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philosophy
Posts

  • Waiting For Your Turn To Talk

    Sometimes I find myself in conversations wondering, “when are we going to get back to my favorite topic? Me.” I love talking about Toni. Talking about Toni is the most interesting thing I do. I can’t get enough of it. If you want to talk about me, I will never tire of it. If you’re interested in what Toni thinks about this or that, then I will pull up a chair. But you know what gets exhausting? Talking about you.

    As humans we are obsessed with ourselves. We find ourselves infinitely fascinating, and tend to favor our own opinions over others. Most of the time when we are relating to others, we are just waiting for our turn to talk.

    But guess what? NOBODY LIKES THAT!

    Even though we all want to compulsively talk about ourselves, our thoughts, our visions, and our complaints – it is seriously irritating when you notice other people being that way. You can feel the energy of them not listening. Their eyes are distracted, and its painfully obvious how they’re desperately trying to remember what it is they want to say. Their impatience is palpable. So you just trail off, knowing they will jump in to perform a 15-minute monologue. It is one of the most off-putting behaviors when someone talks at you endlessly, giving you the feeling that you substitute yourself with a cardboard cutout, and take off for an hour to go through Instagram filters.

    It doesn’t matter how interesting, compelling, or charismatic they are. It’s draining to have a conversation with someone that’s actually performing a one-way soliloquy. It leaves me feeling like an insignificant audience member drowned by the shadows, merely the facilitator for the proper reaction. Insert laugh here, tears there, and an “awwwwwww” at the end to wrap it up.

    Genuinely listening to others is a very attractive quality. Asking questions about their lives, remembering things they say, keeping their cast of characters fresh in your mind… this will endear you to people. If you can make someone feel heard, you will also make them feel seen, which in turn will make them feel important to you.

    So why is this so hard?

    There is an art to dialogue that is simply no longer taught or prioritized. Back in the times of ancient Greece, dialogue was the ultimate conveyer of knowledge. Socrates feared the influence of the written word because he believed that medium would destroy dialogue. He felt books are too easily misinterpreted because you can’t openly discuss your reactions with the author of the ideas you just plowed into your head. Socrates rejected writing because his worldview was predicated on the idea that best way into a genuine inquiry of philosophy was through live conversation.

    Yet how ironic is it that the only reason we know the dialogues of Socrates is because Plato wrote them down!

    Oral traditions were more exclusive with knowledge because you had to have heard the information from someone’s mouth. Where the written word can be massed produced and mass marketed. Yet does distributing information on a wide scale dilute it? On the one hand it’s fantastic anyone can have access to the vast library of human knowledge, but the criteria for who is talking has been democratized to the point where there are no longer any standards. You don’t need a PHD to create a website, you just need an IP address.

    If you think about the current manifestation of this, the Internet is so flush with information and words that you can prove anything you want. You can look up sites that say GMO’s are bad, and you can look up sites that tell you GMO’s are great. You can prove anything you want to yourself, because everyone’s goddamn opinion is posted on line to justify your thinking.

    On a personal level, this loss of dialogue has affected us even deeper. Although I enjoy reading and writing, it can be said that the modern manifestation of texting our feelings through emoji hints to the prophetic nature of Socrates’ thoughts. We would rather email someone to tell them off, then have the actual human interaction of working through conflict. How many of you have received an email from a friend/family member/lover that is just a diatribe of all they things they don’t like about you? And how have you received that? Have you ever been like, “wow, this scathing email attacking my personality really makes me think?”

    No! You usually write a contemptuous message back, and a strange cycle begins where your egos battle through this platform of screens. It is really hard to come back from these things, and usually the only way to find peace is through initiating personal contact. It is easy to hide behind screens and words rather then the complexity of face-to-face contact. That is why trolling has become such a social phenomenon. Yet we don’t only troll strangers in the dark web, we also often troll each other with the refusal of committing to direct communication.

    I think it’s crucial in these times where we are constantly being seduced by our slutty phones to work on the craft of conversation. To not text while talking, or hurry someone along so we can make our point. The best thing we can do for each other and our own psyches is learn how to be totally engaged. You know that feeling when you are talking to someone, and they are really interested in what you are saying? They are giving you their energy of paying attention. Then you pass the baton and are just as excited to hear the words that come out of their mouth. Isn’t that such a life affirming experience?

    Let’s do more of that!

    So next time you are talking to someone, a friend, someone serving you at a store, where ever you are… act like you sincerely give a shit. And I bet once you start genuinely listening, you may actually start genuinely giving a shit, which will inspire them to give a shit, and then maybe the robots won’t take over after all.

    March 23, 2017 • emotions, Musings, Relationships, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 788

  • How About We Stop Trying to Empower Women?

    Women in the Western World no longer face the same blatant discrimination of the past – we can vote, have custody of our children, and participate in the work force by being cogs in the wheel of capitalism slaving away endlessly in a soulless pursuit of wealth just like the boys! But of course that doesn’t mean sexism is behind us. The world is just as rapey as it ever – which is why I created the new “Pussy Protector” that works like a rat-trap and will tear off the hand of any presidential candidate who tries to grab yours. I’m selling them on Ebay.

    The current battle against misogyny in the Western world is a more nuanced, psychological one. A lot of progress has been made in the past 100 years, yet the lingering mental conditioning that women are inferior still remains. Empowerment has become a big theme in modern western feminism, and many think that is the solution we’ve been looking for to address the gender hierarchy. We have to empower women. Women need to be sexually empowered. Woman would be so much better if they just empowered themselves.

    But is the pursuit of POWER really what we should be encouraging?

    Power is a corrupting force. People in power are by FAR the most shady, greedy, selfish, destructive, murderous, and thoughtless people on planet earth. Power doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Power is in direct relation to what you have over others. You never have power WITH other people. That sentence doesn’t even make sense. My autocorrect hated it. You have power OVER others.

    Check it:

    Simple Definition of power
    : the ability or right to control people or things

    : political control of a country or area

    : a person or organization that has a lot of control and influence over other people or organizations

    Full Definition of power
    1
a (1) : ability to act or produce an effect (2) : ability to get extra-base hits (3) : capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect
b : legal or official authority, capacity, or right

    2
a : possession of control, authority, or influence over others
b : one having such power; specifically : a sovereign state
c : a controlling group : establishment —often used in the phrase the powers that be
d archaic : a force of armed men
e chiefly dialect : a large number or quantity

    3
a : physical might
b : mental or moral efficacy
c : political control or influence

    I don’t know if we want to be “empowering” women as much as we want to “disempower” everyone! Having power over others is too much for the human psyche to handle.

    I want to believe that if women had more power then we would handle it differently, but that implies women are somehow more morally high-minded then men. If we look at women that have rose through the ranks of power, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Dilma Rousseff… it’s not like any of them have been flawless saints. They played the game of politics and power, and compromised just like men do. There are women CEO’s for General Motors, Hewlette Packard, IBM, and I don’t see these giant corporations as righteous. These companies aren’t helping to save us from the transhumanist, apocalyptic, World War 3, nightmare that lies ahead of us.

    There are “good” women leaders, and there are “good” men leaders, but ANYONE who get’s into positions of power can be seduced into making decisions that prioritize their power over what’s best for humanity. A selfless person in power is about as easy to find as the G-spot when you’re drunk and stoned.

    When I think about the messaging I want to internalize and teach my daughter, I’m not convinced I want it to be predicated on power. I want women to be tough, feel comfortable in their own skin, and question the status quo that shapes us as people. I want to teach my daughter to be insightful, strong-willed, compassionate, thoughtful, inquisitive, empathetic, tell funny dick/vagina jokes (equal opportunity genital humor) – but most importantly I want her to be philosophical. I don’t think humanity needs more people striving for power, but more people approaching life philosophically.

    This is not a new concept; the great philosopher Socrates was assassinated by his community because he encouraged children to question authority and think for themselves. It was his belief that the ONLY people fit to be kings (he was kind of sexist in that way) were philosophers. They were the sole humans who could handle the job because they were the only ones NOT seeking power. Yet of course the tragic irony is philosophers don’t want to be kings because they understand the moral vulnerability of that position.

    I think we should be teaching our daughters and sons to seek a philosophical understanding of themselves and the world rather than suggesting a vague quest towards empowerment. Think about it. Philosophers are not slaves to materialism. They aren’t out shopping for plastic bullshit that will later be dumped in the ocean to choke an octopus. Philosophers aren’t starting wars or enacting genocide. Can you imagine a philosopher in charge of nuclear weapons? That button would never get pushed because they would spend the rest of their life with their finger hovering, pontificating endlessly about the consequences of their actions. Philosophically minded people are not violent or reckless because they are too busy peacefully staring at their belly buttons pondering the meaning of it all.
    I don’t want to be sexually “empowered” because my sex isn’t a weapon I want to lord over, or control some one with. If I am sexually attracted to someone all that means is that I’m waving my DNA flag, and he is waving his, and we happen to have enough variety where we won’t create a deformed spider-child with 7 legs. Sexual attraction has to do with biology, and I shouldn’t be told to feel powerful because someone has a different double helix than me. If I’m attracted to a dude, I want him to know, because that’s the whole point right? And if I’m not attracted to a guy, I don’t want him to be attracted to me, because that feels manipulative.

    When we equate sex with empowerment it suggests that sex is a part of power. I don’t want to feel like sex has anything to do with power. I want to be sexually free. I want to be sexually explorative to make my own decisions. I want to be sexually liberated and begin relationships with the man knowing blowjobs are a great gift I bestow upon him exclusively for birthdays and anniversaries. But I don’t need to feel powerful because I am sexy, or have sex.

    I’ve always thought sex was about genuine desire and mutual lust. But maybe I have been wrong about this?? I guess if I’d been thinking about fucking my way to the top, I wouldn’t still be at the bottom of this mountain kicking rocks. Shit you guys, did I not capitalize enough on my youth? Was it a mistake to only sleep with people I actually liked? Did I waste my 20’s fucking DJ’s, skaters, and club kids? No wonder why I’m not a millionaire – but I at least I can scratch a record and do a kick flip. I didn’t learn about power through my sexual exploits but I did learn I probably shouldn’t fuck dudes who expect me to do more than 2 positions or care about their orgasms after I’m done.

    Power dynamics exist within sexual relationships because there are power imbalances of who likes who more. But aren’t we all searching for that one relationship where power doesn’t exist? Where you love each other equally. Isn’t equality what we are seeking in every aspect of humanity? Racial, gender, and economic equality!? Fuck power… we want an even playing field!

    Power struggles are all part of the patriarchy no matter who is struggling for power. Women don’t need to be encouraged to fall into the same trappings that culture has put before us for thousands of years. Let’s abandon this way of thinking where power is what we seek and instead focus on what women are inherently talented at; building community, developing intimacy, prioritizing connection, and using methods of communication over force. I want our (potential) woman president not to solve problems with the same solution of war and violence, but instead by talking off Putin’s ear until he just gives the fuck up. Then this tension with Russian can end just like every argument between a man and woman… with the guy saying, “you’re right, I’m wrong, I’m sorry.”

    3048e8fb00000578-0-image-a-117_1453095683261

    October 20, 2016 • Current Events, Musings, Political Banter, Vagina Stuff, Women's Business • Views: 877

  • More Philosophers and Less Murderers Please

    A lot of fucked up shit has been going on lately. The Planned Parenthood shooting, multiple terrorist attacks, white dudes mass murdering, a bagillion cases of police brutality…. The amount of violence is staggering, and also incredibly confusing. The thing I keep asking myself is “who the dick cares enough about an issue to kill another human over it!?”

    I get how someone might have an opinion on a subject. I have opinions about things all the time. For instance I think beets are gross. But that doesn’t mean I am going to snipe someone in the face for enjoying beets. You get what I mean?

    It’s one thing to be a total psycho serial killer who just likes massacring people. That’s a type of person. Not one I would like to date mind you, but they are out there. I don’t know what makes them tick, or what happened to them to inspire joy from cutting someone up and making sausage casing with their skin… but I think it’s safe to assume that they get pleasure out of that kind of Saturday afternoon activity. With the average vicious murderer, they’re dismembering people not because of some ideology, but rather because they want to.

    I don’t get what drives someone to kill for the sake of killing… but I get it.

    Yet there are these extreme fundamentalists who kill people over their own dogmatic beliefs… now that is a mystery to me. I am not that sure of anything!!! I would NEVER be so confident in my thinking that I would kill others who don’t agree. My perspective on life is always in flux. My entire ethical understanding of life is that everything and anything is possible, so I have to question all of it.

    I was a philosophy major in college and I remember having a total emotional breakdown about my life. My boyfriend wanted to break up with me, I was about to graduate, and I was kinda pudgy. I was crying one day and my teacher said to me, “Toni, you can’t just study philosophy, you are to live your life philosophically.”

    That sentence changed my life. It opened me up to realize that nothing is concrete, and I have to be open-minded to a variety of possibilities. No matter what I think, there is always an alternate reality. Perspective is inherently subjective, and therefor it can always adapt as I change and evolve.

    I question everything I hear, think, and feel. Did we land on the moon? Maybe? Maybe not? The moon could also be a hollow space station for aliens to observe us? Perhaps is it? The pyramids of Egypt might have been built with sound vibrations. Why not? I can never say I know anything for certain. Does my dad truly love me? I think so! But who knows! The universe is mysterious!

    To be so sure about your religious or moral beliefs that you actually KILL another human to uphold them – makes me think you haven’t really thought them through. Maybe I’m apathetic or don’t care enough about my values, but being so vehemently passionate that you would strap a bomb to your chest or open up an AK47 on an innocent crowd implies that there is a lot you haven’t questioned. If we all approached every subject philosophically we would be wayyyy to busy gazing at our navels to blow people up.

    This picture speaks to me….

    paris pic

    December 2, 2015 • Current Events, Musings, Political Banter • Views: 741

  • Comedians, the Modern Day Philosophers

    Everyone loves to laugh. It’s like sneezing. Orgasmic, but without all the baggage. I love comedy with true depth and commentary on the world. It is nothing short of genius when laughter is inspired by a truth about humanity that said in another context, would be only depressing.

    I see comedians as the modern day philosophers. There was a time in human history, like in Ancient Greece, where the community supported these thinkers as they traveled around questioning and commenting on the nature of all things. Yet modern people are not so forgiving to guys roaming the streets wearing robes and sandals talking to themselves anymore. Comedians have filled that role of questioning culture, and in many ways their approach is enacting major social change.

    Take for example the recent Bill Cosby scandal. This is not new news at all. These women have tried to speak out for decades. But it wasn’t until the comedian Hannibal Buress did a set about Cosby, that the public started listening. His stand up show went viral, and suddenly these rape allegations were in the public lexicon. The viral nature of the story wasn’t just about the content, but the person that disseminated the information. Now that it is a mainstream conversation, finally these women are being heard. Yet the initial comedic packaging was crucial for this to become a national dialogue, and now it has morphed into something way more serious.

    Although we can’t just sit around laughing at all the atrocities in the world – it is a starting point. By sparking the conversation with comedy, there is an appeal that can actual ignite major shifts. The currently public shaming of Cosby is a real example of that. He may not go to jail for his actions, but at least there is an effort to actually blame the perpetrator rather than the victims.

    Investigating reality doesn’t make me a happier person. Yeah maybe I am informed on world issues like environmental destruction, the politics of war, and the financial tyranny of the elite – but knowing all this doesn’t help me sleep at night. In fact it makes me want to get in my Hybrid car, take 40,000 organic sleeping pills that maybe make me yawn, and then drive off a cliff into the polluted and over fished ocean. The more I know the more miserable I am… PBS fucking lied to me!!! Why don’t you take your rainbow star and shove it up your ass!!

    Yet we want to people to be fully aware of all the horribleness that is going on, because that is the only way we will hold each other accountable. The reason I inform myself is not because I am a sadomasochist – leather isn’t vegan and pleather gives me a rash – but more because I want to change my behavior in order to genuinely benefit society. Since I began the journey of trying to understand the world – and by journey I mean I smoked a lot pot and watched countless conspiracy theories – I have drastically changed the way I act. I am way more conscious about my consumerism, ecological footprint, and psychic self. Yet pursing a conscious consciousness is emotionally complex when most of the information we need to know is presented is such a dismal fucking way.

    If I wake up in the morning and listen to NPR or BBC world news, by 10am I am in an existential crisis of misery. I think that is why so many people turn to news sources like John Oliver because at least they can laugh while learning about the inevitable distinction of all living beings. Comedy is a platform of information spreading. I went to a comedy show last night, and the subjects were feminism, harassment, religion, racism, etc…. Perhaps it was not as highbrow as complex political theory, but they got the point across and tickled my understanding.

    Lets hope someone does a comedy set about Ferguson soon 🙁

    comedien-philospher-blog-(i)

    November 25, 2014 • Current Events, Musings, Political Banter • Views: 1308

  • A Distraction From Life

    You know what blows? When you are really excited for something to happen, and it doesn’t go down the way you had planned. It is like experiencing emotional blue balls. You just want to release your joy all over the back of existence, but then some metaphoric knock pounds down the door to cock-block your bliss.

    Disappointment is probably the most dissatisfying emotion. At least if you are angry or sad there is some spice too it. You can punch walls, or weep until your eyes look like Bill Clinton’s. Yet when you are disappointed all you do is turn yourself inside out like dyslexic calzone – oozing cheesy self-pity all over the place, but too despondent to spread the sauce of your agony. There is a pathetic flavor to disappointment. You are inherently admitting anticipation that was squelched like a weed in a soybean farm sprayed with pesticides. There is nothing cool about being let down, because it shows you cared in the first place.

    Over the weekend I was going to host a dance retreat so some friends and I could spend our days dancing our asses off. Not in a twerking kind of way where we bounced our asses until they created so much friction they combusted, but in a sweet way. I like having women’s weekends where we eat copious amounts of kale, drink an absurd amount of tea, and talk incessantly about how we don’t need men – because if we discuss them constantly that means we totally aren’t thinking about them am I right?

    The first night I led a yoga class where we explored our 2nd Chakra. You know how bitches are all about opening up their hips and shit. That evening, while washing homemade hummus off the dishes, I told my friend I was going to bail on the morning Kundalini yoga adventure.

    My friend Sarah: NO! You have to go. That is part of the whole plan.
    Toni: I don’t know… it is just so early. I will just meet you guys back here when yo are done.
    My friend Sarah: Dude… it is one morning. We are all giving and we are all sharing our talents. Don’t be a wimp.

    So I womanned up and went to the class. The thing about Kundalini yoga, is that it is all about moving energy and going into the crevices of the body to address core issues. It is more intense than other kinds of Yoga, which is why it is both amazing and terrifying. Not everyday you are psychically prepared to look your inner demons in the face and have a conversation about your damaged childhood.

    I am pretty sure that on this Saturday morning, I just wasn’t in the mental state to get to the bottom of my self-loathing and inner rage. We did all these positons and exercises that felt equally freeing and constricting. As soon as we left the class and I got into my car, I knew my back was totally screwed up. I was like “FUCK! Who am I kidding? I am white! I am not supposed to face my emotions, but repress them deep inside my body until I eventually die of a heart attack. That is the American way!”

    We got back to my house and I tried to do the ballet class – but I could hardly move. I forced myself to continue through the crippling pain for 30-minutes because that is what New England people do, but then I had to lay down and admit defeat. I had fucked my shit up hard core. I could feel it in my back and my hips – if I was a rapper this could have been a pretty sweet Hip Hop song.

    I tried to stretch to release the spasms, but it wasn’t working. I fell down the staircase of frustration because I knew that my dance retreat was ruined. There was no way I was going to have spontaneous recovery and pirouette my way out of this. All my excitement about the weekend was transformed into feeling very very very sorry for myself.

    One of my friends is OF COURSE a hippy healer girl, so she came over to do some voodoo on me.

    Hippy Healer Friend: I am getting a message that part of your pain has to do with your daughter. Not sure exactly what, but that is the information I am receiving. Maybe some issues of violence?

    Ummmm…. WHAT THE DICK!? The last thing I wanted was some peaceful yoga hippy girl to think I was beating my child or something!!?

    Toni: Ummmm violence?
    Hippy Healer Friend: Well it doesn’t have to be literal violence. It could be emotional. Or spiritual. Anyway… don’t get attached to any of this. Just something to think about.
    Toni: Uhhhh yeah okay…

    Not sure if you have ever tried to peacefully receive a healing while at the same time stressing out about what your healer thought of you. But let me tell you… it is NOT as relaxing as it sounds.

    I tried to think about why those were the messages this serene chick was getting about me. It just seemed so extreme?! I mean, I guess I had admitted to her the night before how I let The Munch eat ice cream for breakfast. I some how rationalized this because she also had green beans. The Hippy Healer girl also witnessed The Munch watching Snow White. Maybe in her pristine child-raising world where her daughter thinks raisins are candy and screen time refers to some mediation practice, exposing my child to Disney and vanilla flavored sugar was a type of violence?? Maybe Munch also casually mentioned how we eat meat too! BUT IT IS ORGANIC FLESH FROM A LOCAL FARM OKAY!!???

    I wasn’t exactly sure that my pain had to do with The Munch, and was more convinced it was my philosophic quandary regarding the futility of existence. This relentless knowing that no matter what life path I choose, it will be fraught with bullshit and the same patterns of consciousness that oppress me today. How regardless of my efforts, I will continually make the same mistakes while I swirl in a spiral of mediocrity. Come to think of it, I would much rather contemplate my relationship to The Munch than that shit!

    So I thought about my child, and how so often she can feel like a distraction from life. Yet in truth, she is not distracting me from my life. The Munch is my life. Maybe The Munch thinks I am not showing her that enough?? Perhaps she feels that our time spent together, I am too distracted from all my blaming her for being the distraction.

    I felt sad. Even though I can’t live my life where every second of everyday is devoted to my child, I still want her to feel valued. I decided we had to have a discussion about this so I could get to the bottom of my back pain … ummm I mean, be a good mother to my kid and figure out how she was feeling.

    Toni: Munch, you know how Mamma’s back hurts?
    The Munch: Yeah….
    Toni: Well, my friend says it is not physical. She says my spine feels aligned. She thinks it is an energetic block from something emotional.
    The Munch: What is emotional?
    Toni: Like my feelings? She thinks my back hurts because of my feelings. She told me it has something to do with our relationship. What do you think about that?
    The Munch: I don’t know. Maybe your back hurts because you dance too much. Maybe you should stop dancing because it is so boring for me.
    Toni: Ummm well I love dancing so that is not going to happen. But what do you think about our relationship. Do you think I am a good Mamma to you?
    The Munch: Well sometimes. You always say “no” to me when I want more chocolate.
    Toni: Okay “more” chocolate… fine. But I have to do that. Seriously. Are there things you want me to do different? Is there ways I could be a better Mamma to you?
    The Munch: I don’t know. Maybe we just have to take care of each other more.
    Toni: Okay. That sounds like a plan.

    The next day, because I was hurt, I couldn’t do anything but relax. As a result, The Munch and I ended up spending 7-hours playing together with ZERO interruptions. We didn’t even leave the room we were in. I didn’t touch my phone. We just hung out – and rationed out a banana with peanut butter to survive. It was like we were in a vortex. Usually some thing breaks up your day, like going on an errand, or having some sort of obligation to do. Yet we were in this black hole of togetherness that nothing could penetrate.

    Things got kind of weird at times, we laughed, we fought, and she pretended to be a baby as I swaddled her in a yoga blanket. But it was amazing to just be present with her. I am not sure we have been like that since she was first born and I was high on all the new mom hormones. So even though it sucked my back hurt and I couldn’t dance for my retreat, it created the space for this memorable moment with the most important person in my life.

    distraction-blog

  • The Number 1 Thing You Don’t Want to Hear When High On Mushrooms

    Although hallucinogenic drugs are “fun” and “mind expanding,” you are also playing with fire when it comes to sanity. Reality becomes as malleable as fresh earwax, and you want to be really careful about your surroundings and the type of information that penetrates your psyche. You don’t want any metaphoric penile bombs pumping in and out of your dark squishy mental state.

    Yet sometimes you think you are creating the perfect environment for your perception to be expanded far into the cosmos, but then some shit goes down. Then you are left with your limp consciousness in your hands feeling like, “holy fuck, why am I on drugs while dealing with this?”

    After I graduated college, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do with my time on planet earth. I had majored in philosophy, so it seemed perfectly logical to contemplate existence endlessly and ask my bellybutton a bunch of questions about life. So one weekend, I left New York City and came to New Hampshire with my boyfriend Erik to take mushrooms… because of course I did.

    Our plan was to eat the “shrooms” and then walk to our friend’s house 3-miles away to play video games and smoke pot. I know. Pretty awesome plan. We got about a mile down the road, and then everything started to “kick in.” The air around me started to become an actual substance. I could feel the viscosity of the particles, and was pushing my way through the texture of molasses.

    Toni: Dude…. I can’t make it. We have to go back. The air is too thick. I can’t walk through this. The wind is sticking to me.

    We turned around, got back to my house, and lay down on the grass. I wanted to get up, but that was an impossible task considering how heavy the clouds were pressing against my crumpled body. A few hours went by as I dipped in and out of existence, I opened my eyes, and saw a blurry figure walking towards me. It was my friend Amos, who we were originally headed to see.

    Amos: Ummm what happened to you guys? I thought you were coming over?
    Toni: We took some mushrooms and now the sky is oppressing me.
    Amos: Maybe we should go inside and get some water.

    Erik and I followed Amos inside and melted into the couch. Water seemed like a good idea – that is if I still had a mouth and not a beak. I tried using my wing to bring some drops of moisture into my mouth as Amos stared at me semi-concerned. Then out of nowhere, a deafening ring filled the house, and I turned myself inside out to hide.

    Toni: What is that noise!?
    Amos: That is the telephone. Someone is calling your house.

    For whatever reason I answered said “phone” – but I knew it was really a transistor radio to the White House.

    Do you want to know who was on the other line? My grandmother. Now there are a lot of people who you may want to talk to when tripping labia, but your grandmother is not one of them.

    Nagymama: Tonikam…. I am so glad you answered.
    Toni: Nagymama?
    Nagymama: Tonikam listen to me… your parents are dead.

    Now if there is information you don’t want to hear while high as a rocket ship, it’s probably going to be, “your parents are dead.”

    Toni: What? My parents are dead?
    Nagymama: Yes. I have been calling them all day and they are not answering. They are dead.

    Amos: What is going on?
    Erik: Who are you guys?
    Toni: My parents are dead?!

    I got off the phone with my grandmother by hanging it up in the toilet. Erik, Amos, and I sat there taking the news in.

    Amos: Wait, how does she know your parents are dead?
    Toni: Because they are not answering their phone. I can’t believe this is happening….

    I called my parent’s phone number, and sure enough they didn’t answer. They had to be dead. Who doesn’t answer their house phone unless they are dead? Now this was the early 2000’s. People had cell phones, but there wasn’t this super intense relationship where leaving the house without your phone would be akin to going to a sex party without your genitals. I am sure my grandmother had the number to my mother’s cell, but she probably never called it in her life.

    Amos: Does your mom have a cell phone?
    Toni: Yeah…
    Amos: Maybe you should try calling it?
    Toni: Try calling what?
    Amos: Her cell phone.
    Toni: How can my mom answer her cell phone if she is dead?
    Amos: Well, maybe she is just not at home?

    I called my mom’s cell phone… she didn’t answer. I called again… and again… and again….

    My mom: Hello?
    Toni: Mom? Are you dead?
    My mom: What are you talking about?
    Toni: Nagymama told me your guys were dead?
    My mom: Why would she say that?
    Toni: Because she has been calling you all day and you didn’t answer.
    My mom: Toni, it is our anniversary. We went to the gardens to look at flowers for the afternoon, and then we WERE having a romantic dinner until you called 300 times.
    Toni: So you are not dead?
    My mom: Are you high?

    mushie-blog-(i)

    August 6, 2014 • Adventures, Family Drama, Musings, Old School Stories • Views: 1515

  • Your 30’s – The Decade of Identity

    Every decade we live has a texture to it. There is a particular flavor that coats the years like emotional plaque. Your childhood is about innocence and discovery, your teen years – exploration and experimentation, your 20’s – adventure and ambition, and your dirty 30’s – identity and responsibility.

    By the time you are in your 30’s there is a cultural expectation to be “settled” in your career, have “settled” into a relationship, “settled down” and bought a house, “settled your sexuality” and popped out some children, and basically settled into every part of yourself like gelatin.

    The major life decisions you make, or don’t make, then come to define you. No longer are you a person who is a conglomerate of personality traits, but you are also quantified by the choices you made. Did you breed? Do you have a fancy house? Do you make lots of money? What job do you have? These questions become the sum total of how people see you.

    Yet there is this whole other part of your 30’s that I think gets overlooked. What kind of person are you? Are you self-reflective? Have you evolved emotionally? Do you still try new things? Are you courageous? Do you take risks? Do you laugh? Are you creative? Do you have a spiritual practice? Are you philosophically curious? The daunting nature of obligation and performing for people replaces these aspects of humanity we once valued when young.

    I think it is easy to go a bit cray cray in your 30’s because there is so much pressure to be something that fits into a box. It is the decade where you brand yourself – the banker, the parent, the candlestick maker.  Those that procrastinate these defining decisions tend to feel like outsiders missing out as societal outlaws.

    I get how responsibility breeds more responsibility, but I also think “fuck… isn’t there something exciting about the future being unknown?” Part of he reason why so many people start to crave stability in their 30’s is that it provides a sense of security.  Yet when you are your most comfortable, you are not exactly your most stimulated either.  Mystery has a vibrating energy that can get you off… your ass and out trying things you never thought possible.

    30s-blog-(i)

    July 16, 2014 • Musings • Views: 2795

  • A Culture of Consequences

    How do you motivate people to get them to do what you want? Do you give them an incentive? “Hey, come help me move and I will give you pizza, beer, and make your genitals orgasm.” Do you threaten them? “If you don’t help me move then I am going to shit in your mouth while you are sleeping.” Or do you expect them to do things because it is the “right” thing to do? “Come help me move because you are my friend and I need your assistance.”

    Philosophically we should be kind, thoughtful, and selfless all the time. We shouldn’t do things because we are seduced or emotionally manipulated – but rather out of righteousness and nobility. I want to do good things for goodness sake. Being good should be all the provocation we need to do good.

    Yeah… but people don’t always operate that way. We are all busy, or at least feel busy, and sometimes need prodding.  There is nothing like a jab in the ass to get your attention am I right?

    Theoretically I want to raise my child where she is completely driven by rationality and kindness.  I don’t want to always rely on, yelling, bribing, or arguing to get Munch to do things.  I want there to be some reasonable conversations that lead to making a collective decision about what is best.  I try to plant seeds to remind The Munch that there are consequences she should be aware of – and I am often looking out for her best interests. If you eat too much sugar, your tummy will hurt. If you don’t go to bed, you will be tired and cranky. If you don’t wash your hands after the bathroom, you will get fecal matter on them that will eventually get in your mouth. Although The Munch has an understanding that there are costs to certain actions, that doesn’t mean she always gives a shit.

    Not every request you make with your child can be a 30-minute debate. Sometimes you just want them to do something – like say brush their fucking teeth – and you don’t want to dispute why holes in your teeth is not desirable for the 400th time. There are days when I have the energy to appeal to her rational side, and there are days where I take a short cut and create a consequence if she doesn’t listen.

    Kids are not stupid and they pick up on your strategies. Even though The Munch will comply if I say “If you don’t turn off The Little Mermaid and come take a bath then I won’t let you watch the Little Mermaid anymore” that doesn’t mean she isn’t taking notes.

    Now she is starting to throw this culture of consequences back in my face. When she wants to do something and I say “no” she then creates a consequence to motivate me. Although I have to say, her threats are way more twisted and demented than mine have ever been.

    “Mom, if you don’t let me have a treat then I will rip your face off.”
    “Mom, if you don’t let me watch a movie then I will take your computer and throw it outside in the rain.”
    “Mom, if you don’t let me stay up I will stomp on your toes with my high heel shoes.”
    “Mom, if you don’t bring my baby upstairs then I will take all your clothes, put them in the toilet, and flush it.”
    culture-of-consequence-blog

  • Overcomplicating Important Issues

    I think a lot of people try to sound smart.  There is a fear of being simple.  I have it myself sometimes.  There are moments when I use prose that perhaps may be rooted in embellishment as a means of aggrandized interaction, and potentially I extrapolate my usage of syntax in order to provide the illusion of an excessive capacity and propensity towards immense unyielding intelligence.

    In academia and intellectual circles it is not only commended, but also expected for work to reflect an advanced level of education.  I get that people of graduate level degrees want to experience information that reflects all the time, money and effort they have committed to their brains.  The expectation to communicate this way undoubtedly shapes the conformity towards it, but there is a time and place for that type of mental exertion.  It is fine and dandy to want to look clever in front of your clever friends, but when writing and talking about politics, world issues, the economy, the more people can truly understand what you are saying, the better.

    The capacity to take a complex idea, and translate it into something that is easy to digest is a skill, and takes a lot of fiber.  Bob Marley, Plato, Yogic philosophy, all make the effort for their message be universal.  I understand that news sources feel pressure to cater to a specific audience, but at the same time how are more people going to be reached if the writing is too intimidating.

    When informing people about world events it is not a time to flex your rhetoric.  There is a difference between grandiloquence and discourse.  Considering the average reading level of an American’s is at an 8th grade level, technically all pertinent information should cater to that.  I know Fox news tries to seduce its demographic with flashy graphics and sensationalism, but that doesn’t mean people are getting a more in depth understanding of what’s happening.  Part of why there is so much misinformation is because the most important news is often clouded by incapacity to explain it clearly.

    I recently watched this show called VICE on HBO, which is done in a hipster-gonzo journalism style.  I was immediately impressed with the show and their effort to create media that aims to clearly inform a younger audience about the issues.  But I started reading articles where people were shitting on the show for being too simplistic – just a bunch of bros that aren’t delving into the intricacy of the subjects.  I found myself outraged that people were so arrogantly critical of an attempt to use narrative and story to highlight problems everyone should be aware of.  The snarky comments saying it is only news if you are totally uninformed were absurd in the context of wanting young people to be a part of the dialogue.

    Even though I love Chomsky and want to dry hump his mind, how can we get his words into a forum that everyone can comprehend?  That needs to be the real agenda.  Only when people are inspired and impassioned to learn, will they challenge their minds to read and listen to more complex material.  So why not do everything we can to get people in the door and get the process started?

    (You know… just crawl in a bag and keep things simple)

    overcomplicating-issues-blog-(i)

    April 17, 2013 • 2 years old, Current Events, Musings, Political Banter • Views: 1036