Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-01 - Robbie Dillon

Author Recorded Friday September 1st, 2017

There are 41 episodes in the Versus:Other series.

Recorded September 21st, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-21 - Tino

Recorded September 10th, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-10 - Judah

Recorded September 2nd, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-02 - William

Recorded October 21st, 2016

Catholic vs. Other - 2016-10-21 - Ben

I met Robbie at a Meetup group called Misfit Island (Montreal). He was the original editor of Vice Magazine, a successful screenwriter, and a creator of content for several Cirque du Soleil shows. He is currently finishing a degree in Philosophy at Concordia University.


Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-01 - Robbie Dillon

Author Recorded September 24th, 2016

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hi this is Robbie Dylan and you're listening to Catholic verses other tell the listeners if you would a little bit about yourself who you are what you believe and why you believe it well my name is Robbie Dylan I live here in Montreal I was born here in Montreal I lived in Montreal all my life and what I believe is I believe in God but I believe in a God that's very much like an idea I believe in the idea of God for practical pragmatic reasons but also for very idealistic reasons I think my family were for the most part Catholic although there is like I'm part native I have a native card and and and so there is a kind of native sensibility about the universe and so on but so my family was Catholic and my mother was a pretty devout Catholic she was an unwed mother she would well she in the end of getting married about five days before I was born but my mother was 17 when I was born and she married my father my you know he knows days that was pretty common though you know that for teenagers to get pregnant that was pretty much the way things were done people I mean maybe not in really good families but my mother came from a decent amount of money but anyways at any rate my grandfather was was so Catholic that he still wanted to attend like only the Latin Mass even after Vatican - I think it is right and so my mother kept going to Mass my grandfather had thrown her out and my MA my mother still wanted to go to Mass and she had a baby though and so which was me and so she brought me and what she would do she would put me in the foyer like in the entranceway of the church you know where the pamphlets and things are and she would put me there just inside the door she would leave me there and she were going in like candles and pray and do whatever it is she needed to do in the church and at one point the the priest came and said ma'am is that your baby out in the hallway and she said yes that's my baby and he said you're going to have to leave my mother said well I came here to church to pray you know and he said well then you're gonna have to put the baby outside and she said well why he said well if the baby cries it'll disturb the other parishioners and and my mother said well baby's not crying and then and then he said well you know you're just gonna have to leave or put the baby outside and my mother said it's the middle of winter and the priest said what doesn't matter it'll be fine you know I don't know and my mother said you know what I'm done I'm never coming back to this church and she left the Catholic Church now the interesting thing was we you know we got through life my father didn't stick around and we ended up going and living in a housing project and it was a very tough little place and not many of the kids went to church but my mother said look I don't believe in this I don't have any place for this in my life but I will not let you grow up not knowing so you're gonna go and you're gonna go to church and you're gonna go to Sunday School and I'm gonna go to we're all gonna go on Sundays that way if you choose when you're teenagers sorry the cat there's a cat here and the cat is crawling all over me so if you're listening and you're having trouble with the way I'm speaking but I think we've dealt with the cat problem so anyways my mother wanted us to know what religion was about to have some experience she said well I'm not gonna let you be like these other people in the housing project who just rejected just out of laziness because they don't want to get up on Sunday so she said you're gonna go you're gonna do this and then at least when you reject it you'll know what you're rejected how many kids were you we were three so we would go and my mother would go to church and the church way it was it was a Presbyterian Church Knox Crescent in Kensington very good Church the people were nice the pastor was a doctor makai and they were very nice to my mother they could see that she was poor and so they were always bringing her like clothes and and things like that so we were probably the sort of token poor people of the church but uh yeah so then we spent quite a few years going to church and going for doughnuts after I always remember we got to go for doughnuts that was very exciting okay yeah no so so I have that that background in that my grandfather you know once or twice took me a lot in Mass which I didn't understand anything and and yeah we went to this Presbyterian Church for a while and you know Sunday school and you know they give you a comic book pamphlet you know explaining different things from the parables and from the stories of the Bible would you pray at meals and before better stuff like that um we had at different points we for instance we would say like god is great God is good let us thank him for this food before like very quickly I knew the Lord's Prayer obviously I knew the one now I lay me yeah exactly yeah yeah okay you know all these they pray that yeah now I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep if I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take I didn't it's interesting because you know the only time I ever did that was when I was very young and what like even before I think we joined the Presbyterian Church so like mom my grandmother was kind of babysitting us and my grandmother and my mother raised me so we would do that and then we had to say like god bless mommy and God bless and God bless and and we had to sort of do all that the list of they drawed or that's saying I mean when I think back on it now it seems very nostalgic I never haven't really thought about it much and I didn't find it a particular chore you know it was like many things in life it was just something you do you learned that from your grandmother from my grandmother for whatever reason I mean my grandmother had a very hard life I mean she was married to my grandfather and then he threw when he threw my mother out my grandmother left too but if my grandmother had never worked the day in her life she was a housewife and and she had always lived in a nice house with a fairly wealthy husband and you know she went from her parents house into her husband's houses that's how things were done and so when my grandfather threw my mother out of the house my grandmother said well I'm going to what was the reason for throwing around oh yeah well you know it's a bit of a story but my obviously has to do with my mother getting pregnant when she was 16 oh she was wild should somebody you know yeah I suppose so I guess yeah I think she might have been a little wild it's very hard to understand if your mother was wild or hot wild you know I think you spend your whole life trying to come to terms with the idea of your parents not as gods but as human because yo while your parents everybody's parents are eternal figures right they have always been there until they're not there mine are still alive and and there's a sense there that like well that is the universe that is the world that's something that's always been there what would be your earliest memory like a age five four three very distinct and and it's very interesting because I learned how to read when I was three and when I was six I was reading at a college level because my mother would sit me on her lap and she would read books to me and at one point she was reading the the dr. Seuss books and there's a book called hop on pop and it's probably one of the the more simple ones and it's probably the one maybe many people learn to read with but I actually remember sitting on the my mother's lap and her reading the book and you know at different points at some point she was tracing the words with her fingers and and at some point she stopped tracing and then I just started to understand like how the Opie and the Opie and the Opie hop on pop on top of pop hop on top on top of pop and it started to make sense like oh that sound repeats and those letters repeat and I actually have a concrete memory of when the sound and and the symbols came together Wow I want to talk a little bit about that sort of the dark side like it was there ever a point where you're an atheist like a militant atheist hardcore atheist or anything like that I think I might have been just a lazy atheist I don't think there's a lot of hardcore atheists I think it's a really it's an easy position to adopt and defend if you're lazy if you have lousy arguments right like if you don't want to confront questions that are just unfathomably vast and deep and that will never be answered if you just want to pretend those questions don't exist well then okay like yes be an atheist but like you really have to pretend that those questions don't matter those questions aren't real in any way and and like you know look in that they're not much different than very dedicated people of faith who are like oh well it's just God's will I mean you know look you you you you know you it happens on both sides just lazy thinking so you know what you want is to is to be like pushing on these questions all the time and yeah you're never gonna answer them but you know I think the the sort of things that come up as a result of just asking those questions can be very very interesting can you talk a little bit because I know you're studying philosophy now right yeah so can you describe just briefly for the listeners why you chose to study philosophy and what you learned and how it's different from what you thought it was gonna be and where you're gonna go from here that kind of thing the honest-to-god truth is that I had a girlfriend and and she was maybe you know drifting a little bit she had been out of school for a year or two and I think she was a bit shy to go to school and I said well I'll go with you that girlfriend has graduated now no longer my girlfriend but in the course of that I started accumulating all these credits because I discovered that I really liked philosophy and the interesting thing is that the reasons why I like that have changed you know so at first I liked it just maybe for a chance to argue with the professors and and then I became a bit involved in in the social life around philosophy its opportunity there's a lot of interesting people you know the professors and the students alike you know people I wouldn't normally encounter in my day-to-day you know and the chance to have all these great discussions with people and how has it shaped your worldview what I mean is did you have a set of assumptions that you were happy with because you didn't question them and then by studying you realize oh I've got to abandon this I've got abandon that well actually my assumptions the assumptions that were you know most importantly disposed of were assumptions about school because I had grown up I mean nobody in my family had ever been to university and I had tried to register at university I mean it is a bit bizarre because I have this I'm not bragging or anything but obviously I have a kind of exceptional ability like intellectually you know not extremely exceptional not 1% of 1% but I'm in that top 1% and you know how did I drop out of high school at 14 like how did you know why was I not a good student you know but it's also there's a lot of reasons for that and one of but one of them is that my family it doesn't have that experience at all so going to school and discovering that no I mean if somebody's listening to this and they're wondering like oh gee I don't want to go to school I'm too old or well I'm 56 I'm in school I'm having a great time that people have been super nice to me the teachers have been you know incredibly patient with me I've learned so many things that I'm grateful I've read so many books that I probably you know would never have read otherwise and it's just been it's just been amazing so that would be the biggest assumption that I overcame by going to school and and then yeah I mean I think the other one is is and it probably relates to religion in a sense is that we should be very very suspicious of certainty because like all of our knowledge is on a really unstable foundation it rests on a big abyss a big chasm of the unknown and like we can live in it we can work with it you know I know there's a table here I know there's a that you're here and we're talking and you know there's a cat running around the apartment and of course I work in in that paradigm but if I ever think about it all of this is just happening inside my head I'm 100 percent certain that one plus one equals two are you also certain to that yeah well okay yeah so yeah well yes I have but all you've just done is made a bunch of sounds with your mouth one plus one but when I you know when it comes to tax time it's not just a bunch of sounds coming out of your mouth okay that's a very very good example like one plus one equals two you have to pay your taxes you did your calculations this is the taxes you have to pay and if you don't pay these taxes you go to jail okay that's all very certain that all makes sense and if you stop there you will have a certain kind of life but you see what the philosopher does this goes well why do you pay taxes and why do you go to jail if you don't pay taxes who decided that they have the to go in your pocket and take your taxes if you didn't agree to it what if you don't want to pay your taxes right like ultimately arrests on some guy with a gun yeah might makes right do you remember who coined that is that a sophist oh yeah no it makes right I know the expression it's actually there's a great scene you'd love this movie and I've forgotten the title of it but Robert De Niro's in and he plays a priest he's a sort of missionary and it's an old movie but they have to climb up this waterfall and Jeremy Irons Jeremy Irons and Robert DeNiro and they're both priests and but Robert De Niro wants to defend these Indians who live in the jungle and he's gonna give them guns so they can fight off like two conquistadors and Jeremy Irons also loves the Indians he wants to protect him too but he doesn't want to turn them into like killers and warriors and Jeremy Irons says if might makes right then there is no place for love in this world there are a lot of people that deny absolute objective reality of absolute objective morality and absolute objective truth I think it's a scourge on our society what do you think there may be very good reasons of morality even if they're they're not objective reasons there can be very pragmatic reasons right like isn't the life better when we don't all try to kill each other and rob each other stuff and you know like no one wants to get raped no one want to get murdered right so you're saying that you sympathize with that sort of pragmatic moral relativism whereas I'm saying it's a disaster you're saying well it works because we all want the same sorts of things well again it just depends how you interpret it right like you know Kant was very much like a what we call deontology so there's very much like lines about what is right what is wrong and so one for Kant is you should never tell a lie he's got very very good rational arguments and and lying is at the basis of so many other sins right but you know belonging lying and lying somehow is part of them so you should never lie okay so there's a killer he's chasing people someone runs into your house and says hide me hide me so you hide them underneath the couch and then the killer comes to the door and hey that guy I'm looking for I want to kill him is he in there now what's the right thing to do lying is wrong you can read st. Augustine actually as a section in one of his works where he describes 9 different types of lives so there's like lies of comission lies of omission lies that are benevolent lies where you tell someone something to save their feelings there are lies oh yeah there are you can lie to someone in order to get them to do something and the worst one is equivocation saying what the other person wants to hear but in your mind you've like switched up the definition like I'll give you your money when the Sun rises but in my head I'm thinking the Sun doesn't rise the Earth rotates you know what I mean so it's like you get to hear what you want to hear and I get to keep my money that I owe you ha ok yeah quit vocation yeah no that's interesting so I like to change gears a little bit get on to more religion so why are you not more religious you know to be fair I've gone to church services and things and and I I like some of the things that happen there I I mean I was going to a Lutheran Church I went to a Catholic Church as experimenting at one point I was wondering like oh maybe this is a part of my life that I need to get involved in so maybe I'm a good person for this podcast I wasn't sure but because I actually do sort of flit her around even just the other day I saw something there's a black church down the street and I was thinking well I wonder if they would let me go to church there it'd probably be a lot of fun probably be interesting um obviously I believe in something supernatural something beyond and I try to live in accordance with Descartes so Descartes now a lot of people think that Descartes Descartes doubted everything in blah blah blah and they think that some of the things he put in about God he just kind of put them in there just because he didn't want to get in trouble with the church because he was aware of Galileo and he didn't want to end up like Galileo and then other people will say that well you through God in there just because he didn't have a good answer but Descartes says well we know that there's some idea of perfection and yet there's nothing about us and about our world that is perfect so how could that exist and so in Descartes therefore there is a God so when I think about God and when I think about religion as a motivating force in my life what I'm thinking of is like there is something in me that is not in me it is beyond me it is much much better than I can ever be it is the idea of perfection and I judge myself against that perfection you know when I'm looking for the answers to the big questions I have to always measure it against the infinite against the eternal against the perfect and so it's me that's God so are you drawn to the big three of monotheism Judaism Christianity and Islam are you particularly drawn to those three as a group or to any one of them individually these these big three as you call them to me they're just kind of social movements that are trying to interpret this idea of perfection eternity infinity so we create gods and rituals and as a way to try and confront those questions they're tools so let's say I die and there's God and gods like oh you didn't you didn't take the son of God here as your Savior and so on I say well I'm sorry you're God you didn't make a very good case for it you have to think of it in terms of courtship when you meet a woman on a first date she doesn't just take off her pants and spread her legs right ah yes she does I'm very charming man I'm a very handsome man okay carry on it's a courtship it's a seduction it's a seduction and there's just enough skin shown to get you excited too if you love God you're going to get excited and you're gonna take the next move in the next move after you've been dating for a while you're gonna be engaged and then finally get married that's what heaven is heaven is the marriage okay and then you consummate that intimacy that's reserved for the marriage right so it's it's a love affair and on this planet we're in a fallen state which means mixed in with this courtship is error weakness deception disability all the dark stuff you know war greed disease mental illness you know you name it so it's a bit of a messy affair but the courtship continues and that's how you have to look at it and st. Augustine famously said that only those who love God and God alone get to see God naked it's a love story and we we are given just enough clues to find God if we love God and if there was too much evidence then everyone would find God if there wasn't enough evidence then no one would find God so there's just that right balance yeah he's the trickster god there's no trick he's a trickster god he's like Here I am no I'm not no yes oh maybe I have oh wait I'm gonna do this other trick so that you think me there was the own exists there was a famous Greek pre-socratic who said that nature loves to hide we can't grasp it but we can confront infinity and a lot of the ancient philosophers talked about God they may not have had a sophisticated understanding of what a relationship with God could be in salvation and that sort of thing but certainly the perfections were being hammered out by the yeah so-called pagan philosophers but I don't think perfection is hammered out I think perfection is the thing that exists like when you're talking about God you're talking about something that is eternal infinite perfect so we're all trying to find like a path towards that right so we're all trying to put it into a form and and so yes like you say I think primitive people will go it's a giant woman with blonde hair and her hair is the Sun and you know but you're just trying to put it into some form you can understand but this goes back to post-modernism what do we do like we take these things and we try to put them into language what is language languages symbols and sounds but you know Jesus famously talked in parable a lot and this is language at work well that's it but more trees Jesus is talking about a rich rich man going through the eye of a needle and now people what did they do they say oh no the eye of the needle he doesn't mean a literal needles they didn't even have needles back then what he means is you know he means there was a gate that went into Jerusalem that was called the eye of the needle and and it was a fairly narrow gate so if you had like a skinny camel and not too much stuff you could get through but if you if you had bags and bags you couldn't get through I mean you know this kind of thing it's like all kinds of things have been lost in translation yeah you know there's like you know some people will say no no Jesus if you go back to the original Aramaic and it says like no Jesus was walking by the water and somebody turned you know somebody who didn't understand their Aramaic but Jesus was walking on the water and now we have a problem I firmly believe he walked on the water okay well you know and and and no but these are discussions right where like to buy the water on the water II but the one about the virgin birth is very interesting because there are virgin births like going back through all the mythologies like long before Jesus yeah but there's also the problem that the word for virgin in the original text and the word for a young unmarried girl are the same word yeah do you believe Mary was a virgin i I don't even know if any of these people existed okay oh you don't believe even in historical jesus it seems that there's a very strong case for a person who had certain characteristics had a following and and in Judaism there's a problem at that time because there are so many Masonic cults so there's there's basically guys popping up on every corner going I'm the Messiah I know I'm the Messiah you know and even here today in Montreal we still have like mosaic the Lubavitcher 's were were a thing and now that guy is dead you know so anyways but if you can imagine back then my understanding is that there's all sorts of these guys you know and probably why you asked about the big three religions I I would probably if I ended up going to church it would probably be a Christian Church I've asked people to bring me to mosques you know but you can't actually ask someone because then they're obligated to bring you but I've asked people yeah if you ask a Muslim I would like to go to the mosque obligated to bring you but so I have Muslim friends who go this is how you do it but don't ask me because I'm not bringing you you know like like cuz they don't want why don't they want to bring you well it's a pain in the ass yeah because it like the Muslims that I know are not super devout okay right okay so they're like yeah look if you you know that's how I know about this rule so I know a couple of Muslims but yeah so you know look my upbringing my culture is probably much closer to the Christian thing and and they're probably some questions asked there but I do like the Christian ideals and you know it's interesting because you have the Gnostic Gospels you have all these things that are going on and and most of the Bible is written what a hundred years after or at least thirty years after Jesus's death but the central message the idea see and I think this is again this is what's interesting about religion because always trying to touch on things that are eternal and universal and when we talk about things that are universal what we're really talking about is that all human beings have them in common it doesn't mean it's universal universe so all human beings believe that one plus one equals two but there may be beings that for which one plus one doesn't equal two but that's that's a another conversation I disagree but anyway you're allowed to disagree I mean you know but that we are all somehow connected and I think that's very present in Christianity in a way that's not present in other religions the other religions seem to me to be more tribal I'll be honest like you know the the Judaism is very much a tribal religion look where you're born into it we don't even want you to join right and Islam from what I see of it and from what I understand of it is like oh there's the Muslims and there's the infidels and like Christianity seems to be much more open to the idea that look we're all connected we're all connected living and dead and in faraway countries and all human beings come under the same umbrella even if someone is not a Christian even if someone's an atheist like kind of like what you're doing here there's not like oh they must be converted or destroyed or no Christianity is quite willing to accept like oh you just don't quite see it yet we don't hate you we feel kind of sorry for you when I was an atheist and I converted to God the Father it happened in a heartbeat while I was reading discourse on method by Rene Descartes and actually laying in bed reading this and boom I realize I'm not God goddess God because I was a solipsist I believed that I was God but the reason I asked about monotheism is because if there are two gods then either one there's st. Augustine famously said this either one will lack some of the perfections that the other God has in which case he's not God or they will have an identical set of infinite perfection in that case they're not two but they're one so there's only one God let's say you take a Greek or Roman pantheon of gods well they're obviously superior to us they're immortal they're eternal well right they're not perfect yeah it's funny because if you read the City of God in that book st. Augustine famously confronts the pagan gods and he says look I'm perfectly happy to say that Seuss is God and that Vulcan is God and that all these other gods are God provided that we take the fertility of this God and the wor like strength of that God and we take the wisdom of this God Hermes or whatever it is and all of those perfections I'm happy to accept all of these gods but they are one and Hinduism if you speak to a Hindu they will admit most of them will admit that there is only one God but these are aspects of God so I want to talk about something a little bit controversial that's sin do you acknowledge that you are a sinner yeah I mean I don't know that I would necessarily use those those terms I process good and bad in many different ways I probably should have some kind of idea of sin if you take my idea of how I am religious if I'm religious if you even want to accept that then then then I would say that my idea of sin then is well whenever I'm moving away from that perfection or from that objective right whenever I'm moving in the wrong direction that would be sin okay so people will say oh these are we're not living in the religious times or not really living in times that are influenced by religion right and yet I can say look Montreal is a very Catholic city even though all the churches are closing down nobody goes to Mass there was a time when people would get up at 5:00 a.m. to go to Mass before they went to work and it was it was pretty much you know a lot of people don't realize they look at Montreal and they see there were all these 24-hour restaurants and they assumed oh that's the bar flies out at 4:00 a.m. after the bar is closed and they're not wrong certainly the bar flies but the bar flies were not the business and that's why all that there's just as many people going to bars now but there's no more 24-hour restaurants now that's interesting isn't it so think about it and the reason that all those 24-hour restaurants did business why they were able to stay in business was not to service the bar flies you know and and the you know people like that that's only a small part of their business the bulk of their business was people who came and had breakfast at 5:00 a.m. so that they could get to 7:00 a.m. mass before they went to work at 9:00 a.m. you know why does Montreal so Montreal has all these we have we've always had more liberal drinking laws and and drinking hours than Toronto Toronto actually still has what are called dry zones you know the Protestant Church would say no this is a dry area this is a temperate zone no one can have a liquor permit no it can consume liquor in this area that goes back to I don't know hundreds of years anyways and you can actually still find them on the map I think they still exist now that's what's interesting I think the the confession is a very healthy thing practically and it has very interesting effects in society so you'll see like when you go to Irish place you know and people get really drunk and they get in a fight and have sex with their sister or whatever and and then they you know they they they go to church and they confess and everything's wiped clean and you try your best to be good but then you know next Saturday you screw up again and and but you go to confessional and you get another chance whereas like you know the Protestant sort of mentality is like oh no you're screwed for life oh you did this no you you will always have this mark upon you like they're they're much less forgiving and you see that you see that in in so many different policies like a you know for instance like the penal system it's a very Protestant system in the United States it's a very much more Protestant than Catholic country and so you you you know there's life imprisonment imprisonment without the possibility of parole you are condemned for life whereas Canada which was originally a French place before the English even showed up and so even in the Protestant places that French code very much a Catholic mentality still exists isn't it interesting that in Canada you could have like the most horrendous people Clifford Olson Paul Bernardo these are serial killers these people are like let's face it they're never getting out of jail but on paper it's written in the constitution of the penitentiary system of Canada that no inmate is beyond the possibility of rehabilitation and that's the difference between the Catholic and the Protestant mentality I believe the historic influence of it the very notion of being penitent yeah in the penitentiary if that's the whole point right and I agree that the confessional is is a gift to humanity it's amazing I recommend it for everyone like you know I was a thief for quite a while in my life and and I was heavily influenced in that direction by my environment by the people in my life by you know my father and my uncles and things now it seems it's not a really fair commandment thou shalt not steal because rich people have a lot less motive and temptation to steal than poor people so if thou shalt not steal is gonna be like a law from God universal law it should protect and sort of restrict everybody equally right like someone who's rich who steals he should go to special hell because like you already started up on the front foot God's put a law in place not only to give him an unfair advantage in obeying that commandment but he's also protecting him the stuff that he already gave him you know you think at least God would say okay I'm gonna put some people here with some stuff I'm gonna put some people here without stuff but it's fair game if you can get his stuff that's fair yeah and like why if stealing is wrong then it should be equally wrong for everybody yeah every it's a case-by-case basis and and God understands the the circumstances and the extenuating really because don't say that you know I didn't say the ten suggestion it says the Ten Commandments it didn't say thou shalt not steal unless maybe in the you know under these circumstances but you know that's law well the point of talking about a God who is eternal and perfect and infinite is that the law should also be eternal and perfect and infinite you shouldn't be able to equivocate there's no equivocation in the Catholic Church and the nuanced interpretation of the Ten Commandments but there is a loving mercy it's adjust but it's merciful and this is this is the way God is he's perfectly just and he's perfectly merciful how do those work together we can't comprehend it but we can apprehend his perfect justice and perfect mercy in the church and I think the confessional is a good example of that there's a perfect mercy than yes understand when you know when I get up there and I go WOW oh yeah hey listen listen we have to have a talk you know at the end of my interviews I always asked my guests to speak directly to the audience and just sort of wrap up the show but just as a ray of hope something from your perspective that you learned from your life experience what would you say to anyone that's out there that might be listening well my life has been at times very challenging I think I think most people would agree with that and it hasn't been easy there was a lot of different kinds of abuse when I was young and I think that stays with you all your life I mean I'm also a sort of byproduct of native residential schools my grandmother's family was broken apart and they were sent to schools all over the country where they were raised not by their family not by anybody who cared about them but by well actually by nuns so strangely strangely I have a not a terrible relationship with the Catholic Church but you know the Catholic Church was implicit in the whole residential schools thing now that I didn't even think of that while we were talking but and as a result of that though you know my grandmother was a good woman but she also had no sense of how to give love or show love and she didn't show love to her children really well and my father especially didn't turn out very good as a parent he's very abusive so I can probably understand what it is to feel really low at times to feel really unloved to feel lonely to feel like not worthy of being in the world to feel like you're less than other people I mean self-esteem is a huge issue is a huge issue for my father and it's been an issue for me something I've struggled with all my life and I have that time felt very very down very suicidal to the point where you know I when I was younger I had quite a few guns and I would just tell people like come and get the guns and take them away because I think I might harm myself and so I've been there I've been there again and again and all I would say to people is that it can always get a little better and the thing is when you're really low it seems so far from the light you seem so far away that you know you want something big to happen you want to win the lottery or you want like somebody to come and apologize to you somebody who's not gonna apologize to you in a hundred years or or you just want some kind of big gesture and and the truth is how I've gotten myself out of these holes is just to take some tiny little action even the the smallest thing you can think of it could be just you're lying in bed you just can't face the world you just don't want to get out of bed it's okay get out of bed you know if you can't get out of bed just sit on the edge of the bed like and I promise you you're gonna feel a tiny little bit better but also when you see that you've taken action and you've made yourself feel a little better that's the most hopeful thing because then you're like well what else could I do can I walk over to the bathroom and wash my face okay and so you walk over the bathroom and you wash your face and you know what you'll feel a little better I promise you and and you build these things up one little step at a time and because I think they're really the big inclination when you're when you're really sad and really lonely and down low like you want something really amazing to happen like a romantic comedy or you want to win the lottery like I said or you you you know if you're feeling sick you want you don't want to get better a little bit you want to get a lot better very fast it's very frustrating I've been injured I haven't been able to walk for like a couple of weeks and I've spent like a year limping around and it's it's not pleasant not too long ago you know I was having suicidal thoughts and because that's part of the problem being a philosopher especially existentialist philosopher is it's very hard to find a meaning for life so I just decided well you know what I'm gonna do I'm you know go in my spoon and fork drawer I said well I'm gonna wipe off all these spoons and forks and I'm with the spoons in a spoon slot and I'm gonna put the forks in the fork slot and and you know that was really all I wanted to do that day that was my big project for the day because I've been through this before but when I was finished I looked at the drawer and I felt just a little bit better so I thought well let me look in the next door and the next drawer is full of menus from the takeout restaurant and I said you know I got all these disgusting menus all this disgusting food then I'm gonna order and I'm gonna eat it to try and make myself feel better but then I'm gonna feel like crap because I ate all this crappy takeout food so you know what I'm gonna do I'm gonna take all these menus most of them are out-of-date anyways I'm gonna throw them all in the garbage and then you know and then I'm gonna rearrange that drawer it's full of menus and maybe throw out a few things that don't belong in there and now I have two drawers that are clean and you know over the next couple of weeks I rearranged my whole house and cleaned it all up and and suddenly would each each little thing that I did it made me feel a little bit better and it also gave me a little motivation to go on because I saw the results so yeah I would say to anyone you know you're feeling pretty hopeless just think what one little thing could I do one little thing to make myself feel a little better rearrange your sock drawer fold some t-shirts you know put some clothes in the laundry and you'd be surprised how quickly that snowballs and that steam rolls and things just get better and better all you got to do is all you got to do to do

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