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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This question is primarily directed toward the INFPs, but anyone can respond.

My question is: What do you consider sacred? These sacred things can be objects, experiences, qualities, whatever it is that you find to be sacred to your life and experience. Please share what is sacred and explain why, being as candid as you wish to be. I believe this is a useful question to ask to others, because it can reveal a lot about their innermost values.

I will kick this off:

I believe that HONEY is sacred. If you take a single spoonful of honey, you are holding the product of the life-giving force of THOUSANDS of flowers. These flowers had spent months absorbing the moisture of the earth, the rays of the sun, growing and striving for one purpose alone - to give. First to give the nectar to the bees and insects who in turn give their services in fertilizing hundreds of flowers, and then these flowers finish their service by producing the fruit and/or seeds to give life to the next generation. Selflessness...life for the benefit of other life. But this precious, sweet nectar is benefacted by the flowers to the tireless legions of bees that spread life, and by combining their own salival fluid with the fluid nectar of the flowers, the sugary product of harmonious service is born; nature's edible gold, honey. Flowers and bees do live to sustain themselves, but only for the purpose of serving the rest of nature, and the sacred sweetness of honey is a concentrated, tangible testament to the of the harmonized power of selfless service.

This becomes a lesson to me and all of humanity. When we depart from this harmonious pattern of selflessness exemplified in much of nature and turn to the way of self-centeredness, I believe that a resultant disharmony grows inside of us, and a void of purpose swells in the soul, producing a strong hunger. The instinct of our human nature signals us to become indulgent, and we are quick to follow the cue with many forms of pleasure and self-serving strivings. But when we observe the sublime pattern given in nature, the real hunger of the soul is to fulfill a purpose; a purpose that does not serve self or spiral inward, but that fulfills a purpose for the life around us, and nature holds out its viscous, golden treasure that is honey and tells us that if we will but enter into unity with the pattern of giving service our soul will be satisfied by the sweetness that results.
 

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Freedom. Everyone has the right to be free, simple as that.

Nature. To me the that is perhaps the most sacred thing. In the nature, walking in the forest or swimming in the lake, standing in the rain and listening to the thunder...I love nature above all else. And we all are part of it, so why would we not respect it? By mistreating it, we only hurt ourselves.
 

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I believe that knowledge and technology are important and perhaps sacred. I wouldn't regard them as friends, for knowledge is power in one respect, and power corrupts. Knowledge can be harmful to the fragile, revealing home truths they aren't ready to hear. Technology is like a mercenary, its willing to sell itself to the highest bidder, do whatever its told, reap the rewards as a result end up with the powers that be becoming ever more dependent on its services. Unfortunately, the powers that be have plenty of creativity in finding sinister and malevolent applications for these impartial entities.
However, I believe that neither of these are inherently evil and that even the sacred can be distorted and twisted. I believe that everything that's ever been developed by man can be used as a weapon. A fishing rod can strangle, a book can concuss, even a sacred and holy book can become an instigator and justifier for a war. Technology and knowledge can drive the tank, can make a bomb go nuclear, can keep the aircrafts and bombers in the air but its lack of application can also undermine. When used correctly and with peaceful aims, technology and knowledge can prevent misunderstanding and allow alternatives. I believe if an entire nation has a misunderstanding or sees no alternative, then the sheer human drive can cause great problems or achieve great results.
Being primitive or being a hunter gatherer is probably no worse or maybe better that the modern consumerist society but its a reward reserved for the very few. If a tiny minority turned the modern world into an anarchist-primitivist one, then the majority of the billions wouldn't have a place in it, nor any alternative but to war and die. Even the most capable or intelligent would die if they have nothing to eat or nothing to hunt. I think it was a lack of technology and knowledge which allowed the slaughter of countless millions over the past millennia, by factions who refused to see the point of view of the other side or by the steppe tribes across history who had no alternative but to raid and kill from the fertile lands and from the rich or they would see themselves die in freezing poverty. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened had the nomadic tribes been able to pass down literature, art, physics and advanced technology through their oral history instead. Had the pastoralists of antiquity known about the modern agriculture of today, then maybe they could have advanced or turned away from the warrior culture and fewer would have died as they did. If things could have been different for humanity, then perhaps history would not have been quite the mess it was.
I think technology and knowledge (always used together and used responsibly) is what may one day save humanity from collapse, from a tragedy which could engulf the entire world when there is no more space and no more resources for people to live as they did. I hope it could leave us to populate the oceans where we could perhaps swim and inhabit it like the fish or perhaps spread off into outer space and leave the Earth to recover from the very cultivation and technology I've ultimately just condoned. I feel that tolerance, peace and social development are luxuries for the rich and I don't want to see history repeated for the next million years because some are forced to live in the past, caring only about survival at any cost in the harsh environment.

I know there's a million holes in my argument and its ultimately naive and perhaps foolish, but how can we devote ourselves to the goal of world peace when we have no means to support the very world which needs the time to find the path? That's why I regard these as sacred, and I'm sorry for waffling on. It has got a bit out of hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So far: Freedom, nature, knowledge, technology! Good responses.

I thought I'd add another. Please keep in mind as you read this (if you read this) that these views deal with my own personal religious/spiritual perspective, and you can decide what you agree or disagree with, but I do not state these views to invite contention, but to extrapolate my experience with what I consider sacred from my viewpoint:

I believe that freedom of choice is sacred. Not everyone believes that we have freedom of choice - those who are determinists. They say that we are automatons that make choices determined by the neurologic processes of our brain, and that we consciously perceive those choices as free-will when they are not. I disagree with that. To me that is a very empty way of viewing life. I believe that we as humans are endowed with free-will, with the ability to contemplate, reflect, cogitate, and make decisions apart from our neurological instincts. That is something that makes us special, that sacred quality. In this sense, we are more than the processes of our brain - as I see it there is a spirit/soul quality that acts through the medium of the brain. How else can we decidedly override the powerful instincts of our brain? Instincts that drive us with adrenalinized fear or other instincts of self-preservation.

We are given the capacity to consider our physiological and psychological responses and with the key of free-will power we can override the response and say, "No, I will not fear. I am not in danger, and I choose peace." The more the individual BELIEVES in their capacity of free-will, the stronger it can be utilized. If we were to follow fully our base instincts, and be at their mercy, we would collapse. We are not as animals are. The great feats of our human societies are a direct result of the free-will we have; deciding when to follow our instincts, and deciding when we must deny them for a greater purpose.

Personal View: I personally believe free-will is something personally implanted in humans by God for the purpose of allowing us to choose whether to give allegience to our natural base instincts, or to ally ourselves with the moral conscience He uses to teach us divine truths and woo us toward spiritual union with Him where the ties of our bondage are broken. In this way, since the power of free-will is fed from Him in this figurative spiritual umbelical cord, in order to utilize and grow the power of free-will we need to draw it from God. Sometimes this is done by directly beseeching Him for it, for those who have developed a personal connection with God, and at other times for those who haven't yet developed a personal connection, He gives will power as they trust in the faith-inducing admonitions of their conscience that God fuels.

If we look at the historical results of humans giving power over to their bodies to rule their soul, human sensuality has wrought terrible results. Lust, infatuation, warring, indulgence...our human instincts drive us toward these. The French Revolution was a good example of when moralistic principles were thrown out the door, and what resulted was an ugly conglomeration of unrestrained lust, bigotry, sensuality, and indulgence as history testifies.

In the individual sense, those who are brought lowest into depression are usually those who tend to feel a total loss of their free-will power: Those who cannot overcome addiction, cannot brave social situations, cannot stand up for themselves, etc. In this circumstance free-will still exists, but it is being exerted toward faith in their helpless state. Not surprisingly, in tandem with this downward progression is often seen the feeling or belief that God has abandoned them, but He has not. He offers will power, but it must be received with implicit trust to be utilized. If you were a child standing on a fence and your father said, "Jump! I can catch you," you would only do so if you really trusted him to catch you. Asking him to catch you doesn't demonstrate your trust until you choose to jump. Likewise, I believe in order to exert our will power to trust God it requires an act of forfeiture - forfeiture of the trust we place in ourselves, in our good or bad circumstances, etc. By doing so we jump off the fence. Momentarily we have nothing under our feet, but then He catches us, and being now unified with His power, we are enabled.

So by observing this we see an underlying psychic connection we are built with between our free-will and God. As our free-will diminishes, we feel separated from God, and as our free-will increases our connection with God seems stronger. An exception to this would be the atheist who believe his/her will power is self-induced. In this case I believe God still provides will power in accordance with the level of reliance placed upon the dictates of their conscience so far as it has developed to that point, whether a belief in deity has been accepted or not. Howbeit, I do not believe the same level of serenity and freedom from burdensome attachments can be achieved as those who allow a direct, trusting channel of connection to God.

Free-will, then, is what I consider the most precious, sacred gift given to humanity, because it allows us to decide where to place our love and our allegiance, and whether to accept or reject love. So when love is experienced it is special and dynamic because their was no force involved, it is the experience of two entities, either humans or human to God, volitionally placing their love and trust into the other. Awesome!
 

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I believe that artistic expression is sacred.

I value objective knowledge and logic immensely, but there is just something about the subjective, something about the expression of a single person's subconscious in a beautiful work of art that really grips me. People concerns are sacred, to me. When I hear a song by Elliott Smith, I can say to myself, "Objectively, I don't think his mind was quite healthy," but the product of his mind is subjectively beautiful to me. To hear every strain of guitar, every turn of phrase, and every waver of his voice combine into a whole that meant something to him and means something to me... I don't particularly care if he was the most objectively impressive or technically skilled musician ever, or if he could play a million thirty-sixth notes on his guitar in point two seconds, I just like how honest he was, and I think the way a little honesty and subjective beauty can touch the human heart and create a sense of solidarity is more precious than anything else on this earth.
 

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I believe that HONEY is sacred. If you take a single spoonful of honey, you are holding the product of the life-giving force of THOUSANDS of flowers.
o_o ...oh, that kind of honey.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Reply to Blackbird

Quoted from Blackbird:

I value objective knowledge and logic immensely, but there is just something about the subjective, something about the expression of a single person's subconscious in a beautiful work of art that really grips me.
I know just what you mean. Often I feel pressured to put on a pedestal objective knowledge and give it outright supremacy over subjective experience and knowledge, but in many ways it does not feel right to me. By recognizing and understanding my subjective experience and that of those around me, I feel like it empowers my comprehension of both subjective and objective. For instance, I love music, but I do not like learning what I see as dry, objective music theory. But say I listen to a piece by Bach where he uses some ingenius counterpoint in his composition, and as I listen, the splendid pattern of his musical thought emerges and I feel it in a personal way...I understand now! Empowered by this subjective musical experience, I thirst to learn how to use counterpoint so that I in turn can express it how I have experienced it.

In this way I see subjective experience as being equal with and inextricable from objective knowledge, because it is the human subjective experience that provides itself as the vehicle to pursue and comprehend the objective truths and reveal them in the framework that represents our experience with them. It is when we suppress our subjective experience that I believe the life is drained from objective knowlege, whether history, mathematics, music, physics, etc.
 

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What is pretty literally sacred to me in my intuitive spirituality would be art, nature, love, and sexuality. Rationally, though, I am an atheist, and nothing is sacred. Mwahahahaha. :cool:
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Reply to Rowingineden

Quoted from Rowingineden:

What is pretty literally sacred to me in my intuitive spirituality would be art, nature, love, and sexuality. Rationally, though, I am an atheist, and nothing is sacred. Mwahahahaha.
Part of the question is the "why" of what you consider sacred. You say that you are an atheist, that you do not believe in or regard a deity. What, then, do you mean when you say something is sacred to your intuitive spirituality?...what makes these things sacred to you? As a germaine side interest, perhaps you could explain the difference between your intuitive spirituality and your atheism.
 

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Part of the question is the "why" of what you consider sacred. You say that you are an atheist, that you do not believe in or regard a deity. What, then, do you mean when you say something is sacred to your intuitive spirituality?...what makes these things sacred to you? As a germaine side interest, perhaps you could explain the difference between your intuitive spirituality and your atheism.
I'm sorry, some part of my brain skipped over that.

Uh, these things represent the only things which have ever made me feel connected to anything greater in a nonscientific sort of way. So to me, they are divine or sacred. In fact, they are the essence of divinity.

Well, okay, the difference between my intuitive spirituality and my rational atheism is the result of having closely examined the world from a point of skepticism and not accepting that which cannot be reasonably proven. My intuitive spirituality is that which I have intuitively observed which does not stand up to skepticism but still feels somehow valid and "true".
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Response to Rowingineden

Quoted from Rowingineden:

Well, okay, the difference between my intuitive spirituality and my rational atheism is the result of having closely examined the world from a point of skepticism and not accepting that which cannot be reasonably proven. My intuitive spirituality is that which I have intuitively observed which does not stand up to skepticism but still feels somehow valid and "true".
May I then ask which of these two principles best represents the core of your identity and your value system?

Personally, I disagree with the present-day deification of Reason and Logic. We are told it is only appropriate to accept that which our systems of logic can validate. What is considered logic is what results from systems of human thought being constructed into a methodized system. This resulting logic,then, is what is called reality and truth. Since this originates from human comprehension we are basically deifying human reason. One could say, "We are not deifying human reason, we are simply observing all that is resultant from the universe's natural laws." But in response I say that if we claim that our logical observation and comprehension encompasses the universe's natural laws to the point where we can deem all that is observable as reality, and all that is spiritual as pure subjective unreality and unreliable esotericism, then we have placed human logic as the deified capstone of human experience.

All that lacks is the personification of logic/reason to make it a viable deity...but oh wait, in 1793 the French Convention proclaimed the deification of Reason as the "Goddess of Reason" during the French Revolution, which was a time when religion and spiritual beliefs in general were stomped upon and considered useless.

If you will, consider these fascinating short historical accounts of what happened in France, keeping in mind what is now beginning to occur today in the US:

"Liberty and country were at first the objects of adoration. 'Liberty, equality, virtue, and morality,' the very opposites of anything they posessed in fact or exhibited in practice, were words which they set forth as describing the deity of the nation. In 1794 the worship of the Goddess of Reason was introduced, and is thus described by the historian:--"

"One of the ceremonies of this insane time stands unrivaled for absurdity combined with impiety. The doors of the Convention were thrown open to a band of musicians, preceded by whom, the members of the municipal body entered in solemn procession, singing a hymn in praise of liberty, and escorting, as the object of their future worship, a vailed female whom they termed the Goddess of Reason. Being brought within the bar, she was unvailed with great form, and placed on the right hand of the president..."

The installation of a Goddess of Reason was suggested by Chaumette who said this:

" 'Mortals,' said he, 'cease to tremble before the powerless thunders of a God whom your fears have created. Henceforth acknowledge NO DIVINITY but REASON. I offer you its noblest and purest image; if you must have idols, sacrifice only to such as this...Fall before the august Senate of Freedom, Vail of Reason.' "

This led to acts such as these:

"On the 11th of November, the popular society of the museum entered the hall of the municipality, exclaiming, 'Vive la Reason!' and carrying on the top of a pole the half-burned remains of several books, among others the breviaries and the Old and New Testaments, which 'expiated in a great fire,' said the president, 'all the fooleries which they have made the human race commit.'

I will explain why I have shared these, and I hope that you will find value in it. Consider the first paragraph that said that at first "liberty and country (equality, virtue, morality)" were the primary objects of adoration, but were the opposite of what they demonstrated in practice. The United States was founded upon these very principles, but now at this time the country is increasingly demonstrating opposite characteristics. At the same time there has been an exceedingly rapid increase in the esteem of logic and reason in the past 50 years, and an increasing intolerance for religious practice and tenets of faith. The worst of religious examples are shown in media, and increasingly blame is being placed upon religious groups and those who profess spiritual and religious faith, and such are being seen as inferior and hazardous to a logical society. This reflects the very occurences of the French Revolution, yet we have not reached that level of violence.

Like I said earlier, all that lacks is a personification of Reason, and we would have fully deified logic and reason as did the French Revolutionists. Ironically, these behaviors of the human race seem to demonstrate that we have a built in need to exalt and deify. Many people speculate why we demonstrate this, but it is evident that we have a hunger to engage in the spiritual and the mystical. As the rise of reason casts its mix of light and shadow on our present day society, and its exaltation spreads, human beings still seek outlets for their suppressed and insulted spirituality. The more pervasive logic-based society, the more numerous are the movie and TV productions that parade spiritualism, mysticality, transcendence. As I have observed, sci-fi tends to be a favorite of atheists and agnostics, sometimes to a level of obsession, likely because it combines the otherwordly/spiritual feed that is desired, but these phenomena are usually accounted for by a unique logic-based system in that particular world or universe so as not to offend the logical principles of the viewer. Take the Matrix Trilogy as an example. The movies are full of spiritualized phenomena, but the world is given a set of rules that explain the strange phenomena and occurences so as to remain palattable to logic-driven viewers.

In closing, I believe that it is unfortunate how spirituality and religion is regarded in our world today, and how reason is given the trump card in all circumstances. To tie this into the MBTI, consider this: Is it any wonder why INFPs and INFJs, the two types most known for their value for and connection to the mystical and spiritual, have the highest incidences of depression and identity issues? Society largely rejects what the INFP intrinsically seeks and values most, and we are told that we are wrong to regard our subjective experience with the spiritual as equal or greater than the observable and logical reality. How, then, can we integrate into a society that sees no place for our spiritual identity (if you are an INFP that denies a core spiritual identity, then you may disregard this, but I suggest you examine whether you are actually stifling a spiritual core)? Well, it is a struggle, and INFPs end up as misunderstood and in turn fail to understand themselves, and usually prioritize the pilgrimage of "finding themselves", what I would term as the hunt for the spiritual identity.

One last thought. Consider the light spectrum. In the Bible it is said that God is light. Obviously not literally that God is photons, but that light is a representation of who God is. With our eyes we can see the visible light spectrum, but light extends beyond what we see. Beyond violet is ultraviolet light. We cannot see it, but it is there. Not only that, but interestingly when you go beyond violet light to ultraviolet, the light takes on powerful influence on objects it reacts with, changing their molecular form - receiving a tan when in the sun, for example. I believe the natural world is FULL of illustrations for us that demonstrate that there is power beyond what our human senes can attain to. Of course we have technology that can uncover some of these things, but the principle is still there.

I hope some of these things have piqued your mind a bit!
 

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May I then ask which of these two principles best represents the core of your identity and your value system?

[snipped for length]
For future reference, speaking of a capital G "God" and a holy book is not a very good strategy when addressing an atheist, especially not one with AD(H)D. Furthermore, I find the whole resistance to reason very disturbing, as I take the anthropological view that religion exists as a means to establish and maintain a hierarchy, and if you believe in something blindly without a speck of skepticism or detachment, without questioning, you are just a follower, a lamb, a stupid animal submitting, being led. (Okay, that was a long sentence with many commas. I apologize.)

I allow myself to enjoy my childlike imagination and the beauty and "magic" in life, and I value them very much, and I love to write about these things. At the same time, it is important to me not to submit to convention, authority, the hierarchy which encourages ignorance and stupidity, so I also very much value skepticism and logic. Even as I dissect the world, I try so hard to find something which does seem spiritual, beyond logic, and still "true" and "real". Overall, I'm looking for as much enlightenment as I can, logical and spiritual; either way, it's still a search for truth and understanding.

I apologize in advance if you find something I said offensive. It is not my intent.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Response to Rowingineden

Quoted from Rowingineden:
For future reference, speaking of a capital G "God" and a holy book is not a very good strategy when addressing an atheist, especially not one with AD(H)D. Furthermore, I find the whole resistance to reason very disturbing...
(I thought I'd break this up in short sections to mitigate your ADD)

Response to your thoughts

I'm not sure I understand your response very well, Rowing. You say it is not a good idea or strategy to address an atheist with the use of a capital G "God" and talk of a holy book, but for one, my use of the capital G in "God" shows that I am referring to a being who deserves a pronoun, and because the Bible is something I see as sacred, valuable, and a source of truth, I will unashamedly make mention of it to share my viewpoint, just as you would use logic and related authorities in sharing your viewpoint.

Logical supremacy vs. Spiritual/Logical parity

What I believe you have communicated is that in a discussion between a theist and an atheist, the atheist's values (logic values) hold supremacy by default, and therefore, his or her values should be the ones catered to by the theist. It is this very hierarchy and exaltation of logic that I was taking issue with in my previous post, and which led to the deification of Reason in France.

There was no resistance to reason in what I shared previously. If you detected it, it must be a misinterpretation of yours or a typo on my part. What I wanted to communicate was that some people hold reason as sacred and exalted, and others hold the transcendental as being sacred and exalted, but with the strong demand for logic-based observations as being the only reality to be regarded, it is at the expense of those that value the spiritual, and wish to have a society that accepts and allows for the fostering of spiritual practices and ideals.

Closing personal thoughts

In my personal experience I have witnessed the spiritual and what I regard as the power of God - enough that I regard it as the essence of my core, and would stake my life upon it. I would not tell you what I think you need to believe, I only want to be a voice that encourages others to inspect the value of giving equal regard to the logical and the spiritual. By the way, what is spiritual can be logical even if it cannot be empirically observed. The difference is that what can be observed is accounted for in the current extent of the human logic system, and what is spiritual has not been observable through the human logic system at this point. Consider how scientists of 200 years ago would react if we were to tell them of some of the most incredible recently observed phenomena...they would think we were being mystical. It's just that much of what we observe today could not be accounted for and observed in that lesser-developed system of empiricism. So who knows what the scientists, ecclesiastics, mystics, and visionaries of 200 years from now will say about views of today's society.
 

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What I hear from you is rejection of logic, as though it is a hostile entity, or it is somehow equally or less valid than mythology (religion). If that is your belief, then we have nothing to talk about. I speak to enough irrational people in everyday life, and I get nothing from conversation with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Response to Rowingineden

Quoted from Rowingineden:
What I hear from you is rejection of logic, as though it is a hostile entity, or it is somehow equally or less valid than mythology (religion). If that is your belief, then we have nothing to talk about. I speak to enough irrational people in everyday life, and I get nothing from conversation with them.
It appears that we cannot resolve our disagreement, then. I am not looking for an argument, and I am happy to respect your position. From your last response, though, it appears you did not actually thoughtfully consider the various points I've been sharing, otherwise I don't see how you could make such conclusions. You can see that with each post you have made I have considered each thought you've shared (even trying to accomodate your ADD), and have responded to them directly. But to my responses you have been saying how my posts "come across" to you, and how you interpret them personally, but have not directly responded to anything I've said, which is disappointing, so I wonder if you have actually analyzed the veracity of anything I've shared.

Anyway, if this thread were to stay on topic, it seems I find the spiritual experience sacred, and you find logic sacred. I believe both should be allowed to be sacred in society, but it seems you feel logic needs supremacy, and spirituality should be minimized and serve no constructive purpose because it is irrational. That's where I find disagreement, and have expounded on why.
 

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My religion is sacred to me.

My value of moderation is sacred to me, I do not impose my beliefs on others and I expect others to do the same. I acknowledge that everyone has their own truths they abide by and I dislike overly judgmental pricks who want to take extremism to a whole new level.

What is sacred in my personal life, just having a few people who can keep me sane and grounded when I need it is enough.
 
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