Shallow, boring, and in complete denial

my views on Spirituality, Politics, Life in America and Existential issues of personal transformation

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Live & Love Austin....and creating cool new stuff for the social web

Monday, February 03, 2014

A tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman

A very talented actor has died.......and it's brought attention to a deadly form of heroin hitting our streets.....our politicians are promising to rid us of this evil.....hurray for them....

Ahh, not really.......

Here's the truth:     Hoffman was suffering........any time a person is making (what seems to be) a ridiculous (dangerous, unhealthy, illegal, sad) choice, you can feel certain that some tradeoff is happening in which they are participating fully (even if only semi-consciously)...... participating more fully than most of us "non-addicts" will probably ever understand.

Now that he's dead, his suffering is over.   The suffering that remains is with his family, friends, colleagues, fans and yes, the politicians who are "responsible" in the area where this tragedy has happened.....

I wonder if there is something we can REALLY DO to eliminate suffering for all of these good voters...

As I see it, the promises of those politicians are really more about their campaign, image and job, than about the real problems in our society.....they really won't fix anything substantive and we all know it.....even if we don't want to face it fully...

Our Govt can spend several million buck sending black-ops paramilitary forces into our ghetto's to put lots of wounded and abused people into our over-crowded jails, and even possibly rid the region of that particular brand of heroin.  (did you know the US holds 5 percent of the worlds population but 25% of the worlds inmates)

What they won't reduce is ANY of the human suffering.....a new drug or alcohol will be available tomorrow and the families of future drug fatalities (whether overdose or prison) will continue to suffer while our tax dollars get spent "appearing" to address the problem....

Just once, I'd love to hear a politician say that he plans to take the millions we've entrusted to him, and use it to:

  • understand addiction....or suffering....or brain chemistry....or unconscious identity
  • to find a real approach for addressing neurological (bad) habits
  • to get a grasp on the phenomena of limbic-resonance and children's development

Or to simply train us in tolerance for OUR OWN uncomfortable emotions rather than kowtowing to the politically-correct bullshit that seeks to avoid offending anyone......if people are so frail as to be unable to bear the feelings (emotions) happing inside their OWN bodies, it's no wonder they turn to external substances to get out of feeling something....we've trained them to do it...

How can well educated "leaders", with (supposedly) competent advisors, not understand this simple loop that our society has created.....

By promoting and repetitively selling us the illusion that we can and should escape or avoid painful emotions, (the raw stuff of being human), we've trained people to look for a remedy outside of themselves, and then, when the most suffering, abused or desperate among us act on that training, we ostracize, condem and jail them....

I really despise shallow thinkers being in charge of our well-being......lets get people who understand the problems before we let these jokers spend our money pretending to do something....

rest in peace PSH....

Sunday, January 01, 2012

blender longgevity

after many years of burning up the motor in (even expensive) blenders, I was becoming jaded and convinced that these manufacturers were intentionally under-powering these devices just so they could sell us a new one every few years.

And then the other day, epiphany!!   When I was cleaning my blender, I started playing with the blade and noticed that it was difficult to spin.   I didn't hear any noise or feel the graininess that typically goes with a bad bearing, so I studied it further.   Turns out that fruit juice had seeped into the shaft underneath, and was causing serious drag on the spin freedom.

I filled up the blender with very hot water, and let it run for about two minutes.....after that, the blade spun easily with zero effort.

I now realize that I've been overworking my blender motors by not cleaning the the blade-shaft properly.

My new protocol is to run hot water in the blender almost every time I clean it.  I can't say for sure, but I expect this to significantly extend the life of these fabulous devices.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

an open letter to parents of the MySpace generation

As a parent of two preteens who don't yet use Social Networks, it's easy for me to be relaxed about the MySpace phenomenon. With that said, I'm also a student of the mind and existential/developmental issues and I believe I have a pretty good sense of what happens in children's developing minds. I'll start with a few questions which I'll phrase differently for two distinct constituencies.

First, a statement of fact:
Modern brain imaging (fMRI) has shown that only a small percentage of the brain (less than 40%) is devoted to language, abstract reasoning, or participates in (aware) "consciousness".

Next an attempt at consensus:
I believe most of us accept the reality that the liver filters the blood, the intestines digest food, and most the organs participate in keeping the acid/alkaline concentration in stable balance WITHOUT any conscious attention to these processes.

Now, I have a question....
For the religious folks:
Do you believe that God created the other 60% of the brain for a purpose, or just as a counterweight??

For the atheists:
Do you believe that humans survived and evolved to such a great state (prior to the neo-cortex, language and abstract thinking) without the rest of the brain performing some vital management tasks to aid in survival??

Bringing it all together:
I'm guessing that most of us, despite your philosophical perspective, can agree that the "unseen" (by consciousness--60%) parts of the brain are probably working very hard on something.

Who thinks this "something" is probably related to survival potential?? Child researchers have known for years that life factors (health, relationships, income, intelligence, etc) are affected by the child's developing perspectives toward:
  1. Safety
  2. Trust/Dependency
  3. Power
  4. Creativity
  5. Self Worth
(among others)

Albert Einstein famously said that "god does not roll dice".............. and yet 100 million kids have joined Social Networks (SOCNETS) in the past 24 months. What are they doing there---is it a random "cool" choice thing, or are some deeper processes motivating them to spend their time on MySpace?

Is it sex, drugs, music, morbid curiosity, boredom??? (the naughty list) Probably yes, in varying degrees per child, to all of the above...........but those are all (at least) semi-conscious urges.......

What processes or strategies do we think the other 60% of the brain is exercising through the online experience???

If you're convinced it's all about the "naughty list", then go ahead and ban your child from SOCNETS. I hope you'll report how it goes to all of us. I, for one, am doubtful that it will serve your child or your understanding of yourself. Instead, I believe it wise to look deeper into what needs are being met, and to be proactive in meeting them. Here is my list of suggestions:

A teens wall, or SOCNET profile, is an expression of creativity, passion and uniqueness------celebrate (rather than reject) your child's unique qualities and characteristics. Of course your own judgments might get in the way...

A profile is pubic----it allows your child to feel seen, visible and deserving of attention---see them, notice them, act (don't speak) that they are more than a name, a list of chores, or an inconvenience

A social network is an experience (more than symbolic) of connectedness, friendship, acceptance and comradeship----judgment and self absorption leave your child feeling alone in the world. And kids feel empty observing the model that career is all life is about. They watch the isolation, and distance (or fighting) between parents, and loose hope for a feeling like this:
Be with them in simple loving presence---arising from innocence and openness

The size of ones friend list is a measure of importance, worth and desirability---------relish your children; lust for time with them; mourn your hours away from them, let them know that you see and enjoy their brilliance

If you do these things, you just might find that your child no longer needs MySpace---and you just might grow a bit yourself. After all, you have to know how to give yourself these gifts before you can give them well to your kids--and perhaps that, above all, is why we judge the backward way that some people go about meeting existential needs

If you understand that your kids are meeting crucial developmental needs in most everything they do, and you'd like to help them do so on SocNets with more privacy or discretion, I've invented Minggl!


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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Understanding the "terrorists"

I was standing at a kids bday party in Chucky Cheeze awhile back, and while tasting this hollow food, watching the blinking lights & overweight kids, I had an epiphany. I suddenly understood something fundamental about the middle east. It's so easy for us to use the rational part of our brain and say "democracy", "capitalism", "freedom"---who would NOT WANT that???

But the brain operates on deeper levels than surface logic---it's got built in mechanisms to maintain stability and consistency. Consistency of values (reverence & spirituality), consistency of self image and consistency about the nature of the world & of humanity.

My epiphany was that the greatest fear in the Muslim world is not of freedom or democracy. It's that WITH democracy will come Chucky Cheeze, WorldCom, porn & mullets!!!

These things represent fundamental differences of values and notions of world order. Our ancestors survived by fighting for consistency and stability, and those mandates are deep and mostly unconscious. But they drive so many choices...........

And a part of me agrees with them----they should fight like hell to avoid suburban mediocrity.

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A "personal" God sets children up for hopelessness

A "personal" GOD (Man created "in his image") is a cornerstone of fundamental Christianity that has been around for centuries.

Yet I believe that telling kids that "GOD is a unique, personal individual who listens via the spoken word & answers prayers", is abusive and blindly ignores the way that young minds work.

This very day, millions of children around the world are praying to the GOD they've been taught to honor. They ask for their mom not to be sick or for their pet to come home. They ask for mom & dad to stop fighting or reunite. For those kids in more dire situations, they pray that someone will stop hitting them, or touching them in a way that feels so bad.

Each time their world does not change, these children assume one of two things (and usually both):
1) I am unworthy of GODS attention---in fact, this GOD seems to ignore me just as completely as my old, overworked, exhaused (or alcoholic) mom or dad
2) GOD is really not available---there is no higher authority; nothing will ever change; he/she is a mean or uncaring GOD

If I am unworthy of support and attention, what am I to do???
If GOD is mean, uncaring or simply distracted by overwork or addiction, then where am I to turn???

If help is really not available......why bother?
Children in this situation give up. They stop hoping, they stop praying, and they stop looking for GOD in themselves, and in the trees and sunlight.
This fundamental worldview, which was not intended by their "teachers", get stored in their semi-conscious, in a way that is different from adults.

If I teach you adults that all toothpaste contains sugar, you store it in the neo-cortex. I can come back a minute or year later and say "just kidding" and you are able to overwrite that belief with a new one. Children however encode their models of the world primarily in the limbic region of the brain. This region does not use logic, abstraction or conventional language. When we've held a belief for a long period of time, we forget that it is governing our way of being in the world. The belief recedes into the unconscious but still has a profound effect on attitude and happiness for the rest of ones life. Hopelessness is especially insideous because it promotes a repetitive "giving up" and abandoning of those efforts that could uncover this belief and help to amend it. It's taken me a long time to transcend the hopelessness that resulted from a distorted notion of who/what GOD was. On my journey, this transcendence occured through the Hakomi method of Somatic Psychotherapy. You can read more about it at:

http://www.ronkurtz.com/writing/Readings2004.pdf
or
http://www.hakomiinstitute.com/

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