Further thoughts on what’s logical vs. what’s life-affirming

I was worried writing the post directly before this one would be opening up a can of worms that requires a lot more time to explore and break it down. Just a pondering agnostic here, so don’t no one get it twisted. The metaphors that strike me as useful and descriptive I go ahead and borrow for my own purposes (or to expand on purposes introduced by others).

Let’s put it this way: The U.S., Great Britain, China, Russia, Israel, among other countries, all comprise the global System. This is the New Rome. Undoubtedly this isn’t a controversial claim. And most people alive today are rendered dependent on them in one way, shape, or form (especially us Americans since most of us barely know how to do anything to provide for our basic needs anymore aside from acquiring and waving around money).

How does the story end? Who knows? Don’t even know if it will end. What worries me isn’t an ending, it’s the trap humans find themselves in in recent times, particularly dating back over the last century. So much has changed so rapidly and on such a scale that the System created has overshadowed common people. Our power, both as individuals and as communities, has been trumped. We’re like birds in a cage with clipped wings. And what power people do possess is funneled by way of overhauled social customs and economic demands toward servicing the System somehow, some way. That is to say that people no longer work toward satisfying their own ends but rather service the ends of something bigger and stronger than ourselves and our communities. People have long been beasts of burden out of necessity, but the difference today is that much of the work undertaken isn’t honestly productive or fully within our own control. The slavemaster of old was Nature — the slavemasters of today are other people and the companies and institutions they are cloaked within. Our means of caring for ourselves is no longer a direct relationship with Nature or free exchange between people, but rather it’s filling positions like cogs within a wheel in order to earn enough money to pay companies to provide what we need and want. We can thank specialization for this radical overhaul in labor — a double-edged sword like most else.

What is “sin”? Besides being a word signifying a concept I’ve long shied away from—having so many quibbles over its interpretation that it would take a week to lay out my objections—I’ve come to understand it as representing that which winds up being life-negating and leads toward psychological chaos. So, in my view, it isn’t what a lot of people like to assume it is, or at least not for the reasons they claim. Very often parrot claims of what’s sin and what isn’t without considering the matter critically for themselves. And I do believe there are shades of grey there, most definitely — it’s rarely all or nothing when it comes to moral matters. Sin represents what does harm to us as individual persons and/or an honestly life-affirming way of life. What I mean by that isn’t simple to explain and I can see where different opinions on this matter can make sense despite conflicting, making it all the more clear that we’re not dealing with solid objective truths here. Different societies and communities operate in different ways, so naturally people can and will determine these things in ways that won’t prove compatible if all were suddenly jammed into one society (as we’re figuring out in our melting pot called the U.S.A.).

Does examining what’s logical always prove life-affirming? This I’ve been wondering a lot about in recent times, and I’m settling on the conclusion of “no.” Because an argument proves logical doesn’t imply it’s life-affirming or sane, as plenty of thought exercises bandied about out there suggest. Logic is another one of those amoral aspects of human thought. What is life-affirming very often is (or perhaps always is) logical (at least on one level or another), but all that is logically sound isn’t necessarily life-affirming nor is it guaranteed to be compatible with healthy human living.

For example, because the System does provide for many humans’ needs and has allowed for unprecedented population growth to the point where many (if not most) of us now depend on it in order to survive, it may be argued that maintaining this System is logical. However, if this way of life produced under this System is creating so much psychological distress to humans to where suicide rates and destructive impulses are on the rise and the vast majority experience feelings of depression and anxiety on a regular basis, not to mention the corruption inherent in such a System, can we reasonably consider it just and moral for humans to remain subjected to and dominated by it? And this is where people tend to say that it doesn’t matter either way since this is what we have and this is where we stand today, so get used to it.

If we’re unhappy enough that plenty of us complain daily, then that’s a sign that something has to give. And because the System itself won’t give, I expect more people will be the ones who wind up giving, in the form of suicide or mentally breaking down or growing extremely apathetic. And that leads to the psychological chaos I’m talking about. When power is obstructed from working toward honestly productive ends, it does not simply fade away — instead, it winds up diverted toward self-destructive and/or destructive ends. In short, power always seeks an outlet, and humans are creatures of power. This is a condition of our very nature at the core.

So, what do we do about it? I don’t know. But I suppose seeing it for what it is and examining what isn’t working is a step in the right direction of imagining what truly might work or at least allows us to consider our individual options in response.

Political activism burn-out

I’ll be honest (if only to move Gloria Steinem’s image farther down my blog page…*shudders*), I actually do continue to experience pangs of guilt for quitting political activism. Bugs me sometimes. BUT, I try to remind myself that the best thing I can do for this country is work on my damn self, and I’ve got some issues needing to be more thoroughly addressed and hopefully resolved. Still not entirely sure where I’m trying to go from here, just not too happy where I’m standing currently. Happy with my job, don’t intend to move, not interested in new romance, battling addictions like most Americans — but recognizing that all necessary changes can’t exist in myself alone. We do have to reach out to one another and express where we’re coming from and what life has taught us so far. Very important to take time to listen too.

I have truly learned a lot on youtube since late 2011 when I went exploring the social atmosphere there. Never had delved into that before, having stuck with music, documentaries, lectures, and tutorials mostly in the years prior. Then somehow I became tuned into this online interaction festival, which swiftly wound up ushering me in the direction of Karen Straughan to be educated on the men’s rights perspective (or at least the AVFM version) after I started poking back around again to check what feminists were up to (never did follow feminism on youtube much, just stuck to blogs, forums and other sites I was more used to). Took up a couple months spending time with Karen’s material. My former partner didn’t care for her message and sometimes complained for me to turn it to something else (him not being an internet user to start with). But I persisted in my alone time and wound up introduced to a wide variety of characters producing content and interacting on the so-called “manosphere.” Strange place. But then again, the youtube feminists I’ve observed are just as strange. So many narrow-minded antagonists on each side of the fence. Part of why I grew tired of gender politics years back and am once again right about now.


After losing interest in feminism, I spent a few years volunteering for a Quaker peace organization and don’t regret it. Taught me a lot. Wish they hadn’t been such big Obama-supporters, and we didn’t seem to see a lot of issues eye to eye, Ah well. It is what it is. It wasn’t a terrible experience, and it brought me in contact with feminist organizations (namely WILPF) and veterans’ organizations (namely Veterans For Peace) who were at least interesting to observe. Learned a lot from all of that and enjoyed showing documentaries to anyone who cared to show up. Cost me some money, but it did feel worthwhile. They consider themselves social justice activists, but not in the way people commonly reference it on youtube. All peace organizations with liberal leanings are apparently all categorized and caricatured in this way, which I don’t think is fair.

Anyway, I’m done with organizations and big groups. And completely burnt out on the political bullshit. But I don’t feel driven to be completely inactive just because of that fact. I do wish to remain active in some respects, just not apparently how others wish I would be.  lol  But such is life. Sometimes we need to bop to the beat of our own drums. Sometimes we feel compelled to go in a direction we don’t entirely understand at the outset. Life’s about taking risks and following where we feel called, but right now I don’t feel a calling. Just taking in what’s going on out and around, pondering and trying to make sense of what I can while contemplating where to go from here as a little soloist who feels increasingly disconnected from so many of the “battles” being waged out there.

Though I do intend to break down a bit more of my thoughts after having observed the “manosphere” at a future date.

Things that make you go hmmm

Just watched and was responding to this gem by TheMythofFeminism where he’s playing semantic games over the whole creation of life process in trying to frame men as the “creators” of our species while minimizing women’s role as mere “incubator.”

Well anyway, I said something about that sounding like something I’d expect from an evangelical creationist type and that feminists aim to frame shit in the same sort of way to make it seem like women hold a superior position. Then it hit me how feminists have been aligning with the Christian Right, bizarrely enough, in recent years so as to go tag-team on the anti-pornography business. So if guys like this employ feminist tactics to bias their conclusions in an attempt to favor the male sex, is it just a matter of time before a number of MRAs and/or MGTOWs align with the Christian Right in an attempt to ban abortion (or could that come about vicariously through aiming to bolster paternal rights, an idea suggested by TAR ICO in the comment section of that video)? Maybe so. Never know. Never expected mainstream feminism to find reasons to bond with patriarchal Christian types either.

That whole becoming allies so as to achieve a common objective (even if sworn enemies) bs makes me uncomfortable. Politics is saturated with that shit enough already — seems no movement is immune to it.

Better check yourselves before you wreck yourselves. But you won’t.

The flight from boredom produces many odd results…

But who really cares about the future anymore? Looks like we’re just a bunch of nihilists now, dreaming of test-tube babies, with some fantasizing about doing away with the other sex altogether. Weird. It’s not only unnatural, it sounds like a mindfucking bad idea. But humans are going to do what humans are going to do.

Personally it looks like we’re actively creating hell on earth with such nonsense aspirations, but people (generally speaking) tend to need to step in it before they figure out where they stand.

Guess this is the downside to two generations raised up on a steady diet of science fiction novels and films. The authoritarian mindset warps the technological possibilities to suit agendas and then sets to spreading memes to others who feel oppressed and are seeking some sort of advantage.

The human imagination is an amazing, powerful vehicle — that much is true.

Saturday night ponderings in February

Not been feeling well over here. Comes and goes, but always comes back. We each have what we have, incidentally or by our own creation (usually a combo of sorts). Such is life. Shit happens. And shit has to happen. Growing pains are part of the struggle.

But we live in bizarre times too. That matters just as much as anything personal one’s got going on. We are all reflections of sorts of our environments and cultures. Can’t get around that. Times have gotten crazy in the West, with so much happening so quickly that traditions got reduced to mere lip service and romanticized “ideals” and people are trying to fit themselves into new molds determined by the latest technologies.

I was reading this post a little while ago from Inklings blog, and it got me thinking about reality and how it’s come to be so incredibly saturated by illusions. Always has been that way probably, but now aided by new technologies and high ambitions. The sky’s the limit, right? That’s modern life in a nutshell. “Postmodern” — a term I’m still not prepared to fully accept. Bugs me. Might as well call us more modern than modern, kinda like more human than human. Postmodern comes loaded with the connotation of belonging to the time after time has ended, which perhaps is actually an apt description of where humanity stands in this instance.

I’ve long been drawn to the book of Revelations in the Christian bible because, in a sense, I do believe in the essence of its message. Humans wind up fucking everything up and creating hell on earth, though we’re figuring out that hell can take many forms. Why? Because we given in to our base natures: our greed, our lust, our envy, our contempt, our shallowness. We defile ourselves and one another more intensely and more frequently, deliberately or otherwise.

Right about there is where someone likes to chime in saying that humans have always been a rough lot who’ve engaged in ritualistic tortures and rapes and religious persecutions and murders — so this is not new, we just know more about it now that we’re connected in with televisions (and now the internet) with news programs that track events daily. We’re over-saturated with information, and it is that that is making us irrationally fearful. People who read and watch Steven Pinker might also add that violent crimes have reduced proportionally to the rise of civilizations, making it seem that the centralized approach is good for at least curbing violent tendencies. My reply to that is yes and no.

Has human consciousness also not risen over the last several thousands of years, at least for a quite many people? Two thousand years ago something revelatory was (re)born; it was the concept of humanity knowing no racial, ethnic, political, or economic divides. These are human-made constructs that we’ve been increasingly improvising on since the dawn of our being, we have always been social beings first and foremost. When we look back at distant hunter-gatherer societies there is evidence that many were relatively peaceful within tribal relations (in-group as well as with other groups that share in marriage alliances). In abundantly stocked locales with temperate climates, it is reckoned that people actually had to put in far less time and energy in order to survive. And the groups that embarked on hunting and/or fishing and/or gathering did so as brothers, uncles, fathers, sons, sisters, aunts, daughters, cousins — all were relatives. All cooperated because they had to, and leadership was far less formal and not handed exclusively to one individual in the clan. They were bound by their religions and spiritual myths, but these were living religions passed along by oral traditions, augmented and updated by shamans and clanspeople incrementally over time. Religion had a greater significance to people back then. It was not only their explanation system in a pre-scientific world, it was their life narrative that fostered social cohesion and union with all of Life. It was how they understood, as they were able, and I’m tempted to say they were closer to the truth than we in our civilized societies and highly-organized religions (including scientism) are today.

Shit changed. Some peoples learned to grow food and so settled down alongside their crops (though some didn’t and are very interesting to learn about, such as Papau New Guineans before they were pulled into the modern fold). It’s been a project in accumulation from the start, but with the rise of chiefdoms and fancier ideals came the need for more extravagant sacrifices to the gods and to chiefs. Power began centralizing because wealth could be transferred and stored, starting with crops and later precious metals. This led to a new form of economics that has been evolving in complexity ever since. And it was just that sort of economic divisiveness and exploitation that played an important role in the myth about Jesus Christ.

It’s an illusion and always has been. An important one, no doubt, because it’s allowed humans to specialize and to become knowledgeable about ourselves and this world we inhabit. Hence the myth about Adam and Eve eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil — it’s a relevant metaphor for how we’ve evolved. We not only have amazing new technologies but we’ve also unlocked all kinds of secrets about humans’ psyches and created environmental (e.g., concrete and plastic jungle) conditions that have had profound psychological impact on everyone in various ways. We’ve become able to delve into and design new forms of torture and control, some that are so subtly felt yet insidiously dangerous and pervasive. In a very real sense, humans have created a whole new world, regardless of whether its turned out agreeable or compatible with our higher natures and aspirations.

And yet we tromp on, thinking we’re in pursuit of ultimate truths. I’ve been thinking for a long while now that humans are doing a fantastic job in unwittingly destroying what’s of actual value to most members of our species. I see us as having become domesticated animals, dependent and sophisticatedly manipulated into accepting the modern circus.

But somewhere along the way romantic love made its debut, plus the notion of extending empathy to distant humans we’ve never directly met and to treat flora and fauna with greater respect pierced through the illusory veil, and this whispered something true. There’s a nugget of truth if we’ve ever found one, and it pulls us in opposing directions since so much in modern life has become about divisions and rankings and serves economic imperatives first and foremost.

I ask, what is a worthy sacrifice under these conditions? What does courage call on us to do in times like this? That’s a mystery unto itself.

See, I figure humanity is going to do what it’s going to do. I don’t have to take it lying down, but I will probably have to take it nevertheless. And don’t we all feel similarly? Most people I talk to parrot nearly the same response about getting with the program and accepting life on its own terms, even if those happen to be human-made and detrimental. If you want to do something about it you’re instructed to join an organization and jump into the political arena, but everything’s about politics and money nowadays. Fuck it, I don’t want it. People are going to do what people are going to do. I aim to look after myself and mine, but I can’t help but be struck with awe and concern for what all is happening to and around us. Life is fascinating and rapidly changing — the most interesting “show” to watch. The common scripts are modeled after what we’re presented with through popular mediums growing in sophistication and spanning several generations back. In simplest terms, the templates we’re working with are very often influenced by unreality. In some contexts it qualifies as art, in others as propaganda — still affects us, though usually subliminally, and then it spreads through our own actions and behaviors. Monkey see, monkey do. On some levels, we’re apparently as simple as that.

And now I need a drink and a distraction. Time to think on something else.

Mid-week tunes (blasts from the not-so-distant past)

Cooked spaghetti and we watched a couple shows tonight. Went clothing shopping after work, which I do very infrequently, so that was a treat. Came across a great sale. And visited a chiropractor finally to learn what he thinks is wrong with my hip. I’ll chalk that up to being a fairly productive day.

Feels like a nice evening to unwind with some tunes…

Starting off with the Rolling Stones’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”:

Love that song. It’s been on my mind a lot in recent months for whatever reason.

Swerving on over to Rage Against the Machine’s “Renegades of Funk”:

Been into RATM since my teen years. I remember back during our freshman year (1999-2000) at college when my fiancee-at-the-time and I were enrolled in an Intro to Sociology course and our professor came in one day wearing an RATM t-shirt. Kind of blew our minds at the time because this particular professor was a disgruntled conservative-of-sorts who acted like he despised most of us students and our youth culture. Turned out that guy was a mixed bag all the way around. Not a happy dude though. But he was challenging and expected us to give a damn about soc or just leave. My future ex-husband and I both stayed and earned two of the few As he handed out that semester. He actually managed to run off nearly a third, maybe more, of the class before it was all said and done. An odd guy, difficult to describe. He could be highly critical, humorous, impassioned, down-to-earth, aggressive, contrarian. Apparently he was an alcoholic. He also was a married man and father who seemed perfectly willing to sleep with female students (or so he hinted to me in the checkout line one night while he was on a beer run — actually gave me his number). Kind of a disappointment in that regard, but at least I’d completed his course by then. So anyway, RATM is now forever linked up in my mind with that guy.  lol

It was then when I knew for certain that a Finance major wasn’t for me.  Sociology had always been my love, I just hadn’t known it by name yet. That surly professor demonstrated in my eyes that it’s not a field restricted to hippies and liberal elitists, nor should it be.  I consider myself lucky to have experienced a quality intro course on the subject.  yang

Anyway, back to tunes…

Probably my favorite song from RATM, “Killing in the Name”:

Speaking of the ’90s…here’s a blast from the not-so-distant past:

That was Tupac’s “Hail Mary” — a.k.a. worthwhile rap.

One I haven’t heard in a while, Tupac’s “So Much Pain”:

Another I like by him, “Thugz Mansion”:

Kinda funny how appealing these songs were for us in our youth and how they got ingrained to where they’re now a permanent fixture in my psyche. I know that song by heart. But like most Americans who got into listening to rap, I hadn’t grown up in an inner-city ghetto and know nothing of being shot at or arrested. And yet this song and others like it groove me.  *shrugs*

Westside Connection’s “Gangsta Nation”:

Probably the tribalism alluded to that’s most alluring. Like the attraction occurs on a sub-conscious, primal level. Hence why most folks, when asked, say it’s the beats that drew them in.

Just unfortunate that nearly all rappers alive today turned out to be ruled by money first and foremost. Sold out to Hollywood and corporate sponsors.

Here’s The Roots’ “Livin’ in a New World”:

If I had to make a list I’d rank that song in my top 10 examples of quality hip-hop.

Then there’s stuff like this:

That was Ludacris (feat. Mystikal and I-20) with “Move Bitch,” another I enjoy. It’s shallow and goofy and well-done — a good driving tune.

Another I can’t help but love is Old Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money”:

I’m the O D B as you can see
FBI, don’t you be watchin’ me

I don’t want no problem, cause I’ll put you down
In the ground where you cannot be found
I’m just Dirt Dog trying’ to make some money
So give me my streaks and gimme my honey

Radios play this all day every day
Recognize I’m a fool and you lovin’ me
None of you, nuh, better look at me funny
Nuh, you know my name now gimme my money

Feminists obstructing free speech (thoughts on disrespectfulness and the future)

Feminism’s been on my mind again, so I went looking up videos watched months back that bug me.

Ok. Pausing at 4:15. Goddamn it, that’s so disrespectful on the part of the protesters. Way to obstruct people’s rights to speak and peaceably assemble (not being familiar with the laws in Canada, but still). That was rude as fuck.

This is something that really bugs me about what feminism has devolved into. Concerns about rape are rooted in the question of respect, for one another’s humanity, for boundaries, for individual autonomy and volition. Yet here is an example of obstruction and disrespect running in the other direction, instigated by people who would be screaming about victimization if the tables were turned. This is hypocrisy-in-action.

If we do not treat each other with more respect than this, these fights will just continue escalating.

But who am I fooling? It appears plenty of folks no longer consider maintaining freedom a top priority, and certainly not above safety concerns. The many who tolerate this push without pushing back in any way are enabling this, but how do you stop this trend? Especially when the power of the State seems to be operating with a bias as well? I’m thinking one way to combat this is to stand up to injustices where witnessed and to connect with enough sense of humanity inside that we’re driven to uphold and protect certain basic principles for ourselves and others so that cooperation stands a chance. All these divisions are distracting us in having to deal with oh-so much bullshit, and along we’re swept downstream as we squabble, funneled further into new ways of life that are proving unhealthy for humans.

It’s a wonder if we’ll ever make it out of this maze. What’s taken for granted as “progress” appears to me to be just another bunch of lessons to learn.  Crazy time to be alive. We’re looking pretty fucked right about now on a lot of levels, and hating on each other certainly isn’t helping anything. It’s one thing to bicker and disagree, but it’s another to just mindlessly antagonize one another. What good is that?

But then again, I look around and listen to people (in this case, mostly young people) speaking as though they want to aid bringing about the crash of civilizations in a dramatic fashion. It’s a pipe dream since society itself will probably remain intact for at least another century to come (that’s my bet), so in the interim we’re just making conditions more miserable and likely ensuring future generations will have less of a chance to cope with whatever lay in store.

The desire to sadistically torment one another stems from a sense of powerlessness that’s been increasingly sweeping the land. We’re taking shit out on one another because 1.) it’s convenient and tempting to lash out at those who are easily accessible, and 2.) we’re experiencing drama directly among those we’re closest to here on the ground. Can’t so readily take our grievances to the public square and receive redress — life’s gotten too complicated for that. We have a corporate-dominated political sphere and a society chocked full of interest groups with lobbying power. Damn near impossible to make a dent tangling with that nightmare branch of the American system. So what can a person or a group do when faced with this situation?

This is where I keep being forced back to pondering the power of the individual and the importance of our social ties and bonds, because I’m not seeing a top-down approach being any kind of real solution but rather at this point is guaranteed to serve interests counter to what most people truly do dream for. And I’m not fully convinced there is a way out anytime in the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t free us up to drive on another nuts in the meanwhile. That still makes life insufferable, which is no good. We have enough bullshit to content with without adding to it unnecessarily.

But so much is easier said than done.

My Dream: 10,000 clans going their own way (the Intro)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Are we doomed?

Filmed this yesterday while out with my friend, but thinking today on all the examples out there that bolster the idea that we humans (or we Americans most certainly) are doomed. Care for me to elaborate? Great, here goes…

1.) Every option available to change our current course as a society requires concerted effort, yet no 3 of us can agree on a damned thing. Most folks are determined to prop up this political duopoly nonsense, nevermind that nearly every doggone politician offered up by either main party is a corrupt crook or will become one once installed in office. Third, fourth, fifth, and sixth-party candidates have no chance because most voters apparently are assholes who tolerate them being excluded from televised debates (let’s ignore for the moment how much bullshit it is to rely on television when it comes to getting quality information on such matters of importance) and do what they can to deride those they feel may pose any threat to the two-party stranglehold (Ralph Nader immediately springs to mind).

2.) We as a species are wiping out the earth’s resources with reckless abandon. Long-term interests be damned — everything’s become about the all-mighty dollar and keeping the economy alive no matter what. Infinite growth cannot continue unchallenged on a finite planet with finite resources. We know this, yet we like to act like we don’t know this.

3.) Thanks to corporations tampering with everything under the sun, our foods and waterways are severely contaminated with an untold number of chemicals.

4.) Bee hives are showing up contaminated with chemical cocktails as well, and we know if the bee populations continue to decline that’s going to eventually jeopardize the food supply.

5.) We Americans (and Westerners in general) are completely dependent on an unsustainable grid powered by petrol and coal predominantly. So far the word is that solar, wind, and water power options aren’t sufficient alone to provide for our immense energy demands, leaving nuclear power as the only option touted as being able to, and yet it comes with all kinds of major risks and presents a serious disposal dilemma.

6.) Even if humans were to somehow manage to destroy or overhaul this grid, we have nothing in place to replace it with in developed nations. Meaning many, if not most, would starve in short order. All talk of needing to return to working the land and growing our own vegetables and legalizing the growing of hemp for materials and how we deserve to be left to live modest lives without the threat of taxation is laughed at and shunned as impractical “liberal” thinking.

7.) We’re stepping on one another’s necks and driving each other crazy, leading some of us to believe the project in civilization perhaps has done more harm than good by this stage in the game. But again, how might we ‘undo’ civilization? Is that even possible for those of us accustomed to domesticated lifestyles lived out in concrete jungles where food is just a grocery store away, water is expected to pour from the tap, and the major focus is to earn money, somehow, some way, regardless of whether our labor is being utilized productively toward that end? But the crazy-making aspect should not be trivialized here, since that’s diminishing our quality of life at the same time that we’re coming to rely more and more on material comforts.

8.) Our governments are jacked up and proving nearly uncontrollable, but then again, we the people are doing a shitty job of regaining control. Our governments have become corporate-dominated, so we the people now live at the mercy of major multinational corporations. And they really don’t give a fuck about us. The corporate agenda reduces people down to nothing more than laborers and consumers, otherwise we’re deemed completely irrelevant.

9.) Then there’s talk of climate change and glaciers melting; invasive species being released into non-native habitats that are decimating natural populations, thereby disrupting ecological equilibrium; deadly diseases are posing ever greater threats, especially when we’re jammed into big cities where we cannot escape breathing one another’s air; etc.

10.) Most importantly, to me anyway, is the fact that we humans haven’t evolved nearly as far as we like to think we have and apparently are not equipped to confront these sort of disasters, most of which were originally a result of human ambitions. We’ve become less principled the more “civilized” we become, plus more spoiled, more dependent, more competitive, and more demanding. We’ve become trifling and unconcerned about what impact we have on one another. Our social fabrics are in tatters at this point and there isn’t much to unite us anymore, especially not when entertaining ourselves to death seems like so much more fun. Or suing one another up in court over frivolous bullshit — that’s another favorite American pastime.

For more food for thought, check out Naomi Klein’s article on “How science is telling us all to revolt” (Oct. 29, 2013). I also HIGHLY recommend her book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism — a very good read that’s well-sourced.

So yeah, I can see why it may appear that we’re doomed. At least I’m doomed, because nothing much is likely to change in these respects for the better in my lifetime. And how would we go about changing much of this anyway? Some of this has gotten beyond our control, and as individuals we’re certainly limited on what we’re able to do when the vast majority is hell-bent in heading down the path we’re already on. It does look to me like our fate is likely sealed.

So I’m trying to look at this situation from other angles, wondering what is within my power as an individual and how my time and energy might better be spent.

Thoughts on rage as part of the growth process


Been continuing to think on some of the rage and frustration I’ve encountered online over the last year, particularly in recent months, among some men and women who term themselves as MRAs and/or MGTOWs or feminists. And I realize I need to step back to my own past in remembering how much rage I once contained, toward both men and women, but most especially toward men since they were who I was in most direct contact with and kept experiencing mistreatment by. No one could have told me not to be angry then, and doing so would’ve just ramped up my aggravation and wound up causing a fight. Because my pain felt (and still I feel was) justified as a reaction to what had come before. I was working through those emotions and it took several years to do so.

During that time I came online and likely spat some vitriol toward mankind in general. There was no aim inside me at that point to be fair and balanced because all I could see was how I’d been done wrong, and then this was amplified when I discovered other women (and in some cases men) who experienced similar forms of mistreatment. My own issues centered around my family (particularly my mother, stepdad and step-side of the family) and then beginning at a rather young age (early teen years) dealing with attempts at sexual misuse of me by much older men (one of the first experiences that messed with my mind and still sticks with me involved a 70+ year old man I’d grown to trust when I was 14). At first I became scared because I didn’t know what to do and my family wouldn’t or couldn’t offer the kind of protection that was needed back then. And then I got angry. And then angrier. And then outright hostile toward the end of my teen years and heading into my 20s. During that time I came to identify myself as a feminist, as I’ve discussed, largely because I needed support and guidance and help like any young person does. But then I didn’t wind up finding much of that there either.

The point here though is that I was in incredible pain, some of which still stays with me. I felt bewildered and was aiming to protect myself from what this world showed itself as having to offer. And everywhere I turned it seemed people were screaming in my face “Well, life’s not fair! Get over it!” Rage doesn’t seem an adequate word to describe where I went inside.

But as time moves on, you aim to manage some of what you’re feeling, and for me this meant trying to accept a more “pessimistic” outlook in terms of recognizing how dangerous men could be in the right circumstances and doing what I could to navigate in this world. My lifestyle during those years probably had a lot to do with me trying to take back power over the situation by me determining how relations would go (so far as I was able) and ensuring I stood to benefit on some level. During that period I spent a lot of time in neighborhood bars in my off-hours and through the use of alcohol and sexuality aimed to, on one hand, numb myself and, on the other, to seek comfort where I could find it. Escapism flavored by distrust and a sense of feeling I belonged nowhere and that ‘wicked’ people were everywhere waiting for opportunities to strike, and it came down to me protecting me because no one else would. I already had virtually no faith in the police or the courts, moved hours away from people I’d known, and had a weak support network at that time.

Strangely enough, through those years and despite experiencing and witnessing additional damaging events (though decreasingly so; luck factored in there as well), the ice began being chiseled away from my heart and I came to see numerous examples of men in need, not on the take, hurt in their own ways, suffering with serious problems on a level most others can’t even fathom (for example, one man relayed to me his story of winding up paralyzed AND being hit with divorce papers while recovering from related injuries in the hospital — a very, very sad ordeal).

Funny thing is the taverns I frequented actually proved a bit rehabilitative in a sense because there I met the old war veterans and people from all walks of life with nowhere better to go. They sought out companionship, someone to talk to, someone to listen, and I came to appreciate sitting with them one-on-one, hearing stories of what it was like working as a Teamster or hearing about a man’s wife who had died of cancer or hearing about how another man’s kids won’t have much of anything to do with him, etc. Individual men with individual stories to share. In other aspects of my lifestyle back then I met men with debilitating health problems as well as those who’d been overlooked as potential dating partners by most of society. Still met my fair share of jerks, but I also gained a lot of respect and empathy for plenty of others I came into contact with.

This led me on to my next phase, after a bit of a setback where I returned to feeling angry once more due to circumstances I don’t wish to get into right now. But this next phase was about opening myself up to others and to realizing that while my own life experiences and views aren’t trivial and do continue to matter, they don’t represent the bigger picture of what all is going on out here in the world. They are one perspective, the closest one I’m privy to, but still not by any means a definitive say on the matter. As I began opening up more and more, I began realizing who my real friends were and who I’d been treating unfairly due to my own hostility and fear of trusting others. Once I stepped beyond feminism and began exploring more about our military and then our economy, my whole outlook shifted to include a great many more considerations than merely focusing in on the harm men and women can do to one another. But it’s not a straight path, it winds and circles back around.

This path also led/leads me to looking more closely at events where I had contributed to the problem or where I had outright harmed others. Hindsight isn’t 20/20, but reflection and introspection of this nature is invaluable. Also it has helped to remember people from way back and stories they shared and my past observations on how they came up and what they looked to be up against, etc.

I still have a long way to go (as if there’s ever a finish line). While it is very trying for me to sit by and let others verbally attack me and paint me as some princess who knows nothing about this life—that always boils up my indignation—I’m realizing how these folks are on their own journeys, which hopefully they actively continue on, seeing as how remaining mired in the muck of bad memories and powerlessness is no way for anyone to have to live (as I try to remind myself, impossible as it is to forget the past). Maybe I’ve been a bit harsh and dismissive categorically because I don’t know how else to respond. In person it is easier because we can size one another up and get a better sense of whether we’re being honest and forthright. Because not all are — some are charlatans who will prey on others’ sympathy so as to position themselves to take advantage of the situation, this I have learned. And some are so angry that they turn cruel to such an extent that they become outright toxic. We do still have to protect ourselves despite wanting to be open to the concerns and stories of others. We have to be realistic, taking in all that we’ve learned thus far, while also trying to shelve that enough to where we aren’t too closed off to people. This is a struggle, and it won’t be easy for anybody out here.

The next question becomes where to go from here. I don’t know. But I’m trying to keep walking on while pondering and letting a lot of information in to swirl around and meld with the rest. I’m aiming to be more careful with my judgments, though there is a time and a place indeed to judge, particularly when it comes to scrutinizing ideas.

Perhaps part of the problem becomes trying to fuse personal healing with political activism, because we’re prone to behave as reactionaries with very narrow focuses when we feel like a ball of pain. It nearly can’t be helped at those times in our lives, but in doing so, we can unfairly heap even more wrongs onto the pile and make enemies out of potential friends and allies. The tragedy in that isn’t just about alienating potential friends and allies but also what we wind up doing to our own selves, we who need help, we who wish to be heard, we who crave validation and understanding. We wind up isolated, or worse, in an echo chamber with other extremely angry individuals who see no way out.

Life and living are very tricky in this way. There are no easy answers to this dilemma, so I am simply acknowledging this appears to be where we stand today.

Shifts Happen

A recording from June 2013 that explains a bit more on my current outlook: