Dear MSM – Is it REALLY this hard…?
Dear MSM – Is it REALLY this hard…?
I’m feeling poetic today. Metaphorical. Republicans are like dimples on a golf ball — they’re all exactly alike. If just ONE dimple is ‘DIFFERENT’, the golf ball won’t fly the same. The change might be imperceptible to all but the most discerning eye. Won’t matter. The Golf Ball will know. And republicans are the Every-Dimple-Is-Exactly-Like-Every-Other-Dimple sameness that makes their Conservative Golf Ball fly.
And, as we know from their name, CONSERVATIVES DETEST CHANGE. They want to ‘conserve’ (ah, but — conserve WHAT?) Which makes the thought of a golf ball not flying ‘Straight & True’ horrifying — because THAT golf ball ‘could’ change course. It ‘could’ fly LEFT for instance…
Democrats, by comparison are a RUGBY BALL —
Nobody knows how, where (or even ‘why’ half the time) that sucker will bounce. Makes chasing it tough but — grab it and (with lots of teamwork) get it across the finish line — good things happen. It’s messy. It’s ugly. It doesn’t really make sense to Americans (rugby, we’re talking) — but we know something about it is real, authentic.
We recognize the ‘shape’ of the ball. We recognize the physicality of the game. We cringe even cos those players don’t wear padding. Or helmets. Or the body armor that NFL players suit up with. And, instead of running on for a play or two then off, Rugby Players stay on and battle RELENTLESSLY.
Watching Rugby — it’s a lot like Democratic Politics to the average American. They never completely get it — but most of it appeals to them. And even if, after a while, it bores us half the time — deep down, we respect it. Cos it’s not afraid to get down in the mud and ‘scrum’ around in it — cause how else do you get to keep The Ball?
Bald-faced LYING has become a National Disease. How could it not — we have a ‘president’ for whom lying is as natural as breathing.
But then, the party that backed and backs him has a long, ‘illustrious’ history themselves of setting the Truth aside in the interest of keeping Power and Making A Buck.
Our MSM shrugs and throws up its hands. They KNOW that Donald Trump — and most of the Republican Party lie to them every time they open their mouths but what can they do?
It’s simple really. You say, ‘No’. You say, “Stop”. You say ‘I refuse to accept your nonsense — STOP lying to me”.
Or you can go upside their lying heads with the 2X4 they deserve: “BACK IT UP OR IT’S BULLSHIT”.
Nothing else. “Back it up or it’s BULLSHIT”. If people said that and only that back to republicans every time they even opened their mouths to speak (never mind lie) — they would quickly learn either to 1) BACK IT UP or 2) SHUT THE HELL UP.
I think we could get used to hearing silence from them. Especially while we prosecute their asses for TREASON…
It’s Sunday. The ‘News Channels’ are pulling their puds and revisiting old ground (the thing they do best) in lieu of digging deeper into the Most Important Story of Anyone’s Lifetime. Their collective lack of insightful analytical skills is beyond depressing.
Ironically, it got me thinking about an article I caught a few months ago that I cannot get out of my mind. More irony…
It’s about THIS THING — A PLASMODIUM — a slime mold — an amoeba-like organism that has no brain, no neurons —
As Ed Yong wrote in the Atlantic (December 21, 2016), “Each consists of just a single, giant cell. And yet, they’re capable of surprisingly complicated and almost intelligent behaviors. ”
But it gets even more intriguing…
“The plasmodium is essentially a flat, liquid-filled sac… [that] behaves like a colony. Every part rhythmically expands and contracts, pushing around the fluid inside. If one part of the plasmodium touches something attractive, like food, it pulses more quickly and widens. If another part meets something repulsive, like light, it pulses more slowly and shrinks. By adding up all of these effects, the plasmodium flows in the best possible direction without a single conscious thought. It is the ultimate in crowdsourcing.”
This simple behavior can produce extraordinary results. The slime mold can make effective decisions, comparing different options and selecting the best one. It can balance its diet, solve mazes, and escape from traps. It can be integrated into microchips and machines and used to drive robots—not quite a driverless car, but certainly a vehicle with no brain behind the wheel.”
Human beings seem preternaturally disposed toward total chauvinism where being sentient is concerned. We acknowledge tacitly that other animate creatures have ‘feelings’ though we disregard their feelings almost completely. By ‘animate’, most humans mean ‘things with a face’. They don’t think of coral, say, as being an animal (rather than an exotic underwater plant) — though it absolutely is an animal.
Even if we did ‘accept’ coral as being more like US than a tomato plant, we’d never ‘think’ coral could ‘think’. Except it does. Turns out LOTS OF THINGS ‘think’ very much like we do — except without the same ‘machinery’. Want to have your mind completely blown? Read this article.
It will change the way you think about ‘conscious thought’, how we ‘achieve’ conscious thought and how ‘conscious thought’ can be achieved by other creatures using different means. The planet is far more ‘woke’ than humans understand.
If slime molds have a kind of collective ‘sense’ then ‘collective sense’ can potentially be achieved by any number of other ‘things’ we humans don’t think of as having that potential. It follows then that if slime molds and other ‘things’ have consciousness, religions like Buddhism that sense a deeper collective consciousness are, in fact, recognizing and accommodating that ‘Fact of Life’.
It would follow also — if other ‘things’ have consciousness — that other things ‘perceive the world’. They have an experience of living that is uniquely theirs because of their place in the ‘food chain’ — and we all have a place in the food chain — even humans (ask the microbes that will feast on us when we’re dead). That would mean they have an understanding (complete or incomplete) of how ‘Life’ works albeit from their perspective.
And that would mean — if it’s so — that all other sentient creatures (could trees, in their way be sentient?) ‘view humans’ in their way just like humans view them in theirs. If Ed Yong is right — and slime molds experience a kind of ‘thought’ — then we kinda need to seriously re-evaluate the whole notion of what we mean by ‘sentient being’.
I’m all about trying to get at the deepest, MOST ‘core’ Truths about this collective experience we’re all having a/k/a LIFE.
I start from the premise that any creature experiencing any kind of ‘life’ whatsoever has beaten exceptional odds to ‘acquire’ the spark of life.
Where any of us is concerned, had a different sperm gotten to the egg that became us first? We would be a completely different person. Don’t think so? Compare yourself to your siblings. Are you an exact copy? Of course not.
There are similar genetics and dissimilar genetics contained inside each sperm. And then there’s the chemistry between the sperm that succeeds and the egg whose defenses it successfully breached. It is far from certain that sperm and egg get on well. When their fusion fails either the egg never gets fertilized or the ‘thing’ that gets fertilized started out too flawed to last more than a few weeks or months. It gets ‘miscarried’. Our system has ‘designed itself’ to seek out bad copies and destroy them. It ain’t flawless unfortunately.
The overwhelming majority — by a lot — of attempts by creatures (animate or otherwise — trees, for instance) to reproduce on this planet fail. Completely.
Flip that over. It is exceptionally RARE that reproduction occurs (even among insects and rodents — think about that!) Which means that getting here makes you special.
Being human makes us special in a different way than most other creatures. We ‘seem’ to have more options in how we pass through this ‘Life thing’. One of those options should be in how we look at and TREAT the other creatures with whom we share this remarkable space…
Americans are not generally known for their knowledge of history (or geography). We have other strengths. But, when we DO have history (and remember it), we tend to be ‘colorful’ about it. There’s a ‘pretty famous’ (if by ‘famous’ we mean Historians call it that) time period in American History called The Gilded Age.
It was America’s first Great Headrush of Success — when the accumulation of extreme wealth became a remote possibility for a few outside the tight circle of White Christian Old Mega Wealth. Suddenly, even total cads could get the Federal Government to pony up all the money & risk on the transcontinental railroad while THEY reaped all the profit. Boo-Yah Representative Democracy was Good!
Our own Age is starting to feel (creepily so) like a deranged, stalker wanna-be of the Gilded Age. Call us THE BRANDED AGE.
Having no more wealth beneath the earth’s crust to pursue (someone else already owns it all), and with technology making most anything we could do with our hands obsolete as a job skill (making ‘things’ is so ‘third world prison labor’, don’tcha think?), that means only the Most Clever Rats will find their way out of the Maze that is Their Future. And the MOSTEST, CLEVEREST Rats have already groked that BRANDING — making YOU (the ‘idea’ of you actually) a distinct thing in other peoples’ minds — is essential to any sort of success going forward.
Because WHO WE ARE is now instantly accessible by anyone else, we need to make damned sure that what’s being PROJECTED is the picture of ourselves we want projected. Our everything depends on it being ‘right’ (whatever ‘right’ is for each of us).
Back in the day, this kind of thing was called ‘your values’. I don’t mean ‘Family Values’ — an ad slogan for smug, sanctimonious Christan hypocrites — I mean VALUES. Stuff you believed in not because some religious bullshitters rammed it down your throat but because you lived life and applied your life experiences accordingly. Like most people, you probably wanted to co-exist in relative peace & harmony with your neighbors, live a long, healthy life and get to see your great-grandchildren succeed before passing on.
And because those were your values, you hung with certain people who shared those values. You formed friendships, started businesses and raised your families among people whose values were pretty much the same as yours.
If you practiced a religion — you formed bonds with people who believed the same way you did. If you loved a sports team above all others… same thing.
These days they think of it in Branding terms. I happily ‘brand’ with Tottenham Hotspur for instance. I’ve followed that English Premier League team for years & years & years (I married into a Spurs family). On some days, I still happily co-brand with the LA Dodgers. It’s an LA thing…
But I am keenly aware of everyone I now associate with. If I speak up for someone or get their back — I need to know I’m not gonna pay for it by seeing my own integrity dinged.
After all — I have a brand to protect.
Long story short: A few days before Christmas 2016, I not only ‘flirted with suicide’, I stared long and hard into its eyes.
I was lucky — and walked away alive.
The medication that helped me walk away alive – Lamotrigine – is mainly used as an anti-seizure med for epilepsy sufferers; anecdotal observations suggested it stabilized mood too. That’s what I use it for — and part of my luck was that Lamotrigine worked and works for me as well, as completely and as quickly as it did. One of the unexpected side effects (unexpected becasue there IS no ‘literature’ on my use of this drug. I’m one of the guinea pigs) is that alcohol now leaves a terrible aftertaste in my mouth.
It doesn’t matter how beautifully structured that glass of Zinfandel is, or how inky and taut the tannins are in that Petit Sirah — the aftertaste is so profoundly unpleasant — and so particular — that it simply made drinking anything with alcohol in it cringe-inducing. So, I did the logical thing: I stopped drinking.
I had already turned to cannabis for other things. That I had turned to cannabis at all was a testament to my NEED for cannabis. It was not terribly attractive to me when I was young — it made me too sleepy to be functional. And, back then, I wasn’t having sleep problems. Cannabis was ‘solving a problem’ I didn’t have. So I used other drugs. Alcohol. Cocaine. But mostly alcohol.
Those drugs DID solve my ‘problem’: They made me social when I needed to be, sped me up when I wanted and made me feel like I was Golden. In point of fact, my drugs of choice weren’t ‘solving’ anything; they were making more problems and harming my body — in small ways but significant ways. And the Drug that I chose most often — every day, in fact — three glasses of red pretty much guaranteed — was alcohol.
And I LOVED IT. I adored good red wine. I loved a perfectly made, ice cold gin martini. I loved bourbon and single malt scotch. I loved grappa & calvados.
I loved the whole creative endeavor, the craftsmanship and passion that went into a bottle of ‘fermented, alcoholized fruit’.
The fact that it was legal meant that I could drink as much of that product as I wanted to — even if it made me sick. But — as an adult — that is my right & privilege so long as I harm no one else. This is as it should be and must be.
One of the things I adored about alcohol was ‘Alcohol Culture’ — otherwise known as A PARTY. You arrive at a party, plop down YOUR contribution (a six pack or bottle of something too cheap for YOU to drink) and away you go — merging your drinking rhythm into everyone else’s drinking rhythm.
Funny thing? I never used to know that parties — and partiers — had a ‘drinking rhythm’. That’s because, back then, I was PART of that rhythm. I might have been a BIG part of that rhythm.
And then circumstances stopped me from being part of it — and, instead, made me AN OBSERVER of it instead.
This is not a revelation to anyone who doesn’t drink — but socializes with people who do. Going to a party or a bar — anywhere where other people are slowly surrendering their faculties to alcohol — is a fascinating — but isolating — experience. Literally everyone else in that room is on a journey you are NOT on. And YOU — the person NOT drinking — almost always feel relief about that fact: Who would WANT to act as silly as all those people slowly getting plastered?
I live in California where cannabis is now legal. It is already normalizing (though it still has a long, long way to go — the product was demonized so relentlessly — and so DISHONESTLY — that it will take a while just to strip out all the bullshit from Our Common Knowledge of the product. Disinformation and misinformation are far more prevalent in the culture than actual data on the subject. Our laws reflect that too unfortunately — but we’ll fix it in time.
As more and more people use the product and take it to heart (and mind), the laws will have to catch up — because our experience with it will demand no less.
Yes, cannabis can make you feel awesome. It can take the edge off a bad mood like few things. That includes alcohol. Especially alcohol.
But — and this is several years of actual experience talking (anecdotal experience every last bit of it — but valid as data nonetheless — and even more valid because it’s such consistent data).
I re-considered cannabis as a product four years ago when I needed help sleeping. My experience with OTC sleep meds was poor and I feared anything stronger. Cannabis — indica strains — solved my problem simply, effectively and without breaking the bank. I fell asleep feeling good — slept longer than I was sleeping previously — and awoke just about EVERY MORNING feeling rested. Even if the quantity of my sleep still needed improvement, the QUALITY of that sleep was exactly what I needed.
I learned — as I began to explore different cannabis strains — that sativas and hybrids effect my brain differently than most indicas. I learned from repeated experience that GG4 (a hybrid) and Durban Poison (a sativa) and Dutch Treat (a hybrid) and Trainwreck (another hybrid) and Alaskan Ice (a sativa) and Bertleberry Cheesecake (a sativa) and Chemdawg (a hybrid) — among others — brought not only a sense of ‘well-being’ but discernible CLEAR-HEADEDNESS.
Each and everyone of those strains — when smoked either alone or in concert with each other in various combinations — produced (and produce) a laser-like focus in my mind. Whether I’m working, cleaning my house — or even playing tennis — these strains make me measurably better at whatever I’m doing.
I also discovered strains that, while not focussing me quite so intensely, did make me feel chatty and social. Cannabis, like alcohol, gives one a ‘social high’. But, whereas the social high with alcohol soon devolves — alcohol breaks down prohibitions but also the good sense to NOT break them down when appropriate — cannabis DOESN’T have that effect.
And, as a lot of other people have learned and are learning — if depression has any purchase inside your head? Alcohol is not your friend. Cannabis on the other hand is. It’s not for everyone of course (why, oh WHY does one always have to explain that?) Everyone’s brain chemistry is different. But — if we look at the Big Picture (keeping in mind that even pharmaceuticals can kill you or hurt you) — lots and lots and lots of actual DATA says that cannabis is incredibly efficacious for a wide and widening group of people.
Want to argue with me? Okay. We may argue but we won’t fight (so long as we’re both toking).
You don’t see a lot of fist fights break out among pot smokers the way you do drinkers. That’s brain chemistry at work. And it describes two very different experiences inside our brains. Perversely, we as a LARGER Culture accept what Alcohol Culture does to people (just as we still accept what Tobacco Culture has done to us — WHY is it even remotely acceptable for A SMOKER to toss their butt as if OUR WORLD were THEIR ash tray? How the hell did THAT ever become ‘acceptable’ in the first place?)
Alcohol & Cannabis effect us — who we are, what we do — AND WHY — in two vastly different ways. We need to recognize not only that there ARE differences but WHAT those differences are.
In the meantime — I’m thinking Allen Wrench…
Among the statements Donald Trump has made that most reflect a personal ‘philosophy’ is that one: “I alone can fix it”.
And it epitomizes not only NARCISSISTIC ‘thinking’ but MALE thinking, too. In fact, it IS how males tend to think and problem-solve — unilaterally.
If you look at the mythological heroes we Americans have created for ourselves (real, quasi-real & flat-out fictional) — Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Paul Bunyan, Uncle Sam (just for starters) — they’re all ‘rugged individuals’ — solitary males taking the ‘burdens of the world’ onto their strong, sure shoulders. They don’t run for a ‘second opinion’ when things get tough, they step up, man up, and ‘do it’ (whatever ‘it’ is).
And we, as a Nation, have celebrated that ideal — regardless of how bullshitty it actually is. Dictatorships rely on unilateral decision-making. Successful countries however do not. If we measure ‘success’ by happiness of a population, America doesn’t score too terribly well. Places like Denmark & Sweden are far, far happier.
We may be ‘wealthier’ in that ‘we’ have ‘more money’ in our pockets, but that ‘we’ is actually a very small club (and getting smaller). Most of the actual ‘WE’ (as in We The American People’) have LESS money now — and a lot less certainty about our future.
It is entirely male to focus so exclusively on the rights of the individual over the rights of the group. The individuals those males are so worried about — they’re all male, too. And their idea of ‘freedom’ is to do whatever they goddamn well please — regardless of who it hurts, inconveniences, disadvantages or impregnates.
As much as we like to flatter ourselves that we’re here for some ‘higher purpose’, our biology says we’re here for ONE purpose: To survive long enough to reproduce — to spread our genetics — before we die. That’s what we’re really ‘designed’ to do. For men, that reproductive role involves sticking our penises into a vagina and squirting out our DNA. Once we finish and withdraw — our real purpose in life having been accomplished — males are free to walk away.
And they almost always do.
Women, on the other hand, must deal with the consequences of that male DNA furiously swimming upstream inside them. Should a sperm survive and make it inside the egg that (could be) waiting there? That starts a process that — if it comes to completion and produces a human child (one that can survive OUTSIDE A UTERUS) — cannot be handled alone.
Female biology demands group involvement just to survive. And that informs everything women do. Survival depends upon the group — and therefore what helps & benefits THE GROUP must take precedence over the needs of any one person. Because if THE GROUP dies, they all die.
When your attachment to The Group dictates your thinking & decision-making, you don’t see yourself as an individual (rugged or otherwise) but as a member of The Group — and your success as a member of the group will depend entirely on your ability to WORK WITH & WITHIN the Group. Consequently, you think differently than someone (a man) who ‘alone can fix it’.
Unilateral male decision-making has brought us to this terrible place: “I alone can screw this up’.
The surge of women into American politics is long, long overdue. They will change the entire political culture — because they think differently than the men who drove American Political Culture into the ground.
Gentlemen — hand over the keys. The Women are driving now — and you don’t want to piss them off any more than they already are.