Saturday, April 08, 2006

Makes as much sense as anything else...

"IDW and creator Peter David have provided Newsarama with the first five pages of next month’s Fallen Angel #5, the wrapup of the first arc at the publisher, and…well…let’s just call it a pretty good answer to the universal question of why God doesn’t always answer prayers. "



More at the link.


The Danger of Hugo Chávez's Successful Socialism

The Danger of Hugo Chávez's Successful Socialism:
"When the hated despots of nations like Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan loot their countries' treasuries, transfer their oil wealth to personal Swiss bank accounts and use the rest to finance (in the House of Saud's case) terrorist extremists, American politicians praise them as trusted friends and allies. But when a democratically elected populist president uses Venezuela's oil profits to lift poor people out of poverty, they accuse him of pandering.

...In their desperate frenzy to destroy Chávez, state-controlled media is resorting to some of the most transparently and hilariously hypocritical talking points ever. In the April 4th New York Times Juan Forero repeated the trope that Chávez's use of oil revenues is unfair--even cheating somehow: "With Venezuela's oil revenues rising 32 percent last year," the paper exclaimed, "Mr. Chávez has been subsidizing samba parades in Brazil, eye surgery for poor Mexicans and even heating fuel for poor families from Maine to the Bronx to Philadelphia. By some estimates, the spending now surpasses the nearly $2 billion Washington allocates to pay for development programs and the drug war in western South America."

Heavens be! A rich country using its wealth to spread influence abroad! What God would permit such an abomination?

A much more interesting Biblical narrative...

d r i f t g l a s s: It reads:
"...if you read the story of the Last Supper without changing a single phrase -- only shifting the context and the emphasis -- according to scripture, you call an Emergency War Council.

You make some brutally hard decisions, share a Passover meal and a prayer with your dearest friends and loyal lieutenants -- men who have sworn to live and die by your word -- and then pick out two of them to do the hardest things they will ever be asked to do.

As their leader, you start issuing orders.

Mercy first, so with staunch-but-not-very-bright Peter, you keep it simple. You tell him to escape. To lie his ass off, deny he ever knew you, and get out of town.

Pete doesn’t want to -- in tears he says, “If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise” -- so you have to insist.

Then onto the shoulders of your ferociously loyal security chief, Judas Iscariot -- Judas of the Sicarii? -- you place the heaviest burden of all; the life of your child. Judas will handle the exchange, including personally turning you over to the authorities, and since the Roman offer came strings attached including an insistence on secrecy, he can never, ever breathe a word about the real story to anyone or the deal is off.

You know it'll destroy him and his good name for all time -- “The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.' -- but you also know it has to be done, and only the strongest of your men can handle that burden.

'Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.'

For god’s sake, these aren’t prophecies. They’re final commands, given to a platoon whose heart had already been shattered once that day.

And then you lead your brothers in a prayer, and walk out into the night and into history.

To save your son."

Animal Jail, Evolution and Aliens - via the genius of Joe Rogan
"I always have torn feelings about the zoo. I love watching animals, but I hate the fact that theyre locked up.
I watch these tortured creatures pace around in their small little cells, and I wonder how it feels.
The chimps are the weirdest, because they look so much like people.
Why is it ok to do this? Why is it ok to snatch animals up out of their home, and lock them up in a cage? I look around at all the happy, smiling people, and I wonder why theyre not getting bummed out by all this shit the way I am.
Little fat kids wander around, barely interested.
They point, and the chimps stare at them.

...Our thirst for knowledge leads us to justify some pretty fucking cruel shit.
Just watching the lions pace about in this tiny yard makes your heart ache.
Its not like theyre bad lions, and thats why they get locked up. No, they just happened to be hanging out in Africa in the wrong spot at the wrong time, and now they find themselves years later caged in this tiny area that they will most likely die in.

...Ive always thought that at the very least we should let the Lions chase and kill their own food.
I also think feeding them prisoners would be a great idea.
I mean, if youre going to kill the prisoner anyway, why not let a lion do it and have a little fun? Why do you want the guy to die an easy, pain free death? I mean, not to be cruel or anything, but the guy is going to fucking die. What difference does it make if it takes 5 minutes or 5 seconds? In the end, the guy is fucking dead.

Just as a means of saving the tax payers money, I think it would be a great idea.
It costs good money to throw someone in the gas chamber, and then you gotta autopsy and bury the body even more hard earned taxpayer money gone to waste.
Why do all that when you can just feed them to the lions?
Why waste a perfectly good chunk of flesh? I mean, people are edible, right? And it costs money to get meat for the lions, right? Well, there you have it. Two birds with one stone. Plus, how fucking bad ass would the zoo be if you got there on rapist and murderer day? How sick would it be if they never removed the carcasses, and you could go to the zoo and see the bones of 20 dead douche bags scattered throughout the lions cage?
Im not saying we should do this for all crimes, but I strongly feel that if you rape and murder someone it should be ok to feed you to the lions.
Put it on the internet as some sort of a pay per view and you could use the proceeds to balance the budget. Everybody wins. Once less douche bag in the world, the lion gets to have fun, and instead of costing the people money, its earning.
I know what youre saying, Why, if we did put something like that on TV, civilization would fall apart! Trust me, Fear Factor didnt knock us off our current course, and I dont think Prisoners vs. Lions: Primal Justice would either.

...Its kind of amazing that people are still willing to argue that humans didnt come from chimps, especially now that theyve mapped out the human genome, and discovered that we're 96 to 99 % chimpanzee. What does it take for people to admit that we came from them? I have a bit about it in my act, if I gave you a sandwich, and it was 99% shit and 1% ham would you call that a ham sandwich?

The thing I always think about when I see apes, is that if we evolved from them, what the fuck are they still doing here? How come some of us became these super smart creatures with language, and technology and creativity, while the rest of the chimps just decided to stay exactly as they are?
Kinda weird when you think about it.

Terence McKenna believed that it was because some of the apes discovered and started eating psilocybin mushrooms. It was his theory that as the climate changed, and the rain forest receded into grasslands, some of the apes started eating these mushrooms as a regular part of their diet, and along the way they developed new ways of thinking.
If youve ever done mushrooms, then you probably know some of the logic behind his theory.

At low doses, psilocybin actually increases visual acuity, and makes you horny.
An increase in visual acuity would make you a more effective hunter, and the horniness of course would cause you to breed more often.
What these mushrooms do at high doses is that they give you a completely different way of looking at the world. Like a giant pause button that allows you to step out of a scene, and take a fresh look at it, free from the constraints of normal patterns of thinking, and even your own preconceived notions of yourself.
You can achieve some fascinating revelations when youre on them.
So what you would have if our ancestors started eating these things on a regular basis, is a bunch of really aware, thinking, horny apes that can see really well.
Now, Im no scientist, but that sounds like a recipe for evolution to me.

...I think with some people it wouldnt even matter. They want to believe what they want to believe, and all the evidence in the world isnt going to change that.

I didnt come from some drug addict monkey!

Are you sure?

...I dont think we can remove ourselves from being human enough to really appreciate the absurdity that is us. I think Im aware of it to a certain extent, but then again Im just as retarded as everyone else is. Its like I have moments of complete clarity, surrounded by periods in time where Im yelling at some shitty driver. Alone, in my car, the windows are up, he cant even hear me, and Im in my car yelling at the top of my lungs You dumb motherfucker!! Without fail, every time I do something like that, as soon as I do it, I sit around going, What the fuck is wrong with me? What kind of retard am I for freaking out about something that stupid? I mean, there are some really important things to focus on in this short life, and the guy in front of you that doesnt have the balls to merge isnt one of them. It should mean absolutely nothing to me, but here I am sitting in traffic allowing myself to get worked up.

...Ive always said that if there are aliens out there, I think Earth is like the Tijuana of outerspace. I dont think they come here to save people, I just think they come here when theyre fucked up, and they want to see a show.
Theyre pulling a late night, and someone gets crazy and wants to go to earth.
I mean, just think about the main thing that people associate with alien abduction. I dont even have to tell you what it is, we all know it. Its like the two things go hand in hand; alien abduction anal probe.
I mean what the fuck is that all about? Aliens dont have an MRI machine? No, I think they do it for a goof. They stick things up our asses because when they do, we make a funny face.
Then they erase the bad memory and deposit you back in your bed."

Tolerance, Acceptance, and Civility by Anthony Gregory

Tolerance, Acceptance, and Civility by Anthony Gregory:
"The moral of the story is the difference between acceptance and tolerance. To tolerate something, as one of the young heroes precociously explains, is simply to put up with it. It does not mean you have to like it or approve of it. And so all that coercive inculcation had not been to impart the children with tolerance, after all, but rather to mandate approval, to force acceptance.

The distinction is lost on many people. We should seriously want social toleration, in the narrow sense, meaning the willingness of people to coexist with those of different opinions, lifestyles, religions, ethnicities, and so on, and to refrain from using force to make others conform to their own will. But not everyone is going to like everyone else, or want to associate with everyone else. To impose acceptance on people is to be intolerant and make a crime out of their thoughts.

...It seems that a lot of people have trouble with this concept because they tend to believe that their own idea of what's good and bad naturally corresponds to what should be enforced by the state. It is discouraging that most people accept using the government to force their way on others and see government as a proper moral guide.

...Tolerance is not punching someone in the face because of his religion. Acceptance is being completely okay with what he believes. Civility is, at least, not mocking his God in front of him at every opportunity."

I want one.

Too bad it's just a concept car... I would totally buy one. If, you know, I wasn't broke all the time.

2006 Design Challenge : An LA Adventure:
"Why commute? Adapt. That’s the thinking behind the GMC PAD, which offers an innovative look at an urban loft with mobility. It’s a home ownership concept that enables cultural and geographic freedom for the modern city dweller. The GMC PAD features a diesel-electric hybrid system for propulsion while in DriveMode, and serves as a generator for the onboard power grid for LifeMode. The media rich environment is unlike any other, and comes with an endless variety of entertainment, information and security options. With the GMC PAD, home is where you want it. And commuting is what other people do."

Feeling safer already...

Oddly Enough News Article |
"Anti-terrorism detectives escorted a man from a plane after a taxi driver had earlier become suspicious when he started singing along to a track by punk band The Clash, police said on Wednesday.

Detectives halted the London-bound flight at Durham Tees Valley Airport and Harraj Mann, 24, was taken off.

The taxi driver had become worried on the way to the airport because Mann had been singing along to The Clash's 1979 anthem 'London Calling,' which features the lyrics 'Now war is declared -- and battle come down' while other lines warn of a 'meltdown expected'."

Friday, April 07, 2006

"Umberto Eco: now there's a public intellectual. Here's a strange thing for you. Italy is about as intellectually debased as a European country can get. It supports five daily national newspapers devoted entirely to football. Its prime minister own TV stations. You whining Yanks complain about Fox News, but imagine a situation where George Bush owned CBS. That's where the Italians are. I think pretty much every English-speaking Italian I've met told me that at least one impetus to learning the language was so that they could listen to BBC news, the first unbiased news source they ever experienced. The current Italian election campaign is high comedy -- if you happen not to live there -- with Berlusconi pulling stunts that'd make Richard Nixon wriggle in his grave with envy.

And yet Umberto Eco, professor of semiotics and world-renowned author, has a regular newspaper column. And he's not unique. Eco himself had said that he's simply following a tradition of Italian intellectuals speaking in public. In a country that mad, intelligent men and women understand that part of their job is to speak to the public.

And we're not talking about mysterious pronouncements from the dusty depths of academe. Like the best fiction, this is an element of pure reportage: conscious people telling you where they think they are today and what they think it looks like."

George Bernard Shaw

"Forgive him, for he believes that the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature."

Who Loves Baby-Seal Kabobs? - Mark Morford

Who Loves Baby-Seal Kabobs? / It's another shockingly brutal Canadian seal slaughter. How appalled should you be?:
"Yes, the seal slaughter is barbaric and stupid. Then again, we could all survive without chicken and veal and leather jackets and steaming delicious organic turkey hot dogs, too. If we are to measure the progress of the human species by how many things we remove from the master list of Things We Kill Because We Can, well, we have progressed nearly not at all.

Perhaps it all has to do with trying to have, at the very least, a modicum of conscience, a shred of reverence, a hint of respect for the creatures we consume for meat or oil or pelt. Respect the interconnectedness of all things, even as you consume them. Especially as you consume them. And there's a visceral level of barbarism and cruelty attached to baby-seal hunts that, like whaling, serve no justifiable purpose and obliterates any sort of consciousness, compassion or ritual. It is merely slaughter for money.

Is this our collective line? Is our abject disgust at the seal hunt a sign of enlightenment and progress? Or is it merely that the damnable creatures are so unbelievably cute that they release gobs of oxytocin in our brains and we want to love and protect them like tiny Dalmatian puppies even as we enjoy our Niman Ranch hamburgers?

Which is it, deep morality or visceral cuteness? Can you unpack it all? Do the seals even care?"

Bullshit Political Language

Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind: Good Morning Ya'll:
"Still, I think I recognize bullshit when I see (or hear) it, and there seems to be a fair amount out there. Remember when President Bush described Iraq as a 'catastrophic success?' Unless you're hopelessly partisan, a line like that ought to light up your bullshit meter. If you had a family member who was being operated on, and the doctor came out and announced that the operation was a catastrophic success, what would you expect? And how would you feel?

Then there was Director of Central Intelligence Porter Goss, testifying to Congress that 'It may be only a matter of time before al Qaeda or another group attempts to use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.' Sounds like Goss is saying WMD use is inevitable, doesn't it? Because, things that are only a matter of time aren't subject to whether, only to when. It's just a matter of time before we all die, for example. Simple statement of fact. So my first reaction was, damn, man, why are we paying your salary and throwing a $30b intelligence budget your way on top of it if we're sure to get nuked anyway? Does your value lie simply in delaying the inevitable? Help me understand...

But then I thought about it more. Actually, Goss didn't say WMD use was inevitable; he said it 'may' be inevitable. But if something might be inevitable, then it might not be, no? Which is just a convoluted way of saying that the thing certainly isn't inevitable. Is that what Goss meant?

With this kind of bullshit, it's hard to know what Goss meant. But my best guess is, he chose his words deliberately: on the surface, he predicts inevitability, so when the attack happens, he can say he predicted it (which would be a great comfort to the nation at that point, no doubt). But if he ever decides it's politically useful to backtrack, he can focus on that "may" word, instead.

It kills me that no one in Congress called him on this. But maybe that's the problem with pervasive bullshit: you get habituated, and it turns into background noise."

Barry Eisler - On Bullshit

Buzz, Balls & Hype : Guest Blogger Barry Eisler - On Bullshit:
"You might have noticed that Iraqi insurgents never use bombs against our troops, only Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs. Tell me, what is a bomb but an explosive device? Isn't 'explosive device' the very definition of a bomb? As for the 'improvised' part, this gets stuck in there to suggest that insurgent bombs aren't as good as ours -- they're not even worthy of the bomb moniker, for one thing, and beyond that, they're just improvised -- you know, cobbled together and presumably of inferior bomb quality. They do seem to work well at killing people, though, just like... well, just like bombs!

...I'm no linguist, but my guess is that the reason the word "bomb" was invented was to save us all from the trouble of having to call the things explosive devices. (Airlines, take note: the word "now" was invented so we wouldn't have to walk around saying "at this time." Lawyers, you might also be curious to know that a 12-month period is popularly known as a year). Guideline: when they start using the definitions of words instead of the words themselves, it's a sign of ridiculous self-importance and of other bullshit, too."

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The only thing you might have a little control over...

Sir John Templeton:
You may not be able to control somebody else's thoughts, or you may not control the nation, but if you try, you can control your own thoughts. If you fill up your mind with thoughts of gratitude for your blessings, your whole life will go better, your health will be better. It'll be reflected in your appearance. People will be drawn to you. Your business will go better.

I would totally live here...

ZenKaya - Tandem-Studio:
"Zenkaya is the ultimate choice in ready-made living space. Offering highly insulated wall panels and high quality finishes Zenkaya offers a life in style.

Zenkaya is all about convenience; from the moment you order it to when you live in it. Zenkaya is a fusion of modern technology and practicality which will give you peace of mind. The Zenkaya is delivered completed, ready to live in, to your site right on the back of a flat bed truck.

Zenkaya is for the discerning people who value things differently. Those who appreciate their time and don’t want to spend that unforeseen time and energy to control and manage the construction and design process, especially when it is a far away place."

Hypocrisy and superstition it is, then.

Boing Boing: Why is it OK to show a man's breasts on TV? asks Bennett Haselton:
"I usually don't send out pure opinion pieces, but let it be said: There is not one person anywhere who can give you a good reason why it's OK to show a man's chest on TV, but not a woman's chest. You can ask over 100 people why -- trust me, I have -- and not get a real answer. It's just a silly superstition that some people came up with, a bunch of others went along with it, and now we're stuck with it. Have you ever heard a real reason?

...A good sign of a widespread belief that has no supporting logic is that if you ask people why they believe it, they always pass the buck on to someone else. "Our society has decided..." "The community feels that..." "Judges have ruled that..." -- except with that last one, if you listen to what judges say, they pass the buck too, saying "According to contemporary community standards..." What's missing is someone standing up and saying "I, yes *ME* *PERSONALLY*, I believe that seeing a mammary gland is harmful, and here's why."

To people who say that inciting any male lust is bad, I tell them I grew up in Denmark (although I'm American) and there you could see bare breasts in public advertisements, on the covers of supermarket tabloids, and on the beach, and nobody cared. And, the sex crime rate is much lower there. It's not obvious that nudity even incites much "lust" once you're used to it anyway -- men live in nudist colonies surrounded by naked women and don't get turned on. (It's the visitors who are easy to spot, because they aren't used to it and it makes them stick out, so to speak.)

Some people would say that boobs are hardly an important issue, and they have a point. But the larger issue is about critical thinking -- it's harmful to our ability to debate issues rationally, if large numbers of people support rules and laws without knowing why. What's the silliest thing you can get people to believe? If you can get large numbers of people to believe that seeing a photo of a mammary gland is harmful, well, where could you even go from there?

I think history will judge us by how many people stood up and said, THIS IS STUPID. It won't be quite as awkward as when kids ask their grandparents, "Grandpa, which side were you on in the civil rights movement?" But people are still going to look back and wonder what the HELL we were thinking."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Happy Little Clouds

My dad used to paint using Bob Ross... listening to Bob Ross talk and paint is some of the most soothing meditation around... - News - Video Game Based On Bob Ross' 'Joy Of Painting' In The Works:
"Late last week, in what initially appeared to be an April Fools' Day joke, video game developer AGFRAG Entertainment announced that it is developing video games based on the paintings of the late TV artist Bob Ross.

The beloved painter became famous more than 20 years ago for his mellow instructional art show 'The Joy of Painting.' And now he's set to become a video game icon."

Your Options

Alchemically Braindamaged » Blog Archive » Alchemy for the Braindamaged XIX: Controlled Demolition:
"...first possiblity; the voices break you enitrely. you capitulate to your fears, expectations and beliefs about life, and do your best to carve out whatever sort of satisfactory existence your life script will permit you have. welcome to 99% of the human race.

second possibility: you formulate some novel scenario for your life, and by hook or crook, manage to outmanuever the voices that want to hold you in fearfull stasis. You hijack any and every tool at your disposal to accomplish the emotional breakthrough on the other side of the wall, and then go back to sleep. Hopefully you don't commit suicide when your old walls are replaced by brand new ones, and your new world sucks as bad as the old one sooner or later. This is 99% of the remaining 1%. Welcome to an anthony robbins seminar.

third possiblity: you reorient your life to continuiously tearing down your walls and undermining your limiting voices. you alternate between ruthless and somewhat depressing gruntwork to learn new things, and the ecstacy of breaking through old limitations.
this turns out to be much more satisfying than actually getting any hypothetical goal or emotional cookie. You eventually learn that having goals makes for usefull focal points, but getting them is not especially important, leading you to set goals as close to utterly impossbile as you can, and enjoying the ride. Conversely, you embrace an outcome utterly for a short period of time and then drop it when you integrate the new perspectives it offers. Hopefully you elude the slight risk of falling into a depression or dependance on something external to make the ride keep going. If you extend this practice long enough you eventually realise the utter transparency or provisional nature of all your identities and inner voices, leading you to notice the larger nigh-infinite consciousness that was always present to begin with. You may count yourself in the ranks of shamans, magi and visionary artists of all stripes since the dawn of time, but that's just one more t-shirt for the collection by the time you get there. Life is funny that way.

fourth possiblity:You utterly relinquish all of your ego attatchments in some profound act of devotional surrender to the vastness of creation. In which case skip to the end of possiblity three, and then some. This option remains open at any time, but it is historically not very popular, although those who pull it off tend to be. Make of that what you will.


I'm not going to presume to tell you which option you should adress, so I'll prescribe a course of action for each one.

Option one: Do nothing. Very easy, and the best part is you've already done it! Give yourself a pat on the back.

Option two: Do your best to culitvate some kind of obsessive desire for a carefully specified outcome.
Do anything and everything it takes to get it, within the bounds of your morality and conscience. Any of the tools I've offered up so far are helpfull in this regard, but I tend to think of that as a bit of a waste.

Option three: If you've been along for the ride thus far and actually doing anything, you're well on your way. The sooner you move your emphasis from getting the things on your list, towards understanding the progressive growth of creativity, flexibilty, and insight, the sooner you will see the true purpose of the magickal path.

Option four: Dramatic but effective; Spend a whole day tryng to convince yourself you are afflicted with some terminal illness and only have one year to live. Immerse yourself in that sense of despair, frustration, sadness and eventual acceptance. When you feel like you've made peace with it and understood how to live your remaining life in that light, get up the next day and imagine your only have a month to live. This will repeat the experience at a higher level of intensity and dig up any attatchements you missed the first time.

Then do it again the next day, but only give yourself a single day to make your peace with life.
By this point it will become very very clear how useless most of your mental activty is most of the time. If need be do it one more time and live out the last hour of your life. If you perform this exercise to the utmost even once, your life will never be the same, and to do it over and over again will lead you to the goal in short order. "

An end to sniveling and whining...

Alchemically Braindamaged » Blog Archive » Alchemy for the Braindamaged XIX: Controlled Demolition:
"Maybe you can't visualise what you actually want. You're bound up in endlessly circular sniveling and whining about what you don't want. You can't sit still for more than fifteen minutes, becuase it feel like ants are burrowing into your subcutaneous fat and supping on your blood. You have no idea what might constitute 'happy', 'relaxed', 'optimistic' or 'creative'. You see other peole do these things, or what looks like these things, but you have no clue whatsoever how that might become true for you.

...It should be abundantly clear by now that you can do just about anything. Certainly you can be as happy, as creative, as smart, as rich or famous as any other human at the very least. If you know that, then what's the fucking problem? It's not that your mind is averse to better or richer experiences. It just has trouble beleiving them to be possible. It has difficulty relinquishing the present circumstance to move towards the new one.

...Now before you start patting yourself on the back as some radical innovator who can drop everything and go hike to peru, or live out of a backpack and squat in an abandoned building and dumpster dive, consider that the real stubborn changes are internal ones. It's easy to up and leave your external circumstances, it's easy to quit your job, compared to facing the real issues that probably drove you to do those things in the first place. It's hard to let go of your obsessive need for approval or control or recognition. It's hard to let go of your ongoing lusts, fears and obsessions, even when you can see they don't serve you anymore. It's hard to love unselfishly.

...Certain physiological phenomena are inevitable, but transitory. That's no excuse to dig yourself into the same emotional or existential hole that everyone else is living in. The fact that everyone seems to be doing it, ought to be reason enough to question it.

Some people learn to love their jailers, to need their jailers, to want to please the authors of their captivity.

What you need to get through your head is that YOU are your jailer. YOU are your own worst enemy. YOU are the one who is holding you back. YOU are the barrier to full potential.

If your life has been going so great up untill now, what the fuck are you doing here? You can't have it both ways. You don't get to change irrevocably and stay the same in all the comforting ways.

The world will get along just fine if you change everything about yourself. Nobody knows, nobody cares. Most people who 'know' you won't even notice, and if they do, they'll probably just pretend it isn't happening. The last thing a prisoner wants to do is admit that you can just leave at any time. Your social life will probably not fall into upheaval if you chuck all your internal neurotic bullshit. And even if it did, wouldn't that be prefferable anyway? What the fuck are you so eager to hang on to?

...So, really, the only possible authentic life or realtionship in this world is based on contant, never-ending upheaval and complete change.

The sooner you get rid of this idea that you are the same entity that was extruded from your mother's womb at birth, the happier you will be. You are not even the same entity you were yesterday. These ideas about what you are, are ghosts and they will haunt you unto death.

Unless you kill them first.

These voices in your head that are constantly making statements about who and what you are, do not magnify extend or optimise your capabilities in any way. In a sense these insert themselves as intermediaries between your total mental resources and the world outside of you. They insert themselves for the sole purpose of maintaining the delusion of static identity. They don't help you do anything, except perhaps to cope with the fear that you don't really exist as some unchanging essence. And they don't even do that very well, becuase that fear has probably never gone away for more than a few bare seconds in total of the course of your life, and probably never will, untill you quit playing the game with these voices."

"The choices you make determine the kind of life you’re going to have."

Erin Pavlina’s Blog » Blog Archive » How Your Beliefs Affect Your Choices:
"I make decisions based on the belief that life is a school; I’m here to learn, to teach, to grow, and eventually to graduate. He makes decisions based on the belief that we are just biological entities enjoying a very brief and pointless existence; to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Now, I’m not saying he is wrong to have these beliefs or to spend his life the way he chooses. I just want to point out that your beliefs affect your choices. What beliefs do you carry and what choices do those beliefs cause you to make? Are you happy with the results?

My life is very fulfilling to me. I enjoy getting up early and seizing the day. I love writing and learning and helping others. I consciously look for ways to improve my life and the lives of others. On the other hand, my friend suffers from nightly insomnia, he lives in a home full of useless clutter (most of it junk mail), he has to drag himself out of bed in the morning and find the motivation to go to work, his work does not please him, he comes home and turns on the tv or the computer and loses himself in fantasy. He has been dating the same woman for nearly 6 years and isn’t sure if he wants to get married but is delaying making the decision because it doesn’t really matter and it will keep for another day. I feel sad for him because nothing excites him more than what happened on Lost last night.

What beliefs do you have and how are they affecting your choices? Do you feel those beliefs serve you? Are your beliefs holding you back from having the life you want? If so, drop them! Get rid of the beliefs that don’t make you happy. Adopt new ones. Whether life after death exists or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is how you feel about the life you’re living now.

The choices you make determine the kind of life you’re going to have. And that can mean the difference between a life of happiness and fulfillment or a life of misery and emptiness."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Future Past

Regretting Tomorrow:
"The future is something of an illusion because you never actually exist there. Past and future are merely memories and projections. Your real experiences occur only in the present.

When you live in the future, you experience suffering because to suffer is to be unconscious. When you can keep your full awareness in the present moment, there is no suffering, regardless of circumstances. Every moment feels perfect because you simply accept it. When you push your consciousness into the future, you resist the present moment, fighting what is and wishing it to be something else. The result is emotional pain.

...What about visualization or planning? Is it OK to imagine what you want to happen in the future? Visualization is fine, but there’s a way to visualize what you want without leaving the present moment. Instead of visualizing the future, visualize a new present moment. Feel the presence of what you wish to create in the here and now. Feel its energy in your reality right now, instead of projecting it beyond the present into the future.

...The same is true of planning. When you make plans, realize that the purpose of planning is to focus your present-moment decisions. It is NOT to create a map of the future, which is outside of your control (and your consciousness) anyway. You need only do enough planning to achieve clarity in the present moment. When you have clarity, further planning is unnecessary. So when you create plans, do so with the intention of generating clarity in the here and now."

How it's set up.

How to Save the World:
"* The distinction and struggle between progressives and conservatives is a dangerous distraction. The real struggle for the hearts and minds of the people of our planet is between those in the centre, who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo (which I believe will lead to our annihilation), and those at the edge, who see what we have forgotten and see, at least faintly, the way home. The 1% elite, supported by the 9% in the complicit second inner circle, are constantly trying to hold in (and keep in line) the 50% of humanity that is addicted to the cycle of consumption and debt and the 30% of humanity that is conflicted, idealistic and disempowered. The corporatists have the 'gravity' of the status quo (humans do not change until they have to) and a huge amount of money to spend to keep the majority addicted to consumption, debt, and growth....

* The corporatists, despite their wealth and power, are utterly dependent on the 9% lackeys defending them -- they are their 'security force'. Without the advisors and lawyers, ad and PR agencies, lobbyists, pro-growth religions, junk scientists, corporate media and neocon and neo-liberal policymakers and corporatism and globalization apologists, there would be insufficient 'gravity' to hold this thing together, to keep the 80% in the third and fourth layers in their place. However, this 9% believes religiously in the perpetual growth illusion. Debating them is a waste of time.

* The largest and most volatile group is the middle layer, the 50% of our society who are in debt to and/or employed by corporatists, and addicted to the corporatists' products. They live in a 'vacuum of meaning and purpose' and hence value themselves and everyone else by what they own. But the hold that corporatist civilization has on them is tenuous because it is a pusher/addict love/hate relationship -- show (not tell) them a better way to live and watch the stampede.

* The most troublesome group (for those of us at the outer edge) is the fourth layer, the 30% of our society that is politically and socially engaged but conflicted and disempowered by our society. Unlike the agnostic and anomie-plagued third layer, those in the fourth layer have strong values and opinions, and are often ideologically at each other's throats. This is just fine with the corporatists, because it keeps them focused on each other instead of on them, and their idealism causes them to vote and otherwise participate marginally in the political and economic decision-making processes, giving these processes unwarranted legitimacy. This group includes technophiles who really want to believe science and technology will solve, rather than exacerbate, the problems facing our civilization. It also includes the co-opted counter-culture, the well-meaning and rebellious who fail to realize "you can't jam the culture", and the libertarians who believe in the wonderful ideal of a free market without the need for government but haven't yet realized that it has not ever existed and cannot ever exist. Those of us on the edge need to realize we cannot draw this 30% out to the edge until they're ready. They will be ready, before any of the inner levels, to make that move, but we need to pay attention and listen, and be ready to welcome them."


James Howard Kunstler: Book Excerpt:
"Everybody feels inadequate. I've since formulated a social principle called Kunstler's Law, which states that in any room containing 100 people, 99 of them each think that they are the only one in the room who doesn't have his-or-her act together."

Beyond Religion

Identity is a fluid thing. Shift as appropriate. Podcast #013 - Beyond Religion:
"...the real truth is that I don’t identify with any particular belief system. Rather, I tend to shift between belief systems like you might switch between different programs on your computer, based on which piece of software is the most appropriate tool for the current situation. If you discuss time management with me, you might think I’m an atheist. If you discuss meditation with me, you might assume I’m a Buddhist. And if you discuss consciousness with me, you might think I follow some sort of new age philosophy. But none of these scenarios would give you an accurate picture.

I want to challenge the idea that you must make your religious and spiritual beliefs a part of your identity (ex. “I am a Catholic” or “I am an atheist”). I think that when you weave any philosophical, religious, or spiritual framework into your identity, you severely limit yourself, becoming like a computer that runs only one piece of software."

We're rich! We're rich!

Corporate profits surge to 40-year high - MarketWatch:
"U.S. corporate profits have increased 21.3% in the past year and now account for the largest share of national income in 40 years, the Commerce Department said Thursday."

No, wait. I'm sorry. They're greedy corporate bastards. We're still poor.

Meanwhile, the share of national income going to wage and salary workers has fallen to 56.9%. Except for a brief period in 1997, that's the lowest share for labor income since 1966.

Monday, April 03, 2006

All about choice.

You Are A Cog.: Part Three: Relationships:
"However it is entirely possible that you are now or have been in a loveless relationship based on manipulation, emotional blackmail, mental abuse, physical abuse, lies or even absolutely nothing whatsoever. While it is a vast oversimplification to say that people are in these situations because they chose to be in them, when you strip away all the rationalizations and explanations relationships are largely about choice.

...It is critical be aware of your own history. To be able to think about yourself objectively and not fall for your own bullshit. As far as relationships go, it is equally imperative that you understand the history of others and how that brought them to their current present.


We are not the victims of history.

Maybe predicting the future is impossible – but maybe understanding that the future is going to reveal itself based on our histories, affected by our present actions isn't impossible."

"Batman is the American Way"

The Absorbascon: Justice, Truth, and the American Way:
"And Batman?

C'mon! A wealthy industrialist who embodies the American ethos of social Darwinism? Who still chooses to use his power for the benefit of society? Who, through his indomitable spirit, turns his own personal tragedy into a public good? Who believes in family, redemption, and public service?

Citizens, Batman is the American Way."

[Picture via]


"See a Secret...Share a Secret"

Sunday, April 02, 2006

So when they say Republicans are like Nazis... well...

Rigorous Intuition: Springtime for Atta:
"We know of Paperclip and the Ghelen Org, and how Nazis came to guide US government science and intelligence (and unacknowledged yet no less real, the covert trafficking of arms and drugs), finding the patronage of their stateside fellow travellers and eugenicists. Not as well known is how many others came to follow.

Between 1948 and 1952, America's Displaced Persons Commission arranged for nearly a half-million Europeans to emigrate to the United States. For two years it barred those who had been members of organizations sympathetic or collaborative to the Nazis. In 1950 that began to change, when first the "Baltic Legion" was removed from the list of "hostile" movements, though the Baltic Legion was also known as the Baltic Waffen SS.

The change of policy was strategic: the CIA was subsidizing the immigration of European Nazis and fascists in order to build a far-right power bloc as a hedge against communism. Its primary vehicle became the Republican Party. In the year the Commission completed its work, the Republican National Committee formed an "Ethnic Division" to mobilize for elections, which became the permanent standing body called the Republican Heritage Groups Council in 1969.

In his 1988 book Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party, Russ Bellant writes that "it eventually became clear that it wasn't an accident or a fluke that people with Nazi associations were in the Republican Heritage Groups Council. In some cases more mainstream ethnic organizations were passed over in favor of smaller but more extremists groups. [And] the Republican National Committee knows with whom they are dealing."

The leaders of the Republican "heritage" groups included men like Nicholas Nazarenko, who fought as an officer in an SS Cossack unit before going to work for the US Army's Counter Intelligence Corp. The evening after a Reagan speech praising the heritage groups, Nazarenko insisted on opening for Bellant his huge suitcase of political materials, filled with German war memorabilia and literature on the "Jewish problem." He said he was still "in touch" with various "Nazi" organizations: "They respect me because I was a former German army officer. Sometimes when I meet these guys, they say 'Heil Hitler.'"

Bellant again: "in a sense...the foundation of the Republican Heritage Groups Council lay in Hitler's networks into East Europe before World War II. In each of those Eastern European countries, the German SS set up or funded political action organizations that helped form SS militias during the war."

The heritage groups accounted for 86,000 volunteers in the 1988 election of George HW Bush, though several of their leaders were compelled to resign from campaign positions on account of collaboration. One was Romanian priest and member of the pro-Nazi Iron Guard Florian Galdau, who boasted of having files on 15,000 Romanians he helped emigrate in the US with the aid of CIA-linked resettlement groups the Tolstoy Foundation and the International Rescue Committee. Candidate Bush insisted they were all honourable men and innocent of all charges.

These old ratlines are of more than historical curiosity, and for more reason than that they suggest an embedding of Nazism in the Republican Party that goes beyond metaphor."


Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 9AM Back to Work:
"9AM Back to Work

Editor #1: Should we tell the author we lost that whole section of the manuscript?
Editor #2: No, let's not announce that we're incompetent.
Editor #1: Yeah, let's let it be a surprise.

8700 Shoal Creek Boulevard
Austin, Texas"

The 7% Solution

Memorable Quotes from The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970):
"[Holmes injects cocaine]
Watson: Where's your self-control?
Holmes: Fair question.
Watson: Don't you feel ashamed of yourself?
Holmes: Yes. This will cure it. "