Changes

A personal update: Been a long month. Been a long summer. Been a long year. Happens like that sometimes. Things get heavy. Sometimes it’s even your own damn fault. Sometimes I get to be the asshole, I get to play the part of “bad guy.”

Living and learning.

And what can you do about that? Takes time for things to turn around, even under the best of circumstances. And yes, of course, things could always be worse, as we all know. This is not the end of the world, this is just a tough spell, but things are improving. Turning over some new leaves. Making necessary changes. Keeping the faith and “nerdling” toward a better position. [Note: “Nerdle” is a term conjured up my boyfriend to describe my “nerdy turtle” tendencies. In other words, I apparently qualify as a slow nerd. Ha!] Not everything will happen overnight, and this isn’t the beginning of this transformation process — just another leg in an ongoing journey. This is an opportunity to redouble my efforts and to reassess what all I expect from myself and wish to explore in this life from this moment forward.

Everything winds up being a learning experience in the end. Down certain avenues I’ve seen enough. But change doesn’t come easy and we all have a tendency to gravitate toward what we’re most familiar with. The problem with aiming to change oneself isn’t only identifying where you’ve fucked up or pondering on what a better outcome might look like, but rather it’s figuring out how to get there. It’s the steps needing to be taken along the way that I’m still figuring out.

So, yeah, times like these demand comedic entertainment and lighter-hearted distractions. And a few beers in the evenings when time permits. There’s a time to be a go-getter, and there’s a time to stop and spend time with yourself and to think deeply about all that needs to be thought about. And that requires mental breaks sprinkled throughout, to add levity and keep it all in perspective.

That’s what I understand right about now.

Haters will hate. That’s a fact of life. People like to bark about what others ought to be doing at any given time, dictating how they think they should be living. Flinging guilt trips where able. People say to one another that we should be activists out there running around in the streets, holding signs and getting angry, screaming about how we demand change. Others content themselves with at least playing the role of online activists, spreading their messages far and wide, shaming and harassing those they feel deserve it. Doesn’t strike me as a particularly productive use of one’s time, but hey, folks can knock themselves out. The people who make the greatest impression on me both online and offline aren’t always necessarily witty or the smartest, but they come across as having heart. And if they’ve got that, there’s something to be worked with.

Much of the rest are just spewing frustration and rage. And much of that gets misplaced on people who appear to be standing in opposition to us. But are they really? Are their motives automatically sinister? Are they completely lacking in rationality and civility? What makes us so sure that they know what they’re doing any better than we do? And what makes us so sure we know what the hell we’re really doing? I don’t know about all of you, but life’s affected me every step of the way. Amazing the difference a decade can have on your outlook, or even a couple crazy years. Everything we do in this life impacts us, shapes us, opens or closes the door on so many future opportunities. We may not possess 100% free will, but we possess enough of it to where we can’t help but be responsible for a good bit of who we become and how we act. And I’m writing as a bit of a hypocrite, admittedly, but that’s understood already. Who isn’t a hypocrite? And do we remain as such if we’re able to be honest with ourselves and, to whatever extent, others? No human is an island, and like that Brodie man mentioned in the Memes audiobook I uploaded clips from, we exist in constant conflict between what others expect of us and what our own selfish interests try to lead us to. Welcome to the human conundrum.

Rambling periodically is good for some of our souls. I’ll aim to edit this post tomorrow. Out.

Because love matters most

That’s an awesome performance of a timeless song. Loved that song for as far back as I can remember. Always felt meaningful and drew out my sympathy. It’s a song that’s always relevant in one way or another. These days I listen to it and cringe a little, wishing to not harm my lover like the woman he sang about.

Another song known to evoke similar feelings is this:

I do believe it helps to meditate on songs like this from time to time, either to preemptively check oneself or while reflecting on sins one has already committed.

(Sidenote: And, as always, though the disclaimer shouldn’t be necessary, when I use the word “sin” it isn’t intended to be taken in some strictly biblical manner. Sin remains a relevant concept regardless of what any religion specifically had to say on the matter.)

It’s no secret that I’ve sinned. Would go so far as to label myself a sinner. Not a perfect person by any stretch and never will be, because that’s just not realistic. Working on it, forever working on it. What am I talking about? That’s for me and mine to know about. Just sayin’ I do get it, and I am trying to become better than previous points in time have proven me to be. Fallibility and episodes of reckless judgment come with being human, whether you’re a woman or a man. No human is an island, and none of us came to where we stand today on our own, for better or worse, though ultimately the power to transform is said to reside within our own individual selves. But old habits and ways of coping die hard. Not offering that last bit as an excuse so much as a humbling realization.

One thing about this life—and this is where terms like “equality” break down for me—is that we don’t all come from the same places or come up with similar influences. We are not equal in this way and cannot be. This causes us to be incapable of walking in another person’s shoes, because we will never see what they saw, how they saw and experienced it, even if our situations sound comparable. Because it’s not just about the environment itself; this involves a dynamic play occurring between the individual and his or her personality coming into contact with environmental conditions and influences, including other persons. If I am not you and we cannot help but be unique due to the dynamic interplay between who each of us is at the core and what we’ve been exposed to over time and how this has vitally shaped us, we will necessarily struggle in coming to know one another. Hence the maxim that you never really know someone, not completely, through and through. Given enough time, we’ll all surprise one another.

Some are better at keeping secrets. Some are more effective liars. Some are compulsive and reckless, maybe because they don’t believe they care about living, maybe because they’re hurt inside and have formed unhealthy habits for coping. I assume those better at keeping secrets and lying may be less prone to feeling their conscience clamping down on them and demanding change. And maybe those who prefer solitude over close ties and regular companionship aren’t as worried with concerns over being alienated and deserted by loved ones. But it worries me. As one admittedly difficult woman out here in society.

Popularity never meant much to me, and it still doesn’t. But my loved ones do. They are my world and without them I wouldn’t know who I am any longer. That’s just how life feels for me. So there’s a push inside for me to continue working on changing some of my problematic ways, the ones that have or may hurt those I care most about.

And that’s as much as I care to say on that topic tonight.

The Interchangeability of Mass Movements & The Role of the Undesirables in Human Affairs — an excerpt from Eric Hoffer’s book “The True Believer”

Tonight I’ll be transcribing a bit from chapters 3 & 4 of the book The True Believer (1951) by Eric Hoffer, beginning on page 25:

The Interchangeability of Mass Movements

14

When people are ripe for a mass movement, they are usually ripe for any effective movement, and not solely for one with a particular doctrine or program. In Hitlerian Germany it was often a tossup whether a restless youth would join the Communists or the Nazis. In the overcrowded pale of Czarist Russia the simmering Jewish population was ripe both for revolution and Zionism. In the same family, one member would join the revolutionaries and the other the Zionists. Dr. Chaim Weizmann quotes a saying of his mother in those days: “Whatever happens, I shall be well off. If Shemuel [the revolutionary son] is right, we shall all be happy in Russia; and if Chaim [the Zionist] is right, then I shall go to live in Palestine.”

This receptivity to all movements does not always cease even after the potential true believer has become the ardent convert of a specific movement. Where mass movements are in violent competition with each other, there are not infrequent instances of converts—even the most zealous—shifting their allegiance from one to the other. A Saul turning into Paul is neither a rarity nor a miracle. In our day, each proselytizing mass movement seems to regard the zealous adherents of its antagonists as its own potential converts. Hitler looked on the German Communists as potential National Socialists: “The petit bourgeois Social-Democrat and the trade-union boss will never make a National Socialist, but the Communist always will.” Captain Röhm boasted that he could turn the reddest Communist into a glowing nationalist in four weeks. On the other hand, Karl Radek looked on the Nazi Brown Shirts (S.A.) as a reserve for future Communist recruits.

Since all mass movements draw their adherents from the same types of humanity and appeal to the same types of mind, it follows: (a) all mass movements are competitive, and the gain of one in adherents is the loss of all the others; (b) all mass movements are interchangeable. One mass movement readily transforms itself into another. A religious movement may develop into a social revolution or a nationalist movement; a social revolution, into militant nationalism or a religious movement; a nationalist movement into a social revolution or a religious movement.

15

It is rare for a mass movement to be wholly of one character. Usually it displays some facets of other types of movement, and sometimes it is two or three movements in one. The exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt was a slave revolt, a religious movement and a nationalist movement. The militant nationalism of the Japanese is essentially religious. The French Revolution was a new religion. It had “its dogma, the sacred principles of the Revolution—Liberté at sainte égalité. It has its form of worship, an adaptation of Catholic ceremonial, which was elaborated in connection with civic fêtes. It had its saints, the heroes and martyrs of liberty.” At the same time, the French Revolution was also a nationalist movement. The legislative assembly decreed in 1792 that altars should be raised everywhere bearing the inscription: “the citizen is born, lives and dies for la Patrie.”

The religious movements of the Reformation had a revolutionary aspect which expressed itself in peasant uprisings, and were also nationalist movements. Said Luther: “In the eyes of the Italians we Germans are merely low Teutonic swine. They exploit us like charlatans and suck the country to the marrow. Wake up Germany!”

The religious character of the Bolshevik and Nazi revolutions is generally recognized. The hammer and sickle and the swastika are in a class with the cross. The ceremonial of their parades is as the ceremonial of a religious procession. They have articles of faith, saints, martyrs and holy sepulchers. The Bolshevik and Nazi revolutions are also full-blown nationalist movements. The Nazi revolution had been so from the beginning, while the nationalism of the Bolsheviks was a late development.

Zionism is a nationalist movement and a social revolution. To the orthodox Jew it is also a religious movement. Irish nationalism has a deep religious tinge. The present mass movements in Asia are both nationalist and revolutionary.

16

The problem of stopping a mass movement is often a matter of substituting one movement for another. A social revolution can be stopped by promoting a religious or nationalist movement. Thus in countries where Catholicism has recaptured its mass movement spirit, it counteracts the spread of communism. In Japan it was nationalism that canalized all movements of social protest. In our South, the movement of racial solidarity acts as a preventive of social upheaval. A similar situation may be observed among the French in Canada and the Boers in South Africa.’

This method of stopping one movement by substituting another for it is not always without danger, and it does not usually come cheap. It is well for those who hung the present and want to preserve it as it is not to play with mass movements. For it always fares ill with the present when a genuine mass movement is on the march. In pre-war Italy and Germany practical businessmen acted in an entirely “logical” manner when they encouraged a Fascist and a Nazi movement in order to stop communism. But in doing so, these practical and logical people promoted their own liquidation.

There are other safer substitutes for a mass movement. In general, any arrangement which either discourages atomistic individualism or facilitates self-forgetting or offers chances for action and new beginnings tends to counteract the rise and spread of mass movements. […]

17

Emigration offers some of the things the frustrated hope to find when they join a mass movement, namely, change and a chance for a new beginning. The same types who swell the ranks of a rising mass movement are also likely to avail themselves of a chance to emigrate. Thus migration can serve as a substitute for a mass movement. It is plausible, for instance, that had the United States and the British Empire welcomed mass migration from Europe after the First World War, there might have been neither a Fascist nor a Nazi revolution. In this country, free and easy migration over a vast continent contributed to our social stability.

However, because of the quality of their human material, mass migrations are fertile ground for the rise of genuine mass movements. It is sometimes difficult to tell where a mass migration ends and a mass movement begins—and which came first. […] The migrations of the barbarians in the declining days of the Roman Empire were more than mere shifts of population. The indications are that the barbarians were relatively few in number, but, once they invaded a country, they were joined by the oppressed and dissatisfied in all walks of life: “it was a social revolution started and masked by a superficial foreign conquest.”

Every mass movement is in a sense a migration—a movement toward a promised land; and, when feasible and expedient, an actual migration takes place. This happened in the case of the Puritans, Anabaptists, Mormons, Dukhobors and Zionists. Migration, in the mass, strengthens the spirit and unity of a movement; and whether in the form of foreign conquest, crusade, pilgrimage or settlement of new land it is practiced by most active mass movements.

Part Two

The Potential Converts

[Chapter] 4

_________________________

The Role of the Undesirables in Human Affairs

18

There is a tendency to judge a race, a nation or any distinct group by its least worthy members. Though manifestly unfair, this tendency has some justification. For the character and destiny of a group are often determined by its inferior elements.

The inert mass of a nation, for instance, is in its middle section. The decent, average people who do the nation’s work in cities and on the land are worked upon and shaped by minorities at both ends—the best and the worst.

The superior individual, whether in politics, literature, science, commerce or industry, plays a large role in shaping a nation, but so do individuals at the other extreme—the failures, misfits, outcasts, criminals, and all those who have lost their footing, or never had one, in the ranks of respectable humanity. The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.

The reason that the inferior elements of a nation can exert a marked influence on its course is that they are wholly without reverence toward the present. They see their lives and the present as spoiled beyond remedy and they are ready to waste and wreck both: hence their recklessness and their will to chaos and anarchy. They also crave to dissolve their spoiled, meaningless selves in some soul-stirring spectacular communal undertaking—hence their proclivity for united action. Thus they are among the early recruits of revolutions, mass migrations and of religious, racial and chauvinist movements, and they imprint their mark upon these upheavals and movements which shape a nation’s character and history.

The discarded and rejected are often the raw material of a nation’s future. The stone the builders reject becomes the cornerstone of a new world. A nation without dregs and malcontents is orderly, decent, peaceful and pleasant, but perhaps without the seed of things to come. It was not the irony of history that the undesired in the countries in Europe should have crossed an ocean to build a new world on this continent. Only they could do it.

19

Though the disaffected are found in all walks of life, they are most frequent in the following categories: (a) the poor, (b) misfits, (c) outcasts, (d) minorities, (e) adolescent youth, (f) the ambitious (whether facing insurmountable obstacles or unlimited opportunities), (g) those in the grip of some vice or obsession, (h) the impotent, (i) the inordinately selfish, (j) the bored, (k) the sinners.

I’ll stop there tonight on page 30 with hopes of picking back up on copying portions of this book in the not-so-distant future.

One of the best movies ever created: “Blazing Saddles”

Hahaha! Love that song! Probably one of the earlier influences to help corrupt me.  biggrin  Considering how young I was when first coming across it in my mother’s VHS collection. Mel Brooks is the man!  Such a funny and creative individual.

I’m tired. Sick and tired of love. I’ve had my fill of love. From below and above. Tired. Tired of being admired. Tired of love uninspired. Let’s face it, I’m tired!

I’ve been with thousands of men, again and again. They promise the moon. They’re always coming and going, and going and coming — and always too soon.

I’m tired. Tired of playing the game. Ain’t it a crying shame. I’m so tired. Goddamn it, I’m exhausted!

One of the best tidbits in cinema history!

Haha!

“…I’m reaching out for something, touching nothing’s all I ever do…”

Great song that I’ve yet to ever tire of. Tia Carrere is a total fox!  bow

Big fan of the movie “Wayne’s World” since it came out. Even own the soundtrack which happens to be currently loaded in the 6-disc changer in my car.

woot  hehe

“…and a girl in the corner, let no one ignore her, ’cause she thinks she’s the passionate one!”

Terrific song by a beautiful, talented performer in a hilarious film!

Trying my hand at boiling peanuts

Boiled peanuts is one of my favorite snacks of all-time, yet you can’t find ’em up here in the Midwest. Not even the canned variety. Can’t even find raw peanuts to boil. So normally I have to wait until I head back down South to visit Grandma (usually twice a year, but will be only once in 2013) before I can enjoy my favorite treat sold at roadside stands.

In fact, my Papa used to boil peanuts and sell them roadside, along with snow cones and watermelons. It’s common down where I come from for people to set up shop right out of the back of their pickup trucks, and it becomes a necessity for folks who are either temporarily unemployed or too old to do much else.

So anyway, several months ago I came across this video providing instructions for the boiling of peanuts:

And I have about 2 lbs. of peanuts in a stockpot as I type this. It will be 4-5 hours before that batch is cooked, then I’ll do the same with the remaining 2+ lbs. Why so many lbs. of peanuts for one little Southerner? Well, because I had to order my raw peanuts and have them shipped here, and that’s the smallest quantity they come in. I’ll tend to the pot as I come and go throughout the day.

Never knew to put chicken broth in with them, so I’m giving that a whirl with the first batch. Might hold off on that with the 2nd batch, we’ll see. Should’ve asked Grandma on the phone yesterday how they used to cook ’em. But now she’s headed out of town, so I’m on my own (with Dave in the video above) in figuring this out, never having boiled them for myself before. Had a boyfriend about a decade ago who boiled some up for me after learning when we visited my hometown, but never came across another Midwesterner open to the idea.

I’m looking forward to honing my skills here. chef