Showing posts from 2019

My Failures - Part 1 of ?

I have been fretting over starting this article for two days.

The basic idea here is that I have made various errors of judgment, decision, and action in the past. Because I have not adequately examined these errors I have not sufficiently developed the ability to avoid them in the future and do better. To do better in the future we must learn from the past. To develop foresight we must develop hindsight. A number of psychologists and philosophers talk about this. My favorite is Jordan Peterson. Here are two selections from his paper "Self-Deception Explained", and one from "Complexity Management Theory". (Somewhere he expresses the exact idea that I'm using better, but I can't find it at the moment.)

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...not only do those who avoid get worse, but those who voluntarily expose themselves to the anxiety-provoking and depressing – even if extremely traumatic – get better! Pennebaker and colleagues have demonstrated, for example, that normal indivi…

Explorations in Business - Part 3 of ?

This is my third time trying to write this article in the last two weeks.

Here was my last attempt.

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I always wanted to have an interesting life, and I do.

I have done the classics like mountain climbing, skydiving, alligator wrestling, whitewater rafting, running with bulls, scuba diving, ice luging, road tripping, etc. I officiated my second wedding this weekend, I just arranged to borrow the staffs, swords, and dueling pistols for one of my four speeches at the Harry Potter festival in Sparta, Michigan this summer, I'm writing notes for the comic book I'm working on, and the philosophy papers I'm working on, and the fictional tales I'm working on, and I'm editing horror stories for the "Horror Without Borders" anthology for the Russian publisher I'm working with. All of that just starts to hit on the interesting things I've done, but I have a bit of a problem.

Since I've focused so much on doing interesting things that almost a…


What do I want? It's a huge question.

There are different ways to try to answer the question. You can try to divide life up into certain time periods and decide that way, you can try to divide it up into different areas, you can just go with what feels right, you can try to do the logical thing, you can copy people, you can do what you're told to do or what is expected of you, or you can avoid the question. I have always found the question hard on long time scales, but I've usually been pretty good at deciding on things in a few weeks or even a couple of months away. The major problem with that is that the time isn't long enough to do many of the most significant things. Then your life has no structure and tends to devolve into chaos. You can have some awesome adventures, as I have, but you need a different focus if you're going to do more than that. I'm going to try to make some progress on this here.

Logically I know that I need money, but for some reason I h…

Heretical Poetry

My favorite quote is, "The heretic is the savior of religion from itself." I made it. It's one of those things that you come up with and it seems so profound you are amazed you were able to think of it at all.

Interesting story ideas are always popping into my head. This one came in odd little fragments, so it seemed that it may be best in the form of verse instead of prose. I have my doubts about that, but alas, here we are. Let's take a look at a first version. (I was looking through various myths along with the insane poetry of E. E. Cummings and Bukowski when I thought of this.)

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One day
God went to see his father,
"Why am I?" he asked.
"You are
to make sense of the world." said the man.

Two day
Man went to see his father,
"Why am I?" he asked.
"You are
to make sense of the world." said God.

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It's pretty good. I think it will probably blow some people's current models of the world. It's…

The Value of Horror Stories

Why do people like horror stories? What's the point? It may be different than you think.

The first thing you have to realize is that fiction is a highly advanced form of play. And, what's the purpose of play? Animals play to prepare themselves for the future. Lion cubs play hide and seek, chasing, wrestling, fighting, and killing. These are the skills that they will need for life.

When a lion becomes fully mature it no longer plays, it doesn't need to. There are some animals that never really grow up. Domesticated animals are usually neotenous, or child-like. Pigs are like baby boars, dogs are like baby wolves, cats are like baby panthers, etc.

Humans are neotenous our entire lives. This is why we play our entire lives, and why we can learn our entire lives. The type of play that you're involved with will depend on your environment. A child that has had a safe, happy, and protected life will probably play nice games. Most people don't have that experience of life t…

88.9 Hey Radio, Gandhi's Gun, and Me

When Bill sent me the song "Through It All" by Gandhi's Gun, the first thing that I thought of was "Through It All" by Spoken. I thought it was a bad sign because I would just be comparing it to a completely different song that I didn't think it would be able to stand up against, since I like Spoken. But, I was wrong. Luckily they are different enough that I won't compare the two, and I would say Gandhi's Gun is just as good.

There are two versions of this song that Gandhi's Gun has out: the original and the acoustic versions. I like the acoustic version myself. But, we'll get to that in a minute. Gandhi's Gun has the normal story about a band, and I will put that here, but the song "Through It All" has a more interesting story. Both of these came from their website:

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With positive messaging and an aggressive edge, Gandhi’s Gun combines the best elements of rock from days past with the most m…

Humans in a Box

The zoologist Desmond Morris wrote a book called "The Human Zoo". It's a great book. In there he talks about how animals in zoos have issues like causing self-harm, having eating disorders, having mood disorders, having depression, having obsessive-compulsive disorders, etc. It works the same way with another animal - humans.

Historically there were literal human zoos. That's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the boxes that we make for ourselves. We live in a box called a house. We work in a box called an office or a factory. We drive in a box called a car. We shop in a box called a supermarket.

We live in boxes, and we have issues with causing self-harm, having eating disorders, having mood disorders, having depression, having obsessive-compulsive disorders, etc.

The answer seems simple enough - get out of the box! That's why people find certain activities to be so refreshing. Hiking, riding a bike, horseback riding, and motorcycle riding are…

Explorations in Business - Part 2 of ?

When I was first talking to Abbey and John about doing something crazy like starting a business based on meditation coaching I think I needed some permission, some social validation. That was a start. When I talked to Bryan I connected with someone who started with my skepticism and was then able to see a good path forward. Now, I have to start defining what that path is and how to walk it.

There is such a ridiculous amount of work to do. It's a bit overwhelming. That's why John and Abbey recommended that I go with something that I'm truly interested in in that first meeting I had with them, because otherwise you just burnout anyway.

I bought a couple of days ago. Actually, I bought it in 2017 when I first had success with managing my chronic pain with meditation. I didn't do anything with it, I didn't even have a plan, so I let it expire. Then, a couple of days ago I bought it again through I looked at a few different optio…

"Flavor and Value" Versus "Jeff's Hammer"

I can use philosophical tools that I've invented on my own philosophical concepts. Read and see.

I wrote an article titled "Flavor and Value" that talks about why we like things and how we justify it. The basic idea is that sometimes we don't have to justify liking something. Some values establish a base of value and there simply is no why, you just like it or you don't. That's the idea we will smash. Here is that article:

Jeff's Hammer is a conceptual tool I invented. The basic idea is that given any current level of understanding, there is always more available complexity. The metaphor of using a hammer to smash things into pieces, or smash things together, or to smash things across time and space, works well to remind us of this and keep us conceptually humble. Here is that article:

Now, let's apply Jef…

Creating a Creation Myth

Good religions usually have a good creation myth.

Let's look at what I've written today, then we'll look at some of my thoughts and edits.

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In the beginning there was God, and God alone.

Desiring more than self, God created a seed, and planted the seed of existence in the vast soil of chaos.

The seed grew and blossomed. More seeds came forth. More growth, more blossoms.

As God looked upon creation sadness arose, and a single tear fell.

The tear was both the seed and soil of life.

From life more life emerged.

Each time life emerged into a new blossom, and so was changed by existence, and changed existence.

From this change emerged Other, made from change, and made to change.

Other saw God, and God was not alone.

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I wanted to cover the creation of the universe and the creation of mankind, and the awakening of consciousness.

I wanted the growth to be organic rather than some type of mechanical creation.

I wanted to show the idea of figure and ground,…

Alligator Wrestling and the Meaning of Life

Two days ago I gave a speech at the Red Lotus Gallery open mic night in Muskegon, Michigan titled, "Alligator Wrestling and the Meaning of Life".

Here are the notes that I carried on a piece of paper in my wallet.

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3 values - experiential, attitudinal
3 levels of knowing
experience of what
loss of control, regaining
step into the unknown, conquer it
face anxiety, overcome it
encourage you do same

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Every speech I give is a little different. I like it like that. In the moment I cut out the part about the three levels of knowledge. Two psychology concepts back to back just seemed like too much. I also added that we were doing medical checks on the alligators.

Here's the video.

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The speech went well, it was fun. It was my first time at the open mic night there. I try to take fun and interesting topics and connect them with deep and meaningful topics. I think it works well.

This speech affected the MC so much…

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