Friday soon rolls around. I actually have to put on a tie today, which is not my normal Friday (if there is such a thing). The machine needs me and so I answer the call. Last night was painful, but i think the loop may have passed now – i’m on the other side – next step sense checking and integration into my life. I have some more stuff rolling out on Twitter today (as always) so hook up with me there if you haven’t already done so (and please don’t say you don’t understand Twitter, which is what I hear from a lot of people in my demographic – you are smarter than that, figure it out…use your imagination and make it whatever it is you want it to be…how did I get on this soapbox?)
Before I go, here’s a Friday playlist for you (i haven’t done one of these for a while (there’s only so much time in a day (even if you don’t sleep much like me))).
peace and love to you,
i was in the desert once
lost in meditation
i was trying to get to
grips with being a
plaything for the gods
i met some souls sitting
around a fire in the open night
they were contemplating
Good and Evil
Lust and Sorrow
all of my incantations
and prayers ignored
by the old gods, i consigned
myself to the enigma of the
meek and their gospel of love
until i stumbled upon a
switch labeled universe
next to a button marked
in a moment of weakness
i pressed the button
#Audiomo Day 1. I love this time of the year when the Audiomo community comes together for the month of June to make and share audio. I thought I’d add something extra to the 30-day challenge this year and that is to have 30 conversations with 30 different people for my #Audiomo posts this year.
First up is my friend Sara Beth Hunt, novelist and podcaster.
– William S. Burroughs
Trying to ID the entity that is me when I know I am you and you are me even though I am by myself a whole lot of nothing outside that which is imagined or imagined to be me. It’s a permanent condition I’ve tried many times in the past to shake loose. When I let go, I spiral out of control like the pilot that becomes the plane. Being out of control is not so bad considering being in control is a massive illusion, one I could do without.
And then I found out that happiness isn’t the reward for a life well lived but a mechanism used to control my behaviour. That, I’m told is the reality of being a human.
I need to take a happy pill. That’ll sort me out. I get to retire from ordinary life and consign myself to the happiness bed. It’s not as plush as it sounds, trust me. There’s much sadness. I am sad. Sad tomorrow. Sad for the rest of my life which is to say I’ll only know joy, delight and profound contentment.
Life is nice among the normal people. I can be free, but my brain is programmed to want more than I already have which is to say I am a slave.
The real question is how much more significant is your life compared to mine? I’ll be experiencing your life tomorrow even though you told me your intensity of feeling would be beyond anything I would ever be able to comprehend. The price of being different comes down to basic wiring really. You flick the switch and the light bulb above the brain comes on. That happened over millions of years along with natural selection. Turn on or turn off? Tune in or tune out? Drop out or forever remain home with the lights turned off until some jackass comes and tells you you’re being selfish.
Can you relate?
Anyway, my eyes are getting heavy and this fresh cup of coffee hasn’t got me jacked in yet.
outside, the rats
huddle against the
cold grey shade of sky
eyes trail behind her
shivering as she sings
softly like a morning bell
metallic breath blows
grim where is her glory?
i gazed upon the gods being sold
in department stores and arcades
their light i have seen shimmering
against your skin and it is not my mind
i sing the virtues of dissatisfaction
drink from the blood of the bank
an innocent evil designated for Hell
invisible weight i carried for your love
a kooky dream bounces between
erotic romance turned
struggling to contain her
destructive rage, she
falls unkempt in blood
a killer on the loose
This is Studs interviewing Hunter about his break out book Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs:
Tomorrow I’ll be diving into a conversation about being an ethical hedonist. I dug through my old notes and found a post I wrote in 2007. It’s a good start. We’ll be making a podcast out of the conversation which I’ll post a link to here once it’s ready to go. Until then take the quiz below and see if you too need to add a little hedonism to your life.
Whatever happened to good old-fashioned hedonism, you know, the doctrine that states that pleasure is good and that pursuing anything other than pleasure is absurd and irrational? The only thing we pursue these days, it seems, is work, work, and more work, so we can buy more things we don’t need or have the time to enjoy.
The things we do enjoy – sex, drugs, rock and roll, fatty food, and cigarettes, are deemed to be not good for us and will shorten our lives. The prevailing thought seems to be “If I avoid all things pleasurable, I’ll live a long happy life.” I’ve had just about enough of that. Bring back the old school hedonism like the kind practiced by some of the greats like Epicurus, Cleopatra, Louis XIV, Catherine the Great, Dumas, Flaubert, Balzac, and Timothy Leary to name a few. I want to run through the garden naked, get drunk on good beer, and chase naked girls with flowers in their hair. Sorry. I digress.
Here is a simple test, courtesy of Michael Flocker, to see if you’re in the machine too deep.
(If five or more of the following statements are true for you, then you are in serious need of hedonistic intervention.)
1. You no longer remember anyone’s phone number because they’re all programmed into your cell phone.
2. You email people at work who are seated within twenty feet of you.
3. You make itineraries for your vacations.
4. The idea of a full week without internet access fills you with terror.
5. You are bored at home if the television isn’t on.
6. You absolutely must watch the news every day to be sure the world isn’t ending.
7. You regularly watch sitcom reruns that you have seen countless times before.
8. You are unable to sit still and think in silence.
9. Your conversation regularly revolves around the lives of others instead of your own.
10. You buy shoes because they match your ipod.
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” – I Corinthians 3:13
“You can’t eat for eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours a day – all you can do for eight hours is work. Which is the reason why man makes himself and everybody else so miserable and unhappy.” – William Faulkner
“I like my job and am good at it, but it sure grinds me down sometimes, and the last thing I need to take home is a headache. – TV commercial for Anacin
Do what you love and love what you do and you’ll never work another day in your life. Well, that’s the dream anyway. But most of us normal folk don’t necessarily love our work – we like our work or tolerate it, but we don’t necessarily love it. And of course there is a class of people who hate their work but do it anyway because they have mouths to feed and bills to pay and all of that.
Is it something that we have to do because we have constructed a society that forces you to work if you want to have the bare necessities of life – food, water, clothing, shelter. We’re taught and conditioned to believe that the bare necessities are not enough (unless you’re Baloo). If you want to be successful in life, then subsisting is not enough, you have to thrive, which in modern society equates to having the material wealth to buy the big house, drive the fancy car, go on holidays to exotic places, and have the latest tech and toys, eat out in restaurants, and all the rest of it (yes that’s a generic list, but take a look around you now, what do you see? How much of the stuff you own do you really need? Or do you have it because you can “afford” to buy it and you’ve convinced yourself or been convinced that it makes your life fulfilled somehow?).
Or is work built into our DNA? That we have to work in order to feel useful and human. And since we all can’t be farmers and hunters anymore, we need to turn our hand to something, thus work has evolved into jobs that help keep our evolving society alive. We’re like ants really. I imagine some cosmic being taking a birdseye view of humans, would see just that – millions of people moving to and fro in basically the same patterns day in and day out.
Ok, all of that was a preamble to share with you this cool podcast episode from The Kitchen Sister‘s new podcast in support of The Keepers series. The first one is about Studs Terkel who wrote the book, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do.
From the Kitchen Sisters:
In the early 1970s, radio producer and author Studs Terkel wrote a book called Working. He went around the country with a reel-to-reel tape recorder interviewing people about their jobs. The book became a bestseller and even inspired a Broadway musical. Working struck a nerve, because it elevated the stories of ordinary people and their daily lives. Studs celebrated the un-celebrated.
And here is the episode:
I’ve decided to give intermittent fasting a go as a part of my plan to shake things up a bit physically, mentally, and maybe even spiritually. If you’re not familiar with the idea of intermittent fasting, here’s a video from Thomas DeLauer that explains the difference between intermittent fasting and time restricted eating (which I was originally going to try).
I did a 16 hour fast yesterday and found it surprisingly easy to do. Some of the literature says you should only have water during the fast. Other literature says you can have black tea, black coffee, green tea or zero calorie diet soda. I’m reckoning one thing at a time, so I will continue to drink black coffee alternated with green tea and plenty of good old H2O. I’ve also ordered some of this Zevia stuff to see what that’s like.
I’d be interested to hear your experiences with either intermittent fasting or time restricted fasting. Any tips or tricks I should know?
This isn’t finished, but I thought I’d share it with you anyway as a sort of working out loud post. Plus my brain is fried right now. I can barely string these few sentences together.
I’m not dreaming
my dark eyes see
a purple flower
next to a burnt
I smell the breath
of the Beast
hear his low growl
and snapping teeth
my youthful days
(i traveled lighter)
over sex drive
little insects buzzing
in my ear
The harpies were there
and the willow tree
and my mom’s friend too
purple rain fell
beneath my window
she talked about
the doves at night
“Medical labels encourage us to look inward, to pathology in our genes, hormones, and brains. social and political explanations encourage us to look outward, to the condition of our lives.”
No. No. No Carol Tavris, I don’t want to hear that. I want to hear some hard cold facts. The kind of facts that punch you in the face.
You mean the kind of incontrovertible facts Harold Jaffe spits? Like:
The U.S. has vastly widened the disparity between rich and poor, committed itself to the construction and privatisation of prisons, discharged its mental patients into the streets, fatally marginalised the aged, corporatised whatever could be corporatised, one would expect that psychiatrists would at least consider certain deviations from the norm to represent a political response.
Hold on a minute. Is any of that true?
Technology has certainly changed us. Changed us into beasts. The kind of beasts that stand around in the field smoking grass all day until they wind up in somebody’s slaughterhouse and onto someone’s plate.
Yes, technology is causing humans to behave like mere machines. By taking over what were once fundamental functions, algorithms, robots, and consumer devices have begun to dissociate us from our own humanity.
It’s a cautionary tale.
[highlight]Most people see the world in binary categories. They believe that there is either an inherent moral good that we must all obey, or there are no rules and life is pointless anarchy. Nihilism argues for a middle path: we lack inherent order, but are defined by our choices, which means that we must start making smarter choices by understanding the reality in which we live more than the human social reality which we have used to replace it in our minds.[/highlight]
And so it is I am diving into Bret Stevens’ book to find out more.
“I was blind but now I can see!”
There’s a couple, two, three things going on with me at the moment. I’m standing at the crossroads where I have to decide whether I want to turn inward and go on another journey of personal transformation to see if indeed I can transcend previous versions of myself.
Or should I turn outward and re-engage with life in 3D, something I’ve been thinking about more and more as I fall deeper and deeper into the cyber-void.
The Internet is real life. Of that, I have no doubt. But I do believe we are missing something vital – something that connects with the life all around us. It’s becoming a cliche to say that people have their faces buried in their phones a good majority of the day. But it’s true. Heck, next time you go into town, or if you’re in town now, take a look around you and notice how many people are looking at the phones right now.
Something in me wants to rebel against the trend, to reconnect with the world around me in a physical sense, to notice how blue the sky really is or the bumble bee climbing down the small hole in the middle of my garden.
I was two seconds away from going all in on the physical world and then I stumbled up a Psyche and Cinema video on Youtube called Consciousness and Transcendence. Basically what these guys do is analyze short clips from movies using Jungian psychology as the filter for their analysis. I’ve always found using popular culture as a mechanism for discussing philosophy, or in this case, psychodynamics to be useful. Pop culture makes it easier (and more fun) for us simple old infantryman types to understand.
For a conversation on consciousness and transcendence, they used the film Limitless starring Bradley Cooper who plays a frustrated writer named Eddie Morra. Morra is suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. A guy gives him a new drug to take called NZT248. The drug opens up his mind and allows him to write a novel in a day.
NZT248 is an experimental drug that is supposed to allow people to transcend their limitation. We all have a tendency to want to tap into our full potential and transcend our limitations and be limitless.
Before Morra pops his first pill he asks:
“What would you do given such a choice?”
Would you take the tablet that would allow you to transcend your limitations?
This would be a chance for you to become conscious, to wake up to yourself, to wake up to the world you live in. You’d gain access to abilities you previously didn’t know you had like courage, resilience, insight and a purpose that justifies and makes sense of your existence. Sounds good to me.
The ultimate question is this:
What is the catalyst in your own life that will allow you to transcend the limitation of our current paradigm – to become limitless?
my friends gave me a medal for digging
a hole with my bare hands and walking
on water like the messiah when she was lonely
and thirsty for politicians, generals, and reporters
locking and loading the sign of the cross gave
me goosebumps and butterflies like before a big
football game; the world knew i was sick, served
me up anyway like a rusty can of c-rations
my friends, adrenaline junkies, zombied out on fear,
shuffled about their business making life out of
anxiety and death, a pursuit they felt better than sex
until beetles ate their flesh and they drowned
I was already in full nihilistic ready to self-destruct mode and then I read this passage from a strange little book by Val N. Tine called Nothing and Everything: How to stop fearing nihilism and embrace the void:
“Do you ever ask yourself, as you try and fail to fall asleep, whether your life has any meaning? This book argues for nihilism, a label I happily adopt. It denies that we can have knowledge of either value or the world, and that talk of objective morality or reality is meaningless.”
That got me so juiced up, I was grinning from ear to ear and ready to rip my shirt off and beat my bare chest for a while. There’s something about the world having no meaning that turns me on. So much so I wrote this prose poem:
words cannot save you from a mind made free
you stand there listening to the poet and the cover girl
you cannot remember where the dream stopped
where the dogs bite and the women lose their voices
hope is a funny feeling; you yield to the music until the end
drowning in a man’s flesh, you seize the town and the
condos on fifth street, the mad boys, and the mad girls
dance naked in the labyrinth of streets beneath the temple
where were you when the weird beast-like bearded mongrels
burst from the womb rubbing their Buddha bellies and
praying to the sleeping lamb, the flowering whore laughs
and blesses the night; your last words lost in the rabid city.