Babies of all Ages

One fun thing about babies is that all of their babbling and nonsense is entirely purposeful. They believe wholeheartedly that they have something important to say and are expressing it clearly; that the remote control truly belongs in the trash. They have important work to do.

Sadly, people rarely lose this perception of themselves, although some people do actually develop the faculties to communicate, think, and act effectively.

Many don’t, however. Like babies, these folks stumble on through life convinced they make sense and are doing important work.

Only now they can drive and own guns and stuff. Sometimes they run countries.

intersections

A fork in the road. Which way to go?

Of course loyalty is in play. Principles. Ideals.

It is not so very difficult to stay true when the only choice is to adhere to, or to betray, your values.

But what of conflicting loyalties?

What of different principles that run to cross purposes?

When at these intersections of life, what shall we betray? What loyalties and principles are inviolate? Which are disposable?

Often the only way to choose is to move in the direction that hurts less.

Make that choice and live with the consequences. Accept the pain along with the joy.

These stresses and difficulties are simply the bumps and jostles of a life well spent.

And such is life.

Dueling Echo Chambers

I would like to start this piece with a one man play entitled:

“Using Facebook.”

Me: “Hmm, lets see what’s going on in Facebook.”

Me, literally ten seconds later and three swipes into my feed: “I immediately regret this decision! What the fuck is wrong with you fucking people? How could I know this many stupid people? Is it because I’m stupid? Gaaaaaa!”

Me: *loses will to live *

The End

I hope you enjoyed the play. I certainly did not, but that is kinda its point.

Now, you might think, “why follow these people if being exposed to them and their ideas is that upsetting to you?”

This is a good question. I’m glad you asked.

I do this because I think it is important to remind myself that people like this, and their ideas, exist. It is far to easy to forget about them. And then when things like QAnon rear up and actually affect the world political stage, we get completely blindsided by it.

So to the anti-vaxxers; the conspiracy theorists; the Trumpists; and the Canadians going on about gun rights with Second Amendment arguments:

Thank you! Your stupidity has inoculated me (quite ironically, in some cases) against the full-blown infection of toxic stupidity the last four years has become. Thanks to your earnest showcase of the nightmare that is your thought process (or lack thereof). You have helped me survive. Thank you.

Even when you don’t agree with them, it’s good to make oneself aware of other modes of thinking, from time to time. This can help mitigate the dangers of getting trapped in an echo chamber. If you don’t know what that is, then you’re somehow new to the internet (welcome!), or are not very bright. (Check it out, if need be: Echo Chamber)

The internet is full of echo chambers. It is a perfectly crafted engine for them. If you enjoy this kind of thing, then far be it from me to tell you it isn’t good. How you enjoy wasting your time is entirely your business. But I am here to tell you that if you are engaging in these kinds of communities, then what you’re up to is about as productive as a circle jerk. Don’t kid yourself that you’re fighting the good fight, or educating the people. You’re simply entertaining yourself and a bunch of other people who think just like you do.

Now, for those who are busy actively generating content for their chamber’s community, it is common to venture out into the “world” (comment threads) to take the fight to the enemy. This also can be a great way to generate new content.

In this endeavor, there is a tendency to find the worst morons from the opposing camp, and then to use their shittiness to paint their whole group with. I’m sure this is fun. Just do not forget when doing this that you are essentially picking a fight with the village idiot of your enemy town. You may as well be eating cheezies and making your genitals orange for all the good you are doing your cause. As well, it is very likely that you are the village idiot of your town and simply have not realized it. Bird of a feather, and all that.

Like I said, if you enjoy wasting your time this way, that’s your business. But if you engage in a lot of this kind of behavior, I’m going to make certain assumptions about you. (Not that you should care.)

I will assume that you are someone who feels the need to craft an identity out of a cause. This may be one step up in maturity from doing so about the kind of movie, book series, or music you like, but you certainly have not cleared adolescent thinking either. You have the desire to communicate and be perceived, but not the ability to articulate your own thoughts. You don’t yet understand the deeper thinking and philosophy inherent to your own cause, and neither can you think critically to properly dissect the position of an opposing one. So you hunt about for examples of the worst kinds of offenders to make fun of. Little shared tidbits of wit and cleverness are compiled over endless circuits around your favorite echo chamber.

This is the, “I don’t really understand what I like/am yet, but I know fucking well what I hate,” stage of thinking. That’s fine; it’s a normal stage of intellectual development. Just don’t expect to be taken too seriously.

When I’m the target of abuse from folks at this kind of level, it’s like I’m enjoying a walk on a fine day and some some genetic mistake of a teenager with rotten teeth calls out to inform me that my fashion is lame. It is really not a big deal.

You should never assume that anyone you meet, online or otherwise, knows how to think. Least of all if they rely on political talking points or echo chamber reblogs for the bulk of their “personal” narrative. If you operate with the assumption that everyone can’t think, until they prove to you otherwise, you’re going to be a lot happier.

“Oh, what’s this blog? Why, it is someone saying that all blacks/whites/hispanics/gays/breeders/men/feminists/cis gender should be deported/killed/cancelled. Do I need to take this person seriously? Let me think. Hmmmmmm… Oh! Wait a minute! No. They’re an idiot! Problem solved.”

See? Easy. No muss, no fuss.

A bunch of tattoos and an alternative lifestyle (be it Christian fundamentalist, gun-loving militia, or whatever else) do not magically imbue intelligence or infallibility. Nor do they make someone more interesting (but that’s another essay).

Of course, perhaps getting angry at idiots is a favorite hobby of yours. If that’s the case, if you want to try to level up your thinking, I suggest sitting yourself down and asking yourself the following question, in all gravity:

“Am I an idiot?”

If you can answer no, you’re probably lying to yourself. But, maybe it’s simply that you like slumming with idiots on occasion, which means you’re probably just a troll.

When you wander into someone else’s club house to stir up shit you are either trolling or saying implicitly that their thoughts and ideas have merit; essentially, that you are at their level.

Let me go on the record here that I basically agree with about 70% of the feminist and other “social justice” material that I see on my feed. (Do keep in mind: that number is probably as high as it is because I don’t follow idiots; this doesn’t mean I agree with 70% of that kind of material on the internet as a whole.) Then there’s that last 30% where I’m, “uhhh… you lost me there.”

And guess what? It doesn’t fucking matter. Beyond it simply not mattering to me, why would I assume that my thoughts about it would matter to those who are circulating the idea? Is it my job to fix these people? To set some nonexistent record straight? Or, in getting into it, would I simply be imposing my entitled ass into where it doesn’t belong?

If I had to grow up being dominated by dipshit white men, I’d be ornery too. (Hang on… I was. And I am. Aha.) Especially when so many white folks have pissed away every advantage they’ve been given by their psychopathic ancestors, and do nothing but bitch and moan about other people’s malfunctions without ever examining their own.

When people make themselves a community to hate on white people or men or white men, or whoever the fuck, just leave them be. Whether you are a target of their ire or not. They have made it abundantly clear that your voice and perspective is unwelcome. So why impose? Do you honestly think that the one thing missing in every human interaction is hearing your opinion?

Of course if they come into your house with their shit, then do what you will.

I may get pretty opinionated here, but this is my place to give vent to my internal world. Essentially, I’m yelling and throwing whisky bottles at a brick wall in my own house. When folks decide to come to the window and listen, that’s their business. Enter at your own risk.

I have no doubt whatsoever that there are plenty of, say, lesbian people of color who (if they were somehow made aware of me) would like nothing more than to chop me up into little pieces, starting with my genitals, to send me back to Germany and England. That’s okay. If I ever meet one and they try it, I’ll defend myself to the best of my ability. Until then, have fun ranting about it.

Glad to be of service.

Character

Character is what you crave because authenticity is what you lack. Character can only be developed through the slow grind of real life; being put to the test and succeeding or failing on one’s own merits.

It is not to be found in sterile confines of a safe shoebox life.

It is bodily fluids on concrete.

It is realizing there is nothing to be done and yet trying something anyway.

It is failing spectacularly.

It is staring death in the teeth and surrendering to its will; then leaving that moment alive, realizing you have been spared until another day.

The artificial patina of photo filters overlaid upon your phone’s window to the world does not cut it. Nor do you tattoos. This is all product.

Bullshit.

You know it.

Live.

Get the fuck on with it already.

 

Natural

Baby birds fall out of their nests to be devoured alive by ants. Wildfires vital to forests’ health burn up all the critters, cute or not. Look at nature, really see it and what it does, and realize there is nothing in the universe that entitles you to anything beyond sure death.

Many think that everything must naturally work out for them because the universe or God or some benevolent spirit has a special plan for them. Maybe it will work out. Maybe it won’t. Maybe they are one of the baby birds that manages to stay in the nest. Maybe they aren’t. Do the birds that live to fly away think it is because they inherently deserve it? Perhaps they do.

Take in a mountain scene and it is beautiful, is it not? But in of itself it is not beautiful. It only is interpreted as such when it is processed through our minds. We decide what it is and so project our notion upon it. So it is with everything in our lives. Society. Culture. Religion. Money. All of it only has meaning because we all decide it does.

However, these fantasies of ours carry real weight. I can’t be with my wife unless some bureaucrat says it is okay. Because we were born on different sides of imaginary lines humans have created, we must pay office clerks special paper we’ve traded our time for in order to get other pieces of paper stamped. This permission is needed to live our lives the way we want. If we were to go together to certain places on this earth, I might be killed as a race traitor, because we were also born on different sides of another imaginary line.

This is all heavy. We have made it real because we have all decided that it is. But none of it is natural.

The power of our mind in our lives is absolute because, for us, it is the universe. Realize that the only thing you are owed is death; this is your only birthright. So between those two sure events, do your best to enjoy the fantasies you like, try not to take part in the ones you don’t, and if you find yourself on the forest floor covered in ants, try to take some comfort that there really was fuck all you could have done to prevent it.

God and the Illuminati

I think people invent conspiracy theories for the same reasons that others cling to religion; they are just coming at it from an slightly different position.

The religious believe there’s this big Daddy in the sky who has everything under control; there is a plan and we all have our part to play. Comforting, so long as you’re one of those lucky people for whom God’s plan isn’t getting raped to death over the course of a decade from childhood.

The conspiracy theorist has at least taken it down a notch. They look at the world and say: “Wow, this is really fucked up.” While they don’t cut and run with the old, “God works in mysterious ways,” they still require the comforting illusion that someone, somewhere, is in control of all this. There is still an order and a plan.

The Charlie Manson gods of the big religions love you and have a plan; just relax, everything will be fine. Daddy has the wheel. The Illuminati and the Masons don’t love you, but just relax; there’s nothing you can do about their plans, and at least someone is in control of this mess.

The truth is, there is no order and there is no grand scheme. There are simply basic human impulses and frailties being played out millions of times over. Sure, patterns emerge, because patterns always do; and our minds are programmed to detect them. Those in power are simply focused on keeping power and keeping score against each other.

There is no one at the wheel, and we are all collectively choosing extinction for the sake of our creature comforts.

Like bacteria in a petri dish. Gobbling up the food. Expanding consumption. Spreading. And now, at the cusp of poisoning ourselves with our own waste.

As natural as can be. Just more organisms, doing as organisms do.

No God. No plan. Just nature.

Viral

Just twenty years have totally changed the implication of the sentence:

“My anus went viral.”

Which implication is worse, the old or the new, is hard to say. I suppose it depends on what virus your asshole has sprouted, in the one case, and whether you’re some kind of anal exhibiting sex professional in the other.

Now, a combination of the two would just be the worst. Like: “I caught a terrible ass virus, and some asshole doctor (in both senses) tweeted a picture of it, which went viral. #fml”

Tis a funny old world, isn’t it?