If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.  Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on that day of judgment than for that town.

Mt 10:14-15

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What do you do with people who are disturbed and inflict their disorder on others?  Stay clear.

We befriend selectively and all the more so in a culture that produces disturbed individuals.  The Stoics knew this long ago.  We might learn from their wisdom. Is it not the wisdom Jesus provides in the above passage?

The view of the pre-Christian Stoics was this: avoid people whose values have been corrupted.  The present age requires us to say: and institutions of the same ilk should likewise be avoided.  The rationale, of course, is this: corrupted persons, corrupt – likewise institutions.  You are not called into existence to be corrupted but rather to be purified within the limits of human existence.

Seneca, Vices and Epictetus were siren calls in this regard, warning sirens.

In a culture of disordered desires, you will, without detachment, acquire disordered desires as well.  Ditto, people of the same variety.

Seneca also advises that we avoid those who are “whiny,” the habitually discontented.  This, too, can be easily transferred to you, or at least diminish your good cheer, and blessed tranquility – peace.  Lest you think this is not necessary, think of all you know or come in contact with who are sorrow-seekers, we sometimes call them “drama queens.”  They might too be seen as “nay-sayers.”

I would add: avoid the perpetually angry.  Nothing tells you of the unhealthy person like perpetual anger.  They are those who have not settled the things in their life (usually quite insignificant) that have bred in them a life-long resentment and hostility.  They are, in their presence, a deadly dread to be avoided and ignored.  There is no life in constant vexation.

It follows that our social life must be selective and that few will be lasting friends; few, too, will be those with whom honest conversation can be had. Only the balanced and mature make conversation possible.  The selfless ones are the best among us.

Humor aids the social detachment.  Life among the disordered when seen at the proper analytical and emotional distance is comedy and absurdity at that – and yes, sadness too..  Why, however, submit to patent nonsense or what is unhealthy, injurious?

We are not made for all, just for some.  The healthy seek the healthy.  The disordered cluster together in a cabal of discord, rancor and calamity.

Shalom.

 

 

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