I read this morning that the “-ISM” in words like alcoholism can be explained as an acronym for “Incredibly Short Memory.” This is the first time I’ve seen that one. I’ve heard others such as “I, Self, Me” seeking to explain how problems with alcohol or drugs or eating or whatever are rooted in self-centeredness; there’s also the definition of ism as  “I Sponsor Myself” suggesting that it’s not good to try to tackle one of those conditions alone. These are all good bits of information but I’d never heard it described as a problem with my prefrontal cortex or hippocampus before…

If you google “ism” you will find the suffix tagged onto 800+ words. It’s on dualism, Marxism, Buddhism, Catholicism, fatalism, monotheism or paganism which refer to a “philosophical, systematic or ideological movements.”

Nihilism is in this category too:

I was happy to see other uses boarding on the humorous: yahooism, quackism or ignorantism, or my new favorite, zombiism. And there’s what I was referring to above, denoting a “pathological condition” such as alcoholism. Incidentally its kind of interesting to combine the cutsy acronyms with that particular definition of an ism:

  • “Incredibly Short Memory” + “pathological condition”
  • “I, Self, Me” +   “pathological condition”
  • “I Sponsor Myself” + “pathological condition”

Anyways, last week I got a call from the gastroenterologist doctor telling me they had found a tumor down inside my small intestine. We had done what is called a “capsule endoscopy” the week before and he had called to share the results. I was alright on the phone – more in shock than anything else. This is a pattern. But then I got to thinking – which is also a pattern. Thinking led to Lebowski style nihilism or the belief that this world is heading nowhere and meaning nothing (although it didn’t feel that funny).

How many tests have we done over the last few years trying to find the source of this abdominal pain? How many times have I asked for help with this? How many times have people prayed about it? Have I prayed about it? Hundreds? Thousands of prayers all together?

And for what? Where were the answers? I mean I have had, in some cases, the same stupid endoscopy test (three times), blood tests, xrays, ER visits, pet/ct scans…all of them found nothing? Is this a joke? Is God real? Really? Are prayers BS? What’s the point? Was this “benign” loving Father just going to let my prayers go unanswered for years, meanwhile letting me lug around this pain for 6-8 hours a day? And for what? What have I learned? What’s the big mystery or lesson or whatever that I was supposed to discover? I don’t feel any different than I did when this crap started. 

And then there was the fear that maybe the pain was not related to the tumor, that maybe this was a fresh outcropping of cancer in my guts…And what the hell does that mean anyway? Thanks a lot/this blows/what’s the point…the game sometimes feels rigged for people that believe and that part of me seems to be missing and/or defective…if that is even the game we are playing…

This happens to me a lot. When faced with a crisis, everything I think I believe goes out the window and I’m in full free-fall. Eventually things come back around.

Why? How? What?

In my case I got comfortable, again, with the phrase I don’t know. I can add this to a litany of other “unanswered-isms.” Not knowing is part of life. I can either accept that or I can’t but not accepting it makes it hard; accepting it, easier. I remembered my incredibly short memory. The reality is, at least in my experience, that experience has taught me there is an underlining purpose to things. I can’t explain it well. I’m not in charge of it. But I have experienced it, over and over. I’m at peace with this today even if I chronically forget it.

Furthermore, “at the end of the day,” I can’t accept “nothing.” Not only because that doesn’t make sense literally (how do you accept nothing, isn’t that after all accepting something?), but because I can’t reasonably wrap my mind around the concept.

My head hurts imagining a beginning before a beginning. I mean what was before the beginning? Imagine nothing? I can’t. Perhaps a physicists could explain this to me properly…maybe something about the illusory nature of time. They would probably be wasting breaths on me.

Then again if Einstein’s concept of mass energy equivalence (eg e=mc2) is real and there is a finite amount of matter/energy in the universe, maybe I was never “nothing” to begin with either and will, therefore, never be/couldn’t be “nothing” again.

Now, I don’t know, but that might just be making something out of nothing. 0-;

PS. Surgery tomorrow. Will let you know results. There’s a phrase that goes something like “May your family treat you like friends and your friends, family.” Thank you friends and family for your help, concern and love. I’m happy to call you both friends and family.




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