an untitled poem

tomorrow will be born a new man
an innocent virgin

who dreamed a very long time
dreams of another man, just like him
who was born, who grew, who learned, who lost, who loved, who cried, who felt ecstatic joys he never thought possible

but that was all a dream
tomorrow he will wake into the world of this dreamed man
he will hope that the man in the dream was kind
to him

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fiction

there is truth in absolutely everything if you know how to see it.

what we think of as fiction is just the inner reality of its inventor.

the best fictions are the ones which represent a truth that we recognise.

How?

How do you get what you want?

One day you hear a story about someone just like you, who did {blank}, and got exactly what you want. If the story is to be believed, then if you do {blank} in the same way, you are likely to get what you want.

You want the story to be true because it’s the only story you’ve heard that ends in you getting what you want. The alternative to this story being true is that you don’t have any clue how to get what you want. You wonder whether not following the story as closely as you could might be causing you to lose the thing you want. You resolve to believe in the story as much as you believe in the thing you want.

We all want to believe the story that ends in us getting what we want.

developing nation

because some nations are fully developed and need develop no more. the adult nations. the nations that know better. the nations that oppress people. the nations that enslave people. the nations that kill people. the nations that war. the nations that believe in perfect human freedom– for *their* nation.

Nationalism is a kind of fascism that everyone still seems to believe in. and the powerful nations reeeally don’t see how it could be a bad thing. and of course we all have to listen to the powerful nations. they know better.

I think we can all keep developing.

trusting the government

I’m starting to suspect the people who complain that the government isn’t trustworthy are not actually the same people who keep voting for obviously untrustworthy politicians.

Is there such a thing as national therapy? We need that.

…let me try that again.

Okay so I see a spectrum of engagement with democracy. I see a group of people who notice that the government isn’t trustworthy. I see a group of people voting for untrustworthy politicians. How much are these the same people? Are there people who don’t understand that authorities can be untrustworthy? Are there people who believe that untrustworthy people are still qualified to run their society? Are there people who have lost faith in the idea of public trust and are following another value system like identity politics?

Mainly I see a lot of confusion about what exactly is happening in western democracies. Smart people are refusing to talk to each other because their identity politics puts them at odds.

If identity politics is the thing that people care about now I don’t see why more good people haven’t gotten on board with it yet. Seriously man, OPRAH. WE NEED OPRAH. I AM NOT EVEN FUCKING KIDDING HERE. OPRAH CAN LITERALLY SAVE THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

Bad people

Dehumanisation doesn’t have to be conscious to be real.

It’s in the scary uncertain situations that our unconscious fear of the other causes us to shoot first and only figure out later whether the danger was real. From a pure survival standpoint it’s completely rational. But that doesn’t mean that our society shouldn’t aspire to be better than that.

No human is born bad. I fully believe that any person is capable of dehumanising others should the right emotional conditioning be applied.

The only way to figure out how to stop bad things from happening is to first understand how that conditioning works; to figure out what influences caused someone to conclude that the pain they’re going to cause is irrelevant compared to getting what they feel like they need.

It’s worth noting at this point: Empathy is not the same thing as agreement. I feel like there are far too many people who fail to see this distinction. I believe in universal empathy. I believe that there is no person who is beyond help. I know that no matter how many times I or anyone else gets hurt, punishing bad people wont fix anything.

Keeping people safe does not require us to dehumanise anyone.

A fresh callback to the current stagnation

I had forgotten about the infinite joke. I saw it last year in, let’s say, a dream.

There’s a direction, a slant, a…viewpoint you can take, that is funny forever. Or at least as far as I’ve chosen to look before the laughter became too much for me.

The same joke echoes endlessly through every direction at once, like a fractal, somehow amazingly each iteration is the perfect punchline to everything that came before it, every piece both perfectly contextualised and insanely contextualised by everything that came before it, and along with it, and after it, becoming exponentially more insane and more hilarious the longer it goes. It makes no sense. It’s impossible. But somehow it’s real.

Human trust

Does anyone else remember back when the internet started giving us advice on how to poop better? And of course the very smartest people felt compelled to point out how stupid it was that some people need to be told how to poop because of course they never needed help pooping! But then it turned out actually it was great advice that relatively few people knew about and so millions benefited from it.

A lot of things are like that.

Here is a simple test of human trust: the phrase “bringing issues to your attention”.

What does that phrase mean to you? If someone you didn’t know was committed to bringing issues to your attention (say, via TV broadcast), what would you assume about that person? How much would you need to trust someone before you would accept as real the issues being brought to your attention? What if that person was your partner? Your mother? Your spiritual leader?

What if the issue in question was something you didn’t want to know about? What if it was an advertisement? What if it was something that would improve your life dramatically? What if it was impossible to tell without first volunteering your attention? What if it was all of the above?

Recently I’ve started trying to see proprietary brands as people with personalities, goals, and consciences. Not “real” people of course because the brand itself is not alive, but brands are conscious by way of the collective of people that believe in them. If the brand enables people to act a certain way, this is a true expression of the brand.

I mean isn’t that why Harvey Weinstein got fired?