Resentment, oppression and examining one’s dark side (quick clip from Jordan Peterson)

His lecture content remains highly relevant and is freely accessible for those curious enough to take time with what he’s sharing. His full lectures are available on his YT channel.

Creating our own dysfunctional realities again and again

Recently I stumbled across some interactions between a group of people online, in which they got into some banal disagreements that turned into all-out videos wars where the gloves came off and the situation quickly degenerated to aiming insults beneath the belt. Typical drama to be found on youtube, for sure. And not particularly interesting either, other than it got me thinking about how and why these individuals attracted toward one another in the first place and wound up playing into one another’s preconceived narratives, as is so common.

Look, there’s a good bit of truth in the notion of like attracts like. Often I hear of self-described feminists online complaining about men and their treatment of women, perceiving themselves as victims of chicanery and “attacks” from the men in their lives. What I’ve noticed though is that in order for someone to be a victim, there must be someone else to play the part of aggressor or abuser, and this can and often enough does wind up proving to be a repetitive pattern. When one’s identity is tethered to being victimized in some such way, whether that person means to or not, he or she tends to be inclined toward attracting people who fulfill that dynamic, thereby perpetuating the very drama one claims to wish to avoid. But how can you avoid such drama if you’re unaware of how you’re attracting it and exacerbating it yourself? And do these folks even truly wish to avoid such drama when it serves the identity they’ve constructed over time? I’d argue that in many cases they actually thrive on such conflicts, especially when made public, because it aids them in broadcasting the narrative and outlook that defines them.

How can one claim to be a perpetual victim if not perpetually victimized by others? Do you think it’s an accident that the perpetual victim attracts perpetual victimization, especially well into adulthood? And here I think it’s important to draw a distinction between pitfalls that youths experience out of naivety and a lack of enough life experience versus the cyclic patterns of behavior fully-grown adults allow themselves to repeatedly become enmeshed in. Unfortunate circumstances that can and often enough do impact youths will hopefully provide opportunities for personal growth and increased self-awareness, albeit learned via the hard way (as proves inescapable in this life). But what about people who don’t learn, or if they do it seems the lessons they gleaned (consciously or sub-consciously) pertain to manifesting more of the same again and again and again, ad nauseam? Should we consider this a sign of willful ignorance and/or manipulative game-playing when one will not extract oneself from such toxic dynamics or figure out a way to elevate the game?

It gets a bit depressing observing people older than myself out here continuing to engage in immature skirmishes that aren’t geared toward improving relations in any way but instead appear to be signaling the same broken message again and again without ever hoping to be satisfactorily resolved. So you wish to be viewed as a victim on an ongoing basis…how is that helpful to yourself or anybody else? It’s pure drama on a base level. Where’s the lesson to be learned from that? What’s of real interest in repeating that cycle? What’s the benefit in portraying oneself publicly in such a fashion? What does one get out of it? Because people who repeat such patterns well into adulthood are most definitely getting something out of the dynamic or they would refuse to keep playing such games with one another. When the costs sufficiently exceed the perceived benefits, one becomes compelled to make drastic changes. We don’t simply stay willingly in toxic dynamics for long if there’s no benefit to be derived for ourselves, and I’d argue that often that turns out to be an ego benefit in terms of bolstering one’s constructed identity. If the game changes, you would be forced to change too, and that requires effort and accepting discomfort as a result. And doing so might cut you off from the easily acquired sympathy and attention garnered through the game you’ve been playing up until now.

We humans are notoriously conflicted about change, commonly preferring known patterns (even if dysfunctional and toxic) to uncertain forecasts. But the only way we’re likely to grow is by being challenged and pushed outside of our comfort zones. Does it really look like people who remain bogged down in these perpetual victim cycles are growing and expanding their awareness? No, more often it looks as if they’re hiding within such patterns and dynamics specifically so as to avoid change, even if that change might eventually prove most beneficial for all involved. It’s another form of escapism of sorts, a role to hide out in that’s comfortable because it’s well-known.

But why would people wish to keep this up? Doesn’t such repetitive drama grow old and boring? One would like to think. But again, what benefit can be derived? Such an individual can utilize these dynamics to garner attention that otherwise might prove to be hard-won and actually require a great deal more effort on her/his part. So in that sense it can serve as an easy fallback routine, a norm that’s grown comfortable over time because one’s familiar with how that game is played, even though it’s also crazy-making in its own right. To expand beyond such trivialities takes effort and heightened awareness, which then tend to force us to confront uncomfortable truths about ourselves and our habits and how we’re creating the very reality we claim to wish to escape.

I get to thinking that most older folks are well aware that they’re perpetuating these ugly dynamics and yet continue to do so because they find it entertaining in an otherwise uninteresting life. Though our lives are only as uninteresting as we choose to make them. So it’s an easy avenue to “excitement” and a feeling of relevancy. While it’s common to accuse the one playing the role of victimizer as only doing so in an effort to make himself/herself relevant, the opposite also is true in that being perceived as victimized makes you appear relevant as well. And if your identity is tied up in the perpetuation of such base drama, how can it be any other way? How might you shine outside of such a tried-and-true dynamic whereby you’re rendered visible and deserving of sympathy and support? Would require a different strategy in order to do so, and some folks just aren’t that creative or ambitious to switch up the routine. Basically, if it works then why fix it? If this provides me with attention over and over again with minimal investment on my part, then why learn another trick? What’s the point in growing if I’m sufficiently satisfied with where I am currently and what this game is providing me (as evidenced by the fact that one keeps with repeating the same old song and dance)?

If it hurt badly enough, one would seek a way out. If you’re still there playing the same game decade after decade, it obviously doesn’t hurt enough. Or you’ve grown comfortable enough with that “pain” that it’s become preferable to alternatives. Otherwise you’d change it. We can and we do if and when we decide the game is no longer worth it. Happens all the time. So we can’t help but surmise over time that those who continue playing such games do so on their own volition. Many, many people have broken out of much worse conditions. People have proven time and again the willingness to try to move mountains to get what they really want (or to escape that which they really do not). We either improve the game we’re playing, discard it for another “game,” or accept it as is. Those are our options and intuitively we’re all become of aware of it eventually.

Personally, I’ve come to see such banal, directionless drama cycles as the product of lazy, unimaginative and/or manipulative people. It strikes me as rather futile to accept such outcomes as the norm continuously. Makes life bland and pointless, dedicated to creating senseless strife that aims to go nowhere other than around and around in the same circle. Crazy-making in the lamest sense. And artificial, unauthentic, and too easy. Where’s the real grit associated with playing such a game? And what’s the real prize in the end? Sympathy and attention received from other people in the same situation as yourself? How valuable is that? The growth potential is nonexistent in such scenarios. And that’s why so often we look upon such people as immature, behaving like 20-year-olds who never grow up, caught up in irrelevant high-school level drama and mayhem that serves no worthwhile purpose. Turns into little more than he said/she said conflicts of the most ridiculously trite kind. Goes nowhere, accomplishes nothing, provides little fresh insight for those involved usually (or for outside observers), and eventually proves boring and lame.

At a time when there’s so much information available to us, easily accessible from our computers, it seems a shame to waste so much time stuck in a dumb cycle to nowhere that can’t expand one’s understanding in this life and only serves to distract and detract. I don’t grasp the value in that, yet it remains popular enough. Granted, we all are intrigued by a bit of drama — such is the human condition. But at what point does engaging in the same low-level shit again and again get stale? For some, the answer appears to be never. And that bores me. Monotonous and dumb.

Life’s so much more interesting when we find a way out of framing everything as an us vs. them/ victim vs. victimizer dichotomy.

“The Donald Trump video every Jew MUST watch!” (plus my thoughts)

Interesting that Trump and Hillary were ever friends. Perhaps I’ve misjudged him a bit due to his past association with the Clintons. But I couldn’t bring myself to vote for either Trump or Clinton in our latest presidential election.

The internet is abuzz with people discussing “the Jewish question” these days. I don’t have a firm position on all of that, still learning as I go and never having taken issue with Jews as a group. But I do recall the pro-Palestine position strongly pushed by the very liberal peace-building organization I once belonged to. In fact, our local chapter here in the Midwest had as its primary mission to be pro-Palestine, a position I questioned our program coordinator about since we have very few Arabs in this state (at present) and a growing number of Jewish people are relocating here from the east coast and contributing to our local economy. Didn’t seem like a good use of our financial resources since there are so few Arabs here to cater to, and she said that the decision that we be pro-Palestine was handed down on high, meaning it was a position assigned to us from the national offices of our (multinational non-profit) organization. Huh. Okay. I didn’t understand much of that then and still barely do so now. Seemed like a good way to alienate our organization from the locals, considering we were already underfunded and paid little attention by the media or the general public. Our program coordinator assured me it was an important humanitarian issue, and repeatedly the name of Rachel Corrie was bandied about (believe I even saw her parents at one event) — our martyr for the cause. For four years while I participated with this organization the talk of Israel vs. Palestine was ongoing and unchanging, which seemed a bit strange to me at the time since we’re supposed to be about peace, yet we relentlessly sided with the Arabs when it came to all Middle Eastern matters (including anything to do with Iran). When I spoke out against Saudi Arabia (as I’m fond of doing), it was met with crickets. Pure silence. Even as they castigated our U.S. government over oil dependence and consumption, and blamed all the wars in that region on us, claiming them to be little more than power grabs. Being nervous of the U.S. military at that point in time and highly critical of government corruption, I decided to listen and try to learn from them. But on and on it went, even where it made little sense or showed blatant contradictions in regards to the values we claimed to promote.

Four years I stuck around to hear that message and to participate in their rallies and to try to help raise money for what, I don’t know. Probably to hand over to Democratic candidates since that was their explicit bias. Why a libertarian type would stay around for that remains a mystery to my own self. Maybe it was my way of trying to connect with the Arab blood inside me, to try to grasp that perspective though I’ve only ever known American culture and interests. And try as I might, my involvement in the end only cemented my dismay for partisan politics and led to more questions than answers on the Irael/Palestine conflict. Not sure what I learned through my time volunteering with those folks aside from recognizing that the supposed underdog isn’t always and automatically deserving of sympathy and support. And that I hate movements and groups who blindly follow political candidates and act as if they can do no wrong, even when the candidate in question repeats the very sins you were losing your mind over in the presidency that came before.

The politics of Democrats have left a bad taste in my mouth ever since. Something’s happening there, and what it is ain’t exactly clear… Indeed. For all of our appeals to tolerance and community-building and inclusion, there were no other non-Democrats among us. I, as an independent, was the only one. And I was needing to be educated apparently, to listen and take in what they were saying and to support what they were doing. When I first envisioned what a Quaker organization would be about, I didn’t expect it to be so one-sided and biased, but perhaps that was naivety on my part. That they thought our feminist ally groups would gel with the pro-Islam sentiments expressed continues to baffle me. Yet there we all were, a bunch of mostly white and beige people out in the Midwest, uniting over matters that don’t immediately impact us and therefore can’t help but be theoretical in nature. This idea that we can all come together as One, as if our conflicts in interest will melt away in the face comradeship. Didn’t happen. Much lip service was paid but the distrust remained. Seemed to me more like people trying to use one another to get what they politically want in the short-run. I don’t doubt for a minute, now looking back in hindsight, that those disparate interest groups would eventually turn on one another once they had successfully suppressed and disarmed the groups they jointly took issue with. Don’t doubt that for a minute. All this talk of peace, yet power still remains the name of the game underneath it all. Sad to come to that conclusion in the end, but c’est la vie.

That was and will be the last organization I align myself with. Groupthink is for the birds.

Wasn’t a Trump supporter, but I believe in judging a man on his merit and actions. So I maintain an open mind about him and what he’s actually about, ignoring the media’s hysteria. In person I’m not hearing much talk against Trump, even from those who aren’t a fan of him. Though I’ve heard plenty of people express disdain for Hillary Clinton. Didn’t take Russians hacking anything for that woman to lose the election. She lost because she’s wildly unpopular, despite what the media might try to tell you. People are uncomfortable about her judgment capacity, and rightfully so IMO. Yet all day, every day, the narrative being spun in the news these days is that Trump is a horrible person, a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, an anti-semite, etc. None of those claims appear true. Doesn’t stop Democrats from relentlessly repeating them though. The Democratic Party is shooting its own self in the foot and can’t seem to come to grips with that reality. So it blames it off externally. Must be the fault of us racist, sexist jerks out in society who just need to be better educated and who need to sit down and be quiet, right?

I don’t even find the matter funny. How people are losing their minds these days (including, I imagine, many of those I once volunteered with) is actually kind of embarrassing. And lying in order to promote a specific narrative will only ensure that your own credibility will be destroyed in due time. Doesn’t take a Republican stance for one to feel that way either. I’d be thrilled if both political parties were erased and replaced with more sane options.

Jonathan Haidt on the emerging victim culture

Gotta love him. Highly recommend his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. Also appreciated a book he mentioned there titled Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Betty Crockering my ass off over here!

Been a cooking and baking fool lately. chef Trying out new lower-carb recipes mostly, figuring out what’s edible and what isn’t. Attempting to break free from my old dining ways, seeing as how I keep too much weight on in going that route. Been holding steady in the upper 160s in recent weeks, which is still too dang big. Wanting to see at least a 10-lb. reduction before I’ll be somewhat content again. Still been working out at the gym at least 3 days a week, mostly focusing on strength training.

Of course my former partner will have none of it when it comes to my new diet plan, preferring to eat as he always has. And so be it. No point in encouraging him to try much of what I make, though I did get him to sample a couple brownie recipes I made a week or so back. The first one (a banana/avocado brownie recipe) came out great, IMO. He managed to eat it. The second one (a low-carb cheesecake brownie recipe) I goofed up on, and he couldn’t make it past a bite of that one. Said it was too chocolatey, going way overboard. My best guyfriend said basically the same thing. Though I thought it was all right. Won’t be trying that second recipe again.

This weekend thus far I baked up some low-carb egg cups (at least that’s what I’m referring to them as), which basically were cupcake tins filled with spinach, tomatoes, a little feta and extra sharp cheddar cheeses, and then covered with beaten eggs. Freezable, ready-made breakfast food. Though I didn’t add enough salt and the spinach proved to be too much. Next time I’ll reduce the spinach by half and increase the tomatoes and cheeses. But they’re okay and I’ll snack on them over time.

Then I baked a batch of almond flour blueberry muffins, which turned out delicious! Really proud of them and plan on sharing them with people tomorrow. Not as low in carbs as I would’ve liked, but the taste is right on.

Then today I created my first spaghetti squash lasagna. Never cooked with spaghetti squash before, so that was interesting. Lots of water to drain out of those things. I used the squash in place of traditional pasta noodles to cut down on carbs, layering that with ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and a tomato and basil sauce I’ve been meaning to try out (Rao’s brand — which I added to ground chuck beef and seasoned to my liking). Turned out pretty darn good! Doesn’t taste much like actual lasagna, but it is similar to the spaghetti bakes I typically make, and I didn’t miss the noodles in that dish. As always, I used a good amount of fresh garlic, so “Former” (easiest to just call him that on here) was unable (and unwilling) to sample that meal since garlic gives him heartburn. Served it with a side of whole green beans fixed up in my normal fashion (steamed with a little olive oil, garlic powder, coarse sea salt, and almond slices tossed in).

THEN tonight I decided to try my hand at making a no-bake pie. Been a looong time since I’ve made one since I’m not a huge pie person. This dessert does not qualify as low-carb, but Former loves pies and it was a way to use up some oreos I had up in the cabinet (that he recently gave me — I swear he’s intentionally trying to sabotage my diet, lol). My 17-year-old food processor is too small to accommodate 24 oreos, so I put them in a gallon-size ziploc bag and went to crushing them up with one of my dumbbells. Ha! Crumbled them the best I could and then poured in the melted butter and massaged it in through the baggie before pressing the mixture out in a pie tin. Refrigerated that while whipping together the filling, which consisted of melting some dark chocolate chips in refined coconut oil on the stovetop, then mixing in some coconut milk, pure vanilla extract, maple-flavored agave, and a pinch of salt. Chopped up a couple avocados and placed them in a blender and added in the cooled chocolate mixture and got that all smooth. Topped the pie crust and now it’s all chilling in the fridge, awaiting being sampled tomorrow. There’s a coconut cream recipe to go on top that I’ll whip up tomorrow once I get ahold of another can opener since my 16-year-old electric can opener decided to finally break down this evening. It served me well all these years — RIP.

So, my kitchen is officially destroyed now. Got more dishes stacked up in the sink than I know what to do with. Will wait and run the dishwasher in the morning since it’s loud. Believe I’ve gotten this cooking/baking bug out of my system for a minute and can turn my attention back to other matters. Like watching videos on youtube. Planning to hang out with my best guyfriend tomorrow afternoon and probably head out to dinner. No work tomorrow. So it’ll be an easy day of cleaning up around here, visiting with a couple of my people, and relaxing.

Been enjoying this slow transition into the fall season. And, for the record, it’s been 18.5 weeks since embarking on my decision to stop drinking alcohol. Going strong on that without a desire to return to my old habit.

Evergreen’s Educational Model (Weinstein / Heying Interview)

Part 2:

That was an interesting conversation to listen to. Helped change my opinion a bit, based solely on what I’ve read and heard online about Evergreen State College this year. Helps me to realize that the way the curriculum was structured there wasn’t in itself the problem and actually sounds rather nice for non-traditional students. But indoctrination can happen anywhere, and like they acknowledged, perhaps the environment structured within Evergreen allowed it to be taken a bit farther than we might expect in other institutions of learning because the students spend so much more time with a particular professor. If that professor happens to be Naima Lowe, well, then Houston we have a problem.

Good conversation overall. Interesting to learn more about Bret Weinstein and his wife (and fellow professor).

Ideological craziness as exemplified by Evergreen State College

More coverage (click here and here for more background info on this topic) on what’s been going on at Evergreen State College up in Olympia, Washington, where a portion of the students and staff have decided to increasingly push a super-divisive, Leftist narrative wherein white folks are othered on the basis of simply being white (because of “eurocentricism” and “white privilege” being viewed as a perpetual threat to minorities) and ridiculed accordingly and where police are automatically rejected and demonized as racist and oppressive and also where very loud and obstructive protests are encouraged at every opportunity. Yet what they’re demanding exactly isn’t clear. They just wish to push this new narrative and switch up the power roles as they perceive them to be at present.

A student at Evergreen State College, Benjamin Boyce, who graduated last semester has documented much of what’s been going on there lately.

Faculty and students finally began publicly speaking back to this movement:

And lastly, an informal interview with Professor Bret Weinstein who was targeted at Evergreen back in the spring:

Also, thanks to all the chaos, controversy, and blatant disrespect fomenting on that college campus, Police Chief Stacy Brown decided to resign. And can you really blame her? I would’ve too. Life’s too short to put up with working somewhere where you’re obviously unwanted and are restricted by the administration from doing your assigned job.

“PoMo’s Faux-Cult”