My Fucked Up View of The Universe, and how Zen and neuroscience have helped me: Or How I Came to Love (Being) The Bomb

    You have to start with how disjointed I am. How incomplete and alone, afraid, and bewildered I was by life. How I never understood myself or other people. A poor miserable intellectual asshat born poor white trash.

    We call it what? Broken homes, tv drama, bipolar disorder? Rosanne and fucking Al Bundy spoke to my condition. And so did Nietzsche, fuckin’ Nietzsche. Now don’t get me wrong, Nietzsche’s still my homie, but a 14yo has no business reading that shit.

    Basically I was lost, the universe was empty and meaningless. I wasn’t man enough, white-like-you enough, geeky-like-you-enough, I was a weirdo and a pervert. A liar and a thief. I never meant to do bad, I just didn’t no how to do good right.

    See the thing is, my life started in shit, felt like shit, and sank deeper into shit, and I didn’t see any way but shit.

    But then some remarkable fucking shit started to happen to me after my life fell the fuck apart. I changed my environment, I got a chance to experiment different ways to people. Different things to be about. I got to see glimpses of things outside of my miserable shit little existence, and I saw people who came from far shittier places than me fucking *own* life.

    And I got to see that they didn’t do it perfectly, either. They didn’t just one day stop fucking up all together. It’s that they changed their context, their story, how they viewed their life and their circumstance, how they viewed the past, their fuckups, and how they wanted to be.

    And I saw that it did something way better than making fucked up people normal, it made them extraordinary, in a way that they did not have to apologize to or accommodate the world for, instead they made the world accommodate them. In all their beautiful glory.

    I got to thinking, about just what defines success? About what defines purpose, or good relationships, or getting what you want out of life. I got to thinking about all my drama, and all my fuck-ups, and what really I wanted to do with all of them.

    I read up, I’m still reading up. I I’m still training, I’m not even over the first mountain back ready into the big scarey world out there. But I know, when I am I will be unstoppable. You can’t fail at practice:

  • Other people’s bullshit drama doesn’t have to be yours. Actively foster and grow your relationships.

  • Sometimes the kindest thing you can do for a person, is to not engage them, or stop them from hurting themselves or others. Sometimes this can be harsh.

  • You need to know how you work. What do you tell yourself? What causes you to do what?

  • Don’t believe your own bullshit

  • A useful fiction to carry around in your mind: I am you and you are me. We are bits of the universe that happen to be aligned for a moment with enough complexity to be able to actually experience itself. We are born from and return to the same universe of stars and dirt. I am you, and you are me. We are the same stuff, just organized from different vantage points. My shit is the universe’s shit. So’s yours.

  • Sometimes you run into people, in bad parts of their story. That doesn’t mean they’ll always be like this.

  • Your possibilities are shaped by what your environment has exposed you to. You are never just yourself.

  • Be kind to everyone you meet. They are fighting a hard battle.

  • 98% of the human population has no idea what the fuck they’re doing and spend a lot of time hurt and afraid.

  • I know the best way to make people evil: Make them hurt, afraid and alone.

  • I know the best way to make people good: Alleviate their suffering, alienation, and fear. Give them the opportunity to change their story to one of being good.

    This re-conceptualization of myself, in terms of narrative and environment structure. Is I think, pretty alien to most people. It’s certainly alien to me, but I was already an alien. Oh I guess I forgot to mention neuroscience and Zen in all of his. I started getting back in touch with my philosophy, and I improved upon it. I started noticing that there was a lot of dove-tailing between Taoist/Zen life advice, and the CBT stuff I was reading.

    They recommend mindfulness practice as enormously healthy, dialectal thinking and detachment from your worries and emotions are part of pretty much every CBT plan. I’ve found a basic description of the NAMI Relapse prevention grid in fucking ancient ass pre-science sayings and recovery methods.

    It’s not all Zen, I’m picking up from everywhere, ontological philosophy, how social systems and your environment affect and create who you are, etc. In fact, another strong basis I am using is simply empiricism. It is quite simply very freeing to know “correct” ways of thinking and dealing with issues which have scientific evidence of their effectiveness behind them.

    This itself to me, is like “direct pointing”, without the mysticism. There’s nothing to “believe”, you do it, and it works. You adopt the mindset, you adopt the practice, you achieve the result.

    The tools of emotional and behavioral wellness and self-knowledge require a deep education. An immersive and supportive environment is the easiest way to achieve this, a humane environment. In fact, this is the most important education you can give someone. The tools of self-directed behavior, executive function, and environmental change are the most useful tools to give to people. And yet we treat emotional health and psychology as an afterthought of education, far behind test scores.

    The proper aim of any educational system in a humane society is this: To produce psychologically healthy and effective adults. All other goals follow.

    There would be a lot less unhealthy people. We give people these types of skills, when they’re different and nobody knows what the fuck’s going on. When they have an illness or dysfunction, that has become so bad that it has completely destroyed their life. Then we give them access to treatment, which aims to give them the tools of psychological health. This is the wrong method. We run band-aids as if they were surgery clinics.

    The solution is to normalize the practical education on the science of the mind and being to everyone. Mental health is for everyone, not just the chronically sick. More-over, mental health is not an individual exercise. Environment creates mental health challenges, this means that the structure and shape of society also produce sick individuals. In America, we have a profoundly inhumane society. It treats people badly by default, and then kicks them when they are down.

    It is also necessary for me to make note at which these tools are already put in practice, particularly by elements of the creative class. Agile development, GTD, books on managing cognitive load, the pomodoro technique, pair programming, these are all experimental cognitive methods at managing relationships toward a particular aim. Those with resources already practice this. Fortune 500 companies now hire mindfulness gurus for their executives.

    So those who already have, already get more of this. But the technology of human psychology isn’t just practical methods of self-actualization. It’s the technology of environmental management of humans.

    Stores and hotels, and well…just about everything anymore, are designed to elicit predictable behavior from human beings as they interact.

    Candy and toys are put at child level to induce them to nag you for additional purchases, everything you want is put on opposite ends of the stores to make you travel through multiple isles. Last minute impulse buys are put towards the checkout counter.

    Fast food restaurants design their interiors to be uncomfortable to spend large amounts of time in, to encourage more throughput. McDonald’s uses over 50 different demographic points of data to decide where to put a new store. Including race, and average traffic congestion.

    Considering how pervasively corporate and political power use the tools of psychology to shape individuals and environment, I consider the lack of a psycho-social education to be the biggest threat which undermines democracy. I consider the normalization of mental health practice, and humane practice, to be one of the strongest cures for what ails my country, but also: Any country, anywhere.

    Your small practices, become your big practices. Your little inhumanities become your sweat shops, working poor, prisoners, wars, genocides. And this is true especially of countries: Inhumane social institutions foster inhumane people who further inhumane social institutions.

    So, anyways. I’ve found my purpose and meaning again, and for me it is both a big practice and a little practice. I know my life would have been fundamentally different had everyone I had encountered in my fostering years had access to humane tools and treatments for their own problems. So my little practice, is giving people those tools, and the big practice is creating a society that gives everyone those tools.

Edit: I do not like how wordpress reformatted this, and refuses to format it with things like Indentations and proper sentence structure but I do not know how to change this. I will look up whether or not this is just a consequence of this theme I am using and if I should use another, but I don’t see options really in the wp editor.

Solitude

I find myself again alone, but not lonely. A longing however, persists. I am at a crossroads in my approach to life and to myself. I have always been alone, in so far as I could not even relate to myself. Not knowing both who and what I am, not knowing the nature of reality, of other people, etc. I did not know how to guide myself at all, through this world or through my own.

Now I am secure in myself, my perception has changed, and I persue greater and greater self-knowledge. That I want to be liked, comes no longer from an insecurity in myself, but rather a concern for the experience of others.

I have become curious about other people in a way which did not exist before, and yet mentally I still remain quite different. I have not yet seen a reflection of my own mind. While of course I have some vanity in this respect, I do not vouch for the superiority of my intellect. I have met many more intelligent than me, but none with my view of the world.

It is in our commonality that we seek and find others, so I have expanded and focused on my commonality with all people I encounter. However, I am being re-invented, I know not anymore what the context of my uncommonality has with the world.I just know it seems to be uncommon, whatever it ultimately is. This has instilled in me a detachment, a peaceable solitude, where before there existed an anguished alienation.

My vanity persists though, in that I write and speak now prodigiously of the change in my thought process. I seek commonality in part by working to create that commonality with others. All poets, artists, philosophers, politicians, or any who aspired to exert themselves upon the world are vain in this respect: That they valued their contribution to the world enough to leave a lasting impression.

What we seek in others, in our most intimate sense, is to see a reflection of ourselves. Not in the sense of a mirror, but to understand and be understood. A meeting of minds which bridges universes together.

So, I’m working on self-knowledge, but also practical matters of interacting with the world as an effective and happy human being. I’m using the faculties of my reason to explore a reasonable way of being.

It is both the easiest and hardest things to do. It is easy, because all one must do is remain curious, not caught up in drama, not inside their own story, but rather authoring it. To be a good person, all that is necessary is to make compassion your number one priority. To stay sane, all that is necessary is to take things as they come. To be happy, all one must do is approach life through the context of experience, rather than obsession over your own wants.

That all of this is so easy to see, it is amazing that I lived the majority of my life so far mired in misery. That is because it requires a great deal of self-knowledge, a commitment to living up to your better self, being authentic about your inauthenticities, and to be objective about other people.

It is hard as well, without realizing the difference between trying and practicing, and the realization that you are not your past nor your future, only your present. It is hard without the ability to be objective about your self, and not believe your own bullshit.

It is hard, because it is effortless. It is effort to worry about your past or your future, it is effort to make up bullshit, it is effort to force things, it is effort to hide your inauthenticities.

When really, so much of the peacable mind is in not engaging in effort. Not getting caught up, not getting stuck on things, not being all about one thing or the other. About subtracting distractions from our mind, rather than adding to them.While the knowledge and wisdom required [e.g., philosophic mind] to embrace the effortless mindset are extensive, the requirements of rational self-examination considerable, the more they are exercised the more effortless they become. The more you practice, the more you succeed.
In getting beyond myself, I shall find my center. In finding my center, I shall be whole.

“Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers.Fellow creators the creator seeks — those who write new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the harvest.” –My old friend Friederich Nietzsche

Everything is Bullshit

Edit: Note to self — Clean up a bit. For instance, I don’t think the Storytelling Device, is itself bullshit, nor solely edificed on a delusional self….just that this is the most common expression of it. 98% of the population as it were.

Everyone knows the world is full of bullshit.

However, no one seems to realize that the world is made of bullshit. Including you.

Bullshit has reached an endemic proportion, not because people are any more or less full of shit than before (although, one could argue that there might have been arguably less shit during say The Enlightenment, or during the age of the ancient greek philosophers. But just because they scraped it from off their eyes doesn’t mean they weren’t still buried up to their necks), but because of our greater numbers, and our technical ability to magnify bullshit on scales never seen before.

Now, to be clear: Bullshit is not the same thing as lying. Liars care about the truth. Bullshitting is about being justified. Feeling Valid. Right in mind if not in factuality.

Already Always Bullshitting

We are always, repeat: always bullshitting ourselves. How? you ask? Well let me ask you something:

  • How much do you know about human psychology?
  • How much do you know about history?
  • The history of your beliefs?
  • How much do you know about yourself?

We are always bullshitting ourselves because we know very little about ourselves, others, and the world.

All human beings are story-tellers. If there’s one thing that makes humans human, it is story-telling. Problem is that most of our stories are bullshit.

Bullshit Acquisition Device

Right before Chomsky’s Language Acquisition Device, we may imagine a Bullshit Acquisition Device. The creative capacity of our minds is that we can construct reasons why things happen. Evolution though, is a dirty, lazy, beast that works on the principal of Worse is Better.

You need to know why something happens but don’t have a good reason? Well, you still need to know right? You make up bullshit.

The easiest way to begin understanding the world is to make up stories. Some stick, some don’t, most stories end up serving a purpose other than that for which they were made. But most of us are also pretty poor story-tellers, or else everyone would be a fucking orator and author.

And lets not get started about the quality of some of our orators and authors.

The problem is, that these stories begin to make up our entire construction of the world, if they’re strong enough, no amount of evidence is going to clean up our bullshit. The fact of the matter is, more than likely you will never come into contact with serious challenges to your own bullshit.

Stories are very adaptable, and once you’ve set the stage and how it’s to be interpreted your flexible, ingenious, bullshit mind will wrap up or simply make completely invisible any challenges to it.

Through bullshit covered glasses you see the world. It cannot be stressed enough how validating bullshit can be, the default justification method of the mind is through the primitive Bullshit Acquisition Device.

Don’t believe me? Take a quick look at this list. We tend to judge others more harshly than ourselves, over-attribute our victories and under-attribute our defeats to ourselves. We judge outgroups more harshly than ingroups, we think people are smarter just because they’re prettier, we value evidence more strongly the more it confirms our own existing beliefs, and when our beliefs are seriously shaken we’re only likely to seek out evidence which confirms our own beliefs.

If that’s not evidence of a Bullshit Acquisition Device, I don’t know what is.

So lets get to some big, fundamental, pervasive and dangerous bullshit:

The 7 Deadly Bullshits.


Bullshit Item #1: Free Will.

Free Will doesn’t just not exist, it’s a completely bullshit excuse for escaping reality. Free-will is so obviously bullshit that our minds usually go one of two routes:

  • Completely and wholeheartedly swallowing it.
  • Deciding that free-will not existing, means that it’s diametric opposite: Pre-determinism, is somehow not bullshit.

We will go to amazing lengths to preserve this delusional bullshit, frequently falling into the Just-World Fallacy, blaming ourselves and others for anything and everything under the sun, or attributing all this bullshit to unchangeable destiny.

How marvelously narcissistic our minds are. Even when confronted with blatant evidence contrary to free-will or enetched-destiny we find amazing ways to weasel our own selves out of it.

Where’s the free-will in this?:

Image

Contrarily:

If a blind man teaching himself to see isn’t evidence of your potentially infinite ability to overcome fate, I don’t know how to clean that bullshit out of your eyes.

What you have is arbitrary, conditional, flexible, and malliable will. And this is both better and worse than either free or pre-determined will. Your will is a story painted on the backdrop of your environment, context, culture, gender, hair-color, having-a-left-hand-ed-ness, and so on.

Most particularly: Your will is a story.

Which brings me to…

Bullshit Item #2: The Self

You are not yourself, your self does not exist. It is a convenient illusion of identity stitched across memory and behavior to provide a sense of continuity. This is the hardest bullshit to get rid of.

You’re a story, and you’re the protagonist in your story. In fact, I’d call the illusion of self to be the Protagonist Acquisition Device. This is the center, this protagonist engine, of your emotional reasoning. It is the glue which stitches together the morass of emotional whole.

The delusion of free will is maintained as a primitive psychological defense against loss of agency, while the self is maintained as a primitive psychological defense against loss of identity.

The need of an anchor-point of identity is a necessary pre-condition for agency in a universe which is constantly changing the context of your identity. It is a useful fiction. From an evolutionary standpoint: The self is the simplest and easiest route of identity anchoring.

So strong is our need to preserve this idea of agency, once we’ve swallowed this bullshit, is that we will either fail to see or face extreme cognitive dissonance at anything that undermines the idea that our selves are not our own.

This leads into…

Bullshit Item #3: Morality, specifically Good and Evil. With capitals.

I can make you into an evil person with an icepick. You don’t believe me of course, even if you accept the factual validity of my evidence:

The evidence is in fact all around you, of moral, social, physical, sexual, or ethical pathologies or developmental disorder about all sorts of people. Those born with severe autism, Down’s Syndrome, Assholes, sociopaths, OCD, whatever. Yet we of course do our best as a group to move these people out of our sight. We blame homeless schizophrenics for their own condition. Or else we ignore them so that we can continue to pretend we’re not like them.

Just because you have the illusion of a socially accepted identity, doesn’t mean you couldn’t lose it at any moment.

So what then is morality? A social construction of course. Is something that trangresses our “universally” accepted morals (rape, murder) all structural defects in the brain? No. The most remarkable thing about our brains is neuro-plasticity.

We have the ability to edit these stories we tell ourselves to reinterpret and add to them at any time. Some people tell themselves very bad stories about themselves and the world, and do terrible things because of it.

But functionally: What matters the difference between bad storytelling and a structural defect in the brain which causes social harm? The harm is the same, and since our ability to construct stories is built on so many other environmental factors, it seems tremendously cruel to acribe to others an unlimited free-will you intuitively know you do not have.

People do not choose to be evil, they become evil. Some of it may be caused by the inability to write good stories, structurally, thus Sociopathy may be as structural as Korsakoff’s syndrome. But even if it’s caused entirely by neuro-plastic story-telling, the result is the same. The destruction, the pain and alienation, anxiety, you name it.

It’s a horrible thing to be a horrible person. You have an extreme deficit of positive interactions with the world.

Most naturally this state of affairs disproves…

Bullshit Item Number #4: The Soul and the Afterlife.

These festering piles of bullshit are as old as man. The very first emotions felt by any creature on this planet were hunger and fear of death. We’re equipped with this Story Telling Device edificed on the delusion of Self, total (or no) agency, morality and behavior which sets us a world apart from other animals.

And yet death surrounds us everywhere in life. We have this self-awareness and social attachment to human beings that screams in the face that these identities must some day come to an end. A whole and complex universe ceases to exist when someone we know dies.

So terrifying is this prospect of the entire universe snuffing out to nothing for you that you desperately cling to the idea that there is something special that sets you apart from the spider and fly, which perish with such fleeting insignificance to you.

There must be a higher significance, you must not be like them, you don’t simply experience the universe: You psychologically create it’s context.

The overwhelming obviousness of this fact is so terrifying that these bullshit beliefs are immensely palpitable.

Which leads to…

Bullshit Item #5: Your Beliefs.

So much bullshit pervades your universe that it is in-escapable that the majority of your beliefs are completely rubbish. Even quite reasonable beliefs must contend with a world edificed on so much bullshit that they seem folly when difficult.

We believe obviously stupid things, which we recognize as obviously stupid in others outside our social and psychological context.

Not just in the big things, but in the little things: Someone’s an Asshole to me Because He is an Asshole (And I’m not). We mistake other people’s stories for their being and rationalize away such non-sense in our selves.

Every author has certain ideas about the world, which inescapably means there’s some bullshit in his works. George R. R. Martin is a world class storyteller, but he makes women think with their breasts.

Our side is right, your side is wrong. Facts don’t matter. Pure Bullshit. But it justifies our precious little feelings.

Bullshit Item #6: The World and your Experience.

In light of how much of the world is built from the obviously bullshit above, your experience of the world is infested with other people’s bullshit, which reinforces your own bullshit.

This has very large measurable costs: Poverty, War, Hunger, Disease.

Much of the world’s problems are simply engineering issues at this point. We have the complete ability to reform society and the world to have a lot less bullshit in it. Yet we are both paralyzed in the face of other’s bullshit (I can’t change the world…) and so completely mired in our own bullshit justifications (War will always be with us…The poor are just lazy…There will always be the destitute…) that we refuse to clean it up. The fact of the matter is it has never been cheaper to solve the world’s problems, has never been easier, and never will be easier.

The weight of our bullshit, multiplied exponentially by our numbers, is doing nothing more than consigning us to the same fate as the least intelligent Apex Predator.

Bullshit Item #7: Your limitations.

Or relative lack there-of. There are always contextual limitations. The aformentioned African child, and examples of brain damage are obvious proof of that. But the marvellous thing about the Story Telling Device, that gives you self aware-ness and the ability to interpret the universe, is that it allows you to edit your world.

Bullshit multiplies, it’s endemic and spreads through the world causing a multiplicity of unhappy results. But so does Anti-Bullshit.

Dispelling and disbelieving in bullshit frees your will to improve it. Rational self-awareness, rational empathy, equip you to solve the world’s problems. To ease other people’s suffering, to free the will of others.

You not only have a moral obligation (not in the sense of Good, with a capital G but rather as a shared moral contract), but it will vastly improve your personal universe.

An individual effort to not engage in bullshit still affects thousands, a mass of people unwilling to accept the most obviously bullshit state of affairs can change the fate of the planet and stave off our extinction.

Haters, Assholes, Sociopaths, all mired so deep in their own bullshit stories and bad habits that they cause destruction where ever they go. They are sick and deserve to be cured, but they also do not deserve to be in the driving seat.

Too many lives are at stake, your life in particular, to allow the plague of bullshit to continue.

Bruce Lee said it best about limitations:

Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-tow minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile [Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a-half minutes per mile].

So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.”

I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.”

He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.”

I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.”

So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out.
I’m tired, my heart’s pounding,I can’t go any more and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run any more,” — and we’re still running — “if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.”

He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles.

Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it.

I said, you know, “Why did you say that?”

He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”

Limitations are bullshit, and the seed of death.

Two Short Epigrams to work on later

It is said in psychology that thought and behavior are nearly one and the same, by symmetry so too are being and doing. To simplify, reduce your apprehensiveness to zero

Or: How to explain Zen to a physicist

There is no trying to be a good person, there is only being and practice.

Or: Practice is the same thing as trying, if you’re not practicing you aren’t trying. You can’t fail at practicing, because failure is integral to practicing. You can only stop practicing.

My Bullshit #1: I’m an intellectually arrogant prick.

Yup, there you have it. First I’m going to lay out all my good and well argued justifications for that, and then I’m going to call out all the bullshit in my justifications. But also this realization came from a pretty assinine encounter with someone I respect, so I’m also going to bitch about them not seeing the reason I’m an intellectually arrogant prick.

First, some history: I grew up pretty much alone, and this cannot be overstated: I’ve been mistreated by nearly everyone in my life history. Abuse, neglect, bullying, indifference, the whole nine yards. And when I did meet good people? I had to move. So people became more or less ephemeral and interchangeable for me, dangerous and incomprehensible, unrelateable and alienating.

But I’m an intelligent mother-fucker (Don’t read: Smart. I’m also a dumb mother-fucker in a lot of ways), and I escaped into books and then eventually into the internet. The internet was really the first time I had a lot of interaction with people, and I immediately gravitated towards my interests: Ideas. I’ve spent a great deal of my life reading rhetoric, logic, philosphy, and history. And a great deal of time arguing with people on the internet. In some arenas I’ve had no problems coming off as a prick, generally in those contexts where personhood is utterly ambiguous and each party treats the other’s statements as something to be debated. I learned a long time ago however: Never talk to anyone like this.

In the process, and in my life experience: I’ve become profoundly critical of poorly reasoned or unclear arguments. Even if especially if they share in common my own beliefs and I agree with the outcome of their shoddy reasoning.

Why? Because I’ve found that when people have shitty reasoning they tend to have shitty moral justifications. Hint: If your moral transformation makes you into a smug morally superior prick you’re doing it wrong. Essentially I have zero respect for poorly reasoned arguments, most particularly in the realm of ideas. I’m academically critical of any idea someone relates to me, and no where is this any more apparent than in written discussion. This often makes me a contrarian for arguments sake and it can make me come across as an insensitive prick.

More on that: When I see people’s written arguments I see them as a statement devoid of personal contex. It’s a statement written on a page and I care not a whit about the other person. Partly because I’m used to reading arguments by long dead people I can’t exactly have a discussion with, and partly because I really don’t understand people.

Or at least: I don’t understand them in the same way other people seem to.

When I talk to someone who frequently uses an anthropological lens to view an issue that greatly affects my life and has no impact on theirs, I can’t help but think, “Gee, I had no idea my emotions and interpretation of experiences were up for debate…”

Seriously – stop treating issues that affects other people’s lives as just something to argue about. You have absolutely no basis to tell other people that they’re wrong about something they lived through and when only experience you have with that issue is through debates you can enter and exit and forget about as freely and conveniently as you want. This isn’t a game. I’m not here to entertain your endless supply of contrarian-for-the-sake-of-it arguments.

~Some anonymous person that she-who-shall-not-be-named posted on facebook as a quote in reference to me.

(Irony: Relaying my particular lived experiences as to how my disability and dysfunction probably makes me a dick without meaning to, was derailing because I didn’t agree with being labelled dismissive because of white-male privilege. Because evidently all us neuro-atypicals are the same.)

Yep, that’s me. Problem is: I don’t know how else to view people except through an anthropological lens. I’ve had to read shit like How to Win Friends and Influence People, just to get along with people amicably. What seems easy for other people, seems utterly impossible for me. I see you not as a person (or at least, how I think other people intuitively view other people), but as an idea. When you’re not around? I probably don’t think about you. When you are around? I’m analyzing the shit out of your behavior, narrative, cultural context, responses, body language, etc. I’ve learned in practice: Never tell anyone this.

It’s not that I don’t want to care, It’s more like that scene in the last part of the Matrix series where Neo is talking to the Architect:

The Architect – It is interesting reading your reactions. Your five predecessors were by design based on a similar predication, a contingent affirmation that was meant to create a profound attachment to the rest of your species, facilitating the function of the one. While the others experienced this in a very general way, your experience is far more specific. Vis-a-vis, love.

I care about people very much in the abstract and intellectual sense. I certainly care about treating people right, I cry when I see others suffer, I cry when my heart’s broken, I have all the normal emotions. I just don’t understand people except as a general inferrance.

Couple this with being the only person you could ever rely on, your own best friend, your own confidant, shoulder to cry on, everything. I’m a reflexively selfish and self-absorbed mother-fucker. I have been the center, and almost the entirety of my own universe.

Now to bitch: I’ve been an ignorant mother-fucker, everyone is really, but especially when you’re not used to being more ignorant than other people it becomes very hard to see. Even more-so when your ignorance is because of culturally invisible narratives based on privilege. So I got into an argument with she-who-shall-not-be-named, in which I discovered I was completely ignorant about women’s issues. Cool, right-on, I learned how to start un-fucking-up about that. One thing I’ve never really understood about people, is how defensive and angry that they can be about being wrong. I’m usually not, but I had a very hard time accepting my ignorance in this, principally because from-my-view: While this person was being well-meaning and patient with me overall, they were being pretty damn dismissive and smugly superior from their moral high-ground.

So this whole encounter must have left a very poor taste in that person’s mouth…because nearly every aspect of my behavior seemed to be viewed through the lense of those aspects where I am ignorant and privilege blind. I’m not an arrogant prick because I’m white and male. I’m an arrogant prick because I’m used to being right. I’m certainly not an arrogant prick to you because you’re female, or trans, (There was an implication in this conversation of just that [in a conversation not about women’s issues, not even remotely related, and I certainly didn’t know the other person I was accused of dismissing was trans, nor do I care. Fuck trans-phobia. Fuck misogyny. Fuck haters.]) or whatever: I don’t care what form an idea comes in, who it’s from, or anything about that person. All I care about is whether or not it’s well argued.

Not every assinine thing I do is because I’m a cis-white-male.

The thing is, I’m not actually dismissive of other people’s Ideas. Just other people’s arguments. Nearly every idea in my head has been written or said by someone else, I’ll take ideas from anywhere. Problem is that being dismissive of arguments seems dismissive of other people.

So I’m trying right? I can’t accomodate everything problematic with my own behavior right now. Especially in written, argumentative context. I offered just to shut the hell up, because my writing is nearly identical to the way I think. Well, you can’t please everyone, so not being willing to accept this person’s incorrect judgement of just where this comes from: I lost a friend.

I’ve come to terms with that, and even learned something: That I’m more of an intellectual prick than I thought.

So, On to My Bullshit:

Thought and behavior are nearly one and the same, and ignorance is no excuse. There’s no way I can treat people well unless I actually consider them as whole persons and not ideas of a person. There’s no way I can treat people well unless I learn to consider their lives, experiences, thoughts and emotions as much as my own. This shit is fucking difficult for me, but I have a life motto:  χαλεπὰ τὰ καλά. Beauty is harsh, that which is good is difficult, naught without labor.

I certainly want to be beautiful, if that is my biggest vanity. So I can’t convince myself to be that person, I can only become that person. Hence, a journey of moral ontology.

My Mission: To Moral The Fuck Up

I’m a pretty fucked up person, I’ve got bipolar disorder and a pretty fucked up way of relating to other people IMO. Lots and lots of damage done by traumatic upbringing and traumatic brain disorder. So: I’m tired of my fuck-ups. I am not my problems. My problems are learned behavior.

Now unfortunately, I can’t change who I am by mere convincing myself that something’s wrong. I’m too good at rationalizing my own bullshit.  I like philosophy, I dig that shit. So to stop being a fuck-up, I’m writing a book (and applying it) on how not to be a fuck-up. I’m using a mix of agile methods, cognitive behavioral tools, and moral narrative to create a moral ontology. Essentially I am going to entirely re-work my being, so I am a well adjusted person as my natural self expression.

I’m writing this first for myself, and to be accountable to myself, and secondly in the hope that it might be useful to other people. If there’s one thing I’ve got going for me it’s a keen philosophic mind. And fuck it, I allways wanted to do what I love: Philosophy. So lets get this shit rolling.