Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness ~ Power & Powerlessness

Dedicated to Marshall Slade Agresto Smith, who killed himself the day after his 22nd birthday. His family includes French, Spanish, Native American and Lebanese blood. The blood of his life is on all of our hands.

suicide, cultural ills, guns, Marshall Smith

Marshall Slade Agresto Smith candlelight vigil dedicated to his life, which he ended with suicide with his own gun.

He was an acquaintance whom i met at the bar where I asked to dj and incorporate my own music with the set. He hung out there from time to time, when he wasn’t working as a chef. Cooking was his passion.

Mashall Slade Agresto Smith

Mashall Slade Agresto Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spoke to him, commenting that the way he dressed, he looked like the carpenter apprentices in Germany who wear a particular uniform and only walk between their apprenticeships, Zimmerman. I couldn’t remember the name, and intended to tell Marshall the next time i saw him.

Zimmerman is a tradition that is hundreds of years old, still practiced in Germany and parts of France.

Zimmerman is a tradition that is hundreds of years old, still practiced in Germany and parts of France.

A Zimmerman is basically a journeyman.

I noticed the last time I saw him to my astonishment that he had a real gun in a holster carried on his belt, hanging at his stomach. He said “yeah, it’s legal here in New Mexico”. Bout a week later, i was swinging by the plaza of Santa Fe coming into town at dusk and saw all these people standing holding candles and ‘CANDELARIOS’ lined up around the center.

Candlelight vigil for Marshall Smith

Candlelight vigil for Marshall Smith

I thought to myself, which tragedy happened now around the world, a new bombing or flight disaster? I approached and tried to see in the darkness the picture setting there. I soon learned that it was a vigil for Marshall, who killed himself several days earlier. The day after his 22nd birthday he shot himself with his won gun. His family stated in the announcement of his obituary, to not let people who drink be near guns, and not let people with guns near alcohol.

I came across this article a few days ago and sensed it that it’s appropriate to the current zeitgeist.

Broken Open, Heidi Barr, grief

Broken Open Heidi Barr on grief

“Politics.  Human decency.  Disrespect for women.  Self hatred.  Governmental control.  Fear. Complacency.  Planetary destruction.  Stealing.   Dishonoring sacred sites.  Destroying nations.  The despair of the poor.   The despair of the rich.  Outrage.  Ignorance.  Brushing it under the rug.  Dishonesty.  Hope.  Hopelessness. Wondering.  Paying the bills.  Running away.  Feeling stuck.

So I don’t think we need more guilt, or rage, or powerlessness.  We surely don’t need more entitlement, self hatred, or shame.   But we do need to grieve that which has been lost, that which has died, that which we or our children will never have, and that which is at this very moment fading away.  Stephen Jenkins says, “Grief requires us to know the time we are in.  We don’t require hope to proceed.  We require grief to proceed.”

Marshall’s one grandfather had been president of a local college, St. Johns. The other, a Native American who’s a fantastic chef, bringing the family together through this ritual and art, which his grandson Marshall adopted with a passion.

I feel that this is representative of a sickness of our culture.

We’re all ‘expected’ – by whom – cultural norms and habitual responses – to conform; i.e. in our economic incentives, the way we dress, the appendages and material possessions we obtain, through the work we do, the way we express ourselves and how we view and even interpret reality. It’s a structural conformity, that filters down to our routines and habits, the ‘weekend’ celebration, the time allotted from our economic machine to gather… otherwise – put your head down and don’t question. French, Ukrainians…question. Americans are severely brainwashed. Noam Chomsky communicated how the media contribute to this structural conformity in Manufacturing Consent. “proposing that the mass communication media of the U.S. are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion, by means of the propaganda model of communication.”

Suicides, drug addiction are all representative of cultural ills. War is a condoned, anticipated and enculturated norm which is uncanny. War and artillery, weapons and the military industrial complex are viewed through the cloak of nationalism. It is your duty, and is equated with loyalty and honor to your country. I become so disgusted with this that I often feel just disappointment with my fellow man, and have more affection, adoration & praise for other animal & life forms, including plants.

This young man was not a conformist by any means>>>>and our culture screams for conformity. Consumerism overpowers the urge for genuine communication and cooperation. We all quickly assess and judge by clothes. How do you dress? What kind of automobile do you drive? What are these things broadcasting about you? What is your job or profession? How do you make your way in the world to pay for your housing and clothes…so that you have a place to sleep when your weekend respite arrives to spend some time at home enjoying these? We drive by one another insulated in our automobiles or interact while attending an entertainment event which we usually need to pay for. The entertainment standard is something we passively ‘watch’, rather than interactively participate in. I have been viscerally thinking about this and wrote while waiting to attend the ‘visitation’…that I’m disgusted with Marshall’s suicide, feel it is representative of cultural ills – not merely family.

fiery orange sunset

fiery orange sunset

The same day that I walked out of the visitation for Marshal and caught a glimpse of this fiery orange sunset which lingered pink on the horizon as I rode away, I later communicated the circumstances to a friend living in New Mexico who also saw this sunset. She said that just that day she had been reading about the Bridgend suicides, which were this sudden increase in suicides among mostly teenagers and young adults in the last few years in Wales. I found this article about it. The Mystery Suicides of Bridgend county

“The author talks to “cluster suicide” experts…Outbreaks like this are rare but not new…They have happened in Germany, Australia, Japan, the U.S., Canada, and Micronesia…Psychologists familiar with the phenomenon are saying that what’s going on in Wales is a classic case of the Werther effect, named for Goethe’s novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, about a young man who puts a gun to his head to end the agony of unrequited love and because he can’t find his place in the provincial bourgeois society of the day. The novel’s publication, in 1774, prompted young men all over Europe to dress like Werther and take their lives. It’s also called the contagion effect and copycat suicide: one person does it, and that lowers the threshold, making it easier and more permissible for the next…”

“These suicides are a symptom of a deeper societal malaise.”

This was just one individual, yet it prompted me to wonder how common suicides have been in history. It’s something I’ve never really wondered aboutinternational suicide rates. It appeared from my search that this has been on the rise in a number of different countries. I can’t imagine that this was common hundreds of years ago somehow.

International suicide statistics

International suicide statistics

About the same time that this occurred, George Monbiot – an environmental, social, economic and political writer – wrote this blog. “There Is Such a Thing As Society

Why should plagues of mental illness surprise us, in a world being ripped apart?

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 12th October 2016

“What greater indictment of a system could there be than an epidemic of mental illness? Yet plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social phobia, eating disorders, self-harm and loneliness now strike people down all over the world. The latest, catastrophic figures for children’s mental health in England reflect a global crisis…There are plenty of secondary reasons for this distress, but it seems to me that the underlying cause is everywhere the same. Human beings, the ultrasocial mammals, whose brains are wired to respond to other people, are being peeled apart. Economic and technological change play a major role, but so does ideology.”

“Though our well-being is inextricably linked to the lives of others, everywhere we are told that we will prosper through competitive self-interest and extreme individualism.”

Another article and preview of the film which it refers to also presented itself during these same last few days.
From Brexit to Donald Trump: welcome to the age of hypernormalisation in London

“No one talks about power these days. We are encouraged to see ourselves as free, independent individuals not controlled by anybody, and we despise politicians as corrupt and empty of all ideas…But power is all around us. It’s just that it has shifted and mutated into a massive system of management and control, whose tentacles reach into all parts of our lives. But we can’t see it because we still think of power in the old terms—of politicians telling us what to do.”

Hyper normalization Living in an Unreal World

Hyper normalization Living in an Unreal World

Hyper normalization, film, Adam Curtis

Still from trailer of Hypernormalization film by Adam Curtis

“The aim of the film I have made — HyperNormalisation — is to bring that new power into focus, and show its true dimensions. It ranges from a giant computer high up in the mountains of northeast America that manages and controls over 7 percent of the worlds total wealth, to the complex algorithms that constantly monitor every move and choice you make online- giant computer constantly compares events happening around the world to events in the past. If it sees a dangerous pattern, it immediately adjusts its trillions of dollars to keep things stable. That is real power. The algorithms on social media constantly look at the patterns of what you like and then feed you more of that—so you enter into an echo chamber that constantly feeds you back to you. So again nothing changes—and you learn nothing new that would contradict how you feel. That too is real power.”

In the meantime, Native Americans and a handful of white people are in North Dakota trying to defend their land.

In North Dakota, Dakota Pipeline, protestors, Water Protectors

In North Dakota, the Dakota Pipeline protestors are actually Water Protectors

By the way, I learned the other day from a man I met who had been adopted by a Native American family who is a Native American Literature professor, that in contributing to the writing of the United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was inspired by the Iroquois. The Six Nations: the Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth

“The people of the Six Nations, also known by the French term, Iroquois Confederacy, call themselves the Hau de no sau nee (ho dee noe sho nee) meaning People Building a Long House… The original United States representative democracy, fashioned by such central authors as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, drew much inspiration from this confederacy of nations. Together these peoples comprise the oldest living participatory democracy on earth. Their story, and governance truly based on the consent of the governed, contains a great deal of life-promoting intelligence for those of us not familiar with this area of American history.”

Iroquois, 6-nations, Participatory Democracy

Iroquois 6-nations Oldest Living Participatory-Democracy on Earth

Karl Marx was also influenced by the Iroquois in his political philosophy.

In fact, every kid in school is indoctrinated into this with the daily pledge of allegiance.

United States Declaration of Independence

Second paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence

And yet, I don’t particularly feel that we are all created equal, especially when those who inspired the declaration are the very people who live in sacrifice zones – A sacrifice zone is a geographic area that has been permanently impaired by environmental damage or economic disinvestment. These zones are most commonly found in low-income and minority communities.

Speaking of Democracy, wikileaks now reveals that it is not ‘we the people’ in a Democracy who vote for our representatives, but in fact just before the last election it was Citibank who were already planning even before Obama was elected, who were going to be taking the top posts in the Federal government. This New Republic describes The Most Important WikiLeaks Revelation Isn’t About Hillary Clinton

What John Podesta’s emails from 2008 reveal about the way power works in the Democratic Party.
BY DAVID DAYEN October 14, 201

“Michael Froman, who is now U.S. trade representative but at the time was an executive at Citigroup, wrote an email to Podesta on October 6, 2008, with the subject “Lists.”

This was October 6. The election was November 4. And yet Froman, an executive at Citigroup, which would ultimately become the recipient of the largest bailout from the federal government during the financial crisis, had mapped out virtually the entire Obama cabinet, a month before votes were counted. And according to the Froman/Podesta emails, lists were floating around even before that.”

 Is Compassion the Antidote to Neoliberalism

Is Compassion the Antidote to Neoliberalism

Meanwhile in his article addressing climate change and the disasters and devastation of the petroleum industries’, Monbiot writes in his blog “What Lies Beneath” – a nice play on words – is as biting and bold as his honest assessments always are.

“All this nonsense is a substitute for a simple proposition: stop digging. There is only one form of carbon capture and storage that is scientifically proven and can be deployed immediately: leaving fossil fuels in the ground.

“Their (governments in the pocket of the oil industry) choices are as follows. 1. a gradual, managed decline of existing production and its replacement with renewable energy and low-carbon infrastructure, which offer great potential for employment. 2. allowing fossil fuel production to continue at current rates for a while longer, followed by a sudden and severe termination of the sector, with dire consequences for both jobs and economies. 3. continuing to produce fossil fuels as we do today, followed by climate breakdown. Why is this a hard choice to make?”

In the meantime,

Great Barrier Reef officially declared Dead after 25 million years

Great Barrier Reef officially declared Dead after 25 million years

The Great Barrier Reef is officially dead: http://www.theearthchild.co.za/great-barrier-reef-officially-declared-dead-25-million-years/

I am in the library with my laptop, the only place to come to, not having residual cash to pay at a cafe to sit and linger in communication with the rest of the world. I’m here among library patrons along with a regular homeless population, of which, I guess i’m sort of one. In Tucson, at the grandiose university student library, there were a lot of homeless people too. There are no places to congregate really, unless you have money to spend. I wish to continue writing blogs and doing the research to complete my book, wish to continue playing bass guitar and piano and composing music with computer programs. I am lost as to how to find an artist residency.

… I entertain myself through learning and reading and doing various creative projects, which except for the tools – is free – all the time and effort put in to it have returns in the delivery of delight and joy gained through doing something. It is empowerment through action, not through consumption.

I have been kicked out of numerous places over the last year; parent’s home in PA, the workaway on a ferry in Brooklyn, my friend’s house in PA, the WWOOF i had arranged in the middle of nowhere in Arizona, and then voluntarily from the place i could no longer afford by paying rent with my credit card…and a few other places among familiar people, because people need their space. In fact there are a lot of quite large homes here in Santa Fe and people with homes left vacant while they live in their other homes….and I now have even more stuff that I’ve aggregated to my side; a suitcase of clothes, my laptop, bass guitar, favorite piano book, camera, now a few more frisbees since I’ve joined in on local ultimate frisbee pickup games in each towns I’ve lived in…and yet am almost homeless again, as I’m living so far up into the hills – literally encroaching on the animal habitats of the animals that have no more space for their own territory to live and survive – that my back is started to feel the weight of carrying everything with me down the hill and then trekking back.

I’m going to attend the debates tonight again in a public forum, just to exchange with people around me in their loathing. I had found a place and exchanged a friendly conversation for almost two hours with the woman with whom i thought we had a lot in common, and she said she had to sleep on it, and then never bothered to call me to say she didn’t want me as a housemate. then i moved to this mountain home guest of a man living alone there whose dog I walk, and the other woman who i was going to move in with and had to wait 2 weeks + to move in, called it off at the last moment, after i’d taken down all my signs, stopped looking for housing. a day before move-in i received an email in blue ink, very comforting looking, saying that she wasn’t moving in. then i had my first day at a job substitute teaching and instead of the principal telling me that it wasn’t going to work while I talked to her about potentially exchanging positions with the music teacher substitute who didn’t know how to read music…didn’t bother to tell me to my face that the job was off, but i found a ‘system response’ later that night. Had i not seen it, i would have gotten up again at 5:30 am to get there. then last night, i went to practice bass with a band, and neither of the guys bothered to phone to tell me that this was off, in fact they were playing earlier together with another guy on bass, when the day before i was trying to arrange an alternative night to accommodate the one guys’ new job.

It appears to me that gay men control the fashion and the art industry and then a small percentage of people control everything else. I’ve put out housing ads, and there have been a few people who randomly contact me with obscure cryptic texts, and then there have been a few men who send me pics, practically sexting, to their abs in pictures.

In the meantime, An eye-opening flight over California’s dying forests
By Kurtis Alexander Updated: August 6, 2016 8:00pm

Dead trees sweeping across the Sierras, California's dying forests

Dead trees sweeping across the Sierras – California’s dying forests

The four crew members were halfway through two weeks of flights over landscapes shifting ominously from green to brown, and already they’d begun to draw their conclusion: The mind-boggling number of trees that have died in California due to drought — an estimated 66 million over five years — is only the beginning.

It’s creeping farther north, and to higher elevations, not only providing tinder for wildfires, but also obstructing the forests’ fundamental ability to provide clean water and absorb carbon dioxide.

All i want is an artist residency where I can physically contribute to learning about and maintaining sustainable living, while also helping to ensure animal habitat conservation. My dream; a community of people contributing this, who are also committed to completing new works on an ongoing basis, the work which blends into education and awareness of the fragile planet and interrelationships that need to be sustained. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHRE THESE EXIST? WITHOUT A WAITING LIST?

guess i'm going to have to adjust the sails

guess i’m going to have to adjust the sails

Le plus dur n’est pas de rêver, mais de ce réveiller

….the most difficult is not to dream, but to wake up…..

Carol Keiter, blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music performance and composition

Spiritual Revolution | Mind Shift | Change the Collective Cultural Operating System

I dramatically recommend taking a few moments to watch this interview and discussion between a few brilliant minds with good intentions – with active, undivided attention. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PYpHFwcITI

Full Length – Mind Shift: Enlightening Our Global Culture. And interview by Daniel Pinchbeck, author of the book 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl and creator of the online newsletter http://realitysandwich.com/
with the actor & comedian Russell Brand, currently doing a world tour called “the Messiah Complex” and Eve Ensler who created V-Day through her play “the Vagina Monologues“. As stated in wikipedia, “Ensler is a prominent activist addressing issues of violence against women and girls. In 1998, her experience performing The Vagina Monologues inspired her to create V-Day, a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls.”

Eve states that “the only salvation is kindness”. Russell agrees, a spiritual revolution can be achieved simply with kindness.

I have a very small ecological ‘footprint’. I mostly ride bicycle. I’m not under ANY umbrella, corporate or otherwise, nor have funding or grants. I’m asking that if you read this far, either to make a donation yourself, or ask a friend with more capital (more disposable income) to make one on your behalf! I’ll take .001% of any billionaires that might happen to be reading this. ‘-)) I’m campaigning for myself and asking you to contribute, if you can. The donation button below leads to my German PayPal. The info to fill out is pretty self-explanatory. I need to purchase a new Mac 2nd hand computer, and start all over to acquire software towards writing, design and music composition. The credit card or direct deposit transactions are completely secure! Thank you very much. Feedback is always welcome as well. With love!

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mind closed eyes wide open

mind closed
eyes wide open

mind open  eyes wide shut

mind open
eyes wide shut

| Yes Lab | report on Clowns attacking Wall Street Bull

Speaking of masks and clowns, here they are engaged in political activism in NYC !-))

http://www.yeslab.org/bull
CLOWNS ARRESTED IN NEAR-SUCCESSFUL ATTACK ON WALL STREET BULL
Matador, bull both survive to fight another day

Photos and video: http://www.yeslab.org/bull

A small group of Occupy Wall Street activists engaged in a near-successful corrida against the Wall Street Bull.

The incident began when two clowns, Hannah Morgan and Louis Jargow, scaled the steel barricades protecting the landmark. The clowns began spanking and climbing the beast as well as playing the harmonica, traditional ways of coaxing a bull into anger in preparation for a Castilian corrida, or bullfight.

Within seconds, police officers grabbed both clowns by their colorful shirts and wrestled one of them (Jargow) to the ground. The other (Morgan) continued to play the harmonica until an officer removed it from her mouth.

With the officers thus occupied, a matador in full traje de luces leapt onto the hood of the patrol vehicle parked in front of the bull and boldly presented his blood-red cape to the beast.

“I wondered whether I, neophyte matador, could bring down this behemoth, world-famous for charging towards profit while trampling underfoot the average worker,” said the OWS activist/torero whose first fight this was. “Come what may, I knew I must try.”

Police officers took no notice of the matador, occupied as they were with the clowns.

“This bull has ruined millions of lives!” wailed clown Jargow as he lay on the ground face-down. “Yet he and his accomplices have been rewarded with billions of our tax dollars—and we, here to put a stop to it all, are thrown to the ground. ¡Un escándalo!”

Both clowns were charged with disorderly conduct and released an hour later; they returned to Zuccotti Park to great fanfare. The Wall Street bull continues to rage.

This is a nice pick, the angle taken:

http://www.yeslab.org/bull#photos

Meanwhile across the United States

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/18/us/occupy-protests-across-the-country

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/11/17/occupy_wall_streets_national_day_action

the identity behind the mask | which differentiates my group from your group |

A Polish neurologist acquaintance of mine sent me this article, continuing with the theme of our previous discussion. It’s all about the personas that each of us human beings pull around ourselves like a veil. The word person, is derived from the Latin word referencing the masks that Greek actors wore on stage, to be seen from people far away. I touched on the subject of masks in an earlier blog, referring to these gangs in Los Angeles who use masquerade together with dance, as a stand-off against other gangs.
http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/the-role-of-the-clown-humor-in-imparting-information

The blog “You Are Not So Smart: A Celebration of Self Delusion, prominently states in the introduction to the concept.

The Misconception: You are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is; who celebrates diversity and respects others points of view.

The Truth: You are driven to create and form groups and then believe that others are wrong, just because they are others. ! you are as deluded as the rest of us !

“You Are Not So Smart” is a blog devoted to self delusion and irrational thinking. “There is a growing body of research suggesting you have no idea why you act or think the way you do. The origins of your emotional states, your motivations, your behaviors and beliefs are largely inaccessible to your conscious mind.”

The particular article my friend sent, entitled the illusion of asymmetric insight, talks about the various masks that we use and identify ourselves with, both individually and in groups. What is asymmetric, is the lopsided way that we tend to believe that we understand what lies behind another person or group’s mask, yet feel that the other could not begin to comprehend the degree of complexity that lies beyond our own.

“The idea is this: You put on a mask and uniform before leaving for work. You put on another set for school. You have costume for friends of different persuasions and one just for family. Who you are alone is not who you are with a lover or a friend….and if you don’t step back occasionally and feel a bit bizarre how you are wearing a socially constructed mask and uniform, you are probably a psychopath.”

“You know, as a citizen of the Internet, you obfuscate the truth of your character. You hide your fears and transgressions and vulnerable yearnings for meaning, for purpose, for connection. “… So, you don social masks just like every human going back to the first campfires….You seem rather confident in them, in their ability to communicate and conceal that which you want on display and that which you wish was not. Groups too don these masks. Political parties establish platforms, companies give employees handbooks, countries write out constitutions, tree houses post club rules. Every human gathering and institution from the Gay Pride Parade to the KKK works to remain connected by developing a set a norms and values which signals to members when they are dealing with members of the in-group and help identify others as part of the out-group. The peculiar thing though is that once you feel this, once you feel included in a human institution or ideology, you can’t help but see outsiders through a warped lens called the illusion of asymmetric insight.”

In a series of experiments and questionnaires put out by a cross study or researchers at Stanford together with the University of Illinois, the data gathered revealed that “Most people rated their insight into their best friend as keen, yet in the other direction, felt that the insight that their friend’s possessed of them was lacking”….and when it came to groups, “Both groups thought they knew more about their opponents than their opponents knew about themselves.”

“The illusion of asymmetric insight makes it seem as though you know everyone else far better than they know you, and not only that, but you know them better than they know themselves.”

“The researchers explained this is how one eventually arrives at the illusion of naive realism, or believing your thoughts and perceptions are true, accurate and correct, therefore if someone sees things differently than you or disagrees with you in some way it is the result of a bias or an influence or a shortcoming. You feel like the other person must have been tainted in some way, otherwise they would see the world the way you do – the right way.”

“All primates depend on groups to survive and thrive, and human groups thrive most of all. It is in your nature to form them….humans have an innate drive to develop and observe norms and rituals (which) will express itself even in a cultural vacuum, but there is a dark side to this behavior. As psychologist Jonathan Haidt says, our minds “unite us into teams, divide us against other teams, and blind us to the truth.”

“When you feel the warm comfort of belonging to a team, a tribe, a group – to a party, an ideology, a religion or a nation – you instinctively turn others into members of outgroups, into outsiders.”

If this peaks your interest, read the entire article for yourself! I just wanted to skip to the poignant parts and paraphrase it, for those who don’t have the time or inclination.

Today, scanning the headlines, I found an article which magnetically pulled my attention to it. Once I listened to but the first featured video of an interview with this professor of philosophy, it resonated with me. I write about it in my other blog.

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/a-c-grayling-the-freedom-of-creating-ones-own-meaning-is-a-terrifying-responsibility

The philosopher, A.C. Grayling talks about the fact that the meaning which lies behind things/events, effectively comes from whatever we personally designate – as that which has this or that value. And that our universe, the world that we each create around ourself, is all there is. There is no God, no other deities, just us, that render its meaning. A concept which in itself, is quite a frightening responsibility.

a new chapter of de.light at the end of the tunnel

After being so exhilarated with my recent quest and adventure, and wanting nothing more than to devote my full attention, time and energy to describing and adding to it, ultimately, life got in the way. My present only source of income, after having been cut off from an earlier employer who had subsidized my housing – which afforded me the luxury of time to devote to my own writings – I have had to throw all of my time and attention into making my living. That is, I do business writing, on the topic of consulting. I learn a great deal through the subject matter which I write about, however, I’ve calculated that since my aim is quality rather than quantity, and I am paid per page, my income works out to about 4.50 euro/hour. In other words, it relegates very little time for me to concentrate on any of my other pursuits; of doing outdoor physical sports, writing my blog(s), my children’s book, playing bass guitar and composing music; all which in a perfect world, would and should have priority!

Part of de.light at the end of the tunnel, was the awakening recognition of how I was robbing myself – through the relationship I was devoted to – of celebrating myself & the pleasure of living life devoted to creativity to the fullest. I have realized during this process of awakening, that in fact, I am the only person responsible for the choices that I have made, which have lead to me continually being beaten down and not valued. I have therefore decided to share this letter I wrote, which in itself, is part of my process, of trying to understand, why I chose to commit myself to a person who didn’t value me. I am trying to finally resolve, a series of unfulfilling and unsupportive relationships, with the attempt to break the trend and my own tendency, to keep jumping back into the fire. As my dear father says: I’m like a moth attracted to the flame. Maybe some of this is the adventure of a conquest, but it is rather, a thinly disguised self-loathing, of never feeling that I’m good enough. It’s about time to resolve it and move on, and to start shining the light from within. I share this very personal letter to my ex-flame ha! the irony in that choice of words! I promise to once again continue with stories of my last adventure, and more to come. It appears that Carol the ex-patriot, is about to return from Berlin, Germany to the States, to continue my adventures from there. And if I play the cards right, I will be bounding on even wider adventures – with the help of financial security through grants and sponsors – to assist and support my ability to devote 111% of my precious life’s time towards doing what I passionately love to do the most, and which I do best.

the end of the last chapter:

To the ex-flame,

As usual, I wrote a long email to you, but decided to rewrite this instead. I have already told you many times the things that gratify ‘you’ and what I loved about what we shared. However, there are many things that I did not like, and which I tolerated. I mostly felt very alone, isolated and neglected during our relationship. There was a part of you that I completely respected, a voice that spoke with authority….But that’s not the point here, this isn’t about you, it is about me.

I have not loved and adored ‘myself’. Deep within myself, I have never felt that I deserved love, or that anyone could love me. That’s why I got together with you, and returned again and again, for you to mirror this self-loathing, right back to me! You reflected with your behavior, anger, disappointment, criticism, disrespect, annoyance and disgust with me, exACTly what I felt about myself and what I felt I deserved in life.

At times you may have thought that you saw someone who is confident & arrogant, who appears to know it all, who is fearless and adventurous,
but the other side of this
is a woman highly critical of herself, not confident, and feeling replaceable by anyone.

I was like an object on the periphery from the start when you were together with K. and even when you were ‘together’ with me. You rarely included me in your life or wished for me to know you, or wanted to get to know me. You didn’t value me, support and appreciate who I am and what I do, rarely wanted to spend time with me alone; to go swimming, hiking, traveling together, go on adventures, to go ‘out’ to art & music events, dancing, or even to take time to talk about life.

Hidden there, barely visible, is me, who at times feels attractive, graceful, intelligent, talented, patient, creative, devoted, faithful, compassionate, loving… Every once in a while you would see this part of me, and I think you hated seeing me confident; assuming that I act like I know everything and only want to take advantage of everyone.

It’s true that I am selfish, fearful & not very generous, believe me, I know my negative attributes! I have an addictive personality and such feeble self esteem burning beneath the flicker of confidence and superiority, that I chose to be with you, as you beat me up emotionally and physically.

I have to forgive myself, for incessantly giving all of my power and devotion to you, instead of honoring myself.

all the best,

carol

‘Just Do It’ Narcissism | Self-Love for Sale | UTNE Reader |

I have to admit, I am guilty, with respect to being way too involved in worrying about me, my self, and I… and my own self-perceived developments, strengths, weaknesses, need for improvement….

This article “Self-Love for Sale” reprinted in UTNE Reader, is put forth by the author David Sirota.

He’s talking about the Western World mentality, and specifically American focus on the individual, to the point that talking about ‘doing something for the better of the community’, causes politicians to be snickered at and disregarded. It’s a very interesting and fascinating commentary.

Sirota mentions that getting away with some forms of narcissistic behavior are okay at one level, when it’s not intruding on anyone else. There is, however, potential for damage when the achievement of fame and wealth becomes the central organizing objective of society. The future of the republic is threatened by a sharp increase in the number of people who care only about themselves, and the earth’s ecosystem may not survive the scourge of the smog-belching and gas-guzzling “me” culture that first spread in the late 1970s and 1980s. This modern blast of narcissism all but defines America now, an ugly symptom of a deeper infection that predates the rise of the Internet.