Friday, April 24, 2015

Cultural Criticism

I read this piece by Terry Eagleton: http://chronicle.com/article/The-Slow-Death-of-the/228991/ and got to thinking.

I look at blueprints all the time, and I have never seen one, ever, which specified in detail what it DIDN'T want: no use of structural steel, not too many doors, no red paint, no blue in the carpet.

Eagleton, as some may know, is a Marx-biased fascist, and thus when he bemoans the lack of critical studies, what he is really complaining about is insufficient government funding for incompetent dilettantes to occupy all their time taking strong stands on issues--like economics--they really don't understand. If English teachers confined themselves to teaching English literature, that may be one thing, but he himself invokes Foucault, and implicitly many others, going back to Plato through Marx.  This has nothing to do with English, and everything to do with cultural subversion through English.  One could even argue that most English professors in fact view their own field--the underlying assumption that English, per se, is worth studying--with contempt, outside of the aesthetic merits they take in well crafted prose, which is not different in its nature or ultimate usefulness from the same appreciation applied to fine wine.

Personally, I took advantage of state underwritten education, majored in the humanities, and STILL have learned vastly more since I graduated than I ever did in college.  As I have likely mentioned, I often listen to Teaching Company lecture series.

To return to the topic, though, Marx was a critic.  He was not an architect.

Let us think as architects, though.

We want a political system which allows groups of differing visions of life to resolve their differences peacefully.

We want a society which values creativity, expressed both in the artistic domain, as well as the economic domain.

We want a society which protects individual rights, both in the freedom from (the violence of others or the government) and freedom to (to do anything which harms no one) senses.

We want a high general standard of living, and a close correspondence between an individuals willingness to work hard, and their following income.  We want to be free of those who can take from others without contributing anything.  We want all wealth to be earned, at some point. (it is worth noting that Oxbridge could easily be seen as having been purchased on the backs of peasants; and attended in large measure by the descendants of successful thieves).

We want everyone to be equal before the law.

These are a few desiderata.  None of these are valued in Communo-fascist regimes.  In all such states, violence of the government against the people is the norm; oligarchs earn rich livings at the expense of the populace as a whole; creativity is only valued when it enriches the elite; and diversity of opinion is squelched.  This is the condition in Cuba.  It is the condition in North Korea.  It is the condition in China, which in my understanding STILL operates labor camps of the sort Hitler used.

The way that imbeciles like Eagleton rationalize their bad ideas is--and I'm going to guess, talking out loud here:

1) They are divorced from consequence.  He does not think a Communist coup is likely, so he will not have to explain to the suffering masses why he supported it.

2) They surround themselves with the ideologically like-minded, making their horrific ideas, filled with death as they are, seem palatable.

3) Being divorced from consequence, they are divorced from the necessity of planning.  It is one the ironies of this whole thing that those who most value central planning are themselves incapable of planning at all.  They aren't interested in it.  It comes dressed in overalls and looks like work, and even though he pokes fun at himself, it seems likely Eagleton really is as effete as he appears.  He is not going to take on the cares of someone concerned with making important things happen correctly and harmoniously.

Marx himself, in my understanding--I have his biography on my shelf, but like many other such books, have not made the time to read it--was a slob.  He didn't work regularly or at all.  Like Rousseau, he was a chronic debtor, and unreliable in nearly everything.

I do not think it would be taking things too far to view the entirety of his economic and philosophical views as extended rationalizations of his personal failings.  When you fuck up, what is the first thing you do, if you are intelligent?  You do abstract.  This is a great way to avoid emotions that are unpleasant.  You fuck up a lot, and you spend all your life thinking.  Once you are thinking, what do you think about?  Why it ISN'T YOUR FAULT.  Make it large enough and complicated enough, and nobody will see that you felt unloved at age 3.

The world runs on ideas.  If you feed it bad ideas, it gets ugly.  Feed it good ideas, it brightens up.  Eagleton is complaining that his campaign to paint England grey (and call it a rainbow) is underfunded.  To that, I say: marvelous.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Being a Warrior

There is nothing beautiful about war, and the only beautiful thing about warriors is they don't quit.  That is it.  A true warrior is mean, constantly vigilant, and has sacrificed some part of his or her life to the protection of their community.  They have learned to live with horror, and if they learn to love battle, it is only because that is the only place where their inner hatred can meet an outer reality that makes sense.

I get in touch with my inner warrior sometimes, and he is a very strong, very capable self that is angry, calculating, and covered head to toe with battle scars.  He should be dead, but he wasn't ready.

But all warriors know their destiny is to die, and so is the destiny of everyone around them.  Nothing lasts.  You cannot depend, ultimately, on anyone but yourself.  Everything else will be cut away, and so one day will you be, too.

We idealize warriors, I think, because our culture has become much too effeminate, having cast aside masculine virtues like risk-taking, valuing physical privation and difficulty, and seeking out difficult challenges.  These are all to the good.  These are needed and good virtues.  But they are not war.  War is learning to kill our fellow men (and women: do not forget that the bombs we drop do not discriminate) effectively.  It is learning to suppress normal human impulses of empathy, connection, and revulsion at the thought of violence.

As a friend of mine once put it, who had seen enough of it, "war is as romantic as a meat grinder."

I have PTSD and spent last night being reminded of it nearly hourly.

I do have a battle plan, though, to deal with it, and I am executing it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Democrats

Can we not call the Democrats the party of political codependence?

I offer from time to time the analogy of these 800 pound people we read about every so often--the story has become less interesting, having been told many times--who are confined to their beds.  No one who cannot get out of bed survives alone, and the person who facilitates this--their co-conspirator in their own effective avoidance of life--is criminal.  They are depriving someone of a life; and of a responsibility which, alone, can buy them true happiness.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Larceny

My youngest confessed to me the other day to cutting a class.  After she revealed her method--the simple plan executed audaciously--I felt some pride, and gave her a high five. I told her I wanted a little--just a little--larceny in her soul.

And I got to thinking about why.  You would think someone who reasons everything through like me would have reasons for doing things.  I don't, at least not always.  I very often go by gut instinct and feel.

What I told her was that organizations, human systems, can become corrupt.  Just because someone is in charge does not mean you should listen to them.  It does not mean you should not resist them, in large things and small.  I do not want to build habitual obedience, and a good test for flexibility on this score is precisely the ability to break rules without excess guilt, and without getting caught.

I don't reflexively admire people who do X religiously for a long period of time.  Somewhere in that period of time, an adjustment was needed, and this fact was missed because they were attached to the outward form, and not the inner purpose.  Sometimes you have to cheat on yourself, and take a look around to see if you are missing anything.

And law and morality are very often quite different.  Our leaders break both laws and moral codes constantly, but they remain our leaders, at least politically.  I have long taught my kids that just because something is legal, that does not make it just; and just because something is illegal, that does not make it wrong.

I also teach them it is OK to break a rule, if you know why it exists; and I teach them to regularly take calculated risks.  Taking risks is how you build judgement, and calculating teaches you to think.

We would not be better off if everyone were a pirate, but I also question those who reflexively follow authority.  Even the so-called counter-culture has leaders who are not questioned.  Obama is doing virtually all the same things they criticized Bush for, but the criticisms were propaganda, not principle-based, and so they cannot judge him for the many things he has done they would have crucified a Republican for.

Having a small black flag somewhere in you means you are alive.  You are not reflexive, and you will not easily be taken for a machine.

The Commissariat

I think I said at some point my motto is "Neither Kings nor Commissars".  When I say Commissar, I mean low level bureaucratic apparatchniks who have the power to interfere with your life directly.  And if they are all around you, it is the rule of the Commissariat, understood broadly.

I was pondering all the SWAT teams proliferating under Obama.  The FDA has one.  The Consumer Safety and Product whatever has one.  The Department of Agriculture has one.

What does a SWAT team give you?  The power to scare people.

And I got to thinking too, that once you have a Commissariat of some sort--let us say the Food and Drug Administration--it can be counted on to justify its existence by finding problems even where they don't exist.  And what do the SWAT teams do?  They rehearse scenarios in which they are needed, in which SWAT really is an appropriate response.  Since such scenarios are far-fetched, they define down what constitutes a need for Special Weapons and Tactics, as opposed to an unarmed official knocking on the door with a clipboard.

What exactly do Homeland Security agents do?  They are apparently agents who are not TSA, not Secret Service, not Coast Guard.  Well, among other things, they justify their existence.  They create problems where none existed.  They dumb down the situations in which they are needed; they expand the scope of their operations.

The thing about bureaucracies is that they metastasize always and everywhere unless they are carefully regulated.  Anyone wanting to squelch American liberties has only to create enough of them, and overfund the rest, and simply wait.

We are reaching a point where everybody feels the need to keep a look over their shoulder, at least in the most Regressive States, lest they violate some norm they didn't even know they were being held to.

This post was provoked by this article: http://www.salon.com/2015/04/19/what_a_horrible_mother_moms_arrested_for_leaving_their_kids_in_the_car/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Edit: Here is another example:

 http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-new-fed-rules-nypd-training-101-article-1.2192488

When they call Peter Zimroth a "monitor", they should use the word "Commissar".  When there is some fucking asshole telling you every fucking minute about what you need to do and how, you are living in a Commissariat.  I am mildly--only mildly--redefining it.

And I would add as well that the closer the center of decision making is to the individual, the more complex the social order, because they more decisions that get made.  The farther that decision moves from the individual, the less decision making they do, and it makes them stupider, because they don't learn from experience.  It also, in a formal sense, reduces complexity.

Socialism is rows of trees--the same trees--all planted in a row.  They call this order. Liberalism and Free Markets are forests, which is a complex order.  The latter is vastly more resilient, and interesting.

Screening for Trauma

I think it is a truism that power attracts precisely those least likely to bring wisdom and an altruistic mindset to it, but I think we could speak more generally that the world is run by people who are unable to relax, whose success depends in large measure on a long term monomaniacal, obsessive focus on each next step in self aggrandizement, regardless of the field.

Freedom, then, over time places power of all sorts in the hands of those who are unwise.  Freedom contains, too, though, the power of reform, and this rule obviously is not absolute.  It merely describes what I feel is a tendency.

I would stipulate this: no person who is unable to relax fully, to let EVERYTHING go, can be said to be fully psychologically healthy; and I would guess this is most people on the planet, certainly in the supposedly "developed" world; it is likely less true for those who have less to hold on to, although I don't presume to speak for the poor, who in almost all cases would certainly prefer not to be poor.

Autogenic Therapy rests on this premise.  How it works, effectively, is that as the patient learns deep relaxation, more and more unconscious content, held in reservoirs of sorts, comes flowing out.

It has been my own experience that there are qualitative levels, approximately, and that as you process one, you gain access to another.  The end will find me capable of letting go of everything that binds me, which is the goal of most spiritual traditions, all of which, in my view, would benefit from incorporating the insights particularly of modern trauma psychology.

Virtually everyone you see on every street is "walking wounded" in some way.  Given the chance, they will not be able to fully let go in a deep relaxation session.  This is my guess, although of course my opinion may be skewed by me being, I think, a bit more wounded than most.

But I got to thinking.  I remember being screened for scoliosis in grade school (I have it).  What if we screened kids for trauma?  What if, for example, we taught every school kid in America both Progressive Relaxation and Autogenics from grade 4 through 6?  Sooner or later, all traumas would likely come out.

Look at our prisons: could you not hang a sign on the neck of virtually everyone there, even those in for drug and alcohol related offenses, and say "untreated trauma victim"?

I suspect you could hang such a sign on every other person, at least, in a typical ghetto.

What a wonderful society we could build, though, if everyone got the help they needed, and which in most cases they didn't even know they needed.  This holds particularly true if as many people suffer from pre-3 trauma as I suspect do.  What emotionally immature mother is not capable of scaring the shit out of a rambunctious 2 year old?

Food for thought.

Ponder that last phrase.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Closing of the Day

Did you see more than a fraction of what happened in front of you?  No, of course not.  Don't be stupid.

Did you learn more than a fraction of what was presented to you?  No, of course not, don't be arrogant.

Ah, did you greet the day with some acceptance, and do your work with something approaching pleasure and engagement?  Here: give yourself a grade between C- and A.

Did you learn SOMETHING?  Pass/fail.  Grade yourself.

There will be another quiz tomorrow.  You can thank me then.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The reification of Modernity

In my view, "modernity" is acadamese for sloppy thinking, laziness, and grotesquely unwarranted moral and intellectual hauteur.

I was reading this piece: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/04/13/philosophy-returns-to-the-real-world/?_r=0

We start with a softball game, with Stanley Fish as umpire:
When I was in graduate school at Johns Hopkins in the early 1980s, I played on the intramural softball team of the postmodern literary theorist Stanley Fish. I recall his umpiring at a practice once when the batter, my buddy Mike, now a distinguished professor at Yale, argued a call. Fish good-humoredly pointed out that what’s a ball and what’s a strike is not an objective, external, or natural fact, it’s an interpretive practice; and according to that practice, whatever the umpire calls is real: If he calls it a strike, it’s a strike.
What do we call this attitude everywhere else?  Fascism.  Or in another era, Monarchism, or at least Oligarchy.  It is "might makes right". The entirety of the Western Liberal tradition of philosophy was intended to end it.  Everything our best minds did for several hundred years, which resulted in an unprecedented out-pouring of political freedom and vast material wealth, spread across all classes, was oriented precisely around avoiding assholes like this getting the upper hand.

Well, they got the upper hand.

Then we read about his interactions with Richard Rorty (PoMo, which means "intellectually impoverished Modernist"):

Rorty challenged me, over and over, to describe an undescribed object, to tell him about something outside language. He didn’t, according to himself, deny the existence of the world, he simply held that the assertion that there was stuff outside of language was itself a linguistic practice.

Jesus H. Christ.  How the fuck would you describe something without using words?  This is a fucking tautology.  If he had asked me to describe the feeling of being kicked in the shins without using words I would have kicked him in the shins.  Yes, plural.  Then I would have hoped he asked me to describe the feeling of a groin kick.

Can you name me any word which has no descriptive referent?  Cow?  Milk?  Even more complex words like "justice", which can be defined in many ways, can still be defined.  I would define it as equality before the law, regardless of social class, race, or gender; and the diligent effort to punish the guilty.

As I have said many times "that" is a fully descriptive term.  Who is Bob?  HIM.  We do not form words and then match them with outer realities.  Our entire early life is wordless.  It is pure experience.  And everything that matters afterwards is also wordless. Love is wordless.  Joy is wordless.

This is the creed of people avoiding feelings.  I would suggest that is the psychological root of the whole thing.

And I would offer an alternative definition for philosophy I put forward earlier: Philosophy is the structured intellectual process of learning to effectively get from THIS to THAT.

Finally, he feels the need to defend those who would speak of "reality":

Some of the motivation for the realist turn has been ecological: Climate change isn’t just in our heads or in our descriptions, but a real-world situation that requires real-world physical transformations. Others have been political: defenses of the urgent truth of justice, or of the importance of material economic conditions and the treatment of physical human bodies. And I think that, as our experience becomes in many ways increasingly mediated or virtual, we simply started yearning toward the old-fashioned physical environment, which was always available and still is, and on which whatever we see on a screen depends utterly. Ideas are always an index of longings.
People like this should be fired and forced to apprentice in practical trades like plumbing and carpentry.  Such idiocy would not long endure a daily engagement with real and practical problems.

Friday, April 17, 2015

PTSD

I think the shortest description of PTSD is "internalized horror".  I have gotten to some powerful energies, and staying with it, to allow it to process and dissipate, is very hard.  It is much easier to allow myself to slip into mere fear, which I can usually combine well with intellectualism.

There is a large qualitative difference between fear and horror.  Fear is a surface emotion, or so it feels to me.  Horror is many dimensional, complex, rich.  It is unpleasant, but still interesting--I suppose like a car accident.

And I feel horror very much represents the involvement of the gut, of very primal, very primitive nerve impulses.  What you do you feel, when you are "frozen" with fear?  What is that dream, where you try to run but you can't?  I think horror is an activation of the unmyelinated vagus nerve system, which is suppressive, which works to slow things down, with the logical end state being complete immobility, complete paralysis.

And I will speculate again that the popularity of horror films must have something to do with a felt sense that something is missing, that some part of the process of living is going unexpressed.  We do not encounter primal terror in our ordinary lives, most of the time.

Think to farmers: they regularly slaughter animals.  Hunters kill because they enjoy it.  And in my experience, most of those people are very relaxed.

Being able to process horror and being able to process trauma are in my view the same thing.  It seems likely one could view some spiritual practices--especially Tantric practices--in this light.  I have in mind things like meditating in cremation grounds and smearing human ashes on yourself, and keeping human bones around as relics.

My task, I think, is to maintain contact with this energy while ;progressively diluting it by combining it with ordinary energies, with daily life, by staying with it and functioning, not allowing it to slow me down.  I think I can do this.  It's not easy, but few things worth anything are.

Music

Music mediates moods.

I have long used Iasos Angels of Comfort/Angel Play when I do Kum Nye.  It adds something important, and helps me go deeper.

I'd encourage you to listen to these when you are feeling contemplative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT3RiHYqSUk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uni-TVcsU6A

I think some men feeling listening to relaxing music is unmanly, but what is manly about fear and anxiety? If you are badass, you are relaxed.  You won't find many wound up lions outside of cages.

While I'm at it, Edwina Francesca's "Breath of Heaven" is amazing too.  I'll listen to one of those tracks every morning when I do my EmWave2.  That, the Cistercian Monks Chants, or something from Vangelis or Stephen Halpern.

Here's something nice from Vangelis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2Bp-xkMc20

Breathe in through your nose to a count of 4, and out through your mouth to a count of 8 until it's done, and relax every muscle in your body.


Forgiveness, Part Two

I like this analogy of a mirror, used by some mystic group--Sufis or Kabbalists, I think--in which we learn to be sensitive to, and to reflect, God's light.  Growth is "polishing the mirror" and sin, in contrast, would be smudging it.

Here is the thing about sin: it is error, plain and simple.  It is taking a wrong turn to get to the grocery store, or accidentally over-salting your chili.  It is contrary to your own best interest, and thus not something, properly understood, that you should ever need to be punished for.  Punishment is for maintaining social peace and harmony.  It is an outer form.

Inner punishment has no use.  There is never any point in beating yourself up.  The task is to LEARN, and having learned, the sin evaporates.  You take the correct route to the grocery store.  You make superlative chili.

This is why there is no point in judging people--or yourself, for that matter.  Life is filled with "tasks at hand", and our job is to do them as well as we can, and when we screw up, to learn, and do better.  You, and everyone you meet, is a work in progress.  If you want to do good, set a good example.  Teach.  As the Tao Te Ching says, a good man is a bad man's teacher and a bad man is a good man's pupil.  Everything is relative.

Even the most twisted sadists, if you penetrate to their cores, are broken children, filled with horror, self disgust, and the most terrible emotional pain.  Their paths are very, very long ones, but all end in the light, in my view.

But this is all speculation.  I need to go to my task at hand, which is a session of Kum Nye.

The Science of God

I've been sleeping in a lot lately.  My job allows me to get away with it, and I am slowly contacting and learning to dissipate the horrors within me.  Seen rationally, it is productive, immensely productive.  But I still feel guilt.

This morning, as often, I was praying God would forgive me, and it hit me that this request is absurd.  Being somewhat cyclically amnesic, I've likely said this before, but ponder the stupidity of asking forgiveness from an infinite being.  In my view, God is the animating force behind everything that exists; God both creates the form and the motion.  Richard Feynman said that a square meter of empty space has enough latent energy to boil every ocean on Earth.  Multiply that by an infinity of space, and that is still likely too small.

We can't begin to grasp what we don't know.

But I did want to make two points: I think the image of God as a punitive parent creates fear, and fear creates violence and hiding.  I have no doubt that the reason I was tortured as I was, was to prevent me becoming a "brat", and going to hell.  Love was not a word used or understood, but brat was.  Come hell or high water my mother especially was not going to raise a brat.

When you ask forgiveness of God, why?  Because you fear punishment. In my case, I am doing something which makes me feel good, but have an ambient anxiety that I have done something wrong, and that the way to dispel it is to ask forgiveness.  I do this out of fear.  It is a way of reducing fear, because this would be reasonable if you were interacting with a human and offended them in some way.

But I truly think there will come a day when we view most religions as fairy tales, as ridiculous, as profoundly psychologically unbalanced in many ways.  I think Love is and should be the universal creed, but even in Christianity it is diluted and unbalanced by the terror of Hell.  Much hatred and violence flows from this primordial fear.

And I will wonder out loud how accurately human history could be viewed as as history of undiagnosed and unprocessed PTSD, which is more or less a disorder of the nervous system, and which leads to depersonalization, dissociation, pervasive fear and paranoia, and an inability to relax.  Did the Assyrians beat their kids?  I'll bet they did.  What is the cure for fear?  More fear.  War as homeopathic remedy.

I will say as well that I think a new and better psychology will figure out how to access and process infant trauma.  I'll bet it is much more common than we suppose.

Finally, the point of this post was this vision that popped in my head of developing an actual science of God. We know about Zero Point Energy.  We know non-locality is a feature of our universe.  We know consciousness can affect matter.  Somebody needs to jump in with both feet and start finding and better understanding how our universe is shaped by an ordering principle, by a dynamic energy which is endless.

Some people are doing this of course, as people like Dean Radin have well chronicled, but my vision is a post-religious world, based fully on science, but a humanistic science, one which grasps the importance of faith and ritual and play, one which understands the value and centrality of symbols and human connections.

The specific vision that popped into my head was the creation of an endlessly reactive surface, and finding people who could affect it, and figuring out how.  Robert Jahn demonstrated telekinesis as an observable reality beyond any reasonable doubt.  But he did it statistically.  My vision is doing it directly.

All these things are vastly important.  We are literally talking about the nature of life and the structure of the universe.  No more important topics could be imagined.

And yet fools waste time on spent theories, that should have died 100 years ago.  There is no matter, only energy.  It is my personal view that all of us are created a million times a second.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Intelligence

The smartest guy or gal in the room is the one with the best answer to the problem at hand.  It is this simple.  It may be true that in a great many contexts this will be the same person, but anyone who assumes they are that person is in most cases being stupid.  You have to gather evidence.  This is how intelligence works.  Intelligences presumes stupidity until it can prove--or reasonably and plausibly conclude--otherwise.

IQ is vastly less important than the problems you can solve.  I look up Marilyn Vos Savant, and I don't see anything interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_vos_Savant

Motivation matters.  Courage matters.  Playfulness matters.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Credit

It's between hard and impossible to know what effect, if any, all my writings have had on anything or anyone.  I continue to write because I think I am not superfluous, and because even if I presently am, that need not always be the case.  I can develop my ideas sufficiently that they go into a book which might have some influence.

What I never do is think about getting credit for any ideas I may propose.  It delights me to think some of my best ideas may be taken wholesale--even verbatim--and used elsewhere.  That is influence.

I think of Musashi and his dictum that the focus always be cutting. You focus on each stroke, and maximum effectiveness: here, in creating and conveying coherent, communicable, and useful ideas. We can safely assume that in none of his contests did Musashi think about his reputation.  Nor was he focused on winning.  Winning is an abstraction that takes you out of the moment.

No, he focused on his breath, his body, and how next to inflict a potent wound upon his opponent.

This mindset is useful everywhere.  Virtually everything else is confusion.

Reflection on previous post

My idea would be called "inflicting freedom".

Here is the thing: freedom is an escape from certainty.  It is an escape from finality, necessity.  You can CHOOSE what you want, what to pursue, who you want to become.  But it is not a foregone conclusion that you will achieve it.  But you CAN.  It is possible.

I read that Gunther Grass was an admirer of the Castro regime, but a harsh critic of the Soviet Union.  One wonders why.  I don't want to make the time to investigate, but I think it reasonable that as someone who CHOSE to join the Waffen-SS, he was someone unsure what the proper use of freedom was.

Cuba never had a mass famine.  They only killed thousands of people, and what torture they did was mostly the "advanced" Soviet variety of soft torture, like locking people in small boxes for long periods of time.  This, to some, makes it seem almost palatable that an entire nation is sitting around in the heat, underfed, underemployed, under constant surveillance, and in large numbers willing to risk death to live in poverty here.

But I think the very lack of freedom is appealing to certain class of lost human being.  Life is simple in Cuba.  We must grant that.  Do what you are told and keep your mouth shut.  Who is unable to understand those instructions?

Thus, inflicting freedom on a certain class of these lost human beings would be a de facto torture, even if one that is only made so by THEIR refusal to individuate, to assume personal responsibility, personal agency, to make imperfect choices in an imperfect world.

I get in mind the many Saw scenes of alleged freedom.  I have within me a capacity for cruelty.  I was more or less psychologically tortured as an infant.  Much of it is coming up: terror, fear, coiling up in a ball helplessly.

But I see beyond this.  It does not limit me. In Saw everyone was not free. They were given two choices: live or die.

In my scenario I imagine advanced forms of self torture.  What if I made one "colony" composed ONLY of profoundly narcissistic, self absorbed, intellectual blow-hards?  What if I furnished them with a library of precisely the texts I knew they would fight about?  Marcuse, Gramsci, Marx, Lenin, Feuerbach, Hegel, Foucault, Heidegger, etc.  I am not familiar enough with the intra-idiot debates to say at this moment what would be there, but I would figure it out.

So many people, granted freedom, choose confinement.  The ability to value, to savor, freedom is an advanced life skill.

Even in America much of our "freedom" was merely a freedom to choose the form of ones confinement, which is to say one's exact religion (religio, again, meaning "to bind").

I see clearly how it is possible to perform operant conditioning on children, like small animals. You reward what you want, and punish what you don't.  Through physical abuse, you can associate trauma with disobedience, making the only possible relatively anxiety-free place the state of absolute obedience.

This is the condition in which many religious people live today. I would say, in fact, that much of the world is like this.  Between zero and few societies raise their children for freedom, for autonomy.  Rather, they condition them to live as their parents did, who were conditioned to live as their parents did, etc.  Errors in the system come from wars and calamities, with the systems then adapting and again self replicating.

What if our grand global vision were actually raising children for freedom, the world over?  I think it is a much better vision than the global fascism and commissars the global elites want for us (but not for them: although of course they already live in gilded cages.  No free person could wish coerced unfreedom on others).

If I were in charge. . .

At root, the world is currently divided into two basic groups ideologically: those who want to treat people as cattle, and those who retain a sense that there are differences that matter between people.

There is of course considerable diversity in the latter group: being founded on the notion of difference, this is obviously necessary.  There is little difference within the first group, at least qualitatively.  They can be counted on to moo on cue.

Given power, the first group seeks to level everyone on Procrustean beds.  The superior are to be broken.  The inferior are to be excused and even extolled.  They take the logic of concentration camps one step further: the goal is not just torture, but getting people to "admit" that this torture is good for their souls, in much the same way the Spanish Inquisition once did (I suppose one could draw an interesting analogy there somewhere; it would be best to put it in the mouth of a Russian).

The latter group has two basic approaches: violence, and Liberalism.  The Iranians obviously think they are God's chosen people, even though they are lazy, corrupt, ignorant, misogynistic, and very, very violent.  Without commenting on the merits of their self perception, we can grant that they very much think they are not like other people, and that other people should therefore be killed.  Given the power, they would take over the world.  And they would not torture people, they would merely give them the choice of converting or dying.

Only within Liberalism is difference negotiated. Only within a system like America are people NOT treated as ignorant cattle--at least in principle, since self evidently the media has shown that most people can in fact be manipulated in any direction chosen--but rather encouraged to form their own views, and to DEMONSTRATE them.  If you think your cultural system is better, you are given the chance to show it, by bringing up happy, successful, emotionally well adjusted children.  Smart people will imitate you.  Inferior people will resent you.

Which brings me to the point of the post.  There is no question in my mind that Obama and Hillary would like to slowly put a strangling noose around the neck of our freedoms, and grow in time to govern as czars, with legions, hordes, of commissars evaluating every last thing done and said by everyone, with the compliant and brown-tongued to be congratulated, and the rest punished in ways which are "regrettably necessary."

But if one looks at the history of Communist coups, they are always backed by a compliant and supportive military force, typically one with a long history of combat in support of the mother nation.  Lenin had those who fought in WW1 and opposed the Czar.  Mao, those who fought the Japanese.  Ho, the Japanese and French.  Castro, Battista.

The frog analogy of course remains a factor, one which implies necessarily the complacency and stupidity of the American people, one they have demonstrated repeatedly, and which is hardly unique in the world.  Who  could have seen the shortages in Venezuela coming?  Everyone.  Everyone.

But one does have to wonder about the loyalty of the American military to an agenda that is fundamentally in conflict with their oath of duty.  They swear to uphold the Constitution against all enemies, foreign AND domestic.  And one can scarcely plausibly accuse those who are citing the Constitution of opposing it.

Thus I will wonder again out loud about the possibility of a coup, should the American people once again demonstrate a profound inability for self governance.  Another financial crisis is a foregone conclusion.  We cannot sustain this level of debt and spending.  I cannot say when it will happen, but we are bound for another major financial catastrophe.

This in my view is the Leftist plan of attack.  But they will need all these people being trained in crowd control and riot suppression to beat back the very reasonable shrieks of the American people at being led like fattened cattle to the slaughter. Part of me feels this is what we deserve.

But not all of us deserve this.  A great many of us have in fact become active, vocal, and have opposed with every legal means at our disposal these abuses.

Thus I wonder if a coup may not in the long run be in the best interests of the American people.  It worked in Chile. To be clear, I am not calling for the overthrow of the American government in the way, say, Van Jones did daily for years on the streets of LA; or that Frank Marshall Davis or Saul Alinsky did. I am merely speculating that it is possible, and may be more positive than negative.

Finally, my vision, if I were in charge.

I would arrest all the radical professors and teachers and politicians, and globalists and union leaders who brought about this mess, and do an experiment.

I would put them in walled enclosures of considerable size, perhaps 200 square miles, filled with arable farm land, with all the tools and books and supplies needed to build a new society.  They would have sheep, and cattle and chickens, and fish farms. They would have wheat and corn and cotton.  They would have tractors, and lumber and hammers and nails (and sickles, of course).

They would also have all the tools they needed for failure. They would have drugs in large quantities, booze, and guns and ammunition.

I would build maybe 20 of these things, depending on the numbers involved and just watch. I would reintegrate any group which proved capable of survival.  I think they would have learned their lesson. Those who chose violence and/or failure, would be transplanted into the same enclosures and abandoned.

The fact that people of similar physical capabilities and exactly the same resources could go in many directions shows clearly, in my view, as a pure thought experiment, that there are differences that matter between people.  They differ in their resilience, empathy, ability to persuade, ability to resist self pity, imagination, etc.

That these differences would become apparent in a free society--and note nobody outside the groups would be dictating anything, so they have complete functional freedom--is to my mind a virtually axiomatic feature of true Liberalism. The task is not to tear down the better, but to raise the lesser.  It always has been, and always will be in any society wanting to claim to be good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Death and my flag

I sent this email, which I've partially edited, to my Hoffman Group folks, on Easter Sunday.  I will add that I am still sick in some ways, both physically and spiritually. I am tired.  I don't feel good.  I still have powerful things coming up.  I think my typical night without booze would scare the shit out of most people.  But I have begun to be able to imagine an end to it, to all this relentless marching uphill into the wind and rain.  This is a truly remarkable development.

This past week I spent most of my time in both a spiritual and literal sickness. I was blessed by having little work to do, so I have been deeply focused on the resolution of some deep wounds, and have what I think are some insights to share.

We spent a great part of every day for 6 days absorbed in inner journeys, didn't we? In one of those journeys, a pennant came to me, which will be my banner for the rest of my life. Like all such things, the meaning of it was unclear to me, but I drew a picture of it, and have finally had the time and courage to make it. I've included a picture.

I call it "Perfection through Death", which sounds morbid, but it is in fact filled with life affirmation. It scared me until I figured it out, and it will still be a daily reminder both of my responsibility and the hope it enables. The symbol in the middle is the Tibetan number 9, at least as well as I was able to copy it. The vision came to me as a normal 9, and should be read (as this was active knowledge available to my unconscious) numerologically (http://www.numerology.com/numerology-numbers/9) . I used the Tibetan version because I am partial to the Tibetan tradition. It also looks to me like a man or woman praying.

There are parts in all of which need to die, in a natural process. Grief needs to die. Fear needs to die. Clinging needs to die. Helplessness needs to die. Perfectionism and self criticism and self loathing need to die.

When you look at nature it is in a continual process of death and rebirth. All that is born dies, but some part of it continues. Looked at as randomness, there is no purpose to it. But if you look at it as pruning, as the death of one part that some other part may blossom, it acquires a whole new meaning. New growth always follows a forest fire.

Maybe I can coin a term that might resonate even with those of you who think you are atheists: Psychological Darwinism. The new cannot come into being until the old is separated, and allowed to die, and burned.

This is sent to you in a spirit of destruction and hope on a holiday you may not celebrate, based on a tradition few of you likely embrace fully, but whose mythic--read "deep psychological insight"--importance is vast. Christianity, of course, is not the only tradition with resurrection as an important motif.

Here is what I would say to you: the death of the one is the birth of the next. Resurrection and death cannot be separated. Growth and leaving behind cannot be separated. It is impossible to keep a foot in the past and move into the future. You must die, and in dying be reborn.


I send this in a spirit of love--and I must say sense of peace, as if something just fell away, something hard, and hurtful and unneeded--in the hope it may help some of you in what no doubt continue to be struggles. I believe deeply that no matter how heavy your cross, you can bear it and in the end find redemption and peace. We all of us just need to carry on, and do the best we can. This is all that is asked of us.




Sentimentality

I probably should have added "variability of affect" to the previous post, but thought Sean Penn deserved his own post.  There can be no doubt that would have been his opinion, had I asked him, although he likely would like this entire blog dedicated to his very unique and unprecedented creative genius.  Not everyone had the audacity to float around on a boat outside New Orleans after Katrina, he would remind us.

We are told, often and both directly and indirectly, that our lives need romance.  They need adventures.  They need great passions, great sorrows, great joys. We must treat our relationship with the other sex as this sort of interdependent game in which both of us seek to maximize sentiment as long as possible, with the inevitable consequence--sentiment being mutable, and prone to go in all directions given a long enough time horizon--of the eventual dissolution of the game, and of course more sentiment and another game.  I see this weekly at the grocery store, reading the tabloid headlines.

The lesson I have learned from Kum Nye in particular, though, is that there is a very interesting layer UNDERNEATH all the great surface passions.  It is a realm in which calm and healing and fascinating energies grow and expand.  Let us say that curiosity is a buoy, floating anchored in the ocean.  You can grab the anchor line and follow it to its root, which of course is beyond words.  It is THAT.

All our emotions are like that.  Once you get to that layer, the explosions and fireworks and drama all seem kind of pointless.  I would not trade my trauma--and the transcending of my trauma--for anything.  It has been enormously valuable.

At the same time, I think much of our popular imagination is based on ghosts, on grand facades concealing nothing.  We lack spiritual skill.  This is a truism, but still worth saying, in my view.  We are so profoundly stupid, when intelligence is and remains possible.

Sameness and pattern recognition

I talk from time to time about qualitative versus quantitative diversity.  Most college campuses teach what I call quantitative diversity, which is the number and variety of your sex partners, the type of sex you have, the music you listen to, the clothes you wear, and what books within a range you are reading.  Your race and nationality could be added of course.

Qualitative diversity on a college campus would be someone who was home schooled, believes absolutely in Biblical inerrancy, and believes sex should be saved for marriage.  Such people are abhorred by the very people who use Diversity in every other sentence.  What they mean is superficial diversity, not diversity of ideas and world view.

Edmund Burke talked about the powerful influence of fashion in the French Revolutionary period.  Entertainment, clothes, food, gossip: all in constant motion.

This is the thing, and I am repeating myself, but I hope in a slightly different way: there are types of change which are not really change at all.  It may be that the song at the top of the Pop chart varies weekly, but does the TYPE of song vary?  Not really.

It may be that clothes fashions change continually, but does the nature and purpose of clothes really change?

Outward motion, in my view, can and often is used to mask inner stagnation.  You might know someone who is constantly embracing the latest thing, and think that their life varies often.  But if the rule is "embrace the latest thing", then that rule itself is constant, isn't it, and it implies a lack of personal freedom and choice, does it not?

You can look at constant motion and see constant change.  You can also look at constant motion, and see circles everywhere, repeating endless loops, in tired and boring fashions of fashion.  This is taking the same information and forming a different pattern.

Paradigmatic work is difficult, which is why so few do it.

And I can't remember if I posted this or not, but within Complexity Theory they have this duality of explore/exploit.  If you want the best ham sandwich, you need to try a few places.  Once you find a really good one, it makes some sense to go there regularly, but if you never explore, you can't be sure there isn't a better one somewhere.  People spend careers optimizing these sorts of processes.

What I would say though with regard to inner work is that exploration is almost entirely the whole game.  You dig and dig and dig and dig.  And the more you learn, the more naturally becomes integrated into your life effortlessly.  "Exploiting" is simply greater skill in what you had to do anyway.

The only place there is a choice is in the Learn/Teach dichotomy.  The best teacher is someone who has spent the most and best quality time not teaching, but learning.  Teaching, of course, can be learning, but it is not the focal point.

There was a famous Tibetan teacher--I think it was Padmasambhava, but I don't have time to look it up--who spent most of his time alone, came out a delivered a sermon or two, then headed out again, never to return.  He saw that teaching made him useless to himself.  He also saw the need to say something, even if it was damaging to his own practice.

This world is filled, potentially, with very interesting people and activities, and most of us avail ourselves of almost nothing given to us.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Manliness

First off, there is ZERO cultural benefit to getting rid of archetypes like Feminine and Masculine.  What do you replace them with?  Rational?  I think the search for perfect reason is driven by unprocessed emotions, making it thoroughly IRRATIONAL.  Reason uses the gut.  This is today's received wisdom.

Equal?  Why?  To what end?  Where do you move after equality?  Leftists have no good answers to these questions since, again, their quest is fundamentally anti-rational, or as I sometimes call it, Post-Rational, which is a synonym for most of what has happened in the Humanities in the past 50 years or so.

What are you doing?

I don't know.

Why?

I don't know.

What is your goal?

I don't know.

How will you know if you get there?

Don't worry, I won't.  THAT question I can answer.

This is how shit happens, has children, and rents up the block.  There is no spring in this world, no summer, winter, or fall.  Nothing really changes, because that is the goal.  That is the real goal.



Here is what I logged on to post: I was watching someone size me up at lunch today, I think because I was having lunch with an attractive woman.  He was with his buddies, his clique, and I could see the mental comparisons going on.  I'm not much to look at, especially when I'm working a job site.  I look like a construction worker.  I fit in perfectly, beer belly and all.  People ask me "what do you do?"  I say "construction", and they nod and say that makes sense.

But I was thinking to myself, the real man is not the one who has the things, the toys, the women, who competes with everyone all the time.  I was looking at this guy with a bit of a smile, thankful I had not fallen into his trap, his cage. I like who I am and what I do, and I don't give a rats ass what other people think of me, and I very definitely do not get jealous of them.

The real man, to MY thinking, is the one who just does not give a shit what people think of him, from the bottom of his toes to the top of his head.  That person is free.  That is the ONLY path to becoming free from fear, and free to live.  In all other directions, you have to consider the judgments of others, their opinions.  You have to fear not fitting in, sticking out, being the odd one out, the misfit.

To my way of thinking, a real man does whatever the fuck he does, consistent with mental health (I am not praising psychopathy, merely a healthy set of boundaries and sense of self, and a healthy engagement with life and living), and finds people around him who fit him, who are suitable for him, and for whom he is also suitable.

That is leadership, too.   I remember thinking in high school that most of the people who were called "leaders" were just figuring out which way the wind was blowing, and hustling to get out front.  That is not leading.  Leading takes balls, and it always implicitly implies the possibility of failure.  You may be the one shouting to the wind, that everyone thinks is nuts.

But only your opinion of yourself matters.  That in my view is the way to live.  If you world praises you, and you do not respect yourself, then that is what matters.  And if the world hates you, but you do respect yourself, that too is all that matters.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Counter factual

What if Hitler had never arisen?  We assume there would have been peace in Europe, but we forget that even then there were many Communist agitators in Germany and elsewhere, and that National Socialism was created in no small measure to oppose International Socialism.  Me and mine versus none and done.  A gut sense of my people versus the world; opposed by a despair underlying an intellectual commitment to personlessness and global violence.

Would Europe have been conquered by this soulless doctrine?  It made major inroads despite the evils it enabled and defended.

Thinking

Who am I kidding?  Maybe 24 on,  24 off.

Thinking always begins with feeling and returns to feeling.  This does not make it useless.  It is vitally important that what thinking needs to be done, be done competently.  I like to think of it as something amenable to the same care and precision that craftsmen use, and which is just as useful as any other built thing.

It means, among other things, that a thinker who has suppressed his or her tender feelings--love, appreciation, compassion, openness--cannot return home.  They are stuck in Sartre's cage.

L'inferne, c'est moi. I think that is right.  I only took a week of French.

Yet more

Cut to a grim SWAT team exiting a vehicle, busting down the door and confronting an Amish couple, who don't speak English well.  WHERES THE MILK?  The head guy yells.  It's still in the cows, the man stammers.

Then Ted Cruz steps in, and say, "Is there a problem here?"  "yes, this man is selling illegal milk".  Illegal milk?  Do you have nothing better to do?  I banish you.  Leave this man alone.

Cut: The raid really happened (movie voice), but nobody stopped them.  The next time, somebody will.

Slogan: A better future is on the way.

And you know, too, no matter who wins, the winner could find places in their Adminstration for the other two (or whatever: the number is flexible, provided it includes NO RINO's.)

You could have them at a tea party, and make fun of the fact that it has been declared dead repeatedly.

I could do this all day.  I have to take the kid somewhere.

More

What if we took that iconic Cruz image as the rebel and applied it to all three?  What if we inverted true conservatism to be rebellious (which it is, by the way, now)?

I am available as a free campaign consultant, I will add. I'm also available for an exhorbitant salary with lots of  perks and a smoking hot secretary.

I'm still waiting on my Koch/petrodollars for opposing the warmists, but I haven't checked my mail yet today.

I'm half serious, but of course it's hard to tell if I'm 5', 10' or 50' pole material. Or if I'm completely radioactive and never need to turn the lights on, since my way is already lit.

Developing the Partnership idea

What if Paul, Cruz, and Walker--and I'd be happy to add Ben Carson to this mix, if he chooses to run--pooled their money and made "vision ads", in which they take turns talking about issues that maybe each in turn considers vital to their vision.  They can decide which is which, but what if, for example, they had the audacity to publicly question the Fed?

Blurry image slowly becomes the New York Fed.

Paul speaking: what if I told you that the biggest banks on Wall Street own 100% of the stock in the Federal Reserve, and that they control everything it does?  What if I told you they had been gifting themselves $50 billion a MONTH in free money, which will one day cause the price of your food and gas and education to go up?  What if I told you NO ONE in our government even KNOWS what they are doing, much less has the ability to control it?

Cut to all three: Paul: does this make sense to you?  Cruz: Does this seem fair to you?  Walker: why would anyone object to changing this?

Paul/Cruz/Walker: change you can BELIEVE in.

You get the gist.  The Fed is a big bite to take.

Or education.  They could focus on the importance of education, typically a reliably leftist talking point, and discuss how well the charter schools in New York performed, how public schools RIGHT NEXT TO THEM performed only a fraction as well, and how de Blasio closed them.  Why?  Teachers unions.  And race should absolutely be included in this.  All the faces would be black.  You would have happy, successful black faces, and bleak, discouraged faces.  In point of fact, this is the REALITY.  Democrats don't give a shit about blacks, per se.

Or take on ghettos directly.  Why do we still have large economic underperformance zones?  How do we fix it?  Charter schools.  Tax credits.  Remove incentives to have kids out of wedlock and/or improve incentives to have kids in wedlock.  These are fine lines to walk, but frankly the suffering is quite real, and something DOES need to be done about ghettos.

Or the economy.  National banktupcy is not going to help anyone.  You get the idea.

Before the primaries start, they could start establishing a high ground, a positive vision, and could choose to focus solely on actual policy differences once the slugging does start.

Be different.  Why?  Because you can't learn anything being the same, and if you're not learning, you are decaying.

Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker

I had a dream the other day where these three put out a campaign ad together, where Rand and Cruze were doing pro Wrestling moves on one another, while Walker looked on.  You want an attack ad?  Here's an attack ad.  PILEDRIVER!!!  I think they were wearing suits, but don't remember.

Then one put on a magicians outfit, and poured some liquid in a bowl, which was bluish green, they shook it, and it was magically clear.

I woke up fully convinced this was a good idea, and I should share it with them.  Then I had a cup of coffee.  Coffee is a great thing.

Still, this morning I got to thinking about it: why NOT do things which have never been done?

As men who can credibly claim they might make an actual difference, why not put out a campaign ad together?  Not one of them can do a damn thing of the GOP Establishment chooses to gerrymander and play games, giving somebody like Jeb Bush the nomination.

I would submit there are three contests.  The first is between the credible Conservatives and the GOP's history over the past 80 or so years.  The second is between them.  And the third of course is between them and the Socialist press and their candidate.

And the magic trick, of course, represented symbolically the rhetorical tricks we see in every election, the rabbit from the hat, the massively expanding the national health insurance system while cutting the budget.  OOH's and AAH's all around.  Then amnesia.  

It is true one sometimes must drink from the River Lethe to avoid nausea.  Most, though, do it because they are like little children being led through a maze, and will go wherever they are told, and believe what they are told to believe, and forget whatever has not been on their magic Reality Screen in the past week.

And I'm still not completely convinced that something that pushes boundaries could not work wonders to pull in the Jon Stewart generation.  They love novelty.  They simply hate the work and difficulty of educating themselves and thinking things through.  This of course bodes poorly for democracy, but until somebody can figure out a solution, they have to be addressed.

Oh, and I decided to post this, despite my blogging fast, since Rand is announcing today, and my ideas come and go so fast I forget them, and Facebook was not the place for this.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Conflict

I am going to need to avoid conflict for a while.  Nobody normally battles me here, and I've taken to avoiding it elsewhere, but I still bring a very aggressive energy to the whole thing.  I have naturally high levels of testosterone, and some part of me returns to conflict because it knows it.  One thing I brought out from my last week-long was that my parents argued a LOT when I was little, and it bothered me a great deal.  My father, when I was older, also liked to regularly demonstrate his superior intelligence. Not too fucking hard for someone in their 40's, roughly, to outsmart a 12 year old.

Much of this work has to be seen, I think, as compensation for that.  I am finally WINNING.

And I want to be clear that I am not backing off my ideas.  I believe nearly everything I write (but feel under no constraint to believe everything, or to be fully consistent).  But my motivation is not good.  It is far too close to the obsessiveness I regularly criticize in those I consider my ideological--if not personal--enemies.  On that note too, I would say that I try my best to attack IDEAS. Yes, I constantly talk about leftism as a sort of cult, which I think it is, but it is a cult with a creed and a practice, and those are my targets of attack.  I don't want to get into the business of abstract hate.  They can have it.

Long story short: I am going to put myself on a blogging fast until April 15th.  That's day of some historical importance.  Lincoln died that day, the Civil War (arguably) started that day, and that is the day the Titanic sank.  It's known for some other disaster, too, which is momentarily escaping me (kidding).

This is an outlet for energies I need to learn to channel into other directions.  This is part of my work, my job on this Earth.

 


Dogs

I went to the pet store and found this: http://www.chewy.com/dog/orijen-adult-grain-free-dry-dog-food/dp/29726

I paid a lot less than that.  No wonder the shipping is free.

May be worth your while.  Logically good nutrition will help dogs be healthier too.  Most more diligent people than me will have realized this, of course, but my big AHA was realizing that just because the manufacturer says it provides a balanced diet, and the vet agrees, is no different than the labels on Grape-Nuts and the approval of a medical doctor.

Money talks and bullshit walks.

Hillary's Emails

What if Nixon had said that he had destroyed the missing tape, because it was all personal stuff, of no interest to the public?

Even discounting the national security implications of being off-grid, when Hillary chose to make her home server her primary work server, she chose to make everything that happened on it the property of the people of the United States.

She is telling all of us fuck off, and that she considers herself a step above us both in rank and privilege.  There are her standards, and there are the standards of the plebes.

Such elitism is a common trait in most alleged egalitarians.  It is a ruse, nothing more.

My issue with gay marriage

When it comes to gays marrying, I don't care.  It is only when it comes to kids that I think there needs to be some careful ANALYSIS and discussion.

Here is the question: does an empirical basis exist for claiming that children who are raised by two women or two men are equally likely to thrive as those raised in a conventional home?  A "conventional home", of course, nowadays includes divorce in a great many cases, among both gays and heterosexuals.

It has long been my belief that a great many homosexuals, perhaps the majority of them, are "gay" because of some traumatic sexual event in their childhood or youth.  They are 12, their parents are fighting all the time, they don't have any friends, and a 19 year old seduces them, and the homosexual pattern--which was previously not there, becomes imprinted.  The gayness and premature sexual experience--which is almost definitionally traumatic, even if it is never consciously processed as such--go together.

We know that gays, bisexuals and transgendered people abuse drugs and alcohol at higher rates than the population as a whole: http://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/substance-abuse.htm  They don't provide a number, but anecdotally I suspect it is significantly higher.

It appears they suffer disproportionately from emotional problems:


Several large population-based public health studies are discussed in the November American Psychologist (Vol. 56, No. 11) by Susan Cochran, PhD, an epidemiologist in the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health, who authored or co-authored many of the studies. Specifically, the studies find:Higher rates of major depression, generalized anxiety disorder and substance use or dependence in lesbian and gay youth.
Higher rates of recurrent major depression among gay men.
Higher rates of anxiety, mood and substance use disorders, and suicidal thoughts among people ages 15 to 54 with same-sex partners.
Higher use of mental health services in men and women reporting same-sex partners.
She does on to say that she doesn't want this data to be used to claim homosexuals are inherently unhealthy.  I don't believe this either.  Correlation and causation are two different things.

What DOES make sense to me is that if gayness is the result of trauma, then OBVIOUSLY it is connected with being traumatized.  The trauma comes first, then the gayness.  My personal opinion is this holds for many.  It is impossible to say how many.  Some kids are clearly, obviously, beyond any reasonable doubt born that way, and those are obviously going to be much, much happier openly expressing their sexual preference.  These people do not concern me either.

But it is so hard to know what the truth is: everyone wants to cover for them.  You can't do a study asking about traumatic sexual experience and the emergence of sexual identity because the Gay Police will come after you.  You can't publicize negative facts too well or too loudly, because even if true, that would be "discriminatory."

This is how differential rates of nearly everything negative about blacks has been kept hidden.  They have higher rates of damn near everything: poverty, jail time, violent crime, drug and alcohol abuse, single parenthood, teen pregnancy, dropping out of school, etc.

But when you correct for the kids who grow up in two parent homes, POOF, the difference disappears.  Crime rate is the same as two parent white families, and crime rate is the same as ONE parent white families.  The large difference comes from there just being a lot more two parent white families.

Turns out is has NOTHING to do with race and everything to do with proper acculturation.  Logically, if race has nothing to do with it, then neither does racism.  And logically, with such a strong finding, public policy that was intelligent would focus on creating more two parent homes.  This is cheap for the state, and better for the kids in literally every way.

It is easy to abuse the weak and helpless, and you cannot be more weak and helpless than an unborn child.  And I'm not talking here about abortion, but about children who have not been born yet who will or might be adopted by gay couples.

Out of the gate, we can assume that any prospective gay couple is more likely to be suffering mental health issues and substance abuse issues.  Obviously, there are extremely well adjusted couples out there, who would make superb parents, particularly in comparison with a dysfunctional heterosexual home, which is most of them.

But in working across large populations, we will have put children at increased risk of unhappiness before we even factor in the importance of gender roles in developing a healthy ego.

Read this: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/08/6065/

Keep in mind that the socialist project is about eradicating ALL differences, which would include our ancestral, instinctive distinctions between male and feminine.  They have, in my understanding, stopped using gendered words in Sweden.  This is the direction this goes.

What is won, deleting all our cultural knowledge, everything which has come before?  I ask you.  What takes its place?  What happens when everyone is transgendered and genetically engineered to be identical?  Does the world become more interesting? I don't think so. I think it becomes awful.

As I say in my Sade piece, the Sadeist curses God for making every tree just a bit different, and the only solution is to burn them all and place their ashes in neat little, identical piles.  It is lunacy.  It is eradicing all reasons for living, all interest and savor and DIFFERENCE, which is valued rhetorically, but not in reality.  When a leftist calls for diversity, what they really mean is "Hate whitey".  That sounds awful, but I view it as the truth.  Somebody needs to speak the truth.  I could find dozens of quotes supporting this with a five minute search.

The alternative is GENUINELY embracing difference.  You don't do this when you take a cudgel to everyone who doesn't even go so far as to disagree with you, but not agree with you immediately.

I won't be buying an Apple product again, and it won't be hard for me to shop less at Wal-Mart, or watch less sports.  Fuck them.  People are selling their souls for Wonder-Bread.

Nobody thinks deeply any more.  Nobody looks deeply at the root principles that are ACTUALLY in play--they assume the ones stipulated are sincere, which they are not.

Everything in this universe is in motion, including our culture.  It is both right and prudent to ask what direction we are going, and if that is in fact the best direction.  One must have a principle by which to make these evaluations, a stated goal, and that is what everything I write is oriented around.  This is the essence of my word Telearchy.

I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but am trying to ask important questions that affect ALL of our happiness. If we destroy every vestige of meaning and purpose, EVERYONE suffers.  Gays suffer.  Blacks suffer.  Mexicans suffer.  The poor suffer (and are suffering).

You don't get graded on the extent of your self delusion.  You get graded on your competence--at least in a sane world, one which many are doing their best to usher out, unceremoniously.

Mike Pence

Here is the question Pence and the Arkansas governor need to be asking critics: do they believe the State should have the power to force Amish to make gay wedding cakes featuring male genitalia, or risk losing their business or even winding up in jail?  Yes or no.

Would they then also be OK with forcing gay florists to cater a convention of Christians discussing the wickedness of sodomy?  The logic is identical.  How can one separate the two, other than by counting who has more aggressively marshaled public outrage, with large, loud marches being one of the principle ways Hitler ascended to power?

Do we still negotiate difference, or is shouting and violence our future?

Dog Nutrition

I wonder if dog nutritional guidelines are based on the idiotic and never-empirical FDA guidelines.

I wonder how much, if any, actual research has been done into optimal dog diet.  When you look at the huge spread of ideas even with regard to people, you have to assume very little.

Historically what would they have eaten?  I would think, after domestication, whatever the humans around them ate.  If one buys into the Paleo diet, then--as I somewhat do--then dogs ought to eat Paleo (meat, veggies, some fruit, some nuts and fat, no sugar or bread).

My two are getting older, and one has a nasty cough that is seemingly related to some aspect of aging I didn't really understand.  She is on blood pressure meds and a diuretic, but her cough just got worse, and I'm wondering if it's because I changed dog food.

Progressivism

It occurred to me this morning that the root anger and fuel of so-called Progressivism is precisely the fact that they don't believe progress is possible.  They don't believe in moral hierarchies, that some people are better than others, that some moral choices are better than others.  This is implied, for example, in the assumption that ONLY racism could have caused blacks to fail to thrive after all the formal restrictions on their access to the wheels of power and success were lifted.

I well remember listening to a series on Existentialism and the lecture on Dostoevsky's Underground Man, how the implied belief was that all belief in individual moral progress was an illusion.  Once one grants this--and it is a common outcome for atheists--then an existential crisis happens.  One way out is to embrace radical politics--politics being an earthly and empirical religion--which focus on an abstraction: SOCIAL development.  And in what does such development consist?  Leveling and homogenizing.  It consists precisely in a manic need to deny that some people are better than others, that they are more diligent, honest, knowledgeable, competent, compassionate, loving, empathetic, etc.

Goodness as I understand it and so-called Progressivism--which I normally term Regressivism--are literally antipodal.

And to be clear, nobody--least of all me--wants to countenance physical suffering from poverty, or the violence of hatred.  This is not the point I am making.  The point I am making is that countries like Cuba are the end game of the leveling and homogenization process.  In Cuba everyone is poor, has no opportunities for improvement, no good outlet for creative energy, and is watched relentlessly by a vast horde of informers.  If they step out of line, they might get locked in a tiny little box, too small even to sit comfortably in, with a little bitty slit for air, and left there for a month.  Their ordeal will leave no physical marks, and the government will deny using this "soft" torture, as the Soviets called it.

There is no substitute for doing your own thinking and forming your own opinions, and the proven methods of getting closest to the truth are gathering as many facts as you can, forming patterns from them, and then performing logical operations on them as dispassionately as you can, then determining how you FEEL about what you have, you think, uncovered. I obviously have plenty of room for feelings.  I talk about them all the time.  I simply think that the capacity to integrate them into an overall perceptual strategy is essential if you are going to avoid being wrong in large ways over long periods of time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Indiana

This whole Indiana thing pisses me off.  We have literally reached Orwell's "2 minutes of hate".  This is what propaganda does: through long term organizing and brainwashing, people become more or less like machines, or better yet, trained animals with conditioned reflexes, who can be turned on or off at any time with the right set of code words and images.

Apple owners seemingly had no issue with the fact that the people making their phones in China were killing themselves so often that protective nets had to be built to keep them from hitting the ground when they jumped off the roof.  I doubt they have any issue with what I suspect are many toxins these people are exposed to.

They have no issue selling to Saudi Arabia, which KILLS homosexuals--typically by public decapitation (you can see a picture on that link of a man who was apparently beheaded and THEN crucified)--or to any number of other Muslim nations which are PROFOUNDLY violent towards gays. They have no issue with the fact that men are allowed to marry 10 year olds.  They will never issue a public statement on this.  To hell with little girls: they are not a powerful political constituency, and the whole thing is theater anyway.  There is no principled moral reasoning going on.

To this I would contrast the DEMAND--not the request--that little Quaker and Amish couples be forced by law to sell penis cakes with white frosting at the end of them, or cakes depicting men having anal intercourse.  Ridiculous, you say.  I ask: why?  Once we have established that the State can tell people what to do, where and how do we draw lines?  They can't refuse service to anyone.  That is the message I am hearing.

And logically the demand for what amounts to free speech should go both ways.  Gay bakers should be forced to bake cakes with anti-gay slogans, and black bakers should be forced to bake KKK cakes.  But of course no one is clamoring for these rights, and if the shoe were on the  other foot this would be called HATE speech, which of course is defined as awful.

But this whole notion of hate speech creates a distinction between acceptable and unacceptable, and the STATE decides which is which, and what it decides depends on the political winds of the moment.  Leftists assume they will always be in charge because their skill in--and moral willingness to stoop to the expedience of using--propaganda is vastly bigger than conservatives.  All we have is logic and facts.  We have not spent decades learning to tell colorful and emotionally powerful lies. We want dialogue, but no propagandist does.

They want to breed into their subjects a conditioned response of visceral hatred, one which does not even attempt to see the enemy as human, but solely as pure evil.  They want to create, in their subjects, exactly what Hitler created in his SS, and Lenin in his Cheka.  They want to create, ultimately, the capacity for murder and the tolerance of murder.  That is the logical emotional end of all this. I cannot begin to tally the vast oceans of the most ugly, nasty hate that have been directed at me merely for asking inconvenient question.  I have seen this a thousand times if I've seen it once.

When we see people being bullied, we must always ask: who is next?  If it is illegal for little Amish couples to refuse to bake a penis cake for a gay wedding, might it at some point be illegal to use the word Jesus in public?  We seemingly are coming to that, and it is an absolute certainty that the people creating the propaganda have something like that as a goal.  Guns and God get in the way of their narcissistic fantasies of unlimited power.

Here is my advice to Mike Pence: attack, attack, attack.  You cannot counter propaganda negatively.  There is no value to answering the question "have you stopped beating your wife yet?"  The answer to this question is "Why did you beat your wife last week?  I hear you beat her every night.  I also heard you have a girlfriend you beat.  How do you sleep at night?"  With propaganda, of course, truth is utterly irrelevant.  It merely needs to be plausible enough, and repeated enough.

Practically, Christians need to organize counter-boycotts. They need to make a list and post them publicly of all the companies that are embracing illiberalism, and refuse to buy from them.  When my Apple comes up, I'm going to get a Samsung or something. I was uncomfortable buying it in the first place, since I knew about the factories in China.

And I don't think this should originate with Pence, but another list of Indiana companies who are not boycotting anyone should be made, and people encouraged to buy from them.

If you get substantially every church in the country lined up, that will make a difference.  As we are seeing, there is power in numbers.  People just need to grasp they are dealing with really, really nasty people who do not see them as human.

We all need to be clear: there are powerful interests who hate Christians and Christianity.  Obama is one of them--Jerry Wright's church was a beard, and on his own account he only started going there because someone told him it would help his organizing--but he of course is backed by people whose names we don't know, or have to guess.

And I want to say this, too: I believe in common decency.  I believe in the right of decent people to be treated decently.  Homosexuality is not a crime, and if it were the 1960's and gays were being arrested, I would be absolutely on their side, 100%.  But this thing has gone too far.  A little Amish couple not wanting to sell a cake they find offensive should not result in them losing their business or even going to jail.  That is not what America was built on.  That is not freedom.

There are no moral principles involved here for the  Left.  If there were, Apple would not have opened in Saudi Arabia (and I think Pakistan is even worse, certainly in terms of their treatment of women: do they give a shit?  I very much doubt it.  Again: no moral reasoning, no principles, no CARING.

That, in the end, is what we need more of: caring.  Seeing the world, seeing the pain in the world, and feeling compassion, not hate.  There is no compassion in this hate campaign against Indiana.  There are creatures, and there are those who fear them.

Love is a verb which begins with understanding.  Where there is no attempt at understanding, there is no love.

One last thing.  Yes, I'm on my damn soapbox.  The Civil Rights Movement was a failure. It cannot be viewed in any other way.  EVERY concession that was won was a MEANS to the end of making blacks equal in every respect to whites, and that end has not only not been achieved, it has been made less likely.

True liberals negotiate difference.  Interacting openly with people different than you breeds warmth and compassion.  Truly liberal gays would reach out to Christians, and try to win them over through the power of love.  They would win over one bakery at a time.  They would get what they want, without all the vitriol, hurt feelings, and yet more increases in the power and intrusiveness of the State.

We all need to be concerned about the size and power of our government.  Feeding it to serve some short term end is very much like Esau selling his birthright for a bowl of porridge.  There may come a day when that story can't be told in public.

The "gut"

I watch myself sometimes.  You can slow down a psychological process and watch it, more or less frame by frame, and see what happens.  In my case, I have profound conflicts with food.  I'm not addicted to it or anything like that, but I have the devil's own time exactly following the diet that makes the most sense to me, a roughly Paleo Zone.

And I have a thought, then a reaction.  I think something I want, then something blocks me from completing that thought.  Then I will my way through it, then get tired.  That is perhaps the source of the cycling: fatigue.  That makes sense.

But if I follow this thought process of an inability to form new learned instincts--if I am unable to undertake voluntary "imprinting" (can we call it that?)--then what has happened is that different layers of my nervous system are in some respect in conflict with one another.

Obviously, this is historically termed "psychological conflict", but I wonder if we can do better, if we can be more precise.

I have no resolution, but have come to the conclusion that I am a dumbass. I was reading back through Steven Levine's book and realized I had forgotten half of what he wrote.  Specifically, that the theory upon which he based his ideas is the Polyvagal Theory, so called because it incorporates different forms of the Vagus Nerve.  When I say "gut"--and this is why I looked it up, since it seemed to me it might not hurt to occasionally try to speak with precision--I mean the Unmyelinated Vagus Nerve.

Here is what looks like an interesting paper I don't have time to read at the moment, from the originator of the Polyvagal Theory, Stephen Porges: http://www.stephenporges.com/images/stephen%20porges%20interview%20nicabm.pdf

And I will add, as I do from time to time, a caution that I am not always diligent.  I try to be, but this is a personal project, and there is no quality control other than my own attentiveness, and I get lazy, busy and sloppy.  Sometimes I think I'm pretty smart, but sometimes I'm saying things that make no sense.  It continues to be my belief that the path to wisdom is often through idiocy, but that middle part can get pretty ugly.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spirituality

Whenever I did one of my camps, the instructor talked about how humankind exists in a middle place between the animal and the spiritual.  We have wolves in us, and angels in us.  This is of course a cliche, but I did want to point out that much of my recent work has been to try and push that logically in both directions.

If we are animals, then we need to know this.  If I accept--as indeed I must--all the breakthroughs in neuroscience, and all the odd behavioral and cognitive defects that invariably or nearly invariably attend certain brain lesions, this does not also compel me to assume that is the WHOLE story.

Self evidently, the fossil record is one of steadily increasing complexity.  Self evidently change happens over time.  What is at issue is what the WHOLE story is.  I do not think Darwinian accounts have everything they need.  I think that natural selection plainly happens, but that systemic adaptation does as well, and there is no room in materialistic accounts for intelligence of any sort.  Self organizing systems do not spontaneously organize in PRECISELY the way needed, repeatedly, over millions of years.  No, there is something spooky, something immanent, something whose effects I think we can measure, but which we cannot see.

So I take on the one side clearly "true" findings, and simply confine them to their domain.  Then I look at the SCIENTIFIC evidence that we are spirits occupying what in some respects ARE machines.  But we are not the machines.  We operate them, sometimes skillfully, sometimes not.  And sometimes they malfunction.  This, too, is scientific.

Our task in bridging the two domains is to enter into, understand, and accept fully both.

Cyclothymia

This word popped in my head, so I looked it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclothymia

At one time I was very conversant with all the terms, but that was some time ago.

Still, what I have begun to notice in myself, I think, are cycles.  I push for a while, then I KNOW a push back is coming, so I back off, then I push again, then I back off.  It is precisely finding a line, linear progression, that I have so much difficulty.

Indeed, much of my life has been devoted, I now realize, to figuring out ways to make these circles productive, to get as much when I can as I can, and to lose as little as possible when the tide recedes.

I don't think I am cyclothymic, although that is a possibility to consider.  I think it's quite possible my mother was.  As a child, I would have become used to the cycles, without even realizing it.

Through force of will I can make myself do nearly anything for about three weeks.  But it never gets easier, and my will gets tired.  We now, know, that will is a muscle of sorts like any other, which can be both trained and fatigued.

In psychologically normal people, you can pass the task off to your habitual self after a period of time.  This is where that 21 day thing comes from..  I was thinking this morning that that is really what what we call discipline is: the habit of doing certain things a certain way.  In many respects, for many people, I think it can even be comforting, calming.  Certainly that seems to be the case for monks and career soldiers.

Then I got to wondering if habit might be termed, in ethological terms, a learned instinctual behavior.  Squirrels don't have to THINK about gathering nuts.  They just do.  And people who are in the habit of getting up at 5am don't have to THINK about it.  It just happens, and the farther they can get on autopilot, the more will they will have for the random tasks that demand them.  They can get more done, by acting often like animals.

And is depression in part a disconnection from the Instinct-Forming-Self?  Does it force ALL behavior on the social brain, and on will power, such that everything becomes vastly harder, and more tiring, and more psychologically draining?

It is an interesting thesis, and one I think close to the truth.  So what do we know about the biology of habit formation?  I don't know. It's in part an academic point, but I suspect it may prove an important one.