Tender

Tender

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Self(ish) - (A Maverick Missive)

(CAI 2018)
He tells me

*
we have found 

that some people are born with a stronger body than spirit, and the animal body dominates 
(base behaviour, selfish, fear-based, violent, pleasure-oriented)

while some people are born with a stronger spirit than body, so spirit takes control 
(self-discipline, healthy choices, 
applying Oneself with vigour and determination 
to One's purpose in coming to Earth)

the Many swarm around a central middle, body and spirit fairly evenly matched, always wrangling control, stumbling from foot to foot while trying to stay upright.

*
we have found

some people establish high degrees of integration 
body and spirit forming strong associations until
one cannot distinguish any separateness at all. 

thus emerges a Self. 

that is, a new being, 
a consciousness operating 
in comfortable flow in the place 
where body and spirit have carved out space 
together. 

an entity of both parts but sprung 
fully formed, integrated in 
their child's muscle memory
cell knowledge
arbiter, judge, neutral zone, 
cooperative space, enmeshing
creature of the Earth

existing only when this particular cup-full of Isness 
merges with
this particular conglomeration of cells from elements on Earth.

Elements continue to exist
re-joining the Earth.
Isness will continue to Is, melding and dissipating into All

but not so, Self 

a precious and one-time deal. 

*
we suspect

not all spirit-body pairs 
in their lifetime together
integrate a Self.

(he tells me I've got it all wrong but then sighs, and says, close enough, Child.)

the real world (CAI 2018)




Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Choosing optimism


Optimism
Unfortunately, historically, any social progress has always required painful social unrest and revolution. Now, Power has the weapons to absolutely shut down any unrest, in a way never before seen in history. So, it seems likely that we will see both the worst crackdowns (un)thinkable, and also a failure to move forward our societies. Many will suffer. Many will die or lose their freedom.

However, I find that in history, a great number of unlikely things have happened. From what I've seen, just three pieces of luck in either direction are enough to derail empires and make massive shifts. So I stay open to the idea that all these decisions are being made by humans, and humans might be reachable by spirit, by the Universe, by whatever common humanity demands that we try to be Just; three Favours of the Possible might change it all in my children's lifetime.

I have no choice but optimism if I'm going to stay and play. It seems more worthy than the cynicism that provides one of the few other paths to living with the reality of our current situation.

It follows, if I believe it's possible, that I need to provide my part, every day, in making it happen. Because whether it's possible or not isn't the point. The point is whether I act as though it's possible, or undermine its energy before it even begins by failing to believe in its possibility.

I'm working to earn three Favours of the Possible that will shift humanity into awareness of the value in life. Feel free to contribute - meet us in the ether.

A Blessing






Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tea Time

He arrives for tea
He says,
Oh, child, don't you know
I am a million years older than you
barely a breath
I am infinitely larger and  impossibly smaller
in ways that you cannot comprehend
don't you know that I am just a spec of sand
on the path
to a gate that is locked?
If I am not even a brick on the road
what makes you think
you are one to walk?
Yet I stand beneath your feet
and wish you well.
I am no key.
(now drink your tea)

Friday, October 26, 2018

Caretaking and Taking Care

Co-dependent (CAI 2018)
There is an important distinction between caretaking and taking care.

Because we are all flawed and weak, we need to take care of each other. As we know each others' triggers, the things that push each of us over the edge, we might take care to avoid them or come at them differently. As we know each others' communication preferences and typical reactions, we might choose our words. Understanding each others' weaknesses in daily life lets us shift the burdens we share so that we carry what we're more able to carry, and hand over what we find heavy and they find lighter. That's relationship, and it's an important manifestation of love, for self and others.

Each of us is responsible to keep our flaws and weaknesses from inflicting upon other people, as much as possible. Reducing our negative impact means we are responsible to pay attention, know ourselves, understand our own flaws and weaknesses, and take steps to avoid those triggers and have mechanisms to deal with things when they push us past our limits. That's relationship. Developing that is another important manifestation of love, for self and others.

When we take care of each other, we are giving each other support as we spend our lifetimes, overlapping, trying to know how we impact and give off the most love and support we can.

When we caretake, one of us is carrying the full burden, because the other is not taking the responsibilities of self-awareness in a relationship. If we decide to avoid a trigger as a consideration of what we know bugs the other person, that is not the same thing as feeling responsible to avoid it, fearing what happens if we can't, and taking the blame if we fail and are inflicted upon. That is caretaking. It is not respectful. It does not treat the other person as capable of self-awareness nor does it support them in developing it. It's very difficult to be in a relationship with someone we don't respect. It's a heavy burden, over time, to caretake someone in relationship. It leads to much resentment, less love, less support, more fear, more anger, more hurt. Caretaking is an expression of love, but because it's also an expression of fear and disrespect, it's doesn't support a goal of putting out more love and support.

Unfortunately, the parent-child relationship involves a lot of caretaking in the early days. Parents must caretake infants and small children who certainly can't be held accountable for self-awareness, and must be taught it with love and support through the ways we take care of them over time. As children develop, they must learn to be accountable for their impact on others in relationship. Moving from caretaking to taking care marks the primary challenge of parenting other people from start to adulthood and beyond. Moving from being caretaken to being taken care of, as an equal human taking care of others in relationship, represents the primary challenge of the first twenty years on Earth.

Parents must take responsibility for decisions that children lack the context or experience to make intelligently. They use their power to do so, and relinquishing that power, allowing errors to teach, allowing difficulties to shape, feels both dangerous and irresponsible as people age through childhood under your care. Yet it is also irresponsible to impose your way of being on another human without respecting their choices or allowing them to learn through experience. Missing the mark on that distinction is a primary cause of friction between parents and the humans in their care. Caretaking and Taking Care often flip into each other without anyone noticing, but we notice the feeling of missed communication, resentment, secrecy, irritation, and other symptoms that we're not taking good care of ourselves, each other, and this place.

In a family unit with more than one person in early life, siblings can learn to caretake. No one likes friction. When one sibling knows another well and can help avoid triggers or support overcoming strong reactions or weak performance, they might do so to make their own life feel more pleasant or secure. But if they learn, or are told, that it's their responsibility to caretake their sibling, they will learn caretaking as a behaviour they take forward in life, mistaking it for a healthy expression of love. They may do this out of love for a parent they wish to caretake by sparing them the difficult behaviour of the sibling. These patterns can pass through families for generations. Discussing the differences between caretaking and taking care can provide important context in families.

When someone is trying to take responsibility, we take care of them in the ways we can, to help them with their work. When someone is not trying to take responsibility, but take our care for granted, we end up doing their work and that is caretaking. It's a funny word, because when I am caretaking someone, they are actually the ones doing the taking of care, without reciprocating with the efforts required to reduce their negative impact and increase the love they give off.

When we discover ourselves caretaking, it's not something we can just stop doing, wham, slam them to the floor. If we've let the people in our lives rely on us they haven't developed the muscles to rely on themselves. Not to mention, that is how they've learned to receive our love. It's perfectly natural that this happens in relationship, but when we want to reduce the friction and increase the happy, new pathways must be built before the old ones are severed. So we start having regular and honest communication about each of us moving our own part of the responsibility forward, and how we're able and willing to support each others in that. Because we care about each other, so we take care of what they legitimately need on the path to more love and support forward from all directions.

In relationship, we take care of each other and try to reduce our negative impact while maximizing love and support. Worthy goals for all of humanity and our relationship with our planet and societies.

Friday, October 19, 2018

On Being a Giant in a Small World (part 1)

Giant (2018)
Ways people leave when you’re a giant
(and helpful mantras for processing feelings about it)

People leave. Maybe you can relate. You may find these mantras helpful, or inspirational to create your own for other situations of being left.

The thing about being a giant is that I take up a lot of room. Most people, I walk into a room, and they feel smaller. It’s not my fault, I’m just a giant. I want to be in the room with people, and I want to talk and laugh and work with them, but when I walk in, I take up a lot of space just being me. Some people don’t feel like there’s enough elbow-room for them, no matter how big the room actually is, no matter how small I try to appear. They leave. My mantra for this is

“people come, people go.”

Some people don’t leave right away. Some people are interested. They look around and realize that the room is big enough for both of us, for all of us, to be giants. They look at me a little more closely than before and they realize that we’re actually the same size, or, at least, they don’t feel diminished by my size - they feel inspired to grow. It’s not that I got smaller. They realized they were bigger. They don’t need a lot of time with me - in fact, they might find me better experienced in doses - but they respect and care for me. These people often hang on, on the periphery, with occasional glimpses and happy chance encounters. My mantra for this is

“hello, giant, hope to see you again!”

Some other people don’t leave right away, but I leave them. They see my giant plight through loving eyes, and though they feel diminished or crowded, they gamely try to stick with me and be my friend anyway. They see me struggle with the smallness around me, and to them, my giant steps look like I’m lumbering around. They want to help or support me, but only in the ways they want to, which often doesn’t help at all. While these people are lovely souls, if they aren’t in my family, I don’t choose to stay where they are.

I’m proud to be a giant! I long to be my giant self without constant reminders that I’m different and people would like me better if I were smaller. Around these helping people, the “giant-friendly” people, I’m always crouching and stooping, smiling and reassuring, stepping back and holding back, so they don’t get scared. They often get scared anyway. It’s just as well. My mantra for this is

“thank you, goodbye.”

A few people stick like glue, until I unstick them. These are people who see my giant abilities with awe and a sense they could never be so amazing. From a place of worship, I can only fall when they realize I am not as giant as they think, and they are not as small. From a place of awe we cannot relate, and I just feel uncomfortable and pressured. A quick glimpse of my temper, even a loud laugh, is often enough to scare them away. My mantra for this is

“I don’t owe my gifts, I give them as I choose.”

Other people don’t leave right away, but I avoid them. These people don’t see me as a giant at all. All my stooping and smiling fools them. They see me as smaller than them, their giant self looming over me. That’s not how I see it as I watch them, knee-high, puffing themselves up taller. But even so, when they are with me, I start to feel myself shrink. I try to stay out of rooms they fill - usually those rooms are too small for me anyway.  My mantra for this is

“I’m too big for them to see me, and I don’t need them to.”

Some people try to stay, but I scare them off good and proper. These are the folks who see how giant I am, and though they feel small, they admire of some of my giant abilities, like lifting heavy things and making the floor rumble when I dance, or telling them that they are giants, too. These people often listen with wonder to my strange words like they are finally hearing what they’ve always suspected but never thought about. We have animated conversations scheming schemes only possible by combining our strengths. It feels like friendship and the potential adventures are intriguing. But these people, I scare off.

At some point I don’t hold back enough, and they see just a glimpse of my actual strength and my weakness. It’s not on purpose - I don’t plan it that way! But the moment always comes, when trust depends on knowing if they’re big enough, and strong enough, to take care of themselves; to not get seriously injured by playing with a giant for real. When pressed, not many feel they are.

These people are the hardest because I always feel so hopeful, for too long, that they really know they are giants and we might have giant adventures together. When it turns out that the whole time, when I thought I was looking them in the eye, they thought I was looking down, the disappointment tastes more bitter each time. The energy of breaking and loss gets into my bones and joints, it brings me down. I need days before I can stand up tall.

So I avoid people who seem like they might not pass when the test inevitably arrives, but some make it all the way to this point and then leave . My mantra for this is

“better now than later.”

Remember, all suffering stems from wishing reality different than it is. Everything is the way it is. It can only be the way it is, or we wouldn’t exist. So when you’re a giant, it makes sense to accept that people will leave for many reasons that have very little to do with your value as a person. It’s a good idea to be ready to stay whole and healthy with a solid grip on yourself when it happens. My mantra for this is,

“people come, people go. still, I’m glad I’m a giant.”

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Reaching out is bullshit

Heal Thyself
People say that when you feel hopeless, you should "reach out." I've always considered it bullshit advice. Reaching out puts other people in the position of having to help or having to say no, neither of which is particularly kind. People have their own shit to deal with. To step in, to step up, to offer you support, they have to put themselves out. To say no, they have to feel bad. And the squirming terribleness of reaching out only to have no one reach back, to receive their rejections again, is a million times worse than the imagined aloneness that hasn't been proven by trying and failing to find even one other human who actually wants to be there with you in your need. Every time, it just makes it worse. Reaching out just makes me more raw. Reaching IN is the only direction I can count on.


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Fighting an avalanche with a shovel

Fighting automation is like trying to stop an avalanche with a shovel. Most of the jobs it threatens first are not well-paid, secure, "good" jobs, anyway. What we should hope for is that automation wipes out jobs so fast that government has no choice but to consider alternate approaches to feeding and housing the population instead of relying on jobs that disappear as the population migrates further and further from a life of well-being; as more and more people fall into the shame and deprivation of poverty. Maybe it will make us fight for what we need to survive automation, rather than fight against it. It's possible we can drive socio-economic priorities towards a Basic Income to cushion the inevitable pain of humans suddenly not being the best and cheapest machines for things we never imagined could be automated.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Racism and Misogyny

(Primal, CAI 2011)
I think that there is a primal fear at the heart of racism and misogyny. The fear is that they, themselves, will be treated in the way that female-bodied and darker-hued people are treated.

They realize, somewhere in themselves, that their own sense of dignity, ego, id, self, the "god in a body" that they are, would not tolerate such treatment. They feel in their guts that, if they were treated that way, they would retaliate, they would become violent, they would look for any opportunity to undermine and damage the oppressors. They would be hatefully angry.

They know that they would not be stoic and okay with it. That's why they demand subservience, domination, control. They can't believe that female-bodied and darker-hued people are actually better people than them. Stronger. More dignified. More resilient. More capable of standing up in the face of intolerable behaviour and NOT striking back, not getting violent, not damaging, but instead, seeking peace. If they were us, they would be angry, so if we are not angry we must be sub-human, and if we are angry, we are dangerous.

They are afraid because they know they couldn't handle for a minute what we handle every single minute. They believe that, if they stop controlling us through fear and power, we could turn it on them, because that is what they would do. So instead, they assume that our general attitude of getting on with life despite oppression means that our feelings are less acute, that we simply don't feel dignity and pride the way they do. They assume that because we are accustomed to humiliation, shaming, degrading, overpowering, demeaning treatment, we must be lesser than them to tolerate it.

That's why even a glimpse of our anger feels so threatening despite their enormous power. It belies their assumption that we are less, and hints at the fact that we are, in fact, more. They are terrified of their own weakness in the face of our actual strength, which we have learned, through oppression, to cultivate with control they never had to practice. They have never learned how. That's why they can't muster a response that doesn't shoot spittle out their outraged mouths.

They are weaklings. They can't handle even 1/100th of what they dish out, and they don't understand how to respect us when we do handle it, when we handle it well, when we handle it with grace and dignity, and even manage to give them respect in the absence of reciprocation. They couldn't do it, so we mustn't be doing it, we must simply be less, feel less, have lesser consciousness, have lesser humanity. It's easy to believe that. Because if we were fully human, like them, we would rise up and kill them, the way they know in their hearts they would do if anyone treated them the way they treat us. I'd like to believe we wouldn't. I think we're stronger than that.

I think most of us actually want to help them learn to live in peace with us, rather than pitting our power against their weapons. We don't want to hurt them, we want them to stop hurting us. We want them to acknowledge that our humanity is at least equal to theirs. We want them to know that we do feel, acutely, just as consciously as them. That our gods in our bodies are not lesser than theirs. Bodies are bodies, whether they come female-gendered or male, whether they come in peach or beige or any hue at all. We are all humans, all equally entitled to the abundance of the planet, and we want them to stop acting like that's not true, and expecting us all to play along or they will control, harm, and even kill us. We want them to acknowledge that we are all human beings of equal worth. That's not unreasonable. But they can't handle even entertaining this line of thinking, because the implications are too enormous to their fragile egos and straw-man power structures.

What happens next?

Monday, October 1, 2018

Opinions and Debates

You may be entitled to your opinion, but you're not entitled to mine. There's no point in debating unless it's to seek common ground.

And while entitlement to an opinion may be comforting, is it satisfying?

Once we accept that we are too stupid to understand even if everything made sense, which it doesn't, we realize that WE ALL HAVE A POINT. And we are all also missing things.


If you use your point to eliminate, negate or destroy my point, you miss mine. And my point is worth hearing with an open mind and heart, because it is hard won and has grown and matured from simpler thinking that sounds a lot like most of the "debating" I see go by my feeds. You are at least as bright as me, so I have confidence that you can unclench your grip on what you already know and accept, and try to see things as I see for a time, just for the fun of it, just to see what's worth incorporating. It's a wonder, what I see. It's curious and dangerous, frustrating and fantastic, and it's just as real as what you've accepted.


If I hear your point but you don't hear mine, and I identify the common ground, you will feel like you've won, when really, I have taken in some information but you have lost out altogether. That's not a good use of either of our time and energy in the world.


My goal, instead, is that we learn to allow each others' version of reality to exist in respect for the person that each of us is. We allow the other reality to exist, just as real, inhabiting the same 3 dimensional space. We learn to allow this, without insisting that one is correct and one is incorrect, that only one version represents the True Reality. We allow the possibility that I may be wrong, you may be wrong, and in all likelihood we are both a little bit right and colossally wrong, because humans are stupid even at our smartest. And this place is really complicated.


So we can ask, do I LOVE the reality that I accept as real? Do I choose the view I hold, is it what I want for myself and the world? If you could wish the impossible, would you want the world to be this way?

Then, it becomes a choice. What reality am I working towards? How can I make minute corrections in my thinking, living, being, relationships, moments, choices, viewpoints, information seeking, experiencing, etc. that start to line up my actual reality with the reality of my wishes?

And then, we have a common seeking. Where is the reality I'm creating overlapping with the reality that you want to be real?

Together, we can wish the impossible. Where two or three are gathered, there lies a reality with some strength.

The existing physical and social conditions of Earth represent a fairly common experience, where many humans all agree about what reality is like.

The rest of our experience, outside the common experience, is our own special blend of reality. Trying to make other people see it, agree with it, and change their reality to ours, is the height of arrogance and narcissism. Instead we should seek what we love from what they see, and incorporate it into our reality. In this way, we add strength to that shared wish, we give it reality, by wishing for it, by acting towards it. We bring it forth. Slowly, like building a mountain with teaspoons, maybe. But maybe not. The length of time doesn't matter, if we care about the future 7 generations. We can pass our reality along, and let it evolve into something even better as it strengthens over time.


We can wish our reality into a future that is more beautiful, hopeful, fair, loving, and happy. We have the technical ability and the resources. We've tied ourselves into these systems that choke the true abundance of what we've built in the most shameful ways possible.

Believing in the reality you want, as possible, is an act of bravery. It is playing traitor to the systems that hold you up, that give you a sense of control and security in the world. It is letting go of the ropes of being right and understanding what the fuck is going on. Trust me, we have no idea.

It makes living a different kind of experience. It's easier to believe in the reality we're presented by the people we trust, who hold us up. Together, we give that reality more strength and we feel more insulated. Maybe we are. And, if that reality isn't the one I'd choose, it hurts my soul, regardless of whether we have a soul.


I know this in my bones, in my veins, in the painful joints and inflamed points, in my pressurized head, in my ears (Happy), in my skin and fingers and pouring through. My reality is that we can give reality to our wishes, in spoonfuls and grains, just by believing they are possible, just by acting as though they are likely, and I can help make them happen in my little small acts. If that's not true, if that's not real, to someone else's reality, I have both the humility and pride to say, I'm probably wrong somehow, but you are no more right than me, you're just looking at the elephant from a different perspective and seeing something different. I am looking her in the eyes.


So trust me or don't, these choices are our own to make.

But don't ask me to debate you. I've already won. I hope you do, too.


(musical accompaniment from Happy Rhodes https://youtu.be/ZkqZsWLAiRA)


Sunday, September 30, 2018

A missive from Earth, feeling discouraged

As far as I can tell, the strategy Power is pursuing through its pawns is focused on subjugating all humans in every single way to the will of, in the end, a single ruler of the world. A transcendent human, with those loyal to it benefiting from its benevolence, and more painful lives for all those who fall too far from the circle of the All-Powerful's perception of reality. Power wants nothing less than absolute rulership over All, enforced without any regard to the nature or inherent godliness of Life. It is willing to kill the Earth to get it. It works through whatever humans help it achieve those goals. It uses them, and then they die, but Power continues wielding its way through the Powerful, passed by handshake and head nod and the willingness to look away, to cheer on, to help. Each one that Power uses thinks he IS Power, that he OWNS Power, that Power is his. But the opposite is true. Power simply gloms on where it has the most chance of survival, of reaching its goal of never having to be afraid of anything, ever. Except, that primal goal is not being served by Power's instinct to push to the top of the food chain through any means necessary. That just makes Power sure that it must have complete control. If what they say about China's Social Credit Policy is true, Power has a much firmer grasp on its goal there, but that doesn't mean we won't catch up too quickly for comfort.

It's not the individual humans wielding Power that pose the problem. It is that we allow Power so much control over the doings of society. We don't have systems in place to protect us from the weakness of men against the lies Power tells them. We don't have ways that prevent the ways Power blindfolds humans to make us all stumble around, blind to what is true about the importance and singularity of life. Power is a lifeforce unto itself, like so many lifeforces we don't recognize, understand, or have the ability to notice or measure. Power is destroying this planet, seemingly for the fun of it. The humans participating are deluded into thinking that using Power to Control will make their own lives more safe and pleasant, and maybe some of them will come into that reward cleanly and without regret or soul debt. But if they find the strength to stand up to their own delusions, they might see that Life matters, and every action we take that doesn't support the honouring of every life force is a Grave Sin, maybe we could save this planet. I'm not religious, I don't have a belief in a god or a set of faith points. I just feel and know, through my own experience of Life, that Power works through people as soon as we let them have it without effective checks, and if we choose that, we will not save this planet. We may kill it, or it may kill us first, and in that case, I, for one, would hope for the latter.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Emergent

Emergent (early stages) CAI2018


I keep trying it on
the me-suit that's more familiar
the one you could love once she's
when she
if she
but it just never
fits.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Short of Genius

A Simple World (CAI 2018)


I'm probably lucky that I've never really shown genius at anything.

Certainly I'm above-average and even talented at a number of things. I discover more all the time, since they all come from similar roots. But no genius here. Just enough insight in every direction to fuel discontent without providing the balm of understanding.

Yet, from here, I can talk with the humans like one of them.

My creative outpourings always fall short of my own standards, but still, for a human, for a person with my limitations of nature and nurture, they surely represent something of value.

At least, for me.

Musical Accompaniment from the only voice that doesn't offend my ears lately: Happy Rhodes

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Forget the Humans: A very long post with perspectives on Basic Income

Sometimes my friends or family might wonder how I can support a "crazy idea" like a Basic Income. I won't get into the specifics of my conditional support, but after reviewing the data on the current costs of poverty, and seeing what it would take to move towards a minimum standard of living at a full level of social participation and no fear of bodily needs, I found it's the best idea so far.

The problem isn't really whether it's too expensive or impossible. The question is whether people want to do it, which they don't. They are too mad about the freeloaders getting by without working while they have to work hard and sacrifice. They are too righteous to ignore how terrible it is for people to be idle. We have been taught to ignore the needs of our bodies so we often don't realize how much time it takes to take good care of a body, mind, spirit, household and community, completely aside from work and luck. They don't realize all the data I've read that shows it's economically not only feasible, but likely cheaper and more productive, to keep everyone safe, fed and housed, but even if they did, they won't believe it because it doesn't match their idea of human nature. In any case, it's a question of will. People just don't like the idea.

Which brings me to the first voice.

VOICE1: ON BEHALF OF THE HUMANS


Human nature is fascinating. Arriving on this planet a pure spirit encased in helpless body, the hard-wiring combined with elements of environment result in very interesting programming that always runs under the surface of thought. Humans are ridiculous, evil, maddening, lovely, beautiful, loving creatures who barely know what they're doing at the best of times. They are selfish and giving, and you can't be sure which you're gonna get today, though over time, maybe you can guess. Knowing what people are like, we can set our expectations of them accordingly. Between me and most people, there is enough overlap and I have enough knowledge, experience and imagination to guess how they are likely to act in situations we are likely to find ourselves in together. From here, we can build trust.

Often, when people disagree with the ideas I choose to support, it's because our knowledge of human nature is different. The way we see people, what we expect of them, how much "should" we're willing to apply to our judgment of their behaviour, is different. I look at the circumstances people find themselves in, and I see they are almost always doing the best they can with what they have. The only humans I have found who are not interested in doing the best they can with what they have are severe addicts. They are addicted to different things, it leads to different behaviours over different timelines and to different degrees (some of which look like success and others, failure), but what they have in common is that they are all addicts. Like me. Like you.

We are all addicts. Whether it's TV, our apps, sugar, opioids, coffee, food, water, oxygen, or other ways we feed our body-based needs on a day to day basis, we are all 100% dependent on some basics of life to stay alive in our bodies, regardless of circumstances, effort, intention, past mistakes, current misfortunes or future better efforts. Right now, we have a body demanding and we feed the need.

Although we are addicts, we all work. We've been trained to assign value only to certain types of work. But the work of staying alive, dealing with whatever your addictions are, and being productive somehow, is work worth paying for. Further, the work of caring for children and adults who need help is work worth paying for. It's only done for free because it's the work of women.

Basic Income is the latest scheme that promises to solve it, and I provide it with my conditional support because it's the only thing on anyone's radar that even looks like it's headed in the right direction. But it's not about what scheme gets adopted or how it ends up getting messed up in the implementation. It's about agreeing that we should set a minimum income anyone gets, just for participating in society, and set it at a level that lets people take a breath and be their best selves.

I know it feels wrong when you think of all those deadbeats laying around while you work, but I disagree with you about human nature. I've looked around and the only deadbeats I've found have been severe addicts or the victims of major traumas; people who need our help, not our scorn. Everyone else, every single other person I've met, has been on a path to somewhere, hoping for their next break, looking for love and acceptance, trying their best to participate and matter. But no one is their best self under stress. Ensuring that a large percentage of our population lives in fear and stress means we don't see what their best might contribute to the endeavors of society. We see their worst, and we fear it. So the snake eats its tail.

Ensuring that people have an income that allows food, a safe place to live, and a high level of public access to social participation, including work, makes society better. We should enable it, like we enable infrastructure. If we took on the task of making roads all across giant swaths of land so there is nowhere you want to go that you can't get to by road, why can't we pave the way for people to have a happy life? Set them up right, like we would our children if we could, get them started knowing they can try things, take risks, and they will never fall below the level of being able to take care of themselves and participate in society.

Healthy people with the capacity to deal with all the hard challenges that life throws at everyone make for better neighbours. Eliminating desperation associated with the basic level of social participation will make for fewer costs in Justice and Health Care, two of our biggest costs, to pay for itself, yes. But, in addition, we can achieve the added benefit that life will feel better for all of us. People will be less stressed out and worried. They will, as a result, yell less at their kids. Who will, as a result, be nicer to each other and focus on school. Which will, as a result, provide higher levels of high-tech-ready graduates, ready to work in the new economy where there isn't much need for human effort. It will also produce graduates who are not suited to that, but have a better sense of how to take care of each other, take care of our spaces, and take care of ourselves and our addictions, who find ways to participate that the elite of today can't fathom. Community can blossom like a wild garden if you stop mowing it down before it seeds. 

We will do better, as a whole, if we bring the minimums up and take away the most basic levels of fear - security around day to day bodily needs, and the ability to participate with my gifts in society.

And anyway, there's no point trying to control them. Just watch how they act. But when they have access and capacity, they try hard to live in healthier ways, and that does bring down the potential costs of poor health, which stretch beyond hospital visits into the day-to-day functioning of every aspect of society. When they aren't afraid they tend to be less combative, more co-operative, better learners, and more enthusiastic contributors. They often bring incredible ideas forward when they are feeling creative and happy, challenged in a good way, in trust with their peers. You've seen it. At their best, humans can do anything. Even figure out how to make a common quality of life that we can be proud of.

VOICE2: FORGET THE HUMANS


To understand, you need to forget you're talking about people.

You have a machine. It's a huge, complicated machine, but when it's working it produces a product that sells itself, and makes you a fortune.

It's also a greedy machine. It needs you to constantly go out and gather the materials it runs on, so you need help to gather materials, and help to run it. You hire people. You try to keep it chugging all the time.

Unfortunately, at the centre of the machine is the old, original machine, around which all the fancy parts were added to make the product so special. This middle section breaks down often. It has mis-shapen cogs that miss or slip. It produces product, but the product is often dirty, broken, or otherwise scrap. Your workers have found that, if they bang on it with a hard object at just the right place, it seems to click a cog or two into place, and they get a higher yield of quality product for a few minutes. But it never lasts. There is a big dent where the spot is. Some products can be produced bypassing this machine, but that's already been optimized. This one part of your machine is limiting the number of quality products, which keeps your profits low, which stops you from paying for the repairs it would take to upgrade that part of the machine. 

What is the right business decision? Of course, one must bite the bullet, and find the money to invest, or shut down.

It's not so simple, though. Your engineer tells you, the original machine is the heart of the whole operation. It is what everything else is attached to. Mostly, those new sections can produce product themselves, but every so often, they need to move a particular way, and they interact with the original machine directly, cog-to-cog. All the other parts are working fine, except when they interact with that part. When it works well, it works well, but when a cog misses, it can affect the entire machine, section interacting with next section, resulting in a lower yield of quality, and increased scrap for the whole day, or a line stoppage. 

In order to upgrade this part of the machine, one must shut down another part, fix the place they come together, and then put it back together. This is true for every other part of the machine, and there are thousands. Thousands of interacting parts. And each part interacts with the next. Of course, the worst of the rot is at the heart of the machine. You can't get there and keep the whole machine intact and running. 

Oh, and by the way, they don't make this kind of machine anymore and you can't get another one. This is it.

To fix the outdated parts of the machine, we must take the cost of stopping and looking at the connection points for every other part. That can't all be done at once, but that doesn't mean that we should give up and let our machine rot itself away, producing ever-lower quantity of quality products and more and more scrap. The Engineer will tell us, we need a map of all the connection points, an understanding of how shutting one down affects the rest of the machine. We need a plan of action to replace the worn and broken parts, yes, but we also need to look at where they've worn away at the cogs on the working parts of the machine, where they come together. It's not simple. It's the cost of doing business.

Not investing in upgrading the heart of our system, the rot of out-of-bounds capitalism and money in politics, has broken and dented the cogs of people's day-to-day lives. Up and down the economic ladder, people are living every day, with all the challenges you can think to tell stories about. The entire system is clunking along.

This is not a good business decision. It has nothing to do with individual people (it has everything to do with individual people). They are the parts of the system that are chugging away, doing their best. They are the parts of the system that wear away where they interact with the rot. But they aren't happy about it. They don't choose pain or suffering or difficulty. Maybe they don't always respond to it the way another person thinks they should, but that is not up to any human to decide, as one is no better than the next, on scale. It doesn't matter.

WHICH LEADS ME TO...


Maybe we support people because our human hearts tell us that we can't leave any of our family behind in the path to a quality experience of Life on Earth, or maybe because they are clogging up our system and ruining the quality of things with their pain and suffering (how can I enjoy my happy life while they suffer or worse, complain? you can't get good service these days).

I don't care why. I care that we do it. I don't want the whole machine to grind down and be unworkable. I want to enjoy what we're creating. I want that for everyone. It's a simple upgrade at the end of the day. Put a cap at the top and make the money stay in the system, then use it to make peace possible. 

That it will take a long time only means we better be clear about what we're pursuing and get to it. 

It makes no difference what we think people should or could do about if's and when's that we as Judger aren't likely to experience. It's none of our business. We can't know we'd do better and we can't blame the disadvantaged for the ways their disadvantages compound to hold them down and make it harder than I could have imagined until people told me. 

I have talked with people who are strong, loving, capable, and much harder-working than I have ever managed, who could be bringing great things to this world if they weren't restricted by poverty. They have learned things about grief, healing, overcoming, and working through adversity and failure, that could benefit people who haven't had to practice those skills because of where they started or help along the way, or simple good fortune to never face an unexpected trauma.

People want to care for their elderly and children, which we want them to do. They want to volunteer in community and engage in recreation, which we want them to do. They want to be good neighbours, which we want them to do. Poverty takes life down to the bare minimums - what is the maximum I can extract from this minimum of energy, money, food, time that I have? When people are constantly engaged in those calculations, they can't be engaged in the innovation business seems to crave, or the consumerism that business seems to want to encourage. They can't teach their kids about life skills, or learn how to take good care of their minds, bodies and spirits. They can barely even manage to get through their days of expending energy that they never get back. And that's if nothing goes wrong (stuff always goes wrong). That's what it's like for the humans I meet no matter where I meet them. 

This way of living is a drain on their life-forces, and thus a drain on our whole system. They are not operating at capacity. They are worn and broken, when they could be creative and whole. The places where they interact with the "working" parts of the system tend to be worn and broken down by their broken-down-ness. But they are not lost or incapable. We can upgrade our system, by breaking down the problem, understanding the ways the systems interact, and supporting people to find their own way through the mess that life has thrown at each of us to work with, trusting each other to bring our best when we, as a group, make sure no one is constantly suffering.

And we'd better. Because unemployment is coming, 47% of all jobs gone in 25 years is the latest, and that's Oxford, not me. No more middle class. So let's make sure the bottom looks more comfortable than it does now, because most of us will see each other there. I'd rather not see you in Hell. 

It doesn't matter if I like people, feel sorry for people, respect people, admire people, tolerate people, dislike people, avoid people, blame people, judge people, love people. What matters is whether every part of our system is operating at capacity on the journey towards peace on Earth. If the systems we built don't support maintenance, they were badly designed and are not good business to continue without upgrades. It makes sense to set a minimum standard of quality of life. It makes sense to upgrade the heart of our system so that it beats twice, to give back the oxygenated blood to the system instead of starving it.

Every system needs control levels, the minimums and maximums for optimal output. Without a maximum, the energy in our system just dissipates and pools outside the system. That's a bad machine and a bad business model, and it's bad for people, too. We don't have to choose it. There's nothing natural or inherent in it. It's what powerful men built for themselves to make the world their sandbox. We don't have to let them keep playing this way. They don't have to choose to, either. They are humans, just like the rest of us. They could choose to raise the bar, use all the power they accumulated for something worthwhile. They could force government to provide a combination of effective government regulation that limits the amount of wealth concentration, creating adequate income to build a higher minimum standard quality of life, supporting the pursuit of peace.

Knowing humans, maybe they will.

But in the meantime, we need to at least ask it. 




Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Opinions hard won, loosely held


At the end of the day, I strive for nothing less than world peace.

The fact that it's unlikely in my lifetime does not deter me or make me decide, oh well, I give up, it's not possible.

I support all policies that I've researched that have shown great promise in increasing peaceful conditions, and I reject or speak against all policies that I've researched that have shown evidence of harming peaceful conditions, increasing anger and violence, and instilling civil unrest.

When I support a policy, I am not being political, I am fighting for the Earth I wish the humans had created instead of this mess of violence, war and division.

If I have done my research and I am confident that a direction will help peace, I support it. If I am confident that a direction will harm peace, I reject it. I don't care whose idea it is, as long as it has facts to back it up and that it is in the service of increasing the chance of the humans ever achieving peace on this planet. That I will die first doesn't matter. This is the small part I can play, to pay attention, to lend my voice to those things I support based on paying attention, so I do it, even though I'd rather just keep to myself. I can't just do nothing while the humans do what they're determined to do and destroy this beautiful planet.

If I don't know enough about a topic to have a strong opinion, I seek out information. Once I have a working theory, I start asking questions about my theory, and then I set out to disprove it. Can I disprove this theory, given the current state of human knowledge? If so, I let it go. If I can't disprove it in the time I have, I work with that theory.

The information I gather, I think about. I use my well-trained "left brain" (in quotes to be used as "analytical", though in truth the crossover between left and right is far more complex). I process data, understand what it means from multiple perspectives, my own first, then use that as a comparison stick to understand what it means to those different from me in multiple ways - economic, race, gender, family status, beliefs, abilities, education, language, etc. I comprehend the data and think about the systems it represents.

And then, I let go of all those details, and hand things over to my "right brain".

Using some common working theories about a topic, I allow a character to come through into my mind, and together we fast-forward through the movie of their story in the world of that theory. We watch her story and how she is affected, personally. We see how his story and the community in his story are affected by the likely outcomes of particular social policy directions.

I thank them, and another character slots in, same scenario/world/social policy, different situation. Fast, fast, I see their stories play out, sense the shifts in the world, all based on what I know from my research, and what I feel from letting characters of different situations come through.

It can become like a waterfall.

What I am doing, really, is working a story-meditation with movement, music, art, nature, or other expressive outlets, I enter a space of story like a grove in the woods. I experience multiple stories playing out, and see the most terrible and moving conclusions of social policies, as lived by vulnerable, average, and not-so-average people. I imagine through many natural human conclusions, down multiple paths, like page-corner-cartoons flipping by, too fast to ever capture all those characters in writing. I look into the murky Possible, through the lens of Probable. It's like seeing into a crystal ball of potential futures.

I decide to let these characters in. I read thousands of books, consume many thousands of stories in myriad ways. I have spent years collecting stories by asking questions and talking to strangers. I have been practicing for fifteen years. Only now do I begin to feel more confident in the opinions I hold, in relation to my values and the vision I have for Earth. I better understand the role I play in supporting the policies that I think will lead the humans to reaching the potential we have to achieve my vision for us.

My vision?

Humans will work with the Earth's resources to create a Utopia of Life within 500 years. 

That is the vision I am working towards, when I work on behalf of the Universe. Because why aren't we trying for that? Why would we try for anything else?

I think that understanding is like a heart beat. A heart beats twice. It takes in used blood, pumps out fresh blood. Circulates again, takes in more, filters it for the good stuff.

Equinox@Solstice (CAI)


Engaging the "left brain" means I have facts in my understanding, that I understand what is accessible to understand about a social policy idea, before I try to decide whether it's good or bad for peace. It's a complicated question and there are never clear answers, not even on the analytical side. I know whatever facts are accessible in the time I have, and I've thought about what they mean in relation to each other.

Engaging the "right" brain means I have applied human reality to the virtual "facts" that seem to rule our thinking. I have watched it from multiple human contexts. I have felt what it would feel like to be a victim of the worst of this policy's apparent direction, and to be a beneficiary of the policy while others became victims in different ways. I have imagined the stories that will make up the reality that the humans create on Earth, and based on their aggregate, I see how I feel about a policy.

Under what conditions would it lead to peace? What forms of implementation would harm peace? How can it be implemented under conditions that will lead to peace, and what is the Life cost, and where does it fall? What would it take to do it with no cost to life, just benefit? Can I even escape my slave mind long enough to let that question stand?

The question isn't whether it's possible, it's WHAT DO WE WANT? and WHAT WOULD IT TAKE? And then we do it. Like any profitable venture.

If we only ask, what do we think is possible, we limit ourselves to what we know, which is puny. We must ask ourselves, what do we want, and under what conditions is it achievable, then go after that, even if it takes 500 years.  I want peace on Earth. We are so close, though we seem so far. I can taste it, when I don't taste ash.

So when I seek to understand a policy, and it looks like peace and the pursuit of what is beautiful about life on this planet, I give it some energy, some time, more research, more cheerleading on social media. When it looks like a dead-end to Dystopiaville, I give it some energy, do more research to try to disprove my theory. If I can't prove that my nightmares aren't real, I may give it some negative energy on social media. It's hard not to.

I don't say that other people should do what I do. I'm saying, I am doing it this way, this is how I am coming to understanding, and I recognize that many people do not have the circumstances or desire to approach things from this perspective, to put in the hours and the energy to understand this way, or even value this way of looking. This is my way.

So when I talk about social policy, you can know that I've put both thought and story into play in coming to opinions I express. You can know that I'm asking questions because I don't have an opinion yet, because I have data holes. But please, don't bother trying to argue with me. I'm not here to argue or convince anyone who doesn't want to convince themselves of what's possible. I know the humans can do it. I haven't given up on the goodness in people that want to live in peace. It's not a question of if it's possible, it's a question of how do we reach for it.

I'm not going to do anyone's research for them, and really, I let most detail go once I feel like I understand what the data means, until there is new data to add. I'm happy to tell anyone what I think will lead to peace. I don't hide my opinions or process.

I do encourage everyone to think about this, though: What is YOUR vision for Earth?

Where do you want the humans to be in 500 years, and what conditions and costs are you comfortable with to achieve that? Do you care about any generation beyond your own children? What matters in the long-term, to you, and how can you use your short life and puny brain to do your small part to promote the Earth you envision in your, dare I say it, heart?

If my opinion doesn't fit, it doesn't fit. Maybe we have different visions.

I won't be the one to change that. I will continue to dig into understanding with all the capacity I can spare, share what I figure out, and put my stories out there. That's my commitment to the Universe. That's what I can commit with whatever life I have left, with my deteriorating brain and body in the second half, hopefully, of my life.

My opinions are loosely held, based on the data and story I've been able to consume and experience, in the time I have. They are not correct; almost certainly, they are flawed. That's my job to work on, and rest assured, I am working on it.

I ask you with love and with kindness, are you?

Because maybe your beautiful vision is worth fighting for.



Friday, August 3, 2018

Balance on Rough Waters

The Rise (CAI 2018)
It's been a rough week.

I say that, and realize, I've been saying that most weeks this month.

It's been a rough month.

I say that, and realize, I've been saying that for many months.

It's been a rough year.

I say that, and realize, maybe it's been longer.

That Rough is now Normal.

That waiting for less rough so I can stabilize is just another way I fool myself
and make myself weak in the moment,
in the now,
in these rough waters

where balance is a constant re-orientation,
falling and re-balancing on the deck of the ship while the waves wash over
holding on tight to what I can
and trusting the waves
to take me home.
On the Waves (CAI 2018)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Jiminy Crickets

Hello, I'm your Conscience (CAI, 2014)
That I am sitting safe, here, in my house, is an accident of geography and time.

We know the war is on. It's not just rumblings and skirmishes that we hear from a distance, it's getting closer, more personal, more specific, more restrictive, more brutal, more unapologetic, demanding and controlling.

The people who have been allowed to accumulate unreasonable power are abusing the rest of humanity. That relationship has escalated to the point where we don't know how to escape. Our daily existence is so tied up in the agendas of evil men that we can't pull out without incurring painful consequences of many types, while participation simply tightens the noose around our necks.

We see that fighting back only justifies the next actions until we are completely controlled. That's what the prison industrial complex is for, disproportionately filled with vulnerable populations. Eventually, rather than gating themselves in, the rich will gate us in. People too poor for "nice"housing will live in the modern day poor houses, neighbourhoods of "housing," likely in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. It will feel like it does now, except that we won't be allowed to leave. Anyone poor, anyone disabled, anyone criminal or troublesome in any way will live inside the gates of the prison cities. It could be 2/3 of the population, if the prison industrial complex simply begins to annex entire neighbourhoods. They will be good at building walls by then.

The future in our lifetime looks treacherous, in our children's lifetime, brutal, and in their children's lifetime? Stark. No interaction at all between the reality of the rich and everyone else's reality, no opportunity for anyone who could do anything to feel anything about it. The way it used to be, before the internet. Only, now, with complete control, Big Brother made manifest, assault rifles controlled from afar.

I cannot understand any reason why a human would rather live as king on a ruined planet than as very highly ranked on a peaceful planet. I mean, these are clearly capable men, with an understanding of how to play this game to win. Why must they direct their actions so basely? Where are their Jiminy Crickets?

We ignored the symptoms of a disease for so long that it's taken hold, and treatment needs to be more aggressive, more invasive, more life-altering, because we didn't catch it in time and now, it's everywhere. If we don't want the stark, bleak future, humans will need to figure out how to wrestle power into usefulness, abundance and well-being. We can't coddle the abuse. But what does that mean?

To me, the only real solution is a Dickensian Change of Heart. A moment of revelation. A Whos down in Whoville ten sizes growth in the hearts of the men in charge of it all. A shift from Power Over into Power To.

It's time for the men in charge to negotiate with the rest of humanity for how they are going to use the power they've amassed to shape the course of human civilization. What kind of world would we want, if we were in charge? Will Earth follow the steps of The Federation or The Empire?

I wonder if American billionaires can think about how the definition of their country - United States, a number of states, united - has affected their definitions of winning. United States is not a  single thing, it's many things working together because they see it as being in their best interest. Compare that to a description like "commonwealth." The idea of wealth, being held in commons, with the most wealthy being responsible shareholders in the commons - not owners deciding whether or not to bring their shares, but shareholders deciding for the common good.

I'm not saying that countries that call themselves "commonwealths" behave this way. I'm just saying, if you are in the top 1% of owners in the world, I would appreciate if you could begin to open your mind to the possibility that you don't actually own what you think you own; that in fact, you are a caretaker of what is, in reality, common property of all the conscious lives here on this planet. You have worked to gain responsibility for more of the common property than almost anyone else on Earth, so you have a great deal of power and say when it comes to how things work on this planet. And so, you also have that responsibility, one you asked for by pursuing a greater share of the common holdings here.

I know it's difficult. World views become air tight and yours let you win, so you think you must be right. But you are missing the critical next step, where you use your power for the life of this planet, where you choose kindness and love. Maybe you don't feel that, but your disability or failure in the full experience of humanity doesn't negate your responsibility for having claimed so much of the planet's resources as under your own control. If you didn't want to have to care about the life, you shouldn't have pursued the power. That's been true since men first started making crowns. You don't have to like it, or even agree, to know it's true. Gravity holds you down, regardless of whether you call it fake science.

Things don't need to be mean and mercenary. We can work out how to divvy up Earth without destroying her. We can work out how to ensure the people don't get in your way without violence and militant control. You're afraid and you want to protect yourselves and your families in the coming revolution, but that revolution is avoidable. The humans have figured out so many great directions to try, experiments and technology that would let us, for the first time, seriously pursue the goal of well-being for every Earth citizen. We can prototype and establish great directions in less than one generation, and be building experience with effective policy in fewer than 100 years. It will be your legacy, the way you are remembered if you fail to preserve your consciousness before your body dies.

Can we at least open the negotiations? The war has got to stop.

And for the artists, policy lovers, advocates, social justice seekers, and people who want to live in peace, I think that our best efforts would be directed in choosing one of the people with the most power on Earth, and trying to get to know them, through media at least, so that we can create art, explanation, data, music, poetry, theatre, story, and heartfelt implorances to reach their walled-in souls and help them escape the dangerous, nasty game they are trapped in before it kills us all. They have the power to steer the ship. We have the power to reach their hearts, if anyone can. Become their Jiminy Crickets. (here's a list to start with)


Friday, July 13, 2018

Freaking Out!

Where Dragons Hide (CAI 2018)


I don't meant to be startling.

I'm just constantly surprised that more people aren't freaking out. Like, absolutely freaking out. Or have moved beyond freaking out, into thinking about what's next, so we can talk about that like rational, freaking out, people, together.

I am certainly not that much smarter than anyone else, or at least, there are lots of people way smarter than me, walking around, not freaking out. They have access to the same information I do (or, do they?). They have minds that work and training on how to use those minds to solve various kinds of problems, essentially using the same 5 steps. So why am I freaking out, and they are telling me to stop being so startling?

I have sincerely tried to find out what they know that I don't, but the frustration of those conversations is finding out is that they choose not to believe what I know regardless of data and experiential proofs, and they don't actually know anything I don't know besides their "gut feel". It's incredibly disappointing because I was hoping they could convince me, without slogans or platitudes, using data rather than denial, that I really didn't need to worry, after all.

But it's just the opposite. Because if all these smart people are walking around, not freaking out, then they are NOT putting their great brains to use on solutions to our current reality. They are not working together, committing, communicating, and acting with other people in community to envision and create the world we want for the majority of humans who just want to enjoy this lovely planet in peace and not destroy it. They continue aiding and abetting the system that is working against us, simply by not freaking out.

And it leaves me lonely, feeling isolated, always questioning if I'm right, always seeking more information that might prove me wrong and then finding only the opposite. I feel like I have to carry all the freak-out for everyone, and also, I have to pretend I'm not freaking out so I don't freak you out and make you think that I am "unhinged" or "over the top" or "too much" or "freaking out." Calm down! you might say, thus dismissing every truth and proof I've laid bare without addressing them at all.

If you're not freaking out, maybe you can't afford it. Maybe your ego is protecting you by feeding you a view of reality that doesn't take into account giant swaths of information, in order to ensure you can feel safe and secure. Fair enough. We all seek security.

Or, maybe you're right, and we shouldn't freak out. If I shouldn't be freaking out, please tell me why, and then engage me with love and kindness on my concerns with your reasons, because I'm pretty sure I've thought about them before. If not, I will thank you with the deepest gratitude for bringing me something new to think about that might relieve my freaking out. I would like to go back to believing that people are essentially good, truth and integrity will prevail, government will provide well-being to citizens, and most people are working, every day, towards peace on earth through respect, equality and community. It's not that those things aren't true, it's just that, in the balance, they seem to be on the downward trend, eroded and worn by cynicism and video games, while mercenary mean-spiritedness seems to be on the rise at the highest levels of Power and in the streets we walk every day.

I would love to not be the girl trying to get everyone to start freaking out enough that they actually, actively, in a committed way, turn their brains to helping to solve it. I would love to just smile and enjoy life, trusting that those who seek public office have my best interests at heart, and that the people in my community intend to live in peace together. But somehow I think that we need to get to, and through, the freaking out first. So everyone who IS freaking out along with me, I think we have to freak out the people who aren't. I hate that. I'm personally afraid of the personal costs of doing that.

So I share what I see and I say what I observe and I hope that the people who are smarter than me, more connected than me, more resourceful and with more energy than me, will pick up the torch and raise the Freak-Out flag and get us moving towards the world we want to build. We are each one connection point on the circuit board, we send the energy on. Maybe. And the chance, for me, is enough to justify the action. Because inaction feels impossible when you're freaking out.

*oh, and for people not freaking out, please read these two pieces and then help me feel better about the worst parts, or counter with really important work being done elsewhere. Thanks.

https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/meet-the-economist-behind-the-one-percents-stealth-takeover-of-america

https://medium.com/s/futurehuman/survival-of-the-richest-9ef6cddd0cc1










Friday, May 18, 2018

Report from Earth - Widespread Infection

When all the plausible answers have been disproved, the answer must be sought outside our understanding of plausibility.

I posit that humanity is suffering from a disease that affects the nervous system and brain function. I've been calling it "Stagnation".

The same way nature has always used diseases to weed out over-populated species, it has infected  susceptible humans with a pathogen that makes changes to the pathways and working functions of the brain, which in turn, distorts perceptions. I've been calling this disease Stagnation because, over time, the brain seems to become very inflexible in how it operates and delivers perception, unable to take in enough new information to support brain plasticity. This appears to cause a stagnation of thinking, a limited pool of thought that is constantly recycled and reused regardless of the situation.

Stagnation appears to be a type of pathogen that dampens or re-programs brain structures in humans, over time, impairing cognitive functioning and Perception. It affects people of all ages, though children often show great resilience in fighting it off. It affects people across genders, races, cultures, and socio-economic positions. It is contagious through exposure.

According to Wikipedia, Perception is the "organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information, or the environment." 

All signals go through the nervous system, but Perception brings those signals together with learning, memory, expectation and attention. All of this processing happens completely outside of conscious awareness. Perception arrives in our conscious mind, already formed, waiting for us to apply our judgment, understanding, and decision. Perception is our own, personal Reality. To think it might be affected by a dysfunction of any kind feels like the biggest threat to our identity. In fact, it feels like the threat of death. That is one reason people with Stagnation cling so tightly to the reality that feels real for them. They are not able to effectively process anything more, which can itself be terrifying.

Learning, memory, expectation, and attention, are the very functions affected by Stagnation. 

A person affected by Stagnation experiences negative brain effects when the disease progresses, reducing capacity for rational judgment, cooperation, impulse control, and empathy. At the same time, these impairments increase the likelihood of fast judgments, outbursts, impatience, and violent actions. In this diminished state, most people resort to a reliance on rote thinking patterns rather than thinking through every decision and judgment on its own merits, as a coping mechanism. They surround themselves with elements, information, media and people who most closely mirror their view of reality, which, like never using a hurt muscle, results in further atrophy in the areas of learning, expectation and attention.

Humans are more susceptible to Stagnation when they experience extreme and/or long-term trauma. Humans who daily experience pain, anger, fear, disappointment, grief, hunger, discrimination, and other traumas, put their nervous systems under strain. In this condition, they incur a higher risk of contracting Stagnation as a secondary condition. However, many humans succumb to stagnation without a clear cause.

Also susceptible are humans who carry significant Power for long periods of time. People carrying the heavy weight of Power, or engaging the stressful behaviours required to maintain it, over-stress their nervous systems, allowing Stagnation an entry-point. When people with Power get Stagnation, they have more ability to use money and influence to force the world to look and feel the way they perceive reality, to reduce the threats to their perception. Therefore, Stagnation in a person who wields Power is particularly dangerous to other people. The fear people feel around Power makes them susceptible to catch Stagnation themselves. The decisions and use of power are initiated from a position of impaired judgement and perception.

The deterioration in key brain functions experienced by people with Stagnation causes them to focus heavily on self-serving perceptions as real, and threatening perceptions as false. As Stagnation progresses, people may come to see opposing views as an enemy of their truth, evoking primitive emotions of anger, fear, tribalism, and jealousy. Wide-spread, these tendencies in populations lead to war, unstable social situations, unsafe living conditions, random violence, and institutional violence. These mechanisms eventually eliminate large numbers of humans, while creating the conditions for others to die through diseases, malnutrition, starvation, or other deprivation-based causes. Nature employs Stagnation as a strategy to reduce our numbers.

Because so many humans are now infected, it is not clear whether the tide can be turned. It is difficult, but not impossible, to renew the plasticity of the brain through exercise, exposure, attention, learning, and memory techniques. Simply entertaining an opposing view as possible for just three minutes a day will improve the effects. Brains are remarkably resilient when we decide to engage their programming actively. Unfortunately, the very effects of the disease render the victims resistant to both diagnosis and treatment. With so many of the world's most powerful deeply infected, it seems unlikely that the humans can avoid the widespread devastation nature has in store.





Sunday, May 13, 2018

Two critical questions for engagement

Now is the place where the crossroads meet

The masters in my mind have distilled it down as such:

when we want to engage someone who disagrees
first we explore two critical questions:

Who is the teacher, and who is the learner?
Who is the host, and who is the guest?

when we can answer both those questions definitively
we know we are not ready to engage.

the more ways we can imagine to answer these questions, the more prepared we will be to share
our open hearts.

Guest and Host

Friday, April 27, 2018

The real human experience

This is an out-loud on my turmoil of feelings hearing more about so-called incels. It's like knowing you have rats, then coming upon a giant nest of them.

I can't remember exactly when I realized that many men don't view women as actual people. Often, even men who know perfectly well we are people have to remind themselves that it's not just the women in their immediate vicinity who are actually humans. It's also that "girl" being posed on a car for your gratification. She is a person with thoughts and feelings about what is happening. She poops on the toilet and got an 87% in grade 12 calculus and thinks about why she's on Earth. Just like you.

For men to view us as a subspecies, they must see themselves as more human than us. Somehow, even though science says otherwise, they believe their feelings are more acute, their thoughts more profound, their bodies more normal, their ways more right. We are a subspecies, not unlike a donkey or cow, with some consciousness but nothing to concern themselves with. We only need to be understood and manipulated to men's needs, like all the other animals. It's not even insulting, because it's so ignorant. It's the thinking of a small child, cemented and rooted without anyone noticing.

I always thought this undercurrent of people with vaginas not being as human as people with penises was unconscious. I felt like, most men, they don't mean to think of things that way, it's just how they've been taught. Most men who take the time can recognize that I am a person, that a biological accident of genitalia doesn't diminish the intensity and importance of my soul's human experience on Earth.  And yet, there are swaths of men, scuttling around under the surface of the internet, encouraging each other to dehumanize me. So it's not unconscious, and I'm willing to bet, most men are not surprised it's there, even if they might be surprised when they find it scuttling around the underbelly of their own unconscious.

I think female people have shielded male people for too long about the importance of sex to us. Maybe we've let you think we see it as casually as you do. I'm sure there are women who do. But please, take a minute to think about it. Sex, to a male body, is sticking your dick into something warm until you feel the ecstasy of orgasm. Sex, for a female body, is allowing a foreign object, attached to a large, hairy body, not just to enter my body, but to pump away at my most vulnerable bodily opening until the penis spews gooey, stinky stuff that will leak out of me for hours and may make me pregnant or sick. But I might like how it feels, and if I'm lucky, that will result in an orgasm. If I'm unlucky, it will hurt or cause my body damage.

Sex isn't very sexy, when you think about the reality of the human experience divorced from the ecstasy of orgasm. The rest of it is quite intrusive for a woman. Sex is a big fucking deal, literally. It's not something small to give you as a reward for a nice night out. Also, a large number of people have been victims of sexual assault. For a person who's been hurt by sexual violence, sex is a giant mountain of trust to climb, not a home run.

Personally, I enjoy heterosexual sex, but I definitely don't want to have it with a man who doesn't care about my experience, with whom I don't feel safe.  I think any man, if he were to think about having sex as having something large inserted and pumped inside his body at the most vulnerable part, could understand those stipulations. Sex isn't something I give to someone, it isn't a party favour or a prize. Sex is something I do with someone with whom I feel intimate. It's a real risk, physically, not just emotionally.

If a man is incapable of seeing me as a human, we can never really be intimate. If I can't be intimate with a man, I don't want to have sex with him. This is a very basic understanding. If you want to have sex on the regular, you have to build trusting, respectful relationships that encourage intimacy. If you don't want to do that, don't blame other people. Maybe some people would want to have sex with you if you were a person capable of intimacy with them. Go work on that, and things might change. But keep jacking off to your imagination and whining when reality doesn't match, and your life will continue to be consumed with hatred that is really directed at yourself. When you hate yourself, of course your ego directs the anger outside of you, like shielding you from bullets. But it's destroying you.

Love feels better.