Monday, April 21, 2014

The past and Beginner's Mind

I read Augusten Burrough's book "This is How", and have to say that my initial enthusiasm was not sustained.  It seemed like it could be a great book. It definitely had a lot of good ideas, well expressed.

But it seems to me that Burroughs--Robinson--still has a lot of unprocessed experience.  He has chosen not to live in the past consciously--and certainly time spent in chronic anger, bitterness, and regret is wasted-- but the nature of trauma is that until it is lanced and processed, it comes back, in the form of what Trauma and Recovery author Judith Herman calls "intrusions".

And what I think needs to be clear is that intrusions can be very, very subtle.  They can consist in a latent impulse to feel a positive, happy emotion, and the sudden snatching of it by a sort of vigilant darkness.  This can happen dozens of times a day.

If we are beings of light, which is what I believe, the nature of light is to celebrate, to move, to glow.  What stops us?  Intrusions.  Only be processing all the places within us where we stop light from glowing can we allow all the expression of which it is capable on this level of existence.

Psychopathology, trauma, deep unconscious grief and hurt: these are not the province solely of modernity.  Indeed, by any objective standard, our opportunities for well being are vastly greater in the modern age than they have ever been.  Most of us have never been exposed to war, hunger, thirst, slavery, and all the cruelties that follow in their wake.

There were narcissistic mothers, and cruel fathers in the Buddha's time.  Perhaps they were much more common.  Imagine the level of existence of people who could not read, and who could not imagine any need to be able to do so.

So I will say again that "spirituality" consists first in the opening up of one's psychological being, of healing all wounds, and learning to live happily in the here and now.  Only afterwards does whatever we call "God" enter in to it.  I have not seen God, and may never in this life.  But I have seen a long succession of days which I have traveled clumsily, and which I would like to learn to travel with more skill.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rambling

Individualism and inner directed morality are inseparable.  If you lose one, you lose the other.

Socialism: logically, if no one owns anything, then everyone owns everything.

How to get at this in a deep psychological way?  If nothing is yours, if you are nothing in yourself, if your claims on space and time and material are inconsequential, then pushing for everyone to own everything is a bandage which salves that wound without healing it.

Most intellectuals are narcissists, I suspect.  What thought does is enable one to substitute, mathematically, abstract compassion and empathy for the real thing.  It allows one to be an asshole and feel good about it.  As I say from time to time, I like to call myself a thought worker.  Figuratively, I put on overalls.  Literally, as a day job, I rub elbows with construction workers.  I think this helps me, too.  I will never be happy in an office.  Hell: it may happen, and I need to quit whining about it in advance.  Still, I will work to keep myself sweating for a living. It's honest.  It's a tonic for me.

So many games become possible with undefined terms.  Love is X, no?  Compassion is Y.  Social Justice: Z.

These equations are always solved poorly.  Who you are is THAT, and what you believe is also THAT.  And THAT, here, can be determined by tracing the path, the trail, the consequences of the path you follow through the world.  Politically, it can be seen in the OUTCOMES of actions you repeat.

Another meaning for Tat Tvam Asi.  While we are quoting mystics: "As above, so below", sometimes much below, in the basement.

There is no other way to view it, in my view.

I'll quit before I start writing koans.  

Easter Grab Bag

Whoever Christ was, I think he would be disheartened to see the Church that has been built in his name.  He would see a great deal of good that has been done, but also see the fears that so many parents build into their children of eternal damnation, and of course huge amounts of violence (the Crusades and Reformation, the various Inquisitions, and conquest in the name of Christ of much of the world, as examples)

My own parents principle concern was behavior control/modification, and towards that end they hit me until I consistently sat quietly in a corner and said and did nothing unusual.  They broke me.  I think most Christian families do this, but most, I hope, instinctively balance punishment with emotional nourishing.  Carrot and the stick.  They did this, because I was annoying: all little children are, if their neediness and constant confusions are not met with love and empathy and affection.  They justified it as saving me from Hell.  Good little boys do not go to hell, especially not if they are baptized.

All I got was the stick, because the goal was avoiding something, not building something.  I say this not to complain, so much as to continue to explore these things in public.  Everything I do takes effort, because every move I make has to be initiated in the face of a global and overpowering fear, one bred into me very early.

A great deal of what is done in the name of Christ he would repudiate entirely.  I am quite sure of this.

And ponder the awfulness of a conception of the universe in which an infinite God has to have his son slaughtered like a goat--bled--so that He can forgive the people he created.  As I have said before, if we are to take the metaphor literally, perhaps Christ should have had his throat slit at an altar on Temple Mount.  I am fully with the proselytizing atheists in finding this repugnant, even if I derive no pleasure from attacking the beliefs of others.  For my part, most of my work is generative.  Far easier to build on an existing foundation--to improve what exists--than to tear down and actually rebuild.  In practice, of course, those who tear down build nearly nothing, and almost always make the world worse.

As I have said often, this is the difference between true Liberalism and the Leftisms.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.  Everywhere I look I see stupidity. I see it in me, too, of course but I at least can see most of the areas, I think, covered in fog.  I have some sense of what I do not know, and am always willing to question what I think I know.  Every day.  All the time.  Perceptual motion.  This is absolutely necessary, and why it is one of my three core values.

I can't resist sharing some history on Easter.  I am in an odd, somewhat savage mood.  It will pass, but I am going to let it roll for now.

Easter comes from a pagan festival, a celebration of the goddess Eastre.  She was the goddess of spring, and dawn, in my understanding.  When early Christian missionaries were traveling northern Europe, they realized that if they celebrated Christ's death and resurrection at the same time, early Christians would not stand out as much for persecution.  Easter is, roughly, to Eastre, what Christmas was to the Saturnalia.  It is, in a sense, a coopted ritual based upon a coopted myth.

Self Building

I've spent all day playing Batman on my X-Box, which is a complete waste of time.  But I am getting this perverse pleasure from the sheer uselessness of it.  It is MY chosen uselessness.

And I got in a flash why Dostoevsky's Underground Man would rather be miserable in his way, than happy in the manner of everyone else.

This, you see, is the outcome of long term exposure to narcissism, particularly in parents.  They take your emotions from you.  You no longer own your sadness, and certainly not your happiness.  Everything belongs to them.  Nothing is yours.

And if you are properly indoctrinated, you more or less do the right things: go to school, then work, then live sensibly and die at a sensible age in a sensible way.  But all of this is foreign to you.  You are not emotionally connected to it.  You do not belong.  You were flattened, and no matter where you go or what you do, it feels foreign.  And true emotion feels like a sickness..

I would like to argue this: narcissism is THE modern illness.  It is, perhaps, a necessary cultural transition from no sense of self, as seen in traditional communities--in which one is assigned at birth a sense of place and duty--to a distributed sense of self, which is the Liberal ideal we have for now stopped pursuing.

No totalitarianism can be understood without recourse to narcissism, to the inability to separate one's own ideas, ideals, and feelings, from those of others.  Every person sent to the gas chamber or gulag WOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD, if they could only see things from the correct perspective of the narcissist, or so they would argue.

And violence is a form of connection for those who lack it otherwise.  I have realized that as a child I vastly preferred being punished, and the sense of being hated, to the sense of being completely alone and disconnected from emotionally distant parents.

In recent days I have been getting very, very close to core feelings, at the root of which is the ability to feel openly and honestly itself.

And I get microseconds of absolute happiness, unreasonable happiness, happiness of the sort you read about but never see; flashes that tell me it is possible, if I can just unlock this combination safe.

I feel strongly--and I say feel, but this is an intellectual/intutive sense--that I will one day be able to see in the darkness.  At that point I will become truly useful.

I am drawing a weekly Tarot card, as I think I mentioned.  My goal is to connect with time, and specifically the future, but also to provide a flavor, an aroma, to the week.  Whether there is anything to it or not, I can MAKE something from it, by imaginative interaction.

And I have drawn the Fool again.  1 in 72 chance.  I think there is something in that.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tarkovky and Antonioni

As I think I have shared, I am a big Andrei Tarkovsky fan.  I watched a documentary on him, where he talked about Robert Bresson and Michaelangelo Antonioni as formative influences, and have been watching their films.  The influence of Antonioni is particularly obvious, now that I've watched a couple of his movies--Blow Up and L'Aventtura.

I don't have the time and inclination to do deeply into either, but wanted to make some comments.

Was Tarkovsky's "The Sacrifice" in part a response to this line:

Sandro: I have no desire to sacrifice myself... why? It's idiotic to sacrifice oneself... why? For Whom?

Antonioni was an atheist.  The two movies of his I've watched really had no point or purpose, just people wandering aimlessly.

Contrast this with, say, Nostalghia, where our hero dies carrying a candle from one side of an empty pool to another.  This was an act of meaning, of purpose.

It is difficult, in my view, to overestimate the latent psychological damage done by the idea that life is meaningless, and that we are merely puppets of hormones, genetics and environmental programming.

We have invented science, have we not?  Why not use science to combat these ideas?  It is hardly a radical idea asking people to be honest, to pursue their own method with actual integrity.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Conditioned Existence

I was chanting my Om Ah Hum this morning, and thinking of the countless Buddhists who have chanted this over the past several millenia.  Do not all Buddhists who think of themselves as Buddhists suffer the Duhkha of conditioned existence?

Where the randomness?  Where the chance? Where the openness to "all that"?

I doubt Buddha ever had a church in mind.  He was much too wise to believe it could exist in sincerity more than a lifetime or two after his death.

Buddhism is a useful creed.  I believe this.  But we need to look beyond it.  There is no doubt of this, either, in my mind.

Perfection?

This is a post I did a while back.  I would likely write it a bit differently today, but my question remains the same: what is the POINT of human life?  What is its MEANING?  Can anyone unable to answer these questions for themselves, adequately, answer them for anyone else?  What is the point of survival if meaning does not survive also?  

What is the point of doing anything?  Can anyone unable to provide good answers to this claim to have a workable, a functional morality, or even a sense of self?




The logical end of leftism is the machine. Let's run with this.

Leftists take over the world. The goal is a "perfect" society, in which there is no poverty, no wealth, no prejudice, and in which everyone is EXACTLY equal.

{Edit}: I want to add some intermediate steps I skipped in my first post.

If the goal is the creation of happiness through the eradication of the supposed impediments to happiness of inequality of wealth and status, then our overlords will be disappointed. First, they create Cuba around the world, where people lounge around as shadows waiting for the night. They then decide more wealth is needed, so they automate production, and slaughter a third of the human race so as to decrease scarcity. Everyone has enough now. But they still aren't happy. So they find someone who appears happy, map what he does all day, what he says, what his cognitive strategies are; then do brain scans on him, test his blood chemistry, then kill him, dissect him, and try to figure out what the chemical status of his brain was.

From these results they calibrate how to create happiness. This process, which involves brainwashing, genetic manipulation, and direct chemical interventions, is deployed across the human race. It works. People appear happy.

Then. . .{end edit}

First, they need to standardize behavior. This is done by developing an effective brainwashing technology, amounting to software downloads. This is done around the world, such that all people do and say the same things. At precisely 2pm every day, everyone takes a coffee break. They say the same things to one another. They talk about the weather, and the sports game in which both teams, as always, got exactly the same score. They discuss their kids, who all got exactly the same grades, play the same sports, have the same hobbies, and have the same goals: to work for the State.

Everything is perfect.

Then it is realized that there cannot be racial differences, so breeding programs are developed to eradicate them. Differences in physical capability and intelligence are also bred out. After 100 generations, everyone looks the same, has the same intelligence, and the same physical capabilities. Self evidently, Huxley's "Brave New World" consisted in an unequal caste system. Self evidently, as well, the rulers of this world exempt themselves from the need for equality. They are more equal than the rest.

Throughout this process, there is anxiety about sexual differences. Men are different than women. Efforts are made to create life asexually, but they fail, since creating life requires life force. Humans are NOT machines.

After 200 generations of perfection, it is decided that a more perfect world would be if human beings were actually machines. Machines can be made EXACTLY equal. So everyone is slaughtered and robots which look like them are deployed in the same places. They live in the same homes, watch the same TV, work the same jobs, and even drink virtual coffee, which consists in downloading the memory of drinking the coffee.

Then it is realized that there is no need to actually have robots: they can just create a software routine which plays out life around the world. So the robots are destroyed, and a vast computer instituted.

By this time, the rulers are thoroughly tired of life. During all this process, they have created genetically perfect sex slaves and servants. They want for no material comfort. They can program companions, who will say anything they want. Their food is perfect, their homes are perfect. They have no need to work, can travel anywhere they want, any time. They have even conquered biological death, such that they can live 10,000, 100,000 years. But they create nothing, and they are horrible people, so after thousands of years of relentless ennui they download their personalities to the computer as well, and commit suicide. (actually, I don't think most would last more than a decade or two).

This is a really well made computer, that lasts billions of years. But eventually the Sun begins to expand, in its preparation for death, and the computer, realizing this, has a decision to make. It has a duty to protect perfection, but its existence is in jeopardy. It is a really smart computer, though, so it realizes that it can run perfection much faster. There is no need to conform to the normal pace of life. Thus, it is able to run through a trillion more years of life for humans before it is snuffed out in the red fire.

As it flickers out, it feels satisfaction in the role it played in the perfection of the human race.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Becoming

I am going to try and consistently refer to my "Being" as my "Becoming".  It is impossible to speak of a human being--now, a human "becoming"--as other than a system in motion.

This is the reason I invented the word "Motology" a few years ago.  Thought is liberated if we are no longer trying to defend something changeless, if we are no longer invoking an Order of Being, but, perhaps, an Order of Becoming.

It is the middle of the night, and perhaps I am foggy, but I think perhaps one could argue that this small change makes all of us Buddhists.  Becoming is neither Being nor Not Being.  The Becoming Self neither "is" nor "is" not.

Peace.

Psi-phoning Hate and the "Old Yeller" Principle.

My emotional clouds seem to be clearing.  As I mentioned, I have invoked a Shugyo of consciously inviting and encouraging all forms of negative energy to manifest and feel at home.  What I am finding is that this is giving my unconscious permission to offer up access to formerly closed in pockets of emotion that have been affecting me, coloring my life, in subtle ways.

Your unconscious tries to protect you.  It will not release anything it does not feel you can take.  This is why consciously showing it that you can take nearly anything increases its range of motion, its flexibility, its openness.


I watched two very sad movies in two consecutive days: Robert Bresson's "Balthazar", and the Book Thief.  Both movies evoked strong emotions.  Both made my cry.

But I felt stronger in the end.  Here is the thing: we build up sadnesses in our daily life, just living.  We put them aside, to be filed later, but we never file them.  They linger.

Watching sad movies allows us to process all those things, to make us wiser.  We process not only our own sadness, but the sadness of the world.  We become more compassionate, in useful and not compulsive ways.

I would like to call this the "Old Yeller" principle.  People don't watch that movie any more.  It makes them cry, and we don't like to cry any more.  And this makes us weaker and more coarse.

Facing Evil

Tonight, dreaming, I found myself locked in combat with Evil again.  It always seems to manifest as Voldemort, perhaps because Ralph Fiennes/Joanne Rowling achieved something mythic in those movies.  Connecting, committing: a sense of electricity fills me, like I've plugged my finger into a socket.  I can take a prodigious amount of pain, physical and emotional, but tonight it was primal: neither he nor I had any form.

And I thought: how can you out-hate Hate itself?  How can you be more violent than Violence itself?  You can't.  It is impossible.  That is their element, their battleground, and always their victory.  So I set a table, and invited It to dinner.  After an initial increase in current, it faded.

I have had this rough dream before, with the same resolution, but it takes time to fully grasp. to fully enter, these realities.  On some level, I am reworking my Being (so-called: I am not invoking ontology in any sense, as life is more complicated than that) itself.

Christ, it seems to me, set a table for his enemies, and he sat at it all his friends, those he loved, and he dedicated himself to a simple meal, filled with the simple pleasures of satisfying hunger and thirst, and spending time in communion with his brothers.

When he offered up his blood, he was offering it to Evil itself.  When he offered up his body, he was offering it up to Evil itself.

And in this was his victory.  There is something quite deep here.  This myth happens every day in all of us.  Every day is the Last Supper, if we are wise and pay attention.

Your Real Name

Your real name is who you are.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Life "Lessons"

As I get older, I increasingly think that three quarters of life's learning is realizing what you already knew.  Growth, then, is simply an increasing capacity to handle truth.  What appears to be perceptual learning is simply emotional toughening--and loosening.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Buddhism and morality

I just watched a very well crafted documentary on PBS, the one narrated by Richard Gere.

Buddhism is a beautiful doctrine, but here is the thing: it, and all religions, are losing.  Buddhism is not the human future.

We must construct something that is both scientifically, empirically, grounded, and which speaks emotionally to people in the 21st century. That is the task.  That is the task I have set myself, and one which I would encourage you to set for yourself.


Morality: it occurs to me that morality should, in the modern era, best be seen as the intersection of structured thought--philosophy--and psychology.

Specifically, every moral "principle" I have ever articulated arises not from some religion, not from some appeal to the "nature of the universe", not some arcane ontology amenable to linguistic deconstruction.  What I have done, and continue to try and do, is show how what we call moral behavior is in the best interest of all sentient beings.  And how evil is simply the loss of the capacity for the self understanding necessary to grasp this, and in particular the loss of the capacity to imagine being emotionally comforted, or freed from self hatred.

Logic dictates that if you want to be happy, you have to do the things that make you happy, and these, in turn, are the domains both of psychology and introspection.  And logically, if you want to be happier, then we have to admit grades of happiness, and admit qualitative grades of, and differences in, the type of work that needs to be done.

What I have termed qualitative pleasure is best pursued through the pursuit of meaning, of pain with a purpose, of qualitative growth.

Oh, we can do so much better.  I will leave it at that for now.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Captain America

I enjoyed this movie.  I thought it ironic that Robert Redford would play himself, but I suspect he associates all the villainy he represented in the movie with Republicans, in the real world.  Like all leftists of a certain sort, he chooses to remain blind--consciously, of course, as some unconscious part of him is perfectly aware of the evil in him--to the consequences of the constrictions and restrictions and conscious political limiting of non-conforming "Others", all of whom are very much being set up for some form or other of elimination.  The forcing out of the Firefox CEO is just a soft version of much harder possibilities.  All are constituted by mob rule, the eradication of moral principle, and hate.

As I say often, conformity is the ONLY value POSSIBLE for true leftists.  This is mathematically necessary.  And the myth/symbol of the Hydra multitudes shows this clearly.

As far as the film itself, there were a number of cases where escape was impossible, but achieved in the movie. Nick Fury cut a hole in 18" of asphalt in 30 seconds.  Easier to believe that, than that the Winter Soldier did not follow him down into the sewers.  Or the underground compound after the missile hit, swarming with smart airships and skilled ground troops.  We are not shown how two wounded people got out of that.

Or to take a more prosaic, but much more insidious example, both Captain America and the Black Widow go into a public shopping mall.  He wears a hat.  Here is the thing: biometric technologies are already well developed not just to do facial recognition, but also gait analysis.  How you walk is very hard to cover up.

And somebody likely would have commandeered the mall cameras.  If they can't do that today, they--the NSA, DHS, and other agencies--are working on it.

So often one sees in movies--or, hell, the Batman video game I have been playing--the lack of cameras.  All of us need to grasp that cameras are ubiquitous.  If we are in public, we are being filmed often, generally without our knowledge.

The Security State being erected will have no flaws.  You will not be able to do anything anonymously.  There will be no slipping past the secret police.  They will know exactly where you are.  They will hold all the cards.

Our future lies in honest people in the intelligence and military communities, and in those few politicians who are willing to stand up to our collective enslavement in the name of freedom.  And in We the People, those of us willing to call a spade a spade and admit that what is being built is a fascist tyranny, and that it is being supported, tacitly or actively, intentionally or unintentionally, by both Democrats and Republicans.

For my part, I decided years ago I would much rather be on somebody's list for elimination that keep my mouth shut and entertain a merely illusory safety.

As they show, as well, in that movie, psychosocial algorithyms can and no doubt have been created to identify "dissidents" and those likely to resist the eradication of freedom in American "for our own good".  If you have strong beliefs, you are likely already on a number of lists, so why not express them?  You may change minds, and enough awake people may be what it takes to protect our grand, our noble, experiment.

Obamacare

It might be worth reposting my two treatments of Obamacare.  Everything that is happening was inevitable.  Yes, of course some low income people are getting a great deal because they are being given healthcare they don't have to pay for (the rest of us, and our children, do), but the net, aggregate, across the board outcome will be increased premiums AND taxes for nearly everyone, decreased access to medical care as fed up doctors and bankrupt hospitals leave the marketplace, and an overall decrease in access to "quality" medical care.  More costs, less service: in any rational polity, these would readily be seen as obscene, as the OPPOSITE of what Left wing nut cases were supposedly trying to achieve.

It should be added, that those increased profits are going to insurance companies.  They are constrained by the law in how much profit they can earn, but the law ALSO requires people to buy Cadillacs when they want more reasonable options, which means overall revenues will go up.  This is not because of price gouging, but because of the utter and complete indifference of Democrats to business and economic realities.

People forge or fail to realize, though, that the political radicals running the Democrat party are not trying to achieve ANYTHING but the eradication of morality through the eradication of moral difference, which is achieved by making relatively greater individual progress impossible.  No amount of bodies, no amount of suffering, no degradation of the human spirit is too much to achieve this aim.  If this sounds insane, it is, but that is the reality as I see it.

How else to explain the COMPLETE indifference on the part of all the Democrats I see to the disaster that is unfolding in front of us?  All they care about are poll numbers.  This may seem to be a subtle thing, but if you dig deep, the root problem lies in a metaphysical world view, one which many of them, admittedly, do not even realize they have.  They repeat slogans, and pursue policies out of habit, but all them push humanity down.

Short treatment: http://www.goodnessmovement.com/files/Download/Notes--31--healthcare%20in%20ten%20paragraphs.pdf

Longer treatise: http://www.goodnessmovement.com/files/Download/obamacare.pdf

I will add, as I feel I need to from time to time, none of this is ccpyrighted.  I am not trying to make money or sell anything.  I am trying to help support intelligent, outcome-based dialogue on topics of intrinsic importance.  Feel free to borrow any or all of these ideas, if you are in fact trying to improve the world, and are capable of accepting a responsibility for outcomes.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Disease

Ponder the difference between a bacterial infection and cancer.

As I understand the issue, most of the symptoms of a disease actually come from efforts of the body to fight it off.  Fever, inflammation, mucous formation: all of these are intended to help fight off things that don't belong there.  If you had none of these defensive elements, you would simply, in some cases, keel over and die when the disease reached a critical mass.  That is my guess, although disease pathology is not something I know much about.

Cancer can spread quite far without any symptoms at all.  I think of Randy Pausch, whose Last Lecture was so well known, who was the image of health even when he was destined to die.

Draw an analogy with emotional energies.  Can it not be that those who most manifest symptoms are in fact those who are trying to fight something off?  And those who manifest nothing are most sick, when not healthy?

Here is a principle I think works: successful efforts at healing are generally characterized by a worsening of a condition prior to improvement.  And if you can't worse an "element", it may be it is recalcitrant to healing.

These are high level, perhaps wrong ideas.  I am just playing with metaphors.  You can kick this pile of blocks over if you want.

Morality

The quest for final answers on "moral" questions is in my view stupid.  It keeps intellectuals busy, but it is impractical, and tends in aggregate to make things worse.

No moral decision can be divorced from context.  This makes all proper moral decisions, as I have said a number of times, local, necessary, and imperfect.

If someone says "what should I do in this case?", one of the first things we need to know is who they are, and what their blinds spots are, so we can see the deficiencies in their description of the realities of the situation they are discussing.

What we want are decisions that work in aggregate and over time--systemically--to increase sustainable qualitative felicity.  Often, this involves periods of varying lengths of increased suffering.  This is the nature of how things work, or so I would argue.

Intolerance

I watched this movie, a silent film by D.W. Griffith, a few months back.  It has four stories in it, of which arguably the most elaborate screenplay-wise is the story of a rich old biddy trying to "reform" the working people of her time, by talking her rich brother--who George Shaw would have readily recognized as his sort of fascist--into prohibiting drinking and dancing, and most of the other ways they dealt with the monotony and anomie of their lives.  They refuse to comply, so he cuts wages.  Strikes ensue, people get killed, jobs get lost, and people who had decent lives get thrown more or less literally out on the street.

And the interference from these emotionally confused, intrusive, awful ladies continues.  In one case they take a baby from a woman who was a good mother, and deliver it to a sterile and loveless hospital.

Within this story line, an enormous quantity of awful human events, of suffering, difficulty, want, ensue because people are allegedly trying to HELP, and they, indeed, adopt in the end a self congratulatory tone, not having the foggiest idea--or CARING, to the point--what actually happened.

So much of leftist activity is like this.  They are no longer targeting drinking and dancing, but they are INTERFERING in the lives of people who have not asked them to, who if they were better informed or better led, would throw them out on the asses.  I have in mind particularly the black community.  It may be that the solutions to black poverty and black crime lie in allowing people with almost no job qualifications to be ALLOWED to do work at wages people would actually be willing to pay, so that they can get the skills to be worth more, and in turn be paid more.

Current government policy puts de facto walls around most ghettos, and call this enlightened.  It is not.  It is sluggish, self absorbed, amoral thinking liberally slathered with the most naked and gluttonous self interest.

Minimum Wage

Here is a cut and paste of a post I did a couple years ago:


When it comes to minimum wage laws, there are three possible outcomes: that the State mandated wage is less than those already paid; that it is equal to them; or that it is more than market conditions would normally allow.

In the first two cases, it is unnecessary.  The third condition, then, is the one which matters.

Labor, like any other commodity, is subject to supply and demand.  When there is a superabundance of work and not enough workers, wages rise.  When unemployment is high, and work is scarce, wages fall.  In all cases, business owners need workers to make money.  It is never in the interest of anyone who wants to grow a business not to grow a business by not hiring people.  Hiring always means more money for the business owner, IF there is money left over after he has paid his expenses, of which the largest is usually labor.

Let us say that a business owner collects $1,000 a week in revenues, and pays out $600 in costs.  If he can hire someone for $200 a week, he can still clear a profit, and free himself up for marketing.  If, however, he is forced by law to pay $400 a week, he will not hire anyone. He can't afford it.

Let us say that someone desperately needs work, and would be willing to work for $200, but is forced by law to charge $400.  Both people lose.

Leftists do not ask themselves what the people who are competing for low wage jobs want.  They ASSUME they would rather either be paid more than they are perceived as being worth, or be unemployed.  This is almost certainly an error, though.

We have some 50% unemployment in black neighborhoods and poor rural areas, which is close to the high school drop out rate in both areas, and there is probably a lot of overlap between the two.

Kids who have not even graduated high school offer very little in terms of job and life skills.  If they are going to get hired by anyone to do anything, they will in most cases need to discount their labor.  Such a first job would amount to an apprenticeship.  By law, they can't do this, and so in many cases they go years without getting that first job, never learn work skills, and never become optimally productive as citizens.  

Minimum wage is not intended for people who have careers, who put their time in over a period of years.  Even Burger King and the like pay more than minimum wage for virtually anyone who has worked there more than six months.

These laws do not raise up anyone.  On the contrary, they represent a barrier for entry to the job market for people who in many cases really, really need a job.


Acceptance

Useful framing exercise: I am grateful for this problem.

For confusion: I am grateful for this opportunity to make a decision and learn from it.

If you meet demons where they live, they will never have enough space to cause you trouble.  They need momentum.

Peace of mind

The price of peace of mind is diligence--daily focused work--and the development of skill.

Nod to Emerson

Becoming is not repetition.

Consolability

It occurs to me that one of the outcomes of trauma is inconsolability. You are far beyond the point where a hug, or "talking" will help.  This very fact isolates you, and paradoxically the presence of others, even others who genuinely want to help you, can be antagonizing.

I want to say that the goal of abreaction is not "healing" per se, but facilitating the beginning of the possibility of healing, which is consolability, or the ability to receive comfort, either from yourself, or others.  I would supposed, actually, it would start with being able to comfort yourself, which in turn begins with a sense that you are worthy of comfort, that pursuing the goal of greater well being is acceptable.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Me being a butthead

So I'm in a parking garage downtown, in a medical complex, and the way this works is all the spots except on the very top are usually taken by 10am at the latest.  I get stuck behind this old lady that is going walking speed through the garage.  I don't know if we can speak of a parking garage etiquette, but if we can, going as fast as you can without missing spots would be part of it.  She was also veering on every turn into oncoming traffic, I watched several vehicles on their way out roll their eyes.  She was doing it wrong, and was not learning.

Me, I am an impatient driver. I am trying to work on it, and believe I am making progress, but I'm not there yet.

Anyway, we go around about 5 times, and I decide to pass her.  Right as I pass her, a car pulls out at the end of the row, and I pull in.  She honks at me.  I cuss her out under my breath.  At the moment, I was feeling both anger and relief.

Now, this is textbook, dictionary definition asshole behavior.  I get that.  She was likely old, a little slow, and likely there because someone she knew was sick, or because she was sick.  My brain tells me this.

But I looked at my feelings, and I was happy, at least for a time.

Now, I have been processing some deep things.  There are other unpleasant things going on I don't feel like talking about, but suffice it to say a lot of very deep GAPS--that is the word--in my development are coming out.

I looked at my happiness at besting some little old lady.  It was pathetic.  That is what my brain said. Now, my father bullied me, bested me, all the time, and I am likely repeating this behavior.  But what lies at the root?  Tracking it is quite different than understanding and disposing of it.  I want to be spontaneously good, but that is going to mean at times spontaneously bad.  My task, my responsibility, is to USE those times for self purification.  It starts with seeing honestly.

Now, as I have said, my upbringing left me with a feeling of self hatred.  Self hatred is the result when you do not get the love you need, and particularly when you are subjected to emotional or physical violence, as I was.  Self hatred is a means of resolving the tension between what was done, and normal social standards.  It is very difficult to view your care-giver as an awful person--you are after all fully dependent on them at least until your early teen years--so what you do is internalize a sense of unworthiness and self loathing.

But it is never fully justified, UNTIL you do bad things.  When you ACT like an asshole, well then the emotional dissonance, the split, is healed for a moment.  And it is hard for me to describe what a heavy burden all these feelings are.  Whatever you do, wherever you go, there is this voice telling you to fail, that you can't do it, that you aren't worthy.

Obviously, you can combat that voice, you can use positive self talk, but if I ask you to hold up a wet mattress, say, something heavy and unwieldy (and by the way incontinence was not an issue for me, so I don't think there is a deeper meaning here, although there may be), who wins: you or gravity?  As long as that thing keeps driving you down, and you have no means of dropping it, it will win every time, without fail.

Being a bad person, I think, may in some ways help to make that load feel lighter.  This is just a guess, but it feels right.

Then I got to thinking of Dostoevsky's Underground Man--or really any number of anti-heroes, or neurotic nuts, from that rough era of literature (latter 19th century through today)--and they seem to think that being honest about being mean and miserable is somehow profound.  It isn't.  It never was.  These things, awareness of these states, is simply a waypoint.  You enter into awareness of evil in order to do something with it, to transcend it.

What stops this process is a rejection of morality.  At its root, Socialism is a rejection of individual morality.  It is a rejection of individual meaning.

I don't like hospitals.  I have had one outpatient surgery in my life, and that was enough.  I don't like watching all the fat, decrepit sick people wander through there.  This, probably, is an ugly sentiment too, with one perhaps redeeming feature: I don't like people who do not value their health and well being enough to do even the BASICS as far as maintaining health.  We Americans age SO poorly, not least because we have this enormous complex built up around keeping people who have never given a shit about their health alive, with expensive pills and treatments.

Then I got to thinking how we treat old people.  Ponder this: how could an old person be valued for wisdom, when wisdom is rejected in principle?  Put another way: if morality is social and not personal, how could an old person have more of it?

If we value old people, what do we value them for?  Practical knowledge.  Some old men, like Warren Buffet, are exceptionally good at doing what most people actually care about, which is making large sums of money.  But would you trust the future of your soul, the future of your happiness in this present life, to a shark whose early fortunes were made in ways most of us would reject handily?

No, we put old people behind curtains, on the other side of the hill, over THERE, where we don't think about them much.  It was a Socialist, and not a Japanese ethos being expressed when a Japanese Prime Minister said he wished all the old people would just die.  If they could not contribute to the economy, if they had no MATERIAL value, to him they had no value at all.  Their life experience meant nothing to him. (Note here too, as I have commented somewhere, the rush to put everyone on the public dole, then complain about the expense.  This is one more lunatic aspect of the whole thing.)

And if you think about it, what DOES an average person really learn in the course of a lifetime if their constant focus is material in nature?  If their lives revolve around promotions, new houses, weekends, and vacations?  They can talk about these things, but little else.

How much wisdom is there, really, in an average nursing home?  I don't know, but I wonder.  Contrast that with, say, an old Tibetan, who has chanted and meditated and sung religious/spiritual works all his life.  To the extent we would find wisdom in nursing homes, I think it would be among the deeply and sincerely pious.

Returning to Good and Evil, I think it needs to be said that there is a vast moral difference between playing a role, and understanding a situation.  You can beat pacifism into people, and some cultures do.  You can beat courtesy, filial piety, a work ethic, and cleanliness into people.

But do they then own those virtues?  I would say no.

Goodness, to me, is expressed spontaneously.  It simply comes out. Love comes out; compassion; generosity; kindness; beauty; warmth.  That is why the Windhorse metaphor is so apt: you have the power and motion of a horse, and the brilliance of a jewel.

If you cannot express things spontaneously, you are an artifact, a remnant.  You are not you, but somebody else's idea of who you needed to be.  Habits can be very strong and useful.  But until you reach bottom, until you know all of your self, all of who you are, all of what you are capable of, you are not free.

For my part, I am starting to try and focus on positive energies, but I'm sure I will have relapses.  These old habits run strong.  I watched them and was subjected to them for many, important, years.  That sounds like an excuse, and perhaps it is, but no plan based on wishful thinking is reliable.  My explanation may be wrong, but I am certainly describing my present reality.

Few thoughts, from my asshole moment.

Fear

I had an odd dream last night.  It was one of those--and I don't how many people have these--where I was in a sleep paralysis, but felt like I was awake.  I wasn't awake, obviously, because I felt I was on the couch, when I was actually in my bed, but in any event a demon came up to me, hissing, and stood about 6" from my face, trying to scare me.  I felt fear, but some part of me was thinking "fuck this", so I reached my arm out and said "bite it off".  It retreated.  Then I reached my other arm.  Same reaction.  Then I said "BOO" while opening my eyes, and there was nothing there.

Here is a phrase which sounds meaningful, and which may actually be meaningful: Fear fears us.

I think some deep part of us hides our innermost fears, because it feels like confronting them directly will kill us; we won't survive.  But I feel, increasingly strongly, that no negative emotion you give yourself up to openly and willingly can but retreat.  Your power lies precisely in your acceptance, in your openness to experience.

And how beneficial, to develop the habit of opening to ALL experience, because that will let in the good ones too.   This is getting close, I think, to what the Buddha taught.  The negatives pass away, but what is good remains, and we call this the nature of true reality.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Post on Left wing website

 Posted here: http://www.democracyjournal.org/32/the-dismal-art.php?page=all

I will note, with regard to the word "democracy", that its use is ubiquitous among those who mean the precise opposite, as in Students for a Democratic Society, or German Democratic Republic, or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.  It is a propaganda meme, nothing more.  I post here, of course, because I'd put my odds at making it through the censors at less than 1 in 2.

 
Let me ask you a basic question: how is it that few, on the right or the left, question who gets the money the Fed is "printing"?  It enters "the economy", but how? 

Here is how: it is given to enormous banks, and used to increase their already considerable fortunes.

I assume that since you have "democracy" in your name, that you have strong anti-Capitalist commitments.  How is it you are not questioning the propriety of giving the already rich, more?

Keynes himself noted, when he was still writing honestly, that almost no one understands how inflation is theft.

Do any of you grasp that when you increase the supply of anything, its relative value diminishes, and that what the Fed is doing will certainly, over some time horizon, decrease the value of all wealth in America, but not before those who came into that money first can spend it undiluted?

It is a source of constant amazement to me that the political left spends so much time demonizing "corporations" in the abstract, and fails to grasp the truly, foundationally, predatory nature of our banking system.  Left and right could and should make common cause on this issue.  I have been arguing this for years, and seemingly no one understands me.

Here is a piece detailing how things work: www.goodnessmovement.com/Page23.html

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Justice

I watched a film by Robert Bressard tonight: Mouchette.  It is about a sad girl, whose very sadness makes her easier to victimize. This is the way the world works, in all too many cases.

The ending is unclear, but I took it that she drowned herself.  Given the events in the movie, that feeling clearly would have been present.

I was watching, though, and if she had lived, she would have been bitter and angry; mean.  I thought of the prep school matron of "The Little Princess"--which I have watched many times with my kids, not least because I think it is a great "Bildungsroman" sort of story--whose viciousness comes out in the end, whose own hells come back into the present in the course of moments in the movie.

I watched her in my mind, looked deeply into her soul, and a cascade of colored discs came flowing out, a rainbow.  The darkness collapsed into nothing.  And it made my cry.  To be clear, I always view this as a good thing.  I fear stasis, not mourning.

I watched someone in hell being led away in a police car, to spend more time in hell.

I believe in justice, but more than anything I believe that at roots all human beings have the capacity for Goodness, even if in some it is so deeply buried we may never find it in this life.  This is not to say crimes should not be punished, but how does punishment really serve the cause of moral elevation?  True contrition?

Here is an idea: what if we gave people convicted of serious crimes high doses of LSD in comfortable environments?  What if they were provided social support, even love?  What if our goal was helping them learn, at a gut level, why their crime was wrong, how it hurt THEM?  What if we told them they could get out when they stopped hurting?  What if we gave them gardens to wander in?  What if we--the people acting through vote and volition--gave everyone gardens?

Please understand, if anyone who reads this blog regularly needs to be told this, I am no bleeding heart.  But I look around me, and I see pain, and little else.  Why punish pain with pain?  Is this truly justice?

Oh, we do so many things wrong.  We are deeply unwise and stupid in so many ways.  I will ponder this, too, and may have something else to add after a while.  Again, I am an ueber-Pisces.  Our destinies are confusion, emotional hurt, wisdom and vision.

Disinformation

You know, if you want to make people hate someone, tell them he is a pedophile, or wife beater, or rapist.  Good people will react in predictable ways.

If you want to make good people hate other good people, accuse them of crimes they did not commit.  This is the essence of disinformation: sowing discord among natural allies, or at least between people who had been living in peace.

The essence of leftwing propaganda in this country--which is clearly a remnant or, better, continuation of Soviet propaganda--is designed to make decent human beings hate other decent human beings for no reason other than that the second group is accused of a crime it did not commit.

Take racism: the people in this country who believe and act on the belief that black people are inferior are Democrats, and particularly so-called black leaders.

Take sexism: the people who want war on traditional femininity, who wage war on women's right to be whoever they choose, including dutiful mothers and wives, are leftists.  The abortion issue is about the lives of unborn children: the babies, when born, can obviously be taken elsewhere, which will make them irrelevant to the life of the mother, so HER life is not what is at issue.  SHE does not have to raise the child. That baby is not HER body: it is its own life.

I was reading today this very enlightening interview with a Rumanian intelligence officer sufficiently highly placed that he was in regular contact with then-KGB head (remember, he became dictator of the Soviet Union) Yuri Andropov.

Among things I learned were that there was a sustained effort to demonize Pope Pius at the end of WW2 because he was an ardent anti-Communists, and excommunicated all Catholic members of the Communist Party.  Because of this Soviet and other disinformation agents made him appear a Nazi sympathizer, when he was nothing of the sort.  He hated all totalitarianism.

Operation Ares was designed to convert people into blaming the violence of Communism on the United States government during the Vietnam War era.  If you recall the facts, "Ho Chi Minh"--the name Nguyen Ai Quoc, if memory serves, gave himself when he became a Communist--was a co-founder of the French Communist Party around 1920, just after the Bolshevik coup.  He was a lifelong Communist, and Communist International agent.  His agents spent World War 2 killing competing, non-radical, Vietnamese nationalists.  The Vietnam War was ALWAYS nothing more or less than a Communist invastion of the South by the North with the intent of establishing a totalitarian dictatorship, and using the tools of mass murder, mass torture, dissolution of families, forced relocations of precisely the sort we inflicted on the American Indians, except much more massive in scale, and much more brutal, and an extensive police network.

Clearly, they succeeded.  We won on the battlefield, and only lost in the war for accurate information.

The Soviets fielded more disinformation agents than soldiers during the Cold War.  If they had a million men at arms, they had that many or more being paid to warp minds, distribute false information, induce doubt in the minds of sensible people, install hate and fear, and pervert media.

Perhaps half of what the average person "knows" about this period is outright lie, and another quarter highly skewed.  Exhibit A is Joe McCarthy.  We KNOW, beyond any doubt, that our government and media complex were filled with Communist traitors.  They still are.  These people make rational dialogue, based upon actual concern for living, breathing human beings impossible.  Andropov would have been happy to put a Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid on his payroll.

The Soviets worked hard to direct suspicion about Kennedy's assassination towards the American government.  He mentions that here: http://pjmedia.com/mihaipacepa/  It was called Operation Dragon.  When I called  Alex Jones a Communist mole some time ago, this is what I had in mind.  I of course don't literally believe that--I think he has done good work--but I think his reflexive blaming of George Bush for what was clearly a conspiracy on 9/11, was unhelpful.  Could it not have been Putin, as I have alleged, perhaps in tandem with ultra-wealthy internationalists?

The Soviets figured anti-Semitism equaled terrorism equaled anti-Americanism, and by and large they were right.  Much of the radicalization of the Islamic world likely dates back Soviet era agitprop.

He even in the original interview provides a history both of the genesis of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (it was apparently based on a French satire), and their use by disinformation agents.

All in all, it seems clear most of us live in a dream world, a fantasy world, and that is exactly where a lot of people want to keep us.  All those of us who have any luck at all exiting the Matrix can do is speak the truth to the best of our ability, and as often as we can.

Supreme Court

I have said often that our Constitution is a nearly perfect document, with the exception that it makes no provision to reign in abuses by the Supreme Court.  Now, judicial review was not a part of the Constitution to begin with.  Nothing in there gives the Court the right to strike down laws seen as unconstitutional.  That right was simply asserted by John Marshall, and has gone largely unchallenged since.

I have proposed that a Constitutional amendment be passed allowing Congress to overrule any ruling of the Supreme Court--to insist that its will, which by design most directly expresses the will of the people, be considered ultimately paramount--by two thirds majorities on both houses of Congress.

Here is another idea: Congress could remove individual justices by the same process.

I am reading, again, and expectedly, about anti-legal biases entering discussions in our allegedly most refined, most logical, most ethical, most systematic body.  Specifically, the female justices, apparently not having read the law, and acting as if they are unfamiliar with the difference between a law and a regulation, and in principle unfamiliar with the concept of religious freedom, are objecting to the Hobby Lobby case: http://www.nysun.com/national/startling-rift-on-supreme-court-brsprings-from/88646/

What you will note is that they want laws to be "uniform".  Why?  At what point ever, in human history, have diversity and uniformity been compatible?  At what point have freedom and unity been conflatable?  The point of our system, the point of liberty, is behavioral and ideological diversity.  No one is arguing women should not have access to abortions, as far as this law is concerned.  At issue is whether or not people who believe abortion is murder can be made accessories to this murder.

I spend a lot of time doing emotional processing.  The reason is that even the most intelligent people--and I have no reason to doubt all of our Supreme Court justices are intelligent--can be driven mad by what they don't see.  I don't want to be mad, which is why I am willing to enter into madness.  I need to know its limits, recognize it, acquaint myself with it, so that I can banish it.

I think any honest Supreme Court justice could only look back in horror at all the abuses their body has countenanced and enabled; how much it has diminished a great nation, and helped put us on  path to self ruin.  They were given all the tools they needed; they chose not to use them.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Beginning to fight

I must admit that at times I feel old and tired like Jean Valjean at the end of Les Miserable.  It is easy to imagine sitting in a comfortable chair in a warm room and just giving up the ghost.  I have done right by my children.

This is not to be maudlin, but at times that is how I feel.

Yet there is something which goes on, it always goes on. I can trust it to go on.    At some deep level I am simply congenitally, in my DNA, incapable of quitting.

And I look at my life thus far, and it seems obvious that it has consisted in reconnaissance, planning, and weapon building.  I have not yet begun to fight.

And to be clear, a "weapon" in the battle for clarity is a clear idea.  A weapon in the battle for emotional balance is a sound psychotherapy.  Weapons in the battle for a peaceful world are personal sanity and penetrating intelligence.

Perhaps six months to a year ago I downloaded a guided visualization meant to help me see my future.  I can't remember who it was from, but we got to the end of the relaxation, and I saw a giant church, and that was it.  Nothing about career, relationships, where I'd be.  Nothing but a giant, gothic stone cathedral.

But as I imagine it, could we not one day reach a point where all the Christian churches are reappropriated, for a new type of spiritual work?  Could we not make them hum with activity, useful activity, joyful activity, communal activity?  Now, I have nothing against Christianity, but at this point all it can do is fight a defensive battle.  None of its claims can be entered into the empirical column in a scientific dialogue.  I have nothing against Christianity, but I also don't think long term defensive battles can be won.  Offense is needed.  New ideas are needed.  Growth is needed.  My intent is not to stifle what is good in Christianity, but to augment it, expand it, beautify it, purity it.

As I think about it honestly, I think much of my hurt likely comes from other lives.  This one has certainly been a challenge, but I think there is other stuff piled in there too.  I think I have been killed many times, because--as in this life--I am willing to say the things that need to be said, and pay the price (hell, is it time for the lynching already?  I just got here.).  But I can always count on this whatever it is.  However much it hurts, I keep going, and I rebuild everything that has been broken, and then build something new.

I would like to incorporate more pleasure in my life, but my principle focus is and always will be learning how to do effective, useful, needed work.  Since our world is run by dunces, there is no shortage of such work.

I will say to anyone listening though that although success is far from certain, the battle for the future of Goodness in this world can be won.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Positive Psychology

I have a conflicted relationship with the work of Martin Seligman.  On the one had, Learned Optimism was one of the most useful books I ever read.  Learning to reframe things was and remains a very useful skill.  I use it with myself and my kids all the time.   If they say "I can't do X", I add "yet".

Where I differ a bit, though, is that I think sometimes you need to tell the kid: you suck at that, and always will, but I still love you.

No, that's not quite it either, because that, too, is a sort of framing. 

Here is the thing: in his so far very interesting and useful book "This is How" (I'm about a quarter through it), Augustan Burroughs points out that positive self talk only works for people who are already pretty positive.  Positive psychology describes what makes people happy, but it does not really seem to teach you how to become the sort of person who pursues those things organically, or who can pursue them consciously.

In my own evolving view of the therapeutic process--and I know my ideas have likely seemed a bit crazy, since they seem that way to me too, although I am fully 100% committed to seeing them through, since that's the only way it works--virtually all emotional growth depends on developing the capacity for emotional motion, and for anyone with even a moderate degree of trauma, that is not a given.  It cannot be used as a starting point.  The trauma, or lack of emotional skill, has to be the starting point.

Being rational, in important respects, is an extremely advanced skill that only follows the ability to fully feel, understand, and process emotion.  Suppressed emotion, to borrow a great line from Edward de Bono, speaking of arrogance, is a "Mistake in the future."

I had more to say, but find I have no more to say.

ADHD

I drove by the headquarters of Eli Lilly yesterday.  It is an impressive structure.  I have done some limited business with them, but enough to have been through the doors a few times in some of their buildings.

Yesterday, though, I found myself thinking: You bastards.  The entire pharmaceutical complex exists to CREATE problems which can be addressed through their drugs.

Think this through: we KNOW how to prevent almost all diseases.  We know how to prevent, in particular, almost all degenerative diseases, through diet and exercise.  Fresh air, good food, regular exercise, social network (church adds ten years to your life or so: do you see anyone talking about that?).

Big Pharma spends HUGE money developing drugs because they can be PATENTED.  They are not trying to cure anything.  People who want to actually heal disease have almost no voice in this country.  Anyone proposing anything simple, which does not require an advanced degree, and which is inexpensive, will always be outspent and outshouted by those whose incomes depend upon complexity, informational superiority, and high costs and high profits.

With regard to ADHD, sales keep climbing steadily.  Do you not think this is at least in part because an army of pharmaceutical sales reps--the stereotype, of course, is an attractive woman between 25 and 35, driving a nice company car, although I don't think this is quite as true as it used to be--are out encouraging doctors to write scrips?

Today, I was watching myself.  My work today was alone in a large room.  And I was watching unpleasant feelings coming up, and me getting distracted and wanting to shift focus.  Because I have, I think, convinced some latent part of myself that I can now handle more of these "bad" emotions, it is giving me more of them.  And I am staying in them longer, letting the waves crest a bit more; relaxing a bit more into it, accepting it, accepting Life, in important respects.

And I got to thinking about kids nowadays.  I have talked about this before, but I can't remember exactly how.  We assume that because kids CAN distract themselves constantly, that they are simply forming this habit.  And this is, I think, part of the truth.

But think of the pervasive lack of authentic, open communication among people, and in this case, among families.  Do not many families watch TV during dinner?  Do kids early on not leave the common areas and hibernate with their electronics in their rooms?  Precisely because they never have to live with silence, I think many kids become alienated from their own inner feelings.  But as I have said, they don't go away.  They intrude.  They pop up.  They let us know they are there.

And I am not even particularly or necessarily referring to unprocessed traumas.  Can we not speak, perhaps, of uncompleted connections?  Of warmth not given, and not consciously missed?

And would this, too, not cause kids to act out, and particularly boys since boys tend to express emotions through activity?

There are many factors in so-called ADHD.  Bad parenting is clearly one of them.  At root, we could perhaps call it cultural laziness and apathy.

Few thoughts.

Flight 370

http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=252892%3Ais-this-proof-that-a-blow-torch-fire-struck-mh370-in-the-cockpit%3F&Itemid=2#axzz2xIlN8cMs

What if the fire both caused decompression AND cut oxygen to the pilots, or greatly reduced it? You go "Oh shit", accidentally go up, then think about it, and go "oh shit", and drop altitude as fast as you can, while turning back to land.  You die from lack of oxygen.  Your door is locked.  After thirty minutes, everyone else's oxygen runs out and they die too.  The plane keeps flying and eventually crashes somewhere deep.

Now, I have no idea what the situation is as far as cell phone service.  If they could, presumably passengers would have called people.  Technically, and this is a question someone somewhere knows the answer to, could cell phones have shown active while people were unable to make calls?  I ask this as there is no reason to discount the many reports that cell phones were showing active long after they lost contact with the plane.  Depending on the fuel load, the plane could have flown for another 20 hours.

Or what if the fire cut oxygen to the WHOLE plane?  Everyone would have died quickly.

I continue to believe my first hunch--the ghost ship--best explains the available data.

Here's another pilot saying more or less the same thing: http://www.hellou.com/2014/03/veteran-pilot-explains-theory-flight-mh370-makes-perfect-sense-3147/

Psychoanalysis

I think my self psychoanalysis, which no doubt would look from the outside a whole lot like self absorbed laziness, is nearly complete.  I had a put-a-feeling-into-words moment today, that helped me understand my tendency towards self importance and entitlement.  I fight it, but not always successfully.  I really am an ugly human being at times.  I really am.  That is simply a statement of fact. I was this week.  My shugyo, of course, it not pulling out yellow bubbles and rainbows of happiness, and over and above that I had a fair amount of concentrated bad luck.  No, inevitable consequences of poor or non-existent planning on my part manifested at the same time.  That is the honest statement.  That they all happened on the same day was God laughing at me and asking me to get my shit together.  And part of getting my shit together was figuring out why I constantly have this feeling the rules don't apply to me.

What that insight is, I will not share.  That was a journal moment.

This is what I wanted to say: Freud's work shifted from useful to counterproductive when he transitioned from an effort to elicit FEELINGS, to MEMORIES.  Memories you think, but they do not heal.  ONLY if they elicit feelings do they heal, but that is not the principle focus of historical psychoanalysis, which is more or less founded on lies Freud had to tell about pedophilia in his time and town.

To be perfectly honest, I don't understand the details, the transference, counter-transference blah blah blah.  I read about them some time ago, but at no point in my life have they made ANY sense.  I do know that psychiatrists have managed to erect and maintain the delusion that they are in some respect emotionally wiser and smarter because of their own in depth psychoanalyses.  Bullshit.  We all know this is bullshit.  And bullshit is a useful metaphor because we all instinctively are repulsed by the smell of shit, and bulls drop more of it.  The analogy is an obvious one.   Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes Freudian psychoanalysis is bullshit.

Here is the thing: I don't remember most of my childhood. Only bits and pieces here and there.  And it doesn't matter.  I don't and can't live in the past.  What the details are don't matter.  What matters is what my dominant emotions were.  Those can be found, contacted, embraced, and released.  The rest can be inferred, to the extent I have any need at all to do so for psychological closure.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Alienation

I was talking with a guy in the bar yesterday, who knew 6 heroin addicts, and it made me think of this song, which I have always thought was about heroin addiction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvUI-s4Azw4#aid=P-0eGGOo_Qw

This song pulls a lot of things out.  It gets at the sadness and disconnection of modern life, and drug use as one poor way of coping with it.  It has often made me cry.  I understand the sentiments expressed deeply and intimately.

It seems to me my role in life is to develop a firm enough grip and a strong enough back to pull these people out of their hell holes, and enough vision to send them on their way to something better.

Actually, a better metaphor is holding the rope.  Everyone has to climb on their own, but it's a hell of a lot easier when there is something to hold on to.

I will add something perhaps a bit odd (although you expect that here, no?  My, uh, ideosyncracies are on full display).  Some 4 or 5 months ago I had an intuitive and strong connection with a Tarot card called The Fool.  The details don't matter, but it came to me in a meditation, and at the time I knew nothing about Tarot.

Last week I realized it would be a good time to begin establishing a relationship with the future.  I have always lived in present, because that is where severe trauma drops you.  You live in a moment.  I have always had the intellectual capacity for planning--I am intelligent--but imaginatively I have never been able to connect to the future.

So I thought I'd get a Tarot deck.  The one I pulled out was the 3 of Wands, which based on the description is probably the best single card in the 72 card deck to continue the work begun with The Fool.

Here is the description.  I could not imagine a more relevant or positive card for what I intend over the next year:

On the Three of Wands, we see a figure standing on a cliff looking out over the sea to distant mountains. From this height, he sees all that lies ahead. This is a card of vision and foresight. When we want to see farther, we climb higher. By going up, we increase our range and remove ourselves from the immediate situation. We detach and gain perspective.

In readings, the Three of Wands can tell you to take the long view. Don't react to the heat of the moment, but step back and reconsider. See how the present fits into the greater picture. This card asks you to be a visionary - to dream beyond current limitations. It can indicate premonitions or other intuitions about what is to come.

Taking the long view is an aspect of leadership - another meaning of the Three of Wands. When we see far, we have the knowledge to guide others to their best future. Someone who knows the way can show it to those who follow. When you see the Three of Wands, know that now is the time to accept your vision and be confident that you can lead others to it. [emphasis mine]

A leader not only sees far, but he is willing to go there first, if necessary. The Three of Wands is also a card of exploration. Compare this figure to the Fool who is also on a cliff edge. The Fool steps out in innocence, not realizing he is going to fall to his fate. The adventurer on the Three of Wands is also willing to step out, but with full awareness of what he is doing. His courage is more informed, if less spontaneous. The Three of Wands encourages you to move fearlessly into new areas. Let the ships on your horizon take you far out into unknown seas.

Art and Abreaction

I have not written in my journal for months.  Two reasons occur to me.

First, I was reading this website yesterday: http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/?gclid=CNzym6nTsr0CFbBj7AodvRIAkQ

Their first recommendation is to "express your heart".  It occurs to me that is what I do here.  The fundamental difference between my journal and this blog is that I am making things public, and that feels to some part of me much more like an intimate conversation.  Yes, I likely share too much, but as I have said before, I also think our civilization is characterized by mass alienation, both from one another, and from our own feelings. I can claim to myself that I am setting an example, doing something useful.

And in any event the beauty of this is I have complete control.  I am never interrupted, and I can go as deep and as long as I want.  I do have friends I share things with, but no one who is willing to consistently go the places I go.  My emotional pain tolerance is, I think, quite extraordinary.  My practice--my Shugyo, to use the Japanese word for asceticism that I have always liked, and as I tend to call it for myself--would I think be much too much for many.  No one comforts me.  I have no one to run to with a complete expectation of openness. I am subject to constant psychological attack.  And yet I go on.

Sometimes I think of the Tibetan Buddhists who spend as I understand it 3 years, 3 months and 3 days in solitary meditation.  Think of all the things that come up: every fear, every worry, every imaginable demon.  And yet they go on, and are cleansed at the end.

I used to be completely and utterly serious all the time.  I had no sense of humor.  I never laughed.  I didn't wear a trenchcoat and boots, but if I have felt more able to express myself, I might have. I felt no freedom to express anything.  I spent most of my time more or less wanting to shrink into a hole, EVEN THOUGH, and this is an interesting point, I never would have admitted it.  I had no idea WHAT I was feeling, because I was able to live in my head, in both ideas and fantasy.

I did learn to laugh, but it has felt like I have two houses.  I have the one I built for my children, which is well lit, orderly, happy, full of love; and another one, that is dark, filled with ruins, rain, wind, and dark clouds.  It is not, by and large, angry, and I feel grateful for that at least, although I am at times also prone to bouts of inappropriate anger.  I am trying to speak the truth, because I feel close to being able to do something about it.

The other idea which occurs to me is that writing and feeling are two different things.  Writing about feelings is not feeling feelings.  All art is like this.

Think of some angry art you have seen--Picasso, say, whose work in his best known period has always felt to me like a big Fuck You.  How do artists remains in similar emotional places all their lives, when the idea is self expression?  How is that H.R. Giger has apparently remained in much the same place for the last 30 years?  Why is no happy stuff coming out (that I know of)?

Here is the thing, you can approach a feeling, interrogate it, take pictures from all angles, sculpt it, paint it, sing it, write poems about it, act it out in a drama, and put it into countless forms, and never process it if you never ENTER it fully, if you never allow it to possess you fully, to burn its fire within you.

In my view, only "primitive" art can be cathartic.  My "poem" of the previous post was the level I am talking about.  Nothing refined, nothing sophisticated, nothing that takes a lot of craft.  Nothing, in short, that would get published or hung on a wall.

Can I perhaps redefine "good" art as that which promotes effective abreaction? 

No.  I would add a level of art that I will call "mythic".  This is art which pulls things out of people. like Giger, either negative things, or sublime things, which allows people to feel feelings that were there, but unnoticed, of a positive nature.

These things are complicated, and I feel like I am wandering, so I'll leave it at that.  I'm sure I will have more to say presently.

Poem

I woke up this morning and ate a tangerine.

It was good.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Real Self, continued

It occurs to me--and I will readily grant I am in some respects trying to pass off a truism as wisdom--that precisely to the extent you try to force a child into a box, into an inorganic restraint, onto a path they would not have chosen, you weaken permanently, perhaps, their capacity for honesty, creative expression, and true emotional resilience.

Think of your stereotypical Church Lady (SATAN!!!!, not Santa): was she not forced into an artificial box early on?  Has she not spent her life denying any number of emotions, well in excess of the merely sexual?  Does this not make people angry and frustrated, even if they cannot express these emotions CONSCIOUSLY?  Of course, and of course all this gets out, one way or another.  Think Westboro Baptist Church, which I will not even attempt to defend.

Think of Islam.  I cannot imagine a cultural order better suited to the suppression of individuality (other than  Communism, with which it seemingly has much in common).  Everybody--all the men, I should say, who at that still have more chance at self expression than the women locked up in their homes--has to do the same thing (prayer), the same way, at the same times, every day.  And if they don't, they are condemned.

Heaven and Hell are absolute, irrevocable, eternal, and both contingent on conformity to the dominant cultural forms.

Is it any wonder so many are so eager to kill themselves?  Obviously, it is in their faith (actually, suicide in the pursuit of mass murder is not, but how can I quibble with the clergy who extol then excuse it?), but it seems to go deeper, to an actual social NEED, to something people want.

Now I have no issues with Christianity or Islam per se.  If I had to pick a "faith" it might well be Sufism.  But to extend this example, the Sufis have been and are persecuted for apostasy or heresy.  Many have been killed in Iran, at a minimum, in recent years, and that despite the brilliant Persian poetry of men like Hafez, Rumi, and Omar Khayyam.

There are countless ways to break people, and all of them are easier when they are young.  That so many continue to be practiced in the modern world shows how far culture has yet to progress.

The Real Self

My kids are on the same sports team, and I was talking with the coach the other day, and he commented on how different they were.  I've always sort of taken this for granted, but I got to thinking about it: part of my role as a parent, I have realized, is eliciting their individuality, teasing out what makes them unique and interesting and different.  I am not "placing them in. . ." but rather drawing them out.

Just one seemingly small example: my youngest does not like the volume control on the radio to be on an even number, and I indulge her in this.  There is no good reason for it.  I could easily just demand she stop being irrational, but I go with it.  It is small, and seemingly important to her.  I tease her, of course, but I let her get her way.  If I clamped down on her, I would not just be clamping down on that one thing, but many things.

It sounds perhaps like an exaggeration, but it is not: my singular gift in parenting is in knowing what to do by doing the opposite of what my own parents did.  I was crushed, absolutely, ruthlessly, and with no remorse.

We all have to get to our Real Selves.  This is the part that, definitionally, is real, and by contrast everything else is some degree of lie.  Most anxiety, failure, depression, anger and other negative emotions come from being out of touch with this vital, mutable, emotional place.

In my own case, I am beginning to arrive.  My Real Self is an electrical hurricane; it is Fear itself--not "fear of", but Fear. I think I discussed my vision of needing to hug a giant rotating circular saw.  I pulled it into my chest in my "dream", and it killed me.  As I mentioned, I have been doing this repeatedly.  This morning I looked into the eyes of a demon that used to haunt my dreams as a child.  It would hover over me, while I was in a state of sleep paralysis, and I could not open my eyes. I could feel it breathing though. 

This demon symbolizes many things.  This is one area I will not discuss in detail, but I finally saw it this morning, and it scared the crap out of me.  But I kept looking, kept going there, over and over and over.

I inhabit my Real Self and it is a bloody red pancake.  It has no height.  But I truly, really do have faith in the Inner Healer, that rectification, reorientation, renewal are an integral part of being human, if we simply keep moving.  If we "go there" things happen, things organize, light starts seeping in, and what needs to be fixed, gets fixed.

Many would question my capacity for rational or scientific thought in saying this, but I truly do believe there is something to astrology.  There are many ways to interpret charts, but in all of them I have an extremely prominent Mars.  Whatever the source, there is something in me that will not quit in the pursuit of learning how to live and how to learn. It throws me against the rocks over and over and over, breaks me over and over and over, but I keep going.

All of this, all of this introspection and examination, is in the pursuit of learning how to achieve effectively in the outer daylight world.  All my life I have had constant eruptions of unwanted and inappropriate emotion, had constantly to use willpower to keep myself on task, and I truly believe I am on the verge of ending this.

And I will say that I would much rather learn how to learn that be born with knowledge.  It is much, much more useful.