Saturday, July 22, 2017

Vaporous Memory

Vaporous Memory

One of my sons, I think, could be classified as very wise.  In an otherwise normal, run-of-the-mill, conversation, he can come up with some thoughts that really give the listener pause.  He does read a lot and has a consistently good memory.  Quite often when I make a mention of this, he just says, “I came across, read, that somewhere.”

When my son does this, he’s generally paraphrasing, never exact quotes.  This is what a thinker does.  An intellectual; that is to take bits of knowledge from one source (reading) and one, or two, from other sources, put them together – co-join concepts.  And, bring forward an entirely new way to look at it.  That’s an open intellect. 

One of these concepts, philosophical themes, was that memories are actually merely developed convolutions in the outer layer(s) of the brain - the cerebral cortex (I believe).  Memories are not facts, they are no longer real things.  Of course, if they were empirical events in your life, they do seem like facts.  However, they are gone.  PAST.  Over with.  If there was a life lesson to learn from whatever happened, that is good to remember.  Always apply whatever knowledge gained, to future actions and decisions, if they will make your life better, in some way.

BUT, let’s say, you farted in church – or got tongue-tied during a public speech – some event that was deeply embarrassing, there is really no reason the continue to carry that brick around.  You can just let it go.  Take it out of your guilt basket and set it by the road … move on.  Because, it really is vapor.  Can’t be undone, but what is it, really?  It’s just a small dent in your brain matter. 

I know this concept has been around for a very long time – lots of various intellectuals have gone on and on about “letting go of the past”.  ETC.  But this idea that painful memories are not real things, like ideas or thoughts of grand adventures are truly nothing until you actually do them.  We all have the thoughts, the notions, of climbing massive mountains, running marathons (and winning) and/or sky diving, surfing twenty foot waves.  We don’t carry guilt around because we don’t actually do these things.  They might show up on somebody’s bucket list, but we generally just accept that bucket lists are not – like – Legal Contracts.

This popular concept of mindfulness, living in the now, is a good thing.  Mostly I agree with that.  The hard part is applying it.  A small problem with living in the now and being mindful about it, is that it’s still necessary to remember the important stuff that keeps you alive.  Like, that old person driving that huge old car, is not looking both ways before entering a main highway.  In the past, you have learned not to trust that person won’t pull out right in front of you – that they just don’t see you.  All kinds of little pieces of previous life experiences can really save yer butt.

This means that all the while you are being mindful – in the moment ­– you have to continually dip into your mind bank; a.k.a. memory.  All important and useful knowledge is, after millennia of study by great teachers and learners, built on a foundation of prior knowledge.  Simple life longevity is totally founded on this ability to learn, retain and adapt to changes in concurrence with empirical knowledge retained. 

How to make sense of this concept?  Well, it seems, to me, that it can be reduced to something fairly simple.  If a memory is heavy and painful, step around it.  Mentally perform what a computer does when you erase something.  A hard drive, or any form of digital storage, never actually erases anything, it just writes a little piece of code that says, “Ignore the following data” just before whatever you think is being erased.  At the end of that code string of erased data, it resets a command to begin reading code again.  In other words, the computer skips over the erased data. 

A good computer programmer can, if somehow required or rewarded enough, retrieve that data.  A friend of mine, who is one of these kind of programmers, once said, “You have to write it on water, with a pencil, if you don’t want it to be retrieved.”  The human brain is pretty much the same.  The memories never actually go away.  You can never actually rid your brain of bad data.  But, like a computer, you can practice skipping over the stuff that drags you down.

With enough practice at this, it becomes easier and easier to do this.  And, the weight of al that painful thought garbage, lessens and lessens.  This also helps you find mindfulness in each new moment. 

When I meditated, really thought on this notion my son put out, I felt a major part of my own continuing sense of deep depression begin to crack.  And, through that crack some sunshine began to break in.  It did sincerely change my life – or, at least, my life outlook.
Books on Kindle by Dale Clarence Peterson
Peterson ArtWorks on Etsy

Note: for the brave among my dear readers, I offer a new, separate but different blog:
study in a matter of theory and conjecture about human brain-mind development towards retaining ever increasing meta-cognitive development.  Based on Mathematics, and I refer to Base 3 Calculus. I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of people to give it a try.  But if you are in any manner open-minded and intellectually curious, the Math used is truly only a tool to condense the theory proposed. 

Just published  “Twelve Roses for Kathy – A journey on a motorcycle out of the darkness of bipolar disorder”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

SUICIDE!!! Let’s Talk … Chapter 1

SUICIDE!!!  Let’s Talk … Chapter 1

Calm down … stay calm … don’t panic… !!!  ???
It’s time, dear readers, it’s time to talk (talk) about suicide.  I mean really.  After the recent case of the young woman who talked her boyfriend into killing himself – and was convicted!  She could get 20 years in prison – for what was actually emailing and texting with an already very troubled young man.

Let me repeat that.  She texted him to, basically, go through with a plan and method he already had in process.  She was 17 when she hooked up with this guy and 19 when she talked (encouraged) him to finish what he had started.  Just over 20 when she was convicted of “aiding and abetting a homicide”.  The precise details are not as important as our cultural attitude towards the whole topic; as in the concept of killing yourself (suicide).

How does a 19 year old girl have any concept of what it means to end your own life?  How do any of us, no matter the age, really understand the depth of despair that any human brain can inflict on itself when its chemistry is fucked up?  As a species, even with all of the extreme science we have at our fingertips, we still cannot truly fathom what is truly amiss – to such a drastic degree – in a given unique brain.  AND, we still refuse to use the word, suicide, in context in polite (?) conversation.  Just using the word suicide in conversation can (can) have legal consequences.

#killed himself – took her own life – ended it – etc.  We have a word for the start of life – birth (accepting this as independence, or separation, from the mother’s body).  We have a word for creating your death – suicide.  The first, a joyous occasion, we really have no control over, and the second we have determined is a terrible act.  ???

Always study history.  The long range history, anthropologically speaking, suicide is not, by a set standard, considered to be bad, or evil, or even wrong.  In many societies, to support the continuation of that group, taking your self out, when you became too old or infirm to aid in the maintenance of the group, was what you were expected to do.  Take the long walk out onto the ice or in the desert – whatever.  In some societies if you were guilty of committing an act that put some type of horrible shame on your family – ceremoniously gutting yourself was the honorable expectation.

Where things get weird is when religion gets into the mix.  Suicide in support of the groups survival is proper.  Suicide to demonstrate respect and honor for the groups determined moral code is proper.  Bring in some supernatural spirit that is supposedly responsible for creating life, puts a terrible negative spin on everything.  Even in the face of physiological defect within the brain itself, or when a particular brain is so damaged that rational thought and behavior is extremely skewed, suicide is held to be the ultimate wrong-doing.  Or, even when you don’t really know what you are doing, you are NOT supposed to do that.

So, what is my personal stand on suicide?  Frustratingly I find this issue is far more complex than most people want to listen to, read about or even consider.  My first wife committed suicide.  In a deep depression she found a rifle and put a bullet through her own brain.  This was many years before Mental Illness was even on the map.  In essence, at that time, there weren’t many treatment options available.  Almost none.  Medical Science only had a few drugs to help and most of those came with very severe side effects.  Very severe side effects – like hair loss and general stupefaction (just made the afflicted into drooling morons).  She had witnessed this and the side effects when her own mother had had the same problem.  She chose not to take that path.

A friend of mine wrote on his Facebook page, the other day, “the miracle might happen tomorrow”.  Things might just get worse tomorrow for a person – sure, that could happen.  OR, “the miracle might happen”, things could take an unexpected positive direction.  I believe, whenever possible, remembering this very simple theory can push away, at least some of, the clouds. 

One of my mother’s sisters, a college friend, my current wife’s sister – all took their own lives.  All of the elements that came together such that they made the decisions they made resulted in an action that cannot be judged by anyone else – morally.  And, the resulting consequences on family members and friends, it would seem, have very little baring on that decision at the moment of action – pulling the trigger, stepping off the stool or ledge of a high bridge. 

In truth, the miracle could happen tomorrow, it could also happen within the next five minutes of this writing or reading.  In my life 90, or even 180 degree turns have happened with a single phone call, letter, email – even a text these days.  At the darkest moment you cannot see even a glimmer of light, if your eyes are closed.  And, that is my answer.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Stop Shoveling

Stop Shoveling

There is a saying that’s making the rounds, “If you’re the one in the hole, stop shoveling!” 

This seems to be where we are, pretty much, as a species – right now.  That is, we have allowed ourselves to become complacent and, well, just kind of stupid.  Let’s not get into the obvious and simple politics of it all, because that is actually easy to work out– easy to solve those problems.  Or, when you go to the polls (which everyone should do, every chance they get) just don’t vote for the idiots.  Who are easy to spot.  They look stupid.  They answer questions with non-answers and redirection. 

Newscaster:  “How’s the weather where you are Governor?”
Governor being interviewed:  “I just don’t know why we have to keep Handicap Parking Spaces.”

Ummm ,,,  okay   Now, who would actually vote for that idiot?  Well, someone who chose to be stupid, for one.  Yes, dear readers, there are many humans out there, walking around breathing and stuff, who do chose to be stupid AND to remain stupid, all their lives.  Not ignorant, which actually is more accurately defined as “being without knowledge”.  A person can be ignorant of certain scientific facts, and yet not be stupid.  Once they chose to learn those facts, as it were, then they are no longer ignorant of said facts.  And, they can chose to act on the basis of now improved knowledge.

Let’s say one of those facts is, “The deeper a hole is, the harder it is to get out of that hole.”  Just a bit of a fact.  You find yourself in a hole and you want to get out of that hole.  If you chose to not learn the facts about deep holes, then you are stupid and will, most likely, die in that hole.  If you vote for someone who makes things worse, do not be stupid and vote for them twice. 

To become truly learned is a bit scary.  When I used to ski race, we used to say, “If you look at the trees, you will run into the trees.”  It is very natural to look at the thing you do not want to hit.  So, you have to learn to look at the spaces between the trees.  When a person is running for a political office, a position that will affect your life, you must learn to not run into the trees.  You must learn that digging a deeper hole, will not get you out of that hole.  You must learn to not get into a debate about Parking Spaces, when the question was about the weather.

Any Medical Doctor will tell you that if you don’t exercise and use your body, muscles deteriorate, some will even atrophy.  The human brain is a highly sophisticated organ that evolved from what is muscle tissue.  Lots of theories, some of which are beginning to look more like facts, have arisen from this notion, as it were.  Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are primarily genetic, but memory loss and fuzzy thinking are acquired conditions.  Or, stop learning and you will begin to become simply stupid.  Why continue to dig yourself in deeper?
Books on Kindle by Dale Clarence Peterson
Peterson ArtWorks on Etsy

Note: for the brave among my dear readers, I offer a new, separate but different blog:
study in a matter of theory and conjecture about human brain-mind development towards retaining ever increasing meta-cognitive development.  Based on Mathematics, and I refer to Base 3 Calculus. I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of people to give it a try.  But if you are in any manner open-minded and intellectually curious, the Math used is truly only a tool to condense the theory proposed. 

Just published  “Twelve Roses for Kathy – A journey on a motorcycle out of the darkness of bipolar disorder”

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Taboos, Hoo-hoos

Smile … Hah!

“Smile though your heart is breaking…La La La.
 Smile though your heart is aching ….”

“Medicate though your mind is crazy …
 Medicate though your will is lazy …”

“Cutting” is considered self-harm and a symptom of severe mental illness.  Paying someone else to jab ink into your skin, as in “tattooing”, is considered an “Art Form”?  I don’t really know.  I don’t have any tattoos, but I am told by any number of friends who are really into tattoos, that it can really hurt. 

So I can go somewhere and hand over several hundred dollars and get a picture or some stupid symbol, of whose meaning I might have only vague knowledge, jabbed permanently into my skin.  Or, I can stay home and carve a couple of lines on my self somewhere.  And, two weeks later it has healed up and gone away. 

Now I am not advocating this.  I am not advocating cutting!!!  God forbid, anyone should advocate self-harm.

But … think about it.  To display grief over the death of a family member, many, many, many, cultures have all kinds of severe, some super severe, things they do to display their grief and respect and, I guess, love for the departed.  A lot of them fast – as in starve themselves – for, sometimes, lengthy periods of time (like a month).  The indigenous Hawaiians used to knock their front teeth out.  And, remembrance tattoos are common, but so is self-scaring and even branding.

I’m just pulling up the question … I guess.  Some things, cultural taboos ‘n stuff, kind of fascinate and sometimes frustrate me.  For instance, women’s high-heeled shoes.  I don’t get it.  They’re terrible for their feet, uncomfortable (I hear), sometimes downright dangerous, bad for their backs – all kinds of negatives.  For what?  To appear a few inches taller?  Balding men who wear ponytails or hair buns?  What are you trying to say?  Can’t get your motorcycle helmet over a ponytail or a bun, and if you do somehow cram your stupid bun in the helmet – looks really stupid when you take it off.  And, we can still see you’re bald!

Fascinating, to me, is also the American thing with bumper stickers.  Some are really funny, some are cool, some are really foul; but why you take something you spent a huge amount of money on and stick stickers (?) on it.  It’s like getting a tattoo on yer face?  Tattoos are fine, but – well, on your face is kind of  … ;;; what the fuck are you saying with that?

To wrap up – so much is so dependent on how you look at something like behavior.  For my own part, if tattooing wasn't so expensive – assuming you hire an artist with real talent – I'd be as tatted up as a Hell’s Angel.