right-Libertarianism Is Full Of Autists

Many have had the experience of being surrounded by right-libertarians and realising that they have absolutely no clue about how other people think, and that this lack of insight inevitably dooms their political philosophy. It’s now apparent to many that the right-libertarian movement is chock full of autists. This essay will argue that right-libertarianism and autism overlap so heavily because they are both highly masculine mindstates with a shared evolutionary genesis.

Right-libertarians often like to paint a picture of how excellently everything would work if there was no welfare. In their minds, the welfare system only incentivises failure. If it was removed, they claim, people would work harder and pull themselves out of poverty rather than “relying on the Government”. Human suffering would decrease as a consequence.

What’s perfectly clear, to the 99% of the population who aren’t right-libertarians, is that this approach completely fails to account for the reality of human behaviour. Pulling the rug out from under tens of millions of struggling people at once would lead to chaos and violence in short order, and the thought that private security could manage enemy odds of hundreds to one is laughable.

Human suffering would increase sharply – and quickly – if we got rid of the welfare system, and a person doesn’t have to be a Dickens scholar to know this. We can simply observe the widespread misery in all times and places that don’t have one. Therefore, no-one will ever get rid of the welfare system, any more than they’ll ever get rid of the law against theft, and for similar reasons. Why don’t right-libertarians understand this?

One approach has it that the major difference between male and female psychology is that the masculine mind is systemising, while the feminine mind is empathising. The logic here is that men and women evolved to fit different niches in the biological environment: the male to the hunting niche, and the female to the gathering and nurturing niche.

Another theory has it that the major difference is that the male brain is autistic while the female brain is psychotic. This is apparent in several ways – chiefly the fact that boys are diagnosed with autism at many times the rate of girls, but also by genetic studies that show that autists tend to inherit from their fathers a disproportionately high number of genetic markers relating to brain development.

Yet another theory points out that men tend to vote for right-wing parties more than women do (a theory supported by the research of our very own Dan McGlashan), and from this draws the conclusion that men are naturally more conservative or orderly than women are.

What all these theories have in common is a realisation that men are not particularly empathetic. After all, the male brain has not evolved to be empathetic. For a hunter, empathy is not useful – in fact, it could even be detrimental if it caused the hunter to hesitate before landing a killing blow. All that really matters is the systemising ability to figure out how to get into position to land the killing blow. That is what is rewarded.

The male adaptation to a hunter’s niche is probably the underlying cause behind both high male rates of autism and of supporting right-libertarian parties. Essentially it’s a matter of a large swathe of people, predominantly men, lacking the brain capacity to imagine what it’s like to be another creature, and thereby coming to support a political movement that simply discounts such experience as a non-factor.

Females, for their part, tend to be neither hunters, autists nor right-libertarians. Their niche required more empathy, because it fell to them to do the bulk of the child-rearing and attending to the sick or old. It’s therefore not easy for women to ignore the suffering endured by other conscious beings. Women (like psychotics) tend to find it stressful when another conscious being is suffering; men (like autists) do not.

In order for a person to become a right-libertarian, they have to be usually masculine, in the sense that they have to have an unusually low amount of empathy for the countless millions who would suffer under their political system. Moreover, they have to keep supporting this system despite the overwhelming opposition from sensible people. These qualities are very similar to the tenacity and stubbornness that autists are infamous for, and probably because of a shared origin in masculine brain structures.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Writing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterised by problems paying attention, hence “attention deficit”. For whatever reasons, people with ADHD tend to flit like butterflies from one focus of obsession to the next, usually fidgeting the whole time. It might not be one of the most severe mental illnesses, but it’s still capable of severely degrading a person’s quality of life.

People with ADHD often do things without remembering. The cliche is of a person with ADHD hearing their phone ring from the fridge, where they mistakenly put it because they thought it was a carton of milk or similar. This is common because attention has to be paid to something before it can be remembered, and a person with ADHD might have been paying attention to the thoughts in their head instead of the phone in their hands.

Also common for people with ADHD is struggling to complete tasks owing to having difficulty sustaining attention. They might start to complete a task, only to get distracted by something they noticed, and then to get sidetracked from that by a particularly unusual thought (the potential comedy value of such a thing should not be overlooked!).

The experience of having ADHD is, much like many other conditions, one of having too much chaos in one’s life. A character who has it will tend to be very disorganised, for the reason that paying attention to a task long enough to get it done is difficult (and rare).

Writing about this from a first-person perspective will be exhausting. Not only will it be hard to sustain for long, but it will seldom be necessary, for the reader should get the idea very quickly. For this reason, it’s hard to write from a stream of consciousness perspective here. Subtlety will have to be employed to describe an environment that reflects the impact of a person with ADHD.

As with many mental disorders, it’s easy to confuse ADHD with other conditions on account of apparently shared symptoms. A character with ADHD might appear psychotic to another because of a rambling conversational style that leaps from subject to subject. They might also seem dull-witted to someone who’s trying to teach them something that isn’t very interesting.

It’s also distressing to have ADHD (in most cases), and so many symptoms of it are those that are common to other mental disorders and which are ultimately stress-based: insomnia, anxiety, irritability, nausea, low self-esteem etc.

A lot of ADHD-induced behaviour can be mistaken for being on drugs. A lack of apparent ability to pay attention might be explained by another character as drug influence that is forcing the character with ADHD to pay attention to their inner world. The stereotypical caffeine high of jittery behaviour and staccato speech can also be hard to distinguish from a bout of attention deficit. It doesn’t help that use of drugs is common among people with ADHD.

For a variety of reasons, the personal experience of ADHD is frequently one of frustration. The condition itself is frustrating, because it’s hard to get things done and so chores and errands tend to build up and become stressful, but also the world, and its responses to ADHD, are frustrating – and often cruel.

Part of the story of a character with ADHD, then, might be about their experience as an outsider, for two major reasons.

The first is rejection by their peers. People with ADHD, especially as children, tend to behave in ways that lead to low social status. They are often not fun to be around because the fast talking and constant fidgeting puts others on edge. Worse, their attentional deficits can lead to a failure to process speech and body language cues as efficiently as someone without ADHD, degrading the social value of communicating with them.

Someone with ADHD might have trouble finding a friend who has the patience to listen to their machine-gun conversational style. On the other hand, if they do, it is more likely to be a genuine friend. There’s a good chance that the friends of people with ADHD have bonded with them by way of a shared experience of being an outsider.

The second is rejection by society. Society expects its charges to conform to a certain pattern: a pattern of passive, obedient consumerism. A character with ADHD might have trouble fitting into this pattern, because they find it boring as all hell (for good reason). Modern life is experienced by many as a cage, and few people feel this more keenly than those with ADHD.

This can lead to a kind of outsiderhood that brings with it bitterness, but it can also lead to characters who live highly unconventional lives owing to being unable to fit in with the demands placed on them by the standard work place. A character with ADHD could easily be a hero (or anti-hero) who rejected the excessive sobriety and mindless strictures of society in favour of a psychonautic life of consciousness exploration.

It’s easy for a person with an ADHD diagnosis to believe that the problem isn’t with them but rather with the world. After all, the demands of modern schooling are extremely unnatural if one considers that the human child has evolved to suit an environment that contains infinitely more novelty than a school classroom.

Indeed, there is some debate over whether ADHD is a mental disorder at all, or if it’s just a label given to those who have a high desire for stimulation and novelty. The biological past was a far more dangerous, violent, unpredictable – and therefore, exciting – place than the modern classroom or workplace, and it’s not realistic to expect all people to be easily able to make the transition.

It might be that your character is capable of distinguishing themselves from the majority of people with their condition by overcoming it and mastering an area of particular interest. People with ADHD sometimes are better at paying attention than the average person, as long as the subject matter appeals enough.

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This article is an excerpt from Writing With The DSM (Writing With Psychology Book 5), edited by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

The Ultimate Evil Is To Continue To Exist

To live is to destroy

You! You are an aggressor! There is no way that you can exist on this planet otherwise. All of us have to carve a niche out of Nature, with violence or treachery, for there is simply no other way to survive. So malicious are you that you commit the ultimate evil – to continue to exist!

Every living creature has a need to metabolise in order to stay warm. This metabolisation requires energy, which means food, which means a need to eat, which means a need to kill. In order to live, you have to kill!

Every bit of food you have ever eaten was a living being that had to be killed so that you could eat it! What right do you have to assert the primacy of your own existence over that of another being, over a fellow creation of God? The morally correct thing to do, in order to avoid bringing suffering into the world, is to lie down and starve to death!

Worse, as a mostly hairless ape, you also have a need for shelter – and there’s no other way to build a house than by carving a space out of Nature for yourself. This means destroying the habitats of other creatures.

150 square metres of floor space means 150 square metres of land on which no forests can grow, and through which no streams can run. It’s 150 square metres worth of trees that had to be chopped down, with all the bird and insect life supported by it destroyed.

Neither can you escape your own energy needs. Driving a car around consumes oil – a finite energy source, and one that has to be extracted at the price of more environmental damage. Reading this website requires electricity, which requires energy. All the goods in your house were shipped to you by transportation methods that required energy.

Collectively, these demands meant even more coal mines put down, even more oil wells sunk, even more valleys wiped out by hydroelectric dams. To use energy is to render parts of the Earth to chaos!

There’s nothing you can do about any of these things! To continue to exist is to destroy – for only through destruction can one continue to exist!

To reproduce causes even more damage. The facts are stark: the single most ecologically destructive move a person can make is to bring another human being into the world – a human who will have to eat, to shelter themselves and to use energy, and at ever-increasing appetites!

Worst of all, merely to keep existing means you run the risk of bringing more conscious life into the world to suffer. Even if you don’t intend to breed, you might meet a certain person who causes a massive dump of some hormone to be released by your brain and then you fall in love and nek minnit you have eight children, all of whom must find their own way to come to terms with the fact that they are mortal creatures in a world of ceaseless slaughter!

If you should stop existing, on the other hand, not only does it become impossible to bring more conscious suffering into the world in the form of human offspring, but one also vacates a niche within the biosphere that can (and will) be occupied by gentler, kinder forms of life.

Think of the biomass of the worms that would eat your corpse!

You should be killed!

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Writing the Depressive

All of us know what it feels like to be sad, but few truly appreciate how it is to be clinically depressed. There’s something about wandering ghost-like through an ashen world of dead feelings that is a challenge to express to those who are full of healthy, natural vigour. This article shares some tips for writing realistic characters who suffer from depression.

Depression (in the sense of a mental illness) is otherwise known as major depressive disorder. To be diagnosed with it, a patient has to meet certain criteria. 21% of the French population have been diagnosed with the condition at some point in their lives, which speaks to its prevalence in the modern world.

There are two obvious approaches here.

The first is to use thoughts. Conveying the innermost thoughts of a character is, in many ways, the ultimate power of the literary medium.

The kind of thoughts that go through the mind of a depressed person tend to be anxiety, sadness and fear. Life not only seems to have no meaning, but seems completely hollow and empty. Even thirty seconds is a sufficiently long time in which to experience some genuine psychological torment, and it seems all-pervasive and never ending.

It’s important to distinguish depression from sadness. Depression is a mental illness, and as such it causes irrational thinking. A bereaved person can tell you that they expect to feel happy again at some point in the future once the shock has worn off; no such expectation exists for the depressive. It seems like it’s going to last forever.

Of those people who have never been depressed, few understand the ways that guilt can eat away at the minds of someone who is. Depression is not like a physical ailment in the sense that one can easily justify taking time off from regular duties to recover. It’s rare that a depressed person has the ability to think clearly enough about their condition to realise that they need a break.

It’s far more common for a depression sufferer to end up consumed by guilt in their every waking moment, thinking about the things they should be doing in the time they are convalescing, and how they are letting people down by being weak. This reveals one of the worst things about depression: the way in which it feels like one is persecuting oneself.

The second obvious approach is to use the reactions of other characters to the depressed one. All mental illnesses have a marked social impact, and depression is no exception.

Depression is a sinister, insidious illness. In many cases, a person with it will not realise that they have it. The protagonist of your story might end up arguing and fighting with people all day because of sourness or irritability caused by the condition, all the while assuming that the fractiousness that caused it was natural and normal.

Some well-meaning friend might tell them that they have depression only to be told to piss off. To a depressed person, a friendly suggestion to “Cheer up” might well be taken as an insult. Constant irritability is as much a part of depression as sadness is, and a story might be best able to evoke this through the social side.

In other cases a person can’t avoid realising they have depression, because other people will continually remind them of that fact. The protagonist of your story might be smarting from constantly being called a “miserable prick”, and this might make them even more depressed. It might cause them to withdraw and plot revenge (or even to seek help – who knows?).

The fear of the loss of social bonds can be evoked here. This is a very powerful, primal instinct that almost everyone can relate to. People don’t enjoy interacting with depressed people, and after a while the rejection may lead to the depressed person deciding that those others would be better off without them.

Note that stories featuring depressed characters don’t need to themselves be depressing. In a way, every story about a depressive is a happy one, because any depressive who is still alive must have been able to find some reason to keep going.

This might be the most interesting part of the entire character. After all, it’s objectively not clear why any of us should keep living, given the uncertain prospects for any happiness in front of us. A depressed person might exhibit a stronger will to live or a more beautiful nature than any other person who did not need to struggle through the condition.

Despite this, the reality of the depression experience is that it is one of the most terrifying and deadly of all illnesses, mental or otherwise. The temptation to take the ultimate step to end the suffering is always present, which makes the experience worse than a horror story in several regards.

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This article is an excerpt from Writing With The DSM (Writing With Psychology Book 5), edited by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2017/18.

How To Fix All of Cricket’s Problems At Once: Introducing the T0 (T-Zero) Format

Taking thirty overs out of the middle of ODIs has been such a success, we need to consider removing a further twenty

T20s were invented to fill a specific niche in the cricket market. It was believed by some great, visionary minds that cricket fans were turning away from ODIs because of the “boring” middle overs between ten and 40. Apparently these 30 overs had too many balls that resulted in neither a wicket nor a boundary, causing viewers to switch off from a lack of action. This essay proposes that we reduce limited overs cricket by a further 20 overs.

There have been experiments with reducing cricket matches to less than 20 overs, such as the recent T10 tournament in Sharjah. Some brave souls have talked about T5 cricket, but what is being proposed here is the advent of zero-over cricket, hereby dubbed the T0 (pronounced “tee-zero”) format. It’s technically a form of limited-overs cricket in the sense that overs are, indeed, acutely limited.

Many people say that Tests are boring because the result is often a foregone conclusion. Over five days, it’s as likely as anything ever is in sport that the most skilled side wins. This contrasts sharply with soccer, and with T20 cricket, because these sports have a much greater luck component. This luck component means that weaker teams can upset stronger ones more often, making for a much more engaging spectacle.

Why not maximise the thrill of potential upsets by deciding the match at the coin toss?

Purists will likely dismiss the idea at this stage, pointing out that reducing the contest to zero overs also reduces the batting, bowling and fielding components of the game. While this is a fair criticism, it needs to be balanced against the fact that the boring aspects of the game would also be reduced. T0 cricket completely does away with the notion that the players are just going through the motions; every moment of every game would be crucial to the outcome.

In all, there are at least three major reasons to support the expansion of T0 cricket. Each of these reasons solves a major problem with the current state of the longer formats of world cricket.

One of the foremost is that it would enable cricket to be expanded into markets where people have not been able to play because of the expense. Cricket is a fairly expensive sport to play, especially when compared to rugby or soccer, and this puts an upper limit on its market appeal to the poorer demographics of the world. Many interested people just don’t have the spare cash for several bats, balls, a set of pads, box, helmet, thighguard etc.

In T0 cricket teams don’t need anywhere near as much equipment as they need in the longer formats – for some players a uniform would suffice. Moreover, maintenance of that equipment is also reduced to a minimum on account of being used less often than in the longer formats of the game. Limiting the equipment factor will also have the effect of reducing gear envy among teammates.

The effect on wear and tear on the players’ bodies is another problem solved by T0 cricket. England head coach Trevor Bayliss was in the news recently for saying that T20 internationals should be dropped from the schedule to help with player burnout. Bayliss contends that the cricket schedule is so jam-packed nowadays there is no time for players to rest.

T0 cricket takes away the physical exhaustion factor. By minimising the incidence rate of high-risk physical exertions, T0 cricket also minimises the chances of injury or burnout. Also, with awareness growing about the long-term dangers of concussions, mothers of young keen-on-cricket children will be relieved to hear that T0 cricket offers very little risk of players getting hit in the head by a hard, rapidly moving ball. The biggest risk is getting a coin in the eye.

Modern life has a peculiar obsession with equalising conduct between the sexes, and T0 cricket can proudly claim to have solved the gender problem. At the moment, men and women can’t really play cricket together because of the fact that men are much taller and stronger, which provides immense advantages when it comes to bowling a ball fast or swinging a bat hard. The differences are so vast that leagues currently have to be separated by gender.

Many would argue that these gender differences, like the personal differences in height and muscle mass, make the game of cricket inherently unfair. Instead of everyone having a reasonable expectation of being able to pull off a win, the longer forms of cricket reduce batting to a mere contest of strength, timing and hand-eye co-ordination, and bowling to a simple process of repeating a single action with maximum shoulder leverage.

T0 cricket would provide a truly level playing field, as all players would be limited to their own ability to pick which side the coin was going to land on – a tricky skill to master even for the most dedicated or gifted athlete.

In summary, there are a number of reasons to think that this revolutionary proposal could rejuvenate the public’s appreciation for the sport. T0 cricket offers the perfect solution for busy people in our modern world who don’t have copious amounts of time to set aside to watch a match, and is surely the future of our beloved game.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).