Bullshit

There is so much bullshit in the leading trends of our popular culture. Our daily habits tend to be relevant to some opinions, we vicariously like to explore. Then we frequently observe the habit-to-opinion ratio, and as soon as that ratio slightly tops the bullshit bar, we characterize our habits as opinion, facts, or principles.

The fact of the matter is that certain attributes of bullshit might imply essential validity to the preliminary and independent account of human behavior. As such, I will expand on some various forms of deviating the attention to the matters that reside beneath certain trends.

I disclaim to know much, or have any leniency towards any trend, or not. But we should really see that people, at times not always, make thoughtless choices just to influence or shape perception of self. In that realm, you find republican meaning “high-status”, atheist meaning “smart”, and corporate-shoe-lover-princes meaning “sex and the city McFabulous”. The underlying fact with all these people is that they have too much time thinking about themselves. They think about their status, outfits, thighs, and career. And if they already have a good career, they think about how to be a spiritual Yoga teacher who eats, loves, and prays. A decent and selfless person doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about oneself, because they got shit to do. This is why you see a lot of celebrity women getting husbands after they adopt. The kids put everyone on notice shouting: Yo Bitch, Hello! It’s not all about you anymore.

Or, in relationship realm, for instance, it usually goes something like this: you meet a person called Morgan. Morgan is not really available for a relationship on some condition that absolutely precludes availability. Morgan gets around town on a skateboard wearing a shawl on a sunny day with 85 degree temperature. Or maybe Morgan just comes right out and says something obscure and open to interpretation like, “You can’t push emotions to love someone. It needs to happen all by itself”. Now, you might bullshit your way to trying to significant-other Morgan. You hang out with Morgan and have fun attaching yourself by high amount of oxytocin that kicks in. But beneath, you know you want more but you don’t tell Morgan. That’s your dirty secret, well, just between you and 100 of your close friends. You keep waiting and hoping that Morgan will figure this out. Guess what? Morgan will never figure it out because Morgan is already very comfortable living life without and away from you. You should have stopped bullshiting yourself in the first place giving up the notion that you could change anything.

Our social values have diluted. Men want to have it all going with the tempo of god, looking athletic in a 3 ft deep swimming pool, or being fascinating on Facebook wall posts. Women see no value in being a decent mother as the foundation of life. And these two essentially unattractive and confused group of creatures are supposed to attract each other –which is why everyone needs a shrink.

As human beings, we exist only in response to other things and what’s formed in our unconscious, and we cannot know ourselves at all without knowing other things. Also, there is nothing proven with experience, to support the theory that it is easy to know self. Our natures are, indeed, notoriously less stable and less inherent than the natures of other things. And in such messy and convoluted situation, honesty itself is bullshit.

Let the World Win every now and then

The term “my life” in a leading sentence always sounds oxymoron to me.

 … she wasn’t born into privilege or wealth. She was good looking but not beautiful. Nobody would have picked her out at her young age and said she was destined for success or greatness in any realm of life. She was the last that anyone listened too. She never led, but also, she barely followed the trends. She wasn’t cool in a way of common non-sense .

She did ok in school. She graduated from college with mediocre grades. Deep down she liked Mr. right who was fine looking but not handsome enough to not need being interesting. He has some body fat and does ok in sports, but not good enough to not warm the team bench. His body has a unique equanimity of one thick upper body with two legs that are like two columns attached to his rear end. His presence around other females sparks no jealousy in her. After college they got married, and settled in a house with two garage door in the suburbs of the city. They now have two kids and they entertain themselves by BBQ’ing during the weekends and going to ball games. Their lives can be categorized as conventional. Kind of as cliché as it gets. Yet, they feel (and are being viewed by others as) profoundly happy. Everyone who met them sensed they live blessed lives.

They’re not interesting as a family unit. When they’re happy, they don’t need to let others know that they’re happy. Advertisement of happiness has no place in their sense of happiness. She loves him. He loves her. They have sex a few times a week –even in the morning when the kids are sleeping and before breakfast. She is an honest wife and has a solid character defined by a solid set of values she wouldn’t compromise on. She doesn’t care what her analyzing brain tells her. She doesn’t feel marrying him took away all other unseen and unproven options in the Love-Marketplace. She feels. She doesn’t run away from her emotions, and more importantly, understands that emotions are required in the process of decision making. She knows that bit she can never put it to words or explain it but she lets her emotions assign values to the pros and cons of different options. She still doesn’t think the job is done, and she has a healthy fear of the unseen future. But she’s adamant and sure that she can’t control much in the way of life. So she so unconsciously keeps her values and beliefs intact. She represents cultural continuity in social settings. She does let the world win every now and then…

The element of control falsely dismisses the role of emotions in decision making. “my life” starts from emotions, needs, and wishes and tries to structure reason to lead a series of complex and interdependent events (a.k.a., life) towards a specific direction. This is so painfully and stupidly the backward way! One should respect emotions and feelings and set them free to assign values to available options (a.k.a., decision making).

Sadly, it turns out it is a serious skill to turn opinions to decisions, and decisions to results. The problem with the mindset of “my life” is: it burns the very food it tries to cook.

Your Ass is not a Billboard

The first time I wrote something about bad habits of our daily style, my blog posting ignited a revolt amongst my close friends. So I stayed quiet on that subject for three years until now. I’ve seen enough and I can’t take it anymore -so here is some style faux pas you need to be cognizant of:

  • Don’t wear sweatpants at work. Your office is not a gym.
  • When you wear sunglasses, the bigger the shades the more badass you look. So if you want to look nice and classy, size down the shades.
  • No backpacks if you’re over 30. Backpacks are for school boys. A backpack is convenient but it’s so out of character for a 30+ years old.
  • If you invite a few friends over and make a homemade meal, don’t use paper plates and plastic cups. That screams you’re either lazy, or cheap, or maybe both.
  • A tie should be skinny with a small knot. Thick ties with fat knots are for Tony Soprano.
  • A suit looks great with no cuffs. Deep cuffs are ok only when your pants are shorter and you’re wearing them on a beach.
  • No shoulder pads on suits. It’s 2011 after all.
  • While having dinner, put the cellphone aside. Making love to your cellphone in moments that are meant for face-to-face interaction merely shows you’re suffering from SAS.
  • If you wear black jeans, the stiches should be as black as the denim. Otherwise your pants look like the revolutionary road.
  • Keep your jean’s back pocket plain. Your ass is not a billboard.

 … and at the end, there is always something to be said about hand-made shoes that match a sharp-looking suit: thank you Paul Smith!

Size of Brain

Transforming a long relationship means taking very significant actions to alter the fundamental dynamics that have so long impeded progress or caused setbacks. Naturally, one would like to see such actions coming from both sides, and eventually this must be so. The risks of doing so are very low and one cannot hurt another in any significant way by merely reaching out.

The mystery of it is to: shrink the ego to fit in to the size of brain.

Make a Wish

I love short stories, and for that reason, I impatiently wait every other week to read Nancy Gibbs new essay. Her latest was something that I couldn’t resist not posting on my blog. Here is the short version of her newest article:

 

When you’re little, every birthday is a big one. But as you grow up, it’s O.K. to let them get small. I have mixed feelings about how midlife birthdays, once easily waved at as they passed quietly by, have spun so far out of control, thanks to Facebook alerts and my generation’s abiding commitment to our eternal youth.

Ten felt very big — those two digits, one so straight and mature, one so round and promising. And 13, which made it official: childhood is memory now; life is PG-13. Sixteen was sweet; 18 was freedom, a launch that in those days could legally include a champagne toast. Your young self-hatches again and again between birthdays, so marking them has meaning — a grab for the handrail to steady yourself on a dizzying climb. Turn 14 and grow five inches. Turn 17 and fall in love.

But at some point, that all changes, once time is not sliced into semesters anymore. How different really is 27 from 26, or 42 from 41? The journey curves and loops; your age in years seems to detach from your age in experience. You get fired at 32 and feel 12 again, or you’re invited to teach for the first time and feel ancient standing in front of all those wide eyes. You circle back on certain ages, replaying them until you get it right. If the middle-school cafeteria is the setting for your recurring nightmares, you can spend decades as a preteen in your head, refining the snappy comeback that you never mastered at the time. What is a midlife crisis if not an adolescent rebellion with a bigger price tag? And our culture conspires to add to the confusion, now that 50 is the new 40 is the new 30.

Above all, it was having children of my own that most messed with my life cycle. Being allowed to walk out of the hospital with that child in my arms — no instruction manual, no warranty — sealed the certainty of adulthood in a way no car keys or paycheck or mortgage ever had. Their birthdays loomed so large that ours could discreetly recede. My diet would soon include, once again, cupcakes and macaroni and applesauce. The first time we all went to the circus, I felt 6 years old too.

Raising teenagers has forced me and every mom I know to double back even more, recalling what heartbreak feels like, and moodiness, and mystery, when every day feels so suddenly rude and ripe with expectations and revelations. My husband and I talk late into the night, trying to remember what it was like for us, even as we realize how much has changed for these kids. It feels ageless, middle age, when we are suspended between twin poles: the needs of our own parents as they hang on to us tighter and the needs of our children as they push us away. Who has time to stop and look closely at the calendar?

But when we do, when we gather with friends and count our blessings, what I find I’m most grateful for, nestled so deeply here in middle age, is being able to watch the candles flicker, and marvel at how many birthday wishes past have already come true.

I Can See Russia from My House

Some believe their life is composed of what happened. I believe life is also composed of what didn’t happen. Subtle attributes of human behavior such as power-of-stillness and charm -of-confidence are amongst those things that generally suggest nothing is happening. I see great strength and forte in not exposing look-at-me swagger or listen-to-me charisma.

I put my sailorman hat on and prepared for my two miles walk down the hill. Usually there is a routine involved in this. It’s simply one mile walk down the hill, espresso at Citizen Café, and one mile walk up the hill with several steep hills that build up the hindquarters and butt really well.

I get out of the house and immediately run into my neighbors who are all dressed up going to attend the Christmas eve mass. Their lovely daughter endearingly asks me if I’d go to church with them. On the way down, I pass by E’s house who has been trying to sell me currency ETFs for such a long time. I also see that Joe is getting ready to go somewhere with his family. Joe is arguably one of the greatest republicans you can ever find. He’s fearless. In the neighborhood of 99.99% registered liberals, he’s the one who always defends Sarah Palin and tries to explain her “I can see Russia from my house” comment. During last year’s winter storm, my car got stuck on the way up the hill. Joe was the only neighbor who passionately stormed out to help with no qualms. He acted as if the enemy was just a few miles away.

A little further down, only a few blocks I mean, I see my ex-girlfriend’s car that recently, has accidentally moved in to an apartment five blocks away from me. After a few turns a great view of the downtown pops out and makes the rest of the walk down the hill, really pleasant.

I get to the bottom of the hill, and have a coffee at the coffee shop while chatting away with Jay who works at the coffee shop. He’s explaining how the whole process of roasting coffee beans is keeping his mind occupied. Jay is a down to earth chap. He mentions that he also has no plans for the day and that he’s going home after work to watch Gomorrah by Matteo Garrone. There are a couple of women sitting at a table close to the entrance of the coffee shop. They chat and look at us as if they don’t mind a slight Christmas eve flirt. Jay looks at them, I look at Jay, and Jay looks back at me and we don’t say a word -but we both exchange an innate “never mind” facial gesture.

I walk back up while looking at the steep hill ahead. My phone rings and it is a friend with whom I speak a lot about nothing. He invites me over for dinner. I get to the top of the hill and there is a long street full of naked trees – which is basically the plateau of this uneventful endeavor.

I open the front door, walk in to my house and for some odd reason, I feel this overwhelming desire to listen to “You Can’t Fail Me Now” by Loudon Wainwright…

A Twinkle of Humanity

She died today. Or yesterday maybe. Or a few months ago, I don’t know. My condolences.

As I was waking up, it came to me why the bully has been seeming annoyed when we asked for a breather. He says our home is at the museum. Maybe. But at least he should have offered his condolences. I’m not interested in his case.

It was seven o’clock in the morning when I showed up in a suit and tie and smart shoes. His office was filled with sunlight barely softened by a flimsy curtain. He seemed to be very tired. I sat down while staring at him. He didn’t say anything for a minute while the keyboard, which hadn’t let up the whole time, was still tapping out the last few sentences of what he was saying. He didn’t ask me anything, but he told a lot things. Then after a long silence, he looked at me closely with a little sadness in his bearded face. In a low and fatherly voice he said “I have never seen a soul as hardened as yours. The assholes who have come before me have always wept at the sight of this image of suffering". I was about to say that that was precisely because they were assholes. But then I realized, in a different way, I was one too.

I turned my head towards the window, and looked outside. The sky was already filled with light, but I could barely see a twinkle of humanity in there.

42

I know! It’s been a long time since my last posting. I had prepared many hardcore subjects ready to break down and discuss – but shit happened and my perspective changed. I’m not sure if the issues that were once important, are still important or even relevant. I’m not sure if I’m changing for better or worse, but the fact is I’m doing an intellectual house cleaning. I need to better define and align the direction of my postings …

… when I started writing, I promised myself that I’d always stay truthful and loyal to what keeps my mind busy regardless of edginess of the subject and/or controversy of the content. I’m going to keep that promise, so I will come back with some fresh thoughts. I need to order the disorder, place the misplaced, and discipline the mental pandemonium.

Thirteen Percent

Anyone who writes or somehow expresses opinion, is also silently in search of affirmation of his audience. I just seek affirmation of a chosen few. After my last posting, I received a note from a dear friend who merely pointed out the statement that included the word “judgment”. Her note really made me move around the statement because I value her ideas. I asked myself whether I was judgmental for casting an opinion on false-intimacy …

… human mind is naturally dynamic. I don’t know about others, but my mind goes places and joyfully gets engaged in the act of forming views. My mind forms these notions sometimes instinctively, and sometimes logically, but never ideologically. My mind doesn’t even get close to be compliant with an unchanging principle, or a predetermined standard – because that’d be conformity which I passionately dislike. The baselines based on which I form opinions have evolved to be vastly overlapping and intersecting. For instance, I used to believe that a good thirteen percent of people are assholes, but over years I learned that every single person could be an asshole thirteen percent of the time. Such realization made it easier for me to let go of cheap complaints.

I agree that “Judgment” carries negative connotations which are basically initiated by religious beliefs, but at the same token, religions encourage their followers to make snap judgments about people and situations -as a critical act to wellbeing and survival. I believe “judgment” becomes negative when we start attaching our opinions to individuals. The other form of “judgment” shapes up when we assume that we were correct, and not being open to evidence otherwise — should circumstances change. Those are among the main reasons as to why I never discuss individuals here. I discuss issues. I don’t care if people wear their baseball hat backwards but I discuss inappropriate actions that (I believe) coarsen or erode the quality of life. I discuss the sin, not the sinner.

I’ve come to believe that shrugging my shoulders when something disturbed me was a passive way of not having an opinion. I believe every single person has at least one characteristic we can adore. Here, I just happen to discuss that entertaining thirteen percent that everyone (including me) seems to have. That being said, I can’t help myself not thinking whether this blog is my way of being an asshole thirteen percent of the time.

Perfectly Manicured Nails

Categorically speaking, I don’t like categories because they are only about different ways of being, and not, offering much of anything about not being.

One of the greatest signs of social immaturity is those breezy friendships that come and go fast. These encounters shape in happy moments and get dismissed in a blink of an eye in great insouciance. Categorically speaking, I’m not prejudging anyone here … I’m bluntly and shamelessly judging them … as these once-idealistic friendships steadily and rapidly deteriorate into a ceaseless cycle of bickering because those individuals strive to retain their egocentricity in this conformity-obsessed world of picket fences and perfectly manicured nails.

I almost never make myself subject to i-am-dying-for-you-and-can’t-live-without-you friendships and wait for a long time. So much so that I have been at times perceived as arrogant. The “wait” isn’t about making a decision, it is about acceptance. The acceptance of all that I can bear in another person I’m about to call “a friend”. But that’s me: a guy who keeps finding himself on the wrong side of social equilibrium …