Don’t Retreat, Instead – RETHINK!

In order to take a concrete stand on an issue we must betray our very nature. Doubt, a manifestation of fear, lies at the base of of any supposedly rigid stance. The line in the sand that is the “position” is nothing more than this doubt made tangible. Let’s say you are for Position A and I am for Position B. In order for us to maintain our positions we need to doubt the opposition’s stance more than our own. It’s a positive/negative ratio. Confidence does not really factor into our decisions because the presence of doubt eliminates the possibility of exactitude. When we take stances we fight through this doubt in order to be heard, but the doubt remains, that’s why sometimes things get a little crazy.

I don’t know what you’re talking about. When I take a stand I’m damn confident about it!

Sure of that? It is my doubt that drives me to keep this crazy blog going. I am chasing a confident position, but the closer I think I am getting the farther away my goal lies. That is the only concrete position I can take and the thing is there is nothing concrete about it. It’s all gray. It’s all wonder. Okay, come inside. Don’t worry, the air’s on. We ALL need to cool down a bit.

BATTLING DOUBT

This is how we advertise our positions. There’s a lot of noise, media outlets turn up, story dominates the news cycle for a moment and then it…

Goes underground and later rises up to become the new status quo. The doubt is what causes it to rethink its tactics. The loud, over-the-top spectacle of the protest was necessary. It presented to the ignorant another perspective. The protest is like a commercial for a culture. A culture that was once below the surface. Media outlets seldom mentioned them. Popular culture shunned them. No half-hour sitcoms about the ills of globalized free trade.

The “sub” culture grows weary of this neglect and like lava surging from an erupting volcano they make themselves known by any means necessary. This outburst requires a lot of energy and if the impact is not adequate enough for the moderate members of the culture who attend the protests in “spirit” then the fight for a position loses steam. The lava flows into the water and cools. Oh, but look, a new land mass. A base is evolving by virtue of moderation. The raucous protest is the moderate base’s passive aggressive attempt to make itself known. That’s why during these movements we get pundits saying things like “I don’t agree with their methods, but their points are actually valid.” Yeah, it’s a wink and a nod, but at the same time there is a subtle tsk tsk.

People who feel compelled to rise up in the face of oppression do so because they feel that the power structure doubts them. The majority thinks it has them figured out. Keep them entertained with some niche trinkets like cable networks where they can watch their NASCAR races and rap videos. Maybe even a couple rise from the ranks and become politicians, celebrities or odd hybrids of both. It doesn’t really matter, it’s all the same. That usually quiets that passive aggressive moderate base. Well, only if the ratio of approval tilts in favor of the anomaly. This isn’t a cynical ploy of the powerful. It’s actually “cyclical.” It works this way because this works the same way. As does this. But most importantly, at least for the sake of this post, this…

When sub-cultures suddenly rise to the surface we all take notice. They become an exciting, but peculiar addition to our pop culture oeuvre. Their depictions become a little more varied. Before, when we broadly dismissed them, our depictions were quite one-dimensional. Oddly enough, sometimes the purveyors of these unfortunate representations are aware of the diversity that exists amongst the cultures they mock. They are merely banking on the overwhelming ratio of ignorance to knowledge to capture your attention. They know that we seldom get past a couple distinctions when we meet someone. We run down a basic list of race, sex, weight, height. The order is unique to the individual making the distinctions. When describing a former coworker we may say something like: “You remember Bill. The short black guy, wore glasses, kind of skinny.” If the person with whom we are talking really knew Bill we may something like: “You know Bill. He was the guy who always had the Dungeons and Dragons stuff on his desk. He was married to Ashley’s friend. Joni I think her name was.” The initial distinctions are superficial. The later ones lie below the surface. They provide the base that the superficiality rests upon.

Oftentimes a culture’s base or soul if you will seems peculiar to others. This happens when we come across many representatives of a culture who behave in a particular way. This goes beneath the looks. The looks just provide the class by which to drop the behaviors underneath. If we find these behaviors unsavory we may begin to develop an unfavorable opinion of this culture. Especially if we notice it over and over again. Some of the culture’s more educated reps may articulate reasons for this behavior almost in an attempt to apologize for it. This may lead to government programs to curb such behavior, but even when measures are introduced this group continues to do “that thing they do.” It’s like they can’t change who they are. The absurd bit is that sometimes the damned group decides to celebrate the behavior that others find deplorable.

I AM WHO I THINK I AM!

“Illusory joy is often worth more than genuine sorrow.” -René Descartes

Sanjeet does not approve of his younger sister dating white men because the last three she dated were jerks. He incessantly implores his sister to find a nice Indian man to settle down with. For her own reasons she wants nothing to do with Indian men. Matter of fact, she’s got a date tonight with an Irish American lad name Ryan.

The question now is: who is right? Neither and both. Sanjeet is convinced that all white men are jerks and his sister is convinced that she is not attracted to Indian men. These behaviors are determined by their life experiences as well as their genetic information. Funny thing is this genetic information is based on the life experiences of those who came before. We are nothing but an amalgam of many many many different genes from many many many different people. The surface that is you is an illusion. The diversity of our experiences is what makes this illusion seem dense and real. You may possess your great great cousin’s ability to dance, but he never wore a faux hawk therefore that makes you “different.” Thing is, the impetus for you getting the faux hawk may have come from another long dead relative. Perhaps, style preferences are genetic. Perhaps everything that we think makes us unique and special is written in our DNA. In this way the individual is only unique by virtue of his genetic composition. Not the individual genes. Those traits are a dime a dozen. You are unique because of the relationship between the diverse genes. We each contain an infinity of genetic ratios. You start off dense. When you pop out most of your genetic information hasn’t got to test the waters yet. Stuff like height and hair texture, et cetera are present in your genetic program. But when you pop out…well, just look…

Not much of a difference there, but as we age those genes get to stretch their legs and “look around” in a sense. Sounds absurd, but it happens all the time. If a creature wanted to eat ants from their source it would have to adapt a long snout…

The only way to adapt such a marvel of evolutionary engineering is by being able to “see” your environment. Life is that “sight.” This is our subconscious reason for being. Our bodies are doing a lot more work than we think. We are somethin’ folks and a lot energy goes into powering this somethin.’ It’s no wonder we break down so fast after death. There’s our thumping heart, our lungs, all those signals flying around being decoded by the brain so it can shoot out the right responses to its sensory receptors and a whole of other stuff. Our bodies work hard! In order to distract us from all of this work we get this wonder bit. It’s a sly trick because the brain knows that if we wonder about the environment around us it gets a lot of valuable information. It’s got a program to write. At a certain age some of us get the desire to reproduce and then our young DNA forms a bond with another persons. Kind of experimental isn’t it? We become entranced by another person via wonder. It’s in the eyes, the way he smiles, the way she does that one thing. When we feel these emotions our bodies go into over drive. all sorts of chemicals are being released. It knows what it’s doing. It’s creating a feeling. Something you will understand so that it gets what it wants. The answer to its hypothesis. Now after all this time it should have gotten its answer by now and done away with this love thing, but it seems to dig it too. But it’s not all smooth sailing because here comes the BANG!

Fear seems to be driven by the body’s need to protect itself. If someone can say they love you one minute and then turn around and tell you they hate you then shouldn’t you avoid that love thing altogether? It’s such a cruel joke. Love rises and rises and rises, it’s like warm air. Just peep what it does to water. It makes this oddly dense looking stuff that you can walk right through and seem to float on a surface in the sky. But fear is cold, it weighs us down. It prevents us from exploring, but our drive is insatiable. Our bodies put in all that work for a reason. When we concede to fear it warms into anger and rage. The energy that powers our drive exhausts itself and we go on a tirade. One that is very hard to sustain because all it is is a release. That’s why when we come down we feel remorse. But that doesn’t mean we won’t rage again. Just look at our history.

Fight after fight after fight. Concession after concession after concession. The period of peace which follows is longer than the moment of war, but we never learn the lesson of conceding to fear and we go at it again. The fear slowly solidifies over time and when it gets too cold our warm bodies work in overdrive, especially our brains, to warm this. It seems like our bodies fear fear. The immediate reaction is to melt the ice, but it doesn’t seem to evaporate easily, it beams like a laser. How hard is this ice? Is it like quartz or something? That may explain why when it breaks up it does so in sharp jagged chunks that hurt us. Anger is our reaction when we get fed up with the pain. But here’s where our bodies pull a fast one. If we give it time our bodies use the exhausted fear energy and uses it to cool us down. The body did its job after all. Why were we so worried? It didn’t concede, we did because we didn’t think we could sit there and take all of this abuse. We thought we had a limit. To avoid rage we have to openly acknowledge our fears.

Love’s density is heavy and light at the same time. It’s heavy because it can expand and expand without dissipating. It’s light because it lifts us up. It literally drives us to spread it. When we love in the face of rage (one of the hardest damn things to do) we defeat it even when it “thinks” it has defeated us. This is why the legacy of MLK, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Oskar Schindler and many others lives on eternally because what drove them is eternity. It is why religious figures like Jesus will always have a place in people’s hearts. The odd warm density that is love attracts cold and warm alike. The fearful don’t trust it because they cannot understand how people like MLK can take so much abuse and not fight back. These people seem weak to them and they wonder why so many people are attracted to this weakness. They may feel like people are beginning to concede to weakness. Something must be done. BANG!


Doesn’t matter who did it, what is important is the fact that it was done in the first place.

Wonder can lead to violence when we wonder about potential harms whether they be emotional or physical. The body has to protect itself because it has to perceive the universe around it and take notes. What do you think happens when it experiences nothing but widespread death and destruction? It reports on what it sees and passes the notes onto the next generation and they grow up in fear. They are literally born into it.

Now what do you think would happen if a species evolved in an emotionally “bipolar” landscape? One moment we’re fighting for the next few moments we heal and then before we take off the bandages we’re back at it again. That back and forth creates anxiety. We have a universal anxiety problem. Ironically enough, it’s why we behave the way we behave. But why would we do this to ourselves? We may not have. During a point of our evolution the planet may have been rapidly moving in and out of ice ages. This may also be the reason for our peculiar physical adaptations as well as our emotional ones. We couldn’t trust our environment so how can we trust ourselves if we were wrought of this environment? To combat this we would have to adapt rapidly and haphazardly. This back-and-forth is why we are who we are. Our engineering marvels are directly attributed to this. We keep creating because that’s the groove we settled into due to our wild past. Oh, but look, things seem to be going relatively smooth now. Shouldn’t we settle into a smoother groove. Why all the bickering and fussing?

Oh yeah, we’re all broke. No money to buy all those things we wonder about but everyone on TV seems to have them. We get fearful and when those people on TV make mistakes we let them have it. Anyone with more money than us is the enemy and if the government dare try to take any of it from us we will let them have it too. The Obama administration should be looking at this vitriol as a blessing because it is like an advertisement of fear. They’re getting an advanced warning. Now it’s time to inquire about its impetus and really listen. Even when they scream, don’t scream back. Eventually they will have to settle down and articulate their points. Only then will we be able to smoothly progress. I really think there is such a thing as compassionate conservatism. At is core conservative says simply this: “Hey I know you bust your ass to make a living and you want to keep what you earned, but your town’s roads are marked with potholes and the liberals keep talking about these decrepit schools in the inner cities and I kind of see their point about that. Some of the other stuff is a little too heady for me, I’ll deal with that later, but I’ll see if we can do something about the schools, I’ll just make sure the libs don’t get all crazy with it.” If conservatives follow that creed we will be in for an enlightened political debate this November.

Oh, America, we can get out of this jam that fearful greed got us into by simply exporting our greatest renewable. Ideas. That’s what’s gonna save us. Look what America does to other cultures and look what America did to them.

FLOWER POWER

Flowering plants seem to be hip to this wonder game too. Why else would they evolve such beautiful flowers and eye-catching fruits. Where id they get the audacity to assume we would dig that type of thing and why do we dig it? What is beauty? Why are we driven towards it? It’s warmer than us. Ironically, when we think we’re hot we get cold and others act cold around us. Flowers doubt themselves. Why do you think there are so many of them? Each is trying to see what works.

Why do you think a rose has thorns? It must know its beautiful and wants to stay that way. It’s tired of getting picked. Its beauty serves a purpose. It doesn’t want to die in the corner of some cubicle. But check it out, how can flowers “see” us? How do they know what we like? Simply by evolving to their surroundings. The fact that they evolved so beautifully makes this place even that more remarkable.

Our universe behaves just like our DNA and our DNA behaves just like the universe. There are these essential physical elements that are made unique by diverse compositions. The composition of our sun and the composition of our planet create a relationship through space. But the crazy bit is that the water we drink contains hydrogen as does the sun along with many other similar elements. That must mean that…

WHO NEEDS LARGE HADRON COLLIDERS WHEN YOU HAVE LEGO

The Lego ball is composed of many different colors and types of pieces. Together they form a dense object. We are much like this ball. Imagine what happens when two of these balls collide. The pieces get all mixed up of course. Now imagine trying to form another ball, of equal size to the first two, with the scattered pieces. You would have a brand new being. But what about all of that waste? It gets put to good use. When we pass on our genetic energy it is fed back to the place where it came from. It works just like this stuff…

    pollen

This stuff dances about the atmosphere, and with a little help from cats like these…

…we get all of this diversity…

Also, since we have infinite time and space to mess about that means that you could have been them. This is incredibly humbling and opens a up a world of possibilities for the individual. For myself, it is helping me deal with fear. If I am just the incarnation of something that came before then let’s see what these traits can do in this contemporary world. I’m no one and everyone. Why fear anything? This blog is a compendium of various ideas from all over the map. Nothing is new about it, it may be a bit crazy, but so was the idea that founded the United States of America. This blog is the evolution of that philosophy. But don’t take my word for it, read up on some existentialism, or if that’s not your cup-of-tea check out its precursors like Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and many others. When you read these texts peek under the surface a bit. Don’t fear blasphemy because the language you read these texts in will more than likely not be the one they were originally written in. That means the Word had to be interpreted by someone and sometimes the language doesn’t translate so easily. For example, what color is this apple?

Is it green, verde, vert, grün or any of the other countless evolving words used to describe the distinction that is the apple’s shade? Each word has distinct connotations in the culture from where it originates. Also, there are cross-cultural connotations. Verde makes me think of the word verdant which lead to thoughts of a lush forest or jungle. You see how tangled up this stuff can get? The apple is a singular object yet there are a myriad ways to interpret it and each is true to the group that made the distinction. But when we take a bite of the apple our experiences merge. Damn! That’s good. Let me plant these seeds and make some more!

The books may have different interpretations, but what they are referencing is universal. It’s why in the Zoroastrian religion which started kicking way back around the 5th century understands the favorable imbalance of the good/evil ratio and that man exists to prove this ratio will always tilt to good because if a creature has the choice to do one or the other and chooses good more often than evil then the universe is inherently good. They also understood that this duality is illusory because good and evil are open for interpretation. This diversity of opinion seems anarchistic, but it simply means that if you have to make someone cry so that you can smile you may one day feel their pain. If they are the ones who bring you this pain will you make them cry again? You know the outcome, it’s entirely up to you.

LAUGHING AT DISTINCTIONS

There is something staggeringly genius in the way we collectively embrace each other through the mutual understanding that we all do some crazy shit at times. The celebration is our way of tilting the favor of the ratio. Hey, I’m hip to the fact that you think you got me figured out. But watch how I “play” this role for you. If it is my nature to behave a certain way then why do I have to pretend? I know we seem different, but the ways we are different are pretty much the same. Isn’t that funny?

The illusion of the relative difference is very strong. So strong that surface friction occurs when two relative differences meet. After which fusion is a possibility. This friction is the necessary sacrifice. But it doesn’t mean that we just rub shoulders and then hug forever. Oftentimes we forget the lesson of the friction and repeat the process over and over again. It’s like we can’t change who we are. The problem is we “start” with the surface. We put so much onus on the constantly shifting surface that we begin to think that is all there is.

THE EPIC DUEL

These two men, who have found new ways to adapt to physic’s “laws,” are neither black, white or any other race for that matter. You will not find a LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in Africa. Their surface dressing betrays your eyes. You see the density of their color and behavior. Lebron is the peculiar fusion of a Nordic and African warrior. You see it in the forceful, yet graceful way LeBron James moves about the confines of a court he seems larger than by virtue of athletically dominating every other man who occupies it. It’s why he has been dubbed The King and we are all Witnesses. It is a playful rumination on a darker, more totalitarian idea. We have to buy into it, we don’t have to buy it. Yes, there is a parallel to that other thing. It’s also detectable in his features. Imagine his skin a bit lighter and a viking helmet on his head. Not too far off is it? And you can equally see him ruling an early African city as a warrior prince of sorts. I know I’m evoking the myths of these respective cultures, but what fascinates us about athletes derives from these so-called myths. Just look at the spectacle.

People of all races and walks of life in matching uniforms cheering on humans who are specific craft. The lifetime of work that goes into several short bursts of action. Rage! Relax. Prepare to rage! Rage! Relax. To be able to maintain such an absurd balance requires absurd training. These are manifestations of dreams we had about masculine strength and power. They’re not quite Thor yet, but we’re getting closer. Yes, it is difficult to make these connections because we are so wrapped in the skin of our time. It sounds absurd. But so will all of this one day. It will seem absurd, yet familiar. Now onto Kobe…

Kobe possesses some of the features we associate with representations of Egyptian pharaohs. And when you couple that with the fact he speaks Italian things start to get a little interesting. His body is angular, yet sleek which is the perfect build for a triangular offense. It’s the same build the other guy had. They both added a peculiarity to the rigid system which allowed it t adapt to whatever challenges faced it. That’s why Phil is not quick to call time outs when things get rough. If he has that guy in there that can steer it he’s cool. Thing is he hasn’t always been cool.

It took the good misfortune of going through a tumultuous situation after leaving Chicago and then another one just as he inherits the seemingly perfect combination of MJ and Wilt Chamberlain. But really think about it, ponder MJ’s ego and Wilt’s together. One man shrugs as if he is in awe of himself, the other boasts of epic sexual prowess. He managed through the debris of this major breakup somehow. There was an imbalance in the ratio. Not enough “shots” to shine in Hollywood. A split happens. Phil, learning from the volatile nature of a collection of rigid egos, cools a bit. This is the older Phil that nurtured a humbled Kobe which solidified a beautiful base. Actually, it’s not all beautiful. Both versions of Phil’s triangle work better when you add another peculiarity like a Dennis Rodman or Ron Artest. It’s a gamble, but it just seems to work.

OUR NATURE

The distinctions we make when we meet another human are the surface dressing to the singular truth that lies below. This truth is impossible to discover because the more layers you peel away the more there is to go. It’s like taking a tree down by breaking its smallest branches first. As you do this other branches grow. Even if you cut the entire tree down at its base your job is hardly over. There are many other trees left to cut down. And don’t forget about all those pine cones. See how fast we ZOOM OUT from the tree’s base. We create distinctions because that is essentially all that evolution is. Continual distinctions chasing ultimate adaptation or a non-existent limit. How often and how varied can we adapt to these physical limitations? The answer is infinitely. That’s the truth. That’s the base. We create distinctions because these distinctions are what get us closer to this truth. What does a camera mimic? Or high-speed communications and travel. Or computing. These advancements do nothing the universe wasn’t doing already. 3G can’t really compete with you and me. I can’t see you, but I guarantee we are more similar than we are different. Can I read your mind? No. It’s just our genetics. We came from the same. The phone is just our attempt to reconnect. One of the most fascinating bits about this relative distinction kick is the fact that we get to decide how much these distinctions hurt. Wars between nations hurt a lot more than this…

But check it out, the pain of the athletic loss feels similar to the pain of a military loss. We can’t sleep, we can’t eat. Nothing seems right. This happens because the doubt has taken over. The doubt that your team could possibly lose the match is why you watch the game in the first place. If you were certain they would win, why even waste your time? You may feel real strongly that your team will overpower the other, but when the impossible happens the doubt shifts. it hurts because we don’t want to doubt our team. How could they lose to them? Then others begin to doubt our team and that just adds fuel to the fire. Now we have to fight against our own doubt to let the rest of the world know that we “still” are the best. It doesn’t matter if we believe this or not. If we yell loud enough they’ll take notice.

ESTABLISHING THE ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT
The establishment doesn’t like loud music, I’ll play loud music. The reason behind my decision to play loud music seems spiteful. What does it say about me? Am I a spiteful person? The establishment may deem so and punish me for my spite instead of asking me why I played my music so loud. When I tell them it’s because they told me not to let’s see if they hit me or turn the question onto themselves. What do we have against loud music? The answer to that question has to come from within because if our ire is raised by those without then that must mean they know more about us than we thought. How can they know so much about us? That hints at an intelligence. It is an ability to detect a weakness and then having the audacity to exploit it with a few choice words…

We all have the ability to notice differences and turn them into defects by virtue of how we label them. It’s what connects us. The only way to defeat it is blissful ignorance or by becoming aware of our ignorance. Remember, we can keep looking, but we will never find everything because everything is nothing. The more we learn about our DNA the more there will be to learn. Why? Because it evolves and better yet, we may discover that we have a genetic predisposition to look within. Imagine the questions that will raise. This may also be the reason we are driven to look without. The answers are the same no matter where you look. Here, I’ll leave you with this…what do you see in the picture below?

Do you see four former presidents, four sculptures, a peculiar looking mountain? What is the truth of this picture? Don’t forget to consider the different species who perceive this “thing.” Would a bird give a damn about this? Maybe the spot near FDR’s chin is a good place to take a load off. The truth of this picture is multidimensional. One truth is that it’s not a picture of Mount Rushmore, but a computer chip’s interpretation of the reflection its partner, the lens captures. The chip must translate this information into a code it understands so an image we understand can be produced. Even if you used your trusty Polaroid 600 to capture the image, the camera becomes a middle man. It has limitations your eye does not. But it still captures the same “thing” your eyes witness. But are your eyes telling you the truth? For starters, you’re not looking at ones and zeroes as you read this, but the computer is. More about that later…but for now, enjoy a ribald debate, just keep in mind that we literally NEED EACH OTHER.

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