The reassuring noise of the hive

chaos


(35 seconds to read)

Many inputs into my life. The mixture is becoming more rich in social media. As it does, it dilutes me, my being, my originality. My self still peeps…as I struggle to find it in the noise.

The pathways of my brain become a slippery erase board of values, based on what the collective thinks, and so my mind gets pulled towards the hive. It’s like a black hole, and I’m stretching now, pulled into strings of psyche that are unrecognizable from my true form.

It is a powerful force, based on the concentrated mass of humanity, a crushing and relentless gravity. Ironically it’s not mindful, as it spews thoughts, observations, accusations, churning like the waves of the ocean, it throws us up, spins us around, and sucks us down without direction.

And with our equilibrium shattered and compass gone,  we’re left wandering, thinking our focus is focused, but actually it’s the Generality we’ve reached, the Reactionary Equilibrium between loneliness and psychotic connection.

Because being plugged in doesn’t bring you closer to others or to reality, unless you believe it. And that’s what the internet is doing: Making you believe things, rather than think things.

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Yeast makes bread, beer, and men

beer hot tub

(Pin it here to read later)

The boy at the sales counter picked up the can. “What’s this?” he asked his father.
“It’s to grow yeast,” his father said, as he paid for his things.
“Yee-ust?” the boy said.
“Yeast,” his father said.
“What’s that?” the boy asked.
The question hung in the air, as the clerks bagged the beers and said nothing. I waited a few seconds, hesitating, then said, “Yeast are living things, they’re really small, so you can’t see them, but they’re all around. They float in the air, and they can be on this counter top.” I patted the countertop.
The boy looked at me with simple amazement. Then he turned to his father, for some kind of confirmation or reassurance. The father was getting his receipt but stopped and nodded.
I continued: “Do you see when your food goes bad, and it gets black, or brown? That’s yeast and other small living things like it.”
“I’ve seen green stuff,” the boy said excited.
“Yes,” I nodded, “that’s yeast growing on the food, They’re eating the food.”
“Yes,” the father said, “There’s good yeast and bad yeast.” Then he grabbed his bags. “Say thank you.” he said.
The boy wasn’t paying attention. The father prodded him, and looked at me, “say thank you”. I was surprised he was telling the boy to thank me.
“Thank you,” the boy said distracted, still thinking over the idea of these invisible things that surround him.
“Thank you,” the father looked at me earnestly. “You’re welcome,” I told them.
And the two left.
And then I thought, I think I just blew that kid’s mind.
The child’s curiosity. Why did we lose it?

Follow me and I will take you away from the everyday.

The best way to overcome frustration

pouting girl

If you are angry or in pain, separate yourself from anger and pain and watch them. Externalization is the first step to liberation. Step away and look.

The physical events will go on happening, but BY THEMSELVES THEY HAVE NO IMPORTANCE.

It is the mind alone that matters. Whatever happens, you cannot kick and scream in an airline office or in a bank. Society does not allow it. If you do not like their ways, or are not prepared to endure them, don’t fly or carry money. Walk, and if you cannot walk, don’t travel.

If you deal with society you must accept its ways, for its ways are your ways. Your needs and demands have created them. Your desires are so complex and contradictory — no wonder the society you create is also complex and contradictory.

-Nisargadatta Majaraj

The orange tide is coming. Do you smell it?

Pumpkin spice

The spicy, fall, candle-esque scent of cozy pleasure?

It’s sweeping in, like an old friend, arms wide, giving us a big hug. But it’s not an old friend. And that hug is getting in my personal space. A space reserved for lovers, or moments of severe sadness and empathy with another.

It wears a broad, clueless, orange smile and it’s crawling all over the human landscape; Even before the natural landscape has had a chance to turn. The cinnamon and nutmeg and earthy scents have parachuted in: A marketing mobile infantry.

The comforting, warming scents of spice injected into our food and drinks, into the icings on our baked goods, swirled into our coffee, and dropped into our beer. Before the cold, before the fall of Fall, the pumpkin spice cocktail has been blasted over us, like pixie dust from a soulless crop duster, or smeared without our consent, like glitter from an aggressive stripper.

It’s culture, and not participating is not an option. Because no sooner have you flinched away from the pumpkin invasion, you are thinking of that pumpkin spice, in your pancakes, in your malty beers. and you shrug, and order your tasty treat, because it doesn’t matter what you think. Culture has embraced the pumpkin.

And so you will, too.

Get unstuck, get unplugged, and take a swing

Using the internet can get to be like drinking from a fire hose. You’re attentive, reading, laughing, posting, messaging. But soon the web becomes a tangle of sticky strands. The internet is always open, holding many, many, many bits of data. Empty calories at an all you can eat buffet, leaving us hungry. Opinions are amplified and in your face. After a time, you shrug off the sarcasm and insults. Soon, the rest become blurred, too.

Billions of people defined by their pictures, their forwarding, their quoting, their lecturing. There’s a megaphone for everyone, like a crowded bar you’re tired of shouting in. The people are friendly enough, reliable little nodes for information, streaming you everything from everywhere, so you stop digging in, because it all looks good, and you just don’t have the time. So you graze, taking just a taste, and move on. Like walking down a busy Manhattan street with the honking horns, the engines rumbling. You get jostled, so you stop seeing people, instead looking at the fringes to carve out where to walk as you glance into the shop windows. But you don’t try anything on. You just observe as you go by. Surrounded and alone.

But we can unplug whenever we want. And you know that. So you do. And you walk out that door.
Look there.
A person.
Smile.
You get a smile back.

And then you remember.
You remember what it’s all about.
So, reach out.
Step up and take a swing.
Why not? Hear the clock? Tick-tock. It’s going to stop sooner than you think.

TED Talk Tuesday: Social networking isn’t so social

Sherry Turkle hits a little too close to home:

“Across the generations, I see that people can’t get enough of each other, if and only if they can have each other at a distance, in amounts they can control. I call it the Goldilocks effect: not too close, not too far, just right.”

I don’t even have a smart phone and I’m getting sucked in. The instant companion, the reassuring presence of people in my texts. They’re there, but not too close. Technology is good at providing what we want. But not what we need. Sherry describes it well:

“…I believe it’s because technology appeals to us most where we are most vulnerable. And we are vulnerable. We’re lonely, but we’re afraid of intimacy.”

Isnt it true? The prickly pear. The conversation with someone that seems like you’re peeling an artichoke to get to the goodness inside? Well, that’s ok. TV and movies has us thinking we need to have the perfect response and the right gestures, but that’s not life:

“Human relationships are rich and they’re messy and they’re demanding. And we clean them up with technology. And when we do, one of the things that can happen is that we sacrifice conversation for mere connection. We short-change ourselves. And over time, we seem to forget this, or we seem to stop caring.”

It’s time we recognize that using our smart phone isn’t so smart sometimes. It’s time we unplug. If the cell phone is making you happy, by all means, keep it up. But if it’s not…? If it’s just calling you back to the instant connection to everyone and no one, the intimacy that feels good, but doesn’t satisfy, then it’s time to listen to Sherry:

“Technology is making a bid to redefine human connection — how we care for each other, how we care for ourselves — but it’s also giving us the opportunity to affirm our values and our direction. I’m optimistic. We have everything we need to start. We have each other. And we have the greatest chance of success if we recognize our vulnerability.”