Weekend Reflections.

Saturday. Half asleep, minimal coffee in my system, I reach for the front door of the apartment.

My roommate breaks his role of mute on the couch nearby. “Leaving again?”

Jolt of adrenaline, confusion.

I have been asleep all day. This would be the first time I left. Maybe he meant yesterday, I tell myself. Or maybe I go through money so quickly because I’m doing things in my sleep. Rarely do I know what’s in my account, in my gas tank. I frequently forget where I parked, frequently get the day wrong. Could I be ignoring the warning signs?

I tell myself it’s just paranoia.

Sunday, I wake up. Good morning, afternoon.

Now, what was it? Implicit impact, explicit amnesia. Reverberations of response, no recollection of the stimulus. Awakening engulfed in a mood, the product of just another dream hidden from me.

So I sip the coffee, smoke the cigarette and wonder what goes on in my head in the absence of my consciousness. The mind should not be so foreign and secretive to its resident awareness, methinks.

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The Pavlovian Threesome.

Responses are polygamous. They are born wed to an unconditioned stimulus (US), and in that marriage adopt their partner’s surname, and so are known in that capacity the unconditioned response (UR). These are the instinctual, programmed stimulus-response relationships which are products of the evolution of the species rather than individual experience. They came along with your body.You didn’t learn how to get horny (UR) by looking at an attractive member of your preferred sex or sexes (US), after all, and evolutionary psychology suggests there are many more elaborate hardwired programs lurking beneath our notions of friendship, love and sexuality. We have all heard of fight-or-flight and playing opossum (URs), and those responses came along with your body, as did getting hungry (UR) in the presence of food (US).

This response can also marry a conditioned stimulus (CS), however, and in that role becomes known as the conditioned response (CR). In order for the response to do so, however, it must engage in a sufficient number of threesomes with the aforementioned stimuli. We call this classical conditioning, and it is the process by which we develop conditioned stimulus-response associations as habit patterns developed through individual experience.
Elicit UR by providing US paired with the desired CS to transform UR into CR for CS.

If for months you ring a bell (CS) right before you bring your dogs their dish of luscious meatiness, the salivating (UR) that the food (US) elicits will no longer merely be conjured by the food. Drool is now a two-timing sonuvabitch. The floodgates of saliva, while still an unconditioned response for the unconditioned stimulus of steak moosh, now responds equally well to the sound of the bell (CS) alone, with no food in evidence, consequently giving the drool an additional role as a conditioned response (CR).

Of the Status Quo and Pushing Envelopes.

Of course I think I’m right. You think you’re right, too. Everyone does.

Its inevitable.

We must think we are right even when we judge ourselves wrong. If I thought you were right, I still must think I’m right in judging your position to be accurate. You’re just angry I think I’m right despite your bold assertions that I’m wrong, despite the credentials of those you side with, despite those who promoted the concepts that you echo like a sycophantic plagiarist of thought.

An awesome weight of history stands as a warning for those such as yourself: be careful what you laugh away as absurd and impossible without sincere consideration and sufficient research. Remember: pushing the boundaries of popular ideas with rationality precedes empiricism by necessity. A hypothesis is a model, a story, with consistent inner logic that alleges to extend beyond itself in correlation with actuality to degrees that exceed currently held notions. Understanding grows by construction of a model with explanatory value superior to current models; a value verifiable through the sincere attempt to disprove the predictions it makes that current models would be at a loss to explain.

You see it time and time again, People come up with ideas that explain current circumstances in a way they see as more satisfactory than other proposed explanations, including whatever one currently has the throne. Often these ideas are deemed unscientific or irrational because they do not overtly predict anything and, some propose, are indefinitely indeterminate due to it complete lack of falsifiability and so bear no potential value to science.

Then something happens: time passes. Things are observed and verified through experimentation or subsequent observation that do not fit the current models, particularly the one on the throne, and suddenly the idea once deemed ridiculous becomes the best available explanation. Or, as Schopenhauer allegedly put it:

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

I know where I reside.

Root In Itself.

Listen
to to the universe
within,
only then
answer with action.

Elect to have a dialogue,
no aim
to elicit a specific response

save for an atmosphere of exchange
and some mutual respect,
desire to increase understanding
through reception,
consideration,

a dance
of mutually-beneficial recurrent feedback
for a more democratic navigation,

clear and finely focused,
fixed and strategic,
playful and unbound:

a way to go
forward
that fails to just
lead to where we have already
been and bled it dry,

the cyclic rut
we carve, a grave
deep, cold and dark,
in which you, I
alone
seem doomed to die.

We can fly
above our blind,
handcrafted boundaries,
transcend and explore
beyond within
a place we both feel safe,
anchored
as a true
root in itself,

but

for that we
need
each other’s help…

Burn.

Dying alive,
burning inside,
comfort lost to me in my typical sensitivity,
yet thriving on the intensity, taste for nothing
short of the extreme.

I love this.
I hate this.
I am this.

Sometimes I just
can’t take it anymore.
The cold night
has lasted forever,
time to bring on
the sun before I burn this down.

Bring back the life
you took from me,
all the parts
you have stolen.

I deserve to own
all I am, all my vitality.

Punxsutawney of the East.

In the movie Groundhog Day, the character played by Bill Murray keeps waking up to the same second of February day after day, a life of seemingly ceaseless repeat, soon bored despite being such a young immortal. The movie has been said to carry Buddhist themes, which I agreed with back when I initially heard it, though I now realize how the story is actually far more Hindu in nature.

The Hindu idea was that we naturally exhausted our desires throughout successive incarnations before achieving moksha, or liberation from samsara, the round of rebirths, The selling point for Buddhism was that rather than letting nature take its course as you suffered this dizzying cosmic recycling process, you could, with strict self-discipline, accelerate the evolution of your consciousness. By controlling your passions, you could transcend the causes of your suffering and achieve liberation from compulsive rebirth within this very lifetime.

Bill Murray did achieve this in the end, and I suppose technically within the same lifetime, but this was only possible because he was able to live that one February second over and over again until he had exhausted all desires, overcome all aversions and failed all other means of escaping — involving the abduction of Punxsutawney Phil — before finally stumbling into bed with the answer (not the groundhog, thankfully). Murray’s drive was boredom, which came only after he had achieved getting everything, even multiple ways of killing himself, out of his system. It echoes the tale of Pandora’s Box in a way, as only after he had let loose everything else within him did he have access to any hope, the last thing in the box. Not the tale of Gotama, however. Groundhog Day isn’t about a Buddhist view of the world, but rather the predictable result of a potentially eternal process of elimination. That’s Hinduism.

If Bill had experimented with every methodology of his day and finally came to his whole Bodhi tree revelation in the midst of meditation, cooking up his very own Murray Methodology, that would be Buddhist.

 

Divide to Dissolve, Reform to Conquer.

“Divide et impera.”

This Latin phrase, translated as divide and conquer or rule, is a military strategy in which you break a large concentration of power into smaller units. These units are so busy investing time and energy fighting against one another that they fail to realize you set this in motion and are utterly incapable of joining forces against you, their common, if unrecognized, enemy.

Quite often this strategic division itself is seen as a mode of conquer, yet it also serves as a prelude to the endgame. Remaining behind the curtain, you feed the internal struggle of the divided until the chaos has achieved such a relentless peak that when you step forward to offer your rule as savior and solution they embrace it out of desperation. In this case, divide and conquer seems synonymous with a central alchemical maxim:

“Solve et coagula.”

This Latin phrase means taking a form, dissolving it or breaking it apart and then bringing the prices back together, reforming it into a new element.

Take a social order, for instance, and break them into parties that battle against one another. Turn up the heat, feed the entropy, and sometime passed the boiling point you step in to offer yourself as the savior, bringing your new social order out of the ashes of anarchy.

It appears to be an alchemical process that has wide applications on multiple scales, from the realm of the sociopolitical to the personal and psychological. Not only does it appear to operate as well within an individual as it does within a social order, the application of the strategy to a social order seems to require a corresponding process within the minds of its members.

Cults and other systems of brainwashing involve breaking down the identity of a candidate and destroying her or his relationships with external reinforcements so as to build up a new identity held in place by the establishment of new social connections. These relationships in turn act as a carrier for the consequently infectious cult system of values, beliefs and ideals.

Poisoned Soil.

Check your tongue,
judge this generation
as if it came out of nowhere,
as if you didn’t poison
the soil these seeds
were thrown into,
as if you didn’t add
to the pile
before passing the torch,
projecting like mad.

Every generation
inherits the legacy
of the former.

Blood in the Binding.

Await the inevitable,
the foreseeable
from your frigid heights.

Divide them,
make them believe
they are pieces carved
by the blades
of their own will.

Watch it all collapse,
just to swing
down from above
as if embodying
their own myths,
updating
their traditions.

Offer your hand,
vow to remedy
their primitive situation.

Prey
on their desperation
with promise
of a better world.

I see you for what you are.
I know just where I stand:

at the cusp of so much,
as my soul
starts bleeding
through, as I fight

to wake up.

Suicidal Cozy Cell.

All here is dead.
Time to cast the shell,
find comfort that fits,
not this constrictive,
cozy misery.

Break through the walls
caving in, leave the rubble
in the dust.

Find a place
to put feet down,
satiate the mundane,
reach for the stars.

But you hold me,
you trip me.
So counter-productive,
so suffocating.
Spinning my mind
as I struggle for a way out.

Always a war within.
Always throwing
a wrench in the gears
to complicate things.

Imprisoning me
may just be
the last straw.

If I let you win,
you come down with me…