Your Life is Your life: Go all the way – Charles Bukowski


This is a combination of 2 poems made by Charles Bukowski

music: The last samurai OST #4
Writer: Charles Bukowski

please consider to subscribe
it will be a life changer
Speaker: Tom O’Bedlam

Do you need more?
I am convinced this video can help you
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76A5j…

All copyrights go to their respective owners.
#Diamond does not own the rights to these pictures or audio. They have, in accordance with fair use, been repurposed with the intent of educating and inspiring others. However, given that many aspects of Fair Use are open to interpretation, if any owners of the pictures or audio would like me to remove the video, I have no issue with this and will do so as fast as possible. Please contact us.

(Courtesy of Robert McEwen, H.W., M.)

FACEBOOK WON’T SAY IF IT WILL USE YOUR BRAIN ACTIVITY FOR ADVERTISEMENTS

EVERY YEAR, FACEBOOK gathers hundreds of developers, corporate allies, and members of the press to hear CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of our shared near future. The gathering is known as “F8,” and this year’s iteration included some radical plans, one of which could’ve been pulled from a William Gibson novel: Facebook is working on a means of using your brain as an input device.

Such technology is still many years off, as is, apparently, Facebook’s willingness to publicly think through its very serious implications.

Details on how the Facebook brain/computer interface would function are scant, likely because the company hasn’t invented it yet. But it’s fair to say the company has already put a great deal of effort into considering what capabilities such an interface would have, and how it would be designed, judging from its press announcement: “We have taken a distinctly different, non-invasive and deeply scientific approach to building a brain-computer speech-to-text interface,” the company says, describing the project as “a silent speech interface with the speed and flexibility of voice and the privacy of text,” with a stated goal of allowing “100 words per minute, straight from the speech center of your brain.” This process will be executed “via non-invasive sensors that can be shipped at scale” using “optical imaging” that can poll “brain activity hundreds of times per second.”

“The privacy of text” is an interesting turn of phrase for Facebook, which has, like its competitor Google, built itself into a multi-hundred-billion-dollar company more or less on the basis of text typed into a computer not being private but rather an excellent vector through which to target advertising. For its thought-to-text project, Facebook claims it’s built a team of “over 60 scientists, engineers and system integrators” from some of the most esteemed research universities around the U.S. (headed by a former DARPA director, no less). Privacy concerns drove some of the very first questions from journalists after the F8 announcement, including in this passage from The Verge:

[Facebook research director Regina] Dugan stresses that it’s not about invading your thoughts — an important disclaimer, given the public’s anxiety over privacy violations from social networks as large as Facebook. Rather, “this is about decoding the words you’ve already decided to share by sending them to the speech center of your brain,” reads the company’s official announcement. “Think of it like this: You take many photos and choose to share only some of them. Similarly, you have many thoughts and choose to share only some of them.”

Facebook was clearly prepared to face at least some questions about the privacy impact of using the brain as an input source. So, then, a fair question even for this nascent technology is whether it too will be part of the company’s mammoth advertising machine, and I asked Facebook precisely that on the day the tech was announced: Is Facebook able to, as of right now, make a commitment that user brain activity will not be used in any way for advertising purposes of any kind?

Facebook spokesperson Ha Thai replied:

We are developing an interface that allows you to communicate with the speed and flexibility of voice and the privacy of text. Specifically, only communications that you have already decided to share by sending them to the speech center of your brain. Privacy will be built into this system, as every Facebook effort.

This didn’t answer the question, so I replied:

My question is this: Is Facebook able, as of right now, to make a commitment that user brain activity will not be used in any way for advertising purposes of any kind?

To which Thai replied:

Sam, that’s the best answer I can provide as of right now.

Fair enough — but also an implicit answer that no, Facebook is at least at the moment not able to assure users that their brain activity will not be appropriated to sell ads. This is of course not an indication that the company will do this, only that it is not prepared to rule it out. And to be sure, this is still a hypothetical — it’s possible the company’s neural keyboard will remain somewhere between vaporware and marketing stunt, as has been the case with its solar-powered flying internet relay, or Amazon’s national delivery drone fleet.

But while the tech may be far off, its privacy implications aren’t far fetched — ignore at your own peril Facebook’s history of experimenting with the thoughts of its users, whether by deliberately manipulating their emotions or by putting their faces on advertisements without consent (“They trust me — dumb fucks,” Zuckerberg famously quipped to a friend via IM as he built Facebook in his Harvard dorm).

Facebook’s interest in mental typing was certainly noted by neuroethicists; for them, it helped underline that recent breakthroughs in brain-computer interfaces, or BCIs, really will bring what was once a science fiction scenario into the real world.

“I worry a little about whether we’ve given enough thought about what it means to no longer have control over a zone of privacy,” Dr. Eran Klein, a neurology professor at Oregon Health and Sciences University and neuroethicist at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, told me. “One of the things that makes us human is we can decide what stays in our mind and what comes from our mouth.”

Any inadvertent spillover from our inner monologues to online servers could have profound consequences: In society, “if you have a prejudice but you’ve worked diligently to squash that prejudice, that says something good about your character,” Klein pointed out. But if, thanks to your handy Facebook Neuro-Keyboard, “all those prejudices are open for other people to see and be judged, it opens up a whole different way of evaluating people’s moral character and moral choices.”

The importance of thinking things but leaving them unexpressed or unarticulated is fundamental to humanity, society, and morality — and it’s a line Facebook has stomped all over in the past. In 2013, Facebook published a study detailing how it had been recording and storing not just text that had been typed and published on its website, but also text users had written but then decided against publishing and deleted for whatever reason. The study’s authors lamented that “[Facebook] loses value from the lack of content generation” in such cases of “self-censorship.” Should users trust a company that so failed to grasp the essential intimacy of an unpublished thought with a line into their brains?

Facebook’s assurance that users will be able to easily toggle between thoughts that should and should not be transmitted to Facebook’s servers doesn’t ring true to Klein, who points out that an intrinsic part of speech is that you don’t have to think about each word or phrase before you speak it: “When we’re engaged in a conversation, I don’t have this running dialogue that comes up before my mind’s eye that I say yes or no to before it comes out of my mouth.” Facebook’s announcement made it seem as if your brain has simple privacy settings like Facebook’s website does, but with speech, “if you have to make a decision about every little thing, it becomes exhausting,” and would carry what neurologists call a “high cognitive load.” Klein added that, far from being able to switch between public and private thoughts on the fly, “the only way these technologies really will become part of our second nature is if they become subconscious at some level,” at which point Facebook’s “analogy with photographs” — that “you take many photos and choose to share only some of them” — “breaks down, because then you’re not consciously choosing each thing to let through the sieve.” The whole thing comes down to a sort of paradox, according to Klein: For this technology to be useful, it would have to be subconscious, which precludes the kind of granular privacy decisions described in Facebook’s PR comments.

Howard Chizeck is a neuroethicist and professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington, where he also co-directs the school’s Biorobotics Laboratory. Like Klein, Chizeck thinks Facebook might be overestimating (or oversimplifying) how easy it could be to switch your brain into some sort of “privacy mode” for consciousness: “I doubt that you can precisely choose words you want to ‘think’ to an external system, versus verbal thoughts that occur otherwise.” Chizeck added that such activity “may look sufficiently different in different people’s brains, and under different conditions” (e.g., if you’re drunk or exhausted) so as to make Facebook’s project difficult to ever pull off. Even if it does prove possible to somehow cherry pick thoughts intended for speech, Chizeck adds that there’s a risk of other thoughts bleeding through (and onto Facebook’s servers): “Even if it is possible to see words that are desired to be sent, other brain signals might also be monitored … which is a privacy concern.”

As for the advertising potential (and other spooky what-ifs), Klein doesn’t think it’s too soon to start asking Facebook for serious answers about its serious research. “I would favor assurances that they need to be transparent about what they’re actually recording and how it might be used for advertising,” even in these early days. The necessity to make brain-to-text input streamlined and subconscious makes the advertising implications even dicier: “If it’s subconscious, you don’t have conscious control over what information companies get about you … so you could be targeted for ads for things you don’t even realize that you like.”

Both Klein and Chizeck said that Facebook, rather than deferring on the most obvious privacy questions, should set out its principles on brain research from the get-go. “I think that they should design their system, from the beginning, with privacy a consideration,” said Chizeck. “Ultimately I think that there is a need for standards (developed by an industry/professional society/government consortium), with mechanisms for self-enforcement by industry, and oversight by government or third parties.” Klein also thinks it’s important for private sector entities like Facebook conducting what could become pioneering scientific work to establish ground rules in advance, to “lay out ahead of time what their values are and what the vision is.” Klein concedes that Facebook “can only predict so much, but I think that if you just let the technology drive everything, then I think ethics is always the dog trying to catch the car.”

Top photo: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference at McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif., on April 18, 2017.

Biblical Series II: Genesis 1: Chaos & Order


Lecture II in my Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories from May 23 at Isabel Bader Theatre, Toronto. In this lecture, I present Genesis 1, which presents the idea that a pre-existent cognitive structure (God the Father) uses the Logos, the Christian Word, the second Person of the Trinity, to generate habitable order out of precosmogonic chaos at the beginning of time. It is in that Image that Man and Woman are created — indicating, perhaps, that it is (1) through speech that we participate in the creation of the cosmos of experience and (2) that what true speech creates is good.

It is a predicate of Western culture that each individual partakes in some manner in the divine. This is the true significance of consciousness, which has a world-creating aspect.

You can purchase tickets for the next lecture(s) at https://jordanbpeterson.com/bible-ser…

Q & A Starts: 1:59:00

Bible Series Season Ticket: https://transactions.sendowl.com/prod…
Bible Series Information and Tickets: http://jordanbpeterson.com/bible-series

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/jordanbpeterson
Self Authoring: http://selfauthoring.com/
Jordan Peterson Website: http://jordanbpeterson.com/
Podcast: http://jordanbpeterson.com/jordan-b-p…
Reading List: http://jordanbpeterson.com/2017/03/gr…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jordanbpeterson
Category

Dostoevsky on responsibility and lying

“Every human being is not only responsible for everything that happens to him or her but simultaneously for everything that happens to everyone else.”

–Dostoevsky (as paraphrased by Jordan Peterson).

A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and, in order to divert himself, having no love in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest forms of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal. And it all comes from lying – lying to others and to yourself.

–Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky, sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky (November 11, 1821 – February 9, 1881), was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher. Wikipedia

“The Power of Being Different” by Conan Milner

What eccentric minds can teach us about playing to our strengths

Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Leonardo da Vinci—some of the greatest minds in history came with unusual quirks.

Many of Einstein’s scientific breakthroughs, for example, emerged during his daydreams. He was famously absent-minded, yet his unconventional thinking led to an understanding of the universe that was light-years ahead of his time.

People have long witnessed a connection between creative thinking and peculiar behavior. Plato described it as “divine madness”; Aristotle recognized that creative people tended toward bouts of depression.

Recent research sees a similar pattern. Traits such as distractibility, anxiety, melancholy, and other mental obstacles are strongly associated with creativity. In multiple studies, bipolar disorder has been shown to correlate with an artistic temperament.

We all have relative weaknesses, and we all have relative strengths. 
— Dr. Gail Saltz

Psychiatrist and best-selling author Dr. Gail Saltz has been pondering this connection since childhood. Her fascination was sparked by her younger brother, astrophysicist Adam Riess, who received the Nobel Prize in physics in 2011. His lifelong insatiable curiosity and fervent questioning led Saltz to wonder how his mind worked.

“My brother’s curiosity was so evident, and it made a big impression on me,” Saltz told The Epoch Times. “His thirst for knowing is highly important.”

Saltz’s new book, “The Power of Different: The Link Between Disorder and Genius,” examines the unique features and struggles behind some of the world’s greatest minds. Her investigation looks at historical examples, the latest science, and firsthand accounts of people who endured depression, dyslexia, autism, and other psychological hurdles but went on to do great things.

“Many of the most successful people in their arenas got there because their brain worked differently,” she said. “That isn’t just an accident. It’s a difference that was bound to their particular strength and their subsequent success.”

Strength in Disguise

Stereotypes such as the tortured artist or absent-minded professor exist for a reason. Genius and eccentricity tend to go together, and that may be by design. Research has shown that deficiencies in certain areas of the brain typically allow for acuities in another. Like the ancient Chinese principle of yin and yang, a particular strength is often married to a complementary weakness.

Physicist Albert Einstein in 1929. (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Physicist Albert Einstein in 1929. (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for example, is characterized by dysfunction of the executive functions and dysregulation of the emotions. Contrary to popular belief, people with ADHD are capable of paying attention—they may even possess an ability for hyper-focused attention—but they can’t always control the target of their focus. This can create problems in the classroom. But the drifting, distractible mind (like Einstein’s) can also uncover a novel idea or see a problem from a new angle.

There’s a clear theme of assets and flaws in the brains Saltz profiles in her book. One example is Dr. Beryl Benacerraf, a clinical professor at Harvard University and world-renowned radiology expert.

When Benacerraf was young, her teachers and parents were baffled as to why an otherwise bright child had such trouble reading and did so poorly on tests. They concluded that she must be lazy. After years of frustration, Benacerraf discovered she had a severe case of dyslexia—a learning disability in which letters become shuffled and written text is extremely difficult to decipher.

Despite this drawback, Benacerraf built a path to success. When she enrolled in Harvard Medical School, she learned to retain information by studying charts and graphs, rather than text. It was her remarkable ability for pattern recognition that led her to specialize in radiology.

While dyslexia made reading extremely difficult, it also granted Benacerraf highly tuned peripheral vision. This allowed her to spot abnormalities on a scan that most would miss and led to her breakthrough discovery on prenatal signs of Down syndrome.

Playing the Hand You’re Dealt

Among remarkable brains, Benacerraf’s experience is more the rule than the exception. Saltz points to numerous examples where weakness and strength are paired in high-functioning individuals.

While geniuses may display more extreme duality, Saltz believes most of our brains work in a similar fashion. We’re naturally good at some things and fall short in others. We tend to want to celebrate our strengths and hide our weaknesses. However, both sides make us who we are.

Portrait of Leonardo by Francesco Melzi. (Creative Commons/Wikimedia)

Portrait of Leonardo by Francesco Melzi. (Creative Commons/Wikimedia)

Despite the pain of their weaknesses, everyone Saltz interviewed said they would never give up their disability. They considered it a fundamental part of who they are and how they think.

“I don’t know if I hadn’t had dyslexia if I’d have done something important in another area,” Benacerraf told Saltz. “I was dealt a deck of cards, and I did my best with it.”

We benefit from having some pain and challenge in our lives—it’s how we grow. Suffering can build resilience and empathy, which are valuable assets for creative individuals. But too much pain, and not enough purpose, will eventually grind us down, says Saltz. We may miss the opportunity to develop our strengths because we are constantly plagued by our weaknesses.

The key to a positive identity is finding a way to feel productive, Saltz says. While it’s important to identify and address the weaknesses, we need time to find out what we’re good at—particularly in the early years, when our brains are the most plastic and easiest to shape.

Nurturing Genius

Saltz argues there’s a lot of potential genius lurking in the world that is never able to emerge. Many factors contribute to this loss. But the education system—which increasingly relies on standardized testing as a measure of success—may deserve part of the blame.

“The educational system believes we should all be good at everything,” said Saltz. “We have standardized tests all over the place, but these measures do not acknowledge the fact that many people, if not most, are angular thinkers—we’re very good at something and not as good at something else.”

Scientific support for this idea can be found in the Human Connectome Project, an ongoing research effort that aims to map the neural networks of individual brains. Their most impressive finding thus far reveals that all of our brains are vastly different. Not just between us regular folk and geniuses, but everybody.

In ancient Rome, for example, a genius was not a person, but a conduit for ideas from another realm.
“There is such variation from brain to brain,” Saltz said. “The idea that there is some black and white between normal and not normal is simply not the case.”

While educators typically teach a standard mold that every student is required to meet, many don’t fit comfortably in this tidy box. For a better education model, particularly for creative students, Saltz points to the work of Kevin Pelphrey, director of the child neuroscience lab at the Yale School of Medicine. Pelphrey believes most of students’ time in the classroom should be spent on discovering and developing their strengths, and much less on treating their relative weaknesses.

This model could have saved Einstein a lot of frustration. He was notoriously at odds with the school system and rebelled against its constraints. He excelled at math and science but fell behind in other subjects. One teacher famously told him he would never amount to anything.

Einstein claimed he could shrug off the negative judgments of others, but few are so confident. Award-winning author John Irving, for example, grew up thinking he was “lazy” and “stupid” because that’s what his teachers told him. If it hadn’t been for the support of his wrestling coach, he probably would’ve dropped out of school.

“I simply accepted the conventional wisdom of the day—I was a struggling student, therefore I was stupid,” he told Saltz.

Another roadblock while learning to work with a unique brain is the societal stigma against mental illness. We like the genius part but tend to shun the psychological suffering that often comes with it.

Part of this problem is language and the discomfort with labels like schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, or clinical depression. Critics of modern psychology also note the discipline’s tendency to over-pathologize behavior in pursuit of a diagnosis.

“We have created artificial boxes because it’s a way of speaking to each other. The downside is that we’ve done a disservice because it excludes people and leaves them feeling ashamed,” Saltz said. “But this is evolving. More and more people are aware of the neurodiversity of our species.”

The Burden of Genius

In her book “Big Magic,” best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert (of “Eat, Pray, Love” fame) argued that our modern idea of creative genius puts too much focus and pressure on the individual, which tends to destroy mental health.

“It’s like asking somebody to swallow the sun,” Gilbert said in a 2016 TED talk. “It just completely warps and distorts egos, and it creates all these unmanageable expectations about performance. And I think the pressure of that has been killing off our artists for the last 500 years.”

While modern culture considers genius to be a built-in feature of a particularly creative individual, the ancients believed that big ideas came from an otherworldly source. In ancient Rome, for example, a genius was not a person, but a conduit for ideas from another realm.

A photograph image of Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) at age 34. (Creative Commons/Wikimedia)

A photograph image of Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) at age 34. (Creative Commons/Wikimedia)

In other words, a person of great accomplishments wasn’t considered a genius; rather, he had genius. The accomplishment was in tuning into this spirit and jotting down what it said to share with fellow humans. Artistic success, and failure, was easier to navigate when it wasn’t so intimately tied to one individual’s fragile ego.

This mystical idea died out in the Renaissance, when humans came to be considered the fount of all knowledge, but Gilbert thinks bringing this old notion back into vogue would make the world a more creative place. The stereotype that an individual must be tortured, depressed, or inherently brilliant in order to create true art deters the average person from following their creative passions, she argues.

Whether or not there is a supernatural force behind our big ideas, birthing them still involves a great deal of effort, and not everyone is up for the challenge. Saltz believes that those who have the strength of mind and character to persist, while managing their obstacles, can achieve the freedom to pursue what they really love.

“We all have relative weaknesses, and we all have relative strengths,” Saltz said. “It’s how you manage your weaknesses and play to your strengths that’s ultimately going to define where you go in life.”

How magical thinking helps us feel involved

Magical thinking — assuming two events are related to one another when they’re actually not — is common in sports. And there’s quite a bit of magical thinking around AT&T Park. (Mike Koozmin/2014 S.F. Examiner)

By on May 21, 2017 1:00 am

http://sfexaminer.com/category/the-city/sf-news-columns/sally-stephens/

One of my favorite memories of the Giants’ World Series run in 2010 was the dancing tugboats. My seat during the playoffs was in the upper deck, behind home plate, with an expansive view of the Bay. It was in the later innings, and the Giants were losing …

Someone in my section pointed out two tugboats outside McCovey Cove. You see every kind and size of watercraft anchored for the games, but tugboats are unusual. Then, they began to dance.

They started doing donuts, both spinning in tight circles in the same direction. Then, in different directions. Then, one began to “Moonwalk.” He moved forward a little, then slammed it into reverse for a short distance, so suddenly that water came up over the low back end of the boat. Then, forward again, into reverse. Repeated several times. For some reason, it reminded me of Michael Jackson’s smooth footwork.

Many of the people around me were also watching the tugboats. Suddenly, the roar of the crowd brought our attention back to the game. The Giants had just gone ahead, a lead they would keep to win.

The next game, the Giants were once again trailing. I found myself looking for the tugboats. They’d brought the Giants luck before, so if they came back, I was sure we’d win again.

Of course, I knew intellectually there was no way the tugboats had any actual impact on the outcome of the game. Yet, I found myself looking for something, anything — even dancing tugboats — to help my team win.

Magical thinking — assuming two events are related to one another when they’re actually not — is common in sports. Think of fans who wear the same jersey, without washing it, as long as their team continues to win. Or fans who follow the same elaborate ritual before a game. Or wear their caps inside out to help their team rally and take the lead.

And it’s not just the fans. Athletes are notoriously superstitious. Remember Aubrey Huff’s rally thong? Or how no one talks to a pitcher during a no-hitter to avoid jinxing it? Or how some pitchers avoid stepping on the third base line when walking to and from the mound?

Psychologists know that following a specific routine or wearing a lucky article of clothing boosts the self-confidence of athletes and helps them feel more in control. And then they can make the plays needed to win.

Most fans understand their individual actions don’t really make their teams win or lose. Yet we still engage in magical thinking that our actions somehow help.

It turns out that magical thinking is hardwired into the human brain. To help with our survival, our brains evolved to make snap judgments about causation. It helps us make sense of a seemingly irrational world. Something happens that we don’t understand, we see something that could have caused it, and that allows us to come up with a plan of action to deal with what happened.

In days gone by, we often got things wrong. For example, we attributed disease to “bad humors,” instead of the viruses and bacteria we now know are responsible. But thinking about “bad humors” gave us the sense that we could deal with disease. This magical thinking reduced our anxiety about illness and allowed us to get on with our lives.

We don’t need magical thinking as much today as we once did, because we understand the world better now. Indeed, magical thinking can be quite dangerous when applied to social policy. But our brains still look for that snap causation — the Giants were losing until I wore these socks, so I’ll have to keep wearing the socks so they can continue to win.

There’s nothing wrong with magical thinking in sports, as long as you don’t take it too seriously. What you do really has no impact on the game, but thinking that way can help you feel more involved and gives you the feeling that you are helping your team.

The tugboats never came back, yet the Giants won the World Series anyway. Or maybe it was because I only ate popcorn when the other team was batting …

Sally Stephens is an animal, park and neighborhood activist who lives in the West of Twin Peaks area.

Grayson Perry’s ‘The Descent of Man’: Deconstructing the Masculine Mystique

Photo

CreditSonny Figueroa/The New York Times

 

The English artist and media personality Grayson Perry has a sexually ambiguous pageboy haircut. He sometimes wears dresses. He dedicates his new book, “The Descent of Man,” a plea for less toxic masculinity in the world, to his childhood teddy bear.

Scratch Perry, though, and you may nick a vein of macho. A cross-dresser with blue-collar roots, he grew up loving James Bond novels and military toys. As a teenager he had a shaved head and toted a skateboard, which he later swapped for a motorcycle and a leather jacket.

He’s been a competitive mountain biker — so competitive he would urinate in his Lycra shorts rather than make a pit stop. He once entered therapy to cope with his temper and road rage. Oh, and he’s married to a woman and has a daughter.

“Even when I am wearing a dress, I use the men’s toilets — mainly out of respect for an exclusively female space, but also because there is rarely a line in the gents,’” he writes. “At social venues there are rarely enough women’s toilets. Why is that? Nearly all architects are male.”

He’s a complicated fellow.

“The Descent of Man” (the title is from Darwin) is a short book that remixes a good deal of academic feminist thinking about braying masculinity. Little in it is truly original.

But Perry has a quick mind and a charming style of thrust and parry. He’s a popularizer, an explainer, a stand-up theorist. His book is as crisp and tart as a good Granny Smith apple.

Perry calls himself “a doubter at the gates of the crumbling superdome of masculinity.” He writes: “We need to get a philosophical fingernail under the edge of the firmly stuck-down masculinity sticker so we can get hold of it and rip it off. Beneath the sticker, men are naked and vulnerable — human even.”

Photo

CreditGrayson Perry

 

He’s surely right. As Homer Simpson asked Marge, “What about my womanly needs?”

But the Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard is surely right, too, to fret throughout his epic and autobiographical “My Struggle” series that he (and thus modern man) has become soft and feminized. We’ve become “indoor cats,” in Dave Eggers’s memorable phrase.

It isn’t simple, these days, to possess a Y chromosome and know what to do with it. Like the guileful letter Y itself, men are asked to represent consonants and then vowels. To be graceful while toggling between modes requires Fred Astaire-level footwork.

Perry is aware of these sorts of ambiguities. He rightly has little sympathy, especially when it comes to the tribe he refers to as “Default Man” — white, middle- and upper-class heterosexual men.

“The very aesthetic of seriousness has been monopolized by Default Man,” he writes. “In people’s minds, what do professors look like? What do judges look like? What do leaders look like? It is going to be a while before the cartoon cliché of a judge is Sonia Sotomayor or that of a leader is Angela Merkel.”

Perry is a man who takes clothing seriously; he’s a fashion critic in disguise. He notes the “colorful textile phalluses” hanging around the necks of establishment men. He burrows deep into the meanings of gray suits.

Here’s one joyful snippet of his thinking about somber power suits: “Default Men dress to embody neutrality; it is not true that they are neutral. If George Osborne, chancellor of the Exchequer in Parliament, were to dress up as a cross between Flashman and the Grim Reaper instead of a business suit when he delivered his budgets, perhaps we might have a more appropriate vision of who is controlling the nation’s finances.”

That last sentence made me so happy I had to get up and go for a little walk around the room. It’s a good game, to imagine the sort of motley our elected leaders should don in order to outwardly reflect their politics and personalities.

Photo

Grayson Perry CreditJochen Braun

I hope he writes a book about clothes. Noting all the “pseudo-functional zips and buckles” on men’s weekend get-ups, he writes: “Men are into frippery as much as women, but they cloak it under spurious function.”

Perry takes a wide-angle view of masculinity, drawing his examples from many sources. He flips on the television, watches he-man shows like Bear Grylls’s “Man vs. Wild” and thinks:

“They teach us how to survive in the wild; how to skin a deer carcass or build a shelter from tree branches. I would like to see them trying to find an affordable flat to rent in London or sorting out a decent state school for their children. These are the true survival skills of the 21st century.”

Among his ideal modern men is America’s 44th president. “I think Barack Obama presents a superb version of manhood. His calm thoughtfulness, emotional ease, wit and eloquence in the face of gross expectation and intractable problems is breathtaking.” Donald J. Trump is mentioned only once, with disdain.

Perry’s book has its own failure built into it. One notes the flagrant unlikelihood of the man who most needs this book’s advice accepting it from a gentleman who wears patterned frocks and looks like their dotty Aunt Esther.

The author does discuss the plight of blue-collar men (“Instead of making iron, they are pumping it”), but he is unlikely to win them over with self-help strictures such as, “Men might need to work less on their biceps and more on their intuition.”

Even at fewer than 150 pages, “The Descent of Man” is too long. In the last third Perry is reduced to stating poorly what he said well earlier in the book. He’s begun to twist a dry sponge.

But when he’s on, which is frequently enough, Perry is an eloquent and witty tour guide through the fun house that is modern masculinity. He wants us guys to be weirder, freer, less predictable. He’s just the man for the job.

History Repeating – Shirley Bassey


1998 (Viva Diva TV Special) The Sassy, Brassy songstress, Shirley Bassey, performs this great POP song on her TV Special)

ABOUT this song:
“History Repeating” is a song written by Alex Gifford and originally performed by the Propellerheads featuring Shirley Bassey in 1997. Shirley’s recording of this song was included in the movie, There’s Something About Mary.

LYRICS:
The word is about,
there’s something evolving
Whatever may come,
the world keeps revolving
They say the next big thing is here
That the revolution’s near
But to me it seems quite clear

That it’s all just a little bit of history repeating
The newspapers shout a new style is growing
But it don’t know if it’s coming or going
There is fashion,
there is fad
Some is good,
some is bad
And the joke is rather sad
That its all just a little bit of history repeating

And I’ve seen it before
And I’ll see it again
Yes I’ve seen it before
Just little bits of history repeating

Some people don’t dance,
if they don’t know who’s singing
Why ask your head,
it’s your hips that are swinging
Life’s for us to enjoy
Woman, man, girl and boy
Feel the pain,
feel the joy
And side step the little bits of history repeating

Just little bits of history repeating
And I’ve seen it before
And I’ll see it again
Yes I’ve seen it before
Just little bits of history repeating

List of Facebook Genders (alphabetizer.flap.tv)

  • Agender
  • Androgyne
  • Androgynous
  • Bigender
  • Cis
  • Cisgender
  • Cis Female
  • Cis Male
  • Cis Man
  • Cis Woman
  • Cisgender Female
  • Cisgender Male
  • Cisgender Man
  • Cisgender Woman
  • Female to Male
  • FTM
  • Gender Fluid
  • Gender Nonconforming
  • Gender Questioning
  • Gender Variant
  • Genderqueer
  • Intersex
  • Male to Female
  • MTF
  • Neither
  • Neutrois
  • Non-binary
  • Other
  • Pangender
  • Trans
  • Trans*
  • Trans Female
  • Trans* Female
  • Trans Male
  • Trans* Male
  • Trans Man
  • Trans* Man
  • Trans Person
  • Trans* Person
  • Trans Woman
  • Trans* Woman
  • Transfeminine
  • Transgender
  • Transgender Female
  • Transgender Male
  • Transgender Man
  • Transgender Person
  • Transgender Woman
  • Transmasculine
  • Transsexual
  • Transsexual Female
  • Transsexual Male
  • Transsexual Man
  • Transsexual Person
  • Transsexual Woman
  • Two-Spirit

New Moon May 25, 2017 ~ Gemini Decan 1 (darkstarastrology.com)

The New Moon here can emphasis the very darkest aspects of Gemini 1. This is because the Moon represents the unconscious and this decan especially deals with having to face one’s shadow. The problem here is that it is very hard to see shadows in the dark, and it is much more likely that the collective at this time will project the bogey men onto others. Another problem is running away from intimacy. The New Moon in this decan is very uncomfortable with really deep emotions. Conversely we may see people in the media doing a great impression of being really sentimental and gushing. However, when it comes to the gut-wrenching, ugly expressions of raw feeling the fakes will run a mile.

Those touched by the New Moon May 2017 will have little patience with other people’s hangups and neurosis. But in the end, paradoxically this attitude will greatly help heal deep, dark shadows by these seemingly harsh words of intolerance. So New Moon in Gemini 1. A good New Moon or telling it how it is! But you also have to take the raw truth back.

New Moon May Horoscope ~ Grand Trine

New Moon May 2017Saturn and Uranus politically are opposing forces. Saturn is authority and tradition while Uranus is seen as rebellious and progressive. Usually these two in contact would be seen as quite difficult in that people will be fearful of change or that rebels could take control. But this is a harmonious, soft aspect! There is challenge to the reigning authority, but the changes made seem familiar so that people aren’t really thrown too much out of their comfort zone. It is like having a divorce in order to get back with an Ex from your teenage years! It is like a rejuvenation, feeling young again, even if you are past 50.. Uranus tends to make change drastically, but a trine from Saturn suggests that it will be done considerately and incrementally. In the Saturn trine Uranus post I looked at Saturn in Sagittarius trine Uranus in Aries examples in history.

New Moon May 2017 Summary

This Gemini New Moon with its stormy energy might whip revolutionary Saturn trine Uranus into action. In my research there was clearly a theme of record breaking, flight and speed! Think of a spinning top, quite benign looking, but goes wild if you throw it off balance. When Uranus was discovered in 1781 it broke the barrier between the visible planets and the dimension of the trans personal. It heralded a time of revolutions and rebellions, including the most famous and tumultuous French Revolution of 1789. (The American Revolution was also during this period ending in 1783.) I will talk more about revolutions with relevance to the recent election in France in the coming YouTube video.

Image:Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth: ca 1842. Joseph William Mallord Turner.

Consciousness, sexuality, androgyny, futurism, space, art, music, physics, astrology, democracy, photography, humor, books, movies and more