To Amuse the Cosmic Ass

Drunk on his own brew and half asleep at his office desk, the most honored man in the world cries. He cries the tears of one whose sadness is his greatest gift and his greatest curse simultaneously. Rheb Larsden, founder of Sadventures Incorporated, who specialize in reconstructing negative emotions for people who have never known them, clutches the little pills in his hand as he works up the courage. Today is a good day to die.

Eight years ago Rheb somehow stepped out of the 21st century into wherever he is now. In eight years he still has no idea how he got here or where he is. It could be the future or an alternate universe or even hell, so far as he knows. A hell in which everyone was happy but him, and where he was made the most powerful man simply by offering them a glimpse of his sadness.

When he was taken out of the world he was born into he was running through the woods clutching an epi-pen, racing to save the life of the woman he would marry in just a few weeks. He and Mareva had gone for a short walk from their camp when the bee stung her. As he raced back to her after retrieving the life-saving device, he was snatched from his existence and dumped willy-nilly wherever he was now.

Not a day goes by when he doesn’t set the table to eat himself inside-out emotionally over the ordeal. He knows he could handle it if he had just been taken from her, but that she almost certainly died because he could not reach her, he can never find comfort or peace. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to. Maybe we fall in love with our pain so we never have to be completely alone.

Still clutching those pills, those little distillates of poisons he had extracted himself for this very purpose, Rheb stumbles from his chair into a simulation room.

“Computer, run program Romeo & Juliet,” he says to flashing lights on the wall. A door opens and he walks inside the brightly lit room that quickly fades into shapes and colors and objects and faces and voices. This simulation was his first, before he added olfactory elements to further enrich the experience. It was a crude a clunky program, but it was his first and he had wanted to preserve it in all of it’s glorious clumsiness.

Rheb left the 21st century knowing almost nothing about the works of Shakespeare, a bard who had lived far before the time and place he was born in. His reconstruction of Romeo and Juliet was, he knew, so laughably inadequate that anybody from his original home would have called shenanigans. But even if it was only a shadow of the original tale, supplemented with Shakespearean tropes that probably weren’t even in Romeo and Juliet, the people here had loved it. For most, it had been their first real immersive experience in sadness and despair.

“Chose role,” a computer voice prompted him.

“Romeo.”

Wherever he was, wherever this was, this maddening utopia he had been delivered to by unknown forces, it was not a place for him. Everyone here was happy, perfectly and flawlessly happy. They paid him great money to experience the sadness he brought here with him. They rode his angst like a roller coaster through simulations he had programmed from his own experiences and memories of a world where everyone was far from perfectly happy. A world he missed more than imaginable.

When he arrived he found himself running down a street, still clutching the epi-pen meant to save Mareva’s life. Everything was pristine and beautiful, and his confusion and anguish were so out of place he became an instant spectacle. He scanned around. He screamed her name. He ran in circles. He jumped up and down and fell into a pile of confusion, fear and frustrated rage.

“What game is this, brother, and can I play with you?” asked a stranger standing over him.

Rheb looked up to notice that he was surrounded. All around him there were maniacally smiling faces, looking at him like he was the most fascinating thing they had ever seen.

“Play,” he responded. “PLAY?”

The man who had asked stood over him, grinning ethereally, without a care or concern in the world.

“You think this is some kind of fucking game? Who the fuck are you? Where am I? Where is Mareva?”

His face turned red then purple. His fist balled up and he began to shake.

“Where is Mareva?”

The man and the crowd still just smiled, waiting to see where this game was going. Rheb coiled up and struck out in a flash, punching the man square in the jaw. For a moment his smile was gone, not replaced by anger or pain, just curious confusion. Then he smiled again.

“What do you call this game, brother? What am I supposed to do?”

Rheb wound up for another, but before he could throw his punch he deflated and crumpled to the ground and curled up in the fetal position and began to wail. After a few minutes of total absorption in his own confused misery he heard dozens of other voices wailing. He sat up and looked around and all around him people were lying in the fetal position throwing mock tantrums of their own.

His anger flared. He jumped to his feet and was about to lash out in violence when he noticed that all eyes were on him. Not in mockery or contempt, but awe and wonder. They were following his lead, not ridiculing it. They gazed on him like some kind of glorious freak or a god. So he did the only thing that made any sense and blacked out.

Over the next few weeks he learned that wherever he was, sadness no longer existed. It was a world which had solved all of its basic problems, freeing its people the existential angst of their vestigial evolutionary quirks. Negative emotions had no bearing on these people, because the situations which gave rise to them had all basically been solved. From resource scarcity to reproductive patterns, everything that caused disharmony had been weeded out through careful innovation of all aspects of life.

Romance and love still existed, but without expectation or urgency. Love spread itself out so that everyone generally loved everyone else. Romance was something that happened in brief spurts, usually over a day or two, as two fascinated people explored one another before moving on to explore someone or something else. A life of total leisure had reduced the passion of love from a burning desire to playful curiosity.

Reproduction became a matter of community planning. Whenever somebody died a new human was created from the genetic framework of that person and the person who had died before them. They maintained population equilibrium this way while still preventing genetic bottle-necking. Babies were raised by volunteers for the first few years, but as they began to gain more independence they were given more opportunities to make choices for themselves while still be tended to by other members of the community. However in this world you were unlikely to meet a five year old who wasn’t as capable of self-sufficiency as most adults had been where Rheb came from.

An absence of fear and multitudes of trust tended to point everyone in healthier directions. It all began to make sense to him over time but there was one thing he could never explain. Even babies did not cry. Was this the same human being stock he had been bred from, or was it an entirely alien species? Was the difference in their basic structure, or just that they had eliminated sour emotions from their species for enough successive generations that they had been entirely bred out?

These people did not even fear death. It was every bit as accepted and even exciting as births were. Every individual even spent their lives composing a death song, a tune which would be sung by others for the first time after death, and would be used to memorialize them joyously. Festivals were regularly had in which songs for the dead were sang while people took ‘enhancers’ and danced and laughed and told stories. Of course the songs came and went over time. Few songs existed from even four or five generations back. The best way to be remembered was to write a great song, but nobody seemed much too concerned with being remembered and just tried to write a song they liked.

It was the perfect world and Rheb was the most beloved man in it, and yet he still resented it with every bit of his being. It had taken him away from Mareva, and it had prevented him from saving her life. He was trapped here alone with his sorrows and she was gone forever, not even a song to be sang to remember her.

A character spoke to him, “To be or not to be, that is the question.” It handed him a simulation of the poison which Romeo takes in the scene lying beside his sleeping lover Juliet whom he believes to be dead.

Rheb will be taking his own very real poison this time. Laying next to Juliet, who he had programmed to look like Mareva, he will swallow his mercy for once and for all. The simulation moves him ever closer to that moment and his heart swells with relief. He is not afraid.

The people of this world, this future, this hell, this godforsaken whatever, had long forgotten sadness when Rheb arrived. They lived peacefully and blissfully. To all outward appearances they were perfectly adjusted. But through their constant smiles and enthusiasm there was something else. It had taken awhile to see it, but it was there.

Where once had been sadness, pain and all of those negative emotions there was now a hole. A great emptiness that longed to be filled. Although they could not verbalize it directly it became obvious that everyone carried around a sense of incompleteness. And his sadness, an experience which was absolutely alien to them, had become a fast, cheap fix. Through reliving the misery he was able to relate to them, they temporarily were able to fill this gap. However it never lasted and they were always hungry for more. Until finally the gnashing of the teeth of these emotional vampires, demanding his anguish so they could feed from it, became too much for him to bear.

The saddest man could never be given any peace in the happiest of worlds.

As the poison took hold he began to lose consciousness. Suddenly he was back in the woods, running towards Mareva. He cried out, “Don’t worry baby, you are gonna be okay. Everything is going to be okay.”

When his body was found in the simulation room a memory tube was found in his pocket which contained his death song. Within hours it had spread over the entire world and was being sung by every person alive. For the first time they shed tears and felt the sadness that Rheb could only give them a small taste of in life. But by his death and by his song, the currency of pain was made real by the guilt of what they had done. They had driven their savior to oblivion in their hunger for his knowledge. They had caused the fruit which shall not be eaten to eat itself.

I am an ark upon an endless sea
Built from pain and misery
Surrounded by waters of endless glee
That jump the bough to ride in me

How can a boat so small and frail
Hold an entire sea it was meant to sail
Surely such a thing must fail
Why must I sink to tell my tale

As all things must come to pass
To amuse the cosmic ass
Into the void where I belong
Feast your fangs on my life’s song

How My Breast Milk Fetish Went Sour

How My Breast Milk Fetsih Went Sour

Even in my earliest memories I can recall being pretty obsessed with breasts. I was a toddler tit connoisseur, able to distinguish between shape, size, firmness and placement far beyond the abilities of my peers. Yet I cannot remember being breastfed, or if that was still going on by the time I had developed my particular must for bust. Shortly before she died I finally came clean to my mother about my ‘lifestyle’ in hopes that she could provide some clue as to how things turned out the way they did for me. She said she had breastfed me until I was a year old and then weaned normally. Yet a year later when I saw her breastfeeding my baby sister, she says, I became outraged with envy and had to be out of site whenever future feedings occurred lest I throw a spasmodic tantrum.

For most of my early childhood it was just the jugs that got me going. Then when I was ten I went on a visit with my mother to a her friends house. This was the first time I had ever met the woman and it was the first time that I ever fell in love. She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. And on top of that she had the most perfect breasts I had ever yet laid eyes upon. Every detail about those globes was absolutely perfect. They were a masterpiece in every conceivable way. The advantage of being ten is that you can blend into the background and stare without being noticed, and I sat there for an hour pretending to be reading comic books while taking in every glorious breath and subsequent upheavals of those marvelous mounds.

And then the single most formative moment of my life occurred. From afar a baby cries out, and mom’s friend shuffles off, returning a moment later with her bundle of joy. She sits back down and pulls one of those epic melons out right before my eyes, exposing her nipple (my Holy Grail at the time) and teasing it into that blessed newborns little mouth. I glance over at my mom, just as she glances questioningly and a bit nervous at me, and I pretend to go back to my comic book. Yet I cannot help but to stare raptly, no longer capable of any stealth pretense, so my mother politely suggests I should go outside and see if there are any children my age in the neighborhood. Awed and embarrassed I am unable to argue or shrug her suggestion aside, so I head outside and climb the first tree I can get myself up into.

As I sat there splayed out in the branches I had the most intimate moments of my life. I imagined myself as that lucky little baby, slurping freely from that monumental mammalia, while the entire world around me became whiteness and warmness and a song that cannot be heard except as gentle vibrations tracing the furthest reaching tendrils of my entire soul simultaneously. Heaven.

On the way home my mom asked me if I understood what I had seen. I told her I ‘kinda’ did and she gave me a simple run down on the mechanics and psychology mother’s milk. And even though I was still reeling in a haze of newfound love, I can remember every word she said to this day.


My fascination soon became fetish, even before the throes of puberty. Yet these desires remained my own private fantasy for several more years, which in retrospect, was the golden age of my compulsion. It was only when I eventually tried to act these fantasies out in real life that things became complicated and painful.
Thankfully I came of age during the time of the internet. Finding a partner to indulge my fantasies was not always easy, but it was far less difficult than most of the actual encounters themselves. I would put out ads detailing my kink, although I never thought of it as anything less than beautiful and wholesome myself, and would generally get a reply once a month or so. Only about half of these ended in me guzzlin’ jugs, and almost all of them ended in complete disaster.

With few exceptions the women who I hooked up with were young single mothers desperate to attract a partner to help them through the struggles of parenthood and life. And while it generally all began as an agreement for discrete occasional encounters, it always eventually came down to my partner wanting to “pursue the relationship further”. A few times I actually tried this, but as the relationship progressed, the expectation that I would wean off my fixation ultimately ended the relationship before I ever even got to the moving in together phase. That is, until I met Victoria.

From the moment I met her I could tell that there was something off about her. First of all, she was far more attractive than the vast majority of women who I hooked up with. Which made her apparent attraction to me mind-boggling. Her vigilance to visual perfection extended to every inch of her perfectly sculpted and groomed body. She had a face of eternal youth, a little girls coy smile on a sex goddesses face. Framed by the most beautiful wavy blue black hair you have ever seen, which accompanied her porcelain skin tone highlighted by only the most gentle brushes of pink. And her breasts…

Victoria had breasts that could start an apocalypse or bring world peace and end hunger. Maybe even all on the same day and in any order. There is no way to describe them. If I tried to put into words the perfection they encompassed, even if I achieved the highest possible form of descriptive compliment, I could still only manage to convey only a fraction of their globular glory. But how and why they were so perfect was a flaw I would not understand fully until it was far too late.

She came from your average American town. The kind small enough to have just one high school, but big enough to have over a half dozen fast food joints on the main strip. Her whole life she had been everyone’s princess, despite having been born on the wrong side of the tracks in a below average family. She was charming, congenial, witty and clever – on top of beautiful. Everyone loved her, but nobody loved her more than she did herself. As her body blossomed into that of a young woman her breasts seemed to hit a growth standstill, just shy of her minimum expectations for their development. Despite the fact that she was considered perfect in almost every conceivable way to everybody else who knew her, she came to view this shortchanging of the bra as an unfathomable slight against her by all of existence. She was, she reckoned, one cup size short of total perfection and thus – completely flawed. In her last few years of high school her insecurities led her to experiment with promiscuity, although she always chose older men for one night stands out of discretion and decorum. That is, until senior prom.

Despite her growing anxieties about her perceived flaw, she was voted Prom Queen, just as everybody she had ever met knew she would be since the first time they met her. She was born prom queen material, and destiny owed that to her, regardless of her incompetent mammary glands. On this night she made an exception to her ‘no romance with peer’s rule and went as the date of the boy in her class who was crowned king. They then went out together for the rest of the school year, and on the night before graduation, she let him fuck her. It was uncomfortable and boring and would change the rest of her life.

As everyone else was heading off to college, she got got an apartment in a town a county away and took a job as secretary at a printing company. Shortly after her ‘king’ had marched off to four years in a frat house, she began to show. He never had any idea, as he had broken up with her a few weeks after she became pregnant because, “You know, it’s college, babe. I’ll never forget you.”

While her body began to swell to accommodate the child growing inside her, so did her breasts. She would come home from work after a long day and stand topless in the mirror scrutinizing them for new growth, and partially out of fear that they would engorge themselves unequally and she would become loptitted. She spent a small fortune on oils and creams and support bras, and as those little b-cups transformed themselves into firm, plump c+cups, she fell in love.

After she gave birth she was vigilant about getting back into shape, and soon her body was more curvy and toned than it had ever been before. So long as she breast fed, her hooters remained in that perfect pristine state. They were the only thing that had ever been missing, and so long as she could keep them, she could be happy. Her, her beautiful baby boy and her glorious gazongas; she could live with that. So she vowed to herself and whatever powers the universe might behold that she would breastfeed as long as she could.


When Victoria responded to my ad her son Merrick was five years old and just getting ready to go to kindergarten. Despite the fact that neither of them were willing or emotionally ready to end what had already gone on too long, she knew it had to be done. She found another mouth to suck and began weaning the child. When I first came into their life this change had thrown them into absolute dysfunction. Both of them waged an emotional war against each other that will likely last the rest of their live, but in the beginning it was especially bad.

It was not that I did not notice the insanity I had walked into, I had seen it clearly from the very first step. But Victoria’s breasts were so absolutely perfect that nothing could have dragged me away from them. On top of this I reasoned that things would eventually even out and I would be living my lifelong dream. And as time went on, it sometimes seemed things might turn out that way.

After about a year and a half of 2-3 feedings on the world’s greatest fun bags, things suddenly took a turn for the worse. One night while we were up watching television and I was helping myself to a late night snack, Merrick woke up and caught us in the act. It was the first time he had ever seen me foraging from his former source of ambrosia, and it did not go well. He jumped on me and began screaming and swinging and kicking and biting and clawing. It was total rage and before I could make it stop without hurting the kid, I was bleeding from a dozen places.

The result of this was that Victoria took Merrick to see a therapist. However when the boy revealed his story, the therapist told Victoria that she was likely the source of his troubles and would need to seek therapy herself if he was ever going to get better. So she did. But the therapist continuously told her that nothing would get better until she let go of her attachment to her breasts and keeping them up with lactation spurred by sexual encounters. She became sullen, depressed, angry and bitter. I could taste the milk in her turn sour as her inner struggle tore her apart. On one hand, she loved her son and wanted the very best for him, but on the other she loved her breasts more than anything she had ever loved about herself. Not only would quitting now mean they would lose volume, the years of breastfeeding would likely leave them deflated like grocery bags filled partially with lumpy stew. Yet fake boobies were never an option, as they had always been a deadly sin in her book of bodily perfection. She was not ready to face the eventual demise of her bosoms prime, and so things went on between us awhile longer.

One day as Merrick was supposed to be outdoors playing, I latched on for a little taste. As the warm drug slid down my throat I lost track of my surroundings. I did not notice that Victoria had fallen asleep to the sound of my gentle suckling, nor that the boy had quietly returned as I lay there sipping ecstatically, almost full and to the point of orgasm. I had no idea until the scissors punctured my left buttock halfway to the handle. My shrieking sent the boy scattering and his mother flew to her feet joining me in audio histrionics, as I ran around in circles like a madman trying to get a closer look at the damage. And that is the last thing I remember before losing consciousness and waking up later in the hospital.

The damage was minimal. I had fainted out of revulsion, horror and fright. The next morning I still had not heard from Victoria, and I was okay with that. A nurse said I should try to take a short walk if I was up to it, and I was. I strolled around the hospital and ended up in the maternity ward. As I looked into those little faces with their little puckered mouths I felt an overwhelmingly ethereal sense of shame and disgust, but only with myself.

I tried to calm myself by imagining my moms friends tits, those perfect proto-hooters of my life’s lust, but as I did I felt nothing. Going through a lifetime catalog of picture perfect memories of mammaries, I was left cold and empty. When I tried to imagine the slow trickle of earthy sweet warmth in my mouth from Nobel-worthy nipples, nothing within me stirred.

At first I panicked. I returned to my room and told the nurse my walk had prompted lots of pain, and was able to coerce her into a nice dose of drugs to calm me. I went over it again and again but my lifelong obsession was now just a distant memory. When I got out, I immediately broke it off with Victoria and we have never spoken since. (I later heard she married a car dealership owner and former high school quarterback and prom king, and Merrick became a cross between a Brony and a Juggalo, which enraged his stepdad to no end.)


Over the next days, weeks and months I came to find freedom in the release from my fetish. I could walk down the street and gander at the most marvelous racks and not feel a single thing, not even a sliver of that ancient thirst. Eventually I was sure that I was free at last and tested myself by watching several nights worth of breastfeeding videos online without even a slight stirring.

As this happened, I also began to notice things about women I never had. Or at least I began to notice differences between them that had never occurred to me in my narrow-minded obsession with breasts. For instance, I never realized how certain voices were more attractive than others, or how a balance of confidence and coyness could turn the mere act of walking into a show of unlimited seduction. I noticed this and hundreds of things that had never occurred to me before. And so the time came when I decided to try dating like a ‘normal’ human.

I wasted a whole year around bars and other pick up spots, but this turned out not to be my style. Eventually I tried online dating sites, but there was some ineffable quality about the women I met there I could not put my finger on, but which left me feeling these were souls even more desperate than I. At the same time I had noticed that I had become almost immune to arousal. Where once a few sips of chest nectar would excite me to the point of orgasm, I had not so much as had an erection in months. I even tried several kinds of porn, but nothing fanned my flames. I dismissed this as the need to make a real connection with a real woman, and not as some terrible harbinger. So I redoubled my efforts.

One day I was at a diner reading the newspaper when I came across a personals ad that seemed promising. The paper belonged to the diner but the waitress said that it would be okay if I wanted to snip a bit out, and ran off to grab me scissors. Scissors. The word lept electric into my mind. Scissors. Waves of potential ecstasy rolled wildly just under the surface of my whole being. Scissors. My erection threatened to bust out of my pants and overturn the table. If not, I would have gotten up. I would have ran. I would not have been there when the waitress got back. But I was, and as she handed me those scissors my entire body convulsed and I let out a low guttural moan and my eyes must have rolled a dozen times backward into my head as I sat there sputtering in horrified delight at whatever had just happened.

Scissors.

Coming soon – Part II: How My Scissor Fetish Went Dull In the Hands of A Racist Barber

Transsexuals, Transgendered, Transvestites and Materialist Dualism

Materialist Dualism

I have always found transsexuals, transgendered, transvestites and other human anomalies to be pretty fascinating. I have never been opposed to them emotionally, intellectually or morally in any way. Yet in the last decade some of the Social Justice Warrior rhetoric regarding these individuals had become so absurd that I began to question the phenomena in ways that I had not before. I became skeptical of the motivations, intentions and psychological health of TTT’s. I now admit that this was an irrational reaction to something that tends to cross my wires, that is, political correctness. Political correctness is a form of puritanism that does all sort of social harm by creating opposition through extreme posturing. In this case I was so wrapped up in how awful the PC people were that I let my feelings carry over into TTT’s.

Within the last year it dawned on me that all of my criticism and skepticism of TTT’s were based on an ideology that I abhor even more than political correctness – materialist dualism. So I did what you are supposed to do when you find out you are wrong, I rethought my position.

By ‘materialist dualism’ I mean the idea that mind and matter are separate things, and that mind is just a side effect of the existence of matter, and that matter came first and means more. This belief is so widespread in the modern world that most people usually think, speak and act as though it is true without even investigating why they believe it. It is the most shallow and literal-minded narrative of our existence, but somehow it goes unquestioned by almost everyone.

Materialist dualism would state that gender, sexuality and identity are all just biological functions designed by evolution for specific purposes, and that TTT’s are are unnatural. If the unnatural occurs we usually just assume that something went wrong with reality instead of questioning of our version of it. In the case of ideological backlash against TTT’s this is exactly what has happened.

Besides the mind/matter duality, there is another false dichotomy here, which is that TTT’s were either born this way or they made a choice. Not only are both of those things true to some degree, there is a third way of considering the problem, which is that some form of imprint conditioning has played a role.  What this means is that a TTT was probably born with some higher chance of manifesting their gender disassociation, then at a vulnerable point in development something flipped that switch and they later had to make a choice to what degree they would act it out personally and publicly. This is far more complex than the birth or choice dualism that most people subscribe to, and far more revealing about how we all become who we are.

The biological drive is probably the least influential factor of all. And the biological factor is what people are most focused on when they discuss the phenomena from a materialist viewpoint. This happens in a few ways. One way is that people accept TTT’s because they were ‘born that way’. The other way is that people will argue that TTT’s are an abomination because it is not what evolution and biology intended. The first is a patronizing reason for acceptance and the latter is just bigotry based on uninformed usage of biology. Yet once again we have a dualism here in which both parts are slightly true but may require a third one.

It may be that ‘nature’ or biology produces homosexuals and TTT’s for a very specific reason. Historically, I am not prepared to guess what that reason might have been, but here and now it should seem pretty obvious. There are now 7.5 billion living human beings, and that number is skyrocketing as child mortality continues to decrease, life spans get longer and parts of the world are developing in ways that accommodate rapid growth. We are multiplying at a staggering exponential rate as a species, so it would make sense for biology to rewire the reproduction drive in order not to self destruct from overpopulation.

Now I realize that what I am suggesting itself sounds materialist, but I interpret the physical world as a narrative, not a set of rules and defined interactions. And since our narrative includes biology and evolution, they must still be considered, while not being thought of as the full truth.

If you think people are getting strange now, give it another 5 billion people. By then a TTT of today will be tame compared to what happens to humans when we are no longer just genetic xerox machines. You are already seeing this as people identify as animals, anime characters, objects, etc. or have profound relationships with such things. By the end of the century there will be people who have had fourteen dicks surgically attached to them which they use only to rub up on giant silk shark puppets. And that will be pretty normal.

As far as choice goes, you have to be pretty brave still to come out as TTT. That requires the kind of decision making most people could not even begin to comprehend. Non-normality is always the least easy choice, not just to make, but to have to make at all. And I am pretty burnt out on ‘normalcy’ myself, so I can begin to understand the sort of mentality in which TTT’s start to use terms like ‘cis’ as a derogatory term for people who choose to live in obvious ways. If for no other reason that it fosters the courage to make a choice to be one of the evolutionary vanguard.

We are not just the sum of our genes or bodies or brain. Our consciousness must be larger than the reality it is required to encompass in order to do so. As such, variation in humanity is not just inevitable, it is the norm. TTT’s represent a future in which humanity learns to view itself outside of the narrow filter of materialism, which is why they make most people uncomfortable. Fear of the unknown. TTT’s are one of many signs that the near future is so relatively exotic that most people cannot even comprehend it. This is evidenced by the ironic fact both the pro and anti TTT factions are using the same metaphysical rationale to justify their opposing views.

Wherever bigotry, ignorance and hatred can be found against ‘groups’ of people, you will also find materialist metaphysics. Non dualism does not just give me a better view of reality, it deconstructs all of the petty thoughts and emotions I have labored under once I realize they are materialist in nature, and I hope it continues doing so for life. Abandoning materialism is not just about understanding our existence better, it is about making it better.

 

Hating the Hateful – A Vicious Cycle of Hate

vicious cycle of hate

As the upcoming elections have ramped up the hyperbole of our cultural dialogues, hate seems to be flying in all directions. Donald Trump, who is likely just using hate speech to get elected, has nonetheless created a situation through his troublesome rhetoric. His spoken racism, nationalism and xenophobia have stirred the pot of human emotions into a frenzy. Where the hateful sediment had been sinking to the bottom of our society for quite some time, it has been freshly stirred up and is making its rounds through the entire social strata again.

It would be tiresome to explain here why these hateful ideologies are wrong. Even bigots know at some level that their hatred is wrong, both intellectually and emotionally. This is why they usually hide it. What worries me is not the traditional small-minded prejudice of rural simpletons or organized hate groups. They are a known commodity that have mostly been tamed through disenfranchisement. What bothers me is the growing amounts of hate directed at these people by socially liberal people who consider their own hatred superior and justified.

A rabid and militant anti-hate movement is spreading across the country. Its flames are fanned by unrecognized irony and unexamined hypocrisies. It is itself a hate group, wearing a halo, while using the same notions of purity espoused by every hate group before it. It is comprised of people who consider themselves to be compassionate, understanding and accepting of others, yet who make threats of violence against their ideological opponents. Fighting hate with hate is not just unreasonable, it is creating a vicious cycle.

Most peoples latent racism is only dangerous in the sense that it breeds apathy for social issues. It mostly lies dormant where it can do no real harm. But when the rhetoric on race reaches the level of public screaming match, these folks often feel forced to pick a side. And unfortunately, this often leads them into a genuine deliberate racism they were not capable of before. Racism had become mostly taboo. Its death was predicated on the fact that even where it existed, it feared show its face. But when hates collide, and genuine racists come out of the woodwork, folks feel more emboldened to act on their own latent tendencies. The ironic hatred against bigots has given them a greater voice, and helps them to unite. Hate on hate breeds more hate.

To be clear, most of this hate of hate is happening to those who identify with liberal politics. These are the champions of equality. Yet in the last several years we have seen their camp ridden with a powerful prejudice in the form of Islamophobia. The talking heads of mainstream liberal politics like Bill Maher have gone out of their way to stir up hatred and xenophobia against Islam. And while this was all mostly tolerated by liberals, even if begrudgingly, the same folks are now coming out of their silent corners to attack the same hatred and xenophobia in their political opponents. And so we can see that the Us-vs-Them seems to have more bearing on this effect than does genuine concern about hatred. Yet that sort of thinking is precisely what every form of bigotry ever has been predicated upon. You cannot reserve your intolerance for hatred until the other team has the ball, and still be taken seriously as an advocate for tolerance.

Tolerance is a key concept. It is where the haters of haters have failed and fallen victim to the same instinctual urges of all bigots. The inability to tolerate bigots and to try to understand them has led to this. Yet that is precisely what we need. Hating the hateful just reinforces their hate, while validating and justifying hatred itself as an acceptable reaction to other kinds of people. Nobody became a racist, xenophobic nationalist in a vacuum. Nobody was born that way. That hatred has a genesis, and by looking for it we might be able to root it out in the individuals harboring it. First you must be compassionate enough to realize that hate is a painful burden to carry, and seek not to fight it, but to heal it.

Some people learned hate from their families. Some picked it up through negative experiences. Others have absorbed it through cultural dialogues. When we refuse or fail to understand a persons hatred, we are powerless to help them rid themselves of it, and understanding is not possible without some amount of acceptance. We must accept that the path to hatred was a meaningful experience to the individual. That is where we begin to tackle intolerance and wipe out hate. Dislodging hate will not happen through battles, but through therapeutic means. So if you really want to end hatred, do not adopt its techniques. Find someone who is full of hate. Listen to them. Accept them and try to understand them. And when doing so has earned you their trust and respect, take the opportunity to guide them using reason and compassion away from their own toxic hatreds.

This is how we conquer hatred, not with a bang, but with friendly conversations. It will not be a quick or easy process. Nothing worthwhile ever is. But it will be worthwhile. Let us expel hatred from the pool of humanity gently, without stirring the remaining parts back up in the process. Hate against hate is not just self-righteous hypocrisy, it is a producer of newer and ever-growing amounts of hatred. To stop the vicious cycle we must tame our response to hate and not be led by the same emotional/reactionary momentum that hate itself is predicated upon. Hate cannot destroy hate, only peaceful resolution through acceptance, tolerance, understanding and therapeutic removal can ever lead our species into harmony.

The Cult of Niceness

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The Cult of Niceness is an umbrella term that I use to describe many different behaviors and ideas. I first noticed the problem when I was only a child. Observing adults I was able to notice that they sometimes put on an appearance of niceness in order to cloak some other agenda. I began to understand that ‘nice’ was sometimes just a deceptive ruse used to manipulate others in some way. Usually just to create an image of themselves for others who did not know them well enough to see through it. Other times it was in order to coerce people into thinking, saying or doing what they wanted thought, said or done.  I quickly noted that often the attempt to appear nice was actually just a form of passive aggressiveness that somehow worked, no matter how obvious the charade seemed to me. And I quickly refused to play into that disingenuine mindgame myself.

As a result people often think I am either an asshole, socially unrefined or both. Genuine authentic honesty is a virtue we all pay lip service to, but most people are repulsed when they actually encounter it. The very same qualities that would cause people to label me also made me immune to their classifications. Integrity and consistency generally only feel good to the person attaining them, and painful to those whose cognitive dissonance they incite. People will then push you to admit to some kind of self-loathing in order to gratify themselves, and if you do not concede they will tell you that you think you are better than them and everyone else. I have never been concerned with popularity contests or other competitions. I am not trying to be better than anyone else. I am trying to be the best possible me. Along the way I am trying to assist others in being the best possible selves they can be. I have a sneaking suspicion that the more we all improve ourselves, the more peaceful, harmonious and joyful the world we share will be. So I refuse to apologize for being who I am, even if you don’t like it, or if it makes you like yourself less.

The Cult of Niceness (CON) is predicated on peoples insecurities. It is self-doubt and existential malaise regurgitated in statements synonymous with suburban mommy talk. It is the special snowflake speech mounted on the hood of day-to-day life like cattle horns on an oil magnates Cadillac.  It is an attempt to be rewarded, validated and gratified for doing absolutely nothing deserving of those responses. The most insidious part being that not only is the behavior fake and deceptive, it also takes advantage of other peoples falsehoods and self-deception. People who like themselves do not feel the need to bully others into artificial niceties through such manufactured discrepancies. While everybody knows that the person the bully always loathes most is their self. And make no doubt, insisting that others perform the same CON roles that you are trapped in is just a form of social bullying.

Social media has, like it has with everything else, magnified this human weakness to stupendous proportions. The CON is what drives most online interactions. One of the most common behaviors that makes this apparent is the act of sharing self-deprecating thoughts in order to get rewarded, validated and gratified for an apparent act of humbleness that is actually just manipulative neediness. People will describe their weaknesses, failures or other unfavorable quirks in the hope that it will get them attention. They will self-loathe in order to fish out compliments. They will don a mask of vulnerability and timid dislike for themselves just so that others will respond to them in ways that help them identify themselves as superior to others. The CON has created an ideology that suggests that superiority comes in the form of humble self-deprecation. But oddly enough, only people who really do dislike themselves can be fooled into thinking that appearing to dislike themselves makes them better than everyone else.

Numerous messages online tell us that all we need is love and that if only we were all nice the world would be a perfect place. These oversimplistic reductionisms are dangerously ignorant. Not only because they deny the value humanity receives from a complex range of behaviors, but because they also suggest that niceness is a quality only measured in appearances. People do cruel things all of the time in order to achieve the most positive possible outcomes. If you have never hurt someones feelings with your honesty in order to save them an even greater pain, then you probably have never really loved somebody all that much. Friends and family members rely on one another to deliver harsh truths that would save them from entering treachery hiding in their own blind spots.

Given that our world has become riddled with so much conceptual ignorance, we have created great areas of blindness that threaten humanity at large. Pointing out the misconceptions and false premises that these blind spots are predicated on is itself a great kindness to our entire species. But when you fail to stroke peoples delusions or confirm their biases or point out all of this behavior their reaction is usually just to label you an asshole or as socially unrefined. By protecting themselves from the abrasive cognitive dissonance you would cause them in the name of niceness, people are poking holes in their own raft and calling it a waterpark. When people have more desire not to feel like they were wrong than they do to actually try and be right, it becomes impossible to reach them. The truth often does hurt, and those who put niceness before growing pains are wearing their ignorance with an idiots welcoming grin.

I am not just complaining about the CON because I find it distasteful. I am giving a dire warning about it because it is very important for a few different reasons. The first reason is that it is an affront to reason itself. The CON is one of the things which is contributing to the dumbing-down of humanity and ushering in the Idiocracy. The second reason is that we are entering an era of humanity that will center around the reputation of individuals. If the Reputation Economy of tomorrow is built upon the falsehoods and appearances of the CON, then we will be living in an Idiocracy in which everyone appears just as robotic, plasticine and saccharine sweet as The Stepford Wives. It will be a Nerf Hell or a Smile-Or-Die Dystopia. So my warning about this problem is not the revenge or ‘diss-track’ some people will think of it as, as they act out all of the ignorance I just warned against here. It is the solemn cautioning of a Trojan Horse at our gates. If we invite the CON into our lives because it sure does look pretty great on the outside, we are gonna be in for a big surprise when it starts unpacking its dangerous contents. Consider this a warning.

Just because I am suggesting that you do not take part in compulsive and coercive niceness does not mean that I endorse its opposite, compulsive and coercive assholery. Sometimes being an asshole, or doing things you know will get you labeled as one, is the course of action that will lead to the best outcomes for all. But doing it compulsively and as an act of senseless aggression is really just the same problem. The world has no shortage of people who are assholes just for sport. The internet is full of these people. This is not the opposite of the CON, it is just the other side of the same bad coin. Trying to exploit peoples weakness by provoking an emotional response just to reward, gratify or validate ones self is a giant pitfall we must avoid if we don’t wish to lead others over the edge of sanity like intellectual lemmings.

The CON is a dangerous social precedent to set. It is a falsehood of appearances with all of the philosophical complexity of a big purple dinosaur singing songs to children. It is important not to tread on the feelings of others for no good reason, but sometimes there are good reasons, and other times you cannot help how other will emotionally respond. Yet we cannot protect our Feelz to such a degree that it allows us to remain in ignorance to the extent that our species devolves intellectually in the process. Try to be nice when it is appropriate, but you are under no obligation to smile and nod bobble-headedly in the affirmative when the CON asks you to try their kool aid.

Scientism or Misogyny?: Study Claims ALL Women Gay/Bi, Never Straight

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Details of a study claiming that true female heterosexuality is scientifically disprovable hit the internet today, causing an explosion of ‘I knew it!‘s to blanket social media in a matter of hours. And while everyone was busy validating their own sexual fantasies, I was once again left feeling alone and alienated in a culture so quick to swallow whatever scientistic snake oil it was being sold by sketchy researchers doing dubious studies.

The first hint that the study results and their eager media approval were total cockamamie bullshit were the words ‘all’ and ‘never’. These kind of absolutes just do not exist when discussing individuals, who are all fundamentally unique. Since my readers from CopBlock.org will recognize that I have often claimed that all cops are bad, I will explain the difference. When we speak of all cops as being bad, we are referring to the institution of policing as whole. In a rigidly defined system, such as policing, it becomes possible to make a generalization about all of its parts. But sexuality is not a rigidly defined institution or system, so we can not generalize about the individuals identity within these parameters. Further it defines women as a single group, rather than as one classification among many in a wide spectrum of individuals.

“Groups are grammatical fictions; only individuals exist, and each individual is different.”-Robert Anton Wilson

Let us first examine the science and its assumptions.

First of all, the test group is insufficient to make statements that apply to all women. I very much doubt there were aboriginal women tested at all. In fact, I am sure many other categorical parameters used to define women were not present for the study. Yet the conclusion includes statements about even their sexuality. Next, the size of the study is a pretty small sample group. There are several known medical conditions that exist that would not be found in a sample group of that size. So even if the study was an accurate marker of those who participated, it cannot account for all women.

My next issue is that the conclusions are based on physical response, but deny the individual experience and identity of women, making it both misogyny and scientism in one fell swoop. Earlier studies looking at sexual fluidity found that women were more likely to have physical response to just about anything remotely related to sexuality than men, including animals copulating. However, if one were to conclude that women were all into beastiality, there would be some serious concerns about the people making those statements. A biological response to a phenomena does not always lead to causation. And certainly when it comes to something as personal as our sexual preferences, these automated physical responses mean far less than how one experiences desire. It is our desire for specific kinds of sexual behavior that defines our sexuality, and not a statistical analysis of machine-acquired information. Denying our desire as the key component for sexual preference identity is the scientism of physicalist philosophy. While denying women’s own individual accounts and experiences of their sexuality in favor of strict binary absolutes beyond their own conscious desires absolutely reeks of the projection of male fantasy onto all of womanhood, and thus has at least a flavor of misogyny mixed in.

The fact is, the study itself only qualifies as science in name. The empirical method is not the proper tool by which to measure our subjective experience of things. Empiricism is an attempt to objectively understand natural objects and phenomena. Yet the culture of scientism allows all sorts of unscientific trash to parade itself in the media as valid science. The Cult of Scientism allows for even the subjective experience of death to be explained in quasi-scientific terms that have no business in addressing those questions. And while the unraveling of the scientific method occurs amidst an atmosphere of religious-like dogma for anything advertised as scientific, even greater problems threaten that discipline. Because we have come to unquestioningly accept anything labeled science as actually being scientifically valid, the number of published studies later found not to be credible science continues to skyrocket. Even scarier is the fact, like our media, almost all of this research is coming from a very small group of about six corporations. Scientism bends a rational, logical method into a worldview that makes it easier to control the masses. If corporations are the true nature of the state, then scientism is that states religion.

And as feminists have been saying for a very long time, “Keep your religions off of our bodies.”

On Introversion & Society: The Lost Arts of Undoing & Doing Nothing

doingnothingWhat are you going to do about it?

What should we do about it?

What can they do about?

These are the questions that we hear in relation to problems that we encounter in our civilization. The central tenet of our belief system is that ‘doing’ is the only meaningful activity.  We assume all problems just need a fresh coat of action in order to stop being problems. Yet this critically misses the obvious truth that under all those layers of action past the fundamental problems still remain. No matter how many times you try to freshen up an error, it still remains a failure at its core.

Even more insidious is what is meant by ‘doing’ most of the time. In our state-based social/economic/political systems, ‘doing’ often means employing the force of the state or of majorities. ‘Doing’ often means creating new systems to impose your will on others, or reforming old systems to do the same. More often than not, ‘doing’ is an act of aggression, or a contributing factor to other paradigms of aggression.

The old lady who eventually died of horse swallowing after a series of escalations following a fly ingestion incident was stuck in a feedback loop of ‘doing’. A rational person would have stopped swallowing things after the fly (not doing) and attempted to cough or vomit up the fly (undoing) if it posed a real threat, which it did not. It was only the act of repeated doings that escalated the situation to fatal levels, which is usually the case in these kind of matters.

Undoing may be argued to be a form of doing, which is right in some sense, but false in others. When I speak of undoing I mean tearing down, not to make room for building anew, but just to be rid of a thing that was not working. Too often our undoing is just part of the process of doing something else in its place. So I would suggest that what differentiates true undoing from doing is that it is followed by not-doing.

Doing nothing. Leaving things be. Minding your own business. These are things humans are not very good at. When we talk about ‘doing’ we do so with the urgency of belief that we must have a plan of action at all times. Yet we compulsively ‘do’. We need never worry about that. We should concentrate instead in where we fail, which is undoing and not-doing. These are the skills we should be developing as individuals and as a species.

I think the reason we have this problem is that extroverts have, by their very nature, become the default keepers of social systems and mainstream ideologies. Introverts who want to be left alone and leave others alone in the process are usually hiding out in a safe place while the extroverts are out ‘doing’ things. But as anyone whose tendencies lay nearer the introversion end of the scale knows, that ‘doing’ can make coexisting with extroverts extremely painful.  Their insistence on compulsive interaction, and social systems which require and promote it, forces the rest of us into institutions and cultural paradigms that do not meet our needs.

Yet intelligence seems to be on the side of the introverts. And the internet has given a forum in which that intelligence can be heard, shared and adapted into solutions. If the pen was mightier than the sword, then the keyboard is hundreds of times more powerful. And it is here where we need to launch an attack against the primacy of ‘doing’ and the tyranny of extroverts. And to do so we must dismantle the false narrative of compulsive, busy-bodies who insist that we must keep swallowing larger critters following the unfortunate thing with the fly.

It is time we recapture the lost arts of Undoing and Doing Nothing. This old jalopy of a planet already has enough ‘doing’ on it to keep it going for a long time to come. Before we can do anything that doesn’t just add to the problems created by doing, we must undo much without worrying about what will take its place. Doing will happen as a course of human nature.  Undoing and Not-Doing are far greater challenges for individuals and our species. Lets put our time and energy there and see if maybe we haven’t just been trying too hard and suffering from our overachievement.

RELATED:

The Importance of Distinguishing Between Chaos, Order and Disorder

The Golden Rule Is A Terrible Way To Treat People

The Golden Rule Is A Terrible Way To Treat People

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The Golden Rule (TGR), which states that one should treat others as they themselves wish to be treated by others, is pretty much the standard moral foundation of all cultures; especially in the western world. However, the entire premise in helplessly flawed, which can be demonstrated logically, emotionally, spiritually or by any other metric. A simple explanation will suffice for a beginning.

No two people are exactly identical. Not only do we vary by shape, size, genetic make-up and other physical factors, our entire subjective world is completely unique to each one of us. Our inner world- our thoughts, our desires, our fears, our passions, our joys, pains and everything else about us is completely one-of-a-kind. Given this basic understanding of the nature of individuals, it would be absurd to assume that other people wish to be treated how we do.  Let us explore some obvious examples.

The most glaringly obvious demonstration is the existence of masochism.  A masochist is an individual who likes to experience domination, insult or injury at the hands of others. The opposite is the sadist, who likes to experience the same things, only at the expense of others. It would be quite simple to dismiss masochism as a valid argument if all masochists were extreme examples whose proclivities were simply mental aberrations or psychological deviants. Yet there is a whole range of masochism and the large majority of of those displaying this characteristic are otherwise normal, healthy people who just happen to like pain, humiliation and surrender in safe doses. While that is perfectly valid, if these people assumed we all desired such treatment and attempted to provide it, many of us would not be very happy about it.

A still somewhat obvious example of the problem of TGR that has a lot more real world application is the personality division between introverts and extroverts. Again, the scale here is entirely grey with all possible points between represented by some individual in the world. Introverts, not necessarily opponents of human interaction, prefer some control over the timing, duration, subject and method of interaction and often require processing periods without which they are stricken by anxiety. Extroverts, on the other hand, prefer most kinds of interaction over none at all; with loneliness as the chief cause of their anxiety. We can see how an extrovert might attempt to avoid their own negative states by initiating interactions, however if their target is an introvert, that attempt to alleviate might become a cause of stress for the other person. While both personalities and sets of expectations are valid, they do not necessarily mix well, which can create a zero sum game. Even two introverts or extroverts might ‘rub each other the wrong’ way if timing, method and other factors have differing levels of desirability to the two participants.

The Golden Rule is inflexible in navigating the desires and needs of others by starting with the faulty premise that they are the same as our own. Besides the two above examples there exist as many differences between individuals as there exist individuals. Even though a large part of the human experience bears some categorical similarity between us, the details differ absolutely. Even when we wish to do right by others via attempts to cause them to reach universally pleasurable states through our actions, we may have no idea how to get them there. The map to pleasure, pain and everything in between differs absolutely for all people. When we send others on a journey that they find insufferable where we found it delightful, the destination is unlikely to be the same or to bear the same effect.

Yet there is a rule almost as simple and beautiful as TGR that we can use to guide our interactions with others-

DO UNTO OTHERS AS THEY WOULD LIKE DONE UNTO THEM. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT THAT IS, ASK. IF YOU DO NOT CARE TO ASK OR HONOR THEIR WISHES, LEAVE THEM ALONE ENTIRELY.

Almost every social, political and economic institution in the modern world denies the basic right of those who just want to be left alone; or at least have some control over when, where and what kind of interactions they have. Because the modern world is predicated on force, only the needs of very few individuals are ever met, and never even then completely, no matter the expense to others they compile in their attempts. Centralization of power and control made up of systematic hierarchies are attempts by the few to have all of their needs met by the many. That is why collectivism is never about the greater good, but about the good of those who are able to define and enforce their own ideas about the greater good, whether directly or through subterfuge. A civilization predicated on authority is one that ignores the most immediate and enduring truths about our existence as individuals.

We are not the same. No package meant to contain and serve us all could ever please any. By allowing these forces of authority to command the central tenets of existence for all individuals, we only insure the misery of all. We have attempted to create a balance between good/bad (right/wrong, happy/sad), etc.) by removing the opportunities to ever reach the heights of these possible states. In doing so we have robbed ourselves of our very meaning, sentencing the individual to a life of servitude to an idea that no single individual holds.

The Golden Rule is a great example of our faulty moral ideologies. By following its faults we can begin to see the world we live in a more honest way. The world we live in is largely constructed from fear, which we then try to alleviate through absolutes like TGR. Yet when we see how incompatible absolutes are with the variance between individuals, and since we undoubtedly exist experientially as individuals, we should not allow ourselves to be guided by or force others to obey absolutes. Unless they want to, which you should verify via their own answers first, and not just what you would want.

Thoughts On Internet Friendship and Death

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In 1998 I first began using the internet regularly. I immediately recognized it as an outlet for communicating in ways that I found more difficult to achieve in real life conversations. And as a result, I began to put more and more stock in the friendships I have made there over the years.

The usual rhetoric, even on the internet, suggests that internet friendships and activity are not as meaningful as real life activities. And yet the internet exists in the ‘real world’ and should not be seen as separate from it. How human beings communicate, interact and play has evolved through both social and technological advances all throughout time. We can even observe it doing so in our lifetimes, as technological advance has accelerated rapidly and exponentially in recent decades. So to view internet friendship as less real or meaningful as those friendships we nurture in physical presence is false.

The reasons that I have come to love the internet are many. Yet I will describe only those that describe its use for social functions.

The first is that the internet allows us to find friends with similar interests and values more easily than in physical presence. Outside of the internet, your chances are astronomically low of meeting people in your geographic locality who share a large number of your personality traits, opinions and joys. The smaller or more remote your location, the more difficult it becomes to seek out the like-minded. Yet since we should not limit ourselves to those who think, feel and act like us, the internet also provides a much larger range of viewpoints than location alone. Where we may avoid people we don’t like and miss their viewpoints in ‘real life’, we may be more likely to absorb thoughts, experiences and ideas that we would otherwise not take in.

The second, and I suspect more personally important reason, is that I simply prefer text to talk. Talking is easy to mess up. But in a format where we can edit and refine our thoughts, we are able to break free of social limitations, necessities and difficulties to have more poignant, distinct and revealing conversations. There is no awkward silence in text, at least not in the same way it exists in speaking conversations. There are also less expectations for when a reply will come. All of this affords one the ability to reread, absorb more deeply and formulate the most appropriate and elegant response. Not that we always do this…not that I always do this, but we are always afforded that opportunity. And besides that, it is also difficult to endure stammering or endless side-lining in others speech difficulties or quirks. Sometimes the sort of brunt immediacy of speaking/hearing create conditions in which good communication becomes far more difficult.

So having spent years online making and fostering friendships, I often find myself more active in and attached to many of those relationships than in most of my traditional friendships. And like in traditional friendship, the people I have formed bonds with online provide support, challenges and pleasure. We fight and make up. We laugh together and share sorrow. And we help one another grow as individuals.

One internet friend, a person I never met in real life, yet have known for years, recently died. Diane Miller is one the rarest of friendships I ever had. It is rarely that we see others as truly equal to ourselves. While we may admire and envy our friends, we often think of ourselves as the smarter, or more talented or kind one; usually depending on the qualities we value most in ourselves. With Diane I felt she was equal to me in all the measurements I weigh most heavily in myself (and thus in others). And I am an unusually confident and cocky bastard, so this is very rare for me.

When I first learned of her death I was filled with a great sadness. As she would have expected of me and done herself, I explored that feeling. And having done I found that my sadness was not fer, but for me. Diane had no fear of, or exaggerated desire to avoid death at any cost. Neither did she regret her life or feel she still had things to make up for. She contracted an unknown illness months before and passed away quietly one morning during breakfast. She did not fight for her life by becoming dependent on the medical systems and social structures and other necessities they operated alongside. She was also had her own unique views on spirituality and our deeper nature which kept her from being to attached to the world or afraid of leaving it. So when I realized I should not be sad merely because her life ended, I figured out why I was actually upset.

No longer could I ever call on her intelligence, wisdom and wit to inspire me or set me straight. No longer could I seek her opinion, her counsel or her support. This is why I was distraught at her death, and will continue to mourn for this selfish loss for awhile.

So I find it hard to believe that my friendship with Diane was less real or meaningful than ‘real life’ friendships. The sort of loyalty, dependency and love inherent in those friendships was exactly what I knew I would miss most when I lost my ‘internet friend’.
(From the wall posts I read after her passing, many people felt much as I did about her, and she seemed to be a great friend, mentor and inspiration to many.)

There is nothing less real about the internet or the relationships it fosters than anything else in existence. The internet is wonderful tool for learning, sharing and connecting. It, like everything else, is a tool by which we are learning to be whatever it is that we are. We should not disparage it or any other new paradigms. Least not since they occur ever more quickly all the time. As Diane would have said:

“There must be some reason over seven billion people chose to be here right now.”

In an earlier article I spoke about ‘Love In The Age Of Social Networking‘ which discusses some of the same concepts as the article you just read.

That Time of the Month

“And you know what I get sick of, Frank? I get sick of all these god damned excuses. If it were just that you sometimes ate a virgin or shat on the deck, I could forgive you. But these endless excuses wear me down, Frank. ‘Oh, I can’t help it, Linda. It’s my time of the month.‘ Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Frank.”

“But Linda, I’m a fucking werewolf. Once a month supernatural forces compel me, against my will, to transform into a ravenous beast with little in common with my human self. And you knew this when you married me. ‘Oh, I know it won’t be easy, Frank. But nothing could keep me from wanting to spend the rest of my life with you. Plus, I think it’s kinda sexy.’ Remember that, Linda? Remember all that?”

“It was sexy back when you weren’t a fat dumbfuck in real life, and an even fatter, dumber fuck in the supernatural realm. You are a failure, Frank. A fucking loser. Even with supernatural powers you manage to get more weak and powerless every day of your life. Last full moon you never even left the lawn. You rarely even hunt anymore and you eat a tenth of your salary in Alpo every fucking month, Frank. Fucking loser.”

“Don’t hold anything back, Linda. Tell me what you really fucking think. Jesus leper-fuckin’ Christ, bitch. You are really one to talk. Remember introducing herpes into our home after fucking that weatherman, Linda? Remember getting fired for giving those herpes to your boss? Any of that ring a bell?”

“Who would have thought a guy who gets flea dipped half a dozen times a year, as well as regular treatments for heart and ringworms from eating animal shit would have such an issue with a little herpes? A guy who was once caught fucking the neighbors labrador retriever.”

“I was a fucking werewolf when I did that.”

I was a fucking werewolf when I did that.

“But I WAS!”

“Always the same god-damned thing with you, Frank. ‘It’s a full moon. It’s MY time of the month.‘ Wah, wah, waaah, Frank. You fucking loser.”

“I swear to fucking God, Linda, next time the moon changes I am going to finally fucking eat you. Once and for all.”

“I wish you would, Frank. I really wish you fucking would. Wereloser.”

How To Be A Better Person In 5 Easy Steps

how to be a better person

“The neurotic is nailed to the cross of his fiction.” -Alfred Adler

When it comes to peace of mind each and every one of us are our own greatest obstacles. Our tendency towards reflexive thoughts and behaviors cause us to react to things without fully considering the validity or value of our reactions. As such we create unintended consequences for ourselves and others that prevent us from achieving the kinds of interactions we consciously desire. Through our life experiences we have forged a singular perspective that allows us to filter the limitless information around us so that we can respond to circumstances that threaten our well being quickly. Unfortunately that perspective is necessarily full of bias, suspicion and anxiety. It becomes all too easy to use this survival perspective in more trivial situations. Even in our minor day to day interactions we often slip into this safe/selfish mindset and think and act automatically without conscious input from our rational mind. By reacting to ourselves and others instinctually we create negative fictions which become self fulfilling prophecies. The key to kindness and contentment lies in a concentrated effort by the individual to continuously write their fictions self consciously with full awareness of our desires and neuroses.

My road to these lessons were paved in a lifetime of ham fisted attempts to forge happiness out of strength of personality. Alternately I also often just went with the flow when I knew full well that was not what I wished to be doing. These seemingly opposite responses both came from a failure to exercise my free will in a healthy, self-aware manner. As the imperviousness of youth faded I began to see the error of my ways but still required years to learn the specifics of the problematic ways in which I perceived and responded to my environment. Having built a basic understanding of this I have only in the past few years been able to begin recalibrating myself towards more favorable outcomes. It is a constant exercise in self conscious inspection of my perceptions before I choose a properly measured reaction. I have far from perfected these methods but my experience with them so far has helped make me a better person to myself and others and generated better outcomes for all. As rewarding as these improved outcomes are, the most delightful part of the whole learning process is the pride and confidence you gain knowing that you have a more self control and a greater ability to create happiness for those around you.

Lesson #1: Learn to Tell Yourself to Shut the Fuck Up

This is by far the most important lesson of them all. You must constantly be vigilant in monitoring yourself so as to become aware when you have become counterproductive or irrational. While it is obviously important to develop a filter between ones thoughts and ones mouth it is even more important to respond to your own internal dialogue. Your mind is a conglomeration of instinct and imagination that can work just as easily against you as it can for you. Most of our discontent is sown internally when we let our preferences, peeves and quirks speak above the voice of reason and understanding. Paranoia, jealousy, control, greed and many of the other negative human vices are the result of acting on those negative little dialogues in our heads. Not only is it important to recognize those voices and ignore them, but you must systematically disempower them by responding directly to them with a counter-dialogue.

Think of this as the cartoon cliche of the angel and devil who speak alternately into opposite ears. Whether you prefer to think of your conscious/rational voice as the angel and your subconscious/reactionary voice as the devil, or vice versa, matters not. You must develop a conscious, rational and self aware agency that can be used to measure and respond appropriately to the bias, automata and emotional hyperbole that is a natural (if not sometimes unwelcome) part of your human existence. Another way to think of this is as empowering your adult mind over the reflexes of our childish nature. None of us ever becomes an adult through some arbitrary boundary in space and time. Becoming a mature, wise and productive person requires the conscious effort to squash those arrested vestigial parts of our development that are prone to selfishness, paranoia and manipulation.

I most often find myself having to internalize, ‘Shut the fuck up, Josh’ when my expectations for others or for a situation are unreasonable. While it is still possible that my perception of a situation or the manner in which I would respond are more reasonable than what might occur without my input or attempt to control the situation, it may still very well be wrong on a personal, social or individual level. When the cost of being right outweighs the benefits then it becomes unreasonable not to be flexible, understanding and empathetic.

Paranoia is another way in which I must chide my negative inner voices. By thinking or acting on fears based on speculation to a degree that goes beyond caution and into the realm of delusion, we use our imaginations to create frustration, hostility and distrust and plant and nurture seeds of the undoing of our well being.

So when you find yourself caught in the inertia of negative or unproductive thinking tell yourself, specifically to ‘shut the fuck up, yournamehere’. You need the ‘fuck’ to let yourself know you are serious and by using your own name you disempower the delusion that the problem is external, when in fact you are the problem. I will often even add the reasons why I need to shut the fuck up and deliver some barbed one liners to myself. This is not an attempt to degrade or shame myself, but rather a conscious effort to address my folly with humor so that I can deal with it in a constructive manner that allows me to understand the error and laugh at myself. For every time that somebody else tells me to shut the fuck up or secretly wishes that I would (which I imagine is above average in my case), I have probably told myself to shut the fuck up a few dozen times. And the more I do it, the better I listen.

Lesson #2: The Undecided Are Internally Divided

While it may seem counterintuitive to suggest that it is important to make decisions without unnecessary haste after recommending that you weigh all considerations carefully before responding, it is an important factor in maintaining equilibrium internally and externally. It is clearly foolish to rush towards judgement or make uninformed decisions. By building an intuition based on rational understanding and emotional clarity, however, we begin to be able to afford ourselves the knowledge and trust necessary to make good decisions without intellectual wavering that cripples us from inaction. All too often we find our choices limited by our inability or timeliness in making a choice.

None of us can know the entire chain of events or consequences that will unfold from the decisions we make, big or small. There will undoubtedly always be unknown negative side effects and unconsidered bonuses arising from whatever path that we follow. The best way to mitigate the former in hopes of the latter is to set yourself upon a decisive course of action and dedicate yourself to that premise for as long as it can be shown to provide more favorable results than negative consequences. Once you have made a basic decision then the smaller decisions needed to execute your goals will become more apparent to you. And by careful experimentation you can eliminate other paths along the way that lead to dead ends. This will involve making crucial mistakes. These mistakes are essential to learn about yourself, others and the world around you.

At the same time you must remember that nothing is permanent. That you are always the agency of your own decisions and that at any time you can alter paths if it becomes necessary. In most regards you are the boundary to your own progress. Some will err in the inability to dedicate themselves to their decisions with the perseverance to make them work, while others will select a wrong path and find themselves unable to admit from and learn from their errors. This prevents them from abandoning a dead end or trudging through the impassable rather than to deal gracefully with their mistakes with dignity and humility, which ultimately obscures all that their experience may have taught them.

Yet whichever side you error towards you have forgotten that all things are transitory. Nothing is permanent. The humility, regret and shame of a bad decision is a far greater tool of progress than the narcissism of a stubborn ego. You will recover and evolve more quickly as you learn to recognize your own mistakes and faulty reasoning. Which leads us to the next lesson.

Lesson #3: Nobody Is Taking This As Seriously As You Are

Nothing is permanent. Your decisions may create tensions with those that you care about. Sometimes these external conflicts become necessary to resolve internal conflicts. Human relationships are infinitely complex and it is impossible to navigate them without encountering some rough seas. In some cases the damage between two individuals may be so great that reconciliation is not possible, but these cases are extremely rare considering the number of relationships we have with multiple individuals throughout our lifetime. It is often more likely that given some time for consideration and introspection as well as distance and healing, the problems between individuals will resolve themselves independently in those involved. Time does indeed heal most wounds. And what time cannot heal can be nurtured with renewed trust and faith when the time comes to make amends.

I have done some cruel, petty and selfish things in my life yet I have less than a handful of bridges burned in my wake. Those crossings always rebuilt themselves in time and only required I did my part to meet halfway with genuine apologies and forgiveness. We are more likely to forgive and be forgiven than not because our hurt and sorrow concerning others is proportionate to the joy and love they have brought us. That joy and love is always a path back to a healthy relationship, so we need not fear the consequences of decisions that build temporary divides between individuals. Your ability to be forgiven is in direct proportion to your ability to forgive.

We take ourselves very seriously. Because we are so aware of our own pettiness, clumsiness and distinguishing ineptitude in certain areas, we mistakenly think that others have us under equal consideration. The truth of the matter is that we are all so concerned with our own internal and external images that we are rarely distracted with the the image and behaviors of others. Our basic self centeredness keeps us so busy managing ourselves that we do not consider others as much as we come to believe they are considering us. The result is that usually nobody is as critical of us as we are of ourselves. Yet we persist in the paranoia that we are constantly being measured and judged by others. As unlikely as it may seem, this is probably for the best. By weighing how we think others perceive us we are inclined to create an image and act in ways that show basic empathy. This feedback loop of perceived image keeps us honest. What is important is that you remind yourself that nobody does, could or should take you as seriously as you take yourself. Otherwise you create delusory external pressures that prevent you from a rational and emotionally balanced outlook.

The final way in which we take ourselves to seriously seems to be a hangover from our childhood. This is the persistent underlying feeling that we will be ‘in trouble’ for our thoughts and actions. While many actions will indeed have negative consequences if they disobey basic social tenets, most of these impending feelings of doom are contrived out of irrational fear. You are an adult. Other adults have no power over you in which you have not given them the authority to exercise that power. (I am disregarding legal and professional repercussions as I am trying to address social interactions and power struggles between individuals.)

The feeling of dread is familiar to anyone who ever feels they have disappointed somebody that they respect or love. This is especially true within our families and closest friends. We fear upsetting the expectations or values of those that we care about. As a result we tend to over-exaggerate the consequences of doing so. The more we care about someone the more power they have over us and it is possible to mistake the power of love for the power of authority. As I said, this seems to me to be a psychological construct we carry from our childhood when love and authority were somewhat synonymous in our development. However, this is no longer the case. Those who love and respect you as an equal, which is the basis of any healthy relationship, also strive for your love and validation. Disappointment, hurt and confusion will always give way to acceptance. You will do yourselves and others the greatest favor in the long run be authentic and true to yourself, while being aware of the consequences that might entail and having the wisdom and courage to face them with understanding, empathy and humility.

The simplest way to maintain the awareness that nobody is taking you as seriously as you are taking yourself is often to stop taking yourself so seriously.

Lesson #4: Use Your Mind Intentionally

If idle hands are the devils tools, then idle minds are his blueprints. We are thinking creatures. It cannot be helped. Our need to interact and process is often greater than opportunities seem to allow us. When we are not consciously guiding our internal dialogues they tend towards the instinctual automatic thinking that often results in negative thoughts or anxiety. The comfort and safety afforded us by civilization has made it unnecessary to be concerned with hierarchies and survival strategies that the untended mind reverts to. Where our thoughts are not being led by our free will they will turn to petty insecurities, perceived mistreatment or imagined problems.

There is a simple solution to this. Since our minds also crave information and because we are innately curious beings we can use these to counteract mindless thinking. We have at our disposal a wealth of information unthinkable to humans of even the recent past. By engaging our minds in constant learning we not only prevent ourselves from harmful thinking but create knowledge and connections that we can use to understand and guide our perceptions and interactions. The more pieces of the puzzle you gather the greater the picture you will have to inform your worldview. The insatiable thirst for knowledge is a powerful tool when engaged consciously with a delightful voracity, while it can be a worthy obstacle when left to idle unengaged.

On the flip side it is also necessary to acquire the skill of meditative solitude so that you can synthesize the information and connections into understanding so that they can become part of a consciously constructed intuition which replaces your subconscious and unconscious instincts. Learning to enjoy silence and nothingness and becoming lost in a wealth of acquired knowledge to a degree that you can abstract it into your own language, symbols and archetypes will provide you with tools for healthy interaction and self evolution. Now you just need to learn how to use those tools.

Lesson #5: Creative Expression Is DIY Therapy

Once you are able to understand the workings of your mind and reduce parts of it to abstract symbols and archetypes you may then use them to simulate reality so that you can understand it in meaningful ways. By shuffling your deck of knowledge and laying the cards out in new random patterns you will increase your connectivity and create novel solutions for the hang ups of yourself and others.

Creative expression can take on many forms. The most powerful of these forms is language. Language helps to form the conceptual basis of our perception and worldview. From language we derive our values and goals and connect to others for both social reasons and to foster cooperation. The written word is an especially powerful tool because it allows us to view our own thoughts outside of our minds where we can be more critical of them and also more considerate. When our thoughts manifest only internally or in the form of speech we are not given the opportunity to craft or refine them to our liking. Most people have trouble expressing themselves clearly to others simply because they have not practiced on themselves first. Expression is key in understanding our own thoughts, fears and desires and being expressive in a creative way allows us the freedom to do so with no limitations or expectations.

Simple tasks like lists weighing pros and cons can help you understand a situation better. When you can expand the language of that situation into poetry, prose, lyrics, fictions or essays you expand your own understanding of it. And if you choose to share it you may invite others to add their perspective to your own to expand it even further by applying even more considerations. However most people may not be comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts and workings. If this is this case, this should not prevent you from the act of creative expression itself. The important part is doing it for yourself. If that means you keep secret journals or write stories and poems that nobody else will ever read, that is okay. The goal here is not a product; it is exploration, experimentation and examination of ones own innermost intellectual, emotional and individual constructs. And even though writing is the most powerful tool you may choose painting, pottery, dance, music or any other way of transcribing your personal symbols and archetypes into a process of self discovery. The only wrong way to do it is to not do it at all.

If you are not fully satisfied with this list-based foray into self improvement you may return it within thirty days for a full refund. Rules and restrictions may apply.

My ‘Naked’ Truth

The link: My ‘Naked’ Truth

My response: I agree that one should love their self. But I find loathsome the idea suggested here that the man was wrong for finding her unattractive. This seems like telling a gay man that what he finds attractive is a choice and if he doesn’t share your values of attraction he is an unenlightened deviant. I do not find sexual preference to be a choice. Nor do I think it is genetics. The key lies within imprint conditioning, a process that occurs during our development and is a complex variable of sometimes unrelated factors. It would also stand to reason that according to evolutionary paradigms, young fertile women would be an idea sexual partner, as these qualities are good for producing healthy offspring and preserving the family, tribe and species.

I find this kind of female bullying intolerable. Men are constantly being sent messages that our preferences and values are not okay if they do not acquiesce to the emotional states and values of women. That seems pretty one-sided to me. Although I avoid the term ‘feminist’, many feminists myself included, find this emasculating, bullying coercive pop culture feminism to be just plain awful for human relations.
I also find the idea that our sexuality must remain such a central factor of our entire lives to be ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with sex. Sex can be a form of bonding and spiritual exploration between individuals. But it is also basically just a biological function. Once we outgrow the necessity of the breeding function we should be excited to bond and explore our spiritual natures in plethoras of new ways without the nagging voice of evolution directing those needs genitally all of the time.
Our modern insecurities and lack of self awareness obfuscate some great truths. We turn too often to sex alone to fulfill deeper needs because we have forgotten how to do so in our mindlessly consumptive culture. Rather than consuming one another physically in an act of primal desire to address the needs of individuals and relationships, we should turn many of those opportunities into a chance to explore new grounds.

Mostly the thing I don’t like here is the shaming. She could have written this article in a way which explained the situation, blamelessly, that allowed her to express her love for herself. That she did not chose that route makes me doubt the sincerity of her positive self-image and makes me think that she overcompensates with blame. Its too bad, because written well, she might also have pointed out how it was okay for the guy to feel that way and that this is why it is important that couples talk first. And also how we are all products of cultural ideas about sex. Not just women. The victimization attitude of women that paints all men as part of the problem does irreparable harm to us and keeps us from uniting against the common forces that fuck us all up.

We have a long way to go to defeat the damage done by the second wave of feminism and the quasi feminism, or Oprahism, that followed in its wake. Luckily, the new wave of feminists realize this and account for it in their philosophies.

It also seems that both parties failed to communicate their thoughts before jumping into the sack, which never turns out well.

It has been argued that the man should never have led her on, but we do not know his side of the story. It would be foolish to judge him without hearing him out.

Being is difficult. We are constantly subject to inner and outer turmoil. We evolve and change, as do our hearts and minds. This woman wasted a good opportunity to address some deeper issues and instead opted to play the role of victim in order to be worshipped as a hero by the cult of victimization.

Dear Ladies: Things Women Should Know About Men

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I’m a smart guy. Like really smart. So smart that I understood Donnie Darko the first time that I saw it. Although I did learn many things about The Smurfs I had never considered. Yet as smart as I could ever be I will never completely understand women because I am not also entirely insane. This is not to say that women are crazy. However, trying to understand them with a male perspective certainly is. So being the ultra super duper smart dude that I am I decided to try to understand myself and thus all of mandom. I also spent a lot of years single, not because I am too smart to date, but because I really needed the time to do this research uninterrupted. But now that I am in a happy relationship with a creative, funny, beautiful, intelligent woman who still hasn’t figured out how to pick the locks, I have decided to release my findings so that all of the other women can benefit from the knowledge.

The following list is comprised of the things that you ladies do that drive us fellas bonkers, no matter how innocent or innocuous they may seem. They are things that will inexplicably and irrationally crawl right up on a nerve and twerk it with spiked panties. However this list is based on an assumption that men are predominately introverted while women display mostly extroverted behavior. Since I am really smart you won’t have to point out that this is an obviously false assertion. The opposite can also be true and people can display either characteristic at different times. In this way the following can also be instructive for dealing with general differences between intro/extroverts. The only reason that I used this horrible stereotype is that in the comfort of our homes and private relationships, it is almost always entirely true. So speaking as a man, a home introvert and a really smart genius person, I recommend that you consider the following so at the very least you can critique it in the comments with your inferior mind receptacles.


Questions

Here is the thing, ladies. You ask too many questions. And even worse, the questions are usually unnecessary or manipulative. I do not think you are doing this to intentionally drive us insane, but our tastes in communication styles varies wildly. And you totally drive us insane. Here are a few different types of questions that we really wish you would never ask, but would totally accept a few if you could just try to cut back.

The Disguised Command

This question is used when you would like us to fulfill some household role or task. It is your attempt to politely remind us that we promised to clean up our mess in the basement from the failed home brewing phase that came to a head the first time diarrhea became a medical emergency in our lives. Or something like that. The question goes like this:

“Are you going to clean up that mess in the basement this weekend or are you converting it into a factory farm for sulfuric mold?”

First of all, you are not actually curious about our weekend plans with this question, you are trying to make them for us. There is really nothing wrong about reminding us of our obligations, but it is disingenuous to phrase it as a question rather than a statement.

Secondly, with that attitude and tone of voice I don’t think you would be very supportive if indeed the mass production of stank ass growth were my master plan all along, now would you?

Fishing Questions
When I say fishing questions I do not mean things like, “Can I borrow your rod?” (Only up to the second eyelet.) I mean questions in which you are fishing for specific answers. The entire ‘does this make me look fat?’ cliché is an obvious example. Yet there are other less obvious examples of this which we guys get all of the time. The problem with this kind of question is that you are seeking a specific answer so it is not really a question at all. You are manipulating us into validating you. Maybe you have some self esteem issues or just like to be told what you want to hear for fun. It doesn’t really matter. Instinctually we realize we are being used and nobody likes that feeling. Like almost everything else in this article, most guys don’t even know why they dislike it, they just do. Sort of like herbal tea.

Another kind of fishing question is the confirmation question. These would be questions that end in a phrase like, ‘Don’t you think so?’ You are not really curious about our opinion, you just have some inexplicable need to have other peoples opinions in sync with yours and so you try to manufacture this agreement with sneaky questions. Again, you are using questions to manipulate other people into validating you, and that never makes for a great long term relationship strategy. Sort of like secretly taking Viagra for the first few weeks of intercourse.

The Unnecessary Question
Years ago I used to work in head shops. Although you wouldn’t expect it, stoners ask a lot of stupid questions. No, really. The dumbest of them were generally questions in which the answers were self evident. The most recurrent of these was to ask the price of an item that was clearly marked. After awhile I brought some plastic spoons and would answer these types of questions by writing the answer on the spoon and handing it to the hazey eyed offender. When I got that ‘cat being told its horoscope’ look I would explain that I was only willing to spoon feed obvious answers in the most literal sense. Lucky for me, stoners are also pretty easy going and can take a joke, but you ladies aren’t always necessarily in the mood for that kind of sardonic cleverness.

Women often prefer to deal with problems by talking them out first while men generally work by jumping right into action. So when you ask us where something is we expect it is because you have already looked in the most obvious places. As I have found, this is not always the case. Or if you ask us if we need to get more cat food we wonder why you don’t just look for yourself as we would. No conversation needed. The unnecessary question takes many forms but is essentially a question that attempts to replace a task. If Google ever becomes a self aware, sentient being, men will know exactly how it feels.

So before you ask a man a question ask yourself if it is necessary, has an agenda or could be made into a statement rather than a question. Our ickiness about questions may seem irrational and unreasonable to you but it exists nonetheless and accounting for it could prevent that special fella from spouting off the mean-spirited, sarcastic answers he generally reserves for his guy friends.


Sudden Invasion

Like a lot of dudes, I find myself living in my head a lot. Sometimes I am using all of my smartiness to solve the essential problems of our existence while other times I am trying to figure out how to spell out the sound that farts make. (fyi- It is ‘skritch’ or ‘prap’ depending on the moisture content and force) Either way, when I am off in these fantastical worlds, it is not easy to get back. Nor do I necessarily want to leave them. Particularly if I am just about to solve world hunger or the spelling of the third, quiet fart. Just as I am about to get all of the p’s, t’s, f’s and h’s in place my special lady walks in and abruptly tells me that she thinks she might have Stockholm Syndrome. Suddenly I am trapped in between worlds and the perfect word for low volume pants combustion just dissipates into eternity. She stands there waiting for a response but I am not fully in her world again and I either did not hear or cannot comprehend what was just spoken to me. After she repeats herself I am even more frustrated that she interrupted my meditation to tell me something that I already know and will probably one day appear in court records. After an obfuscating response she goes back to whatever she was doing and I begin the long journey back into the recesses of my mind where every child can have enough food and every bodily function has a proper onomatopoeia.

Fortunately, there is a very easy solution for this. Never expect that a guy is ready to converse at the drop of a hat. It is possible that he has some mental calculations to finish performing or other internal work that disdains disruption. Rather than barging in the room with your flapper a’flappin’, calmly speak his name and when he makes eye contact with you, tell him you would like to talk to him when he has a chance. While it is still possible that he might find that conversation less time-worthy than his own abstractions he will at least not feel interrupted and thusly annoyed. And when you tell him that he is an idiot after he explains why a wet fart is a shorter word than a dry one, it will sting all that much less.


Decisions

No new information here. Studies have shown that women experience more difficulty when challenged with an immediate decision of any weight of consequence. And I should know because I exhaustively performed this research myself under the most stringent experimental conditions. If you don’t believe me, believe my science. My science aside, there also exist social, historical and evolutionary reasons why this occurs and how it develops. Fortunately for women this prevents you from spending most of your twenties and parts of the rest of your lives with a strong capacity and confidence to make really bad decisions at the drop of a hat. Rare is the man who can do that. When you do make decisions you generally make better ones, so would you please exercise that?

You do not need to make all of our mutual decisions for us on your own. Or even half. But you should be capable of covering a pretty good spread of our shared interests and most of your own without our input. We trust you. If we didn’t we would never have allowed you into our bizarre little private lives where we wear our foibles like butterfly tattoos on the small of the back. From our end it would be much easier to just trust you with everything while we get drunk and attempt to play football with our friends in a spectacle later described as, ‘a homoerotic ballet of tragic proportions’. There is no doubt that our faith in you will not crumble should you choose the orange jello with the fruit cocktail over the green with marshmallows to take to your aunt Edna’s funeral potluck. Just use your intuition.


Just Listening

“I just want you to listen to me. I don’t want you to try to examine it or fix it. I don’t need you to get emotional on my behalf or respond in any way. Just listen.”

When I need to pound in a nail I use a hammer. If I need to tighten or loosen a screw I use a screw driver. Any time I need a tool I pick the specific tool which has, inherent in its creation, the ability to perform the task I require of it. Should you require a tool capable of listening with a sympathetic ear without any response whatsoever, and you pick a man, you really need to get to know your toolbox a little bit better. Men have adapted the trait of an irrational need to solve problems while women just want to express and understand them incessantly. Since we already have this information it would be wise to apply it. We do not like to disappoint you any more than you like to be disappointed by us. Call on us when you need assistance and on each other when you need an aural negativity absorption device. We are no more capable of fulfilling your need without experiencing severe anxiety about the restrictions than my fiance is of finding sharp objects or prying devices in our loving home.


Blah Blah Blah

I didn’t want to have to science again so soon, but I once read a magazine and I am pretty sure it said that women generally talk more than men. It also suggested that the content of speech of men and women varied quite a bit. While the hens were up in the house flappin’ their beaks about other hens, their chicks or the cocks, the cocks warbled their garblers about mostly abstract or technical content. The function of conversation is to share interesting data, and that requires that both parties are interested in the data. There is no judgment being made when we acknowledge that the genders tend to diverge towards different data sets extracted from common human experiences.

I am very fortunate that the hen trapped in my house likes to discuss philosophy, religion, politics, science and a great diversity of topics I find intriguing. We have a lot of common ground for discussion without having to develop an artificial pecking order. Nonetheless, we both also like to discuss topics which bore the other. It is sort of your job to listen to your significant other and let them vent even if you could absolutely care less what that fuckbucket at their job did today. But either side can only take so much. And you talk more. So instead of driving your man out of the house with small talk and gossip, let him sit in a socially underdeveloped, stunted lump of ape in your nest and ponder if there is only one sound for a stream of urine or a number of variations. Or maybe save the world with a complicated plan that includes toplessness and a barbecue grill, while you go to a pottery workshop with the gals and talk coop.


Quiet Time

We are ironically told that silence is golden and serenaded with songs that portray the connection of lovers to be beyond the need for words. The problem is that lovers are individuals with their own needs. While I have a need to internalize, my captive soulmate has a need to socialize. These needs cannot be met simultaneously and she gets really prude after I put her in time out for popping my little fantasy bubbles. Since I don’t want to have to induce ejaculation alone and she isn’t allowed to have any friends because of our romantic arrangement, we have to give and take a little. For my needs to be met she does not need to take any active role at all, but to meet hers I must forego mine and assist her.

To make this as painless as possible for both of us we have discussed our needs and I have shared with her all of the information in this article. A fact of love is that you will drive one another nuts some of the time. But if you know what it is that drives one another nuts you can address the most problematic parts of your co-existence and leave only minor annoyances entangled in all of that trust, respect and love.


I made a lot of mistakes in relationships in the past. But I have learned from them and have been lucky to find the one woman who I plan to spend the rest of my life loving, cherishing and annoying and being annoyed by on occasion. The grunt work of a relationship means discussing your petty tendencies and mutually addressing them. Nothing could be more rewarding, but it is also very hard work. Not as hard as kidnapping and trying to brainwash a pizza delivery girl to be your eternal soulmate, but I am up to both tasks, because if you remember- I am very smart.

Love In the Age of Social Networking

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“Fifty years from now do you really want to tell your grandkids you fell in love using a Facebook app? No, you want to show them the heartfelt love letter you wrote her one night at 3 a.m. Followed by an Instagram of your junk. It’s the Sepia that makes it so romantic.” — Stephen Colbert

Although Stephen Colbert jokes, or at least that is what I am told he does, he echoes a sentiment that is still prevalent in our society. There is still a basic assumption that the internet is incapable of being a respectable and proper medium for romantic relationships. That connections generated between individuals through the world wide web are not as valid as relationships with their genesis rooted in more traditional terms devoid of modern technology. The common thread of criticism always seems to have as its fulcrum that technology adds a falseness to virtual courting. The assumption then is that human courtship has remained in a constant state of behaviors and expectations throughout time which modernism cannot address and that something has been lost.

The problem with this assumption is that human courtships have varied wildly over time and cultural boundaries. When we explore romantic relationships throughout time and place we can find no constants or absolutes. Even obvious things like ‘kindness’ do not seem so common when we consider the cruelties that have often accompanied courtship practices in individuals and societies. In fact, courtship itself is not even a constant part of human relationships and pair bonding, as we can clearly see from arranged marriages that still happen in many cultures today. As it turns out there is no common thread amongst humanity in which technology may disrupt. We remain as adaptive as ever to the constraints and advantages of our immediate environment in seeking out romantic relationships.

The next assumption that is often related to this erroneous line of reasoning is that the internet, social networking and virtual courtships are just a fad. The above quote by Colbert refers to the sepia tone quality of film associated with the middle of the twentieth century, a time also associated with modern ideas about ‘dating’ and yet preceding the sexual revolution. As if in fifty years we will return to a Leave It To Beaver like existence, having shed the false trappings of the twenty first century for a romantically simpler time in which most of its vocal proponents never even lived. Although it is quite likely that modern humanity is on a collision course with its own avarice and hubris, should we survive this critical mass of our humanity in the death knell of the industrial age and birth pangs of the age of information, the internet and its social structures are unlikely to be going anywhere. In fact they will likely advance into degrees of sophistication which make modern internet romance seem dreamy and pastoral to the critics of those future technological paradigms.

The sort of coupling that is now associated with social networking and internet dating may be closer to our traditional courting behaviors than those immediately preceding the internet. Until the early part of the twentieth century is was the custom for courtships to be held mostly remotely via letters, sketches, photographs, poems, autobiographies, etc.; all of the same behaviors associated with online romance. In the nineteenth century and prior a ‘date’ was a term associated with prostitution and those in a courtship only saw one another on rare, special occasions. When dating became popular in the Jazz Age it was associated with chaste associations with multiple partners in order to ‘play the field’. As a result of the sexual revolution and advances in birth control the chaste nature of these dates was no longer the norm. Today dating is strongly associated with ‘hooking up’ and is often not intended as a means towards building permanent bonds between individuals. This is not to say that modern dating is a negative or immoral practice, but only to illustrate that what critics of internet courtship think of as traditional behaviors are in fact very modern ones. The practice of meeting and courting an online partner through exhaustive communication bears far more resemblance to traditional western modes of romantic genesis.

The greatest contributing factor to the success of online dating is it’s ability to connect like-minded individuals in a growing human population that alienates people through specialization. While we have continued to grow our species at an alarming rate we have also set conditions for the specialization of the individual. This has been done in many ways. Economic paradigms insist on specialized educations and career fields that narrow an individuals knowledge and interest. At the same time the sheer amount of culture (art, music, literature, cuisine, lifestyle) available to us means that we have less in common. Globalization of culture has meant that culture itself has decentralized. No longer does geography determine our cultural identity so much as our free associations with a multitude of cultural icons. To put this idea simply, a hundred years ago a person was likely influenced almost entirely by local customs and culture, while the modern human has for their influence a plethora of customs and cultures perpetrated internationally by modern media. The human of today, at least in western society and its counterparts, largely chooses their own interests rather than having them foisted upon them by locality and necessity. When we consider the size of the human population we find that it is highly unlikely that we will meet complimentary companions merely by local searches. The internet provides a forum for highly specialized individuals to meet the most likely candidates for courtship.

At the same time, many of the social institutions in which the like-minded were likely to meet have also eroded. Community activities, church and even traditional workplaces are no longer as prevalent in our society as they once were. And it does not appear that these institutions will return to classical forms any time soon. In their place, modern courting began to root itself in the leisure industry. Bars, resorts and travel became the new grounds for courting rituals. This trend meant that human romance had adopted for its breeding ground the marketplace and became another form of western consumption. We had become burdened with the price of purchase as the cost of romance. Our social institutions gave way to economic ones as in many other areas of our life. Considering the ability of almost any western human to freely access internet, social media and dating sites we are seeing a trend in which love is being removed from the marketplace and being made freely accessible by these new social institutions.

Criticism of internet courtship is often validated by the superiority of traditional values. Yet as we have seen, online romance bears far closer resemblance to those traditions than does the meat market of the twentieth century. While there is little doubt that web-based love will continue to evolve in strange and unthinkable ways, this is the course that humanity has set itself down and criticism of it is as hostile and sterile as any other form of neo-conservatism. By embracing these new paradigms we can contribute to steering them towards more positive interactions and avoid the mess modernism made of traditional human values in the meaningless and promiscuous marketplace partnering. Meanwhile the liberals engaged in social satire, like Mr. Colbert, will continue to ironically lambaste internet courtships like the good little neo-con puppets they may or may not realize that they are. That is fine by me. Let them have their skepticism and anger and misery. I have love. And I have social networking to thank for that.