Thursday, November 29, 2012

Navigating Conflict -

Naturally antagonists don't have to be explicitly antagonistic.  They might be neutral on the surface and antagonistic under the surface.  They may not be overt, acting antagonists, playing an indirect role only.  They may also be both beneficial in some way and disadvantageous in other ways.  At some deeper level below everyday experience, every interaction is colored with both shades and nobody is purely anything.  We like to think in terms of purity, on both sides, because it keeps things neat.  But the urge to navigate conflict in the previous post isn't necessarily an urge to do so in any actionable manner outside of recognizing reality appropriately.  That we are situated in a mix of people, people who each, individually, follow a strategy for their own goals, goals which may or may not impinge on our personal goals, and goals which are potentially malleable.  The smartest people recognize the most patterns the most accurately and act accordingly.  They are descriptively perfect and prescriptively prescient.  The rest of us are weighted in different ways, different mixes of descriptive and prescriptive, strong actions and no actions, and then we retrofit our memories and emotions according to the our own ego.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Navigating Slow Motion Conflict -

A large part of life is navigating conflict with other people.

And I don't mean like slamming one's fist into the face of another.

I mean slow motion conflict where you are unable to extricate yourself from your position easily, or to leave the other person alone.

And it only gets worse as we get older.

Drinking turns negotiation to mush.

I'm not particularly good at slow motion conflict.  I don't want to cause others discomfort.  I'm not saying it is always true, but if it is a zero sum game, the question becomes: How much discomfort am I willing to give myself in order to give someone else comfort?  Everywhere.  In everything I do?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Taste The Repulsive

It is being open-minded, man.  To try on that which you hate.  To look at your hate from the outside.  What are the unbending walls doing over there?  Dancing?  What kind of babies will they have?  Tell me for a minute that you can't do it.  Tell me again.  Tell me once more.  There.  You're doing it.  Keep going.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cheeks Inflated, Hands Busy, Eyes . . . eyes watching . . .

whether you are watching them.

That's the stance of the overly ambitious human.  Not centered.  Not focused.  Very little flow.  Superficial engagement with most items/people.  Concern exists for the ego, and almost solely for the ego.  Reads faces and emotions and academics for one purpose: fulfillment of self.

How different is that person from the person you see as yourself?

Why is it that we think we're any different?  Isolated, we are almost all those desperate acceptance seekers.  We've either given up, or worse, aggressively quit.

See, here's the truth.  Alcohol is easy.  Sobriety is hard.  It says something about our character, even if our character is never revealed to anyone else, whether we chose alcohol, or we chose sobriety.

I'd rather help others feel satisfied than help them be impressed with me.

I'd rather help myself feel satisfied, truth be told, than worry what the fuck they're all thinking.

In the heart of my chamber of hearts, I know that  a lot of depression and anxiety are really just struggles over character and standing.  I fucking hate it.  It isn't pretty.  It isn't even mildly pleasant.  It is one thing.  Dangerous.  Stop assuming away everything, quick minded "I want this to be over" self.  Just stop it already. Pick something to work on and work on it hard.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dueling Selves

1.  You may be very good at things you do not desire.

2. The things you desire may have no value to anyone but you. (The desired things may be boring, or worse)

In other words, simultaneously trying to assess your own values/preferences while trying to ascertain the demands of the world around you is messy because it is never quite possible to isolate one and measure it while moving the other.  My preferences change based on my location, and particularly, who I am with.  At least, they fluctuate.  More and more I'm learning what I prefer given a host of stimuli.  That's taken many many years of relative unhappiness precisely because it isn't easy to pinpoint one or the other.  Lots of times we might run around espousing a particular belief because we think we believe it.  And we're just plain wrong about believing that we believe it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lost in the Noise -

How do we evaluate importance?  Priority?  Our own desire?

Often times, we're very very good at becoming distracted and also very very good at justifying our distraction.

Unfortunately, this is the norm.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Complication Isn't Bad; Just Respect It

Simplification is nice, but often simplified elegance loses a lot of the necessary details to understand an experience, on the ground, step-by-step.  Of course, describing, in full detail, an entire experience is also tantamount to actually experiencing it, and as such, we who want to figure some stuff out conceptually before we actually participate in the stuff, have to find a way to get information that's neither too limited and not actionable, on one hand, or, on the other, so thick that it is impossible for us to differentiate signal from noise.

We basically need smarter people to tell us what's important.

And we need it bad.

Don't believe me?  Fine, go out and make your own mistakes.  But being bitter doesn't make anything better, trust me, and less ego earlier may lead to better results later.  Maybe.  I'm not sure.  See, I also know that assholes, i.e. those with high ego, may in fact have more courage to get what they want faster and with less shame than those with less ego and more concern for others.  At some level of decision  making and action, after all, we will run into the problem of competing interests.  It probably happens all the time.  Structural coordination that isn't highly efficient leaves loopholes for assholes to exploit and get ahead, and create more structural loopholes for their assholish behavior.  Fair doesn't cut it, in that world.  Knowing how many assholes are out there, and what their strategy is, and how to deal with it or undercut it, is much more effective, for instance, than muttering asshole under one's breath and losing a couple bucks/minutes in frustration.

I'm not advocating for assholes.  I am also not advocating for pure peace.  Simplification is an easy tool to let oneself become blinded, because it allows for post-hoc rationalization of everything and anything, and therefore, disallows learning, whether emotional or intellectual.  See, again, I'm forced to admit that learning is difficult because it is often times the place where waste happens unintentionally.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Seething Discomfort

Yeah.  It is just true that I feel horribly uncomfortable in my daily life.

Strike that, as the guilt sets in: not horribly uncomfortable.  More like: How the Fuck did I ever land up here?

That's the feeling?  The unreality of my reality.  Day and in and day out, details added and whatnot, and still, there is no reality in my reality.  It is still strikingly alien.

It hasn't always been like this.

Maybe I gave up too much on my cliched dreams.

Maybe I gave in too fast to the stupid rush of possibility, without lining out a real plan.

Maybe I'm just doing okay, and this is what doing okay looks like.  How fucking depressing is that?

By any objective measure, I am, indeed, just fine.  Better even.

Classic dreams man, just classic stupid longing for the ease of creative inspiration.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

When You Get Sober, First You Get Tired

It's just a natural consequence of malnutrition for so many years, and the transition from your body moving from alcohol as a primary fuel to actual food.

Eat lots of good fats.  Stay away from excessive carbs and sweets and caffeine.  Get into a moderate exercise routine.  Learn to cherish green tea.  Sleep.  For the first time in a long time.  Sleep.  I'm serious.

Let a few months slip by without relentless need washing over you all the time and just settle the fuck in and ride.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Desperate for Updates -

I know it isn't original to critique that rabidness with which we find the need to get updated (news, policy, gossip, health, air quality, car quality, food, and much more), but maybe ALCOHOL is a rational response?  At least, the first drink.

Problem is we can't be rational once we have the first drink.

Otherwise, we're perfectly good at critiques, aren't we?

Skin In The Game.

Conceptual understanding is fine. It is, after all, most of what we do.  But it doesn't quite indicate how we would act if we had to navigate the parameters of our conceptions.  We chronically under-value lots of important stuff and over-value our own positions.  That's not new.  But actually having skin in the game, wherein decisions have some realizable impact, sure does change how we evaluate and act.  Which is interesting.  If individual conceptual understanding doesn't do a good job of showing what we'll actually do in a given situation, what does?  Forced skin.  Money on the line.  What have you.  That's the only real answer, as unappetizing as it might seem.

Monday, November 12, 2012

When I Was A Wee Toddler. -

I once studied philosophy, and psychology.  Yeah, I was in college.  So, what?  Well, Socrates said this thing that not having knowledge, that understanding the depths of one's ignorance, is actually the first place for getting anywhere.  See, that's a nice statement, but virtually our entire code of attitude and behavior is linked to asserting our rightness, and post-facto explanations for our behavior.  To wit, we assert, without evidence, and with no real need except to feel better, that we know all sorts of reasons that we have no idea about.  All the time. It is the norm.

It garners attention, and when knowledge is faked with enough confidence, gets us places.  It is a perverse incentive, genetics and careerism.  And the point is that to be really careful, we do have to keep asserting, especially for those things we think are manifestly evident, that we might not have the fully accurate picture.  Unfortunately, learning isn't always blissful.  It is hard.  Emotionally hard.

Sharpening Darts - And Opinions

Let's just say our opinions don't matter that much for the sake of the subject matter of those opinions.

Why, then, do we have such strongly felt opinions?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Less Wasted; More Symbolic -

It is a signifier of something that I used the original glue/adhesive I'd planned to use before I started reading about how I should do what I had planned to do on the interweb, and that the original, after 7 hours of stupid mindless work trying yesterday with inferior just purchased items, worked like a charm.

In about 15 minutes.

Lesson to self: sometimes just trust your gut and follow it and let all other advice wilt.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wasted Day, Symbolic

I spent all day endeavoring to attach something simple in the bathroom.  One of a host of home improvement projects I've undertaken.  Most end up better than this.  I'm almost at 0.  Actually, I'm down 40 bucks and 8 hours of a fucking saturday.  Misery is the predominating flotation device.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What's the sense of living if...

You just die anyway?  I mean, what's the point in finding out how it all ends, if you won't be conscious of it a millisecond later?

Overheard on the street.


It was when we were young enough to believe in our lives and to nurture hope; when we didn't have enough real world information to buy a car but thought we could crest the moon if we struck the right pose. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Easy to . . .

Come up with complicated historical narratives for why and how things are fucked up (and how multifarious that fucked-up-ness is).

Much harder to carve out a positive and good-natured future existence.  Clean and honest and resolute.

Too easy to justify one's ego and indiscretions for an honest appraisal ever to get done, mostly.  That's the fundamental error in human reasoning, me thinks.  Wink.  Yes.  I'm flirting with you.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fighting With Spouse -

I had an incredibly incendiary fight with my spouse.  Objectively, fights are almost always architecturally similar.  One party feels slighted, and ramps up a slight conflict into something more major.  The other party now feels slighted and doesn't back down.  The two parties race at each other until words used are not there for the utility of communicating anything related to the original statements that triggered the event.  No.  Instead, they're pure hate speech.  Purely devised for maximum carnage.

It really works, generally, too, because spouses have access to information that is, well, as close to whole, if not whole, than even the infamous I.

Just for the sake of it:  It isn't pleasant to fight and I don't get kicks out of it.  I don't like it very much at all, and it generally erodes trust, even when the fight is patched up a bit.  Fights are not really useful machines.  They are slug fests of epic raw primitive urges to conquer and be insanely self-referential, while never ever backing down.

And while I respect the ideal of not backing down, not drinking as taught me to update my beliefs faster than when I drank, and recognizing that the net result of fighting is a worse loss than the gain from being alone and principled.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


My life's been a struggle to balance an almost manic pent up speed and need to "do" with a methodological stillness and simultaneous want for peace and order and containment.  I have been quite spastic, frenetic, and otherwise unfocused.  When I am focused and inside of the flow, I find eternal bliss and never want to stop.  When I am jumping from one activity to the next, nothing satisfies.

But these feelings are shells now.  I have much greater ease sustaining concentration than I used to, though it isn't always a smear of lightning that I want it to be.  Creativity--the production of stuff, whether for work, play, or personal (broad, right?)--is a process that doesn't surf straightly.  I wish it did at times, if only to be more consistent, but I'm sure I wouldn't feel as satisfied afterward if it was.  Unfortunately, though, patience is required in multiple stages of development.

Ah yes.

But in life, patience is often a handicap, right?  Aren't the fast-paced quick movers the ones who get ahead?  Haven't I been too sympathetic?  Too naive?   Too understanding?  Wouldn't it be best to be strictly strategic?  Phlegmatically unmoving?  Isn't it a crutch to understand everything from all perspectives and rest one's foot on none?

I'm not sure. It isn't in my nature to be decisive, see, so even my meta-decision to find a solid place to stand is belabored.  And that might be damning in some fields.  The trick is, perhaps, to sketch out the details of a "development path" where that particular attribute is advantageous.  I think I have one, but it probably won't be clear for some years anyway, and by then I'll be too set in my ways for it to make a difference anyway!