Sunday Sermon: The Inexplicable Power Of OOGA-BOOGA

I consider myself an aficionado of bullshit. I don’t “like” bullshit — but I do see how pervasive bullshit is. I see (having fallen for it myself to the point of nearly offing myself because of it) — how seductive bullshit is; I see how easily every last one of us can fall under its sway — and become its slaves.

Bullshit captures us and holds us because it appeals to the lazy, irrational, can’t-be-bothered-with-the-Truth lizard brain that epitomizes conservative mind-think. It sees a mystery — and, where the “gaps” are in its knowledge, it puts ooga-booga instead of a simple “I don’t know the answer to that yet”. It assumes magic must be the answer to what it doesn’t know. Ironically — if it waited five minutes (while someone curious went at the answer), they’d LEARN — it isn’t ooga-booga, it’s biology or chemistry or physics or some other natural explanation that simply needed to be stumbled over.

There’s a reason the religions of the world love to educate children — they can break a child’s capacity to think at the get-go and replace analytical thought with acceptance of mythology and ooga-booga. Did Life-As-We-Know-It begin in a singularity — or in the mind of a physically powerful but emotionally fragile deity?

If you don’t have microscopes or telescopes or celestial navigation or calculus or any of the other human innovations that gave us the TOOLS with which to replace ooga-booga explanations with REAL ones — you’ll give in to the ooga-booga because you don’t know any better. “KNOW” is the operative word here.

On this subject — quick side note here — I recommend this remarkable lecture by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Among other things he touches on naming rights (why do so many stars have Arabic names?)

The point of “naming rights” is that it reflects “discovery”. Being the “inventors” of celestial navigation — a human innovation that put a big chunk of ooga-booga to bed — Arabs (having no competition to consider) named the stars they identified — and fixed in the heavens & their mind — in the language they spoke: Arabic. It’s a great lecture — absolutely worth the time to watch. He touches on ooga-booga, too.

As Tyson articulately explains — even the greatest minds in science have given in to that old, (apparently) hard-wired-into-us urge to give in and fill in the gaps in our knowledge with ooga-booga and its bedmate Magical Thinking.

Those of us NOT beholden to ooga-booga must call out the ooga-booga for what it is whenever we see it. Maybe we should use the term “OOGA-BOOGA” to describe it — instead of “bullshit”.

Even calling it “bullshit” gives “ooga-booga” way too much credence.

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Most Marijuana Research Is BULLSHIT

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Durban Poison is our Friend.

I am biased as hell.  Yessirree.  I am an out-and-out advocate for MARIJUANA.  More transparency — I now write a weekly column (for $) at marijuana.com — and I urge you to check them out — they’re now THE site to go-to for real news about marijuana.

More transparency — I’ve always wanted to write the story of how marijuana was made illegal in this country — and the world — in the first place (and most importantly WHY).

It’s a subject I care about.  Cause I use it — and, yes, yes, it’s not for everyone and children should NOT use it (are we all done being stupid?) but — for most adults, it is a good product with good, solid, reliable benefits.  It does vastly more good than harm to and for the people who use it and, as we’re learning state by state, when you legalize it and tax it and people go buy it & use it… nothing bad happens.  And tax dollars come in.

Marijuana is not a perfect product.  NO PRODUCT IS PERFECT (are we done being stupid now?)   For argument’s sake — cos it’s ‘related’ — your average pharmaceutical product (to judge by the litany of horrible side effects) has a far better chance of harming you or, just as bad, addicting you.  Marijuana — in a world of choices — is a good choice for many medical conditions — and a better choice than alcohol for recreational use.

You’ll have to point to the news coverage of a bunch of stoners leaving a soccer game and tearing up a town.  It doesn’t happen.  Because marijuana doesn’t inspire you in that direction.

Still – we get to hear the opponents (and ‘soft friends’) of marijuana warn us about the drug’s inherent dangers.  Psychosis comes up a lot.  Schizophrenia too.  Cannabis ‘can’ make those conditions worse.  ‘CAN’.  But ‘can’ HOW?

The same argument gets made about marijuana’s impact on young users.  I’m not saying — at all — that marijuana is ‘good’ for young users.  Hell no.  I’m just asking can we get some actual data that says it’s bad and show us how and why it’s bad.  But the published data really can’t do that because it never bothered to keep track of the marijuana being used.  In some cases, the teens whose experience researchers were talking to simply reported they were high all day.  But we don’t know on what.  We don’t know how much.  We don’t know where it came from or even if the test subjects are even reliable in their reporting.

I want to know the Truth about marijuana as much as anyone.  More.  Cause I use so damned much of it.  If it IS killing me — I may not stop using it because it does so many other good things for me (and the truth is, at some point, I’m going to die anyway).  But at least I’ll be able to make an informed, adult decision.  Like a Free Person should be able to.

Until marijuana research starts approaching the product it’s researching like a ‘real thing’ and not the ludicrous abstraction that bad, racist law enforcement and cultural prejudice convinced us it was, we will live in  darkness.  I can’t think of another product that was so demonized for such terrible reasons.

Good thing we’re all here to fix it…

 

 

 

The Urge To “Off Yourself” Explained

Three days before Christmas 2016, I was close enough to killing myself that my two GPs wanted to hospitalize me.  But I refused.

I had gone there to take one last ‘stab’ at saving myself.  I was at such a nakedly emotional, impulsive place that I was capable at any moment of acting out in the most self-destructive ways possible.

The idea of stepping backward into traffic beckoned to me like a friend…

And I thought it was a friend.

Depression is a process of your inner darkness consuming you.  Some emotional trauma or event — or a series of related events — have caused you not only to question your self-worth but to become increasingly positive that you HAVE NO self-worth…

You’ve never had the chance to correctly deal with the cause of your emotional wound.  It is no different from sustaining a hairline fracture in your arm that you never treat, never deal with — but then causes you pain forever.  And it’s just a matter of time before you put enough pressure on the fracture to finish the job.

In your arm it feels like a knife blade.  In your psyche it feels like self-loathing.

And the self-loathing all goes back to the original fracture that never got dealt with.  One of the problems with how we treat depression at present is we treat the symptoms and rarely the CAUSE.  It’s depressing how poorly we treat and even think of  HAVING DEPRESSION.

The trauma, whatever it was, starts a whisper in your ear.  In my case, it was being sexually molested when I was 14.  The man who did that to me put me on an island — I had a secret, a terrible secret, about myself that I could never tell anyone.  No one therefore could ever really KNOW me.  I would be, forever, alone on an island.  Just me and my secret.

That takes root in your mind.  And when you BLAME YOUR YOUNG SELF for being the cause of your molestation — your feeling isolated in the face of emotional hardship becomes your fitting punishment.  It is not rational.  But it is.

Some people call this ‘Their Darkness’.  I call it ‘My Bullshit’.  I had other bullshit at the time but this became the ‘organizing  principle’ around which all other bullshit in my life would from that point forward be designed:  I had it coming to me.

You question anyone who sees value in you.  What the hell do THEY know?  YOU know better — because YOU know the TRUTH about who YOU really are.

And every bad or terrible thing that happens to you happens BECAUSE of you.

The trick is in realizing — in time — that the voice now screaming at you is the Voice of Bullshit.  It’s NOT your voice.

It’s not easy convincing someone whose BULLSHIT has convinced them that they have no value that they do.  Loving them even harder won’t work — because the love feels so terribly unwarranted.  You’re throwing it away…

The fix lies in KNOWING that there’s a deep, dirty WHY — and in letting your depressed loved one know that it’s okay to ‘HAVE’ that deep, dirty WHY — that the WHY wasn’t their fault.  That they CAN let go of their WHY — and not only survive — but thrive.

Some people already know what their ‘Core Why’ is.  It’s the mountain in whose dark shadow they’ve lived their whole Life.  Some people only ‘suspect’ what their ‘Why’ is.  It’s an ‘Undiscovered Country’ that scares the hell out of them.  Who knows, they worry, if once they cross that border whether they’ll be able to get back to safety.

But naming your Core Why – Your Bullshit – is the essential first step to helping yourself. Refusing to allow yourself your own bullshit’s warm embrace — that’s the real trick.

Suicide Is Just ‘Bullshit’ Claiming Another Victim

Tough week if you’re in the Suicide Prevention Business.

Kate Spade… Anthony Bourdain — and those are just the famous suicides.  I bet there are ‘a few more’ suicides out there — you’ve just never heard the names before.

After Donald Trump was ‘elected’ (he was not elected — you don’t get to literally STEAL an election and call yourself ‘elected’ but — another conversation), the Therapy Business boomed.  So did the Suicide Prevention Business.

My own Therapist told me that.

Three days before Christmas 2016, I knew sat in a exam room at my doctor’s office facing TWO doctors — mine and the office’s ‘Head Doctor’.  The Boss Doctor.

They had already asked me TWICE if I thought I should be hospitalized because I so desperately wanted to harm myself.

By the third time, I think they really meant it.  I guess that’s why they asked a THIRD TIME…

I swore to my increasingly alarmed GPs that I wasn’t going to hurt myself three days before Christmas (my plan was to harm ME, not Christmas for my family forever).

I was there, I said, because I wanted to take a ‘stab’ at medication (I did make that very bad joke on the day; I may have been miserable but I could still make a bad joke).  The depression that was consuming me was ten years in the making (longer actually, much longer – built on events and episodes from the past that I thought were unrelated to my present and future.  Like Rick going to Casablanca for the waters – ‘I was misinformed’.

Medication was my ‘Niagara Falls’ (if you know that old Three Stooges sketch).  It was The Thing I feared almost as much as the depression itself (now that I knew enough to fear it).  As much as I wanted to lift the darkness that was consuming me, I was even more worried what would happen if whatever medication I took impacted my manic side – my creativity.

My therapist and a County Psychiatrist had diagnosed me as Manic Depressive – Bi-Polar with strong episodes of hyper-mania; as depressed as I was, I still sat down to work, every day, regardless of whether I actually had work to do.

Deep, dark mental health issues were not me.  That was what I absolutely believed about myself.

Sure, I was unhappy about things.  We were losing our house.  I hadn’t really worked in 8 years (of course I WORKED – I just didn’t get paid for most of my work or wasn’t paid what had been promised and agreed to) – the result of a variety of factors, some in my control (and therefore my fault), some not.  Financial problems – with interludes of thinking we were ‘saved’ because the ‘bank’ had let us refinance the house yet again… Saved?  Doomed even more completely than before was more like it.

And doomed was exactly how I had been feeling.  And it made me angry – at the world but much, much more at myself.  Financial ruin sucked.  But it wasn’t the lack of money, really, that was causing me to rage.

It wasn’t ‘lack of money’ that made me explode because I dropped something or missed a freeway exit.  Or throw my tennis racket like a petulant 10-year-old.  My immediate circumstances weren’t the real cause of my self-loathing – rather, my self-loathing had taken me to a place where I was completely at the mercy of my immediate circumstances.

I had stopped acting on things and had spent nearly a decade reacting instead.

Worst of all – I had come to believe that I had run out of stories to tell.   My own story was uninteresting and my capacity to tell other peoples’ stories seemed (to me) to have run its course.

My family, I had convinced myself, would really be better off without me.  There was insurance money.  A lot.  In time, I told myself, money would smooth over everything.  In time, I told myself, they might even forgive me enough to actually enjoy the money…

I began thinking of how I might do it.  I needed to be sensitive to my family (imagine!)  I didn’t want to leave a bloody mess in the house.  I didn’t want to be found anywhere really.  I wanted to disappear.  Get in my car maybe and drive into the desert until I ran out of gas.  Then walk until I couldn’t walk any more… then sit… then wait for what was coming to me… what I deserved…

And, I told myself, I could do this – vanish from the lives of my wife, kids, family, community – and do it with a bare minimum of disruption.  Why, it’d be a ‘piffle’.  A wrinkle easily ironed.  A cinch.

It was bullshit of course.  Absolute bullshit.  Not an iota of Truth to it.

To kill yourself is to LITERALLY ‘Bullshit Yourself To Death’.

Not pretty.  But True.

We have a collective disease.  We have allowed BULLSHIT to become like oxygen to us. Like Food & Drink.

And Bullshit CAN be fatal.

But YOU cannot cure someone else of THEIR bullshit.  You can only cure yourself.  And that’s where it has to start.  We all are responsible for recognizing and dealing with our own Bullshit first (before dealing with other peoples’ bullshit).

It’s a hard addiction to break.  The evilest monkey you’ll ever get off your back.  But doing it is essential — and NOT just for those whose bullshit has them on the brink of self destruction.