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Recovery: Another Personal Note


This note(s) will come in several parts.

First, I was happy to receive several get-well notices from people who have signed up to be “Facebook friends” of mine.  I use this phrase in quotes because I have had some arguments with my wife about the existence (or not) of numerous “friends” that I “communicate with” on my computer.  She claims (when she is angry at me) that I spend all my time talking to these ephemeral friends on my computer.  It does me no good to explain that I am spending most of my time reading the news on the New York Times or chasing down tidbits of information on Wikipedia and scientific articles (to mention two of numerous sources that I consult).  But it is true that several people, perhaps 29 according to my facebook home page, call me “friends” on Facebook, and these people appear to wish me well.  This is many more people than I have communicated with on a regular basis since I was in school.

In fact, I have spent most of my time in self-isolation, reading and studying, over the last few years since my retirement in 2008.  That’s just the way I like it.  I’ve never had much interest in spending time with other people unless they are truly unusual.

The phenomenon of Facebook has enhanced my opinion of most people’s motives.  It seems that most people, say 99% of them, honestly wish others well, and when given the opportunity without being first derided, denigrated, or bullied, will express those wishes openly.

The negative comments that we see, which seem to fill comment departments, are the result of people having been negatively stimulated, especially if they feel belittled or bullied, and represent attempts to exact revenge or express displeasure.

Unfortunately, people tend to express negative sentiments much more loudly than positive ones.  Most often, comments are made by people who have been negatively stimulated.  Why?  Because people feel that positive statements are expensive and to be expressed more tentatively than negative statements.  When we are negatively stimulated, we feel considerable energy which we feel needs to be expressed to defend ourselves and establish boundaries.  When we are positively stimulated, we usually feel relieved or relaxed and have less energy, or at least feel more comfortable.

This is why comment sections of online newspapers and forums tend to fill up with flame wars: negative comments hurt and stimulate negative responses, whereas positive comments, which are soothing, stimulate relaxation rather than a felt need to respond.

Thus, to maintain a tolerable level of negativity in a comment department, it is necessary to moderate out all extreme negative comments by removing everything which is an ad hominem argument.  This moderation is extremely stressful to the moderator.

OK, that’s enough for today.  In closing, I would like to thank all those who have expressed their good wishes and assure everyone who reads this that I am improving on a daily basis, resting enough, and gaining strength as well.

My next appointment with a doctor is with the neurosurgeon Dr. Ames or his designated assistant on September 29, nominally at 11:45 AM; I will be staying at the Great Highway Motor Inn in San Francisco on September 28-9.  I would like to apologize to all neurosurgeons and their assistants for my blog post entitled “Neurosurgeons are stupid.”  I am embarrassed that I have again stooped to another low in using the word “stupid”, which we all know is a negative and uninformative term.

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