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Messages - tyrannosaurus vex

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1
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Local Politics Clusterfuck
« on: Today at 02:20:22 am »
There is a group for this subject, though it is a bit restricted (it's "strictly for information" and any post that openly advocates for either position is quickly deleted). The membership is growing steadily though and I intend to be an outspoken member there so I can form a separate group, if needed, when the time is right. I entirely expect myself to blow it by going all "fucking rubes" on people, but I'm trying not to.

2
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Local Politics Clusterfuck
« on: Yesterday at 06:28:21 pm »
but i only want to vote for things :( why can't politics be like it is on paper

3
Literate Chaotic / Re: Ominous Fortune Cookie
« on: Yesterday at 03:42:07 pm »
That works too. Haha

4
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Local Politics Clusterfuck
« on: Yesterday at 03:03:18 pm »
So you're saying I should contact the Russian embassy?

5
Literate Chaotic / Re: Ominous Fortune Cookie
« on: Yesterday at 07:12:45 am »
"The 10-year-old girl who stamped out the dough for this cookie wishes you the best."

"A life without adventure is a life of maturity and realism."

"No one wants to know your fortune."

"Forgive yourself. You know what for."

"The voices can hear you, too."

"Don't look behind you."

"You are an extra in someone else's movie."

"You will not die alone. You'll be with me."

6
Aneristic Illusions / Local Politics Clusterfuck
« on: Yesterday at 06:24:57 am »
warning: this is long and boring. excuse me for using pd as my own personal blog, but, you know, deal with it and stuff.

I live in a medium-ish sized town in AZ around the outskirts of Phoenix. Or rather, we would be a town, but this area is unincorporated. It's a sprawling tangle of subdivisions crowded around a couple of "main" roads that are way too narrow for the number of people who have flocked out here over the past decade.  Public services have struggled to keep up with demand, mostly due to terrible planning and probably a shoestring budget (the way everything operates in Arizona), but with the added seasoning of a couple of powerful bullshit tycoons who run the only water utility and fire protection service (fire protection isn't included in taxes here -- if you want it, you have to pay through a per-square-foot fee to this company).

The people who want to incorporate (myself included) generally believe that the townspeople deserve as a matter of natural rights or something to unionize and have some input on our collective future. Right now, we are at the mercy of the County Supervisor, a person who has no need to consider our opinions because he is elected by the entire country, and is a Republican. Beyond him is the state legislature, which is even farther removed and more useless. You may have to live in Arizona to get a true appreciation for how corrupt everything here is, but suffice it to say there is no such thing as a politician here who does anything that might be construed as "the will of the people". So it is the sense of the "Incorporate" side that we might manage to fend off higher levels of government by instituting one that answers, at least mechanically, to us. I doubt that is how it would actually work out, but I'm a horrible Statist so it is the best alternative, as far as I'm concerned.

The people who want to remain unincorporated, however, confuse me. I can't quite put my finger on any actual reason they oppose it. They blare protests at the prospect of "higher taxes" and "more bureaucracy", predictably, but our property taxes are already as high as they are allowed to go under state law, and we live in a Republican clusterfuck so "more bureaucracy" is a given anyway. But these do not seem to be the heart of their opposition -- only the most easily communicated. After talking to a few of them sincerely, I think the main reason they don't want to incorporate is just because. Typically, a person in the "NOPE" camp is one whose residency in this area predates the population explosion of the last 10 years and who bears a slight grudge against all of us late-coming "city dwellers" for mucking up their natural desert landscape with our drab repetitive tract homes, strip malls, six-lane roads, streetlights, running water, Internet access, and all the other trappings of civilization they apparently hate. These people are Conservative in the most insidious sense: they are not really "conserving" anything, they just hate change and progress because they are change and progress. Still, when cornered on any one particular issue, they will admit that the benefits of incorporation are both real and valuable. The utilities are of poor quality and they should not have to pay protection money to the Firefighter Mafia; the roads are crap, the schools are crap, there are no parks, there are no leaders nearby with an ear turned to the people, there are no real businesses or jobs in the area, and so on. They just stubbornly won't incorporate, well, because they won't.

I would like to convince them, but as usual with such deeply conservative folk, they are immune to reason. Even when you nail them down on any one of fifteen different paths to "the only logical conclusion is that we should incorporate", they just pop back out of place as soon as you move in for the close. They seem to think that if they just bury their heads in the sand, incorporation will never happen. I, and many others, have argued against that way of thinking since it's preposterous. Either they will eventually vote "NO" and lose in a referendum, and have none of their concerns addressed by the outcome on account of pouting in the corner while negotiations were happening; or some neighboring city will end up annexing them thanks to their neighbors signing on, resulting in more or less the same. Either way, an area this densely populated cannot go on as a "county island" for too long. They point to pockets of unincorporated areas within and around Scottsdale, failing to take note of the fact that those areas are populated by rich assholes on 40-acre estates, not poor fourth-generation "ranchers" on evaporating ex-ranches next to a highway. My desire to convert them is admittedly less altruism than science experiment or weekend hobby. I just don't understand the way they think, and I keep imagining that if I could wrap my head around their thought processes, I might unlock some skeleton key to the universal ignorance of conservatives in general. Silly, but I don't care really. It's fun to prod them.

7
Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: March 24, 2017, 11:17:41 pm »
I am convinced now that the Republicans have allowed themselves to believe their own bullshit, to their own disadvantage. They spent 8 years raising Hell about how Obama was some kind of radical dictator in order to gain up enough hate in the ranks to survive a few more elections. Not a bad strategy, really, if you're only trying to stay alive as a party. But they forgot it was just rhetoric and started actually believing that was how Obama was really governing. As a result, now that they are in power, that is how THEY set out to govern. And they are perplexed as to why it doesn't work. Furthermore they have no one to turn on and blame now except each other. Maybe it'll get even better.

8
Maybe... "Truth" as a heading (or removed) and the first "Just like" removed. Credit vexati0n

9
Thanks! The words are coming easier lately than they have in quite some time, and not just on politics, but I'm definitely motivated to punch the shittier elements of the human condition linguistically if not physically.

10
...
It really is a testament to how successful society IS, that so many people seem to feel they can opt out without immediate dire risk to their survival.

Truth. Just like only a person lucky enough to be born into the most fabulously wealthy civilization in human history could somehow end up believing that poverty itself arises only from bad choices or moral weakness, or only a person born under the fairest laws in history could somehow think injustice is a only a delusion in the minds of its victims. In past ages, when the whole world was hostile and the state really was out for your blood, no one would deny that some people got the short end of the stick by chance of birth and deserved something better than they had the power to earn for themselves. It's a serious indictment of humanity that once presented with the tools to eradicate disease, poverty, and starvation, we choose instead to just stop seeing those things as problems.

11
Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: March 23, 2017, 08:25:30 pm »
Next on my plate: Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, by John McWhorter. (Thanks to QGP for the recommendation). It's an audiobook because a) I only read audiobooks & idgaf, and b) in an etymology book it's helpful to actually hear the language. So far it's entertaining, even though the author likes to go on tirades against The Etymology Establishment and the grammar police. It's sort of adorable to hear someone have such strong feelings over a subject so thoroughly nerdy.

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Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: March 23, 2017, 04:40:48 pm »
I haven't read much Campbell, but I loved the Power of Myth series. Your review makes me want to add him to my reading list!

I don't think you would go wrong to put him in your list. As a bonus, beyond the interesting subject matter, the writing itself is eloquent and even poetic, without being needlessly flowery or pretentious like some spoofs of "letters home from the Civil War". It's almost depressing because it presents a higher version of the English language that has been almost completely lost, even in the formal academic writing of today.

13
Which is interesting, in that there's a parallel argument that if welfare is abolished, charity groups (widely assumed to be religiously based) will step in to cover.

That is the argument. But I find that entirely unacceptable, because no one should have to rely on serendipitous chance for their survival. And the people who insist that private charity will fill the gap have ulterior motives beyond simply "saving taxpayer money" (which itself is a farce), in that these "private charities" are nearly universally religious groups and sometimes require the needy accept some measure of indoctrination in return for assistance.  The most frustrating thing to me is how widespread the disconnection is for so many people from the fundamental theories underpinning civilization itself. We have grown so accustomed to modern convenience that apparently it is now possible for whole groups of people to assume that civilization is a natural law we can take for granted, that society simply is, and thus they are free to abstain from participating in it as a member. Wiser generations used to say "no man is an island", but these people are immune to such nonsense, I guess.

14
Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: March 23, 2017, 03:00:05 am »
Disclaimer: wow, this turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it would...

Finished The Hero with a Thousand Faces today. My first reaction is that I will have to give this another two or three reads before I catch most of it, because it's incredibly dense. Also, it's a few parsecs beyond my level of education in ancient cultures, myths, and psychology (even if it is outdated on the psychological front). That said, it's a decent introduction on its own to those concepts and for me anyway has been pretty enjoyable.

To my initial hesitation on the question of whether it was ridiculously male-centric, I am sure the case can be made that it is. The book is a deep dive into the history, purpose, and various forms of ancient mythology and how it relates to the human psyche and personal development. It is fixated on duality as the myths see it, the devolution from the divine One to the mundane 'everything else', so it treats gender as a fundamental pair of opposites for that reason. Although it goes to some length to insist on the necessary equality of the sexes, it still assumes there are fixed roles and attributes of each gender. To be honest, though, I'm not educated enough to know whether this stems from Campbell being some kind of chauvinist, or because the majority of mythologies around the world treat gender in that way. Do most mythologies and cosmologies assume such roles? (I'm not asking rhetorically -- I don't know).

I actually began reading the book because I read somewhere else that it has been a strong motivator for modern storytelling, especially in movies. Campbell's theory of "The Hero's Journey" is believed by some (now waning numbers of) people to describe a universal story formula that is followed by many of the most famous and influential stories from prehistory to the present. Allegedly, this has been boiled down to such a science by modern screenwriters that there are computer algorithms that can predict how successful a film will be based on how well its script adheres to this formula. So I was expecting a fairly straightforward description of that formula, with a bunch of examples for each station in the basic plot.

LUCKILY, the book's scope is much bigger than that. The Hero's Journey is certainly part of, and inseparable from, the soul of this book, but Campbell's aim isn't just to spill the beans on some formulaic method of writing stories. He is concerned with the genesis of myth itself and its effects on the human psyche through each stage of civilization's development. He follows a winding path through the stations of The Hero's Journey as a way of avoiding a long-winded treatise in historical order (I think). He ties many of the points to corresponding bits of psychology, which is where he gets into trouble with a few haphazard Freudisms.

The most succinct and useful part of the book (for me anyway) comes in the epilogue, after the end of all the tours through various creation myths. It was almost synchronicity for me because it hit the nail of my recent philosophical meandering right on the head as it described the loss of cosmic and mythological wonder through the maturation of organized religion and the rise of science and hard materialism to the top tier of modern thinking. The ultimate conclusion of the book is that the good purposes served by mythology and religion in the past -- to bind a people together in order to thrive in an often hostile world, first against nature, and then against competing tribes -- is no longer useful because we have now built a global community. Those old beliefs and superstitions now serve to divide us and keep us from recognizing the humanity in the Other. So what is needed, according to Campbell, is a new mythology and the plight of a new "Hero" that functions with respect to modern society, technology, and the self-centric way we now think of ourselves.

15
I really like this piece. I like how Sal is described as Ordinary. That actually gives me a little hope, if the average middle age insurance salesman out there really is dreaming of utopia. Like there's this benevolent potential in people, but it's being held back. Is it withheld by the grim realism of human nature? or is it merely something internal in Sal that makes him stay in the confines of everyday life?

What keeps Sal in stasis? Is it a feeling of helplessness? ie That Sal would be benevolent but he doesn't have the resources. That Sal would be benevolent but it wouldn't change anything.

If there is a message of hope in here somewhere it would be that the power to make a difference is within your grasp at just about any moment. It's just that it's so much easier not to, and easier by at least a little bit to make the wrong kind of difference. With the sheer immensity of problems on the scale of civilizations that we are confronted with thanks to the miracles of modern communication technology, good but small deeds seem impotent. There's really no excuse for it, but it seems like it's harder to give a shit about helping one person when there are seven billion in line.

Sort of the principle that it's easier to dream big and do nothing, than to take a small action that will mean something to a few people.

I guess maybe it's the "easier" part that's the problem. I keep telling my students, volunteer, volunteer, volunteer... but they say they don't have time, and they say "What's in it for me?", and they say maybe later.

I'm hearing a whole lot of this "what's in it for me/us?" lately. Why should we take in refugees. Why should we subsidize healthcare. Why should we feed hungry kids at lunch time. Why should we do anything. And yes those are bigger questions of public policy, but the reasoning behind not doing them an outgrowth of this "what's in it for me" thing that we all share to some degree. It's odd to hear this sentiment voiced so openly, because I could swear that as I was growing up, the very same Right-Wing Christians who raised me, but are now behaving abhorrently, used to tell me "a good deed is its own reward." What happened to that?

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