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.