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Complete Psychological Topics 1: Chapters 3

 

by Ben Huot

July 15, 2012

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Table of Contents

Chapter 3
Book of Psychology

by Ben Huot

3.1 Personal Psychological Issues

3.1.1 My Biggest Flaws

Negative Effects

I just had an insight tonight that the source of most the things that bother me and stress me out are based on two aspects of my personality: I am both impatient and a perfectionist, but not in just the ordinary sense - I take these to the utmost extremes. The most likely cause of being a perfectionist comes from my experiences in the military and my impatience is related to my mental illness. One of the reasons why it took me so long to figure this out is because I can easily get into an endless loop trying to deal with these problems, especially if I think I need to do it all right away and perfectly.

Positive Effects

I think some of the positive side effects of my biggest flaws are that I am very disciplined and passionate about whatever I set my mind to. I never do anything part way or put something important off to the next day. Another things that drives me even further into this mode of thinking is that I believe that society will likely fall apart soon and the people I meet on a daily basis are so lazy and apathetic.

3.1.2 How the Army Changed Me

My Life Started Over

The Army changed my life, so much, that I consider my life to have started over again, when I joined the military. Serving in the Army changed my perspective on life. I became much more serious, risk adverse, confident, paid more attention to detail, learned about the importance of the labor movement, decided I never wanted to be a leader, and I learned more about the way the world worked.

Never Could Relax

The military was not all bad, but I was constantly under tremendous stress, as I never got enough sleep, during training and I never felt I could relax. The military has much higher standards, than the rest of the world. They perform duties that, if done wrong, kill a great number of people.

Results of Losing Wars

Losing wars is a big deal and the US can lose its position, as a superpower, partially, by losing wars. Europe has had to join together, to compete with the US, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Japan, because of almost destroying itself, in two world wars and then a decades long cold war.

The Gas Chamber

After I joined the military, I realized that I was taking a bigger risk than I had previously known. I wasn’t afraid of dying or of bullets, but I was scared of the idea of being burned alive, which is very common nowadays. We all had to go through a gas chamber, with very highly concentrated and higher strength tear gas and then take our a protective masks off, for 5 minutes, while in there. It felt to me like my eyes and lungs were on fire and I was drowning in fire. It is one of the most painful experiences I have had.

Contemporary Use of Chemical Weapons

I had asked my recruiter specifically about poison gas and if it was commonly used against us, but he said that no on uses it now. He was an Army Ranger, so he knew enough to know that wasn’t true. It is true that chemical weapons are banned in warfare, by the Geneva Conventions, but the governments we fight wars against almost always have either never signed the Geneva Conventions, or if they have, they have no intention of following them.

Protection from Chemical Weapons

During both Iraqi wars, the military was sure they would be gassed, even though they had taken some extreme tactics, to keep them from happening. The protective gear is not very sophisticated, but it does work, if sealed up properly, against a number of different poisonous gases. We are trained in this, in Basic Training, as well as, how to administer shots, to counter the effects, of nerve agents. The real money is spent on very sophisticated sensors.

Avoiding Chemical Weapons Use

During the first war in Iraq, the president communicated to the Iraqi leadership, that it would use nukes, against Iraq, if it used poisonous gas, on US troops. During the second war, special agents went in beforehand and found the leaders responsible, for releasing chemical weapons, and told them they would be leaders in the new government, if they didn’t release the poisonous gas, but if they did, they would be tried for war crimes.

Military Legal System

The laws are much more severe in the military. For example, you can go to prison, for committing adultery and be killed, for raping someone. You also get in trouble, with the local laws, in the place, where you committed the crime, as well. You can even get in trouble, for being a few minutes late to formation, or having food in your locker.

The Article 15

A First Sergeant can give you an Article 15, for something, as little as, not dropping for push-ups, when a Sergeant orders you to. When you get an Article 15, you are given additional chores, to do, for 2-4 hours a day, after all your regular wok and get a few hundred dollars, taken out of your small paycheck. This idea that the military commits all sort of terrible crimes and soldiers get a way with it is not my experience at all, but high ranking officers may be able to get around the rules.

Always on Call

People who have never served in the military do not know this, but your enlistment in the military is not a 9 to 5 job. You can and will be taken away from your free time, for anything that your unit’s leaders want you to do. It isn’t just in time of war. or even for a good reason. It is not at convenient times that they call on you and you never get extra pay for it.

Pressures of an NCO

One of the big reasons it is so hard, to get qualified people, to serve a second enlistment in the Army is that you have to commit to being an NCO (like a Sergeant in the Army), for a small amount more pay, and then are solely and completely responsible, for 4-8 other soldiers. If they need to lose weight, you make sure they do so, in your free time. If they cannot get to work on time, it is your job to make sure they do so, in your free time.

Increased Confidence

Now that I have gone through such intense training, I feel much more confident, about things that would have previously scared me. My tolerance for pain has increased, as well. I now can push myself, to the point of a heart attack, while exercising, because I have been through much more pain, in the past. I am not afraid of getting into a fight, with a person or an animal. I am not afraid of having to survive, without modern plumbing, electricity, police, and fire services. I am still afraid of going to prison, but that is just commons sense. I gained my confidence with computers, at this time, as well.

3.1.3 Why I Never Gave Up

I am Complex

Many people wonder why I have committed, so many years to creating, what has now evolved, into many books. The answer is long and complex, as I am a complex person. First of all, the idea that I didn’t give up is not true: I ended my military service before my tour enlistment was up and I never graduated from college.

I Did Fail

What interested me in philosophy at the time was Philosophical Taoism and Christian Existentialism. I was taking a Chinese Literature course, for my non-business breadth requirement, along with Chinese (which I had to drop out, of as they went too fast) and then because I did not pass enough classes, I had to take summer courses and Existentialism was one of the only courses still open.

I Identified with Philosophy

Taoism was a tradition in China that scholars became part of, if the failed their public service exam, which was based on writing poetry about Confucianism. Since I failed in both the military and college, I could identify with Taoism. When I took my Existentialism class, I realized that I had always been an Existentialist. Both of these philosophies emphasized humility and what I hated most was arrogance, so it was a natural fit.

Trying to Replace what I Lost

One of the reasons why I started writing so much was that I had burned my plans, for a Christian nation in Lebanon, for the time of the apocalypse. I destroyed this, when I was having my psychotic or paranoid episode. I also burned my poetry, that I had written for a girl in high school, while I was in the military, as I believed that future girl friends would not like that. After all this was destroyed, I wanted to create something of equivalent value.

My Relief

After I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, my chronic allergic pink eye cleared up, which I had for the previous 3 years, and I thought I had cancer, but I found out was wrong. At first, I thought my stay in the hospital was because of an emotional break down. I didn’t find out, until a month later, that I had Paranoid Schizophrenia, so I asked if I would get worse and they said no, so I was very relieved.

I was Good at Something

I never considered giving up, or even knew how to do it. I worked hard to be able to read philosophy and write again. I found these activities very rewarding, as I was good at them, in contrast to most of the things I did in high school and the military (which I wasn’t good at). I took on many activities to improve myself in high school, including: Boy Scouts, Speech, French, Cross Country, Track, and Cheerleading. I was also bad at infantry and working with computers, in the military.

I was Doing Something Important

I wanted to contribute something important in my life and as I tried various volunteer activities, I could never get a volunteer position, where I felt I was making, as much of a difference, as when I was writing. I knew if I didn’t do what I was doing, then no one else would and I knew I would never make any money off of it. I continued to read as I found Asian philosophy to be very interesting and worthwhile to study. It helped me to be an ethical person and to understand myself better.

Until the World Ends

At this point, I have continued to have more and more to say over time, so I will continue as long, as the world stays together. And the world ending as we know it has given me a push, to complete, as much, as possible, before everything falls apart. We are faced with more problems, with more severe and likely disasters than ever before. But I have never even thought of what giving up would mean or how I would do it, so I am definitely not giving up now. And, most importantly, my family and God has never given up on me either.

3.1.4 Ways in Which My Thinking is Chinese

Cyclical View of Time

In the modern world, time is often thought of as linear and sequential and that later times in history are always more advanced than earlier times. But the more we learn about history, the more we learn how advanced ancient cultures were and how much was lost shortly after these empires collapsed. We are finally learning that the Romans were more advanced than Europe up until the 19th century and most of the technologies that allowed the advance of Europe in the last 2 centuries were imports from China, ancient Greece, India, and the New World. Italian food was only recognizable after the noodle was imported from China and the tomatoes from the New World. From India came the concept of zero, the numbering system we use today, the use of chickens for food, and using cotton for clothing. Most Western war fighting technologies, including: gun powder, missiles, and modern information warfare techniques.

Emotional Factors First

Most people in the Europe and America relate in terms of what is called rational intelligence. This means that most people in the West base their interactions on facts, dates, figures, statistics, linear logic, and other things that can be written down and measured. Another approach is called emotional intelligence. This kind of thinking does not have any set rules nor lend themselves to a observe and record approach. Most communication is not in spoken words, but is instead communicated through body language. If someone does not like you at work, they can make your life miserable, even while following all the rules designed to make the work environment pleasant. You cannot pin down the way a person feels to a given event or a specific time frame, but they can identify who it is who is causing them pain.

Obsession with Self-Sufficiency

I think that it is important to know how do do as many things as possible. I learned early in my education about computers that I couldn’t get anyone to solver the problem unless I paid them vast sums of money. This is when I started learning more and more about computers in order to know them well enough to fix problems myself. In my website and book publishing I also depend on as little as I can, so that I have control over the future of what I have created. I do everything myself because if you want someone to do a good job at something you have to pay them enormous sums and to get someone to do a great job at something, you need to do it yourself. One of the biggest problems today is that people have too low a standards in how they behave and how hard they work.

Different Formal and Private Manners

A lot of people that have met me think I am outgoing, friendly, optimistic, and have everything figured out. But this is only my public side. My family knows a very different side of me. I am really moody, passionate, artistic, critical, and dedicated. I spend a tremendous amount of time thinking and for a long time constantly though of how I could improve my website in the back of my mind. I don’t reveal much to a psychologist or doctor, because they are not family. It is also hard to be bare your souls with a bureaucracy when only random things you say are written down out of context and then you are forced to explain them many years later out of the blue to a totally different person. It is also hard to trust someone who is working fro the government and is required to keep a record and pas on anything you might say to who knows what agency for who knows what reason without ever even telling you. It is funny that people are afraid of the things that they type into Google, but they are not afraid of the government having all the information and either losing it, mixing it up, or prosecuting you later for it, without informing you what for or given a chance to verify if the information is accurate (all because of the Patriot Act).

Importance of Writing and Written Culture

Writing is the vessel in which culture is contained, consumed, changed, and preserved. This generation wants to give up on reading, because they think it is too hard. Most people now just want to look at pretty pictures or funny videos of people doing stupid things. In the past, people fought hard, in all cultures, to get their kids into school and learn how to read and write. Many people would have paid almost any price to give their children a decent education. And the church used to be part of this tradition. The problem with relying on others to take care of the writing is that you lose the ability to participate in the culture. In other words, you are giving up your citizenship and your constitutional rights as well as your ability to understand religion, art, history, math, Science, or anything else communicate mainly in writing. When people lose the ability to express themselves with words they give up their freedom and their humanity. Without writing, we would not have anything other than stone tools and we would be living hand to mouth off the land, all by ourselves.

3.1.5 Why So Rational?

Why The Need to Explain Things?

I am actually much more mystical, than rational and the big reason why I have put so much effort into providing detailed arguments, for what I believe, is to ground me in reality. When suffering from paranoia, you can easily get lost in fantasy and lose touch with reality. This does not mean that the fact based understanding of the world explains everything, nor is it the most important aspect of the world. But as much as I believe God helps me in everything I do, I don’t expect to not pay my bills and instead wait on God, to pay them miraculously. Being spiritual should not mean giving up your ability to interact with others, to be on time, and to take care of your health and finances.

The Bible Doesn’t Need Apologetics

I have focused a lot lately in my writings on being more systematic and giving reasoned out arguments, for my beliefs and decisions. At the same time, I do not believe that the Christian God or the Bible need my reasoned out arguments, for belief to spread. In fact, without me, the 3rd world has already realized that Western Civilization and Christianity are totally different things. They know that capitalism and imperialism is not the the only way to structure society.

Christianity Has Already Won

For the amount of time that Christianity was known in the third world, it took very little time to outnumber Islam 2 to 1. Also, those practicing indigenous religions are much more likely to favor Christianity, over Islam, in Africa and in East Asia there are many more Chinese Christians, than we know of. Even in Indonesia, which accepted Islam considerably recently, did so in the 13th Century. Islam had a thousand year head start in Africa (excluding the Christian enclave of Ethiopia) and Southern Asia (after successfully ethnic cleansing the Syriac language and Eastern Orthodox Christians in these areas).

Rationalism Has Improved my Situation

I have found that being rational in my public self has been useful, both in increasing my credibility with others in the mental health system and people I meet, as well as, improved my ability to restrict paranoia, to a certain part of my mind. I believe that the world in which I live (America) is much more in need of embracing spirituality, than they need to listen to human reasoning and I have much more interest in the spiritual than the sciences. So, if I didn’t have Schizophrenia, I would likely have never approached my work, in the way that I have now. I would likely have used art, instead of writing and the only writing would likely just be poetry.

3.2 Discover My Life Story

3.2.1 Childhood

I was born in 1978, and in Middle School, I saw the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, starting with the breaking down of the Berlin Wall. I grew up in the 90’s when the world was much simpler. We didn’t have any major wars going on and the economy was growing. Computers were simple and most people didn’t have access to the Internet.

I was involved in church and Scouting from an early age. I started out in Tiger Cubs in 1st Grade and finished by becoming an Eagle Scout, just before I graduated from high school. I spent the years between 8 and 18 at an Evangelical Quaker church.

Elementary School was boring, while Middle School I was unpopular and it was a living hell. One of the things that made Middle School so bad is that I had some huge warts on my hands, which I had to get removed by acid, liquid nitrogen, and then by minor surgery. I also had a newspaper delivery route near my house and had to get up at 4 am twice a week, for several years. I had to collect the money, by going house to house and it was like pulling teeth, to get people to pay a couple bucks a month, for the newspaper.

3.2.2 High School

High School was much more fun, as I spent most my after school hours in a variety of activities and clubs. My junior year, I was involved in 12 extra curricular activities. I also became popular ,after I spent a year on the Cheerleading Team, as the Yell King and Spirit Man. I also ran Cross Country and Track the other 3 years and my senior year I took weightlifting and conditioning, to get ready for the military.

I spent 2 of my summer vacations, during high school, working at Boy Scout summer camps. One was in the middle of a national forest in the mountains, by a small lake and the other was on the coast, with direct beach access. One summer, I also went to Washington, D.C., because I won first place in my state in a national peace essay contest, sponsored by the US Institute of Peace. In DC, we did a simulation of the conflict in Somalia during the mid 90’s and got to meet important government and organizations like our congressional representatives, the State Department, the Red Cross, and more. We also saw the Smithsonian and toured the capitol.

During the school year, I participated in many clubs, including: Model United Nations, Speech, French Club. My junior year I also did Peer Counseling, Catering Club, and started my own Political Club. I missed so many days of school, due to my extra curricular activities, that I should have had to repeat most my years of high school. Most the activities I was involved with, I was bad at, including: Speech, sports, and Scouting. This influenced me to later focus on things I was good at, including the humanities and the arts.

3.2.3 Army

My junior year, I signed up for the Army, in the Delayed Entry Program. One reason I signed up was for the money for college, but I also believed that was what God wanted me to do, as preparation for something later. I left for the military a month after I graduated from High School. The military was very stressful, but very exciting. I knew I was doing something important, but I also was terrified of a number of the risks involved, especially of the threat of chemical weapons.

One of the things we had to do in Basic Training was go into a gas chamber for 5 minutes, with CS gas (which is a kind of tear gas) and then take off our masks, while we were inside. I felt like I was being burned alive. I figured if the training gas was so bad, then the real chemical weapons must be infinitely worse. Later, the psychiatrists that diagnosed my with Schizophrenia thought that the gas chamber was the time when I had my first psychological break with reality.

I was in the military from 2 July 1996 to 15 August 1997. I finished all my training, to work with computers and I was stationed in Hawaii from February to August 1997. I really enjoyed Hawaii. I was on the island of Oahu - the one with Honolulu and most the tourist sites on it. I got to see almost every thing there for tourists. I also took and passed several college classes and tests that counted for college credit. I ended up completing my Freshman Year of college, during my stay in the military. What I enjoyed most about Hawaii was the people at the churches I went to.

I left the military with an Honorable Discharge under the regulations for discharges for combat stress. I was diagnosed with Schizoid personality disorder. I left in 5 weeks, after going to my commanding officer, and asking to get out. I was obviously out of my mind, at the time. Never do it this way. Even dishonorable discharges take longer than this.

When I was in the military, they had a number of different discharges, including: general, other than honorable, etc. In the military. you can get what is called an Article 15. for minor infractions. like being late to formation or having food in your locker. You get fined a couple hundred dollars and get several weeks of extra duty, after your work. Any NCO can give one of these out, for almost anything, no matter how minor. If I had one of these, since I was only in for a year, I could have gotten one of the other discharges, like general, which would have kept me from being able to get my disability pension later on. Luckily, I had none of these.

When I left Basic Training, I got chronic allergic conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye), which I had for several years more, until I got started on my first anti-psychotic, when I first got diagnosed with Schizophrenia. My eyes itched and burned all the time until then.

3.2.4 College

When I left the military, I started at a local Community College for a year, to complete my lower division required courses, for business management. I hated the business classes, but I believed that this was the way to a good job and so I did it anyway. I had to take accounting 5 times to pass it, although I did very well in economics. After continuing for a year at the local University in town, I finally decided to change majors, to Journalism, as I enjoyed and was good at writing and I believed it would get me a good job.

I tried taking a Chinese language and a History of Philosophy series of courses, but stopped taking Chinese, because I couldn’t learn the language fast enough and the philosophy courses, because I forgot to do the first paper which would have given me an F. I also had to drop an advanced Feminist Anthropology course, because I couldn’t figure out what phrasing the teacher wanted me to use for my papers and I had to drop a required course in Statistics, because my ability to do basic math left me.

Along the way, I took a Chinese literature series of courses, for my breadth requirement, a class on Existentialism, and one on Ecofeminism, to make up for courses which I failed, plus an advanced class on Beauvoir and did well in all of them. This was when I realized I was good at philosophy. This is also when I started the website and started writing poetry about God and religion.

3.2.5 Schizophrenia

Then on 11 December 1999, I had a break down and had my first psychotic episode. My parents found me walking on the street and took me to the hospital emergency room. I was talking a mile a minute. The doctors thought I was on methamphetamine, until I took a urine test. Then they sent me to the psychiatry ward of another local hospital, where I went in voluntarily. I spent 10 days (until my dad’s insurance stopped) and then left in my parents care.

I found out a month later that I had Paranoid Schizophrenia. I just watched TV, for the first several months, but then started reading, where I left off, in my Chinese Literature and Existentialism classes. I then wrote up my paranoid episode and started writing poetry again.

That fall, I left my parents home and stayed in a local mental health group home with 8 other mentally ill men. I stayed there until I got my veteran’s pension. Then I moved out into my own apartment and had an in home care worker help me with cooking and cleaning. I later spent some time in a retirement home, after having trouble with the in home care and to make sure I remembered my medicine. I stayed there for 2 years and had to eat terrible food and deal with some very nasty and delusional old people.

Then I left, for my own apartment again. I chose one next to an independent living arrangement for the mentally ill and they monitored my medicine. Now I am completely on my own and I published 4 books with what I had written up until then and then continued to write.

3.3 Discover My Disability

3.3.1 Background Information

General Information

Schizophrenia describes a wide spectrum of mental health disorders. Schizophrenia is a thought disorder and is the worst mental illness one can have. It is not known what causes it. There is a genetic tendency and then it is brought out by a stressful situation, most commonly, military service. About 1% of the population has Schizophrenia worldwide and it has the same rates of infection across the globe, in every country and culture. Diagnosis doesn’t generally happen until the affected person has a psychotic episode and breaks a minor law, so they can be sent to a psychiatric hospital (I never committed a crime and voluntarily signed myself in). The illness generally starts for men in their 20’s and for women in their 30’s, but it can easily take a decade to admit they have a problem and to get properly diagnosed and on effective medicine.

Common Misunderstandings

Schizophrenia has nothing to do with multiple personality disorder and is very different from bipolar disorder and clinical depression. Schizophrenia has no effect on your intelligence, independence of thinking, or creativity. Schizophrenia is often confused with some sort of existential crisis of spirit or as a sign of someone having the special spiritual ability, but in reality having spiritual powers has nothing to do with Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental disability and does not give the person any special gifts. In fact, a person with Schizophrenia has less control of their mind and would find things like mediation to be very difficult. Confusing spiritual powers and mental illness is insulting to both groups as it creates the perception that spiritually aware people are somehow disabled and it insults people with Schizophrenia who try to avoid the spiritual world.

3.3.2 Dealing with the Illness

Symptoms

The symptoms of Schizophrenia are grouped into positive and negative categories, positive meaning what you have in addition to what a normal person has and negative meaning lacking something a normal person has. The positive symptoms can include paranoia, auditory hallucinations (hearing voices), and delusions. The negative symptoms include depression, lack of motivation, and lack of facial expression.

Treatment

Schizophrenia was only successfully treated to some extent since the 1950s when it was discovered that tranquilizers, also known as sedatives, helped. Sedatives are the only treatment that has had any degree of success. Counseling can help as a secondary treatment. There is no traditional medicine treatment that works for Schizophrenia. Before the 1950s, a person with Schizophrenia would starve to death, because when a person goes into a psychotic episode, they stop eating.

Medicine and Side Effects

The medicine brings the positive symptoms under control, but it does not get rid of all of them, so that you can deal with them and either causes or does not alleviate the negative symptoms. The medicine does not make you any less creative, any less independent of thought or affect your intelligence. The medicine slows things down and make you very sleepy and gain a lot of weight. The newest medicines are supposed to not cause sleepiness and weight gain and just target the mind, but they still have those same side effects for me. Only certain drugs work on certain people and for many people the newer drugs aren’t effective on them or they cannot afford them. It is very hard for a person with Schizophrenia, to remember to take their medicine. Many people stop taking their medicine, because they have less symptoms than before and they think they don’t need it any more. This usually results in having to go back to the hospital and starting from scratch.

3.3.3 Living with the Situation

Daily Life

A third of people with Schizophrenia just stare at the wall all day, a third are in assisted living and a third are mostly independent. People with Schizophrenia are no more violent than anyone else, but are often the victims of crimes, as people try to get them involved in various scams and they also often live in poor neighborhoods, as most have to live on a state pension that is very small. Many people with Schizophrenia cannot read anything longer than a newspaper article and although there is often an increased interest in religion, it is almost impossible for someone with Schizophrenia to understand philosophy, regardless of intelligence. Schizophrenia is related to anxiety disorder, but many degrees of magnitude greater. People with Schizophrenia are often uncomfortable around other people and live isolated lives.

Unqualified Workers

Many people are hard to diagnose as to what mental illness they have, which is made worse by the fact that many mentally ill individuals have tried to self medicate with various street drugs and many of the workers in the mental health system do not have adequate training and try to push certain agendas like telling people to treat their symptoms by some kind of diet, some sort of meditation, or to reduce the amount of medicine they are on which are all ineffective.

3.3.4 My Situation

Paranoid Schizophrenia

I have Paranoid Schizophrenia. This is the worst kind of Schizophrenia. What is most disabling symptom to me is paranoia. Paranoia is basically a kind of terror - think fear on steroids. Paranoia and delusions are similar, but usually distinguished by paranoia being a fear of people coming after you and delusions include other situations you imagine, all of which are not real. My diagnosis is definite, as I have been diagnosed to have the same mental illness by 3 independent psychiatrists, and no psychiatrists since then have ever challenged my diagnosis (psychiatrists are the only ones qualified to diagnose mental illness, which have much more training than a psychologist, even one with a Ph.D.). I also have never taken any street drugs or abused prescriptions, which made it easier to diagnose me.

Behavioral Strategies

In addition to the medicine I take, I have several other methods, that help keep my symptoms under check. I have to be careful what I watch on TV and read on the Internet, to avoid things that trigger increased paranoia. I keep busy with projects, to avoid paranoid thoughts and voices. I also get out, as often as possible, to keep myself grounded in reality. I try to limit what I do, at any one time, so that I don’t get stressed out, to avoid depression and paranoid thoughts. I have also have a PRN medicine I can take, when I am having acute symptoms.

3.4 Mental Illness

3.4.1 The Schizophrenia Split

Reality vs. Fantasy

Many people confuse multiple personality disorder with Schizophrenia, but these disorders are totally unrelated. Schizophrenia does cause a mental split, but not between different personalities. The split is between fantasy and reality.

Like Apostle Paul

The two aspects of your mind are a lot like that which the Apostle Paul talks about in his Letters to the different early churches in the New Testament. Paul talks about the spiritual man and the carnal man as being constantly at war, so although part of you doesn’t want to sin, the other part is addicted to it and wants to continue participating in those behaviors. Paul says that even he does not do what he want to do, but that which he doesn’t want to do, he does.

Counseling Doesn’t Work

In experiencing the symptoms of Schizophrenia, the person knows in one part of their mind that what they fear or what they imagine is not based on reality, but the other part of them still fears or imagines that anyway. A lot of psychology is about trying to overcome your addictions and usually focuses on both cognitive and behavioral solutions to the patient’s obsessions and other destructive behavior. But the paranoia and delusions caused by Schizophrenia cannot be dealt with in the usual way.

Only Medicine Works

Traditional counseling does not solve the fantastic beliefs a person with Schizophrenia suffers with. The only effective way to treat Schizophrenia is by sedatives/tranquilizers. The medicine works by slowing the entire body down, including the mind. This medicine lowers the intensity of the paranoia and delusions, but does not resolve the other symptoms of Schizophrenia, including: depression, inappropriate facial expressions, lack of motivation, and trouble relating with other people.

3.4.2 Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Types of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a broad category of different mental disorders mostly caused by abnormal development of the brain in the adolescent years. Schizophrenia is caused by a combination of a genetic tendency and a stressful experience. Most people think that people with Schizophrenia all have hallucination, paranoia, and delusions. There are actually different types of Schizophrenia and some of them do not have paranoia or hallucinations as symptoms.

Variety of Symptoms

Hallucinations suffered by people with Schizophrenia are almost always auditory and are mostly voices. Only some people who have Schizophrenia hear voices. Paranoia is about fear of people or other sentient beings coming after you, while delusions involve all the other types of misconceptions about reality. Most people who have Schizophrenia have delusions, but only some of them suffer from paranoia.

Schizophrenia vs. Other Mental Illnesses

Paranoid Schizophrenia is widely accepted as the most disabling mental illness. The main reason why Schizophrenia is more serious then clinical depression or bipolar disorder is that these disorders are mood disorders, while Schizophrenia is a thought disorder. There is also a hybrid disorder which causes much less severe symptoms of Schizophrenia combined with either the mania or depression aspects of bipolar disorder.

3.4.3 Fear is Not Fun

What is Paranoia?

Many people enjoy activities that give them a rush for fear like: skydiving, bungee jumping, living in deserts or tundra, watching horror movies, going to haunted houses, traveling to war zones, or being a volunteer fire fighter, a policeman, or a prison guard. Some of these activities that people engage in help us out and we are indebted to those, who are willing to, for whatever reason, risk their lives, for our protection.

I have a unique perspective on what is commonly referred to as paranoia: which is an extreme form of perpetual fear, although it is not based on the reality of the situation you are in. But is is very real to those experiencing it. This kind of fear is not fun, it is very exhausting, and the adrenaline rush is not something that those who suffer with this enjoy in any way.

When you have fear that is out of your control and not something you can stop, by avoiding dangerous situations or not reading or watching movies about them. It is not a fear that you can reason out and place limits on and it makes it no less real to your mind, even though you know, in another part of your mind, that is is baseless.

Medicine Causes Constant Tiredness

People who don’t take medicine for pain or mental illness often think that the medicine takes away the entirety of the symptoms, but this is not true. Even while taking powerful sedatives, I experience paranoia frequently. One of the side effects of taking powerful sedatives is that they affect the entire body and are not just limited to slowing down the brain. They make my body so tired, that I am constantly more tired, then I ever was, even while doing intense training in the military and only getting 3 hours sleep at night.

I am always exhausted, no matter how much sleep I get, and never feel fully rested. I cannot just sleep or stop working, when I am when I am tired, because if I did that, I would never stop sleeping. At the same time as my body is very tired, my mind is still very active. Part of the reason why I work so fast is that my mind has always been much faster than other people’s, because I have always been very intelligent. Another reason for working so fast is that I do not have as much time to work as other people do, because I cannot work for hours on end and not get stressed out and over stimulated.

People Think “He is Totally Crazy” or “He has No Problems”

And people who are not familiar with mental illnesses assume that a person is totally out of control of their mind and is living in a complete fantasy world. But if they were then they would not be able to work out the elaborate scenarios, they use to protect themselves from the fear. When you are paranoid or delusional, you have a certain aspect of your brain that believes a reality that is not accurate, but most of your reasoning ability still works. People often think people will become violent when they are paranoid, but it is most likely that they will avoid other people and escape from situations that scare them.

The things that are most disabling to me and cause me to avoid activities, that most people enjoy, are a combination of my paranoia and my lack of energy. It is hard to meet new people and engage in new activities, when you constantly worry about the “worst case scenario” It is also hard to do physical activities or go out in the evenings or the early mornings, when you are so tired.

In addition, much of the volunteer work is not fulfilling, because most volunteer jobs are not very interesting and, at the same time, volunteering requires that you commit to a set schedule. Having to do the same thing every day is very stressful for me. Other city clubs also require you to do a lot of work. People generally don’t believe I can do anything, so they never give me a chance or they don’t believe that I am really disabled, so they don’t give me extra consideration.

3.4.4 Extreme Anxiety

Related Symptoms

Schizophrenia is related to anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, in that it is common for people who have Schizophrenia to have symptoms common to those suffering from these other disorders. Paranoia is really just an extreme form of fear and anxiety is like fear but less intense, so it is reasonable for these disorders to have cross-over symptoms.

Common Symptoms

The most common anxiety symptoms amongst people with Schizophrenia are: an avoidance of confrontations and other stressful situations, anxiety about being around more than couple people at once, and an aversion to many daily activities that most people participate in. This is one of the main causes of isolation amongst people with Schizophrenia apart from the typical financial factors.

What Stresses Me Out

One of the things that stresses me out is any situation where I am overly mentally stimulated like: being in crowded, infrequently visited, or new places; trying to listen to music or play complicated or thinking games for long periods of time; any interactions that require filling our forms or dealing with bureaucracy; waiting for meetings, events, and transportation that are not on time; dealing with obnoxious, talkative, aggressive, or rude people; dealing with the elderly, the homeless, the developmentally disabled, or children; and other similar situations.

Overcoming Anxiety

One of the worst things you can do if you have the symptoms of an anxiety disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder is to give in to the obsessive thoughts. The more you follow your obsessive thoughts with compulsive actions, the more addictive and intense the thoughts become and the more the symptoms increasing take over and dominate your life. To overcome theses disorders, you need to gradually increase your exposure to the thing that disturbs you.

3.4.5 Separate and Not Equal

Not Treated as Equals

One of the things that bothers me most about being mentally ill is that the people whose job it is to provide services for us do not know anything about the mentally ill. Instead of treating us as equals and people who need extra help, they pressure us by: not trusting us, not listening to us, not explaining things to us correctly, not being consistent or reliable, assuming they always know more than us, assuming everyone’ situation is the same, treating us as criminals, assuming our time is not important, using fear to intimidate us, making services difficult and time consuming to access, and trying to control us by having control over our access to our medicine, our money, and our independence.

Source of Problems

The biggest sources of the problems are: that all the services provided for the mentally ill are constantly being reduced due to budget cuts even when the economy is doing well, using a complex bureaucracy under the assumption that this prevents dishonest people from making money off the services, the people that run the services are there because they get a power trip over controlling other people, and the general lack of knowledge by those whose job it is to provide services for the mentally ill.

Political Correctness

Every other disability even one like ADHD where almost everyone has, the government goes to great lengths financially, legally, and socially to empower those people affected, whereas with the mentally ill it is politically correct to: blame us for problems not related to us, single us out in ways that would never be acceptable for other people with disabilities, expect things that are unreasonable to expect of us, perpetuating stereotypes and urban myths that have no basis in reality, denying us funding, letting criminals illegitimately use mental illness to get out of prison time so that people continue to assume that the mentally ill are out of control or commit crimes more than other people, and generally use our disability against us.

We Want Equal Help

The blind get people to go to great lengths to convert books to tapes and braille, pressure webmaster to have to re-design their website so that blind people can access them, and create talking crossing lights all at great expense to the taxpayers. The government goes to great lengths to make ramps for wheel chairs and add wheelchair lifts to public buses. The developmentally disabled a tremendous amount of government funds, get special classrooms and funds for their education, and they get to behave aggressively and be obnoxious when they control themselves. I don’t want other people with different disabilities to get less from the government, but I don’t know why the mentally ill don’t get the same amount of government support financially, legally, and socially.

3.5 General Psychological Issues

3.5.1 The Corruption of Individuality

Definition of Consumerism

I cannot give a set definition of consumerism that holds true for everyone. Obviously we in the West and more and more in the rest of the world have to work and pay for entertainment to relax. This is not what I mean by consumerism. Just like being rich is relative and not wrong in and of itself, it all comes down to what Paul said of sin: if you do mostly what you do not want to do, that is a sin and an addiction. If you can pay your bills and are not overwhelmed by debt, then just follow your conscience. If other people think you have a problem, that would be a fairly reliable sign of a problem. Even work can be a sin and an addiction, of which I am often guilty. And becoming saved will not necessarily give you the ability to you overcome your addiction right away.

Consumerism = Sin = Addiction

The modern American culture is based on consumerism. The reason why businesses and governments want us to continue to be primarily consumers, rather than producers, is because they know they get more than just our money - they get our souls. In other words, consumerism is based on sin and addiction times 10. We constantly talk about how much we save, when we buy things and how wonderful it is to have the wealth, freedom, and variety to choose what we want. But in our quest to exercise our freedom, we our becoming slaves to our addictions.

Not True Freedom

Modern American consumerism is so addictive because: we can afford it, we get instant gratification, and we get prestige by buying the same things as other people do. Ultimately we want to be happy and belong to a group. The problem is rooted in our misunderstanding of the concept of individuality and our democracy being based on inalienable rights. Some of the most extreme individualists are the Existentialist philosophers, but they always associated freedom with responsibility and freedom from conformity, as vital components of their beliefs.

How to Conquer Our Addictions

The true way to conquer our addictions is to submit ourselves to God. We think in being able to do whatever we want that we are free, but it doesn’t work that way. We were designed to have God be part of our lives. When we say want freedom, what we usually mean is that we want to belong to something greater than ourselves. The admission to almost any group is costly in money, time, and comes with a loss of freedom in thinking. The admission to the family of God is free in money and allows you to be the one in control of your destiny.

Controlling Your Future

God does not want you to submit to Him out of fear of going to Hell, or out of desperation after trying everything else. God just wants us to follow His rules, because He created us and the rules are there for our protection. Being led by God and following His rules will save us from our addiction, allow us to belong to the greatest family, and allows us to have free choice in what we do, without ultimately serving others, by our choices. You have to choose what group you want to belong to: the one that gives you hollow freedom that leads you to physical and spiritual death, or the one that gives you a new life and new genuine freedom, that you can control with God’s help.

3.5.2 Reasons to Relax

Relaxing is Important

Part of life is rest and doing things you enjoy is a need, not a want. As much as I talk about how bad the mistakes are that we have made, how people should push themselves and give their all, and my sadness at the loss of interest in fine literature and art; it is good to play games, watch TV, and lay down for a nap. Just as you work hard, so you need a way stop your work, enjoy what you have created, and distract yourself from the problems, in your life and in the world. No one can work constantly and still remain healthy enough to continue their work.

Making Time to Relax

Most of us are too busy to enjoy life or have time to spend with people, outside our families. If we allow ourselves time to relax, we will be more patient with each others, accomplish more in less time, and make better decisions. Rest is as important as work and we need to have both a balanced and healthy life. When we cut back, on things we think we have to do, we will have more time to do what we want to do and we will enjoy life more. It is also easier to have contact with God, when you take time out to stop working, so that you can concentrate on what God has to say, without distractions.

Being Creative

Relaxation is important for creative people, because you often get your best ideas, when not consciously thinking about them. Often times inspiration comes, when doing some daily routines, that don’t require much thought. You also cannot really judge your work, when you are tired, like you can evaluate it, when you are rested up. If you get discouraged with something you created, don’t throw it away. Decide about it, after you finish sleeping.

Dealing with Schizophrenia

Relaxing is important, for people with Schizophrenia, as it is easier for us to get over stimulated and get stressed out, when dealing with everyday situations, that are much more difficult for us to deal with, than for other people. Another major problem, for people who suffer with Schizophrenia, is the paranoia or delusions, that constantly wear on us, much like pain drains your energy. The medicines that treat some of the symptoms of Schizophrenia are often sedating, so they make the person affected much more tired than other people.

Making Good Decisions

To make a difference in the world, we need to make good decisions about the economy, environment, international relations and other big issue that affect us on a large scale. But to get there, we need to start making smart choices in our individual lives, on a much smaller scale. We need to give ourselves time to rest and recover, just like we need to: allow areas for the environment to return to its original state, have the patience to give other leaders time to think and have time away when making important decisions, and we need to give our economy allowances for not always growing and not constantly expect more out of it all the time.

3.6 Me and My Writing

3.6.1 Why So Serious?

Childhood Experiences

I am a very unusual and a very complex person. I also had an unusual childhood and have had untypical experiences as a young adult. School was really boring to me, but I enjoyed learning on my own through reading, especially: historical novels, news magazines, and encyclopedias. I was also very silly and had a slap stick style of humor. I grew up in the 90s when the economy was going good, America was thought of as the good guy, we had relative peace in the world, and it looked like people in power were going to take the environmental problems seriously and fix them before they got real bad.

The Military Experience

But all this changed, when I joined the military. In the time that I got off the plane, to when I met my first Drill Sergeant, I lost all my appreciation for the lighter side of life. When I signed up for the military, I didn’t realize the life and death decision I made, until I went into the Gas Chamber at Basic Training. This is the time that the psychiatrist that first diagnosed me believed I had my first psychotic episode. A few months later, I got an allergy induced (not contagious) pink eye, which I suffered with constantly, until I was on my first antipsychotic in the hospital for a week (I realize that my allergic reaction was increased dramatically, due to the stress of being mentally ill, without medication).

College Experiences

I went to college, when I got out of the military, for 2 years and I picked up another year, after I tested out of a year of college, at the end of my time in the military. I was only in the military for 13 months, but I completed all my training and made it to my permanent duty station, before I left the military. I started taking business classes, because I thought it was the best way to get a good job, but hated it. I was in constant pain due to my pink eye. I changed my major later on to Journalism, shortly before I ended up in the mental ward of a local private hospital.

Experience with Mental Illness

After I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, I had trouble reading or writing, but finally started again and then, at the end of that summer, I entered into a group home, with 8 other mentally ill men. I didn’t have much money: less than $300 a month, at first. Then the following summer I got my permanent pension, from the VA (100% disability) and I got my first apartment. I got my disability a few months before September 11 and, if that had not happened, I would likely be an infantry soldier in Iraq now.

Experience Recovering

We tried various in home care workers, to help me with cleaning my house and making sure I took my medicine, but got so frustrated working with them that I entered a retirement home, for two years. After being picked on for all that time by senile people, I left for my own apartment again, next to an apartment complex for the mentally ill, who had their medications managed for them, and I contracted their services for about 6 months. Now I live totally independently.

The World Today

The situation in the world today is a very serious one. We don’t just have an economic recession. We are at the very limits of what our planet can provide in terms of oil, soil, and drinkable water. At the very least our economy has permanently contracted. We cannot leave Iraq or Afghanistan any time soon, even if all of Congress and the White house were in agreement. Whenever oil gets too expensive, our entire economy will collapse very quickly and we will have to learn to live without electricity and modern plumbing. We are also going to have some great problems with most major cities having to deal with sea level rises, we will be getting El Nino every year on the west coast of the Americas, and New York city and Boston and everything down to Florida will be getting hurricanes bigger than Katrina, every year. Europe could go into another ice age and India is going to have a major water shortage.

Being intelligent does not make life easy and knowing the answers to problems does not help, because the people in power don’t listen to us.

3.6.2 My Style

What is Unique About Me

What makes me unique is not the topics I write about, but the situation I am in, as well as my passion and commitment to pursuing truth. I have lots of time, unusual experiences and a unique perspective, and I don’t have to earn a living, so have pursued education in a number of areas. Since I enjoy helping others, I decided to give back, by writing about what I have learned. I even give away my creations for free. I can promise you that I will not write about something, unless I thoroughly understand it and can give a unique perspective on the topic. I also do not profit from anything I write about.

Clear and Concise

The simplest explanation of why my books are so short is that I believe that people don’t have much time, so I don’t want to waste it with unnecessary repetition. I find it hard to read long books and believe that most books can be shortened to a twenty page essay. I also find repetition very frustrating, as I get it the first time. I was inspired, by seeing how brief some of the most famous Chinese writings were, like the Tao Te Ching. My books are a compilation of many shorter essays and poetry.

Why Non-Fiction

I write mainly non-fiction as I that is what I read. I read non-fiction, because reading is very difficult for me, since I have Schizophrenia and if I make the effort to read, I want to learn something. Reading is not enjoyable in and of itself for me, but I do enjoy learning. I have also liked reading mostly non-fiction as a kid, as well.

My Interest in Philosophy

Many people study philosophy to learn how to debate and are interested in the technical subtleties of the discipline. Philosophy affects me very personally and in very practical ways. My interest in philosophy is about learning to make better use of my life. To me, one of the most important parts of philosophy is ethics. The reason I have been interested in philosophy so long and why Asian philosophy interests me so much is the passion mystics and philosophers have for their beliefs. If you read Hafiz, Kabir, Rousseau, or Nietzsche; you will understand what I mean about having passion for their beliefs.

I write about what I know and what I have read a lot about. I started reading philosophy in college, as I found out I was good at it and the Existential and Chinese Philosophies I studied in school explained much of why I thought the way I did. I actually had been a Christian Existentialist and Philosophical Taoist as a kid and just had not known the proper terminology. As early as middle school, I understood paradox and believed that people couldn’t be objective.

When I was in college, it seemed like every class blamed White Christian Males as the source of all the problems in the world, but I realized that things started getting exponentially worse as atheism became more acceptable and mainstream. The world was not nearly as screwed up in medieval times when the church was in power, as it has in the twentieth century, where atheist ideas were the basis for policy. Most of the world that was supposedly persecuted by Christianity is now more Christian, than any other religion. Most people in the developing world understand that Christianity has nothing to do with Western Civilization.

Managing Complexity

There is something more to my style and how I design. My desire is to keep things as simple as possible. I constantly have people I know say that what I write or explain is too complicated and people who think they are experts say that I am oversimplifying. My desire is to make my communication as clear as possible, while being faithful to the message.

I already think that most things in life ten to be too complicated for not a good enough reason. Simply said, I hate splitting hairs, using advanced words, and do not use subtlety much at all. I want to be very clear about what it is I believe and what it is I stand for and I don’t want to waste people’s time with unnecessary details.

I do at the same time strive to keep things complex enough to do them justice. I can simplify things down to certain point, but beyond that people need to realize that not everything is a simple as operating an iPhone. Not everything can be reduced to a Powerpoint presentation or bullet points.

3.6.3 Research Issues

Why Spend So Much Time and Effort?

I have been studying and writing about philosophy, religion, literature, history, and art (the humanities), for 11 years, for a number of reasons. First, I am a disabled veteran and get a full pension from the VA, and do not work for an income, so I have lots of time. Second, I want to make a difference and when I do something I fully commit to it. Third, I have chosen a very complex and broad field, so it has taken this long to get enough material for writing books. Fourth, I enjoy it and have complete control over it, while I do not have that kind of control in many areas of my life. Fifth, it helps me to deal with my mental illness by keeping busy.

To really be good at something and to make a difference in the world requires a tremendous effort and a big commitment. Things that are worth doing take a long time. You cannot expect to accomplish something important without a real struggle and a lot of patience.

Books are not written overnight and websites are very difficult to design and maintain. Many people want to put as little effort into something as possible, while I do the opposite. It really shows how much you know, when you write about something. You cannot take the easiest route and get good results. We only live once, so we need to get the most we can out of it.

The Scope of My Research

The books which I have read and recommend, which are the basis of my understanding of philosophy and religion, were chosen very carefully. I have deliberately chosen not to read certain books, for various reasons. I only chose books that were well written and clear and concise. I have focused my reading mostly on Asian classics and most the books I have found to be helpful in improving myself.

I have specifically avoided many typical Greek, Roman, and white American and English writings, because they are so over read and recommended and represent a very narrow view of the world and most of what I want to change. I usually only read one book by each author, unless I feel it is very important. I also have avoided books that were very expensive and/or very difficult to find. I don’t read many female authors as I usually cannot understand them. And most importantly, I have avoided reading certain book or areas of philosophy because the Bible forbids them.

The following list includes my exact reasons that I have quoted form my Book of Lists, which lists the books I recommend, as well as survival equipment and various other things as well.

If you see a book that you think should be on the list but is not, likely I have already read it and didn’t include it because it was too hard for others to read or it was poorly written including being too repetitive or not being clear and concise.

I have also particularly focused on Asian and classical texts, and have especially tried to limit the Greek, Roman, white American and English writing to as few works as possible, because I think those areas are over read and I have little interest in them after having to read so many of them in high school.

Most of the works I have included I agree with or at least partly agree with and believe can be useful for personal growth except for most the books or the topics contained in “History - Establishment” categories which I believe are only worthwhile for understanding history.

I also have usually only included one book by each author and not necessarily the most famous, but rather the most useful one.

Another consideration is the cost and availability of the works. For works that are difficult to find or expensive to buy, I have generally stayed away from.

I generally avoid female writers as most of them I cannot understand.

This is also a great list for Christians who want to study world religions and philosophies without studying the occult.

Frustrations with Web-Based Content

Problems Networking

At one time, I had hoped to expand upon my work and get other people motivated to create their own, from their point of view, but I have found there is no interest. I see great things on web pages sometimes, but it is all copyrighted and I can never get anyone to return my email. Most people put everything in the junk folder, unless they already know the person and are so afraid of scams that it is very difficult to network with other web site owners.

Barriers to Sharing

The problem with anything good you find on the web is that you cannot use it or copy it, but that the same time the person who created it takes it off the web very soon, so we lose all record of it. Also, people seem very resistant to putting thing in PDF files, which make it much easier to archive information. Then most people, if they can write well or produce great art, cannot produce a site that is not visually offensive, or know so little about it that it is inaccessible to even the most advanced users.

Why I Do It Myself

Since no one else is willing or able to create free content and keep it available consistently, I think long and hard before I link to someone doing something similar to what I do. And most people are motivated solely by money, so I would have to pay, to get anyone to contribute anything, but I don’t have the money. I hear people all the time recommending I use professional Adobe software, but I cannot afford to, as no one will pay me for what I do.

Why I Didn’t Read in the Original Languages

Another branch of the humanities that I have not gone into is languages and linguistics. There are several reasons for this. One is that I cannot speak or listen very well and the other is that it would be impractical and for not much gain.

I have wanted to learn Chinese and Arabic, but I took French in school and never learned it very well, as I have trouble hearing different words that sound similar. I was also very bad in Speech Club in high school. I even have trouble speaking and understanding English.

I don’t move my lips enough, because I have learned to not move my lips, while thinking out load, as I don’t want my thoughts to all be public, for people who can read lips. This happened once in high school. I also speak very fast and have such a wide range of knowledge that it is hard for many people to keep up with me.

Another barrier for me learning another language is that, if I have to do something every day, it really stresses me out. To keep up languages skills, you have to practice daily. I also would have to find someone who knows the language to practice with and then I have to meet with them at regular times.

If I wanted to read even the most basic selection of Asian philosophy and religion in the original languages, I would have to learn at least 10 languages and many of those are not in modern usage. A tremendous number of the most important texts have modern English translations, so I did not have to limit my reading, by not knowing the original languages.

3.6.4 Artistic Approach

Overview

I do most my art with the computer and the themes I illustrate are typically based on my reading and writing which is primarily about the religion, philosophy, and literature of Asia. I am not talented at the technical skills of drawing and painting but I do have an eye for what looks good and that cannot be taught.

I have had basically no formal training in art and like doing so as a release and a way to relax, so I am not interested in learning new artistic skills, at least in the short term. I use my skills on the computer to craft my illustrations. I use a wide variety of different programs to get different effects. I generally use free programs and programs from small companies, often with restrictions, so that I almost never pay over $150 for any one graphics program.

The last part of the book is done with Scribus and Inkscape, 2 open source graphics programs. I vectorize the illustrations with Inkscape by: clicking on the PNG image I open up, then choosing “Path”, then “Trace Bitmap”, choosing the “Colors” option, and then clicking on “OK” to apply. I then move the vector image over and delete the bitmap version, move the vector image back to where it was, and then save as in the default SVG format. I use Scribus for the publishing program part. I import the SVG versions of the graphics, resize them to fit on the page, and then I create the PDF, with the following options: under General, choose “PDF 1.3” for “Compatibility”, check “Compress Text and Vector Graphics”, choose “Lossless - ZIP” for “Compression Method”, “Maximum” for “Compression Quality”; under Fonts, choose “Outline All”; and under Color, choose “Screen/Web”. This works well for publishing with Lulu.com.

For the screen versions, I use the PNG versions with iPhoto and export to web page for the web gallery version and with Keynote I use the plain black theme at 800 x600 resolution, export to Quicktime format for the interactive slideshow version, and then I compress it in Zip format to reduce the size.

World Beliefs Illustrations Book

My first illustrations book, World Beliefs Illustrations, is organized by belief systems and I used a wide variety of programs for each illustration that looks like it was done in a different style.

I used Expression before Microsoft bought it, the “lite” version of Painter, Toon Boom Studio Express with Photoshop Elements filters, Gimp, and drew some by hand which I later scanned in.

Ethics and Discovery Illustrations Book

For my latest illustrations book, Ethics and Discovery, each image is generally a composite of work done in multiple programs. Most of these illustrations has a photographic component.

The first part, Justice and Common Sense, was done with my photos plus using a plugin in Photoshop Elements. I used the Alien Skin nature textures plugin, I purchased separately, in Photoshop Elements to create the effects in the illustrations plus I used the shapes and layer styles features, that comes with Photoshop Elements, and this was all done on top of and with my my own personal photographs. The ideas the graphics were illustrating different are things that bother my a lot about modern society including injustice and just plain stupidity.

The second part, Discover the Old World, was done with a variety of different programs. The graphics come from web graphics used for my website. I also included some of the original images used to create the various composites.

I used Carrara Express for most the logos, the “Discover” word with the lighted candle, and for the landscapes which also utilized a number of models, I purchased at the DAZ3d online store plus what I was able to download free from them, and what came with Carrara Express. The logos are explained in the website themes section. The landscapes have some other features on them including Asian art form my previous book as well as a rendering of water, done with a Photoshop plugin called Flood.

The background for most the images is a spotlight on a golden-orange-yellow textured background. I created this each time it was used from scratch, with Photoshop Elements, by first creating a layer with just one color, applying the golden textured layer style, simplified the layer. Then I created another layer, by choosing black and a yellow orange for the foreground and background colors, and then applying the render clouds filter on a new layer. Then I changed the opacity on this new layer, so that you could see a glow over the golden texture, and then merged the 2 layers. I then applied the same render lights filter setting each time. This background was to symbolize the idea of “discover” with the concept of someone using a flashlight to explore a dark and undiscovered treasure with a gold surface.

The maps were copyright free from 1812 or were given away for free online and a lot of the lettering was done with a Mac OS X only program called Art Text, which utilizes the built in Mac only graphics feature, that small developers can use to differentiate their programs and be able to sell for a very low price.

I use Toon Boom Studio Express for a lot of drawings, because the limitations of this cheaper version apply to the animation abilities and the draw features are very impressive, especially with the latest version, after they have added most my suggested features. A number of the original images, used for the different website type of content/multimedia sections, were created originally in Toon Boom Studio Express. I then I used the “auto paint” feature, with different settings for each drawing, in Painter (the full version) to give a more natural painted and organic look, to the simple 1 dimensional illustration. Then I brought the image into Photoshop Elements, cut out the white parts, and then applied various artistic filters to each image. I later added a cut out photograph, I took from living nativity, to each section to make it look more Asian.

3.7 Letters from Family

3.7.1 Dated

2000

3 November 2000

Benjamin,

I am praying for you to get over your cold quickly. Also, remember the Lord is there and wants to help you when you worry about school or other future decisions. He is always there for you. He has also blessed us both giving us each other to love and support. You know you are an inspiration to me. You have helped me to deal with my illness more honestly and practically. I sure am proud of you. We love you dearly.

God Bless, Mom

2003

3 September 2003

Ben,

I found this card I bought for you some time ago. I sure enjoyed seeing you - although we have to work on your kitchen clean up skills!! It is just really hitting me lately that granny is gone. So much a part of my life for nearly 50 years. I know she wasn’t always easy - but I guess we weren’t for her either. Thanks for being patient with me.

Love, Mom

17 October 2003

Ben,

Thanks for all you did to make my birthday such a fun time. As always your gifts were very thoughtful. You are too generous. It was such a nice family time with the 4 of us. I know you make a great effort because it isn’t easy for you. I want you to know I realize this. I am very blessed to have such a loving and caring son!!

All my love, Mom

2004

8 January 2004

Benjamin, smart “Holy Cow..it’s Christmas again!” and New Years! “Hope your holidays areudderly divine.” a little late!

Love, Mom

24 April 2004

Ben -

Wishing you love, joy, peace and every good and perfect gift from the Lord.

Love, Dad and Mom

24 April 2004

Dear Ben,

Happy 26th! I treasure your friendship each day.

Love, Rebecca (sister) and Taylor, Jack, and Jill

6 December 2004

Hi Ben,

Have fun with your new camera.

Love, Mom

15 December 2004

Benjamin,

Looking forward to spending the Holidays with you!

Love, Mom

2005

24 April 2005

Dear Ben,

This card seemed very appropriate for you. I know we have told you many times how proud we are of you. I want you to know we don’t say this merely in passing. You are truly an amazing individual. You have accepted the very difficult life given to you and handled it with strength and humor - not allowing it to overwhelm you every single day getting up to face the many challenges and pushing yourself to achieve the goals you set. We love you so much and feel very privileged that you include us so much in your life. May your 27th birthday be as special as you are.

Ben, you are a remarkable young man. You have many fine qualities.

“Follow your dreams; for as you dream, so shall you become. - James Allen”

All our Love, Dad and Mom

20 December 2005

Benjamin,

I couldn’t imagine a more loving and fun son. I often think of the gift God has given us in our relationship. Looking forward to Christmas together.

Lot’s of love, Mom and Dad

2006

24 April 2006

You are a wonderful son - loving, caring, generous and full of humor. Thanks for sharing your life with us and enriching us both. God has blessed us deeply with the gift of you as our son. We want you to know you fill our hearts with love and pride. Have a wonderful day. Looking forward to our trip to Portland!

All our love, Mom and Dad

8 November 2006

“Thank you ‘beary’ much for your kindness! I ‘beary’ much appreciate it.”

I thought Beary would like this card. Thanks for making my birthday so special. I really appreciate and can use the books. I will make up a recipe for you when I am up to it. It is such a joy and special blessing to have a son like you who thinks about me and cares. You are a tremendous encouragement to me.

Love, Mom

2007

22 March 2007

We are so proud of the service you gave to our country. I don’t know why you had to pay such a high price. You have accepted the sacrifice asked of you with such courage and tenacity that I am challenged to reach higher in my life, too. I suppose there is a reason God does not answer all these questions we have of why. When I feel so overwhelmed I think of your faithfulness each day and that nothing, nothing can separate us from the love of God. The love that created us, sustains us, and will receive us home for eternity. Praise God.

Ben,

You are our hero.

All our love, Dad and Mom

Snuggles, Teddy, Sam, and ducks.

22 April 2007

Ben,

Hope you are well by now. All my motherly love and desire to take care of you has been with you. I know you are enjoying your new program. Looking forward to your birthday lunch on Saturday.

Love, Mom and Dad

Rocky and Snuggles

24 April 2007

Dear Ben,

I enjoy our relationship so much! I’m honored to be related to you and I always enjoy the wonderful and intellectually stimulating conversations that we have. Enjoy your last year of your 20’s!

Love, Rebecca (my sister)

5 June 2007

A big Moo__________ooo to Beary, Bow, Norm, Patrick, George, Gracie, Little Ben, and Rainbow

Ben,

“Your friendship is a bright spot in my day” It truly is. Your phone call cheers up my whole day. Thanks for being one of my best friends! What a privilege it is to have my son care so much about me. I am very blessed.

Love, Mom

1 October 2007

Ben,

“I don’t just dressup like this for just anyone…but you’re special Happy Halloween.”

Thought you might enjoy these pics. Sorry I’ve been out of it so much lately. I am really trying to rest up so I can get my strength back. You are such a good friend to me. Your love and support encourage me a great deal. You are one of the joys in my life.

Love, Mom

23 October 2007

Ben,

Thank you for all the lovely gifts. You are so thoughtful and generous with your gifts. I sure appreciate your morning phone calls. They are encouraging to me. Thanks for meeting a real need in my life.

Love, Mom

December 2007

Ben, Beary, Bow, Patrick, George, Norm, and the whole herd

All our love to a wonderful son. We hope this is your best Christmas yet. You are one of God’s greatest gifts to us. Your love and sense of humor add joy to every day.

Mom and Dad

2008

17 May 2008

Ben,

Thank you for the lovely radio and book? (I’m not sure if I am to keep it) You made my day so special. I really enjoyed the time with you. You are fun and generous and thoughtful. I am blessed to have such a loving son.

Love, Mom

2009

14 February 2009

“My Son, I wonder if you know how great it is having a son like you…it’s always meant so much to me to hear you laugh, to listen to your ideas, and watch you grow…I wonder if you know how proud I feel whenever I get to tell someone, ‘That’s my son…’ What a perfect day to stop wondering and simply tell you. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

This card said exactly what I wanted to say!

All my love, Mom

2 April 2009

Ben,

We enjoyed the boat trip and the delicious meal. That is the best salmon I’ve ever had. Bandit had fun, too! It was very generous of you to treat us all. I hope it was a fun Birthday excursion for you.

Love, Mom and Dad

3.7.2 Undated

Valentine’s Day

1

Benjamin,

Thanks for being such a good friend to me and a loving son. You are a special young man and it’s a privilege to have you share your thoughts with me.

Lots of Love, Mom

2

Ben,

“Lots and lots of valentine wishes- just for being your own loveable self! Happy Valentine’s Day”

We miss you. We send you woofs, licks, purrs, and rubs.

Love, Rosie, Sammy, Teddy, and Pippin

Easter

1

He is risen! He is risen indeed ‘Jesus told her, I am the resurrection and the life those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish.’ John 11:25-26 Happy Resurrection Day

Love, Dad and Mom

2

Ben,

Not perfect but I am learning. Thanks for all your help on the computer. You have made things so much easier for me and given me so many programs. Thanks for all your tech support. I’ve got my own computer expert whenever I need. You are a patient and very good teacher when it comes to explaining things. Love you, Happy Easter.

Love, Mom

Birthday

1

Benjamin,

Happy 30th birthday to a wonderful son. We are so proud of the man you have become. You are kind and generous, hardworking, caring, tenacious, and growing in wisdom and godliness.

All our love, Mom and Dad

2

I think back on the day you were born. I remember it very well. You cried so much your first 4 months. I always thought it was because you were taken before you were ready to be born. After that you were happy and cheerful. You loved to play with blankets and rolled all over the place. You didn’t do much crawling, just rolling and then you walked! The Lord has given me such a wonderful gift in you as my son. You are truly my best friend and it means the world to me. I love you honey. Thanks for loving me. Wanted you to get a greeting on your day. Do something special for yourself - the whole day.

Love, Mom and Dad

3

Happy Birthday, Bow and Beary! Thanks for being such good companions for Ben.

Melissa

4

Ben,

“Bee Happy - It’s your birthday - Hope it’s a honey of a day”

Have a wonderful, wonderful day

All our love, Mom and Dad

Mother’s Day

Thanks for making Mother’s Day so special for me. Spending time with you is the best gift! I love the pictures you drew and I can use the devotionals every night - I keep it by my bedside. Next time I see you, I’ll be on the mend. Have a great day.

Love, Mom

Mom’s Birthday

Thank you for making my birthday so special. Ben, I appreciate all the lovely books. Rebecca, the necklace is lovely. The day was so much fun, too. You both made me feel very special and loved. Thank you.

Love, Mom

Halloween

1

Ben,

“Jack-O’-lanterns brighten Halloween…but you brighten every day!”

This card was just perfect for you! You do brighten every day for me.

Love, Mom

2

Dear Ben, Beary, Bow, Patrick, Norm, and George

“Hope it’s a hoot! Happy Halloween”

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Love, Mom and Dad

Christmas

1

Hi Ben,

Happy new year! I am writing you this note to wish you joy and peace in this new year. I am also writing to thank you for taking out your time to spend Christmas with us. I had a really good time with you and was very glad you could be with us. Not only are we proud of you and your many accomplishments but we also enjoy your companionship. I really liked the Christmas gifts you bought for me. I use the mug every day and it reminds me of you. We have already used the atlas a number of times. It is good to have a current one. You put a great deal of thought and effort into selecting these gifts.

Best wishes always,

Dad

2

Dear Ben,

Thanks so much for your thoughtful gifts. I love the journal with your logo. I have been doing lots of the crosswords too. They are just right in hardness and I like the variety too. The only ones I can’t do are the British crosswords. I don’t even understand the clues!! You are always so thoughtful and generous in your gift giving. I had such a good time on Christmas Day. It was a fun time all together, wasn’t it? I also thought our dinner at Olive Garden was lots of fun. The Lord has given us something very special in our family. A close, loving and fun relationship is a great blessing and brings me so much joy….God bless you sweetie

Love, Mom

3

Hi Ben,

And hope you like the rabbits. I was looking for cards, and was very happy to find them. All my best to you, Ben. You are a very good fellow to think of, when I do in a day. I know you will feel a very nice Christmas, there in Oregon, close to you.

Love from your Uncle Clive

Thank Yous

Wow, Ben!

I’m really impressed with your accomplishments! You have read widely, related a new (?) of strands of religious thought and expressed your thoughts and feelings visually as well as through poetry and essays you have shared personally and through the Internet. I am glad your generous heart and intelligent accomplishments are now recognized. I applaud you!

Love, Great Aunt Ruth