What Mark Lazare is trying to do

[From Bill Powers (971217.1121 MST)]

Mike Acree (971217.0845)--

If I'm satisfied in a given case that the intervener
is coming from the deep respect that I take Bill to be talking about, I
have nothing further to say, whatever his or her actual choice. I take
a similar attitude, incidentally, with issues like abortion and killing
animals for food. But I don't find such an attitude especially common,
and the so-called helping professions labor under a special handicap in
that regard, inasmuch as their training and socialization set them up to
think of themselves as experts who know better than other people how
they should run their lives. I'm not strictly denying that they ever
do, just pointing out that such expertise tends to make respect a
secondary issue.

Mike, you understand exactly what I'm talking about.

Interesting, incidentally, how often life offers us the comfort of
learning that our friends were also suicidal in their youth.

For me, the critical point was in realizing that I was indeed free to end
my life any time I wished. I could always do it, by stepping off a curb or
giving a twitch to the steering wheel. Being free to end my life whenever I
wished, I was also free to live it as I chose. This was all before control
theory entered my mind as a psychological theory, but obviously the issue
was control. Who would run my life? When I realized that I had _always_ had
the choice to opt out, I realized that I was running and always had run my
own life. It took me only about 35 more years to work out all the
implications (the last major thing I worked out was that I had better, by
damn, stop drinking).

Following on the heels of that first realization was another: that
depression isn't a condition, but an episode. It has a beginning, a middle,
and an end, each time. It was amazing how much difference it made to be
able to say to myself, "This is the middle."


Bill P.