Truly Epic Fails

This whole notion of “fails” is thematic on YouTube and we have “You’ve Been Framed” and its ilk. This low-cost TV is entertainment. But there can be other fails, not simply an idiot on a pogo-stick on a trampoline. Some of these “fails” have wide-reaching consequences. They usually arise because someone is fighting the wrong battle. One or two people can fuck things up for many others and the carnage can be widespread. They can come from something petty and personal, ambition is often a factor.

Someone makes a mess and others are left to try to clean up after them. Sometimes the damage is so extensive that no repair is possible. It may take ages for the epicentre of mess to acknowledge that they have caused the mess; they may never accept it. I can think of a few instances in my own life where one or two people have led directly to me walking away. When one is trying to do something subtle and nuanced, a loud bull in a china shop can break all the china. Often these messes are caused by assumptions, which as the saying goes, are the mother of all cock ups.

What seems like victory can in fact be a major fail, an epic fail even. Some people are so obsessed with winning and being right, that they can be blind to the collateral damage which ensues.

Having cued this up:

Have I ever screwed things up by fighting the wrong battle?

Have I had a victory which turned out to be an epic fail?

Has anyone else, by their actions, fucked things up for me?

Inhibitions and Hang-ups.

Most people are chock-a-block with inhibitions and hang-ups. Many of these arise from their social conditioning, there is absolute terror of the social faux pas. Many walk around with a pole up their arse and as a result they die painfully of splinters. The list of taboo things is long. As a rule, people are fearful of being open and honest, they are very guarded. This results in endless gameplay.

Some simply have never expressed themselves at all. They are like a volcano and fit to pop, they give off sulphurous emissions and steam, and that is about all.  Most people are literally fuming all the time. We rarely profess love from the heart. And we are shit scared of being vulnerable in any way. Some are very body conscious and dare not show their body. Talk of shit, piss and periods, can make some squeamish. We do not like to see a chicken killed but many go to visit The Colonel. Life and death comes pre-packaged at Waitrose. Not many have gutted a fish or wrung a neck. A mere mouse can have us squealing. Many men are fearful of taking a piss in a gay bar in case another man looks at their cock.

Some of these inhibitions are more than a little silly.

There are many hang-ups about all sorts of things. Some carry their lies around their neck like a necklace of skulls. The fear of being found out is petrifying. People are burdened and edgy all of the time.

As an exercise:

Take a look at your life.

What makes you squeamish?

Why?

What topics are a conversational no-go zone for you?

Make a list of all your inhibitions and all the things that you are hung up about.

Is there a sound basis for these inhibitions and hang-ups?

Would you feel freer if you conquered them?

Would you be less burdened?

Pressure to Conform

Are our peers always a font of wisdom and good advice?

Pressure is defined as force per unit area and when the force from a group, or a group of peers, is directed at a single individual that creates a lot of pressure on the individual. Only the individual is aware of it, whilst each member of the group is oblivious. Their actions are lost in the crowd.

In science peer review is seen as the gold standard. If something has been peer-reviewed it has more kudos. I myself have doubts about this practice because implicit in this process is a normative force for conformity. But it is common and widely accepted practice.

If we don’t like the mores and ethos of a society, we are forced by carrot and stick in the direction of these. That fear of missing out is the stick of exclusion, the carrot is of acceptance and being Kool and the Gang. It is by this simple method that a lot of peer pressure is applied.

We may be largely unaware of our own efforts in getting people to conform and comply. We may be lost in the crowd of people so doing. We may apply the tut-tut-tut machine gun ourselves to anyone who has the audacity to err from the norm.

So here is a very simple question:

Have I ever pressurized anyone to conform?

Why did I do that?

The Age of Vicarious

Rather than living in The Age of Aquarius we are in fact living in The Age of Vicarious. The dawning of this age has been swift and never before have we been able to live our lives so vicariously through the portrayal of the lives of others. We can wait with bated breath for the latest snippet from our favourite celebrity on the internet, we can play games on computers, we can watch people fuck, we can watch “reality” TV and mainline soap opera. We can watch food porn, travel porn and house buying porn. We can stalk our friends on Facebook.

This is where we as a humanity are at, The Age of Vicarious.

This is ersatz, it is not real. But we are so deeply immersed in this that I wonder what it is doing to us. Before long we will have no need for a body, simply a human computer interface which is soft wired into our brains. We can then sit and have endless stuff fed down optical fibres direct into our cortex. We can live entirely vicariously safe in our electronic mobility device, a device which we can operate with our brain alone.

Having cued this up:

What percentage of my life is lived vicariously?

Do I perhaps need to reduce this percentage?

Or is everything just dandy?

Saccharine Mind

“Sodium saccharin (benzoic sulfimide) is an artificial sweetener with effectively no food energy that is about 300–400 times as sweet as sucrose but has a bitter or metallic aftertaste, especially at high concentrations. It is used to sweeten products such as drinks, candies, cookies, and medicines.

Etymology

Saccharin derives its name from the word “saccharine”, meaning “sugary”. The word saccharine is used figuratively, often in a derogative sense, to describe something “unpleasantly over-polite” or “overly sweet”. Both words are derived from the Greek word σάκχαρον (sakcharon) meaning “gravel”. Related, saccharose is an obsolete name for sucrose (table sugar).”

Saccharine mind is that aspect of mind which is gooey, mushy, overly idealistic and a diversion from reality. It diverts the mind away from what it needs to be looking at and can come with much cooing. It is overly gushing and may ignore any underbelly, any aftertaste. As a rule of thumb people do not want to jolted out of saccharine mind. If you do this you can be seen as a kill-joy, a Grinch or someone who pisses on the fire. The bubble of reverie is burst, and people don’t like this. This is because people often prefer illusion to reality, reality can be inconvenient.

At the moment saccharine mind is being fed here in the UK. There is plenty to feed it; a royal baby, a royal wedding, the London marathon and Prince Charles and the Commonwealth. People are bigging him and Camilla up, to take over. We should all go, “ooh, isn’t it wonderful a new baby.” If you don’t do that you are a spoilsport. People forget that just like any other family, this one too has hardship and conflict. Saccharine mind does not want to see the bigger picture, it likes the gooey, the sweet and the artificial.

It is often an escape from reality, a form of comfort and a diversion. Saccharine mind suggests everything is hunky-dory even when it may not be.

Having cued this up:

Am I prone to saccharine mind?

Do I not like people to burst the bubble of saccharine mind?

If they do this, are they mean and nasty?

How Visionary are You?

Some place value in imagination and vision, others prefer pragmatism and structure. We all have our own self-perception and maybe a self-image. We can have a view of the world which is very self-centred, or we might be much more inclusive. We cannot however share precisely that which occurs in the mind of another. Some are better at big picture thinking than others. And if you look at various training manuals, people might say that vision is important for strategy and planning. But how far does vision go? What might be deemed visionary by some is mundane and next-step to others.

There is a real problem if you see things which others do not as yet see. You can be seen as a dreamer and/or a loony-tune. There are many politicians who might like to deem themselves visionary but who are incremental. If we are striving to be objective, then genuine big-picture vision is needed. That way we see the whole and not just the part, or a microscope view of the part even. It is possible to be very insular yet imagine oneself not to be.

Being visionary can lead directly to termination of life. There is historical precedent for this. Although we might say we need vision, what we mean is something just a little ahead of where we are now. Vision sees interconnectivity in time and space. Strategy may be much more local.

As an exercise in self-perception:

Have a think about people, either living or historical, who you might deem to be visionary.

Now you have some kind of scale, some upper limit. Award the most visionary person a ten out of ten.

Now on this scale of zero to ten, how visionary are you?

How reliable is your self-perception?

Stoner or Head?

Every since I can remember I have been interested in altered states of perception. I figured out at an early age that I had something of an imagination and could run images in my head, in my mind. I tend to visualize as opposed to verbalize. All it took was some seed image and I could then make up visions and pictures. These would be three-dimensional and sometimes more.

When I was a student I first encountered the difference between a stoner and a head. A stoner is someone who wants to escape, get stoned and otherwise fucked up. A head is someone who is experimenting with the experience and investigating it. There are a lot more stoners than heads.

Altered states of perception can come from recreational drugs, prescribed drugs, shamanic drumming, martial arts zones, meditation, chanting, real life danger and quantum mechanics. But dreaming is my very favourite. I can be fully awake when dreaming, conscious of what I am doing and even “think” in the dream. I can get up for a piss and then start the dream back up, reboot it. It is all about the experience. If one lets go of the concrete world, one can have a different experience. But there needs to be control otherwise you will find your self sectioned under the mental health act. One has to know which state one is in, when and for how long.

Experimenting with visualization and altered states enables one to construct visions. One can go places.

Having cued this up:

Do you like to escape or to experience?

Are you a stoner or a head?