“Alan Watts ~ Stop Competing With Yourself” (his BEST lecture!)

That was excellent. Tied together so many of his past lectures succinctly while also feeding into other reading material I’ve been pondering over time. This particular lecture cemented my respect for Alan Watts. Haven’t always understood what he was talking about, but I stuck with him and appreciate the light he’s helped provide overall. He’s right — the skill to living isn’t simply self-discipline (important as that unarguably is) but learning how to find the right balance. Differs for each of us, and the possibilities are nearly endless.

We can be snobs to one another. That’s easy enough to do. We can divvy up into separate “camps” and talk shit and focus our attention there primarily. Plenty already do. Will lead us straight to hell as a society and a species if we keep this up, but we’re free to do so obviously. Or prove incapable of not doing so if we individually remain complacent in our present forms. Life requires growth and we’re psychological beings. No escaping that truth.

But how we figure out navigating in a manner that seems worth it is the existential question of our time.

It’s a fact that much of this can’t help but come down to our own selves, impactful as external influences can’t help but be. Hence why it’s important to opt for better influences, those which can promote positive expansion. The alternative is what? Let ourselves slide into the abyss? What is our love affair with the abyss? I think Dr. Jordan Peterson is right when he’s basically said staying down there comes with the benefit of evading personal responsibility. Strikes a chord inside, rings correct. Mea culpa too.

Nobody else can change these facts for us. Only we individually can make the decision and actively plod in that direction. Even a slave-driver can’t effectively force us if we collectively and actively resist like mules. That seems obvious enough. Might murder a bunch of us, but still can’t force us to put our hearts into something against our will. Might reduce many of us to a cowardly state, but that’s largely through our own compliance, if not entirely. We as individuals actually do possess a lot more power than we commonly publicly acknowledge and demonstrate appreciation for.

We’re spoiled on modern life and the ease at which we can hide out from one another and interact behind keyboards anonymously if desired. Modern technologies allow for an atomized form of existence never before known by our species. Easy to get drunk on it and all its comforts. I know. Welcome to modern life. It’s ALL a big mystery to each and every one of us. Learn as we go. Hopefully. Maybe.

Depends on how we choose to live. Nobody else can determine that for us. Short of killing us, and all that does it extinguish us — still doesn’t force our will to ACT. Definitely can impact us seriously though. And that’s no small matter. But this is where ancient Stoics did have the right idea. We can’t control all of the variables in life, quite obviously. Never could and never will. We can’t help but be vulnerable beings, as all lifeforms are. And we can’t completely control other people, try as we might. Can to whatever extents, but that’s it. There is a sovereignty to the individual that is untouchable by others, try as we undoubtedly will. Sadists probably know this all too well in the end. There’s a private sphere within each of us that will forever remain unexplorable by all others. Fact of life. We are individuals yet we are communal. Both are true, and neither is avoidable nor alterable (at least not without massive negative consequences). Not if any balance is to be achieved. And some sense of balance is necessary for satisfaction in life.

Can’t seem to escape these truths lately. Recurring. Thanks to my reading and viewing material, which I’ve learned a lot from over time. We are blessed to have this amazing internet. Anyone who doesn’t own a desktop computer or at minimum a laptop is being left in the dark ages (and no, “smartphones” aren’t solely sufficient for exploring this medium — way too limited/limiting). But I suppose people will have to work with what they’ve got if that’s necessarily the case. Still, the information available so freely to us nowadays is unprecedented, truly amazing. We are lucky in this regard and shouldn’t take it too much for granted. So many opportunities surround us currently.

I say this all to myself more than to others, though it’s to all of you too. We need to step up our game as individual persons in however many which ways that may unfold. For one’s own personal sake, if for no one else’s.

“LARRY ELDER: Black Men Crushed By Excuses NOT ‘Racism’; Talks On Hating & Reconciling w/ His Father”

A very good talk. Highly recommended.

The Joys of Public Drinking

A.K.A. more reasons to avoid the barscene:

1.) Drunks are drama. Whether they mean to be or not. Comes with the territory, unavoidably so.

2.) It’s expensive. You’re paying a high premium for the social atmosphere itself. The alcohol is far cheaper if purchased at a grocery store or gas station and taken home. Consider the average cost of a beer at a bar: $3 for a 16-oz. (or less) draw. Add $1 for tip. Multiply that by 4-6 on any given outing. Now, multiply that by however many outings per month. Adds up quickly.

3.) You’re subjected to others’ musical tastes (and jukeboxes have become very expensive as well, many now charging $1 per song). Any day I manage to get through without listening to modern country (pop) music is a good day. Or the latest rap music.

4.) Idiots abound. The barscene serves as a refuge for some of the least responsible and most obnoxious persons out in society, especially after 10pm. Fights break out. Drinks get spilled. Stupid comments are made, especially by those seeking hook-ups. And arguments can and do occur over the most trifling matters, including sports teams and random trivia. As one bartender said to me in recent months: his job winds up feeling like babysitting adults with mental problems.  lol

5.) Avoiding DUIs/OWIs is a high-risk game. Cops prowl around waiting for barhounds to drive off. The only way to avoid this is to befriend someone who doesn’t drink who’s willing to drive you home (good luck with that) or to pony up even more cash for either an Uber or a cab ride. Walking home would also be a viable option if not for risking public intoxication charges (a favorite routinely doled out by police in this city).

6.) Dangers to one’s health and safety. Setting aside concerns for our livers and kidneys, there’s all sorts of other risks we take while drinking out in public. Like falling down. Steps are a bitch some nights. Or pissing off a hothead and getting knocked out (witnessed that happen to a guy fairly recently and, once down, other bar patrons began filming his unconscious body with their phones, snickering about posting up the footage on SnapChat — how lovely). Not to mention the number of brain cells we’re probably burning off on a regular basis even while managing to remain upright and otherwise uninjured.

7.) Gossip is the norm. The only saving grace there are drunk people’s tendency to not remember all the details. But then the stories just wind up morphing into fantastic fiction, like a garbled game of telephone.

8.) Public drinking is directly linked with impulsivity. Already have impulse control issues while sober? Drinking is guaranteed to magnify that! Perfect way to wind up saying the wrong thing to the wrong person, spending more money than you planned to, or thinking that booty call with a stranger is a good idea. Been there, done that (especially in years prior). Got the t-shirt and all the medals on that one. Waking up with regrets isn’t much fun.

9.) Hangovers suck. Sipping a few brews at home while trolling the internet is one thing, but out in public we have the added pressure of drinking among others, plenty of whom want others to share in taking shots. Can feel difficult to resist, especially when the shots are bought for you. I do believe Hank Williams Jr. was right about how hangovers get to hurting more than they used to — oh joy, so much to look forward to in years to come. Nothing like waking up with a raging headache and foggy eyesight and needing to go about your workday in such a condition. Then we discover that one cure for a hangover is simply to have another drink (after work). Oy. And the cycle continues…

10.) Bar food only tastes good when you’re drunk. Any other time you’d likely avoid it like the plague. Another waste of money on crap calories that tends to leave you with regrets the next day.

11.) Political discussions are discouraged. Even private conversations among relatively quiet patrons who are keeping it calm and friendly. Why? I don’t know. Guess it’s viewed as likely to instigate an argument. The notion of pubs as Public Houses has gone to the wayside in American society apparently. But you can still openly feud over sports, sans the stigma.

12.) Beer Goggles are a real phenomenon, and so is Beer Ego. She looks better after you’ve had a few drinks, AND, thanks to liquid courage, you now have the cojones to saunter up and tell her that — boldly, blatantly, without apology, despite swaying and slurring in the process. And if she turns down your advances, well, she must be some stuck-up broad deserving to be told that too!

13.) Dude, where’s my car? Where are my keys? Where’s my debit card? How much money did I spend last night? How did I get home? How did I land in this ditch? (All legitimate questions after a night of heavy drinking.)

*Pulling from my own experiences and others’ in compiling this list.

“Uncommon Knowledge: White America Is ‘Coming Apart'”

“2017 Maps of Meaning 9: Patterns of Symbolic Representation” (Dr. Jordan Peterson)

Sitting with this lecture this morning:

“Mayhem while we’re freezing and starving: my talk at Western” (Dr. Jordan Peterson)

More tunes for March 2017 (Johnny Cash and others)

That was “Motherless Child” by the Blind Boys of Alabama. Love that tune. Haunts me regularly throughout the years since I stumbled across it.

Another that stays in my mind, “Heartworn Highways” by Townes Van Zandt:

That video always gets to me.

Johnny Cash – “Hurt”:

Lord God, he brought so much power and meaning to that Nine Inch Nails song. Mr. Johnny Cash, my heart continues to go out to you and yours. It’s obvious that man suffered with his being, with his humanity and choices and decisions. And he provided so much amazing art reflecting his contention. Forever amazing. Modern-age gospel.

One I can’t help adore is “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord” by Johnny Cash:

“God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Mr. Johnny Cash:

True. Nature will inevitably eventually cut us down. If our own social and political bullshit doesn’t cut us down first.

“Rusty Cage” by Johnny Cash (with lyrics):

To bed I go.

Dr. Peterson on Existentialism via Solzhenitsyn and the Gulag (2017 Personality course lecture)

That interesting lecture was brought to us by Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, esteemed professor at the University of Toronto. Some of the material he provided there from various authors, particularly that of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, I am familiar with from listening to past lectures by Dr. Peterson; plus, plenty of us internet devotees were already aware of the “Hugh Mongous” fiasco whereby Zarna Joshi made an ass of herself (and the most-modern Feminist movement she belongs to) while trying to demean a man out in public because she felt so entitled to do so. So, having viewed all of that, I personally found the most interesting portion of this lecture to begin shortly after the 1:15:45 mark where Dr. Peterson goes into the biblical story of the flood and then the Tower of Babel, followed by his thoughts on nihilism/existentialism and individual responsibility.

The latter is a topic many of us revisit time and time again as we struggle to get our lives under better control. He’s absolutely correct that a sizeable portion of the suffering we experience in this life is due to our own choices and stubbornly not following our consciences. We know this, and yet we often don’t live as if we know this. “To know and not to do is not to know” — to repeat a quote that dates back across the centuries.

He’s right that each of our lives have a ripple effect on our communities and that one’s own pathology impacts the pathological nature of wider society. It can be no other way since society is composed of individual persons — it’s an aggregate of all of us. That’s all it is and all it ever was. Though it’s very easy for us to try to hide within it, to attempt to blend in so as not to be noticed too distinctly, to shirk responsibility because we’d rather avoid the headaches that go along with that. And somewhere in that equation is where the so-called root of all evil likely resides, at least in its primordial form.

I think we know this deep down, though we like to dismiss it as somehow less relevant than continuing to go along to get along. “Don’t make waves,” some like to say. “The raised nail gets hammered down” — another proverb used to admonish us to not draw attention to ourselves by stepping out of line from the rest. And so the herd mentality gets reinforced…

The biggest problem we humans face is our own humanity and the reckoning it requires of us at this point in our psychological, spiritual, and sociopolitical development. It’s an internal struggle with external consequences, as we can clearly see.

So often we look to others to change so that we might be made happy. But that’s not how it works. Never has and never will.

That was an excellent talk by Dr. Peterson. Glad that I awoke tonight and stumbled back across his channel once again.