Showing posts with label Fear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fear. Show all posts

Saturday, August 17, 2019

8/17/19: Propaganda: Dependent Drunks In Denial

On Ellul's "The Need For Propaganda." We've both developed a tolerance for and a psychological dependency on propaganda's certainty-stoking, justifying, and and self-worth generating narratives, social media is a propagandist's dream, desensitization and an increasing desire for the excitement felt from being immersed in the constant, and necessary stream of propaganda, how our addiction has allowed both traditional media and social media "influencers" to monetize the Outrage Industrial Complex, our role as retained ideological attorneys, and wishful thinking (and possibly disastrous effects) of suddenly eliminating 320-million people's propaganda narratives. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Grab a sammich for this one. And maybe a stiff drink. Hey! I never said this would be easy!



ALSO: 
  • This is a triage situation; not a search for the "cure"
  • Disinformation bit me again!
  • Why we won't quit the informational drug
  • A possible path to empathy
  • The culture war is a War of National Narratives
  • Chosen perspective becomes "personal truth"
  • Provoking shame as a "debate" tool: a boomerang
  • Social media "influencers": personal brands hocking a product while posing as "journalists"
  • The IDW: agitation propaganda
Jacques Ellul's "Propaganda": https://www.amazon.com/Propaganda-Formation-Attitudes-Jacques-Ellul/dp/0394718747

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*Also check out www.christophermedia.net & www.escapingthecave.com

Thursday, June 13, 2019

6/13/19: The Social Media Disease - The Virtue Batsignal, Moral Authoritarianism, The Exhausted Majority

Todd, Rich, and Chris discuss the unwiring of social evolution, totalitarian tribes spawning skittish clones, and an exhausted "center" with nowhere to land that's not infested by puritans.




Also:
- Is your child "really" transgendered, or is their gender voice really yours?
-The outright refusal to see our own team's propaganda.
-The "wisdom" of youth.
-More on thoughtless opinions.
-More on Social Media Intellectual Influencers and their "brands".


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Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Google Play, Spotify, & Stitcher.
Also visit: www.christophermedia.net

Friday, June 7, 2019

6/7/19: Hey, Hilltucky! Reptilian Truth & The Outrage Fever

No Politics! Lots of drilling to the "get the f**k away from me!" meltdown core.

-Bulls**t Jousting
-The truth probably won't set you free
-Sausage Party Hope and the fueling Audacity of Belief
-How & why disinformation works: a first person play-by-play.


Like it? SHARE IT! F**k The Zuck & Twitter. You're my marketing team.
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Google Play, Spotify, & Stitcher.

Also visit: www.christophermedia.net
More: www.escapingthecave.com

Monday, March 12, 2018

3/12/18: Hitchhiking and Philosophy

The final episode of the Friar Chris Series begins with a discussion about the differences between bicycle touring and backpacking then moves on to deeper topics, including (@ 15:45) my experience volunteering on the Gulf Coast in the immediate aftermath of Katrina and the corrosive and corrupting effects of tribalism and dogma in the Disaster Relief Industrial Complex. We then move on to (mostly) explore the fundamental ideas behind why he and I chose hitchhiking and what we learned and experienced while traveling the country as “disposable” vagabonds loitering out on the fringe. 



SPOILER ALERTSausage Party Hope lies within!

More episodes/subscribe: www.escapingthecave.com
My travel archives: www.toddzillaX.com

Cheat Sheet follows:

Monday, March 5, 2018

3/5/18: Friar Chris - Walking Savannah to Seattle

In this politics-free second of three, I sit down again with Chris Dyson for a chat about his walk from Savannah, Georgia to Seattle which included enduring a turbulent breakup on the side of US 287 in northern Colorado, getting lost in rural Wyoming, and anecdotes and observations about some of the fascinating people he met along the way. Deeper topics include self-generated baseless fear, choosing existential isolation in the name of personal security, internal narratives, religion & spirituality, restless escapism, travel and aging, and more.

Subscribe on iTunes and Google Play. Also on Christopher Media.net and Stitcher.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

7/4/17 (2): Colcester to Waterbury, VT - Amy & The Beacon



Bob dropped me off in comfortable territory: a large rural Mobil station that happened to be alongside US-7, the road with whom I’d begun the trip almost a week before, and a short walk from I-89.

Mostly out of habit (I had Subway and plenty of water from earlier), I took a lap around the store to see if I wanted anything and caught the attention of three kids whose age I couldn’t judge. They could have been anywhere from 15-21. Seeing the backpack, they said something to each other then the brave one asked, “Are you just out traveling around to see what’s out there?”

“Yeah. Pretty much. Somethin’ like that,” I chuckled without bothering to break stride.

“Whoa. That’s like…inspiring.”

7/4/17 (1): Alburg-Colcester, VT - Daddy Mammon's Consumerist Plantation



Part 1

I'd arrived in Rouses Point feeling rejuvenated! The stomach bug…so familiar by then I’d named it Ticonderoga’s Revenge…had passed and I was ready to attack my old friend Route 2 and make my way to Maine.

Things began perfectly and generated optimism. It took just 10-minutes to hitch a ride across the bridge spanning part of Lake Champlain back into Vermont and Alburg, a little town on an islet surrounded on three sides by the lake and attached by land only to Canada.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Destination: Death

THE DELUSION OF THE ENLIGHTENED LIFE

Life’s a journey along a series of uncharted paths where only one thing is certain: death is the unavoidable destination.  There are few certainties. Etch that in stone.

This terrorizes our species of bald apes. With a sense of consciousness and its attached ego still stuck in its wailing infant stage, we cling to various mythologies conveniently placing us at the Center of the Universe™ and providing the comforting illusion that we’re cheating death. All we have to do: behave, believe, and deliver Mammon Tribute to the pulpit or kill an infidel! My concern is no longer escapist religion. Some people need it. I understand that and some days even empathize!

(But, honestly: “if something’s too good to be true…”)

That being said, the sad effect of embracing the Universal Sky Daddy Delusion is it often prevents the faithful from properly valuing our most precious commodity: life. And, embracing their journey for what it is.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

On Fear (Archive, 2009, 2011)

Slightly edited excerpt from "That Uppity Ego"
August 16, 2009


Fear

Since Michigan, this is a topic I seem to be contemplating and discussing quite frequently. Fear is a never-ending fight and if we cower too often it can cripple and make us a prisoner of our own mind.

I find it hilarious when people tell I'm "courageous." Someone famous wrote, “None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.” I have known more than most! It's had a history of paralyzing me. I made a mistake in not publishing the back-story from 2004-2008, before Running with the Wind. I will correct that eventually, but it literally took me those 4-years to hit the road primarily due to fear. The “what ifs” consumed me. I was never prepared enough, never had the right equipment, or the destination was not right because too much “might happen.” Much of that was due to a lack of confidence, a major source of fear. In the weeks leading up to my departure in May 2008 I repeatedly shredded myself in my journal about the fact that I KNEW I was an obvious coward with nothing but big talk and bigger ideas, and I was sick of feeling powerless to do anything about it. This is from April 20, 2008, exactly one month before I began this little adventure:

Friday, June 2, 2017

Updating the Operating System: γνῶθι σεαυτόν

Reworked and updated excerpt from Navigating the Rubicon (9/2009)




The Trailhead

I've never written much publicly on my lead-up to this personal Odyssey. I always say it began in August 2004. In 2005,  I read a biography on Jean-Jacques Rousseau which introduced me to  the idea of unfettered commitment to truth and the phrase Vitam Impendere Vero which loosely translated means “truth before everything, even at the cost of death."

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Abyss (Archive, 2011)


 “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.”  
-Nietzsche, Beyond Good & Evil




I’ve never read much Nietzsche, and likely never will. I tried getting thru Thus Spake Zarathustra and couldn’t. However, these two sentences have helped articulate something that I’ve struggled with for nearly two years: The idea that when you dare to confront and examine the darker, less flattering parts of life, the Abyss, your own darker, less flattering traits are inadvertently revealed to you. I believe one of the most difficult and important choices one can make is whether we choose to see what inhabits our own depths. It’s the stuff of mythology, and nearly derailed me.

Nietzsche’s Abyss was introduced to me by Henry Rollins via my favorite podcast, WTF with Marc Maron. Despite being a comedian, Maron’s conversations typically pivot toward insightful, introspective examinations of our shared, needy, frail egos and how they influence our choices and relationships. In other words, how we’re all more alike in our fucked-upitude than we care to admit!

Friday, November 11, 2016

11/11/16: Grand Island to Des Moines - Why Did You Stop?

Grand Island, NE


My main concern late Thursday night: be prompt. Don’t miss John’s 1:15 am resurrection and the ride thru Nebraska. There was little to worry about. Nebraska’s November made sure I didn’t fall into actual sleep beneath my tree. John filled up on diesel and coffee while I settled back into his passenger’s seat excited and wondering where this 48-hour day would lead.

To recap: Before bedding down, John offered a ride clear to St. Louis. Closer to Chicago, but also another urban center and St. Louis, to steal a line, "aint nothin’ to fuck with." Instead, I suggested Council Bluffs, where John would turn south toward Kansas City.

Monday, October 24, 2016

10/24/16: Phoenix - Go Forth Boldly, Young Man

Aside from a rather comical episode of sleep/smartphone induced disorientation leading me to spend 5-10 minutes believing I’d slept thru Phoenix and was arriving in Albuquerque without my backpack, the Greyhound from L.A. to Phoenix was uneventful. I arrived just as the sun rose and spent the next several hours at the terminal waiting for Jefe to get out of work and pick me up.

IMG_6298

Bus stations are never “ordinary”. The collection of humanity gathering at Greyhound always make for superb people watching, and Phoenix is no exception. Along with the typical strutting examples of facial tattoos and recently parolees, I did meet one interesting, familiar character.

Monday, October 17, 2016

10/17/16: Day #1 - Jean and The Tin Man

In retrospect, the decision to hit the road Monday (10/17) felt a lot like the original choice to leave Chicago the week before: completely unprepared. When I woke up and sat down to write that morning, I had no idea where I'd be struggling to sleep in just a few hours!

 The day's big event was supposed to be a simple post office run. But, without making a conscious "decision", I  gathered the rest of my stuff and by 2:00 we had made my dropoff at a UPS Store (unable to fit everything in the one overpriced box ), and were on I-15 south heading out of the city to terra incógnita. My only pre-trip request: "when I leave, get me to a decent spot betond the city sprawl!"

I didn't have even a vague notion of where I was going, so direction didn't really matter. I suggested Hoover Dam, thinking hitching the road south toward Kingman would be a good way to break myself back in and that I could eventually go whatever direction I decided by the time I got to I-40.

Natali didn't want to drive that far, so it was essentially a decision between north and south on I-15. North almost surely meant Utah: The mythically infamous Hitchhiker Blackhole! So, since we are already on the south end of Vegas, I told her to just go south and make it easy. From there I relied on her knowledge of the area. She had a spot in mind, so I trusted her judgment.

The Rusty Tin Man Creaks Forth

Maybe 30-minutes later, Natali exited at Jean and dropped me off at Terrible's, a Shell station/small truck stop across from a rather large casino otherwise in the middle of Desert Nowhere.

The spot had everything I'd need to get my legs beneath me: a gas station for food, water, a Denny's across the road to get coffee and charging facilities, and truck parking. Also, an abundance of open space for stealth camping. We hugged, I snapped a pic, and suddenly I was hitchhiking again. For the first time since my short and family-aborted Texas to Colorado run in 2013.

The first emotion: youthful exhilaration. An excited sense of utter uncertainty psychologically framed as "adventure". I'd had this feeling several times before. This time though, it was tempered. "Been 'here' before..." Considering it had been so long, I was surprised that almost instantly I reverted to instinct, method and experience. I automatically surveyed the grounds, walked inside for water, some snacks, and cigarettes.

Yes. The cigarettes were back. I'd left Chicago with vaping gear planning to decrease my nicotine levels along the way and quitting a week or two later. Good plan. It had worked before. Except, the previous week my battery had gone to hell and I was forced to drop an unplanned $50 on a new one, tank, and coils. That was ridiculous and pissed me off. "Fifty bucks?!? Why not just fucking smoke? How the hell am I going to keep this battery charged?" I answered that silent question immediately. when my smokes and I were reunited. And yeah, it kinda felt good! Hitchhiking and smoking go together like cigarettes and booze; smokes and coffee. Trump & Putin. It's weird.

Why am I even explaining this? Don't judge, fuckers.

The second instant realization: a repeat of the week before. How moving from "abstraction to action" annihilates the internal "what if" anxieties. As soon as we were on the road, the "what ifs" turned to problem solving and forward motion. I was reminded more than once of the "molehills" in the lead up to my original departure in 2008. How everything I'd worried about for nearly 4-years was proven ridiculous. Almost immediately. Our minds are both our greatest assets and our biggest nemesis.



There was a shade tree set in a perfect spot between the parking lot and the road. An ideal place to be seen by the traffic coming and going. I plopped the pack down beneath it and exhaled. Almost immediately, I nearly got out of there. Had I been "saltier", I believe I would have.

A truck driver saw me and my setup, walked over, and said he could tell I wasn't a bum and asked what I was up to. I gave him the now-unfamiliar, unrefined, and poorly articulated "out to see people without electronic eyes" version and we spent 10-15 minutes chatting. He talked about how he'd given rides to people similar to me and how they'd stayed in touch. In retrosepct, it's obvious he had taken into account that I'd just been dropped off and was waiting for me to ask to come along. But, apparently I was waiting for an engraved golden invitation, not wanting to seem (feel?) like a transportational panhandler. Had I been a bit more tuned in, this trip would look vastly different. He went north. Presumably toward Salt Lake City or Reno.

Almost directly on the heels of my new trucker friend came Curt & Judy. They were in their late 50's or early 60's, had parked their RV at Terrible's, and were in the area to do some off-roading in their 4-wheelers. They struck up a conversation while walking from the RV to the canino's Denny's. They were quite curious about my base motivations and we hit it off immediately. We shared philosophical views about the existentially corrosive effects of chasing money and careerism, among other things. I told them about the inspiration I drew from Plato's Cave and gave them an Upper World Photo card with an invitation to contact me via my Facebook page. They invited me to let them know if I made it up to Seattle and I immediately warned them about such polite, off-handed invites! I tend to take folks up on them from time-to-time! Eh, Shawn? Kim? Jeff?

While I slightly hoped to find a ride Monday, there was no "real" effort. Any hope stemmed mostly from directional indecisiveness. I had no beacon whatsoever. I'd decided that I'd wait for my first "real" ride out of the desert and off I-15's north-south LA to Vegas/Utah asphalt funnel. Thus, despite my vast experience failing in such matters, I was targeting trucks. And had just let one go!

Yes, I was certainly rusty.

In reality, it was good to just sit with myself and just be. To slowly disconnect from the electronic eyes, embrace the old "Sit Down and Shut Up" idea, while simultaneously basking in the positive energy of the post-drop off day, and reconnect with the real, raw world.

The cynicism that I'd felt returning all weekend as I attempted to "pay attention" to the election and "current events" almost immediately evaporated and was replaced with positivity borne from real interaction with real people in the "real" world. I know of no better "therapy".

The previous week's ideas about Digital Detox were certainly top-of-mind Monday, and would be for the foreseeable future. Clearly, I'm no prospective Luddite! But, finding balance and a sense of intentional utility with technology is obviously key. I'd never tried hitchhiking with a full-on smartphone, and I was rightfully concerned about it before I even left. But, the usefulness is undeniable. On Day 1, I shot and edited video and found myself finishing and uploading my "October Surprise" post while stashed away behind the truck parking lot! And, yes, I also occasionally found myself habitually reaching for my device as I became bored. But, at least I was mindful of it. At the same time, I was mindful of Plato's "Return to the Cave".

Finding a spot to camp as the sun fell around six was a breeze. I laid the bivy/Thermarest out on the semi-rocky ground, flung the sleeping bag on top, and laid there unable to sleep. I was semi-productive with the writing and editing, but I couldn't shut down the brain.



Clearly, there was more to this trip than I was even aware of...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

10/11/16: The October Surprise

When I returned from Peru in February, the "plan" (ha!) was to spend the summer hitchhiking. A glorious and heroic return to the method, adventure, and free-flowing existential orgies of 2008-2010. With a "real" camera this time! Then vocation took over. I underestimated how difficult replacing the computer that was stolen last fall in the break-in would be and how much I had to learn about putting digital photographs on paper! Long story short, I got sidetracked. Not that I "couldn't" go. I didn't feel "right" about half-assing this exponentially expanding photography project. Before I knew it, it was late July. My first photo show was rapidly approaching in August. My remaining resources were put into production and presentation. I had no expectations but lo and behold! I sold things. I made money. Then I entered another spontaneous show in September. I sold more things. I made more money.

 

"Hey! Maybe I was right about this photography thing." Unfortunately, the summer wasn't just photo shows. Life's never that singular and monolithic, is it? It was also complicated by redneck Vulture Family Values drama. The details aren't for you to consume, but suffice it to say that in a spasm of self-destructive rage, I sold my camera and telephoto lens. I put some of that money toward upgrading my travel gear thinking, wrongly in my fit of DNA disgust, that I was ready to scrape photography to the ground and just "go".

I'd been here before. I should know better. Add an unneeded photo gear complication for later in the year. That would be fun to deal with! After the last show, things got annoyingly familiar. Again: what the hell was I going to do? It was almost October. Getting late in the year to be thumbing and stealth camping, unless I was eager to be fucking around in the snow. Which, if you've been around from the start, you know I'm most certainly NOT!

My friend Natali and I had been tinkering with the idea of me starting a trip at her place in Las Vegas for the past few months. She'd been subjected to my indecisiveness firsthand. After a couple of weeks of mentally masturbating and creating all sorts of the old, familiar doomsday narratives in my head, September had become October, and I decided to jump.

On Tuesday the 11th, I bought the ticket to Vegas. For that night. I gave myself approximately 8-hours to prepare for a completely improvised and open-ended trip. The only things I was mindfull of at that moment: "I'm sick of the sound of my own voice. I'm sick of the same internal conversations. I know what this is: the same irrational, contrived anxiety that stopped you from starting this for four years, from 2004-2008. Unfounded fear. And you know how ridiculous it was then. How the imaginary mountains were in practice tiny molehills. Figure it out on the fly. The only way you'll do it is to take your own mind out of the equation. Fuck the camera. Just go. Dumbass."

I went. Before I could second, third, and tenth guess it. As soon as the ticket was bought, all the abstract redundant silliness of the summer abated. What mattered was what was ahead of me. First: getting the gear together for my flight! I had to focus and act. Amazing how useful that is. By 8:30, I was headed to O'Hare. I had no idea what to expect beyond getting reacquainted with my friend. And, once in the air I noticed a remarkable mix of both excitement and calm resignation! I'd always talked about just "going" no plan. No expectation. Just to see where the road took me. I was finally doing it. And without "planning not to plan"! It's neat when you realize you can still surprise yourself.



I shot an email off to Chris. He understood. And, despite everything you just read, there would be a mini encore performance as well as a cementing of some recent realizations in the coming days. Particularly about the absurd corrosive effects of social media.

 How does that saying go? "If you're suffering, you're thinking..."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Useless Shit Epiphany

Ask any mildly observant chum who’s chosen “traveling” over “tourism”, and they’ll probably tell you how it’s filled with an abundance of experience-driven lessons, insights, and odd occurrences. “Trail Magic” it’s often called. Once you’ve felt it, the trail comes alive. And you’re either freaked out or hooked. My blogs are filled with these tales. I’m most certainly hooked!

But, while peering into the depths, I have a maddening tendency to miss the blatantly obvious mermaid frantically waving right in front of my face.

This is from my very first travel post, in May 2008:

“…about 1/2 mile down the road from the drop off I had a LONG list of the extra crap (like electric clippers) I had in my bag that I simply did NOT need! Lesson: stick to the essentials! Comfort items become uncomfortable on your back, and slow you down!”

Today I realized that there's a monumental, powerful lesson in these quickly scribbled words. One that, despite being in plain sight for 8-years, I completely missed. And, it was literally (proper use!) the very first "lesson". Even if it is one I’ve had to repeatedly be reminded of since!

It’s like clock work. First day of every trip: I find that I’ve overpacked out of the “fear” that I’ll leave something I’ll “need” behind. Then,  once I’m out there, I start bitching to myself (usually) about how I’ve brought too much as the added dead-weight makes my little comfort items very uncomfortable!

That's great, Todd. But, what makes your repeated, short-bus-silliness “monumental”? 

For the last few years, I've been struggling to develop a consistent, all-encompassing metaphysical philosophy, with tiny degrees of success. Finding cohesiveness in that is hard enough on its own! But I’ve also been trying to completely reconcile who I was in 2008 and 2009 with who I am now; trying to “pack everything” by tying every obscure lesson, detail, and insight from the last 8-12 years perfectly together into a very limited space, rather than just picking out the practical, useful parts and stowing the rest. I’ve been cognitively, and often emotionally, hoarding. And, completely missed the obvious connection and lesson of that very first day: "pack only what’s needed and what fits. Forget the rest!"

But, Self! What if I ‘neeeeeeed’ it??

"Have it sent. Or, you know, just pick it up along the way. Dumbass."

Back in 2004, when radio went Stage 4 and this massive self/species exploration began, the foundation was  Thoreauian: simplify, simplify, simplify! Figure out what's real and essential. That kernel led to the backpack. And, it’s taken this long, and perhaps Mr. Mushroom Voice triggered it, to realize that people, ideas, and philosophies fall under the “Get rid of that which doesn’t fucking matter to make room for that which most certainly does” insight. And, that it's nearly identical to the one I had literally (proper use!) 15-minutes in to my travels:

Unburden yourself from this useless shit, you silly fucker!

It’s the precise (if slightly less profane) abstract equivalent.

Before the "useless shit" epiphany. 60-65 pounds!


**"Trail Magic" Diversion:  I left my phone in the car and Chris graciously drove back from Denver to deliver it that first night. I was mercifully able to "unburden myself" almost immediately. Was it...The Universe? Did Jesus playfully pull my phone from my pocket? How DO they make marshmallows....

So, now I’ve begun the process of sorting out what I brought home from the last 8-years and remains useful for the next epoch's expedition. Setting my extra abstract “stuff” aside to clear room for the essentials. In this metaphor (and you should just get used to metaphors right fucking now), it’s become the process of finally separating the useful ideas, methods, and people from the warm creature comforts and incomprehensible ghosts. And letting the rest of my past’s clutter just lie. Unsorted, uncategorized, and boxed up in the closet. Although I’m sure I’ll find I’ve brought too much. Again! I can’t seem to help it.

Not everything you have can, or should, be taken on every expedition. In fact, that’s one of the main points. Nor can every idea, experience, or person tag along thru each epoch, chapter, or phase of life. And thats okay! There’s no mutual obligation to be universal or permanent. That’s growth. That’s evolution. Otherwise, you’re hoarding. And, unless you’re life is stagnant and stationary, that quickly becomes an impossible load for even Sancho’s trusty mule to carry.