Jun 18 2007

Expectations and Commitment

Last night I ran into a girl I haven’t seen in a while. We talked about significant others’, work, and life status in general. Eventually, she asked me where I my relationship with my girlfriend is going.

“Well, there you’re diving down the rabbit hole. You’re asking a question that, to understand my answer, requires you to view the world through my, perhaps skewed, philosophical perspective. Or I can give you the canned answer, but it won’t be as interesting.”

She attempts to cut me off at the pass: “So it sound like you don’t think it’s going to last?”

“Sounds like you don’t want the canned answer.”

“No.”

“Then it’s not that easy. See, desires are driven by the ego. The ego gets you into trouble. Not achieving your desires gets you into trouble. You know the parable about the man who dreams he’s being attacked by a tiger, right? And he’s so scared in his nightmare that he wakes, sweating profusely with his heart racing? Well, the tiger wasn’t real, but induced completely real issues: he’s scared, sweating, and his heart is pounding.”

“You weren’t joking about about it being a philosophical question.”

“Nope. But stick with me. Although you asked about a ‘good thing’ – my relationship – and I gave you and example of a ‘bad thing’ – a nightmare – but at the core they have the same essence: desires. You could turn the parable around and say that the man’s desire to hold on to life is what created the vulnerability that causes him to worry about losing it in the first place. He was worried about losing something that he wasn’t even in danger of losing. On a smaller scale, our desire for things like a better job, TVs, a new car, etcetera – things we don’t even have – open these vulnerabilities. We start to worry and stress about losing things we don’t even have yet. Doesn’t that seem silly?”

“I suppose. But I don’t see how you can be with someone for nearly a year and not have expectation as to where it’s going.”

“That’s just the issue: expectations. I try not to have ‘expectations.’ As someone I respect very much recommended, I try to give thanks for those things that work out in my favor, but I try not to ‘expect’ them. Otherwise, I open myself to losing things I don’t even have. It’s like grasping for clouds – only through the act of attempting to own do you realize your failure. I give thanks for what I receive, but realize that tomorrow the world may change. Using the canonical example, what if I get hit by a bus tomorrow morning?”

“It sounds like an excuse not to get emotionally invested. You’re over thirty, right? Do you just want to bounce around to different girls; to be a gigolo for the rest of your life?”

“Ah, there you went from one end of the spectrum to the other: the expectations of interminable fairy-tale love, to the complete absence of it. The problem with both views, as I see it, it that both are static caricatures. No one is static; everyone’s always slowly but subtly changing. I think the relationships that end up going the distance are the ones where people evolve in similar or complementary directions, while some end because people evolve in incompatible directions. And that’s not to say that it’s someone’s ‘fault’, other than the prevalent mis-guided perception that everyone will be tomorrow who they are today. In fact, in the west, that’s frequently seen as a noble quality, while to me it seems quite absurd.”

“So now you’re indicting marriage?”

“No, not at all. Even I may get married some day. But I’m not operating under the assumption that it’s immutable. Just because you realize that there’s the possibility the world as you know it may change in an instant, doesn’t mean you don’t commit yourself completely to what you’re doing right now. In fact, it may even be an argument for working harder than ever, and not procrastinating. This recognition of flux isn’t a license for apathy. I definitely have goals that I strive for. But there difference is that I don’t expect to achieve them – I work my ass off to get there, and if I get there, I try to accept the results gracefully. If I don’t get there, I try to do the same.

“Most people don’t seem to be able to believe that one can work whole-heartedly toward a goal – say, a new job or a marriage – but at the same time not ‘expect’ to succeed. In the U.S., at least, it comes across sounding like ‘not believing in yourself’ – which is almost heretical to western ears – although I see it as something even stronger: I believe in myself, and I’m also aware of the world. The most prevalent western epithet I’ve heard that can capture some essence of this is the Serenity Prayer: ‘God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.’ So asking me to extrapolate where my relationship is going is a non-trivial question. I’m trying to let both her and myself evolve, and hopefully we evolve together. Make sense?”

“So your relationship has potential, right?”

“Yeah.”


Apr 6 2007

Bits

I’m struck by how much of our collective existence is spent creating and recognizing patterns. As a programmer, my job boils down to changing polarities of ferro-magnetic cells contained in a very small space. These bits represent programs, programs that are copied to other systems, incorporated into larger sets of other program-patterns that analyze data-patterns, forming other sets of patterns, all reaching up to support high semantic layers. In turn, these patterns help other people recognize pulling “meaning” out of “noise” – distinguishing certain sorts of patterns and dismissing others. Yes, there’s layer on semantic layer, but in essence, we’re all just waving our hands and stirring up atoms in specific sequences.

As a photographer, I suspend transient reflections of lights in a reproducible form in an effort to convey a message. As a martial artist, I seek to use physical movements to organize and refine the flow of stimuli in my own head. The arts move bits of paint, or charcoal, or steel, or atoms in the air forming vibrations, in order to convey some higher-level semantics – but in essence, students of these avocations are no more or less organizing matter and energy that we are: cleaning our rooms, so to speak.

Even the R&D deep thinkers, or theorists, or psychologists, or lawyers, which may not appear to produce in the traditional, brick-and-mortar sense, are performing their own pattern recognition. When they’re not publishing (organizing via graphite or toner on lignin) they’re guiding the electrical impulses in their brains, and attempting to influence the same in others. They’re either generalizing, or delving deeper into the Mandelbrot, finding finer-grained patterns, just like the rest of us.

(Without getting into an aside on free will and random number generation here, particularly disregarding Hume, we must assume that general effort of any profession results in patterns.)

What does this mean? I don’t know. Maybe I’ve been reading too much Camus lately. Or, perhaps our entire existence is the futile (according to the 2nd law of thermodynamics) attempt at ordering our systems.

That’s a pretty bleak outlook. Is that all we have? Is the sum of our existence this gross? Or, is the value and importance, the driving force in our lives, the emergent meanings of those semantic layers? Is the importance our intention, the idea or feeling or concept we’re attempting to express or communicate, even if only to ourselves?

I’d like to think so – at a visceral level, it just seems right. But even if that’s an illusion, I think I’d prefer it. This isn’t a spiritual argument, either: I can think of no philosophy or religion – or lack thereof — that would result in anything less than suicide if the illusion is not preferred. Even the act of “doing nothing” conveys meaning and intent. The act of continued existence, in the most static of possibilities, assimilates and organize experience involuntarily, and an act of suicide by whatever means imbues semantics. Even “non-doing” is doing. (The Taoists recognized this ages ago.)

And suicide is also a sucker’s bet, since we can’t eve know if the decomposition of our corporeal selves necessarily results in either a net entropy loss or a lack of meaning. And trying to convince others that this there is no meaning requires organization of bits and the conveyance of meaning, not to mention being inherently paradoxical. In order for this to be accepted, it requires the complete extinction of life, spontaneously and without effort, all because “life is futile.” (Which it may very well be, but it yields no “fight the good fight” against said futility.) So, let’s run withe illusion, if that’s what it it.

So is it not what we do that is important, but what we intend? This could be construed as an argument for sin, anarchy, apathy, or whatever your hobgoblin is – and people have in fact argued this – but I see it differently. We don’t disregard action in favor of intention, but we act as we intend. In this way, we most accurately portray our intention – the most important part, if you buy that – and action becomes a vehicle for expression – although we would be remiss to confuse the two. The moon and it’s reflection in the water, as the parable goes.

The bits aren’t important, the patterns aren’t important, but that they freely flow from our intention, forming our communication – that is important.


Sep 1 2006

Favor / Expression

I don’t like favors, not in the sense that most people use them. Favors should be done out of love, respect, personal development, or some other form of non-convertible currency. Favors are one-way. If I do a favor for someone, it’s precisely that: an act done out of goodwill, not an act accruing future remuneration. I don’t expect praise, thanks, or reciprocation. These are the favors that you can’t bring up in an argument: “Well, remember that time I did [something] for you? An you never said thanks? Well, consider us even now that you [did something else].”

See, it doesn’t work that way. It was a favor. While it’s nice to have a favor appreciated, that’s icing. You can’t expect return turnabout unless you make it clear beforehand. Then it’s not a favor, it’s a deal. Deals-disguised-as-favors only cause problems down the line. If I do you a favor, when it’s over and done, it’s forgotten. There’s no karmic ledger to balance, I don’t think I “have one on you.” If you do me a favor, don’t expect anything in return – especially if I didn’t ask for it. Sure, I’ll probably “return the favor” out of friendship, love, or respect, but since you can’t expect that, you have no right to call me on it. I don’t want you wedging control over me in the guise of a favor. That really pisses me off. It’s like forcing me to owe you.

This is why I have conversations like this:

Me: “Can you pick me up from the airport?”

Friend: “Sure.”

Me: “Gee, thanks.”

You did me a favor. Thanks! Will I pick you up from the airport when you’re coming in from out of town? If it’s within my power. Why? Because you’re a friend. Because I respect you. Because I love you. But not because you picked me up once before. That’s separate favor, not a deal. How about this?

Friend: “Can you pick me up from the airport?”

Me: “Sure.”

Friend: “Gee, thanks.”

Me: “No problem, don’t worry about it.”

Did you see that at the end? I’m just letting you know, hey, this is a favor. Don’t worry about it, keep no mental tally of favors. You don’t owe me. See, a deal would go like this:

Me: “Can you help me move? I’ll buy beer and pizza.”

Friend: “Sure.”

Me: “Gee, thanks.”

Or even:

Me: “Can you grab some milk from me while you’re out?”

Friend: “Sure.”

Me: “Gee, thanks. I owe you a beer.”

Wait, wait, was that a favor disguised as a deal? No. My friend did me a favor. I volunteered compensation. As the receiver of a favor, I can do that. But the giver can’t. That’s going the wrong way down the favor street.

Why does this happen so frequently? Is it a sense of entitlement? Is it a belief that there are no such things as favors? I believe it’s because people don’t listen. Yes, everyone has lapses in attention. There’s no getting around that. But it’s much easier to hear what you want to hear or what you’re pre-disposed to hear that to exercise your brain and really start actively listening.

I’m mis-interpreted fairly regularly. Does this mean I need to work on what I project? You betcha. Does this mean I need to conform to everyone else’s filter of interpreting the world? Hell no. If you don’t take a compliment as sincere unless it’s oversold and magnified ten-fold, that’s your problem. If a single small criticism crushes your world, you need to grow a thicker skin. If you’re confused as to my meaning, just ask. I do.

Are you really listening?


Aug 11 2006

Understanding Water

In the martial arts world, we have meditations on all sorts of things, but some of the more common mediations, or at least well known, are on elements: generally either the five rings (earth, water, fire, wind, void) or the five elements (earth, metal, water, wood, fire) of Chinese cosmology. Some people get pretty ting-ting about “meditating on water” or they go the other way and see no spiritual nor practical application. William Saletan gives a pretty good example of how these meditation can be seen as frameworks for understanding the modern world.

On a side note, which is only tangentially related on the Taoist front, is a link that summarizes a lot of my thought on the direction I’m heading. So far, I’ve sold the stereo, given away or sold books and tons of CDs, some furniture, and more. I’m looking forward to the sale of the house and moving into something that will most likely be pretty shabby.

I cannot lose what I do not have. For I have already given it up, else I never had it in the first place.


Jul 31 2006

Like, Love, Hate

I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s three types of jobs – those you like, love, and hate. The best one to have? The job you like.

The jobs you hate is, well, just that. It drains you mentally, emotionally, and because of that (or just because it’s physically demanding), physically as well. The lack of enjoyment and stimulation slows time, making the day creep by. You’re always looking forward to your next day off, or your next break – looking at anything but the present. You go to sleep dreading the trek to work the next morning, and can only look toward the day you’re no longer employed there.

The job you love is a drug, an addiction. You always end up working later than you intended, and never really “log off.” You sacrifice relationships and activities. You forget about other important aspects of life and leave precious little time for experiencing new things. You isolate yourself via your immersion. The job you love becomes the entirety of your life instead of an adjunct of it, it becomes the ends and not the means.

The job you like? When you find the the job you like, you feel stimulated and engaged through the workday, and you look forward to solving problems and tackling issues on the way to work. You don’t feel the need to pass time by taking breaks or extending lunch just a little longer. But you never feel guilty about clocking out once you’re done with your shift – you may actually feel thrilled that you have a project in motion that you can dive into tomorrow. It leaves time and energy for new things – hobbies, classes, traveling, meeting new people – anything that piques your curiosity. It lets you live life without getting in the way. The job you like is not your life, it is merely part of it. It doesn’t add stress to your life by its presence, nor through of the absence of other things.

There’s a Zen Buddhist text:

The Master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion.

He hardly knows which is which.

He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing.

To him he is always doing both.

I’ve seen this quote several times, generally outside of the offices or cubes of compulsive workers who spend days and night toiling over projects, working 100-hour weeks without vacation or days off. While that sort of dedication is impressive and admirable – and these people typically love what they are doing – I believe the spirit of the instruction has been mangled. The key is in the first line: “The Master in the art of living.” Not in the art of working. I believe the master incorporates work into life, it is not subsumed by it, thus, while he is pursuing excellence, it is not in what he does, but what he is doing: working, playing, eating, walking, talking, singing, joking, gardening, supporting his loved ones, playing golf, doing dishes, making love, reading a bed-time story, taking classes, teaching classes, painting, standing, watching, sitting, breathing … and I believe having a job you like is more conducive to that than a job you love.

Despite the last two weeks, I do generally like my job.


Jul 12 2006

Roar

I was down at Baja Fresh yesterday, my customary chicken Baja burrito in one hand and lunchtime reading in the other, when a grating metallic sound worked it’s way into the periphery of hearing. It had a texture similar to when I’d get sand in the bearings of my skateboard wheels, only lower pitched, rougher, like an blender dying. It was intermittent and irregular, and extremely annoying – and I still like industrial/noize, like Wumpscut and Pan Sonic, so you know this had to be bad.

Looking around for the culprit, I find a small child with what appears to be a Godzilla head mounted on a handle with a trigger. Every time he fired, Godzilla’s eyes would flash and he’d his his electronic roar. Over the course of a microsecond, neurons fired in a trajectory something along the lines of:

My lord, why doesn’t his mother stop him from doing that constantly?

She must be totally de-sensitized to it, I feel so sorry for her.

Thank god I haven’t bred.

You’d think he’d get tired of that thing by now.

Actually, I was just as easily (and repetitively) entertained at that age.

I wonder if, right now, I can find the joy in that toy that he’s found.

Well, I didn’t. I tried to re-capture that youthful wonder and enthusiasm and self-centered-ness, but I couldn’t. Until, that is, he took me back to the magic of childhood, when he tugged on his mother’s pants legs and asked, “But what’s he saying?”

Yeah, what is he saying? Why can’t he be alive and communicating? Who says you mother can’t speak “Godzillian” (or some other lizard dialect)? Why not?

I tried to be young intellectually, when what I really needed to do was to throw away all that I know, and let the unknown be just as possible; I need to drop constraints. It’s an incredibly wonderful feeling, a buoyant, light accord with the environment. I savored it for as long as I could, although it slipped away quite quickly.

That roar was still fucking annoying.


Mar 13 2006

Longview

So there this new girl watering at The Pub. She’s incredibly cute, petite, very dazzling blue eyes, liberal, and artsy. We’ve had some interesting conversations and we’re already on a “hug goodbye at the end of the evening” sort of familiarity.

How perfect is this? I’ve been here before: we’ll go out for four to six months, having a wonderful time pushing each other to new heights and having wonderful sex, with perhaps a trip or two thrown in, followed by a three to five month downward spiral when we find that some of those things we found endearing about each other are really starting to grate on each other’s nerves, combined with some sort of emotional imbalance where one of us is beginning to evolve in a direction diametric to the other, and we’ll start to spend more time away from each other.

Or one of us will be forced, because of school, work, family matters, or some other semi-valid reason, to spend our time supporting others and be too drained to sustain a relationship. I won’t be around enough, what with all my classes and training and trying to balance girlfriend and friends. Priorities will be mismatched, and the timing won’t be right. They’ll be some big fight, in which some surprising things are said, she’ll be throwing plates and I’ll be a little too calm and logical, which will piss her off even more, although I’ll be breaking down on the inside, trying to compose myself, curling up and sequestering myself like an injured tiger, trying to figure what the fuck is going on even though I already know. There may or not be make-up sex, but the relationship is already gangrenous.

They’ll be some sort of heart-wrenching breakup scene – if my history is any indication, it’ll be over the phone. (See Appendix E, “Termination”, Paragraphs “A—-“, “K—-” and “M—-“.) I’ll be house-bound for a little while with my friends Don Julio and Milagro, catching up on reading, thumbing through my Pynchon novels again, and double my martial arts training schedule, expunging my emotions for catharsis and regaining control. I’ll recover relatively quickly, but still have a rebound fling or two in there, probably with an artist or alcohol promo girl.

I’ll be asking myself, why did I repeat this again, with these variations? And I’ll answer, because the good times were worth it. This is life, good and bad. This is not fatalism, this is self-awareness, of what I am and what I like, from beginning through end, and knowing what will eventually become a problem and working on solving it, of working to preempt the fights and distance and disillusionment. This is listening to the little voice that tells you the truth about yourself. This is experience. This is the precursor to evolution. This is looking down the path you’re on seeing where you need to turn and what you need to change.

This is walking in with my eyes wide open.

Of course, I haven’t even asked her out, and I don’t know if she’s into me, and I can’t say this is the way things will go, nor do I expect them to follow this little monologue. But each time it’s happened, I re-write the story just a bit, I get different things right and others wrong, and each time it gets richer and more enjoyable and more painful and more … real.


Feb 16 2006

Incompatible

After reflecting on the coinciding phrases from the previous post, I found myself thinking about another synthesis of past and present. One of the big things between A– and I concerned our respective outlooks on the world. A– prefers to be completely engrossed, the entire self lost in the moment, submitting to blinding passion. While I respect that and think it’s entirely valid and enjoyable, I have different outlook, as alluded to in this post. I’m half in the moment, and half observing myself in the moment. Both parts of me are there, present, at time same time, but with two points of view. After enough practice, you find it happens without cerebral pressuring, it just happens. Or, perhaps, you just slip fluidly between states, however you want to apply linearity to the brain. Doesn’t really matter, it’s the effect, the manifestation, the affectation of perception, that’s important. To me, this is trying to “gather more of the world, to experience more, to suck more marrow out of everything.”* Experiencing the world from the outside and the inside at the same time, opening myself up to more of the world. I do not see this as a lesser experience, merely a different one, one which leads to richer experiences from my perspective. After A– read this post, she told me she laughed out loud. I thought she’d find it funny, considering our divergent paths on the issue. I brushed it off.

When I look back on recent events such at this, I realize that I’m a little frustrated with A– that she doesn’t even see such a fundamental part of myself as valid. Normally it wouldn’t bother me, but she’s still important to me and her opinion counts, and I dislike having her discount the way I experience the world, that somehow I’m “not really here” or that everyone else is picking up some depth of emotion or existence that I’m continually and voluntarily missing. Particularly when it appears to manifest in such a manner that other people notice indicators that I’m not missing the world, in fact, I appear to be quite engrossed in it (the previous post isn’t the only example, but is the only one I’ve blogged about), enough that I don’t think I’m just a crazy nut-job. I think that this way works (for me), is valid (for me), but make no claims about it (for any one but me.) But at least give me a little credit (for what works for me.) I give you credit for what works (for you.)

And, since I know A– reads this, I’ll probably be getting a call tonight. :)

* Yeah, I’m lame and I quoted myself from Shinsei Blossom, but I don’t expect you to read to whole damn thing to get to that part.


Jan 29 2006

Eco Mudra

On the drive home on Friday, I was something was nagging me regarding the post about kinesthetic cues and cognizance of action. I’d missed something, some illustrative example of consciously utilizing mudra to trigger mental set changes.

The example was an activity of Umberto Eco. (Which, if you haven’t read either Foucault’s Pendulum or Name of the Rose, do yourself a favor and buy them. Trust me, you’ll either want, or more likely, need to read them more than once.) Positively a brilliant mind of our times, and germane to the current reflection on symbols as he’s a professor of semiotics. Eco has three separate rooms, on three different floors if I recall correctly, in which he writes. One contains only pen and paper, one his typewriter of choice, and one a computer with a words processor. In an interview he reveals he uses each one for specific purposes, that each medium lends itself to different styles, modes, or discourses. Furthermore, he actively chooses his environment to suit the narrative he intends to pen.

Eco is using mudra, a physical action, to alter his mental chemistry. What more is this than a personal adaptation of esoteric or hermetic alchemy?

Yup, that makes that last post feel a bit more concrete.


Jan 27 2006

Inversion

At the risk of offending a couple someones who may or may not read this (if I can’t be honest here, then where?), I’m going to dish some opinions on the New Age-y ting-ting shit that seems to be gaining prevalence down here in SD. (I’m not saying that those couple someones think like those depicted below, but they are the impetus for the thoughts behind the post, and I have known those that do act with such blindness.)

I’m all for spiritual enlightenment and personal development. These are wonderful and difficult things that require a great amount of energy, persistence, and a solid constitution. It’s one of the reasons I train so hard in my martial arts; there is a spiritual and meditative aspect to it apart from all the smacking each other around. The fundamental realization is that this my personal journey, my personal development, _my_ spirituality; it’s a path I believe works for me. It is no one else’s. I can encourage others to try to walk it if I believe it’d be beneficial for them, but I can’t talk them into it if they don’t want to and don’t even try to. Those who see me regularly know that if you ask me about my art, I can go on for ages, but generally don’t even bring up the subject unless I’m talking with those I train with or it’s along the lines of “Do you want to grab dinner tonight?” “No, I’m training, next time.”

If my path isn’t your path, I don’t beat you over the head with it, I don’t inject it into the conversation at every possible point. I keep my epiphanies to myself, because they rarely mean anything to anyone but myself. Perhaps most importantly, I reserve the right to completely abandon my training and viewpoints if I deem it necessary or correct. My training informs my life, it does not supersede it.

I’ve known several people down here that are quite in into astrology. Now, I think it’s an interesting and entertaining subject, or hobby I suppose, but I don’t give it much credence aside from amusement. My sign does not govern my behavior. I am not working on balancing myself because I am a Libra, and if I do achieve some semblance of balance, it is not because I’m a Libra but because I have worked at it. I will not excuse procrastination, citing that I am a Fire Dragon, nor will I tarnish my accomplishments by attributing them to the time and date that I was born. I do find it interesting when the astrological theories intersect with reality, but statistically it’s bunk. Don’t even get me started on the “physics can’t measure metaphysics” argument, astrology is trying to claim science and fact. Akin to using a telecsope as ruler, if you’ll allow the stretch.

That said, I do actively study some of the esoteric aspects of my art, things that include such hokey words as “aura,” “energy,” and the like. However, I have my own theories as to what’s going on behind the scenes – I see the power of these as psychological triggers, not as entities separate from us and beyond our control. These are frameworks for understanding the world and the self, couched in the terminology of the times in which they were developed. The meditations and mudras I perform are establishing kinesthetic triggers, setting the psychological stage to the configuration I want, resulting in the physical (or mental or emotional) manifestation of the outcome I desire. I’ve associated movements and mindsets, practicing over and over, just as you would a baseball swing, so that when the time comes, I can instantly adjust from a fastball to a breaker. Eventually, the kinesthetic cue becomes unnecessary, and the change that occurs merely in the mind (or heart), but manifests as I’ve trained. Perhaps a simpler example of kinesthetic triggers would be more illustrative: tying a string around your finger to remind you of something.

Astrology can be used the same way: ok lotta work to be done, time to get my nose to the grindstone, time to find the earth element in me. Great! Use the tool. Remember the tool is a means, not an end. I get frustrated when I hear someone say something like, “He did what? Well, that’s ‘cause he’s a Scorpio.” Bullshit. If he cites that as his excuse, he’s delusional or a coward. He is responsible for his actions, not his stars. And you don’t have to put up with it, you don’t have to buy into the excuse. New Age-y crap like this is just another cop-out. Take some fucking responsibility. And, of all things, don’t celebrate the the act of tying a string around your finger as more important than that of which it is supposed to remind you. Putting the cart before the horse, so to speak.

On a related note, this absence of criticality when evaluating systems is incredibly prominent at the grocery store: just because something is “100% organic macrobiotic pesticide-free hormone-free locally-farmed” doesn’t mean it’s better for you than anything else. Yes, some modern additives and preservatives are extremely unhealthy for people, especially if ingested over a long period of time. But if you’re going walk this path, do some research. Is macrobiotic better for you for this particular food? What about for your significant other? If this is pesticide-free, what are the dangers of the pests that would normally be attracted to this crop? Is it worse? Does the processing of this food make it safer from communicative diseases, or does it inject more non-food related contents? Given that’s we’re undeniably a global economy, will a locally-farmed version of this crop help local farmers more than it will hurt foreign farmers? Which ones are subsidized, where are your allegiances, what works our best for everyone you’re concerned about?

It may seem an aside, some sort of right-wing knee-jerk reaction association of astrology and organic food, a derision of the stereotypical Berkeley-liberal slice of life, but the two are related. Both involve just reading the labels and not digging any deeper. No analysis. No criticality. No personal involvement, no reigning in of the proselytizing.

And, in case you’re wondering, I’m a Democrat that’s registered Republican so I can vote against the GOP candidate I dislike the most in the primaries. (Fiscally conservative, socially permissive – and no, red “red” in “redgeek” has nothing to do with politics.)

I never said I look at the world the way everyone else does. And I reserve the right to be wrong.