Sunday, October 25, 2020

Alternitives to the Heroes Journey

 The idea of the heroes journey and it's relation to how we see ourselves, and stories we tell is a stroke of brilliance.

What we see is not real. There is a real world we are looking at, but at a physical level it can be argued that we cannot see the whole of the physical world. A dog has less color receptors than me, and I have less color receptors than a deep sea fangly fish. I am slightly color blind, which means shades of green and red look grey and white. Some people experience protective synesthesia, where they see color when a sense is stimulated. People like taking psychedelics because it changes the things they see and changes the way that they perceive things. Many forms of damaging the senses exist, and damages to the way that these senses interact with the brain exist in many ways. When it comes to the question of "what is real" the first question we need to ask is "how does my perception change what I think is real".

Perception is the only thing we have to figure out the world around us. We are faced with the cruelty of a chaotic world that makes no sense because nature doesn't work with a plan in mind. Trees have a biological reason for growing, we have no evidence that at the meeting of trees they decided it was their duty to grow plenty so there are homes for birds, air for life, and shade. Trees give these things but there was no plan for things. People give meaning to events that are meaningless. And we create this meaning from stories we tell.

Here is the part that stumps me, because I was introduced to European thinkers that had thoughts on dreams and the dream world, but I can't find the references yet. So for now, lets talk about stories. I find Dissociative identity disorder fascinating because it's not something I found familiar. I find connections between ADHD, bipolar, autism, and OCD, and it seems that this might because of where they are thought to exist in the brain. There is something in DID I find familiar, but it took me a while to pinpoint what. DID talks about littles, protectors, et al living in a system. To me, DID seems to dissociate internally, connecting trauma, thoughts and emotions to people and a voice that are in them, but when I stress I dissociate onto others. I not only see myself as the protagonist of my own story, but I have ways of describing myself, to myself. I was born and raised in the woods of Vermont, with barely any access to televised media. I am a sharp and intelligent person who is creative, can speak eloquently and know some words of other languages, I can speak on logic and mathematics and biology. I struggle with my place in the world and how to make the most of it for me. I have friends that reflect these things, and I see these things in some or all of them. When I am stressed about forces in this life, like the looming shadow of death and taxes, all I can see in my friends is myself. I cannot see them for the people who have another life with their own values, experiences and moral codes. They are me, but are themselves.

We tell stories, and not all stories are about a hero who saves the day. We tell stories about the villain, and these stories contain the things we find negative. The villain is someone who acts on the wrong impulses. The villain is Faust who becomes tempted by the devil, they are Darth Vader being guided by his fear and anger, they are that self centered bitch Briana at work who is always being a pain in my ass and is constantly acting for herself and her bitch friends. When I am stressed or anxious or frustrated, I see my negatives reflected in the people around me. There is usually no deeper meaning to these reflections, because these are reflections of human nature, or a flaw I see in myself. I see my lack of focus, organization, and communication of my pain in others because these things may exist as my coping mechanisms, and others are coping to different problems using the same tools. Or we might all be reacting to the same stimuli that exists in the real world, but our emotional perceptions and coping mechanisms are different, causing us to act differently and different is bad. Different is the antagonist. Empathy is realizing that others exist with inner pain and joy separate from our own. Goals and fears that might not be ours, turning into motivations and reasons that we cannot understand. In myself, I struggle with the idea that my motivations are not pure, and I do things for selfish gain, not for the good of all. And I tell myself a story where I am the villain. And I recognize that others don't act in a way that is moral or right, and that they stand directly in the way of my goals. So I tell stories where they are the villain.

There is the trickster's tale, a story of a clever protagonist getting one over on unsuspecting authority. One upping the boss man and proving that we, the supposed lesser, actually have the leverage and power. Loki the trickster exists as the center of some stories, but he doesn't always act for the good of the group. Can we trust the chaotic neutrals, because they sometimes do the right thing, but we cannot always agree with the reasons. We have stories of tragedy and comedy, both pointing out the sorrow and humor of the world. In stories like MASH or Catch-22, there might barely be a point or end goal to the story, the heroes and their existence are there to remind of us of the hopelessness of the world. We have stories of Justice and Retribution, stories of romance, stories of failure and happiness. We and our friends can be the protagonists of these stories, but we are not always the moral center of the story, and we struggle with the idea that we are not always motivated by good intentions. We are not always motivated in the correct way, because we are more than a character in a story. We are human, and human is a complex stew of emotion and experiences in a world that we don't understand but are trying desperately to make sense of before it eats us alive. We act for the good of ourselves, friends and community, but sometimes we act on emotion in a way that doesn't fit a structure. This structure gives us meaning. Gives us hope and love and a future to look forward to. Because otherwise there is no meaning, and we get lost in the swamps of sorrow.

These stories are not us though, these stories are told by the emotions and feelings we have. This statement is not a useful statement because not all emotions are caused by something we can control. A toxic person in my life who only exists to point out the flaws and negativity in the world can be thrown away. A flaw in my perception in the world and how this flaw causes negative emotions is a different beast. My ADHD cause me to focus on small things and makes me lose sight of a bigger picture. This woman is speaking to me, telling me what is in her heart and mind but I can feel like something is off. The medication helps me zoom out, so I'm looking at the way she speaks, and dresses, and acts. Sometimes I missed something, and it was something on a subconscious level that bothered me. Most of the time I was really just missing the other details in the rest of the big picture, and missed the truth in front of me. This thing in my head can cause me to focus too long on a problem and not eat, and hunger changes my mood. I get tired, others get cranky, and we let our emotions talk to each other, and say things that aren't always true.

I tell this to others, and I always say "take your medication". But where are the stories we tell ourselves coming from? My hunger stops me from thinking things through, and I take offense to things not directed at me. My exhaustion keeps me from speaking in full sentences, and I'm only able to speak in short bursts. They are separate from my ADHD, which wonders why my physical environment is a mess, why my brain won't stop thinking, and why my clothes smell like I haven't changed in 3 days. When my hunger speaks, I feed it, when my exhaustion speaks I rest, and when my ADHD acts up I reflect on why, then hit it with exercise or medication.

Whose voices tell you stories, and are they always heroes stories? Are you a trickster, someone else's villain, or are you caught in romance that struggles against unseen forces in the world.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

What do we learn from Success?

He presents "The Hero Story" as a concept in psycho-analytics. I was only aware of it in story telling as a useful tool to create a plot, but here he is presenting it to us in psycho-analytics. We are the heroes of our story, we work to gain what we want, and gaining what we want makes us happy. When we don't get what we want, we are presented with the chaotic nature of the world and are forced to face this chaos. Psycho-analytics is a tool that help dive into the skeletons, old wounds, and the ghosts of failures past that still haunt us to this day by taking the plunge into the underworld to face these things head on. This gives us a way for dealing with failure, but looking at them as opportunity, not as something to get worked up over.

To start with, there is his model of learning which bothers me. I'm all about learning and learning strategies, and his statement "All learning comes failure" rings false with me. 

He expresses failures coming from actions, like telling a joke that fails, so does all learning comes from actions? "The stove is hot" is not a statement that needs to be acted on by touching it. I know the potential danger of hot surfaces not because of my third degree burns, but because I see how the hot surface acts with other things, and conclude that I shouldn't touch the stove. If I touch the stove, then my perceptions and assumptions of the situation were off. Learning can be done through action, but it can be done through observations.

I point because I'm wondering how do I fail through observation, but still learn? I can watch the failures of others and learn through their mistakes. He went off the ski jump and got really hurt is an observation of someone's failure, and it still forces me to confront the chaos of life. What did he think he could go off of the ski jump? Why did he fail? Would the same thing happen to me if I try that? Isn't it just as likely I can confront these things by watching others succeed? I can make a failure in observation, he succeeded because he drank the right beer. Maybe I can observe as a contrast to my own failures in life, i.e. he can succeed at that but not me because I'm pudgy and never learned how to ski. In my personal case, I can ski and I'm in good shape. Which means why not observe their success and seek to emulate how they achieved that through routines and training they did that might help me if I wished to do the ski jump.

If I decide to do that, then I can start learning through action which brings failure. I think a more accurate statement would be "Learning comes with failure" Failure will occur, but it's not the point we learn from. We learn from making the model.

Here's my model: We gather information, we test our hypothesis, we reflect on our results, and we start again at point one. We will gather information based on our assumptions. We can gather information on cultural assumptions (things we "know" in the US about race and information we get to prove or disprove these assumptions), previous experience (My tire went flat last week, because the tread was gone. My other tire went flat a few weeks before, because the tread was gone. Maybe I should change all my tires since they seem to be wearing out), and observations (this person is into me because they keep talking to me and putting extra effort into themselves when they around me. When I notice people doing that, it usually works in my favor). It's good mathematics and good science to challenge our assumptions and test them. Take an assumption, gather information from a source that doesn't agree with us, test the assumption with the new information, does it fail or succeed? We can do that by reading a book or watching a video or listening to a podcast of a person that has a different view. We need to reflect on this new information and how it fits in with what we know, and sometimes that means confronting a belief that is the core of who we are.

You are at a party, and you tell a joke the joke falls flat. Facing the chaotic nature of the world and asking why you failed is reflection. And I agree with that. You can reflect on success though. A reflection like "why did I fail then but succeed now" is a reflection on success. Looking at the success of others and asking what they did to succeed is a reflection on success.

Does this break and devalue the video and argument as a whole? Not necessarily. I have problems with the presentation of the video, and I have problems with the presentation of the hero's story, and I don't agree with the power of psycho-analytics. This argument about learning and the implications made can be analyzed though, where the other stuff might just be a bias on my part.

We are presented with "a thing that makes us happy", and we the audience will think the opposite is true. However, he shows us that we think of failure as negatives and these negatives are presented to us as stories. He doesn't say stories but offers examples like "Maybe you are not as funny as you think you are, maybe you are not around people that you understand." These are stories our anxiety tell us though. Or the stories our depression tell us. My happiness tells me stories as well, it feeds my ego and reminds me of my greatness. Feelings of loneliness tell me the story of the darkness and evil that exists in the world. I am not my feelings of anxiety. My feelings of anxiety and the stories they tell make up a part of me, because anxiety to a situation is an emotional responce to a situation that is all too human. I am also my happiness, my passion, and my joy and with them comes their own stories. While it is fine to reflect on my failures, I need to remember that I am a sum of both my successes and my failures. The stories are not necessarily the thing that is making me unhappy, the unhappiness might be the thing telling the story. I might reflect on the struggles of my childhood and my failures if I'm in such a mood, but I can also think about the fun I had in the same situation. The memorie I have still exists because of the powerful emotions that surround them, the stories that surround them comes from my interpenetration, and my interpretation may be biased at any given moment. My relationship with my father is something I can switch back and forth on. He taught me to draw, think about history, gave me an interest in how things work and encouraged our creativity. He is also the reason why I walk on the balls of my feet because he would get angry if I stomped around. Do I want to talk about him as an inspirational figure or an abusive authority completely depends on my emotional state. Overall, my relation with him now is good, even if I don't agree with things he says and I find myself struggling to share my new interests with him now. In the real world, he is a person with his own thoughts and experiences, but my perception of him comes in part from the stories my emotions tell me.

What I'm presenting is that these stories are a coping mechanism for the chaos in the world. I failed to get the promotion and now I'm unhappy can be a cause and effect situation. "Why do I continue to fail in my life" can be a thought that pops up as a reaction to failure. Acknowledging how we react to failure is a step to self awareness which leads to growth. He is presenting us with this awareness. What I keep coming back to is that in this video, there is a focus on the negative and the failure. "Why am I so awesome and good at what I do" is also a valid thought that leads to reflection on success. The first statement is a coping mechanism for failure, and in the second case we see it as a coping mechanism to success. You might of succeeded because you have the best stradgey for dealing with all the information, or maybe blind luck has sent you down a series of events that leads to your greatness. That's why we reflect on our greatness, to spend the time acknowledging where we came from, what helped us succeed, and how we might continue to gain what we want, as Peterson says. We can learn from our success, we learn our strengths. And we an reflect on how are strengths help us. I'm not ugly and some people find me attractive, which means people will treat me better then if my face was melted in an accident. I'm actually able to talk about wide variety of topics, which makes me some what charismatic. I'm mostly emotionally stable, which attracts people to me. These are all strengths, as opposed to the weaknesses brought to life by my failures. I tend to fail in planning, organization, and focus. I can get frustrated with the pace of things, which can cause me to react in a way that does not help me. Instead of talking things out with others, I can leap to assumptions and become grumpy and moody. I can snap at people over unimportant things when I feel stressed over things like money and job stability.

I like that there is an air of "you are the master of your own destiny" attitude of the video. I feel that reflection and analysis of your feelings is important. All learning comes from failure is an overstatement, however and that we can learn just as much from ourselves from our success and gaining what we want. Take the chance to reflect on the strengths as well as the weaknesses, and figure out how these things lead to your successes and failures.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Flaws and balance

Newton was a punk ass-bitch. In my mind, I like to start blog posts with something explosive and aggressive, and I woke up thinking that Tesla and Newton got it wrong. Nietzsche was wrong. A person can only depend on themselves if they are an ubermench, perhaps, but the problem is we are all humans. To be human is to be flawed.

 Anger, fear, frustration, lust too, desire and the rest are human emotions. We can force ourselves not to feel these things, but we miss out on an aspect of humanity, a dirty, disgusting side that is easier to hide away in the dark, away from our eyes. Never bring yourself to anger, lest you become something more. Fuck that. When you are angry, ask your self why. The anger did not make me break, destroy, and harm. A world of mixed messages, illusions, and powers beyond my understanding bombards me everyday, leaving me wondering how to act, or in times how to react. Emotions overtake us and lead our thinking when we don't ask why. In the narratives we like to tell, we fear anger because of the destruction. Anger is motivation, either a motivation to destroy or to propel us into action.

The grand of emotion of love have driven men mad, and brought the powerful Cleopatra down. Love is destructive, but we celebrate it, get caught up in it's excitement, and feel it's warmth travel through our body, protecting us like a blanket from a world that makes no sense. Anger makes the face hot, and causes speech to stutter. Love makes us blush and causes us to stammer on like a fool without a plan. "Love" didn't destroy Troy, just the base desires of sex, lust, and passion that are tied to it.

We all are human, and to be human is to feel anger rising from the deepest pits of ourselves. It is to feel surrounded by the warmth of feelings from those around us. We all have stood on the edge and seen the emptyness of it all, and have felt a sense of hopelessness. Feeling that we are less of a person for feeling something that is critical to the human experience is keeping something from ourselves. The wisdom of ancients points out that we cannot stop ourselves from eating, breathing, or drinking without serious physical problems, and ignoring why we feel the way we do leaves an empty, confused feeling. We feel emotion, but we don't look to the cause, and sometimes we make an ass out of u and me about where the feeling is coming from.

Our reactions to the emotions we feel is what makes us self aware. We think, therefore we can choose our reaction. In the madness of the boil of this stew we find ourselves in, it's our only true choice. The choice can set us up for the next choice, but we have no control over the hand dealt to us.

To be human is to be weak. Achilles used to be a great warrior, until he took an arrow to the ankle. The stories of man falling to the temptation of the flesh is an ancient tale and as mentioned before, it took the great Cleopatra down too. The wild passions of teenage love exists as a cautionary tale in Shakespeare, and there has to be something in the old testament about someone shacking up with a hooker and loosing sight of what is truly important. To be self aware is to recognize our flaws and our failings, and not to fight them. They might be the motivation to create something more and powerful, or they will pass and are nothing to dwell on.

Issac Newton and Tesla were punks that didn't understand how to incorporate another person into their lives, and claimed they were stronger without a relationship. And Tesla fought to be recognized in his own time. Another person supplements us, giving us the strength in areas where we are weak. Another person brings empathy, patience, cleanliness, and calm. In a world where things change so quickly, where people and situations flash before us like the fevered nightmares of the dying, popping in and out of focus with no context, another person is lighthouse to focus on, clarity to bring us out of the darkness. A Penelope for Odysseus to work towards, and hopefully a ying to our yang.

If you are in my life, chances are good you pocess a skill I feel I lack. Am I a sociopath? People are my friends, and I feel empathy and hurt for them, but they are there in my life because they are better at something. In most working relationships, it's organization. Or empathy, or patience, or dance. People come from a world apart from me, so I can become confused when I see the similarities, but the differences compliment me. Does that make sense?

Action question: How do you connect with others? In a working or romantic relationship, what are the skills that make up you, and you bring to a group.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

So many notebooks!

 Howdy void, how y'all doing?

If you're anything like w'all, then chances are you are selling stuff, moving house, moving job, or all three at once.

It's a good thing w'all learned to be better stoics and Buddhists during the quarantine. And learned to center our minds, clean our space and get motivated to start projects, because who knows what is going on anymore or how to react. 

Anyways, found a ton of old journals. Stuff I've been keeping for the last 10 to 15 years.

Shampoo For Reference

Some of y'all might be looking at this and thinking, "That seems small for maybe 15 years." Others may be thinking "Was this taken on a potato? Is that a drinking cup tipped over in the back? I get the shampoo, but the box? It's so cluttered, get your life together and just come back!"

Well, ok, that was a little much of y'all to say to me. Void, that stung a bit. This all the stuff that was, uh, worth keeping? Not shown is a small box full of receipts and bills to bank accounts no longer with us, and  possibly a whole box of notes and doodles from high school. My life is clutter, and. So. Can. You.

I have ideas about things happening. They are mathematical, economical, and political coming from a place that is so logical. Let's talk about all the shit in notebooks I thought was important!

I have the loose notes left over from the last recession, the one where I spent the summer homeless in a tent. I'm excited to find that one, since I've always want to write about that experience. The magic, the wonderment, the confusion, the magic. I felt like god that summer, and it comes out all the time in those notes.

I got the piece of printer paper with a discussion on being frustrated about not knowing what to write scribbled in red sharpie. I might have the small short story about the guy who can only wake up in the morning after taking deep breaths from his herb bowl. Maybe I have that one. Or I lost that one and the one saying that I'm sick of waking up in the morning after drinking and having to apologize to everyone. BASICALLY, it was when I came back to my parents after living in the tent, and I was depressed and drunk and just whatever. You know, unhappy.

I have notebooks talking about being diagnosed with ADHD. One of the biggest changes in the notes is being diagnosed, then Hitchhiking New Zealand 5 months later. Got the New Zealand note books. I found several books to keep me going, one of which was Optiks by Issac Newton. And I spent time trying to work through a few of the examples in the book. Math becomes a huge deal in the note books later. Before, there's just me keeping lists, keeping track of money, and basic things. By the time I left my job in science, my notebooks have programming, research, and a bunch of combinatorics and calculus I can't remember anymore. Not really self taught, just found some smart patient people that wanted to explain this to me.

I have the notebook that has my first meeting with my Russian pal. 8 years later, and still chatting, and now I know some Russian, have been there twice, and have worked on so many projects together. Women keep showing up in these, but never "I'm working on things with her, things have ups and downs but we are excited!" No, I spent the decade beating my self up because nothing ever worked. Here's something funny: I met an old crush before leaving to NZ. I spent a massive part of the first month only talking about her. I was setting goals for myself, and wouldn't shut up about this, since I was hopping to make it work. Then I calm down and meet a french girl. Still have her note about places to visit in Southern France. I failed there, too, but then I stopped obsessing briefly and start to notice who else is out there. It's temporary, because the original move down to PA was fueled by this. Of course, I didn't tell her this. And it failed. And I spent another notebook bitching about this failure and how I'm always failing and blah blah blah. I was not prepared for that in these notes. I have all the fun things I remember, like "Eulogy for a Bong" then I read it and realize that I didn't know it's 60% me whining about a girl in high school. I fucking swear to god, I'm a highly intelligent 24 year old in foreign country whining about failures with women when I'm sexy just because I was foreign. 

And then I give up! Ignore the fact that I'm sitting in a bar in Boston and this woman is making small talk with me about my job. No, because I'm not up to my standards in my head! So I give up, and just stop trying to date until I go learn Russian.

So this is going long, but like, who the hell did I want to be? I spend these journals writing about the fact I can't write, whining about beautiful women I meet not wanting to sleep with me because they usually lived in another part of the country, and then I compare it to some nostaligic memory. Then I find the notebook from the nostaglic point and it's like "I have $40! I found maybe $5 more in change! Here is list of the food I can buy! Don't have a car, riding my bike uphills both ways!" You know what a notebook is? A reality check. Because now I find myself longing for the days I worked at Lambert, but at the time I just wanted to get out. This blog has worked as a journal too. So I look forward to the day when I find myself thinking, "Yeah 2020 was hectic, but the memories!"

There is such improvement though! Again, 2012 is me doing calculus along with Issac newton, 2017 is a ton of stuff I'm not sure how to follow. Fucking combinatorics. I start to come to terms with how ADHD affected me, which includes all the obbsesing over failures with women. Maybe another day I'll post a couple and talk about why my ADHD is doing it.

And where am I at now? Lost my job, but whatever. I know computers and networks and shit, and Vermont is pretty socialist with it's programs. I can get me an education and certificate. Lost my house, butt fuck it, I lived in a tent several times. One time I used a 5 gallon bucket as a shitter. It's temporary because I have 15 years of notebooks showing improvements. Even if I go through a big personal depression, which I've done twice now, it's temporary. And I come out the other side.

15 years of watching me working on myself. But hey next time w'all will talk about the roles others have in improving us. Here's an action question for y'all - do any of you know where you end and years of friends, teachers, parents, and mentors begin?

Monday, September 28, 2020

True choices

 Buddhism has a feel like stoicism to me, feel in the jazz sense of the word. This feel comes from an acknowledgement that the only true choices we have is the choice of emotions and reactions. Marcus Aurelius spends a section of his Meditations gripping about going to the senate when he wants to be a philosopher or artist or whatever, but finally concludes that it's in his nature to go the senate, and other beings don't bitch and moan about their nature so why should he. It's a passage that I find myself thinking about a lot because of it's contrast to the idea of "self" in Buddhism. Today, though, I find myself thinking about it as a different perspective on a similar tool. To contrast perspective, in the Dhammapada we are introduced to the idea of self as a mirror and how the true self shines through.

So before we continue, I want you, the captive reader, to listen to me about the self. My American self sits on my ass to watch people more well known and more well off than me talk about humility in interviews with other famous people. In these interviews, it's common for people to wax philosophical about how nobody gets to know the real them, who they feel is the person they keep private for friends and family. In my reading of the Dhammapada, this idea of "the real me" doesn't exist, it's a reflection the people, situations, and expectations that surround us. Yes, you don't act the same with your work friends as you do with your drinking buddies, or as you do with your family. Is your work self your true self, or is the vulnerable version of you at 2 am lying next to your lover your true self? Your true self shines through in moments like these, but you are not hiding a face from the other, your reflecting the mood and the people. My buddies at the warehouse don't need to be impressed with my way of beautiful prose, because I'm not done fucking them and I'm not trying to sleep with all of them. There is a way I want to be seen by others, things I want to be known for. I want to be know as caring, helpful, hardworking, efficient, but not as a push over. Being known as these things is helpful to me throughout all my interactions and gets me the most money/tail/status/power. While I might be more gentle and caring with a lover than with a co-worker, I can choose to bring the better aspects of myself to these interactions, in different ways. To pull away the reflections and illusions in ourselves is to point an analytical eye inwards and acknowledge who we are to those around us. For me to go any deeper than than this would require a discussion on "the axioms of self", what are things that make up personality at a base level. For a TLDR; to know who we are, we must not only acknowledge ourselves, but also our interactions with other people.

In the sense of western philosophy, we love the self, and in the US we have built entire concepts around individualism. It is hard to truly give yourself to another person, but we continue to try, whether it's giving our soul to a partner or our body to Christ. We have built institutions in the USA based on the time honored tradition that god only helps those that helps themselves.We are more aware of the struggles of the individual, and tell stories of individual struggle against the wider world. The story of the businessman that worked his way up from nothing to have an empire. The man with a stable family life despite being from a poor broken home. The story of survival vs a world that only wishes to see us fail. The people who help us are friends, but the rest of the world pushes against us, keeping us from our true calling of success. The self is more isolated, a force against nature, a rock beaten by the waves of time and society. Or maybe this is just how it feels in the real America, a world of quiet nature that separates us from other people and allows us to reflect on this feeling.

Back to my man Marcus. I've focused on this concept of the self as it appears, but there is another interpretation of this. True choice only exists as our choice of emotions. The buddha, the story goes, was born to a life of luxury and status, but found emptiness inside. So he left his wife and child to spend years starving himself, denying himself pleasures of flesh, drinking only when important to live, but still found emptiness inside. There are things that make us animals (the need for sipping, sex, and sleep) there are things that make us human (anger, joy, pleasure and obsession) but these aren't "good" and "evil" things. We let anger consume us and eat us alive. We can do this by focusing on a thought and letting the feeling into our gut to make our stomach turn. Then we take that feeling and bring to all our interactions. "Having trouble at work now because I'm bringing personal baggage at home". Pleasure and the quest for pleasure has consumed many for many reasons, but the enjoyment of pleasure is a hit of dopamine in our physical brains, and exists in creatures that have access to dopamine. We can choose to acknowledge these, and not fight the feelings but instead try to acknowledge where they come from, and acknowledge the joy and hardship that these things bring us.. Mindfulness. It's mindfulness you guys. I'm only talking about mindfulness.

Marcus is really classical in how he writes, in that he speaks about cultural knowledge as if it's world truths. He turns his eye inwards through his cultural lens (and his class appropriation of a slaves philosophy). His meditations are something wonderful because he is using a tool of analytics , not his musings of how hard work and good teachers gave him the status he enjoyed. This analytics exists in the writings of western philosophers, but is not explored on the same level of buddhism. Rene Descartes exists because he thinks, but only takes small steps away from the culture, the situations, and things in the material world that influenced his thoughts.

Is Buddhism better than stocism? Buddhists and stoics are people, and their ideas areas wonderfully flawed as people. Both give their ideas wrapped in the cultural trappings (the sexism, classism, prejudice, and fear of change) of their environment, but both give us this tool of mindfulness though, a tool of self analysis that works to get past the masks, reflections and illusions created by this bullshit to see ourselves. A tool to see ourselves and our connections to others. With this tool, we can begin to see the person we bring to every interaction, and we can choose emphasis or change for these things.

Maybe someday soon, we can have a sit down and talk about Emma Goldman, violence, and the use of power. For now, let's just have a friendly smoke sess and talk about choices.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

10 Mathematicians to help make learning FUN!

Hey parents! Are you having a hard time getting your kid interested in mathematics?  Here's a list of interesting Mathematicians to keep your kid saying "Arthritic? More like Awesome-mitic!"


  1. Karl Marx - Whoa there, coming out the gate a little hot here, aren't we? Well, there's mathematics in everything and boy did he ever find them them in his analysis of the working class struggle, Das Kapital. Of course, some of his calculations were made using geometery, which was slowly falling out of fashion by that point. Make learning fun, exciting and alive while you learn about the class struggle and how war is finically inevitable!
  2. Sophia Kovalevskya -Did someone say Grrrrrl pwr!? Sophia didn't need no man in order to become the first female professor of mathematics in Euorpe, even if it was Russia. Married on paper to the 26 year old Vladimir Kovalevsky when she was 18, they never fucked until they were in their 30's. This allowed Sophia to leave Russia (at a time when women couldn't get a mathematical education and couldn't travel without a male family member to escort you) to get a mathematical education in another country. It also allowed Vladimir to translate the works of Darwin into Russian before Darwin even finished them!
  3. Galoe. Gal-law? Gal-o-iss? How do you say Évariste Galois? The dude everyone knows, and the one that reminds the world that we are in fact, crazy rockstars that live fast and die young. An old mathematician produces no work, so this punk went out on top in a guMisunderstood bad boy Galoisnfight. He was looked down upon, because he was a son of a politician during the french revolutionary war. But Gal-law he was like, no I'm a mathematician, I don't want to politics, I want to math. Like the chivalrous, gentleman he was, he got into a pistol dual over the honor of a maiden which he tragically died from. Not until after he released his brilliant ideas into the world, which old people never got, just Jimi Hendricks "Electric Ladyland". Why hasn't there been a movie made about this gorgeous young white french dude, but instead mathematicians get Russell Crowe just getting older and fatter?
  4.  Godel. Simple. This one ryhmes with Yodel. He was Einstien's pal. Well, actually, Einstien looked up to him, because Einstien only proved relativity, but Godel proved that 1 + 1 = 2.
  5. Stephen Smale - Good, finally an American in here. Stood on the steps of the Kremilin in the 60's and told both the Americans and Ruskies to fuck off!! USA! USA! USA! Also had a major breakthru in the field of topology which proved that Poincare conjecture is true in dimensions with more than 3 dimensions.  
  6. Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi - If you remember that he's not a Muslim mathematician, but a PERSIAN mathematician, then you can begin to understand why a man named Muhammad can invent algebra and get the word Algorithm named after him. While little is know about his life, his works have been kept and were the stepping stone from algebraic like thinking during the Egyptian, Sumerian, Greek, and Roman periods to algebra as tool for calculation. Mathematicians don't become legends and gods of the field because people remember the gossip of the day, they live on through the works they create. No one remembers or talks about how Euclid wrote the elements, people barely remember Euler outside of math circles, and Fermat is remember for dying and leaving behind an unsolvable puzzle that has since been solved. Death comes to us all, (Muslim, Christian, Buddhist) and time will make fools of any legacy we leave.
  7. Leonardo DaVinci - Conspiracy time, kids! Why does this man who hung out with scientists and mathematicians seem to have so much engineering thrown into his work? Who knows! Aliens, a group devoted to the child of Christ, maybe, IDK, fucking lizard people!? The fact that he illustrated a book on a divine proportion and seems really good getting precision and proportion right in his work shows how he was influenced by outside forces.
  8. Leonardo Fibonacci - It's the number. The important one. God's number. It shows up in everything, from plants to whole financial systems. It's phi, and even Euclid knew about, so it must be important. And Fibonacci mentions the series of numbers as a fun problem about rabbits to teach people how to use the new fangled "Arabic Numbers". That's what he wants you to think though! He was one in the line of people that keeps the secrets of the mathematics that holds together time and space, started by Pythagoras himself it has been passed on. Fibonacci was a failure and released that number as an innocent problem about rabbits. The rest has been kept secret.
  9. Lewis Carole - Yes, he was a mathematician. And a weirdo. Maybe a pedophile? Someone thought he was Jack the Ripper, too. Oh! And he wrote a famous drug trip that became a Disney film! The man famous for disappearing cats and world's that make no sense, actually was really obsessed about logic. Did a book on linear logic. Also did some  mathematical work involving fair voting systems. But he also maybe hated "new" abstract mathematics, wanting to keep "real" numbers and geometry.
  10. Gregori Peleman - The youngest on our list, he proved the poincare conjecture in 3 diminsions. He also just wants to be left alone, and  lives with his mother in St. Petersburg Russia where he publishes no math.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Determinstic free will, now on the right blog

  Deterministic free will is the idea that we have choices, but the choices are limited. These choices can come from genetics, socioeconomically standing or race. They can be a end point of a Markov nightmare chain, where every decision is runway train of wrong. We can look at our choices like a decision tree, where each answer brings us a grouping of choices. It's an infinite tree with infinite choices, but each local grouping of choices is finite.


 A person can be represented as a vector with a magnitude of time. We start with V<sub>0</sub> equaling Birth and V<sub>n+1</sub> equaling death, with n being the number of events, or "choices" in a person's life. A person becomes a set of events like marriage, celebrations, traffic accidents, and first attempts at kinky sex stuff.

As we approach V<sub>n+1</sub> and look backwards, each choice flows into the other in a deterministic way. Things just lined up and happened to fit that things just seemed meant to be. But we are aware that if we weren't at the bus station that day the cute little sex addict showed up, we might have never had the chance at a handy on the Philly to Boston line. Do we have full free will, and each vector is a beautiful, unique combinations of our choices that disappear when we die, or do we live in fear of what a great decider chose for us, a life determined by genetics, bad spawn points, and the all powerful effects of astrology?

A choice in hindsight can appear deterministic due to it's recursive nature. V<sub>1</sub> affects the chances of what V<sub>2</sub> could be as well as the possibility of it's success. Someone who decides that their studies aren't important in high school might find the next event in life and it's choice limiting if they want to go to college. It doesn't limit the chance of making a six figure salary, but it sure as hell doesn't make it easier. While the choice "Sell all of my possessions and live in the woods" always exists, if the chooser has never taken a wild risk and feels uncomfortable for long periods in the woods, it has a low chance of being chosen. They are more likely to be using their skill set of "15 years of hiding my stress in a deep place" and continuing to die inside until they are an empty husk going through the motions until death.

It is a logistical nightmare to sit here and try to run analysis on each possibility that exists in the midgame of life. Like in chess, the number reaches high enough that it might as well be considered infinite. So, let's continue this idea and look at the question of free will through chess.