Fear

Let’s Talk Politics…and Trump… Fuck.

I’m going to swear a bit this post.  I don’t want to talk about politics.  In fact, I really, really don’t like politics.  There’s only one good reason I pay attention to any of it: I’m going to do my duty to vote, and I want to make an informed decision.  But I really hate talking about it.  You know why?  Because politics, along with sports (I’m looking at you Cowboys fans,) online PvP video games, money, sex, and love, have the ability to cause normally rational, intelligent human beings to completely lose their fucking minds.  Granted, in the case of love (and let’s admit… to a lesser degree great sex…) the insanity might be worth it.

But politics… no.  Especially with the oh-so-supportive social media aspect if full-force, politics brings out a shit-ton of negativity that will, for the most part, accomplish absolutely nothing good.  I’m not talking about the people using it to fuel Bernie Sander’s “grassroots” campaign.  That’s “good” social media, and I applaud the proper use of the medium to send a positive message.  Instead I’m referring to the vast majority of armchair patriots that talk endless amounts of shit and spam Facebook with all the baseless, bias, and very likely completely unresearched articles they can find.  The more you argue with them, the more rabid and less reasonable they become.  People who are normally friends say unspeakable things to each other, families are divided, and even the workplace can become tense when you boss’s politics do not align with your own (I’ve had personal experience with this… fortunately not currently.)

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Okay… you got me there…

But this election season, shit is getting real, and it’s damn scary.  I’m not going to be able to progress much further without talking about my stance, so I should tell you that historically I’ve been moderate (you know.. the “grey area” after all..) but I lean toward the democratic side pretty much because I love women and want them to be able to do what they want as equals to men (which… they always have been… why it is taking so long for the world to figure that out is beyond me…)

This season choosing a side between the right and the left is easy.  Because this season the republican side is all kinds of fucked up.  Not since Sarah Palin have we seen a group of candidates so utterly disgraceful and representative of the republican party’s need to dismantle itself and remember what it’s supposed to stand for.  Say what you want about G. W. Bush’s handling of 9/11, the fact is he brutalized the economy and led us into a severe depression.  But that pales in comparison to the potential damage that the current republican candidates could do…  Especially Donald fucking Trump.  All of these guys, especially him.. make Mitt Romney look like a shining, angel-winged beacon of hope if only based on the fact he came across intelligent, articulate and capable of being reasonable.

In fairness, some of the candidates we started with could have proven themselves.  John Kasich hasn’t appeared utterly insane, just too quiet.  And at one point before he dropped out, I was appalled to find myself thinking that Jeb Bush was the most reasonable and feasible of the lot… another fucking Bush…  But none of that matters, because of Trump.

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He actually looked a little less douchy…

A little over  a decade ago (ugh) I liked Trump.  The Apprentice had just gained popularity and my girlfriend (at the time) and I would travel to our friend’s house to watch his tough-guy image and signature hand gesture as he fired that week’s failure.  It was television, but it had some valuable lessons about doing what it takes to survive in the real business world and managing your resources.  At the time you could almost see Trump as a guru-style, hardcore businessman that you could learn from.  Over time, however, the shiny innovation wore off and the gimmicks they attempted to freshen up the show only served to make them look more desperate.  Perhaps that should’ve been an early warning.

Four years ago, Trump talked about possibly running, and people thought it was funny.  He had gained some political notoriety by questioning President Obama’s birth records, but neither he nor anyone else thought it was a serious gesture.  To his credit, he tested the water and perhaps that time he knew it was too cold for his taste.  So he took a back-seat in the political arena for a little while.  Later he said he regretted not running and that he could’ve beaten Obama “easily”.  Sure Donald.  Regardless, it was all a funny “what if”.  Nobody seriously thought he would run, and even if he did there’s no way he’d be successful in the political arena.

Oops.  We completely underestimated the number of racist, xenophobic, hate-filled, ignorant, scared, easily manipulated, complete fucking idiots that populate the supposed “greatest country in the world.” (Yes, I also loved the speech from the opening of the Newsroom… for the 501st time when it was posted on Facebook “new”… again… Aaron Sorkin is a genius… moving on.)  I’ll give Trump credit for this: he knows his audience.  He is preying on all those that are alienated when we try to move ahead as a society.  Equality for people of color?  Fuck you, I’m voting for Trump.  Women are equal to men!?  Fuck you! I’m voting for Trump!  Accept those terrified, starving, fleeing, refugee TERRORISTS into MY country!?  Fuck you!  I’m voting for Trump!  Basically anytime we’ve given a stupid white (often) redneck male a reason to feel like he’s not the king of the world, Trump is stepping in to be their savior.

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When not talking about the size of his peni..err.. hands.

And I only wish that were his only demographic… but there’s a number of other people, who I can only assume are either evil businessmen in league with him or sheep-like people that feel scared and/or weak that are drawn to his strong bravado.  But it’s false bravado, and anyone with a brain can see that.  He talks “YUUUGE”, but anytime he’s asked a question requiring substance… a political plan, or international relations, or even his stance on white supremacy (seriously…) he balks.  If he doesn’t have something offensive and strong to say that will support and fuel his masses, he tries to talk around the question with pure nonsense.

But it doesn’t matter.  Trump has tapped into something primal: hate.  Initially, the republican party got behind it and rode the wave of his popularity.  They assumed he’d ride out his fame and settle into their ranks.  But as is the case with many a horror story, they created a monster, and the monster outgrew them.  Now they are faced with a very difficult choice; Let the monster have his way, or revoke their support and draw the ire of his legion of followers (the majority of whom were originally republican voters.)  They know Trump will turn his followers on them, he has grown very, very good at inspiring and feeding hate… to the point now it has begun to become violent.  So now those that fed him are at his mercy, watching in horror as he strikes down each of their other champions until the only one remaining is as comparably frightening as Trump himself: Ted Cruz.  I wish I could say this is bad as it gets, but it’s still in it’s early stages.

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Or.. you know.. launch nuclear missiles…

If Trump wins the republican nomination, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I will be legitimately afraid of the outcome of the presidential race.  Sure, in the past I haven’t agreed with certain candidates, but this is the first time I’ve ever felt like a candidate represented everything that was wrong with humanity.  If he becomes the leader of the “free world”, then I honestly believe the free world could be doomed.  He will almost certainly destroy our ties with long time allies such as Mexico (you know… the giant wall and all…) and the majority of Europe (who already hate him.)  Further, it’s not unrealistic to see him forging ties with China and Russia, not for the sake of peace or creating a better world, but for the sake of money.  Assuming that doesn’t create conflict through infighting and power struggle,  it could very quickly turn into intimidation, invasion, and oppression of countries that posed any sort of threat to the new “Axis of Evil..err.. Greatness”, and a very ugly, very nuclear third world war that could change life as we know it… forever.

Now I realize that escalated quickly, and it sounds very far fetched, but look at what has been incited by this man so far.  We’ve got him offering to pay the legal fees of his people who attack anti-Trump protesters at his rallies.  The situation I described above is just a massively amplified version of that.  What happens when Canada says “Hey there… you’re being a dick to your people and we are cutting off trade with you.”?  He’ll retaliate, and he’ll encourage his people, his country, to violence.  Here’s the thing folks, as soon as we give him those codes, as soon as we put him in that house, it only takes one moment of defensiveness and false bravado for him to make a decision that will literally change the face of this planet.  That shit is real, and it is scary.

Maybe I’m overstating the situation.  I really hope I am.  Some people say that Trump is just saying all of this to win the popularity contest and as soon as he’s elected he’ll change his tune.  But I don’t think so.  I’ve seen him in the board room when the people are watching him.  As President, he would know the people, most importantly his people, will be watching him, so he’ll act “strong” even if somewhere deep down the last of his moral compass is telling him it’s a bad idea.

q49d7dtThat’s the long and the short of it: Trump is already in over his head.  He doesn’t know how government works, he doesn’t know political leadership, and he sure as hell doesn’t know constitutional law.  All he knows is that the USA is one big business and if he’s the leader he has to keep lying and acting tough.  So he’ll try to dismantle the parts he doesn’t understand and shape it into something that lets him make all the decisions like he has in his (arguably) unsuccessful corporations.

I saw a movie once where another leader came to power and did the same thing.  That leader’s name was Palpatine.  Unfortunately, the real-life version we’re faced with now is just as evil and greedy, but not nearly as powerful or intelligent.

So for the love of god people, vote for anyone other than Trump.  If he wins the republican nomination, and you’re a republican, then I ask that for the sake of your party and your country, you vote for the democratic candidate (either is better… and maybe we’ll get into that in a future post.)  The republican party has already all but denounced Trump unofficially, so if you vote for the opposing candidate, at least you know your party has time to regroup, develop a new strategy, and maybe unify into something that better represents the conservative people of this country.  This round was a disaster, we all know it, but if you vote for Trump on principle (or don’t vote at all…) the country as we know it may very well cease to exist, and the republican party might not get another chance.  How’s that for the lesser of the two evils?

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About Change and Where We Belong

It has been a busy holiday season and new year, but finally a chance to get back into routine, and that includes my blog!

One of my best friends was visiting from her new home in Japan this last week.  She’s  stayed with me a couple nights while also visiting her other friends and we’ve been catching up on the changes in the sixteen months or so since she left.  I was a little concerned, because sometimes when people travel abroad and start a new life in a difficult, unfamiliar place, it’s easy to come back and latch on to what’s familiar.  So we were on our way to a friend’s house and I asked her if she was feeling at home again (more or less baiting her for my underlying question: “are you not going to want to go back?”  Her immediate answer was: “No.  I don’t belong here.”  Wow.  In that moment I realized how much she’s grown even since she left.

She looks Japanese.. right?

She looks Japanese.. right?

I should clarify that she’s one of my best friends because she’s always been wickedly intelligent, friendly and otherwise awesome as a person.  She took the time to get to know me better than anyone had in a very long time, and to this day reminds me when I’m repeating my cycles.  When she was accepted to the prestigious JET program, she had been scared and excited to leave everything she’d know.  But it was her dream to live in Japan someday and it won out over any fear she had.   When she arrived, the first few months were tough, and on and off she struggled with homesickness and bouts of depression. But now, that moment in the car she spoke with such resolution that I knew she’d gotten past it all.  She made her home in Japan, and she knows, she feels that where she is now is where she belongs.

So the new year is upon us, and though the dates and turning of the year are very often in the minds of those who recognize it, there’s something to be said about powerful tradition and the influence of so many minds on the same wavelength.  Our cycles are reflections of our minds, so it’s silly to think we have no influence over them.  We break and remake them as we learn and grow.  The predominant theme of a new year is (of course) new things, new lives, even a new you.  But while everyone wishes for “new”, many are hesitant to wish for the same thing: “change”.  New does not happen without change.  Even if you’re only adding to your existing life, it will inevitably change it.  People fear the idea of “change” because they are afraid to lose what they have and what they are comfortable with, but it’s all about your attitude.  Embrace change and the excitement and experience that come with it are your rewards.  What you should retain will stay with you in some form anyway, the only things you will truly lose are the things that are probably holding you back now anyway.

In a sense, my friend gave up her whole life here to travel to a new place and begin again.  But now she visited over a year later, and she has actually lost nothing.  She came back to friends, family and even pets and could easily have stepped back into her old life as if she’d never left.  However, many people (including myself) noticed she was different.  She has evolved, and further,  instead of sinking into routine, she felt far away from home among us.  It sounds bad, but in essence it means she has embraced her new self and her new life.  It means she has grown.  Some people embark on journeys or make resolutions to change, but many (probably the majority) end up sinking back to what is comfortable.  This involves locations, relationships and professions.  Comfort is easy, and that’s not always a bad thing, but if we rely on comfort too long and do not push our boundaries, we become stagnant and that gives rise to many major issues from boredom to depression.  In order to be fulfilled, we have to feel as if we are growing and/or working toward something.

It's hard not to feel like you belong in moments like these.

It’s hard not to feel like you belong in moments like these.

That’s why finding where you belong can be so difficult; often it’s not a specific place, it’s a situation… it’s a state of mind.  You belong where you can learn, and grow and be made to feel valued for your contributions.  In a comfortable situation, you are taken for granted as much as you take things for granted, but continuing to develop yourself and your situations prevents this on both sides.  That’s not to say that everyone has to uproot and move thousands of miles to find where they belong, sometimes it’s simply a new living or work situation.  But the point is, as hard as it is to to tell when you are there, If you’re honest with yourself, it’s easy to tell when you’re not there.  You feel it when you don’t belong in a situation.  Listen to that, and have the courage to make the change.  I’ve been guilty of clinging to things I was afraid to lose and delaying change in the past, but it turns out that when you embrace change and grow with it, you don’t lose nearly as much as you think.  Especially those who you are important to will make the effort to follow you on some level and reunite with you when possible.  If others fall to the wayside, they have other priorities and probably would have eventually anyway.

That’s the thing about change, be it a new year, a new place, a new relationship or a new profession:  It’s going to happen whether you like it or not.  So, embrace it, direct it and make the most of it with a great attitude. Grow, Change, Love and find where you belong.

I wish I could help you all.

Everyday I see you.  On Social media, passing by while I eat lunch and even interacting with me on various levels.  Everyday I see a new reminder of somebody that feels like they are missing something, somebody, anything to fill that hole they feel.  They feel trapped, restrained or empty.  I get it, because I feel it too sometimes.  But what makes me sad is that you’re wandering, searching, and you don’t have the slightest idea for what.  You grasp at straws over and over thinking “Maybe this will fix it!”  “Maybe this will make me feel better!”  Sometimes it does.  But it’s usually only temporary.

2014-03-26-alone_man1440x9001When I read, see, hear or otherwise encounter you… it’s one of the few times I wish that I could say “I’m sorry.”  I’m arrogant enough to think I know what you need, and I believe that if in some cases you knew me, and trusted me… or in other cases I was willing to compromise myself, I could give it to you.  But in those cases you do not, and in other cases I cannot.

I am fortunate that the universe moves me along the path to intervene in the lives of those where it sees fit.  It is, in fact, an honor to have a lasting effect on any individual’s life.  But when I see so many others suffering, not because they deserve it, but because they believe they do… it makes me angry.  I don’t want to talk down to those people.  I, too, have a darkness and emptiness I wrestle with regularly,  so it’s not pity I feel… it’s kindrid.. and it’s resentment toward the hard lessons people have to sometimes spend their whole lives learning.  It’s not fair.

Ahhh.. but as I said, I am arrogant.  To speak as if there isn’t a reason.  I believe there is, a greater reason to a greater system.  But that doesn’t mean that now, in this moment they deserve to feel like this.  These are good people who only hurt themselves (not literally.. most of the time) and harm nobody.  They have good hearts, better than mine, and yet are subjected to harsh lessons and robbed of their ability to flourish.  Now, perhaps it will make them stronger and they will flourish even more down the road. I like that hope… I like to think everyone gets theirs in the end…In this life.

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This isn’t them, it’s the fear and hate of the ones before them, but they may never escape it.

But they don’t.  That’s the reality of this world.  In order to get what you deserve in this world, you must first believe you deserve it.  But often those closest to you rob you of that belief, that hope, from day one.  This too makes me angry.  Society is broken, humanity is broken.  From generation to generation scars are passed down often in the forms of blessings.  Repression, restraint, control, greed, helplessness, wrong.. “you’re wrong because…” This is what assaults you from the womb, from day one, and often from those you’re supposed to trust the most.  Their wounds bleed on to you and you suffer their sins as they suffered the sins of those before them because from the beginning you’ve always be taught that if you don’t do what they think is right, whatever they’ve been programmed to think is right… then you’re wrong.

THAT is where that hole comes from.  THAT is where the emptiness begins.  The ego is chipped away and insecurity wreaks havoc on your soul.  This damage keeps you from feeling complete because you can’t be complete if you don’t feel right being you.  It doesn’t go away either.  It resurfaces over and over again and if you can’t fight, it consumes you.  Sometimes the people who helped put it there tell you that they know what you need to fix it.  But you don’t need to be fixed.  You’re not actually broken, you’re just afraid of who you are, so you can’t be who you are.

I believe in love.  I believe in people that belong together and compliment each other’s lives perhaps even into the next life.  But I don’t ever believe that a relationship is two halves.  It’s two wholes.  And the best way to find your other whole is to do your best to make yourself as whole as possible.  But you’re really, really afraid of that.  In fact, you may not even realize it’s what you Over-Parentingneed.  But I promise you, no matter where you come from, what your beliefs are, or what your heritage is, the one thing you need more than anything or anyone in this world, is to be you.  And be the you that you were born to be, and be so fucking happy about who you are and what you represent that nothing anyone can say or do will convince you that you need to be anything but who you are.

Don’t ever let your family, friends, teachers, pastors, boyfriends, girlfriends, strangers or (for the love of god..) media tell you who you are or what you should be.  Don’t let ME tell you who you should be.  Nobody has to, because way deep down you already know.  And THAT is all you need to listen to.  That is the voice of you in the universe telling you that you’re perfect being you (flaws and all.)

I don’t care about a lot of things… or maybe on a different level I do.  But what makes me feel… what makes me sad, is when I see good hearted, talented, intelligent, amazing people restrained, self-loathing, depressed, repressed, hurt or otherwise abused because they’ve been infected by this thing we call society.  What’s supposed to help people by bringing them together now traps them in shallow lies, evil intentions and empty promises.  It makes them scared to be who they are, and makes them hate themselves because they don’t fit what only a small percentage of people in this world believe is ideal.  These people who could potentially save the world… the entire human race… are squandered because of false pride, rampant ego, and the fear and insecurity that has controlled those before them since nearly the beginning of civilization.

Most of us have been there.

Most of us have been there.

I see it.  It makes me angry.  It makes me sad.  Even though I am privileged enough to know that in a very large picture, even suffering has it’s place, it’s reasons… it doesn’t mean that it’s fair.  The system is balanced, and it will balance itself and we are only a part of a much greater system.   But I see the individual lights.  I see you, there at night alone and afraid to face yourself.  But you have to face yourself, you have to fight all the wrong that been crammed in your head that tells you you’re anything but magnificent.  And I wish i could help you.  I wish I could help you all.  I wish I could help you be you.

Rage Post: Why I generally hate humans, Part 1 – Rape Culture

I was going to write about a completely different subject.  It’s the eve of Thanksgiving and I was going to write about happiness and how to promote and avoid becoming complacent, etc etc.  And then I got my latest issue of Rolling Stone, and in it was an article about a girl that was raped at UVA.

I’m going to warn you now, this is not a happy post.  It is also possible that it will upset you if you have been a victim.

anti-rape-campaignUnfortunately I felt compelled to see what this article was about, and then I immediately remembered again why i carry such a general distain towards humanity.  This article not only describes in detail what happened to her (I will NOT go into detail, but it involved and entire pack of frat boys in a room in the most prestigious fraternity there.) That alone literally made me want to murder these men that I do not know.  Murder.  Like I decided at that point that these people give up their right to exist in this world when they make that choice.  If I were their god, they would suffer and perish for thinking and acting as they do.

And that’s the core of it: I CANNOT condone, understand or even conceive, after ANY amount of alcohol (and trust me, I’ve had as much as my body can take and still function)  even CONSIDERING forcing a woman to have sex with me…  let alone HOLDING HER down with a GROUP of men and each one of them making the choice to restrain, abuse, defile, desecrate and then assist all the others in doing the same to her!?  HOW!?  HOW do you EVER even EXIST knowing you CONSIDERED doing something like that?  If I was somehow mind-controlled in to such an act.. the moment I came out of it and realized what I had done, I would find her, throw myself at her feet, allow her to do whatever she wished to me and inflict whatever amount of pain and suffering she wanted on me, and then, if she didn’t kill me, I would kill myself.

I consider this merciful.

I consider this merciful.

When you willingly and knowingly make a PRE-MEDITATED, SUSTAINED, ORGANIZED choice to devalue a COMPLETELY
INNOCENT woman (or man.. let’s not be sexist here) like that, you are the worst thing on the planet.  At that point the EBOLA VIRUS is BETTER and more NOBLE than you are.  It deserves this life MORE than you do because AT LEAST it’s simply doing what it exists to do, without the conscious process to choose differently.  It is being natural.  HUMAN RAPE, regardless of what some might say IS NOT NATURAL.  And do you know why?  Because you THINK.  You DO have the choice, and even somebody like me who’s been compared to a SOCIOPATH knows that such things are SO INCREDIBLY WRONG that there’s ZERO justification and ZERO reasoning.

“Oh they’re just boys being boys.” or “They are genetically programmed like that.” ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?  That’s like me chopping your arm off in front of you, frying it up over a fire with a little Ponzu sauce (I do love me some ponzu!) and eating it in front of you.  And then when they ask me why I did it I say “Oh well I was REALLY hungry.” and that makes it okay.

Mind you this comes from me. ME!!  I’m a pretty damn hedonistic, sexual person and even with my reputation I’m far mellower now than I was at my hormonal peak.  Even then.. NEVER could I justify restraining a woman (against her will.. willingly is a whole different story..) and actually enjoying violating her like that.  I honestly don’t even think my equipment would work.  And call me new-age but I really like my partners to be on board and enjoying it as much or more than I am…

A real man doesn't give a fuck about ANY reputation over HUMAN RIGHTS.

A real man doesn’t give a fuck about ANY reputation over HUMAN RIGHTS.

But you know what?  All the horrors above aren’t even the worst part.  The worst part is that when she finally told somebody about it, when she overcame threats, and fear and trauma, she was told to shut up and forget it.  Her friends were concerned it would affect their standing at school.  Two weeks later she SAW the guy who had led her to that frat party, to the room where those men had been waiting for her, and do you know what he said?  “Hey Jackie (obviously the name has been changed for the article) are you ignoring me?  I wanted to thank you for the other night.  I had a great time.”  What!?  WHAT!?  That’s not even biblically evil.. that’s beyond it.. that’s sickness.  He REALLY believes it’s okay for him to talk like that, as if the event was pleasant and this girl’s horror doesn’t exist.   It’s a level of programmed psychosis deeper than simple sociopathy.
Even after THAT, after she quit her job where she worked with this guy and missed all her classes for a week out of trauma, even the DEAN of the school encouraged her to keep it quiet to protect the school’s reputation. The FUCKING REPUTATION.  Because apparently the ACTUAL character of many of the students who attend the school doesn’t matter, so long as the reputation is intact.

Even writing about this is making me feel sick, it’s rage, pure unadulterated rage.  And you know, I wish that I could say it was an isolated incident.  Or just that school’s particularly dark underground.  But no, according to research and statistics, this particular story is the average situation among US Universities.  1 in 5 women on a college campus is a victim or rape, but only about 12% report it.  This is not an isolated thing, this is a cultural thing. And the rapists get away with it, more often than not.  The statistics also say (and I found this truly alarming) that 9 out of 10 campus rapes are the result of repeat offenders, and further, the average repeat offender has six rapes under their belt.  And they are getting away with it.

This CANNOT happen unless there is a SOCIETY and infrastructure in place to SUPPORT it.  The bottom line is, this doesn’t just happen because people ignore it, it happens because some sick, sick people encourage it!  Somewhere, a douchebag alumni dad is teaching his son that it’s okay to go to college, join a fraternity that openly objectifies women and use them for whatever they so desire whether they agree or not.  Maybe he doesn’t use those words, but his stories, philosophy, and “the reputation of your fraternity, brothers, and school above all” IS the rape culture.  And when these children grow up to be rapists, all the grown-up rapists who are now often rich with old money, affluent and in positions of power simply band together and use their resources to keep it quiet.  They use denial, guilt, fear, shame, aggression and threats minimize the victim and nobody thinks anything of it or looks into it until somebody dies.  Even then, action is questionable.

JT gets it because he's a sexy, classy man.

JT gets it because he’s a sexy, classy man.

It sounds like a big conspiracy.  But this is a system that exists.  It is FACT.  It is up to those of us that know better to teach our generation and the ones below us that this is wrong on every level it can be, and must be destroyed.  Fortunately women are becoming stronger, making them harder to victimize and more outspoken in order to bring these things to light, but the institutions that support this rape culture must be dismantled from the top down.

Fortunately, the government has now stepped in and the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is performing extensive compliance reviews on MAJOR schools and universities that can result in the nuclear bomb of higher education – the revoking of all government funding for a school found in serious violation.  It’s enough to make everyone take notice.. but it’s only a start.  These rapists and their culture must be battled and dismantled until nothing remains except the stories of the evil, savages that teach future generations that they cannot be allowed make the same  mistakes.

The people like the rapists mentioned above are what bring the collective of humanity down as a whole.  They are parasites attempting to survive among the people that could make this world a better place, or, at least, the people who aren’t trying to make it any worse.  One way another, they, meaning the culture that created and sustains them have to die.

**Note: Let me just say that I understand this is not only not just a US problem and that so many other terrible things happen in the US and around the world every day.  This is just one example of one that I happened to read about and reacted strongly to, but I am in no way singling this situation out among the unfortunate mass of human idiocy/evil that plagues the entire world.  It’s an irony that the same species that seems to produce truly enlightened individuals also produces those who are more evil and animalistic than any other sentient being on the planet. 

You have nothing to fear but…

Halloween is on the horizon and though these days it’s a good excuse to spend money on revealing costumes better used in the bedroom, it originally used to be quite scary.  It’s origins, the Pegan festival of “Samhain” originated in Celtic culture some 2000 years ago.  The Celts believed that the dead could walk among the living at this time. Or rather, during Samhain, the living could visit with the dead.  It sounds both miraculous and unnatural to be reunited with the spirit of a departed love one.  Of course, if the situation were to end up like it almost always does in various horror stories that date back before Samhain, the spirits would inevitably turn on the living and disaster would follow in some form.

I dunno... seems like fun.

I dunno… seems like fun.

So what?  Well… that’s scary.  The one thing Samhain and the modern day commercialism that is Halloween have in common is that they both scare you in some form. (And actually Pegans were known for nude rituals.. so perhaps the lack of clothing is also a common element… but I digress…)  Where rituals of the old world were far more occult and legitimately scared some, now it’s the rush, the momentary fear that causes people to enjoy things like modern haunted houses and horror movies.  Heart rate increases, adrenaline surges and hyper-awareness sets in.  Studies have shown that it can even be addictive.  Fortunately haunted houses and horror movies are safe, fun and temporary.  The fear subsides and leaves you feeling giddy and happy. Such is the positive aspect of fear, if one even exists.

But let me tell you about the other, far more real side of fear: The most useful tool in existence to control people.

“I sense much fear in him…  Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering…” -Jedi Grandmaster Yoda

Film - Star Wars Episode III Revenge of The Sith

Wise, he is.

I’ve mentioned previously that I’m a manipulator.  I realized after disliking myself for a while that it’s not good or bad, it’s just a way of being.  I developed it as a means of social defense and survival when I was young and combined it with a knack for convincing, on the fly, compulsive lying.  I was a very good liar, and an arguably better manipulator.  Combining those two things with a “me against the world” mentality, negative attitude and general selfishness made me a pretty shitty person who got away with way too much.  As a lot of you know, I ultimately paid for being that person and became (arguably) better because of it. If nothing else, I’m honest anyway and I’m pretty good at spotting lies and manipulation when I see them.

Manipulation takes many forms.  In it’s most positive incarnation it’s true leadership.  You are being manipulated, but of your own free will with concepts that are transparent and straightforward.  Because of the lack of deception, you are able to make a choice as to whether to follow the message given to you or not, but the manipulation aspect makes you want to.  This is called motivation. (And yes, you can, in fact, manipulate yourself in the same manner.)

Seems nice.

Seems nice.

Unfortunately somewhere very early in the history of humanity, manipulators discovered the very effective power of fear.  As a primal instinct hard-wired into almost every human on the planet, very few things can affect and motivate a large amount of people better than fear can.  Ivan the Terrible, Benito Mussolini, Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar, Joseph Stalin and of course (perhaps the most famous) Count Vlad Dracula all used fear as a potent weapon of control.  From working millions to death with an iron fist, to causing entire armies to flee from a forest of impaled corpses, these people became so terrifying that fighting them became unthinkable.

Fortunately over time, most of the world wised up, realized the destructive power of these madmen (and women) and overcame their fear in order to defeat and remove them.  But it didn’t end there, the modern ages are filled with fear in both similarly overt ways and arguably much more dangerous underlying ways.  In the spotlight we have obvious terrorists like the Taliban or the currently prominent ISIS who use publicized beheadings in order to virally increase their notoriety and also to attempt to scare people into taking them seriously.  Fortunately in most cases the civilized world does not respond to this sort of manipulation, and instead becomes motivated to destroy the source of such atrocities.

Granted HE scares me...

Fear him!

Unfortunately the new perpetuators and amplifiers of this fear are actually much closer to home: us.  “Fear of loss” is the term used for a well-known sales technique ranging from dating to buying a brand new car.  The concept is simple, they make you want something, or even feel as if it’s yours, and then make you take action by making you scared you will lose what you want.  When you go to a car dealership, find the perfect car, and then decide to you want to “think about it” or “sleep on it” before you purchase, they will do whatever they can to keep you from leaving. The majority of the time you’ll probably hear something like “Well we’ve got two other test drives scheduled, I can’t promise we can hold this one.” That’s dirty for sure (and often completely untrue) but it makes you hesitate to leave it and some people still fall for it. As bad as that is though, the media takes it one step further.

Though founded on the basis of providing the public with information, the truth about any newscast is that they need to make ratings.  Since their ratings (and in turn revenue) require as many viewers as possible, they have to manipulate you into thinking you have to watch them or you will lose something important: Information.  But to take it one step further, they have to convince you that you need them or the information you miss might just kill you.  It sounds silly, but if you listen to questions in interviews with very carefully selected “experts” you’ll hear pre-scripted questions like: “So do you believe that a terrorist attack in the US will happen again?”  or “What are the chances that Ebola will turn into an epidemic?” The questions aren’t necessarily dishonest, and (sometimes anyway) the answers aren’t either.  But it doesn’t matter, because as soon as they introduce that idea as a feasible possibility into your mind, you get scared.  When you get scared, you have to keep tuning in, so you have information, so you are ready, so you don’t die.

dont-believe-everything-you-see-on-the-internet

He’s so wise!

In the modern age we have an arguably scarier medium by which fear and falsities are transmitted: Social Media.  The internet allows for the passage of information without any sort of boundaries, filters, guidelines or truth to it.  Though many on the internet are savvy and intelligent enough to be aware of obviously false information, there’s still a large chunk (possibly even the majority these days,) that are easy prey for fear manipulation.  Even scarier are those who intentionally spread fear and panic through such false information, all for the sake additional clicks, addition traffic, advertising revenue, some sort of agenda or simply because it makes them feel powerful to control people.  Those on the internet, even on such mainstream sites such as Facebook are constantly bombarded with posts designed to get you to react without thinking and be scared, angry, outraged, sad or whatever it takes for them to act.  They promote bigotry, racism, sexism, religious persecution and general hate all through the power of instinctive fear.

Some with a more rational mind will take the time to look up figures, dig up real facts, and realize that all this fear mongering has become irrational and stupid. But a large majority will still be afraid, still be controlled and even go so far as to berate the rational people by telling them how sorry they’ll be when the shit hits the fan and we’re not ready.  We are fortunate that rational people are the ones that have defeated fear throughout the ages.  My only fear is that eventually there won’t be enough rational people to stop the manipulated masses from taking over and destroying us all.

Better call Max.

Better call Max.

Ebola will kill some people.  Terrorists will kill some people.  God (depending on what you believe) will kill some people.  Cats will kill some people.  Televisions will kill some people. Chocolate will kill some people.  Love.. just might kill some people.  But fear… fear could end up killing everyone… the entire human race.  So be one of the rational thinkers and when something you read on the internet or hear on the news makes you afraid, realize that you are being manipulated, question it, and then do your research and understand the reality (YOUR reality) of what you’re afraid of.  You’ll find that the more you understand, the less you fear.