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Jun 23, 2022·edited Jun 23, 2022Liked by Rhyd Wildermuth

Thank you for this brave piece. Much of what you said feels familiar to my story as well. We speak of higher and lower vibrations, but I do wonder about the sound of a vibration BECOMING higher, or BECOMING lower....ie the rate of change of a vibration. Seems yours is 'trending up'? trending wider?. I think this state is what we recognize as positivity, mentally, a lack of negativity, a lack of suffering occuring. Of course, up is not definitively good and down is not definitavely bad, and things happen in 3 or more dimensions, seldom just one.

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I have a similar spiritual framework regarding expansion and contraction (following along with Saturn and Jupiter), but one thing I would note is that in ressentiment, part of the problem is blaming an external energy or influence when actually it's just us mucking up our life.

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Thank you Rhyd....yes, the movie Angelheart comes to mind....it....it...couln't be.....me? could it....best

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Jun 23, 2022Liked by Rhyd Wildermuth

Your honesty is a gift to your readers. Thank you for that. I also believe dysfunctional coping mechanism come from childhood trauma so they are not our fault. We coped the best we could from an age that we shouldn’t have had to. An age when we should have been cared for. Nonetheless, now we have to save ourselves again and educating ourselves & recognizing our patterns are essential. I’m not political but I love all your writing about personal things & paganism. I’m very happy you have found your way. You are a talented writer, a very likable person, and deserve all the love and success that you have grown into.

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Thanks for your very kind words and thanks for reading me. :)

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Terrific piece. I love the core insight connecting political beliefs and coping mechanisms. I'm working on a piece on a similar theme and will definitely cite this one.

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I look forward to reading it!!!

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It might be a while... so much happening now.

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Yes. This is what I’m writing about for my next essay. The spell of victimhood is the enchantment that needs to be broken right now.

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I look forward to reading it!

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Jun 23, 2022Liked by Rhyd Wildermuth

This reflection you have shared is beautiful and empowered. 🙏💗

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It sems to me like the Woke cut off their nose to spite their face. They refuse to take the small steps that could make them a lot happier because the big choices are off the table. I'm glad that I never fell into that trap, yet I fell into the one next to it: not accepting that the big choices were always off the table and punishing myself for not being able to change my life meaningfully from what society offers an autistic woman. The question of self-sabotage is far more complex for women than for men. Is it self-sabotage to pursue a career which exhausts you and makes family life hard? Or is it self-sabotage to stay at home with kids and be dependent on a man? I personally like some of the stuff FDS puts out in this vein. While they can be excruciatingly misandrist they are the only group I am aware of that is encouraging people (women in their case) to make positive changes in their lives without sugar-coating the challenges. I hope more such groups develop. No offense intended to you, Rhyd, but I've seen way too many men turn their lives around on a dime while I worked my tail off for opportunities they were handed to take males any to seriously when it comes to changing my life to reflect what I want. I agree that all too much of the left abdicates agency to change their lives but on the other hand I personally know how excrucriatingly painful it can be to work for crumbs of agency and be told it's "victim mentality" to admit that you got dealt a shit hand and are playing it the best you can. And to be clear, I don't think getting dealt a shit hand is a reason to not play it for the best you can. But it is a reason to be realistic.

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Jun 23, 2022Liked by Rhyd Wildermuth

yeah.. from what I read and understood from his piece - there's no disagreement with that. It's just that the cult of 'Resentiment' did nothing to improve any bad hands dealt - and everything to make it worse...Simple as that really.

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Jun 24, 2022Liked by Rhyd Wildermuth

I agree so far as it goes, I'm just very leery of the current self-improvement trend. I suspect my US context does not help. In the last few years, I've lost a bunch of friends and family because they went down an ugly path of preaching self-responsibility to the point where they ceased to recognize reality and began to push me and my husband to make truly stupid and self-destructive decisions. Our lifestyle doesn't fit with their beliefs on everyone's absolute agency to be whatever they want and they began to be very hostile. The most recent was a family member who pushed my husband to refuse his disability check. Perhaps I have seen a few too many snakes and now am afraid of rope, but at this point I see a pattern of men who acted the fool in their youth deciding to turn their lives around, getting a helping hand here and there, then getting into a position most of us had little chance to get to ever and then preaching about how anyone can do it with a little hard work and actively trying to make life harder for others on the assumptiok that because they needed a swift kick in the rear, that's what everyone else needs, too. I kid you not, two of my high school friends have become influencers pulling in good money being spoiled rich kids preaching the gospel of self-improvement. Last week I had to cut one off because he kept trying to say my politics were the result of my mental problems and making wildly inaccurate (and somewhat insulting) assumptions about my life. Maybe the timing is just bad for me, personally, to be hearing what Rhyd is writing right now. But somehow I suspect there are a lot of us right now dealing with the lapse of a huge segment of the population into delusions of self-improvement.

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I think the core nuance here is between self-responsibility and agency.

To take my own example, I wasn't responsible for the abuse my partners enacted. And it's crucial to note that the final relationship like that was with a man who constantly told me it was my fault that he was hitting me.

Agency, on the other hand (or we can also say 'will' here) is the opposite of that kind of 'it's your fault I'm miserable.' I all the time had the agency to leave (despite the really scary barriers to doing so, including risking getting deported back to the US), and that agency wasn't something he could ever take from me. But it was something I forgot, or something I diminished because I thought I couldn't have better.

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I love this. That really nailed it and that is why I love your writing.

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Jun 24, 2022Liked by Rhyd Wildermuth

I totally agree that the 'self improvement' space has become 'toxic', self absorbed, horribly superficial...facile. And I have to admit i'm not sure I would want to live in the USA at the moment. But I would also hate to se the baby thrown out with the bathwater though.. because, as Rhyd says, agency and your own 'self positioning' is the one thing no one can take away from you even if they can make you forget it for a time.

I guess I find it hard not to recall the story of Trachtenberg - someone who was literally locked in a concentration camp with ZERO control over his situation and was facing the very real possibility of being killed/tortured at any time. He spent his time creating a system of mental maths (because they wouldn't let him have paper) that is used to this day.

That's not remotely a story of 'come on pull yourself together' - but i find things like that tend to put some perspective on things and remind us that no one can take agency away from you. I wouldn't expect someone who has had their entire family killed by a cruise missile from Russia to just 'rise above it' ...but yet some of them DO....

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I use his method! It's a fun party trick, actually, but also extremely useful. I'm not a math person at all, but because I learned his method (read it in a book when I was 11) I can also tell you precisely how much my grocery bill will be when I get to the cash register.

I'd completely forgotten his name until you brought him up, thanks!

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I guess so just kind of think the activists Rhyd described shit their own bed and I’m happy to let them lie in it until they are ready to get cleaned up. But that is applicable to a tiny percentage of the population that’s been given a huge megaphone to discredit the left. The vast majority of unhappy Americans legitimately struggle with poor nutrition and pollution which cause many to experienced depression and anxiety. Rising food prices and inflation growing way faster than wages are adding further stress. Healthcare is out of reach for many Americans and the vast majority of therapists are desperately trying to deny reality to themselves and react poorly (sometimes with hostility) to those who have material problems. Very, very few Americans are going to be helped by having an ex-pat tell us how we can take control of our lives. Not that Rhyd is wrong but damn the timing is bad

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The ultimate goal of a materialist "leftist" politics should be (and I would argue can only be) to increase the possibility that those dealt a shit hand can regardless create a satisfying and happy life for themselves. Unfortunately, there's very little effort to build such a leftist politics at the moment.

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I absolutely agree. I think a lot of problem is we are dealing with a culture baked in self-sacrifice now for happiness in some future world. And doing stupid stuff now out of a belief that happiness is only possible after the revolution is as silly as the flagellant monks who whipped themselves to get in good in Heaven.

The problem I see is that pointing out the ridiculousness doesn't help. I got out of being suicidally fucked up by focusing on actions. Art of Manliness has an excellent article on treatments for depression and I followed it in hopes of feeling better. It mainly focused on accepting a certain level of unhappiness, then trying to improve mental health through concrete actions like exercise. I found it very helpful. Recovery is a long hard process and it is far to easy to get sidetracked into what started it or whose fault it is. I found concrete actions backed by a decision to be happier even if it was only 10% happier helped in a way therapy and concentration on mental health never did. I've loved some of the stuff you have written about the body and I really think you were on the right track there. I think talking about this stuff is counter productive. Words lead to more words and we are sitting on our asses yakking. No words will convince people to decide to work to be happy until they are ready to, and the wrong words can be hard for people who blame themselves for their own unhappiness when that is just another unhealthy coping mechanism. It can be just another form of self-flagelation and a seductive one.

There is a point to the accusations of others for one's misery. If you have read Neitschze, the Camel, the Lion, and the Child are a good metaphor. People need to throw off the weight they are carrying and stop making of themselves a beast of burden. In doing so, we throw all that accumulated weight outward, denying all others, blaming them, and vowing never to be a beast of burden again. In the end, we can progress to being like a child, with a new eyes to see where we rightfully carried burdens and where they were forced on us by others, to see where we are being held back and where we are holding ourselves back. We can at that point choose which burdens we will carry. To those who are stuck at any point in that development, talking about their agency and responsibility is likely to be another burden either to be carried or thrown away.

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Such a good personal example of why this ideology actually LACKS compassion, in any profound sense, for victims of abuse or oppression, as it's invested politically in keeping them in that identity. Very effectively conveyed.

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The sneaky bit is that they often think they are being compassionate, though they miss one crucial aspect of compassion. Sometimes compassion means being honest enough to say, "hey dude--you did that to yourself..."

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Amazing Bold Brutal - Love this - Again….

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thanks. :)

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Jun 23, 2022Liked by Rhyd Wildermuth

Wonderful work. As I untangle the false belief systems from my early years, I understand more deeply the behavior of myself and others as we seek culturally sanctioned outlets for the unexpressed rage, terror, anxiety, hopelessness, and grief which we have accumulated in this life and that which has carried over from past generations. So much healing is needed in this world now and it starts within. Blessings!

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Definitely. Blessings to you, too. :)

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Jun 24, 2022Liked by Rhyd Wildermuth

I appreciate your honesty so much. Isn’t it crazy that so many of us participate in our own suffering but also cling to it tightly and claim it as virtue? I am reminded that I have heard myself say many times “thank god i haven’t had to earn all the blessings that I have received.” I have literally taken pride in devaluing the role of my own agency in my own life.

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Wild huh? I've done that many times myself. It's funny, though, because of course when others do it I always shudder a little because it sounds false, yet for some reason it took me a very long time to apply that same logic to myself.

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Jun 24, 2022Liked by Rhyd Wildermuth

Just a quick note on ressentment. You define that term in your essay "as a psychological turn in which we try to compensate or cope with a feeling of injustice." I would argue that this psychological state consists primarily of feelings of envy and hatred which seems to have a link to our particular structure of social stratification where the subject of envy believes that his or her object of envy are, in fact equal, but that such hypothetical equality cannot ever be achieved thus causing the envy and hatred of the other.

Today we all appear to exist in a highly ressentment-- prone environment and as you note this applies to both white nationalists and woke liberals and potentially all of us, at least to some

degree.

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Hmm. I think perhaps sometimes that is the case (and Nietzsche suggests as much sometimes), but there's also one more level to it, which is the person who is (or feels themselves to be--it doesn't matter in ressentiment whether it's true or not) in a lower position uses ressentiment to think of themselves as actually better than those in higher positions.

Basically, they narrate their suffering or unequal treatment as someone superior to those in better positions or those who they believe causes their suffering, which is what you often see in Woke ideology. A good example of this are the thousands of Twitter posts in which people identified as trans women describe how they are actually "better at being women" than biological women are.

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You make an excellent point on the importance of the psychological dimension in itself ("it doesn't matter in ressentment whether it is true or not--basically they narrate their suffering as someone superior to those in better positions or those who they believe causes their suffering..."

When dealing with this concept of ressentment we appear to be analyzing a complex interplay of sociological, psychological, cultural and individual human agency issues-- where cause and effect are often quite muddled and hard or sometimes almost impossible to trace.

And if we take ressentment more into the spiritual realm we begin to get into the type of issues raised by Paul Kingsnorth, that deal not with liberation of self but potential steps involved in liberation from self.

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It hurt to read that. To write, and to live it - I don't have the words.

The mirror is what the trickster holds up to us. He tells us the truth we don't want to acknowledge so we call him a liar.

The courage required to look, to keep looking and accept what's there is rare. But we're not real until we do.

Thank you for your words.

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resentment kills all desire. This sentiment is often echoed in the group of folks i meet up with once a month, specifically to work on how to better be in relationship. Work that cannot fully be realized alone hence the group.

At some point we have to practice asking for our needs to be met even when we are full of shame, guilt and despair and that we need to be witnessed in that. Our group is a way to do that it a place that is filled with support.

Foundational to our work is the focus on Eros, and how without it relationships are hard to nurture. You need some amount of interest to maintain a connection and yet many of us know that often we don’t have the capacity to be interested. Or generous. Or curious.

Trauma does that.

Trauma eats away curiosity, generosity and interest. Trauma feeds resentment which In turn kills all desire.

We all have to find our own way into Eros and Rhyd I am thankful and grateful that you have.

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I recently wrote a piece that required much editing-out of anger and rhetoric. My sadness remains. My goal is a discussion that leaves aside tribal politics, and juxtaposes the pre-WW2 Warsaw Ghetto “quarantine” with the Good German situation in the western world right now. Thank you for your honesty, introspection, and inspiration in this piece, a quote from which I included:

https://lifeisapalindrome.substack.com/p/who-will-stand-up-for-you

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