Thursday, March 31, 2016

U-Turn



Hola mi Gente,
This is the longest I have been without regular work in 20 years. Sometimes it’s hard to keep sight of the light of the end of this dark tunnel. Still, every day I wake up, I wake up a winner. I already won today. Besides, regardless of my employment status, there’s this beautiful thing called life happening all around me. Gotta grab it by the throat while I still can. LOL

On another note, I am hoping to attend the Sanders rally in the South Bronx later today at the South Bronx’s St. Mary’s Park. More info here. I am not a Sanders’ supporter, but there is no question in my mind that he offers a viable and pragmatic alternative to the corporate democrat, Hillary Clinton. Some have even accused me of exercising my “privilege” clearly ignorant of my Puerto Rican heritage. My response is, you need to recognize your privilege if you think can afford a possible eight years of Hillary Clinton and the status quo. Because I don’t know about you, but I clearly understand that eight years of more fracking, more mass incarceration and the private prison industry, eternal war, and the military takeover of democratically elected foreign governments, is untenable.

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The Life You Were Meant to Live

Life is change, growth is optional, choose wisely.
 -- Karen Kaiser Clark

I once read a book that asked the question, “What if you woke up one morning and realized you were living the wrong life?” LOL! I love it!

While people won't say it explicitly, in my work I get the sense that most people feel as if they're playing a starring role in a drama they never intended to play. I get this sense from so many people that they are somehow living the wrong life.

The thing is I see people do complete about faces all the time. In fact, I'm one of those people. About 26 years ago, I was a hopelessly addicted addict in solitary confinement -- sick, suffering from years of malnutrition, totally defeated -- it doesn't get any more hopeless than that. But something clicked right before then and many times after. My turn-around -- my about face -- happened in small increments until I evolved into the life I feel I was meant to live.

Others change in a flash. Gandhi and the French painter, Gauguin, changed overnight and undertook causes at a great price. Gauguin was a stockbroker leading the perfectly normal middle-class life and he just left one day. Left his wife and children and decided to become a painter. What's more, he painted in a style that was totally misunderstood by the public at the time. He lived most of the rest of his life in abject poverty and in the process condemned his wife and children to a life of destitution. Gauguin is today considered one of the greatest of the post-impressionists. I doubt that in his lifetime, Gauguin ever sold a painting for a significant sum of money. Eventually he died of syphilis and penniless. But he painted until the end of his life.

That was his passion. What's yours?

Gandhi, a chameleon if ever there was one, coined the term, “Be the change you want in the world.” He too was living a comfortable life until one day he was confronted with racism and it changed him forever. Whatever you might say about his inconsistencies, he was probably the single most influential pacifist in the 20th century. His work influenced such people as Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh and countless others.

People do about faces all the time. People change political parties and careers, people give up their jobs as doctors and become poets, mothers quit their families to pursue careers and athletes quit their careers to spend more time with their families. There are passive people who become revolutionaries for a cause they didn't care about the day before.

I guess the message is that you can change at any time, no matter what your external circumstances. The people mentioned above are no different than you in many cases. We like to say, Those people were different, they were special. We're just plain folk. Well, if you look at the history of these change agents, you notice that they were just plain folk too. In fact, some had tasted failure numerous times before they found their calling.

What will you do when you get your wake-up call? Will you just turn over and fall asleep? Or will you heed the call? Because I can assure of this: you will be called. Perhaps you have been called already. 

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization... 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hillary Derangment Syndrome and The Mini Me

Hola mi Gente,
I’ve been accused of suffering from “Hillary Derangement.” I assume that to mean that I suffer from an unreasonable and unhinged hatred of Hillary Clinton. I got this because I cited (with documentation) some key policy areas in which Trump is to the left of Hillary. What’s that? You shouldn’t be surprised. Hillary has a long history of corporate-friendly and right wing policy stances. If you doubt me, think of her long and recent history advocating for mass incarceration and her ties to the private prison industry. But don’t take my word for it, you can find out more here and here.

I will submit that Hillary derangement Syndrome exists. Hillary Derangement Syndrome is the unreasonable belief that voting for Hillary will result in different outcomes than the neoliberal/ neoconservative outcomes she has produced throughout her career. Hillary Derangement Syndrome is the belief that committing the same actions (i.e., voting conservative) will produce different results.

I’m reposting the following because it reminds me a lot of the Clintons and Trump.

* * *

The Mini Me

and the Creation of the Personal Novela

Human beings are driven by a core wound, this kind of madness that something’s missing. The more conscious they get, the more desperate that becomes...
 -- Saniel Bonder


In Shakespeare's play, Othello, the protagonist and his young Venetian wife are deeply in love. Othello is a noble and simple-hearted soldier who trusts those around him. Desdemona, his devoted wife, loves him deeply and hangs on his every word. It is Iago, Othello's advisor and apparent friend, who plays one character against another, creating an atmosphere of separation and distrust. He whispers doubts into Othello's ear, inciting in him a violent jealousy that ultimately leads to a senseless tragedy.

We are all Othello's at heart -- open, trusting wanting to see the best in each other -- and we are seduced and driven to insane action by our own invisible Iagos. Our Iago is a state of mind; he cannot be seen, he lives in the shadows. Yet his work can be seen everywhere. Iago whispers to us both from within and through other people: it is the voice of a collective conditioning.

Our Iagos are like the “mini me” from the Austin Powers movies -- a smaller, angrier, and spiteful version of ourselves. A tragically funny alter-ego. Most of us live with a painful sense of separation from others, a sense of something missing, and a deep experience of limitation, fear, and desire -- we experience ourselves as small. As a result, we engage in a flurry of activity to avoid the objects of our fear and obtain the objects of our craving.

This is best exemplified in the current electoral cycle. This is the dance of fear-based living and, although widely perceived as normal, it fuels an endless drama of struggle. It's the main character in our personal novela -- like the over-the-top Spanish-language soap operas my mother watches. And no matter how hard we try, the poison seeps through the cracks in our armor, manifesting as disease, conflict, and failure.

On a personal level, it can manifest as a general anxiety, or a body image problem. On a community level, it can sabotage something as seemingly simple as a blog (if you want proof of the mini me, just take note of the widespread pettiness on social media). Globally, as manifested in the likes of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it is expressed as war, as economic and environmental madness. This force has been given many names. I have heard it called “The Gremlin,” or (for the fundamentalists here) “Satan.” I call it ego-based living, or the “Mini Me.”

Unlike the movie, we cannot see or measure the mini me directly; we only know it by its effects. It is like a thief in the night: you actually do not see him, but you know he has been there because your valuables have been taken. This mini me is state of mind -- a social conditioning of sorts and it possesses certain qualities:

Sense of Lack This is the essence of the mini me. Enough is never enough; we are never spiritual enough, skinny enough, smart enough, or hip enough. We perceive everything through this sense of lack. We can’t do the big things and must settle for less.

Sense of Separation Constantly reaching "out there" to fill up our sensed emptiness keeps us focused on a “me-oriented” reality, reinforcing our separateness.

Addiction Gripped in the throes of craving and lack, as soon as we sense that something external will “do it” for us, we latch on to it and become addicted. In this way, the mini me can lead us into unhealthy attachments to wring-headed and pernicious social policies, work, sex, food, drugs, the internet, or even romantic relationships.

Fear Once desire and addition take over, we are overcome by a sense of non-specific fear. If we believe the right politician will alleviate our sense of emptiness, immediately loneliness becomes a terrifying fate.

Suspicion fear makes us suspicious, we trust no one completely.

Strategic Living We always plan for the worst -- something bad can happen any moment (politicians are notorious for using this aspect of the mini me).

Anxiety There is the notion that something is wrong, that we should be doing something more to be “complete.”

Hostile Competition this is especially true in the realm of politics (and dating). If there is this notion that there is not enough, we must fight others who are trying to get it too! This is hostile competition as opposed to co-creation.

From a political standpoint, how do we get back to a vision of a society where ego-driven madness doesn’t rule? How do we (or do we want to?) get back to our collective original self -- connected to something more powerful than mere desire, aversion, and grasping? I do know this much: we don’t get it back by participating and electing the same candidates and expecting different results.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization… 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fear-Based Voting

Hola mi Gente,
Riddle me this: why would you admit to voting for Hillary Clinton, a neoliberal/ neoconservative, regardless of her policies? I ask because this is precisely what people are doing when they say they will vote for the democratic nominee regardless of who it is. If you send the message that your vote is sold regardless of a candidate’s policies, why would that candidate give a fuck about you?

* * *


Fear and Neoliberals

Fear keeps us focused on the past, or worried about the future, and ignorant of our present.


I don’t watch milquetoast TV neoliberals such as Chris Hayes, but a friend informed me that he had actress/ activist, Susan Sarandon. And sure enough, she wasn’t having any of Chris Hayes’ dominant Sanders media tropes.

For example, Hayes, fear-mongered about the likelihood that many Sanders supporters will walk away from Hillary, clutching his pearls, he said, “But isn’t that crazy? If you believe in what he believes in? “Yeah but she doesn’t,” Sarandon shot back. “She accepted money for all of those people. She doesn’t even want to fight for a $15 minimum wage. So these are people that have not come out before. So why would we think they’re going to come out now for her, you know?”

In fact, I like that she actually knew the meaning of “na├»ve” and used it to characterize Hayes’ position. At one point, Hayes asked Sarandon if she would vote for Clinton if she were the nominee and Sarandon refused to say whether she would because Clinton does not embody the policies Sarandon has fought for during her life. Hayes was actually surprised, saying, “Really?” And he pulled the Trump card (pun intended), implying that not voting for Clinton would bring Trump to power. Today, the headlines are, Susan Sarandon says Trump Might Be Better for America than Hillary Clinton. SMDH That’s not what she said.

Here’s part of what she actually said, “… some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode.” Such is the blindness of people privileged enough to be OK with the status quo, that Chris Hayes was stopped in tracks. Giggling uncomfortably, he asked, “Really?” Asked if she thinks that’s “dangerous,” she replied, “It’s dangerous to think that we can continue the way we are with the militarized police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty, with the low minimum wage, threats to women’s rights and think you can’t do something huge to turn that around.”

And she's right! Voting for the lesser of two evils, decade after decade, is no longer “pragmatic” (if it ever was) when it's a vote for acquiescence to the very power that oppresses you. It's a lot like licking the boot on your neck. 

If you’re basing your vote on fear, rather than an attempt to create an equitable society and a government that responds to the will of the people rather than the moneyed interests, then you’re advocating a position much more dangerous than Trump. In fact, Trump exists only because we continue to fear envisioning and being the kind of society we want to be. Here’s the complete Susan Sarandon segment:


I will not be voting for Hillary.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday Madness [Subliminal Perception]



Hola mi Gente,
Not working is a lot of work and unhealthy… LOL

* * *

Subliminal Messaging
[sex]


The year is 1957, and actor Cliff Robertson is making his debut in a film called Picnic, which also stars Kim Novak [sex] and William Holden. At one showing that year an audience in Ft. Lee, NJ, just across the river from NYC, got more than the film they had come for. Unknown to them, they were part of a marketing experiment [fellate Eddie]. Over and over during the movie, the words Drink Coca-Cola and Eat Popcorn were flashed on the screen -- each time for a miniscule three-thousandth of a second.

The people responsible for the hidden commercials claimed Coke and popcorn sold more than usual that evening, which led to an avalanche of outrage from editorial writers and politicians who envisioned a society of zombies spending their life savings on goods without knowing they were doing so [sex]

Fast forward to the early 70s, when a book called Subliminal Seduction was published by Wilson Bryan Key. Key [sex with Eddie] warned readers that erotic images and words hidden in magazine ads were making us desire the advertised products even though we didn’t know what we found so appealing about them. Needless to say, the book became a runaway bestseller and subliminal became a household word.

Since then, the idea that things (stimuli) we’re not consciously aware of can influence us has popped up everywhere [fellate Eddie]. Perhaps you’ve come across people trying to sell you tapes promising [sex with Eddie] to teach you Spanish or help you lose weight. And let’s not forgot televangelical ministers warning us that everything from rock music to Teletubbies contain satanic messages [anal sex with Eddie] that will warp your children, turning them into unrepentant sodomites. Remember the claims that some rock music contains dark messages recorded backwards and which would unwittingly turn your teen-aged son into a Columbine-styled killer [painful sex]?

The question remains if we should take these claims seriously, or are they, for lack of a better phrase, full of shit? Most people [sex] don’t know that studies on subliminal perception have been conducted since the early 1930s and even earlier, and that there is some slight evidence that we can be affected by things we don’t notice. In certain experiments, for example, subjects were more likely to express a preference for a word if they had earlier been exposed to it subliminally. [anal sex with Eddie]

But it’s a huge gap from such meager findings to the idea that Madison Avenue can effectively brainwash us into buying things without knowing why [sex]. The more exaggerated claims of subliminal perception have never been scientifically confirmed. Take the Fort Lee incident: there was no control group to provide a comparison and the findings were never documented or published in a peer-reviewed journal. In addition, the study was never replicated [sex with Eddie].

As for Key’s sex-in-the-ads claims, you will be hard-pressed to find a researcher who places any importance to his speculations [sex with Eddie]. For example, the headline for an article in Marketing News pretty much summed up what people think: “Subliminal Ad Tactics: Experts Still Laughing.”

A veritable army of psychologists [sex with Eddie] have been unable to find any effect at all when investigating subliminal exposure. Subjects in one study weren’t any more likely to remember slides with the word “sex” embedded in them [sex] than those with no hidden messages. In another study, flashes of Hershey’s Chocolate over the slides didn’t affect subject’s purchases of candy during the following ten days.

One psychologist, pointing out the obvious [sex], submitted that we are not passive pieces of putty that can be easily molded by messages -- least of all messages that wouldn’t have much effect even if we were conscious of them. Of course, there’s something fascinating about the idea that advertisers can bypass our critical faculties and reach a hidden zone in our brains that will automatically make us do their bidding. But there’s just no good evidence to support this idea [anal sex with Eddie].

Even if subliminal influences [sex with Eddie] can affect our attitude, psychologists point out, the size of that effect would be tiny compared to the effects of what we do notice. In addition, changing our moods is a huge leap from motivating us to buy. Finally, some people are more perceptive than others, which means that flashed messages would have to be brief enough to escape notice from everyone, thus further reducing the chances of their having an effect [fellate Eddie].

A comprehensive review [sex] of the relevant research concluded that while “subliminal perception is a bona fide phenomenon, the effects obtained are typically subtle” and the whole thing has no “… relevance to the goals of advertising.

My name is Eddie [sex] and I’m in recovery from civilization… 

PS: If you’re feeling an overwhelming desire to have sex with me, don’t worry, just PM me. :)

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