Author Topic: Common Walls  (Read 4912 times)

LMNO, PhD (life continues)

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Common Walls
« on: February 09, 2012, 02:46:17 pm »
The language of the BIP was (often, at least when I did it) structured to point out the otherwise unnoticed limitations of our perceptions, both physically and mentally.  It was said that you can never escape the BIP, because it’s necessarily made up of all the bits of you that make you the you that you are.  If you attempt a jailbreak, you end up in another cell.  So the task you set is one of architecture and interior design.  If you can realize where some of the limitations are, you can shift them if you try hard enough.

At some point, the metaphor got stretched to the point of cracking, and a lot of us got carried away.  Some really stupid shit got said, and denounced, and refuted, and we all got a bit wary of taking the BIP further than originally stated.  The problem with that is, the way it was described lends itself very easily to “special snowflake” thinking.  My cell is unique to my experiences, which must mean that I am special, too.  Crowley tried saying this in The Book of Thoth, that the star you see is different than the star I see, because I am standing in a different place, even if it’s only two feet away.

But let’s give that the ol’ Barstool, shall we?  While we can nuance different walls in our BIP to ferret out the minute differences, that’s functionally useless.  If I point at a boat and say, “hey, look at that boat,” you are seeing the same boat, even if you can pedantically prove an infinitesimal difference.  Hofstadter introduced the idea of “high level chunking” when talking about consciousness in GEB, and we may be able to apply the same idea here.  Some of our experiences are familiar enough to be considered “Common”.  For instance, let’s say a bus crashes on the highway.  What happened to each individual on the bus is different, but by and large, they all had the “same” experience, something they can share without too much explanation.  You may even be able to identify “sets” of BIP walls.  “The Wall of Getting Shot”, for example.  Or maybe “The Wall of Puking After Drinking Too Much”.

If this is starting to sound a lot like tribalistic memes, well… I can’t deny the similarities.  If you start grouping together experiences at higher and higher levels, you start slapping labels on things like, “The Wall of Liking the New Wave of British Heavy Metal” and “The Wall of People Who Believe in Christ Our Savior”.  But at that point, things start to get unstable.  There comes a point where the “color” of your wall (as in, the kinds of experiences you have had) becomes significantly different than your neighbors’; like when Teal Green becomes Cyan.  At that point, the grouping becomes as meaningless a viewpoint as the isolationist one: You’re not actually saying anything about a person’s BIP; and at worst, you’re giving misleading information.

So, they key to creating Common Walls seems to be not to rush into and entire wall of  commonality, but to carefully determine which bricks and bars share the same properties.  Sure, it’s hard work, but if you go the easy route, it will transform into bullshit, and ooze between your fingers.
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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 03:01:11 pm »
I think regional walls might be a good place to start. Even though your experience growing up in, say, South Carolina might be different from the experience someone else had, they're part of that same continuum. Even if you move away from the region, it's left an indelible mark on who you are and how you see the world. You may have moved over to the Thailand cell block, but you're still inside that wall of South Carolina.
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The Rev

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2012, 03:02:02 pm »
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.”
― William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Written in the late 1700's this quote is as true today as it was then. Sadly, this says much more about human nature than it does about the prophetic ability of the author.

Whether we call it Black Iron Prison, The Golden Sphere or our Cavern, this human tendency to shut out those things that cause us confusion or discomfort also isolates us from so very many human experiences and opportunities to learn and grow.
As we build our cells daily we sometimes, possibly without realizing that we are doing it, create walls that conjoin other walls, and in doing so we also allow other inmates into our own space.

If we look closely enough we could see that others can share the space as well. It is even likely that one person can share the common rooms on one topic and be completely locked out on another topic. Far too many times we highlight those differences instead of keeping the focus on what we have in common with each other.

When we do this enough we will find ourselves surrounded comfortably by only those who share the majority of thoughts, thus isolating ourselves from new and different concepts. We may deny that this is the case, but it would be a hollow argument indeed.
It is when we are completely surrounded by others who are like minded that life loses its flavor. Everything becomes beige and bland. We become judgmental of others when they don't fit into our conceived presumption of what is and isn't good and right. When we allow this to happen, then the only place we can find the one person to correct our course, is in the mirror.

We have to constantly be on guard that we do not become slaves to our perceptions, after all, we no more have divine knowledge than any other person does. This can at times be difficult, because this trait to judge is wired into us as a species.

Our brain loves to attach itself to a single thread of a tapestry and cling to it desperately, all the while trying to convince us that it is the entire tapestry, thereby denying us the ability to step back far enough to see the entire tapestry coming together to form a thing of beauty. It is not the tapestry that suffers when this happens, but us as individuals.

We must teach ourselves to question our own perceptions, to give even greater scrutiny to our own than we would give to others perceptions, we must always be on guard that we are seeking the common ground and shared ideas and ideals instead of locking in on those differences, after all, it is those same differences that make life interesting and full of flavor.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 03:08:18 pm by Charley Brown »

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 07:01:53 pm »
You're A Whole Different Person When You're Scared.

Hey, kids.  Things have gotten a little scary, haven’t they?  This is of course no accident.  They’ve been teaching to be scared since you were a little kid.  Scared of strangers.  Scared of punishment.  Taught “respect” (read: fear) for Authority Figures.  Yes, the real lesson that Officer Friendly taught you in grade school is that one day in the future, you might find out just how friendly he is.

In the 70s, Americans were “outaged” (read: scared shitless) by endless hijackings and the seizing of the American embassy in Tehran.  This was immediately followed, of course, by strange tales of shame and failure in the Iranian desert, when Operation Eagle Claw went sideways due to gross incompetence on the part of squabbling military branch’s logistics branches.

The reaction was immediate.  Jimmy Carter was sent packing, to build houses for poor people, and Ronald Reagan was swept into office in a landslide.  Here’s this kindly-looking tough old grandfather figure, saying “You just hunker down, folks, and we’ll deal with these savages”.  America told itself that it was Standing Tall again, but the reality is that it was merely hiding behind a screen actor who wasn’t afraid to do a little saber-rattling.

Reagan also introduced the fear of ourselves…Fear of the Drug Addict, fear of the AIDS Patient.  He taught us to look at each other as potential killers and rapists, and to stay inside and shut the hell up.  He in fact coined the ultimate expression of fear, “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about”.  Now pee in this bottle, please, to prove to us all that you aren’t a drug-addled monster looking to rape our daughters.

The 80s and 90s were a time of dull fear, of a sense of unease.  There was no immediate threat, but we all knew that something was out there, waiting to pounce on us the moment we stopped paying attention.

On September 11th, 2001, It Happened.  We all remember that day, right?  And there were our public servants, up on a podium, scaring the living shit out of us with the full cooperation & assistance of every major news network.  The news stream at the bottom of your television screen was an endless parade of OH SHIT, WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!

After a while, of course, emotional fatigue set in, and people just couldn’t work themselves up into an epileptic fit of fear anymore, at least not over terrorists.  Foreign ones, anyway.  So instead, sometime between 2005 and the present, we were taught to fear our public servants.  The TSA, for example, instills pants-shitting terror in just about everyone who flies.  You don’t make jokes in the airport.  No.  Not unless you want to find yourself in a small room being cavity-searched by a guy with fingers the size of bratwursts.  And if you piss off any of the rest of the executive branch, you’ll be killed by drone aircraft or just taken away as a “person of interest”, and what’s left of your family will live under a bridge and drink filthy water until the day they die.

The question I have to ask, though, is Just what exactly are you afraid of?  Why are you putting up with this, especially from a social fiction such as the US Government?  Nothing is actually wrong.  Let me say that again:  Nothing is actually wrong.  It’s like watching children afraid of the bogeyman, trying to hide in their beds from a threat which does not actually exist.

So just stop for a moment.  Stop what you’re doing, and hit the TV or Youtube or whatever, and take a good long look at your local, state, and federal government officials.  They’re monkeys with power ties, they look kind of silly wearing those outfits, don’t they? 

They are in fact absurd.  So just what ARE you afraid of?  Terrorists have killed less American people in total than will die in car accidents in the next 3 months.  The government?  Ridiculous.  They can’t seem to do ANYTHING right, mostly because they’re just a convenient arrangement we dreamt up to make sure that the roads get paved. 

The police, perhaps?  How many police are there?  The only reason they have any power at all is because we agree that they do.  Other than that, they’re just brigands with tasers and a taste for a little roadside aggression.

But it’s not even that, is it?  No, the reality is that fear has become your baseline emotion.  Everything is assessed first in terms of fight or flight.  Aggression or panic.  That is the very first filter that you employ when processing any data at all in your lives.  Fear for it's own sake.  Fear of fear itself, as a giant of a man once said.

And you must enjoy that constant low-level anxiety, right?

Because if you didn’t, you’d stop.

Or Kill Me.


(Note:  The Doktor Howl version will follow today or tomorrow.)
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Doktor Howl

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2012, 08:01:22 pm »
You're A Whole Different Person When You're Scared.

I have always said that The Good Reverend Roger is too easy on you humans.  Spare the beating, spoil the primate, I  always say.  I mean, it’s not like you aren’t used to beatings, it’s not like you don’t expect them and in fact mentally prepare yourself for them every day of your lives.

Take the average citizen.  Left to his own devices, he is a rational creature, with a vague notion that he should be able to say and do what he pleases, so long as everything involves consenting adults.  Now put in some fear…Say, Rush Limbaugh telling him that the Gays are going to “recruit” his sons and daughters and turn them into homosexuals that won’t continue his genetic line. 

Suddenly, he’s a different guy, isn’t he?   Now he’s ranting about Gay marriage being the work of the devil, and he’ll join any lynch mob or pseudo-fascist political party you care to create.

Or maybe tell him that terrorists are going to come kill him and his family, thus ensuring – again – that his genetic line will be erased.  Now he’s calling the FBI on poor old Habib that runs the gas station on the corner, asking them why that crazy Arab hasn’t been hauled off to a camp yet.

Or even tell him that Black people are going to break into his home and rape his wife and daughters.  Again, the genetic imperative, yes? 

Humans are rational beings until such a time as their ersatz immortality is threatened, at which point they become angry howler monkeys, ready to kill or maim anyone who looks different than they do.  There has been precisely zero measurable progress over the last 2 million years, at least in the way humans think.

And don’t run off blaming Rush Limbaugh.  If people didn’t want to hear him, he’d be out of business.  Likewise with the so-called “federal government”…Fascists wouldn’t be running the show unless humans allowed them to do it.  Tyrants don’t appear, they are advertised for and then hired by a gutless public that can no longer bear the weight of freedom and self-determination.

On September 20th of 2001, my then-boss’s wife was railing about how everyone in America of Middle-Eastern descent should be locked up until such time as they could prove themselves to be “loyal citizens” (the standard she set for loyalty was, of course, religion).  I remarked that we had to be free or the terrorists had succeeded, and she looked at me like I was about to reveal a bomb vest.

“We have to be SAFE!”, she snarled.

Well, here’s a quick tip from your Family Doktor:  You aren’t safe.  You can’t be made safe.  You are a weaponized ape on a planet full of weaponized apes, and even under the most strict authoritarian rule, you can’t stop your neighbor from doing stupid or hostile things.

And besides, freedom – the only acceptable state for a biped – is by definition not safe.  “No blood, no foul”, play rough, and LIVE. 

There was a T-shirt meme back in the 80s/90s, called “No Fear”.  I always liked that.  It spoke to me of primates who refused to be cowed, who refused to fear physical harm or imprisonment, who KNEW, instinctively, that Martin Luther King and Mohammed Ali were the REAL American heroes, and made pantywaists like General Westmoreland look like the absurd little clowns they were.

It’s easy to feel brave, after all, as a general, or even in a mob of howling maniacs demanding more war and less butter.  It’s a lot harder to be brave when alone, when The Man is right there in your face, telling you to toe the line or go to prison for the rest of your life.  Or when you know that every time you get behind a podium or walk on the sidewalk, there’s a very good chance that some crazed yokel with a rifle will shut you up for good.

Martin Luther King KNEW he was going to die.  He alluded to it in his last speech.  And he still didn’t shut up.  He ranted and ranted and when some redneck swine finally shot him, his rants continued, and have never faded away, despite every effort on the part of Those who oppose his message.

Humans can stand on their hind legs.  This has been proven.  Mohammed Ali stared the United States Army in the face, and threw his career away, just to demonstrate that he was a Free Man, and that they had no power over him.  He had no handle for them to grab.  Nothing they could take away from him was enough to make him knuckle under…And, in the end, nobody – not even the most virulent racists or hyper-patriots – have the stones to talk trash about him, even though he is now a feeble, sick old man.

So there.  You have no excuses, anymore, for the handle sticking out of your forehead.  You have no excuse to crawl, no excuse to live in fear of some nebulous threat conveyed by talking heads and criminals in suits.  It is time to decide whether you are a rational human being, or a terrified monkey.  Nobody can make this choice for you.  YOU have to stand upright in the sun, or scurry into the shadows like a rat, and take whatever bullshit They hand you.

And you have to decide NOW.

Okay for now,
Dok
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LMNO, PhD (life continues)

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2012, 08:26:02 pm »
Whoa.  Nice one-two punch, there.
LMNO
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2012, 08:29:48 pm »
Whoa.  Nice one-two punch, there.

Thanks.

Having a crowded skull1 sometimes has its advantages.





1  For those of you new to PD, this is not a claim of self-diagnosed multiple personality syndrome or any shit like that.  It is rather an admission that my head is simply wired out of code & upside down, with no ground wire installed.  Fuck you, I'm sick!
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LMNO, PhD (life continues)

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2012, 08:35:39 pm »
Charley, I like how you've identified something akin to a filter-within-a-filter, or the echo chamber effect.  We create our cells, avoiding things we don't like, and then see others' cells, and then filter out what we don't like about their cells, and we end up in a self-reflexive complex of sameness.  I need to think about that, because it intersects what I was going to write about next.
LMNO
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Buy the Chao te Ching, or be doomed forever.

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"Get offa me, you freaks!  This is not North Korea.  No.  This is America, and I expect to be PAID for that sort of nonsense.  In advance.  No credit...Cash on the barrelhead or GTFO.  I swear to God, there's nothing more annoying than commie perverts who don't understand the intrinsic value of the free market system."

The Rev

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2012, 09:17:07 pm »
Charley, I like how you've identified something akin to a filter-within-a-filter, or the echo chamber effect.  We create our cells, avoiding things we don't like, and then see others' cells, and then filter out what we don't like about their cells, and we end up in a self-reflexive complex of sameness.  I need to think about that, because it intersects what I was going to write about next.

Thank you, after reading Rogers bits it occurs that filters can be a result of the very fear he was talking about and to tie it to yours it seems possible that at times we tend to try to degrade meaningful topics by going over the top as well. It's not quite cognitive dissonance, but it could be a first cousin to it.

ETA; Now I wonder if we shouldn't attempt to determine the main things that drive our filters.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 09:35:15 pm by Charley Brown »

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2012, 11:14:22 pm »
Hey you! You're not so special!

I know, I know; the world is going to shit, and no one around you seems prepared to wake up and THINK! Horrifying laws are being passed every day that restrict the freedoms of ordinary citizens, and at the same time the laws that used to protect the little guys from the big guys are being struck down. We're at their mercy, but it seems like you're surrounded by a legion of sheep, of armchair heroes who do nothing but cheer on the erosion of their own rights, their own prosperity, and their own future. You feel like you're all alone in a world full of automatons.

After all, the vast majority of the people in this country are Traditional Christian Families who hate gays and teenage girls who get abortions, and love God, war, and Wal-Mart. They get their information from Fox News and they're against taxes and social programs. They think the poor deserve to be poor because they aren't good enough, that homosexuality is a sin, and that if you can't afford healthcare, you probably deserve to die. They're on the side of those big corporations that close down factories and leave whole towns devastated and hopeless so they can increase their profits by moving manufacturing to Mexico. They support the shareholders, and think big business should get welfare and tax breaks the rest of us don't get because What's Good For Big Business is Good For America. Besides, they think they might just be rich someday, and they don't want any slackers taking a nibble out of THEIR slice of pie. Right?

Right?

Hold the phone there, Mister.

Just where did you get this impression, anyway? Who told you that's what most Americans are like? Why do you think you're so unique, so extraordinary, so alone?

It's called alienation, and they're doing it to us on purpose. But who are they?

Five media companies control over 90% of the media in the US, and they have counterparts... mostly inextricably linked counterparts... all over the world. When you hear that "most Americans want this" or "most Americans oppose that", take a moment to ask yourself; in this media-controlled world where what you hear is not what's true so much as what they want you to believe, why would you believe that most Americans are mindless sheep complacently following the shepherd?

Alienation is embedded at all levels of Western culture. In our jobs, we are isolated from the products our companies produce. If we are in manufacturing, we spent months or years or a whole lifetime only handling that one side panel our machine puts out. Just the side panel. How can you take pride in a side panel? How can you pat that side panel and say with satisfaction "Yessirree, I made that!"?

You can't. Work has become a daily grind, and people are working longer, more productive hours for less pay. Who benefits?

You might get laid off at any time. Your co-workers want your job. The company demands loyalty, and the more loyal you are the more likely they are to spare you in the next round of layoffs. Troublemakers don't stay. You know this. You can't trust your co-workers; they have the wrong values, anyway. They're sheep, mindlessly following orders, happily obedient. You do your job and you're glad to have one. You know you won't be getting a raise this quarter but if you keep your head down you might get to pick up an extra shift here and there to make ends meet. Alienation.

The banks have coffers stuffed full of all the extra profits created by the widening gap between wages and production, and are all too happy to lend you (at a low low introductory rate for the first six months) the money you are so short on so you can have the stuff it takes to keep up. But it's just the stuff you need, not like those jackasses down the street who bought a huge flatscreen TV that you can see them watching the game on through their window. You know those guys oppose single-payer health care, you can see it in their baseball caps and their Ford Explorers. You try not to make eye contact when you walk by and they're on the porch smoking. They're different from you; they're not paying attention and they have the wrong values. Alienation.

But wait a minute... if that's what you think of them, what do they think of you? And how is it that if the media is controlled by five giant corporations, all of which also have their fingers in industries ranging from soda to pesticides, everyone thinks it's liberal? Why would the media be telling its audience that the others are different, and they're out to get you?

As you've long suspected, there's someone running the show, and they're telling you all the things they want you to hear.

Most Americans, traditional Christian families or not, want the same things. They want jobs, healthcare, living wages, and a democratic political system in which their voice matters. Most Americans do not hate gays, do support single-payer health care, are concerned for the environment, don't want to be at war, have a strong sense of compassion and concern for their community's well-being, and think big business has too much influence on government.

That last bit has everything to do with why They don't want Us to know that we're really not all that special. If We The People dropped the illusion that we are irreparably divided by what are, in reality, relatively trivial elements to our ideologies, we would learn that our larger ideologies match up much better than They've been telling us... and united, we could do something about getting the power back in the hands of the populace, and government out of the hands of the international mega-corporations. YOU would discover that hey, you! You're not so special!

And doesn't that feel good?
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 03:21:46 pm by Nigel »
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2012, 11:19:57 pm »
Brrrr, Roger, just reading back through the posts now and yours is fucking awesome.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2012, 11:30:59 pm »
Holy shit there are two of them! KA-POW! Fucking PERFECT! I like the synergy going on in this thread!
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2012, 11:35:37 pm »
Holy shit there are two of them! KA-POW! Fucking PERFECT! I like the synergy going on in this thread!

Yeah, I attacked it from both sides of my brain, in a pincers movement.

I am the Von Clauswitz of screeching.   :lulz:

Yours is fucking top notch.
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Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2012, 12:00:32 am »
Thanks!
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

N E T

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2012, 12:35:22 pm »
This is an incredible thread. I'll have to read it over a few more times and stew on it before I can formulate a proper response. Hot damn.

It makes me think of this idea that we make the most optimum decision that we can within the range of the choices that our genetic predispositions, experiences, and social ecology presents to us....

It also calls to mind the conditions that allow cults to brainwash people: alienation from a supportive social network and insecurity about one's identity. Consumerism as a macro-scale cult....

“It's too bad that whole families have to be torn apart by something as simple as wild dogs.” — J A C K   H A N D E Y

"Open your ass and your heart and mind will follow." — C H E S T E R   M A I N A R D