My metaconscious is defective

I’m serious. The damn thing is out of control.

Quick explanation of the term[1] : your metaconscious mind is the part of your mind that monitors what the rest of the mind is doing and intervenes when necessary in orer to correct your thinking, prevent disaster, or keep you from making mistakes.

For example : if you have ever started to say something then stopped because you were suddenly aware of how rude or stupid or terrible it would sound, the part of you that made that realization was your metaconscious mind.

it’s also the part that lets you restrain yourself by staying calm and logical when you are feeling extremely emotional. By staying out of the emotional stew, the metaconscious lets you keep hold of your long term interests even when you are anything but rational.

But that’s the metaconscious working correctly. What about when it malfunctions? What if it becomes so toxic that it’s like you are constantly being prosecuted by a malicious judge who is venting his rage on the first available target.

Kind of like my Dad. Food for thought.

That is what I think my own metaconscious mind has become. It does try to keep me out of error – thank goodness for that – but it does so via methods which are harsh, arbitrary, excessive, wrongheaded, and just plain mean.

And it’s chilling to realize that your metaconscious mind is your worst enemy. It’s like finding out your anti-virus program has a virus in it.

Right now, my feeling is that I need to take a step back and view what this crazed lunatic inside my head has to say. I want to remember that what it says is highly suspect and that its judgment is anything but impartial.

And it hates me. Never trust anything said by someone who hates you.

This ideal of detachment is simple but hard to achieve. We count on our metaconscious minds to, as it were, look out for us and keep us safe, in the broadest definition of the word. It’s our highest level of day to day consciousness.

If you can’t trust it, what CAN you trust?

Well for me, there is always the fallback position of strict logical thought. It helps a lot in certain circumstances. When I feel like I am going crazy and all kids of wildly negative thoughts are going through my head, it can be very soothing to have an inner resource that can talk me down from my tree.

But for the most part, it’s errors in my metaconscious processing that lead to the self-loathing and sadness and abysmal self-esteem of depression.

The chemical condition of my brain warps its reasoning capacities when it comes to anything about myself. Statements that, to a caring but dispassionate observer would be obviously false, suspect, and downright wrong are accepted not because they make sense or explain the evidence but because they conform to my pre-existing warped idea that I am horrible and hideous and toxic and don’t deserve to breathe.

Against this chemical condition, my metaconscious mind is helpless. In fact, it becomes warped into working for the enemy, essentially. It guards the depression and makes sure to disarm, disable, or deflect any and all challenges to the existing order.

That order being the whole set of irrational beliefs about oneself that stem from this negative chemical state.

And depression has inertia on its side. The longer these irrational ideas persist, the more deeply entrenched in the mind they become. Eventually, that persistence becomes subverted into a substitute for evidence – after all, you’ve believed it for so long, it must be true, right?

And changing your mind takes energy, admitting you were wrong, willingness to pass through a time of instability in order to achieve a superior stability,. and all kind of other things that are hard and scary and that nobody is actually making you do.

Much easier to ignore the evidence and the testimony of those who love and admire and respect you and go right on thinking you suck.

And in a terrible and tragic sense, it doesn’t matter whether you actually suck or not. You will keep on hating yourself regardless. There are people in this world right now who are, by all reasonable standards, at the pinnacle of success in their field and yet they hate themselves and have the same ten sub-basements down self esteem as any other person with depression.

In fact, the distorting effect of depression is so strong that people will convince themselves that all that success was somehow fraudulent and unearned and that one day soon everything will find out how awful they really are.

It’s called Impostor Syndrome, and it demonstrates the power of depression. Even perfectly intelligent, reasonable, and sensible people who have had great success in life and have all the evidence of their worth that anyone could ever need nevertheless conclude that none of it counts because they still feel worthless and awful.

And the truth is that our feelings determine a lot of how we see the world, and even the most rational people will find that, if they look at the playback of how they made decisions, they will see just how little reason had to do with it.

They simply solved their emotional vector problem. The most primitive form of reason is simply a device that resolves conflicts between instincts.

Even fish have that. If they didn’t, any situation of competing drives would paralyze them and those little fishies don’t live long enough to reproduce.

The situation is the same with us big-brained higher mammals as well. That primitive part of us that resolves emotional conflicts makes a lot more of our decisions than anyone would care to admit.

How the hell did I get here? Jesus.

I guess the point I am trying to make is….

*spins the wheel of possible points*

That depression hijacks out metaconscious minds and that puts us depressives in the position of not being able to trust what our own minds are telling us.

And that’s a terrible place to be in.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.



Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Yes, I know most of you already know this. Indulge me. I am feeling didactic pedantic and want to explain stuff.

20 Fun Things To Do In An Exam You Know You’ll Fail Anyway

20 Fun Things To Do In An Exam You Know You’ll Fail Anyway

1. Instead of the actual answers, answer each question in the form of a highly penetrating and acerbic analysis of the professor’s character flaws and psychological maladjustment, as illustrated by the inclusion of this question on the exam.
2. Write a letter to your mother in the blanks. Praise the professor’s wisdom, erudition,
personality, and refined good looks. Suggest a date. Remind your mother how much she likes men who give her child good grades.
3. Learn obscene origami. Nuff said.
4. In the middle of the exam, stand up and exclaim “Ha ha, foolish professor! You cannot fail whatyou cannot SEE!”. Then strip naked while cackling like a madman. For extra effect, begin picking up small objects and moving them around while making spooky “oooweeooo” sounds.

5. Read the exam as though it was a deeply personal letter from the professor. Laugh, sigh,blush, and giggle. When you’re done, draw a big heart on it, hand it back, and say to theprofessor “Right back atcha, you stud. ” Then leave. Bonus points if the professor is female.

6. Hum droningly. When asked to stop, sudden fall silent and look at your professor with hushedawe, then in small voice whisper “You mean…. you can hear it too?”. Then resume.

7. Refute the entire existence of the subject of the exam. This is especially fun with physics or human biology.
8. Number the pages of your answer book in a widely spaced progressive series (like 1, 7, 15,22). Make sure each page after the first starts with something that implies the previous, “missing”page contained something really interesting and salacious, like “..which could only be explained by the size of his phallus. ” Page endings should be similar.
9. Read out each question as though it was a poem. Use a highly ornate Shakespearian
declamatory style. Or, alternately, rap.
10. Act all smug and conspiratorial. Talk about how you know have to take this “exam” (wink) so you can pass the “course” (nudge nudge) because you really need the “marks”. Then pass your answer book in with $2 really obviously taped to it. Wink at the prof one more time, then stagewhisper “Worth every penny!”.
11. Complete nearly all of the exam, then stands up and exclaim “Wait, this isn’t History of the Male Orgasm!” (or some other fun course to imagine) and leave.
12. Treat the exam as though it was an opinion poll. Answer “some of the above” for at least half of the questions.
13. Show up in your underwear. Complain about how much you hate this dream. Pinch yourself repeatedly, then progress to slapping your own face. Then go to sleep.
14. Write a heart-wrenchingly poignant plea for mercy. Cite family tragedies, illnesses, and
nobility. Beg piteously to be allowed to re-take the exam. Then, write the “outline” for this letter on the back page of the exam booklet. Include such sections as “Lie about relatives” and “beg idiot to allow a re-take”. End with “If the moron falls for it…. ski vacation!”.
15. Bring your significant other. Discuss each answer with him or her, out loud. When the
professor complains, say “What? They’re my better half. You wouldn’t want half a student to take your test, would you?
16. Bring a pocket tape recorder. Narrate your life in minute detail into it. “The poor, starving student entered the cruel confines of the exam, trembling in anticipation of another cruel and unfair exam at the hands of a man who takes out his frustrations with his lack of academic credibility and his latent homosexuality on his innocent students.”
17. Make up a highly intricately diagrammed answer for each question. Include map symbols, flowchart arrows, Greek letters, and a lot of schwas and ergo symbols.
18. After having filled out half of the exam in English already, suddenly start speaking a made-up foreign language. (If you’re stumped, just talk like the Swedish Chef. ). Claim, in gibberish, that you don’t speak English, and demand a copy of the exam in your native tongue. The only two words of English you know are “No English!”
19. Pretend the exam is really, really turning you on. Moan things about “yeah… test my
knowledge! Make it hard! I’ve been a bad, bad student!”. (How far you take this is up to you, but don’t sue me if you get arrested.)
20. Answer each and every question with “It puts the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again.” or “I AM THE LIZARD KING”.

Ten bullshit issues

I’ve been thinking about public delusions lately and that got me onto the subject of the various forms of moral panics that have gripped the world, faded away, and left people wondering what the heck that was all about.

And a lot of them do not stand up to the slightest bit of verification or logical examination. In other words, they don’t make a lick of sense, and they never did.

So I have put together a little list of ones I have observed in my life along with a basic description of why they were so very, very stupid.

  1. The Amazon Rain Remember this one? People were all over this bullshit. Someone would quote a number of football fields a day of the “world’s lungs” disappearing every day, and there’d be scary pictures of a bulldozer moving menacingly towards a jungle. You know, like this L

    Look out, it has a knife!

    But it was 100 percent bullshit. What nobody mentioned was that the Amazon rainforest is so huge that you could deforest at double the peak rate and it still would take thousands of years for it to have a noticeable effect on the rainforest, let alone its role in creating oxygen.

    Oh…. and oceanic algae produces most of the world’s oxygen anyhow.

  2.  Pornography

    It’s sad that the American right wing has brought this one back to life seeing as they lost so definitively on the issue the last time.

    Back in the Eighties,. Reagan put together the Meese Commission. They spent many years and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in an attempt to find a link between pornography and violence against women.

    At the end,  The head, Attorney General Edwin Meese, was forced to admit that they hadn’t found one…. but he was sure there was one.

    That tells you all you need to know about motivated reasoning forever.

  3.  Landfills / Overpackaging / Biodegradablility

    Another one with a stock set of tropes. A bulldozer pushes a huge pile of garbage to another spot in an enormous landfill. Pictures of plastic and Styrofoam packaging  littering the side of a highway. Talk of how fast garbage is added to it, with the clear implication that if we don’t do something right now, we’ll be hip deep in used diapers by Tuesday morning.

    Bullshit. There is plenty of room for landfills. Most of what goes into landfills is yard waste anyhow, and that’s super biodegradable. But even if that wasn’t true, even places like Tokyo and New York have plenty of room for trash. There’s no danger of running out of room. This was NEVER A THING.

  4. Illegal Immigration

    This one never dies because xenophobia appeals to people who can’t handle the reality of diversity and want a tiny bit of a fig leaf to cover up their naked racism.

    The rhetoric always goes that some group of immigrants, legal or non, is some how going to “take over” and force the dominant culture to live THEIR way.

    That’s as mathematically impossible as squeezing a lemon into the ocean and turning it into lemonade. A tiny percentage of the population cannot change a massive culture and any claims to the contrary should simply be taken as ready to be “I am a pathetic coward who is too stupid to handle there being a lot of different kinds of people who are all equal and so I am racist as fuck. “

  5. The Ozone Hole

    Another blast from the past. People got all freaked out over the fact that a small patch of Antarctica was getting unfiltered solar radiation. Like in the other examples, this small nugget of truth was then projected into the future via only the most overdramatic misuse of statistical analysis until it spelled IMMINENT CATASTROPHE. What do you know, the world’s about to end… AGAIN.

    This was also never a thing. Yeah, it would be horrible if we lost the entire ozone layer. But that was never a possibility. We could have tripled our use of CFCs and it would have only made the hole a little bigger. As it turned out, getting rid of them entirely was not that big of a hassle, and so we did that. But there was never any danger of a naked Earth.

  6. Gay Marriage

    See, not all my examples are from thirty years ago. This example is quite recent but it follows the same pattern of ludicrous claims exaggerated to the point of hysteria. Many otherwise sane and normal citizens somehow convinced themselves that society would go down in blood and flames if two people who happened to have the same gender chromosome pairing could sign a government document that made them legally married. Trying to imagine the mechanism through which that could happen boggles the mind. And here we are, in the era of widespread same-sex marriage, and what do you know, nothing changed. The straight couples are just as married as they were before and the only real difference between a straight marriage and a queer one is the quality of the catering.

  7. Water Conservation

    This one also goes under the category of “how the hell would that work?”. Some subnumerate individual takes the amount of freshwater in the lakes of the world, divides it by the water usage of the world’s population, and declares that we are like five minutes from the WHOLE WORLD DYING OF THIRST.

    And people start taking shorter showers, they stick bricks in their toilet tanks, and get pissy at people for watering their lawns.

    But the thing is, we’re not hamsters with water bottles – it’s not like there is a finite amount of water and when that runs out, we’re fucked.

    What anyone should be able to see if they have any sense is that water comes back via an exotic process called rain. It rains, the local aquifer fills up, goes to your house, you drink the water, pee, the water goes through the sewers and into the ocean, where it evaporates, forms clouds, and rains down again.

    That’s Grade 7 science people, and even if you don’t understand the process, you have to understand that everything alive needs water and there must be some reason we haven’t run out yet.

  8. Kids These Days

    This one has been around since the ancient Greeks. The lyrics change but the song remains the same. Someone takes some report of a few youths doing something bad (or even just weird) and blows it up into dire predictions about how the world is doomed (again) because this entire generation is horrible and sure to destroy the world when they take over…. which is ANY MINUTE NOW Aaaaagh!

    Every single generation has had this said about them by older people who can’t handle the fact that the world will go on just fine without them when they are dead, so they latch on anything that says that isn’t so and that their generation will be the last one and the world will crash and burn without them.

    And every single generation then forgets it did that and does it to the next generation that comes along.

    Oh, but that was different.

  9. Anti-nuclear Activism

    Has there ever been another movement that shot itself in the foot so thoroughly as the environmental movement did when it opposed nuclear power? And for no other reason than what amounts to “nuclear things are scary? ” By any sane measurement, nuclear power is the answer to every environmentalist’s dreams… well, the more logical  dreams, anyhow. Even via the old fashioned Homer Simpson cooling towers method, nuclear power has a microscopic environmental impact compared to generating the same power versus oil, coal, or natural gas. Sure, other techs like solar and wind can compete with nuclear now, but what about the forty years worth of carbon dioxide that got pumped into the air just because a bunch of namby-pamby art major liberal types couldn’t look at the numbers and realize we were way better off with nuclear? Sheesh.

  10. Terrorism

    Terrorism is not an important problem.

    It just isn’t. Terrorism is scary but that’s not the same thing as important. Terrorism kills way fewer people than alcohol, cigarettes, or even vending machines. The media loves terrorism because it’s very dramatic and visual and it makes it easy to whip people into a frenzy that makes them want more media. Politicians love it because it lets them get away with taking away all kinds of freedoms and not only get away with it, but get reelected for it.

    But it’s just plain not important. It’s certainly not important enough to let minimum wage fascists make life increasingly humiliating and aggravating for air passengers. It’s not important enough to justify anyone invading anyone. It’s not important enough to label some nations “terrorist nations” just become someone from there did something crazy and wrong.

    I mean, how racist is that?

    So fuck terrorism. The only way to beat a terrorist is to refuse to be scared. They thrive on the fear and chaos they create and revel in all the hatred and vitriol aimed at them. That just proves how powerful they are.

    Ignore them instead. Take precautions, but treat it like the rare bad thing it is, like a freak windstorm or someone famous dying in a car accident.

    It’s the best way to take all the fun out of it.

And that’s my list. I am sure there are many more – I never even touched overpopulation or desegregation – but this thing has already gone on long enough.

The main thing I want you to take away from this is that all these inanities have the same formula : a tiny or nonexistent problem is blown into a massive panic by the fact that it confirms or at least is consistent with people’s existing beliefs and the result is a period of time that history reacts to with a laugh and a shake of the head.

And all because people were so eager to believe this confirming lie that they never even gave one thought to whether it was backed by any evidence or whether it even made sense in the first place.

So here is your mantra for today, kids : there is no relationship between how much you want something to be true and whether or not it’s true. None.

And with that, I bid thee farewell as I have other stuff I should be doing

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


The tale of Philip the Ghost

It was like any other seance. People linked hands around a table and assumed a relaxed, open state of mind. . The spiritual medium called out to the spirit world and beckoned a spirit named Philip to come and answer their questions. And sure enough. the table rose off the ground and the group’s questions were answered by way of loud knocks on the table – one knock for no, two for yes.

It all went exactly like the seances you have seen in the movies and on TV. But it was different in two important ways :

  1. this seance was done by ordinary people with no particular talent for spiritual matters as part of a rigorous scientific experiment conducted by Doctor George Owens in 1973, and
  2. they made Philip up. He was entirely fictional. Before the experiment began, they had. as a group, come up with his name, his era, and his tragic biography as a man with a frigid and unloving wife who fell in love with a gypsy girl, only to have his wife discover their affair and have the gypsy burned at the stake as a witch. This drove poor Philip to commit suicide.

No such person ever existed. He was no more real than Sherlock Holmes. And yet, all the phenomena associated with contact with the dead via seance occurred. The participants swore there was no trickery or stagecraft involved. Observers found no evidence of fraud and many of them went away with their fundamental beliefs badly shaken.

It was called the Philip Experiment, and it rocked people’s foundations.

Seems like the sort of thing you would have heard of before, doesn’t it? Seems kind of important. But alas, this research was doomed to disappear for three reasons, presented here in ascending order of outrage : \

  1. The research was Canadian, and people don’t listen to us. Especially Americans.
  2. The forces of pseudo-rationality and false skepticism would want the research discredited then buried in a deep deep hole. and
  3. they didn’t document anything

That’s right. All we know about how these experiments went down is from eyewitness accounts. Scientifically speaking, they didn’t do a damned thing. ARGH.

Now in their defense, the experiment took place over a long period of time and involved a group of people who would become very good friends meeting once a week for years.

I can understand how that would promote a relaxed, party-like atmosphere that is largely incompatible with such things as careful observation and precise documentation.

But still. ARGH. Write shit down, people! Listen to this man!

Now as a few of you may know, my approach to this kind of phenomenon is what I call the phenomenological approach. That means that I view these things  from a point of view that does not demand that such simplistic valuations as “true” or “false”. Rather, it simply studies them as phenomena – things which occurred on some level.

And that is one of the fundamental tenets of my brand of parapsychological inquiry : that however we explain these phenomena to ourselves, they happened. These are not in any sense unreal experiences. If they were not real, we would never have heard of them.

Why? Because unreal things can’t possibly have any effect on real things.

If these events were not real, then there is no logical way in which they could have any effect on the real world. Something caused these phenomena. Something objectively real. Something you can point to and say “That did it. ”

Whether or not they took place outside people’s heads or inside them is another matter.

So something causes this group of people to believe in the events they described.  Whatever your explanation, the mere fact that this happens – that people come to believe they had experiences which defy rational explanation – is fascinating in and of itself.

From the psychological angle, what I find most interesting is how the behaviour of the Philip entity – which, again, was entirely fictional – changed over time. It became bolder, more rambunctious, more eager to show off what it knew or could do.

Now, Owen’s theory was that human beings can develop things like telekinesis if the conditions are right, and that therefore everything Philip did was a manifestation of the collective unconscious of the group.

The same sort of thing has been used to explain the results of the Ouija board.

And to me, that is the most interesting thing. Even if we suppose that all of the unusual phenomena had some kind of rational explanation – people were doing things to cause them unconsciously, say – the fact that a group of people who know one another well can merge their unconscious minds into this sort of gestalt is mind-blowing.

It calls into question our very idea of what it means to be ourselves. We live in a very individualist age and we tend to think of ourselves as separate islands in the same river.

But drain the river, and you can see that we all spring from the same riverbed.

As individualists, we live in fear of anything that threatens our sense of individual autonomy and identity. This brings us freedom – and isolation.

But what if we could access this collective subconscious at will? Bring it out of the realm of mysticism. poetry, and religion, and into the light of science and the everyday?

Imagine if everyone learned how to access it at the same time they were learning their ABCs and 123s. It could become a spiritual Internet, where people can connect with one another in a way that defies isolation and instead brings people closer to the sense of oneness that is key to transcendental religions worthwhile?

I think the first step towards that goal would be to gently deconstruct the idea of absolute individuality just enough to let in the idea of “separate but still part of a whole” into the public mind. The idea that there is more to human life than individual atoms of humanity passing one another in the night.

And opening ourselves up to the notion that there is a level of closeness – of humanity – beyond our personal circles of friends, family, and colleagues.

That there is a thread connecting every human being to every other human being on Planet Earth, and none of us are ever truly all alone in the world.

You just have to open up and let people in.

Take it from me…. someone on that same path myself.

It’s worth it.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.




Ruling by outrage

We have to stop paying attention to the outrageous things Donald Trump does.

I’m as addicted as anyone else to his antics. As the exploits of supposed prudes has taught us, you do not have to approve of something in order to enjoy it. You can be vehemently against it and use that as a cover to keep enjoying it.

And I think we are becoming addicted to the shock and outage of the Donald Trump Show. And that makes us all a tiny bit complicit in his Horrible President Show.

And I think he understands that on some primitive level. He groks that his safety lies in keeping people shocked and stunned by what he does and that encourages him to keep acting out in order to keep us (secretly happily) shocked and woozy.

Being outraged can be fun, just like being frightened or disgusted can be fun. Outrage gives us a little adrenaline level spike and the feeling of utter righteousness that comes from the observation of behaviour far outside what we consider acceptable. This comes from comparing ourselves to the misbehaving person and feeling, very strongly, that we are way, way, way better than them.

And the worse the behaviour, the better we feel about ourselves. And because the bar has been set so low the bottom is visible in China, even relatively shitty people can get in on the fun of towering moral superiority.

Thus, Donald Trump gets the oodles of attention that any bratty child wants (remember, all the brat cares about is that it’s all about THEM), and we all play along by being shocked, saddened, or enraged by what they do.

And that means that we who oppose him have to get smart about these thing and refuse to play along with him by rewarding him with attention.

In short, we need to learn to ignore him.

That’s not going to be easy. We’ve been watching his Watch Me Do Bad Things show for over a year and we will miss it when it is gone. It has been rewarding us with fun outrage and the feeling of moral indignation (and hence, superiority) and it will be hard to give that up, especially when you know that there are  a billion people still enjoying it.

I mean, just think of how hard it will be to ignore the link to something awful Trump has done that a good friend posted on Facebook. Imagine said friend saying “Have you heard the latest about Trump?” nd how hard it would be to say “No, and I am not interested. ”

You would be so damned tempted to say yes, wouldn’t you, even though you know that what you hear will only upset you and that you have no power whatsoever over whatever it is he did.

You have to ask yourself why you would seek out such an experiece.. What is it you are getting out of it? What would happen if you stopped cold turkey?

Don’t feed the trolls, man. It’s one of the most basic rules of the Internet…. and the hardest to follow. Fighting with the trolls feels good. It help us vent our suppressed anger at all the little indignities of life in a way that has no personal consequences.

But the only way to cure a brat is to ignore them. No matter what they do. Even if you have to intervene when they do something damaging or dangerous, don’t pay any attention to them. Don’t make eye contact, don’t react, don’t engage, and do not say a single world. Treat them like they aren’t even there.

And keep it up for as long as it takes for them to get the idea and stop misbehaving. The minute they are doing the right thing, reward them lavishly with attention. Make it crystal clear that behaving poorly gets them ignored but doing the right thing gets them all the attention they want.

Granted, this will be nearly impossible with Trump. The media love him and they are going to keep people as outraged as they can because that’s what drives clicks. Every media outlet today wants to be your source for your next hit of outrage and is actively spinning every story to be as outrageous as possible.

And no matter how much we publicly denounce such shoddy and destructive journalism,. we still tune in, and that is all that counts in the long run.

The best attitude towards both the media at Trump is to ignore them as unimportant and not worth dealing with. That will drive them crazy and at first they will escalate their efforts in order to get a reaction out of you. If you do react, react with placid acceptance of whatever it is they are4 doing to get your attention. “That’s nice, dear. ” you say, not really paying attention or taking them seriously. Make sure your tone is faintly but distinctly patronizing. Never pay direct attention to them or treat them as important at all.

Of course, this only works if you can get enough people to do it to have an impact. In the grand scheme of things, this will be very difficult,  because I have said most people are now addicted to the Trump Outrage of the Day and most of them don’t know it, and even those who do know it don’t grasp the role they play in it.

I’m not sure even I could do it. It would mean not watching Colbert and the Daily Show any more. That’s too high a price to pay,.

SO perhaps what we need is a show that treats Trump like he is not important at all. That replaces “Can you fucking BELIEVE what this asshole did today?” with “Oh, and that silly harmless old man did something pathetic to get attention today. ”

Done right, that attitude could be infectious because it give people a way out of that cycle of outrage that takes such a toll on people.

We are addicted. But we are not happy about it.

People need an escape route.

Maybe I will build them one.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.



North Korea is not going to attack

Let’s get real here for a minute, okay?

I know, for an fact, that North Korea is never, ever, ever going to fire a nuke at the USA. Ignore the media hype. Refuses join in the scare-yourself game. Detach entirely from what “everyone” thinks.

And most of all, stop worrying about. It’s waste of time. Worse, it turns you into a puppet of unworthy people desperate to draw attention away from their own massive incompetence and massive corruption for even a second so they can all scuttle away into the crooks and crannies of the public consciousness like the goddamned cockroaches they are.

Right now, Kim Jung Un is playing a game with President Trump[1]. Let’s call it the Let’s Play War game, or maybe Saber Rattling For Dummies. It’s a simple game. All you do is pretend to be really mad at the other player while knowing the other player is just playing a game and doesn’t mean the crazy shit they say either.

That way, you can convince your people that you are really gonna GET the other player without the slightest risk of consequences to yourself. And it’s such a rewarding game. It makes the hawks in your government because it feeds their desperate need to feel powerful and manly without risk of personal harm, and all at the public’s expense. It forces the international media to pay attention to you and increase your prestige by playing up what a threat you are (In other words, how powerful and awesome you are) and how you could destroy EVERYTHING if you wanted to. And best of all, it gives all the conservatives in your country the thing they want more than absolutely anything else in the universe : an excuse to stop thinking.

Conservatives loves that shit. Can’t think, we’re at war/in crisis/ scared of our own shadows. No doubts – doubt is disloyalty, and we’re at war, you traitor! How dare your question what our leaders are doing…. we’re at war!

Because remember, conservatives hate and fear uncertainty more than anything else. Doubt threatens to put them into a position where they might have to think for themselves, and they are totally not down with that.

Consequently, they ferociously attack any source of doubt. Absolutely anyone who causes them to doubt any of their beliefs for even one second is automatically assumed to be evil because it is the source of the brain pain and terror of doubt.

Every time they shout down a liberal – even the imaginary ones in their heads – they feel a great relief at having “won” against evil people deliberately trying to hurt them.

But that’s not why you are reading this. You want to know how I can be so sure that North Korea is not a threat. It’s simple : they are not a threat because Un, not being a total idiot (unlike some people),  knows that if he launched anything towards anyone,  his entire country, with him in it, would be wiped off the map.

Think about it. What would happen if Un did press the button and send a nuke heading straight towards Washington? What then?

  1. A couple dozen satellites instantly alert the world.
  2. That gives the USA the entire time it takes the thing to cross the entire PACIFIC OCEAN to respond.
  3. Before that, China, Japan, and everyone else in between the ICBM  and the Asian Pacific Rim get a crack at being the ones to bring it down and be heroes.
  4. If it made it past them, it would then have to make it past all the air craft carriers the USA has in the Pacific, which are armed with things like sea to air missiles, massive guns which can shoot shells the size of compact cars 500 miles, oh, and the world’s best fighter planes which could send someone up to fucking beat ont he thing with a hammer if they wanted to.
  5. If it somehow made it past all that, it would then have to cross nearly the entire continental USA with all of its anti-missile defenses, including even more jet fighters, tanks that can fire a shell into the next county with pinpoint precision, drones, ground to air missiles, and hell, a ton of heavily armed rednecks trying to shoot the motherfucking thing down so they can mount it on their wall.
  6. But if it made it past all THAT, and actually landed in Washington, there’s a good chance it would not even go off because the thing is made so cheaply and poorly that the complex timing and sensing mechanisms of an actual ICBM have been replaced by a cuckoo clock and some popsicle sticks, and the bird died.
  7. The worst case scenario – for Un – would be if it made it there and DID go off. Because then the entire world would declare war on North Korea and invade the fuck out of it. That’s also what was going to happen for even firing the thing, by the way, But a successful nuclear strike would take it from the bravado of “this kind of thing can’t be tolerated! We should invade some time soon and teach Un a lesson” to the white-faced grim determination to invade with everything immediately and kill the bastards who just killed millions of people in DC.

Don’t believe me? Look at how the world freaked out at 9/11. And that was only three thousand people. DC proper has 670,000 people. So it would be 9/11 times more than 2000, raised to the power of nuclear fallout.

So no. We are not on the brink of annihilation. North Korea is. But that’s only if Un is stupider and crazier than Donald Trump.

It’s all theater, folks. A show to keep you scared and distracted. The USA and North Korea aren’t enemies. They are Frenemies With Benefits.

Damn. That’s what I should have called the games.

So relax, feel safe, and know that you have my full permission to treat the entire issue as the fiction it is and ignore it.

Spend you time thinking of ways to get rid of Trump instead.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.



Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. That was my first time typing that phrase. I feel dirty,

The sexual side effect

Remember how I said my writing about my so-far solo sex life would get a lot more explicit in the future?

Well this is Phase 1 of that. I am still going to be somewhat oblique but I will still be talking, in details, about my masturbation situation, so if that’s not your bag, spin on, dear one.

Hokay dokay. Now that we’ve taken care of the faint of heart, let me tell you about my problem. It’s a very common problem amongst men on antidepressants.

That doesn’t make it any less frustrating but it’s nice to know I am not alone.

Put plainly, we can’t orgasm. We can pleasure ourselves all we like, but we will never reach our destination. It will forever remain just out of reach.

It’s like one of those dreams where you are running down a hallway trying to escape a monster but somehow, no matter how fast you run, you never reach the door to freedom.

Except in this case, replace freedom with ejaculation.

And it is very frustrating. Women, I think, have it a little easier. Their sexual drives are less goal oriented. Sure, orgasms are amazeballs, but I don’t think they feel the same sort of physical buildup of tension and energy than men do as their passion – amongst other things – starts to rise.

For men, it’s like coiling up a spring, all building to that moment when our entire bodies focus into that blessed relief, and when that relied does not come (heh), we are just left with the goddamned tension.

And that’s what has been happening with me lately. In the midst of my sexual flowering, I can’t actually get off. Not on my own, at least. I have used every form of erotica that I know appeals to me and no matter how hot, sexy, and good it is, I don’t get there.

And this has health consequences, albeit usually quite minor ones. The syndrome colorfully known as “blue balls”[1] is one of them,. The main symptom is a dull ache in the testicles and accompanying tenderness of the affected era.

Usually, this ranges from very mild to considerable discomfort and a possible need to change body postures frequently. I have found that occasionally it can get bad enough that it actually makes me a little nauseous, in a way is that is like the faintest shadow of the full body trauma we males experience when we get kicked in the balls.

I don’t know if there is a way to get across to women just how horrible it is to have one’s scrotum traumatized. It’s not like getting hit in any other body part. If someone drops a brick on my foot, the foot hurts and that’s it.

But a kick to the jollies hurts in your entire body and it is a pain like no other. The best way I have come (heh) up with to describe it is to point out that the testicles are actually, in all structural and functional ways, an internal organ,.

It just so happens that mammals have a scrotal sac in order to keep the testicles at a slightly lower temperature than the body in order to ensure maximum fertility.

It’s weird as heck when you really think about it. But nobody ever said being a male mammal was easy.

I picture a lizard and a bird looking at a naked man and saying “What the hell is THAT?”

Anyhow, back to my frustrations. I spent most of an hour this morning trying to climb that golden mountain but I never even got out of the foothills.

To me, it’s clear why antidepressants have this unpleasant side effect. It’s because they achieve their antidepressant effect by selectively numbing certain emotions and damping down the physiological responses that back depression and (especially) anxiety.

Basically, no part of me can get very aroused. Not my penis or my anxiety.

It’s a tradeoff worth making. I feel so much more energetic, alive, and human on this higher dose of Paxil and Wellbutrin. I have plenty of energy and zest for life, and I am really enjoying exploring  all my different angles on trying to get work.

Somewhere, someone out there needs me. And they have money!

For that big a reward, I will put up with being non-orgasmic for a while. I know that the effect will diminish over time and I will eventually go back to my normal schedule of being able to get where I want to go around once or twice a week.

That might not sound like much, but after years of this selfsame sexual side effect making life just as hard (heh) on me when I was first taking Paxil.

And yeah, it’s a huge bummer to find myself back in that state. I really wish there were some way to counter it. I am just starting to explore my long-suppressed sexuality. Now is a very bad time to be asleep between the legs.

Oh well,. Masturbation still feels good and it’s still a lot of fun. If I can relax and be less goal oriented about it, I can still have a good time. I just need to learn to be Zen in my approach to sex. Each experience is a fullness unto itself. We are all part of the rythmns of life. Our mistake is to think we are in the river. We are the river.

That said, if anyone or anything can get me my sexy side back, I would be so very, very grateful that I would do just about anything to repay them,

Hear that, Sex Gods? Throw a brother a bone here.

And preferably one that works.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow,.



Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. A strange name, isn’t it? Gentle readers, should you or someone you love end up actually blue balls, that’s not sexual frustration, that’s cyanosis, and you should get those testicles and their owner to the hospital. The only exceptions are if you have recently been frolicking nude in a blueberry patch, or are a Smurf.

On necessary belief

There’s two ways to end up believing something.

The officially approved method is, of course, science and reason. Collect facts, make deductions, test theories, integrate the results into a comprehensive worldview, and act according to those principles.

That works great for empirical truth. Religion only gets in trouble when it tries to argue with the results of this method. If you want to be able to make accurate and actionable predictions about the world, or you want to pursue verifiable answers to objective questions, science and reason are the way to go.

But only a fool would be so deluded as to think they acquired all their beliefs that way. Most of what we believe is not the result of reasoned deduction with a neatly worked out sequence of logic backing it up.

We are not logical creatures. There is no such thing. Even computer programs reflect the emotions and intentions of their creators and users. Should we ever achieve true Turing test passing AI, perhaps we will be able to say said entity is logical.

But we most definitely are not.

Thus, there is the other path of belief formation, the human path, which involves a combination of many forces, including consistency with other existing beliefs, the accumulation of intuitive deductions about the world derived from life experience, and the emotional needs of the believer.

Most beliefs, therefore, are the solution to an equation with many interacting variables, of which logic is only one.

The most emotionally charged issues will require the strongest solutions, and it is usually from those issues that necessary belief derives.

These are things the individual needs to believe because said belief solved an enormous conflict for them by replacing directionless doubt with belief and purpose, and thus became a very important, even foundational part of their entire worldview.

These beliefs are not open to reasoned debate because they are too integral to the structure of the believer’s psyche to be risked. The person will go on believing it, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, because said belief is so deeply entrenched that to change it would be to throw onseself into the necessary chaos and doubt it takes to entirely reshape one’s psyche.

And our minds naturally resist that, in the same way that the pyramids of Egypt naturally resist falling over. Maintaining this kind of structural integrity is a basic, base-line function of the human mind, without which mental stability would be impossible. We need to solidify and cement key, core beliefs in order to grow up at all, let alone grapple with the world and all its complexities and chaos.

Now some of you might be thinking unkind thoughts about the sorts of people who harbor such unreasoned and unreasonable beliefs, but I guarantee that you have them too. Every human being operates on certain fundamental assumptions about the world that are buried so deep in their operating system that they are completely invisible unless something challenges them, and then the response will be primal, not rational.

The purest form of necessary belief is that which falls under the category of “faith”. Faith is by definition unreasoned – nobody needs faith in order to believe the sun will come up tomorrow and coffee will continue to taste good.

Faith is only invoked when there is no rational answer, or at the very least, no rational answer which suits the individual. This is where emotional need comes into play. Being pre-reason, so to speak, faith operates almost entirely on powerful emotional symbols that fill the terrifying gap in the person’s knowledge and allows them to function in a world that can be cruel, arbitrary, and horrifying.

The most extreme example of this phenomenon comes from the religious experience. They vary in expression, of course, but they all come down to the mind simply inventing the solution it needs,  bypassing the slow and cumbersome reasoning mind entirely.

It takes a powerful conflict to trigger this kind of resolution. Despite what some may think, the human mind does not allow modifications to its more traditionally arrived upon belief system easily. Again, this is an issue of stability.

Like a spark jumping a gap when the charges on either side are strong enough, the human mind transcends and creates whatever it needs out of whole cloth. And because the need addressed is so powerful, at no point does the new belief pass through the test of reason. It it created and believed without question.

And of course, you will never reason someone out of such a belief.

Interestingly, these transcendent moments of epiphany are the only solution to a sufficiently entrenched inner conflict. Despite what the voices of reason (or at least, a certain narrowly constricted stuffed and mounted kind of reason) might want you to believe, some problems can only be solved with faith, or at least epiphany, and those who are incapable of it will be spiritually conflicted, perhaps to the point of depression.

A reason-limited mind might be smarter, but it isn’t happier. Said mind can be quite powerful in its grasp of what is really going on, but without the ability to synthesize its own medicine in the form of leaps of faith, there is no guarantee that one’s soul will get all its needs in order to survive.

It’s a little like self-starvation.

Said rationality based mind avoids inner conflict by intellectualization. It studies itself, thus subduing hot emotion with cold, detached reason. Emotions are neutered, conflicts are frozen, and something a lot like living can proceed.

But the basic conflict – the base level cognitive dissonance – remains unresolved. No conflict = no conflict resolution. These unresolved errors accumulate in the mind and take up more and more of the mind’s resources as the mind tries to resolve the conflict but is blocked by supposed reason.

And all because of a fear of believing something that isn’t “true”.

So once again I ask the question : would you rather be right, or happy?

And yes. On some level, you will have to choose.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.




Food, motherhood, and tipping

There is a fundamental. urge in human beings to feel and express gratitude to the people who feed us. In a traditional household, this role is filled by the mother, and so within North American society, there is still a heavy association between feeding and motherhood, and hence, the feelings we have towards food (especially “comfort food”) and our feelings towards our mothers tend to intermingle and cross-pollinate.

This aspect of our deep and irreversible social instincts explains much. It explains why in North America we heavily favour waitresses over waiters. In other areas of the world, food tends to be both cooked and served by men, but in Canada and the US, waitresses outnumber waiters by a considerable margin.

As an incidental effect, this is also why waiters tend to be gay men or are seen as such. We simply cannot handle the idea of being fed by a masculine figure. If a man is doing a “female” job (like waitress, nurse, or secretary), that can only mean that they are, in essence, “female-men”, and in our culture, that translates into “gay”.

Just try to imagine a very manly man taking your order and serving you. You would assume that something had gone wrong. You’d assume that he was the cook and the waitress was late, or that he was the manager, or you would be trying to find indications that he really was gay after all.

And the irony is, if you are a straight man and you were convinced that he was too… it would all feel kind of…. gay.

But back to the ladies. This connection between motherhood, food, and gratitude also explains the North American tradition of tipping people who bring us food. The depth of our feeling is too intimate and tender to be expressed in the cold terms of a financial transaction alone. We feel the need to express our appreciation to the person who fed us on a personal level in the form of money that will go to them personally.

This need runs so deep that we even tip food deliverers, who are traditionally men, and who are presumably paid per delivery by their employers. It doesn’t matter. They are giving us food, and therefore we tip.

Note also that every other service with tipping is also a caretaking profession of some sort. The bellboy looks after you by carrying your bags and making sure you are settled in. The hairdresser grooms you. The cabby drives you places.

All of those are the sort of thing we subconsciously associate with parental care, and to treat these transactions as coldly and detachedly as we treat other purchases strikes us as not merely rude but ungrateful.

As if the person had showed up for Xmas, picked up their presents, and left.

Other cultures do not have this issue. Tipping is virtually unknown outside of North America and servers consider any attempt at tipping to be a bizarre form of bribery that implies that the server will only do a good job if paid extra to do so.

As such, servers in other places in the world are downright insulted by people trying to tip, and anyone trying to tip their waiter comes across as as inappropriate and bizarre in their behaviour as someone trying to tip their nurse would seem to us.

At this point you might be inclined to haughtily declare that our tradition of tipping simply means we are more cultured and civilized than other, more barbaric realms.

To which I would point out that in places without tipping, the servers (who can be of either gender equally) are paid a great deal more and enjoy a much higher status in society.

But here, where they tend to be women, they are paid less and treated worse.

Makes you think about who the barbarians really are, doesn’t it?

This tendency for what is socially right according to our instincts to override the purely commercial nature of transactions is nothing new. I have talked about it in this space before, some time ago.

Technically, the rules of society only dictate that we pay for what we get. Everything else is optional. You could order, eat, and pay for your meal without even making eye contact with your server and without paying a single penny more than the bill says and there would by absolutely nothing wrong with that in the eyes of the law.

But it goes against our grain in a very harsh way to see other human beings treated like machines and this, then, reflects back into our own morality.

Not that I am saying I have never done it myself. On the contrary, in my days of deep depression, I was so terrified of other people that it was all I could do to make it through the checkout lane without freaking out and bolting. Treating the cashier like a human being was not even in the top five things on my priority list.

Nevertheless, we are an intensely social species, and therefore the difference between people and things is of vital important to us. To refuse to socially engage with another human being by ignoring them is, therefore, one of the most profound insults known to humanity. It strikes even fairly insensitive people as grotesque, and to sensitive souls like myself, it is downright monstrous. Worse than malice.

Note how in society, it is never acceptable to treat people as machines or parts of a machine. Especially if one’s individuality is also insulted by being treated like “just another cog in the machine”. If accusations of such are leveled, they must be denied or ignored.

It is unthinkable for someone to simply say, “Yes, I treat people like interchangeable cogs in a machine because that is all they are to me, and I am fine with that. ”

Even fairly sociopathic corporate types would cringe at that from the social unacceptability of it alone.

Finally, to bring it back to the point, we tip because we associate food with our mothers.

It’s really that simple.

Now don’t get me started on how female-associated professions are treated….

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


Ten Thing To Remember About Trump

Ten things to remember about Trump :
: 1. Remember that Donald Trump will not, in fact, be King of America, whether he knows it or not.
2 Remember that a lot of people still hate Trump’s guts and will be gunning for him with everything they got
3. Remember that even a Republican dominated Supreme Court will only put up with so much bullshit because they are concerned about their legacies, and that will put a hard limit on how much Little Donnie the Crybaby can get away with
4. Remember that just because the President and Congress are part of the same party does not mean they will get along at all.
5. Remember that while the Republicans have a majority in both the House and the Senate, their majorities are not fillibuster proof
6. Relatedly, the margins between the parties are relatively small and it would not take a large number of defectors on the Republican side to kill a bill
7. Remember that Trump’s voters are even know realizing that he will keep none of his promises to them and plans to totally fuck them over, and if you think they were mad BEFORE….
8. Remember that soon, all the old scared scary senile people who voted him in will die and modern conservatism will be finally free of them
9. Remember that the international community is not going to let Trump get away with any bullshit, they hate him too, and finally
10. Remember that we are all just people trying to cope in this crazy life and that people do not always mean what they say…. sometimes they are just saying whatever it takes to hurt the people they are mad at.

That’s all.