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Chapter Seventeen: Mercy and revenge

Richard J. Alapack Karnac Books ePub

Check today’s media. You will find ample evidence that revenge creates grief. Pathetic to relate, Western nihilistic metaphysics normalizes and makes revenge inevitable. Thomas Hobbes’ Anglo-Saxon political ideology—fossilized in the dogma of homo homini lupus—justifies Establishment violence, imperialism, war, racism, and revenge.16

The cycles of revenge and counter-revenge that whirl across our planet are not naturally preordained. Revenge, like war and other forms of violence, have touchstones in human experience. Revenge starts with grief over loss. Afflicted with hurt, one howls to high heaven and then must go through a process of coming to terms with the loss. Suppose your loved one is not just snatched from life by sickness, or disease, or by an act of God—the hurricane, flood or tsunami. Suppose instead your beloved is murdered. A drunk-driver did her in; the tragedy is senseless; and you know where, on the other side of the tracks, the perpetrator lives. Suppose it was a normal April day in 2007 at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, turned crazy. Your daughter had morning classes. She is 1 of the 32 people killed in the shooting rampage. Rage-laced grief weighs heavy on your heart. You can’t get out of your noggin the yen for retribution. Although you have never talked face-to-face with a person of Korean descent, you’re not seeing red now, you’re seeing yellow. Justice must be served.

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Chapter Twelve: Divorce

Richard J. Alapack Karnac Books ePub

Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,

Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place

Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.

Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,

Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth

Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,

Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf

(Eliot, 1936d/1963, p. 196).

Divorce is a man-made disaster. It is also a death experience from whoever’s perspective we view it. For one spouse, the end of the marriage is a living death. For the other partner, divorce terminates death by granting a new lease on life. If there are children of the union, another can of worms opens. What does the divorce mean to the child? Debates rage furiously concerning the positive or negative consequences on children, short and long term. Always there is a settling of the estate, the dividing of durable goods. Never is there a way to divide the non-durable goods. It borders on mouthing a cliché to say that the topic requires a book by itself, or a library shelf of them. One chapter cannot do the topic justice, but it would be ostrich-like to print a book on grief omitting it. How to address the matter?

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Chapter Eleven: Towards an alternative approach to intervention

Richard J. Alapack Karnac Books ePub

Intervention is the right word. At root, it means to enter into the midst of what is happening. Whenever that happening happens to be grief, it is truly splendid to have someone come in … intending to help and actually helping. The $64,000 dollar question is, “What precisely is the healing touch?”

In Chapter six, in the context of talking with Nicole about her Nana’s death, I offer my standpoint on authentic dialogue in the “moment” of grief. The theme of therapeutic intervention, however, requires this separate chapter. I now expand my discussion beyond talking with my precious daughter. In a nutshell, I forge past the limits of mainstream medico-behavioural psychology’s short-term, quick-fix approach, the drive to adjust and cope, the haste to forget, and the need to obliterate pain. The same standpoint that roots the entire substance and style of this book, both its research tactics and choices of writing-genre, inspires my viewpoint on care. Thinking and in-depth understanding must precede doing, so that therapeutic intervention would be sane and wholesome. I affirm that to approach grief without honouring psyche, seele, soul … is insane.

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Chapter Sixteen: On Racism: Who is my neighbour?

Richard J. Alapack Karnac Books ePub

Who is my neighbour? (Alapack, 2007c) Kierkegaard answers that question with incredible ease: Everyone is my neighbour. “One’s neighbor,” he writes, “is the absolutely unrecognizable distinction between man and man” (Kierkegaard, 1847/1962, p. 79). Without exception, my neighbour is each and every single solitary human being. “In being a neighbor, we are all unconditionally like each other. Distinction is temporality’s confusing element which marks every man as different, but neighbour is eternity’s mark—on every man” (Kierkegaard, 1847/1962, p. 97). Differences in race, colour, or creed are accidental contingent, flukes. The real mark of humanness cuts deep.

This robust criterion prevails as the gold standard for humanity’s self-appraisal. Nowadays, we need such a clear-headed and warmhearted appraisal of our brothers and sisters across the globe. Only you know in your heart of hearts whether you are a racist, discriminating against anyone because of race, colour, or creed. In terms of sorrow’s profiles, xenophobia, racial hatred, and bigotry are major causes of man-made grief. I make no bones about it. Happily, Kierkegaard’s Vision inescapably erases from our vocabulary the ugliest words and phrases in any language: ethnic cleansing, and genocide.

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Chapter Twenty Two: On longing: In Rumi, and Lorca

Richard J. Alapack Karnac Books ePub

Who remains a stranger to the agony of longing for a lost beloved? Who has not known the pain of yearning, pining, and aching for the one who is gone? Love takes hostages. It seems pedantic to list longing as one of sorrow’s profiles. Call it lovesickness, heartbreak, kjærlighetssorg, or the lovesick blues … whichever fits your experience or your taste. It is extreme loneliness, of living with the loss of one’s loss, of an other who may be a live corpse or a haunting ghost.

To repeat, mainstream psychological-psychiatric literature contributes nothing to an understanding of soul-hurt. Susanne Scheibe (2005) mentions lovesickness as an example of sehnsucht or longing which she operationally defines as an intense desire for something that is remote, irretrievably lost, or unattainable. Although people commonly experience longing throughout the lifespan, it is rarely investigated. “Surprisingly, the psychological literature on the phenomenon or related concepts such as yearning, nostalgia, homesickness, and wanderlust has been relatively scarce for many years” (Mayser, Scheibe & Riediger, 2008). Such neglect of longing denigrates the phenomenon. Dum tacit clamat. Silence shouts. Whatever is missing from a discipline’s literature reveals as much as it contains. What does it mean that researchers both in bereavement and in human development ignore longing? Inauthentic silence roars.

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