I started the day in my usual way. I made some coffee (gotta have it), turned on National Propaganda Radio, and started browsing the intertubes, starting at Tim Iacono's site. Tim is kind enough to put up a list of economy/finance links everyday.
I learned that there is a bug in the SSL (https) protocol which protects secure transactions online. It's called the "heart bleed" bug, and the Business Insider told me to assume I've been affected.
Since the vulnerability has been in OpenSSL for approximately two years and utilizing it leaves no trace, assume that your accounts may be compromised. You should change passwords immediately, especially for services where privacy or security are major concerns.
I was reading The Economist during my morning bowel movement — these activities seem to go together — and was reminded that August will be the 100th anniversary of the first shots fired in World War I. The Economist informed me that "around 25,000 books and scholarly articles have been written [about the war] since 1918."
Finally, I learned that there was a "stabbing spree" at a local high school this morning and at least 20 students were wounded.
I hadn't been out of bed more than 15 minutes.
Many years ago, I was able to filter this stuff, shrug it off, not dwell on it, or even think about it period. In short, I was a normal human monkey with normal psychological defense mechanisms.
Not any more.
My filters are gone. I see & hear everything now, and can't help seeing or hearing it. I talk to myself, sometimes outloud. I use the phrases "bunch of monkeys" or "monkey business" a lot. Or just "fucking monkeys."
I think about the brain. Did you know our big brains use about 20% of the calories we ingest? Now imagine how much energy our big monkey brains must use not hearing (filtering) the kind of stuff I started the day with. With humans, effective filtering of negative information is the sine qua non of what psychologists call "mental health"
Meaning, nobody can actually function in Flatland if all the human-caused Bad News we are bombarded with every day is processed raw without psychological defenses. Dissociation (splitting off from raw experience or reality) and "cognitive distortion"—sugar-coating events to make an person’s experience of the world more palatable—are normal in everyday life. These are unconscious processes of course.
In short, "healthy" humans spend a great deal of their mental processing time not fully acknowledging all the destructive, malicious shit that humans do. In so doing, humans—mirabile dictu!—are able to maintain an upbeat, positive self-image which gets them through the day and allows them to continue doing destructive, malicious shit. Surely this filtering capability evolved because it has great survival value.
Otherwise, people would be dying left and right. And the cause? A broken heart.
I suppose I could turn off the radio, not browse the internet and never read The Economist, even when I'm taking a crap. I could become a Buddhist and dissociate meditate all day long. I could join a monastery. I could become a hermit and live in a cabin in the woods. Etc.
But doing any of those things is merely a physical version of the cognitive filtering "normal" people do all the time. Hiding out (or actively dissociating) doesn't really address the fundamental problem.
It is what it is.
Everywhere you go, there you are.