Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Building community builds resilience (a perspective)

by whataboutbob Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 08:24:56 AM EST

As some of you know, I am researching the issue of ,,resilience" (with resilience being a concept that relates to the ability of a person to withstand adversity, an internal process involving strength and flexibility - which some are now referring to as ,,positive psychology"), and I came across this quote that caught my eye:

A relevant aspect of enhancing resilience (in individuals) includes the experience of a strong sense of cohesion between community members, and strong community educational, political and religious support"

Now I found this quote in the context of doing research on the children who survived the terrorist attack on a school in Beslan, North Ossetia (and the quote was from ,,Narratives from caregivers of children surviving the terrorist attack in Beslan: Issues of health, culture and resilience", by Moscardino, Axia, Scrimin & Capello, in ,,Social Science and Medicine" vol 64, 2007, p 1776-1787). But my interests go beyond children surviving traumatic experiences, and includes my general interest in the idea of how to enhance strength and flexibility in anyone's life. And specifically, I was struck how this could also apply to the development of the ,,European Tribune Community" .  Follow me below...

From the diaries - afew


We have had a lot of great photos and comments made in various threads over the last week, about the latest Euro Trib meetup in Paris, and I just wanted to give my narrative to the whole experience (and yours are welcomed too).

The whole weekend in Paris flowed by quite quickly, and as often happens when there is a large group of people, I didn't get to have too many in-depth conversations with individuals, trying to meet and say hello to as many folks as I could. Nevertheless, I was able to have a few more in-depth conversations and spend some more quality time with folks (to mention a few:  Metatone, LEP and his wife, Metavision, someone, Colman & Sam), that for me were very powerful. I felt in alternating ways supported, supporting, connected and fascinated. And it was a lot of fun!! We had an awesome tour of Montmartre on Friday night (with two bistro crawls to boot), a big lunch gathering on Saturday day, then a Seine boat ride by a good sized group afterwords, ending up in the originally planned meetup bistro that evening  (which I personally really enjoyed!!). We partied,, but we also met an awesome group of individuals, and had an incredible number of fascinating conversations!!

And, connecting back to the above idea of how ,,the experience of a strong sense of cohesion between community members enhances an individuals resilience" and vice-versa, I found myself quite feeling quite energized and empowered by the meetup. I feel like I am personally seeing some new perspectives that support letting go of some things that have been realy bugging me, and these are helping me to start to move forward with a better attitude. And it was about connection and support. I hope I wasn't the only one...but at least I can say this happened for me...and it has been very powerful! I do believe I feel a renewed sense of connection and energy in the community too...and so I believe some resilience has been enhanced in the community too.

Well...I will leave it at that for the moment...but I am left with a feeling for our little but growing ET community: that it is a very good thing...that even has the potential power to heal and transform individuals and the community. Of course this is a matter of individual intent and experience, but I believe a lot of strange and wonderful things can happen to a person and a community - if they are open to it!

I guess its hard to put in words...but I am so impressed with this randomly/synchronistically organized anarchic community! What an awesome group of people you are! Cheers to all!

Display:
Ah shucks...this probably came out sounding all maudlin, or something...but screw it, just trying to say how I felt about the whole experience.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 09:15:36 AM EST
Ah, Bob, I read the title and the first few lines and was getting excited that this was going to be a wonkish diary about Big Concepts and whatnot. And then you just get all positive about meeting up with us!

But maybe this stuff is really not that complex. I had a great time with you all in Paris as well, it was great to see the faces and talk to you all, even the short conversations. What you described about your work and background in a couple of minutes sounded very meaningful. So by all means feel invited to write a lot more about it when you're in the mood.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 09:39:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be candid, Nanne, there really hasn't been much interest in resilience related mental health concepts around these parts, so figured I wouldn't put much time into it..

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 10:41:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Considering you're probably the person that knows most about this on the site, that you recently described the topic as esoteric and are not the author of the only diary that is directly about resilience, I think you're being a bit unfair.

For instance, do you think that online community contributes to resilience like a real, physical, local community does? Do you think our meetups constitute [frequent] enough personal contact to make the community "more than virtual" for the purposes of building resilience? Is something on the scale of Yearly Kos too large (though physical) to build an effective community for the purposes of resilience?

Who on this site other than yourself do you expect to write diaries or comments addressing these questions?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 10:57:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words: dare to be wonkish, Bob.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 11:00:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you suuuure you want me to be wonkish, migeru? Be careful what you ask for! <heh!!>

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 12:17:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, don't, but then don't complain there's not interest.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 12:20:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh (and part 2), I absolutely know I'm not the only one who has written about resilience here...afew wrote a very interesting article on it...but I didn't feel it got the mileage it deserved. Its not a big deal, really, but the interests here really tend to be towards intellectual vs. emotional or intuitive type topics. Its hard to gauge interest, but if there isn't interest...that's all I'm saying. But, if you want more...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 12:20:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You really want us to ask you for more, don't you?

the interests here really tend to be towards intellectual vs. emotional or intuitive type topics

Personally, I'm interested in intellectual rather than emotional treatment of any topic.

The only interest you need to gauge is your own interest in writing.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 12:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK .... you want to be groveled to ...

O Mighty whataboutbob we beseech thee!

PLEASE, oh PLEASE dispense your knowledge to us undeserving slobs.  (We are not worthy!  We are not worthy!)  Send forth thy insightful diaries to transubstantiate our darkness of ignorance into the light of Perfect Awareness.  (We are not worthy!  We are not worthy!)  Yea, verily, forsooth - and all that kinda crap - we await Thy guiding hand.

8-p


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 01:29:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, you two, drop your "scientific front".

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 01:44:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Like this:

?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 01:49:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ATinNM - you got me to laugh out (assuming it was a snark).

If, however, you think I really think that way (that I assume wisdom of some sort)...you read me totally wrong. That's just not me.

I enjoy the intelligence of the community...I learn tremendous amounts...daily. I don't have an intellectual approach to things, is all, but I am still curious and keen to learn (I was terrible at math, and not much interested in science either...until I got interested n psychology, and that's not a hard science). Anyway, my point was...from my experience, people are not interested in hearing about mental health or mental illness...generally its a conversation stopper...I don't know why, your guess is good as mine. I don't make judgements about it, but one tends not to pursue topics that stops conversation. I wasn't begging for pleas, though, even if it may have seemed like it.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 02:35:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was just foolin' around, man.  Having a little fun.

Please don't take it serious.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 03:34:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"dare to be wonkish" would be a good tag line for ET.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 01:45:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
do you think that online community contributes to resilience like a real, physical, local community does?

From my own experience, I'd say it does in some ways.  I think I've mentioned before that I had ptsd after a really bad car accident when I was a teenager.  It involved trembling, sleeplessness, nightmares, etc.  The effects of that went away for the most part after some time, although I'm still not a good passenger.

However, more recently I went through a very long period of illness, during which I had a really terrible procedure done that I still don't much like to talk about.  After that, I had a really difficult time and was diagnosed with "medical ptsd."  This round, although it also involved sleeplessness, was less of the physical (no trembling or waking up screaming) and more of the emotional aspect.  The disconnect was far more intense than the first time.  I chalk this up to the different natures of the events -- one being an accident that was over in a few seconds and the other being a prolonged experience that, however necessary, was done deliberately.  It was very difficult to accept.

In any case, I was a wreck and had very little, if any, resilience.  I really credit the internet for helping me get through it and come out of it.  During that period, I lurked on the blogs almost entirely for the feeling of having company.  It was sort of like having other people around, but without the emotional risks of interacting in person.

Oh, and Bob, I obviously agree with the people downthread who'd like to read more of your writing on this.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 03:47:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, Izzy...that's intense to hear of your experiences...and this is interesting because Lil was just wondering about the same thing: can't the internet and blogs provide a person the sense of connection and support...and yes...a sense of reassurance. I thought yes. You affirm that.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 05:02:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru, I actually do want to respond to you more indepth, but was spending the late afternoon and evening with Lil. Its late now, but I think your questions are important, and will come back asap to give some more thoughts...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 05:04:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, here's some further thoughts for the moment, in response to migeru:

do you think that online community contributes to resilience like a real, physical, local community does?

See Izzy's response...but before she had posted I would have also said that I believe it can. Not for everyone, not always, but I would wager that a number of people besides Izzy have experienced a sense of connection through communication on ET. I definitely that I have. But I also believe that ET...in particular... is a unique online community, because people are willing to share more personal and emotional aspects of their lives. Like Jerome about his son, I have talked about stuff, Barbara (and Migeru) have shared a lot about their relationship...to name but a few...and I can think of many, many other examples in comments and diaries where people have shared very personal stuff about what have or are going through in their lives. That all said, I think this is really rather unique of the ET community, and it doesn't happen that often here...and maybe as we get larger we won't see as much of that. I don't know of any other blog that does what we do...only rarely other places. So yes, I do believe it can...specifically referring to ET. I think meetups are important because they deepen connections and the sense of community.

Do you think our meetups constitute [frequent] enough personal contact to make the community "more than virtual" for the purposes of building resilience?

I think here each person has to gauge their own experience. But I think quality of contact can be just as important as quantity...though quantity of contact is important, for certain.

Is something on the scale of Yearly Kos too large (though physical) to build an effective community for the purposes of resilience?

That's a really good question - and I would say that its pretty definite. In my research on helping communities in the aftermath of large disasters or wars, or even during ongoing social emergencies (like the HIV/AIDS pandemic), the efforts to stabilize and rebuild the communities is in fact working to do so through enhancing and supporting of existing resilience. And working to stabilize, support and encourage individuals resilience in turn feedback to the community. Its getting put into practice in a lot of places by the UN, by governments and by numerous NGOs around the world. So it is possible for Yearlykos to have that experience, yes...but I guess that's up to the individuals too.

My point is that I think we are having the effect of building resilience individually and collectively here, its just hard to say about other situations...

Anyway...I hope that moves the ball forward a bit...I will try to say more, as more comes to mind.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 06:40:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aside from being extremely intelligent and very well educated, there are a lot of, well, very nice people who make up ET. It's always good for the soul to get together with nice people and take in those good rayons.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 07:49:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing that is challenging in talking about the whole concept of support and enhancing resilience, is that research on resilience in children is only 15-20 years old, and only in the last 2-3 years are there actual field studies now occurring with increasing frequency to study the how activities like education, sport, play, and arts may be able help kids overcome the traumatic effects of disasters and armed conflicts.

As far as studies of improving adult resilience...I don't know of many. Its still a very new concept, in relation to adults. But I believe it is entirely possible that group undertakings...like ET...can definitely have a positive influence on people's health. But I am basing this thinking on ET, I can't really say if that is true for a larger blog like Dkos. But...I do think Dkos is having a positive impact on a lot of people too...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 12:25:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the 'real world', does the size of the community count? (Was it even researched? (Would you research it?))

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 05:10:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have read that there is a limit to how many people anyone can keep in their immediate close network - it's as if our brain has evolved to adapt to the need to deal with a band of 50 to 100 individuals, or something.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 05:59:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My sister must be of a higher-order species, then.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 08:03:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Test her one say. See how many acquaintances, friends and family she can actually name off the top of her head.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 08:11:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Count me interested!
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 11:35:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Me too.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 11:41:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dito.
by Fran on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 12:10:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Me too.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 12:55:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 02:45:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
uh-huh

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 03:59:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well okay...I see there is interest...I was wrong. I will come back and say more soon here, but can't tonight. But, here is a little article I wrote that was published on the "International Platform for Sport and Development" back in January, called "Trauma, Sport and Resilience", that gives some basic background on resilience and kids...though my interest is expandng into work with adults now too:

http://www.sportanddev.org/en/articles/trauma-sport-resilience/index.htm

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 04:54:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I too find the issues of resilience to be extremely interesting. It mostly comes from my own observations of how I dealt with my childhood (without any external intervention such as counselling) and somehow turned out in one piece whereas others end up too badly damaged to function as adults.

So perhaps my interest lies in a more familiar day to day sense (divorce or family breakups, abuse, neglect, bullying, exclusion and poverty) rather than massive trauma caused by wars or similar extremes.

It intrigues me as to the process by which some people can rationalise their experiences and separate themselves from it in order to move on with life and others hold onto everything in a way that tears them apart.

It is purely personality and intelligence or are there other factors?

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 09:21:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So perhaps my interest lies in a more familiar day to day sense (divorce or family breakups, abuse, neglect, bullying, exclusion and poverty) rather than massive trauma caused by wars or similar extremes.

It intrigues me as to the process by which some people can rationalise their experiences and separate themselves from it in order to move on with life and others hold onto everything in a way that tears them apart.

Thank you In Wales! This is exactly the kind of thing I am interested in too. And just because it isn't traumatic like a disaster or war, but if you are a kid feeling your way through these kinds of very stressful events, it is still extremely challenging. And why is it that some people are able to manage adversity better than others? (that's a root question)


"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 02:36:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes that is the question that I've thought about for many years.  I don't have an answer beyond my own intuitive thoughts which I articulate badly since I don't have the psychologists language to use on it.  

Do you think that assumptions and stereotypes further the damage for some people ie assuming that a young black boy whose father is in prison for assaulting his wife and kids is going to be a troublemaker, too disruptive and damaged to do anything for?

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 03:15:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 05:12:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Moi aussi!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 07:39:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
mich drei
by PeWi on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 08:48:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PeWi, with apologies to Bob whose diary I'll read when I have more time, here is an inpromptu German grammar question. I just can't figure out how to render the following sentence correctly -- below a version I1m certain is wrong somehow, but hope it conveys what I want to tell:

...4 Exemplaren auf Deutsch und 1 Exemplar auf Ungarisch. Wir bitten Sie, den ungarischen und eines der deutschen Exemplaren zu unterschreiben...

(In English, roughly: ...4 copies in German and 1 copy in Hungarian. We ask you to sign the Hungarian and one of the German copies...)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 09:35:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, hope this is still on time:

I had to read it twice but I would write:
4 ExemplarE auf Deutsch und 1 Exemplar auf Ungarisch. Wir bitten Sie, DAS ungarischE und eines der deutschen ExemplarE zu unterschreiben...

or for a cut and paste job:

4 Exemplare auf Deutsch und 1 Exemplar auf Ungarisch. Wir bitten Sie, das ungarische und eines der deutschen Exemplare zu unterschreiben...

by PeWi on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 10:44:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
however, I am not quite sure if Deutsch and Ungarisch is written with a capital, hmmm - yet I don't think it is that important somehow.
by PeWi on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 10:47:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the expert opinion! ;-) It came late, but this formulation will come up again, so I am very grateful to know.

That one about auf Deutsch I am certain of. However, I couldn't decide whether the "ungarische" in "das ungarische"[corrected] is a pseudonom[sp?] or an adjective, and thus whether it should have the gender of Exemplar or a generic masculin or what... I was only pretty certain that in the next part, I can't go with "und ein deutsches Exemplar" in this context, was I right?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 11:13:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
no, it is the gender of Exemplar (afterall it is 'dominated' by it, as an adjective.

If you had sent more than one hungarian versions you would have written:

Wir bitten Sie, eines der ungarischen und eines der deutschen Exemplare zu unterschreiben...

And since there is only one definitive hungarian it is 'das' in your text, since Exemplar is neutral. but the undefinitive version makes it easier to see, what the endings ought to be.

You had to go with :eines der deutschen Exemplare - since there were more than one versions. But :und ein deutsches Exemplar: is more correct than the version you wrote. because while it is incorrect as it is and literaly not specific enough (wrong in this context) it is actually gramatically correct.

Hope this helps

by PeWi on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 11:37:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wie er großartiges Vizier dieses Aufstellungsortes, ich Sie beide auf PNing auf englisch beglückwünschen kann

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 02:17:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Als das großartige Vizier dieses Aufstellungsortes, kann ich Sie beide auf PNing auf englisch beglückwünschen

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 02:18:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A full pack always contains a couple of Jokers...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 02:22:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and I am not sure if you really have to apologise to Bob that much, afterall this Diary is (also) about this community, and its strengths, one of which is that we mutually support each other in our work (-:
by PeWi on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 10:48:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That´s just the beginning, whataboutbob!, so you´d better do part 2 and 3...  Helen was wondering about the lack of reports, also.

This community and the confirmation of meeting some faces has been a boost of hope for me.  I started writing a perspective on the plane back and haven´t finished it yet, but it is on the power of community.  Obviously.  I am on it.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 11:54:17 AM EST
Bob. Just add a few graphs to the next article so the economists can better understand.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Sun Jun 24th, 2007 at 10:09:08 PM EST
Bob, I am sure you are reading the german version of SPON,, just in case you don't:

Jahrzehntelang haben Palästinenser gegen Israelis gekämpft, jetzt töten sie sich gegenseitig. Auf die Psyche der Menschen hat das verheerende Auswirkungen, sagt Eyad al-Sarraj im Interview: "Unsere Kinder himmeln keine Pop-Stars an, sondern Killer"

For decades, Palestinians fought against Israelis, now they kill themselves. this has devastating consequences on the psyche of the people says Eyad al-Sarraj in an Interview. Our Children do not adore Pop-stars but Killers.

by PeWi on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 11:42:14 AM EST
Hey PeWi! I will have to go searching for the link, but Save the Children did a wonderful study of a program that was created to help support and enhance Palestinian kids resilience through education and the teaching of problem-solving skills. It showed that if you can teach kids problem-solving skills, and teach them that they aren't to blame for the violence going on, that they could helped to feel a lot better about themselves. Of course, the tragedy of that situation is that it just keeps going on, and on, and on...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 12:33:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some quick thoughts (maybe I will say more later...)

I can say without hesitation that several people I know from this site -know only from this site, whom I've never "met" in person- have been instrumental in helping me be resilient after (and even during) a recent hardship I've endured.  Is my connection to them any less "real" because I've not met them?  Maybe, but the results of being able to talk to them is pretty real to me.

And also, just this site, the community, in general.  I fell a bit like the prodigal son around here.  But it is comforting to know I can always come back and be welcomed.  And the thing about a blog community, is that there is always someone there.  It transcends space and time in a way that makes it a reliable community in ways some off-line networks are not.  There's always someone home.  Having done the Blog ->real life Meetups thing in DFA, I know that it can create very rich and lasting communities & friendships.  But it's trippy how it all starts online.  Like you get to test-drive your friends or something. :)

BTW, I for one am extremely interested in resilience and community ("support networks" in the jargon).  I'm the posterchild for resilience, but I'm only now beginning to understand the role of "cohesion between community members, and strong community educational, political and religious support" in it all.  

I think " if they are open to it!" is the key phrase in your diary.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 01:16:12 PM EST
I think " if they are open to it!" is the key phrase in your diary.

Doesn't that beg the question?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 01:42:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, it's Monday.  What's the question?

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 01:44:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What makes people resilient.

Of course this is a matter of individual intent and experience, but I believe a lot of strange and wonderful things can happen to a person and a community - if they are open to it!

Is it the community or the fact that they're "open to it" in the first place?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 01:48:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure I'm following you, but I think it is not an either/or matter.

Of course there are those who have inexplicably charmed lives, but most of us have to take some initiative when it comes to creating opportunities and gathering resources for ourselves.  In the same way, we can also opt out and cut ourselves off from possibilities, for whatever reason.  

One can be part of a community and not be aware of it or not actively or fully participate in it, and thus not reap all of the benefits of it.  But being open to it doesn't make a community magically appear either (like the nonsense in that Secret book about positive thinking.)  There has to be one in place or you have to go create one.  By "being open to it" I think I mean "being open to making that risky investment".

I can't speak for bob & what he meant by it.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 02:03:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are other things that make people resilient as well...  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 02:03:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's just reminded me of a few old friends who were part of 'survivors' networks.  I hated the damn things, it seemed to be all about people being victims and reliving and dwelling in great detail over every nasty thing that has ever happened to them and competing with each other as to who had the most traumatic childhood, was the victim of the worst assault, or is left most damaged by whatever they went through.

I just kept thinking 'get the fuck over it' and then felt guilty for being so harsh.  Some people have a mentality that prevents them from letting go of stuff and I think that type of community is counter productive, but I can see the good intentions behind their existence - mutual support etc.

I think being part of communities in their various forms has got me through some difficult times and the worst points in my life have been where I felt alone and didn't have anyone around me, in any way at all, even just to discuss the weather with.

But back to Migeru's point, I think some people are much more open to being part of a community and more open to social interaction, which then provides a distraction or support to deal with trauma.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 02:15:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
seeking some knowledge, what was the lens were you shooting with at the Saturday meet up to produce such great photos?

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 02:35:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol! I used about 3 lenses I think. Most of the indoor shots (and many outdoor) were taken with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. Metatone and Colman had the same but with different f stop values I think.  The 50mm is a great lens and it sees what the eye can see, more or less. The main strength is that is has little glass and doesn't need so much light, and is a fast lens - great for indoors or overcast. I really love using that one.

I also used a 12-24mm wide angle lens for catching the architecture/scenery or wider groups of people rather than detailed shots.

For novelty value a 10.5mm fisheye lens (pubcrawl pictures used that one) and a lensbaby 2.0 (the one of metatone which is all blurred in a circle around him).

Are you thinking of adding to your collection?!

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 02:51:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I'm reflecting. I have an off model 18-50 zoom that I used on Saturday. It's not bad but I wouldn't call it great. So I'm eyeing a 50mm Nikor lens f. 1.8d which sells for only $119 in America. I've read very good things about it and it sounds very close to yours. I might pick it up in the fall when I go to America.
I loved your fisheye but I'll wait for that.
Thanks for the info.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 03:03:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would certainly recommend the 50mm. It's beautiful (I think all my lenses are beautiful though!)
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 03:16:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way. Did you see the cropped photos I added to the meet up album. There's a lovely shot of you (which you saw before uncropped) in not quite full profile. It's one of my favorites.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 03:54:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah I hadn't noticed it (or more likely I realised it was me and skimmed over it!)  I've taken a closer look and didn't run away screaming ie it's very nice, and thank you!
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 04:01:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A minor correction: on the digital cameras, whose sensor is smaller than 35mm film, the 50mm is equivalent to around a 75mm lens, which is generally considered a really nice portrait length but distorts somewhat from what the eye would see directly.

Metatone and I both have the 50mm 1.8, and I'm definitely considering swapping it for a 1.4.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:03:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some people have a mentality that prevents them from letting go of stuff and I think that type of community is counter productive,

That might be true, but I don't think you can say that about all of these groups.  Or even the majority of them.  I also disagree that people have "a mentality that prevents them from letting go of stuff".  Most likely it is not a mentality but that there is something very real preventing them from letting go and moving on.  Also, the point of these groups is usually to help people move on.  Not to keep them in a state of vicimization.  However, it might also be just as important to integrate and accept the traumas we've been through as part of us or having some effect on us as it is to "move on."  

Also people who share unique experiences can often help each other recover batter than a "professional" can.  Many of these unique experiences are not the kinds of things you can just share with friends.  Often there is a lot of stigma attached.  Or they can be shared, but people don't understand (we can sympathize but not truly comprehend what they've been through.)  So having a way to talk about your experiences without fear of judgement or pity or anything like that, is really important, actually.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 02:49:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did say that I can see the good intentions behind their existence such as mutual support. I am not trying to say that all support groups are a bad thing but I have come across some that caused far more harm than good for some of my friends who were involved in them. And I fully understand the need to be around other people who have been through similar experiences and actually get what you are going on about.  I'm criticising the groups that trap people in a bad state of mind because it helps to feed the other parasites in the group.

And I do think that with some people there is a mentality that enjoys having things to complain and attention seek about and there isn't a willingness to let go of anything. I'm not applying this to everybody, but I've seen it in some people and there is a kind of trend of behaviour with certain personality types that I have come across.  

I'm not an expert but between having family and friends who have been through severe traumas and/or developed mental health disorders, and having worked in welfare and mental health services, there seems to me to be a connection behind personality and resilience and thus the role that communities in their various forms can play in supporting (or hindering).

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 03:06:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Poemless. I think that you give another sweet example of how this community is a bit different...because people do stay in contact and care about the person, even offline. And thank you...for telling us something about a tender spot and the support you have received around it. I think it is amazing that a good number of people here have shared a degree of their tenderness, at one time or another, that you just don't see in other places...and people really care and reach out to stay in contact. I think the core of it is connection...which is very special and rare.

And I do think that Migeru's question...what is resilience, and is it the community or is it about a person really being open to it - is an important one, with no easy answer. Its kinda like trying to talk about intuition. I think it is up to the individual to be open to it...BUT...it also requires that there is a "community"...or, at least, a few concerned individuals in a community...that is also open to receivnig the individual. That receives that individual without judgement. So, you know, what comes first?? I think it takes a group of individuals to create a community, but the community also has to be responsive to the individual. Why is it that many communities...especially onlines ones...aren't responsive. What is it about some communities that there is "heart", that despite any differences, there is a basic interest in staying connected, in communication and acceptance. Its a strange thing...but can anyone of us claim that we "created" this space? No, something else is going on. Maybe its just random...a really good and caring group of people who just happened to want to stay connected and keep the conversation (whatever the conversation) going. I can't help feel it is rather...magic...myself. I want to understand it too...but again, its a very hard thing to define in any precise way...accept when people show each other their tenderness, and that is honored.

Beyond all this, as a psychologist who has...as of this year...been training and/or working in my field for 25 years now...I am really quite tired of the whole orientation towards illness and pathology. Why not strengths and flexibility and all those good kinds of things?? It seems we are not alone, as there is suddenly a huge shift going on towards this direction.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 03:04:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am really quite tired of the whole orientation towards illness and pathology. Why not strengths and flexibility and all those good kinds of things??

I really do agree with that and that is my frustration with the way in which trauma and resulting mental health issues are dealt with.  They focus on how bad everything was and pick it all apart rather than focusing on putting the event/s into a context where they can be dealt with and allow the person to move on from them.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 03:10:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say for some people...it is just about moving forward (ie, there is a should the past has to be resolved, when maybe the best action is to move forward. Not all people can handle dealing with what is...and don't have the time or luxury...or the ability). I have often asked people, and I was once faced with this question myself..do you really want to feel something about what you went through before? It could rip you to shreds...and it was bad enough going through it once. For some, wisdom says to move forward...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 03:17:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But so often what's done is done and there isn't exactly a way to resolve it, maybe that is why some people get trapped trying. There are events in my life that hurt terribly at the time and hurt afterwards too but I always kept looking forward, with the attitude that I'm still alive and it won't beat me.

But I don't know why I take that approach and some others don't, or can't. I don't think it was a conscious thing in me as a child but I was somehow very adaptable and strong and although I cried and felt everything and understood far more than I would have been given credit for, I still stood up at the end of it all and carried on. I don't know how.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 03:33:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope it's evident from my response to Migeru that I basically agree with you on the "openness v. community" issue.  It seems most of the time, the 2 are needed (one without the other does little good.)  So far as a community needing to be responsive to the individual, I think that's included in my personal concept of "community."  If that's not there, it's only the facade of a community, a community in name only.  Of course, there are different degrees of responsiveness, and there can be disagreement as to the needs of the individual, but that's unavoidable.

I don't think the phenom. of ET is magic.  I think this community is special in that, for the most part, we all hold each other, and ourselves, to a rather high standard.  It began as a high caliber of debate, high intellectual standard, but implicit in it became the notion of respect and tolerance.  And also a genuine search for knowledge & the "truth" (however you define that.)  Again, it started out as matter of enforcing blog standards, but seems to also have a kind of humbling effect.  And of course, there are the shared interests & values.  One of them being that we value community.  (As lefties, yes, but it's also explicitly part of the site's motto...)  Plus, Europeans are just more laid-back, right? ;)  I kid.

And in response to your last comment, as person who's been bandied about by psychologists for 25 years, I'd say humans are too complex and individuals too ... individual ... to make any blanket statements one way or another, but regarding those who've suffered severe childhood trauma, it's usually a combo of pathology and personality and environment and who knows what else.  My only hesitation with focusing only on the "strengths and flexibility and all those good kinds of things" (trust me, I have a lot of concerns about the infatuation with the "illness" aspect of if all as well) is that it comes very close to the "pull yourselves up by your bootstraps" mantra of the right.  Perhaps these behavioral things can be learned, but it's basic science that our brain gets wired for certain things at a young age, in response to our experiences at that time, and re-wiring it - so far as we can tell to date- often requires a cocktail of science and medicine and behavioral skill sets.  And sometimes that doesn't even work...  (FWIW, most of the "therapy" I've seen in recent years is strongly focused on the "good kinds of things"...)  But yes, personally, I think they all have merit and the potential for abuse.  A some point the human being risks being turned into a petri dish or an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show.  Both ends of that spectrum put basic human dignity at risk.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 03:47:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My only hesitation with focusing only on the "strengths and flexibility and all those good kinds of things" (trust me, I have a lot of concerns about the infatuation with the "illness" aspect of if all as well) is that it comes very close to the "pull yourselves up by your bootstraps" mantra of the right.  

Perhaps these behavioral things can be learned, but it's basic science that our brain gets wired for certain things at a young age, in response to our experiences at that time, and re-wiring it - so far as we can tell to date- often requires a cocktail of science and medicine and behavioral skill sets.  And sometimes that doesn't even work...  (FWIW, most of the "therapy" I've seen in recent years is strongly focused on the "good kinds of things"...)  But yes, personally, I think they all have merit and the potential for abuse.

Yes, I completely agree. Didn't mean to sound so simplistic about the whole thing...because humans aren't simple, but wonderfully complex. Perhaps its more accurate to say that a better balance needs to be found, in working with challenges and strengths. I think "resilience" is just one side of the coin, with the other side being the effects of stress, trauma and adversity on a person.

If a person hasn't had to deal with much adversity at all, do they have much resilience to draw from? Its a real question. If a community or a family is too protective of its kids, trying to protect them from the impacts of adversity, are these kids being denied the opportunity to learn the coping skills and problem-solving strategies that could help them as adults?

I just helped do a 3 day presentation on "stress, resilience and burnout" to emergency room MDs who were also the chiefs of their respective divisions. At one point I asked, "how would you know if a new ER doctor trainee had good resilience or not?" (and evaluation of performance under ER conditions is obviously crucial). They could easily say what would be poor performance, but struggled more to identify strong performance...and when I pressed them, one said "the opposite of poor performance". That is a big problem with a lot of medically-oriented folks, and also a big problem with a lot of managers. I have held a lot of manager roles, and I have always been amazed at how rarely managers say "you did a real good job there, thank you!". Often the only feedback is about a problem or poor performance....and this orientation really contributes to stress and burnout in employees. Acknowledgement supports and enhances resilience.

Anyway, I ramble, but just want to acknowledge that you make excellent points...and its not so simple.


"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 04:33:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If a person hasn't had to deal with much adversity at all, do they have much resilience to draw from?

I think sometimes people surprise themselves, in that if you'd said to them how would you react to going through [whatever] experience, they'd respond to say I couldn't cope with that, I'd fall apart.  And yet when you have to, often you find strength from somewhere.

But then I can immediately think of many people I know who have never had to deal with anything bad in their lives and they can't cope with the smallest of stresses, and expect somebody else to come in and sort their problems out for them.  Paris Hilton pops into my head right now.

People have often asked me how I've coped and I believe it is a case of you live or you don't - for me.  Perhaps one good thing for me was that the first few years of my life were very happy, not necessarily secure, but I had a lot of freedom and played a great deal and had friends around me. I had plenty of interactions with different people.  Thinking of the point Poemless made about hard-wiring brains, I think my early years must have hard-wired me in a positive way and my ability to play and be imaginative turned out to be an important technique in becoming so resilient.

You are very right in saying it is complex, and it always fascinates me how some people will fall one way and others to another extreme.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 06:01:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I'm going to quote something from Afew's diary on the topic:
There is no typical profile. But a traumatized child can still be resilient if she or he has acquired a gut or primitive confidence in the first year of life. Such children take the attitude that "I've been loved therefore I'm worth loving, so I live in hope of meeting someone who'll help me resume my development." These children feel a lot of grief but still relate to other people, give them gifts of food and look for an adult they can turn into one of their parents. Then they give themselves a narrative identity - "I'm the one who was... sent to the camps, raped, forced to become a child soldier" and so on.
If you give them a chance to make up for lost time and to express themselves, nearly all--90 to 95 per cent--become resilient. They have to be given a chance to be creative, to test and prove themselves as kids, through things like joining the scouts, studying for an exam, organizing a trip and learning to be useful. Problem youngsters feel humiliated when they're given something, especially if there's a lecture along with it. But they regain their balance when asked to give something themselves.
How about the other 5% to 10%?. Are they children who have not been loved enough before the trauma and therefore can't bounce back, even when given the chance to give to a community?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 06:14:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about the other 5% to 10%?

That's a good question...and I don't think there is a clear answer to this, yet anyway. I am not so sure that early love is entirely the predictor here...I mean, its fairly obvious that a little bit of love can go a long way, and no love early on is quite a deficit to have to dig out of (and does cause a lot of mental disorders). But it does cause me to hesitate when I hear the term "hard wiring", which for me connotes more biophysiological "trait" (not so changeable), versus that which is caused by an experience or experiences "states" (changeable). I am of the belief, and I have read other references to this in resilience literature, that children and youth who have faced a great deal of adversity early on, can still become stronger, healthier, happier people if they are lucky enough to find strong connections with unrelated adults and peers later on, and learn skills and strategies to negotiate the internal and external challenges they face. And yes, to ultimately be able to give to the common good. That even late support can change the trajectory of a person's life towards a new direction. I think it is even true for adults, though I think certain habits and behaviors get much more entrenched as we get older, so we become tougher nuts to crack, so to speak. Consistency and perseverence play a bigger role as we age, I believe. But, I believe people respond to caring people, for the most part...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 07:24:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and I really liked that last part of your quote:

Problem youngsters feel humiliated when they're given something, especially if there's a lecture along with it. But they regain their balance when asked to give something themselves.

I have seen adults with serious problems make significant changes...and it was in the context of giving something of themselves to others (in short-term residential programs I've run). Good catch on that!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 07:28:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I once read something about a program which had troubled youth tutor underperforming young children in math and which had a positive effect both on the young children, who got tutoring in elementary math, and on the older kids who got into a mentoring role and, even if themselves underperforming at school, could teach something to others.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 07:34:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems for those 5% to 10%, "building community" doesn't "build resilience".

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 07:46:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My assumption is that, even in those 5%-10%, most will benefit (even if a little bit) from involvement with some kind of community...so maybe a smaller percentage may not be able to handle or benefit from involvement with community? Not sure. I think a person would have to be in rather difficult straights not to benefit from contact with people, but there's probably cases...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 09:40:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The way I read
If you give them a chance to make up for lost time and to express themselves, nearly all--90 to 95 per cent--become resilient
, this is 90-95% of those who are given a chance. In other words, that 5% to 10% is already not benefitting from or being able to handle community. You're trying to make it 5% of 5%.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 10:35:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no research to back up my beliefs, so if...as the author stated that it is 90%-95% who can benefit and 5%-10% who won't, then I will just have to accept that as a baseline until I have data to refute it otherwise. Thus, I am likely being overly optimistic in my beliefs about the influence of community. It seems there are people who have poor resilience, and for whatever reasons, it cannot be improved.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 11:12:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...children and youth who have faced a great deal of adversity early on, can still become stronger, healthier, happier people if they are lucky enough to find strong connections with unrelated adults and peers later on, and learn skills and strategies to negotiate the internal and external challenges they face.

I'm a good example of that. If you take me now and compare me to the person I was 10 years ago, you'd be shocked at the difference. I often still can't quite believe how much progress I have made. I often think that as I've got older I've become more like the 'person' I was at 4 or 5 years of age and everything between the age of 6 to about 20 shaped me away from that but in dealing with it all, I've moved back to the essential 'me' again.

I still say that I wouldn't change a thing that I've been through because it made me, built me into the type of person I am now. I feel as though I am more likely to reach my potential than if I'd had an easy path through life.  But that goes back to being resilient to adversity in a way that you can absorb the experiences and be shaped by them without being damaged by it.  I'd say that 10 years ago I was damaged, but I'm not now.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 08:04:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you had a positive 4 or 5 first years to bounce back to?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 08:10:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, pretty much.  And I still remember the good stuff well so that helped too.  I think at that age the early bad signs went past me and I was so boisterous and independent that things didn't really start to affect me until I was about 6 and then it got progressively worse until I was able to get myself out.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 08:27:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anything else you can say about burnout?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 08:32:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What the heck, I'll stop my lurking and add my two cents worth, which sort of builds on the feeling I got (and comment I posted) when I saw the photos from the meetup in the first place.  

I don't think the community in which I reside is the community in which I "live" though there are segmented groups to which I feel connected in Austin: the people who are members of a writers' group, some in the film community, those who participate in the Austin Film Festival and Screenwriters' Conference each year, the local organic vegetable gardeners... but not so much my actual next-door neighbors who tend to be either very elderly conservatives (yes, we have some in Austin) or folks I just don't get to meet because they don't come outside and walk by.

I feel as connected to the people on ET as most of the people I'm physically around because I know so much about what you people think and feel, what your values are, how damned smart you are.  So a lack of confidence in the face of this makes me an infrequent commenter but a voracious and appreciative lurker.  

Seeing the photos reminded me of a long-ago anecdote I read in the early days of blogging and the effect it had on one group of people who also decided to have a meetup (mostly New Yorkers, I think) and were astonished to find that their "group" included everything from professionals in $1000 suits to pierced and tatooed bike messengers.  But as they themselves discovered, their reactions weren't what they'd have been had they been strangers, the bankers avoiding the messengers, etc., but rather "Oh, look, our friend 'Sam the Sham' has hair down to his knees" and "who'd have known that 'Addytude' was an elderly Eastside matron?"  They already respected and "knew" each other, so the meeting was just to put faces with "hearts and minds" and it made a number of them question the quick conclusions they would previously have formed just based on looks.

But I digress.  I've been thinking a lot about adaptability lately, which I think is much like resilience, because I think it's important to survival. But where it comes from I can't say.  I thought my own resilience came from having moved so often in my life, having to make new friends over and over, but so did my siblings, and several of them reacted to the same events by wanting to put down roots in one little town and never move again, not even travel much, so that must not be it.  

So for now I've decided that it's the discovery of "like minds and like hearts," heedless of their proximity to oneself by age, gender, geography, class, sexual preference, race, etc., that help one to feel less "alone against the world".  The validation, the sense of shared visions and community, even though "virtual," are as comforting as a real hug and have helped me cope with world-wide realities in a more positive fashion than I would have without Eurotrib.

I'll KILL to be at the next meetup, even if it's to lurk in the background.

Many thanks,
Karen in Austin

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 03:30:35 PM EST
That's a wonderful contribution, thank you. It illustrates what a lot of us feel about ET, I think. I do hope that as you get more familiar with ET that you will comment some more, it took me a while of lurking too :)
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 03:37:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't have to kill. Just buy a plane ticket and that ticket will, in addition, get you a seat at the dinner tables.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 03:44:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I should add, a warm welcome too.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 04:29:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Karen,
Your reply gave me the courage to admit to my own ET lurking...For months (or is it a year...?)I have read, almost daily, and like you, I find that it feels as if I am part of a community...I admit: I find that strange...

I also feel I know you all. I have seen that you have good hearts, brilliant minds, and deep knowledge of the things you write about. The sharp and witty exchanges have made me laugh many times...it's about time I said: Thank You!  

I look forward to more on the topic of 'resilience' - I know something about that from personal experience. Who knows, I might even pick up the courage to write a comment....  

 

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 07:04:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome, Solveig!  It's good to hear from you!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 08:01:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you Izzy, almost brought tears to my eyes...
You really are a very welcoming community...!
by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2007 at 09:06:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are welcome at your own pace, Solveig!

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 06:41:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had some thoughts <amazing> early this morning, or am I channeling the collective ET?

*We tend to be pretty secure in ourselves and being a "misfit" in some way, doesn´t face us.
*Our idea of status is non-materialistic.
*Our expectations are first of ourselves?
*We may have a permanent student, questioning mindset.
*I´d bet all of us have lived through some major readjustment in life, in our own local setting and/or have adapted to a foreign country, so
*the ideas of "different" and "change" are less threatening to us:  More flexible.  
*Cooperative behavior seems natural to us and the competitive is the exception.
...
Result =  Veni, vidi,... amare!

Meeting in person was much more powerfully so.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 07:05:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So for now I've decided that it's the discovery of "like minds and like hearts," heedless of their proximity to oneself by age, gender, geography, class, sexual preference, race, etc., that help one to feel less "alone against the world".

There is that aspect for me, too, with my total alienation from local politics and the way people I know personally relate to it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 05:34:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seen via escolar.noticia.es...

20 minutos: Internet users are more active, have more friends and fewer depressions (25.06.2007) [in Spanish]

This is a study involving the leading Sociologist Manuel Castells.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 at 07:40:29 AM EST


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