Saturday, December 22, 2012

Living Life Shame Free

Imagine it, if you will, walking around without the crushing weight of wrongness, of deadness, of stale old lived in life, mocking you like a favorite outfit you've been forced to wear for days and now wreaks of body odor and wrinkles in all the wrong places.  Imagine knowing life without the desperation to prove yourself in a constant tug of war (to others, to yourself, to notions of whatever the good thing is or has been defined as), touching it in a way that is at once childish and innocent, truly interactive, and also knowledgeable,  aware of everything but the layer of cynicism that we often hold over ourselves in a coup not to feel, for the sake, always, to stay away from our previous failures, to hide it is who we are and run away forever.  Imagine not doing it relentlessly and with suicide-level zeal.  Imagine if it were just the case that you could be seen as human, instead of one-dimensional, and that this richness pervaded your own view of others too, and you might frolic into a dance of conversation and sharing bliss with those you felt least like you before.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Descriptive Accuracy Doesn't Equate to Pliable Feasibility

Why is it that we fool ourselves into thinking that approaching a comprehensive and exhausting pronunciation of exactly what it is that we suffer from might in turn script a policy of prescriptive highlights and blow outs?  (What is it that the salon in our heads offers us half off?  Decomposed rodenticide laced corpses?!)

Okay, side point.

Main point: why the fuck do we think that once we've got a handle on it that the handle will allow us to manipulate it?  At all?  Why is it that we're just as mindlessly obsessed with rationalizing all of our actions to the cohorts of people who are forced to be friends?

Here's my secret.  Gossip is relentlessly pointless when you are not part of the circle.  It holds negative weight.

And still.  And still, we ascribe endless loops and call them intentional meanderings, with a cross here and a supplication there, and we expect people to believe us; we expect them to capitulate to our own idolized notions of reason, however corrupt and obsequiously selfish.

I don't even know where life exists anymore.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Higher Status Friends

Almost all of my friends are/were higher status than me at some point in my life, and many have pulled into seriously high positions that I can't really hope to obtain.  Yes, I can dream of obtaining, but at this point I simply don't have the confidence for the game, and I definitely don't, because of my erratic training, such as it was, don't have the hard skills.

It is as much my fault as the fault of anything external.  I don't blame myself too horribly.  This isn't about blame, or shame, or anything like that.  I'm just saying that it is humbling to realize that wasting one's 20s in a haze of ambition and multi-headed energy was not the best way to do it.  I don't necessary wish I had what I was running from for so many of those years.  But the good parts of having it wouldn't be bad!

My higher status friends are all very modest.  But they are in another league.  I can't compete.  Everyone has fallen off with everyone else because of continental drift anyway, but I can't help, at times of righteous self-loathing, to propel my sputtering self into a realistic dichotomy, kick myself in the ass, and try to scrape up the crust of dessicated and used up happiness that has nestled itself into the crevices of my so-called life.

And when I do suck on that bit of solidified grease for a few moments, I realize that I'm alive because of it, and that when I stop comparing it to everything, perhaps I can find more flavor than at first seemed evident.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Emotional Attachment to One's Job -

I think we, ambitious, studious, people, try very hard (and earnestly believe) in the capacity for our jobs to be fulfilling.  After all, there are tons of Emotionally Fulfilled people out there doing jobs that seem rather fantastic.  Solving big problems.  Making lots of high level decisions.  Etc.

But over time, most of us, as a rule, simply see our jobs for what they are, and become less engaged with them.  We're "on the clock" and that's about it.  We want to be comfortable.  We want to be paid for it.  Etc.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's Complicated

Simplification is nice, but often simplified elegance loses a lot of the necessary details to understand an experience, on the ground, step-by-step.  Of course, describing, in full detail, an entire experience is also tantamount to actually experiencing it, and as such, we who want to figure some stuff out conceptually before we actually participate in the stuff, have to find a way to get information that's neither too limited and not actionable, on one hand, or, on the other, so thick that it is impossible for us to differentiate signal from noise.

We basically need smarter people to tell us what's important.

And we need it bad.

Don't believe me?  Fine, go out and make your own mistakes.  But being bitter doesn't make anything better, trust me, and less ego earlier may lead to better results later.  Maybe.  I'm not sure.  See, I also know that assholes, i.e. those with high ego, may in fact have more courage to get what they want faster and with less shame than those with less ego and more concern for others.  At some level of decision  making and action, after all, we will run into the problem of competing interests.  It probably happens all the time.  Structural coordination that isn't highly efficient leaves loopholes for assholes to exploit and get ahead, and create more structural loopholes for their assholish behavior.  Fair doesn't cut it, in that world.  Knowing how many assholes are out there, and what their strategy is, and how to deal with it or undercut it, is much more effective, for instance, than muttering asshole under one's breath and losing a couple bucks/minutes in frustration.

I'm not advocating for assholes.  I am also not advocating for pure peace.  Simplification is an easy tool to let oneself become blinded, because it allows for post-hoc rationalization of everything and anything, and therefore, disallows learning, whether emotional or intellectual.  See, again, I'm forced to admit that learning is difficult because it is often times the place where waste happens unintentionally.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


My bank account still reads only $313.12!  No magic jackpot!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Skin In The Game

Conceptual understanding is fine. It is, after all, most of what we do.  But it doesn't quite indicate how we would act if we had to navigate the parameters of our conceptions.  We chronically under-value lots of important stuff and over-value our own positions.  That's not new.  But actually having skin in the game, wherein decisions have some realizable impact, sure does change how we evaluate and act.  Which is interesting.  If individual conceptual understanding doesn't do a good job of showing what we'll actually do in a given situation, what does?  Forced skin.  Money on the line.  What have you.  That's the only real answer, as unappetizing as it might seem.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Living Life Better

It is a may be even cliched reasoning, but when we become autonomous and independent enough to make our own decisions, we, in one fell swoop of energy,  blossom, also, into the realization that those in charge of making decisions for our lives previously weren't quite as bad as we thought they were.

Or maybe I'm just telling an American story.  Maybe this story isn't so true in other countries.

Either way, it tells of our budding narcissism, even in, or especially in, youth, and I don't know what to do to change the patterns.

Everything is stereotype and real at once, and that is not a truth people want to acknowledge, or to repeat.  It is a complicated truth, instead, one that moves when you push on it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Easy to . . .

Come up with complicated historical narratives for why and how things are fucked up (and how multifarious that fucked-up-ness is).

Much harder to carve out a positive and good-natured future existence.  Clean and honest and resolute.

Too easy to justify one's ego and indiscretions for an honest appraisal ever to get done, mostly.  That's the fundamental error in human reasoning, me thinks.  Wink.  Yes.  I'm flirting with you.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Minute Moments All Linked Up

To the BIG FUCKING PROBLEM, which is, undoubtedly, colossal doom, some calamitous event.

In fact, the calamitous events that I think of when I think of calamitous events are not even events which I can write here.  Because even though I know better, I don't wish to somehow summon them.

Of course, linked tightly up with my nature regarding such events is the equally unmentionable dreams of my youth, withered and battered as they are.  I haven't yet taken them seriously as I might have wanted to, or given the concept of time a good hard kick in the ass.

Making excuses for things is a motto for a lot of people and for about 2 years I've been trying to NOT live making excuses.  However, I've also stopped living in a lot of ways, dried up and dessicated as I've become, I haven't forgotten the wonder that used to drive my daily life, the "indefatiguable wonder" that I read enthralled a young Vincent Van Gogh as well, though it just so happens that whatever I read lays itself over my life like a well pressed outfit. 

And I've bought and sold things here, gentlemen and ladies, and I've found myself sucked into the adrenaline race so that I think every moment matters for all of the big decisions that have yet to be made or could be made, and maybe I'm wrong, just wrong, because sticking oneself down into the cracks, down near the lint, and grime, and rust, well, it just doesn't allow too much perspective to seep in, and pretty soon, I've masked myself with plaster dried, and I've found the old allusions are all tacky and wrought up in disdain.

Pray with me please, and I mean that figuratively.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Delusion for the Sake of Happiness

Always been a fascinating topic for me: whether and to what extent self-evolved delusion really is delusion, or just a 'way of living' and to what extent the search for accuracy in all things leads to depression, or even madness.

There are infinitely many accurate ways to view a situation that will yield no progress whatsoever.  There are also probably infinitely many ways to delusionally view things while yielding no progress.

But there are subsets of both of these possibilities that allow progress.  Question is really: what sort of progress are you looking for?   But that question seems subsumed by the first question, which is really how to manufacture higher levels of happiness, flow, contentment, fullness, etc.

Naturally delusional thoughts can yield to harsh setbacks that pop up to snuff out fairy tale desires.

But I don't think seeking accuracy in life, whatever that may mean, is any less susceptible to the setbacks of reality.  Because reality is so huge, seeking accuracy alone is not a good means-test for which direction one should head, that is, emotionally speaking, so that one's life, both internal and external (how we relate to ourselves and to others), is as rich and multiplicitous as possible.

Which can leave us free to make up our internal subjective reality to some extent--whatever extent we are allowed given the confluence of genes and previous experiments.

Which is reality. I.e. most people are delusional, including yours truly.

Part of the hard part of life, though, is allowing others to appreciate and endeavor in their delusion when you know it is a delusion (maybe because you lived it previously).    This is ripe ground for hypocrisy and other assorted nasty but omnipresent phenomena.

Anyway, I've cycled through what I meant to say in the beginning.  Which is mostly that being delusional maybe not be inescapable, but it also may not be so bad.  It IS the norm, that's not an issue.  The question is whether we want to, or can, change the norm.  The answer isn't quite clear.  Mostly because of this, and here's the main point, I promise:

We rarely have structural level information about anything.  We are mere particles, individual pieces of data.

I know, I know, we should endeavor to understand as much as possible through collection of as much data as possible so we can, what: get higher than individual particles.  That is what we do, collectively.  I don't know if we can do it individually.

Searing insights, when they come, are fundamentally lonely things.

I'm sloppy and soft, I know, wallowing, even.  But I'm not kidding myself so much about how hard and unidirectional I am anymore, and that's a good thing.  '

To be continued.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Infinite Reasons to Freak Out

The slice of the universe that I can touch and feel, the one that wraps itself around me and coos into my ear at night (the same one that beats me with a whip, or masticates my steak fat once I've flushed it (and yes I flush it), in some heap of liquid trash somewhere), provides endless stimuli for apprehension, anxiety, and general paranoia.  And this wholly disregards evil third parties--I'm really just zoomed in on those whom I think are reasonable people and can find a way to twist my reality into a grotesque though compellingly real mirror wherein I'm forced to recognize those things about myself that I do not want to realize.

My relative status in all endeavors, for instance.  It is not consolation that everyone's relative status in all endeavors (those who I meet) is low.  I don't desire to be high status in the fame and glamour sense.  I desire to have convenience and to maintain as much singular focus on my own interests as possible.  This is presumably the only reason for pining in such a way.  Interests provide a way to focus (to Flow), wherein life is neither too boring nor too anxiety-producing.

As soon as I establish flow on all days within the confines of a grey cubicle, naturally, there are interruptions.  Interruptions I loathe.  Like a high powered drill deep in the walls of my apartment building when I've just graced myself off to sleep.  Like my cat deciding to utilize the litter box mid-coitus (not hers!, mine--what a weird weird way to imagine my cat!-a contender, it would seem, for some serious fetish sites of which I would never frequent, but which, given that strange mix of non-specific references, I would have lived through in my mind's eye for long enough to write this).

To be straight: I don't desire laziness.  I hate laziness in myself, however evident it has been in my life (I used to have "emotional problems"--but these have been ironed out enough to shine with enough glean to show you that I'm straight, so long as you don't linger).

My ideal world is not 24 hour television, or imbibing in other fashions.  My ideal world is relative challenge and immersion.  I don't need to be structurally analytic, it's just what they taught me in school.  I don't even like it!  By that rationale, though, I must simply make up my own words, which happens not infrequently and forces me into a coffin of shame when they are murmured on unsuspecting ears, often in a light tone of humor. 

This post has no end.  There are no sages in life.  Anyone who tells you they're a sage is trying to impress you and get something.  For themselves.  

I'm slowly learning not to trust.  This compared to previous levels of trust that were wildly out of control.  This compared to a drinking trusting idiot.  This compared to an antique mirror.  This compared to the reality of myself.  This compared to that which I am learning to look at with a detached smear of a glare.  This is it.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Honesty and Sex. Possible?

How many women fake orgasm?


Incentive to be honest/lie?  Who?  Well, you tell me.

So, yes, it is a stacked deck already.   And if you're a man, you are an easy lay.

Coincidentally, who is the opposite of a misogynist?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why Leftist Intellectuals are Wrong

 First criteria to all lefty arguments is how screwed up the system is and how harmed everyone is.

This is testable and false.  More of us live longer and have more comfortable lives than anyone else in history.

Second criteria: the market is fundamentally bad.

Also testable and false.  Open markets is linked with all sorts of positive outgrowth, less human rights abuses, and generally better lives for almost everyone.

Third criteria: you must agree with me or you're an idiot.

See, lefties, maybe even more than others, still distinguish themselves through consumption patterns, hold themselves in high status, and find lots of reasons to avoid dissonance, including not updating their worldview.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Laughter's Function

1) Laughter is a waste of breath.  To laugh is to show, simultaneously, that we don't need the breath for something else, mainly running

2) Laughter shows vulnerability.  When we want to signal comfort, we can use laughter to do it.  We do not have to use breath to run away = we are comfortable

3) However, laughter also can show dominance; it can be used as a show: I don't need to use this breath to run because I'm not scared of you.

When we are nervous, we often laugh to try for a return laugh, which could signal comfort.  We are also trying out a little dominance; we are testing the waters for a response.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Every Day

I try not to hate the routine.  I try hard to stay energized.  I try to find meaning in the grey cubicle world that so many would long to relish.  I am pushed into many meetings.  I am forced to compel numbers toward electronic transmissions.  Am relegated to the inside of my head.  Have difficulty expressing the humor I feel everywhere.  Have lurking suspicions of eavesdroppers just out of my visual field.  Award myself for discipline.  Plan to accomplish too much.

Plan on grand connections that are asexual, but manifestly full.

Barely succeed in running out, the doppler effect of my scream changing tone for all those but me.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

We Don't Know . . .

We don't know whether God exists.

We do know that social bonding rituals are strong.

We do know that group coherence is a primarily important feature of future human generations and survival generally.

Role playing (specific designated functions) are also highly necessary, and specialization creates fields of expertise that take years to understand and learn.

It is intuitive to think that, above the structures of specialization that we've created, someone, a boss maybe, a super manager, must be watching, and that such an entity by default has more perfect knowledge, because only that entity has access to all the information.

The ideal of an all-knowing systems manager is behind assertions of God's truth.  But we are partial imperfect knowledge knowers, so we by necessity, cannot know whether God exists.

That doesn't stop most of us appealing to the notion of grand authority, and because group dynamics are strong, doesn't stop groups from causing conflict with other groups who hold different conceptions of authority.

The problem: human-created authorities are endless.  Hence towns of only 3000 with 7 denominations to worship in come Sunday.

The secondary problem: if there's not a grand systems manager up there, however abstract, the meaning for our role-playing as well as we might isn't quite as crystal clear.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Perfecting the Look: Orgasm and Chess?

I've been looking through a lot of bios lately.  There's one thing in common with these bios (mostly of writers, but artists in general, and professors, and anyone who uses their mind to create stuff that's artistic or artful): they all long to get this kind of far away, but deadly serious, look.  Inevitably, there's those little white sort of reflection bubbles in their eyes, and their cheeks are rosy, and the focus in their eyes is, how can I say it: unfocused, relaxed, peaceful, IN COMMAND, and also: hungry and desirous, nay, ravenous.  How the fuck do they get those two looks into one picture like that?  As if they'd just had an incredibly potent orgasm and then dove right back into an intense game of chess.  THAT is the look, my friends, and you too should start to perfect it if you dare.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Two Types of Friends

There are the types of friends who you go to because you want your ego restored.  You've been insulted, or you feel insulted, or you're just feeling crummy, and seek them out because they support your conception of your self as it already was.  They're shoring up the cracks.

Then there are different types of friends.  Those who don't worry about how you're going to maintain your image.  They're not disrespectful.  Perhaps they are even more respectful because they don't placate false versions.  They push you harder than you push yourself at times.  They tell good truths.  They falsify nothing.  They're honest and it hurts, but out of the hurt comes a stronger version of you.  These friends are harder to listen to at first, like some good music, but with time develop to reveal layers that the other types of friends can't conceive of, no matter their assertions to the contrary.

Of course there are straight up strategic friends, and there are people who only seek strategic friends, and only know friendship as strategy.   And there are lots of people who seek out friends only to assuage their own egos.  And that does upset me, yes.

But other people exist.  And they won't always be easy to know, to spot, that is, or to know over time, but they'll be much more varied and understanding and they won't placate.  There's something to that.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In A Funk: No Fancy ending

I think we read fiction because it ends, and that's tremendously calming.

The reality is much less pleasantly clear.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Belief in Justice

We all presuppose the rule of law (or morality, or justice, however you want to phrase it), and we, all of us, also believe we're inherently better than other people, and mostly that we don't deserve punishment and other people do deserve it.

To say that we're hypocrites only begins to highlight the fiction we create to explain our own actions to ourselves: our narrative ascription is really wide and deep, and we're never in need to maintain our effort to propel it into action.  We're natural liars, in other words.

Even knowing this doesn't do it justice, though, because we, me included as I write it, believe, automatically and defacto, that, having greater knowledge we'll self-deceive less than previously.  And we're just as wrong about it as we were about initially recognizing it.  Because it happens in dynamic situations, over and under playing our hands, and selecting information.

Repeat after me.

I don't know.

Fuck if I know!

Fuck you, I just don't give a damn anymore because I don't know!

If I knew, I wouldn't be here.

It takes me a long time to process information.

I don't understand what you're saying.

My preferences are not clear, which is the reason that I'm unable to manufacture the appropriate level of confidence to be taken seriously, which is the reason that I'm unable to function in a normal and acceptable manner, and which has multiple feedback loops into my sockets of justification and self-belief in the exceptional and special nature of perfume laced feces.

Half of my thoughts are bullshit, but I say them just to fuck you over.

I have trouble trusting other people.

Other people are far too trusting.

Faith is like this: meaningless.

And yet.  I believe.  Unshakably.

And I'm scared shitless.  That I'm entirely wasted right now.  That my fragile ego won't be able to save me again.  That I'll spend the weekend wiping my ass with the window curtain.  That the curtain will not smoothly block light ever again, and that, despite repeated washings, will exude an odor notable enough to be remarked upon by the crudest of punk rockers or the waspy of fancy pants.

And if you tell anyone, I'll kill you, straight up.  Because other people's opinions matter.  What other people think about my thoughts matters.

Except that it all matters a great deal less than I used to know.  And I'd be happy with a little cabin and a cord of dry hardwood for the winter.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Telling yourself you are too old -

That's just what I've started to do.

How stupid.

Actually, it is a handy way not to try.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Emotions are Richer

Our emotional palette is richer than any other experiential continuum, I think.  We have, in other words, capacity to experience permutations upon permutations of unique emotional responses, even when the situations that we respond to are not unique.

This is part of the reason that we can experience the approximation of beauty wherein something will be stunning--i.e. unexceptionable intoxicating and/or fulfilling in the put of the stomach way that we cannot quite get our words around.

This is also part of the reason that we have long swaths of emotional reality throughout our lives that only become clear, if they do, in retrospect, and why we can only talk in generalities about certain things even when we feel something very specific.

This is also why there will be no end to new music.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Proper Scope

It is easy enough to not take someone seriously.  All that is necessary is to expand or contract the scope of their argument into unrecognizable proportions and treat that as their core insight.

While everything is either meaningless because we're so small, or too meaningful because of the color of someone's blouse or the way the direction her feet are pointing signal something intrinsically sinful, it is actually hard to live a balanced life, with a consistently balanced perspective, all joking aside.

Partly this is because we only have each other as reference points.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hard Truth -

Is that most of us don't actually become anything of note, at all.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Whose Status do you chase?

I think the craziest thing about status is how, sure, there are some universals, there's also a lot of silos operating simultaneously, such that the status I may seek is somewhat independent from yours.  I might want to make it to Assistant Director, and you, Partner, or you might have a number in your head that represents the appropriate amount of sales and I have a school name in my head.

That's interesting because it provides insight into how we all value other people who hold the virtues that we seek for ourselves, and those who don't.

And it shows how sort of small our worlds are, even though lots of status will likely bring lots of money, which is universal in a sense, how we spend that money signals which groups we want to appear to be part of, and that's much more interesting.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Is the Desire for Knowledge Dangerous?

I recently finished reading a mother of a book about Robert Moses.

I also happen to live in NYC and I also happened to buy a car recently.

Of course, these fact may suggest that I'm now suffering from near all-time highs of cognitive dissonance.   I'm not.  I know why I want and need the car.  I also don't like what cars do to the landscape of American cities.  I never have liked it, and I especially don't like it now that I've read the book.

I think that trains are generally better than cars, and that car growth has generally destroyed some neighborhoods.  Compare commercial strips that exist under a raised highway against commercial strips that are under raised trains tracks and the results are striking, no?  I mean, there are no more neighborhoods left under raised highway.  They're dead zones.  Train tracks?  Not the same.  The neighborhood might not be perfect, but it is almost always vibrant.

Anyway, I proceeded to get into a ridiculous argument with my wife over this very thing as we drove, appropriately, toward the highway.

She said: but sometimes you need to drop off your mother with three bags and there's no train.

And she was right.

But that doesn't mean we need to restructure our communities toward highways.  The efficiency of trains just wins hands down in cities with heavy core like NY, where lots of people come every day (without their mothers and three bags).

But it strikes me that all of my reading on this subject might be detrimental.  Perhaps I'd be better off letting go of it and just not thinking of it.  Ignorance would lead to less fights with wife.  Less fights would lead to higher levels of happiness.

So the old motto has a foundation after all?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We Don't Know So Much

I find it shocking in this respect that we might feel as if there were no beauty, or that beauty couldn't be discovered, or that, also, there might be a reason not to continue to live.  Maybe beauty can't be compared against suffering, or maybe there's too long to wait.  Or maybe a lot of things.  I'm not talking delusional whipper-snapping drooling type laconic-removal-of-self-from-reality daydreaming, but about finding some hard work, a steady rhythm, if a bit slow moving and hard to change direction, and settling down into that groove for a while, only to find that you've misplaced the entire dimension of the room in your minds eye, and that the reality around you has been moving and shifting in ways subtle and large enough to birth tendrils of fear it is so grand, but soothing, too, in the way that it seems to cradle the thin spindle of saliva that is, well, what it is: your life.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We're Confused

About who we are, what we like, who we like, and how we act in a given social situation.  I've seen it again and again (in the mirror mostly!).  We don't always know ourselves.  We find we like certain activities in theory only.  We like certain people who don't comport to other stated ideals, and we fall out of step with our own versions of ourselves often.

This isn't bad so much as predictable.  And, being predictable, we should be able to manipulate our duality of self to set some goals.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Are Women As Concerned with Pleasing Men as Men to Women?

I'd say the number one male fear is of early orgasm.  That is, premature ejaculation.  Of course, unless you're a super hero type male, this means you'll stop engaging in [presumably] sexual intercourse and she will go forward without becoming even halfway gloriously undone.

The assumption: your penis is what will make her orgasm, is perhaps endemic to the fear of premature ejaculation, but I'm thinking it is more about power and status--real men don't come early, and men who come quickly are not worthy of being with the partner they are with, because she's not getting as pleased as he is, and definitely not getting please quickly.

Thing is, guys, I know that, being a guy, having the pressure of making her orgasm through intercourse alone is entirely suffocating and unrealistic.   So there's a problem.  Plenty of women are having regular intercourse out there sans the orgasm (whatever you may think, this number is shockingly high, so the chance that she's faking with you, especially if you're only using one of your appendages, is correspondingly high).

But I'm wondering if women think they have to please guys as much as guys think they have to please women.  And I'm wondering as well what it is that's synonymous with premature ejaculation.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Do Strong Women Scare Men?

I don't mean politically powerful or well connected women.  I mean women who communicate very clearly, are not afraid to disagree (at the cost of their partner's discomfort), and are very firm and unapologetic regarding their own preferences.

Note that such people are often susceptible to other views.  They're not inflexible.  But you have to actually say something to them, and be willing to conflict, essentially, overtly and explicitly, with what you firmly know is their preference.

And what it seems is that people try to appease, they try to placate, and this just leads to frustration on both sides.  There's something cultural about this, but I can't put my finger on it.

Anyway, there's a few women I've known who are strong in this respect--and I'm not saying this pejoratively or with judgement, just trying to be descriptively accurate--and the universal response from most men to these women is one sentence: "She frightens me."

Why?  Honestly.  Why?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

By the way.. The point isn't to die.

It is to live a decent life.  By standards that we come up with through trial and error and judgement.  I don't want to save up all of my moral code to be written on my coffin.  I also don't want my coffin to predate the maximal amount of peace and stability here and now.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Matching External/Internal

Is it normal to live an interior life that is vastly different from the exterior life presented to the world on a daily basis?  Is it possible that the mom of the two children named Clifton and Ashton is in fact a rock star punk mom, one who does not see herself as a mother so much as as a rebel who also happens, by circumstance, to be a mother?  Is it possible that more people are more like this, telling themselves, that is, who they are separately from who it is they are, than not?  If that's the case, how are we to reliably find predictable behaviors or modes of conversation with common roots, without sort of "outing" people's inner identity?

Or maybe that's the ploy.  Maybe we should appeal to everyone as if they are duplicitous in self, and see what they tell us when we recognize their true selves?

And I wonder how long the true self goes on?  Is the retired high school science teacher really a Bodhisattva?

We play with secret identities all the time.  Don't we?

Or are there a cadre of people out there who are uniquely concurrently themselves both internally and externally?  If the exist, do they know they exist?  If they know they exist, do they know that the other ones, the discordant ones, also exist?  If so, do they feel superior?  If not, why not?  Or is it always the discordant ones who feel superior?

It is strange to think that two people might interact, over the purchase of coffee lets say, and find themselves signaling information about their internally viewed selves (and the internally viewed self's superiority) at the same time, information which may not even land perceptibly on the brain it was intended to land on.  And that's even more frightening, because it means that we--the discordant ones at least--are appealing to a group who either doesn't get us, or that we purposefully keep our appeals shrouded so much so as to become illogically non-communicative.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Seeking Egomaniac

Insecure girl fond of overstating her youth seeks enigmatic egomaniac.  Prefers to find solace in unreasoned assertions of superiority, fast driving, and stare-me-down bargaining over popcorn at discount movie chains.

Willing to take the first step in over-estimating future earnings, over-stating your good looks, and always realistically pretending to orgasm at your faintest [albeit aggressive] touch.  Equally willing to make excuses to my girlfriends about why you matter more, to blame other people for your faults, and to talk up your 1995 Volkswagen GTI, and to prop up alternate versions of whatever you wish, including foibles with family members, affairs, and less than stellar self-grooming patterns.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Let's Inhabit the Average For a Day - no?

For all of you who want to be perfect.  For those who want to excel at . . . everything.  For everyone who checks out their image in the minutest level of reflective material (say, your partner's sunglasses, the stainless steel of elevator doors, car windows, or even chrome embroidery, and of course, almost all windows).  For those who find the need to purchase a new pair of pants, excessive amounts of shirts, ties, socks, underwear, or other accouterments.  For those who find their own exceptionalism perfectly normal and expected, and never question their superiority . . .

Really?  Are you fucking serious, or what?  (I freely admit that this is a somewhat solipsistic self-mediated conversation with a version of a historical self that I loathe in a mild black tea induced froth of Saturday morning (which is to say, not a heavily frenetic mindset (which is also to say that the old self would be much more frothy than the current self if I were forced to converse with the old self)), but I wouldn't go so far as to say that we're always talking to versions of our old (or current) selves, and I wouldn't say that we, as in we individuals, are only mirrors of the exterior social networks, systems, societal whatevers, birds, flutes, trees, and tables, either, because the self exists, and one of the reasons it does exist is because it thinks it is exceptional, and makes distinctions and rationalizes those distinctions).

Still, there must be some capacity that we all maintain to look into the mirror and obtain real live data from the world, and recognize one thing: that most of us are profoundly average. 

The next step is to be happy with that.  Because to be unhappy with that would make us far too average.  And being happy with averageness, in a way, is quite exceptional.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Let's Pretend We're Not Competing

That will be the goal: That we're not competing with each other, and internally, with ourselves.  That we don't care, because somehow, deeper down, our urge to care is something we're nervous about.

We'd rather, perhaps, stay detached and aloof, or reclusive and drunk, you know, I know, and we're walking around with bullhorns, third-eyes that scream out with ferocity at the minutest of interactions.

Because we're scared, deeper down, of communicating with someone and having our message actually conveyed. It is better not to engage and somehow not be pegged into a number, into a boxed reality that can be compared to other boxes.  Better to "stay out of the system," that is, to pretend.  Better to pretend.  And while we pretend, everyone else pretends.  Except for those willing to engage overtly, who we immediately scorn and judge for reducing themselves.

And when we pretend and those others don't, the cruel fact is that those others will have advantages over us, and have more access to the things that we, deep down, actually think might make us happy, were we "given a chance" to acquire them.  If not for all the assholes out there ruining everything, right?  Right.

The trick, it seems, is not to pretend we're not all assholes sometimes, and not use excuses to keep you from getting what you want.  Otherwise, you know, we have to face the fact that we might not want what we say we want, and instead, simply want to label all of the other people--that is, the convenience of ignoring reality simply becomes reality, and the reality we tell ourselves becomes delusion.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

We Don't Know Our Own Preferences -

This becomes more and more apparent to me as I hear spiraling justificatory narratives for events, actions, reactions, and whatnot.  We people are intensely bent on fitting reality to something that we find consistent, and we're entirely inconsistent about our methods and the machinations we incarnate to make our perception of reality the way we want.  What is so maddening about admitting mistakes and trying again?  Why such associated guilt, self-loathing, and generalized shame?  Why squeeze the little sense of freedom, that is, of interaction, self-discovery, and genuine interest we have left with the needle-pointed calipers of dense pressure?

The answer is that we're always trying to achieve something we're not, actually, internally, sure we want.  We just think we want it.  And we think we want a lot of things.  And for those people who think they don't want, and are somehow free, I'm not sure I buy it.  I think they just keep what they want buried more appropriately, neater, that is, and aren't as touched, or as vulnerable, to showing others how badly they actually want--something.  It is often generalized and highly ambiguous.  Which is why it is so hard to talk about.  But if we realize that, I think, at some level, we can start to let go of the things we think we want, and respond to those things that make us happy--even if we aren't quite aware of our own enjoyment, even if we are, that is, simply involved in a task fully.  Even if that task is not status-contingent.  Especially so, perhaps.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Insanity, and back.

Today I had a tingling feeling.  In my frontal cortex.  It didn't stop so much as spread itself like butter over the rest of my brain, engineering itself to masquerade as part of me, as something essential that I'd previously overlooked.  Somehow my examinations weren't up to snuff.  And this feeling, something akin to the buzz of an out of tune television and a drill boring down into dense pvc pipe, also anchored itself in such a way that I began to doubt any previous existence without it.  It was an acute, though long lasting, hunger, if you will, one that I thought I could quench with food. One that I thought was at once alien and familiar, and one that was frightening because it made me feel so light, like helium, like I could float up and away and not come back, and that my gradual dispersal throughout the stratosphere might be, in a way, pleasant, or at least, that my cessation of being would be a relief.  At least, a relief.


We should find difficult stuff worthwhile, but often it is easier to give up.  I know that I've repeatedly given up in my life.  It is always easier in the moment.

Here I'm thinking of exercise.  And school.  And papers.  And writing.  And diets.  And girlfriends.  And my own sense of self!  And well, insert almost anything in there, and I've tried and given up on it.

But I'm here to report that after a life of giving up, budding consequences can catch up to the wave of freedom that accompanies a lack of effort.  And, I'm here to report that continual effort, likewise, can yield unforeseen positive outcomes.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wasted Life

Consider that, without some proper thinking, we can spend a god-awful amount of time chasing things that we don't like or need.  We can be quite active about this, even frenetic.

Consider, also, that we spend too much time sitting back and thinking about what we might do and not accomplishing anything, or even maintaining our body as much as it needs.

Consider what benchmark or indices we'd need to know the difference between the two above, particularly if we cycle from one to the other.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Driving To The Bed -

Ah, well, that's what I just told my mother in law I would go do, ya  know, instead of walking.  God bless Polish.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rejecting Advice -

Rejecting advice comes quite naturally to most people, especially if they feel that following the advice given will lead to ends that they find emotionally unappealing.  I'd venture to say that rejecting advice (combined with feeling qualified to give it) is a fundamental bias in human nature.  We know our lives better than anyone else, right, and our wants and desires and outcomes?

The point is that, if someone is taking the time to give some nugget of advice, they might have thought about it and might have access to a "you" that "you" don't actually quite know well.  That's certainly not always true, but, if the advice comes from someone who has navigated an experience that you know theoretically, the odds are they have something to say that you should listen to.

I certainly have found that out the hard way.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Branding Brooklyn Luxurious -

Whether Brooklynites like it or not, their borough is increasingly being branded as luxurous, mixed with just the right amount of authenticity and raw self-consciousness.

There is Brooklyn Chocoloate from the Mast brothers, selling at 10 dollars a bar.

There is brooklyn beer of all varieties.

For goodness sake, I saw brooklyn cheese at whole foods the other day.

All of these things are luxury goods.  Unlike eggs and milk, for instance, they are taken mostly for pleasure over need.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shame Begets Shame; Regret, Regret.

I meant to write a long detailed post about this topic, but I've been busy, either at work (tis the season), or at home (tis the Ikea mother load in my bedroom), and my wife's mom has come to live with us recently (and speaks a foreign language that I'm barely functional with, though I do understand more and more--but it requires effort, such that if I must put effort into other things, my comprehension goes down).

The point was only this: if we feel shame about our previous actions, and it has been a driving force, as I believe it has been for my life, then it makes sense to think about just how much of a perverse incentive it is, and how much of our time we're spending feeling like complete shit--AND to recognize that it might be around for a real reason (like motivation), BUT that the costs are high.  And without being balanced by other more production emotions, through a process of gradual understanding of the role of shame, well, we're bound to go on feeling shame automatically when certain environmental stimuli occur.  The point being only that we can retrain our emotional understanding of ourselves, and our role in previous relations, in hopes of furthering a more productive and healthy image in the future, one with a little less pain.

Regret basically goes along the same lines.

Both emotions are purges of a sort, too, in that they allow the expression of some ugly stuff, but both are also addictive emotions, in that they provide crutches toward not facing some of the stuff about ourselves that maybe we should--they are shields against understanding things like this:

1) Maybe we're just not as good as we thought we were

2) Maybe some of the behaviors that upset us in other people are also perfectly embodied in our own actions.

3) Maybe we are the cause of our own suffering more than others and circumstances, and also, therefore, of our hope.

And with a little bit of hope--what's the line from Bill Frisell?  Lookout for Hope?  Ah, sentimental and  nostalgic in just the right forward looking way.  I'll leave this little blossom of spring.  It is a horrid quality pic from my phone, but real just the same.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Novice Guitar Playing: Technique needed for Strumming hand.

I'm not much more than a novice myself, but one tried and true problem with all novice guitar players is that they concentrate on developing their left hand, and not their right (assuming they strum with right and grab chords with left).

No matter how articulate the left, with sloppy inarticulateness on the right, you're sure to sound as bad as you can!  Nobody wants the worst version.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Perfectly Expressed Emotion -

This feat does happen, though maybe not often, and mostly in music.  There may not be a fit between the emotion I'm feeling at a perfectly expressed emotion in a particular song at all times, but when there is, boy does it feel good.

Which leads me to believe that people create things, at least in part, to get to the point of a perfect expression of emotion.  To give others what they had once received and been inspired by.  For instance, it is also illuminating to listen to perfectly expressed emotion music and discover what I'm really going through, especially after having endured muddied waters--even if the emotion itself is bad, it is revealing to share it and to know that there can be beauty in embodying it perfectly.

And so, maybe when people make music they are indeed chasing status.  I won't argue with that.  BUT, they're also chasing something more profoundly comforting and in an exceptional way, less opaque: momentary complete understanding.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Not Killing Yourself Is Harder.

There's a fantasy buried into the egos of many people.  It says that suicide is in some ways a fantastical and beautiful transcendent thing, even when it is slimy and morose and deeply shameful--see, it is, concurrently pure bliss, the ultimate rebellious act: romantic.

But not killing yourself is much harder.  So killing yourself must be something else, perhaps: laziness.
Eating kumkwats and finding a way to habituate my brain toward a forward meandering sentences without pre-forming them conclusively, or tidying up all of the bows prior to creation.  It is a dichotomy I tell myself, that exists, in that writing, or producing, takes a place in the chronology of events, and editing comes afterward.  It cannot be untrue, though.  Without some product, there can be no editing.  And so, well, hence writers block.  You sit and think, and nothing is good enough, so you or I, we--we--mentally edit it until there's a little nub of confused circles and really nothing to actually write down.  Or at least nothing as close to the form of all of the mental edits told you were worth writing down.  Thing is, of course, that having the space to write down something--anything--away and afar from the internal editor, is valid in and of itself.  Creation and destruction, our old friends from freshman philosophy, and they are true.  As true as anything else these days can be true.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Runaway Audience Fantasy -

Most of what we do, even when alone, implicates or concerns other people in some large way.  I don't mean that there's a global supply chain and that it takes a host of folks to get me my tea (which is true). What I mean is that we, as individuals, so often act as if there were audience to act to, or for, that we often forget how alone we actually are.  There really and truly is often nobody watching.

This isn't necessarily depressing.  In many ways it can be freeing.  If our actions are broadcast out into the masses for collective judgment on a daily and micro-neurological level, we don't have to work so hard to impress everyone else.  We can, instead, honestly be free to figure out what we're interested in doing absent other people.  And, once we do that, we can reintroduce people to that activity to build healthy relationships.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


There are a lot of ways to be stumped.  One of the perennial favorites is of course because we don't want to appear stupid.  This is naturally quite an important feature for dynamic social interactive sorts of stuff, but if you're trying to produce something that can benefit from editing and hence, successive drafts, than getting out some ideas on paper, as it were, can be helpful to have the capacity to appear stupid and work through it, because you, or I, suffer only from self-judgment.  Notably harsher than it has any right to be, and frequented distorted as it is, it is not the end-all of anything. In fact, it is probably more of a beginning if it can incentivize harder work.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I'm Single Now, he said to me.

At 7:30 this morning, "and 71 years old.  So I just love to come in here and eat this oatmeal, ya know, because I don't always cook for myself."

To which I replied, of course.  I completely understand.  But instead of telling him that my wife was gone for 2 weeks, abroad, which is true, I instead nodded again vigorously, to avoid the possibility that he would tell me that his wife recently passed away, making him single for the first time in 50 years.  And because I was a a stranger, I didn't inquire further, and we settled into silence for the next 30 minutes after some quaint talk about tehneed to keep stretching and working on one's body.

And when I said goodbye to him, and wished him well, there was a moment wherein he realized how searching and pathetic he felt before, how insecure, how reminiscent of his early 20s he may have been there, for that moment, in his early 70s, and I felt it too, he brushed it all away by being relatively gruff, instead of desperate, and I wanted to tell him it was okay, but I was also not willing, in the previous moment to endeavor down the possible dead-wife path.  So it is on a Friday morning.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Growing into a Stereotype?

Afraid that you, young adult, are slowly growing into a horrid stereotype of yourself, your culture, and your values, one that you were, just a few years ago, thoroughly repulsed by and found to be seriously similar to people like your parents?

I have the solution!

Stop idolizing stereotypes.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Population Control!

Everybody freak out!  The global population is exploding!  We're doomed!  Get ready!

I'm so sick of this shit.  People are living long than ever.  In the entirety of human history.  And we're living lives with more convenience.

As long as technological sophistication speeds along with population growth, i think we'll be ok.

Often times this is just a veiled xenophobia.

The Will To Be Uncomfortable - Changing Habits

So, if you want to change a particularly nasty habit (and it is something that's clearly measurable, like smoking, for instance, or eating twinkies, or cutting back on caffeine), the question is not of trying to simply abstain, but understanding levels of discomfort, and the lure of personal justificatory mechanisms (i.e. the unconscious, or barely conscious running manufacturing center of speedy dopamine delivery).  To wit, if you currently drink, let's say, a cup of coffee in the morning and a cop of coffee in the afternoon and want to stop, you must first understand the level of urges that your body will give you to maintain the chemical consistency it is used to.  Make no mistake,  you and your body are separate people.  Your body will work very hard to convince you of what it wants, and what it wants, particularly around 3pm is a bit of sugar, a bit of caffeine, and a bit of a break.  It does not want discomfort.

So, let's say you've held out, you've done it!  Now you can reward yourself with a candy or a cup of coffee?  Well, partially, you can.  But only a half caffeinated coffee or green tea,  or a piece of fruit.  Substitution is one way to break our habits.  They will not be as pleasant right away.  But, like waking up early, you will gain a bit of a tolerance and it will become easier with time and practice.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Truly Intelligent People -

Is it the case that they're almost always outliers regarding eccentric behavior?

Let's just say that's the case.  And it is the case that people generally know it is the case.  To some degree, then, eccentricity signals extreme intelligence, and some--even most--eccentric people are faking it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

From Census Data - Black Men and Black Women in Manhattan


Frozen, half-participants, unsure, or, conversely, overly sure, misfiring repeatedly, talking in streaks of stubborn refuge; eyes seeking something, damnit, in the belt buckles, shoe laces, texture of jean cloth, the slight bulge of probiscus--the attention, paid most formally, is to not invalidating oneself prior to validating, to speaking too much, revealing inner thoughts about assessment--inner thoughts about how one views other person's inner thoughts, that is, and how those inner thoughts, having been viewed, might be reacted to, all the while masquerading high level dedication to the articulation of small talk, rounded lips for the sake of exactly, well, nobody.  All of the half sweats and false humility in the world won't stop those thoughts.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

White Women and White Men by Age in Manhattan as of 2010

Men and Women in NYC

Willingness to Conflict.

I'd say this capacity--to enter and sustain conflict, and do it knowingly, and willingly--will garner huge rewards.  I've personally been totally hands off hyper-lefty and especially sensitive my entire adult life, which, I'm slowly coming to realize, may in fact have been a mistake, and further, that I've been terribly unhappy because of my own apathetic non-aggression and avoidance of even the whisper of awkwardness or dominance.

Mostly, I've been upset with myself for making excuses to do things that were extremely short term, while simultaneously not being thorough about any of my purported concerns.   I've got a LOT more patience and sustenance these days, and that's good.  Still, sustenance and patience is fine and dandy, but at times one needs even more.  One/I need to be able to take out the claws and act (or, in the world I inhabit, to interact) and not second-guess myself or become so mealymouthed that I can't form a sentence.  Making decisions for yourself actually does put you at odds with other people.  In the past, I've just let them (the other people) roll over what I'd already decided for myself, and their preferences would win the battle, mostly because I wasn't even vocal about what I wanted--what I told myself previously. Pretty flimsy.

Now, there IS a lot of complexity and degrees of sophistication in the world, so let's be clear that I'm not referring to my past and saying I should be blindly aggressive now.  I think that would be an equal mistake.  But I should stand up for myself when what I've decided to myself is clear, or when I want something.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Forgiveness is Funny.

To forgive, we essentially ignore the hungry tiger of emotions within us and sort of pardon someone else, that is, irrationally, in both an emotional and intellectual sense.  We allow a disgrace, a stubble of pain, or other harm or injustice to stand. To forgive, we overlook and we decide to move beyond.  To forgive we find a way to come to terms with whatever schism was, and come together anew.

Here's the funny part.

We do it without knowing whether our empathy will be treated with respect.  We do it blindly.  It is very difficult because of this.  Then again, if all actions were sure bets, there would be no conflict in the first place.

Actually it is very freeing to fully forgive someone in a selfless manner.  It isn't easy, but it does feel good once it is done.

Why Do People Disagree?

Although, of course, I've disagreed with other people a LOT in my life, and stood up for myself, and whatnot, I also, lately, have almost no idea why people disagree.  The only conclusion I can come to is that they actually think their opinions matter.  And  here I'm talking about social policy, mostly, or about something wider than one's relationship with one other person, in which case opinions do matter because they reflect and affect the relationship.

Concerning larger political issues though, I have to assume that most of us argue just to show off.  Simply to be better than the other person, and not, at all, for the substance of the material.  Because if our opinions don't matter, how will convincing someone at a bar or dinner or social gathering of any sort actually impact anything?  It won't.  And the likelihood of convincing someone is astonishingly low.  So low that I wonder why it is we get so worked up in the first place.

When Do we Start to Reflect? On anything?

I was reflecting very deeply and singularly earlier, in the car, actually (though not while driving) and it occurred to me that the capacity, or the occurrence of reflection must set in at a specific age.  I don't recall being 10 and thinking about my life, or meaning.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Well, Again. Again.

Yeah, I'm logging on to log into my antipathy to blogging at the end of exhausting days that require serious mental effort and sustained concentration, making blogging a lot harder, actually, given my energy levels, and less relieving, or cathartic, or whatever it is.

Not that I want to give in to exhaustion so much that exhaustion has taken over me, has, if you will, frothed up about the car wash of my life.  Okay, I get it.  You won't, actually.  Allow that to stand.

Point of fact that I'm not terribly dissatisfied, and am, also, more accurate.  I'm still mindlessly confused at times, but not in a naive way as a tool to camouflage my unwillingness to actually make a concerted effort at something.  Sustained, and concerted. Terribly time dump into grey cubicle.  It is my life.  I accept it.  I don't mind it.  Let's go again tomorrow.  Fresh tie.  Fresh tea.  Fresh brain.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Finding Peace After Death.

Is thinking about life after death a way to get around the very real incentives of life?

Personally, I've worked up all sorts of frothy justifications for acting a certain way because a certain event is going to happen in a year or two.  And I wouldn't have tried to act that way if I didn't have that event in my mind (i.e. I'll be leaving this town/apartment/relationship/school in a year or two).   So I do think that we justify all sorts of behavior in ourselves that we wouldn't otherwise justify if we start to think about a glorious change in the future of our lives, and that thinking about finding peace, or going on some sort of fantastical vacation, after death, is unfortunately, a very real way to become exactly the type of person you (or I) currently despise.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Shampoo Free.

So for about 2 weeks I've been washing my hair with a very weak solution of baking soda and water (like a small spoon of baking soda to 1 cup of water), and I've found it to be very satisfying, as far as shampoo/no shampoo goes, in that I have less greasy hair (I've always suffered from greasy hair, so much so that I cannot go without washing it one day), more manageable hair, and less dandruff.  In fact, I have almost no dandruff.  I'll continue to do this for a good long time, perhaps the rest of my life.  It is insanely cheap, too.

Dare I count up the cost of shampoo thus far in my life?

Well, here's a small simple table.

Keep in mind, people probably spend much more on other products, like conditioner, and styling and whatnot.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Transition -

Any transition takes time to set, if  you will.  I've found this is the case with a lot of different types of interactive events and abstentions.  The first actual cut of change is by far the hardest.  The rest is acclimation.  Eventually, surprisingly, if you return to the point you were previously, you'll actually face similar growth/pain/transition as the initial change.

Some things are worth sticking to, even when they're painful, is the lesson.  So don't give up, just get through, for the moment.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Why Fantasy?

Seems that there's a fine line between useful fantasy, as in the capacity to understand how good something might be to such a level that you go out and strive for the opportunity to have a certain experience--the experience being much better than the fantasy, in that case--and the possibility that fantasy can fuel huge levels of delusion and misdirected efforts which hurt the person who has the fantasies.

I'm willing to believe that all fantasies hold some essential qualities though.

For starters, they must be social.  I don't buy that people simply strongly fantasize about things when they're alone in the fantasy.  I think most fantasies are about impression management to some degree.

Also, I'm willing to bet that many fantasies' set up are fueled by specifics.  As in, the pay off might not be clear, separate from a good feeling of some sort, but the set up to get to the good feeling is crystal clear.

Third, I think all fantasy involves a bit of secrecy.

There are probably countless other qualities I've missed.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shared Feelings

Shared feelings aren't odd at all.  They are, we think, quite common.

Not only do I often think I share the feelings that other people have, but I also think that what is evident to me about a shared situation is also evident to other people (and they most likely think this about their own thoughts).

But that is odd, after all, because we can't actually figure out what's going on in other people's heads.  We can only extrapolate from what we think is going on there.  And if what we think is going on there is only a function of a combination of physical twitches, then maybe we don't quite share as many essential experiences with other people as we thought we did.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Can't Know Everything

There are limits on what each one of us individually can possibly know about the world, regardless of applicability.

Although it seems nice to want to learn "everything" it doesn't actually make sense to do that.  We need shortcuts to the conclusion that a body of knowledge produces, and that's why we rely on experts, or refrain from making decisions.

Still, there's a push with some people, I think, to try to understand every field, and generally, if you think you can do this, you're over-estimating your capacity and severely under-estimating the complexity of the stuff that you hope to master.

I have to tell myself this more often than not, especially lately.  I can't do everything.  I've got to choose what it is that I want, and spend time going after it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Ideal of Capitalism

Is it this:  That our most selfish is actually our most altruistic?  I.e. that by specialization and focus on our own personal goals, we naturally benefit others the most?  Is that too simple?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Intelligence and Extroversion

There are lots of personality attributes that will get in the way of intelligence (or making money from one's intelligence).  This seems odd.  Allow me a few examples.

Extroversion/Introversion.  The capacity to be overt and interactive may help show off one's abilities and get access to applicable skills and opportunities.  Being too inhibited can stifle opportunity making events.

Laziness. Plenty of very smart people are lazy. They seek minimal work for sustenance.  Perhaps this makes them smart, I'm not sure.

Openness to new experience:  This cuts both ways.  If you tell yourself you're only good at a set of items, but you hold the potential to be better at a different set, only to exclude the latter set because of perceived difficulty, well, you're setting yourself up to be lazy and unchallenged, and you're also telling yourself something that isn't true, but is convenient.

Capacity to verbalize thoughts and convey them.  Not everyone is good at this.  This is, perhaps, a skill that is developed through time, and one that isn't intuitive.  I'm not sure whether, given an idea, it is best to talk about it from your own perspective, or try to alter how you describe it to fit your perception of the person with whom you speak.  Either way, effective communication is hard going.

Depression.  This seems obvious.

Cultural stuff and overconfidence (insecurity):  Americans like to think they're the fucking best at everything, a priori, with no effort.  This is, at best, a form of dangerous adolescence.  At worst, it will sink the country.  I'm not saying it isn't hard to say "I don't know," but I'm saying that Americans have a really hard time saying it.  Because they think they know.

Getting Hammered Isn't Relaxing.

It in fact stressed out almost all functions in your body.  It seems relaxing because it disengages the rational parts of our brains, and makes us stop thinking as intensely, or as manically, as before.  And it slows us down physically, too.  All at a cost, though.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pain Can Calm.

Little bits of pain can provide relief and peace in a way that is highly addictive.   There are explanations.  Of course, if you don't expect pain and have it inflicted on you, it will not prove calming.  But if self-inflicted, and controlled, once gotten used to, it can provide some comfort, if you will.  Hence cutting, self-mutilation, etc.  Once you gain a 'tolerance' you can go too far.

Exhausted -

Apologies for the lack of posts recently.  Suffice it to say that I'm probably trying to do too much.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Stopping Time.

A comment pointed out that the idea of stopping time, and then thinking about stuff, that is, looking around stopped time and conceiving of separate ideas or thoughts or observations, is inherently illogical, because, if time stopped, or if I could freeze it, I would indeed also be frozen, or merged in, what have you.  But if I could stop time and simultaneously think about the stopped time, well then, there'd be some time going forward, and I'd violate my own preposition for thought experiment.

And yet.

I still want to assert something about expectations.  Within any given moment, there are literally billions of people thinking about what they're going to do next.  They are also telling themselves stories, histories, really, about what they'll base their "what to do next" decisions on.  What I'm fascinated with is the idea that we could cut out their justifications, their histories, and the world would look pretty freakin' weird.  All these structures of thought, culture, currency, language, etc., exist only within human interaction, and propel themselves from human interaction in the past.  Without memory and justification, we don't have much to ride on for our behaviors into the future.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Closure is Bullshit (Mapping experience with verbiage)

I don't think there's a certifiable pattern to human coping, not in the traditional sense, anyway.  Coping, for instance, comes to mind, and the idea that emotional wounds, like physical, heal with time, until they're neat little scabs to be picked.

Since our brains are oh so excited about grasping new concepts by analogizing, I think it is intuitive to feel that our mental processes are similar to the physical, and to think that with proper care and time, mental wounds heal.  But I'm more of the mind that other things happen.

1) We have new experiences that replace older experiences.

2) We value the current time frame over the past time frame

3) We tell ourselves ever evolving stories based on ever evolving memories about what it was that caused pain, and indeed, we

4) redefine the pain as something else, either a bedrock of personality or a slip knot of death.

Maybe those things are coping.  I always thought of it as "coming to peace" with an experience, whatever it is.

But I don't think we have closure.  I do think we settle on narratives that tend to stick.

And to come up with narratives, we have to put words onto our experiences, which isn't always completely natural, however urgent or relieved we might feel to have them splayed out in front of us.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Simplicity vs. Sophistication

I'm not sure how I ever got by thinking that the world was a relatively simply place.  It isn't.  Not even the ergonomics of the chair I'm sitting in are simple.  There's fascinating, and brain numbing, data, almost everywhere.

One minor thought, though, that has intrigued me lately, is this.  At any given moment, all of the stuff we take as part of lived reality, like the way our buildings look, the way our faces look to one another, the historical contingencies that created all sorts of language, and our expectations about all of this, can be, if you will, frozen.  At any given moment, none of them exist in that they only exist, and know how to exist, through time.

So while it is not revelatory to say that absent time, our reality looks odd, it is strange to play the mental game that freezes time and asks how things look absent all of our expectations about what is on the cusp of happening.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Well, I was assaulted.

Almost five years of living in NYC, and I haven't been assaulted by anyone.  I'm large (enough), male, and well, haven't worried too much about it, even very late at night in desolate not so nice neighborhoods.

And tonight, in Williamsburg, I sat, studying, as it was, Polish, and a lanky mid-20s guy, with long very sleek brown hair meandered over and sat down next to me, close.  He looked up at me with a look I'm quite familiar: stoned cold drunk.

Anyway, I asked him how much he had to drink, and he didn't say anything.  In fact, he got up and left for a few moments.  And then he must have raged over into actual physical confrontation mode, because he threw himself at me for everything he was worth, enough momentum to break the chair I was in.  I jumped, up, almost not aware of what was happening--removed, even--and sort of stuck my hand into his face to hold him back.  Some other guy grabbed him.  I didn't think he would persist in the way that he did, but, well, I was wrong.  He persisted.  Until this other guy threw the first guy on the ground, which was nice.  Anyway, I'm fine.  It was strange, at best.

To top it all off, this kid got up off the ground and told the now swelling group of people staring at him that "we just didn't understand," because he was a genius.  That's what he said.  A genius.

Anyway, this corresponds directly with an increased fare for my Polish lessons, which means I'll take them up on my own, and not go back there ever, perhaps.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Never Underestimate Misunderstanding.

I'm really awed to believe that so many people can speak with so many undeclared assumptions to their professions of knowledge.

Having an "inter-subjective" understanding of where we stand, mentally, that is, how we perceive and respond to information from other humans, or collectively, responses when watching a movie (or viewing a different art form), is really difficult.  Even to get to a place where true disagreement is possible.  A lot of arguing isn't disagreement at all; it is a power play for the most forceful interpretations (which often puts the speaker in the best light).

Friday, January 6, 2012

Purity vs. Repetition?

Is good art the product of purity?  Or something less appealing? Something more difficult?

Stated differently: Is art really just the capacity to work extremely hard in a somewhat consistent manner?    I.e. are the works of art we love fundamentally products of repetition--and editing--or are the first unedited versions (the purer ones) the products that we love?

Thursday, January 5, 2012


For a few days, and after endless pointless reflection and half-assed introspection, I've come to a few transitory conclusions.

First, I need to protect my own mental sanity.  I can't go around letting everyone "in" to my personal (i.e. mental) space.  I know there are distinctions to be made here; suffice it to say that I still have to protect my own sanity, even if there are costs to it

Second, more importantly, I think that genuine interest and curiosity is way more compelling than fear and lust and status.  Why not be motivated by our own interests and not feel guilty about it?  Somewhere deep down we've got a voice that says we've got to feel bad if we have pleasure.  I muzzled that little pipsqueak, nailed him down to the floor, and whatnot.

Third, we need not and cannot plan out our lives all the time we're living them.

Fourth, ambition has drastic personal, almost abusive, costs. But never underestimate how ambitious people are regarding being non-ambitious (this always gets me excited).

Fifth, there's a train coming for me at 8:47, and if I'm going to make it, I simply must iron my pants and shirt, assemble them on the body that takes me along everywhere.  There's simply no excuse for going to work naked, folks.

I want to be a lazy fucking bastard.

And I want to be as glorious and as high-status all of my instincts tell me I already AM.

And fuck everyone who doesn't agree or might speak their minds directly about the incongruity involved in my above sentiment.

Who's exempted from this?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nothing a bit of Chopin can't cure

 Chopin and black tea on a cold day.  The cure for whatever ails you.