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The impact of one belief

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  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    For most of my life I never feared anything. Prior to my incarceration I never cared about anything other than myself ( consequences, the impact of my actions on my children, and most definitely..the impact of drugs on my community) meant nothing to me It was easily justified by my belefs. I was a savage.
    My fears began in prison. The fear of my kids well being while gone, the fear of losing my parents, to disease, the fear of me not making it out....but most of all...the fear of going crazy. I've seen people go crazy overnight.
    15 years of isolation gave me the opportunity to think. You cannot run from yourself. The moment that you have any idol time these thoughts would engulf me...so it was very important to stay mentally busy.
    I'm not educated. I received a certificate degree from LSU in liberal studies. Not an actual Bachelors degree....a worthless certificate degree that ensures me a job at Jack N the Box.
    Prison for the most part is easy once you understand the "rules". They are insane rules that absolutely makie no sense to anyone other than an inmate.in prison. as insane as that sounds...the rules worked.
    Prison is nothing more than tribal living with people who hate each other....But we understood that we have to live with each other so these rules were non-negotiable. most prison stabbings are committed to one of your own "tribal members" for breaking these rules. Time and time again...a young savage killer comes in with that street mentality of "me, me" me". A badass who's going to do it his way........whether he liked it.., agreed with it....embraced it......depending on what tribe you're a member of (skin color, gang affilliation) he is part of a collective. The rules ensure common ground and respect for people you hate.

    I didn't realize the impact of beliefs until shortly after getting out. I was into it with anybody and everybody who I felt disrespected by. Little things "spill a drink on me and not apologize"....I would assault you. There was a getting out party for me.....at this party/bbq....a dear friend of mine (joking) asked how many men I fucked in the ass. A guy I've known 35 years...knowing he was just trying to be funny and meant no harm. I literally tried to beat him to death. I was not able to because I was pulled away from him.....but in my mind (my beliefs)wanted him dead. Many other friends were upset with me for quite a while because they understood that he meant no harm. My wife was terrified that night...not of me....but of me....if that makes any sense/

    The point of all this: College courses...., the law library,... deep thought,... a close connection with my children while in prison..... had me believing that I was not effected by prison. When clearly I had become part of it.
    This is the very reason that I bash religion as I do.....The belief.......It is very possible to reason with a savage (myself) as long as those beliefs remain somewhat a part of reality......but you cannot reason with insanity. Not everyone is reachable or approachable... I've seen it over and over. I fear peoples beliefs because I've seen what people are capable of in their justification of the actions they take as result of those very beliefs.

    How do you rationalize with a person (any color, any gender, of any tribe) that embraces the belief that death is better than life.????? You see , in my case I was able to easily see that I was very wrong in my reactions to people when I got out.....but it still took a while. I stayed away from friends for a couple of years..., worked a lot...and had a grandaughter since then. I get it. We have to allow people to be themselves.....we have to accept behaviors if we want to get along.

    But I ask...at what point do we stop? At what point does a belief become intolerable? All behavior starts with a belief...so what if you can't change someones belief?
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    LA, I'd say you probably learned an awful lot in prison. Probably more than a typical middle class kid from the burbs learns in college!

    At least now you can be proud of yourself and enjoy what's left of life on the "outside".
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    PGR,
    I will never forget this. Toward the end of my sentece I participated in a behavorial program that dealt with critical thinking errors. Irrational thoughts and thoughts attributed with criminal activity....At group. A black inmate participating in the program was talking about his offense. He was convicted for a Home invasion robbery and rape of the woman in the house. This was a drug robbery (inside job)
    When the instructor asked him about the rape...he responded that" he had given her an option... a blow job or a bullett".....she ultimately chose the blow job to which he was convicted of.....He truly believed that he should have never been charged for the rape, because,,,according to him....she had an option.
    This guy wasn't making an excuse.....He believed it......I had to sit there for a moment...and digest this.....How can a human being truly believe that?? but he did.
    I truly learned that i can only control myself....sometimes my wife gets upset that I stay home.. We go to the show, have dinner...mainly with my kids. I haven't been to a bar or nightclub in 5 years. I don't drink....although...I smoke weed on occasion....but mainly...I stay out of the way. Sometimes it's difficult because I have friends that are still involved in illegal activity. I get invited to the family parties. I go, take a gift, have a plate of food....and I'm out of there.

    In regard to what's going on around us.....the only way to change a belief is to replace it with another belief...that takes willingness. Do you see that happening anytime soon? from anyone? but before you're willing change your belief you have to able to recognize that your initial belief is "WHACKED OUT"
    Do you see that happenng anytime soon from anyone?? This is why I fear beliefs,,,,not individualos
    Any suggestions???
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    L.A. Citizen -- Thanks for sharing your very personal story and basis for your beliefs. Our experiences in life, plus our genes pretty well define us...our beliefs. The psychologist George Lakoff says that 98 percent of what we think and do is reflexive...how we act instinctively to any person or situation. It is difficult to overcome those tendencies, but that other 2 percent keeps us from doing stupid things. He calls it reflective thinking, but maybe also critical thinking, whatever you want call it...using your better judgment. It appears you have had an opportunity to do lots of critical thinking, and although we disagree on many points, I appreciate your honesty. My brain too is wired based on my life experiences, and sometimes it is hard to see another viewpoint.
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    Schmidt Wrote: L.A. Citizen -- Thanks for sharing your very personal story and basis for your beliefs. Our experiences in life, plus our genes pretty well define us...our beliefs. The psychologist George Lakoff says that 98 percent of what we think and do is reflexive...how we act instinctively to any person or situation. It is difficult to overcome those tendencies, but that other 2 percent keeps us from doing stupid things. He calls it reflective thinking, but maybe also critical thinking, whatever you want call it...using your better judgment. It appears you have had an opportunity to do lots of critical thinking, and although we disagree on many points, I appreciate your honesty. My brain too is wired based on my life experiences, and sometimes it is hard to see another viewpoint.
    As I always say, "prison was the worst and best thing that ever happened to me" Guys at work that have never been in trouble always ask me... "do you think I would make it in there"?. Yes you will...I reply. fear is a great motivator. You will adapt. I don't care how big someone is in there....I've seen guys 5 feet tall...170 pounds carve a hog (big man like you) up like it was thanksgiving turkey because of his will to survive. Never judge a book by it's cover.
    Fear can make any individual a savage killer...without hesitation.
    you and I only disagree because you see the potential in people and situations.....I don't..... I have no faith in humans.
    you know, even most murderers that I've come across over the years....they regret what they've done. with age comes self reflection. It's a shame....we cannot undo what we've done. Trust me....many regret it...but it's too late. nobody is listening.

    I still have a lot to work on....i'm a "knock-off" rembrandt in progress.......the mexican god (JESUS) still has a divine plan for me...I just hope it involves some money
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    I imagine many people have told you this, but YOU SHOULD WRITE A BOOK about your experiences. It will be enjoyable on many levels. as a biography of one learning to cope with incarceration & survive and adapt and come out of it whole & compatible with family life & society. As one who could teach others what to AVOID to keep out of trouble. What you learned from other inmates, &/or counselors. What would you have done differently? What do you reasonably expect to do with the rest of your life? What amount of time can you spend with your kids? What would you think was the very best therapy? Sports, puzzles, music, video games? If you could do it all over again, what would you want to have done? If you could change places with any other person, WHO would it be? --- All of this would be fascinating. I'll bet you could even find an AGENT to help you.
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    eternal flame Wrote: I imagine many people have told you this, but YOU SHOULD WRITE A BOOK about your experiences. It will be enjoyable on many levels. as a biography of one learning to cope with incarceration & survive and adapt and come out of it whole & compatible with family life & society. As one who could teach others what to AVOID to keep out of trouble. What you learned from other inmates, &/or counselors. What would you have done differently? What do you reasonably expect to do with the rest of your life? What amount of time can you spend with your kids? What would you think was the very best therapy? Sports, puzzles, music, video games? If you could do it all over again, what would you want to have done? If you could change places with any other person, WHO would it be? --- All of this would be fascinating. I'll bet you could even find an AGENT to help you.
    Good questions
    you deal with incarceration because you have to. You are in control of NOTHING. You first have to accept all of it. Life as I knew it was over......you have to accept that immediately. You can't worry about the "outside" any more. That was the number one cause of people losing their minds. Stressing about everything out there. Your girlfriend, wife, or significant is going to leave you. Period. she's going to find comfort probably with one of your friends. Thats just the way it is. and yes you will be forgotten.
    I have two sons and a daughter. My daughter brings the baby here to my house almost every weekend and shes a handful, so usually I'm trying o find things for us to do. She's a great age (3) we have fun. My daughter is an underwriter for an insurance compay. My son's are still in college...I see them when i can. they usually come down during semester breaks and stay a couple of weeks. Both Engineering majors. Good boys.
    As far as my plans...well, i drive a rig. Any other line of work or skilled labor would require me to go back to school. I am ineligible for any type of student loans or aid (for life). Also, any type of career requiring a "state license" I cannot get. As you know...many fields require Background checks. Even trucking....I cannot transport gasoline and am still ineligible to get a HAZ MAT endorsement. TSA rules. I cannot work for the oil industry. TSA rules. I cannot work for the gas company or DWP because it is a "sensitive" position requiring a clearance that I am unable to get because of my conviction....IT IS WHAT IT IS. i have a descent job....so I really don't know what's next....some laws would have to change regarding "WAIVERS".
    If i could do it all over again...I would be a science nerd. Yes. a bookworm. I would have loved to be a teacher now that I think about it.....On the flip side...I can't regret my life because my experiences have brought me things that I would have never appreciated had I not gone to prison. Had my life been the same I would be another person. I like me right now.
    My ex wife tell my kids stories about us together growing up...she remebers all the things I was apart of..... and tries to tell my sons stories about the wild times. I know she tries somewhat to glorify it in some weird way.....My son told me last year...."DAD. I heard a lot of things about you.....I told my sons that when I look back at my past...I can't even believe the shit that I've done....because I'd be terrified to do it again. And in no way...ever look to me as any type of role model or great father...because I wasn't.......people look at drugs and gangs today and its glorified by these "Discovery Channel Shows".....I was a fool and a disgrace to my parents. I had not spoken to my parents for many years....I was more ashamed of myself having to explain this in person to my kids....I cheated them of a father because of my choices. I did this voluntarily. No matter how and where I was....I made a choice.
    I have always been honest. I have never sugar coated anything about myself. Thats the craziest thing about people out here....Nobody is sincere out here. Everyone makes too many excuses.....and why is everyone not satisfied with anything. It amazes me...even today, people are phoney and have some way out unraelistic views about themselves.

    EF....i disagree....a book? NO. There's no story to tell.Many have gone through so much more I and are still there. I had a release date. i was coming home eventually.... I have so many friends that are still in there...stuck.....and are going to die there. that sucks....I think about it most when I'm having a good time.....They're gonna die in prison because of some drugs. Rapists and pedophilles get lower sentence in the feds. I still can't figure that one out. If I get into an argument with my postman..and I were to kill him. I would receive 20 years. I got 15 years for 24 l kilos. That's nothing.

    Look, today 2015...life is good. I really appreciate my kids, so time spent with them has far more value to me because I wasn't there then. I don't look back and dwell on it.. I can't get those years back......I gotta keep it moving. IT'S ALL GOOD IN THE HOOD

    Thanks for asking
    .
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    L.A. great stories; its good to hear you're doing OK. Yes "life" is a continuous "learning school" for all people it may be different intheir life time. My "motto" is live your life as good as you can; no one is doing it for you; you are in control of your own body/brain ; you got to think/analyse; don't let others do it for you. That makes an individual what he or she stands for.
  • Independent
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    depends upon the belief, l.a.

    i have seen many believers in deity who are very nice people, kind, considerate and so on. they don't force their beliefs on others and simply make their way in society. i have also seen others who force their beliefs, religious or otherwise, on others and get truly upset if you do not believe as they do.

    man lives by narrative. it doesn't matter particularly what narrative. how that narrative impacts others is critical. if it is forced a la enshrined as law for example then it can be damaging. but even then not arbitrarily so. most laws we have seen come from the "belief" that said law will do good as opposed to harm. sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't and sometimes there is good and harm in varying amounts.

    as for when something becomes intolerable that depends upon the people involved. in point of opinion there are options for those who see something becoming intolerable such as agitating against it or seeking to make said belief illegal (faulty thinking since you cannot outlaw belief) or presenting alternative belief structures and seeking debate. and sometimes noting can be done to alter the belief and thus depending upon the belief struggle may be required. we must be careful with struggle as belief strictures underpin everything and we enter dangerous territory in proclaiming one belief structure wrong and one right.

    i go back to something i read in either park godwin's "waiting for the galactic bus" or his "snake oil wars." the problem lies in man being able to conceive the infinite while trapped in a finite body.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    lonely bird Wrote: depends upon the belief, l.a.

    i have seen many believers in deity who are very nice people, kind, considerate and so on. they don't force their beliefs on others and simply make their way in society. i have also seen others who force their beliefs, religious or otherwise, on others and get truly upset if you do not believe as they do.

    man lives by narrative. it doesn't matter particularly what narrative. how that narrative impacts others is critical. if it is forced a la enshrined as law for example then it can be damaging. but even then not arbitrarily so. most laws we have seen come from the "belief" that said law will do good as opposed to harm. sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't and sometimes there is good and harm in varying amounts.

    as for when something becomes intolerable that depends upon the people involved. in point of opinion there are options for those who see something becoming intolerable such as agitating against it or seeking to make said belief illegal (faulty thinking since you cannot outlaw belief) or presenting alternative belief structures and seeking debate. and sometimes noting can be done to alter the belief and thus depending upon the belief struggle may be required. we must be careful with struggle as belief strictures underpin everything and we enter dangerous territory in proclaiming one belief structure wrong and one right.

    i go back to something i read in either park godwin's "waiting for the galactic bus" or his "snake oil wars." the problem lies in man being able to conceive the infinite while trapped in a finite body.
    Lonely; right on; great piece.
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    Last night a friend calls me....he just so happened to be sitting on the toilet. During our conversation he States "I wish i had a badey" ( the toilet that squirts a stream of water on your ass) At that point I started an uncontrollable laugh. I laughed so hard I almost shit on myself.
    he asked..."why are you laughing"
    I replied,,,"it's not a coincidence that you made that comment while sitting on the toilet"....You have become so goddamn lazy and fat that you cant even gather the strength to wipe your ass"

    FAT, LAZY, GLUTTONOUS American who would rather upgrade his toilet then to lose weight......BELIEFS.. if you let someone talk enough...all i have to do is match your words with your actions...if the two don't add up.....they don't add up.
    My friends thoughts interrupted our conversation. Beliefs travel at almost the speed of light.....this is why I believe "a drunk man speaks a sober mind"

    Faith operates in exactly the same manner...If the action doesn't add up with the belief (thought) HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
    A thousands results (consequences) can originate from one Belief
  • Independent
    Massachusetts
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    One writer's realization of ravaged realities, and his honesty regarding his having been victimized thereby (pre and incl. prison) are impressive.
    Repeating myself, anyone having done their time and thus released, should be able to fully reenter society with all privileges and rights to pursue a different
    course of life, a chance at fulfillment of own life and of those intimately connected (wife, kids, etc.). Police record? Fine. All kinds of records are kept by all kinds of institutions and agencies. But when a "debt has been paid through incarceration" (read that carefully and see how inane, meaningless other than psychotic it reads) . . . . then release should be absolute reinstatement of rights of citizenship. Even sex offenders, though subject to far more intrusive and surveillant monitoring, should be assured of their privacy and returned their opportunity to proceed in life after completing whatever sentence of program.
    One wonders at recidivism? What choice for so many? Especially those of the echelon and "ethniclon" I spoke of last week (inner city blacks especially).

    But re. this week's concerns, perhaps prison is analogus to how we find ourselves juxtaposed to those other tribes or turfs or skins or confined within the same "global cell". Each is a clique, has its rules and regs and by what criterion is "right" established? By self-containment of the rules (such as cell block or yard space) -- or by self-definition (such as manifest destiny or propagation of Jihad) -- or by the econo-political-corporate occupation for exploitation of resources. And what's the infrastructure factor in any of these cases? Supremacy to subue or massacre the antagonist and antithetical.
    Scorched earth (every man, woman, child, and beast) of the ancient Israelis worked, momentarily-historically. In the long run? . . . well look at the last 1500 years and where would they be if not for the U. S. and allies placing them and perpetuating them as our proxy in the Middle East?
    But power is one means to resolve the situation with the areas of troublesome Islam. Hahahahaha (sweet Jesus marching on before) WIPEOUT. That's one proven paradigm, at least short-term for centuries. Even as recently as Assad (the father). And, of course, the example given on this site of the saturation bombing of Germany, then the A's on the Japs. Wipeout.ontainment.
    Otherwise, another lesson from the prison paradigm of survival. CONTAINMENT.
    Other writers' comments were concerned with what justification we had in invading and overthrowing and destroying another country that had not only not attacked us (therefore a whole different thing from WW II) . . . but had been our proxy vs. Iranian Islamic expansionism. Saddam had been our man for years.
    He was brutal, yes (aren't they all over there -- when we were so merciful to the blackskins and redskins here) . . . .but he was under our control. After all, we'd
    supplied his whole armamentorium !!
    Containment. Let them establish their Caliphate and live their 13th C. Sharia (a continuum of Judaic) law and drastic misogyny and cruelty vs. transgression. As I discussed a few months ago, eventually, if not sooner, sectarian fractionation would wreak intra-desecration of their doomed "for Allah and country" ethos and futile experiment at retrospect and socio-religious recidivism as advance.

    Simply, we need to exert whatever drastic and even brutal level to maintain our interest and resources in other nations. For we're going to keep exploiting those interests and resources!!! So why screw around with half-measures of humanitarianism rather than expedience to achieve our goals and barrel/day level?
    We need to otherwise get the hell out of regions where there is no heritage, no society, no actual religious or even ethnic organization -- rather, retibutive traditions and tribal and sectarian fragmentations almost comparable to a kaleidoscope of reciprocal antibodies to each other as antigens.
    We need to secure our own block (cell or socio-econo-political) and even with intrusive surveillance (but adequate idealistic-American-paradigm legal protection) -- if such still exists, secure our space on earth from the threat of others even if they've run out of space on earth. Cruel, but nature is not unusual -- that overpopulation has an inherent means of "correction" for its numerical (and environmental "inflation"). Even humans as cattle in the demographic stock market . and a "correction" is achieved by "inflationary downsizing" . . . . .

    And otherwise, perhaps we should wise up that thriving on chaos has been the history of not only life, and man, but the very earth and the universe in which our planet is confined in the cell of its orbiit. Contention and conflict and carnage are part of the natural process. Shit happens. Existential shit. And we should be cognizant of the perspective we have here in this country. Compared to so much of the rest of the world, we're in a 5 star isolation realm here.

    Finally, regarding "The Book's" veracity, may I again suggest that readers acquire both "Creationist Literalism -- a Genesisian Heresy and absolute impossibility", also "The Bible Tells Us So in its own words", and "God As An Old Beared Guy In The Sky And Other Blatant Blasphemies". (search on WWW.LULU.com and also Amazon.com.
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    Great comparison...you hit it on the head
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    L.A.,
    I just read these posts.....It's 2:30 in the morning and I'm going to bed. But, know this...... You're a good man. The way you care about your wife and kids is a great sign that you are living the right way. Congrats on the grandbaby. I had 2 but by my sons new marriage I have 4 now. I've always felt that kids make you a better person. As I've said before...... I think you would be a great neighbor. Take it easy.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Tony Johnson Wrote: L.A.,
    I just read these posts.....It's 2:30 in the morning and I'm going to bed. But, know this...... You're a good man. The way you care about your wife and kids is a great sign that you are living the right way. Congrats on the grandbaby. I had 2 but by my sons new marriage I have 4 now. I've always felt that kids make you a better person. As I've said before...... I think you would be a great neighbor. Take it easy.
    Yes,I'll second that!!