• Athena
    2.2k
    I seriously want to know your rationale for this dilemma.

    The moral principle is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The social/political principle is being the democracy we were or being as Nazi Germany.

    Problem on a personal level.

    I met a man who has brain damage because years ago a criminal caused this right frontal brain damage in the process of robbing him, and later he suffered strokes increasing his difficulty in thinking. The last one was 2 months ago and he has improved since being in my home. For sure, he should not be left on the streets, and for sure I could be evicted if I continue to allow him to sleep on my living room floor while I do my best to get him connected with services and appropriate housing. To me, this is no better than knowing the Jews are being taken from their homes and killed. What is the morally right thing for me to do?

    I listen to a professor explaining the ancient Greek position on character and judging right from wrong and it is very clear it is wrong to put him back on the streets before necessary connections are made, as it was wrong to ignore what was being done to the Jews, and it was right to hide the Jews and protect them if at all possible. Morally I must help him but the risk to me is very high. If I lose my housing I am unlikely to get back into housing because we have a housing crisis and I have subsidized housing and can not even afford one bedroom without help paying rent.
  • Pantagruel
    2.1k
    You must be a very empathetic and generous person to put yourself in this position. It amazes me that the people with very limited resources are often so much more generous and kind than those with much and to spare.

    I would hope to have the courage to continue to offer my support (in your place) and achieve the best outcome before suffering personal setback, but I can't honestly say I would do. I am glad there are people like you in the world, it is undoubtedly a better place because. If I were the person deciding to evict you I certainly wouldn't do that, even if that meant problems for me. Could you dialog with your housing agency to try and pre-empt that problem?
  • Hanover
    8.8k
    I generally disagree with your distracting Nazi analogy, as if to suggest a moral equivalence between your community's lack of care for this disabled individual and the Nazi's attempt at genocide, which included the intentional and systematic murder of millions of innocent people.

    Be that as it may, to the extent you want to know your moral duty in caring for this individual, I am willing to accept your efforts as super-moral, but not morally demanded. Just like rushing into a burning home to save someone is a super-moral act, it is not immoral to refuse to do so.

    In terms of why your community prohibits you from having guests of this sort I don't know, but it raises the question of why your home is so highly regulated and why your community would have such rules. I am not immediately willing to accept that the rules they have are needlessly callous and unreasonable because it is possible that the rules have been imposed for some greater public health or safety reason. Again, I don't know, but I would like to hear from the other side on this issue as to why this person is unwelcome.

    If the net consequence of his living with you is that you both become homeless, I'm not entirely sure what has been accomplished other than that you can claim to be more moral than your neighbors. My inclination would be to do as you have, which is to work with public healthcare agencies and housing enforcement to see if I could arrive at a way in helping the person without resorting to defiance. If, on the other hand, your community's code enforcement is as lax as its public health response, a whole lot of nothing is going to happen by having him live there.
  • unenlightened
    7k
    If virtue was rewarded and vice punished, it would be mere common sense to be virtuous and mere folly to be otherwise. Sometimes the price of virtue is very high, and you risk your life for the sake of another. I think you are exactly right to liken this situation to the Nazis; this man has no value to bureaucracy and nor do you. The social rules are lethally callous to you both, and resistance carries a very great cost. To take that risk would be heroic, and to abandon the poor man, totally understandable. I can add nothing to your moral understanding, and only wish you and him well, whatever you decide to do.
  • praxis
    5.4k
    If there are social services that can adequately take care of this man I don’t imagine it would take a lot of time to connect with them, but perhaps for some reason it does.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k
    Hello!
    The moral dilemma which you describe is a tricky one. It is one which some may be able to relate to and others may dismiss completely. I remember when I first came to London as a student I used to get to know and involved with people with so many problems. It was in a rough area of London and I had some into where I was living and I even tried to persuade a landlord to let someone have a room but he wouldn't. I got to the point where I stopped having these people into my room as I was worried that I would lose my accommodation and some people advised me that it was not safe for me to have such visitors.

    When I began my mental health nursing I moved to a different area and I do go back to that area sometimes. However, I have never seen any of these people and don't know what has happened to them. I wonder if they were found places to live or if they remained left on the streets and died. They were of varying ages and I suspect that many had mental health issues and other complex ones.

    The individual you are describing does sound in a bad way and who should be responsible is a good question. It is probably different from Nazi Germany because it is not so much about torture but more one of neglect, and it may be a real one of our time. Communities have broken down and some have no one. In some ways, people have become more like numbers. While some seem to manage to get help others seem to fall through the net and be left, almost as invisible.

    I can understand your predicament and my parents used to get involved with some who had great difficulties. It became very stressful. Moral concern is important but boundaries are important because if you got into problems you may find that no one in your community is there to support you.
  • Athena
    2.2k
    If there are social services that can adequately take care of this man I don’t imagine it would take a lot of time to connect with them, but perhaps for some reason it does.praxis

    It is much much harder than I expected! I need information I don't have. Thank goodness I have gained the ability to talk with his sister who lives in a different state and I learned a lot. That dent in his forehead is the result of being mugged and robbed. The blow to his head caused right frontal lobe brain damage and that is why he has a disability income, meaning his income is less than $900 a month, and renting just a bedroom is over $700. He has a car so he has a bit of a life but that is a major expense. On top of that is untreated diabetes and he has repeatedly had strokes damaging his brain, even more. We have made huge progress in his ability to find his way from my home to the senior center and we have a medical appointment in a couple of weeks which opens the door to getting help.

    His ability to think things through is very low so getting a cell phone is next to impossible! I got him to the store to look at cell phones but we could not complete the process of buying one. He threw away his last one away because he has trouble using them. I brought him home because I had no one of contacting him when he is lost on the streets.

    Time for me to get back on task. The Senior and Disable Services is open in a few minutes. I have until 12:30 before I go to work today, so maybe we can get something done!

    THANK YOU EVERYONE- I WILL GET BACK TO YOU ALL AS SOON AS CAN.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    So slipped between the horns of the dilemma, eh? All's well that ends well!
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.3k

    Interesting topic!

    The moral principle is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.Athena
    Right. This is supposed to be said by Jesus, and so it has been persisted in time as a rule of conduct among Christians. However, Jesus also taught turning "the other cheek". Now, how many among the about 2 billion Christians apply it? I believe you know the almost inexistent percentage. So, I believe this principle has and utterly failed, as it was expected to, besides. This is what happens when the bar is raised too high.

    So, I believe this already supports your claim of being "forced to be immoral", which is also the title of your topic.

    However, this very important problem that you brought in in this place could have been avoided, if the standard was lower from start. For example --continuing in the context of morality-- if the moral principle were only "Do not do to others what you do not want the others do to you", which is both more logical and applicable, this "forcing" problem wouldn't exist. In fact, I believe that this pronciple is applied --explicitly or implicitly, directly or indirectly-- in the whole world, and not only by Christians. It is so powerful, that it is the principle that determines the difference between right from wrong --in general-- and it is also the basic idea behind and the foundation of many laws all over the world.

    And, since it is logical and applicable, this principle does not "forces us to be immoral". It just determines if we are acting immorally. Huge difference!

    ***

    Now, there are other things that society does to force us to violate the law --laws being of a lower value and less important in the human condition than morality-- besides raising the bar too high. I will speak for Greece, because this is where the majority of my experiences and knowledge ion the subject come from.

    So, one thing that states do is to deceive and even sometimes "steal" citizens regarding taxes --posing high and a lot of (unnecessary) taxes, applying very few and little --sometimes non-existent-- allowances for tax exemptions where they ought to, not returning back what is owed to taxpayers, etc. This then gives the right --in fact, it promotes the act-- for the citizens to "steal" back the state by hiding, not declaring (part of) their income.

    Another thing that governments do is creating too strict a legislation that people cannot abide to or that it is useless or that is not controlled by the police (so they fall into disuse). This then pushes the citizens to ignore the relevant laws.

    Yes. This is the stupidity and immorality that always reigned in the world and the authorities just take advantage of and back them up.
  • Athena
    2.2k
    I got to the point where I stopped having these people into my room as I was worried that I would lose my accommodation and some people advised me that it was not safe for me to have such visitors.Jack Cummins

    Good someone with experience. Experience with people who need help and experience with the moral dilemma. It is absolutely best for me to avoid people who need help because I am so strongly compelled to help. As some would say, I don't have good boundaries.

    I have been listening to college lectures about how ancient Athens argued about character and moral dilemmas of judging good and bad. It has always been my nature (a basic trait of character) to care for others, and even put their needs and desires before mine. Ignoring someone who needs help strongly goes against my nature. For me, in every cell in my body, it is a moral mandate that I help those who need help and want help. THIS IS NOT 100% RATIONAL. IT IS A STRONG FEELING.

    On the other hand, for me, this is politically like Nazi Germany because it is a matter of who has the power to be the authority over us and how is that justified? Some may say God alone has authority over us and that comes up in preChristian Greek debates and against with Protestants and arguments for democracy. A king orders that a man be left to rot in the fields and his sister buriers him. The king is livid with her and she snaps back, even before the kings, sisters buried their bothers.

    Antigone buried her brother out of devotion and loyalty to both the Gods and her family. Without one or the other, she would not have had the courage or thought of going against Creon’s law and putting her life out on the line.ancient-literature

    If we bow to authority as the Germans did, we destroy our liberty. We destroy the notion that we turn to a god to know right from wrong. This does not have to be the god of Abram, it is a matter of reverence. This matters because it is a matter of responsibility and personal power and our character, if we are moral and upstanding citizens or not. We fought two world wars to defend that point of view.

    We all judge right and wrong with our feelings and if we take that out of the equation, may the gods have mercy on us. What does everyone think defined Nazi Germany if not a matter of power and authority? In the beginning, the Jews were just removed and if German citizens had united in a conviction of human rights, none of the rest would have followed. By the time enough people realized something was seriously wrong, individuals no longer had the power to make a difference without losing their jobs and maybe their lives.

    Homelessness is torture and it is a death sentence.
  • Athena
    2.2k
    The moral principle is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    — Athena
    Right. This is supposed to be said by Jesus, and so it has been persisted in time as a rule of conduct among Christians. However, Jesus also taught turning "the other cheek". Now, how many among the about 2 billion Christians apply it? I believe you know the almost inexistent percentage. So, I believe this principle has and utterly failed, as it was expected to, besides. This is what happens when the bar is raised too high.
    Alkis Piskas

    That comment about raising the bar too high is interesting, but the quote is also called the golden rule, and as you said it exists in all civilizations only worded slightly differently.

    “Don't do unto others what you don't want done unto you.” is a Confucius quote. Your explanation of why that is a better way of wording the thought is appreciated. I will agree with you.

    I am not sure of what you said about taxes. Because I have been politically active, I know the majority of people vote for social programs but not the tax increases to fund them. For many years I was a political activist to get something done about homelessness, so I am very aware of the reality of people in favor of doing the right thing, but no one wants to pay more taxes. In the past, Oregon had few people and a lot of forests, and the government paid for everything with revenues from the forest. Texas paid for things with revenues from oil. Eventually, there are more people are fewer resources for revenue and then we end up paying taxes. That is an economic problem.

    I think we have many economic problems and that we all could face economic collapse. That is another issue. This morning I picked up the latest information for low-income people who need shelter and I am wondering who is in touch with reality and who is not! Does the government bureaucracy that puts out this information realize how discouraging it is to read low-income houses is hundreds of more than what they have? I studied Public Policy and Administration at the university level and that was the most depressing time in my life. Government is not the answer, at least not the way we are going about things now. I heard a public statement encouraging people like me to help by renting a bedroom, but the rules of the game for low-income people prevents that. We have given too much power to the government and "land lords" to control everything and lost our individual liberty and power. That is in the US. I don't know how that is around the world.

    Oh dear, we need to discuss economics and see if we can figure out better rules for the game. Another problem is we don't have enough land for families to have the nice-sized plots they once had and the cost of building a house is for too high to build low-income housing that is affordable for many of us who need low-income housing and as our population increases, these problems are going to get worse. My son's and daughter's generation will experience far more homeless old people than we have now because we are not building the public housing for them that they will need. People with small houses can't take in their aging parents, or their adult children. We just are not planning for meeting our shelter needs.
  • Banno
    18.6k


    The network of folk with disabilities in which I'm involved has grown over the last few years to include folk from outside Australia. One of the things that has shocked and disgusted me is the realisation of how disjointed and inadequate the support given folk with disabilities in the United States is.

    It's no use to anyone if you are evicted. At some point you may have to ask your guest to leave, so that you can continue to support him. That is not an immoral act on your part, nor an act of expediency, but simply the best thing to do. You are in a better position to provide help if you maintain your own circumstances.

    A strategy that has proven useful here is to be open about one's circumstances, to the point of informing local, state and federal services and politicians, and lobby groups. The absurdity of your situation can serve to draw out the best in service providers, but also making sure that they are aware they are being watched and evaluated and that their responses will be known tends to focus them on their duties.

    For better or worse you are an advocate for folk with acquired brain injuries, and for folk with disabilities in general. Get in touch with other advocates, find out what they have done in the past and what has worked and what hasn't.

    Basically you need to network.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    I completely agree that homelessness is a torture and it seems that many simply don't care. I am trying to find new accommodation at present and it is extremely difficult. The reason why I have to find accommodation is that my landlord has left the country and it turns out that he is not the real owner of the house and it had been a sublet. The landlord who has left the country had not been paying who he was meant to be paying and wishes us to find somewhere else because he plans to renovate the house.

    There are also so many rogue landlords about. A few weeks ago I almost signed a contract. Then, I found a link with many dodgy clauses, including one of agreeing not to be on the electoral role or claim any benefits. It seems that many landlords wish to find ways of not being known by the council because once they are, they have to abide by so many rules.

    Homelessness may vary in different parts of the world, and I know that it is particularly bad in London. About a year ago I was at a station at an end of the line after the tubes had shut. There was a shelter there with seats and it was full of people trying to sleep even though there were clear divisions between the seats, making it impossible for many to lie down. There were some older people too. Homelessness has increased over the last few years and the lockdown situation seems to have exacerbated it. Of course, many do care as well as many who don't but it is an increasing problem. It probably coincides with a much wider division between the rich and the poor in the first world. Those with disabilities are especially affected, especially those which are more hidden.

    Anyway, I am glad that you found some help for the person you were concerned about. That is because in each unique situation there will be nothing done if everyone walks away. The morality is also connected to compassion and conscience rather than simply rational logic.
    .
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    Morally I must help him but the risk to me is very high. If I lose my housing I am unlikely to get back into housing because we have a housing crisis and I have subsidized housing and can not even afford one bedroom without help paying rent.Athena

    I work in the areas of mental health and substance misuse and many people I have worked with have had intellectual disabilities, cognitive impairments, brain injuries, mental ill health, histories of trauma and associated complex behaviors. Homelessness is common amongst this client group and I spent most of the 1990's working with rough sleepers in our rather large city.

    There's one principle I follow which may be considered harsh and it focuses on personal boundaries. I am unlikely to put my own life, my health or my housing at risk. If I lose my stability, I am of no use in any other way and recovery may be impossible. I have watched several people come unstuck in their attempt to be of assistance to others.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.3k
    Don't do unto others what you don't want done unto you.” is a Confucius quote. Your explanation of why that is a better way of wording the thought is appreciated. I will agree with you.Athena
    Wow! I didn't know that. I'll have to refresh my memory about Confucius ... Anyway, this is a principle that I always supported. Someone mentioned once in a dinner the "golden rule". Because he had deceived in some legal case, I reacted "This is something too difficult ... One should first try not to do to others ...". And answered me, "Oh, this is too easy!" See the hypocrisy of people? They talk about high standards while they themselves cannot meet lower ones.

    I am not sure of what you said about taxes.Athena
    What I meant was that when the state steals or deceives you, it pushes you, it motivates you to steal back, i.e. to do an immoral action. When this becomes the rule, ii also becomes a kind of "forced" situation, imposed by the authorities, making people act immorally.
    This does not happen e.g. in France --from what I know from the past-- and other countries, where the state is fair towards the French taxpayers, who, consequently, consider it bad for people not to pay taxes or hide income, and rightly so. But in Greece, not paying taxes or hiding income is a standard and someone who can do that is consider a cool person! This is what I described as a kind of "forced" situation which makes people act immorally.

    We have given too much power to the government and "land lords" to control everything and lost our individual liberty and powerAthena
    I had always had in mind that the US governmnents were more or less fair towards citizens, in general. Anyway, I don't believe that not think that the US governmnents have more power that the Greek ones, who are absolute lords, from the time they are elected. Rocks; nothing can move them. There's no senate here like in US, where senators may vote against their own party, i.e. vote by conscience. The ruling party owns more than half of the Parilament seats, and everyone votes "by party", instead of "by conscience" (under a "silent" threat that they may be reprimanded or even demoted). Bye, bye democracy!

    And with this, I can announce officially that we have deviated from the subject of the topic! :smile:
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    You are right to speak of boundaries. Prior to working in the mental health system, I didn't understand this and it is so important for oneself and others. I feel that going back to my early phase that I was a bit of a 'useless do gooder' because I wanted to help others.

    When I invited someone with a lot of problems who I met in the library back to my parents home when I was 18 it was a disaster, as he kept coming on a daily basis. He used to spend time sitting drinking tea with my mother and her friends when I was at college duribg the daym My parents got involved and when he became homeless my father found him sleeping in a flower bed at 6.30 am and brought him back to our home. My mother arranged for him to go to a hostel shelter. Later on, he stole money from my parents. We also discovered that he had a psychiatric forensic history. He is married now but he often made phone calls to my mother.

    My mother also did volunteer work at a hostel after she stopped working. She was handing out free clothes there. She really liked this but she was not given any training at all and had difficulty understanding boundaries when she was out in the town. She used to know so many people who used to bombard her with their problems.
  • unenlightened
    7k
    There's one principle I follow which may be considered harsh and it focuses on personal boundaries. I am unlikely to put my own life, my health or my housing at risk. If I lose my stability, I am of no use in any other way and recovery may be impossible.Tom Storm

    This is a fine principle for maintaining the status quo. But it cannot lead to reformation or revolution. It will not work for a soldier, who must be prepared at times to put his own health and life at risk, and it will not work for a campaigner for social change. It will not end homelessness, nor will it defeat fascism.
  • universeness
    2.9k
    It seems to me that most folks contributing to this thread would advocate for a sociopolitical system that did not allow homelessness or people who had mental or physical challenges that they received no help for and were left to 'make do or die,' in a dark corner somewhere, without 'bothering' or 'inconveniencing' the lives of anyone else, especially the rich, powerful and privileged.
    Evil persists when good people do nothing.
    Humans cause such circumstances; humans allow them to persist, humans have the collective power to change such circumstances.
    YES, I KNOW, such change IS much easier to type about than to make into a reality and by doing so, improve the human experience. BUT it must still be constantly stated, screamed, voted for, insisted upon and finally perhaps even physically warred for. One thing is for sure, preventing the kind of situations @athena et al reports, and it's many, far worse variations, such as famine, continuing human slavery etc, etc. will not end until humans organise themselves into the kinds of political and social movements that will force them to end by hand or by brain or both.
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    But it cannot lead to reformation or revolution. It will not work for a soldier, who must be prepared at times to put his own health and life at risk, and it will not work for a campaigner for social change. It will not end homelessness, nor will it defeat fascism.unenlightened

    Obviously.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    There's this video on the value of a human life. A safety board took a proposal to attach warning labels on a toxic chemical because it endangered the lives of people. The cost-benefit calculations were based on how much income would be lost if a person got injured/lost their life and projected a net loss. The proposal was rejected instantly.

    The safety board then consulted an expert who informed them they were doing it wrong. He showed that the value of a human life should be based on risk of dying. They did the math and a human life came out to be worth $10,000,000 (1980s). This immediately turned the tables in favor of the safety board as it translated into a net profit if they stuck warning labels on the containers of toxic chemicals. The proposal was given the green signal.

    An option we should work on: Let's not try to change the system, but instead work within it. If it's money everyone cares about, prove that being unethical is something we can't afford à la economic sanctions that make waging war suicide despite some exceptions.
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    0
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  • Athena
    2.2k
    Just like rushing into a burning home to save someone is a super-moral act, it is not immoral to refuse to do so.Hanover

    I like your reasoning.
    In terms of why your community prohibits you from having guests of this sort I don't know, but it raises the question of why your home is so highly regulated and why your community would have such rules.Hanover

    It be just my area but I have Section 8 Housing and the is federal. Anyone who has anything to do with drugs is evicted, so a mother sheltering a son or daughter who uses, will be evicted. We might be able to change that because we changed how the state handles children when they are made wards of the state but wow that was a huge effort involving many people, organizing and getting media attention and all that may have been fertile but we had a new governor who wanted to change things so all our work enabled the governor to make changes. However, with the information Banno gave me, I am thinking maybe I should become more of an activist regarding brain-damaged people and the wrong of living them on the street without caseworkers and the help they need. My sister is a homeless activist and we are planning on testifying at the state level after the first of next year when the legislature will take up the problem of homelessness again.

    Section 8 does not allow sharing homes. I am not sure about all of that. If I got married I could share a home but I sure don't want to do that! My rental agreement is for one person and all the rentals have been in have a two limit on visits. That is reasonable but it is not adequate for a brain-damaged person. I think we can all agree brain damaged people should not be alone on the streets unless that is their choice. My guest's ability to function has greatly improved this past week and we have essential progress on hooking him up with services and the medical community. We need shelters for these people complete with the ability to evaluate them and then help them get the right services and shelter and that just isn't economically possible right now. Before Reagan, we did have places for these people but Reagan closed them when he was president. Some of the places were hell holes because far, far more people needed help than communities could help. Some of the places were ideal with different levels of care. Oh dear, thank you for your questions, I have so much research to do. :cry: I am really way too small and limited to do what needs to be done and back to the moral thing, it is like Nazi Germany if I ignore the problem and do nothing. In a democracy, people are supposed to take responsibility for resolving problems. In Germany's Christian Republic the state controlled everything and the people were made powerless. I fear we are moving in that direction but I also see a lot of movement for the good. :worry: I am way too small and limited but does that excuse me?

    Sorry at the moment I am feeling overwhelmed because there is so much more for me to do if I become more politically active. You made me aware of how much research I have to do. :lol: I don't know if all this is helpful but I will try to find it in me to learn more and organize my thinking. By the way, I have sleep apnea and would become totally dysfunctional if I became homeless and didn't have electricity for my CPAP. I would rather be dead than homeless but that is another thread labeled "life sucks".

    On the upside, just as much good is happening as bad. I have heard the New Age is a total change of consciousness and those who come of age in the New Age will not be able to relate to our brutal past.

    I LOVE YOU GUYS, ALL OF YOU. YOU ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF CHANGE.
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    2.2k
    I have heard the New Age is a total change of consciousness and those who come of age in the New Age will not be able to relate to our brutal past.Athena

    If this new age actually comes to pass, let's not fool ourselves, it will supply just as much brutality as the old age, only the justification for it will change. Mark my words.
  • Athena
    2.2k
    If this new age actually comes to pass, let's not fool ourselves, it will supply just as much brutality as the old age, only the justification for it will change. Mark my words.Merkwurdichliebe

    Why do you say that? I am concerned that running everything from the top down is leading to a Nazi-type organization. But on the other hand, I am amazed by the amount of concern for homeless people today. In my community, we used the police to drive the homeless away. At first, the change was gradual but in 2008 we hit a tipping point and today candidates try to win our vote by saying they will resolve the homeless problem. I think there is more tolerance for people who are different but that seems to have increased violence as individuals try to right what they see as wrong with violence.
  • dimosthenis9
    794
    I can add nothing to your moral understanding, and only wish you and him well, whatever you decide to do.unenlightened

    Same here.Whatever you decide to do you are morally covered.Choosing keeping him for all that time you have done so far,is heroic already.Best wishes.

    It will not work for a soldier, who must be prepared at times to put his own health and life at risk,unenlightened

    I suspect Tom could become a "soldier" too under some circumstances and for his own reasons.And fight like a lion.
    And i suspect that these reasons are way more important and worth more than the reasons for those actual soldiers fight for.I would prefer more "Toms" than soldiers in this world.
  • Athena
    2.2k
    I would hope to have the courage to continue to offer my support (in your place) and achieve the best outcome before suffering personal setback, but I can't honestly say I would do. I am glad there are people like you in the world, it is undoubtedly a better place because. If I were the person deciding to evict you I certainly wouldn't do that, even if that meant problems for me. Could you dialog with your housing agency to try and pre-empt that problem?Pantagruel

    I am pushing it and figure when two weeks is up I will have to speak with the property manager. I can now prove my intentions and progress. We have his case transferred to the local Senior and Disabled Services and had an interview and now we are waiting for another interview that might get him closer to housing.

    Let me tell you I think I bit off more than I can chew. Dealing with someone who has the brain damage he has is challenging. In the beginning, I thought it was just a stroke but I spoke with his sister in another state and learned the dent in his forehead is the result of a blow to his head that damaged his right frontal lobe. That means a lack of self-control and behavior problems. We went into a fast food place and the person at the counter was a little bizarre and he totally flipped out! He said the person was a man dressed as a woman and went on about the bible. I got him out of there as fast as possible. Now I see directing him to the White Bird and the Service Station is not going to work because if people are different he flips out and has to flea. Both the places where he can help have many strange people hanging around.

    The night shelter puts people on the floor and he can not get off the floor without a chair and chairs are not allowed in the room. The stroke has caused him post-stroke fatigue which means he falls asleep in the afternoon and the group sleep places have strict rules about when people can enter and when they can sleep.

    Our only hope is to get him into a special program for disabled people and that could take months. We could have killer freezing nights before that happens. And leaving on his own reduces his ability to function. On the other hand, I might kill him first. Only kidding, but his religious and political ideas are the total opposite of mine. I let him watch whatever TV shows he wants to watch, like letting a kid watch cartoons so the child can be ignored, and I have to leave the room because I can not tolerate the 700 Club and Fox channel. God is preparing me for sainthood with this person. My reaction to what he thinks, and likes, is as bad as his reactions to what he does not like, only I can hold my tongue and leave the room.

    I am torn but I am kind of glad a property manager can say he has to go. I just wish he had a good place to go to.
  • Athena
    2.2k
    As to the personal dilemma. This is a matter which can only be solved in your own heart. No external principle or moral law will be sufficient. Being honest with yourself is key. People with strong impulses to help others are often fulfilling something inside themselves that is totally unrelated to the people they and others think are being helped. And going to extremes can be a symptom of it. Not suggesting this is true for you. Only you could know.ArielAssante

    I hear what you are saying. However, as I learn more, I wish my path had not crossed with his. I thought this was going to be a quick fix. As I just explained to Pantagruel, this is not going to be a quick fix. On the other hand, it is a darn good thing I did step in because important steps have been taken that could not have happened if I had not stepped in.

    However now I think I have to take things to the political level. I don't know how we can do it but we seriously need safe shelters for disabled people. Homelessness kills many people every year and the elderly are especially at risk. We have people in wheelchairs and people with cancer and people brain issues living and dying on the streets. It is not just bums and druggies out of there. What kind of civilization ignores the needy?

    When the Nasis started taking away the Jews citizens ignored what was happening. We are ignoring what is happening too. I am sure your concern about the rules surely comes down to human values. You put the rules first and I think we should put human values first. How might I better bridge with those who put the rules first?
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    Not that I'm a psychologist, but methinks the brain blocks out the pain & evil in the world, locks it all up in a special place, deep in our subconscious in order to stay sane. I have used antivirus software and there's this feature called quarantine which is kinda like a prison where malware are isolated so that they can't do damage to the computer. Same applies to dangerous memes and our brains - imagine if we were ever to feel all the pain & evil extant in our world; it would overwhelm us completely. It would be a chain reaction of suffering, no one would be happy and that's the worst-case scenario, oui? That outta the way, I'd say there's no pleasure that ain't in some way guilty and we're all culpable if it were a crime to turn a blind eye to the suffering of other people. Confiteor, mea culpa.
  • Athena
    2.2k
    The network of folk with disabilities in which I'm involved has grown over the last few years to include folk from outside Australia. One of the things that has shocked and disgusted me is the realisation of how disjointed and inadequate the support given folk with disabilities in the United States is.

    It's no use to anyone if you are evicted. At some point you may have to ask your guest to leave, so that you can continue to support him. That is not an immoral act on your part, nor an act of expediency, but simply the best thing to do. You are in a better position to provide help if you maintain your own circumstances.

    A strategy that has proven useful here is to be open about one's circumstances, to the point of informing local, state and federal services and politicians, and lobby groups. The absurdity of your situation can serve to draw out the best in service providers, but also making sure that they are aware they are being watched and evaluated and that their responses will be known tends to focus them on their duties.

    For better or worse you are an advocate for folk with acquired brain injuries, and for folk with disabilities in general. Get in touch with other advocates, find out what they have done in the past and what has worked and what hasn't.

    Basically you need to network.
    Banno

    I am soo thankful for your understanding and help. What is happening is not what I expected. All the simple fixes are not working. I thought I could immediately get him into the shelter program, then I remembered they put people on the floor and he can not get up and down without a chair to lean on and chairs are not allowed. He is a nice person but to my surprise a nice person with a brain injury worse than a stroke. This very nice, well-dressed, social person can flip out in two seconds. That is, his good behavior is dependent on his environment and that means he will not do well standing in a line of homeless people with no social skills and who do not fit his idea of what a person should be. I don't know if I should laugh or cry. The problem is much worse than I thought it was. Because of the brain damage, his good behavior in the Senior Center, is very different from when he saw a man made up like a woman at a fast food place. A line of troubled people such as the ones where he might get help, make him flee like a person running out of a burning building. He does not see himself as one of them and can not tolerate being in the same space with them. I stress, we are talking about brain damage here. He can not be rational but reacts without thinking.

    He becomes very tired in the afternoon and falls asleep, and there is no place where he can do this, unless we get him into a place for special needs people. This is not about willfulness. The stroke leads to a fatigue problem that is different from being tired and able to push through the feeling of tiredness. All of this means the shelters for most of the homeless will not work for him. I have volunteered in the winter shelters and they are horrifying. I have watched people struggle in wheelchairs, and people walk out into the snow with open sandals, trench foot is a common problem and can lead to amputations. My sister and I have seen terrible things and it takes very special people who can deal with it. I can not. I thought the man I am helping was an easy case.

    If he could use a cell phone he never would have been in my home because then I could contact him for appointments. As we try to work through the system, we are using my cell phone and a helping agency for his mailing address. Can you believe this, you say someone is homeless and they ask for his phone number and address!

    We most certainly have an organizational problem! To my horror, yesterday's interview was not the last stop to getting help. I don't know why but we are waiting for a second phone interview. I work and the chances of him and I being together when they call is very small. The young woman who interviewed us did not seem to know enough to help us. And it took a week of phone calls and finally going into the office to get that interview.

    How are things organized where you are? We are not organized and we don't even seem to have a good understanding of what homeless means. I don't think most know how frustrating this is. It is so wrong to expect the people who seriously need help to get through the system. Even with experience and college education, trying to get through the system is extremely difficult. I would give up if I was doing this for myself.
  • Athena
    2.2k
    Not that I'm a psychologist, but methinks the brain blocks out the pain & evil in the world, locks it all up in a special place, deep in our subconscious in order to stay sane. I have used antivirus software and there's this feature called quarantine which is kinda like a prison where malware are isolated so that they can't do damage to the computer. Same applies to dangerous memes and our brains - imagine if we were ever to feel all the pain & evil extant in our world; it would overwhelm us completely. It would be a chain reaction of suffering, no one would be happy and that's the worst-case scenario, oui? That outta the way, I'd say there's no pleasure that ain't in some way guilty and we're all culpable if it were a crime to turn a blind eye to the suffering of other people. Confiteor, mea culpa.Agent Smith

    You are onto something. We must not blame the bureaucrats for not doing their job because their jobs involve so much pain they can not survive them without the ability to turn off awareness of the pain. People become social workers thinking they want to help others, which means they feel the pain day after day until one day, it is gone. I knew a man who gave up being a police officer when he was called into one more child abuse case. He felt nothing and he did not want to be someone who could deal with child abuse and feel nothing, so he stopped being a police officer.

    I have a 94-year-old Senior Companion cleint who was a case worker. She was given the most difficult mental cases. For the first year she could not sleep because she could not feel at peace with the reality of people's struggles. She considered quitting but finally, she did what you describe. She learned to put it in a box. I have to put the challenge of helping the man I am helping in a box so each day I am there 100% for my Senior Companion clients.

    I am so aware of turning a blind eye to the suffering of others. I do feel guilty when I pretend someone
    in need is not there. We have many beggars on our streets so this happens daily. To survive I just have to limit the people I engage with. That is why I become politically active from time to time. There is so much unmet human need out there that charitable organizations are not enough. Only the government is large enough organization to manage the problem, and the problem is increasing daily like global warming. This is overpopulation and I so regret religions that argue against the things we can do for birth control.
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