Plot (EVR1 Blog)
Technology is Tools (rant) December 11 2013, 0 Comments
In the West we have this mythical and religious attitude towards technology, like its a de facto good, like any tech venture that gets funded is worth our time, like anything we can do we should do. Despite Fukushima, Deep Water Horizon, Bhopal, et al, we believe we can innovate our way out of the toxic sludge of our current 'innovations'.
To quote a lawyer friend of mine, disinclined towards diplomacy, "False."
Simply, technology is just a post-1980 term for tools. Tools are conveniences for accomplishing jobs. Jobs are tasks for the meeting of human needs. Human needs are 3-fold (physical, social, spiritual). A tool is thus something that increases efficiency (from the perspective of the human, species, ecology and cosmos) of meeting one or more of these needs. For each one of these needs we need to ask, "Am I using the right tool for the job?" "Am I using the least amount of resources required?" "Am I creating more work for myself in the long run?"
This is not the context within which technology is created. It is generally and blindly created by rich white people to solve imaginary problems of rich white people and sold to these rich white people so that another group of rich white people values it such that it can be sold to a larger group of rich white people for the enrichment of the first group of rich white people, and paid for by the blood, sweat and tears of the poor, brown and unborn people.
"The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads." - Jeff Hammerbacher, early Facebook employee.
Solve a real problem. Impose on yourself the Hippocratic Oath. Stop trying to sell the world a solution for which there is no need. Disrupt my dick.
Good tools: raw nature, biodynamic/organic/paleo/locally farmed food, unflouridated water, yurts, wood, fire, meditation, yoga, art, bikes, sex, dancing
Bad tools: everything else
Brandon's 2013 Holiday Letter December 02 2013, 0 CommentsHowdy!
I Touch a World December 01 2013, 0 Comments
I touch a world that is full
Where humanity's ideals are fulfilled
I see only alive people
Lit with purpose and connection
I touch you and beat
In repose between two oceans
I touch you into yourself
I touch a kindness for the ignorant
For the cruel and nostalgia-bound
I touch into the special future
I touch my insides out, care-free unto
Care-free unto what is just, what aches
I touch a world kind, pink
I touch it softly, with wisdom
And ferocious love, boundless boundary
I fight with compassion and strength
This world is ours
The EVR1 Theory of Love November 29 2013, 0 Comments
We want love, but are awash in our definitions and expectations. These can be boiled down into two very different approaches to love. One is acquisitive, inflexible, narratively-driven and impossible to sustain (the Real Housewives approach). The other is curious, growth-oriented, purpose-driven and the only path to a long-term romance (the Emergent approach).
The Real Housewives approach is one governed by the idea that we understand ourselves and where we're going, can "get" a partner to join us on the acquisition of this future state, e.g. house-scene, family-scene, financial-scene, physical-state, social-scene. It is a perpetual "if-then" mentality, where our personal happiness and relationship satisfaction is always just barely out of reach. If he/she does this, then I'm happy. If we get this, then our lives will be perfect. Etc. This is the white knight / damsel in distress approach. This is the realm of trophy wives and the great man complex. This is the approach of online dating, dating in general, expensive gifts like jewelry, socially determined critical success factors (wealth, appearance, likability, etc.), self-mutilation (cosmetic surgery, ritualistic hair removal, beauty treatments, toxic muscle/weight-loss supplements) and bling. This is the unending comparison of a partner's qualities and behavior against our own private idealized scene.
When the scene is apparently violated, phrases emerge like "I didn't sign up for this" or "You can't treat me this way" or "You are x, just like y." It is the feeling of betrayal and hurt, that instead of being owned and explored is projected upon the other. It is the crafting of a narrative against one's partner to justify one's emotions rather than process and explore it. It's a battle of wills with each party waging war against the fire, spirit and desires of the other so as to win, to move the scene slightly closer to one's particular idealized scene. Alan Watts summed up this approach best with the question, "With whom are you in love against?"
The Emergent approach to love is as honest as it is cosmic. Romantic love, from the perspective of the species, planet and cosmos, is a magical journey of spiritual growth, empowerment and co-creation. Romantic love deepens the present moment by sharing it with one person with whom each successive moment deepens the connection. Opposed to the "if-then" approach, this is the the "be here now" approach. We build a depth together in the present as lovers. We understand each other's preferred "love language" (touch, time, service, praise, gifts), and take pleasure in our lover's pleasure. We see the inner child of our partner, and relish in the conditions where he/she can be open, goofy, playful, creative, loving as they were without end as children. We hold a deep reverence for our partner's purpose, for the dramatic unfolding of self as witnessed from our sacred front row seat. Our pleasure is doubled by their impact and expression in the world.
The Emergent approach explicitly recognizes the contexts of species, planet and cosmos. This is a very humbling context, especially when juxtaposed to the gooey, endless and all consuming realm of romance. However, we must stay in the cosmic context, humbling ourselves before it and recognizing that our personal and shared path is the cresting wave of cosmic evolution. We are the greatest concentration of the Universe within itself (re energy rate density), and sharing the wave together is a cosmic sacrament. We have a purpose on this wave and only 80 years to live it, to achieve impact, to share our greatest gifts with the present and future of humanity and the cosmos. It shows up as mindfulness and reverence for all the major life decisions, where subjects like voluntary simplicity, sustainability, justice, and depth are openly considered.
However, this is not all rainbows and bunnies. Emergence is a process of churning up the darkness and bringing it into the light. We provide each each other a steady supply of triggers where we are given the opportunity to revisit our deepest wound. Our partners, generally without intention, neglect us in a personal and fundamental way - they, being similarly wounded, go on about their daily lives and do things which anger or sadden us. Although we seek in that partner a salve (a holistic acceptance of self, an intimate embrace where we can be full, loved, welcome, where we can get what we were denied in childhood), they, despite their best intentions, cut us to the quick. Our partners are bound by their own shadows, and trigger our deepest wound, giving us another opportunity to know it, to grow from it and to stand in an ever more secure place of purpose and vision. This is what wise romantics mean when they say "Marriage is hard work".
Emergent love is saying yes, yes to the unknown, yes to the present, yes to the future. It's saying we can work it out, speak our pain and insecurity into the sacred container of the relationship, and feel safe, heard. Emergent love is the fundamental yes to our own growth and the joy in bearing witness to our partner's growth. Emergent love is the humble honesty, kneeling before the emergent cosmos, saying we are ready, strong, stable, do with us as you will.
Emergent Courtship, a How-to:
- Don't date, merely do what you love, what brings you most alive. In doing so, others will see the real you and will know you and become the source from which you will explore romantic partnership. If you build it they will come.
- Set a clear intention for your partnership, and then let it go, remembering that love is emergent and will not look like your intention when it arrives. Dwell in the place of commitment to that intention, but knowing that if we attach to it we drift into the realm of Real Housewives.
- Be the husband/wife you would be if that person were already with you physically, as they are with you now intentionally, metaphysically in your heart. When shopping for groceries, engaging in self-care (like yoga) and taking care of your home, know that you're creating a hearth for that sacred person to come in to. Don't wait for them to walk into your life before you get your shit together. Start loving them now, open yourself to be in relationship now, care for yourself now.
- When someone does catch your eye, create an opportunity for a natural connection, like the outdoors, or preparing a meal. Avoid any attempts by others or society to commercialize or quantify what is happening between you two.
- Take it slow. Enjoy a slow progression of physical intimacy. There is a finite amount of time between the time you meet and sleep together. Enjoy and savor that. It only happens once.
Emergent Love, a How-to:
- Remain in the question, "Who is my lover?" Your lover's path is over when its over, so you cannot know them in their entirety in the present moment, ever. It's easy to default to judgments about the other, but that is false, as we can never fully know them. Relish in the discovery of who they are over the many years or decades you spend together.
- Super charge your personal and relationship growth by doing personal growth, creative, spiritual and professional retreats together and separately, e.g. Non-Violent Communication, Imago, Landmark, Tantric Intimacy. When you do them separately, you bring back new gold to pour into the relationship. When you do them together, you revisit old assumptions and create a richer path together. Find a balance between these two.
- Get authentic same-sex support for your union. This means carefully choosing the people and contexts that you share your deepest fears and desires with outside of the partnership. Intentional men's and women's groups are good for this, e.g. ManKind Project, Woman Within. Unintentional or default groups (like sports bars, book clubs, golfing buddies or coworkers) are generally bad for this.
- Do a quarterly audit on the union, where each partner can assess and share their feelings about all aspects of the partnership - physical, emotional, economic, social, parental, etc. Create personal and shared stretch goals for the next quarter.
- Take personal responsibility to court your partner until death. Create a personal system for surprising your lover with experiences that will honor their gifts, where they feel your full love and gratitude for his/her gifts and your brief and sacred time together. If having children is part of your path, the greatest gift you can give your children is how to model authentic romantic love.
Yes, I Am November 26 2013, 0 Comments
What Does and Doesn't Belong in 2014 November 25 2013, 0 Comments
"The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed." William Gibson
Everything has its home in space-time, and is either a contemporary idea (reflective of a broad understanding of reality), behavior or object, OR Material Out of Place (MOOP), a Burning Man term that refers to artifacts that are removed from their useful context, like a dirty sock a foot away from a hamper. As there can be no two same points in the four dimensions of space-time, no two people are ever here or when.
We are merely artifacts of consciousness that place us, irrespective our perception of being simultaneous in a given moment, in a unique place and time. We occupy space-time coordinates only in relation to each other and yet we are also gradations of progress towards Universal consciousness/God. As we are all Universal actors in the physical realm, each of us thus represents a prior or future version of the other points in space-time.
In 2014, we sit atop the progress of two philosophical movements, one of which is non-hierarchical, called Postmodernism (1950-1990), accepting multiple truths, multiple realities. The other is Integral Thought (1990-present), and it is hierarchical, uniting all things, ideas, psychological states and social values under a shared framework, from least evolved/God-like to most evolved/God-like.
Thus in 2014, there aren't bad ideas or evil people, but rather misplaced artifacts, behaviors and ideas, things disconnected from the era and place they belong. In just a few weeks we will welcome 2014. 2014 is a new context, a new story that requires new material, new protagonists, new artifacts, new narratives. We can't live in 2014 and pretend its still 1980, as is the case with most freemarket fundamentalists, or pretend it's 1500, as is the case with most religious zealots, or pretend the future will absolve us from our sins in the present, as is the case with transhumanists. We need to craft and live in a new story, one that takes into account the last 600 years of escalating advances of knowledge, thought, spirit and global culture.
Simply, there are a host of developments that have come into the public domain over the last few decades (pollution, climate change, mass extinctions, income inequality, energy/resource scarcity/wars, corporate royalism/Council on Foreign Relations, quantum entanglement, big ag / animal cruelty / GMOs) that require new ways of being in the world. To prepare for 2014, we need to arrange the stage accordingly with 2014 ideas and artifacts. But before we do, we have to take out the rubbish. Those most in need of removal are:
- Red Meat
The average speed of a car and a bicycle are the same, 7mph. Of course a car is bigger and can travel faster in bursts, but the net motion effect is the same - a human body moving from point A to point B at exactly the same speed. Why is this so? Because when you divide the miles you have traveled by the time you spend in a car AND the time you spend working to pay for it (payments, gas, repairs, insurance, parking fees/tickets, tolls), you have a quite modest rate of speed.
What the speed doesn't tell you is the cost to society and the planet in choosing a car over a bicycle. Cars weigh a few thousand pounds and require an enormous amount of carbon/fossil energy to not only run, but to be produced. A bike has a much smaller energetic debt, as it weighs only 30 lbs. Perhaps nowhere is this disparity more stark than in an examination of a brake pad.
Car brake pads are huge, expensive costing $1-700 every 2 years. Bike brake pads are small and cheap, costing $5 every 5-10 years. Bikes need to stop 200 lbs. Cars need to stop 2000 lbs. The car also requires additional technologies like HVAC, seats, air bags / seat belts, music, power-steering, cooling, etc. that dramatically increase the weight. The result is a huge difference in MPG. The car gets about 20 miles to the gallon, whereas the MPG equivalent of bike power is 280 MPG.
Gasoline prices contain another telling example of how cars do not belong in 2014. Although we only pay $4/gallon at the pump, the actual cost is approximately $20/gallon. How is this possible? Where does the $16 come from? The economic concept of externalities is that there are unpriced costs of doing business. Oil extraction and gasoline refinement, marketing and distribution produces a large amount of toxic pollution, and large scale environmental disasters (Exxon Valdez, BP Deep Water Horizon).
Society must clean up the polluted air, water and soil, and thus pay the cost. Military efforts throughout the Middle East that stabilize the supply of oil to the US cost money as well. So does the building of roads, the policing of highways and traffic and the hospitals that must heal us from the destruction of car accidents. Currently, tax payers pay this $16/gallon. Why should society bear the cost of a destructive activity? Shouldn't that be paid by those who still choose to do it, like with cigarette taxes?
Bikes are thus a social good, exempting us from destroying the environment and asking others to pay for our negligence.
Further, bikes are a healthy form of exercise and an expression of community engagement. A bike can be parked easily for shopping, stopped quickly to say hi to a friend, and can be used as a weekend leisure activity to explore nature. Cars on the other hand insulate us from our environment, are a hassle to park, and keep us from engaging in our community. All we see in cars are exits, traffic signals and parking spots. On a bike, the infinite nature of existence moves through us.
What is not an acceptable alternative to cars is a hybrid or electric vehicle. These vehicles certainly burn less gas on an ongoing basis (40-60 MPG), but due to their highly complex machinery, they require much more energy and toxic conflict metals (mined by slaves to fund wars in Africa) than conventional autos. If a car or truck is absolutely needed for a particular task like moving, there are a number of places to rent them (Zip Car, City Carshare), greatly reducing their use and financial and ecological expense to humanity.
You might be asking yourself, "how the hell am I supposed to get to work and going shopping and get my kids to school?" The short answer is that you do not have to change one thing about your life, but must accept that you do not live in 2014. There are relics of ancient ways everywhere, and nobody is forcing you to live in 2014. You can join 2014 if you reorganize your life completely - move closer to work/town or live sustainably in the country, put your kids on bikes and don't get them involved in activities that require a car commute.
In 1978, "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television" was written, and while all the arguments are still valid, few of us have paid them much heed, rather choosing to live in a pre-1978 media world. Perhaps, most compelling is the argument that the human neocortex can only process 18 video frames of per second. The television produces 30 frames per second. What happens with the remaining 12 frames? Well they don't just hit your forehead and fall to the floor, but they indeed make their way in, straight past your neocortex, and into your subconscious, affecting your personality, desires and fears. Children are affected even more so, as their neocortices aren't fully formed (reaching completion in their late 20's).
Thus, the net effect of television is brainwashing, and choosing to still watch it reflects a 1978 understanding of the world. That said, longer form films and serial dramas move much slower in terms of scene changes, transmitting less material data (place, people, context) for the neocortex to process, and as such long form content are far less damaging brainwashing-wise than half-hour programs and overproduced reality TV, that have numerous sound bites, scene changes, floating graphics and other technical effects that eat up neocortex processing capacity and allow the words and values of morons (reality TV producers) and for-profit interests (CPGs, Mad Men) to slip through, into our personality unawares.
Meat in general is one of the most energy intensive forms of calories and nutrition. Red meat is even more inefficient, requiring over a thousand times more land, water and energy than for the nutrition found in the same quantity of lentils. Red meat was a current food technology in 1989, a year before the causation between red meat and colon cancer was established.
Subsequent studies about the ecological detriment (methane production, energy water and land use, waste products) and corporate red meat harvesting practices (de-boning still alive cows), have since confirmed what we've known all along. Red meat has no place in 2014.
Other things that are ill-suited for 2014:
- Consumerism, especially diamonds, fashion/high-heels, SUVs, GMOs and iPhones.
- Corporatism, Corporate Cronyism / Socialism, Market Royalism
- Religion & Atheism - we need both to form an evolutionary psychological perspective; they are useful precursors of an authentic and personal spiritual practice, but incomplete in and of themselves
- Dairy, says Harvard Medical School
So what belongs in 2014?
Now that we have cleared space of antiquated ideas, economics and artifacts, from a 2014 vantage point, what shall we fill it with?
- Dharma - recognizing life is short, each of us need an in-depth knowledge of our purpose, an essential identity that allow us to function, with personal, species, ecology and cosmos-wide integrity
- Bikes - the most sustainable, healthy, engaging and elegant form of transport
- Space and space-related activities like those advocated by the Cosmic Citizenship Alliance
- Somatic practices that holistically nurture mind, body and spirit like Yoga and Aikido
- Depth - nature, romance, craft/art, service, contemplation, spiritual practice
- Sustainability - farming, voluntary simplicity
- Organic / biodymanic food - lentils, leafy vegetables, pasture-raised animals
- Knowledge - integral and holistic philosophy
- Page 1 of 10