Self-Improvement · Uncategorized

Don’t Outsource Your Mind

A sad casualty of the information age has been the general dumbing down of arguments made by people, especially on the internet dot com In days past, those who were motivated could read and craft arguments from such sources, with few SparkNotes, 5-minute histories, or other shortcuts available. Less-informed folks might mouth off in a tavern debate, but they had to conjure up wild claims without the generous assistance of a search engine. Faking it took some effort, despite the imperfections.

Today we sense a different horizon. Every Jermaine, Reese, and Zephyr can simply pop a question into Google, hit the search button, and copy-paste a hyperlink purporting to back their claims – even if it comes from the likes of Quora, Yahoo Answers, or perhaps “Ask Jeeves,” if the latter even exists. There’s no prerogative to read the actual body text or explore citations, because  what supports them MUST be accurate and beyond reproach.

On the surface level this dynamic is not so problematic, yet it renders a larger-than-life proportion of the national population quite confident in their own opinions, no matter how incomplete those thoughts might be. The internet’s affordance of little introspection for their purposes means those fragile links serve to enhance the ego, and assure a diminished likelihood of further investigation of the material. After all, with that argument remanded to the “settled science” cranial bin, what more is needed?

Perhaps a great deal. Unfortunately, the people who bother to distill petty emotions and look at raw information are left victims of fellow internet people and their mindless bloviation. Since the former group tends to be humbler and more patient, discussions typically end with their voice being drowned out by a million smug cries from the effectively illiterate. Ambition to change the norm shatters upon a weathered hill where the shallow brains defecate pure dopamine satisfaction, while always thirsting for more.

In the interest of not becoming one of these said gremlins, it is imperative to be illiberal with the surrender of your mind. Before wading into a debate, pause to consider how thoroughly the concept has been understood. Failing to do so can result in a situation where bluster and invented facts are necessary to remain credible, methods avoidable when adequate preparation is undertaken. Sure, the appeal is significantly less wonderful, but  at least time is not wasted by lowering ethical standards merely to survive.

Just a (measured and researched) thought.

Relations and Dating · Self-Improvement

We Occupy Different Worlds

There is an awful lot of emphasis on “coming together” and “being one tribe” in today’s world, both before and after the death of Coors Light. Companies can’t stop preaching the virtues, politicians are ever-willing to trot out their statements of welcome, and educational leaders do much the same. We are all one, they seem to mutter, and you best believe it.

The only problem is, reality tells a starkly different story. Depending on who we are and where we come from, our perceptions and experiences stand to be radically disparate in nature, regardless of how much propaganda can be hoisted to block out those facts. No serious person is going to argue that the 6’4’’ white man has any realistic identification or solidarity with a 5’2’’ Hispanic guy. Perhaps if they work in the same economic field we might witness some closeness, but each will be reacted to as though they are two entirely separate creatures, based on skin tone and height. Only an exasperated fool would attempt to join them.   

In the field of dating, those differences matter, as we well know. The same could be true of a fit and lipped Latina versus a 250lb “Baby blue eyes” blonde. Is anyone willing to argue that somehow they are on even terms? (This excluding the Alt-Right and minority men who worship skin color). Differences matter, and no one actually believes the aforementioned claptrap unless they have to.

Now some empowered soul will stand and declare, “You’re wrong! It’s a about equality under the law.” Please humor me more. Is a working class person without financial resources liable to be treated the same as a rich fellow who can pay for the fancier esquire? The answer is not in doubt, but citizens are expected to cover their eyes and ears.

Even in the economic realm, disparities translate into divided universes. The college kid whose parents are loaded has far more freedom in terms of extracurricular activities and graduate schools than another specimen forced to pay their own way. I am reminded of the self-righteous classmate who mocked me for having a summer job in university while he took a stipend from the parents for an unpaid internship with the high and mighty. Means lead to starkly opposite ends, at least in the medium term.

As time goes on, this prevailing truth continues to manifest itself in the public square. There is no debate that BMM supporters view the world differently than “Defend the Police” adherents. Certainly Democrats and Republicans have separate views of legitimacy, which raises the deafening cry of what will happen in November 2020, regardless of the outcome.

Will everyone unite, because “We’re all Americans after all”?

Culturalism · Self-Improvement

When Positivity is Delusional

A frequent criticism I’ve received over the years is that I’m too negative, at least when contrasted with the saucer-eyed, “Heeey guyyyz” entertainers potted about on the Internet dot com. The primary factor might be my voice, which has always been described as monotone, even when I am not trying to be, but at any rate the perception sticks, regardless of what is being discussed. I have of course made the distinction between realism and cynicism where folks accuse me of the latter, yet the chatterbirds continue shrieking, because they want something positive.

The problem is, positivity can often be a mask for real issues. The country is burning from communist-fueled riots, and our currency continues to hyperinflate, but no worries, because there is a nice Independence Day parade, and flags aplenty. There are monster video game birds to beat, and softer bird varieties to game in real life.  Pills can cure diseases, and even bring smiles to the depressed, providing we all remain upbeat and happy. Just listen to the music, and slowly mong to some Snow Patrol. It’ll be ok.

In this way the positivity gospel becomes so fanatical that any dissent is viewed with derision and seen as heresy. No matter how “positive” the intentions of the messenger might be, his interruption of the comfortable norm means he must be labeled as a depressing fatalist or misanthrope. That innocent act of pricking the lovely bubble of punchbowl ecstasy makes him marked for erasure, lest he otherwise white-out their splendid existence.

But of course unfettered positivity is dangerous, and the responsible souls must call it out. How can anyone fathom telling a man to wed a harlot, or buy a car at 18 percent APR, just because it carries a good attitude to the fore? Should you abandon the youth to become rabble merely so no one’s Mozilla-endorsed “be proud of yourself” groove is thrown off by an elderly curmudgeon?

Positivity advocates will of course respond by claiming they do not actually support such ideals, yet their actions are telling. There is only so much that self-talk, weight-lifting, and pro-energy dieting can accomplish before an individual is forced to be honest (read: a realist) and make changes that will  ruffle the feathers of that “slap you bro’s ass” crowd and their committed Wayne Newton smiles.

As for myself, I will continue to speak out, because while we may not successfully mobilize the masses, every mind pinged might just nudge another in the right direction.  The momentum could become a waterfall, then perhaps collapse into a gushing ocean. Things might just change.

And to be honest, that sounds pretty positive.

Culturalism · Relations and Dating · Self-Improvement

The Importance of Keeping a Journal

“Those fateful days, robust hours, frightful minutes, all lost to the shimmering gray wall of forever.”

Not sure where that quotation came from, so we’ll just say Martin Goldberg. At any rate, it touches upon one of the most direct arguments I can make for the maintenance of a daily – if not at least every other day—written journal. This remains one of the most crucial habits you can adopt in life, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the practice is relatively uncommon.

As human beings, our capacity for long-term memory is relatively limited. Most of us cannot remember in detail a single day twenty years ago, or even one two weeks passed. It could be something to do with the monotony of everyday life, yet the realization is no less disconcerting under that lens. It is probably not a stretch to say that 97 percent of your life is a frantic blur, and that is somehow acceptable. I try to even but I simply cannot.

Think of the memories, the specifics, whether good or bad, all dashed to pieces in short order, their legacies gone before a second breath. The magnitude is an overwhelming spell of terror. What’s more, those absent slices of time make up your life.

On this very hill we must consider the value of a journal. By jotting down specific notes of what went on and who was involved, the individual crafts an enduring story which can outsmart the mind and leave imprints to be rediscovered in later days. There is no more – or certainly less—of the scrambling wonder, the attempt to recall a name or face, especially as you gaze down the churning tide of advanced age. Instead of being a stumbled and haggard crone reaching for the vanished past, you can feel the touch of scrolls, the scent of faded ink, the love of days gone by but never perished. You have the ability to return, and to revisit.

Now of course at some point you may pass on into that place beyond the stars, where few souls have gone and reported back. Yet with a journal you live on. The heart of the child, young or grown to fill difficult shoes, will look at and enter the mind of his father, feel the echoes of the time, the memory he was too small to experience. Daughters will find the wisdom of their mother, what things she loved, the joy that spoke, rich tears all cried. The legacy will be one living, from time towards a horizon eternal.

All fault of a pen touched gently to the paper.

Culturalism · Uncategorized

Why Ignorance Survives

Over the last two months, I have been aggressively reading and note-taking in preparation for the assembly of my book on Italian Fascism. As I worked through a section last night concerning the welfare policies of the state, I was struck by something embodied in the situation: the book used as a reference was first published in 1936, and few copies are still available. To the average American reader, it practically doesn’t exist.

This issue is far more prominent than people can begin to imagine. The only reason I stumbled upon the book in the first place was my university library, which is larger and older than that of the previous college I attended. Even after that point, it was only on account of my shelling out some shekels that I secured a personal copy on AbeBooks. In many other cases, I would never have figured out how access the text because of its mystery.

And indeed the record shows truth. Prior to entering college, I wrote a piece about the Fascist policy of Corporatism, castigating it for creating poverty, and attempting linkage with the Wall Street goonism in our own country. Of course I had no idea what corporatism entailed, or how it came to be under Fascism; I simply followed the popular interpretation of libertarian louts and progressives peons. I mean, what else was there to do?

Herein rests the epic problem of our society: the sources which can change hearts are almost always unheard of, or at least locked behind the secure door of financial declarations. One rather short book I purchased for my project cost twenty-five bucks, all so I could have a couple of citations otherwise unavailable on the Internet dot com. Like the other piece, I only knew about it because I was in proximity to the right place.

Thus we are left with a situation where most people interested in knowledge have to rely on Google, which never manipulates results or suppresses what they don’t agree with. Or perhaps spit some dollars for a JSTOR subscription to access primary sources. Apart from that, it’s whatever comes up on the Bing click or the shanty offerings in your local library. As if that is all the knowledge you need.

What a scary thought. Entire generations of the mind shaped by a selective sieve of the empowered and well-meaning who run our technology and political organizations. This is the ultimate state of modern humanity, after supposed years of evolution.

I suppose I’ll get back to my research now, and hopefully at some point, remember to forget.

#VanLife · Culturalism · Federal Government

Can You Even Survive?

Throughout my life I’ve heard people on the Internet and in-person speculate about an apocalyptic future. They’ll speak in lurid terms of how things will go down, the number of rounds they have stacked, and which battle lines shall be drawn. It usually ends up as some variation of patriots vs. fascists/communists, Christians vs. Muslims, or one race against the other. Everything appears settled, and they employ a princely authority in making these fixed conclusions about the days to come.

Yet something typically gets left out: how long will they actually live under such circumstances? It is easy enough to talk tough, but the realities of such an event suggest far less stringent lines being drawn. Just for starters, does the expectant “freedom fighter” have the following:

  • Reliable transportation that is not too much of a gas guzzler, especially if supplies get cut off.
  • Ability to grow food and pump water without ready access to supermarkets or public utilities.
  • Secure lodgings that are actually defensible (not most apartments or townhomes).
  • Practical hand tool skills to help with fortifications.
  • Knowledge of compasses and maps, in case GPS service is unavailable.
  • Not only a supply of defensive hardware, but at least respectable training with them.

The last point is worth honing in on where the “I’ve got 5000 rounds stored up” fellers are concerned. Despite what Hollywood makes us believe, the typical “gunfight” is short and conservative in nature. People are not spitting off hundreds of rounds while crouching behind cover, Gears of War style, unless they happen to be poorly-trained. Proper education emphasizes the importance of trigger discipline and sight picture, not Rambo mayhem, because it is easier to miss than do justice.

Individual readiness matters because the average joe is liable to be on his own, at least for a while. Apart from family or close friends, the notion that you will quickly enlist in some organized group led by military tacticians who proceed to do all the hard work is fantastically low. Such nodes are likely to be haphazard and nonuniform in nature, while also potentially hostile to the existence of our patriotic liberty-monger.

In short, any dramatic occurrence of that fashion (and God forbid it ever materializes), would very probably weed out the most determined jockstraps in the mix, plus a lot more. Sure, being a Gadsen-toting activist with empowered bumper stickers and opinions might feel great, but when a mob of the historically oppressed and butthurt is bearing down on your location, waving around an oversized piece of equipment in panic will close those curtains quick.

To be fair, I guess everyone just wants to go down like Custer in their own head, even if the reality is quite different.