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unconditional. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all need love. This is because that love make us feel connected to others, and this connection eases, or even eliminates our biggest fear: loneliness. Thus love becomes the greatest – sometime the only – reason for us to live.

But, unfortunately, love from others are not entirely secure. It comes and goes without warning and it’s not within our controls. This is because love from others usually is “conditional”, which means it happens only if we possess certain conditions, such as physical beauty, wealth, social status, etc. So without these conditions, we are in danger of losing love. But, if one possesses a type of love that is “unconditional”, he/she would feel the most secure in his/her life, because this love is provided regardless how he/she is, and stays with him/her as long as he/she lives. 

So where does unconditional love come from? I found that they mostly come from two sources: 1, parents; 2, one’s own.

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(Some very light spoilers)

I had never heard of Ted Bundy’s name before until I saw part of his documentary (20/20?) very recently. I was immediately fascinated by his case for one conscious reason: his look. He didn’t look like a bad person, rather, he looked handsome, educated, sensitive and extremely charismatic. So I did a little research and found a book to read: Ann Rule’s Stranger Beside Me.

English: Ted Bundy in custody, Florida, 1978 o...

English: Ted Bundy in custody, Florida, 1978 or 1979. Florida Memory Project, Florida Photographic Collection, #DND0671 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the first true crime book I’ve ever read. I found it extremely riveting. And The most extraordinary part is the fact that Bundy was actually Rule’s “good” friend for many years. They both worked as partners in a suicide support center Crisis Clinic in Seattle, WA., and built a warm friendship since then. As matter of fact, Rule had no slightest idea that at the time they worked together, Bundy already started his hideous killing. Rule had always believed him as a kind, friendly and intelligent young man with a bright future.

Rule herself worked in criminal justice system and has been a crime writer ever since, so it makes perfect sense that she should write a book about Ted Bundy – a most notorious serial killer of all time. The book is extremely long (over 600 pages), pretty much chronologically documented, with accurate details of events and crime scenes. The entire main body of this book – which is the first edition that was published before Bundy’s execution – was inconclusive about Bundy’s guilt. It is in the “forward” – which was written years after the first edition, Bundy’s guilt is confirmed by his own confession, and finally was electrocuted in January 1989. And 10 years after the “forward”, Rule added another “final chapter”. It seems like that Ted Bundy had been haunting Ann Rule most of her life, and would continue do so.

I found Rule’s writing style straightforward yet inviting, and the facts she accumulated in this books are invaluable. I was drawn right into this book due to 2 reasons: the friendship between the author and the killer, and the mythical (or “magical”) ways the killer conducted his crimes . I literally could not put down during the first 60% of book. The rest of book still contains some extremely important events, but I had to admit that there are also some irrelevant trivial matters as well, such as author’s personal life, tedious legal processes, etc., or I was just tired. Nonetheless, my interest in Ted Bundy drove me through the whole book, from back to back.

Bundy brutally murdered dozens, possibly over 100 young women. The manners he employed were extremely brutal and violent, such as strangulation or blowing victims’ heads with whatever tools on hand. I didn’t read any evidences or descriptions on how he tortured or raped victims during the time they were still alive. It seems, as a notorious necrophilia, he performed most sexual abuses after victims were dead. The way he captured his crimes were all so “ingenious” that lots of them were abducted in public places, and he was never caught during and after his crimes. And there were hardly any hard evidences to convict him. He was actually first arrested by keeping burglary tools in his car!

Bundy claimed he was innocent all the way through his trials which lasted over a decade long, confessed only some of his murders – which were still over 30! – merely a couple of days before his execution. Many people believed his innocence – especially women, even after overwhelming evidences (mostly circumstantial) provided in courts. Bundy never lacked female supporters during his trials, he even got married during his trial.

There’s no doubt that Bundy was an extremely intelligent person. He excelled in school when he wanted to; he escaped from prison twice (the second time was quite Houdini-like); his charming personality and repartee not only made him the most popular male criminal among women (include many of his victims), but also impressed his friends, coworkers, even later his defense team members and his judges; he was knowledgeable in psychology, criminology and law, which gave him advantage in committing his crimes. The fact is, he could have led a successful normal life that any men would envy, both career and personal life wise, still, he chose the otherwise.

Though Rule for long time believed that Bundy was mentally ill, thought he should be put in mental hospital instead of prison, both psychiatrists and psychologists did not find him mentally ill, or “incompetent”. They did diagnosed him as “multi personality disorder”. As matter of fact, he fired most of his defense lawyers so he could present himself during most of his trials. He was 100% mentally lucid, yet he lied so well that even when Ann Rule finished her first edition of this book – which was years after Bundy was arrested, she was still not 100% convinced Bundy was guilty.

I have to ask, what made people so blind? Or maybe the right question should be: what made Bundy – such a seemingly charming person – so evil? Was it because he was a illegitimate? Was is because his trouble childhood? His violent grandfather? Or, was it because he was rejected by his first love? Or all of these combined? Or maybe he was simply a born evil? I can’t find a sure answer for my questions, all I can say by far is that, we humans are “products” of extreme complication. To make a criminal like Ted Bundy, probably would take as much as it’s needed to make a genius. It’s also very hard for me to believe that there was no love, no humane side inside this person’s mind. I rather believe he did have a heart, but just at the same time his vast mental and emotional possessions drove him into something so tragic and so devastating.

Notwithstanding, as a person who is so interested in human psyche, I found it’s invaluable to study such a person’s life and mind. We should not let him go without any scrutinizing his inner world, for the sake of preventing future crimes. And I am just glad to see there’s plenty of books about him.

It was in the “last chapter” we could find some details of Bundy’s execution. Though Rule’s writing style is not “graphic”, I found it hard to go through. Bundy was known for his confidence demeanor, but based on one eye witness, he entered the death chamber with a shaking head and quivering knees.  As a person who often pondering life and death, I found death by execution is way more cruel than by accidents, or some violence during wars or physical conflicts. When a person know he/she is going to die, the fear is more than a normal human being could bear. I believe Dostoevsky had some serious thoughts and writings about this subject, because he had once almost executed by firing squad. I don’t know others, but if I had to die, I probably die with a violent blow than to be tied into that “old sparky” (nick name for the electric chair that killed Bundy and many other criminals) and electrocuted. I still hold my ambivalent attitude toward death penalty, and if we could not get rid of it, we should definitely get rid of electric chair – somehow it looks so much more fearful than other mothods.

Nonetheless, whenever he is now, I hope Ted Bundy finds his peace. And “peace and love to all the innocents you destroyed.” (Ann Rule)

A sick culture mistakes happiness for selfishness, indifference for callousness; a shallow culture mistakes sternness for meanness, profoundness for depression.

I found there is a type of persons, who would always let others make choices for them. Or, if they know what to choose, they would “design” a complicated scenario to force others to choose for them. The “benefit” of acting like this is that when things don’t go as they expected, they don’t have to be responsible.

i.e., when they no longer love or like someone, instead of saying: “sorry I don’t love you.” or “I am sorry to say that I’ve been feeling very difficult to be your friend.” they would say:” Do you still love me or not?” “Do you still want to be me friend or not?”

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It’s a weakness not to be able to face others suffering, an even weaker weakness to deny the existence of such suffering just because one is not able to face it.

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we agree that helping others when they are in need is one of most important ways to show kindness, can I propose, that it is impossible for those who are not able to “notice” the situations where others are in need of helps to offer helps, thus it is impossible for them to be kind?

In a couple of my previous posts I mentioned how I lost a few life time friends of mine during my middle age hazard. I also said I moved on, and I did. However, the recent unexpected visiting from one of these friends inevitably brought the issue back to table, and I just have a few more words to say, before I move on once again.

Despite of my tremendous joy to see my old friend, during our brief meetings, the frequently unpleasant remarks made by her about my chronic condition subdued my joy. To put it simple, not only she had no intention to know what exactly happened to me during past years, but also she tirelessly tried to “encourage” me to be “mentally tough” (even though lots of these remarks were made completely out of contexts), as if she had known me as a person who could never handle hard situation. At first I was only confused, later on I realized, despite the fact that we had not been together for over 20 years, she somehow already held a strong belief that my middle age health trouble was “mental”, so in a way I “exaggerated” my hardship. This belief was so strong that it was almost impossible for me to have any rational conversations with her. At the end, I had to think (or deduce) that the reason she held such headstrong belief of me might be also because it’s only way she could be free from feeling guilty for her not offering anything during my adversity, as I was always there when she needed (I also suggested this “idea” in my email to her after she left). This is selfishness, and it happened in my dear friend whom I knew since high school and kept friendship for over 30 years, I felt extremely disappointed.

But the real hard, or “wicked” part of this frustration of mine is this: deep inside me I know she didn’t mean to be so selfish. That’s why I tried so hard again and again, to explain, to save our friendship. Oh how I wish that she was just mean spirited or evil possessed, which could make me to move on by one “clean cut”. The fact is, she is simply incapable of some very simple logic reasoning, and her extremely limited life experience also made it impossible to understand my “story”. So at the end, I was angry, she was stupefied.

I think, most people are only capable of understanding things that they have experienced, or things under their scope of intelligence. That’s why humans are mostly divided by experience and beliefs. However, my experience told me, it is during those times when we face things outside of our experience and beliefs (or knowledge), can we truly tell whether we are open-minded or not.

My middle aged hazard was extremely unusual, it costed me not only health and financial wise, but also friendships, which were extremely important to me back then. I have no regret whatsoever, as I did nothing wrong in my communication among my friends, and I still believe they all are kind persons. However, this unusual experience did provide me an opportunity to learn human nature, to see how such kind persons could do “unkind” things under extraordinary context. This experience also taught me that in most life occasions, there is no clear boundary between good and evil, kindness and selfishness. Relativity, really is what I would consider as a general truth, at this point of my life.

About the question at the beginning of this post, my answer is positive: yes, a true kindness does require some intelligence. Good motives are not enough for this world free from evil. That’s why through history we see only wise people stood sidelines of massive stupidity, even cruel disasters, many of which might not take place had there not been participation of thoughtless majority.

It seems to me, that nowaday many people tend to relate intellectual ability to vice, believe that kindness is something independent from intelligence, but this is really not what my experience tells me. I think we should never underestimate what good intelligence can do, what evil ignorance can commit.

English: Common signs and symptoms of fibromya...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since most people take modern medicine as “absolute” (by saying that I mean, people believe modern medicine can take care of all physical illnesses, except fatal diseases like cancer), they easily consider the cause of unknown illnesses as “mental”. This is why we often see people try to “encourage” those who suffer invisible diseases to work “harder”, to push through, as if they are mentally weak individuals. I still remember once a kind lady’s first words to me after hearing my brief story: ” be tough.” I have to say, not only this is a wrong approach, but also offensive attitude (even an insult) toward those patients. Why, because one of primary reasons these people got so sick is precisely because they are mentally tough – so tough that they overdrew their energy, and their illnesses are nothing but the consequence of their mental toughness.

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