Tuesday, April 28, 2015

egalitarian

Saw a meme someone posted earlier.  A photo of three men in a courtroom, all a very similar shade of dark skin.  The caption read, "3 black men, 3 different positions.  We all have choices."  The lawyer, in a suit.  The policeman in uniform.  The convict, in chains.


To which, I replied..
Joshua Abell Do you think that just because they're all black, they all had the same choices in life? That's absurd.
Like · 39 · 8 hrs

Someone else responded..
C----- F--- Joshua Abell, everyone has the same choices in life. 
Like · 2 · 8 hrs

Nice to see the difference in upvotes there, at least, but I'm not sure that view is so uncommon.  Maybe more popular among those that can't figure out how to use computers, I don't know.. but it strikes me as crazy.  I don't know what people think choices are.

It's like they believe they have this innate power that transcends physiology, capable of trumping any and all circumstances, all the good and bad fortune that's made us who they are, and all that will impact everything we endeavor to do.  So many countless things contribute to what options we have, what we can accomplish, and what can go right or wrong when we give it a shot.  To think otherwise is simplistic to a degree that I find incomprehensible.  Childish.  Like something a brain damaged chimp would say.

And yet this is a guiding principle in our civilization.  Why is it ok, that some people are born into enough wealth to own numerous houses, others can't even afford to rent a room in?  Why is it ok, that some people work their asses off, just to scrape by, while others milk their labor for millions in profits?

Some might argue that it's because they can.  Because those who have the fortune to be in power tend to do what they can to make the most of it.  That we all do what we can, to make the most of what we have.  Some just wield a hell of a lot more power in that respect, so inequality only widens.

That's a constant struggle though, as they have to be careful not to leave too many, with too little.  Enough people end up on the wrong side of that equation, and things tend to change.  One way or another.  I'd also like to think that maybe a compelling enough argument has the potential to shift the balance, as well.

So to that, I can't exactly disagree, I can only debate what that means for how we deal with it.

Others though, would apparently argue that this power structure actually makes sense, that it's even right and fair, because we can all choose to be landlords or tenants or homeless.  Corporate vultures, or petty thieves.  We can choose to be a doctor or lawyer, or maybe even bus tables at Taco Bell, if we're ambitious enough.

In reality, things are a little more complicated than that.  Life isn't fair.  It's not even remotely close to fair.  The natural world has no concept of equality, and it can be appallingly brutal.  The world has no innate concept of right and wrong.  That doesn't even enter into it, as every living things struggles to do whatever it has to, just to survive.

Some of us would like to think that we're a step above that though.  That sociopathic nihilism might not be the best way to go.  We do have a concept of right and wrong. Of fairness.  Of compassion.

There is really no good reason, for people to suffer in modern society, just because others are too greedy to share.  We may not be able to take it from them, but we should at least call it what it is.  Pure greed.  There is nothing reasonable, or righteous about the idea that those with fortune should get to keep it, while those without, just suffer.

I'm not suggesting redistribution to a degree that would disincentivize success.  A progressive society still needs people to have the opportunity to be rewarded for their efforts.  Having more than the bare minimum is still a huge incentive for most of us.

Everyone should be lifted from poverty though.  Not just working people, leaving a caste of unemployed and unemployable to just languish, with no way out.  Some have better excuses than others, but what difference does that really make?

There aren't even enough jobs to go around anyhow, yet we live in a country with the highest GDP in the world.  We aren't remotely lacking in resources, our economy is just being strangled, in the name of righteous greed.  For the country overall, aside from disincentivizing crime, and everything that costs us, it would even pay off in productivity, as so many more people would finally be able to climb towards successful productive lives.  Whether as artists or engineers, we're talking about a whole lot of people who would then be able to contribute to society, instead of just struggling to get from day to day.  People who would put everything they get right back into the economy.

Everyone should have a secure place to live, enough food to survive, access to decent transportation, access to an advanced education, and comprehensive healthcare.. but it also just makes so much more sense than this puritanical workaholic ideologically driven economy we've got now.  This could easily be the bottom line, with some aggressive redistribution, and there is no ethical argument against it, and even the economic downsides of it are debatable.

The only serious opposition is selfishness.  Maybe we have a right to be selfish, but call it what it is.  Everyone else has the right to work together and find a more equitable way to distribute that good fortune life doles out so unfairly.  That's just good governance.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dogs it tingling

I've been dogs it tingling for Samara this weekend.  No, no, dog sitting.  I don't have a computer to use, so I'm trying to do this on my phone.   I'm still not really used to this, still experimenting with different input methods. Nothing feels as natural as typing the old fashioned way.

It's interesting how even using speech to text just feels cumbersome. The process of deciding what I want to say out loud interferes with my ability to decide what I want to say. So much more so than typing.

1 TRY using THE STYL U J To WRITE BUT THIS DQGNT SEEM To Work QUITE WELL ENW OGH . ± DONT Fe EL Like spawn diwc, Time ARC CORR ETING ALL these er r ors.~~

Apparently, Android considers my handwriting atrocious.  

So yeah, back to pecking at this tiny keyboard.  Or drawing lines between letters with the stylus, but that only seems marginally faster.   Whatever method I go with, I guess I just need more practice,but for now, composing anything of length is a pain in the ads.
Er, ok sure, that too.  Thanks, auto correct.

Anti how,  it's been really nice having my own private living space foot a few days. I love Marty, and I'm very grateful for the roof over my head. . but.  This past year has been awful.   I feel stressed out all the time. I feel judged for every little thing, and I know it's largely due to my own neurotic obsession with what people think of me, but it doesn't exactly help that I'm living with people who can be, let s just say, a little judgey.

That fear of what people think is a normal survival  instinct we have to avoid being cast from the tribe. Once upon a time, that would be a dearth abbreviation.

A death sentence. How the hell does "sentence" auto-correct to "abbreviation?"

...This instinct, like any organic element in life, can vary widely in degree.  From one person to another, and in me, that normal healthy instinct is, in some ways, seriously excessive.  Even Moorestown. . More so, now that my survival literally does depend on making a good enough impression not be kicked out.

Does that seem crazy? Of course they wouldn't kick me out? Not in such simple terms, but, what if I just lived the way I normally do? Sleeping whenever I feel like it, playing video games all day, being the unrepentant slacker that I am?  Making (what they'd perceive as) no effort to change?

They might not immediately throw me out, but that would lead to social dynamic that would quickly become very negative. Tensions would increase. The end result would be roughly the same.  Especially, the longer I overstay my welcome.  

Is it so wrong for me to be hypervigilant of what people think?  It can actually matter a whole lot, and all these stupid random things can add up to the difference of whether or not people think you're a terrible person.  I've tried so hard to be a good person, and in the end, it seems to matter a whole lot less than my ability to make proper small talk, and not being too overtly bitter and angry about this whole predicament I'm in.

Finally getting treated for AGHD has been a godsend of sorts, a great improvement over how I normally feel.  In past situations, that alone would be something to celebrate.  To appreciate the benefits of.   Its not going to change who I am, though.  It's not going to undo a lifetime of experiences, circumstances, and coping mechanisms. In my current situation, it just seems grossly inadequate.  I'm feeling kinda robbed of how happy I should be about this.

So, it's been nice to just hang out in Samara's apartment, for a few days.  Aside from Abbey and Smokey, her dog and cat, just alone, being shamelessly me. I don't even have my own stuff to do most of what I'd like, but that doesn't seem to matter as much as just being able to feel relaxed in my own skin.

It was also very nice being able to cook a spicy gochujang stir-fry.  The ingredients weren't certified organic, but it was delicious.
 

Monday, April 20, 2015

rats in a cage

Years ago, at the end of a disability assessment, a psychiatrist told me that he believes that ultimately, people do what they want to do.  That is, if someone wants to work, they work.  If they don't, they don't.  Somehow, in spite of that little gem, my case was approved, anyhow.

More recently, as I've read all sorts of articles about helping the homeless, I've seen a common response about how some homeless people want to be homeless.  As if, therefore, there's not much point in trying to help any of them, or something nonsensical like that.

That's not nonsense because it's untrue, however.  There's actually some truth to that.  Sometimes homelessness is a choice, in the sense that it seems better than any of the alternatives society provides.  Often, because those alternatives are pretty damn awful, too - or because they are beyond the scope of what someone believes to be realistic or manageable for themselves.  There are often mental health issues involved.  People do not pursue options which are all too likely to be painful and unrewarding.  Those aren't really options, in any reasonable sense.

If living in a homeless shelter is actually worse than being homeless, that isn't really much of an option.  To get a soulcrushing awful job for slave wages, only to remain in poverty anyhow, that's not really much of a choice.  To look at these choices people make as some sort of bottom line is just a way of shrugging off guilt.  It's pretending that someone's misfortune is their own choice, just because to some relatively inconsequential degree, it is.

So, that psychiatrist was right, in a way.  People do not make their choices in a vacuum, though.  They generally make the best choices they can, given what they feel capable of, how rewarding those choices are likely to be, how painful they might be, how likely it might be to go horribly wrong, putting them in an even worse situation, etc, etc.

Even drug addiction has been shown to be a rational decision, in a sense.  Put rats in a barren cage, with nothing to do except drugs, and they self-medicate themselves to death.  Put them in a cage where they have all sorts of engaging alternatives, and suddenly they're not addicts anymore. [1] [2]

We don't always have the best judgement, to say the least, but nobody intentionally makes bad choices.  People do the best they can, given their choices in life, as they understand them.  Dealing with parameters other people are often unaware of, or completely  unfamiliar with.

Passing judgement on people for failing to adequately navigate a difficult situation isn't solving anything, other than how to suppress sympathy for our fellow human beings.

Not the most noble of goals, really.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

beginning, middle, end

I read a lot, when I was a teenager.  I wanted to be a writer.  Not necessarily for a living; I didn't think about it that way.  I just wanted to create, linguistically.  I attempted to write numerous stories, but couldn't get anywhere.  I'd come up with the intro of a scene, it's characters, but then I'd just ramble aimlessly about the environment and eventually give up.  Countless times.

I couldn't even make my character in a story go anywhere.

My best assessment of what was going wrong, at the time, was that I couldn't seem to wrap my head around any sort of progression.  I couldn't come up with even the flimsiest of plotlines.  I'd spend all sorts of time thinking up characters, or drawing maps of fantastical locations, but a story seemed to be a magic trick I could make no heads or tales of.

Incidentally, I've come to hate stories.  Especially in video games.  I just want to play the damn game.  Even TV, and Movies, though.  Those books I used to read so much of- I don't do a lot of that, these days.  It occurs to me that even when I did enjoy reading, I don't know that I payed much attention to the storyline, per se.  I just enjoyed getting lost in the world the story took place in.  I enjoyed everything that fleshed out a narrative, but never thought much of the linear cohesion of it.

My first therapist, when I was about eleven years old, noted that I seem to have trouble seeing the trees, for the forest.  She introduced me to the idea of "chunking," that is, breaking goals down into manageable steps.  I don't think the idea ever really took root, except in the way I assimilated the concept into my greater worldview.  A component of the larger picture.  A variable in the equation, just another tree in the forest.

Maybe that's just how my brain works, and a better approach would be learning to work with that, instead of in spite of it.  Not that I have any idea what that would look like, but I suspect that it might be a more realistic approach than trying to change how we think.

It just strikes me as interesting that I've come back around to such a similar explanation, decades later.  Not sure whether it speaks to the veracity of the idea, or just my neurotic obsession with the same old nutty thought experiments.

Either way, it has to be better than this notion that any explanation is an excuse, and that we just need to stop being who we are.  A trick I've not seen many people pull off, in my life.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

linear cohesion

My guitar playing has been an interesting metric to use, as I attempt to scour my thoughts and behavior for signs of improvement.  I have this theory (in the very unscientific sense) that hormones influence brain function in ways that medical science has only just begun to sort out.

Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours all begin with chemical impulses in the brain, unquestionably influenced by the physiological differences between one brain and another.

This is not to say that thoughts and behaviours do not also have influence, but that said influence competes or cooperates with physiological predispositions to widely varying degrees.  To put it in simple terms, for one person, smiling may be all it takes to feel more friendly and positive.  For another, that can be woefully inadequate.  Entirely due to physiological differences.

Not to even get into everything else that can play into it; circumstances, upbringing, healthy social integration, etc, etc - because I'm especially focused on the only positive change in my life that's happening right now.  I don't know what to do about my circumstances, in any other respect.  There are obstacles, the same I've been struggling with for a long time, and that hasn't changed.  My IGF1 levels have.

So, aside from reading a bit, getting some regular exercise, learning spanish, and thinking more seriously about maybe getting into the city - I've been playing guitar.  I've been thinking a lot about my unorthodox approach to it, my shrugging off of suggestions that maybe I should take lessons.  Even via YouTube, at least.  I've tried a little, but I hate that.  I just want to play, like a little kid banging on a xylophone.  Course, if that kid keeps at it, they'll still get pretty good eventually.  So even if its not the best way to learn, I might still be getting somewhere.  I just can't tell.  It all feels very random, and disorganized, and immeasurable.

My motivation to create does seem to be improving, though.  Not only that, but I'm having ideas, organizational ideas, that extend beyond just playing note to note, moment to moment.  A faint glimmer of effort to take a specific sounding riff, build on it, combine it with something else.  Create something a little more closely resembling a cohesive song, than just the banging around with notes that sound like they might go together, the way I normally do.

Not only that, but even the recent realization that it's not that difficult to use editing software to help me do it.  Audacity is very straight-forward, whereas a month ago, I just took one look at it, and was all, ah screw it.  Too complicated.  Too many steps to learn.  I almost feel like something is improving, in the way my mind processes motivation.  More easily bridging steps necessary to accomplish an indirect goal.

This is premature, though.  It still feels heavily mired in, not right now.  I'm getting there, I'm making little efforts here and there, but for the most part.. not quite yet.

This sort of over-thinking it may be a whole lot of half-baked desperate grasping for any sense of optimism I can find, but I have read over and over that GH therapy takes a few months to work.  I am obsessed with trying to understand what that means.  Even people who say it takes months to work are oddly vague about what it actually does exactly, when it finally does work  They just feel better.

I'm a little more analytical than that.  Decreased motivation is often listed as a primary symptom, but what does that mean?  How so?  My whole life has been defined by a lack of motivation.  What are the actual parameters I'll need to be navigating here?  Is there a chance this is finally going to get better, or no?

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that there's ample reason for hope.

Friday, April 17, 2015

catching the bus

In theory, I could pick up and move anywhere in the country.  Even the world, really.  There's nothing in my circumstances holding me here.  I even have the resources to survive for a month or two, while looking for a job.  I could pick somewhere to live that makes sense, or I could bravely choose somewhere that's just extra interesting.

It's no wonder people have trouble sympathizing, when I don't even get it, myself.  In theory, I have enough going for me, that I should be able to do pretty well for myself.  Especially by my standards, where making a meager living somewhere that I actually want to live, would be plenty fucking awesome.

In reality, that's just patently unrealistic.  I might as well be suggesting that I could run for President, while I'm at it.  I don't understand how people make a living.  It's like some crazy voodoo I've never been able to make sense of.  It takes me a week just to build up enough courage to make a phone call.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

phobos

Other people's phobias are difficult to understand.  Our own phobias can be difficult to understand, but we tend to be forgiving, anyhow.  Sometimes.  Other times, we can be as brutally intolerant of ourselves as anyone.

These fears that just make no sense, the paralysis, the loss of cognitive faculties, for completely irrational reasons.  How do you reason with someone, when their capacity for reason is being subverted?  How do I reason with myself, when I know damn well that I'm not being reasonable?

It's tricky to even convey how bad it is.  Especially when I'm afraid of actually showing any fear or vulnerability.  I have to be stoic, even as I describe my sheer terror.

I think one problem with social phobia, and the whole "do it anyhow" approach, is that social interaction is much more complex than e.g. a fear of enclosed spaces, or flying, or whatever.  Where doing it anyway involves a single task, something straight-forward to do, and put behind you.  As opposed to a single step, in a vast array of steps, with no end in sight.

It's not like I never take a step.  I feel like I have been, taking step after step, but some of these things I should do are just way too much for me.  I'd rather run into a burning building full of spiders teetering atop a gigantic cliff to save a pitbull - than go apartment hunting, or whatever the hell I'm supposed to do.  I'm realizing that I've even overemphasized the money issue, but that's really the lesser part of it.  A problem, but not a new problem.  Most of my life, I've scraped by, paying my entire income to rent.  It sucks, but that's not the main issue.

The issue is that I can't deal with all the people and social navigation involved.  I don't even know how to convey the fact that I just can't.  I don't understand why nobody seems to have any idea how to help me.  I'm not saying that I feel entitled to anyone doing anything for me.  I'm just saying, clearly, no, I can't do it myself.  Unless there's a third option, I don't know what my family expects.

I'm open to working on these fears of mine, there are all sorts of ways I can go about that.  I just really need a place to live, in the meantime.  I'm reluctant to even get involved in anything, because I don't know if I'm even going to be here, much longer.  It's difficult to think about planting roots, when I don't have any stable ground under my feet.

It's also a bit strange that I have very little reason to be here, as opposed to anywhere else.  So little, that I feel like I could just move anywhere, if only I could handle the process of doing it.  Surely, there are more affordable places than Montclair, that wouldn't be as horrific as Florida.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

fraigish improv


Marty referred to an interesting scale I heard him playing as "freigish," so I looked it up, and screwed around with it.  This is what I do.  No patience to learn to play other people's songs, I just make it up as I go.
[ק] : [פ


I just started playing guitar again a few months ago, after taking an almost 25 year break from it.  When I was 14, I never really learned what I was doing, so now I'm kinda sorta trying to take it more seriously, in a way, but still, I have no patience for learning to read music, or learning scales or chords, yet. I know it might be a good idea, but at this point in my life, I don't think it really matters all that much.  Maybe I'll get around to it, maybe not.

[·δ·] : [·φ·] : [·Ω·] : [·ζ·

Lately, I've been recording my playing, trying to decide what to make of it.  I'm not really sure, but I enjoy it.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

role models

When my mom left my dad, she took Ariel and I, and found her own place, leaving him to suddenly have to figure his own life out, for himself.  For a while, he sat in the Fogel's basement doing nothing, just smoking cigarettes in the dark, and no one seemed to know what to make of that.  Coincidentally, now here I am, but unlike him, I have nowhere else to go.

At some point he tried to hitchhike across the country, and that just seemed even more crazy.  In retrospect, I realize that he must have had no idea what he should do.  He was just taking whatever action he could think of, because he had no choices.  His life was gone, he had to pick himself up and start a new one, but had no idea how to go about doing that.

He ended up moving back in with his parents, at about the same age I am now.  From what I understand, he had some career counselling, was given a suggestion, and was basically just like, fine, whatever.  Medical technology it is.

So, living in his parents basement, he spent the next four years going to college.  Not because it's what he really wanted to do, but because that's what he was told to do, and it was more a matter of survival, to just go along with that.  Ultimately, he never really got much of a life back, but he did survive.  He rode that out, doing a job he hated for a while, living where he could, and now, he's a miserable retired alcoholic living in my sister's basement.

He'd always get mad at me, when he saw me imitating him, when I was little.  It would really irk him, that I'd sit like him, or talk like him.  His concern that I was copying him seemed awfully juvenile to me at the time - yes, even though I was the six year old - but now, I'm not so sure I blame him.

I don't even have parents who can take me in, the way his did.  Back in the town he grew up in, no less.  It's hard to even imagine.  I don't feel quite so well connected to the five or six different towns I grew up in. Anyhow, nobody is going to put me through college like that.  I'm not sure it's even feasible, these days.  Even if I had that sort of stable cohesive family, going to college seems like more of a luxury than it used to be.  I've been left to get my life together in a similar sort of way, but without anyone helping me do it.  Without guidance or support.

Nobody seems to have any idea what I should do.  Nobody has any idea what to even suggest.  My experience must be so foreign to everyone.  Either that, or they're as lost as I, and don't even know it - but that sounds all existentialist, while I'm actually in serious trouble, here.

I have to find my own place to live, at least.  That's all anyone seems to really care about.  Getting me out of here.  Now, I'm trying to figure out how to apply for Section 8 housing, so that I can disappear into a little hole in the wall, while everyone I know moves away.  Seriously, they're talking about upstate NY or Vermont.  It's looking like that might be the best case scenario.  It's going to work out just great for me, I'm sure.

As for the Omnitrope, insurance is finally all sorted out for now, and it seems to be helping, but I'm afraid it's just too little, too late.

* later.. *

I realize that's a very negative outlook, indicative of depression.  On the other hand, I just went for a run.  I've been doing that much more regularly than I'm able to, normally.  As the Omnitrope starts to work again, I've been getting daily exercise again.  That, in turn, helps me feel better, too.  Physically and emotionally.

I'm starting to feel a little more motivated, and that could lead to any number of things.  Maybe this is just the beginning of me getting the ball rolling, and I just have to be patient.  As dealing with insurance and doctors has been dragged for almost a year now, I'm only just now finally getting started.  For a little while longer, I can try to hang on to the hope that this is going to make all the difference.

Monday, April 6, 2015

neurologistics

I used to phrase things a little differently.  Instead of saying I was overwhelmed by anxiety, I'd say that I was just ridiculously impractical.  I've always had a hard time wrapping my head around the logistics of daily life.  From the steps we have to take, to be functional members of society, to just remembering schedules, or directions.  I'm not a very linear thinker.

What a strange, shapeless reason that is, to have fucked up my life this badly, though.  There must be something more comprehensible to it.  For example, why don't I get a job?  Certainly, I'm very nervous about how that would go, and what it should entail, exactly - but who wouldn't be?  Anyone who's never worked before in their life is going to be a bit nervous about it.  Especially if they've somehow gotten to be forty years old, in the meantime.  It is possible that my anxiety about that is relatively normal.

It's just the only obstacle that's at all discernible.  What else could it be, that keeps me from doing much of anything?  What if I was right, to begin with?  What if I've been mislead by other people, who were just wrong?  Understandably wrong, but wrong, nonetheless?

To try to look at this scientifically, empirically, at the most fundamental evidence of the situation, it is in the straight forward simple facts of how my life's gone.  Each event, the result of something preceding it.  Beneath all our ideas of who we should be, and how life is supposed to go, there are the concrete facts of how it's actually played out.  All the circumstances that go into that.

At what point, did I make that choice?  I'm going to be really really shitty at accomplishing anything at all in life?  You see, I've never been at all confused about this.  I've never been under the impression, that maybe being this much of a fuck up might be a good idea.  It's just never been a fucking choice.

See?  All scientific like.   None of this making shit up everyone does.  I believe in this, I believe in that.  Why?  Because it makes you feel good?  Come on, I'm trying to deal with an actual problem here, and I'm not sure your feelings should be my top priority.  Or yours, honestly.  I mean, that's kind of selfish, you know?

I'm trying to figure out what's so anomalous in my circumstances, that would lead to such an anomalous life.  What must be going so very differently, to steer me so wrong in this world.  It's devastating to be thrown back into the realm of thinking about it as an inadequacy on my part, but my life is coming to an end, if I can't figure something out.  I don't mean that metaphorically.  I don't understand why no one else seems to see how dire this is for me.

Why is it that I can just barely drag myself from moment to moment, never mind plan for anything, or follow steps, or lead anything resembling a normal human life?  What the fuck am I supposed to do?  Nothing, as far as I can see.  This way I have of looking at it all may seem abstract to everyone else, but all the shit people do is so abstract to me.

It's like my head is just always somewhere else.  I'm thinking about things that other people would call abstract.  I can't follow directions, or remember schedules.  I forget, when people tell me things, they're not always just telling me an interesting story.  Sometimes they're giving me logistical life details that can be kind of important.

I never remember shit like that.  I'm distracted by thinking about how they feel about it, or something.  I don't know.  It's not like I don't hear it, or even that I don't process it. It's more that I process it differently.  In a way that doesn't seem to be entirely practical.

I can't help but wonder if this impacts my approach to life, in a very fundamental way, that can seem almost imperceptible.  Of course, I can make an effort to approach circumstances differently, I can take steps to be more organized- I do so all the time, but I suspect that the way the mind works, in all the moments in between, can still have a profound effect on how we live, in a broader overarching sense.

--

Last few days, I've felt like the Omnitrope might be starting to work again.  Running went well, having trouble sleeping, feeling a little less freaked out about the appointments I have, on the 6th, um.. 7th.. 8th ...and 9th.

Wait, what?!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

a night of questions

Community is so important.  People need each other, and we thrive, when we welcome diversity, learning from a much greater spectrum of views.  I love how I can say a lot of this mythology is crap, without anyone telling me that this means I'm not really a Jew.  They might call me an asshole, but still.  A Jew.

No matter what I think of it all.  This is actually really important.

Yadda, yadda.. no, not even as a metaphor.  It doesn't even make for that great of a metaphor, no matter how you stretch it.  Better to just admit, it was largely the ramblings of primitive crazy people.

It was written at a time when people had a hell of a lot to learn, and questions were still a pretty new concept- but that's ok.  It's still interesting in an anthropological archaeological sort of way.  We can still celebrate it ..but no idea is infallible.  The less we question an idea, the more likely it is to be crap.

Like that past lives thing.  Don't take this the wrong way, but it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm just saying, maybe making stuff up, and then going all, "who knows, it's possible" might not be the best approach to understanding the world around us.

Check out Cosmos or something.  Reality is still pretty damn impressive.  We don't need to salve our ignorance with make-believe, anymore.

This is why I don't talk much.  All too often, it's really for the best.