at last / life

at last / life

“The question, expressing the philosopher’s shock in modern terms, had been asked before…in Leibniz’ ‘Principes de la nature et de la grâce': ‘Pourquoi il y a plutôt quelque chose que rien?’ For since ‘le rien est plus simple et plus facile que qelque chose,‘ this something must have a sufficient cause for its existence, and this cause in turn must have been caused by something else…on the subject we can clearly recognize what Plato only hinted at: the uncaused and ‘unconditioned necessity’ our cause-and-effect thinking ‘so indispensably require[s] as the last bearer of all things, is for human reason the veritable abyss. . . We cannot put aside, and yet also cannot endure the thought, that a being, which we represent to ourselves as supreme amongst all possible beings, should, as it were, say to itself: ‘I am from eternity to eternity, and outside me there is nothing save what is there through my will, but whence then am I?’ All support here fails us’…Kant nowhere says that the abyss of nothing because of being inconceivable is not, and though he might have said that the antinomies of reason, rousing him from dogmatic slumber, had made him think, he nowhere says that the experience of this abyss—the other side of Plato’s wonder—had done so…”

—Hannah Arendt, “What Makes Us Think?” in The Life of the Mind (1971)




After I wrote to a friend, today, I realized my email might be slightly revised and given over to the blog, as a more proper (in this case, narrative-like) ending. I plan to leave a link here if I take a run at another blog.

Dear —- ,

I’m in my tent, the leaves in nearby trees sing of ocean tides, the air smells as if a distant unknown neighbor is making jam in her kitchen. I am grateful for all who hear outside of categories and see beyond temporary madness.

Right now, I’m reading two books.

First, The Life of the Mind (one-volume edition) is a philosophical opus by Hannah Arendt, maybe the most brilliant “Western” philosopher of the last century–although surely she would have humbly attributed most of her brilliance to collaboration. So, anyway, the volume is very slow reading for me. (Often a paragraph, or sentence, at a time.) On the other hand, her writing is also somehow accessible—if merely allowed to sit and then to turn (like a fine wine or an excellent compost.) She died suddenly in 1975, just as she was starting to formally compose the third (and intended-to-be-final) volume of this, her last great work.

Isn’t that just like Life, though?

I mean, the great ones are so often taken just before their breath-taking third act. Martin Luther King, Jr. for instance–and almost too many wonderful musicians to count —and Jesus, of course. Oh. Yes. That’s the second book I’m reading. The Holy Bible….What a  daunting title–except I’ve started it in the beginning, naturally, with the Genesis story of creation and so forth—and am encountering it as a piece of strangely beautiful literature–with superb poetry.

I was sure lost for a long while.

Much like being on an almost unendurable, seemingly timeless/endless hike in the wilderness. Rarely, hiking with unexpected, much-appreciated companions. Sometimes mostly trudging as if alone.

I kinda believe that women may need to go mad at some point, eventually—indeed ONLY perhaps as necessity, period, or maybe as a manifestation of daring to hope there is a better sanity to be found on the other side—and of daring to trust there will be another side.

By the way, menopause seems quite convenient for all this.

For one, one’s children don’t have to witness the whole messy process. To me, the intensity of the madnessing process (i.e. madnessing) is proportional, perhaps,  to how tightly I was holding all things together while of course simultaneously NOT….

Thus, having the constant perception of  exhausted juggling (im/perfected) as a way of life.

I could only keep it all up for so long…appearances, among other things.

Far better to discover my powerlessness and humanity, at last—and to better taste my humility. Easier to live with Life from this side of the pain. Anyway, I imagine this is what Dickens had in mind, perhaps, for Scrooge’s awakening—in terms of his experiences of sheer relief and unbounded gratitude.

The sensation of grace. Once again…

I no longer believe individual people can be “psychopathic” or evil. Fifty volumes may claim that (“psychopath”) to be a valid category for individual people (maybe even for individual elephants? … whales? …) Our judicial system may even be founded on a similar notion of individual goodness and evil. But I tend, when not in a state of transitory madness, to concur with Anne Frank about humanity’s basic goodness. For me, to live otherwise, is madness. I’m grateful to those who remind me, with random acts of mad compassion, about the otherwise.

When my children were growing up, we had a saying on a little plaque by the front door, reminding all of us as we came and left home, about needing to “walk a mile in another person’s moccasins” before we can make assumptions…and thus necessitating…beginning and ending with good will toward all.

My family seems to be coming together again in mysterious ways…maybe families go through unspoken phases of (aching, gnawing, growing) pains and massive emo-upheavals—together—yet sometimes without individual members knowing how to share their pain with each other. Still… Sometimes we can find each other again. And sometimes we can see one another with new eyes. That’s what we seem to be doing.

I hope we are all well, dear women and men of earth.

Please know that you have a friend and a place to lay your head if you ever journey this direction. :-)

May you feel blessed with affection, love and friendship.






in the beginning / destruction


The  hopefulandfree  blog  begins . . . . HERE.


A chronological list of all posts is….HERE. 





“What we are destroying

is nothing but houses of cards

and we are clearing up the ground

of language on which they stood.”

–Ludwig Wittgenstein




“Walter Benjamin knew that the break in tradition and loss of authority which occurred in his lifetime were irreparable, and he concluded that he had to discover new ways of dealing with the past. In this he became a master when he discovered that the transmissibility of the past had been replaced by the citability and that in place of its authority there had arisen a strange power to settle down, piecemeal, in the present and to deprive it of ‘peace of mind,’ the mindless peace of complacency.”

 –Hannah Arendt, “Introduction” to Walter Benjamin’s Illuminations

Quoted in “Walter Benjamin and ‘Drilling’ for Pearls” by Laurie Naranch


“Arendt observes that quotations are the center of every work that Benjamin produced. She writes: ‘The main work consisted of tearing fragments out of their context and arranging them afresh in such a way that they illustrated one another and were able to prove their raison d’etre in a free-floating state, as it were. It definitely was a sort of surrealistic montage.’ While it might seem ‘whimsical in the extreme and self-destructive to boot’, it wasn’t any more so than other like-minded surrealistic experiments. This ‘drilling’ method differs from ‘excavating’ since the interpretation doesn’t lay waste to the context, nor does it ‘ruin everything with explanations that seek to provide a causal or systematic connection.’ Benjamin would have rejected our world of big data, for as Arendt presents him, he had the rare gift of ‘thinking poetically.’ This method of drilling for ‘pearls’ and ‘coral’ – metaphors for crystallizations of thinking – is a destructive practice, tearing out certain passages for something new.”

—Laurie Naranch, Walter Benjamin and ‘Drilling’ for Pearls” 


hopefulandfree on July 15, 2011 at 10:28 am said:

“much later here, i realize the question itself ‘who am i?’ is off, not false, but not asked with enough context to ask–and the question is more relevant than any answer. ‘who is asking?’–that question is closer to this seeking. there is no single “i” as consciousness, and rather than revealing something broken or fragmented, the realization of the question shows a hidden strength, there all along, not denied so much as despised. and feared. we confuse power with domination, for we have no shared language to make the distinction clear or even evident. other ways of knowing are real. rational discourse, ‘reasoned discourse,’ has value but not in a context that insists on an end, a ‘right answer decided right now’ an artificial arrival at a false consciousness for the sake of representational harmony.”



fragmented worlds


Posted on July 19, 2011 by hopefulandfree



you know the one–

Ma stays in little house alone to make pies, finds scary red affliction on her leg, creepy knife blade–

jack walks into the light at the end and has been dead all along?

sam says have a good life–

beaver’s buddy, overly polite–

john boy, good night–

radar knows choppers in flight,

little monkey buddy chooses life in movies, turns (with music swelling) for last good-bye with human friend,

dan’s dead and it was all a work of fiction from the mother of all mother’s pen,

entire hospital and people, snow globe vision of a child,

alien is born already old and grows younger,

doc’s hand chopped off by you-know-what, which (much) later lands on him, explodes,

arnold is a pig,

sister’s nose gets broken by a flying ball, ’cause pride goeth before a fall,

creepy, kooky (altogether spooky) snap snap,

shoe phone and pretty 99,

uncharted island ginger’s home,

timmy’s dog,

her navel always not-quite-bared,

sherriff pa w/ fishin’ pole,

side kick w/limp and mule, miss kitty is no pet,

leprechauns ‘n hoss,

pa turned angel, different shows, same gruff-guy friend,

mafia boss pov, screen blank,

twirls,  tosses hat (group hug),

manolo heels,

vampire bill,


yeah, you,

i gotta stop now (no clue) but could go on and on–

we give our lives away

for this,

our shared reality, our brave new world of hope

and dreams,

the bits we use to build our common trance, reassurance


i guess,

sad thought, perhaps, but then again

at least not like reality t.v.–or does it even matter

when you grinned above, at least once,

you know you did while feeling in the know,

right? in fact,

you didn’t even need all the words–

and mostly,

what i want to know:

what meanings do we give for

all that–




hopefulandfree on February 1, 2012 at 11:03 am said:

“@hopefulandfree: god i love you. as in: i love you, not-god, as in: i am not-god. blissfully, thankfully, not-god. o. lord. (there. i identified that socially fragmented concept of narcissism, whereby all my actions and writings are analyzed like a horoscope, placed into categories, boxes that are socially dangerous for good reasons); the medical and legal and political and corporate establishments of control need people to need the professionals/ceo’s for their *expertise*–we turn to them like priests or holy soothsayers of old, and we forget the common everyday salvation dialogs of neighbors and ordinary selflessness that does not oppress. i watched a program about communes and saw the reproduction of power–the valid fears of becoming oppressors in the name of liberation. that is worthy of caution: using emancipatory theory (or liberation theology) as a kind of tactic to predict and control other people’s actions. what can’t be escaped, it seems, is the reading *into* texts (such as blog posts), the assignment of meaning to other words, in ways that feel offensive to one’s own interpretation of reality–

or, if not offensive, then reading in ways that use assumptions to place oneself (as in: me) “over” all that, or “above” all that, because IRONY has for some of us (me) become second nature; like the irony of Seinfeld…a whole world constructed from interpretation turning back on itself in an ironic self reflexive way that’s nevertheless unconscious. i’ve learned and i’m still learning to read not for *meaning* or intended message or literary references (including scientism) but for affective responses arising as a result. another’s words may *make* me feel a certain way, result as if there is a cause and effect reality happening, like a magic spell (deification or reification of functionalist reason, that is, *thinking*), when the transformation is not happening out there, between two brains for instance, but internally within the dialog that never ends, the unconscious and conscious contact with–so to speak–god. oh, i’m gonna catch hell for this. :)




window on mind


Posted on December 30, 2011 by hopefulandfree




i shout

go away go away go away

no threatening sounds come forth from lips

only noise like babbling beneath ocean waves

he screams through glass and pounds his fists

presses fleshy face enraged against the window pane of mind

pain i’m in pain

insomnia whispers promises while helplessness threatens every edge between no place of peace and hell that will not wait

a clearing i seek

worlds shatter

fragmented shards of icy flame rain down on blessed sanctuary

machine like sounds of toy soldiers marching in madness virulent

for me

my screams at last awaken gentle one who holds me close

carelessly i collect each piece of dream

return in stealth to waking life

sleep–now a far off memory.




strands apart,

frayed edges joined


Posted on February 28, 2012 by hopefulandfree



collecting bits of string, clay, dirt, pieces of my life,

gathering as if a storm approaches and i’m a bird securing her nest–

the sense of foreboding never leaves me now,

the need to redirect my energy, create a space,

literally, to claim as my way, my possibility for change,

externalization of deeply held pain,

beyond words, words are inadequate, much of the horrors i experienced

before i had language–

i saw a photograph of me as a baby, yesterday, i allowed myself to see

my hands in the image, tiny hands with fingernails ripped away,

below the cuticles,

i wasn’t even two, and already i was tearing off the tiny nails from my finger

tips, gnawing at my hands as if to escape some unbearable daily reality,

showing the world that i was suffering–and no one made the connection,

or if they did,

were powerless to help.

no one can save me,

no one will help–

these were my thoughts after i found words, my earliest memories,

pleading with god to take me away to a another world,

but surely i had feelings before i had language,

surely an infant / child / human being

experiences terror and dread

at the sight of her tormentors–

at the smell of predators –

the care takers / systems

with whom she has had to bond,

the monsters who become part of her, part of me,

the monsters ones who now threaten

each night with images of death and final moments in agony,

such spectral movies running in my head, made just for me,

i need to get them out, release them much like demons in the world,

through art, painting perhaps, drawing, it doesn’t matter yet, i suppose,

even clay or bits of string glued to colored paper,

i need to honor me, to honor my existence, i survived, i live here

still. i will prevail,

all of me,

it was never a battle to lose weight, never just a battle against the danger of the

stigma, those were symbolic of the

struggle, much broader and more generalized, the struggle to exist

intact, with all my parts collected in one whole–

i wish i could proclaim the victory is mine, in a way it is already won,

but some of the most terrible parts

are waiting for a voice,

reds, yellows, blues, browns, chaos in black and grey,

all of these with texture will

find their way through, we are coming out now, all of us, all of me,

surfacing, peering around, wondering what the hell this means,

some of us are ugly and mean, some of us are precious and caring and

sweet, we are a metaphor for a lack of some firmer state of being,

these fragments that are me, the lover of literature, history, poetry,

philosophy, art, communication,


and more stories, my life now must be for one thing:

to share experiences with others, to find a way to meld our souls in

common yearning for understanding

of the lives from which we ran, the lives from which we hid,

revealed now in our shared art,

yours—and ours.



admitted we were powerless

Posted on June 30, 2012 by hopefulandfree




….our social systems in which our consciousness as individuals is embedded provide us with lenses to see some things and to keep others hidden or suppressed from observation–and repressed from consciousness. we live with horrible injustices and bizarre forms of inequality that have become accepted as the way things are because to consider alternatives creates almost instant fear and powerlessness. we accept our illusions of control, as individuals, because to admit our powerlessness feels terrifying. we go about our lives accepting the illusion of having control over our future standards of living, for example, because we feel sick and horrified inside when we consider the reality. most of us can do little or nothing to prevent the inevitable day when we become dependent on strangers for our meals and baths and other essentials of daily living, and so we imagine our future caregivers as kind and gentle and caring and helpful. we believe there are investments we can make, or choices that will increase the likelihood of an easier, softer journey to the void (or to heaven). or we buy books by guys like tolle, for instance, and practice focusing on the NOW. essentially we perfect a kind of perpetuated dissociated consciousness that lulls us gently into a sense of false security and allows us to accept horrifying social injustices without exerting much actual effort to change anything. perpetual distractions, in the form of entertainment, nonstop media access, technological innovations that give us instant connection with other people, places, and things–in a more or less virtual realm that has come to seem virtually real and virtually good–all of these socially constructed realisms help us remain within our day-to-day focus on Self, on planning ways to meet our current and future needs of self (and needs of loved ones), on trying to predict and control outcomes of processes that have thousands of unknown variables beyond any individual’s control (plus a few variables we can hope to manage, in spite of those pesky thousands).


and many of us live with these fragmented forms of consciousness, these pesky brains and minds that refuse to remain in one realm, that switch instantly into alarm mode at the slightest stimuli or remain in alarm mode when in the presence of strangers, with accompanying autonomic nervous systems functioning as if attack is always imminent–a kind of consciousness that is not merely a conceptual or cognitive based form of action but is physiologically (neurologically) constructed, arranged and perfected by brain (neural) pathways repeatedly exposed to profound shock, chronic terror, unpredictable pain, and other ongoing and very real traumatic threats–and we walk around, often in public places, looking like any other form of person….




the expropriation of health


Posted on March 14, 2012 by hopefulandfree




….so many seem to NEED social applause and approval for “working hard to stay healthy” when, in fact, most of the world’s people walk to work or spend hours each day attempting to earn enough just to stay alive, yeah, that’s their exercise (picking rags from heaps of cast-offs sent over like gifts from the great Empires, breathing coal dust, picking the sweet lettuce and berries for strangers to gulp down in consumption of holy god-like salad-eating efforts to

remain alive longer than the next guy, longer than one’s neighbor,

yeah, the neighbor we love as ourselves, or the ones we judge for becoming fat, old, shy, afraid, ill, dependent, needy,

for becoming those dumb asses in the nursing homes

who are in fact not dumb animals, but merely hearing impaired human beings who grew old, who never dreamed


someday they would be shunned for becoming wrinkled, tired, sick, and terrified of humanity, for good reason, perhaps,

(i offer here my example of one elderly naked man clothed only in a hospital “gown”–so thin of cloth that bones show through–waiting for his CAT scan, oh marvel of marvels, waiting to be told that YES, INDEED, he had a right to be feeling excruciating back pain on account of the bone fragments scattered along his shrinking spine, to the tune of several thousand dollars, money that could have been spent, coincidentally, to fly his daughter up from California for a nice long stay, but that would be a NON-MEDICAL expense, oh, god, give me patience…)

Nemesis (ivan illich reminds us) was the name of the greek goddess of revenge who “represented nature’s response to hubris: to the individual’s presumption in seeking to acquire the attributes of a god”, namely, the notion that we humans should aspire to immortality, or at least the idea that we should want to live as long as possible, and to do whatever that goal requires–even at the loss of our very humanity,

to remain living

and breathing, paying for health “care”, particularly,

paying for the greatest rituals known to humankind, such as bariatric surgery with its sterile pristine suites of reverent worship where our masked medicine men perform magical functions, removal of organs, application of mind-altering drugs in mists we breathe silently, like ancient sacrifices to appease the gods,

here, take this section of stomach, o lord, that the patient may be cleansed of gluttony, perform the desired unburdening of sins, for the good of the Body, the holy body of medical knowledge,

okay, slower now, dear writer, temperance please, show us where this path is leading–

nice, deep breaths,

we are now paying–all of us–for the illusion of control, medicine is the new goddess of revenge, “medical nemesis” in the form of modern “health care”–you see,

i can’t forget him, that first real patient, that 90-something gentleman with white hair and transparent skin, i can’t forget the thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars billed (and spent) on medical tests (CT, MRI, blood, etc) and a solitary hospital bed with wires and equipment to test the level of oxygen in his blood, rate of pulse, and other so-called imperatives

when all the man really wanted most desperately was to spend some last days with his children, all of whom were working working working working to pay for their own future care in a similar hospital room,

and i can’t forget the other man whose daughter was brought from the prison that day, on compassionate leave, his watery eyes, shaky hands, the way his voice faltered when he said,

i just want to die, i’m ready, why won’t they just leave me be?

but could anyone listen? no. all were too busy “providing care” to these fine people, and to many others,

doing their jobs, performing with the greatest efficiency,

offering highly effective medical treatments,

none of which honored the deepest needs of these

human beings

who haunt me. i smell them. their skin is rotted now, or burnt and scattered into new forms of dust, universal stuff i know not how to understand, i only know i can’t do that work, called modern nursing, i can’t participate in the charade of money-changing, that form of domination that denies a human being the company of loved ones while insisting on more tests, always more evidence of sickness–for the proper billing codes, you see,

yes, we sacrifice the actual human being for proper procedural motions to prove there was no “unethical” treatment, no inaccurate documentation, no miscalculation of fees.

i will come if you call, i will listen, i will care, but i can’t be part of that whole masquerade, the expropriation of human dignity, in the name of our newest god, “health care,” not for dollars or social status, or promises of future security;

let me sit with you, we will sing, tell stories, howl at the night, hold our bodies next to each other, rub feet, laugh until we cry, scream with abandon, and i will wash your hair, i will feed you,

i will feel honored to know you have lived. i will sit with your lifeless body until your people come. i wish i had been allowed to do all those things, those simple

simple gestures.

i’m sorry. all of you “patients” deserved more, more than an edifice

filled with efficient providers–following and giving efficient orders,

all of you deserved…to be loved.



for getting 

Posted on July 19, 2011 by hopefulandfree



didn’t Socrates or some old dude long passed discuss


to know, one must forget,

to know one must forget, to know one must forget one is for getting,

but for getting, a process we assume makes

sense, where was i going? oh yes,

i’m for getting, all for getting,

here, the thing about communication is the assumption of meaning,

meaning we assume is shared as if the Other has one idea of her construction,

a clear vision of the building in progress, a blueprint of the whole

when only part completed includes no foundation,

only whispers of a soul–

more to be revealed, like prophecy, but not mystical,

real and unreal,

we assume a meaning intended, and even that approach takes too much for

granted, intention would demand consciousness of everything

below the surface, in between, over, around the edges, down the well,

in the darkest most hellish parts of every soul, and forward into the light,

brightest of the bright, we don’t pretend or play so much as work

at learning to never play, never spontaneously be, must re-act to be seen

as social sanitary being, like a fucking clean eater–

or pristine clear thinking —

just had to bring that up, it’s been bugging me so much, the way we play

with clean as a concept in our approach to eating and even THINKING

like these are forms of sex, and we wouldn’t

want the dirty kind, the slutty style, the naughty girl behind the curtain

with her girlfriend kind of bad, no, strike that, as

dysfunctional, yeah, improperly working equipment,

unclean thinkers are so brazenly lacking in

social awareness, apparently, so completely unwilling to toe the line, to

submit to our lord’s approval, like stealing communion that hasn’t been

blessed, oh my!, so destructive of SELF, well, what does this MEAN,

fuck, do you see the problems there?

to be clean means Self aware,

(the implication is too much, too perfect and complete, a perfectly

efficient, beautifully effective killing machine, a nicely contained

gas chamber in the back of mobile trucks–no need to send the victims,

when the machine will come to us)–


Self aware does not mean what you think it does

when framing self and life as objects of consumption and production,

doing something with food, with my brain, like a lover? oh please,

objects moving on conveyers with objects,

headed to a final destination, proof of your existence–

you’ve already devoured the machine parts and pieces and links, swallowed

and digested, then gobbled more–but that’s not really the point,

right? the meaning must be clear, we think, because no other way to keep

believing we are in control, no other route to staying in the zone, the

sweet sweet zone where we float with sanctified and officially endorsed,

permitted, emotions–the safe place where big bad enforcers of truth can’t

shove their fists through the roof of your head, crack open skull, pull

forth meaning, the one we all need to believe in,

or we’re sunk–

we’re fucked, except we see that as a bad thing, ’cause language without

context, or absence the whole, assumes more than too much,

assumes everything, including evil, when evil may be beautiful and loving,

and goodness may be heartlessness we learn to abide with,


like a white owl that flies to you and hovers before your face without a sound,

seeing eye to eye, pleading to be recognized,

not possible, you have no way to see or hear the owl,

however lovely and unique,

you don’t even bother to slink, just keep on sauntering,

alone with your holy sanctified all authority approved


your consolation for conning as a way of life,

for some of us i fear that has to be enough–




this is not a program


Posted on January 14, 2012 by hopefulandfree




….we are not dead. we merely function as if we are alive or sometimes never to have lived at all, still born, merely noticed images passing, as if the things that matter most are pointless and unreachable, as if we are not screaming from our graves to change before it is too late–not screaming, no. the absence of sound emerges. no peep. no pat-a-cake, no lullaby sweet baby. sweet fragrant cheeks of youth, warm faces, bright eyes, innocence. breath.


these fragmented souls wander forth–laughing, screaming, crying, roaring–the noise of indignation overwhelms, before the spinning toddler stops to stop the ruthless moving round and round into overdrive, the righteousness ordained as if by gods who whisper in our silent minds, always gods of right, we’re certain. we are certain of our certainty.

unwrapping tissue thin deception proves immutable, the fluid veil through which we gulp at life rushes down, fills our throats before our first cry for help. for understanding never granted, for god’s mercy long abandoned.

this is not a program. there is no remote. no viewer. no dialog. no action. no act.


we are alone, as one, enchanted by our dreadful power to summon all as if at will. we have the words. the magic stories of good and evil. we have our dances, repeated, rituals unbroken. each utterance, each thought, all imbued with magic we call meaning. we translate each experience as if it has the power to tell us something real about ourselves, our world, like chicken entrails left on street corners next to burning candles and sweets….



critical emancipatory process

part one


Posted on July 1, 2011 by hopefulandfree



we are told by the professionals, the experts: certain things, processes, research results,

and phenomena are facts,

solid evidence like bones, or

fragments of stars as seen through telescopes,

clear detailed beautiful focus–

the way things are

or–at the very least–the way things are supposed to work

when people see accurately (bodies, chemicals, the wind, gravity, physics, the human heart)–

they, being professionals, are like gods in our modern or postmodern mythology, better than gods if we’re being honest here…


we are supposed to conclude:

something’s wrong.




wrong. very very wrong.

something is wrong with me.


because they all say the same things.

they know. they are experts. they know. they hold knowledge like

cans of soup with red and white labels, the good stuff,

the brand name, not some generic!

(does your doctor, with a straight face,

still use a little hammer to tap on your knee?)

or, much more horrible to imagine,

something is wrong with this entire scientific point of view, theory,

paradigm, etc.

NO! OMG perish that thought. strike it from consciousness this instant.


that’s just not possible.


in other words, for one reason or another,

we now have grounds to feel upset because,

dammit, something is wrong

they don’t actually KNOW what they are talking about

(in terms of any 1/1  relationship to reality)

because their so-called factual data and impeccable research

and adored theories do not fit

my experience.


can’t go there. too scary.

and yet.


how can virtually all of these highly educated, highly esteemed,

extremely intelligent experts…be wrong? that is not a comforting concept to consider,

no no no,

not an acceptable thought.

unthinkable, unspeakable.


it must

be my body.


my body doesn’t work.

my body doesn’t work right. that’s much more reassuring.

still. not completely.

makes me nervous. makes me worry. makes my endocrine system

get all worked up into a flurry of activity, a threat is at hand,

i am not safe. something is wrong with me. oh. hell.

holy. hell.


it’s not–

my body that ‘s the problem.  I don’t have to do anything

to dominate it, or whip it into submission, or force it, or control it,

or fear it–

it is perfect as it is, right now, and the only thing that is a problem

is the way i am taught to experience


if I experience reality that way, the so-called RIGHT way,

i will always be alarmed.

i learned to live with the alarms going off.

but. there are other ways to live.


i can let go.

it might not be FUN!  it might not feel GOOD!

it might not happen

right away, and if i ‘m anything like me,

i can’t control

the outcome.

i will be surprised.


it cannot be described.

it seldom seems to occur to any one of us, of course,

that we are simply living within hegemony. sigh.

one by one, as individuals, we cannot drop the grand illusions

woven carefully from infancy. we need each other

for that.

something like solidarity. but more.




and some kind of unique communion,

not communication as we now conceive it, of course, but

a process that really does happen, a process that allows

you to be as the little child who (matter-of-factly)


oh, the king is naked, isn’t that interesting.


and then.

it isn’t scary, after all,

just very new and quite wonderful to see.

and for an instant you realize it’s okay–

it’s okay–

the experts are full of shit, they can’t help it,

it’s just the way it all must be right now,

given everything historical, and it arrives at last

as a kind of relief, momentarily:


theory, like everything else–like all forms of knowledge–

inevitably must depend on a certain constructedness–

social and language impositions

to begin with–

and notions of power,

also constructed,

and they

(these attractive charismatic classy professionals so full of their

sturdy dependable neuronal pathways)

really and truly believe their own complex and intricate stories,

much more than any prophecy!,


so it isn’t as if

there’s some vast conspiracy of any kind,

or bad people walking around lying to each other and to us.

in fact, that explanation is constructed

using their paradigm, so of course it appears to be the

rational alternative.


that IS their alternative explanation,

and once you get past the belief system embedded in your

brain’s beautiful map,

conspiracy doesn’t fit.

it is so much more elegant than that.

perhaps unpleasant, at first, to swallow. i admit.


because we must trust the experts, right? who else is there?

i mean,

if so many super-amazing people with advanced degrees

and cool hair cuts and stylish eyeglasses can be

living day after day with a transparent device of domination,

using it and depending on it to function and advance their lives

(not to mention their livelihoods) and employing a world view

that legitimizes power over people by people,

umm, power by doctors, scientists, professors, politicians, parents,

priests, lawyers, judges,

chiefs, and other sundry authorities,

and so on and so forth,

what else is there? who can we trust?


little me?

little you?

oh, fuck.


apparently we are screwed,

or maybe it’s just me. i know. i must be crazy. that’s it.

thank god. thank god. thank god.

thank god i’m crazy. big sigh of relief. i’m ready to be certified,

by experts. yes, that is so much more reassuring.


to be crazy.

ah, sweet surrender.

yes? yes? yes?

yeah. like that.

exactly like that.

we give it away for free, without ever looking back.



once we’re past the crap we’ve been swallowing since

language constructed our own individual brain pathways,

once we let words become routes to

new places, dead ends, tree tops, stars, multi-verses,

empty space, poetry,


you can see through the myths.



enjoy their sweet innocence.

is it premature to celebrate?




more on “symbolic violence”

and domination—

constructed as “caring”


Posted on January 25, 2012 by hopefulandfree




“…The structures of consciousness we develop as active beings–existing within cultures and institutionalized structures of (largely invisible) domination–may perhaps be compared to holograms of the socially fragmented “lifeworlds” with and within which we participate, both before we learn language and later when we come to understand language as rhetoric, or as a means to an end (in Habermas, as “oriented to success”), or as a way to manipulate or persuade other people to adopt specific meanings and beliefs and behaviors, for example, to fulfill our individual pursuits of “free will,” or, simply, to meet our need for survival as individuals (or as groups).

Max Weber describes our ultimate experiences of reality (as a consequence of modern “disenchanted” thinking, or rationalization) as an “iron cage”–while others have described lives of “alienation” (Marx) and “anomie” (Durkheim circa 1897, or Merton in 1949).

These are the sorts of observations which when shared with others, say, in blogland or everyday life (as opposed to academic settings) typically provoke fast reactions of denial, such as “Oh, not me! My life is satisfying. I feel fulfilled.”

Often, following that sort of proud proclamation, there is a kind of underlying or unvoiced accusation (“What’s wrong with you?”–aka “you are not normal“), and then there follows an attempt to strategically use language (as rhetoric) to convince and explain (to share) their own “how to” method of becoming happy or well-adjusted people.

(Again, note the unconscious cognitive “orientation toward successful outcome”, or the internalized means to achieving control over one’s moods, thinking, outlook, sense of well being, “positive” attitude, etc.)

Symbolic violence (which, recall from my previous post, is largely invisible) tells us that our emotional pain is not “normal” or it is caused by our own false perceptions about reality–our own narcissistic wishes or self-destructive actions or unhealthy behaviors. Thus, according to cultural mythologies or schema(s), we are not stigmatized and unhappy because we are hated and abused for being fat; instead, the consensus reality tells us, we are miserable because we are fat and we refuse to “take control.”


We suffer for our sins (in the old language of religion). Or, our suffering is evidence of our misalignment between our self and our soul (in new age parlance.)

Social determinants of pain and suffering (or sickness and ill health) are almost taboo topics for discussion unless one is suffering from a cause that has been legitimated by one’s social group of identification, a source of prejudice or discrimination against one’s race, or size, or class, for example. Then, it’s as if we have been granted permission to feel pain, to acknowledge our suffering; we have a validated reason to acknowledge anguish-as-injustice–even if other groups or individuals (from their standpoints of privilege, for instance) do not understand our experiences of (socially constructed) suffering.

Fat children who feel tormented by media campaigns (in the form of highway posters with sarcastic and abusive commentary approved by the state and sanctioned by health care professionals, for example)–or fat children who have been specially selected to wear “fitness” monitoring devices–are expected to feel grateful and appreciative for the “concern, help, and caring” being demonstrated on their behalf. They are supposed to experience the symbolic violence as evidence of compassion.

[likewise public outcry for cures and effective treatments for so called ptsd, for autism, and for other final traces of our humanity]

If there are no rational and loving adults who are capable of providing critical social analysis (and who are standing by to explain the mental schisms and internalized torment that such symbolic violence is likely to produce) then, of course, targeted children will likely fall prey to these insidious strategies of domination and control–and the children will likely (being humans, not robots) internalize the hate (self loathing) and deeply painful shame that arises from violence and from powerlessness in the face of violence, a shame that emerges when one feels convinced that one should be able to control parts of one being which in truth are beyond one’s control—conscious or otherwise—including one’s feelings and thoughts and socially constructed behaviors–all of which develop in social contexts that are highly individualized and complex.

Even in the presence of loving and wise adults, children cannot simply will-power their way out of experiencing trauma (from symbolic violence) when their own peers and the social structures on which they depend for survival continue to practice and embolden symbolic violence as a socially-preferred way of life. Symbolic violence is, we quickly learn, what everyone else says is “normal.”

Or “helpful and caring.” Or, indeed, a form of “health promotion.”

In nursing school I often witnessed “health promotion” as domination, as subtle manipulation strategically planned by professionals to change other people’s behaviors in the so-called “evidence-based” belief that individual choices–rather than socially constructed conditions–are the primary cause of “physical” illnesses and ailments (such as heart disease, diabetes, and even “mental” illness).

(Through the use “motivational interviewing”, for instance, professionals attempt to “help” you recognize the self harming behaviors that cause your diseases and help you be ready to change your “unhealthy” ways. Or, through the use of “positive psychology”, nowadays, we can all self-help our way out of anguish and emotional suffering.)

As a nursing student I wasn’t supposed to notice the self satisfied, self righteous and Other-condemning moral judgments about “non-compliant” patients who “refused to follow simple dietary instructions!” or “rebelled against” admonishments to “perform the appropriate self care.”

I wasn’t supposed to note the irony, either, I suppose.

Again and again, as nursing students, we were lectured on the important role of critical thinking. Without critical thinking, we were repeatedly warned, as nurses we were likely to end up harming patients without even realizing it. Seriously. Yet my own attempts to apply critical analysis to socially constructed health problems (resulting from chronic oppression or long-term trauma, for example) resulted in disengaging silence–or was met with derisive lectures or “open” debates during which dominant cultural ideology prevailed (the unquestioned medicalization of our lifeworlds, for example).

As a nursing student, I believed good intentions, virtue-based ethics, codes of conduct, evidence-based practices, membership in professional organizations, knowledge, wisdom, and well-honed skills would (somehow) allow nurses and other health professionals to provide “care” and compassion to our fellow human beings. That was then.

Where–behind these professional organizations (APA, AMA, ANA, ADA, etc)–are the powerful forces advocating for moral behavior when symbolic violence arises and is (re)constructed, again and again, in the name of health care and health promotion? Where are their voices of virtuous intentions? (“Do no harm.”)

Health care professions, I have come to realize, are founded on strategic means-ends orientations to efficiency and to successful prediction and control measures. The social construction of suffering and anguish holds no meaning in such a worldview. Analysis of human illness and disease (by medical “science”) largely remains at the level of individual organisms (bodies), in spite of the appropriated language of epidemiology, as if we can understand individual human disease processes like separating individual microbes, in isolation, from all the rest in a petri dish.


I’m tired. I’m grieving.

I fought my way through years of health care education (and hype) with the hope that–as a result of careful study and ethical practices–I could be of greater service to human beings in need, and in the hope that I could earn my living in an ethical way–without sacrificing my deepest values and without reproducing the structures of domination and the culturally approved forms of harm (in the name of efficiency, or progress, or “caring”) that engulfs our daily lives.

I was deluded. Deranged. Demented.

I tried to blame myself. I tried to tell myself that I was too weak or damaged to tolerate the necessary practices involved in contemporary health “care.” I tried very hard to believe that where there was a will (through the proper application of my actions and conscience), there would be a way (to help other people by providing them with health care “services”).

I have come to believe otherwise.


I’m going to be okay. This painful process, however, is like recovering from a long, serious, and very costly disease. It takes time. It requires gentle self care and the kind, loving support of others. It demands the realignment, restructuring, revision, and (re)creation of my internal/external lifeworlds, processes that–as the names imply–happen over a lifetime. Any thorough process of enlightenment takes place in a social–rather than individual–realm of existence. I cannot change myself. I cannot sustain myself. I need others.

I need to live with–to be in communication with–powers greater than any I can construct or envision with my own Self or with my own thinking.

Otherwise, symbolic violence defeats me.

My past escape from physical violence holds little meaning when I fall prey, repeatedly, to symbolic violence–to socially constructed forms of domination and control which feed on my life’s beauty and vitality–and on yours–and which empty us of meaningful communion, compassion, art as experience, and love.

So. Thanks.

Thank you for being part of a process I can barely begin to articulate in language. Thank you for witnessing–and for sharing your own experiences of vulnerability and hope.





Posted on March 10, 2012 by hopefulandfree




i hope i can mostly stop trying to figure things out or think problems through to arrive at an answer, which is a form of rationalization, putting a moral spin on decisions to make myself or another believe the choice i’ve made is better than an alternative–

instead, this feels like a long experiment, a suspension of both belief and disbelief, a let’s-see-what-happens-now kind of approach, a continuation of a neverending


maybe this is insanity, so-called mental illness, that state of existing with pained uncertainty and hope, undifferentiated,

it doesn’t really matter what this is labelled, though, this strange experience of not knowing and fear and abandonment sorrow,

a separation inside from the unnamed


this ache for reunion of hearts,

the sense that my body is my mind,

mind is as much in my extremities, in my lymph and blood and hot tissues all around my skin, both air and liquid pulse, inside throughout is mind, knowing, sensing, memories, these ideas cannot live in a head as thing we imagine is

our powerhouse, our brain function, we are–

both common and uncommon, not some strange animal cut off from direction and guidance, not a stumbling creature of the night struggling for a single gentle touch,

but like a wild goose in her flock, a soaring image striving as if forward, she does not need to know the flock’s destination, does not need to

see the vast plain below, at once, and does not need to see the wingtips of her fellow travelers to live as part of a whole, inseparable, not a body apart from

a mind, not a dichotomy–

a pure spirit of freely woven space and time, blackness in light, enfolded over feathers and soft down of sturdy delicate nests where eggs settle in warm abundance, tap tapping before

the soft crack of creamy shell, the wet earth,

pungent as ancient moss, small wet being

blinking forth first breath—of





“I don’t know why we are here, but

I’m pretty sure that it is not 

in order to enjoy



--Ludwig Wittgenstein





this place


Posted on March 7, 2012 by hopefulandfree




here is the space i bring my unreason, my clump of former me, the fetal tissue of a growing being not yet seen,

here is how i leave the deadly terror of daily life to rest then expire, the way i abandon control, allow stillness to enter my soul,

this other realm is mystery, a cloud of clear light guiding the threads of my spirit set free to float,


like dangling fragments of neural anatomical flagella,

alighting from the whole, drifting as oceanic man o’ war clustering about the dusk of humankind,


observe, child, the rate at which the people race from each task, ever faster, more effective as equipped with servitude to unseen force,

jump, now, take the racing ferry leaving dock–the next you sense, unseen, take it to the place in the river of time, dream time, the images surrounding


just before you wake, the people singing grouped as one, voices raised in hope, it’s here, you’ve seen the invisible, heard without listening, the sounds

like music from inner worlds,

imaginary stops along the way

on our shared


to here.





sweet dreams / ubiquitous alienation

ash tree4th of july4th of july



“In The Consumer Society, Baudrillard concludes by extolling “multiple forms of refusal” of social convention, conspicuous consumption, and conformist thought and behavior, all of which can be fused in a “practice of radical change” (1998: 183). Baudrillard alludes here to the expectation of “violent eruptions and sudden disintegration which will come…. On the other hand, Baudrillard also describes a situation where alienation is so total that it cannot be surpassed because “it is the very structure of market society” (1998: 190). His argument is that in a society where everything is a commodity that can be bought and sold, alienation is total. Indeed, the term “alienation” originally signified “to sale,” and in a totally commodified society where everything is a commodity, alienation is ubiquitous. Moreover, Baudrillard posits “the end of transcendence” (a phrase borrowed from Marcuse) where individuals can neither perceive their own true needs or another way of life (1998: 190ff).

Like Lukàcs (1971) and the Frankfurt School, Baudrillard analyzes how the commodity and commodification permeate social life and come to dominate individual thought and behavior. Following the general line of critical Marxism, Baudrillard argues that the process of social homogenization, alienation, and exploitation constitutes a process of reification in commodities, technologies, and things (i.e., “objects”) come to dominate people (“subjects”) divesting them of their human qualities and capacities.

For Lukàcs, the Frankfurt School, and Baudrillard, reification — the process whereby human beings become dominated by things and become more thinglike themselves — comes to govern social life…..

In a sense, Baudrillard’s work can be read as an account of a further stage of reification and social domination than that described by the Frankfurt School who described how individuals were controlled by ruling institutions and modes of thought. Baudrillard goes beyond the Frankfurt School by applying the semiological theory of the sign to describe how commodities, media, and technologies provide a universe of illusion and fantasy in which individuals become overpowered by consumer values, media ideologies and role models, and seductive technologies like computers which provide worlds of cyberspace. Eventually, Baudrillard will take his analysis of domination by signs and the system of objects to even more pessimistic conclusions where he concludes that the thematic of the “end of the individual” sketched by the Frankfurt School has reached its fruition in the total defeat of human subjectivity by the object world………At this stage, Baudrillard turns to anthropological perspectives on premodern societies for hints of more emancipatory alternatives….”

~ ~ Kellner, Douglas, “Jean Baudrillard”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =





Originally posted on March 28, 2014 by hopefulandfree



i wish i could “know” with a tiny bit more certainty—that is, with a little more sense of assurance—if i am heading in the general direction of what mostly feels like or seems like (or what to me is being evoked as…??) something close to (eerily? wonderfully?).…..well, a spiritual awakening.

or not.

of course all this …..

(“all this” is way too confusing/complicated and/or impossible and/or just too fucking weird for anyone, especially me, to understand clearly and/or explain while making any sense right here and right now)

…..all “this” could also just as easily be, in truth, far more like having a big ol’ wad of gum stuck to my mental shoe, which i am so very arrogantly misinterpreting as the “universe” tugging at my consciousness.

the latter possibility (re: mental wad of gum) seems extremely important, to me, to keep in my mind.




symptoms” of spiritual awakening   


Originally posted on March 28, 2014 by hopefulandfree





Annarita, Guest Writer, “Waking Times”  (emphasis–in caps–is mine)




self-comforting thoughts?


Originally posted on March 31, 2014 by hopefulandfree



“Hell isn’t other people. Hell is your self.”

—Ludwig Wittgenstein


“The conscious experience of being a subject

arises when a single organism learns

to enslave itself.”

—Thomas Metzinger, The Ego Tunnel:

The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self



 “To be too acutely conscious

is a disease,

a real, honest-to-goodness disease.”

—Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, “Notes from Underground”


“…99% of compulsive thinkers’ thinking is about themselves…99% of this self-directed thinking consists of imagining and then getting ready for things that are going to happen to them…100% of the things they spend 99% of their time and energy imagining and trying to prepare for all the contingencies and consequences are never good…In short…99% of the head’s thinking activity consists of trying to scare the everliving shit out of itself.”

—David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest


“This illusory mindset…has directed my thoughts and actions like a primitive and powerful superstition. I’ve felt compelled to always carry with me—everywhere—my awareness of it’s Immense Force, like a trusted talisman keeping me safe from the Unbearable Unknown. It has been killing me.”

—hopefulandfree “breaking the spell” (March 30, 2014)


“I spend a lot of time THINKING about and IMAGINING…events that have already happened or MAY POSSIBLY, POTENTIALLY HAPPEN SOMEDAY…many unpleasant ones, many of which are downright sad, tragic, terrifying…”

—hopefulandfree “addicted to control” (March 23, 2014)


 “Nobody ever had or was a self. Selves are not part of reality…But somehow…in our biological history, the feeling of being a self is and was very important…self-deception can be adaptive. Probably evolution has built some stable forms of self-deception right into our conscious self-models…we have robust experiences of autonomy and self-determination…subjective experience of controlling our behavior…controlling our attention…As modern science shows, some of these inner experiences may not be fully veridical, but just adaptive…“

—Thomas Metzinger (as quoted by Michael Taft, 09/28/2012)


“Self is a parasite…The mind is obsessed with the idea of being a self. And it doesn’t recognize: That’s the dilemma…If you realized they weren’t about the real you, they could simply come and go. Your attention would be freed up from the slavery of selfing…not by any procedures or practice, but by recognition of what’s so…You say you want to be ‘awake.’ But…you are ALREADY AWAKE…The head is playing God. And it’s already beat you, since now it’s got you thinking you’re not awake. It’s going to play with that for years….This is not about acquiring knowledge. It’s about waking up to the essence of what we call living. If you identify as SELF, you’re going to inhabit the realm of WHAT’S NOT HAPPENING. The future and the past. You need relief. But where do you go for that release? To your head! Which is the problem. The relief it offers is part of the bondage to self. We go to the problem asking for advice!..“

—Paul Hedderman “Self is a Parasite”


 “We are asleep. Our Life is a dream.

But we wake up sometimes, just enough to know that we are dreaming.”

—Ludwig Wittgenstein


“[T]his kind of blogging…does not escape becoming a simulation of thinking in some of its more pathological forms…with many of Thinking’s worst, most destructive side effects…Thus, obsessive tendencies towards narcissistic patterns of thinking and behaving loom ever larger…more specifically…an inordinately imbalanced and unhealthy focus on my own problems, worries, fears, struggles, thoughts, beliefs, symptoms, feelings, defects, weaknesses, “interesting” ideas, memories, theories, issues, future tripping, relationship woes, relationship “successes”, losses, hopes, fantasies, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum, including of course a whole ENORMOUS fuck load of never-ending crappola….based on actual life events, conditions, accidents, losses, conflicts, and so forth….which are not just imaginary—like bad dreams—but instead they are INDEED REAL (and are ACTUALLY HAPPENING)…”

—hopefulandfree “weird times on planet crazy” (March 17, 2014)


 ‘I am able to identify with the values expressed by these concepts (technologies of the self…self writing.) The self becomes an artistic creative process that takes form, develops, and changes over time through ongoing communication. In that respect, the autonomous self creates the true self in the increasing absence of domination practices, and thus the self relies on growing recognition, trust, love and respect for one’s self creative potential.”

—hopefulandfree “technologies of the self” (March 19, 2014)


“On my own, if my past thinking offers evidence, I’m almost always going to make assumptions and arrive at conclusions that involve some false belief in my power to control things that I can’t actually control. No matter how loudly or how much I protest to the contrary. No matter how much I want to believe that I can somehow resist falling into that trap by means of the power of my own thinking, it ain’t gonna happen. I’m gonna fall into the trap again and again. Then I’m gonna deny that I fell in. Is there a way out? I hope so. I am helpless and powerless over this compulsion…[over] my obsessive-compulsive (but mostly UNCONSCIOUS) NEED to believe I can improve my life by acquiring more knowledge or by figuring things out…”

—hopefulandfree “to thine own self be true” (March 22, 2014)


 “Consciousness is a much smaller part of our mental life than we are conscious of, because we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious of. How simple that is to say; how difficult to appreciate! It is like asking a flashlight in a dark room to search around for something that does not have any light shining upon it. The flashlight, since there is light in whatever direction it turns, would have to conclude that there is light everywhere. And so consciousness can seem to pervade all mentality when actually it does not.

It is much more probable that the seeming continuity of consciousness is really an illusion, just as most of the other metaphors about consciousness are. In our flashlight analogy, the flashlight would be conscious of being on only when it is on. Though huge gaps of time occurred, providing things were generally the same, it would seem to the flashlight itself that the light had been continuously on. We are thus conscious less of the time than we think, because we cannot be conscious of when we are not conscious…. so consciousness knits itself over its time gaps and gives the illusion of continuity.”

—Julian Jaynes: The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind


“The bigger picture cannot be properly reflected

in the Ego Tunnel—

it would dissolve the tunnel itself…

if we wanted to experience [it],

we could do so only by

radically transforming

our state of consciousness.”


—Thomas Metzinger The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self



 “Because as weird or nonsensical or hyperbolic or pathetic or mystical or insane as it probably sounds to another person’s mind…I recognize—intimately—a constant presence. A not-me. A living, real, whole, distinct human being. Not a wished-for projection, not some mysterious “higher power”, not an idealized or better version of me. I recognize the presence of an ordinary person who is not “me”—as I understand the usually-accepted or most-common meaning of that concept. A presence who is, nonetheless, myself…Sadly (to me) it seems…unlikely that there is a known process (chemically-assisted or not) whereby an ordinary person like me could connect through an alteration in awareness or could experience some previously unknown communion with “myself “in a way that might turn out to be profoundly helpful and meaningful…Plus…I find it impossible to overlook…the glaring potential for deception (including self-deception) inherent in an attempt of this nature, which at least on the surface appears to invite an individual to explore an unknown psychic process…”

—hopefulandfree “my incomprehensible reality” (March 15, 2014)


“…i get it! nobody can see inside the black box—they only think they can….omg. the fucking emperor is stark raving naked….this is way better than tv…..!!!…underground man…notes from underground…sweet jesus…took me long enough…” :-)

—hopefulandfree, just now


“What sane person could live in this world

and not be crazy?”

—Ursula K. Le Guin


 “You might not imagine it possible to live for decades among human society, to become formally educated…while never once realizing that one’s ability to think—in the sense of carrying on internalized (mental) conversations with a Self—does not exist…The meaning of a self eludes one’s grasp, including even the sense of recognition, when looking in a mirror, of the being who appears to be returning one’s gaze. The face in the mirror is always that of a stranger, a person known intellectually to represent the visual image of oneself…the representation in the mirror appears to be nothing more than an object which can move by means of some external power, and, thus, the experience of looking at the image inspires a sense of uneasy wariness, almost as if a stranger has appeared inside one’s room, except the stranger is not human. She seems to represent a kind of intricately designed, life sized, life like, mechanized doll.

The thing in the mirror, which seems to be looking back, appears to be looking at an unpleasant sort of object, something wholly unnerving and unnecessary, something that exists with no purpose beyond its ability to have its movements and actions directed and controlled, much like a child’s plaything, a doll or an action figure with movable body parts, a replica of a person—right down to its capacity to form words with its mouth, as if speaking spontaneously. Any bodily movement which resembles self directed action is, however, an illusion.”

—hopefulandfree “mind, self, society and the ‘generalized other’” (February 10, 2013)


“To oppose something is to maintain it….

To be sure, if you turn your back…

and walk away from it,

you are still on the [same] road…

You must go somewhere else…

then you walk a different road.”

—Ursula K. Le Guin



Ursula. Is. Right.

In this case, in this particular manifestation, human LIVING, real change cannot come about through the application of new, more or different kinds of strategies, resistance, opposition, control, reasoning, or knowledge. A new road is needed. A new paradigm—or, more accurately, a “radically” altered state of consciousness—and nothing less—just might open the PORTALS TO “conscious contact” aka WHAT IS HAPPENING. I

Identifying thoughts (and actions) as “mine” and/or connected with “myself”, and/or “about me” and/or REAL (rather than NOT REAL aka NOT HAPPENING) has been a phenomenal disaster. Enough. It’s not “time to wake up,” it’s time to see that “I” AM ALREADY AWAKE and “what I’m looking for is what’s looking.”

Not looking for “myself”, maybe for reasons that are becoming more apparent.

Seriously. What’s there to lose? Illusions, apparently…so, then, nothing. Anyway.

It’s all mystery.



the way is clear. it’s been not-real — :-)

so. to. speak.

continuing …

our happy destiny ~



“There are no dangerous thoughts,

thinking itself is dangerous.”


—Hannah Arendt  






twin paradox

twin paradox (formerly: oh my: part one)

Originally posted on March 27, 2014 by hopefulandfree



this posting is a detailed and possibly tedious account about

a pair of identical twins


not your ordinary everyday identical twins

for instead of being born into separate bodies


these twins were born into and live in the same body

so in other words they SHARE one body


and since it is the only body available for both



both must somehow share this body together

both must find ways for each to get along


both must find ways for each to survive

hopefully without being dominated


or maybe even

dominated, squished and squelched completely


by the other twin or

simply by the mutual presence of both


moreover these twins-sharing-one-body share yet another

additional challenge


for neither twin is aware of the existence of the other

oh my


yet both are able at times to somehow sense

a presence


as if something or someone unknowable is always here

always here in a way that neither can articulate


because of course such an apparently

impossible kind of awareness


and such an apparently

impossible kind of shared presence


for both of them is unthinkable

cannot even be conceptualized


cannot be thought about or talked about by

anyone who lives in this great wide world


all around them where they and everyone lives

where they and all others have also learned language


with many different languages naturally but

also in the broader concept of language in general


also known as a shared ability which

allows some sentient beings to make and use words


allows some sentient beings to make and use concepts

allows some sentient beings to make and share meaning


to make and share meaning through discourse

in other words through a grand process


a process common to all

yet also a process available in different forms


such as story telling and reasoned discourse

as you undoubtedly/probably already realize


discourse allows sharing of many different kinds of

thoughts and images and ideas and feelings and questions


in private as well as in public

thus, also known as private discourse and public discourse


anyway. in so far as the lives of these particular



language and indeed discourse

as they have come to know and as all others


living in their shared world have come to know

through mutual processes of learning and sharing


in other words through various common processes of discourse

private and public


which in the case of these twins-sharing-one-body

and in the case of their shared existence in the much larger





that is, in the only world in which they can participate

each with the other and with any or all others


so, to clarify

in their world


common discourse does not even allow the possibility

for either twin-sharing-one-body to THINK about


or to share with others through discourse

the following two mutually shared unknowns


their real and mutually shared yet unknown condition of existence

their real and mutually shared yet unknown sense of awareness


(when combined aka real-mutually-shared-yet-unknown lived experiences)

(aka  r-m-s-y-u-l-e)



no ways to think about/talk about/share these r-m-s-y-u-l-e



or except when


these r-m-s-y-u-l-e

are clearly and specifically identified as


some kind of freak show, superstition or pathology

which therefore, in their world


should/must be

discounted, managed, corrected, treated, healed, controlled


or in other words

should/must be altered


so as to result in some OTHER outcome

some outcome which closely resembles/duplicates/replicates


the apparent separation and one-ness of all others

that is,


all those who are apparently-not-twins-sharing-one-body



it seems to be the case that

their common narratives and discourses about what is really real


when combined with

their apparent one-ness and separateness from all other beings


create for them



several problematic and/or tragic perspectives on reality

such as cunningly powerful and baffling


distortions/false beliefs/illusions

massively-entrenched-universally-shared blind-spots


nihilistic-sadistic-deadly-possibly-irreversible paradigms

accompanied by


cripplingly limited ways of knowing and thinking

oppressively limited ways of feeling


cruelly limited ways of behaving

horrifyingly limited ways of living and dying


unspeakable-widespread-yet-mostly-unnoticed suffering

ultimate-global-annihilation-of-many/most/all life-forms


speaking bluntly



for these apparently-one-consciousness-per-body inhabitants

of the world being chronicled here



it’s almost as if reality happens by consensus


as if there is a consensus awareness which reveals to all

the one and only REAL reality


except there has never been any open or known rational process of

communication or discourse which has in fact occurred


to allow them to arrive conclusively at such a




concerning all that SEEMS to them to be REALLY REAL


really real as in

the way everything simply IS


the way everything has ALWAYS been and will ALWAYS be

the way everything simply MUST BE


thus for reasons that may yet remain unclear at the moment

everyone seems to agree that ANY OTHER VERSION OF REALITY


MUST be a fiction, illusion, lie, plain madness

or some other variety of simply UN-REAL


moreover in addition to accepting without question

this shared certainty


their compulsion to do so comes achingly close to being



a NEED to accept without question the trustworthiness of their

shared narratives and traditions and discourses


which describe and explain to them everything that they

all come to accept as self-evident about this apparent



and about everything they CAN (apparently) know


with any apparent certainty about the realness of

the only reality that can REALLY BE real


this pair of twins-sharing-one-body along with all these

other beings


(who are apparently not-twins-sharing-one-body beings)

FEEL convinced without question that REAL reality consists


only of conditions resembling precisely

or appearing virtually identical to


conditions portrayed and depicted in all of their

shared narratives and discourses as really REAL reality


conditions represented as the ONLY conditions which are real

credible, knowable, correct, valuable, normal, worthy of existence



focusing once more on these twins born into one body


these twins-sharing-one-body who also live in the world just described

with its shared narratives and discourses about apparently real reality


(yes these very same twins)

anyway, perhaps by now they may appear to be rather



(to most readers of this detailed and maybe tedious account)


in light of much BIGGER concerns and more PRESSING issues



even so

in spite of all that


perhaps at least by now

it is more clearly evident exactly


why and how

these twins-sharing-one-body ALSO apparently know


in other words FEEL CERTAIN that they know

the difference between


REAL reality and superstition/fiction/fantasy/madness



something persistent and nagging and disturbing

yet vague and unthinkable for them nevertheless


just. does. not. jive.


oh my


also incidentally these twins-sharing-one-body SUFFER

in many complex ways inextricably related to their r-m-s-y-u-l-e


indeed in relation to their r-m-s-y-u-l-e they suffer terribly

in many interesting yet sad and pathetic ways


all of which have been left out of this account

thus far


and so

even though their apparent insignificance may seem to make


the whole question moot

maybe there’s no real harm in simply pondering this:


what are they to do?


“What is troubling us is the tendency

to believe that the mind is like a little

man within.”

–Ludwig Wittgenstein



so / wicked


posted September 12, 2014


i like what’s happened here

a. w. e. s. o. m. e.


but it’s not what’s happening

(now is redundant)

and also now

it’s not about me


so i invite comments


thoughtful questions

there are more than enough ideas here

to get a conversation started ~

if you like


i won’t know you

you won’t know me

so you may struggle to tell me who you are

in how you define me

or when you tell me who you think i am

or what you think i need — tso i can be different

or when you tell me what you see inside my mind

these days i think of all that as


it’s our national pastime for the 21st century—



Saying the Unsayable

 “The happy life involves living in perfect contented harmony with the world, however it is, because how the world is, is a manifestation of God’s will. Given the negative thesis, the positive thesis cannot strictly speaking even be said….

This approach is not new to philosophy. For example, Hannah Arendt writes:

both [Plato and Aristotle] …considered this dialogical thought process to be the way to prepare the soul and lead the mind to a beholding of truth beyond thought and beyond speech — a truth that is arrhēton, incapable of being communicated through words, as Plato put it, or beyond speech, as in Aristotle.

Similarly…Reid criticises Anscombe, but her criticism rests on an equation of contemplation with thinking. As Arendt makes clear, the two are very different things. Thinking is a kind of linguistic activity, whereas contemplation is non-active and non-linguistic — it involves seeing the world aright, not saying how it is. We might think of Wittgenstein’s ladder as a way out of Plato’s cave, but as Plato once pointed out, when we bring outside `Ideas’ back into the cave, they will become laughable, or rather, nonsensical…” (emphasis mine)

-“Saying the Unsayable: Wittgenstein’s Early Ethical Thought” by Paul Formosa (2007)



everything lens


so some people are apparently normal

they see me through the lens of everything

i don’t expect them to drop an everything lens

for one insignificant human

it isn’t necessary anyway


thank god

other people are not-normal too

lots of us

i know that “my knowledge” cannot

tell me who they are

or tell me who you are

you can tell me about yourself, though—

we can come to an understanding


knowledge isn’t contained

in books

in brains

in words

in units of information send and received like an email


maybe that other knowledge, which philosophers and mystics

recieve criticism for merely gesturing or pointing toward,

arises when we listen and have a conversation


or share common reality in other ways

acceptance  /  recognition

communication / community

keeping the everything lens in mind means

entertaining the possibility that communication is

not THAT

communication ≠ control


communication / not-communication


as a dialectical negation

that’s maybe one way of putting it

there’s a big difference


one paradigm seems to maintain all one’s assumptions and illusions about power

rationalizing the moral and political correctness of one’s social status

reifying one’s position of relative power at any moment in time

in the systems

that’s just the way the systems operate

it’s possible to see the systems in action

not so much through the effects

or so called results

but in action

as process


i’m not-normal

i sense i cannot know

anybody at best unless


try to shatter

the everything lens



which is a paradox

yet there’s not much other choice unless

we are all okay with being billions of individual animals

with human brains

and nothing more

just independent creatures

called persons

who exist as independent self identities

as if we are containers for carrying

from here to there


character traits


hidden motives


goodness / evil


each living in his / her own separate cubby

each individual contained within a bubble of pure reality

(hermetically sealed for time and eternity in burp-able poly-plastic)


(and power it seems mostly enters into

individual bodies

individual interactions

with other separate entities called people

one at a time

because it seems like that’s where all the good action is)


men of the mind   /   the life of the mind

makers    /   takers

in one paradigm

the normal one—

which always and can only define me

and (ultimately) you  as —



a taker (not a maker)

and therefore subject to cancellation


often  normal people find they don’t like what i say i see,

or what i say—

oh, believe me, i can identify.

i sometimes wonder if the everything lens

is my now not-private metaphor

a shared way of maybe underscoring


whenever its stench wafts or lingers

though i won’t really know what that means

implications, etc

unless —


so at last we come to believe together—

peace and goodwill

all should be well


all should be well  /  all is





posted September 11, 2014


rushed about here there

barely past toddler hood first talk to

this doc then that nice man

white coats with cigarette packs in the pockets and shiny lighters

with heft


everybody got to check the specimen for imperfections

stupidity was found

that verdict was reversed years later

after a standardized test in the 4th grade

showed that even a weird problem kid

could be a smarty pants.


clearly she refused to apply herself

so this is showing you some threads in a life-rope (yeah yeah)

whereby much deception and distortion was woven

into the fiber of social reality

and into the flesh of

my youth


but i’m pretty sure my neuro system is not separable from “me”

sorry. it’s not a disease or condition in need of repair or management or regulation.

the thought is, sadly, almost funny.

practical help is not considered “health care” hereabouts so nobody actually

does anything really helpful even though the checks go in the mail anyway

i.e. practical — as in actions that lead to improved experiences of well being or

enhanced mobility and safety (for example)

in addition, the potential substances that MIGHT prove helpful are kept out of reach too—


insanely expensive

scarcity of distribution protocols

carefully controlled and monitored distribution

black market gaps

dubious sources with dubious ingredients and standards

unpredictable availability due to insurance shenanigans


so. the field

it has virtually nothing left to offer me.

saw the models underlying the models.

convinced me. that’s actually a relief

the great oz…indeed there was just a nice looking phony dude

behind that curtain

i’m not deprived. i’m free.


sure. i pray to god i will never need surgery

because i know too much about that crap shoot

or come down with a mysterious ailment (like hearing loss, again)

especially for anyone with any nonconforming “stubborn” disorders

or treatment resistant diagnoses

forget it if the big C hits. just bring on the morphine when i need it.

time is an illusion. the length of life? Pfssst.

the pleasure in today—

can’t beat it



i hope to god your kids and grand kids aren’t born into

a world like this where a flip of a coin

turns his and her treasures into worthless costly social annoyances


and the super-good-at-all-things-strategic-and-goal-oriented-neuro-peeps

they can only scratch their heads and see what they already saw in a book

in school, or on a computer screen, or on a super-duper fancy

in-classroom slide show

(those are so fun to make and share)


my point

i am pissed now

later who knows


when they imagine they ALREADY HAVE KNOWLEDGE

(the “have” verb should be the first clue)

why would they ever bother listening to the person having the experience

and living with the same damn consciousness for decades

but. no.

they. already. know.

they tell YOU about your condition—not the other way around

it’s called being invested in a social position

you guys who feel safe in crowds


me who feels safe alone

or alone in a crowd

or alone on a sidewalk in Seattle at twenty past midnight

or alone in a theater in Copacabana in a crimson velveteen balcony seat

or alone after dark  in a misty graveyard near the pond where the forever-babies are sleeping

white swans with bills smoothed under tail feathers


one eye always open

never fully awake

nor asleep

so this is autism


now i just need to discover what the fuck the motherfuckers have been

keeping from me us

all this time

hmmm no sound of witch’s cackle — neither internal nor from my lips

all should be well

all will be well

they never stamp down and camouflage anything this THOROUGHLY

without imagining

a very good reason—a threat to system integrity

now a very slight cackle




illusion and sophistry


September 12, 2014 –

Is the “self” an illusion?    


Links to SCIENCE and PSYCHOLOGY articles about

self as illusion are located at end of this post.



Sophism is a method of teaching. In ancient Greece, sophists were a category of teachers who specialized in using the techniques of philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of teaching arete—excellence, or virtue—predominantly to young statesmen and nobility…Early Sophists were well respected but they soon became unpopular and were subject to much opposition and controversy due to their high fees and their radical challenges to convention. The only citizens who had the money to learn from the Sophists came from the aristocratic class, meaning that many citizens were unable to learn from them. Sophist teachers were also thought to cater to the popular opinion to attract a greater number of students rather than being concerned with the truth…

Most sophists claimed to teach arête (“excellence” or “virtue”) in the management and administration of not only one’s affairs, but the city’s as well. Before the fifth century B.C., it was believed that aristocratic birth qualified a person for arête and politics….

Despite the opposition…Sophists had a vast influence on a number of spheres, including the growth of knowledge and on ethical political theory. Their teachings, although controversial, had a huge influence on thought in the fifth century B.C. The Sophists turned away from the theoretical natural science to the more sensible examination of human affairs and the betterment and success of human life…by the time of the Roman Empire, a sophist was simply a teacher of rhetoric and a popular public speaker… “

~~~From “Sophism” at Wikipedia





“Relativity” (1953)   “M.C. Escher” — Wikipedia





A paradox is a statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true. Most logical paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments but are still valuable in promoting critical thinking.

Some paradoxes have revealed errors in definitions assumed to be rigorous, and have caused axioms of mathematics and logic to be re-examined. One example is Russell’s paradox, which questions whether a “list of all lists that do not contain themselves” would include itself, and showed that attempts to found set theory on the identification of sets with properties or predicates were flawed. Others, such as Curry’s paradox, are not yet resolved.

Examples outside logic include the Ship of Theseus from philosophy (questioning whether a ship repaired over time by replacing each of its wooden parts would remain the same ship). Paradoxes can also take the form of images or other media. For example, M.C. Escher featured perspective-based paradoxes in many of his drawings, with walls that are regarded as floors from other points of view, and staircases that appear to climb endlessly…” (emphasis mine)

— from Wikipedia, “Paradox”




The following discussion (cited paper below) of Wittgenstein’s ladder metaphor illuminates for me some of our shared dilemma, as humans wanting to be human, humans wanting—

to be allowed to be human

or perhaps in Hannah Arendt’s words, to share “The Human Condition”


Saying the Unsayable: Wittgenstein’s Early Ethical Thought

by Paul Formosa (and © with Sorites) retrieved 9/11/2014 ~~

“In this paper I present an account of Wittgenstein’s ethics that follows from a so-called `metaphysical’ reading of the Tractatus….Negatively, he claims that there can be no ethical propositions. Positively, he claims that the ethical good, or good in-itself, is the rewarding happy life. The happy life involves living in perfect contented harmony with the world, however it is, because how the world is, is a manifestation of God’s will. Given the negative thesis, the positive thesis cannot strictly speaking even be said. We can only make sense of this by assuming that Wittgenstein takes this positive thesis to be `illuminating nonsense’..” (emphasis mine)



sophistry  bullshit ?

scientism sophistry ?

bullshit  scientism ?


virtue ethics   sophistry ≅ scientism  ≅

bullshit  ?





Circle Limit III (1959) 

M.C. Escher – Wikipedia

                Illusion and Paradox Join Chaos


∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞


“M. C. Escher, was a Dutch graphic artist.

He is known for his often mathematically inspired

woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints.

These feature impossible constructions,

explorations of infinity,

architecture, and tessellations…”


—“M.C. Escher” – Wikipedia


∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞


patti  pit


originally posted on February 24, 2011 by hopefulandfree




When I was in the 4th grade, there was a dirt trail–a short-cut where kids walked or rode their bikes going to and from school. There was a large pot hole in the trail. We called it the Patti pit.

I didn’t know Patti, I had only seen her from a distance on the playground, once. I’m not even sure it was actually her. But I knew she was fat. Everyone seemed to know that one particular fact about Patti.

Whenever we rode our bikes near the pot hole, we swerved wide, much wider than we needed to simply avoid the edge.We swerved as if to avoid death.

In those days we all rode small bikes with banana seats and high-rise handlebars, precursors to modern dirt bikes. We could have ridden straight into the hole. It wasn’t too steep, or dangerous.

We could have used that nice sloping hole in the trail like a ramp to launch ourselves through the air, the sides of the pit were certainly smooth enough. We could have done amusing tricks while suspended mid jump—twirled our handlebars, or raised our hands straight overhead, or held our feet in a big “Y” parallel to the ground, or closed our eyes and let loose with a poetic selection of curse words–before we landed hard, laughing.

We could have circled back around, again and again, to soar–free.

We could have, but we didn’t. We always swerved around the hole.

We shouted, “Watch out for the Patti pit!”

Or, “Ewww! Don’t fall in the Patti pit.”

We traded the pleasure of flight for a daydream of control.

We traded freedom for an illusion.

What we did was wrong. I hope Patti never heard about the pit named after her. I wish…


Patti, hey, kiddo, i’m here now.

if you read this:

I am sorry.

I was wrong to join in. I wish I’d known you.





In its calm and unique way,

the following short video—


⊂<♣ >⊃  

makes an excellent point

〉〉〉( )〈〈〈

“You are not so smart”

(video clip below based on book by said title)


we can shoot at things with strategic aim

and get really really good at it too

highly effective

high functioning

for supposedly managing or controlling outcomes

as if people are also objects.

targets. commodities. exchangeables.

or we can communicate as human beings

no diagnoses needed

can you believe it?

turns out we don’t need no stinkin’ papers  :-)

why that ‘no stinkin’ papers’ voice in my head makes me laugh….?  —


yes, that IS a rhetorical question

so please don’t explain the answer to me

just let me enjoy   :-)

i want to live


that doesn’t need to be a radical thought

[yes] [no] [maybe]


⊂<♣ >⊃  ♣   ♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣    ♣  ⊂<♣ >⊃



the Texas Sharp Shooter Fallacy



⊂<♣ >⊃  ♣   ♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣   ♣  ⊂<♣ >⊃



i like the following classic episode of Donahue, featuring Ayn Rand,

and of course Donahue, the host,

for the many layers of philosophy and theories of consciousness

i can observe in action

as a reproduction of historical artifact

i can learn when i find myself identifying

when i find myself [as if] choosing sides [as if ] the personalities [seemingly]

are more important than the ideas


∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ 




 AYN RAND (1979)







 “….I have already made clear. (A) I don’t believe [corporations] are evil. (B) They don’t have the power to run the world. Money is not power in the political sense. You cannot buy control….”

Audience member:

“But it’s power in the practical sense. I mean, if you had to pay $5 a gallon to get to work—. A dollar and a half for a head of lettuce—.  Our children have to eat.  The system has been set up so that you can only get a good education if you’re willing to pay for it—.  So if you want us to be educated—.”


“Not necessarily…”






The honeycomb 


one of the best known 







Honeycomb Photo from:







“….I’m opposed to

all forms of control….”





 AYN RAND (1959)





What does Rand mean by “control?”

What is the meaning of the following concepts for objectivism and for social knowledge constructed and socially disseminated by these concepts as defined by objectivism?

  • Power
  • Morality
  • Freedom
  • Free Will
  • Reason
  • etc

Is discursive analysis of Rand’s rhetoric (particularly metaphors of power, domination, control, hierarchy, coercion, rape, etc.) helpful as a lens when identifying a particular form of snipe /  “the beast”  social problem?


¿ For Rand

Power / Domination / Control


involve the use of physical force ?


may i call her angel

and not be sarcastic or snide i hope ?

(its a metaphor)

because her writings and discourse gesture toward

the hard questions

and can help me identify some of the hard questions i need to ask too

so far we (objectivism and i) have been ending up with different solutions


that doesn’t exterminate my gratitude (thus angel metaphor) ~~~

it’s like appreciating whoever came up with “The Matrix”

(in addition to  William James,

and other representations of similar cultural narratives, that is)




Nomos  /   Phusis


“Protagoras’ account of social morality in the Great Speech, according to which the universal acceptance of justice and self-restraint is necessary for the perpetuation of society, and thereby for the preservation of the human species, places Protagoras firmly on one side (the conservative side, we should note) of the debate about the relation between law and convention (nomos) on the one hand and nature or reality (phusis) on the other, which was central to moral and social thought in the fifth and fourth centuries. The debate was fundamentally about the status of moral and other social norms; were such norms ever in some sense part of or grounded in the reality of things, or were they in every case mere products of human customs, conventions or beliefs? The question was crucial to the perceived authority of norms; both sides agreed in seeing nature as authoritative for correct human behavior, and as the ultimate source of true value.

The starkest expression of the opposition between nomos and phusis is that expressed in the Gorgias by Callicles, a pupil of Gorgias (though there is no suggestion in the dialogue or elsewhere that Gorgias himself held that position): Callicles holds that conventional morality is a contrivance devised by the weak and unintelligent to inhibit the strong and intelligent from doing what they are entitled by nature to do, viz. exploit their inferiors for their own advantage. He is thus an inverted moralist, who holds that what it is really right to do is what it is conventionally wrong to do. The true, authoritative norms are those which prevail in nature, as shown by the behavior of non-human animals such as beasts of prey; those who act in accordance with these norms ‘do these things in accordance with the nature of justice and … the law of nature, but perhaps not in accordance with this one which we lay down’ (Plato, Gorgias, 483e).

The sophist Thrasymachus maintains a similar position in Book I of the Republic, though without Callicles’ daring inversion of values. He agrees with Callicles in praising the ruthless individual (above all the tyrant) who is capable of overcoming the restraints of morality, but whereas Callicles calls such self-assertion naturally just, Thrasymachus abides by conventional morality in calling it unjust. Both agree that a successful life of ruthless self-assertion is supreme happiness, and that that is what nature prompts us to seek;both, then, accept the normative authority of nature over nomos. The difference between them is that Callicles takes the further step of identifying the authority of nature with that of real, as opposed to conventional morality, whereas for Thrasymachus there is only one kind of morality, conventional morality, which has no authority. In Book II Glaucon presents a modified version of Thrasymachus’ position; while maintaining, as Protagoras does in the Great Speech, that humans adopt moral conventions as a necessary survival strategy in a hostile world, he insists that this involves a stunting of human nature, since people are obliged for self-protection to abandon the goal of self-satisfaction to which nature, as Thrasymachus insists, prompts them. This assertion of egoism is supported by the thought-experiment of Gyges’ ring; if, like the legendary Gyges, we had a magic ring which rendered us invisible, and hence immune from sanctions, we would all seek our own interest without restraint…”  (emphasis mine)

Taylor, C.C.W. and Lee, Mi-Kyoung, “The Sophists”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =




Nonconceptual Mental Content


“…Nonetheless, the general idea that there might be ways of representing the world independent of the thinker’s conceptual capacities has inspired other philosophers. An early, personal level application of the notion is Tim Crane’s paper on the waterfall illusion (Crane 1988a. An illustration of the waterfall illusion, also known as the motion aftereffect illusion, can be found [below]). Crane argues that the waterfall illusion presents an experience with a contradictory content that hence cannot have a conceptual content — since conceptual contents must be consistent. This claim has provoked some debate …” (emphasis mine)

Bermúdez, José and Cahen, Arnon, “Nonconceptual Mental Content,  The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)


Waterfall (1961) - M.C. Escher - Wikipedia




QM:         why do i care if Rand’s ideas are problematic as long as they don’t bother me or anyone, really, since they’re only ideas?   <–trick question

AM:         because entire schools of psychology have branched off, adopting these theortical positions, and joined with schools of philosophy that appear to offer the promise of an *enlightened philosophy* and of self determinism backed up by semantic spoon bending (plasticity abracadabra tricks) and lifestyle wisdom.   and none of it would be a problem except that is now how knowledge is made: through corporate mergers, and stock sales because those “NEW” directions in the disciplines of psychology and philosophy (and now medicine and nursing and teaching, and criminal justice, and ethics, and insurance companies, etc…)

and it is being sold (widely) as mental health therapy (sophistry?) for virtually all that ails ye — especially sold by state endorsed health care plans—

and what is being sold:

  • is paid for by your money, mine, our taxes, the state’s….
  • and that may be the least cost concern (fiscal ain’t everything)
  • basically your paying for domination cheer leading classes thank you very much

and it is also called behavioral health medicine and health care, NOT kool-aid

so it is safe, presumably

  • it seems sophistry may have had hidden mysteries and assets, to borrow as red flags warning b.s. deep here, bring mental waders




so. when i get “obsessed” with talking about one of my

“special interests” [wink]

such as domination

or systems or







seeds / flowers


maybe i am talking about


in the only way i know how .




  if  a  lion


 if a lion is explaining to you and i

about the regret contained in that moment

just before the beating heart of its prey

stops beating




do not need to see eye to eye on every other thing

we do not need to make direct eye contact

to understand this is a problem we face


and  /  or


if our lifeworlds intermingle with lion lifeworlds

(which seems quite likely)




i like metaphors



 review question for h&f ~~

Is “intention” more illusion as a concept?



When i listen to cultural messages now i keep noticing the ideology of efficiency.

Apparently that is not supposed to scare me

Instead, it seems —

¹ ["THE LATTER"] :

I’m supposed to be afraid of other things, such as the INTENTIONS of ---

  • my [imaginary] neighbor
    • that apparently 52 year old gay bipolar car mechanic with a weak identity and low self esteem, who collects 19th century pistols, didn’t finish college and is highly over emotional, displays learned helplessness, PTSD, latent delusions of grandeur, fetishizes his 2 cats, and reveals intensely embedded,  schizoid forms of co-dependence on his 36 year old closeted lover—the state’s top prosecuting attorney)
    • actually an earnest, lovable and caring man with a fluid personality, deep empathy, and a creative vision open to the universe–in all conversations we’ve shared
  • myself (i’ll spare us)
  • you (ditto)
  • Oprah…
  • the president…
  • his Pres’s kids…
  • the host…





¹The latter is an illusion.

Because it is living in ~~

“what’s not happening” —

as if  “what’s not happening” IS happening.

It’s folk psych —  “mind-reading.”

It’s bullshit.




“An illusion here may be defined, with A.D. Smith, as “any perceptual situation in which a physical object is actually perceived, but in which that object perceptually appears other than it really is” (Smith 2002: 23)….In these cases it is not necessary that one is deceived into believing that things are other than they are; so illusion in this sense need not involve deception. One can know that one is experiencing an illusion when it is happening…”

— “Argument from Illusion” –  Standford Encyclopedia






hopefulandfree on

November 26, 2012 at 11:13 am







as social constructs

from a “science” or “scientism” POV:

The following links provide some amusing glimpses at reductionist science while it attempts to poke at the socially constructed bear known as “free will”. Great examples, moreover, of the kinds of absurdities that arise when one forgets or simply never realizes that reality is SOCIAL reality, and therefore socially constructed by discourse (language, metaphor, worldview, and such-like). Have fun!  :)


The uncomfortable truth about mind control: Is free will simply a myth? — Michael Mosley, The Independent, January 2011, feature news story

“Stanley Milgram had asked colleagues how many people they thought would go all the way and administer a lethal 450-volt shock. Most said less than 1 per cent – and those would probably be psychopaths.

Yet Bill, like 65 per cent of the volunteers, gave an apparently lethal electric shock when told to do so.

I remember thinking, when I first read this, that such a figure was completely unbelievable. I was absolutely certain, and I’m sure everyone who read about Milgram’s work was equally certain, that I would never give a fatal electric shock to someone simply because I had been asked to do so by someone in authority. It is inconceivable that I could be manipulated in this way….”


Neuro Science of Free Will   (Wikipedia : “Neuroscience of Free Will”)


Neuroscience vs Philosophy: Taking aim at Free Will  (Nature News, August 2011)


Free Will vs The Programmed Brain: (Scientific American,  August 2008)


The Illusion of Choice –Free Will and Determinism: (Human Truth, 1999)

“Bertrand Russell wrote that “the circumstances of men’s lives do much to determine their philosophy” in his “History of Western Philosophy”. Our circumstances, in line with the strict determinism of physics and biochemistry, predetermine all our choices and therefore, free will is an illusion….”

 IS FREE WILL AN ILLUSION? ~ (Scientific American — October 2011)


Brain Might Not Stand In The Way of Free Will  (New Scientist – July 2o13)


Free Will and Free Won’t  ( – American Scientist 2004)

“Motor activity in the brain precedes our awareness of the intention to move, so how is it that we perceive control?”


Grace /  Freedom

Conviction and Recovery

with Paul Hedderman



neuro / diverse: please welcome me to kindergarten

attack cat


When i was in 9th grade, or so, my best friend (i always have a “best girlfriend”)

asked me to work on a class project with her in our psychology class.

We went to a private “prep” school in a different country. By then we had spent every

weekend together for almost 3 years,  plus every lunch time, breaks (in our school’s

student smoking lounge), after school roaming in the city, long walks on the beach.

(Yes, it was true love for me — but then i probably didn’t fully appreciate all the

implications that went along with it. )


Mostly, she wasn’t painful to be around.


She didn’t say things to me just so she could vicariously experience another

person’s fear, or excitement or dread or shame…You might be upset to know

how many people do that when they pick up on a neuro-divergent vibe. (I should

talk about vibe sometime. I feel tension in a room inside of people’s relationships and it

is as real to me as though I had been there the previous day when a fight between

the couple took place. Etc.)


Anyway. My girlfriend had a book already picked out for our project, and she had

also taken extensive notes. (She knew i never took notes. )  She thought she knew

a lot more about me than i knew about myself. She wanted to help. i think she

knew more about me than anyone else who had ever known me—how?B

i dunno.

She probably knew me better than anyone else has known me since then, too,

except for dh. Maybe she was an empath or a precog like the character

in the next clip. She was equally beautiful…


So…The book for our project was a famous case study of an autistic child.

Oh. Fudge. <—paraphrasing


This first clip has helped me understand a lot — but not not necessarily about me…nobody

told me this stuff before…. ? Just kidding…it just doesn’t make sense, to me.

((((o my head hurts))))))  If it hadn’t been for the weird typing thing — that even i could

sense was a significant difference (and an obvious neuro difference) compared to 

any “autism discourse” or related ideas that I’d heard from the mouths of film

characters (or novel)-—I wouldn’t have thought to look for other possible INVISIBLE

differences or variations. Movies and books sorta saved my life. so again: biased :-)

But I do think

this is very soothing background

music to go with the questions and answers –

also please realize that just because something or some process is invisible,

doesn’t mean it isn’t real or that it doesn’t cause big problems

sounds obvious…but…let’s just say a lot of experts miss the

invisible conditions


please don’t assume it is IN me.


It is in the unjust, pain filled, distorted,

roundabout ways people talk and make guesses about what’s going on in another’s

mind….but mostly in the unjust, oppressive, and even deadly social policies

that pass as “legislation.” (i.e. shouldn’t BE legal…)

We almost never see our own “privilege” biases, for instance.


That’s what helps define them as “privilege” — virtually never crosses one

guy’s mind while it smooths just a few annoying chinks and a couple

nasty pot holes long the way for him—

but for another guy the absence

of that “privilege” means



tHAT’S me, the one and not-one sTigMaGirLLLLL….. !

(too much? i was going for irony…damn. i should give it up— throw

in the towel and accept my “communication” disorder . lol)


how do i write “WAAAAAA”

now i know why i sucked my good ol’ “thumby” till i was — yep, i knew

“kindergarten” would show up here somewhere, i just didn’t know

where. and then i forgot about it as soon as i started typing.


when i was between the ages of 3 and 6,

i spoke with a very pronounced Southern accent (a dialect

from Tennessee)  — my trip to Memphis a few years ago

confirmed that for me. Why’d i bring THAT up?


i don’t know what kinds of …  special “interests” i’ll ever

be able to talk about….my dream internet pal:

autistic well versed in Hegelian dialectic

reification / communication .

flower seeds / fruit trees

marxism / anarchy


yeah i see it now

it’s nice to be different–honest, i wouldn’t trade it

i WOULD  trade the crushing social-control policies in a heartbeat

i would trade the alienating and isolating

and impoverishing social stigma


in the blink of an eye. nope. nothing. stigma’s still here.

it lives in every single relationship in which i participate

both private and public


some collect objects


others, like me, ideas

knowledge, theories, grand theory …

(i never claimed it was a VAST collection, did i? only vast

sometimes. and i don’t get to pick WHICH times…)


i KNOW it’s inappropriate to expect people to stay interested

in such dense and threatening reading matter

(but emancipation is just around the corner for OUR

HUMAN and other living

DESCENDANTS…if we do our part)<–gorgeous soapbox, no? :-)

otherwise…well. it’ll suck to be them.

i don’t want it on my conscience.

maybe it’s that selfish of me.


who knows

i can still hope some interested weird human might stumble by :-)


to me, there’s nothing “strategic” about it —

it’s more for the sake of not having a clue how NOT to

do something, how do i NOT do it? maybe go to the woods…


it lets me feel free

okay it’s also a curse in this world


But if the experts want to tell

me it’s a “defense” or whatever, i can now say

to go fuck yourself. My mind is off-limits.

It is not yours to construct in your strange little

classist, sexist, delusional

18th century palace drama ways, and if you can see that, then GREAT

don’t worry, all is well, domination sim mental world.


And to think i

used to pay money i didn’t have

to be abused

and manipulated. by pros.

the very job itself, the rapist,

requires some kind of saint with experience in

previous lives to not take advantage of the

often unsupervised power imbalance and see how far they can go

in creating the illusion for themselves that

they can control reality, or at least make a

HELPFUL impression. (It’s not for lack

of their patience, and effort, and sincerity.)

Of course at the time no one

wants to believe they’re throwing good money

away…and the payoffs are said to be of course

cumulative…those will come later…with

practice…in changed thinking…


If only i could suggest they change their shoe size

with the proper use of Reason !


Or maybe adjust their ophthalmology stats, say, change from

far-sighted to near-sighted with added astigmatism

by using master Reason as self-determiner

because it’s more convenient for the rest of us that way


(We can thank Ayn Rand, the angel, for some of that

growing every stronger

in the U.S   Maybe her estate should get residuals

from CBT enterprises. It’s the capitalist

thing to do, after all. (That  means Moral, I’m told.)


And Rand has a supreme talent thought—

she describes childhood misery almost on par with

Dickens. (Different “types” though.)


so, did i always know? well…

what if i asked you if you had always realized you were

one of those sly, untrustworthy, skeeevy, manipulative

FEMALE-gender humans ?


well…you might be female but it hardly seems fair to

stick you with the rest of those stereotypes…i guess unless

everyone else thinks we should—

which is the primary benefit to certain parties—


stigmas going strong–

because i can understand

greed and fear and the drive to dominate—

but the “intelligence” aspect is truly

cunning baffling powerful and paradoxical to me

how can they be that irrational?


it’s another way the stigma oppresses and crushes lives


to get even the least amount of mostly worthless “help”

(brain scans so they can show off how much they “know” and their

lastest multi-million $$$ technology)

you have to kneel or lay down on their little

scapegoat alters

and agree that your mind is disorder or defective

because its orientation is towards

something other than strategy

maybe wholeness


intersubjective reason ?

discourse ethics ?

communication ?


conscious contact—


folks. doesn’t matter even if i could strategize like hell.

whatever mental processes turn strategy into

means or methods and ends, well…..

i can see

the answers to some complex problems some times

*SNAP* like that. so i’m handy to have around

but. i don’t get to predict WHEN that

bizarre little talent will suddenly arise again. AND

I can’t MAKE myself walk around very long if it makes me

wanna puke.

Pretty much ma life story… LOL.

Now, how can a not-self have a personal narrative… ?

See how that works? Handy.


Autism Survival


I relate to the next film clip (Minority Report) for many  many reasons.

First, the concept of being judged and wrongly convicted hits home.

Also, the precogs / empaths are very neuro sensitive and are

vulnerable as targets for research, medical curiosity,

and for exploitation of their precog abilities. Otherwise they’re

treated as if they have no feelings. (ok i’m biased…and pooped)


Minority Report – precog shares her oracle skills here