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Archives: The world

On Approval

Edited on 8/8 for glaringly obvious typos.

Have we just become a bunch of approval seeking heroin rats? Are we so wrapped up in other people’s lives that we forget to have our own? Why are we so able to share the intimate details of our lives with relative strangers on Social Media yet can barely look each other in the eye on the street.

We are so focused on getting our opinions across and our relationships “approved” that sometimes we forget the reasons we have relationships and beliefs in the first place. I love the people in my life, and I love to share them with my wider circle of friends but not at the expense of my relationships with them. I’d much rather have a relationship than the appearance of one.

Through trial and loads of error, I’ve learned that there are some pretty standard principals for governing yourself, and your image, online. I try my best to adhere to them as closely as life and occasional emotional upheavals, allow. Use what you find useful, discard what you don’t.

Love and Relationships:

If you want to share a happy moment, please do so, you shouldn’t have to worry about who’s watching, but if your “sharing” is covering up a flaw in your relationship, or worse, causing one, promptly stop. I have someone in my life currently whom I adore, no pictures of us exist online together. Not to say that they never will, but for the moment we are not on social media as a couple. This is a mutual choice. It is one that not only protects our relationship, but also our relationships with the rest of the world as individuals. Friends who know us as a couple see the hints, others just see us as people.

Politics, Loss and Assorted Other Opinions:

I’ve contemplated leaving, Facebook, in particular, sometimes, usually when the loud opinions of a few people drown out he animal videos, kitten pictures and real life cries for help from people I care about that need answering.

When someone loses someone they love, or a national event requires a collective sense of empathy that platform is a wonderful way to feel cared for and a bit less lonely, it’s no substitute for real arms and real tears, but it is a comfort.

When we suffer depression or a disease, this format is a perfect place to feel less alone in that, but it isn’t a replacement for a real ear or a real shoulder.

When the needs of a few people to be the center of attention crowd out the compassion (in my feed it’s not usually my friends, but THIER friends who do this), I seriously think of cutting the cord. Life is too short, don’t worry about other people’s happiness unless you intend on sharing it. And if you plan on sharing, do so with an understanding of the potential consequences, try to be gentle. People will be looking from the outside in, exes and friends who disagree with you. Unless you are passive aggressively trying to sever those connections, be understanding of how they feel or make it explicit that there will be something following that might hurt or offend. In other words, try to play as fair as you can.

Reactions to all of the Above:

Life is also too short to worry about people’s petty hatred. Sometimes the most reasonable argument can seem like a torch to a powder keg, or the slightest mention of a new relationship can be (of course) painful, but that is the cost of keeping oneself out on social media.

Don’t let anyone else’s fears and anger get you down and don’t believe that every single smiling face doesn’t have its share of pain.

Ultimately we present the face we want the world to see, in my case I’m living the vast majority of my life offline now. Life isn’t perfect, but it is damn good.

Happiness and Tension, A Study

The more I grow and the older I get the more I realize that happiness is not only relative but may be something unrelated to joy. Joy is the exuberance that follows a positive discovery of the world. The discovery of a new thing or a long forgotten emotion, the discovery of a long-lost feeling or a new vista, all are the fuel of joy.

Happiness is not joy. It’s not contentment, nor is it complacency, It isn’t hope or wonder, though it is a product of them all. Not alone. It is the product of the tension between opposites, the right balance between optimism and fear, a melding and repelling of opposites.

Happiness is what happens where our hope and our fear collide in equal measure. It is the point of homeostasis that occurs when love and hate exist in equal amounts. It is the in-between space where all hope meets all hope is lost. Happiness is the place where our greatest aspirations and our greatest doubts cancel each other out and create a space for us to live in the moment, unhindered by either.

Happiness isn’t a state for any short span of time, it is a long-term way of being that occurs in the moment and across time. It is transcendent yet it steadies us in place. It gives us glimpses of the 5th-dimensional beings perspective of the movies I mentioned in the last post. It removes us from the moment and secures us to it and because our perceptions are so limited we can only really feel it in retrospect.

Happiness is tension. Happiness moves us forward by being the swift, ever-present and ethereal force, the wind that we can’t see but feel when we pay enough attention or when it is strong enough to move us on its own. Happiness is where hot and cold air meet.

Happiness gives us an understanding of time and space that is not linear, not one point to another and not directly linked to our appointment calendars or datebooks. It expands our understanding of what the universe has to offer us, and what we contribute back to it. It connects us to the eternal and in brief glimpses gives us the shape of the face of “God.” Abstract like a psychedelic trip taken in millisecond doses spread throughout the average 28000 days or 672000 hours in an average lifetime, happiness exists in the eternity between moments.

I’m finding myself fearful and more hopeful lately, and therefore so much happier because I can feel both, fully, just this side of insanity. To me, that is happiness.

The Dangerous Charlatan

Trump, Charlatan, fascist or both?

I just read an article over at Vox that does a pretty good job at answering the question “is Trump a Fascist?” Asking historical “experts,” mostly academics whether The Donald fits the bill they pretty much all say no, with some qualifications, of course but by the definitions supplied by these experts Trump falls short. Of course, no one should tell him this, no one wants a demagogue told he isn’t something enough.

Also at Vox, alternately hilariously,  alarmingly bizzaro-worldish and freaky, Marie LePen, the leader of Front National (or National Front) the French right-wing populist party that is historically anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and generally racist disavows the proposed anti-Muslim ban Trump boisterously and famously proposed last week. Saying it “goes too far.”

Before anyone cheers LePen though it has much more to do with the fact that she’s a savvy politician who actually knows what a constitution is, rather than a multicultural softie.

If nothing else it exposes Trump for what he is, a dangerous example of charlatanism, a power hungry mogul who will say anything and stir up any amount of shit to get what he wants, even at the cost of violence against the most vulnerable. It gives one further pause in considering Trump as a serious candidate when the closest mainstream equivalent to the Nazi party stakes out a position to his left.

Baguettes for thought indeed.

Understanding the Middle East

Vox posted an impressive set of maps and brief histories of the middle east touching on conflicts throughout the region and the history behind them. It is probably the single most readable-by-the-average-guy explanation of a terribly complex situation.

The last shot at the bottom of the page is breathtakingly priceless.

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