Saturday, October 08, 2011

Study shows psilocybin mushrooms "improve personality long-term."

Shocking.  You mean a substance that grows naturally upon the earth that's been used as a sacred medicine for THOUSANDS of years might be good for you?  How totally fucking surprising.
'Magic mushroom' drug may improve personality long-term - "In new research that will almost certainly create controversy, scientists working with the hallucinogen psilocybin -- the active ingredient found in "magic mushrooms" -- have found that a single dose of the drug prompted an enduring but positive personality change in almost 60 percent of patients...
...this study shows that psilocybin actually changes one domain of personality that is strongly related to traits such as imagination, feeling, abstract ideas and aesthetics, and is considered a core construct underlying creativity in general," he added. "And the changes we see appear to be long-term.""
'via Blog this'

DHS airport scanners giving TSA employees cancer.

EPIC - EPIC v. DHS Lawsuit -- FOIA'd Documents Raise New Questions About Body Scanner Radiation Risks: "In a FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, EPIC has just obtained documents concerning the radiation risks of TSA's airport body scanner program. The documents include agency emails, radiation studies, memoranda of agreement concerning radiation testing programs, and results of some radiation tests. One document set reveals that even after TSA employees identified cancer clusters possibly linked to radiation exposure, the agency failed to issue employees dosimeters - safety devices that could assess the level of radiation exposure. Another document indicates that the DHS mischaracterized the findings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, stating that NIST "affirmed the safety" of full body scanners. The documents obtained by EPIC reveal that NIST disputed that characterization and stated that the Institute did not, in fact, test the devices. Also, a Johns Hopkins University study revealed that radiation zones around body scanners could exceed the "General Public Dose Limit." "
'via Blog this'
While I can't delight in the illness of others, when the TSA mindlessly spends the last decade in lockstep with the civil rights abrogating security theater that emerges from the government, patting down children, invalids, grandparents, ignoring the 4th amendment, doing things like this - Breast cancer survivor forced into invasive patdown by TSA even after submitting to backscatter imaging scan - then I have a greater understanding of why the Germans came up with the term shadenfreude.

Also, 99% sure that coming back to Liberia those TSA douchebags lifted some small ticket items from my bag* while doing one of their cursory inspections ratfucking through my gear. Shouldn't be a surprise... TSA Theft of Passenger Valuables a Nationwide Problem

*Updated 10/10 - Well, apparently the truth of the matter is I'm 99% schmuck and found what I thought was missing tucked inside my PT gear bag.  I'm an idiot, clearly.*

Take people at their word. Even if you think they're lying.

Smart bit of observation.

Seth's Blog: Maybe he means it: "...We assume that if our narrative is, "I do this for the money," that when someone says, "I do this for love," we think they're actually lying. If you believe, "acceptance is everything," then when someone tells you that he's more focused on standing out, you think they they're standing out as a way of being accepted. We assume that if someone says they believe in faeries or Norse gods, we know that they don't, not really. Everyone, apparently, is just like us, but lying about it.
Everyone's internal monologue is unique. It changes by culture, by age and by individual. While it's easy to be suspicious of someone who claims to have a different worldview than you do, it's almost certain that they're sincere..."
'via Blog this'

"It's easy to die for something you believe in... You know what's hard?"

"...Oh yeah, you have a code.  Duty, honor, country.  Semper Fi, all that good bullshit, true believer, patriotism, Fourth of July, apple pie, all that war movie crap from the forties...

Guess what, junior.  It's easy to die for something you believe in.  I've seen it ten thousand times and it ain't that fascinating.  You know what's hard?  Here's hard:  dying for a code you don't believe in.  That's what the samurai knew.  They died for the master they knew was corrupt, cowardly, venal, and pitiful.  They died anyway.  That was their code, and I'd say it was a hell of a lot tougher that that show tune you call patriotism...

Here's our code, asshole.  'These in the day when heaven was falling, when earth's foundations fled, followed their their mercenary calling, took their wages and are dead.'" - from Dead Zero, by Stephen Hunter.

"Fool! Induction is impossible!"

Philosophizing FTW.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Internets is Infallible.

Ah, meta-commentary, is there nothing you can't do?

" and you alone decide your future through the choices you make."

T NATION | Choices: "First, one must assume all responsibility for everything that's happened or has failed to happen to them. Once you adopt this as a philosophy for governing your life, you become empowered.

You see that you and you alone decide your future through the choices you make. This philosophy is the key to unlocking your potential as by doing so you not only assume responsibility, but also control of everything in your life."

'via Blog this'

"New reality: US assassinates it own citizens with no due process."

Best. Protest. Sign. Ever.
 New reality: US assassinates it own citizens with no due process – Boing Boing: "...Whether or not al-Awlaki was a terrorist (something no court can determine now), this sets a new precedent: the US can assassinate its own citizens on presidential order without any due process or accountability."

A Secret Panel Put Anwar al-Awlaki, Others, on Government Kill List - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine: "Jacob Sullum of course recently summed up the potental uses of this power:  "While Awlaki may have been guilty of everything the administration claims, it is not hard to imagine how a program of classified, unreviewable death decrees might go awry, especially in the service of a perpetual, geographically undefined war against an amorphous enemy. "

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs about LSD - " of the two or three most important things I have done in my life."

Your whole world is psychedelic now, you just don't realize it.

iRIP Steve Jobs.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs

Monday, October 03, 2011

I'm on Stage 4, looking forward to Stage 5.

Living Freedom » Blog Archive » The five stages of freedom:
"... 4. Implosion: Nothing works. Nobody will join my Surefire, Guaranteed Plan for overthrowing bad government and restoring the nation Our Forefathers built for us. Screw the government. Screw all those loser bums who won’t get off their butts. I give up. From now on, I’m just taking care of Number One.
5. Acceptance: Government is the way it is. The media is the way it is. People are the way they are. I don’t have a lever long enough to move those objects. Now, given that fact, what do I do to build freedom in my own life and my own world? Oh, yeah … There are a thousand ways I never noticed before…"
'via Blog this'

YES - "you can't please anyone. ever."

Well. That's appropriate. "...the granddaddy of all spoilers: you die." - Stephen Colbert.

Gotta start watching more Colbert, apparently... 

Where I've Been/Back to the Internets.

Am back to the world of the internets after a brief hiatus where I, at best, sporadically played voyeur at a distance to the goings on in the world.  For those two people on the internet who read this who don't know me IRL [in real life] - my dad died a couple weeks ago.

[Absurd, ridiculous, rant-y aside - I've always disliked, but actually now despise and hate with an unholy and vehement passion the absurd phrase "passed" or "passed away."  I hate weak, soft, euphemistic language.  I understand you are maybe trying to be considerate, or kind, or polite...  but, you know, fuck you.  He died.  Just say it.  Trying to soften the language devalues the experience.  Thank you, George Carlin.]

Have passed through a great deal of the standard "phases" of grief folks postulate about, the 'experts' who speak of such things, the sadness, the tears, the anger, the day of too much alcohol - whiskey is a stage of grief, right? - and now, the catharsis of unleashing my thoughts out into the void.

Nothing like a death of someone you love to take your long standing ideas of the existential crisis and the meaning of life and see if you really seem to think what you seem to think.  And chalk it up to my stubborn belief, like everyone else in the world, of experience only confirming that which you already want to think, but it seems to hold true.

I struggled to find some degree of solace in the things that "normal" people seem to find solace in, to no avail.  Religion remains a goofy fairy tale subscribed to by folks desperate to cling to an idea that someone, somewhere has some idea what's going on - the belief that we get as kids, somehow that at least the adults know better, even if we don't.  The vain hope that death isn't 'really' real and everybody's in a better place and we all join in one happy-fun-time-super-party that never ends, amen...  it's just so ludicrous.  The idea that folks still buy this, as we get older and become adults ourselves, continues to floor me.  There is no bearded invisible father figure in the sky watching us all, with a grand plan, overly concerned with our sex lives...  That's such a ridiculous bronze-aged thought process of a small Middle Eastern tribe, beset on all sides by enemies...  interesting as far as historical myths and metaphors go, perhaps with as much to teach, but deserving of no more fealty than, say, Aesop's Fables or the Greek Myths.  Like I tend to say when I'm feeling particularly smug, or properly sauced, or am talking to someone I think might be of a like mind - "I don't know if there is a god, but I know your god isn't real."

That doesn't change my "maybe, better odds than not" that something transcends what we consider life and reality.  Something 'transcendent' - to repeat myself - a different level of reality or something that not only don't we understand, but that we can't understand.  I tend to fall back on the idea of the brain as a tuner, not a generator of consciousness - I think that comes from Aldous Huxley, but could be someone else and I could be wrong [Heavens forbid!]  That the brain doesn't create consciousness or understanding, but instead, like a radio tuner, simply dials into, by default, what is the consensus reality of human experience.  Which is why things like yoga, meditation, NLP, magic and psychedelics fascinate me, the idea that these things allow you to turn the dial, so to speak, and tune into something that's not just chemicals fucking with your brain, but taking you into something else that's really there, we just can't see.  [Hence, the psychedelic "trip."  Trip to where is the obvious question...]  Ah, my hopeful delusions have simply found another outlet.  Curses to my Catholic upbringing...  Brainwashing runs deep, it does...

One of the things raised, between the time my dad died and the time I could get back stateside was the question of whether they should cremate the body, or wait till I could say 'goodbye.'  I understand the intent, because I'm not totally devoid of the feelings they tell me I'm supposed to have in the place my heart is supposed to be...  I mean, like any good sociopath I understand what people are going on about, even if I don't seem to get it myself - but it seemed like such a crazy question to me.  I know from when my grandfather died when I was a kid that, sure, the body is still there, but it's not that person anymore.  It's a shell, an after effect, the residue you see in the periphery of your vision after a camera flash or a good optical illusion...  whatever made that person that person - THEM -  is long gone.  Where did it go, where did it originate, how do you find it again?  If you buy into the vagaries of quantum physics or ancient mysticism, nothing is ever created or destroyed, it simply changes, then it is somewhere.  To which I can only reply, "Yeah, maybe."  [Thanks, Robert Anton Wilson.]

You are born.  You die.  What's left after is the memories you made in those you had relationships with and a stack of things that you leave behind that folks are left to sort through and try to figure out why you decided to save them in an obscure corner of some filing cabinet somewhere.

Life simply is.  No grand plan.  'No meaning save what we choose to impose,' as a wise comic book once taught me.  All pursuits equally superficial and meaningless.  But thusly, also as equally worthwhile.

"In the greater scheme or the big picture, nothing we do matters. There's no grand plan, no big win...  If there is no great glorious end to all this, if - nothing we do matters, - then all that matters is what we do... 'cause that's all there is. What we do, now, today... if there is no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness - is the greatest thing in the world." - Thanks Joss.

Find what stokes whatever seems to ignite your interests and passions...  and do that.

For me, knowledge - thus my love of books and the internets - is still a big win.  Learning and ideas excite me and flip my switch, regardless of whether I've come to that through culture or the brainwashing of education and conditioning.  Experiences.  Life is short.  The world is huge, even if people seem mostly the same.  Try to do it all, even though you can't.  You'll be better for it.  And a 'truth' that I've happened upon is that the quality of your life will be determined to a large degree by the quality of your heath and fitness.  Whatever consciousness is or wherever it might go, it's in this body, at this time, as a vehicle for experiences, NOW.  Respect that.  Try not to intentionally hurt others, for the most part.  ["I want you to be nice, until it's time to not be nice." - thanks, Patrick Swayze.]  My life is better - more peaceful, more calm, more healthy - the more integrous I am, the more my words and actions correspond to my actual thoughts and ideas - which does not make me a big hit at dinner parties.  Sorry, Sandy.  I'm seriously not trying to torpedo your burgeoning career, I'm just trying to not implode and take everybody around me down with me.  But language and reality are mutable and flexible and changeable.  Nothing is one thing.  I'll never know as much as I think I do.  Do your best anyways.  Say you're sorry when you've fucked up.  Be happy now, and not just the instantaneous pleasure hit of satisfaction - though that's worthwhile too - but happy in the Greek sense of eudaimonia and arete.

And not yet having achieved sainthood or benificient enlightenment, the stupidity of politics and human institutions still annoy the shit out of me, blow my mind and make me want to punch the walls.  So the blog will carry on in one respect as a pressure release valve so that it doesn't build up and lead me into acts of violence or self destruction.  And that alone provides seemingly never ending fodder for these web pages.  And I will likely massively inundate the blog over the next few days as I catch up to the world at large.  I've hours and hours of podcasts, alone, to catch up on.

My dad.