A Pretty Fucking Beautiful Mind

Background: I wrote this poem today because I had recently watched a bunch of spoken word videos on Youtube that tackled mental illness but none of them reflected my personal experience. I’m working now at a job where I am doing work I believe in, that inspires me. I am given a large degree of flexibility and autonomy and several projects to sustain my attention at once. Basically, I am happy here and I am grateful. This poem reflects more my past than my present–but I will say that the sentiments expressed here haunt me today. I am still constantly worried that I am not good enough or that I’ll make a monumental mistake and everyone will realize I wasn’t supposed to be here after all. These fears are irrational, but they’re a part of what I have to deal with as I heal the wounds caused by my diagnoses.

If I don’t take my pills you tell me I’ve been stupid,

Irresponsible, proud, too proud to take my medicine.

If I tell you I am sorry I was distracted by the

Infinite beauty that surrounds us at all times

And I forgot about that appointment

You tell me not to use my diagnosis as an excuse.

I say it’s not an excuse it was an explanation.

But still I feel guilty so guilty so next time I’ll take

Double the amount of my prescribed medication.

Sometimes I don’t feel as though I have ownership of my disorder.

Like somebody else gets to decide when it is or is not okay

For me to acknowledge my thought patterns might be different

Than the rest of y’alls.

The thing is I’d be proud, honestly, I’d be proud

of how much living I’ve managed to do

in such a short time because of how fast

My mind is moving.

But I worry constantly that I am not measuring up to…

to what?

to “my full potential?”

Because I don’t think right, act right.

Focus, focus, focus– I CAN’T!

force attention even when I really want to–

I have to pretend like I was listening

and ask round-about pointed questions so that I can

reconstruct some of our conversations

so that you don’t think I didn’t care

about what you were saying!

I want my life to matter.

I don’t just want it to be a bundle of

unfinished projects that never got off the ground.

But you know Da Vinci only painted

17 pictures in 67 Years?

He was jumping around from this to that

and they still call him a genius artist.

I’m constantly feeling guilty,

so guilty,

because I forgot

To call you on your birthday,

to send out that final email.

Because I stayed up til 3 in the morning

reading articles about different kinds of

Tropical birds and so

I slept through my alarm clock

And was not able to make that meeting.

I’m sorry

That I was such an inconvenience.

I’m sorry

that I wasn’t able to contain

My curiosity and my joy for life within

the hours of 5 pm to midnight.

I feel like every industry in our society requires

a certain degree of

Willingness to not talk back, to stay on task,

to make the deadline and reach the bottom line and

if you can’t do that, then you just don’t fit in this system.

“Sorry. We’re gonna have to let you go.

The children love you.

But we find your attitude to be…lackadaisical.”

I’ll work more hours, if it’s taking me too long!

I’m sorry I didn’t do it right!

“No, we’re sorry.

It just wasn’t a good fit.”

I don’t want to be the reason that something

didn’t happen fast enough

And somebody didn’t get

whatever it was my services were designed to produce.

I guess I’m just not fit to be a cog in a machine—

but who says cogs are the only kinds of pieces we need?

Don’t we need relays, and information transporters, and microprocessors too?

And I’m not convinced this

machine-like way of categorizing

worth and degree of contribution

is really the best way to go about this whole business anyhow.

Seems like a lot of these systems make the simple tasks

of loving each other

of feeling amazed

of surviving

of feeling connected to something–anything really,

A lot more complicated.

And maybe that’s just because

I’ve never been able to do things “the right way”

And so I’m biased.

But I gotta say

There’s a lot people today

who think they’re crazy.

And those people are hurting but even more so because

They can’t hold a job.

And they “don’t deserve entitlements”.

They aren’t entitled to live.

And live with dignity.

I’m not trying to make trouble.

I’m SORRY I’m TALKING so LOUDLY.

I’m just excited.

I was just really happy for a second

cuz I forgot I was supposed to be feeling guilty.

And ashamed

Of who I am.

But you know, maybe,

if I can’t do it your way

Then maybe that isn’t the right way

for me to contribute, after all.

And hey, though, did we ever collectively decide

that the value of a human being was to be determined

solely from their ability to contribute in some

clearly defined and pre-measurable way?

Like I think you’ll find that

my life has not been

a complete waste of time.

I think my life has already been significant

to some people,

to me.

Maybe I just don’t “apply myself.”

But when I do manage to will myself to

force some approximation of long-term,

single-focused, sustained attention,

that was not occurring in me naturally,

I feel like I’m trapped.

Like part of me has been deadened.

And this is true whether or not I take my medication.

And when I cross things off my to-do list,

yeah – I feel good about it –

But honestly, it’s just because then I can stop hating myself for

Not having done it already.

If there wasn’t some voice inside my head saying,

“You’re worthless,

you’re unreliable,

you’re a promise-breaker—”

maybe I would do less of what I said I’d do in advance.

But I was just not made for following linear plans.

I do circle back.

It all gets done.

I keep my promises.

It just doesn’t happen in the way you might expect it to.

And I’d do more,

if I wasn’t held down.

I’d just keep chasing rabbits

until eventually I stumbled

into a project I could focus on for

just long enough

to make something beautiful.

And then I’d put that down

And I’d go chase another rabbit,

But I’d leave behind in my wake,

I don’t think,

merely unfinished pieces of something

that could have been beautiful—

I think I’d leave behind things that were

whole

in their own way.

And since when was anything ever really finished?

Why is your standard of output for me

as a piece of human capital

the sole means by which I should be

deciding my worth as a person?

And I don’t think my way is the best way

or that everyone should think like me,

but since I DO think like me

I gotta think that the way I think isn’t broken.

I’ll always be just a faulty mechanism

if I’m forced to stay a part of an assembly line.

Even so,

I still think that I have

A pretty fucking beautiful mind.

 

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Transforming Anger Part 1

Haha well I already fucked up the whole post something every day thing. It’s tough business. Don’t write: live life, feel incomprehensible. Do write: no time for living, not necessarily taking the time to be with and feel my experiences. I’ve decided not to be too hard on myself about this. 

Today’s post doesn’t have really a central theme yet, we’ll see if one develops as I continue to braindump. First things first, I’ve talked a lot about synchronicity in other forums. I’ve touched on anger and ambivalence here and also on my grocery shopping misadventures. Well, I’ve got a story that involves all three! 

I went back to Staff of Life the other day to buy the rest of my supplies and I noticed they had a copy of the Shambhala Sun, this Buddhism and culture magazine. Would you believe it if I told you that the theme of this month’s issue was THE WISDOM OF ANGER? Incredible how things manage to pop into our lives when we’re most ready to receive them. Anyway, I still have to do a real perusal of the contents of the magazine (which I bought) but I’ve already been struck by some interesting ideas.

One article I liked a lot was Melvin McLeod’s “On the Enlightened Power of No“. McLeod writes, “Buddhas are not the love-and-light people we think they are. Of course, their enlightened mind is grounded in nirvana—total peace—but in that open space compassion spontaneously arises. It has many manifestations. One is anger.

Anger is the power of no. The enlightened mind of the buddhas is enraged against the evils of samsara and the suffering it causes. It says no to the three poisons of ignorance, attachment, and aggression that drive cyclic existence.

This is the natural reaction we all have when we see someone we love suffer—we want to stop it. The buddhas are angry about our suffering, and they will happily destroy its causes. They aren’t angry at us; they’re angry for us.”

Now this is a Buddhism I can get behind! Anger as a spontaneous manifestation of compassion. I love it. 

And then, Judy Lief’s “The Poison Tree“: “Because the experience of anger is so potent, we usually try to get rid of it somehow. One way we try to get rid of it is to stuff it or suppress it, because we are embarrassed to acknowledge or accept that we could be feeling that way. Another way we try to get rid of our anger is by impulsively acting out through violent words or actions, but that only feeds more anger.

Since anger is a natural part of us, we cannot really get rid of it, no matter how hard we try. However, we can change how we relate to it. When we do, we begin to glimpse a quality hidden within this destructive force that is sane and valuable.”

Fascinating. I’ve never thought of “acting out” anger as a means of actually avoiding being present with it. This reminds me of another post about distraction that I’ll have to write soon because it’s been on my mind (I was reading a book on the Enneagram–I got typed as a 7 like the good little bundle of well-intentioned pediatric diagnoses I am–and it talked about how distractibility was a form of anxiety, and so now I’m obsessed with what it means to be fully present with our emotions). Anyway, that’s sort off topic right now. The major point is that acting out anger, expressing it as aggression, is not consistent with a compassionate outlook.

Here’s where everybody gets mad and tells me that I shouldn’t care about being consistent because I’m supposedly all about ambivalence now. WELL, the one thing I do care about is being consistently authentic. If that means that I embody the ideas of seemingly conflicting philosophies, so be it. However, I want to, as much as possible, avoid acting in bad faith. 

This “acting out” of anger–and for that matter the suppression of it without giving it the chance to be fully processed–as an example of this bad faith is an idea I’m excited to further explore. Earlier this week I talked about violence sometimes being necessary and I think this new concept will help flesh out my thinking regarding when acts of violence are understandable. My good friend Matt pointed out that systematic violence is never justified. I hadn’t been thinking in terms of systems or aggressors when I was thinking about the word violence. What I meant was that violent defensive action on the parts of individuals against aggressive parties in select situations where alternative solutions have failed is an understandable course of action.

However, defensive action can still be aggressive in nature. I think the essential point is that aggressive actions–whether offensive or defensive–are meant to hurt. They have their roots in hatred, fear, desperation. The aim is to demoralize or destroy the enemy, to deter them from ever acting again. In contrast, performers of what I’ll call compassionate violence do not wish destruction upon the enemy, and in fact are as pained by their losses as if they were their own. They merely have come to the decision that they have been left no other recourse. The choice to act out defensive violence rooted in compassion and restraint, made after careful consideration of alternate options and a full understanding of the consequences of this course, has its place in a world full of injustice–and it’s an entirely different animal from aggressive violence. 

So how is acting out anger an act of bad faith and what does it feel like to properly experience our anger? I have to go now if I want to buy a Snarky Puppy ticket before they sell out. But I’ll do some thinking while I’m at the show and let y’all know what I come up with. Peace. 

Adulthood Is Imminent

I had to spend time thinking and doing research to come up with this plan of action today, so I’m counting it as time spent writing for today’s post. SUE ME. I MAKE THE RULES HERE.

Master plan: 1. Start thinking of EXACT meals a week at a time so as to spend less $$$ and maximize quality 2. Assist these objectives by following recipes that require similar ingredients 3. Obtain nutrients in a creative and delicious fashion 4. Become a hit at parties 5. Instantly transform into someone who can do her own taxes.

6. Successfully implement master plan

MEAL-RELATED ITINERARY (Lunches requiring more than 20 minutes to be prepared in advance)

Tuesday SHEZZ

-Eat Chinese food before going shopping so as not to be tempted into buying more than we need (I’m a we now, apparently. Thanks for nothing as always, Descartes)

-Go to market; retrieve the “goods”.

-Do laundry! Why not?! You’re on a roll! (lol nope)

-Prepare the following recipes for the week: gnocchi potato salad (also nope. did not do that. still not gonna do that.)

My original plan was to post my shopping list and how much it all cost. But I didn’t check what time the store closed and only had 10 minutes to shop so I didn’t get everything I needed. LOL. The good news is that because I spent so much time making this list, I was pretty efficient once I got there AND I was able to carry all my bags into my apartment in one trip. How’s that for a master plan?

Wednesday

Breakfast: hummus on a rice cake

Lunch: Gnocchi potato salad with green beans and rice (Prep 10, cook 30)

Need: substitute arborio rice, gnocchi, green beans, green onion, dill, olive oil, vegan mayo, dijon mustard, garlic, maple syrup

http://vegangela.com/2011/10/16/gnocchi-potato-salad-with-green-beans-and-quinoa/

Dinner: Oven-baked tomato risotto (Prep 5, cook 50)

Need: olive oil, green onion, garlic, Arborio rice, pasta sauce, vegetable broth, substitute kale, pine nuts, nutritional yeast

Thursday

Breakfast: Oatmeal with cinnamon + sliced banana

Lunch: yesterday’s leftover risotto

Dinner: Eating out at an Indian restaurant before going to dance

Friday

Breakfast: pb + j

Lunch: kale and pistachio nut salad

Dinner: Pistachio-Crusted Maple Dijon Tofu (Prep 15 min, Cook 15 min)

Need: Tofu, maple syrup, curry powder, Dijon mustard, shelled pistachios

http://vegangela.com/2011/04/05/pistachio-crusted-maple-dijon-tofu/

Saturday

Breakfast: Breakfast at Saturn-tofu scramble!

Lunch: kale salad with asparagus, sundried tomatoes, olive oil, and pine nuts

-Need: kale, substitute green beans, onion, pine nuts, olives, sundried tomatoes

Dinner: attempt The Vegan Stoner’s pineapple pizza (if in the mood to do this, buy ingredients the same day, otherwise dig up food in the house)

Sunday

Breakfast: OhSheGlows’ Jumbo chickpea pancake

-Need: onion, red pepper, chickpea flour/garbanzo flour/besan, garlic powder, baking powder, avocado, salsa, hummus, cashew cream

Lunch: something light, whatever’s in the house

Dinner: Refried Black Bean Tostadas (Prep 15, Cook 15)

-Need: Olive oil, onion, garlic, chili powder, black beans, tostada, avocado, salsa

Monday

Breakfast: use up leftovers

Lunch: Mac and Squash (10 minutes)

Need: Squash, macaroni, adobo

Dinner: use up leftovers

Tuesday

Breakfast: use up leftovers

Lunch: Falafal Pie (15 min)

Need: falafel mix, hummus, soy yogurt

Dinner: figure it out later, time to go shopping again

Long-term Buys

-Some of those clippy things that keep bags closed

-Tupperware

-Food processor?

-Rubberbands

-Live-in chef? (Pronounced: “Boyfriend”)

The possibilities are endless.

 

 

 

Embracing Ambivalence

“Where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence. […] Forgiveness adorns a soldier…but abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish. [I do not believe I am a helpless creature, for strength] does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. […] I must not let a coward seek shelter behind nonviolence so-called.”

Mahatma Gandhi is the author of those words. Useful to remember during the times when you might feel, as I have felt, that your conflictions might undermine your convictions. So our egos tell us: the presence of a violent rage in the Nonviolent Activist is a cancer that will sew hatred and beget only future destruction…and yet the decision of a warrior not to act when they are called to act foretells a slow withering of their resolve that endangers the very lifeblood of their movement. How, therefore, can the impetus towards nonviolence and the impetus towards refusal to submit successfully share the psyche of a single individual?

As of late, I am learning to be more comfortable with the concept of ambivalence. The coexistence of an insurmountable need to resist oppression with a deep sense of the necessity of universal love is not something that I need to prove is possible with rhetoric. My regular, acute sensation of both of these dual aspects of my consciousness comprises a fundamental part of the reality that I take as given. I have no interest in philosophies which seek to undermine my lived experience. If I remain alienated from a so-called truth, then it is no truth to me in any of the ways that matter.

Think of all the modern colonialist empires and what clinging to their invented truths amounted to: devastation, annihilation. Apocalypse…is inevitable when the truths from which we derive our identities are built out of cardboard. The mightiest abstraction will crumble to dust in confrontation with a being who voices even the tiniest of objections, so long as their roots are planted in authentic presence. It is as my close childhood friend–a female-bodied, asexual demi-romantic, peruvian-american, hard-core gamer and professional illustrator–likes to say, “I exist! And I like drawing birds.” There is no justifiable cause for further argument.

I may accept that I am both a lover and a warrior, but discomfort arises when these ideologies try to battle it out inside my heart for conceptual hegemony. I begin to hurt when I start judging how well I am living up to my responsibilities–and by extension, the degree to which I do or do not experience myself as human garbage–by the perceived purity of my gospel. The christ complex that takes hold of many healers and activist workers alike dictates that we assuage the deeply felt pain birthed from our direct or indirect exposure to trauma by martyring ourselves to our causes. Regardless of how impractical this is, our conception of heroes and cultural icons is that they are fueled, as Gandhi suggests, by an indomitable will. But no one can possibly continue to thrive on will alone. Those of us with grandiose dreams are not meant to teeter as we do between blessed and damned. We forget that we are the spiritual equals of all those for whom we fight. We cannot hope to heal our fractured world until we first heal our fractured selves.

Humans are infinite in our capacity to express the extreme ends of every polarity (after all, we’re the ones who created the polarities in the first place!). It is in this way that we dance around the notion of God. But by connecting to the wholeness of our intrinsic divinity, we operate from a place of unparalleled power, undistracted by the limitations of our petty moralities. It is then that we become able to understand our conceptual maps for the inanimate tools they really are. Only when we are oriented from this universal point of origin are we able to use these maps to help us give direction to our will. Until then, all of our efforts will be useless striving.

To heal, I must examine this disparity within me. If I know that I experience both the imperative to love universally and without exception and the necessity of resisting oppression by any means necessary, and my current perspective holds that their continued simultaneous existence is an impossibility for the critical mind, then I am forced to either believe myself the worst traitor to both impulses or to challenge the comprehensive validity of the paradigm that dictates they must be separate.

Our inner light does not often demonstrate itself to be a factor prone to error. It is rather our illusory and misguided classifications (and the tiny mountain of hoarded knowledge from which these violent taxonomies are derived) that seem to be in constant need of revision. I am, therefore, more inclined to put faith in my sensation that the imperative to love and the imperative to resist coexist than I am to debase myself for the sake of pleasing lazy cognition.

Considerations regarding the potential of reconciliation:

1. In the past, it has always been my connection to others and to something deep within myself, the feeling I recognize as “love”, that has allowed me to bounce back whenever I lose my way. Love has proven itself to be a method of resisting the dominator system’s psychological stormtroopers.

2. I have done wrong in the past and I will do wrong again in the future. I will lose my way again.  Knowing this, I try to practice compassion for myself and for the people who wrong me. When I am successful, this practice of compassion allows my natural tendency to love to overcome the persuasive pull of fear and I am guided out of The Funhouse of Cyclical Despair and back onto the path that I will for myself.

3. Living with compassion loosens the grip of my ego and allows me to feel once more connected to everyone and everything. So long as any one of us remains oppressed, it is clear to me that none of us shall ever be truly free. As it is unacceptable to me to be a slave, I have no other choice but to use what power I possess to resist and dismantle systematic oppression and to help others to free themselves from their personal prisons (both figurative and literal).

4. In a world where so many are so far alienated from what it means to be a Living Being, my love only carries weight if I have built it upon an armored foundation, outfitted with the necessary firepower to blow through the tangled, gnarled mess that we humans have made. My resistance is a tool that I use to empower my love just as my love is itself a method of resistance.

Conclusion: I am both warrior and lover because I cannot truly be one without the other. Their separation is an illusion.

We cannot heal while wounds are still being created. To forgive in such an instance would be meaningless and inauthentic. If we do not feel called to give peace a fighting change against all who work to undermine it, then we do not understand what it means to love. Just so, for resistance in the absence of love and compassion is doomed to be only temporary. The difficulty of resolving this paradox isolates many would-be allies and makes a fantasy of true revolution, but the false dichotomy is of our own making.

Okay, Hippie, what does any of that actually mean? It means refusing to accept any global system that tries to sort and commodify its people into boxes instead of pursuing a natural development from their collective authenticity. It means resisting until we get it right, undermining at every possibility the dominator consciousness that poisons us. It means looking the powerful in the eye and proclaiming loudly and boldly that their very actions to try to derail and contain us are confirmation that there is something in us to be feared! They lash out at “otherness” because it reminds them of the precariousness of their position, because the very existence of an other means that the system from which they profit is arbitrary and groundless. In fighting for our own and for each other’s authentic representation, marginalized groups of all kinds chip away at the shaky foundations of the dominator culture.

The danger is that there are those who have so fully identified with the false dominator culture that they no longer remember how to connect with their own divinity. They fear the undermining of the dominator culture because they find themselves utterly aligned with it. For them, such a rupture would be fundamentally apocalyptic. A deep longing manifests from within their internal fractures and leads them down a path of insatiable consumption. They will never stop consuming because what they seek is an external source to what can only be found internally: a way of returning to paradise.

False “knowledge” of our separateness results in our alienation from the oneness of God and in our perceived expulsion from Eden. This expulsion is not determined by our past, it is determined by our present (it’s also just a colorful metaphor, in case you guys are starting to think I’m secretly a bible-toting theist who confuses theology with history). As we fail to change, the anguish caused by our self-imposed isolation reverberates throughout collective modern consciousness.  Humanity desperately seeks to return to this world of joy and wholeness, free of hardship and doubt, but there seems to be quite a bit of disagreement over just how we’re going to do that. In their perceived separation, many people’s solutions end up involving an excessive display of force and the systematic devaluing of the equally pressing needs of their fellow beings. The simple truth, however, is that by healing our fractures and casting off the illusion of separation, we will open our eyes and remember that we are in Eden still.

Our divinity is not something that can actually be taken away from us, but the disconnected and disaffected are dangerous and desperate people. If they cannot be healed or otherwise disarmed, then we must do everything in our power to combat their destructive impulses, even if it means using violence ourselves. There is too much at stake to be able to claim neutrality. We do what is necessary to combat total destruction. That being said, no attempt to evade personal responsibility through transcendental justification will ultimately be sufficient to account for this contribution to additional fracture.

We carry the weight of our transgressions with us as we go forward and we leave the stains of our bad choices behind us as our most glaring legacies. The decision to shed blood is not one that can be taken lightly. More often than not, the recourse toward violence represents a failure of creativity and a succumbing to primitive impulses rather than a truly inevitable course of action. Even in those cases where it is truly unavoidable, our evil actions do not become absolved just because we believed them to be employed in the service of a higher good. Like the drive of a peaceful being toward violence in the first place, the tolls of our good and of our evil deeds coexist within us in a kind of ambivalence, without externally imposed significance. One does not disappear within the other. They exist in and of themselves within us–alone, together. There are no good people and there are no bad people. There are only people continuously making choices out of fear or out of love (and honestly, if fear and love are like everything else, this too is probably a false dichotomy).

I am learning to embrace ambivalence because I now recognize that lusting after a neat and consistent philosophy, a reflection of some untouchable Truth, is just another way of striving for wholeness. If I really want to put the world back together, I have to first remember that I am internally solid. When we as a resistance embody this solid-state consciousness, the defenders of the dominator culture will never be able to break us. Time and time again they will try to beat us into line with their conceptual systems but we will remain solvent. Our very existence within the dominator culture is an exercise in profound ambivalence. We will force the system to either change to accommodate us or collapse completely–for something will begin to stir inside of the champions of the dominator culture. They will begin to recognize in us what they themselves have lost and, one by one, they will fall to their knees, defeated.

 

EDIT: After linking to this post on my Facebook page, there was a discussion in the comments that clarified some of my vaguer ideas. I’m copying the transcript here in case it’s helpful.

Matt: you speak of the false dichotomy between the warrior and lover within you, of the probable (as you put it) false dichotomy between fear and love, of the illusion of separation from our connection to our own divinity. If separation is an illusion, as is the case with the the false dichotomies you mentioned, what makes you think you are in any way separate from the dominator consciousness, culture, system you seek to destroy? On the other hand, what makes you think the dominator consciousness is any way separate from divine consciousness?

Me: I’m not separate from the dominator consciousness at all. It’s a constant battle to practice authenticity and remain present, and to not let all of my different identities and belief systems, most of them inherited from the dominator culture, cloud my perception. And I probably will not ever be completely successful. But it’s a life goal, and one that I think is pretty important to pursue.

As for how the dominator consciousness is separate from divine consciousness. It isn’t, really. But I think it is defined by its alienation from divine roots. That’s why it’s not necessarily a matter of purging dominator culture so much as bringing it back into alignment with authentic human experience.

Matt: i feel you.

Me: Yeah the problem with the way I’ve set up this blog is that it’s kind of just a giant stream of consciousness sort of deal that i’m doing once a day. I care about the words I use a lot, but I’m hoping the format will improve my ability to express myself more quickly. What you read isn’t going through a lot of revisions, so a lot of clarity might get sacrificed. I really appreciate being challenged.
LOL I edited this statement more times than I edited that blog post.

Matt: yeah i would say at certain parts during your post, what you’re writing doesn’t seem to be totally in line with your response to my comment. specifically this paragraph: “Our divinity is not something that can actually be taken away from us, but the disconnected and disaffected are dangerous and desperate people. If they cannot be healed or otherwise disarmed, then we must do everything in our power to combat their destructive impulses, even if it means using violence ourselves. There is too much at stake to be able to claim neutrality. We do what is necessary to combat total destruction. That being said, no attempt to evade personal responsibility through transcendental justification will ultimately be sufficient to account for this contribution to additional fracture.” and other bits and pieces but overall, twas a thoroughly enjoying read and im slightly shocked and amazed that you managed to crank out 2000 words in a day just for shits and giggles (Side notes: 1. He’s a sweetheart for saying this last bit and for helping me work through my thoughts without acting like a judgmental jerk. 2. Shits and giggles are the only things worth getting worked up about.)

Me: I have to do some more thinking about exactly when I believe violence to be an appropriate response. I really don’t think it’s acceptable 99% of the time–that’s sort of where the discomfort comes from. But there are people out there who cannot be reached through nonviolent means (even though, in reality, they too are a part of the universal divine consciousness and have just forgotten). Some times these people commit great acts of evil. I don’t think that it is acceptable for us to remain impartial, especially when the effects of their crimes continue to add up in ways that have catastrophic consequences. My point, though, is that even when violence seems like our only option, if we commit an act of violence, we cannot use moral proselytizing to absolve us of the weight of what we’ve done. A murder is a murder is a murder, but if someone were threatening to blow up manhattan, and the only solution was a shot to the head, I’d take the guy out.

Matt: i see your point, i need to think more about it myself as well but at least in that particular example id splatter some brains on the pavement as well. My conception of the problem was on a more systemic level and im pretty against systemic violence outright even if it’s for a seemingly “moral” cause

Me: Yeah systematic violence is straight up bullshit from the get-go because it’s implying that this tactic is warranted across all these disparate situations. The philosophy is completely abstracted from the problem at hand. I feel like a lot of political figures act like they have no other recourse but really have so many other options and it’s some garbage. That’s why I think the ambivalence plays a role in more ways than one. Cuz I can murder someone to prevent them from doing even greater harm, but my violent act is still contributing to this internal fracture, which is then making it harder for me to do a job which requires me to be completely solid. TELL ME WHAT TO DO, UNCLE IROH.

Matt: internal fractures are imagined?

Me: It’s complicated.

Matt: how can anything be complicated when nothing is separate? 1 seems like a simple enough concept

look at that! my lunch break is over!  hahaha. I have a decent answer to this, but I’m not gonna spend the time writing it out now. Could be a part 2 post in there somewhere.

Anyway, I hope the addition of these comments helps. Again, the stream of consciousness approach to philosophy does not always result in the clearest language. But that’s part of why we’re all here! To help me learn to communicate quickly with clarity. Most important conversations that we have do not allow us the chance to submit first and second drafts. To convince people of the things that matter to us, we have to be able to fly by the seat of our pants. I’m learning. Here’s to slowly getting better! (Hopefully).

The Beginning:

I am starting this blog for two reasons. The first is that I want a better platform for my long form prose than Facebook. The second is that I want to force myself to write for at least 30 minutes every day, about something, anything at all. Without this outlet, crucial conversations, notions, jokes, and ideas have just floated away into the ether of my consciousness, where I imagine they get chopped up in a fan similar to the one above the Fizzy Lifting Drink in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. It is my hope that this blog will allow all the thoughts that swirl around in my head to drop anchor, so that they can ultimately be integrated into my larger Being and transformed into tools I can use.

Domain: Megidda.

Eschatological traditions the world over speak of “apocalypse”, often literally taken to signify “the end of the world”. The word “apocalypse”, however, actually originally meant “revelation” (often with hallucinogenic connotations, fascinatingly), a rupture in a previous mode of conception. This is the definition that I prefer. Side note: if anybody needs convincing that idea-bearers often have an ego problem, the evolution of a term denoting the catalysis of a shift in perspective to a term denoting utter annihilation offers a pretty clear argument.

Tel Megiddo is a hill in Israel-Palestine that was the site of many ancient battles. There are many who believe that Tel Megiddo will also be the site of the future Battle of Armageddon, in which the messiah will defeat the anti-christ and the clock will start that counts down Satan’s 1000 years of confinement to the abyss and the beginning of the end of the material world. Megidda was my feminization of Tel Megiddo, initially conceived to be a girl’s name, perhaps the name of my future daughter. Now, Megidda has taken on new meaning for me. It is a warrior’s name. The name of a harbinger of apocalypses and a revealer of truths.

Revealing truths is what writing does for me. It helps me make my thoughts concrete and tangible so that I can work with them. In conversations with others, words become the tools we use to co-create reality. They are a source of conceptual alchemy, dictating what has been and what will be possible. The domain name of this blog is Megidda because it is my hope that it will be a site where words beget revelation.

May we all have daily apocalypses as we journey closer to our truth.