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There are some funny little devices I’ve seen out on the internet which when you switch them on, a little hand comes out and turns itself right off again. When democracy fails it’s a bit like this. Any political system is a sort of machine, and when a democracy elects a tyrant or a theocracy it’s the hands of the people coming out and flipping off the machine, possibly forever.

In my theory about population dynamics there will always be a homeostatic balance between conservative and progressive. Not a PERFECT balance, simply the local balance tuned in to the local cultural wavelength. (I give a specific breakdown of what these labels really mean elsewhere.) On both sides there is wide gradient of belief but conservatives are essentially the loyal foot draggers. They ALWAYS feel that things are going out of control and that invaders are coming and that whatever the old school authority is, it doesn’t get enough respect, dammit.

There are absolutely loads of moderate and reasonable people within the conservative group. But rather like deep water, the pressure builds as we dive down into this way of believing. The extreme range of these people are angry and excitable, ferociously loyal to authority and something I might call “clean original beliefs“. Those beliefs could be about the founding fathers or Islam or Serbian nationalism, it isn’t important. Conservative people are the bedrock defense force of whatever culture they inhabit. They suffer with revulsion at everything that isn’t on message. An intriguing fact is that in psychological tests conservatives really do suffer more revulsion at disgusting pictures than the rest of the population. This is true to the point that it is diagnostically accurate. Scientists think the emotion of disgust evolved to make us keep away from things that could poison us or spread disease.  Conservatives, in this light are acting as an automatic force of rejection toward all that feels foreign or “Just not right, somehow.” * Continue reading

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In comparison to the mental states and accomplishments that normal folks take for granted: Remembering, initiating, and persevering.

ADHD is the Cerebral Palsy of executive function. Having ADHD is like living in a world where gravity increases and decreases randomly, but it only affects you. One day you are bouncing along with everyone else, carrying school books and groceries, and the next day your arms and legs are unresponsive. You crawl. If you don’t keep up, your grades will suffer, or you may not keep that job. Too bad. You look flakey, lazy and self-indulgent. Your story about gravity changes nothing, it means nothing to anyone. People tell you to try harder but you don’t know how. You can’t establish any traction between you and the problem.

Deciding to act, and beginning to act, are discrete neurological functions. They each require a chain of cellular transactions and feedback just like any other biological process. In healthy people, these steps are as natural and unconsidered as reaching out to pick something up. The beauty of a healthy system is its fluidity and transparence, the effortless unconscious event. The problem when normal people try to imagine ADHD is that they have never had trouble with this system so they do feel it is a system. “It’s easy, just do it!”

When the ADHD person says “I don’t know why, but I can ‘t do this… ” It’s mystifying to most people – because they don’t recognize this mental function as a distinct process that can have a kink in it. What they generally say is:  “Of course you can! ”   Having ADHD is like living in a world where time speeds up and slows down in crazy ways but it only affects you. Deadlines hover lazily in the distance and then slam forward in a disjointed way that doesn’t make any sense and you scramble awkwardly to complete the work, buy the present, or pay the bill. Even though this has happened to you all your life you won’t understand the next deadline any better than the last one. We are time blind. We are driving through fog and can see about 20 feet in front of the car.   Every neurology has a view of time. The common sense of how long a month or an hour is, describes the neurological norm for this function. ADHD people have an unpredictable function in this area which is comparable to incorrectly gauging how near or far objects are and crashing into them over and over. Normal brains look at this behavior and understandably ask:  “What is WRONG with you?” Continue reading

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Just some new experiments playing with the idea of shadow-boxes: Photos as little tableaus of two dimensional cut outs.

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2016-in-the-news

  1. Take 2 drinks whenever number one comes up, and stare silently out into the night.
  2. Take 1 big drink when number two comes to your attention and consider what you’d need for an emergency getaway bag.
  3. Raise 1 thoughtful, appreciative toast.
  4. Research cutting edge cocktail technology and have 3.
  5. Sext everyone on your contacts list and await results with 5th of vodka.
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  1. Every restaurant would be theirs with the same food and prices except for one other that imitated Comcast as much as it could.download
  2. You couldn’t order just a sandwich or just the soup or just a coke; everything comes grouped and each group costs at least $20. If you demand your sandwich without soup it costs $19.50. 
  3. Silverware and plates are extra.
  4. They would routinely double and extra charge, read your receipt carefully every time.
  5. The restaurant staff would would show the interest and enthusiasm of 50’s era Soviet shop clerks.
  6. They would promise to get your food to you within a 3 to 4 hour block of time, or perhaps not. If they don’t make it you’d climb through a 16 step phone tree to reschedule.
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iran79This is a picture of women protesting the forced Hijab in Iran days after the 1979 revolution. Don’t forget this and the fact that they lost this freedom when you are defending the Hijab.

Is it really too hard hard to hold two thoughts in mind at the same time? You can be tolerant toward emigrants AND see the ways their culture is anti-women (and gays, and freedom of speech). Your ancestors saw these things in OUR culture and fought them, not to success, but to an ever threatened improvement. It’s obvious that right wing Americans consider equal rights for women to be a political football and very much in play.

Progress is never a settled issue. Ignoring the things your own mothers hated having forced upon them, while claiming a feminist perspective is cognitive dissonance. Other cultures are not wiser, purer, better than us. It’s like saying you can’t understand what food tastes like. Taste it.


Also… The image to the right does not represent my opinion, I’m critiquing it. hkapology
This is a logical fallacy, a false equivalence on several levels.
It aims to equate honor killings, a socially accepted, cold blooded, ethically based rationale for murdering a family member with a sampled statistic for north american murders of women.

1. We consider murder a horrible crime with no religious or other mitigation. Where honor killings are practiced they are seen by some as murder and by many as a cultural/religious obligation.
2. They also have regular horrible murders, which the article ignores entirely, satisfied with the math it’s done so far.
3. In standard Islam, a man is committing no crime by beating his wife. In fact it is a cultural norm approved by religious authorities.
4. Ultimately what does the article wish us to think? It seems that the idea is to neutralize any outrage at honor killings by saying to ourselves: “I live in a flawed place too, Who am I to judge?”

And don’t forget in Islamic courts , known in many places as “THE court” women’s testimony counts half or even a third as much as a man’s. The cultural norms we are talking about display a pattern of treating women as goods and chattels and should be despised by people who are happy to see that idea stamped out here.
It’s astounding to me that a woman taking a theoretically feminist stance would write this letter which plays out as becoming an apologist on the subject of honor killings. I could imagine virtually the same letter being written by a conservative Islamic cleric.

There is a huge taboo on disliking and judging  any culture except our own. Hating OUR culture is a given in politically correct circles. I have no comfortable seat on this subject, as the right wing tends to only like “our culture” in the same way the people with gluten allergies like baked goods. If there’s a conclusion, it’s that when you separate something from the political scrum around it, you can see it’s merits and failings for exactly what they are.

 

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