Sunday, October 7, 2012

Jon Jones Apologetics: Why You Should Not Hate Jon Jones

"I hate Jon Jones!"

If I had a nickel for every time I've seen that comment posted on a YouTube video discussion or message board, I could retire a wealthy man. Truth be told, initially I didn't care much for Jon Jones myself. Sure, he seemed a nice enough kid with a great attitude but at the end of the day he was just a little too superhuman for his own good. Here was this seemingly invincible giant wiping the floor with the toughest guys in the world and making it look appallingly easy. Watching a guy as tough as Mauricio Rua get tossed around like a ragdoll and pummeled senseless was surreal. It wasn't just that Jon crushed him utterly and completely, it was the astonishing, almost sickening nonchalance with which he did so. He made one of the deadliest and most feared 205 pounders of all time look like a complete amateur.



Let's face it, people like rooting for the underdog. Everyone loves a good Rocky story. So when a guy like Jon comes along who just annihilates everyone, it's tough to be a fan. Cheering for Jon as he crushes whoever finds himself on the wrong end of that incredible 84.5 inch reach feels a lot like cheering for a poacher in the act of clubbing a baby seal. It just seems so unfair. Where's the sport in it? And it's even tougher to be a fan when people like bitter former teammate Rashad Evans smear him through the MMA media, accusing him of being disingenuous which then gets picked up and regurgitated ad nauseum via Twitter, podcasts, forums, blogs, etc.


 


I'm ashamed to admit I was once one of Jon's critics and for reasons so stupid they defy description. How easy it was to dismiss his incredible accomplishments as an accident of dumb luck.

"Hey, he was born into an elite gene pool. His brothers are NFL players so he obviously has a genetic advantage. He's a natural athlete who could have played any sport professionally. It comes easier for him than it does for everyone else. His arms are too long, he's too fast, too graceful, he was born with all these gifts. It just isn't fair."

Yeah. No. Was Jon born with the genetic potential to be one of the most dominant fighters of all time? Yes, but holding it against him makes about as much sense as hating Michael Phelps or Michael Jordan for being born with tremendous potential. In other words, none. The fact is, you don't reach the top of any highly competitive sport without working extremely hard and being completely focused. This is especially true for a sport as fiercely competitive as MMA. Jon Jones has accomplished more than anyone in a shorter period of time than anyone because Jon was willing to sacrifice more than anyone.

You see the 84.5 inch reach, the natural athleticism, the money, the fame and dominant performance after dominant performance. What you don't see are the years of hard work and sacrifice leading up to these performances. You don't see Jon training 5 times a day for 8 weeks straight before every fight. You don't see the willingness to forgo a social life and live like a monk for months at a time, never going off of his diet, never sleeping in, never missing a workout. You don't see Jon studying tape of his opponents with his team, always searching for a pattern that might lead to an opening. Nor do you see Jon and his coaches studying tape of Jon for hours on end, looking for holes in his game and trying to shore up the leaks. Most importantly, you don't see Jon getting punched in the face, held down, smashed and submitted in training day after day for years on end and still coming back for more. The great Michelangelo said it best, "If the people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem wonderful at all."

Speaking from experience, it takes a ton of work to be a competitive martial artist at the absolute bottom rung of the competitive latter. Ignoring the tremendous courage it takes to compete in a full contact fight—courage 99% of the world will never have—the training is the really hard part. You get your ass kicked, you're hurt, you're tired, you're sore, you don't feel like training. There's no money, no glory, no attention, no fans and there sure as hell are no groupies. Competing as an amateur is tough. Competing as a low level professional on the regional circuit is even tougher. Making it from the bush leagues to the UFC is its own tremendous accomplishment. But to actually do what Jon Jones has done, going from complete unknown to the most dominant light-heavyweight champion of all time in just four years, is a feat almost defying description. It's like going from regional junior high basketball competition to winning an NBA championship and being named VMP in just 3 years. And then going on to repeat that feat four more times in the span of 365 days.

And now to address the common criticisms of Jon:

"He's coached by Greg Jackson. I hate that guy! He's a sport killer!"
Would anyone hate Greg Jackson were it not for Dana White's constant smear campaign? I have said it before and I will say it again, Dana White is a master of propaganda. He exploits people, lies constantly and has the time of his life doing it. Which is not to say he is Satan incarnate, or even that he has done more harm than good for the sport (he most certainly has not). Dana White has simply followed Vince McMahon's business model, very shrewdly making himself the biggest star of the company and (literally) positioning himself as the center of attention at every press conference. For every word a fighter speaks, Dana speaks five. He loves attention, loves being a celebrity, loves lording it over people in subordinate positions and ultimately, hurts himself and his own brand by letting his ego run amok.

"It's my way and no other way."
Dana wants the most exciting fights from the biggest names in fighting. When a guy like Greg seemingly obstructs this end, Dana takes great umbrage and makes it his purpose in life to destroy the obstruction. It is expected that Dana would trash Greg at every opportunity, and to his credit, he has done an extremely good job of getting the brainless TUF fanboy crowd to repeat his anti-Jackson propaganda all over the internet. Ultimately though, I believe Dana makes a mistake in devaluing the Jon Jones brand by trashing Jon alongside Greg. Dana costs himself money to make his light-heavyweight champion, a guy the company has a great deal invested in, look like a coward. Why would anyone want to buy UFC brand merchandise featuring a fighter that they hate? Likewise, if you are going to market Jon as a heel, it at least makes sense to make him a badass renegade heel as opposed to some coward. What does it say about your company if some gutless loser is the most dominant champion the 205 lb. division has ever seen? Oops.

"He's ducking Chael Sonnen. Jon 'Chicken Bones' Jones is afraid of Chael!"
The reason given for why Jon didn't accept the fight with Chael by Dana White was "Greg Jackson is a sport killer who didn't want the fight on short notice." I agree completely with Jon's decision to say fuck off to Dana—and anyone repeating Dana's propaganda—but not for the reason Greg has given. The fact is, Chael Sonnen has done nothing to earn a fight with Jon. Chael is a lay-and-pray artist with a UFC record of 5-6. Jon would wipe the floor with him in what would be the most one sided thrashing of Chael's life. Ask anyone who actually knows anything about the sport and they will tell you the same. Jon is a much better wrestler than Anderson Silva (who beat Chael twice, in case you've forgotten) and is considerably larger and stronger. Jon is more aggressive, has more versatile striking and in my estimation, superior conditioning to Anderson. In short, Jon would crush Chael like a bug and could do so sleepwalking.

Chael with his replica belt
Chael is an okay fighter and an extremely good talker who had nothing to lose and everything to gain from a fight with Jon. He talked himself into a title shot at 185 following three lackluster lay-and-pray victories. Following his loss to Silva, he got busted for steroids, suspended for a year, had a solid comeback vs. Brian Stann and an incredibly lackluster performance vs. Michael Bisping. And somehow this series of events qualified him for a rematch with Anderson? I think not. Chael has no business fighting for any title, let alone at 205 vs. the greatest champion the division has ever seen. Giving Chael a rematch with Anderson was as farcical as giving Brock Lesnar a title shot after only two fights and a record of 1-1 in the UFC. I could elaborate on this but Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports has already written a terrific article explaining how ridiculous it is to suggest Chael has earned a fight with Jon, let alone that Jon would actually be afraid of Chael. (He also agrees with me about what an effective master of propaganda Dana is and that the fighters really ought to unionize but probably never will).

"He said he doesn't want to fight Anderson. What a pussy. He's afraid!"
Personally, I tend to think Jon would be a huge favorite to win this fight but that's besides the point. Jon has little to gain by beating a guy from a lower weight class who is 12 years older than him, even when that guy is a legend like Anderson. It also takes two to tango and Anderson has said many times that doesn't want to fight Jon. He's also said that no Brazilian can beat him at this point. Quite an endorsement coming from the guy everyone agrees is the pound-for-pound best in the world. If Anderson has that much respect for Jon, maybe you should too...

"Jon Jones isn't genuine. He's a phony!"
You might want to ask yourself what exactly qualifies you to say with authority who the "real" Jon is. How would you know whether he is genuine or not without spending extensive time in his presence getting to know him personally? Or were you just repeating something you once heard Rashad Evans say after Jon became champion instead of Rashad? Jon said Rashad would be more bitter than ever after losing to him and it looks like he was right. Rashad treated Jon like a friend until Jon became a bigger star than him, at which point he set about smearing Jon at every opportunity to anyone who would listen. Doesn't that make Rashad the disingenuous one?

"He crashed his car! He had a DUI! Jon Jones is evil personified! THE SKY IS FALLING!"
I don't excuse this unfortunate incident but I do appreciate that no one was hurt, damage to public property was minimal and a lesson was most certainly learned. Much has been made of this one mistake but it generally seems that the people making the most noise about it are doing so to divert attention from their own wrongdoings. Chael Sonnen, for instance, has been attacking Jon on his Twitter page but anyone taking his barbs with more than a grain of salt are overlooking the fact that Chael is a convicted conman who is currently on probation for money laundering in connection to mortgage fraud. Get a clue. Chael is attacking Jon because that is literally the only way he can keep his name relevant at this point in his career. He's one step up from the Honky Tonk Man.

"He's cocky. He's too confident. I don't like that."
You need to believe in yourself to succeed in any intensely competitive field. If Jon started talking about how he's the greatest thing since sliced bread and his sweat cures cancer, that would be one thing. But the fact is he accomplished a hell of a lot very quickly and has a great deal to be proud of. Bluntly, he's earned the right to be a little cocky. And even then, he certainly isn't much more cocky than the next winning fighter, he just  gets more attention than the next guy. If you have never lived in the fishbowl Jon finds himself in as one of the sport's biggest stars, you have no way of understanding how every perceived flaw is magnified. Mountains are made out of mole hills and the slightest hint of arrogance gets distorted into something more. Why? Because as Joe Rogan explains, sometimes people want you to be a dick.


 


"I don't like the way he fights. He comes out crawling so people can't kick him. He kicks people's knees back. He waves his fingers too much in front of people's faces."
Tough shit. None of that constitutes cheating and if it approached the point where it could begin to constitute cheating, it's the referee's job to call him on it. Mainly the words I hear thrown around a lot in reference to these tactics are "cheap," "shady," and "fight like a man." David Sirlin explains why this is incredibly stupid far better than I could ever hope to in his excellent essay, Playing to Win:

"You're not going to see a classic scrub throw his opponent 5 times in a row. But why not? What if doing so is strategically the sequence of moves that optimize his chances of winning? Here we've encountered our first clash: the scrub is only willing to play to win within his own made-up mental set of rules. These rules can be staggeringly arbitrary. If you beat a scrub by throwing projectile attacks at him, keeping your distance and preventing him from getting near you...that's cheap. If you throw him repeatedly, that's cheap, too. We've covered that one. If you sit in block for 50 seconds doing no moves, that's cheap. Nearly anything you do that ends up making you win is a prime candidate for being called cheap."

"Doing one move or sequence over and over and over is another great way to get called cheap. This goes right to the heart of the matter: why can the scrub not defeat something so obvious and telegraphed as a single move done over and over? Is he such a poor player that he can't counter that move? And if the move is, for whatever reason, extremely difficult to counter, then wouldn't I be a fool for not using that move? The first step in becoming a top player is the realization that playing to win means doing whatever most increases your chances of winning. The game knows no rules of "honor" or of "cheapness." The game only knows winning and losing."

To summarize, why do people hate Jon? They hate him because he destroyed their heroes and made it look easy. They hate him because they don't see the endless hours of hard work and years of sacrifice behind his dominant victories. Mostly, they just hate him because Uncle Dana told them to.

If you found this article interesting, stay tuned for a follow up article on the most unjustly hated man in MMA today, Greg Jackson himself.

Comment on this article



Sunday, August 19, 2012

Thoughts on "Boring" MMA Fights: A Chess Analogy

Chess by Lilithia
You and I are going to play a chess game under very special conditions. You know going into this match that I am a FIDE Grandmaster who has spent the past 15 years of his life eating, sleeping and breathing chess. As you might expect, I am more than ready and able to capitalize on the first opening you give me and run away with the game. If you win, you'll be paid a trifling sum for your victory but it is understood you'll be that much closer to making the big bucks down the line. If you lose however, you'll be paid less and have less opportunities for big matches against notable opponents. You'll also be derided and outright mocked, not by your fellow players, but by the legions of chess "fans" who are quick to speak with tones of authority about what you should have done despite knowing very little about strategy and in many cases, having never even played the game themselves.

As a special condition of our game, the loser will be bludgeoned unmercifully with a sledgehammer, likely to the point of sustaining physical disfigurement if not life altering brain injury.

Under these conditions, how eager are you to make the first mistake? If you can effectively utilize a defensive strategy that I can't break through, which may even frustrate me into making a fatal blunder, what are the odds you will do just that?

Just some food for thought.



Comment on this article

Friday, June 1, 2012

Badr Hari Discusses the Brawl with Peter Graham

I created a new YouTube channel for alternative sports a while back. Subscribe if you like.
-Tez


Comment on this video

Thursday, May 17, 2012

As my eyes open to a new world emerging, unfolding...

In the year 400 BC, Plato realized that were you to drag someone out of a cave who had lived there all their life, facing a wall the whole time and seeing only shadows cast by a flame behind them, this person would probably not recognize real objects. Instead, they would likely believe that the shadows, which were all they had ever seen until then, were real and the objects illusory. And if you were to tell this cave prisoner otherwise, they would not think to remark "You're very wise. I'm going to listen to you," but rather "What a fool you are. You have no grasp on reality. Stop embarrassing yourself."
Immolation by Scott Kirschner

In the year 415 AD, Hypatia realized philosophy, mathematics and science were better ways of understanding the universe and man's place within it than faithful adherence to works of genocidal fiction. Alas, the angry mob that brutally murdered her did not think to remark "You're very wise, we're going to listen to you," but rather "What a fool you are. Now we, your intellectual and moral superiors, will show our devotion to the teachings of Christ by tearing you to pieces. Ho ho!"
Hypatia by Charles William Mitchell

In the year 1610 AD, Galileo realized the earth was not the motionless center of the universe. As it happened, his ideas did not make him a particularly popular chap. And like Hypatia before him, his peers did not think to remark "You're very wise, we're going to listen to you," but rather "What a fool you are. This is heresy!" Thankfully, unlike the wretched Hypatia, Galileo avoided a ghastly demise at the hands of a bloodthirsty mob and "only" spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

In the year 2012 AD, if you tell a creationist—that is, 25% of Americans—we're all from the same Lucy despite differences you see, they will not respond "You're very wise, I'm going to listen to you," but rather "What a fool you are. Everyone knows Yahweh/Xenu/other created humans/thetans/other!"

It seems to me that now more than ever, people don't really choose shadows or physical objects exclusively. Instead they sort of switch back and forth between believing the objects are real and the shadows are all there is as it suits their needs at any given moment. Technology is now serving up naive realism in 31 flavors:

"We're all going to die? I'll find the Heaven shadow. But now I'm bored. Hey, fuck shadows, what's on MTV? Hmm, wasting my life watching other people's wasted lives on The Real World is forcing a confrontation with existential angst. Not sure if want. I guess I'll find the God shadow now. No, that's not doing the trick, maybe try heroin? Let me text my dealer. Wait, maybe iPhone has a heroin app."

I tend to assume rather cynically we will destroy ourselves and 99% of all other species within the next 100 years or so. I'm just hoping we're at least collectively standing outside the cave by the time the whole popsicle stand goes kabloom. That is, as opposed to just staying in the cave and installing satellite television. And if we make it that far, who knows, maybe we'll decide against leaving the earth to cockroaches after all.


Comment on this article

Friday, May 11, 2012

Reflecting on Trolling as a Pandemic

I speak as someone who has worked and played on the Internet since 2001, surfed the wave of its evolving economy, and been involved in various communities that have come and gone: I notice a change in the way we communicate, and I want to share what I observe.

A Brief History of Online Communication


At the beginning stages of the Internet, the population wasn't very dense, there were noticeably fewer trolls and social cliques were a little more open and not so serious about themselves. The Internet was mainly about getting to know your fellow man in different places and countries, of different persuasions, and of different social milieu that one wouldn't have a hope of meeting otherwise.
In my study of the Internet's history two things have changed on the user-end - traffic density and personalisation. Traffic density had the same effects on us as the metropolis had on us: Social claustrophobia. The next obvious step in the evolution of this medium was to decentralise further and build more use-specific websites. As website building became more and more accessible to us all, we could build websites with specific information and communities would grow around them. This was incredibly positive because we may be exposed to the strangers we wouldn't normally meet but have communities of people who didn't feel like strangers in comparison because of a common ground.
However this decentralisation has brought about an insular mindset online; another equally powerful expression of Man's social habits. A centralised place of meeting only took place on Usenet groups (by the end of the 90's they truly faced their demise), and in no way to the degree of MySpace or Facebook. MSN had a successful racket in the early 2000's as most Windows 2000 packages took users straight to MSN.com and Hotmail, offering them a free email account and then suggesting gaming sites, shopping sites, and a community for teenagers called Bolt.com. This is my only memory of a community that is anything like a carry-on from Usenet and a precursor to MySpace and Facebook. On this common ground 1,000's of young people came and went, discussed their lives, their loves, hooked up. Something that I call "genuine conversation" (consider the age range of the userbase) actually manifested. Bolt is largely responsible for spawning the evolution of Social Networks that eventually gave us hyper-personalised spaces.

It was 2003 that MySpace magically appeared out of MSN with a concept that took the "Friends" function and the personal page a step further. The page was where you landed, yours and everybody elses accounted for 100% of the dynamic content with exception to the chat rooms which were phased out. Like audio/video group chat, we collectively rejected open public chat. We had brought the Internet to a very insular level, we began to only find ourselves in the company of people like ourselves.

Collectives Distort Reality

Not to appeal to delusions of the past, but in the days when 99% of a community's website content was public discussion and static material, you were in less risk of surrounding yourself with people that you "authorize" to see what you're saying and communicate back to you. If, for example, you're a Conspiracy Theorist and one day you get a little bit too paranoid and spoke your mind on alt.conspiracy you're more likely to run into criticism that might make you think as apposed to today when you might not only be agreed with by your peers but you may infect them with your delusions. This naturally happens with every subculture and circle of friends. We've grown to only expect the reality we designed to come across our screens instead of the social world as it actually is.

What it Actually is

The state of the social world is Youtube.

Youtube is the one last bastion of diversity on The Internet - nothing compares to it, it serves EVERYONE in some way. The social strands might still be filtered to some degree, but eventually someone sees a Youtube comment from a person that they didn't intend on seeing and every minute of every day someone gets into an argument.

Argument consists of 60% of conversations that take place on Youtube comments. 39% accounts for people trying to prove a point to someone else or somehow show the other up. 1% of conversations are actual conversations that inspire happiness and bring about a learning experience for both people. I can say this with the utmost certainty because I haven't found someone in the real world who doesn't agree with me once they think about it.



In Conclusion...

I'm not here to say that "last night Man turned into a crowd of assholes", we live in a continuously shifting social matrix, we're coming to a point in our history and art where we can't hold up the old social pretenses anymore - we're being asked for more honesty and nakedity. The hurt and disenfranchised amoung us (see my article "Trolls and Evolving Human Consciousness") as well as the stubborn and plain nasty people in our society are the only strangers who seem to communicate lately and they communicate their insecurities and fears.
So I'm motivated to write this and simply observe without casting judgement and ask: What do we want to use the web for? Where do WE take this project? If you want join me in evolving with the challenges of our widening social matrix, consider this story:

One day I watched a Youtube video about a fat man in KFC getting angry screaming "Where's my chicken!" since the staff had misplaced, forgot about, or intentionally halted his order. I saw a comment someone made that I didn't agree with, I replied with the attitude that I don't know this person and I don't know for sure the 300 characters he had were adequate enough to do his whole personality justice. In other words, I didn't cast judgement, I just suggested he may be wrong.
He replied, clarifying what he was trying to say (this time without being a smart-ass), and I thought "Oh. He has a point here". I clarified what I meant, and then he took on board that I had a point also. He then told me about his experience working in a fast food joint, and we politely discussed life, work, primal instincts, the philosophic meaning to food.
After about 5 comments both directions I posted a profile comment to him saying thank you for the first ever civil conversation where I felt I was just talking to a normal person and neither of us were trying to "pwn" the other. He realised this was true and agreed that it was a beautiful experience.
We both went our separate ways with a new insight into how the Internet is actually a portal into the diversity and richness of the world we live in.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Evolution of Consciousness

"Just because you've been living this life the same way as everyone before you, your father and all these other corrupt politicians, that doesn't mean it's justifiable. Just because you can find examples all around you of people who've done worse and people who are doing the same things, that doesn't mean it's supposed to continue."

consciousness is the head by agnes-cecil
"It doesn't seem to be stopping with the evolution of culture. Our entire civilization is built on a foundation of unfixable bullshit. Our evolution—our cultural and social evolution—is so much slower than the evolution of technology....we have incredible technological capabilities but socially, we're just a bump ahead of where we were in the 50s."

"The life that leads you to be your dad—that's not where it's at. When you watch your dad drop dead of a fucking heart attack at 55 and you can scarcely remember him laughing 3 times, ever. And you go 'What? I'm supposed to be that guy? What the fuck is that?'"

"Our main problem as human beings is that we are in a stage of evolution; in an adolescent stage. We have potential to rise above that. To get to the top, to have just a little better view of what the world could be. And I think that's the potential that we have inside of us. We need something right now. Because the way we're doing it? We are just spinning our fucking wheels."
—Joe Rogan

New Video Album:


Comment on this article

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Social Constructionism and Personal Sovereignty

She said "I know what it's like to be dead.
I know what it is to be sad"
And she's making me feel like I've never been born.

I said "Who put all those things in your head?
Things that make me feel that I'm mad
And you're making me feel like I've never been born."
—The Beatles, She Said She Said


Reverse Engineering the Dissonance

"It's not what you look at that matters; it's what you see."
—Henry David Thoreau

For a long time I struggled with any number of limitations. I had feelings of incompleteness bordering on inferiority and a sick acceptance masquerading as a wistful remorse. In hindsight, I believe this had everything to do with a lack of introspection; I didn't think about thinking enough to understand what thinking really is.

To wit, thinking is merely a process of asking questions and answering them. Some thoughts empower us, many dis-empower us but they all start with asking a question and answering it. When you ask the same question enough times and come up with the same answer each time, you now have a belief. Our beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of absolutely govern our actions and any action taken on a consistent basis becomes a habit. Habits shape your life. Not any one thing you did but the things you've done time and time again, smoking a cigarette, playing a musical instrument, working out...who you are is largely defined by what you do on a consistent basis.





These days I'm at a very different place in life than I once was but still, at times, I catch myself asking the wrong questions. This of course only leads to terrible answers that lead to a state of anger, resentment, self disgust and a sense of stagnation. And I have to stop and ponder how I could still be asking such horrible questions, having such horrible thoughts and at times, taking actions so wildly out of step with those of the person I aspire to be. What I have found is virtually any time I catch myself thinking I am not good enough, smart enough or tough enough to face a challenge in my life, I realize the voice in my head imposing these limitations upon me is never my own. In fact, it's usually the ghost of a shockingly mundane experience in which I let someone else's perception of me become my own without even realizing it, let alone fighting it.

I, Sponge
I have a tendency to internalize things so at first I saw this as a personal shortcoming; a lack of personal sovereignty. "Wow, how weak am I if I let someone else decide who and what I am?" But some deeper introspection led me to reassess this conclusion. In fact, I now believe pretty much everyone on some level has a tendency to absorb what is around them, meaning unless you live on a desert island, your identity is inevitably a social construct at least as much as it is anything else. If you're reminded on a daily basis that others have extremely low expectations of you—be they teachers, parents, employers or anyone else (even mundanely, not maliciously)—why would you expect great things of yourself?

The Gift of Growth

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
—Wayne Dyer

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be."
—Kurt Vonnegut

This has all been very doom and gloom thus far, but I have learned the wonderful thing is that this can and does work both ways. Someone else's perception of you as being more than what you are—or at least, more than what you have always seen yourself as being—can replace your own just as easily and seamlessly. I don't know if it is truly rarer or if it just appears that way since negative experiences are so charged in terms of emotional energy stockpiled, but it happens all the same. Of this I am absolutely certain. There is zero chance I would be the person I am today had I not had the tremendous fortune of meeting someone I saw as so far above me in every way imaginable...who saw me as her equal and in many ways, more than her equal. At which point I began to grow tremendously, without even realizing it, just trying to live up to being the person she seemed to see in me. It was life changing and completely carved out a huge part of my identity that lingers to this day, a full eleven years later; the part of my identity I love the most because it was a gift from someone I loved.

As fate would have it, the person who gave me this tremendous gift was essentially thrust randomly into my life only to disappear just as quickly. That's kind of how it works as a kid, people just sort of drift in and out of your life and your control over your circumstances is oftentimes limited at best. But there comes a time when every adult must take a look at their life and accept responsibility for everything they don't like about it, thereby empowering themselves to do something about it.

I think it's pretty obvious where I am going with this and brighter minds than my own have already said it more succinctly than I ever could.

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. The really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
—Mark Twain

"Advice for others: surround yourself with positive people you can learn from."
—David Blaine




Comment on this article

How to End a Bad Relationship

Emotional Surgery
As longtime readers already know, I've learned to be very selective about how, when, where and with whom I burn mental and emotional calories. Oftentimes that means spending less time with certain people. Sometimes that means making the painful decision to cut certain people out of your life completely. It can be difficult to sever longstanding relationships for any number of reasons. In the past, I have struggled with feelings of guilt for not being more supportive or a "bigger" person. What I've learned is there is a difference between supporting and enabling. Or to put it another way, you are not serving someone by allowing their bad behavior to continue. If you really want to serve others, especially those you love, you have to make the consequences of their decisions real to them. And I stress the word decisions, for it is our decisions, not our circumstances or conditions that makes us who and what we are.

Ascension into the Unknown by Neithee
Finding the Strength to Make a Change
It's certainly not an easy process. There is always a compulsion to stick with the known, even though it is making us miserable, over the unknown. You have to convince yourself that you are creating a better reality not only for yourself but the person you are ending the relationship with in order to feel you've "done the right thing."

I do this by asking these very simple questions:
  • Is spending time with this person bringing me some measure of bliss, however fleeting?
  • More importantly, am I growing from the time I've spent with this person?
  • If not, would I begin to grow if we simply interacted on a different level?
  • Am I helping this person grow by spending time with them?
  • Am I otherwise serving this person by continuing this relationship?
When you go down the list and check "No" in every box, it's time to get the hell out of there at any cost, be it personal or professional. It's not about making them "wrong" or the bad guy. It's about refocusing your emotional energy in a way that serves you and those you love.

"Everything you are against weakens you. Everything you are for strengthens you."

"There is no way to happiness—happiness is the way."
—Wayne Dyer

Focus on growing, for without growth, there can be no enduring bliss. If the people around you are not helping you grow, you need to distance yourself from them. Or at least, until they show you they are at least trying to evolve and assist you in doing the same. It may be painful to cut people you've known for years, family members even, completely out of your life...but consider it life saving emotional surgery.

Comment on this article

Responding to Negativity

Freedom of Association
"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."
—Jim Rohn

I posit any time you have any choice whatsoever in the company you keep, you are faced with making a decision that can and does shape the course of your life. To wit, it seems logical to postulate that a lack of familial freedom of association is a major contributing factor to inter-generational poverty. I.e., if poor children could simply decide to be raised by rich families, they would not only have all the advantages of a more comfortable upbringing and extensive education but would effectively inherit the habits of their new parents. Poor children think, plan and act like their poor parents. Rich children too have all the thoughts, plans and actions of their rich parents. This is a less obvious reason the children of the poor generally grow up to work for the children of the rich, even in a "land of opportunity" like America. Poverty and wealth are not simply conditions but learned sets of behavior. Accepting this, I quickly realized the same is true of what can be described as emotional poverty and wealth.

I have known people who simply never complained about anything, ever. People who always seem to be in a good mood; who have problems just like anyone else but seem to handle them better than anyone and move forward unfazed. I'm sure you have known these people as well. Tragically, I'm sure you've encountered their polar opposite with much greater regularity. Idiot family members, imbecilic classmates, sulky co-workers, unbearable in-laws...there's no shortage of opinionated, mean, nigh unbearable malcontents in this world. If you are like most people, you will be forced to interact with many of them at various point in your life, both personally and professionally. This is not merely exhausting and unpleasant; it is downright dangerous.


Emotional Cowardice: The Mother of Hatred and Cynicism
Negative people are unhappy people and they are more unhappy with themselves than anyone around them. Unfortunately, the cantankerous tend to be dishonest with themselves and I have a hard time distancing this dishonesty from a withering cowardice. Christopher J. Priest explains:
"I know people so incredibly handicapped by emotional cowardice, they tend to invent surreal scenarios: Bizarro World latticework of a fragmented, delusional non-reality where they are the hero of their own story and whatever ultimately ridiculous and extreme betrayal of faith they commit becomes somehow justified by my motives- which they've invented in their head. Much simpler to walk out on your wife than say, "Sorry." Much simpler to invent some scenario where she had it coming."
The Gospel of George

I base this not only on observation but personal experience. I have been a very mean, judgmental, unappreciative person. I have walked many miles in the shoes of a miserable wretch. You don't get there and stay there without blaming other people for your unhappiness, generally anyone unfortunate enough to cross your path. And while I genuinely wish these curmudgeons the best, I've found it is best to do so from a safe distance.

Your Moment of Choice
Like many, I have made the mistake of responding to negative people, both face to face and online, with like negativity upon occasion. Or, more laudably, with positivity and the earnest belief that I could open someone's eyes to a new way of perceiving the world. Over time I began to realize neither is an effective protocol for growth or even self preservation, however noble the motives. Allow me to draw an analogy...

You are walking peacefully through a park one day when you are ambushed by a lunatic wielding a flamethrower. Thankfully you see this violent sicko coming and have time to react. And lo! Looking around, you notice this stretch of park is but a stone's throw from a pair of stores. One sells flamethrowers, the other fire extinguishers. Let's examine both options.

You're not this stupid...are you?
Option A - The Flamethrower: While it's very easy in the cool and calm of a moment free from impending conflict to tell yourself you have the good sense to never even think of picking up the flamethrower, much anecdotal experience suggests that this is seldom the case. You're a human and humans suffer from a problem "lesser" evolved creatures don't appear to—gross ego interference. It's not that you want to be strong, it's that you want to be stronger than this person who has challenged you. This feeling is common and to some extent, almost unavoidable. But make no mistake, this is indeed suicide from any rational perspective. Yes, you're likely to get some licks in, maybe even take them with you, but so what? You're still going to die. Even if you "win," i.e., hurt them worse than they hurt you, whatever petty satisfaction you get is going to be offset by the terrible and lasting injuries you are sure to sustain. Gandhi said it best, "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."

Option B - The Fire Extinguisher: It seems logical to fight fire by simply attempting to put it out before it can harm you or anyone else. There are problems with this course of action as well though. The first being you are still making the conscious decision to engage in conflict; you are still playing their game even if you believe it's on your own terms and turf. The more dangerous mistake is that every extinguisher has its limits. You have a finite "coolness" and when it's gone, you are in serious danger. If you are like most people, you are not as emotionally in control as you would like to think you are and worse, you are almost always underestimating your opponent. Or more accurately, underestimating the danger of being in proximity to that which possesses your opponent...

Hatred Outlives the Hateful
Negative experiences are very dense; it can take 8 years of therapy to undo 8 minutes of being raped. As a more mundane example, look no further than the news...any news. Following the news can distort your perception of the world very potently as the overwhelming majority of stories are centered on hatred, violence and death. Most news networks won't report on any of the 5,000,000+ people volunteering in some capacity to serve humanity but they will report on the suicide bomber who killed 50 in Iraq this morning. Think about it—the absolute worst 1% of the world's population receives the lion's share of the world's attention at any given time. Hatred, malevolence, death and suffering are just that potent. If you are like most people, your back just isn't broad enough to bear the burden of being the fire fighter. So what option does that leave you?

Flight.

I have concluded non-response is the only acceptable response to negativity. Leave the psycho with the flamethrower to his own uncontrollably violent insanity long enough and he'll burn himself to a crisp. This will happen with absolutely certainty whether you are there burning with him or not. You see, you don't need to punish him for attempting to attack you. His punishment is already upon him. Paraphrasing the Buddha, he is not being punished for his hatred, he is being punished by his hatred. The misery of being a hateful, joyless wretch is far harsher justice than any you can mete out. So flee. Just go. Walk away. Put as much space between yourself and the baneful as possible, even if mitigating circumstances limit that to sitting on the far side of the room or donning a set of headphones. Or even—gasp—walking away from an internet message board flame war.

Comment on this article

Psychic Venom

"He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you."
—Friedrich Nietzsche

Psychic Venom by Brian Snoddy
I think a lot of fairly intelligent people argue with hateful idiots because they're bored and they feel like venting their frustrations on someone, so why not the village idiot who makes himself the scratching post for anything with claws? And truth be told, there is also the egotistical desire to feel superior. I have been guilty of this behavior myself in the past but these days I disengage from conflict with the hateful for the same reason I don't wrestle rattlesnakes for sport—it's guaranteed to kill boredom but it might kill a lot more than that.

If you want to get technical about it, most people don't die from snake bites; they die from the venom. Spending time in the presence of miserable, hateful, frothing assholes is not unlike lying in a pit of asps with only a pair of pajamas for protection. The first bite might not break the skin but you damned sure don't want to lie there one moment longer than you absolutely have to. And when you have been bitten deeply, make no mistake about it, there is now a very dangerous and potentially deadly venom making its way through your system.

I honestly believe psychic venom, for want of a better term, is in many ways more dangerous than its physical counterpart. Firstly, it's not even immediately apparent that you have been seriously harmed. In fact, you can be bitten dozens of times over the course of years and years before you even take stock of the psychic venom that has accumulated in your system. Secondly, most people don't have very good skills for getting it out of their system without a great deal of help, so they tend to just drug themselves, figuratively and literally, to cope with its effects. Lastly and most seriously, when a snake bites you, you don't turn into a snake and start biting other people. Psychic venom is akin to a virus from a zombie movie that once contracted, rots away at your brain until eventually you turn into one of the monsters...often without even realizing it until you're well into the habit of being monstrous. At this point you've got a lot of work ahead of you to make it back to the light. It's not impossible, it never is, but it's a long climb out of a very deep hole; a deep hole that wants to suck you back in at every opportunity.

Psychic venom almost seems to take on a life of its own and make no mistakes, it will consume you...if you let it. The best way to avoid this is to practice prevention and that means setting personal boundaries. You can't control other people's actions but you can control how you respond to them.

Comment on this article

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Be the Change

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."
--Arundhati Roy



High definition in 720p.

Comment on this video

Friday, March 9, 2012

Coffee and Marijuana: Putting them into perspective


I believe myself to have been fooled by my culture in concerns with my health, and I feel it's an almost universal deception, and thus feel the need to share it with you: Do we have the correct perspective on drugs?

For 7 years now I've had a love for marijuana that soon turned into a preoccupation and opened the "gateway" for me to a tobacco addiction I've had for an equal number of years.
And as hazardous to my survival as that may sound, for 12 years I've had a love for coffee (and caffeinated teas). This was a substance use promoted by members of my family, people at-large, and the Caffeinated Culture - and I honestly feel that this has done just as much, if not a hell of a lot more, damage to my body.

This isn't a weed-smoking apologist article that's going to blindly defend and promote a substance that promotes slackness in many and psychosis in some. Instead, this is an honest account of a Human Being who's had real-life experiences with two very different substances that have altered my relationship to reality in a variety of ways.

Coffee is a chic thing, it snuck in the back door through tea (which also contains caffeine) into our culture long ago but only really seen its hayday at the end of the 90's and early 2000's with the rise of the take-away chains (at least in Ireland and Britain), and even though some of us saw it for the muck it truly was, our culture hasn't had time to "vet it" and decide whether they're going to frown when they see their children drinking it. It hasn't suffered the campaigns set out against it by the United States government like marijuana has. It hasn't been recognised as perhaps a completely disgusting and possibly cancerous activity, and campaigned against on all fronts, like cigarettes.... and I really wasn't smart enough to cop onto that at an impressionable age.
So now I'm suffering a worsening and harmful ADDICTION to caffeine and sugar (another stealthy culprit) at an age where I should have a stable metabolism and energy-flow; Why!?

I've never stopped drinking coffee and tea. I only copped that something was terribly wrong when I met some friends in the park, holding a take-away cup of coffee, and one of my dear friends said "Dude! You LIVE on coffee". Scary, right? Well I've never been that oblivious with my tobacco and marijuana dependencies. I gave up smoking twice, for months at a time, but due to peer-pressure and a feeling that something was missing inside I took to smoking again. I stopped smoking marijuana 2 times, often for a year or two each time but I began again because I genuinely loved getting high. If I could shake my caffeine addiction for any longer than a month, I'd stay off the stuff!
The picture I'm painting here if you haven't glimpsed it yet is that I've been programmed to worry about one somewhat harmful activity and never given the same treatment concerning something a whole lot more dangerous.

Do you drink coffee and caffeinated teas daily? If so, then you have a drug problem, just as much as you'd have a drug problem if you smoked cigarettes or marijuana. Caffeine and the extra junk that comes with coffee and black tea is killing you! Never mind your liver and kidneys needing to pass all this rubbish out of your system, but if you drink coffee daily you are (as generalising at this sounds) dehydrated and lacking in essential minerals. You may not feel the dehydration, but this is the nature of Human perception: if your inner/outer environment changes slowly you will still experience the world and feel that what you're perceiving it to be is exactly how it always felt.

At the time of writing this, I had only really noticed this sleight con played on me by unwitting individuals as damned as I am. I'm going to seriously rehydrate myself by staying away from caffeine, because this realisation has changed something within me emotionally; and when something changes you emotionally your thinking automatically shifts if you let go of old lies.

Comment on this article

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This is the end, beautiful friend...

Truth be told, at first I sort of hated Twitter. I created an account just to look around and what I saw wasn't all that impressive or endearing. As I gained a bit more experience with it, I began to think that this tool could be used for something more than expressing the most abjectly vacuous of thought fragments. I left thinking "I don't have a use for it now but I might return to this site if I have something to promote." As fate would have it, I did indeed end up having something to promote. Only...Twitter didn't prove all that effective a tool for doing so. I acknowledge its ability to create a certain amount of traffic—every link sent to 30,000+ followers receives almost 20 clicks; glory be—but that traffic has yet to lead to anything meaningful, i.e., a single blog comment.

The Break-up by FrameFrozen
It could very well just be that I suck at using Twitter properly and it could also simply be that there is nothing on this site worth anyone's time, including my own. Nonetheless, the definition of insanity is repeating the same action over and over again expecting a different outcome. So Twitter, I'm sorry, but I have to break up with you. We had some laughs. I'll keep you synced with Facebook as a courtesy. Here's hoping we can still be friends. (You can keep the DVD player).

So, Twitter out. What is my next move? YouTube still seems a pretty good place to promote a site/brand/product/other. Facebook kinda feels like one of those sites where inertia works both ways. Reddit, Digg and Delicious remain unexplored frontiers though if I had to guess, I'd wager promoting nothing but your own blog is probably a no-no in the terms of service agreement?

Truth be told...I'm getting tired of this shit. No one else seems to give that much of a shit about Head Explode and I can't think of a reason why they should. Maybe it is time to invest my time and energy in more fruitful endeavors. I'll keep the forums online for the lulz and, in the event I actually have something to say, I'll even leave the blog up. But for the most part, I've lost the vim and vigor—assuming it was ever really there to begin with—to make something out of this site and any further effort feels a lot like phoning it in.

Comment on this article

Saturday, March 3, 2012

What I've Been Up To - No. 6's Journal

I haven't done anything with the Lynx & Lucia website for a few weeks now because I've been working on a new project; An Internet radio station.

EVRN.net is the web address. I'd appreciate everyone's support in this new venture of mine because before writing and after Magick, my favouritist thing in the world is radio. I don't have much of an audience, I'm not responding to any unfilled niche, I just have a desire to broadcast TRUE RADIO. Good music of all sorts, local music, and people sharing what matters to them.
As we celebrate mediocrity, all the boys upstairs wanna see how much you'll pay for watcha used ta get for free

Tom Petty sang it well in "The Last DJ". In a world where mediocrity reigns, where beauty takes a backseat, and the media has been so co-opted by propaganda and misery to the point no one wants anything to do with any of it, I alone am standing up for what radio has to offer Humanity. I alone am standing up for the dream that once was and is now lost. All these radio stations now days either play what's on the charts, stick to one genre religiously, or disseminate pure rubbish that clogs up our minds and weighs heavy on our Hearts. What I'm doing is introducing you, the listener, to a range of GOOD MUSIC that you most likely haven't heard as well as some that you have, taken from all genres, to give you a unique listening experience. I'm also bringing folks on from many perspectives in life so that your head remains clear and your Heart remains light.

So please tune in with me Monday thru Wednesday 8PM (GMT) to 11PM, and on Saturdays (9PM) and Sundays (3PM) if I feel up to it. Give a call in, pop into the chatroom, and get involved as Eclectic Vibrations Radio is a Human Service (much like a Public Service, but for Humans) and is only enhanced by your participation.

And if you like the way we sound, bring your friends along to listen!
And check out the How You Can Help EV Radio Grow page. I can't stress enough how I need much I need YOUR support over the next few months as I know there is an audience out there for me, but due to the increasing amount of "white noise" on the Internet and in the real world, they don't know they're my audience yet!

The first few weeks have been long and hard, but it's been loads of fun. I really feel like I'm in my element, and it shows me that I do have what it takes to have my own slice of the world while I'm here.
As a Sensitive I allowed the world to crush me. I fought back in my own way. I learned my lessons. And I tried my best to be fair and diplomatic the whole way through. But it finally crushed me, degraded me, and left me feeling alone and afraid. It was only after several months of self-pity and hermetically stealing myself away from the world that I learned that I AM ALRIGHT and that my intuitions about this Human world were correct - it IS a place of confusion, pain, and denial, and that's all the more reason for a person like me who's been through the worst of it to come forth and give a space to those still suffering under the weight of The Babylon Matrix.

Come visit my site again soon, and do tune in.



Comment on this article

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How to Be the Perfect Troll, Vol. I: Guerilla Tactics

A longtime disciple of John Cleese, I've always enjoyed trolling people, both online and off, more than most. A while back I wrote a comprehensive list of things you can do to irritate the shit out of people in the way I know best—by acting like a drooling simpleton. Unfortunately, that list was eaten by a server manned by a team of retarded children and it has been over a year since I really made an effort to troll anyone, meaning I am well out of trolling stroke. Still, here is an incomplete list of the essentials for being an effective troll in any setting, completely off the top of my head.

1. Bad spelling, poor grammar and inappropriate use of words. Ah, the holy trinity of trolling. Even the most unlettered attempt to troll can be made so much more effective by deliberately confusing your with you're or their, there and they're. As Number 6 points out in his excellent essay, the people most likely to respond to a troll are those who lack personal sovereignty and thus feel the visceral urge to police the expressions of others. There is generally a lot of crossover between this mentality and spelling/grammar Nazism. A great technique is writing a period not at the end of every sentence but at the end of each line you type. I also like misusing commas and semi-colons. Experiment and see what works best for you.

Oh, and there is one other thing you might try, but I digress. Moving on!

2. Argue with people by repeating what they've said in only slightly different terms. This is one of those things that works at least as effectively face to face as online. Repeating yourself in general is frustrating for most; doing so because the person you're communicating with can't keep up enough to realize there's no difference of opinion while still being very obnoxiously opinionated? Why, it's enough to make your head explode.

3. Stay in character by saying as little as you can as loudly and regularly as you can. If you've spent any amount of time on internet forums, one thing you are sure to notice is that the people who have the most posts are ironically the people who tend to say the least. That's because they weigh in on each and every issue rather than sticking to an area of expertise (and this is generously assuming they have one). Why don't these people just stay silent when they have no idea what they are talking about, i.e., almost always? As the great Adam Carolla is quick to point out, the dumber you are, the louder you are. Stupid people advertise. It's just that simple. If you want to irritate people, make your voice heard as much as possible whenever possible...for the lulz.




4. Respond with vacuous, idiotic, contextually ambiguous text message standbys like "lol" apropos of nothing. Make people wonder what the fuck you're laughing at and why, especially amidst serious discussions. Other favorites include "ok" and "wat."

5. Avoid the quote button. Or, on threaded message boards, don't respond directly beneath the post of the person you are addressing. Respond with a standalone post that contributes nothing to the discussion while clearly being in response to something that was posted 5 pages ago.

6. ALWAYS REMEMBER: CAPS LOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL.





7. Respond to multiple choice questions with yes or no. For example, the person you are "debating" asks if you're pro life or pro-choice and you respond "yes" without specifying which of the two it was in response to.

8. Always, and I mean always, jump at the chance to misinterpret or flat out overlook similes and metaphors. For instance, in a discussion about learning a new skill, when someone remarks "Look, most people don't hit a homerun their first time at bat," you should always respond with something to the effect of "wat are you takling about? this si a discusion about lerning guitar, bseaball has noting to do with it!" This is best accompanied by a "roll-eyes" emoticon, if possible. Which segues nicely into the next guideline...

9. Few things induce rage like misplaced condescension. If you've ever met a smug creationist talking about how stupid it is to believe "we evolved from mud," you already know what I'm talking about. The most obvious application of this is in discussions that act as beacons to contrarian smartasses in the first place, i.e., global warming. It's also great when you get a chance to dismiss the Parteiadler as a racist symbol by saying "The swazticka hsa been around fro thousdans of years, its NOT RACSIT!" Garnish generously with condescending lmao's and rofls.

10. Defend your fellow idiots. It probably goes without saying, but you should always play the role of die hard apologist in any discussion related to offensive, bigoted remarks made by a public figure. The only problem here is that there are a number of prejudices that go completely unpoliced, i.e., anti-Arab sentiments. Thus the obvious move is to play the part of the always unctuous holier-than-thou PC Police.

11. Randomly quote meaningless Bible passages in any discussion with atheists. Weaken your already threadbare argument on gay marriage by appealing to an authority they don't recognize. These also take up lots of page space while contributing almost nothing worth responding to in terms of actual content. It's also great to quote the Bible (or the Quran, if you're feeling frisky) as proof of God's existence, accompanied by the circular "teh BIble is true becoz it was writen by GOD!" This is particularly effective when assuming the role of the morally superior windbag, i.e., "i get my morality from God, where do u get yours!"

12. Present feeling rather than facts. A simple "IMBEACH OBAMA!" can go a long way towards deteriorating the integrity of the discussion. And of course it never hurts to pepper your diatribes with "lol stupid lib" and "PINKO COMMIE BASTERD!"

Okay, that's it for now. I might make a follow up entry to this if I ever get back in the trolling swing of things, so stay tuned.

Comment on this article

Monday, February 27, 2012

Slow Down


David Blaine posted the story above on his Twitter page a while back and now I pass it along to all of you. Sharing is caring.

Comment on this article

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thoughts on Everyday Bliss

Not long ago I concluded there is very much a scientific explanation for enduring happiness. Of course we all have happy moments, but that doesn't mean we can all describe ourselves as happy people. In studying those who can, I realized quickly the people who are happy day in and day out are not lucky, or happy by coincidence. There are very specific patterns of thought and behavior that allow them to achieve a state of bliss daily. Accordingly, I have really been taking note of all the things that make me feel good or bad. Tiny little things, even. What I have noticed is mundane activities like cleaning, exercising, eating cleanly and even just taking pains to dress a little nicer have all been bringing me some measure of bliss. A non-negligible level, at that. By this, I mean my mood has improved for hours at a time through these small rituals. I realized quickly that the rituals which make me happiest are the ones that bridge the gap between the person I am and the person I aspire to be.
 
Illustration by bilygates
To wit, I used to hate cleaning. It was a chore; it was something I had to do versus something I got to do. I suppose on some level it still is. But as an adult, I find it rather therapeutic. At first I thought that was rather silly—why should this tiny little thing make one lick of difference?  Eventually I realized this mundane activity enabled me to excise direct control over my environment. It is so very rare that we are able to bend our surroundings to our will with such comparatively little effort. It also makes me feel neater and better organized, bringing not only a sense of accomplishment but a sense of progress, which seems to be the key word. 

"Progress equals happiness."
-Tony Robbins

The same is true of fitness, of course. Exercise can be a great reliever of stress and is also an underutilized treatment for mild to moderate depression. 1 Yet it isn't necessarily the exercise itself that brings real happiness but the comfort of a ritual we know leads to growth; growth of muscles, increased endurance, greater and greater esteem for oneself, etc. As I thought about it even more, I realized that on some level, there is really no happiness without some kind of growth. Spending time with loved ones is great in and of itself, but greater still because on some level it makes us feel closer still. i.e., we grow on an interpersonal level.

By the same token, the things which make me feel worst seem to be the things that widen the gap between who I am and who I aspire to be. Overeating or eating poorly (even for just a few days), not keeping up an appearance, not keeping my apartment tidy, being overly reclusive, insensitive to the needs of others and anything else that leads to a sense of moving further away from being that internal vision of an idealized self. I feel worst when I am no longer even able to clearly visualize who and what I aspire to be because my behavior is so out of step with that idealized self. I suppose to some extent this accounts for why I feel guilty about telling people "no," even when those people are quite frankly being exploitative. Thus I have concluded that the way to feel better about saying "no" is to reconstruct this internal image of the uber-self. I always feel like I want to be a "bigger" person, i.e., more sensitive to the needs of others and more to willing to give without asking anything in return. I seem to have developed a neuro-association with Rescuer2 behavior, associating it on a pre-rational level with a sense of growth. The solution seems obvious—I need to find a way to reconstruct this internal image of an idealized self to be one more assertive while still sensitive and considerate. The only problem being, I really don't know how exactly I am going to do that. I did however find this instructional video on visualization from former Mr. Olympia competitor Kevin Levrone inspirational. It's a simple exercise and oriented towards a an internal image of an idealized physical self but in going through the exercise, I got a real sense of empowerment. As though this idealized body is already there and just waiting for me to step into it. And thus I now find myself wondering how effective this same technique can be for visualizing other forms of the uber-self. I suppose only time will tell.


 


1. Exercise and Depression: Endorphins, Reducing Stress and More
2. The Gospel of George


Comment on this article

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Surfing the Biggest Teahupo'o Wave Ever

Best viewed in full screen and hey, you can x out of that ad at the beginning.



Comment on this article

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

 
Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Free Samples By Mail