Thursday, July 30, 2015

textrovert

It's strange how much of my life has been spent online.  Throughout my entire adulthood, almost all of my social interaction has been online.  I've all but given up even trying to interact with people any other way.

I take the regular stabs at partaking in family social gatherings, we converse of course, but I don't branch out any more than that.  I've made attempts over the years, but it never works out.  In a sense, I feel as though I only really exist online.  That is where I express who I am.  When people say it doesn't count, it feels an awful lot like being told that who I am doesn't count.

Some of us have nothing to give, but our voices.

It would be nice if I could figure out some way to make a living this way, but even my voice doesn't seem to be worth that much.  I can get lots of thumbs up from a Facebook post, but am I coherent enough to write entire articles?  Stories?  Anything serious like that, that people might want to pay for?  Not really, not as far as I can tell.

A lot of my effort has been channelled into saying as much as possible, as briefly as possible.  I know that the more verbose I am, the more I'm going to lose to people.  The greatest impact coming not from novellas or even an exhaustive article, but from a line or two, that really drives a point home.  That makes the point in a new or innovative way.  A question that gets people to think.  This isn't really marketable, though.

They say that if you want to be a writer, write.  So that's what I do.. but year after year, this is all that comes of it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

cognitive dissonance

The way I play music feels significant.
How disorganized it is.  How I just play whatever comes into my head. I attempt to write bits and pieces of a song, but never tie it together.  I jump from one thing to another, with complete disregard for continuity.   I get better and better, but turning that into anything cohesive always feels just out of reach.

I make up all different parts, on any given day.  Tying it together should be the easy part.  Remembering it.  Being able to play the exact same thing a second time.  What kind of craziness would that be?
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It seems trivial, compared to the creativity of it, and yet, it's not trivial at all.  It seems to be really important.. but for whatever reason, I can't get my head around it.  I just play.  No matter how good I get, I'm afraid it's still just a lot of random noise.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

see: voluntaryism

In the comments section of a Rolling Stone article, I got into a debate about police brutality and the idea that it's inherent to what government is.  Absolute compliance, or risk of death.  That is, the police need to be obeyed, absolutely.

If I understood correctly, the concern seems to be that unrestricted force for noncompliance is necessary to mitigate escalation into anarchy.  People will otherwise keep pushing limits until the whole system falls apart.

i.e. Government itself is the problem.

I used to be an anarchist. One thing that changed my mind was the realization that there are no people anywhere in the world, without government. There aren't even any Libertarian governments, let alone Voluntaryist or Anarchist.

The problem is that government is also an organizational tool which is extremely effective. It makes us capable of so much more than we are without it - which includes having the power to dominate anyone within its sphere of influence. A sphere of influence which grows until stopped by another's, leaving nowhere ungoverned.

Our only real defense against government is better government.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

systemic hopelessness

I woke up this morning, thinking about Sandra Bland, and the growing evidence that it really was a suicide.  Evidence gathered by the very people who may have killed her.. but still, enough of it to look like they might be telling the truth.

..this time.

It seems almost worse, in a way. I realized that it's even more depressing, the more I started thinking about it.

She was supposed to be starting a new job.  She'd moved across the country for it, and they took that from her, as soon as she got there.  Her dreams kicked to pieces by a racist pig, trampling the rule of law he was supposed to be upholding, for the ego trip of dominating a defenseless black woman.

We hear of this happening all the time.  People thrown in jail over minor infractions, and broken window policy.  Perpetuating a cycle of poverty, where even if they have a job, they end up losing it, for trivialities that other people only get a warning for.  If they're even stopped at all.  We hear of people committing suicide in jails and prisons, all the time.  We know that the abuse and mistreatment of incarceration can be psychologically destructive, but all the more so, when it's so oppressive and unjust.

When this is levelled at someone who hadn't even commit a crime worthy of a fine, sitting in jail indefinitely, treated like garbage, like her life didn't matter.  Alone in her cell, still suffering her untreated wounds, inflicted when she was dragged from her car and beaten at the side of the road.  Someone who may have been vulnerable to begin with, but was trying to get her life together.

I think we underestimate just how traumatizing it must be, to be dragged out of your car, assaulted at the side of the road, hauled off to jail, enduring more abuse while there, and for what? Because some psycho cop saw a black woman with Illinois plates and decided to go fishing.

We're not just talking a bad day, here. That's gotta be fucking soul crushing.

I don't know if she killed herself, but even if she did, the people who did all that to her are absolutely still responsible. At the very least, the guards who failed to protect her charged with criminal negligence, the cop who arrested her, fired and charged with assault, elevated to a hate crime.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

scapegoatting

Sometimes people just really want to be angry with each other.  It sounds crazy, but it's true.  There's something comforting about having someone to be angry at, rather than someone or something beyond your sphere of influence.  We don't like feeling angry at the wind.  That's just pointless.

So much more satisfying to be angry at someone we can actually have an impact on.  Someone that can be hurt by that anger.  I guess that's kinda the point.. but seriously, grow the fuck up.

I keep this to myself, though.  Be angry at me, whatever, I'll be fine.  It'll blow over, and before we know it, we can pretend nothing happened.  Call it fear, call it whatever you want, it just seems like a bad idea to even bother being confrontational.  It never works, no matter how meticulously I chose my words, no one ever changes their mind.

People stick to their asinine proclamations, even when everyone knows what a jackass they're being.  To be confrontational, no matter how skillfully, just extends the drama.  It ends up being no more than a catharsis that isn't really worth it.

So, here, where it won't be read by the party in question.  Just venting.

Friday, July 10, 2015

poor little old me

Sometimes I find myself obsessively conserving things, like my grandfather used to do.  Or trying to consume every little particle of food on my plate, as if still trying to be a part of that "clean plate club" he was always going on about.

I've often wondered if it's something I learned from him, or if it might just be genetic.  I was always told that he grew up during the great depression, and that might have had a lot to do with it.. but if that's the case, what's my excuse?

Oh wait, I haven't exactly been living comfortably all these years.  At least in his day, it was normal.  It was hard on everyone.

I haven't met many people who know what it's like, going decades without being able to afford a car.  At times, not even a bicycle.  Scouring my apartment for another 12 cents, so I could at least buy myself a donut or something.  Have you ever eaten a jar of mustard, because you ate the last of the salsa, yesterday?

It occurs to me that I could easily have been someone asking strangers if they had any spare change, so that I could get something to eat.  If I weren't so afraid of people.  I got by, but I sure as hell wasn't letting anything go bad in the back of the fridge.

This may seem self-pitying, but that's only part of the point.  It's also just that I don't know if anyone else even knows this.  I don't know if people are aware of it.  I don't know how much it matters.

My therapist caught me off-guard with a question I'd never thought of, the other day.  She pointed out that I create these scenarios in my head, where I'm speculating on what everyone else is thinking.  As I understood it, to be asking if it made much sense to base my decisions on something so entirely of my own fabrication.

I... What?

This feels kind of foundational, a paradigm shift I can't even imagine.  Acting, without regard to what other people are thinking?  That would be like acting in spite of gravity.  It would be like navigating a maze, by realizing that there are no walls.

I don't know.  These walls feel more important to me than anything else I can think of.   Maybe I can't see them, but I know that they're there.  I sure as hell know when I bump into one.  I'm just trying to figure out where they're most likely to be.

I'm inclined to say that our thoughts and feelings are what life is all about.  OUR thoughts.  Not just mine.. but I'm not entirely closed off to the possibility that I've made some sort of egregious miscalculation.

At the very least, it may have something to do with why I have no money.

Friday, July 3, 2015

abject poverty

I suspect lots of people stuck in chronic poverty suffer from depression.  When we fall apart, when we stop taking care of ourselves or our environment, when we turn to drugs, or criminal behavior.  When we just don't give a fuck anymore.

I wonder how often we do this, because being dirt poor can be seriously fucking depressing.  I'm not talking about a temporary bout of poverty, or dwelling on the stuff we can't afford to do or own, but the impact of this being all we've ever known.  The recurring struggle of finding an affordable place to live, having enough food to eat every single day, having transportation to get where we want to go. Having no evidence to suggest that our lives are ever going to get any better.

It's oppressive and it isn't a condition I can even imagine getting myself out of.  I have nothing to work towards, that I honestly believe would change my situation enough to matter.  I think the word for that is hopeless, but that is the product of my entire life's experience, and it isn't really conducive to good mental health.  Some do better with it than others.  Poverty tests people in ways that others have the luxury never to be at risk of failing.  To afford the stability and adaptability to have weaknesses and vulnerabilities, as so many human beings do.

It can sound like a mark of privilege to even speak of mental illness, as if it's an affliction of being too comfortable.  Really, it's just the diagnosis though, that's the mark of privilege.  The poor may not think of it that way, and society may not look at it that way, but it may be far more accurate to say that Major Depression is especially rampant among those trapped in poverty, and that is part of the problem.