Category Archives: Psychology

How do you like your eggs?

That should be the opener to every relationship.

“How do you like your eggs?”

Doesn’t it say just about everything about a person?

“Oh, I don’t eat eggs.” — NIX!

“Sling those delicious little ovums any ol’ way you want for me.” — WINNER!

“Ooh, I can’t stand runny yokes.” — GONNER!

“A buttery, soft-boiled treasure chest of golden goo and toast is absolute heaven.” — CHAMPION!

“Bouncy and dry, Don’t try to feed me wet scrambled — any day.” — EXIT STAGE LEFT!

“Tobiko, a raw quail’s egg yoke nestled in a tiny cup of flying fish eggs, wrapped in sushi rice and nori, tipped onto your tongue, popping the yoke, letting that unctuous creamy dream slide down your throat while nature’s pop-rocks burst like salty fireworks in your mouth, must be the most sensual food ever invented.” — DING DING DING — GRAND PRIZE!

If you don’t share your love (or hatred) of eggs — the way you like them — then what do you really have in common with that person?

Poached, fried, scrambled, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, deviled, frittata’d, quiche’d, pickled, omeletted, and raw. Eggs are wondrous orbs of divisive lines in the sand. Cross those lines — at your peril.

How do I like my eggs?

(Spoken with a heavy Scottish brogue): Squeezed from a chicken’s vagina, heated slow for the whites to jell, the yokes jiggling like a fat baby’s cheeks, and then slid over grits creamed and peppered, with a thumb-sized dollop of salted butter lowered onto the delicate golden pillows, and then, oops, I’ve slit the sack, providing for that viscous yellow ink to leak, molten and slow into the nooks of the dish. Yes, that’s how I like my eggs.


Complex entertainment

Consider the entertainment industry 100 years ago. Or 200. Or 2000.

Could you ever believe you might be satisfied with shadow puppets, Punch n’ Judy, traveling minstrels, oral stories in an amphitheater or around a campfire and maybe, if you’re lucky, a play or a view of the art of a city, the wealthy or a religious edifice?

Throw your 21st Century self back into antiquity and imagine how bored your mind would be after about a month of getting used to life then. Sure, your time would be taken up with ten times the survival activity you practice today. But if you were one of the leisure crowd, try and picture the limited mental stimulation you’d be exposed to.

Today that would be worth a few hours of “Oh, this looks interesting…” (Now, what’s next? Because — I’m bored to tears.)

In our era, we’ve got so much entertainment, arts, media, sociality that we have a hard time turning it off. The common mantra “unplug, disconnect, go outside and live a little” is to return to a time when humans had little to fill their intellectual minds. “Ah, no jingles, beeps and buzzes, aside from the insects. Tranquility.”

I wonder at this progression.

From the simplistic, 300 baud data input stream of the natural world to the flood of terabytes saturating our brain cellsĀ  — we adapt; humanity’s every growing capacity to embrace the complex.

In 100 years we’ve gone from, what today’s media moguls would call pathetic information and entertainment input streams to what can only be called total-sensory-overload. Yet we condition ourselves, brace for the onslaught and beg for more.

In 100 years from now, imagine the exabytes that will blanket our minds and drive our desire for more, faster, now — even higher.


Bring ’em back

Courtesy of the lovely Doctor Martina, I learned of the 27 Club; musical artists who died at the tender age of 27 years.

Well, shit, that’s pretty damn young to die, I will admit. And the list is sad — there’s no other way to describe it. Sad.

FreddyMercury

But, let’s say that if we all clap loudly and wish wish wish (and fling pixie dust out into the netherworld) we might bring ONE of them back. And not just those who donned the shroud of death in their youth — but others who died too early.

What musician would you vote to bring back from the dead — to live another 20 years (at least)?

 

  • Michael Jackson
  • Jim Morrison
  • Freddie Mercury
  • Janice Joplin
  • Amy Winehouse
  • The King – Elvis Presley
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Buddy Holly
  • Prince
  • David Bowie
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Bob Marley
  • [In the comments?]

 

 

 


A bramble vine basket

Humanity evolved creating stuff.

Everyone in a tribe or clan contributed to the group’s survival. If things needed to get made, everyone (I imagine) pitched in. Sure some segregation of tasks took place, but I suspect most jobs were shared across gender, age and ability.

Here you see a simple bramble vine basket I made just for fun. (I later hung this up in a small tree in the woods thinking it might become a nest for some woodland bird.)

BrambleVineBasket

The thing is utterly simple yet effective. Crude but serviceable. Just what, we could imagine, some bygone set of folks traversing the hills and valleys of ancient lands — eons ago — might make, on the spot, to help them gather berries or herbs or for ceremonies to honor deities and spirits they found compelling.

It probably took me 30 minutes to weave from wandering bramble vines I found in the backyard. The effort was thoroughly fulfilling. Taking a weed and turning it into a functional tool easily cast my psyche back to a time I know our ancestors found invigorating.

In those times, everyone (I’m sure) participated in the survival of the People. Sharing was a built-in response to everything that was done. If you had two, you gave one away to another in need. Of course you did. And you did this knowing when they had two, they would do the same for you.

The unit of survival was the group, the tribe, the clan. Your kin were all those people around you who knew you and protected you — and you protected them. When the group needed housing you all pitched in. When the clan needed to process an animal — all were on deck. When you found a cache of vines to make baskets, you picked all you could, shared the resource and if you wove many, passed them out without expectation of recompense (not entirely, but the spirit was there).

I think we’ve lost that altruistic sense of collective prosperity — enacted on a daily basis. Giving when you can. Accepting kindness when you can’t.

A simple, empty basket seems the most unlikely symbol of charity, don’t you think? But, filled with wild-picked berries, you can see what a gift it might be.


I give you ONE wish

Here are the rules:

You get one wish.

It will come true the moment you utter the sealing spell “that is my wish.”

It must be specific, that is, enactable by an omnipotent being (me). Meaning, it cannot be vague, “I wish for world peace.” (What would that mean? And how would any omniscient, omnipotent being apply that to the Universe?)

It can apply to any era in the history of the Universe; to any aspect of existence, any land, sea, creature, peoples or culture.

Go.

For thought fodder here are a few that you might consider. If multiple folks pick similar wishes then I’m sure they will eventually come true. (OK, this might not be possible, but, hey, we’re all living in a material, I mean, virtual world, right?)

  1. I wish that the physics of matter made it impossible for life to evolve.
  2. I wish that altruism balanced aggression in the natural order.
  3. I wish all planets that could harbor life, did harbor life.
  4. I wish that humanity was not alone in the universe and that we would discover this tomorrow.
  5. I wish that telekinetic power was possible.
  6. I wish unicorns existed today.
  7. And elves, flying dragons, 2nd law of thermodynamics defying physics existed too.

 

 


Have we met? I love you.

Imagine having a relationship with someone for years, decades perhaps, and never having met them.

I’ve known people, through my work on the net, literally for decades. One fellow, Charles Carroll, I met while writing magazine articles for MIND (Microsoft Internet Developer) in the late 90’s, and while we worked on that ancient technology known as Classic ASP. We still connect, though infrequently. I’ve never met the man.

I once worked for a fellow for five years; we never spoke. Only exchanged emails.

These days it’s as common as “Alexa: play my morning mix”. We get to know folks — through the internet — and may never speak to them, never see them, never identify who they really are. But yet, we know them.

Attachment through familiarity. Time does that to folks in occasional, or frequent contact — regardless of the medium of communication. Consider penpals: a 19th and 20th century pastime which hooked up people from across realms, countries, continents. They exchanged pleasantries, goings-on, and perhaps, more deeply, misgivings, personal beliefs and aspirations.

Did they meet? Seldom is my guess. But still, they developed a relationship. Perhaps a true and soul-penetrating connection that may have held the two ends-of-their-string up for years.

Today this exists anew. All of you have people you interact with whom you’ve never met. Will never meet. Are such relationships lesser than because of this physical divide? I think not. I think there are those of you with whom I’ve connected, on some level, through this digital bridge. And I think you too have made connections to folks you feel attached to, indebted to, cosmically enmeshed to the point where their absence might leave you wondering — what happened? Where are you? You might feel deflated somewhat, lost.

What if they were to go away and you would never know them again. Their cheerful notes would cease. Their place in your ritual would gap open, unfulfilled. Their vanishing would leave a hole in your life, one that you might not patch, not really knowing if their absence was permanent — or their delay of interaction simply stretched out.

Stretched out and out… until forgotten.

I’m certain, were some of us to meet, we’d be fast friends, confidants and fishing buddies. And as you disappear from my virtual life, and I from yours, recall that there was a spark of connection shared between us.

I’ve never met you, but I love you.

 


To live is to lie

Fiction is lying.

The fabrication of a make-believe story, perhaps without a shred of substantiation in the real world, is, in all meaningful ways, a lie. Some archeologists believe that the ability to lie, to tell stories, may be what set Homo Sapiens Sapiens apart. The imagining of an untrue event or situation is effectively self-deception. You lie to yourself envisioning the story and then lie to others in telling it.

Everyone lies. If you can create an imaginary world, if you can daydream of some future possibility or rework some past debacle or failure in some better light, you’re effectively inventing a temporary lie.

Stories which depict truthful characters, virtuous and pure champions are boring. As we all lie, creating a character who does not, conflicts with all of our natural understanding of human behavior.

Therefore, in writing fiction, lie. Lie with the telling and then have every one of your characters fib in some way, small or large. Double speak builds intrigue. Deceit is delicious. Layering speculation upon a character’s actions and speech seasons the reader’s mind with savory questions. The more ‘why’s you have, the more conflict you can drive into your story.

Secrets are lies, one could say. Given the opportunity to divulge a notion and failing to do so? Why? Is the information contained within that secret a form of leverage? Power? Did your character lie when they said they didn’t know of an underground passage out of the castle? So they could use it themselves? Why allude to an unloaded gun when simply by hefting it I can tell it’s got at least five rounds in it. Why whisper to me of your upcoming betrayal? To implicate me as well? To persuade me to lie upon your behalf when confronted?

To live is to lie. Our stories should be no different.