Here is a quote concerning the complex issues regarding our personalities, society, and social ‘masks’.
Archive for May, 2013
As an architect, this has been my consistent advice for all people living within tornado areas. Sure underground construction costs a few thousand more than most crappy track houses, but it is worth it when you know that having a normal house makes you an easy target for the common natural disasters that occur in that area. Government (State or Federal) should get with it, and supply financial incentives to get most homes underground now! There is no reason to wait. If you want to keep your house and most things in your house safe, you need an underground house; not just a separate storm shelter or basement.
I would never live in an area that has tornadoes without living in an underground house, if I had any money or respect for life at all.
– Drogo Empedocles
Clothing fashion has changed over hundreds-of-thousands of years as we humans have evolved; however conventional dress code fashions are not more mature than free individual artistic expression or even good-old-fashioned nudity. Snobs permeate all cultures and periods, and insist on defining culture by criticizing what ‘is not to be worn or done’. Those people always will come off as over-bearing assholes to anyone that has their own ‘minority’ opinions about life within a ‘culture’. One thing to remember, is that cultures are always changing as ongoing amalgams of previous cultures and new trends.
I have often heard closed-minded critics talk about ‘fitting in with social norms’ as a sign of maturity. The claim that maturity is indicated by clothing fashion is false. Some mature people prefer nudity to any type of clothing. The shallow surface concept that ‘appearance and first impressions are everything’ keeps us mentally medieval. As a fan of the Middle Ages, I know that is kind of an insult to history to compare it broadly to social ignorance and bigotry against those that look different than our own groups that we use to identify ourselves. Most people just accept the popular conventional fashions in order to blend in, and be part of ‘what is acceptable’. The irony is that this visual tradition is all a psychological illusion.
Suit-and-ties are a dress code uniform certainly meant to indicate business respectability; but many unethical people wear them, so to me it is simply a way to separate people that do not want to dress that way, from those that want to wear suits and control everything. Often we are told by institutions that dress codes are needed, so that we can tell who is ‘in service’ to whom, and so that co-workers can feel that despite individual differences in personality or genetics all workers are equal or ‘in it together’. Sure that made sense during the Renaissance maybe, but I was brought up in the 1980’s; when Mr. T said “Don’t where someone else’s brand name label, be creative, express yourself, and wear your own name!” I agree that we should not be labelled by ‘Tommy Hellfinger’ or anyone else.
We have not yet evolved as a society to not pre-judge people that simply dress different than we do. Perhaps we can start now, to stop insisting that everyone should look a certain way. Old ties make great rags. We are all naked under all our clothes.
Reasons to wear clothing: Practicality, affordability, durability, duty, obligation, symbolism, what fits, memories, associations, environmental and civil rights issues regarding manufacturing, and trend. Trend is the worst reason to wear clothing, as it is the most superficial aspect of fashions.
Cultural appropriation is naturally acceptable, and never has been stopped for very long, even by martial law. Many ignorant people, including historians, do not understand there is a difference between FORCING a culture on people, and ACCEPTING bits of a culture into your heart and way of living your own life. Even people that are labeled ‘posers’, may have a way of life that revolves around fashion or humor, and it may be temporary or permanent immaturity of intellect, which is part of who they are. Dress codes are part of social and cultural norms, and free expression is a naturally occurring deviation from those norms, that in some cases over time gets enough supporters to make it part of the new cultural majority (that then will have rebels that want to not wear what they are told is normal).
Regarding Life Long Goals and Dreams…
It is fine to say ‘just do it’ or ‘let’s do it’, and that works fine for simple choices. However, for long term complicated projects, the phrase ‘get ‘er done’ is more easily said than done. It is also true that it can be easier to give advice, than to actually take the same advice. ‘One cannot take one’s own medicine’, as the saying goes. If one were serious about a life long goal, then one would constantly do whatever they could to advance that goal; any chance they got, they would go for it over the years. For partners to invest in a project, they should show commitment by planning to meet for a series of weeks in order to accomplish business tasks: plans, financing, purchases, and contracts for starters. To say you do not have the time to seriously attempt an epic dream, is obviously to not take the dream seriously. In order to achieve difficult goals, large amounts of sacrifice, production, experiences, and resources are needed that are relative to the goal. Major specific investments are needed also, such as committing quality time and effort on the appropriate scale. We can work on our own projects and skills as individuals, but in order to achieve large goals with partners you have to spend many hours working on many issues; over and over again until you arrive at conclusions regarding mutual decisions and principles. If a partner says they are dedicated, but cannot make time for any substantial meetings over the course of several years; it is fair to say they may not actually be dedicated; whether they are conscious of their own failings or not. When such problems occur in a partnership, it is up to at least one of the partners to point out the issues; then if nothing can be done, at least there was an attempt (or attempts) to reconcile. Only individuals can decide for themselves, what they are willing to do to see the project through; and what they are not willing to do. As much as we may want someone else to follow through with what they said they would like to do, we cannot make them do anything; for if they are forced to do something against their will, then all parties will regret it. When people achieve something together because they wanted to do it, then that is the best way. Do not let the ideal of a project, blind you to the flaws of individuals in partners. Many people will not follow through on much, despite what we may see as their potential. People are rarely reliable for anything – this an important flaw in the concept of cooperation. Therefore it is safest to only try to organize short term projects, if you have to include others in your life. If you do not find any reliable partners, not even one, that is ok; it is often best to just do your own thing.
If you do happen to find a reliable partner that shares your dreams, no matter how temporary, good luck going for it and have as much fun as you can.
I am putting my plans and dreams for establishing a Medieval Tavern on hold indefinitely. If I had at least an equal business partner willing to meet me half-way on producing designs, plans, and investments; then I would do it. I have not been able to find such a business partner, and so therefore I was not willing to do it myself; as the risk and stress would have been too much for someone that is not rich. I had already taken out loans for college and car, that I struggled to pay. Now that I have greater financial stability and resources, I am not willing to pour all of my savings into a Medieval Tavern; because I would need to take out another loan, and even if I could make a working business, there is a good chance that business would not make net earnings the first few years (it would be in the red). With what would I pay the loans back, if the gross earnings went into paying only the utilities and employees? Business schools generally teach that most new businesses do not start covering costs, until several years later; some close before that, and others go bankrupt.
For many years I have had some loyal and interested friends, that worked on some of the concepts with me; however it takes more than the occasional comment of encouragement or critique, to match what I had designed, planned, and was willing to invest. I have realized, the hard way, that even creative people that can understand what an awesome idea it is, are probably not going to commit to such a major life project (by commit I mean spend most of their waking days on it like I have often done). Most people have their own lives and dreams, that they may or may not pursue. I have yet to find anyone as intent on making a Medieval Tavern as I have been, and I accept that may be the case until I die.
Yet because I am stubborn when it comes to dreams, I am transferring my SCOD efforts from the Medieval Tavern, to the potential for a Victorian Tavern, Tea-House, or Tap-Room. I have a house that was built in 1908, and has a Victorian first floor interior. There is parking along the streets nearby, and the town is the historic tourist town of Harpers Ferry; so there are already successful bed & breakfasts. In fact we had a B&B in our house for years, among other businesses. So it is more likely I will be able to achieve a Victorian Establishment of some kind, before I die; without as much financial backing, and less partners. I will be starting this new dream based on current and future conditions, and no partners (for now). Some dreams we live with, are in fact, in part, already a reality.
– Drogo Empedocles
For some, an alternative way of life is better than a conventional way of slavery. Different ways of life fit different needs and circumstances. Often ‘regular’ jobs do not cut it for imaginative free-thinking free-spirits. Sure some people are lazy, and do not want to do anything, not even for themselves. However there are many people that do plenty of work for free, or very little pay; but they are happier than working at something they do not like, or for someone they do not like. The most expensive college is not the answer, nor is the highest paying job; since colleges get you in massive debt most of the time, and you could spend your whole life trying to hunt down the ‘highest paying miracle job’, and never be happy with what you have.
Therefore I welcome others to try to not bully other people ‘to try and get a better job’, ‘go back to school to get a better job’, or not even acknowledge that people have jobs at all; when in fact they often do have jobs. Jobs and careers are not always conventional, and some of us want human rights like a living wage for being who we are warts and all. If you can pay your bills, or have them covered by a benefactor, and you are not hurting anyone, and you are best fitted for doing work that does not pay very much; that is ok. In fact it might even be good, and life fulfilling. If people get high paying jobs, good for them; but if they do not want to do so for various reasons, perhaps they should not; and I say stop pressuring them, and check your own stress.
When looking for happiness, find satisfaction with your achievements; your highest status is your most humble. Zen will reduce complexity to a oneness with singular and collective identity. As the Dalai Lama says in ‘Looking for Happiness’, “I am a simple Buddhist monk; no more, no less”. While he may be exaggerating the simplicity of his ‘being’ in reality, his rationality often focuses on reducing the stress and burden of riches and power, by realizing that most people are happier with less; which tends to lead to advice for giving up responsibility which distracts from spiritual service. Buddhism often encourages us to ‘let go’ of burdens we carry, when they are too heavy.
Dean Hsu-Jen Huang at SCAD told me the tale of the monk and his apprentice who helped a woman across a river. The apprentice felt his master held the woman inappropriately. In response the older wiser monk said “I left the woman at the river. Why do you still carry her?” In other words, “I put my mental baggage down a while ago; why do you still cling to that problem?”
Take a vow of happiness; no matter poverty or wealth.
~ Have you ever done Dianetics? I am about to undergo the starter-kit capsule that has been buried in my basement for decades. I am assuming it will be like LSD laced with Scientology-Cult, so it should be fun for the old brain-box. I have a chronic type of ‘Analysis Paralysis’ that gives me insomnia. In other words it’s related to my PTSD and i end up over-analyzing perceived problems which gives me great anxiety on a regular basis. Sleeping aids do help, and a stable living and work environment have helped alot too over the years. So here is my investigative summary of Dianetics and Scientology. ~
Dianetics was a book written by L. Ron Hubbard in 1950, that evolved into a popular self-help movement, and eventually became the religion of Scientology. Dianetics is a metaphysical ideology that combines elements of philosophy, psychology, science, fiction, and religion; thus it is known as a classic ‘psuedo-science’ cult. The name Dianetics means “Through the Mind” (Greek: dia-nous).
The main assumption of Dianetics is that ‘humans are all good’, because our analytical-minds are perfect when cleared of subconscious reactive-mind aberrations (engrams). The conclusion is that we must conduct therapy procedures (called auditing) to cleanse our engrams, and become spiritually ‘Clear’. Auditing is an ethical form of mild hypnosis, or suggestive talk therapy that is similar to hypnosis; but Dianetics claims it is not hypnosis because they “do not use drugs”.
~ Now let us pause for a moment here, and just reflect on the basic concepts. Although I disagree with the main assumption, and find many problems with Dianetics methodology, I will attempt to further explain how it ‘works’. Have you thought about the mystery of subconscious engrams? Ok… ~
The goal of auditing is to become ‘Clear’ of engrams, which means becoming more ethical, aware, happier, and saner in accordance with the ‘Dynamic Principle of Existence’ (four types of survival urges in life). The four natural Dynamic Urges are: 1. Self 2. Sexual/Family 3. Groups 4. Humanity. Auditing takes place typically between two people; an auditor (guide), and a preclear (subject). The auditor asks questions about the preclear’s engrams, so that by recalling past incidents, their spiritual pathways can be ‘cleared’ and restored to operate on pure Dynamic Urges. There seems to be a belief in Dianetics that all ills and pains are psychosomatic, and so other therapies and medicines are virtually ignored.
Scientologists claim they have over 50,000 ‘Clear’ members. The name means ‘Study of Knowing’. They believe that human souls (thetans) reincarnate, are immortal, and have lived on other planets previously. They are opposed to other forms of psychiatry, therapy, or hypnotism (besides Dianetics). Scientology is like a new-age spiritual pyramid-scheme company and a church; it is in the business of selling products, and getting more loyal members that pay into it. Their E-Meter devices are religious artifacts. Our Universe is MEST (matter, energy, space, and time). Scientologists believe that contact with ‘suppressive’ antisocial psychotic individuals has an adverse effect on one’s spiritual condition, necessitating disconnection. Hubbard was influenced by Durant and Freud in his writings. The three levels are Preclear (initiate), Clear, and Operating Thetan. They believe that other religions are compatible fantasies. The ARC and KRC triangles are concept maps of triple concepts that form another concept. These two triangles are present in the Scientology logo. ARC = Affinity, Reality, Communication.
Xenu was the alien dictator of a ‘Galactic Confederacy’ who, 75 million years ago, brought masses of confined aliens to Earth (then known as “Teegeeack”) in airplane-like spaceships, dumped them at volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs. Their souls (now called Thetans) were collected and subjected to motion pictures about religions to brainwash them. We may be descended from the survivors, and our souls are the same Thetans, some of which are attached negatively to others.
The dangerous aspects of Scientology include blackmail from audit information and surveillance, brainwashing, and loss of money because of donations. The positive aspects are imagination, creativity, and pseudo-science self-help therapy. It is a popular cult with similarities to Mormonism, in the fact that it is American, fairly recent, and claims it was founded by one charismatic author who ‘knew the truth’.