I had an epiphany the other day. My friend is re-flooring the living room and hallway with some kind of panels or another. When it's finished it's pretty nice. The living room is done.

We were planning on working on the hallway over the weekend. So, when the weekend came, we laid out which one of the parents would watch the children, and which one would help me. We had plans on when we'd start.

When that time came and we got started, I came to the woeful realization that the children were going to be "watched" in the floored living room while we worked on flooring the adjacent hallway. Of course, in my mind I had envisioned the watching of the children taking place far away from where I would be working. I quickly became increasingly frustrated.

It was then I had the actual realization of the source of my frustration. I saw the experience as a wave form, running along the x axis. The x axis was my expectation, and reality was the wave. My frustration level directly correlated with the value y. The greater the amplitude of the wave, the further reality was from my expectation, the greater my level of frustration.

Our minds like to predict the future. When those predictions tend to be negative, we call it worry or fear. When those predictions tend toward positive: calmness, control, hope. Our minds go to great lengths to try to accurately predict the future to form our expectations. When reality varies from our expectations, our mind finds out it's wrong.

I think our minds have a natural tendency to hate being wrong. What chemicals spurt out when you know an answer to a question and the answer is confirmed? What chemicals spurt out when the answer we've provided turns out to be wrong? Frustration is just our brain punishing itself for being wrong.

The realization that frustration was born simply because my mind failed to prepare for the correct possibility for the future was forgiveness.


Have you heard of Enlightenment?

According to a random online dictionary:
A philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasized the use of reason to scrutinize previously accepted doctrines and traditions and that brought about many humanitarian reforms.

If you then go to the wikipedia entry and scrutinize accepted doctrines and traditions, you can see how dualistic the entry is.

Its purpose was to reform society using reason (rather than tradition, faith and revelation) and advance knowledge through science. It promoted science and intellectual interchange and opposed superstition, intolerance and some abuses by church and state.
Does a movement truly need to support this and oppose that?
Can a movement not go upward rather than right or left?
Is the entry Separatist propaganda?

DISCLAIMER: I'll be using Separatist to indicate the psychological preference for adversarially structured social interactions and institutions from here on out.


An Open Letter to Oregon Public Broadcasting

Got an email from OPB today "Can we end it today?"  Apparently its come down to threatening listeners now. We'll keep interrupting everything you want to hear to ask you for money until we get as much money as we need/want, capiche?

I'm not giving them any money this time around, and here's why:

They're too into the two-party system. 
At least 50% of this is because they're merely a re-broadcast of NPR or other public radio most of the time. Back when we were still watching the Republican Candidates self-destruct to give Romney the nomination, I took to counting the number of times OPB/NPR mentioned Ron Paul vs. Santorum vs. Romney, and unless you were listening at just the right time, you wouldn't have known Ron Paul was running, despite how many states he had actually won.

They're already hyping the Romney/Obama debate tomorrow. I had to find out Jill Stein exists through Google+, and I certainly wasn't going to hear about her debate with Gary Johnson (the other person people don't know is going to be on the ballot, despite the Colbert bump).

The Sustaining Circle 
Before the turn off of candidate coverage, I joined the sustaining circle/subscription program. Ten bucks a month to support my favorite station. Hell, its worth it just to hear 'This American Life' on the weekends. Got my girl at the time a nice tote bag for doing so.

Of course, the next fundraiser I didn't get anything and I still had to listen for a week while the stuff I wanted to hear was interrupted with panhandling attempts. 

Here's an idea:
Starting months before financial crunch time, start mentioning 'becoming a member' and 'the sustaining circle' in little commercial-size bits. Tell us how much more money needs to come in through sustaining circle members to avoid the next round of fundraising. I'd help pay for that. Chipping in and then still getting penalized (by having to listen to fundraising instead of programming) is a big turnoff.

So are the fancy gifts, actually. The sustaining circle is a perpetual subscription. It's better to make a one-time donation every year so you can get fresh OPB swag every year. How bout a yearly gift of swag to the sustaining circle. Give us a reason to keep sustaining other than convenience. If you're going to be giving away stuff, don't you think your subscribers deserve it? After all, they can quit sustaining at any time. 


The Ultimate Conspiracy Theory

They teach you to mock anything people high say when they are high through public ridicule. I've seen it on television, Stephen Colbert, specifically. I felt betrayed.

They program you to disregard what high people say. Haha, he's just high. He's not in his right mind. He's not thinking straight. The truth of the matter is that they teach you to do this because when you're high, you see things from above. High isn't just an altered state. It's an elevated state. When you see things from above, it's easier to see how the system works. It's easier to see what system of beliefs you're a part of. That makes it easier to see the truth of existence.

They do this because by seeing the truth of existence, you see that material shit is material shit. They don't like that. They prefer it when you buy things. When seeing things from an elevated perspective allows you to realize how silly and harmful that is, you suddenly don't care about buying that new sports car anymore. That makes you a poor consumer, and cuts into their profit margin. They don't like that.

In order to prevent you from making these realizations, in order to keep you in the dark, they have to control the flavor of the altered mental states you're allowed to experience. It's okay if they numb you physically (hydrocodone) and emotionally (Prozac). It's okay if you get accelerated (ADHD meds, Provigil, Nuvigil). It's okay if you get sideways (Alcohol). All of that's okay, if they can make a profit off of it, but no... not the elevated mental state. They don't want you to see things from a "higher" elevation. So, they outlaw marijuana.

You mock the conspiracy theorists for not being able to name names or provide "facts to convince you". You think you're more "right" because the conspiracy theorists can't tell you who They are. That's because They is a single thing. A living organism, much like a society of people is a living thing. Like any form of life, They is trying to reproduce. If you're not careful, you'll unwittingly be the offspring of They, by believing what They want you to believe.

They is the manifestation of a thought distortion. The name we give that thought distortion the name "materialism". Everything They do isn't about bad people in powerful places... It's about materialism in the minds of people in powerful places. It's not the bankers, it's the manifestation of the materialism thought distortion in the bankers.

As another manifestation, you've been conditioned to believe materialism is inherent in the human mind for evolutionary reasons or spiritual reasons. It's not. Like all other beliefs, it is a choice. You were raised in a society where that choice had been made, the choice to value material things, to maximize the length of time alive, rather than live the maximum no matter how much time you might or might not get.

And....even if you do wholeheartedly voluntarily embrace materialism, there's still no reason weed should be illegal when alcohol is not.


You could use a little Rmnce in your Life

To truly understand something, you must be able to consider it from infinite perspectives. Every 'thing', every 'concept' can be described from a variety of perspectives. Some will resonate more closely to the perspective you already hold, some will be from the polar opposite side's perspective. Limiting yourself to one perspective blinds you to other facets of the concept.

In this manner, there are several perspectives from which I can describe Rmnce to you.
- It's the first book of four in Gabriel Fitzpatrick's modern romance stories.
- It's available at Amazon for $2.99.
- It's fiction.
- It's a tale told through the communication between two people, chiefly their text messages.
- It's an exercise program.

The perspective I've chosen to tell you about what it is, though, is from the perspective of the mind is a muscle, with it's well known implication of 'use it or lose it'.

From this perspective, all works of fiction serve as opportunities for mental exercise, but here's what differentiates Rmnce from the rest.
- It's a quick read. Unlike the more pondiferous works of fiction, Rmnce will be done with your external attention in a few hours, allowing your mind to start to play with it right away.
- It's full of blanks. Our human minds naturally fill in the blanks, which the title proves to you. The blanks in Rmnce are what goes unsaid, the details of the couple's life they don't rehash via text. These become a playground for your imagination. You and all of your friends can read the story, and then have unlimited mental images of what happened with the couple in the space between (cue Dave Mathhews).
- It allows role playing. While reading Rmnce, you can take on various roles for yourself. In most fiction, this is limited to the role of one of the characters. Rmnce being observed private communications, however, allow you to be the jealous partner, having snatched up the suspected lover's phone - the paralegal or private investigator, combing through for evidence of character flaws in those communicating. Not only can you escape your circumstances through opening a book with Rmnce, you can also try on other circumstances.

These mental exercise benefits aren't found in most fiction these days, and everyone I know could use with a good short workout :)