This is a reblog of an earlier posting from 2011. A lot has changed in eight or nine years, including my experience of a sense of broken trust with my wife of somn years.
The truth is that I was fooling myself, in believing that my wife was okay with my photo shoots with nude models. The only thing she was okay with was not talking about it, or expressing her feelings on the subject. This is now over, and she is quite vocal about her point of view, which is negative in general, and frustrated in particular.
She honestly believes that she never agreed to the terms of our marriage as I understood them, almost forty years ago. The whole idea of “open marriage” or a “poly” relationship is fundamentally offensive to her sense of what is necessary for a marriage to work, ultimately. Today, while we continue to cohabitate, she no longer considers our marriage valid, and considers herself to be unmarried, or perhaps, never really married at all.
In some ways things are actually better between us, in that she is now open to express her honestly held beliefs and her emotions. Now we’re both somewhat bitter about the whole thing, and yet still are trying to find a way to function as a couple.
Life is funny. Despite everything we love each other. Can’t always stand each other, but still have deep affection and respect. We just don’t agree on marital fidelity and a lot of other things. At the heart of it, I’m the one incapable of cleaving to one and only one woman. She’s convinced that it is a function of my inability to really trust anyone completely. She might be right. But just saying it doesn’t change it for me, and it doesn’t resolve it for her.
A close friend of mine, a photographer in Vancouver, with well-developed skills and a wonderful eye, is struggling with a major conflict between his intimate relationship with a long-term woman partner and his even longer term artistic exploration of the female form through nude photography.
I think it’s important to define both – what I mean by an intimate relationship with his partner, and what I mean by nude photography. They may both seem pretty self-evident, but trust me when I tell you that neither is as simple as it seems.
My friend is struggling because his wife of about a year is absolutely mortified that her husband wants to take pictures of naked women, and spend time in intimate situations with naked women who are not her. This is despite the fact that her husband, before marriage, was one of the best known local boudoir photographers in…
b : an offense violating the dignity of a ruler as the representative of a sovereign power
2 : a detraction from or affront to dignity or importance
Lèse-majesté (or lese majesty, as it is also styled in English publications) comes into English by way of Middle French, from the Latin laesa majestas, which literally means “injured majesty.” The English term can conceivably cover any offense against a sovereign power or its ruler, from treason to a simple breach of etiquette. Lèse-majesté has also acquired a more lighthearted or ironic meaning, referring to an insult or impudence to a particularly pompous or self-important person or organization. As such, it may be applied to a relatively inoffensive act that has been exaggeratedly treated as if it were a great affront.
For most of us, living in Canada or most western countries, think that criticism of our government is a fundamental human right, acknowledged and supported by our laws and courts. Within some limits, defying authority or calling authority into question is one of the most crucial of our human rights to the maintenance of democracy.
This fundamental human right is not so fundamental if you live in Thailand. To most Canadians Thailand is just a great place to go on a vacation, not a place where human rights take a backseat to the monarchy. In Thailand, criticizing the government comes with very real consequences, including long jail terms.
And you don’t have to be the author of the criticism, just ask Chanoknan “Cartoon” Ruamsap, who made the mistake of “sharing” a controversial Facebook entry. A pro-democracy activist, Chanoknan “Cartoon” Ruamsap fled into exile on Sunday, ahead of arrest by military order for sharing on her Facebook account a BBC profile of His Majesty the King.
But in the end, it’s me who made the decision. The time I spent to decide was so short and quick. I had less than 30 minutes to decide whether to stay or to leave. What is difficult is the fact that I won’t return after this journey. Then I went to say goodbye to dad and mom. Everyone was shocked but agreed. No one wanted me to be in jail for five years merely because sharing a BBC news story. On the first day I arrived here, I only cried because I saw no way out. Everything seems puzzling and confusing. I didn’t know how to deal with them. I kept asking myself a question whether I made the right decision to seek refuge or I should go back, and I can meet family and friends as usual after serving the jail term. But I got the answer that I couldn’t backtrack now.
And lest you think that these laws are unique to Thailand, with its backward government and oppressive system of administration of justice, think again. There are current laws in Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, and Spain, in Europe against insulting the crown, and committing lese majeste, under which an offender could also spend years in jail, or face significant fines or other penalties. Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as the African nation of Morocco, and the Asian nations of Malaysia and Cambodia all have similar laws on the books, which are various enforced in modern times.
So why would a modern nation, like the Netherlands, or Denmark, maintain what seems like something out of medieval times. Don’t they understand civil rights, and the right to speak out to authority? Well, it turns out, not so much. Both of those countries, as well as Thailand, do allow criticism of the government, or of government policies. What they don’t allow is insulting and gratuitous attacks on the crown, or on the government leadership.
In Canada there are no lese majeste laws, as such, but even in Canada it is important to frame critical comments against the government or the crown in language that is not personally insulting to her majesty, the Queen or her family. But not because there is laws against it, but because it is unnecessary to personalize criticisms against the government or crown.
It’s fine to attack the monarchy, if you would prefer a republic, for example. Just do it with class and reasonably good manners. Most Canadians would be quite unhappy to hear someone committing lese majesty, even if its not illegal.
Even in countries like Canada or the United States freedom of speech has some limits.
Vancouver – The British Columbia Securities Commission imposed a total of $1.7 million of financial sanctions on three B.C. men and two mortgage investment companies after finding that they committed fraud.
Patrick K. Prinster and David Scott Wright were each ordered to pay $250,000 and Donald Bruce Edward Wilson was ordered to pay $150,000 for diverting investors’ funds from mortgages secured by real estate, which was the purpose described in marketing materials.
The panel also permanently banned Prinster, Wright and Wilson from the following activities:
Trading in or purchasing securities or exchange contracts
Using exemptions set out in the Securities Act
Becoming or acting as a registrant or promoter
Acting in a management or consultative capacity in the securities market
Engaging in investor relations
The panel noted that Prinster, Wright and Wilson diverted the funds and carried out their misconduct “despite warnings and concerns expressed to them from multiple sources.”
The panel imposed financial sanctions of $561,479 on DominionGrand II Mortgage Investment Corporation, and $500,961 on DominionGrand Investment Fund Inc.
Almost all of the $1.1 million raised from investors was lost, though the panel did not find evidence that Prinster, Wright or Wilson had been personally enriched by the diversion of investments.
I received a notice of the Securities Commission decision this morning, and have spent the last few hours reviewing their decision and considering how to react to this disheartening news.
Whether or not to appeal the decision is pretty much moot. Neither I nor the other two individual respondents in this civil administration case had the financial resources to defend ourselves in the first place. Both of the companies named in the decision haven’t existed as legal entities for years. We certainly don’t have any more financial resources now than we did when this case first was started.
Legal processes are ferociously expensive, and lawyers fees pretty much out of reach for most people caught up in this type of hearing. If we’d actually benefited personally from the diversion of investment funds to the parties, maybe we would have had the money to defend ourselves and our reputations. We didn’t. However, as acknowledged in the decision, we were not accused of benefiting personally or receiving any significant benefits from the wrongful use of the investors funds.
In reality the pressure of being under the gun by the BC Securities Commission and the BC Financial Institutions Commission at the same time, pertaining to the exactly the same set of circumstances left me pretty much stripped of any ability to do business in the ordinary course, or to protect myself from numerous lawsuits that eventually cost me my share of the equity in my home, and in other assets as well.
A net result to me personally, is that I filed bankruptcy a year and a half ago, after pretty much losing everything I owned.
And in the middle of all of this, my health went to hell, maybe as a result of the incredible stress of the situation, or maybe just an accumulation of unrelenting pressure from almost every part of my life, personal, financial and professional.
There is a point at which I no longer functioned at any reasonable level, and much of my world collapsed around me.
For those of you who follow my blog, both this one and Rain City Review, will know that I’ve been struggling to find my way back to a meaningful future, where once again I can hope for something, and begin to work towards restoring my damaged reputation, and improving my financial circumstances.
But before I can move on I need to deal with this decision, and accept responsibility for what I have wrought. Clearly I took a wrong turn at some point, which led to the destruction of everything I built. Life is lived one day at a time, and I honestly did my best, each and every day, both in regards to these two companies and the others which failed, either in concert with these or on their own for other reasons not useful to go into here. My best wasn’t good enough.
I worked really hard to get in so much trouble, and cause so much damage to other people’s financial position, despite my every effort to contribute positively to my investors’ and clients’ financial lives. Clearly I made a number of wrong decisions, some only understood in hindsight, and not at the time.
I feel like hell for what happened, and my role in it. It is not useful to look for excuses, and it certainly won’t make my investors, family or friends feel any better. I don’t know that anything will.
All I can do at this point is move forward with my life, and vow to do better in the future. I’m sorry. I’m extremely disappointed in myself and my decisions that led to this. I will continue to deal with the consequences and fallout from this decision, and make such reparations as I can under the circumstances. I’ll do my best.
Waiting for this decision, after waiting more than half a decade for the hearings to take place, has been excruciating. But I’m sure no more for me than for the investors harmed by these transactions.
It’s not enough, I know. But its what I can do. I’m sorry. I wish things hadn’t turned out this way.
As I have often said before, “I love words and language.” Discovering a new word is, for me, like finding a twenty dollar bill on the street. It is being rewarded for the simple act of curiosity about the ordinary things of life, in the dailiness of every day.
In some uncomfortable way, the word brings to mind the ordinariness of both good and evil in our lives. Great deeds are seldom made out of massively heroic and exceptional circumstances. Rather, great deeds are the result of the very dailiness of an individual’s existence. Routinely going about doing good, as done by Mother Teresa, to her fellow humans in the slums of India, came to her as a very ordinary thing to do by a very ordinary person. The extraordinary thing about Mother Teresa is that her virtue was lived every boring day, and every exciting day as well. Her humility was a revelation that great good could be the result of just that… a pretty ordinary person committing to extraordinary acts, even as daily habits.
Evil is likewise ordinary, an accumulation of the tiny acts over a period of time which ultimately result in great evil, despite the banality of the individual steps that gets someone there. Hitler’s Nazi Germany was not evil because the railroads ran on time, it was because in the midst of one of the most efficient industrial states of the twentieth century, human beings were destroyed equally efficiently and with banal malice by other humans as a daily matter. This was so much so that the destruction of millions of lives was just another aspect of the dailiness of life in the Third Reich.
Words have the potential to stimulate great changes in us. Words matter.
As human beings we are responsible for our actions, and the necessary consequences of those actions. Accepting, and remembering the harm we cause others is the foundation of permanent change and growth – a vow to do better is nothing if it is not followed up by the small actions involved in turning virtuous behaviour into daily routine.
They believed that the ladies and the gentlemen alike had covered them with endearments, were candidly, gushingly glad to make their acquaintance. They had not in the least seen what was manner, the minimum of decent profession, and what the subtle resignation of old races who have known a long historical discipline and have conventional forms for their feelings—forms resembling singularly little the feelings themselves. Francie took people at their word […]It would not have occurred to the girl that such things need have been said as a mere garniture. Her lover, whose life had been surrounded with garniture and who therefore might have been expected not to notice it, had a fresh sense of it now […]
I like new words. New to me, that is. I’d never heard the word garniture and if I had I wouldn’t have know how to use it in a sentence. The above quotes give us examples from Wikipedia of the proper use of the words.
Which means, an accessory of sorts, but one designed to enhance the object or person being so accessorized. What my mother would have called “gilding the lily.”
So a room with furniture but no garniture, would be a room with essential furniture only, but without any other decorations. No table ornaments, no wall hangings or painting, no fancy lights, to mats on the floor or, for the matter, on the table. A room without any style at all, in fact. The kind of room preferred by my mother, due to her Swedish roots.
The word has other uses. Imagine that a “boy toy” for a wealthy movie star as garniture, making her look good. Or yard ornaments to upgrade the garden. Or nice pictures of food in a takeout restaurant, something to look at while your waiting for your take out dinner.
Garniture. Like furniture. Bears the same relationship to garnish as furniture does to furnish. Another interesting example of how the english language evolved from Norman French.
All things considered, I’d rather be in Tuwanek, for me a most unwonted place, filled with old but vivid memories from my early years, and periodic trips down memory lane on subsequent day trips to the rainforest village area.
I love the word unwonted, for all its unfamiliarity, and despite its similarity to the word unwanted, which sounds pretty similar, despite have a completely different meaning and emotional impact. The word “unwonted” sounds familiar, but it means extraordinary, unusual, and exotic – exactly the opposite of unwanted.
What makes this tiny point of land so special? Mostly it is special because of the flood of memories evoked when I remember summer holidays in my parents’ cottage, just a few hundred steps from the beach. My parents bought the property for use by the family after buying a summer vacation property on Savary Island, further north past Powell River which had never really worked out well because it was simply too far to get to for a short holiday. It took virtually a whole day just to get to Savary Island and another to get home at the end of the holiday.
There were two main benefits of buying in Tuwanek, after their experience on Savary Island. Tuwanek is a drive of less than an hour from the terminal at Langdale, where the ferry delivers cars from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. So we could leave our home in North Vancouver, catch the ferry and drive to the cottage in a little over two hours, assuming that we caught the first ferry and didn’t have to wait for the next ferry.
Travelling all the way up to Savary Island is a long trip, with two ferry rides required, and the family taking its’ own water transportation to get to the island as there is no ferry to Savary Island, not even today. That means a boat, which was a major expenditure for my dad and mom. Sechelt is a lot closer, with only one ferry to catch, and it is on a road directly accessed from the Sechelt Inlet Highway.
It’s proximity to West Vancouver also meant that as we kids grew older it was practical to go up for a weekend, instead of reserving it for long holidays. But even with easy access, comparatively, it became increasing a rare weekend visit once we went off to university or into other pursuits as young adults.
It did serve as the location for my honeymoon (of sorts) after I married my second wife. I don’t know if she ever felt that we really had a true honeymoon, already having had a couple of kids before we got married. It was a great place all of us to holiday, and we loved spending time at the beach with the kids in the water.
Eventually my parents no longer used the cabin, and sold it to my sister, who lived there after returning from eastern Canada, where she worked for the New Democratic Party in New Brunswick. To this day she still lives on the Coast, buying a small farm on the road to Port Mellon.
The original inhabitants of Sechelt are the Sechelt Nation, a British Columbian First Nations band who call themselves shishalh (or shishalh Nation). Before English was spoken, the town of Sechelt was called ch’atlich in she shashishalhem (the Sechelt language). For thousands of years, the Sechelt people practiced a hunting and gathering subsistence strategy, making extensive use of the natural food resources located around Sechelt, and its strategic location for access into the Sechelt Inlet. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Counterfactual thinking focus on how the past might have been, or the present could be, different. These thoughts are usually triggered by negative events that block one’s goals and desires. Counterfactual thoughts have a variety of effects on emotions, beliefs, and behavior, with regret being the most common resulting emotion.
Counterfactual means, literally, contrary to the facts. Sometimes counterfactuals revolve around how the present could be different (“I could be at the movies instead of studying for this exam”). More frequent, however, are counterfactual thoughts of what might have been, of what could have happened had some detail, or action, or outcome been different in the past. Whenever we say “if only” or “almost,” or use words like “could,” “would,” or “should,” we may be expressing a counterfactual thought (If only I were taller; I almost won that hand, etc.). Sometimes counterfactuals are used as an argument in a speech (“If Kennedy had decided to attack Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis, it would have ended in nuclear war”) or to speculate or evaluate (“What if the 9/11 terrorists had been stopped by security guards at the airport?”).
I hate to admit not knowing an English language word, or compound word, such as is counterfactual. When I first read it, on an Instagram posting by miriamlewis34575 this morning, I didn’t believe it was a real word, but quickly realized that the word makes perfect sense, and describes something that otherwise wouldn’t have a simple noun to encapsulate it. So, getting beyond the fact that I didn’t have a clue about what it meant, I immediately sought out a definition that I could work with in the course of the conversation with this person.
Photo by Mateusz Dach on Pexels.com
If only I had known the meaning of the word before chatting with Miriam, I might have appeared to actually know what I am talking about, instead of being caught off guard. I might not have looked like a complete and utter ignoramus to this erudite young woman.
And that’s the point. Counterfactual actually means projecting alternatives to what might have happened if such and such occurs in reality. If I’d only done this or that…
What a useful concept.
It seems to me that what it describes is a condition commonly experienced by EVERYBODY on the planet, and is often responsible for the most negative or positive interpretations of events that occur in people’s lives. Not the events themselves, but how we feel about them, how we cope with the actual events by reinterpreting them in terms that make sense out of otherwise potentially random and senseless events.
Unfortunately, a lot of the time, the interpretation we give an event or series of events is far more emotionally damaging than justified by the events themselves.
“If only I hadn’t been five minutes late for the exam, and failed to get into law school, my entire life would have been completely different.” Of course, rationally a person knows that such counterfactual thinking is somewhat dangerous to your forward progress in life. It makes excuses instead of inspiring more efforts. At least sometimes.
In my own experience most of my regrets come from counterfactual thinking, often leading me into emotional downturns, and wasted upset, often over things not in my control. Counterfactual thinking can ultimately be disabling, freezing me in my tracks and preventing positive planning to overcome a bad situation.
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com
Of course, that refers to Negative Counterfactual thinking rather than Positive. But Positive Counterfactual thinking can also have negative consequences, if it causes me to fail to recognize that the unfortunate events which occurred were the result of a series of decisions well within my control, but which I chose to avoid dealing with in time to deal with the actual consequences. It suggests that in those situations I may fail to change my future behavior as a result of learning from my own mistakes.
I don’t think that anyone can avoid counterfactual thinking. It’s basic human nature. But we can be analytical and rational in our interpretation of our own feelings, and thereby perhaps improve our long term outcomes.