Category Archives: Psychology

Dear Mudge, Monkey Face

MonkeyFacedEel

Monkey-faced eel – not really an eel, but tasty.

OK, Mudge, you claim ambivalence rather than kindness. But at least you’re a polite ambivalent. (And didn’t you recently claim kindness as a goal? Which you retracted, yes, but I think the label stuck.)

As to making a worthwhile point—on any topic—all opinions matter equally, which is, as we’ve determined, not at all. Yours, piled high and reeking, would at least provide philosophic nutrition to worms, weevils and woodlice.

You posted a set of nice lyrics; hard to imagine they weren’t part of some sonnet or modern Shakespearean knockoff. I would point out that simply by acknowledging your appreciation of such a touching piece, you expose a human side that, although you state such sentiment has bled away, I think not.

Our recent conclusion that intelligence correlates with misery garnered numerous counter arguments. Here’s my rebuttal: Although the tally of those miserable on either side of the IQ curve may be equal, the quality and variation of misery on the high side and, were the weight of grief totaled (intensity + complexity + recurrence), our side would tip the scale. (If that’s not a Pyrrhic victory I don’t know what is.)

On the subject of writing about the philosophy of existence, upon reflection I’d say my personal intent is therapy. Vaporous thought is one thing, but persisting one’s ruminations, for me, allows logic to overlay the mystical. I gain perspective this way. Not to mention that rereading such pontifications, later in life, often provides a chuckle or two.

Writing fiction used to be me dreaming on paper. These days, given my blooming narrative enlightenment, attempting to create something of beauty is now my goal. Although also therapeutic, writing is a challenge and when executed well, proof that my faculties are still somewhat intact. In highlight, there’s nothing like being in the *flow*, the slipstream—time fades away, I exist only in the moment, the story. That feeling comes all to rare, but when it does, it’s euphoric. You should try it sometime (grin).

I’ve convinced my “writing class” that they need to deliver 1000 narrative words by the 4th of February. One has complied and I’ve already waded into that one, red pen slashing.  As I edit, I’m reminded of my own neophyte writing those years ago.

“Boy, you sure are brutal.” My first contributor patted me on the shoulder. “But all your comments are spot on.” I’m surprised at how effortlessly I see what needs to be changed. But this is all ground-level stuff. The elevated techniques, levels two and three and beyond, that I’ve mentioned in the Writer’s Log, are much harder to communicate and learn. These core writer’s skills, when they’re missing, stick out like a blue tie at a Drumpf rally.

Time and practice. Starting out, such advice always appears short-sighted, “well, duh.” Only after actually putting in the long duration effort, and then measuring one’s progress by analyzing beginners, can one acknowledge that dogged regimen is the only way to excel—at anything. I started this writing endeavor at age 55. You, just turning a half-century, I wonder what skills you could amass were you to apply such a theory. (Is Vet-Tech still in your cards?)

Concrete ideas are always so much easier to discuss. Can you build a birdhouse from clear plexiglass? Should Lunists & Martians leverage lava tubes as habitat? Would artificial floating ocean islands, SeaSteading, be productive and useful or a waste of resources? It’s fine once in a while, but getting wrapped up in continuous existential conundrums, oy, let’s go fishing for monkey-faced eel or hunting for peyote or something, anything…

Yours,
‘Mole


Dear Mudge, Peanut butter

Dear Mudge,

You, sir, are one of the most enigmatic personalities who swims in these semi-anonymous waters. The net is nothing if not strong opinions voiced with impunity, don’t you think?

I hear your appeal to elevate the word “tribe” to mean actual, honest-to-god, tribes of native humans collected together for survival and cohesion. I hereby relinquish my use of the term for specious purposes (and I have used it frequently over the years). However, as you attempt to convince us that your curmudgeonly ways permeate your actual life, I call foul. As evidence I call forth this very repository of hypocrisy and your comments forthwith. Not even Gandhi himself could be more polite and considerate when addressing some of the just-as-strong opinions voiced here against/about our correspondence.

You sir, are a nice guy.

Regarding your supposition that intellect begets misery I would wholeheartedly agree. I’ve mentioned this very concept within these pages. I went searching and found this: https://anonymole.com/2017/06/21/how-smart-are-we/ and, in fact, if you search for “unhappy” here you’ll find a set of posts that pertain to this discussion. Basically (and I do mean that in its purest form of the word) the smarter you are the greater capacity you have for [words that reflect misery]. And happiness is about as far as you can get from intelligence.

Okay, that’s enough overt hot-linking (TomBeingTom). (Does anybody actually click embedded links? I don’t.)

On to my chosen topic of the moment: Peanut butter.

Seriously. I have this fascination for the origins of food. Where the hell did peanuts first come into culinary usage? (South America/Peru). Sesame seeds? The Fertile Crescent (where they may have been the first oil-pressed crop). Pistachios? (Afghanistan, as are hazelnuts). Turkeys, Tomatoes, Turmeric, Tilapia, Tapioca, Thyme, Turnips…

hazelnuttree

Hazelnuts / filberts grown in Oregon and Afghanistan

We don’t often consider food provenance but I do. Italians and tomatoes and polenta, Irish and potatoes, Asia and their peppers, all of it barely 500 years old, all of it “stolen” native foods. While humans have obviously been cultivating and consuming these foods for millennia, we rarely consider how recent our spice, nut, fruit and veggie basket has filled out due to globalism. The point I’m slowly getting to here is that, although we love to share food-culture across the planet and, I suspect, eventually, Terran food will be a thing (as opposed to Lunar or Martian food), we refuse to admit our global humanity; the tribe (ahem) of Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

Music, dance, art, food — all of these things tend to unite us. Although, like yourself, I don’t really give a shit about humanity as a cosmic entity, I still like to contemplate grand problems and propose grandiose solutions; they’re like puzzles, intricate quandaries that beg for analysis, elucidation and answers.

And so, in our wretched profundity, embittered by our self administered flagellation, were you to envision a day where your contempt for mankind, as compelling as it might be, is tempered by something, some occurrence, some transformation that renders humanity tolerable—what might that event be? Clearly, sagacious beings before us have gazed upon mankind and hoped someday that our species could elevate itself above its petty differences and see the universe as a frontier only we, humanity can hope to explore. Do you see such a possibility, in some future epoch? A globally shared peanut butter sandwich?

Aw, hell. Fuck that. I’m just yanking your chain. I’m trying to see how many 9+ letter words I can get into a post in remembrance of your dead blogging site.

Oh, and ZorkerBorg? Yeah, fuck him. I despise that pissant, the lucky prick that he is.

Happy dead of winter,
‘Mole

[PS: You’ll notice that if you end a post on a Fuck You tone, few people are wont to comment. I did this intentionally as I wanted to see if both yours and mine both elicited the same disgust. It appears to be the case. I wager that if we end our next correspondences with rainbows and ribbons, we’ll get a different response.]

[PPS: For Mr. Van Helsing, “The Peanut Butter and banana sandwich, or peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich, sometimes referred to as an Elvis sandwich or simply the Elvis, consists of toasted bread slices with peanut butter, sliced or mashed banana, and sometimes bacon. Honey is seen in some variations of the sandwich.” Wikipedia]


Dear Mudge, Complacency

Dear Mudge,

Does complacency equate to surrender?

In acquiescence do we relinquish a piece of ourselves to the other side? Is compromise a sign of weakness, or wisdom?

I hear your 2019 summer campaign to battle your own existential apathy, which you overwhelmingly won in the completion of your self-made challenge to document, as a sirens call to a muse I’ll never understand—the Canadian teen-com “Fifteen”, has afforded you some well earned, if unexpected, adulation from various members of the cast of that ignominious cavalcade of petulant pulchritude. Congratulations.

I mention your Quixotic pursuit as you, in contrast to my opening statement, most certainly did not give up in the throes of self-doubt and a certain bet against you (your $1000 remains a debt you may still collect provided you adhere to aforementioned stipulations).

And as I mention your triumph, I can’t help but consider our recent epistolary exchange and how we both appeared to have come to the conclusion that living at the “N’th” level was untenable. And that at least the N-1 level must be embraced in order to not dwell in a perpetual, self-induced living hell.

If what I’ve read on your NFTA blog is indication, I would applaud your expansion of N-1 and hope to read of your pursuits along that vein.

I did, however, begin this treatise with another point in mind regarding complacency. One I hope that, were you to once again take up the pen, you might apply in Ningun 2.0, which is, specifically, writers can never let their characters enjoy a drop of extended comfort.

Dorothy can never, truly, feel comfortable while she travels the lands of OZ. Luke may never enjoy perpetual peace. Frodo must forever endure an unrestful soul. Alice cannot be allowed to put her feet up and take a weekend off. Harry’s Christmas platitudes are mere lozenges dosed with laudanum designed to lure us into languid, lazy lassitude in preparation for the next heavy Hagrid-boot drop.

Briefly, we can never let our characters rest. Readers must feel compelled to turn the page to learn what calamity awaits our hero. Constant, relentless trepidation must permeate our writing. This technique dominates my thoughts as I continue writing on my next major novel effort.

In contrast, for our actual lives, I wish you nothing but placid, Avon waters serenity, dragonflies and water-skippers, ribbon ripples and pareidolian paradolian clouds drifting through your country-picnic days of 2020.

Best in the coming year,
‘Mole

DantesHell

That’s you and me at N-1


Dear Mudge, Expectations

Dear ‘Mudge,

In response to your previous correspondence, I’ll confess that I too hate having expectations laid upon me; society’s shackles. In analysis, stepping up and away from said constraints, I’d say that these are more evidence of DNA’s brand upon existence. Conform. Fulfill your obligations to family, friends, and foe alike. Grrrr, I chafe like a back-stroked cat. Yet, as a father and husband I knew I must submit, surrender my contentious ideals in lieu of compliance, harmony within the burden I’d voluntarily adopted.

To reject such expectations, seen from the light of an ordered society, must surely seem misanthropic. But, I’d offer that all radical divergents of the past have presented as such. To break from tradition, strike out against the norms, even an extreme as contending that humanity itself should be rejected, may provide you with exclusive insight into the nature of being. An explorer of sorts. Quest on.

~~~

Per my son and his development as an agent of nefarious intent, something easily identifiable seems appropriate. He and the fellow he manages the 1M account for claim to have participated the recent fervor: “cats can have a little salami as a treat.” Stupid, inane shit seems the easiest to track.

In a similar theme, back in 2010, I dreamed up the word “Leximize” to maximize a word’s lexical coverage. For a while, I would push the word out through whatever channels I had available to me to try and get it adopted as a colloquial meme. [See below.] I even went to the extreme to register that domain, still own it in fact.

I think I was early. Such a concept could today, I believe, actually work. Luck, massive luck would need to shine its golden glow,  but the mechanism is in place to do what I’d planned nearly 10 years ago.

In other news I’ve come up with a plot device I can use to continue Shadow Shoals, a 30k word story I’d started a few years ago that I may now be able to add a few new chapters. We’ll see. If I place too many expectations on myself I may end up in a vicious self-loathing loop.

Just think, somewhere tectonic plates are at strangle holds, the tension growing daily, and soon, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps beneath a certain Casa Blanco, the forces will erupt and chaos ensue. Real chaos, not the piddly kind the IBI stirs with his tweet-stick.

N-1,
‘Mole

ChartActivity.aspx

My original Leximize request to friends:

I would like each of you to participate in a linguistics experiment.
I propose creating a new word, one which hits on a Google search of less than 20, mainly due to random letter arrangements.

The purpose of this experiment will be to create a global awareness of a new word in as little time as possible.

We will create a new word, create a definition of this new word, and then release it into the wilds of the infospace, rather like a semantic virus.

Then we will each use this word, at least once in a blog post or email or comment on an article or blog on the web. The spread of the use of the the term is the intent so a high frequency of usage is suggested. The simple reposting of this email will suffice.

We will then watch how quickly, or not, the word becomes prevalent in the linguistic maze that is the web.

Each week I will send a Google search count update to this list.

~~~

* The first word I propose is “leximize” which is to maximize the lexical exposure of a word.

As of this moment (5/10/2010 8:30 AM PST) there are 5 hits on the quoted word “leximize”, none of which have legitimate meaning.

~~~

I would also like to attach a future event to this word. The concept of this event will infiltrate the consciousness of the netmind bleeding out into the memespeak of the mainstream media. The purpose of attaching a fabricated event is to determine if we have any influence, to any degree possible, on the event and date in question; if in nothing more than the escalation of anticipation of the proposed date and event, simply through awareness.

* The spring equinox 2013 (March 21, 2013) will mark this event’s horizon.
* This event will entail the the joining of hands of multiple, long time national rivals and the collapse of physical, political and cultural barriers.
* At this point in time not only will these nations build a neoleague but newly constructed terms to describe the event will have been leximized.

~~~

Your participation is welcome in this experiment.

I urge you to reformulate the content in this email, to create a names to commemorate this event, to create your own neoleague terms and to send this email on to whomever you believe will find this experiment entertaining.

This experiment has officially begun!

NOTE: That Leximize AppleStore app, not mine.


Dear Mudge, Giving Thanks

Dear Mudge,

The corptocracy hijacked holiday, Thanksgiving, is nearly upon us. Is Black Friday now the celebration and not the humble acknowledgment that our prosperity stems from both luck and the hard work of ourselves and those around us? Do we now give thanks for Amazon Prime? One of conscience must feel sickened by such cultist display: the tribe of greed and avarice. How to combat this distasteful trend? More on that below.

Oh, ‘Mudge, politics & religion are two subjects that are rarely discussed here. I’ll admit, I have recently been watching Rachel Maddow and delight in her delight. She just can’t stop smiling these days. But the way of things, the indefensible, dogmatic loyalty to that reprehensible IBI (incoherent bloviating imbecile) In Chief, and the backward-thinking, blind-eye behavior of that ancient tortoise leading the Senate makes me feel like I’m witnessing an agonizingly slow train wreck: the demise of democracy.

All things pass. I suspect this one will too. What the U.S. will look like on the other side of being shat through the ass of that Asshole, who’s to know.

~~~

I’m learning about Thumos. It’s an ancient Greek term which has no equivalent in the English language. I’d relate it as being the spirit of pursuing self-honor, where head and heart align. I’d qualify the discussion of such terms in that they can only now be freely debated as we’ve identified the N-1 philosophical belief layer and have decided to exist here, at least for the time being. I’d care to know your feelings on this assumption.

In your appeal to choose a pursuit post-fantasy, and having lit upon delivering kindness, I say, why the hell not. There’s so much godawful misery in this world, if you pull-off a Valentine Smith and succeed? (Even in attempting to be kind, would you not also succeed?) At least you’d have found your Thumos and that, in and of itself, is a noble feat.

How can I help?

AbsurdUniverseSiliconIngot

I leave you with this: Sans stone, silicon is a metalloid into which, I would submit, we are etching our legacy. So, with keyboard-hammer and chisel-like wit we’ll leave our marks upon the box canyon walls of the internet.

Were you to enjoin your altruistic ideal and spread compassion, and this coming Thursday may provide you an initial step, volunteering at some banquet supporting the disenfranchised and dispossessed, you may also leave a legacy of kindness. And that would be an honorable pursuit, indeed.

Warmly,
‘Mole


Dear Mole, Six Bills

sasquatch

It’s funny, but every time I think I’ve given up hope for our species, something happens that makes me feel even more hopeless, proving that I had not yet reached a nihilistic point of no return.  This week, as I’m sure you’re aware, a bevy of credible witnesses laid out for Congress in no uncertain terms the unprecedented and proven crimes of the pretend POTUS.  Most dramatically, an ambassador named Dr. Fiona Hill utilized her opening statement to eloquently eviscerate the GOP members of the chamber for propagating long-debunked Russian-originated conspiracy theories in their ridiculous questions.  And then…to a man, every single GOP member proceeded to double down on propagating long-debunked Russian-originated conspiracy theories in their ridiculous questions.  This, of course, was to be expected, but after the public hearings wrapped up and everyone in the nation had heard from extremely reliable sources that Trump is an imminent danger to the country and the world, SUPPORT FOR TRUMP AND AGAINST THE INQUIRY WENT UP!!!!

This may finally represent the straw that collapsed the proverbial dromedary for me.   Here we are, as a species, at the height of our potential, able to contemplate incredible possibilities for the future of mankind thanks to our increased knowledge and technological capabilities.  War, pestilence and preventable death are at historic lows.  And yet, I believe we’re doomed.  We’re doomed because we CHOOSE to be doomed.  All of that manufactured “meaning” has become so important to people that proven facts and the evidence of the senses are dismissed out of hand if the reality they reveal is incompatible with our imaginary “purpose”.  We don’t even care if our “purpose” is good, bad or neutral anymore, as long as we have one.  We will, in the very near future, assure our own extinction.

Thank god for that.

In his novel “Gallapagos”, Kurt Vonnegut beautifully illustrated your point about our intellectual capacity actually serving as the biggest threat to our survival.  He dreamed of a process of de-evolution to dispense of the self-destructive potential of overthought culminating in a dumber, slightly furrier version of ourselves with a much greater capacity for happiness.

Out here in Albuquerque, we have all sorts of ancient petroglyphs etched into the volcanic rock on the outskirts of the city.  The residue of the first examples of human self-importance, but no less fascinating for being so.

You make a good point about the weight of a vehicle crushing the organic majority of Colonel Austin’s body.  Here’s another good point about The Six Million Dollar Man: it’s established right in the title that in 1970s dollars, it cost $6 million to give Steve a bionic arm, eye and leg(?).  A few seasons into the show, we’re introduced to Sasquatch, who is also, curiously, bionically endowed.  Who in the fuck decided to spend several million dollars to enhance the limbs of a mythical forest-dwelling primate?  Think on that one.

Fantasy, in whatever form each of us find most pleasing, is essential, for exactly the reasons I delineated in the body of this letter.  Having washed my hands of silly sociopolitical concerns and even hope for my own species, I still largely enjoy the act of existing and this is largely due to my ability to suspend disbelief, with the understanding that I’m doing so, and enjoy the work of other people’s imaginations.

But if even fantasy gets stale, is there anything else?  Believe it or not, I think there is.  Kindness to others, just for the sake of it.  I’m not so good at that, admittedly, but if a challenge is what’s called for in my life of extreme leisure, perhaps this is it.  Do you agree?  Might I not enjoy myself immensely if I fashioned myself into some kind of self-styled modern day Robin Hood?  Or should I just cut my losses and check when the next episode of iCarly is airing on TeenNick?

Again,

‘Mudge


Writer’s Log: 2140

Writing is caring.

Writing is, above all, work. But in order to write you have to care, care enough to put pen to paper. Care enough about your characters, your story to do them justice—to write them real.

But if you don’t care, about anything, that’s a problem.

Thumos-PlatosChariot

Plato’s Chariot: Appetite and Spirit reined by Reason

Recently, in a comment to TomBeingTom, I exposed a thought I’ve held for some time: of the concept of contextual layers of personal belief, (or disbelief).

Currently, myself and our Desertcurmudgeon appear to be psychologically dwelling in the outer-most context of the Absurd Universe where all things are meaningless. This setting represents the absolute and final stage of the philosophical interpretation of existence: All Is For Nought.

Recent correspondence between he and I have briefly explored this theory with an underlying current that attempts to retreat from this the Existential Edge. And that’s the crux of this thought. Somehow, if we’re to exist at all, we must forgo the beating of death’s drum, pull back into the light of some meaning, any meaning, to which we can grasp.

If I want to write, that is, learn to write well and practice the art, I need to find some means to divert my eyes from the constant nihilistic allure of the Absurd Universe.

CallOfTheWild

I just read a Smithsonian article about Jack London. The man lived like a champion and died at forty years of age. 40! And accomplished a dozen life-times of adventure and writing. Wow, what a remarkable man. I wonder what he believed in? Deep in the Klondike winter of 1898, did he contemplate the Absurd Universe? What meaningful ideology did he adopt that drove him to seize life as he did? (Thumos?)

Clearly, residing here in the outer valence shell of the atom that is the Universe is no way to live. Contracting one’s belief system back a level, perhaps two, is a deed that must be done to allow any kind of fulfillment or enjoyment in this life. However, divesting too many philosophical layers would lower one into the throes of theology, surely not a level any rational human would accept.

But a layer or two would be nice. Back to some practical stratum where I can ignore the nagging Absurdity and focus on caring about the characters I’d like to write about.