Thursday, April 02, 2015

The Psychology Of The Human Race Puts Us On A Rising Curve Toward True Justice For All

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding



Above and below: more and more people worldwide are on the march to make justice for victims work

1. The “Just-World” Is Built

When we were children, we listened to fairy tales. Most cultures have a library of myths.

They frequently had ‘happy ever after’ endings, where everything worked out well, after many scares, struggles and deep sorrows. Rarely did the ‘bad people’ win, in the very end, although there were often sacrifices along the way required by those who were true to themselves, and cared for others and the world. The ruthless, selfish, greedy people often appeared in disguise - their ugly and scheming natures only revealed by chance at The End.

We often asked our fathers to read us these stories, before we were tucked up safely in bed. Usually we went to sleep reassured. This is because such tales reinforce a concept known as ‘the just-world’. In this just world, good thoughts and deeds are rewarded, eventually, and the bad and cruel actions will reap the punishment they deserve, even if patience is required until this comes about.

Our belief in this concept helps us, as we begin to go out in the world and face its stresses and dangers. It gives us hope and courage, in our tiny childhood bodies.

Our parents are our caretakers, there to guide us and protect us from harm. Good parents, who are teachers too, show us right from wrong, good from bad. We grow, and begin to form a sense of Self, a core self that finds meaning and values, experiences beauty and ugliness, joy and pain.

At least one of our caretakers will empathize with us, and give us what is known as validation. Gradually, we learn to be self-reliant and do this for ourselves, although we will always still turn towards the caretaker for this reassurance at certain times.

2. When Our Just-World is Broken

And then, suddenly, one day, something else happens. (Hopefully, this day doesn’t come when we are so very young - if it does, it is frequently disastrous).

Our belief in the Just World is fractured. It cracks, and comes crumbling down around us, terrifying us as it does. Life goes into slow motion, and we remember the colours, shapes, smells, words, for the rest of our lives. Someone who has done wrong is praised and rewarded, and the little person who is ‘me’, who was being as good as we knew how to be, is scolded, teased, taunted, hurt (perhaps physically), neglected, ignored, humiliated, punished. We suffer when we do not deserve to, sometimes when we least deserve to.

Most of all, our ‘caretaker’, whose function it is to protect us, now reprimands us, withdraws their love or approval and, worst of all, refuses to believe us. We are telling it as it is, telling the truth as we have been taught to do, and the very person we have entrusted with truth, rejects us, and believes the one who is lying. We feel despair,and we feel isolated. We panic inside, and experience fear as we have not known it.

Our adrenalin and other endocrine reactions are set in motion. Our heart thumps. We don’t know what to do, we feel numb, confused, it is hard to concentrate. We are unlikely to be able to say, at that point, - but what we are feeling is betrayal. All our inner security has temporarily dissolved.

Not only has the person insulted and harmed us with their wrong-doing, but they compounded this by sanctimoniously pretending that they were ‘put upon’, a victim no less, while simultaneously the true victim is blamed and derogated. It is outrageous, and moreover it is disempowering (at first).

It is our first experience of injustice.

3. The Experience of Acute Distress

If our psyche is healthy, we will recover, both physically and emotionally within a short period. Human beings have innate coping mechanisms, and we learn gradually to activate these. Different personalities develop different ways.

But the period of stress and distress does need to be of a short duration. This is important. If it is not, we now know that very real damage occurs. This is not something vague, but is actual, biological, involving the Hippocampus and other specific areas in the brain.

When we talk about ‘healing’, this is not just a fancy word for getting into a better mood : real healing and correction need to occur in the cell tissues. Stress really does damage your health, and if we need to take time out to recover from it, - this is a real need. The greater and more prolonged the distress, the longer the time needed to rebuild, to adapt and adjust. Music, and being in nature, often have an important role to play here. People find their own ways, in their own time.

The other thing of prime importance is contact and talking, sharing, with others to whom we feel bonded. It may seem like saying the obvious - but it has been shown that victims of trauma heal very much more quickly when their contact with their loved ones in the aftermath had been immediate.

What is needed is the opposite of isolation, which would simply increase the undermining of the sense of self and our own identity, which has been hurt, or sometimes splintered.

People are isolated in cases of torture - the perpetrators of it know this isolating alone is punishing, fragmenting, weakening and eroding to the self.

We need the validation of our true friends. Perhaps this is the origin of the saying, ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’.

To recap slightly : our first experience of having our illusion of a totally Just World challenged probably first occurs as we are growing up, perhaps at school or similarly.

I will not, here, address the very serious cases where child abuse happens in the home, where the damage may never be repairable (although a certain amount can be done, miraculously, with professional and skilled help). Neither is this the place to describe terrible trauma caused by murder and terrorism. Extreme experience of injustice, especially continuous, leads to severe trauma, which at the extreme end leads to PTSD.

Needless to say, those who survive need the utmost sensitivity and skill to help them deal with the sheer inhumanity of their situations.

4. The Caretaker in the Wider World

As we go out into the world, ‘the family’ and with it, the head of the family or the main caretaker extends onto a more macro scale. The head of an institution becomes the caretaker. The headmaster or headmistress has a duty of care and protection : they are ‘in loco parentis’.

And so on upwards - the head of a large company where we may work has to duty of care that his employees are kept safe; we have local heads of government, police commissioners etc., whose responsibility includes the safety and protection of the citizens - this is achieved through law and order. And so we finally go to the top, and have the governments of countries, and their judiciary and courts, and the Head of State.

Governments carry the ‘caretaker’ role for the people, the citizens. They are entrusted with our ultimate safety, security and defence - against violence, against terror, unreason, and the break-down of law and order into chaos and tyranny. We entrust them to save us from barbarism.

It is because they have this extension of the caretaker role (a leader will sometimes be called ‘The Father of the Nation’), that when something goes badly wrong, we can feel betrayed. Our own personal memories of betrayal, which may exist in layers of many chapters, can suddenly be triggered. It matters not that physically, personally, we may not be anything like in proximity or involved in what has just happened.

A feeling of insecurity, of being totally let down, indeed of being betrayed, is experienced in the collective, the caretaker of which is the top of government and judiciary.
The shockwaves in the collective trigger our personal memories of our own past trauma. Just as happens when someone we know is bereaved, and we then suddenly recall our own bereavements, as clear as day. Our own memories are re-experienced within the present, integrated into the collective event.

When a member of the Royal Family (in Britain) for whom there is much affection, dies, one can see an outpouring of collective sentiment. Some may disparage it (as in, ‘well, how could they possibly have known her!’ etc), but the phenonomen of collective sentiment is very real, and contains more than the sum of its parts. As all collective moods, it will operate as a wave - a wave that may sweep reason aside.





5. Injustice Is So Like Bereavement

Injustice affects us as bereavement does. When we are bereaved, and perhaps especially when we lose a parent (our original ‘caretaker’), we are affected physiologically as well as emotionally.

Our fear responses are heightened, (sometimes called heightened arousal), our heart rate changes, our concentration and memory are affected, as too our ability to regulate our emotions (be overwhelmed by them); our perception itself is affected, including our perception of who we are ourselves, our very core identity.

It is very common to feel we have lost a part of ourself with the loss of the one we loved, or, importantly, who loved us. Their love for us was part of what made us feel valid. How many feel, when bereaved, lost themselves, - rudderless, as it were? We have to re-learn, and validate ourselves.

Why, you may wonder, are we discussing bereavement here? Because the responses that we go through (and it happens involuntarily) are the same as when experiencing the distress of injustice, or injustice trauma where it is extreme.

The same shattering of world-view is involved, and the same loss of security, which affects us fundamentally.

We need ‘safe-holding’ - first our parents provide this, then gradually other people and other structures out in society provide this keeping of us safe and secure. Being able to dependably rely on the administrators of just law to do exactly that is a very important part of our security. We trust them. We trust our government to use their powers judiciously, to look after our best interests, or at least to try.

If suddenly justice itself appears from every logical perspective to be in fact injustice, it is a great threat to our psychological security, for reasons I’ve tried to explain.

If the collective has been subject to such stress, then the process of repair or healing is required to happen in the collective, exactly as it is when the injustice stress or trauma has occurred on a personal level. It is just as essential. As one of our commentators said, ‘Silence is not an option’.

But fortunately, humanity is resourceful. We can all think of ways and times when people of every diversity have come together in adversity, and pulled together, in generosity, kindness and strength. There is the dual instinct in most people (who are not dysfunctional, damaged or disturbed) which is for both justice and compassion - civilized, just action - .. and when we recover from the adrenalin state, where one feels temporarily stunned in disbelief, we slowly regain our ability to creatively engage in the present.

6. How The Healing Process Works

Many people come and seek out counselling when they are recovering from extended periods of stress and distress, caused by a wide variety of reasons, and within a wide spectrum of severity. There are a number of effective techniques to aid the self-therapy.

These include understanding one’s own fear responses and calming these; recognizing personal triggers, and having a method to deal with flashbacks when they occur; working on acceptance, and being ‘grounded’ or anchored; and learning to create a feeling of safety and security for yourself in the present, and recalling the stressful time but placing it carefully in the past.

7. Narrative Therapy For RS And AK

Sollecito admitted to lies, Knox served three years for lies, and both are still on trial in Florence for many more. Even their best friends know that.

In order to make progress in recovery, with counselling, some sort of ‘narrative therapy’ is needed, where what has been so distressing can be processed and talked about from the perspective of the present, looking back and making sense -  but not talking as if one is still there in the experience.

To be able to arrive at this narrative is an important healing step. But if instead, the story is made of fragmented flashbacks, and the talk slips back into the present tense, as if the person is there again at the scene…really this is not good news. (cf AK was doing this in one of her last interviews last year - the one where she talked about ‘the corpse’).

There is avoidance, where the person can’t bear to think about the stress, and there are intense flashbacks, re-lived, - which can re-traumatise.

The narrative that we seek, and that helps bring calm and the ability to move forward, is neither of these. But to reach the good narrative the person will have to go through the detail of the traumatic event, and face the pain it causes them. They will have to be truthful. The therapist helps them do this incrementally, within a very safe environment. It does work, but it takes time - the greater the trauma, the greater the time.

This knowledge is useful to anyone recovering from a major stressful life event, but the reason I mention it here is in thinking about our two ex-defendants. Stepping aside for the moment from the flip-flopping judgement delivered, - what concerns me is whether and how healing is possible - for everyone.

There are so very many deeply disturbing aspects to this dreadfully drawn-out case, - most have been noted. But one that disturbs me most is that the ex-defendants have wound themselves up to delivering false narratives to the media circuses - to the point where they can’t now recant them without getting their respective knickers in a complete twist, knots that can’t be unravelled, nor make any sense.

As it is, it seems we have two ghosts who held down Meredith, where Guede was the third man.

My serious point here being that, for their own sakes if no-one else’s, the ex-defendants will need to tell a truthful narrative, in order to find any kind of reasonable and balanced functioning in their lives.

Quite simply, healing will not be possible unless they arrive at telling a truthful narrative in the way I touched on above - even if this is in confidentiality, to a therapist, - it will need to be done. It cannot be done in fiction.

If they do not go through the necessary steps in the process as outlined - instability, gross insecurity, and states of fear and anxiety will persist, and the trauma can and will always re-emerge unpredictably, and haunt and shadow their lives with flashbacks.

This process is well-known, and well-documented.

This site is primarily to support the Kercher family, who are the genuine, innocent victims of the most appalling trauma - one that has been selfishly drawn out by ruthless external forces, thus putting their own recovery in jeopardy, and causing great suffering.

They should always have been put first, but now, at this point in time, it is more vital than ever.

They will need, as all victims in recovery, to be able to make their ‘good narrative’. But they cannot fully do so without the truth - even if it has to remain just a sketch of the truth. I wish with all my heart they can find the whole narrative that they need - I do not know how at this point, with so much obfuscation abounding.

But I do not give up hope : healing can always arrive, for those with good will, and good hearts…so however long it takes, I have faith that it can, and it will.




Comments

Thank you SeekingUnderstanding for this clear exposition of the critical need for honesty in any healing, and the broad steps needed to attain psychological wholeness.

Inevitably (and as I think you imply) this will entail “staying with the pain” until it’s transformed by honesty and awareness.

I hadn’t heard of Narrative Therapy before - sounds interesting.

I hope your piece is read by those who most need it (if that’s not too subtle!).

Posted by Odysseus on 04/02/15 at 05:09 PM | #

Hello Odysseus,

Yes, sadly, errors and terrible mistakes that occur in life can in fact often be traced back to someone (or more) who cannot face up to pain within themselves.

We have all heard the common place phrase ‘taking it out on others’....some people who are hurting badly inside cannot deal with it, and attempt (in vain) to push their hurt away by hurting others.

Therapy can stop this cycle - but therapy is not an easy road, and requires both courage and commitment.

Although it may not be called ‘narrative therapy’ by name - this method is widely used as an approach or basis in much or even most counselling.

People who have been very severely traumatised or damaged are not able to respond to /partake in building such a narrative, or may not be ready for it.

One almost has to heal up to a certain point first. The method is suitable for the majority of people, who are already aiming to self-correct, and adjust.

This is why persons need to volunteer for therapy, and feel at ease with the therapist. It is all about not forcing. And honesty.

It is a wonderful thing that even in some of the most distressing bereavements, some people are able to adjust and adapt to life again (“heal”) all on their own, without intervention, just social support perhaps.

After all, bereavement is natural, and people have always been bereaved.

Murder though is unnatural, which produces extra-ordinary problems.

It asks for extra-ordinary compassion and sensitivity too. Let’s hope we see some now, from all quarters.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/02/15 at 05:59 PM | #

@SeekingUnderstanding,

This kind of expository post is very comforting, thank you. I had felt like it was “the end of the world” last Friday as I sat stunned at my computer, but thanks people on this site I am starting to have faith in “the bigger picture.”

However,  I have to admit that “If they do not go through the necessary steps in the process as outlined - instability, gross insecurity, and states of fear and anxiety will persist, and the trauma can and will always re-emerge unpredictably, and haunt and shadow their lives with flashbacks”  - this is kind of how I want them to spend the rest of their days.

Every time I would feel a twinge sorry for either of them simply as a person who is carrying all this, they would open their mouths again.

Posted by Wascana on 04/02/15 at 09:29 PM | #

Hi Wascana

I know how you feel.

The odds are, though, that with the horror of the trauma (and the drawn out saga for 8years), some flashback and high anxiety might be predictable whatever.

I actually think the path chosen of concealment of the full truth, PR, etc.etc, has been very damaging to themselves, as well as many others. It’s extended the trauma. It needn’t have been.

One just needs to think from the perspective of the least harm now.

Someone who hasn’t done the work to get over their trauma will not just be unhappy themselves - but are far more likely to pose a risk of harm - or at the very least of unreliability - to others.

In PTSD, where the wounds from trauma are so severe and haven’t or cannot be healed, there is a very real possibility that there will be violent re-enaction. This is highly destructive, and needs to be prevented. Such a person is not in control.

Healing ourselves helps others. And vice versa - refusing to help yourself, and behaving dishonestly can only hurt others, and badly.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/02/15 at 09:54 PM | #

@SeekingUnderstanding, thank you for your insight on loss of justice as a bereavement that we grieve. Also you explain the need for an honest narrative to bring people mental health. The truth matters.

I think Amanda has used avoidance and she justifies it like Sollecito does by clinging to family honor.


Music does help. Christian Leontioux: “No more trouble in my soul…no more time to make me whole, I’ll be on my way” from his song, “Some Say”, is strangely comforting as if Meredith is free from all the misery now. She has gone to a place of perfection.

Also a tune by an artist I don’t really care for but Willie Nelson does a tenderly powerful yet simple rendition of “Uncloudy Day”.

Posted by Hopeful on 04/02/15 at 11:44 PM | #

thank you Hopeful. I am finding music at present.

If the respective families (especially AK’s) had understood a little more of psychological processes, they would not have colluded with avoidance, and suppression of the full truth.

They would have known that it would increase the probability of long-lasting damage to their mental health.

But then, with father K’s statement that his daughter would never see a therapist, it’s not exactly an enlightened or open-minded attitude.

Sollecito’s father may have been more aware - there did seem to be points early on where he wanted his son to separate from AK completely. who knows.

Hope to goodness he influences the situation now (even though his son is over 30) using his doctor’s knowledge and contacts. It seems he had tried to control the drug-taking.

Drink and drugs of course are all too frequently turned to, as an instant way to attempt to avoid pain, and painful thoughts and memories.

Not to say that a little isn’t good, of course - it’s just the excess, and misuse.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/03/15 at 12:42 AM | #

thank you.

Posted by Bettina. on 04/03/15 at 12:54 AM | #

I am not a Willie Nelson fan either but I just bought a Willie Nelson piano music book at a used book store, I love his version of Uncloudy day!

Posted by Mark on 04/03/15 at 03:20 AM | #

Thanks SU.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 04/03/15 at 04:31 AM | #

What an interesting and thought-provoking post, SeekingUnderstanding, and yet how kind and compassionate rather than cold and clinical. Thank you for that.

I think you have addressed some important aspects which many of us have been struggling with for the past week - namely, how traumatic betrayal can be and how much it has in common with bereavement. While I think everyone has had their “just world” shattered to pieces a long time ago, it probably never ceases to be a shock every time it happens.

*** This turned out to be a long post, so it’s okay if you stop reading here.

Fairy tales are something I’ve been interested in for a long time now. I think it’s actually quite unfortunate that they’ve been appropriated as a children’s genre and subsequently sanitized, as this shift has placed them completely in the realm of the fantastical and served to trivialize and obscure their purpose.

Folk and fairy tales were not created to give children an opportunity to process their fears, as Bruno Bettelheim argued, although it is true that they were later adapted for this purpose. Rather, they were invented by disenfranchised adults in order to make sense of the profoundly unjust world in which they lived, and some of them bear testimony to the strength and unbreakability of the human spirit.

In a number of ways, more recent examples like the tales of Hans Christian Andersen and Oscar Wilde come from a similar place, but are far more nuanced. “The Little Mermaid,” which has been so cruelly sanitized by Disney Inc, is in fact deeply autobiographical, I believe. His small, delicate, silenced heroines are stand-ins for himself, for the boy actor with a marvelous soprano voice whose theater career ended when his voice changed and for the fledgling writer who suffered terrible abuse during his school years and was discouraged and prevented from writing.

As for the prince and princess, Andersen is said to have been in love with his patron’s son, who got married to a woman. And while the ending is not manifestly Christian in form, it is so in concept, as it suggests that the sacrifices and injustices of this world will be redressed in the next, although even the innocent might have to atone in pursuit of an immortal soul. That’s pretty terrible, if you ask me, as beautiful as it may sound, because what it ultimately means is that sometimes, in the middle of a fiction meant to inspire some sort of hope, all that hope can be pinned on is yet another fiction. Andersen most likely didn’t mean it like this, but the fairy tale within the fairy tale is all the more heartbreaking for the contemporary reader.

As for Wilde, as much as he fashioned himself into an agent provocateur, an aesthete, and a consummate cynic, the sadness and hopelessness of his tales speak of a man who must have despised superficiality and injustice, and who craved to be loved for what he was, rather than for who he cleverly made himself to be. As much as he denounced the seeking of a moral meaning in literature (some stories are well written and some aren’t), I don’t think he was able to avoid feeling partial to those who suffered and found no succor. Otherwise, his stories would be devoid of humanity, which is not the case at all. It’s hard not to weep for the little sparrow, for the powerless prince, for the nightingale, or for the poor heartbroken dwarf.

The reason I thought about these stories in this context is because they are far more sophisticated than the crude folk tales of our ancestors, in which justice had to be reinstated or the entire world would have broken down and become unbearable. I think they speak much more pointedly not only about the experience of injustice, but about the prolonged trauma of living with it day after day, without an end in sight. And I’m afraid that this is what Meredith’s family will have to live with unless something is done to correct the situation. I’m just not sure who the deus ex machina can be in this situation - a special review committee? the Italian president?

***

As far as the others are concerned, what you are saying about narrative therapy of course makes sense.

However, I think it presupposes a typical psyche, one capable of empathy and remorse. What if neither is actually present? I would imagine that if that were the case, the only negative feelings associated with a false narrative would be those of discontent due to its imperfections and perhaps fear that it would collapse at some point and expose its weavers to anger and punishment. 

Realistically speaking, it’s probably something in between.  One of them seems desperate to distance himself from certain labels and intent on exacting revenge.  I don’t know how typical that is of an innocent person; it might be, because being innocent of a crime doesn’t mean you have to be a pacifist or to stoically forgive your oppressors; on the other hand, it points to a need to control the greater narrative and to eliminate those who might bring about a catastrophic exposure. I don’t really know what the other one is doing, other than enjoying the attention and exploring ways in which it can be prolonged and the false narrative further exploited.

This makes me wonder - is therapy actually effective in these cases? Can you fix something which might not have broken along the way, but perhaps was atypical from the beginning?

***

The tragic thing about this clash of competing narratives is that, like Stephanie Kercher wrote a couple of years ago, Meredith’s own story has been almost forgotten. What I find heartbreaking is that she never had the chance to fashion her own narrative and has instead been cast as an absent character in a story which has become not about her, but about itself (a self-reflecting narrative, if you will, because at this point we devote just as much time to understanding how the narrative was constructed and how it can be saved as we do to the actual events).

Posted by Vivianna on 04/03/15 at 05:09 AM | #

Hello Vivianna

Thank you for reading and thinking about the post. I wanted to write it in the view of what appears to be the finality of this surprise judgement. It is particularly difficult where no or little hope remains for gaining justice.

I read somewhere that justice isn’t given - it is exacted. That is so true : it is something we have to struggle for.

*
Regarding fairy tales, I am in agreement with you - stories that exist in some eternal sphere, regardless of age, or years lived.

Oscar Wilde, yes. I have given The Happy Prince collection of stories to 3 different adults, - as a birthday present!

Another small book, perhaps in a similar vein (I wonder if you know of it, perhaps out of print now…) is called The Miracle of Tears, written by Queen Marie of Romania, and illustrated beautifully by Sulamith Wulfing.

It is said to be suitable for ‘9 to12’, but I gave this to someone 62! Some might find it sentimental, but if one looks below the layers of message, I find it says something profound about the nature of compassion, how needed it is, and how it so easily is absent from an adult world.

*
With regard to my last section, above, re narrative therapy. I am all too aware that I am describing what is possible for the ‘normal’ and not atypical psyche.

I felt we have looked comprehensively at the personality disordered person or psyche, and know something of the fact that at the extreme end it is both untreatable and incurable, as well as how dangerous and destructive this personality type is.

I hoped my audience would forgive me for not going there again- I did feel perhaps it was time to think about and write for those who can get better…for where there is hope.

With regard to the male of the duo, leaving aside the dark hours of the night of Nov 1st (which have been bleached out of view) - there is provably a false narrative constructed regarding the aftermath.

When he has said ‘I never want to see AK again’, and ‘I wish I had never met her’, and ‘This is all her doing…why we are here’, (etc) - these are said with feeling and meaning. This is the area where the pain is, and I would suggest it would take many, many years for such a client to get to the bottom of all this, if indeed they are willing to.

Innocent people do often show great anger, but they also manifest other characteristics, such as openness - they will blurt the truth out exactly as it is/was with immediacy, and will also be consistent,- although interestingly, they may misremember small details - too ‘perfect’ a story is also not likely!

One gets used to reading the signs in counselling, but it is difficult to know - much remains intuitive.

I too thought it timely to remember Meredith’s story. I read again an old article from a magazine (was it Cosmopolitan ?), where Stephanie talked about her sister at length, and the sort of person she was. So good to think about her.

*
It is Good Friday. Whether religious or atheist, Christ’s crucifixion can also be viewed as a story and myth. And it is the story of huge Injustice, and the ultimate scapegoat, who too was turned on by the unthinking mob (collective) in their primitive unknowing.

The collective, though, in some areas and times, has changed and evolved in 2,000 years.  That is grounds for hope.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/03/15 at 09:56 AM | #

Long long ago, I asked one of my students to read the story about the happy prince, which I read in school.

She came back after a few days and asked me: why did you ask me to read such a strange story? Why do people write such strange stories?

So I answered: why did the almighty god create so much suffering, so much sorrow and so much inequality? Why there is a continuous struggle between the good and bad?

When she completed her work and bid her farewell to the lab and to me, she mentioned: I read the Kreutzer Sonata and I could not sleep for a few days.

I told her: now you know the difference between a story and real life. There is none except how you present it.

Thank you for the last gift from the Pandora’s box.

Posted by chami on 04/03/15 at 10:36 AM | #

Thank you, chami, thank you for sharing that.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/03/15 at 11:30 AM | #

Hi S-U, Vivianna and Chami

The fine 2011 movie “Red Riding Hood” with Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman keeps adults awake at night some. I’d not recommend it to children and its rated PG13 here.

There are cable TV channels here which get back to early Christianity incessantly and of course some reports are airing currently. Back then, few could write, and most gathered to hear this and that imparted to them.

Jesus seems to have been a part of quite an industry which consisted of turning up in villages and being surrounded by a crowd to have their world-view enhanced that way. Some of the TV programs continue into the next several centuries. SeekingUnderstanding wrote this:

It is Good Friday. Whether religious or atheist, Christ’s crucifixion can also be viewed as a story and myth. And it is the story of huge Injustice, and the ultimate scapegoat, who too was turned on by the unthinking mob (collective) in their primitive unknowing.

The collective, though, in some areas and times, has changed and evolved in 2,000 years.

It didnt of course take 2,000 years for the body of narratives in the Bible to transform the Roman Empire.  The prophet Mohammad advanced his cause through stories. Now the fight is on between factions (greatly driven in my experience by poor economic prospects) to legitimize their cause through this or that narrative.

We have a very powerful six-hour play now in New York, Wolf Hall (by Hillary Mantel and a huge cast from the Royal Shakespeare Company). I saw it on Wednesday.  This play is about Henry VIII and his court (then at Greenwich) set within the strains all across England and northern Europe between national sovereignty and Rome.

The play is really about shaping the popular story - Henry VIII was no tyrant, and everything he did in his contortions to leave an heir had to be legitimized - with Thomas Cromwell as the brilliant main shaper of the twisting narrative.

We all have world views - paradigms - and they can be enormously hard to shake if they are “wrong” without, well, brute force.  In the managing of large-group change processes, narratives - scenarios - are accepted as the ONE way to get a lot of compass needles all facing one way.

Of course in the months after the attack on Meredith there was incessant tension between defense forces in Perugia and defense forces in the US over the control of the narrative. Prosecution had next to no input, they could say almost nothing except in documents and hearings, and in that battle largely sat on the sidelines.

Its worth noting that the Perugia and Florence prosecutions had no role in the narrative in the Cassation hearings either, though the original defenses sure did.

It is a bit hard to contribute to a balanced and truthful narrative when one may not talk freely and is not even officially present.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/03/15 at 04:17 PM | #

@Pete

Yes, we have to engage the imagination and ‘go on journeys’, probably in order for the mind to relax enough to start being co-operative!

It’s probably to do with shifting more into the right hemisphere of the brain, from the left - or crossover, using both sides together?

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/03/15 at 04:42 PM | #

In growth management? Yes exactly that. Part of what is going on is aggression and territorial imperative being defused a bit, wound down a bit, so that a sustainable group dynamic emerges.

One of the highest paying occupations for women after medicine is the process managing of such group building. Men as you know are all roosters.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/03/15 at 05:24 PM | #

@SU, yes, I’m familiar with “The Miracle of Tears”! I don’t own a copy myself, but I’m going to get one for my friend’s birthday now that you mentioned it.  I know she’s going to love the illustrations.

Posted by Vivianna on 04/03/15 at 08:56 PM | #

Lovely post, SeekingUnderstanding.

The suggestion had been made (and there is probably some truth to it), that working yourself crazy, or overloading your life are ways to cope and to avoid dealing with harsh underlying problems.

If you are constantly preoccupied, or tell yourself that there are more pressing matters, it enables one to go about their life seeming fairly functional.  It doesn’t address the underlying problem, but ‘‘defers’’ it for a while.

Healing and repairing are important.  No question about it.  The Kerchers are probably feeling incredibly let down.

One thing I wondered, now that Knox and Sollecito are completely free, would either of them ever tell the real truth?  It would go a long way towards settling on what the story was, but they are far too invested to ever do it.  They may heal inside, but would have to face the wrath of their former supporters.

On a less pleasant note, so much for Knox being able to tell an honest narrative ...  Even the Seattlites posting comments are not kind to her….

http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/amanda-knox-moving-forward-with-gratitude-and-a-purpose/

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/amanda-knox-vows-give-voice-wrongfully-convicted-n335376

http://news.yahoo.com/amanda-knox-vows-behalf-wrongly-convicted-175932437.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3024864/Foxy-Knoxy-campaigner-justice-Amanda-Knox-says-ll-work-overturn-wrongful-convictions-sensational-clearing-murdering-Meredith-Kercher.html

Knox seems prepared to milk her ‘‘celebrity’’ status, again.  Wonder if this will be like the last time she ‘‘wanted to help innocent people’‘

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2549990/She-Ice-Maiden-Amanda-Knox-reinvented-teary-American-TV-star-cold-unemotional-Italian-jail-says-prison-guard.html

Posted by Chimera on 04/03/15 at 11:57 PM | #

Thanks Chimera. I hope you’re doing well…and best wishes to everyone this Easter weekend.

Will you excuse me for being indifferent to all the present shenanigans?

My prime concern is for the Kerchers, that they do not suffer more than they have to, -this has been unwarranted already.
Italy and U.S. (or some quarters of) may have gotten what they wanted ...but England has been poorly served. (I differentiate England from the U.K as Scotland has a third verdict available, which is ‘not proven’).

Yes, I have noticed what you observed about ‘drowning sorrows in work’. It can be part of avoidance, and a complication of the Puritan work ethic.
On the other hand, suffering pain and injustice can be a tremendous motivator towards achieving positive change, as Pete indicated above re crises.
As usual, ‘nothing too much’...or nothing in excess…
*
A further note on counselling.
I think many are aware that we have a right to chose a counsellor - if we don’t feel entirely comfortable or ‘safe’ with a new therapist, we shouldn’t be obliged to accept them/ their services. We need to feel empathy and not judgementalism.

But equally, a counsellor has the right, and sometimes a duty, to refuse someone for a client in certain circumstances. The line can be drawn differently, but two criteria that might have to be met are:
1) if there is a drink or drug misuse problem, this has to already be under control (or else therapy would be ineffective).
2) if the potential client is consistently unable -for whatever reason - to speak truthfully, to answer direct questions in a sincere way…again it would simply be a waste of time.

So I’m not inclined to engage with those who are persistently evasive, repeatedly disingenuous or manipulative, or quite simply, who deliberately lie.
We do, as a society, have to get better at recognising serious personality disordered persons, and, quite honestly, protect ourselves from the havoc that can ensue, in the psyche and in life. Sorry to repeat myself!

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/04/15 at 10:17 AM | #

@Chimera

you say “now that Knox and Sollecito are completely free”- I doubt.

Education, Knowledge and Realization are the three steps of freedom. Of course I am talking about intellectual freedom. Nobody can take away your intellectuality but perhaps someone can stop you from walking in the middle of the road or murdering your flatmate. You know what I mean. The crime has embraced these two like a disease.

Both of them will remain eternally imprisoned in their conscience. Yes, even criminals do have conscience. They will see her in dreams and hear her screams in nightmares and feel her presence everywhere. That is not called freedom.

And, whether they would tell the truth or not, the truth will come out, eventually. I do not know how nor even when but it will surely come out. I do not know what the justices are going to write to justify their actions but I am sure that now they are feeling somewhat bothered. Just like a microscopic thorn in the corner of their heart.

Did they botch up the verdict?

Only The Truth can have full freedom. It does not mutate or conjugate.

Just like the wiki of McCalls.

Posted by chami on 04/04/15 at 06:24 PM | #

Yes, people who have committed serious wrong-doing have an inner need to confess, also to describe it.

Something will be said at some point.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/04/15 at 06:32 PM | #

@seekingunderstanding,  Knox would no doubt get much pleasure from discussing the details of her crime with a like minded sicko.  The loss of Sollecito must therefore sting!

Posted by MHILL4 on 04/04/15 at 10:18 PM | #

Happy Passover and Easter to friends, and, to the Meredith Kercher community.

The verdict, while disappointing, is not the end of the case. There WILL be a translation of the Marasca Report, and all of you will be invited to discuss and critique it.

And PMF, TJMK, and the Meredith Kercher Wiki will be around to present the evidence pointing to the guilt and involvement of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Posted by Ergon on 04/04/15 at 11:14 PM | #

Thanks for your post, Seeking Understanding. The human race does indeed, seek understanding, and, justice.

Posted by Ergon on 04/04/15 at 11:15 PM | #

“The human race does indeed, seek understanding, and, justice”- True. But I am truly worried the way indoctrination has been working in this case. An army has been set up to fight for one accused the way I have never seen before.

Note my use of the word “indoctrination”. The style is quite same as used by the terrorists and fundamentalists and other “non-state actors”. Many will remember the story of Patty Hearst (I do not recall the details but it made the headlines).

Also recall their use of the word “lone wolf”. Basically it is a story of “we” vs “they”. The truth vs the propaganda. The first round has been won by propaganda. Scary but not really hopeless.

Faith in the justice must be restored. The eternal hope must not perish. Because that is all our civilization is about.

Posted by chami on 04/05/15 at 07:20 AM | #

@Chami,

Unfortunately I can see this means of getting away with murder becoming popular.  It has set a precedent.  When the parents of Madeleine McCann contacted Sky and members of the UK government prior to contacting the police after their daughter ‘went missing’ they set this ball rolling.  If you can successfully surround yourself with media support and political power you can literally torture and murder and remain free.

Of course, this depends on politicians who are happy to excuse murder and journalists who are too lazy and unprofessional to do their job properly.  The staggering thing is that all of the evidence of guilt is there if you take the time to read the reports, and to do so without bias.  In the same way that Knox left her evidence on the knife, in the mingled blood, in her lies, her cell phone evidence, etc, the McCanns left evidence of their daughter (the scent of death) in the boot of their rental car and their holiday apartment.

Both the Italians and the Portuguese released the evidencial reports so there is no excuse for anyone supporting Knox and the McCanns to NOT know the full facts.  People who cry innocence with no knowledge, or because they are murderer apologists, should be shamed.

Posted by MHILL4 on 04/05/15 at 12:09 PM | #

Further to my message above, I referred to Knox when I mentioned torture and murder, not the McCanns.  It’s my view that Madeleine died as a result of an accidental head injury or an angry lashing out that inadvertently resulted in a fatal head injury.

Posted by MHILL4 on 04/05/15 at 12:13 PM | #

I had one of my lucid dreams on the second night after the Madeleine incident.
I saw (in my dream) her little body floating out to sea and disappearing.
I never knew what to think about it all - but I always believed she would never be found.

I believe that legally now it is inadvisable to assert definite guilt publicly, although privately we may consider what we will : there is no limit to freedom of thought - as chami said above, there the true freedom resides.

Humanity is lost if the majority cannot - or will not - discern between propaganda and what is true.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/05/15 at 01:01 PM | #

Hi MHILL4

We have the Robert Durst case in the news in the US now so I cannot deny what you are saying about money and PS influence!

But I think it may be easier for PR in the UK and Italy. Crime TV in the US is extremely pro prosecution + pro victim and there is a constant drumbeat still against Casey Anthony who was found not guilty.

Someone posted this on Dot Org:

My daughter pointed out that from what she has noted on social media and some of the sites she frequents is that Knox now seems to be being seen as on the same level as OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony; apparently some people who were uncertain now see a big question mark over her innocence.

...Amanda’s problem now is that she has a core group of creepy fanboy/cultists who think she owes them her freedom and she’s going to find it a bit difficult to get rid of of them.

And Knox has a lot of legal headaches coming up still. She didnt ever vote for the PR and in the long run may find it a millstone.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/05/15 at 04:02 PM | #

Media misreporting on crime has been big news in the US for a while now because Rolling Stone published what turned out to be an inaccurate and possibly entirely made up accusation which damaged many peoples’ lives.

Other US media and journalism schools have been really shocked at how easy it was to hoodwink the American public, at least for a while.

On Sunday, the Columbia University (NYC) School of Journalism will be posting an investigation into this.

http://www.vox.com/2015/4/5/8347011/uva-rolling-stone-report

That same school (which is across the river from where I live) was briefly critical of American media coverage of the Perugia case.

Had the NY Times and journalism schools like that one done the right thing, the PR would have been pushed back, and two governments would not have been so freaked at a battle over extradition.

What we saw in the media toward Italy and the Perugia case was hundreds of times worse than a single article in Rolling Stone.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/05/15 at 04:20 PM | #

This piece, written by lecturer and writer Nora Bateson, has just appeared on Facebook.

It seems appropriate for this day and this page and will hopefully lift spirits:

“I don’t need to be religious to join the entire natural world of the northern hemisphere in its renewal at this time each year. I am a leaf, or a field turning green again. I am a branch of blossoms and a rushing creek of new water. Everything seems to seek the warm sunshine and make spring’s promises in the yellow light—promises to be colorful, to start over, to choose innocence over cynicism, to hold life lightly so it can find its own angles… In contrast to the long threads of sharp stories that seem to wind us deeper in destruction, the early morning birdsong is the real revolution. The little fellows are keeping the tune of the pure of heart, lifting gravity off its sofa in shameless lightness, just for fun. Happy Easter.”

Happy Easter to all at TJMK.

Posted by Odysseus on 04/05/15 at 04:49 PM | #

Thank you Odysseus, that’s a lovely thought, and bringing us into the present.
I heard some happy birds today, even though it’s been cloudy.

One in particular at the top of a tree : it was a chaffinch.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 04/05/15 at 07:07 PM | #

Hi SeekingUnderstanding

Your last two sentences are like a little haiku, worthy of Basho!

I like “sitting quietly doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself”, which some have attributed to Basho. Anyway, it’s a nice zen-like proverb pointing out the utter futility of the ego. 😊

Posted by Odysseus on 04/05/15 at 08:30 PM | #

Christ is risen, He is risen indeed! Happy resurrection to everyone.

In a quiet hour between Easter events I found an old notebook this morning with memories of 2010, 2011, 2012. In among family stuff were notes about Amanda’s old story she wrote called, “The Model” of Nov. 6, 2006 with the line, “house vacant like a new tomb” and Knox’s characters Aislin and Nadya. Also found notes about the Marche boys who lived downstairs and discussed that Meredith’s old room was once Marta’s room. Fragments from the case, going back so many years, even printouts of Jane Velez-Mitchell ripping into Mignini. More happily there were poems to Meredith and about Meredith, she is the beautiful one in all this.

Since perhaps the defendants’ prayers in Rome churches were answered and they received a second chance and mercy at the hands of the Supreme Court, it is probably time to back off and see what they’ll do with it. If there’s good in their hearts either from actual innocence or deep remorse, that will eventually come to light. If there’s guilt and evil, that will work its way to the surface to be clearly seen in years ahead if not months. Like the haiku in Odysseus’ comment, “the grass grows by itself”, no need to force life to happen. It has a power of its own.

Peace to all of you and especially Meredith’s family as they decorate the cemetery and reflect on eternal life in our Lord Jesus Christ which is what Meredith would have learned at the Old Palace School of John Whitgift. As the angel said, “He is not here, He is risen.”

Posted by Hopeful on 04/05/15 at 11:10 PM | #

Happy Easter and Pesach to everyone celebrating this week and the next. And I guess happy chocolate feast to those of us who are not religious.

Some interesting books I’ve collected throughout the years, since I continue to find religion interesting (just a few favorites on their way to “classic” status, which I hope won’t offend anyone):

Jose Saramago - The Gospel According to Jesus Christ

Nikos Kazantzakis - Christ Recrucified; The Last Temptation of Christ

Jorge Luis Borges - “Three Versions of Judas,” from Ficciones

Posted by Vivianna on 04/06/15 at 08:57 AM | #

It’s Easter and I wish a Happy Easter to all. Just over a week since the shock verdict from SC. All this week my thoughts have been with the Kercher family but in particular Mrs Kercher.

Meredith’s family placed all their hope and trust in the Supreme Court and what they got was a slap in the face. Of course they are shocked/stunned/ saddened.

Judge Nencini and his associates must also be in shock having followed the Supreme Court instructions/directives to the letter.

I read that Mrs Kercher has said that she is thinking about visiting Rudy in prison. She expected the truth from the Supreme Court and we believed that Judge Nencini had found the truth based on all the evidence. It just needed to be confirmed.

Now the SC has done a complete turnaround and freed the odious pair. They have thrown out accepted facts of the case, accepted by them. So how are they going to explain all that.

I think that Mre Kercher is right to talk to Rudy at this point as neither of them has anything to lose. Rudy is sorry for his role in the crime and the Supreme Court has failed Mrs Kercher. If it were possible for her to have a one on one with Rudy she may learn the truth.

All along the Kerchers have never sought revenge they have always said they just want the truth about what happened to their dear Meredith.

I believe that Valter Biscotti, Rudy’s lawyer, stated from the beginning when he first took the case and went to see Rudy in jail in Germany that he would seek to separate Rudy from the two white kids. Reason being that they would dump everything onto Rudy and that is exactly what they did.

Perhaps any important decisions regarding any future trials such as a wrongful death suit or suing the Italian Government could wait until Mrs Kercher talks to Rudy herself.

If it is true that the Kercher family wishes to let the matter go once and for all we must respect their decision. No one knows what they have suffered.

I would hope that they decide to pursue justice in the civil courts in the UK. The burden of proof is not quite the same in civil cases and there is a lot of hard evidence against the odious pair, not just circumstantial evidence.

Finally, whatever they decide should set the lead for the odious pair to follow. They should be left in peace and no more of this wanting to be friends and asking to visit Meredith’s grave etc.,

Let’s hope that the pair keep a low profile in the future.

Mason2.

Posted by Mason2. on 04/06/15 at 02:54 PM | #

Hi Peter, the Durst documentary has just aired in the Uk and we are one episode into five at present, very interesting viewing.  What a terrible pity the police didn’t listen to the friends of his wife as this could have saved two lives!

I find the comment very illuminating.  Members of the FOA have devoted so much time to winning that it makes me wonder if this turned into some sort of sick game for them.  I am certain some of them always knew Knox was guilty but a twisted sense of national pride led them to fight for her.  Also, given how many of them are elderly, male, overweight and none too good in the looks dept it suggests a warped interest.

What will they get up to now?  Knox won’t want anything to do with them.  Last week will have been an anticlimactic occasion for them, I can but hope it hurts.

Posted by MHILL4 on 04/06/15 at 05:14 PM | #


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