Maybe You Should Tell Them (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 238)

The most beautiful creatures that I have found in this universe hold the world upside right and keep it from twisting upside down on a constant basis. Their efforts go underappreciated by most despite their endless contribution to all and their filling of everyone else’s bucket but their own. It seems natural for them as if they might be an angel of existence hellbent on spreading their light and love to any corner of the universe that is particularly in need at any given moment. So few truly, genuinely, and devoutly lift others up, even their own flesh and blood, but these angels do and they do it without question. They are rare. They are exquisite. They are beyond beautiful. They shine like a wayward comet streaking through a dark night to stir up all of the moon glow, fairy dust, and other precious particles of primordial light that normally swirl about our souls too silently in their radiance and energy for us to acknowledge and to accept; too silently for us to believe, to have complete and utter faith in. These gorgeous creatures awaken all of us from such silence, disbelief, and despair. They shine undeniable and unassailable light and love throughout all the realms of existence. That’s just what they do and if you happen to be fortunate enough to cross paths with one of these extraordinary angels, maybe you should tell them, break your own silence for them as they have done for you in their essence and existence. Maybe you should tell them that you see them, that you really do see them, for who and what they choose to be.

Cribb          2018

Saying Goodbye to Einstein (The Veterinarian)

About six weeks ago a man brought his fourteen year old cat named Einstein into my hospital for an examination. He obviously cared about Einstein and believed that he had suffered some sort of a wound to his face and jaw region.

I had to tell him then that the chance was overwhelming that the lesion wasn’t a wound, but rather a nasty malignant tumor that had reached a state beyond feasible removal. We attempted to “treat the treatable” with antibiotics and steroids, but as originally predicted the treatment had no effect.

This gentleman had to euthanize Einstein last Friday. He was understandably upset; a real grown man does often cry when they suffer a genuine heartfelt loss. While we were in the actual process of calmly restraining the patient, finding a vein, and giving the lethal injection, Einstein’s owner spoke with me. He never stopped caressing his cat in the process.

Einstein’s owner had been to Vietnam on four different active engagement deployments. He had been bayoneted and shot. He had thought that after every single active engagement completed, he had finished his obligated active service duty and that he would be allowed to head home to finish his enrollment in a non-war zone. He was not “exactly” given the option.

He also related a near death experience that he had at the hospital a few years ago while suffering an aortic dissection or aortic rupture. Only a tiny percentage of people survive such a condition. He told me that while he was lying there waiting to be rushed somewhere for surgery, he kept trying to joke with the nurses and the doctors attending to him. He was more relaxed than they were and apparently they had been extremely alarmed. He said “Dr. Cribb, after everything I had been through in Vietnam, after all of that carnage and pain, I thought to myself, if I have to go, this bleeding out thing isn’t such a bad way to make my exit.”

And during the caressing, and the shedding of tears, and the melancholy smiles of shared understanding over his conversation and experiences, Einstein passed away peacefully in silence. There was a feeling of lightness in that room afterwards, sad but still light. We continued to share a few more words about all of it within that lightness for a moment or two, but eventually it became time to part. With a somber smile and a steady hand, Einstein’s owner scooped him up in a blanket and took him home for burial.

Dr. Cribb          2018

Judge Others Lest You Might Judge Yourself (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 219)


If you believe

the alcoholic,

the pill popper,

the meth head,

the cigarette smoker,


the sex addict,

all to be

intolerable, insufferable, and pitiful,

in their contribution

to all of humanity

due to their inability

to function in any meaningful way

without their “god-crutch” obsession,

try putting down your wallet for an hour or a day;

stop spending money and purchasing shit relentlessly;

take a good hard clear look at what,

if anything,

contentedly remains of yourself and your relationship with those you supposedly love,

after you remove your “god-crutch” obsession from your routine.



Moving Beyond the Stalemate of Being Enemy Combatants (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 211)


My study of moral psychology has made me somewhat more humble. It has made me realize that my mind will jump to conclusions and that many of those conclusions will be wrong. I can’t often perceive that reality at first. What I have found is that the best way to make an effective apology, which also happens to be a good way to initiate any kind of interaction and/or consideration for change with anyone, is to start by saying what you’re wrong about. So, in any sort of politically charged encounter, don’t start off by making your case about what you’re right about. Start off by saying what you know your side has been wrong about historically, and that you know the other side was right on those issues. Being humble, acknowledging fault, or praising something on the other side, has been proven to win hearts and minds, to create an atmosphere that supports consideration and empathy. Start off in that way, and then by the power of reciprocity, the other side is more inclined to match your effort. What you want to avoid at all costs is the normal human interaction of assuming that everyone who is not a blind unquestioning ally is an enemy combatant. Avoid throwing arguments at the other side for pure consumption and to create emotional outrage, not even by the other entity, but by the onlookers and bystanders of the matter. Avoid that dynamic at all costs. The power of apologies and acknowledgements, the expression of empathy and respect, is what is required to lay the groundwork for genuine conversation. That is what I want to leave with you.

Jonathan Haidt

(transcript from an On Being interview with significant editing/paraphrasing from me 2017)

Visceral Empathy (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 172)


your exuberant empathy

for one




vehement anger and resentment

towards another,

you are likely

hypnotizing yourself

into believing

that you are

much more





than you truly happen


viscerally be;

you are drawing

 a line

in the sand


your empathy

 where no line

should exist.

To limit


is to fake

such a grace


taint it with darkness


turn all of its light


a murky bastardized force


schizophrenic relativity and antithesis.


the highest spiritual elevation,




all or nothing



consciousness and being.



Awareness as a Human Being or Not (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 165)

But think in terms of individual men, women, and children, not of States, Religions, Economic Systems and such-like abstractions: there is then a hope of passing between the horns. For if you begin by considering concrete people, you see at once that freedom from coercion is a necessary condition of their developing into full-grown human beings; that the form of economic prosperity which consists in possessing unnecessary objects doesn’t make for individual well-being; that a leisure filled with passive amusements is not a blessing; that the conveniences of urban life are bought at a high physiological and mental price; that an education which allows you to use yourself wrongly is almost valueless; that a social organization resulting in individuals being forced, every few years, to go out and murder one another must be wrong. And so on. Whereas if you start from the State, the Faith, the Economic System, there is a complete transvaluation of values.Individuals must murder one another, because the interests of the Nation demand it; must be educated to think of ends and disregard means, because the schoolmasters are there and don’t know of any other method; must live in towns, must have leisure to read the newspapers and go to movies, must be encouraged to buy things they don’t need, because the industrial system exists and has to be kept going; must be coerced and enslaved, because otherwise they might think for themselves and give trouble to their rulers.

The sabbath was made for man. But man now behaves like the Pharisees and insists he is made for all the things—science, industry, nation, money, religion, schools—which were really made for him.Why? Because he is so little aware of his own interests as a human being that he feels irresistibly tempted to sacrifice himself to these idols. There is no remedy except to become aware of one’s interests as a human being, and, having become aware, to learn to act on that awareness. Which means learning to use the self and learning to direct the mind. It’s almost wearisome, the way one always comes back to the same point. Wouldn’t it be nice, for a change, if there were another way out of our difficulties! A short cut. A method requiring no greater personal effort than recording a vote or ordering some “enemy of society” to be shot. A salvation from outside, like a dose of calomel.

Eyeless in Gaza

Aldous Huxley          1936

Empathy and Objectification (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 162)

My definition of reduced empathy is when we cease to treat another person as a person, with their own feelings, and start to treat them as an object. But it could be reasonably asked: Don’t we all do this all of the time to each other? We enjoy a friendship because the person gives us something, we enjoy a sexual relationship because the person’s body is an object, we employ a person because they provide a service we need, and we might enjoy watching someone for their beauty or athletic grace. These all involve aspects of the person as an object.

My reply to this would be that if our empathy is turned on, then all the while we are treating the person as an object, we are simultaneously aware of their feelings. If their emotional state changed, such that they were suddenly upset, we would not just continue with our current activity, but we would check what was wrong and what they might need. If the friendship is based purely on what we gain from the relationship, such that we abandon the person when they are unable to still provide that, that would be not just a shallow relationship, but an unempathetic one. But I should qualify the definition of empathy by adding that the point at which we objectify another person while simultaneously switching off our sensitivity to his emotions is the starting point toward zero degrees of empathy. It is not the end point because as we have seen in the catalog of crimes that people commit, such a state of mind simply makes it possible to behave in more and more hurtful ways.

The Science of Evil

Simon Baron-Cohen          2011