athelind: (AAAAAA)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Have you ever closed the door on an opportunity or a relationship in order to open another door, only to realize you made the wrong choice?

oh, for crying ...

Yes, okay, yes. I woke up to that running through my brain this very morning: sometimes it seems like every single time I've had a binary choice, I've picked the wrong one. On the rare occasions that I do make the right choice, I manage to screw it up somehow with later choices.

I reiterate my conclusion from the last "life of regrets" Writer's Block I answered, less than three weeks ago:

Shoulda-Woulda-Coulda is toxic.

You can't do a damned thing about where you've been.
You can only do something about where you're going.

Face Front.



Rassin' frassin' LiveJournal Drama Llama stereotypes. There should be a cap on how often Writer's Block can ask the same kinds of question in a single month.
athelind: (tell it like it IS)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Would you rather be super-rich or super-smart if you would only be average in the other category?

... assuming the question means "mean" and not "median" or "mode", an upgrade to an average level of income sounds pretty sweet right now.

To be a little less flippant:

A) It's not getting what you want, it's wanting what you've got.

The ability to be content and comfortable while living on modest means is a learned skill. If you haven't learned it, it is unlikely that you will be content or comfortable even with exorbitant resources at your disposal.

B) Knowledge does more than income.

Being "super-smart" includes the ability to make one's resources go further. Why buy your own supercomputer when you can network a bunch of loss-leader-priced video game consoles? Why pay Toyota for a bleeding-edge hybrid when you can replace the engine and transmission in that old junkyard chassis with a turbine generator and a surplus DC-10 starter motor?


I should note that I define "super-smart" as "a whole lot smarter than I am". Oddly, a lot of people have been answering this one with "I'm already smart...", which makes me suspect that either their bar for superlatives are a lot lower than my own, or their egos are a lot larger.
athelind: (eco-rant)
Okay, one reason, and one alone:

The United States of America consumes a disproportionate amount of the world's resources, and produces a disproportionate amount of its pollution. Even a massive socio-economic catastrophe isn't going to do more than moderate that, at least over the next half-century or so. this is an issue that I can't run away from, because the ripples affect the entire world, and not just economically.

I am an Earth Systems Scientist.

If I have any hope of having an effect on this globe-threatening situation, it's gotta be here.

I've got my lever, rusty as it may be, and I think I'm narrowing down my places to stand.


athelind: (politics)
This was originally tacked on as a footnote to my last post, but I think it needs to stand on its own.

For the record, the "Divided States of America" is only a "worst-case scenario" if the Balkanization is violent. That's not unlikely, because we're all pretty pissed at each other right now, and we do like our guns.

On the other claw, the Soviet Union managed to spin off its component without devolving into all-out war, though, even if there were border skirmishes; if the U.S. pulled off the same trick, California might wind up better off than we are now, with the Federal Government funneling money out of the eighth-largest economy in the world and into Red States who rant against taxation, welfare and government interference.


athelind: (prisoner)
Mostly for my own reference: some thoughtful and measured words about emigration.

I'll tell ya: ever since reading Toffler's predictions for the future of the two "Second Wave" superpowers in 1990's Powershift, and watching it come true in the Soviet Union less than a year later, there's a part of me that's been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Yes, I'm fully aware that this kind of apocalyptic paranoia has contributed to the paralyzing stasis of my life since graduation.

Still, there's an important truth in play: things aren't getting any better in the Untidy States, and the best-case scenario is to hope that the continual erosion of our rights and freedoms will be sufficiently gradual that we won't notice.

And the alternatives ... well, we seem to be using all the worst clichés of Cyberpunk as a road map as it is, why not that one, too?*

I would really like to convince myself that this is just pessimism due to the latest economic downturn, but even during the boom years of the '90s, I saw the "New Democrats" quietly and casually continuing the trends of restricting the rights of biological individuals and increasing the freedoms of "corporate persons". Some oppressed groups have made a few advances in acceptance, but really, it's just welcoming them to the same Village that the rest of us live in. One step forward, two steps back.

I'm in the process of reevaluating my life, realigning my goals, and trying to get a better grip on how the "real world" works.

And around here ... it doesn't. Not very well. Not in ways that will do me any good, now or in the future.

Realistically, if I'm trying to reconstruct my present to make plans for my future, "emigration" needs to be one of my options—even and especially if I land the elusive "Real Job" locally.

The big issue, of course, is that the other Anglophone nations don't really want more USian expatriates.


This is not a post about pessimism or defeatism. This is a post about options.
*See next post.

athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
In the late '80s, one of the numerous transit systems in the Bay Area had a cultural enrichment program, putting art and poetry in those overhead add slots on the bus. I believe some of the brief poems were actually commissioned for the program.

Around 1987, there was a poem that stuck with me, though I could only remember part of the first line (I'm pretty sure I wrote it down at some point, but I can't even find documents from a year ago, much less twenty-three).

Every few years, I do a Google search for it; this morning, I finally got a single hit. Alas, it remains uncredited:


Soft chains are most difficult to break: affection, ease.
The spirit, wide-eyed, limp-muscled; nestles on its side, and waits.




If anyone can chase down the proper credits, I'd appreciate it (and so, I suspect, would the poet).

There will now, of course, be two Google hits for the opening line; odds are good that this post will be on top very quickly.


athelind: (Warning: Caustic)
One of the recurrent themes in yesterday's discussions of "Draw Mohammad Day" was that when you deliberately go out to provoke people, there are going to be consequences.

Well, after my post about Fundamentalism and Atheism, the comment threads that followed, and my own flippant, insensitive responses, I just wound up losing one of my oldest friends.

Yeah. Go me.


athelind: (Default)
A comment over at [livejournal.com profile] toob's journal prompted me to finally put down in words something that I've mulled over for a very long time.

Over the decades, I've seen a great deal of evidence to support the hypothesis that, no matter what faith they might nominally adhere to, Fundamentalists of any creed have more in common with each other than they do with more moderate adherents of their own creed.

From my observations, the common keystone in the Fundamentalist worldview is this:

We and we alone know the One True and Proper Path, and those who disagree with us are not merely in error, they are evil, they are our enemies, and any abuse we can deliver unto them is not only justified, but for their own good.


All too often, this becomes the Fundamentalist's primary tenet -- the specific details of his or her faith all become a distant second to the pure, blind assertion that I am right and you are not.

This is their true religion.

Proportionally, I've seen just as many Fundamentalists who think they're Atheists as I have Fundamentalists who think they're Anything Else, and their reaction to Thoughtcrime is just as zealous.

Did that last sentence piss you off?

Might want to run some diagnostics.


athelind: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Was there something you were afraid of as a child that just seems silly to you now?

Oh, quite the opposite.

Most of my childhood fears turned out to be entirely reasonable.

I doubt that my younger self would say the same about the anxieties of my adult life.


athelind: (facepalm)
I'm sure we've all heard a variation of this one (most likely expressed as an ethnic joke):


Once upon a time, Jack decided to leave his tiny village and seek his fortune in the Big City, twenty leagues away.

Jack departed in good spirits, but it was a long road, and a tiring one. Finally, he asked a farmer in his field how much farther the Big City still lay."

"Ten leagues, young lad," the farmer replied, leaning on his plough.

"Ten leagues," cried Jack, "Ten leagues! But I have come so far already—and I can go no farther."

And with that, he turned around and returned home to his tiny village, discouraged and exhausted.

A year and a day passed, and again, Jack decided it was time to seek his fortune in the Big City once more. Again, ten leagues along the road, he saw the same farmer in his field, but this time, he fought past his fatigue and despair and pressed on.

Finally, he rested, leaning against a sign by the side of the road. He ate the bread and cheese he'd packed, and felt refreshed and full of vigor—until he looked up and read the sign.

Big City, it read, Five Leagues.

"Five leagues," cried Jack, "Five leagues! But I have come so far already—and I can go no farther."

And with that, he turned around and returned home to his tiny village, five leagues behind him and ten more, never to venture into the Wide World again.


This is a parable.

athelind: (Eye of Agammotto)
I need to revisit the first post I made under the "Feed Your Head" tag:


Pessimism is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So is optimism.


-- distilled from Robert Anton Wilson,
"Ten Good Reasons to Get Out of Bed in the Morning".




I need to put this up over my desk, so it's the first thing I see every morning.

The difficulty, alas, is that while I believe this—and that, in itself, suggests a buried core of optimism—I've lost the knack of thinking optimistically.

Pessimism is insidious. Pessimism is easier. Pessimism is lazy thinking to justify lazy (in)action.

The "deadly sin" of Sloth? In early Church, it used to be two sins: "Despair" and "Apathy".

Like I said, though, it's insidious. It sneaks into your thoughts, and takes root. I think I've worked past the worst of the clinical depression, but—you know, it's like a long-term physical illness or injury. Just because you're healed doesn't mean you're back in shape. That broken leg ain't gonna be running marathons right off. You've got to work it back into shape, slowly and steadily, doing routine, repetitive tasks that reinforce the atrophied tendons and muscles—or habits and attitudes, to step back from the metaphor a little.

I need to work myself back into optimism, by pushing myself to keep up with optimistic tasks, and keeping sight of my goals—and not immediately giving up when I don't make the finish line.

Of course, part of that is convincing myself that those daily, repetitive tasks, that mental exercise of Accomplishing Something Useful And Productive Every Day, actually will pay off, both in terms of tangible goals and intangible attitudes.

And that, my friends, is the first and most important shard of optimism I need to grasp.


*I think that Unca Bucky said something to this effect, as well as Unca Bob.
athelind: (politics)
Okay, kids. Politics time.

First: On Elections.

[livejournal.com profile] rodant_kapoor just said everything that needs to be said about yesterday's special election in Massachusetts.

Second:On Activism.

I've heard some comments that there's more to participating in democracy than just saying, "I voted; now it's their turn to sort things out."

I really want to do things. I really want to make my voice heard. I really want to do that activism thing.

Unlike Billy Joel's "Angry Young Man", I haven't "passed the age / of consciousness and rightous rage". I just don't know what to do with it.

The only leads I've found in that direction have been canvassing, either door-to-door, on the phone, or stuffing envelopes.

You cannot convince me that this is significant or effective.

I don't treat political solicitors any differently than I do commercial or religious ones. At the door, on my phone or in my mailbox, they are an uninvited intrusion on the sanctity and privacy of my home.

I will politely turn away a political canvasser on my doorstep. I will rather less politely inform an unsolicited caller that I am "not interested". I will briefly glance at political mail to see if the candidate in question expresses views that coincide with my own, and if so, I'll put their name on my list of candidates to consider.

I almost always assume that the claims being made for or against Proposition X or Candidate Y are unreliable, at best, and flat-out lies, at worst. When election time rolls around, I troll the web looking for independent analyses and recommendations, but I don't trust unsolicited opinions.

And this is my reaction for the canvassers that I agree with. I have a hard time believing that this kind of activity is actually going to change anybody's mind.

Am I just stubborn? Am I too cynical to believe that J. Random Doorbell might be swayed by the presentation of reasonable arguments and evidence-based debunkings of misinformation? Or, despite my adherence to Colbert's memorable statement that "Reality has a well-known liberal bias", am I too cynical to believe that "my side" will provide me that kind of good, solid data to present?

Am I just an antisocial jerk who likes to hang up on people and slam doors in their face?

Really, are independent voters any more eager to have zealots idealists concerned citizens pounding on their door or ringing them up in the middle of dinner or the latest episode of Supernatural than Your Obedient Serpent is?

Heck, if I were an "independent" rather than a liberal technocrat, I'd probably wind up voting for the party that bothered me the least.

I suppose this boils down to two questions:

One, are my door-slamming habits atypical?

Two, what kinds of "grass-roots activity" are out there that don't include pestering the neighbors?


athelind: (Default)
Okay, kids. Politics time.

First: On Elections.

[livejournal.com profile] rodant_kapoor just said everything that needs to be said about yesterday's special election in Massachusetts.

Second:On Activism.

I've heard some comments that there's more to participating in democracy than just saying, "I voted; now it's their turn to sort things out."

I really want to do things. I really want to make my voice heard. I really want to do that activism thing.

Unlike Billy Joel's "Angry Young Man", I haven't "passed the age / of consciousness and rightous rage". I just don't know what to do with it.

The only leads I've found in that direction have been canvassing, either door-to-door, on the phone, or stuffing envelopes.

You cannot convince me that this is significant or effective.

I don't treat political solicitors any differently than I do commercial or religious ones. At the door, on my phone or in my mailbox, they are an uninvited intrusion on the sanctity and privacy of my home.

I will politely turn away a political canvasser on my doorstep. I will rather less politely inform an unsolicited caller that I am "not interested". I will briefly glance at political mail to see if the candidate in question expresses views that coincide with my own, and if so, I'll put their name on my list of candidates to consider.

I almost always assume that the claims being made for or against Proposition X or Candidate Y are unreliable, at best, and flat-out lies, at worst. When election time rolls around, I troll the web looking for independent analyses and recommendations, but I don't trust unsolicited opinions.

And this is my reaction for the canvassers that I agree with. I have a hard time believing that this kind of activity is actually going to change anybody's mind.

Am I just stubborn? Am I too cynical to believe that J. Random Doorbell might be swayed by the presentation of reasonable arguments and evidence-based debunkings of misinformation? Or, despite my adherence to Colbert's memorable statement that "Reality has a well-known liberal bias", am I too cynical to believe that "my side" will provide me that kind of good, solid data to present?

Am I just an antisocial jerk who likes to hang up on people and slam doors in their face?

Really, are independent voters any more eager to have zealots idealists concerned citizens pounding on their door or ringing them up in the middle of dinner or the latest episode of Supernatural than Your Obedient Serpent is?

Heck, if I were an "independent" rather than a liberal technocrat, I'd probably wind up voting for the party that bothered me the least.

I suppose this boils down to two questions:

One, are my door-slamming habits atypical?

Two, what kinds of "grass-roots activity" are out there that don't include pestering the neighbors?


athelind: (Default)
A statement like that might seem to need qualifiers, but really, it doesn't.

I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

About very nearly anything.


athelind: (Default)
A statement like that might seem to need qualifiers, but really, it doesn't.

I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

About very nearly anything.


athelind: (Eye of Agammotto)

Pessimism is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So is optimism.


-- distilled from Robert Anton Wilson,
"Ten Good Reasons to Get Out of Bed in the Morning".




My thinking is broken. I've assimilated unhealthy memes.

Taking control of my life means, first and foremost, taking control of my head.

Re-Reading List:
  • Robert Anton Wilson, The Illuminati Papers
  • S.I. Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action
  • R. Buckminster Fuller:

    • Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth
    • Utopia or Oblivion
    • Ideas and Integrities
    • Critical Path (Have I actually read this, or has it just been sitting on my shelf for years?)

  • Sun Bear, The Path of Power
  • Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity
  • Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • Richard Bach:

    • Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
    • Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Hush. It's my metaprogramming list.)




athelind: (Default)

Pessimism is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So is optimism.


-- distilled from Robert Anton Wilson,
"Ten Good Reasons to Get Out of Bed in the Morning".




My thinking is broken. I've assimilated unhealthy memes.

Taking control of my life means, first and foremost, taking control of my head.

Re-Reading List:
  • Robert Anton Wilson, The Illuminati Papers
  • S.I. Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action
  • R. Buckminster Fuller:

    • Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth
    • Utopia or Oblivion
    • Ideas and Integrities
    • Critical Path (Have I actually read this, or has it just been sitting on my shelf for years?)

  • Sun Bear, The Path of Power
  • Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity
  • Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • Richard Bach:

    • Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
    • Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Hush. It's my metaprogramming list.)




November 2016

S M T W T F S
  12345
6 78 9101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930   

Tags

Page generated May. 30th, 2017 01:24 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios