Friday, July 29, 2011

No Trust

I'm losing my trust for people.  I just don't think you can expect a certain type of behavior from anyone, in any interaction.  I don't know that true selfless committment exists.  I'm not sure it does.  Mostly, if someone doesn't get something out of a situation or relationship, they eventually will find a way to disentangle themselves from it, somehow. If they're there, they're getting something.  They might not be getting the best they could get, and they might not be proportionately getting compared to what they give, but it is something.

Anyway, the point is that this lack of trust actually take s a lot of pressure off of me.  I no longer have to be nice everywhere I go (not that I ever really was); I essentially no longer have to wrestle with the moral quandries of whether I've offended, or essentialized, or whether someone felt neglected, or worry about how sensitive people are, generally. I no longer have the burden of telling myself that I have been nice, when I haven't, or even when I've had bad thoughts that didn't play out in reality.

 I've basically been a huge naif all of my life, and I've known it, objectively at least, and am now finally growing into something else.  I've been so open to everyone and everything everywhere I went that I was never myself.  I don't have to be nicer than I think is necessary in order to obtain reciprocating behavior that will allow me to obtain whatever it is I want.  That is, I can be strategic if I want and not feel guilty about it.  II can finally be honest with myself, and that allows me not to have to be so bloody honest with everyone else all the time, always giving them my inner vulnerabilities.  I recognize that there will be conflict.   I won't try to avoid conflict, at least not at the behest of everything else.  It has left me lazy and benign, and totally uninvested in myself.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

No Justification for Fairness

We all deeply believe in fairness.  I find no justification for it, outside of intuition, or feeling.  Why must things be resolved?  We must wrongs go punished?  Why do we feel justice has been done when the wrong that is resolved or punished already happened?  There is no logical answer, except that group cohesiveness is more important than individual gain, and that norms of fairness were created because we survive better with them than without.  But that means that in any individual instance, there's really no reason to advocate for a fair outcome.  There are only positions one can advocate for, sides of the equation, parties that want compensation, and there is an authority who will decide which parties are compensated based on the narratives they spin.  That's not to say that those parties weren't hurt or didn't do bad acts, but it is to say that we have no reason except a norm of fairness, or reciprocity, to intercede into situations that are already complete.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Getting Old and Staying the Same, and Religion and Trust

I have this recurring slightly sub-conscious and nagging tilt of a realization that getting old(er) will be mixed, but never, ever, full-on life changing in the respect of a mind opening almost drug-like experience of melding transcendence.  I don't suppose I should expect such utter opening, if it could exist.  I have been fooled by such things before, and know it is dangerous to let romantic ideals drive observations and behavior.  To wit, my dreams are deeply, darkly, buried, if they exist at all.

That is: sometimes success is about the ability to get and stay bored, without screaming against the glass ball that is the constraints of our life here, and instead to turn inward and begin to find interest through patience.

Also side note: religion serves to provide a lot of things for society, but one of the most important is to concentrate folks on common goals, and to steer clear from strongly associating oneself with sinful behavior, or, in other words, behavior that provides sort term pleasure for individuals and disrupts  coordination survival type stuff.

Anyway, another item which I need to develop is my beginning abiding distrust of people, almost everyone.  Not paranoid, not excessive.  Just balancing.  Balancing from my previous implicit naivete.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Living Life Scared... Complaining ... Misery

Anxiety is probably a small part of everything we do.  Of course we like to tell ourselves far reaching things about our motivations (equality driven motives like justice and fairness seem to list disproportionately high when talking about society as a whole, or providing for one's family seems a noble anti-egalitarianism on a more individual level), but when it comes right down to it, anxiety provides the mechanics for movement and productivity, as well as excitement.  "Showing those people" that we are able to do something is probably code for having the anxiety that "those people" produced in us a while back.  They often don't exist in our lives after a few years anyway, though the feelings they produced in us does exist.

So we can't just extinguish anxiety out of our lives.  It doesn't work like that.  We instead have to learn to come to terms with our anxieties, and slowly, incrementally, find a way to deal with them, without the overarching notion that we can get rid of them once we realize them.  Realization is only half the battle.  The real half, the grit of the matter, is about living life and being aware of all of the things that make us, however seemingly unnecessary, totally fucking bonkers.   Personally, if I look around and see a crowd of people, and I am forced (because of work or other social reasons) to exist within those people, then I get fairly anxious.  I'd like to leave.   After about an hour, I begin to feel better, and can even become a ravingly social person.  But without giving myself the ability to transition, and withholding quick emotional responses to the situation that tend to label other people as products of my anxiety, then I don't get very far without feeling miserable.

And misery, well, it is everywhere.  I listen to coworkers complain about other coworkers for half the day.  I'm not sure there is an antidote.  It drives me up the wall.  I understand the function of such complaints logically, but I simply don't grasp their pettiness in the moment.  We're vivid complainers, especially when we have nothing to complain about.  I'm not sure why that is, except that it increases group coherency, maybe.

Anyway, the point is not to internalize fear immediately and believe that you (or I) are (am) flawed.  We're not flawed.  We're human.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is not jump to conclusions about ourselves, that we're failures, that we're rock stars, and just keep trying, over and over, and over again, all the while having some courage to face new activities and try again when things don't work out.  Easy to say, I know.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm Highly Desirous . . . of Coffee

I'm so highly desirous of coffee right now.  I know how it would taste.  I know that the thicker texture than tea would frolic with me on my tongue, flirt in a serious way, that is, with intentions for more, before I swallowed. There would be quips of pleasure, blithely moved body parts. The bitter intensity might overwhelm me into closing my eyes and moaning lightly at my cubicle.  That I would be sated goes almost without saying. 

The other side of the equation is that my satisfaction might last only a very short time.  Perhaps my downfall would start before I even finished the cup.  Remorse. Unclean feelings.  Pangs of anxiety.  Dirtiness. I'd undress the experience multiple times, from frequently and minutely adjusted angles, in endless loops until frantic internet searching might yield false floors of comfort, and I'd ask co-workers to explain the process, divulging my vulnerability.  My head would spin, my work flow would stop, and my tongue might be pickled in the juices of regret.  I would no longer be able to adapt to my environment, and would fast forward everything throughout the day only to develop industrial strength headache. I would swear off the sauce.  I would tell everyone. I would tell you.  And tomorrow, I'd want the same, nevertheless.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Basement Maniac,.

 I keep thinking and forgetting.  Forgetting, then thinking, it is a journey, they told me, and I don't know to where.  Nothing wraps up neatly.  Everything is in shambles.  Everything is perfectly uniform and coherent.  My efforts are sponge cake on a layer of lemon frosting, and the sweet taste in my mouth has more to do with the milk you produced on an organic feed fed cow that would softly nudge me with her head as I scampered around to become your protege.  Your liege.  Your lord.  My own insufferable basement maniac.  Nothing but a basement maniac, like a song.  Like a master tyrant, friendly, benign, under-exposed, compulsive and secret.  The most inclusive by being the most exclusive, and boy did I get excited then, when you told me that you were new too, and that you were faking it all, and what a rush when we filled the elevator with leaves.  I can still remember the super, the, I don't know, what do they call them?  The RA, the hall attendant.  He told us to open up.  I told him to go slow.  He told us he was serious.  I laughed and marked the time by silhouettes bouncing, frothing, flailing, to and fro, and back again, into memories, into the future, and back out again on the flat shallow plateau of the past.  I'm hammering on the clay rock, and my hand hurts.  And I'm breaking my back and my head hurts.  And I can't seem yet to find the line, no matter how many times I've convinced myself that it is there.  Again, downtown, we'll go, until the tourists have all swallowed their words, and we're young minds in old sagging bodies, and everyone is talking to us over their coffee as if there is some idyllic land just beyond our peripheral vision.  The age old insecurity, the comfort zone.  The dog food.  The wet treat.  The flapping fish.  Here we are, my friend, bouncing around in the predator den.  At least they found us where we wanted them to; at least we have that.

Using People.

With Intent:  First person makes calculated use of their relationship with second person to further some goals mostly un-related to second person intrinsically, but which second person has some control over.  Example: Access to a private organization.

Without Intent: First person subjectively believes in their friendship with second person.  However, first person always takes second person out to clubs or night spots with the intent of making him or herself more attractive and ultimately leaving second person.

Somewhere in between:   First person asks favor of second person, whom he may know colloquially. Second person performs favor.  First person makes himself available for similar favor in the future.

The point: Nobody uses another person without justifying it to themselves.  True remorse is rare.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Learning Language

So, a variety of insights to share regarding learning a language, in no paticular order

1) Learning  a language is brain exercise.  It really helps if you happen to be under 10 years old!  If you are, then learning the language comes naturally, and pronunciation isn't yet too solidified so as to produce a pronounced accent. 

2) Exposure is key.  But you need someone on the inside to explain things. 

3) To learn a language successfully as a relatively young adult (me) who is old enough to be out of the prime language acquisition stage, without going to live in the country where it is predominantly spoken, it is important to be patient.  Really patient.  If your chosen language involves multiple noun declensions, god help you, even if you're an athiest. 

4) I think that having learned a different (non-native) language first would help with learning another one.

5) There are multiple stages to learning.  Writing and speaking are different things.  Having said that, I still mostly hear the language, translate what I can into my native language and then try to translate it back into the new language.  This is natural, but wrong.  Lately as I've gotten a little bit further along, at times I can just speak and hear in the language. 

6) Progress.  Even really slow progress.   Is still progress.  And it is possible. 

7)  First learn the alphabet and how everything sounds.  Then learn some basic nouns.  Then learn some basic verbs.

8)  Resist the urge to hide your efforts when given the opportunity to speak in this language.  It only helps to try and then try again. 

9) If you're a perfectionist, and want to learn the language somehow before you speak it, think again.

10) Note that native speakers don't really always understand their own language that well, and certainly don't always know how to slow down.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Making Oneself Attractive

There's lots of ways to make yourself attractive beyond physical means.  Context plays a large role, as well as the size of the market.  Consider market size first.  If you're from a small town you probably already know where I'm going with this.  But it need not be argued too strongly that the most attractive people in small town are more than likely only slightly above average in a larger town or city--as with money, there's a greater distribution where a higher population exists.  So, first lesson is that if you want to appear more attractive, you can move to a smaller town.  But, there's a problem. The problem is your solution: the dating pool just shrunk proportionately, so you're likelilhood of meeting up with Mr. or Ms. Right, which I'll define as meeting threshold attraction requirements for now, is also diminished.  Bummer.  Perhaps a little census research can show you the small towns with high levels of the opposite sex who are not yet wedded (okay, suffice it to say that getting gainful employment in the same small town may be a bit of a problem).

Another way to increase attractiveness is to stay put, but increase your status.  Rock stars, athletes, professors (the hot shots), business folks, and others all understand the allure of this, and the benefits, and probably, the costs that they didn't expect.  There are ways to carve out your own unique image that increases status, like traveling a lot, but it must be signaled to the outer world in some way to be effective.  Like in a car, for instance, or initials after one's name.  Or a company name. 

The relationship between image/status and actual quality is specious, but we fall for it every time, or most times, and, I think that most people, given the opportunity to increase their attractiveness, will do so.  The issue perhaps is that there's a lot of ways to increase your attractiveness while telling yourself that you're "really" doing something else, like saving the world, or greening america, or writing the hit novel of the century, or starting the band to end all bands, or, you know, maybe you just love Foucault and Derrida, right?  When it comes down to it, we're all much more similar than we are different, even though we think that we're all much more distinguished than we are similar, and are willing to work to prove it--in fact, short of outright verbalization of our stature, we'll do just about anything to indicate it.

Edit Added: Of course when you try to increase your status and move to a new location at the same time, you are often faced with a bewildering experience: you've stayed relatively the same, because, although your position increased in stature or income, the relative buying power of your income or the relative girth of your stature, have been watered down in the bigger market you now occupy.   Beware of moving to larger cities to increase status for the sake of attracting someone, unless you plan to then move back or other variables impact your decision (e.g. standard of living is better).

Here's the killer.  First, you happen to adjust to new situations as well.  So, even given a new position and a new car, let's say, you get diminishing returns (of subjective excitement). Stated otherwise: often, the transition to something better is the best part of getting it, not the actual possession of it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hunger/Want and Art

Do we produce better art/music/literature when we're young and relatively hungry for experience? 

Stated differently: is good art the product of some degree of suffering?  Maybe this is too broad a question.  There are certainly examples of young artists who produced a kind of mega-work early in their career only to fade out later on into the oblivion of mediocrity. 

Another question, then: what variables are most conducive to the production of good art outside of innate skill? 

I'd say, to answer that question briefly, a good artist is highly dedicated to his/her craft, almost to the exclusion of other things, but this exclusionary aspect is probably only an aspect of youth or inexperience--any good art sort of folds in other aspects of life, of brute experience; if a piece of music can show the listener boredom and glee and go back to anger, and do it in a way that condenses the experience successfully, this seems to me like good art. 

There's also the question of accessibility.  Some art takes a while to understand.  What's the threshold of time that distinguishes value?  I don't think, as the knee-jerk reaction might be, that impenetrability is equivalent to good art, but having a history or the type of art and what went into a piece conceptually will certainly aid in appreciating and understanding it.  Having said that, maybe good art should operate on a number of levels of accessibility--a kind of democratic art form?

Another question is about flexibility within the genre.  Good art seems to push boundaries, but in a way that still maintains semblance with the concept of the category in the first place.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Essential Arguments Pro and Con re: Prostitution

These are the most essential arguments for and against prostituion.  Do you know of others?

Against Legalization: Legalizing prostitution will increase the abuse and rape of women.  Women shouldn't be able to sell their bodies.

EDIT: Women who sell the use of their bodies for pleasure create a culture where it becomes okay to think of women's bodies as the only valuable aspect associated with women, wherein men cannot distinguish between the two, and this is insidious

For Legalization: Legaization provides a way to regulate prostitution, which in turn provides for oversight. Since prostitution will exist regardless, there must be mechanisms for control to ensure the safety of those women involved, as well as to ensure that they are paid.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Kefir is a delicious liquid yogurt drink that's really fermented milk that I've been recently exposed to (2ish years).  If you haven't had it, check it out. It just might fix what ails ya.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Having A Fling - From Shallow to Serious, and Back

It is hard to manage expectations.  That's not a terrible surprise.  What's more interesting is that we lie about our expectations to keep people pleased.

Here's an easy example.  You are having an affair.  However, you are married.  Not only that but the person you're having the affair with is also likewise married.  Whoops.  Now, the trick to the affair, it seems, is to hold some degree of loyalty to each other that carves out a space away from your respective marriages and the obligations those marriages entail.  How to do that?  Well, one way is to tell small lies that signal an intent you might never act on. "We should go away from all of this, get a place of our own" for instance.  That's nice, since it shows that you would prioritize the other person above everything else.  It is also abstract enough to evade in the future. Okay, now the affair is about six months old.  You want to get out of it.  Well, you face a problem, because the person your having the affair with doesn't want to.  How do you break up with that person while shielding your liability?  I'd say you do it incrementally, all the while making excuses, until the flame that was your illicit desire is somewhat quashed and easily disposable.  In this example, of course, the other person holds some liability--after all, they are married too.

But, we don't need to be having an affair  in our example to show opposing intent toward a relationship. All we need to show is relationship that is, oh, let's say, four months old, just enough for there to exist superficial familiarity that masquerades as something else, and for your social life to become enmeshed with this other person.  Now, however, you want out.  Or he/she wants out.  How do you get out?  One alternative is to do it by becoming more and more distant until the other person doesn't want to be in the relationship.  One alternative is to be straight forward and say that you want to break up.  A third alternative is to let the relationship continue to exist until you change your preference for the person.  The third alternative, that is, is one called: hope.   We hope that we change our preference and we lie to ourselves, and the other person, let's say, to keep the agreed upon status of the relationship a certain way until something else happens.  That's funny, because we know our preference and we don't act on it.

Another way of saying that is this: we make small excuses to sacrifice what we feel is true to avoid an unpleasant present, and tell ourselves, all the while, that we will face the unpleasant truths at a later date.  What's interesting to me is that a) we delay facing some truth that is inconvenient to us because it doesn't correspond how we see ourselves and b) that we would prefer at times to sublimate other people's subjective peace with our own.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


There's a peculiarity to our dreams; they don't actualy exist, yet they fuel our self-perception, and therefore, infiltrate how we act with other people.  That's not to say that we cannot have thoughts about ourselves at all, or that, on the other hand, our self-identity always colors our interactions.  But it is to say that a rabid individualism and perception of oneself as unique, exceptional, or exempted, does seem to underpin a fair amount of interaction or self-presentation.  Why?  What is it about uniqueness, or distinction, that impacts us to action, that incentiveses behavior?  What is wrong with declaring ourselves somewhat mundane, middle of the road, and relatively average.  I ask, because, I think the truth is that most of us, as a rule, are more average than we like to admit.  And I'm not exactly sure what is so terribly bad about it.

If you'd like, I could frame it differently.  If you think that being better than average is better, what concrete steps bring you from, let's say, the consumption of more luxury goods to higher subjective contentment?  Perhaps, simply more consumption is the answer to this question, and it could stop there: being unique brings a greater capacity to consume, and we value options, and capacity more than we value narrowness and limitations.  That makes sense; still, something in the back of my head wants to say that the relation between consumption and unique self-image isn't exactly one to one, or positively correlated at all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Dog.

I'm staying at my wife's Uncle's place right now, and the dog, a mix between a gorilla and a cockroach, eats almost everything I give her.  It started with her sniffing and my cursing.  I couldn't take the fact that she's ben fed in the past and so now expects human food.  At the same time that I cursed under my breathe when she followed me around in search of morsels I might have dropped, I gained what I felt was an iron shield of will and resolve not to give the dog anything; not even a look.  What happened eventually was two-fold. Kids came over.  Small kids, the sort of kids that are short.  And then.  And then their mom's gave them some food, inevitably, and whomp the dog snuck off with cookies, ice cream, and assorted grilled hot dogs too. 

Then something else happened that wasn't at all fortuitous, at least to me.  The cat took a massive putrid shit.  The kind of shit that makes you wonder why you have a cat in the first place; the kind of shit that makes you evacuate the house.  And then.  Whomp.  It was gone.  This was a bit of a shock to the cat, and the claws came out, which in turn sent the dog whimpering to the corner, but also, as he whimpered, he swallowed.  Man.  Apparently this shit eating behavior is called something.  I call it fucking disgusting.  My wife said, with a degree of realization that I found stunning "that's why my uncle doesn't mind the cat!" And the next time it happend I hit the dog, hard, and said "No!" I mean, should I really let it happen?

So the shit eating really broke my resolve.  I started to feed the dog anything I could think of, just to see what she would not eat.  Today, she ate a bowl of oatmeal.  Yesterday, a whole rotton banana.  The day before, half an onion.  The kicker, after she followed me around for more food: half a lemon.  That one actually sent her to the backyard for a bit.  Am I cruel?  No, I'm running an experiment here. So far, only red peppers are unappetizing.  Go figure. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why Nervous?

We're nervous a lot--I know I certainly am.  And mostly, I think, I'm nervous because I don't want people to think thoughts of me that are not truly accurate descriptors of who I really *feel* I am, you know, my guts and glory and real self and all.  And that's odd, because other people probably pressure themselves to some degree like this too, so know that I'm doing it.  But if we're both being careful to do or say something that wouldn't ruffle the feathers of the other person (so as to preserve our own self-identity), and we both know it, doesn't our knowledge somehow defeat the purpose.  To wit, the purpose is for people to think that my actions/behaviors/thoughts are naturally, organically, good and true, and that I'm real and talented and skilled and smart in a way that is not manufactured, i.e. in a way that I did't first think about (too much) and then proffer out to the world, like some alien.

To say it directly: I think people who are good at this game are very good at managing impressions, making other people feel welcome and listened to, think about what they say as a way so as to provide definite mini-conclusions, and provide generally egalitarian viewpoints.  To wit: we're all mini politicians.  We want to get the most votes.  This isn't a game for pure fun, either, though one can have fun playing it.  It is instead a game with real consequences--though the million dollar question is how our machinations and strategies parlay into consequences/outcomes. 

So to answer the question.  I'm nervous a lot because other people are nervous a lot, because our collective nervousness is more appealing than revealing a calculated strategy, and allows for multiple "reads" on a situation, thus allowing coalitions to form out of somewhat abstract statements. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm Newly Minted; Spend Me.

From now on, this will be the space for my random thoughts, idyllic fantasies, crushing depressions, and prosaic observations.  This is my first post at a new blog. I've been posting on Alcohol Free for about a year, and decided that, since most of the posts no longer revolve around alcohol, but instead range from the emotional navigation of my fractured and fruitless life to the intellectual regurgitation of pseudo-intellectuals, I should start a different blog, more proper and branded and whatnot. 

This way I don't feel undue pressure to bring in any alcohol or alcoholic related themes, and can post about anything I want, at any time, like the true spontaneous ego maniacal transcendent that I hope to evolve into one day.  That's good. Those folks have wings and fly, so I'm constantly envious.  See, I feel freer already!  I can breathe without the smell of urine and damp newspaper!  If I feel the need to go back to my booze-writing, I'll just post over there, or double post.