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Topics - TheAudience

Literate Chaotic / A Bad Day
June 23, 2021, 06:44:45 PM
Two more hours to go.
Head is swimming in words.
Chest is tight.
Neck is sore.
No real reason to be here.
Yet here I am.
My pleading will go unmet.
But that is how it'll be.
I can't really fault another
For doin what I've done before
I'm not owed anything
It doesn't suck any less.
Some appetites will never be filled
And will consume the universe
If left unchecked.
Or Kill Me / Punching Man 4 where it counts
June 22, 2021, 02:08:33 PM
First off, whoever decided to name these concepts Man 1, Man 2, Man 3 and Man 4, FUCK YOU! You've made it basically impossible to google that shit and the names do nothing to clue in the uninitiated. Couldn't you have just named them The Physical Being, The Emotional Being, The Cognitive Being, and The World? Look it's easy to be informative and not gender centric. I'm not apologizing for it. Fuck You!

Anyway, from the context of the conversation the other night it sounded like there was this concept of Man 4 being some super meta state of being where you just control the other three Physical Emotional and Cognitive beings, to which I also say, Fuck You! That's Bollox! Man 4 is the actual shit that you have limited control over that constrains and shapes your behaviors. The Cognitive being can try to go deliberately against The World, but they will fail in the long run. You can push water up the hill all you want, but you aren't going to change the flow unless you move The Dirt, aka The World, the so called Man 4. Punch that Sucker where it counts, move The Dirt. And yes, you can do this with the other three parts of yourself, but that doesn't make you The World or Man 4.

Some examples of moving The Dirt.
Taking a different shift at work
Getting a different job
Investing in a passive revenue stream
Changing what you are subscribed to online
Unplugging your Router
Changing where you hang out
Establishing or severing ties with friends/acquaintances/family members
Scheduling and performing tasks until they become habits
Re arranging your space
Learning new information and changing your rationality

An example of not moving The Dirt.
Looking back at your week on Saturday night, having not changed anything, remembering that you had a goal to exercise more, shrugging, sighing, saying you'll try again next week, and not cancelling plans or making plans for the next week, leaving the trough untouched and watching yourself flow through the same sequence of rational decisions and justifications you flow down every week till the next Saturday night.

The Dirt often moves without explicit intention, just like a river will change it's course gradually from one year to another. Sometimes other friends and family will have something change in their life and they can no longer make it to that weekly meeting that sustained your relationship with them. Sometimes you get fired from your job. The World shifts indifferently and sends you down paths that if you aren't careful, or aware, could end you in a lonely, constricted, powerless place. But you can move The Dirt intentionally. This is hard work because there is uncertainty and there are consequences you can't anticipate. And you have to face up to those consequences. This is an art and not a science, there will be tradeoffs that you won't notice unless you are looking for them, the outcome will be uncertain the first few times you try, but do it enough and you might start to get the sense of how to get that stream where you want it to go and how to mitigate the tradeoffs...

That said, just like manipulating a flow of water in real life, it is entirely possible to really fuck up someone else's existence if you aren't careful. "Oops, I just re-directed this river and washed away your house" is entirely possible. "I just invested in a passive revenue stream" and "you just got priced out of every living space within miles of where you've lived all your life" can be a lot closer than you might realize. And the same could be said of your own existence, "I'm going to start taking a drug that is socially stigmatized" can quickly become "I'm hiding this habit from friends and family and bailing the waters of shame" if you aren't keen on how shit works in the world. Or how about this one, "I've started attending Positive Outlook courses so I can learn how to manifest a better future" can quickly become "I've been sold a bill of goods, I'm out a lot of money, and I still don't know how to change my life." How about this one from my actual life. "I took a job that more aligns with the skills I went to school to obtain because It pays noticeably more than my last position." Led to "I now have hours of time at work with little to no work to occupy me, and I'm barred from the usual sources I turn to in order to stave off boredom. I have to adapt to this situation carefully or I could develop severe mental health issues or a financially ruinous impulse buying problem."

There is no magic here. Using these methods probably won't solve all your problems. You aren't likely to become amazingly rich or become a totally different social being getting laid every night in the blink of an eye. But it will probably get you out of a rut and give you experience. So yeah... If you aren't doing what you feel you should be doing, Start moving The Dirt, start somewhere small, move your alarm clock across the room so you can't punch snooze without getting out of bed, punch man 4 where it counts, see what tradeoffs emerge, rinse and repeat till you die cause once you stop moving The Dirt, you've embraced oblivion and are going to be pushed by the indifferent universe into a hole that is way harder to escape.

Personally, I've been looking at my stream and noticing how similar it looks to the streams of other people. And I've noticed that the streams of those other people, led them far too frequently to suicide, death by loneliness... So here I am, desperately trying to shovel an escape trench to a different end. Wish this greyface cabbage some luck, cause I'm gonna need it.
Or Kill Me / Ruminating on Gurus
June 04, 2021, 02:48:45 PM
My relationship to the concept of gurus is complicated. I wish I could say I unilaterally hate the concept and the actuality of gurus from beginning to end. I feel like that would somehow be easier then my actual feelings.

First the negative, and there is a lot, so sorry. I grew up in a religion that could be adequately described as a hierarchy of store-brand gurus. It was customary or expected that for every major decision or doctrinal question that arose in your life you would first study the issue, think about it a while, pray about it, and if you didn't get clear feelings or an answer one way or another about the matter, then you could always go to the next guy (and it was always a man) up the chain for council on the matter. On the surface this could look innocuous in a "it's just an org chart" sort of way. But because it is associated with the church I left for a host of reasons and negative feelings, those negative feelings also glom onto it and bias me to seeing any potential problem.

For example, someone you might not actually feel close to often ends up involved in decisions that they likely don't have any right to be involved in. This rando was selected to their position by no other qualifications than "The next guy above him got good feefees about it". So why should I feel culturally conditioned to give this rando any say about a difficult business decision that could affect my family's financial well being, or who I should marry, or whether or not I should move across country for a job opportunity... etc. They haven't been specially trained for any of this. It is literally a roulette game in regards to the quality of their advice and reactions to your issues. Confessing your perceived failings to one of these individuals could result in anything from honestly good encouragement and perspective adjustment, to social disfellowship and enduring the shame of being barred from participating in public rituals that signify your personal worthiness/righteousness. But I digress. I just wanted to show that I mostly see the problems with this system, and that the negative bias I've developed towards the church leadership has also colored my view of guru's in general.

At least with the knock-off gurus of my church, most of the time they didn't get completely wrapped up in it and go off on some power trip (I've not experienced a severe case of this myself, but I have heard of instances where some congregations end up noticeably more cult-like because the leader really ran with their position. But that could all be cautionary folk lore, I'll never know). But there are plenty of individual operators who I could name that make a living off of their guru status. With these I've noticed a few recurring failure modes which cause me to be extremely wary.

Concept X
In programming, there is the concept of a God Class, which is where you have one object class that just does too much, it clogs up schedulers, modifying it becomes a nightmare because it is tied into too many other processes. To me, Concept X feels like a God Class problem. It is the one sized fits all "Secret" thing that you personally need in your life that will "Fix all your problems", and it is impossible to figure out on your own, and so powerful it's actually dangerous if you aren't properly trained to implement it in your life, so you'll need to sign up for a whole series of courses so you can be correctly shepherded into this enlightenment. And if it doesn't work out for you, well, that is an expected outcome as well because it's super hard to grasp and even harder to master Concept X. Not many people actually manage to master it, but you could be one of them! It's fine, we have a Money Back Guarantee if it doesn't work out for you. Non-Refundable fees may apply.

Most of the time Concept X is a blatant grift. There is nothing at the core. It's not even bullshit at the center, but it has several layers of very expensive bullshit surrounding it to keep you from seeing that there was nothing there. The promoter is just trying to keep the show going and the money flowing, It's smoke and mirrors and improvisation that only unintentionally helps enough rubes to keep the testimonial page stocked, and exhausts or bankrupts the rest so they leave blaming themselves. Occasionally the promoter actually does have something in mind for their Concept X. It is usually the same microwave re-heated folk wisdom you could have gotten for far cheaper from somewhere else, but you had to work for this one so maybe it sticks. Other times it's more bizarre, like an obsession with something random. More then likely it is what fixed a problem in the promoter's life, but it isn't likely to help you and your problem in the slightest.

The real problem with Concept X, is that it often can feel, or even be, real. We're a bunch of flawed poo flinging hominids that are capable of breaking in novel and interesting ways. I'd guess it's a somewhat common experience to look at your own life, find something you don't like about it, look at someone else's life (or at least the halfway curated bits they'll show) and think "they've got their shit together" and wonder, "what am I not getting?" Thus Concept X is born. But the difference between the real ones, and the ones pushed by gurus, is that there isn't just one, there is one for every problem that everyone has, and they are all slightly different keys for different locks. It genuinely is the thing you don't get, it often lies in your blind spot, if you could truly internalize that thing, you'd be able to finally fix that thing you don't like about yourself or your life (while simultaneously breaking some other shit in your life and dropping that into your new blind spot, you know the one, that crevice under the bookshelf, the one you thought you saw a large roach crawl into last Tuesday night.)

The Guru Trap
You ever wanted to unlock your creativity? Want to take your Business to the Next Level! You're poor, want to become fabulously rich? If you pay for this book, or this course, you can learn all my life coaching tips on how to Become the Best You!

I have less to say about the Guru Trap. Have you ever met a guru who claims to help everyone else get their business off the ground, but the only business that they've ever personally successfully operated is the business of being a guru? How about one that guru's so much helping others unleash their creativity, that they just don't have the time to make any art or anything creative at all?

The Guru Trap feels less common now a day. But I still see hints of it now and then. The Guru Trap is the pyramid scheme of fail states. It's inside network sales that never make it outside. It is people making money telling others how to make money doing the thing that the guru isn't doing anymore. Presently this pops up most prevalently in "Hot new money making ideas", like crypto currencies, or dropship sales, or affiliate marketing, or the classic literal MLM's. The only ones making the real money are the ones selling the shovels, maps, and instruction manuals to desperately hopeful, mostly talentless rubes who dream of striking it rich in them there hills.

Creeping Cultification
Don't worry! Follow my directions and things will go alright! Life is a messy affair. There are no two ways about it. There are plenty of bedraggled souls out there who often have been dealt a mediocre hand in life. Many seek oblivion whether or not they recognize it, the seductive abdication from responsibility and consequence. Don't believe me? Ask yourself, does this not rhyme with many a layperson's depiction of heaven? To dwell with a source of absolute authority, to forever bask in that glory, in restful peace for eternity. Oblivion by any other name is still just as empty.

There are gurus who are naïve and do not grasp this truth, they "Just want to help others". Along comes a follower, willing to sacrifice much to be absolved of the messy affairs of life. They seek direction in as much as the guru is willing to advise. And each bit of advise is but a bandage on the crumbling dam. And the guru either learns and drives off the seeker of oblivion, or they don't and exhaust themselves on problems they do not grasp. I pity and laugh at these.

There are gurus who are sociopaths, and definitely grasp this truth, and seek those who seek oblivion, and offer such absolution in exchange for devotion. And they have sick harems, and leave human wreckage in their wake, and burn bright and fast, and sometimes (but not often enough) get chased to foreign lands by the authorities, and on a rare occasion get thrown in jail forever. I openly despise (and maybe a little bit secretly envy) these. (Damn You Scruples!)

There are the extremely rare gurus who are not so naïve, and know this truth, and do their best to distinguish between those who seek oblivion, and those who seek life, and they do what they can to drive off those who seek oblivion and try to help those who seek life. They do so knowing full well that this is no easy task and that they will still frequently fail. Once they die though, they are no longer there to drive off seekers of oblivion, who will deify the guru, bastardize their teachings, and likely fuck shit up in the name of the guru. These are the source of my complicated feelings. I hate that.

Finally there are gurus, who are only gurus to themselves exclusively. And they beat off any seeking followers with sticks and terror and flung poo. These I openly admire cause they never waste too much oxygen thinking about this shit. They have real problems to fucking deal with, and deal with it they do, and deal with the consequences they will.

Now for the Complicated Bits.
Confession time. In my naïve youth, I was taken by the siren song of helping others. To this day I cannot completely shake the positive feelings I have with the concept of "helping others to help themselves". I firmly believed in the powers of mantras and positive affirmations and a rudimentary understanding of meme magic. I hoped I could be capable of forcefully injecting a virulent positivity into the world like one could inject a Cajun marinade into a turkey (Pro tip, it generally works out better if the turkey is already dead). When my grand ambitions smashed up against the grim realities, I'm sure by now you can guess which one survived. The fragments of those ambitions still linger about, complicating things. Thank <insert higher power here?> YouTube de-listed all my old videos. Thankfully, I didn't accrue any followers for my efforts.

Now I view that time in my life partly as a temptation to folly, and partly with a bit of longing. In my current state where I've ceded so much to oblivion's pull, I can see in those fragments bits and pieces of my own personal concept X, I can see the patterns that helped me to deal with the messiness of life head on rather than seek shelter from it. I saw in it some strange mentality that felt better than the mundane. But they are fragments at best now, the memories are not quite as clear. So back into the forge it all goes, maybe I can make something better next time, something that can survive an encounter with the grim realities for a little longer. But first I need to make some real things away from this so I'm not just a Guru Trap myself.
Literate Chaotic / Aspiring to Bullshit
June 03, 2021, 03:30:39 PM
Nothing can be grown from the void.

At least you can grow something from Bullshit.

Sometimes, what grows from Bullshit is a regrettable abomination.

I've long resided with Scylla, swallowed into nothing, going along to get along.

But recently I've been feeling the spasms of life returning to me. Clawing to escape, to avoid some fate I've found unpalatable.

Scylla must have finally found me unpalatable as well. Shaken from the quiet. Disgorged into awareness. Left to flail and flag among the waves.

And so I swim from familiar torment to uncertain future. My head only intermittently high enough above the turbulence to catch my shifting bearings. Before plunging back to a pumping rhythm of arms and legs.

In the moments of clarity, I can see the stronger twin of my long time captor. Charybdis, thrashing the throngs in her snare, her countless limbs colliding countless howling victims, cranium to cranium. A fate somehow even less palatable to me than the one I was trying to escape. For now, she is still a ways off.

I aspire to be more than nothing. I fear what the world does to those who become something.
If a person ceases communicating with anyone else, do they still exist?

In my youth I was addicted to online role play forums. I would interact and have drama and fights and make up with frenemies and I was a prolific creator of all things dumb and toxic and marty stu. And then I took a two year religion imposed hiatus from the internet (excluding the once weekly email to my parents) to ceaselessly bother strangers in real life about the religion I grew up with (and subsequently left a few years later).

After that, I couldn't seem to get back into the role play scene and instead tried to adapt to Facebook and YouTube. I would post a new video every couple of weeks and I would share that to Facebook and comment on things my family would post. But once College started to be a bit tough I didn't have any leftover energy for video production. And after that one nasty Facebook fight, I just kind of stopped... existing online. That was about 9 years ago.

Since then my online interaction can be pretty easily summarized. I've only tweeted four times since I created a twitter account 4+ years ago. I created that account mostly to notify me of reward codes for a game I play. And the other day I had my "cake day" on reddit and got a push notification about it. Wondering where the button might lead I pressed it and landed on my own profile page. It took me one swipe to reach the beginning of my posts 6+ years ago. My comments page is similarly sparse and mostly filled with one spat I had with a stranger about the economy where, I admit, I behaved shamefully.

Since I quit existing online and left the religion that served so long as a crutch for my social life, I started substituting podcasts for actual human interaction more and more till I finally woke up one day to recognize something was amiss.

I'm surrounded by co-workers every week day. And yet, the current average number of words I speak or type a day to another person at work could probably be tallied on fingers and toes. And if you narrowed it down to unique words, the average could probably be tallied on one hand. I go most work days where my only utterance to another human being is "How's it going" as I pass loose acquaintances in the hall. Even conversation with my spouse has noticeably diminished as the years have passed, our familiarity with one another has bred a sense of comfort, understanding, and quiet. And since the pandemic, I'm no longer routinely sitting with friends during game night, so that is one more opportunity to communicate that simply collapsed. Just from a numbers perspective, the amount of daily bi-directional communication I've engaged in has pretty much slid down hill and off some cliffs over the past decade.

I start to wonder. Do I functionally exist at all?

And I know. I'm being stupid here. This is a problem that is entirely in my power to solve. And for the sake of my mental well being I probably should work on solving it. I'm waxing on and on about nothing here.

Yet, for me, oblivion does hold a certain strange allure.
This wasn't the cool brilliance of a 65W porch light to which it had grown accustomed.
This was the flickering, enchanting light of an open flame torch.
Evolution allows for a lot of stupidity. I need no more proof of this than a mirror.

I admire the participants and the works on this forum. But I often wonder if the aspects of my psyche which cause my admiration, are the same aspects that make me utterly unfit to aspire to your company. The energy with which you lot engage in spats (friendly or otherwise) I can see clearly enough because it contrasts my own timid and tired, unconfrontational demeanor. Your willingness to repeatedly scrape your fingers against the rough edges of reality in order to dislodge a few hard won concepts to use as tools for navigating your lives, vs my tortured metaphors, stuffed with fancy words, and devoid of all useful substance. I feel compelled to continue because of the rule of threes, but it's probably best to cut this short.

From the quiet moth to the roaring flame...
From the unwary grayface cabbage that came wandering into the discordian spaces...
I'm probably going to break due to my attraction to you some day.
I'm not sure it can be helped.
Apologies in advance if it's necessary,
for leaving my smoldering corpse nearby,
and all my other fundamental misunderstandings.