Sunday, June 17, 2018

Authentic Empathy vs Cynical Empathy

I can't seem to manage my time well since coming back from vacation. Maybe, on the flipside, I've taken to managing my time better since coming back. It really comes down to figuring out what I'm valuing at any time, mapping it out in time, then figuring out what's most important to do now verse doing down the road.

I'm sad that I've prioritized doing some things over political activism or even just other things that could lead to a more organized life that will lead to better control. My gauge for this feels especially triggered because the anniversary of Charlottesville and the murder of Heather Heyer caused by a protesting bigot emboldened by the election of [45] comes around in about two months. I had engaged politically for a few months after that. It didn't come to much, but I tried to do something.

Now I feel mostly battered down by the news I hear or when I'm scanning through Facebook (ironically, Twitter has provided more upbeatness. . .but I think that mostly comes from Twitter people have more battle scars from politics and social/cultural battles, though it can still get depressing). I've posted things about the need for self care, but have I become too indulgent in my self care. I don't feel like it, but I don't feel as if I have the energy to do much else, and feel some shame/guilt about it since I have some privilege that a lot of it doesn't affect me materially, but it definitely cuts away at my soul.

Admittedly, much of the "productive procrastinating" I've done has largely been about getting political and social things straight and defined in my head, much of it occurring through discussion on social media. Something about the vehicle of social media really pulls me into getting me to understand and be clear about the issues.

With the above in mind and to some advice I meant to publish in my essay series called "Increasing Creativity: Compounding...." ("Increasing Creativity Part 1: Compound Interest, An Applicable Financial Concept" and Increasing Creativity Part 2: Compounding Sources). I really need to get to completing "Increasing Creativity Part 3: Compounding Projects". . .. The advice boils down to: sometimes you don't have to do that huge project all at once, especially if it contains a bunch of building blocks. Doing it all at once will

  1. Take you awhile to complete
  2. Won't yield as much return
If you can write multiple articles/essays or books that build up to the larger argument, you can

  1. Publish more
  2. Get more exposure
  3. Possibly get paid maore
In addition, if it works out well, you can "re-invest" the monetary, social, and information resource yields back into the project, which can make future work on it easier and possibly even help to get other aspects of life out of the way.

My last entry mentioned a large essay I had started working on before going on vacation a couple weeks ago. Since then I have remembered a term that I wanted to include in the essay, but I don't think has happened yet. I have also thought up a contrasting term that I think will have its use in the essay and in my future works, whether blog entries or hopefully someday published essays. So instead of defining these two terms in the future essay (though I might have to in an official off-blog published work if I ever do such a thing), I define them below:

  • Authentic Empathy: A sense and/or appreciation that welcoming, supporting, and contribution to the flourishing of other living beings and natural living systems will lead to a reproducible sense of purpose, meaning, possibly joy and happiness, and can very likely assist in developing one's own identity. Authentic empathy will bring emotional attunement.

  • Cynical Empathy: Manipulating or violating other living beings and natural living systems, the understanding of their feelings, motives, states of being, and thoughts, for personal gain, pleasure, compulsion for cruelty, or even for national security or emboldening group or identity solidarity rather than the purposes of authentic empathy, which will lead to endless toil, conflict, and/or if the manipulated or violated are ever obliterated or fully dominated, self destruction since the hatred of cynical empathy will look for fuel somewhere. Cynical empathy creates social discord.
As authentic empathy can provide reproducible sense of meaning and development, cyncial empathy will provide endless destruction and despair, constantly looking for new targets and, if it hasn't already, will turn on the source if it has no where else to go. Cynical empathy is not an identity, a purpose, or meaning. It is a strategy, one of maladaption.

As such, many bets are off with those who practice cynical empathy. For those who practice authentic empathy, they have the right to avoid those who practice cynical empathy. If someone can bear it who wants to take heroic means to practice authentic empathy and interact with those using cynical empathy, the authentic empaths should feel free to do what they can to help cynical empaths to see the benefits of authentic empathy and learn how to practice it.

Authentic empaths also have the right to defend themselves against cynical empaths but are not advised to do so in ways that compromises their authenticity. Self care is imperative. If they need to leave to maintain their authenticity, that's fine. Some cynical empaths may, in the end, never want to shed their cynicism and became authentic. The final decision is their's. All that can be done with authentic empathy is to try helping others to reach their full authentic potential.

Also, keep in mind that authentic empathy does not give someone the right to define others or to impose definitions onto others. That can be hostile and a form of violation. If another asks for assistance to help find definition, help but do not force. You're role is to welcome, support, and contribute, not to define.

Feel free to accept or decline my definitions for your life. You may need them to read my future works, however, so please familiarize yourself with them if you intend on continuing to read my work and have discussions with me.

I may discarding, edit, or refine this terminology in the future. For now, though, I think these terms will provide much assistance in my discussion and future works. Any chance it helps you?

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Manic Twittervism

I spent last week in Boston, visiting friends and family and also scanned some pages of historical documents from some microfiche (amazingly easy). I came home at the end of the week, sick but hoping I only suffered from allergies. By Monday, I figured out that I had an annoying upper respiratory infection.

I've spent the week relieving symptoms while working and engaging in non-exerting routine and projects (minimal bike riding but still taking walks during lunch break). Been doing some TV watching, too (too much binge watching of Mr Robot season 3).

Recovery has gone well so far. I have a little too much energy right now. It has to go somewhere. My mind feels scattered with too much awareness at the moment, emotions and thought smashing against each other too much. So much chaos by that Shithead in Chief and his cronies.

I've done a lot of debating and discussing with a bunch of people in real life and on social media about social/political philosophy and the general state of society. A couple hours ago, I wrote an open status update about the abstractness of monetary policy, currency policy, macroeconomics, and the disconnection of our politicians (or in my opinion, the GOP and conservatives) with reality and theory aiming to describe and predict reality. Just the GOP's disregard for how their policies and actions affect everyday people shows it.

I had been working on and wanted to post a big essay before heading to Boston. I still plan to do so. For now, though, some Twittervism (which will include that rant):

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Friday, June 01, 2018

Some Twittervism Since Unlikely to Post for Another Week

I've been working on a longer essay over the last week or so that needs some work, and I won't have time for it over the next week or so. Here's hoping that some Twittervism will tide over the readers:

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Some Tips for Saving Major Bucks When Using Network Emergency Rooms in Illinois with Health Insurance Coverage

Have you ever found yourself with a big emergency room physician bill from Illinois and health insurance coverage from Illinois (individual policy or as an employer group member)? You might find these tips useful for cutting down costs and minimizing financial hardship.

If you don't fit these conditions and/or are not an Illinois resident, disregard the Illinois-specific tips unless you do some good research or receive authoritative advice that the Illinois-specific tip can work for you or not.

If you can see your own doctor in an office visit or go to a network urgent care center, go there. You will save much more using one of these other routes rather than using these tips.

If you don't have either of them available because it's a holiday, late at night, or you risk life, limb, or ability, however, follow these tips for saving possibly big bucks in Illinois with your Illinois insurance coverage (I'm starting this list of tips from square one because some people may not even know the first step to save on the emergency room):

The Federal [Patient Protection and] Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance companies to treat benefits for an Out of Network Emergency Room as a Network Emergency Room. However, the Emergency Room can balance bill the patient, meaning charge the patient more than the insurance company allows Network Emergency Rooms to charge.

The ACA provides some help but always try going to a Network Emergency Room. It's the first step to keeping costs down. The first step to saving money: Prevent balance billing.

If you get better benefits in the Emergency Room compared to the rest of the hospital (non-emergency benefits), stay in the Emergency Room. If you leave the Emergency Room, especially if you end up seeing an Out of Network doctor in the hospital, nothing I say here can help (it can happen, even if it's a network hospital).

This happened to me the first time I went to the Emergency Room on my own as an adult. I only got good benefits paid because I acted like a jerk to the claims representative and wouldn't let them off the phone. Now that I know better, I probably would take it and just sock it away as having done something stupid.

If you can get better benefits outside of the Emergency Room and you can make 100% sure to see a network doctor, go see that doctor. It can cost less than the Emergency Room. If you end up seeing an Out of Network doctor, though, I wash my hands and leave your fate to yourself.

Some policies have really good Emergency Room coverage, though, just require a copay for the Emergency Room. If you have real good coverage like this, just stay in the Emergency Room.

Now for the big tip that can save you big bucks in a Network Emergency Room in Illinois with health insurance coverage that originates in Illinois. Illinois has a law that requires Out of Network "facility-based providers" to NOT BALANCE BILL patients. Long story short, to the patient with health insurance originating in Illinois, it will feel like they're getting billing by a Network doctor. Instead of going after the patient for money in addition to what the insurance company says can be charged, the "facility-based provider" has to negotiate with your insurance company. Illinois law says that they have to leave you, the patient, alone.

Importantly, make sure to understand that Illinois defines a "facility-based provider" as the following type of providers that you see in a Network hospital when you have no choice or control over who you can see (if you had the ability to choose a network provider, this law will not protect you -- but for the most part, you don't have a choice while in the Emergency Room):

  • Radiology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Pathology
  • Neonatology
  • Emergency Department Services
As a health insurance agent in Illinois, I've helped some clients save some big money with this law. If you're in the situation that I've described and an Illinois Out of Network "facility-based provider" that you see without choice tries to charge you as an Out of Network provider, point out this law. If they don't believe that such a law exists or they ask you for the text, send them the following link:

They may want to have their legal department look it over, but you've got the law on your side. Their legal department should advise them to suck it up and stop charging you more than what your insurance company allows.

I suggest that you look over the law before sending it over, so you can be familiar with it and discuss it with the doctor's office. I especially suggest doing so because you don't want to invoke the law and send over language that doesn't apply to your situation.

You should not need a lawyer in this situation. If the doctor's billing department and their legal department refuse to relent on the bill after your valid exercise of this law, don't hesitate to go to the Illinois Attorney General Health Care Bureau. This Bureau should advocate and mediate for you with minimal, if any cost, using the powers of the Illinois Attorney General to do so. This very situation is one big reason we have the Attorney General Health Care Bureau.

If you somehow don't find success after tapping the Attorney General's office, it might be time to retain a good lawyer. I can't say they'll bring success, either, but who knows? A good, smart lawyer might be able to perform a miracle. I sincerely hope your travails don't reach this level, especially since you should have Illinois law supporting your position without question.

For people who get Emergency Room services in Illinois but have insurance coverage that originates outside of Illinois, feel free to try working some magic with this law. I can't remember reading anything in the law that requires the insurance coverage to actually originate in Illinois. I've only focused on health insurance that originates in Illinois because I don't have experience, expertise, or insurance licensing for health insurance outside of Illinois. If this law can benefit you, though, it's worth a shot, right? Trying to work it can pretty much just cost you some time, at the worst, and could yield some good savings. Don't take my word as law, though. Again, if you have the choice to use network providers, use network providers.

For anyone who has been victimized in a situation like this, especially in the last year or so, I wouldn't hesitate going back to that Out of Network "facility-based provider" and trying to get some money back or balance dramatically reduced through the power of this law. If you were over charged, you should not have been and the doctor's office broke the law. It's especially important to exercise laws like this because the less it's exercised, the less power it has. Embolden the law now for others in the future.

Good luck!

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Ruminating on Interregnum & Some Twittervism

I feel a wee bit disappointed but nothing to really worry about. Since the regular tax season ended, I've meant to write more regularly. The last couple weeks have gotten a little difficult, though. I have a lot of hypotheses around my project and the politics of today but feel disappointed about not having conclusions or at least useful sounding abductions. I've spent a lot of time jumping around the Internet just looking for leads on hypotheses, obsessively, mind you. The inconclusives ended up pretty much not enough research done or published, articles talking about generalized conclusions from "research" that isn't cited, or just the ruminations of some random person.

Ah well, so I guess that means more searching for answers. Nothing to worry about, though. Frustrating as the lashing out research gets, it provides me some focus. I just wish I had enough money to be independently wealthy, so I wouldn't have to worry about time too much. I could just study, write, study, write, and maybe venture out somewhere for a hike or adventure. Things will come together at some point. Having things come together earlier rather than later would just be more comfortable. That's life I guess.

All that said, have some Twittervism:

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Sunday, May 06, 2018

Must Remember Self-Care and Self-Compassion, Not to Give All In to Anger

This week, I realized that I have focused too much on angst and anger, not enough on love and happiness. This realization reminds me that even during these hard times filled with anger and despair, I can't forget love, kindness, and care.

In the middle of a near continuous ruminating cell phone text feed to Michi, we had the following exchange:

L (Lex): I've really been way too obsessd with project & "parallels" to current affairs.
M: Maybe a little
Keep in mind, I do tend to get very focused on things, am aware of it, and try to have a good sense of humor about it. Michi's response induced a chuckle, but it go me to thinking. My social media feeds have focused a lot on negative and anger-inducing matters. My project goes in that direction quite a bit, too.

Comparing the current state of how elections and politics work today provides me with a bit of understanding of the time period of Brook Farm, one of the utopian communites I'm studying, except things were scarier and darker then. Chattel slavery was legal. Brook Farm started in 1840, a few years after Andrew Jackson left office and after the Crash of 1837 had occurred. Really only white men had political power back then, and sometimes only white men who owned land. State governments chose who would be US Senators rather than through direct vote. The eve of the Mexican-American war, a time when that area of America had so many factions fighting each other, especially with sides picked by ethnicity, it reminds me of the modern
day Middle East with how often alliances and coalitions change between countries, activist groups, ethnic groups, militias, and terrorist groups.

Less enlightened times and more violent times back around 1840, understanding how the US ran things then and understanding how the country evolved to today can enlighten all of us quite a bit, while both depressing and inspiring. Engaging in this practice, along with the Charlottesville riots and [45]'s horrible reaction to them, inspired me at the end of August to get more involved in politics when I volunteered for Ameya Pawar's gubernatorial campaign here in Illinois. I need to get engaged in the political process again. . ..

But the focus of my social media expressiveness has gotten a lot into criticizing problematic parts of US culture, society, politics, and current state of government that induce rage and anager. All those aspects of this country need the criticism and activism to turn it around.

I've already made a post or two in attempt to provide some more uplift and brightness. I can't say much has come from it, but I'd like to try at least one post a day on a brighter note. Focusing so much on anger and despair, despite the validity for it, does not feel healthy.

A lot of my Facebook feed has a lot of angry posts, too. Even more frustrating, most of the posts just point out an example of something bad happening in the current administration, among the GOP, or by a certain group of people in the country. Maybe a few of the posts show a change of sentiment among a group that had, by and large, voted for [45] but now regret it. People hardly post petitions or actions for resistance to take these days, especially not concrete actions. These days, I'm more likely to quit Facebook because it's such downer, despite the validity of the anger and despair, rather than quit because of some data vulnerability issue.

Concrete action, even just action to come together for community and common cause and common humanity would do some good. Even moreso, though, we need to remember self care and self compassion. If we allow ourselves to be enveloped in anger, we can lose ourselves, lose our health, and become hollow shells.

The anger and despair is valid, some if it extremely valid that makes it hard to think of taking care of ouselves and taking care of others. The situations causing that anger and despair can be actual danger to certain communities and populations. Nonetheless, for our health and sanity, we need to remember that we need care and compassion, and we need to bring care and compassion to others, too, whether to people in our immediate communities or if possible and appropriate, to people not normally in our communities.

I'm still in the midst of re-organizing life these days, which takes up a lot of time. Nonetheless, while re-organizing, I want to try thinking up some ways to show myself self-compassion and self-care. Being in the midst of things makes it easy to push off coming up with ideas and executing them. Some people might find the caring and showing compassion easy, but not so much for me, it takes effort.

Anyone have any good ideas? Anyone engaging in some good self-care and self-compassion now even while they're protesting and expressing anger? Anyone just just have jokes or something, anything uplifting that you're willing to share? Feel free to share in the comments section.

And while we're at it, here's some Twittervism:

If you like what you see here and in the past and want to free me up for more, support my endeavors by Buying Me a Coffee!