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On the Couch: Laying waste to a lifelong philosophy

As Russia continues to pound Ukraine with bombs and missiles citizens in Ukraine caught in the crossfire are grabbing their suitcases — and their pets — as they seek safety in bomb shelters or neighbouring countries. AFP

As Russia continues to pound Ukraine with bombs and missiles citizens in Ukraine caught in the crossfire are grabbing their suitcases — and their pets — as they seek safety in bomb shelters or neighbouring countries. AFP

Published Mar 26, 2022

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A rancid Russian and his chips off the old bloc have bombed my life philosophy out of the water.

It’s my go-to mental health exercise: if it can be fixed, fix it. If not, fuggedaboutit.

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The problem at hand will be mulled, examined, analysed and considered with one question in mind: how do we get around it, find a way to solve it and make it work?

Some solutions have worked wonderfully, others not so much, but once the process has been completed and acted upon, you can cheerfully get on with life.

The situations over which you have no power or control, you clear from your mind. Or you accept that it is what it is and learn to live with it.

For two years now, the world has been grappling with Covid, a long time to try to fix or fuggedaboutit. It’s also created much mental anguish and stress.

Our teams have been privileged enough to find ways to work around it. Some of these changes have even made our lives better. We obviously haven’t forgoddenaboutit, and some of our solutions have been pretty creative.

The world’s scientists and medical experts have risen to the challenge (in most cases) to try to fix it and at least help us to learn to live with it.

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But now, the Russian has added a whole other level to this equation.

As a plain Jane Public, it’s so far above my pay grade there just is no way the philosophy works. Helplessness does not sit well on the couch, and the horrors cannot just be put out of mind.

I have spent the last three weeks in a dark funk over the wicked cruelty unleashed on a nation. In the name of all that’s mighty, how does a mob of old men bomb the hell out of men, women and children, hospitals and churches and malls, simply because they want to?

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This latest gloom piled on to many years of impotent outrage at bloodshed around the world. How does any person or group, as we see in a multitude of nations, with differing backgrounds, causes and levels of psychopathy, think it’s acceptable to slaughter people in evil acts of hatred or war - declared or not?

What happened to their human-ness, empathy, compassion? It truly astounds. It undermines entirely our delusion of humans being the most advanced “apex” species.

Juxtapose this with one of the features of this unwanted war. Mahatma Gandhi said: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Using this template, the Ukrainians seem to be a truly great people.

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Not only have they stood up to the rabid bear with ferocity, but there has also been a golden thread running through the nightmare.

Thousands of social media videos and pictures have shown fleeing Ukrainians carrying their animals, on their backs, in slings and backpacks, in prams, to take them out of the war zone too.

It may be baffling to some, but to people who consider their animals to be family members, it is the only option.

There is also some relief in the knowledge that at least some of humanity, in the midst of an unspeakable nightmare, and in a world in which you can choose to be anything, choose kindness and compassion.

  • Lindsay Slogrove is the news editor

The Independent on Saturday

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