Learning How, Why and When to Tell Yourself to STFU

tell yourself to stfu

There is one thing that almost all of us share in common, that is, we are often our own worst enemies. We become swept up in the force of ourselves so much that we often forget to be the kind of people that we are each trying to be. We sabotage our own happiness in moments of petty frustration, discomfort and/or irritability. This is part of the burden of being human. But just because it is natural doesn’t mean we should give in to it or give up on ourselves. Free will awaits all those who wish to face their weaknesses and address them.

Since most of our outbursts are products of internal thoughts or processes, our inner dialogue makes the best cut-off point for inappropriate behaviors and reactions. When we observe our inner selves experiencing signs of tension, we can then ask ourselves what struck us the wrong way and why. And for every answer we receive from ourselves, we can then ask a further question. If you follow this process you will almost inevitably find that what is bothering you is not the thing you are reacting to, but something about yourself you cannot reconcile. And even when the disturbance can be pinpointed externally, we can still question the nature of our own volatile reactions or responses.

For example, the other day while I was working the cash register at the book store, I was becoming increasingly nervous to the point of overwhelming anxiety. At some point I recognized that it was because the doorway that was located near me was very busy. The open/close/open/close/open/close was irritating for reasons that didn’t make any sense to me. So I explored my inner thoughts and investigated. I finally asked a helpful question, “What does a door symbolize?” After mulling about a bit around my mental playground I came to the conclusion that doors represent our fears, desires and frailties. A door keeps bad things out, protects the good things inside and provides access to objects of desire. From there I concluded that I had issues with my own unfulfilled desires and the door represented other peoples fulfillment. My anxiety was borne of petty jealousy. And once I realized that, the heavy door traffic stopped bothering me altogether almost instantly.

At the same time, I was exposed to an area of my own psychology that needed tending to, my frustration with my inability to fulfill my own desires to travel and write instead of live in one place and work a regular job. That is not an easy obstacle to overcome, but if I remember that it is an internal trigger, I can prevent myself from creating new obstacles out of the unrecognized frustration. Recognizing the connective patterns of our own inner workings does not necessarily solve all of our problems, but it does give us tools to deal with them in more healthy and productive ways.

There is one internal dialogue which I use regularly to great effect. I call it the ‘STFU Joshua’ voice. The first step to curbing outbursts and negative reactions is to cut ourselves off so that we have time to seek reason and calm through introspection. So as often as I possibly can, whenever I feel myself about to become unnecessarily confrontational or react in ways that will provide lingering consequences or hard feelings in myself and others, I use my inner voice to tell myself to shut the fuck up. I literally speak those words aloud in my own head. I have never disobeyed that order. The trick lies in learning when to give it.

The ultimate goal is to be able to give it whenever negativity will cost more than it can benefit. I am not for compulsive positivity, and I think a human who reduced themselves to that would be a boring, stagnant being. Great things are born of passion, and passion bears the fruit of struggle and confrontation in its growth. Yet an excess of negativity becomes a burden and consumes its bearer from within. If your own passions do not result in productive ends or fulfillment, it is time to question it and address them. This is something each of us must discover for ourselves.

I have always lived by the advice I give others, ‘QUESTION EVERYTHING!’ There is no better or effective place to apply that axiom than to your own self. Only through self reflection and introspection can we root out the flaws we are able to address and push ourselves along the path of our own evolution. The key to knowing anything at all reliably begins with self-awareness and knowing your own self.

To the World, I Died Long Ago, But Today I Say Goodbye (With Audio Version)

i died long ago

Childhood is a cruelty nobody should have to bear in these short lives we live. Mine was worse than most. Things were bad, I mean REALLY bad. I just wanted to hide, to escape. But wherever I went the adults found me and the cruelty continued. When I realized I could not get away I tried to become somebody who just didn’t care. I built a new me, one who could deal with all of the things that I could not. The new me kept me safe. I gave up more and more of myself all of the time just to feel that comfort and security, even if it was a lie. Before long I gave up so much of myself that I began to disappear into the new me. One day I found that I no longer existed. I was just a spider caught in its own cobweb in the corner of the new me’s mind.

I mostly forgot that I existed. But whenever new me, which I will call Hector, got scared or encountered an extreme situation or feeling, I would find myself rising back up to the surface. Hector developed some bad habits as an adult. The methamphetamines he took gave me a glimpse of the outer world that he lived in. I became desperate to look outside again. When Hector would try to clean himself up I would whisper to him from the corner of his own mind, urging him to get high. When he would stay awake for days he became so weak that I was able to take over our body for brief moments. During those times I began to want to come back, to take over and be in full control of us again. But Hector, as always, was stronger. He beat the drugs and in the process pushed me back into my little darkened corner, where I became trapped like a prisoner of the mind. Even worse, he never knew he was doing it, or noticed that I still existed.

In fact, Hector became stronger than ever. After a period of incarceration for the weaknesses I took advantage of, he was back in full control. His new resolve gave him the strength to fight against oppression, a state our memories would not tolerate in his world. He became an activist. In fighting the demons of the world, he became stronger than I could ever hope to break through. And then one day almost a month ago, something changed.

There was another activist, a man named Alex Walsh, who lived not a few hours drive from here. He had been making some bizarre claims online about a conspiracy to discredit and kill him. Nobody took him too seriously, until one day he showed up dead. He had shot himself, and set his house on fire, or at least that is what the authorities and mainstream media said happened. But to Hector, this was more than just coincidence. Alex had been killed by those whom he had warned everybody who would listen, were trying to kill him. Whether Alex was the victim of a conspiracy or a desperate suicide, I will never know. Yet Hector’s certainty triggered a paranoia the likes of which I had never seen him experience. His fears became so profound that for the first time in years, I was able to rise back up out of my corner. Within a few days of his uncontrollable fear, the very thing I had created him to be immune to, he became weak. And that is when I started wrestling away more control.

Hector’s greatest weakness is that he had been created solely to deny fear, not accept or face it. When he found a thing to fear that he thought he could not deny, it wasn’t hard to help push him further in that direction. The more afraid he was, the more control I gained over our body. Soon I was taking it over for long stretches, mostly when he thought he was sleeping. I was not satisfied with having control of our body in that tired state he surrendered it to me in. So one night when he thought he was sleeping, I scored some methamphetamines so that I could feel awake and alert when our body was all mine. As the paranoia over Alex’s death mixed with the meth and lack of sleep, the people closest to Hector suspected our drug usage, though he was unaware it was happening. Even while feeling the effects, he could not admit their influence, because he was certain he had not used them. Once I lost control before I could hide my drugs and he found them in our backpack. I thought that would be the beginning of the end of me, but his paranoia convinced him that the drugs had been planted.

This was the point that he became certain that someone or someones were out to get him. His cautious paranoia became a certainty. The lost time he was experiencing when I took over created situations that he could not explain, and so slowly, he began constructing narratives to accommodate them. I watched these narratives unfold and tried to figure out a way that I could exploit them to gain total control of our body after all of these years.

One day we were standing in a parking lot and I was able to force myself to the surface. I remained there just long enough for the scene to change before he came back. What stood out in his mind were the extra cars in the lot and the increased traffic. He began to fixate on cars and I took advantage of this. From within I pushed him to find connections. When I gained control at home, usually when he thought he was sleeping, I began to fill our mind full of conspiracy theories from the internet. Slowly they began seeping through the thin partition between us and he was compelled to find this information ‘on his own’. I did everything I could to reinforce these theories, in hopes that I could vanquish him and have us all back to myself. When I saw that a local group of Satanists were attempting to hijack a city council meeting for some bizarre social experiment, I seized onto an idea. It didn’t take long before he caught a glimpse of the news, but from within I distorted it and made it seem far more sinister. It did the trick. He was now convinced, thanks to the ideas that I had been planting, that a gang of Satanists were stalking him for some ultimate maligned purpose.

What happened next surprised even me. When he began to publicly reveal his delusions, he was encouraged by others sharing similar paranoid ideologies. His certainty blossomed faster than I could have imagined or hoped. It was no longer necessary for me to feed him the fear from within, as he was now so ingrained in his narrative that he was immune to reason. Those who tried to talk him down became ‘conspirators’ themselves and everything that happened became some kind of verification for his complex web of paranoia.

One night he contacted a pair of fairly well known activist to listen to his tale. He spent hours telling his story through fever pitched anxiety, and they seemed to be listening, maybe even believing him, or so he thought. After his tale one of them tried to convince him to get help dealing with the anxiety and stress this was causing him. From within, I could see the lie. He was trying to trick Hector into discovering his delusions. He was trying to manipulate him through false support into going to those who might be able to vanquish the delusions that would be my victory. I felt Hector pulling away, giving into some doubt, and considering the advice. I screamed from within, “He is one of them! He is trying to get you to give up, to fail, to die!” When that worked, I knew I would soon have control again after all of these years.

I did learn something from that experience, though. I learned that he believed he ‘knew’ how he would die. Hector thought that he would either be killed by a speeding car that made it look like an accident, or that he would be gunned down by police trying to capture him on behalf of the worldwide Satanist organization that was out to get him. I took every chance I could to reinforce these beliefs. The more I pushed them, the weaker he got, and the closer I got to taking over. But pushing his buttons constantly was bleeding into my own mental state, so I tried being more subtle and letting the crazy colleagues he had acquired reaffirm his fears, while he traveled down a rabbit hole of information that did the same.

Unexpectedly, as he became less frantic and more stoically certain, I was better able to take control at will. Fear had gone as far as it was able to take me, until I was able to deliver the final crushing blow. And so I also became more relaxed. I spent the time I had controlling our body leaving puzzle pieces for the final picture, but also trying to enjoy the life I would soon have all to myself once again. As I struggled to find that joy, I came up continuously empty handed. So far had I been removed from the pleasures of life in all of those years of isolation, that I didn’t even know where to find joy, and I was not sure I would recognize it if I did.

There was some comfort in the cartoons I had watched as a child, before I created Hector, as they had been my original escape. But soon even those became empty. At first I had enjoyed the meth I was secretly feeding our body, but in short order that too became a nowhere place. The family that was once mine were now distant strangers. They were his family. The pleasures I had peeked at from the corner of our mind were also his, and they brought me no comfort, no joy, nothing. The closer I got to having my life back, the less I wanted it.

When I thought of all the things that made me want my life back they were his things. They were his experiences and accomplishments and joys. I had mistaken the envy I experienced from the corner of our mind as desire. Yet once I was free to act on my own desires, I found that I had none. I had no meaning and no purpose. I had died long ago. I was a memory that refused to quit. A ghost in Hector’s consciousness.

I began to step back, to relinquish control. I retreated back to that corner in the hopes that I could feed from the experiences of his life again. But it was too late. I had ruined his life. I had pushed him so far away from his own sanity that he was just as broken as I was when I created him in the first place. So here we were, two people in one mind and one body, neither able to appreciate it. The momentum was too great. His paranoid certainty had closed every loop and became an airtight narrative outlining his own eventual demise. And the only thing worse than the outcome I had helped conjure up in his imagination, dying at the hands of the illusory forces he was certain were out to get him, was for both of us to endure these fears for days, weeks, months and years to come.

This life, that I have not even been living for a very long time, is now too much to bear. For either of us. Hector will not end it, he cannot, I made sure of that. It is up to me to free us both from this hell. I will not destroy his delusions before I end it all. They are all he has left. He will die with the courage and dignity that I have never had in life, to fight with all of his might, even though the forces he battles are all make believe. I leave this letter for his family and his friends. I have nobody. I am nobody. May you remember him kindly. May you remember him as he was before his fear gave me the chance to ruin everything. The man you have encountered recently is not the one you have known for all those years. He is a mockery of that man, a ruination built on the foundations of my weaknesses and my lies and my fears.

To the world, I died long ago, but today I say goodbye. If the car that I step in front of doesn’t kill us, then the cops who try to drag us into the loony bin afterwards will. I will be certain of that, that they do their part, not as though its hard to do these days. By the time you find this, it will be too late. Blame me if you will. Hate me. But please, do not blame Hector for what I have recently done, and what I am about to do.

A Possible Explanation for the Rise of School Shootings & Other Mass Murder

ape mass murder

As news is pouring out over a tragic act of violence that just occurred in the form of a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College near Roseburg, Oregon, pundits all over the political spectrum are gearing up to use this tragedy to illustrate how their ‘opponents’ and their policies are responsible for the phenomenon.

While the liberals on the left will surely blame the existence and availability of the weapons used, conservatives on the right will surely suggest that it is the product of the breakdown of social values and morality resulting from the absence of religious fervor.

In this way the two false public relations fronts for the single political oligarchy can attempt to misdirect any plausibly genuine anger at the misery created by the sum of their policies into streamlined talking points, electoral tools predicated on the tragedy that their system must surely have helped to create to begin with.

While there is always a wildcard element in humanity, the rogue individual who feels the need to commit the most heinous atrocities for reasons most of us could never comprehend, the independent mass murderers and serial killers are not the historical norm. These seemingly random acts of violence continue to increase in America, even as other crime related homicides decrease. While we can look back and find evidence of violence in the pre-industrial era, it is rare to see individuals acting outside of the jurisdiction of authority committing murder against large numbers of people, with no real substantial or practical motivation to do so.

Is it possible that psychosis is on the rise? Could the psychopathic and sociopathic tendencies towards wholesale misery, destruction and death be increasing in response to some new environmental stimulus in the modern world?

Many criminologists will trace the modern phenomena of mass-killing by independent agents as having begun in the late nineteenth century. In Britain, Jack the Ripper is considered an early model for the modern psychotic killer, while America has H.H. Holmes. In the time since, the phenomenon has continued to increase. Both serial and mass killing have evolved from the deviant oddities of history into a modern reality which continues to rise with no end in sight.

Is it any coincidence that this trend began during the strongest push of growth of the industrial era and continues to rise as the paradigms that hold the industrial world together become even more omnipresent and omnipotent than ever before? Well, first of all, what paradigms have held the modern world together during our species’ ascent into an industrial civilization?

While I could list the aspects involved, the paradigms really come down to the increased power afforded political systems by modern technology, which allow for the creation of ever more powerful monopolies on all aspects of existence. The tools of oligarchies, such as imperialism, corporatism and welfare/warfarism, have become distinctly more powerful and durable as a result of the benefits of industrialism. And with these come an unending stream ‘thou shall nots’, codified as laws, which protect the property, lives and agendas of the most successful industrialists. In order to to insure themselves against the masses, the police state has arisen. And not just literally as an increase in the numbers of and power of police, but as all aspects of life become subject to strict regulation and control.

All of that regulation and control is upheld by force, or the threat thereof. Our entire society is largely glued together, not by the sort of cultural values, ethics and morals that historically held societies together, but by this threat of force. Whether it be extortion, imprisonment or death, force is the ultimate arbiter of all human interactions in our current system. Violence is power and power is survival and success in a culture of monopoly.

While this highly complex social structure predicated on force is often measured in large demographic and sociological terms, we forget that it also has an effect on every individual. The psychological issues that increase in the monopoly and totality of centralized power are rarely ever spoken of, and surely never mentioned in the academic circles funded by the power structure itself. Yet as every aspect of choice and possibility for the individual are narrowed by the needs of that system, there must surely be some effect.

Anyone who has been around small children recognizes that their need to exercise power by controlling elements of their environment differs among different children. Some children have a strong need to feel in control and get things their way while others are content to acquiesce to the more powerful children or adults around them. Whether this is cause by nature or nurture matters very little. Genetics and imprint conditioning likely both play a large role in the differing need for power evident in different people. This is likely to always be the case.

It is also most likely that those who are imbued with this need for power and control are most often those who either rise to the top of the systems predicated on them, or become social deviants who exercise these innate drives in more subtle ways than the psychopaths in charge of the monopolies. Yet as power increases in any regard, powerlessness elsewhere must also continue to increase. So what we would expect to see in a system that grows more powerful is for the threshold of powerlessness to grow. In other words, as there is more power, more people are likely to feel disempowered than before the increase. And as more people respond to the psychological and cognitive dissonance of being powerless, their reactions increase in both strength and numbers.

As the strength afforded to the system and the elite who navigate and profit most greatly from it increases, the backfiring response to it will also increase. The psychological well being of any group of people held under the control and power of small group will suffer as their own controls and powers are increasingly diminished. What we see in the modern world as a rise in horrific violence committed by deranged individuals is likely a result of a loss of personal choice, responsibility and independence.

Those who would use tragedies like the one in Oregon in to push for more laws or systematic protections are either unknowingly or deliberately making the problems worse. Every action has an opposite and equal reaction. As a result of our caustic and inadvisable attempts to harness the monopolies of power to try to reach a tragedy free world, we have actually increased the conditions necessary by which those who would commit tragedies are created. Through psychological, economic and cultural feedback created by this push-pull between individuals and the institutions they are forced to obey, the only way to go is up. By trying to control problems created by control, we only create more problems.

Sometimes you swallow a fly. When you try to swallow a spider to catch the fly you begin a chain reaction that has only one inevitable logic: self-destruction. As attempts to use the monopolies of control, power and force for our own means increase, when they are clearly tools for denying us our own power as individuals, the only things that increase are the control, power and force of those institutions and the tragic deviant behaviors of the others stuck in this cage with us, but with less ability to endure it.

The rise of the the modern psycho-killer is not a problem to be solved by authority, it is a problem created by it. Until enough of us realize that, we just keep swallowing solutions that are more dangerous than the problems created through prior ingestion. Trying to use the system to fix problems created by the system is like trying to stop an avalanche by firing ever larger snowballs into it. And those individuals who senselessly kill masses of people are that extra snow now returning to us in the avalanche.

I would like to mention that there undoubtedly other contributing factors to this phenomenon, however it is likely that even these factors could be shown to have a relationship to the increasing gap between individuals and institutions of authority.