Archive for Relationships

Self-help: peons, paradise and panache…

Posted in Daoism, Happiness, health, love, Reality Bites, Relationships, Religion, self-help, tai chi, Ultimate Reality, Wizard Quotes, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2009 by wizardsmoke

There are a lot of self-help guides and ideas floating around out there. Ways to become powerful, to become successful, confident, how to seize the day, etc. They’re mostly gibberish because they pitch no real skill. To address real problems of confidence takes practice in an area relating to the problem. How do you cease social anxiety? How do you take down violent criminals or fight off bullies? How do you talk to attractive men or women? How do you stand up to your boss? How do you find a soul-mate, a great teacher, or a great skill? How do you make a lot of money on the stock-market? How do you attain non-craving or non-attachment and ultimate supreme enlightenment?

The same way you do anything: you practice the necessary skill until it becomes normal. You do it until it is no longer an unusual thing, it becomes routine. So much crap in life, so much unnecessary mental suffering is really just people whining — people trying to avoid doing the grunt work. The grunt work is all there is! Civilization is built upon shitty jobs! When you fuck up — do it again! Do it again! Again! Again!!!!!

In fact, in life we should never expect any kind of perfection or success. Life is constant struggle, constant change — diamonds are mined from hard work, and nothing else. Any successful person, who did not have to do any hard work or hard practice to get to their position of influence or affluence, is worthless. They do not know what they are doing. They are the spoiled prince, the media heiress, the run-of-the-mill actor, the corrupt politician, the failed business tycoon; they are the true meaning of charlatan, poseur, parasite and liar. The depth of their ugliness is endless.

And so it is with everything. If you want the bigger returns, you need to put in more effort than other people.
This is why having competition amongst fellow students, friends and family can be a good thing. We are forced to practice and improve ourselves with our free time. Life’s rewards are the personal results of hard work. Too many people just sit on their asses watching mediocre television shows every night, while looking for love in the gutter (bars and clubs) on the weekends.

And not that anyone is ever satisfied by romantic love no matter how much they yearn for it. Every other person I meet who finds out I’m deep into Taiji or music, they immediately fire off some nonsense about how they really want to start learning that stuff. But almost none of them will ever start. Why? What do they want, free lessons? My approval? All a person needs to make life reasonably fulfilling is a couple of things rewarding practices to pass the time, things that you would hate yourself for not doing.

The worst thing I can imagine doing is taking some salaried job in a corporation, so that I can buy a house in a developed community and raise kids in a world I never fully comprehended in the first place. And yet, the irony is that this is the grunt work, the shitty job, of civilization. A lot of people try to fill their existential hole with sex, drugs, money, kids, status, power, religion, and a million other things. And they’re unsatisfied. They have nothing. Because there is nothing, but they only know that intellectually, not experientially. And so it goes on.

Learning multiple skills is essential to understanding the essence of metaphor. Metaphorical understanding and realization is valuable stuff, as Aristotle put it:

The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor… it is also the sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars.

Sex: right on the money

Posted in Happiness, love, Monasticism, Powermongers, Relationships, Religion, sex, society, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2009 by wizardsmoke

What do people want to gain from sex itself? In no particular order:

  1. Physical intimacy
  2. Emotional fulfillment
  3. Power

The first is obvious: people want physical contact, warmth, friction — in other words, sticky mucus-membrane pleasure. The raw deal! Another human being to hold, a person to touch. Black-out orgasms, flitting eyelids, gasping for air. This is not a necessary condition of love.

The second is trickier. The problem with these factors, is that the lines blur between them, or what they achieve. Many of us have emotional needs which we hope to fulfill through sexual contact. This often has to do with psychological issues, upbringing, genetic traits, our need for stability or excitement, etc. But there are some, who, because of their emotional state, require power-trips in order to derive emotional fulfillment from sex.

At the basic level, power, for the respective sexes (heterosexual terms for the moment), is that a women wishes to have the power over a man’s desire, via attraction, whereas a man desires the power to dominate a woman via penetration. Some people are different — they want influence over others via their mate, they want to be able to manipulate others with their prowess, they want to control the desires of another to gain self-esteem.

You can call it cynical, but as far as sex goes, I think this is the basic score. The error is not that sex is bad in of itself, but that people actually seem to think sex is a defining factor or catalyst for love. Love exists outside of sex, but can be triggered by sexual intimacy for many. The problem is that this love is limited and can be unreliable if this is it’s basis. Oh well — at least sex is fun.

I think in modern western society, sex has become a game more than a necessity. It’s not really a sin, just an indication of social blatancy and the phasing of the human experience. People who primarily seek power from sex often acquire it from groups of strangers, whereas those who seek emotional fulfillment often acquire it from within their social circles (perhaps a modern stand-in for arranged marriage). Obviously there is not such a clearly defined reason for why people seek sex, but this is a rough sketch of what I have observed.

I don’t think sex is taboo from a mystical standpoint. As one ages, the sex drive naturally fades away and one can spend more time in contemplation. I think religions, with their codes of celibacy were often ways to control unkempt desires in society, especially at times when birth control was crude or non-existent. Especially if many marriages were arranged, or relied on social ties, orphaned or outcast males might have been inducted into a monastic life either temporarily or permanently to keep them from causing trouble. I have no historical facts for this basis, of course, which will horrify empiricists and evangelicals alike (all according to plan).

I don’t believe sex is the “point” of life, or the greatest pleasure, or something to be pursued eternally. Many people have seriously dysfunctional sexual habits, just like many have harmful inclinations towards violent behavior, lying or stealing. These are other reasons for religious tenets, but people cannot be helped unless they wish to change on their own.

Sexual desire is the driving force of nature, whereas the belief (or hope) in a future tranquility or contentment is the bait. Sexual desire does not beget the bait, because the bait is a natural illusion to spur our trajectory forward, and thus enact nature’s drives. Sex is the motivator to reproduce, by giving the emotional illusion of providing long-term fulfillment.

Thoughts?

Five, six, pick up chicks

Posted in Fighting, love, martial arts, Relationships, sex, sex and violence, society, Stayin' Alive, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2009 by wizardsmoke

The other day, I found myself on some Pick-Up Artist blogs. I think I got there via some links on Open Your Heart to the Love, a nice blog that links to mine. Pick-up Artistry sells for the same reason anything does: false mystique built on basic insecurities/needs. But social advantage is all built on basic principles: good presentation, clever first impressions and social deceptions, taking advantage of the lulls in social interactions (using one’s will to overpower another), consistency and camaraderie, etc.

The tips Pick-up Artists give are nothing new or special (though their open embrace of sexual manipulation is a little questionable). The same rules apply in all contexts of social presentation, most notably when confronting potential predators or romantic partners. So here are the rules to dating and survival in a nutshell — the tenets of social presentation:

  • Rule #1 — people will determine whether they are physically attracted to one another within the first few seconds of meeting just as two people (or animals) will determine who is the more dangerous predator within seconds (it’s largely intuitive)
  • Rule #2 — present yourself well; don’t immediately reveal your weaknesses or give in to neurotic behavior and don’t rely on others to guide you
  • Rule #3 — do not get emotionally involved in the social situation; maintain a persistent, persevering attitude, but only say half of what you want to say — be “professional”
  • Rule #4 — maintain good posture; back straight, head up, knees/shoulders relaxed — stay somewhat sober
  • Rule #5 — Be a real person: be genuine about your likes and dislikes when necessary, and have healthy (social) hobbies to pass the time in life.

So of course, since many people have monogamous relationships, and people who know how to fight are not all psychopaths looking for rumbles, most of us ignore these factors in our social scenarios except for those times when we’re on the prowl.

But none of this matters anyway, because the most important things in life are finding food and shelter. New Agey magical crap is for rich people with too much time on their hands, and on some level, the same goes for romance, haha! And even if you disagree with me, you gotta admit, the modern notion of free-choice romance and marriages (as opposed to fixed marriages and so forth) is only for people with extra time.

Shyboy

Posted in Doom and Evil, Fighting, Happiness, love, Reality Bites, Relationships, sex and violence, society, Stayin' Alive, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2009 by wizardsmoke

The times in my adult life that I’ve actually cried were not from periods of grief, calamity, extended depression or “sadness”. No, I’ve often found that tears come in times of last-minute catharsis. Sure, you could say an excess of joy weeps, but I think it’s more like, reassurance in the face of impending despair. That is, the happy or joyous things that make me cry do so because I realize suddenly that they almost didn’t happen. Considering how much of life is rough around the edges, cold, lonely, prickly, and so forth — when something really nice happens it’s such a spiked contrast. Really horrible things, they simply rob a person of emotional output — they’re catatonic experiences.

Watching a film like Barefoot Gen makes me want to cry. Ah, I’m no stranger to sad or depressing movies; but Barefoot Gen is like if you combined the two Ghibli films, Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro — both totally heart-rending films — into one horrific account of the Hiroshima bomb blast.

Anyway, truly nice things and people are pretty rare. It takes a lot of strength to do things selflessly, being able to do good things without freezing up or letting oneself become drained or emotional. I admire people who can do that, even if I have trouble expressing it. But I wonder where this all contrasts with the necessities of the world today. Israel/Palestine, Russia/Georgia, US/Iraq, African genocides, indigenous peoples, etc. How nice can you be when you’re forced to choose loyalties between military powers or states or religious conflicts? People talk all big about principles and ethics and morals, but I think everyone fundamentally chooses their family and friends before ideologies.

I guess really nice people have no loyalties to anyone in particular, just a particular set of moral qualities. But that is directly threatening or at odds with nation-state laws. And that’s why some things are so tear-jerking — because they’re so rare. After all, to reign people in, to keep order and live in organized societies, we need brutal laws which punish people inappropriately to their actions.

Born to be wild

Posted in Beauty, Fighting, love, Mysticism, Philosophy, Reality Bites, Relationships, sex, sex and violence, society, Ultimate Reality, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Sometimes I think sex is a total scam. This whole element of “physical attraction”. Yeah, there’s something fishy about it. The same with violence too. I don’t know about it. It’s very fishy. Why is it so alluring?

Okay, rhetorical question: I know why “scientifically” — that it’s nature’s drive to self-sustain, impulses to create offspring, survival, etc. And I also recognize that nature makes the finest sense pleasures so strong that every physical existence is forcibly drawn in a gravitational pull to partake of it. That’s why self-replication, self-reflection is incredibly pleasurable. To continue the species, the ego has to be convinced of its own individual importance, which is accomplished by this sexual desire — we descend into total egomania via our lust — sorry, love. Hence it seems the twin manifestation of sex and violence is the tree or river of life itself, and all other experiences and life flourishes are the branches and streams that sprout from it.

But on a physical level, I’d say sex and violence are manifestations of ripping change and the exploding, expanding/contracting movement of the universe. Like, we’re standing in the midst of a mind-boggling explosion, but we’re so small it seems to be happening in slow motion. So sex and violence are these mediums through which the exploding molecules shed their skin.

If size is an issue in perceiving time, do you think bugs perceive everything incredibly slowly? Let’s say a bug lives six weeks — it probably feels like a whole century to them. No surprise, since all windows of time are just little temporary avatar blips in the eternal transmigratory lineage. Size/age/virility is a big factor to perceptions of time. Kids seem to perceive time incredibly slowly, probably because they’re shedding and regenerating cells so insanely fast. Thus everything whizzes by an old person. Yeah, I think one’s perception of time is possibly related to one’s rate of bodily regeneration.

Or is perception of time exclusively a mental construct? We all know time moves according to our perception of it. But this is because when you’re enjoying yourself, time ceases to exist. You are living in the infinite realm of love! And when time passes slowly, it’s because we’re analyzing it and dwelling in those uncomfortable thought-worlds, which are in themselves eternities. Strange how that is, huh? Dwelling on a thought is an eternity in itself, but not concentrating on anything is a direct perception of eternity.

Then there are those clinchers of sex and violence. Absorption in anger, hate, lust, love — they totally warp your perception of time again! That’s what I don’t get about sexual desire. It’s so endless, mind-bending and yet so disappointing. If we took the hinges off of the door to sexual desire, if there were no limitations to its power, it would explode and consume itself endlessly. So I feel like all existence is this dangerous build-up to sexual climax, this insane violence.

I used to wonder, when people in past civilizations — Ancient Rome, Ancient China — were castrated for insolence in court or were made eunichs, what did that do to their outlook on life? Most of us who have sexual urges will cling to them desperately, say how we want to have kids, don’t want to let go of our lustful attachments. But if they just disappeared — if they stopped functioning — how would that make us feel? We’d still have emotions and so forth, but no more sex drive. The average person would be pretty bored, at least in a society that endlessly markets to one’s sex drive. So I wonder if total liberation isn’t totally boring too, haha.

Anyway, nature must really have the hots for itself.

No more tears

Posted in Beauty, Buddhism, Christianity, Cults, love, Reality Bites, Relationships, Religion, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2008 by wizardsmoke

In some sense, romantic ideals create delusions of purpose and concrete meaning (romanticism carries a notion of “victory”). Even positive romantic sensibilities — the desire to help others, to save others, to create balance, to liberate everyone, to change the world — these are all romantic fantasies. They often have little to do with the present moment and result in emotional states. Real compassion isn’t necessarily defined by lending out a helping hand or martyrdom.

Romance is often queued by cults and manipulative propaganda in order to ensnare victims in an agenda. The romance of having a divine message or purpose, of doing good or committing justice… this is all so fishy! Ah, not that these things are wrong, but… Romance — just that word which we commonly attribute to dramatic or loving sexual relationships — it is the transmission of a captivating and powerful message which one longs to believe in.

But to get to the bottom of it all, one goes beyond even romance. Romance has an agenda at the end of the day. Sure, everything has a romantic angle. Even the most profound practices have to start with a romantic motivation. But real (natural) power, once it starts to appear in one’s experience, comes from going beyond romantic notions. Romance is like a welling or surging wave of emotion in the mind which makes one temporarily blind and vulnerable to the will of another. The romantic notion is an attractant, a torrent which lures one into its whirlpool. It can often be another’s vanity reflected in our own mind.

Still, it’s kinda funny, because without any romance in the first place, there’d be no beauty in life and no obstacles or waves to overcome in building up natural power. Isn’t that right? We all cry about how painful life is, but then we all want the pain in order to prove how strong we are by overcoming it all and subsequently telling other people how great we are.

Love (in four acts)

Posted in love, Poetry, Reality Bites, Relationships, sex, society, Technology, Wizard Quotes, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , on July 30, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Frankly I’m sick of hearing about love. But it’s the main thing everyone in the universe is infatuated with. No matter the flavor, isn’t everything that causes existence a manifestation of the same root? The same springboard of love? Bah!!!

But still, let’s talk about romantic love again, even though I know nothing about it.

As an immature young whipper-snapper on the quest for idealistic romance, I tended to rationalize or theorize about love, about how it should work out best, or how I might be able to find a “soul mate”. Following this blind idealistic view, I remember I tended to categorize potential mates on a grid with two axis: “X” indicated pure physical attraction and “Y” was personal compatibility, understanding, chemistry, emotional resonance, etc.

Thus my dorky teenage model was: (optimal attraction) x (optimal personal compatibility) = (love of life)

Obviously the problem with this simplistic model is that there are no clear divisions between physical attraction and emotional/individual personality compatibility. Nor is there necessarily any reason for any two people to fall in love without a pretext under which to meet or befriend each other. Isn’t this why so many people fall in love after going through a serious or difficult ordeal together? It’s the same as a bond made between soldiers who live and fight together, really.

In fact, I find that this is a real problem with online dating services, that there is no motivation and no spontaneity to breathe romantic life into potential courtships. Dating services tend to categorize matches based on shallow personal interests and likes/dislikes, when love is not something you can gauge. And the things most of us write about ourselves are too one-sided or dishonest to be particularly useful in a romantic dating service search.

But people want company. I understand. I can’t blame ’em, really, since I feel that way too on occasion. The real tricky thing about love, and life in general, is that your perspective of it changes over time. And love itself changes with age and maturity. When sexual feelings are strongest it is most related to physical attraction or emotional chemistry, and later in life it often becomes a product of compatibility or peer admiration.

In my current dorky system of love analysis, I like to separate romance into four stages, representing the four seasons:

(1) Spring/youth — Here love is driven mainly by a physical, sexual attraction and lustful urges.

(2) Summer/young adulthood — This kind of love is accompanied by emotional longing, explosive chemistry and new realizations about what makes another person sexually alluring.

(3) Autumn/adulthood — Here the idea of romance factors in one’s lifestyle, moral upstanding, personal compatibility (i.e. things outside of mere shared interests) and mutual longterm goals.

(4) Winter/old age — I think in the final evolution of romance, before it returns to pure physical attraction, it is about simple companionship. Here I think people become less critical of each other’s interests or physical qualities and merely crave good company.

These are all slightly different manifestations of love, and I’d surely have argued at one point in my life that so-called “youthful love” is just attachment to lust. But to that extent, all of these categories are lustful attachments! I think the reason so many people don’t easily fall in love for extended periods of time these days, or the reason divorce rates are so high, is because people think about their choices too much. We’re too judgmental of each other. A plethora of choices and opportunities makes the attention span suffer.

But, eventually people become old and the final stage of love descends. There’s no escape from these sentiments if you seek to “fall in love” with another human, but it becomes harder to meet people as we age, so it’s a good idea to factor in all of these long-term interests when searching for intimacy.

***

Soon I grew and happy too
My very good friends and me
We’d play all day and Sally J.
The girl from number four
And very soon I begged her,

“Won’t you keep me company?”

Now marriage is an institution sure
My wife and I, our needs and nothing more,

all my friends by a year, by and by disappear
But we’re safe enough behind our door.

I flourished in my humble trade
My reputation grew
The work devoured my waking hours
But when my time was through
Reward of all my efforts my own limited company

I hardly noticed Sally as we
Parted company
All through the years in the end it appears
There was never really anyone but me

Now I’m old I puff my pipe
But no one’s there to see

I ponder on the lesson of
My life’s insanity
Take care of those you call your own
And keep good company

Queen; “Good Company” from A Night at the Opera