Category Archives: Psychology

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.

 


Dear Mudge, Legacy

Gobekli-Tepe

Gobekli Tepe – 11,000 year old dreamers

Dear Mudge,

(I’m gonna step up on this rickety soap-box for a moment. I’ve been thinking about this one concept and how it applies to much of what we’ve been discussing and it comes out as preachy. Sorry ’bout this up front.)

Our brains are too big.

If one analyzes the animal kingdom one will find that the amount of processing power (cranial capacity) correlates with the DNA driven needs of the creature under study. A dog has just enough smarts to find water, hunt & eat food, seek shelter and sniff out a mate to make new dogs. Likewise a cricket, a crocodile, an elephant and an emu—all developed just enough brain matter to execute those four governing behaviors. Billions of species have followed this pattern.

And then came us…

with brains way too powerful to just bum around sipping, nibbling, fucking and complaining about the weather. We’ve got so much extra capacity that we feel compelled to use it, and it would seem, in the most ludicrous and useless fashion possible—dream shit up just to give our spinny-wheely, bulbous minds something to do. This factor may be the answer to a number of our investigations.

Do beetles, baboons, lizards or loons believe in god? Delude themselves into believing the Hulk’s pants remained stretchy enough to stick around? Spend six million on a bionic eye, arm and leg (ahem, legs)? (As a child it didn’t take me 10 minutes to realized that the rest of Steve Austin’s body would collapse under the load of a one-hand-hefted pickup truck.)

I think we need fantasy in whatever form we can find. Consider every culture that arose during the Holocene: they all fabricated religious illusions to pack their too-big brains. We want to believe in the magical, the impossible. But maybe believe is too strong a word (though not for many). We want to be awash in imaginary possibilities—simply to keep us from going insane from this burden of idle mental horsepower.

Your thoughts?

(Somebody take this crate away, it barely holds my weight and smells of hubris.)

I loved Mystery Science Theater 3000; and for the same reason: snide, clever comments on the most lame movie plots and props imaginable.

The future of humanity, hmm. I’ve had a fair amount to say about this in the past, mostly due to my proclivity for apocalyptic conclusions. Evolution? I believe that we won’t see human Darwinian natural selection ever again. Homo Prometheus however, may, no, is being CRISPr’d somewhere in a Chinese lab—as we speak. So, we’ll evolve, but I believe it will be directed evolution.

Of course, that assumes we survive any of a dozen civilization ending scenarios. The Doomsday Clock creeps ever nearer midnight.

When I used to travel I’d seek out the Ruben. I don’t think I’ve ever found one to my liking. Max’s in San Francisco (a copy of NY’s) was close. But they were manufactured en masse. Thick though. It’s the kraut and dressing that’s important, I prefer Thousand Island to Russian.

The image at the top is Gobekli Tepe (belly-button hill) in Turkey. It was created at the beginning of the Holocene. I’ve been enamored by the idea of carving in stone. It’s simple and cheap: hammer, chisel, safety-glasses and a rock out in the wide-open. What are you going to carve into the side of a granite cliff that you’d feel happy about leaving for our ancestors to discover, circa 5000 CE? (Those that survive the plague, CME, asteroid and the 6th Extinction.)

Best,
‘Mole

 


Dear Mole, Bears In Space

mst3k

Silence is indeed golden.  2019 has thus far been my least contentious year of life precisely because it’s been my quietest year of life, hands down.  Like you, I’ve learned that when I just keep my damned mouth shut, unnecessary problems are easily avoided.

We’ve established that most people are genetically programmed to subscribe to a worldview that infuses life with meaning and will often suspend disbelief (or, if you prefer, ignore their faculties of reason) to accommodate such a view without conscious hypocrisy.  We’ve also established that both you and I have a very hard time accepting this perplexing but very common mental game.

In 1983, Lou Ferrigno played the titular role in the film “Hercules”.  At about the age of 14, I tuned in to a showing of this fantasy crap-fest on WABC’s The 4:30 Movie and spent the next hour and a half in absolute hysterics.  Even by early Eighties standards, the visual effects were laughably atrocious.  And Ferrigno’s dialogue was, of course, dubbed.  Take a look at this GIF of Hercules tangling with a bear, culminating in, I assume, the creation of constellation Ursa Major:

bear in space

Yeah.  According to IMDB, Hercules made over $11,000,000 in box office sales.  I’m certain that at least some of those movie goers didn’t show up at the local multiplex to laugh at terrible production values and I’m also certain (by law of averages) that some of those people left the theater feeling they’d gotten their $8 worth, and then some.  But how can that be?  Weren’t they watching the exact same film that caused me to bust a gut on that fateful afternoon in 1984?  Of course, they were.  And those who enjoyed the movie were in possession of a skill that I do not possess: the ability to make themselves believe that what they’re seeing is the very antithesis of what I described.  Kinda like Christians and Muslims and Jews and Hindus and Buddhists and Sheikhs and Scientologists and Zoroastrians and everyone else whose theological views require a deliberate suspension of disbelief.

But much like “Hercules”, I can discern nothing of substance (save for comically mock-worthy material) in any theological system of which I’m aware.  Ditto for political conservatism.  Any philosophy, be it secular or religious, that requires fear from its adherents in order to function is masochistic and more than a little unhelpful to the potential evolution of our species.

That brings me to today’s question: do you believe humanity will continue to thrive long enough for another great evolutionary leap to occur or do you think that this is it and mankind in the year 2019 represents the pinnacle of our history?  Might some form of negative evolution already be underway as a result of the ubiquity of communications technology?  Is there anywhere left in the Continental United States where a guy can get a decent Ruben sandwich for under $10 and if not, should we even desire for our species to go on?

It’s lunchtime.  Gotta go.

Mumble,

‘Mudge

P.S.  What kind of person uploads a picture of Fred and Wilma to their blog media without immediately and proudly displaying it on their page?


Dear Mudge, Ray Harryhausen

 

ClashOfTitans

Dear Mudge,

I recently got “written up” at work. It seems that when I speak my mind, I get in trouble. I’d gotten into dust-ups prior to this one (it’s only been a year), but this latest had happened with a person closely attached to the boss’ boss and so resulted in HR action. I did reach out and ameliorate the rift—a walk to the local coffee shop, but the incident brand my mind with the implications of termination. Just. Keep. Your. Damn. Mouth. Shut, has become my new mantra. Needless to say, recent weeks have seen me exhibiting a lassitude seldom witnessed. Speaking my mind here however, is never an issue.

~~~

We’ve managed to gather up a bevy of interesting topics thus far. I’m sure others will join the fray. Returning to one…

You’re right, Occam’s razor should have been our first go-to solution per our shared, seemingly hypocritical adoption of societal conformity. There’s a reason downstream is more attractive than upstream/cross-stream. Adolescent salmon would have a thing or two to tell us. I suppose though, rebellion comes as a spectrum. I, for one, will never truly fit in anywhere except for the recessed niches of my mind. But outwardly, I appear as if molded by society’s template; I wear shoes and pants, smile at strangers, hold doors for old ladies, and rarely piss behind alleyway dumpsters.

Indulgences (and indigestion) aside, the Epicureans may have something yet to teach us. I’ll dig through my (google) notes and try and derive some useful suggestions. Stewie the Stoic, though pithy, provided little in the way of true guidance in this time of Absurd Universe contemplation. (On first pass, Epicurus has much to say about friendship.)

In the mean time, perhaps we could play to your recently acquired pastime (obsession?). I’d suggest that in your examination of television shows you profess a hidden pedantic inclination to be a student of society. This, I believe, you originally offered in our opening salvos of correspondence. Well then, let’s dial this in, shall we. (Christ! Ignore my plebeian attempts at humor, I’m such an adolescent when it comes to clever word-play.)

Ahem. So, what of Special Effects.

How the hell did anyone accept the visual papier-mâché that pre-2000’s special effects offered in movies and television? Today, one can barely (if at all) tell CG imagery from real life. Coming away from any movie these days, you’d be forgiven for the impression that what you witnessed wasn’t a documentary.

But FX of yester-year? Talk about major suckage. How could we have been taken in by such poor attempts at sur-reality? Were we that gullible, that blind to the clay-mation over our eyes?

I suppose the question is, were we actually duped? And regardless, did it matter?

Your friend,
Mole