Tuesday, March 31, 2015

abed [uh-bed]

Norman Rockwell:
Crackers in Bed
excerpt from recent likebook discussion:

"I eat all my meals in bed. Honestly. I try to clean up after myself for the most part but things go astray. It's not so bad. Sometimes if you awaken in the night a little peckish - you can just pull a little snack out of your armpit or cleavage or what not... it's pretty convenient."

Sunday, March 29, 2015

abduct [ab-duhkt]

Men are greatly skilled at harming one another. The laws of men are thought to be the solution to this. But the laws of men are arbitrary. They are meant to punish the harms which threaten to undermine the establishment; even the laws which seem not to be for that purpose so attend that purpose in the end.

We punish presumed harms in accordance with the superstitions of the day, harms born of self-fulfilling prophecy which thus harm accordingly. But we punish none of the great harms which are approved by the elite; those in their best interests to inflict, and for us to inflict on others.

Prisons are taken for granted, while truly they are the privilege of the free. Yet we seem to resent each small price we must pay for it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

abdomen [ab-duh-muh n]

I am fat. Enormous, in fact. Over three hundred pounds. It hinders my every pursuit. I perceive it is a death sentence. But it loves itself, this belly. I have gone to war with it but the belly possesses every advantage. If I win 90% of the battles, do I make 90% of the goal and win 90% of the war to lose weight? No. Ninety per cent success at a dieting war gets you a draw if you’re lucky; a steady scale. You must win 99% of the battles just to turn things a hair in your favor. It doesn't seem fair. I must summon every possible weapon.

It feels hopeless.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hey, I’m out here! Can you see me?

When I started opening up to certain people about how I’d changed in my perceptions of things, it was very difficult. So much of the material was so uncommon and required so much explanation. It was hard to hold all of the relevant factors mentally at hand. Communication requires common experience and uncommon experiences demand skill and tenacity to relate effectively. I gave people a lot of wrong impressions I think. I believe my closest friendships were harmed in the process. Skepticism is another barrier perhaps though generally a very useful thing. Humans are generally very bad at knowing who to trust and who not to. Very bad. We constantly nurture our ability to rationalize while neglecting our capacity for logic.

With practice, I became better at explaining myself. But as time goes on I think I’m getting worse again and I think it’s because I am losing track of the gap between my perceptions and the apparently normal ones. I’m losing memory of how I once was; how I once thought, and thus where my “audience” might be at. Where does common dogma end and the need for explanations start? These points are slow to show up on my radar these days. Without that mental mapping going on, conversations become unhinged. We don’t get what the other is saying. We just think we do.
The other day I wrote briefly about my alienation from the idea of being “Canadian” and yet I seemed not to have any idea how to explain that because I had no recollection of why some people do feel Canadian. Even at this moment nothing is coming to mind. Why do people feel that they’re Canadian? I suppose if I concentrated I’d figure all that stuff out again; what I regard as the fictions of nationalism, but in a verbal conversation there are no time-outs for figuring out.

I recently referenced my disassociation with “society” and I’m sure in hindsight that it was not understood.

I am physically present in society, yes. And I am largely participating in the accounting of society. I reap many benefits from society: physical protection, physical comfort, food, medicine, luxurious privileges etc.

But mostly society is a set of ideas or constructs which are not grounded in any physical fact but yet we subscribe to them as if they are. Some of them are completely ludicrous if you can free your mind from your instinctive desires and actually look at them objectively. All of the great structures of our society that deal in power and information are in essence unified in their purposes and employ pyramid schemes and slave models, blanket us in distraction, nurture stupidity and inhibit creative thinking while disguising all of it with bait that hooks our instinctive needs.

I don’t approve of the ruling structures of our society and I do not participate in them with my mind the way that most people seem to. I do not subscribe to the ideas and thus when I hear the most normal of conversations that go on by the millions every day, mired in the common perceptions spun by political, religious, corporate, pop-culture, media and formal education cultures, they seem completely insane to me.

I made good money and had a lot of laughs working in Information Technology for a marketing and merchandising company where everything looked shiny and happy on the surface and where the worst of evils were buried under layers and layers of deceit.

I had financial security which is what everyone thinks is the key to happiness. And don’t bother trying to deny it because I know you think that you don’t think that, but deep inside you sure as hell do. Your every damn behaviour gives you away. Our whole society revolves around money; especially the things that look like they don't.

I gave up the financial security, traded it for a crappy part-time security guard wage so that I could devote my life to work that I believed people needed, work that runs against society, work that society will not pay me for. That is a big reason I feel I am in essence outside of society. Of course it would be easier to sell that idea if I were far more productive and actually making an impact with these pursuits.

Yes, I was able to achieve one great thing in life and it was the courage to face myself for real. It was the courage to contemplate that Satan himself might be standing behind a door and I could either open it or run away and I fucking opened it. It was fucking terrifying and I did it because I was somehow addicted to the pursuit of truth. It was like a drug. That achievement knocked all kinds of walls down. It destroyed all the investments I’d ever made in the pursuits of wealth and toys and reputation and suddenly I was free to examine myself and people and society and the universe without any care for what I wanted to be true. I no longer needed any particular things to be true. If I could accept being the devil I could accept anything. It was a thrilling escape to access such an unimagined power of objectivity. And so I can perceive society from outside of it instead of from inside of it where I was previously blinded by the walls of investment; by instinctive need; by survival/domination instinct.

That is one way in which I operate outside of society. Physically I am inside society as a kind of prisoner-with-benefits, while mentally I perceive it from the outside. Idealistically I am outside of society because I would tear it all down in a heartbeat, had I the power (and not entirely without a rebuilding plan). And financially… (and finances is what it’s all about) I generally feel I am outside, because I gave up my financial interests so to spend my time and energy on something noble for which I have no intention or likelihood of financially profiting from (plus fairly concrete charitable plans just in case).

What do I sound like when I talk like this? Do I sound like I’m completely full of shit? I wouldn’t blame you if you assumed so. Do I sound elitist, like I think I’m better than everyone else? I hope not. I'm better at some of this stuff than other people because this is what I work at - at the expense of other things in my life which I neglect and so am not good at. I have my flaws for sure. In some ways I am a cheater and a hypocrite; I know. I’m aware of that. Sometimes I think about trying to defeat certain flaws; trying to set the angel in me fully free. But mostly I’m afraid that such an angel would just float around and not be able to relate to anyone.

I want us all to set our angels free.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Big Reveal!

Okay, I’ll keep this short! April A-Z Blogging is just around the corner. This will be my third – maybe fourth year? I’m trying to get it all prepared ahead of time so that I can try to concentrate more on Camp Nano April Edition. The goal, once again is 50,000 words.

The theme for this year's A-Z blogging challenge shall be…

Must-read books: A collection of reviews which focus around usefulness and for what kind of reader – or person – the book should be considered a must-read.  Some titles shall go back to my childhood and be recommended for children. Not all will be novels but they will all be special books that made a heavy impact on me.

Many will have been reviewed in this space before but I shall endeavor to offer fresh perspectives.

If you’re blogging A-to-Z this year, feel free to drop a comment here and I will check you out come April first! No foolin’.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Creme de carrot

I made a reference on my likebook page to “pop music pablum.” The only explanation I gave was: music “pared down and pureed to death.” I’m guessing that some will see it who aren’t quite sure what I’m getting at, and might even feel insulted.

I think I’m borrowing the term from Frank Zappa. I think he compared pop music to baby food because, within the great realm of musical possibility,  mainstream music purveyors stick to a very narrow field; songs that are structurally simple, repetitive and formulaic (baby formula?) and within a very limited selection of chord combinations and patterns. Obviously Zappa had a deep mind musically, which had the capacity to appreciate – not just theoretically but to really dig – unusual structures in music. He had an unusual maturity of mind in this regard.

Here’s an example in the extreme: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is an awesome kiddie song. It is so simple it is accessible to just about any baby brain. But we grow out of it because it is just too simple for most of us and thus gets very old very fast. I think that Zappa is suggesting that pop music has moved only inches beyond the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star level based on a scale of music maturity that many of us don’t “get.” And I don’t think he was trying to be elitist about it. I think he felt that if the pop music executives and intelligentsia would widen their repertoire, that the minds of the public would grow.

But major record labels and radio stations, like any corporation of course, embrace the world domination greed mentality. Keep everything as accessible as possible – in order to reach the widest market quickly and please the shareholders.

For some reason, as a kid, I got intrigued by the band, Rush, who’s music, at least that from most of their various incarnations over the last forty years, is not immediately accessible to the masses. But they’re very very good at their own game, and thus are popularly considered the world’s biggest cult band. Rush stretched my mind enough to appreciate their unique music and the reward has been incredible. Their music moves me immensely and never gets old. Their songs never go stale. The huge grassroots popularity of early album 2112, in spite of corporate and critical derision, won them a rare immunity from label interference. This was only possible because of rare courage. They obeyed their creative yearnings instead of the man with the chequebook (to their own demise, they assumed). But surprise: they got lucky. Or were just that good. Or both.

Neo has a deep Zappa-like mind. He especially, but also JazzLion, have pushed my brain even further, as I have opened up to neo-psychedelic and jazz music for examples. Again, I am slower to absorb this stuff but then its impact is much greater. People stuck strictly in the pop world perceive, I believe, that the songs of other genres are not “catchy” and don’t have the magic that keeps your foot obliviously tapping.

But they are. And they do. Just not immediately (for this novice anyway). You invest time getting to know the song and the investment is worth it. You get a lot more back. There is a timeless component to music appreciation. You’re not simply enjoying the precise sound component which last entered your ear, one component at a time. You like the stream you’re hearing, in part because of how it interacts with the stream that came before it, and in part with the stream you know – or predict – will follow. At least that’s how it seems to me. It’s slippery to talk about music appreciation considering it mostly goes on in the secret depths of the subconscious brain. Right? It’s not like we get to choose our ear-worms. Not with perfect authority anyway.

Pop songs become predictable half-way through the first listen. Hence wide, shallow appeal. Twinkle Twinkle Piles of Cash.

So that’s what I mean about pop music being pared down.

What I mean about it being pureed is how all the lumps are taken out. Every apparent blemish is removed from pop songs. Everything is metered and tuned to robotic precision. These days I hear the radio and usually all I hear is computers. Sometimes I half wonder if computers are actually concocting the songs. Not that computers shouldn’t be used as an honest musical tool.

I think it was Tom Petty, in a documentary, who said that music is not supposed to be perfect. Perfection takes the humanity out of it. It takes the experience out of it. And you will hear other pop musicians complain about the paring down if you can catch them at an unguarded moment. I think most of them would rather be more creative and making more experimental music if only agents and executives would let them.

So I don’t mean to insult pop musicians. I think they mostly get taken advantage of and regret where they end up, unless money and attention is their only bag, of course. And I don’t mean to insult radio listeners. I listen to pop songs too and I enjoy a good lot of it – in a simple easy way. But there is so much more to the world of music and it serves us well to ignore the pop scene as any kind of standard to aspire to. But by that, am I saying that American Idol is a steaming pile of poo?

Well, yes. 

Just don't ask me how many times I've watched the Susan Boyle moment on youtube... ;)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Despicable Confession

Things have been so heavy for the last couple months. Cancer victims and then much further suffering by various people who I dearly care for. And me looking back and looking inward and very aware of my own lack of effectiveness in being helpful. Procrastination, missed opportunities and so many external barriers that keep too much love locked up inside me. Too many challenges succumbed to without a fight.

I’m not accustomed to such sustained bouts of heaviness. Have I lost sight of the joyful perspectives I once trekked long and hard to access – so unexpectedly when truth was all I sought?

I can’t remember when I last sought deliberate escape prior to this stark year of 2015; a year I recently promised would be a celebration of life. Recently I have spent a few sessions board-gaming, primarily with Aqualad and his girlfriend, which was effective and fun.

Tuesday night I was feeling a little overwhelmed and turned to an unlikely diversion. I have long disdained the very idea of kiddie/animated movies of the Disney-or-similar persuasion and been pretty vocal about it I think. But I am not one to fear the hypocritical inevitability of being human in an inhumane society and so, finding myself in the home entertainment sector of my vacationing hosts’ little estate (I feel like Magnum P.I. here except there are two Cocker Spaniels, not Dobermans), I popped a Despicable Me disc into the player and uncorked one or more bottles of red.

Well, wouldn’t you know: I actually laughed long and hard. I actually enjoyed it. I feel I shouldn’t have, but I’m forgetting why. Maybe if I do this again I’ll be reminded. But damn, I really laughed. My spirits lightened for a little while.  

Saturday, March 07, 2015

abdicate [ab-di-keyt]

I am labeled Canadian though I don’t choose to be. My parents sold me to the corporation that is Canada when they registered my birth and so I am an asset on their books. Still, I am unworthy of the label just as it is unworthy of me. I deny it! But then, there seems no other place for me; no habitable place left unconquered on this shell of earth which we have made small. 

Thursday, March 05, 2015

abbreviate [uh-bree-vee-eyt]

Such a very fine collection of understandings I have seen; how intertwined, how logical, accessible and seemingly complete; how comfortably in line with logic, the senses, science, religion and the poetry of ancients, and how they unite them all. How they solve problems and tame mysteries, and how, when genuinely absorbed, they bring about change: how a mind is re-wired: how consciousness evolves and educates the instincts.

But how to condense them and make them teachable, to arrange them in the linear? That is some task, one whose time, surely, has come.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

abbey [ab-ee]

I would very much wish to go off and apply to some monastery. I imagine it would be a profoundly appropriate and productive experience, where I would further my understandings, test them through dialogue with qualified peers, and most importantly, learn how to leverage them. And there I would be forced to develop discipline; my great downfall. That I might be further separated from the people in the world I most love, on top of the other hurdles and barriers which already separate us, would be the main drawback.

The greater problem though, is that there are no existing spiritual enterprises that I know of which I could subscribe to without hitting fundamental barriers. There are key understandings, so ingrained in my unarguable living experience, they will not bend for anyone. For instance, key Christian fundamentals are taught backwards with regards to causality, while too much useful wisdom is cloaked in metaphor. And there is such a failure to communicate Christ as a relevant and accessible role model. Buddhism, as it is taught suffers profound unnecessary contradictions, while Buddha too, is treated too much on a pedestal; like Christ, his experience presumed too unreachable. Not good. Humanism has so many merits but seems not to have done the math; has not found the joy and inspiration; has not grasped the miracle at the end of the equation.      

To create such a spiritual enterprise that is free of such problems as these; which wraps everything up in a circle of logic and universal inclusivity, would be some great achievement, and I truly believe the basic blueprints lay at hand. But I have little ability to lead people or inspire them to such great ends. The way to nourish in this present society seems to be in self-help books I suppose, while cathedrals loom about; dull and archaic.