Category Archives: Society

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, I ate too much

Dear Mudge,

I hope your holiday unfolded in a way that left you both nutritionally as well as spiritually nourished.

My wife and I drove to Corvallis, Wednesday, to pick up our son who has lived there for the last two years, post-graduation, to be with his honey. He’s struggling, economically, not being able to find employment that befits his degree. Our daughter and her beau arrived for T-Day festivities and the five of us (mostly me) proceeded to consume too much food ending with a creation of my daughter, a chocolate/Nutella pecan pie, the last of which I devoured just this morning.

Overall, a lot of cooking work for too short a gathering and too many left-overs. It was nice to see and chat with my son. We discussed the Absurd Universe and how it’s a theme he’s loosely explored through his Instagram account. I have to hand it to him on that regard; he’s dedicatedly posted daily for a few years now, growing his follower count to over 100k. Due to this, he’s now managing another account with 1m+ followers. Imagine having the temporary eyes and minds of a million people. What havoc could you wreak?

I broached that topic with him and expectantly, he admitted that he’d considered it. Lost sleep over it in fact.

I offered that were he to have a secret agenda, subtly must prevail. But what kind of agenda? We discussed the fact that all million-plus accounts, on all platforms, are no doubt targets for corporate and political influence. He’s just 26 now, so, though exposed to my overt biases, he’s yet to dream up his own evil plans. The venue now exists, however. We’ll see.

I wonder, given the opportunity, what agenda might you suggest? Kindness seems like a more hands-on incentive, one that would get lost or derided in the message. My son uses humor to success in his message delivery. Could we find some means to express humorous kindness? Could that even work? Satirical kindness feels like an oxymoron.

December is here. The month of guilt and giving-envy. I’m trying to bring back Saturnalia and other pagan traditions. On the trip down to get my son I spied loads of green nodule-nests in large oak trees—mistletoe. Only the pagans would celebrate Freya’s fetish for kissing beneath a parasitic plant. I love it!

Best,
‘Mole

mistletoe


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


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


Dear Mole, Indigestion

ozzy

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.  A simplification of the heart of Epicureanism seems to make it align with one of my earliest teenage epiphanies: “The meaning of life is to enjoy oneself”.  Simple enough.  Despite all of my intellectual self-torture in the ensuing years, the only change to this basic worldview has been the addition of the disclaimer, “…without causing intentional harm to others.”  And just like that, Bacchanalia became Buddhism but Buddhism stripped of its supernatural elements is essentially Epicureanism for the empathy-prone.

Going back to the previous topic of why we still adhere to most of society’s rules despite having mentally divorced ourselves from its cultural tendrils, I think we missed the most obvious reason for this: it’s just easier.  In establishing that we both still pursue enjoyment in our particular ways, we also established that we’d prefer to avoid unnecessary suffering.  When one flagrantly flaunts society’s conventions, jail is often the outcome of such behavior.  I’d do terrible in prison.  Worse than most.

My problem with a passionate embrace of a pleasure-seeking life is that very little gives me pleasure anymore.  I eat in order to avoid the feeling of hunger, but I hate cooking and three decades of smoking has dulled my palette.  Alcohol and all drugs aside from medically prescribed weed are verboten (see the desire to avoid incarceration in the previous paragraph).  I still love music, but the way it would shake me to my very soul in my youth is an increasing rarity.  The entire world of sex and romance — once my very raison d’etre — is something I now find an unnecessary hassle.  In other words, despite the fact that I still have a hint of a sex drive, the negatives of dating far outweigh the potential positives.

So I watch a lot of TV and sometimes I even show up here on WordPress and write about shit that I watched on TV.  I’ve already explained my love of passive activities, but TV is also where I gather new material at which to laugh.

What did Epicurus or Lucretius have to say about laughter?  If I possess any skill whatsoever, it’s the ability to find the humor in everything.  It is literally what keeps me sane (and amused).  Would you guess that this love of comedy says something deeper about my need for constant reminders of the absurdity of it all?  Does it perhaps betray the fact that I don’t really feel it to be as laughable as I contend?

You now have a picture of Ozzy sitting on the toilet gracing your blog page.  You’re welcome.  That’s what friends are for.

If,

‘Mudge

 


Dear Mudge, Spicy or mild

Dear Mudge,

People think the Northwest is nothing but conifer trees. Around here, we’re covered with temperate trees which have recently shed their billions of leaves. Red and white oak (you recall the post about acorns from last fall), big-leaf maple, birch, elm, alder and others have dropped their coats blanketing the yards, streets and sidewalks. I walk to and from work and have had to wade through such drifts of deciduous dandruff. While suspended, the colors were vivid. But now, mixed with rain and ground to paste on the pavement, they’re as slippery as snot.

I don’t think much about god(s) for the same reason I don’t think about Leprechauns or mermaids. In my earlier decades I used to spend hours on the topic (including Leprechauns and mermaids). Now, I gravitate toward more concrete topics with my one deviation being the contemplation of the heat death of the Universe and the end of everything.

In regards to Mr. Houston’s quoted—quoted quote “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.” I disagree. My analysis has resulted in the opposite conclusion. My research has concluded that, given that the Universe is absurd, there is nothing to *believe* in.

However, people, in general, are programmed to believe. To believe in whatever, take your pick… Belief is a survival tactic. And surviving is Job One.

I’ve chosen to forgo belief (and I’m waffling on survival).

Those words were selected with intent. I’m convinced humanity is pre-programmed. You, me, we are pre-programmed—by DNA. In fact, we ARE the program and DNA is the code.

Why do you and I (and others no doubt), reject all meaning, yet become irritated with others for the stupidest of behaviors or transgressions? Programming. They’re behaving outside our idea of acceptable norms. Why do we create and obey the rules, protect the Commons (pick up dog shit), and generally treat each other without open hostility? Programming. DNA has made us this way.

When we reject our programming, it’s hard. Unless you’re a sociopath (or a psychopath), we are genetically predisposed to conform to certain behaviors. I’m a firm advocate of E.O.Wilson’s The Altruism Gene, else humanity would still be roving in small bands across the African plains, not giving a shit, really, about one another. But we do give a shit. And by doing so, by caring, I think we react to others when they themselves fail to care. We’re programmed to care. Society is built on caring.

Behind my eyebrows you’ll find—a program—that I’m trying to rewrite.

I propose that by rejecting theistic tendencies, you are also rewriting your own program. And, as we’ve explored, we re-programmers are a lonely lot. Most would merrily plug along with DNA choosing their future.

In my personal re-coding efforts, I’ve not performed the exhaustive analysis of the existential options as I believe you have, but, I’ve tried a few. One I’d like to explore now, since thus far I’ve found none that fit me well, is the Epicurean philosophy. We are, after all, still here, so we’re not fully divorced from our programming. And if we’re not going to fully reject DNA’s sway over our lives, we might consider some thought experiment which, if nothing else, provides us momentary happiness.

What are your thoughts on Epicurus and his buddy Titus Lucretius? I know that Seneca both adored and despised Epicurus, but I’m hoping we could dwell on, oh, good drink, fine food (spicy and mild) and mind-bending drugs for a while. (Oh, and for Duke and Phil’s sake, we could discuss SEX, too.)

Epicurus