I’m a Beautiful Butterfly of Light (Suck It, Miss Universe)

No, not really, but I thought it’d be a fun BS post and it gives me an excuse to plug janeybgood’s blog Cupid or Cats. Now there’s a real Butterfly of Light. Thanks to her generosity of allowing any yahoo Jack and Jill to pick up this award, yours truly BBK is now a glimmering, shimmering Butterfly of Light. (And it was even easier than becoming an Ordained Dudeist Minister).

Butterfly of Light Award | The Big Blog of All the Shit I Know

Here are the so-called rules:

1. You must write an acceptance post, making sure you link back to the blogger who awarded you and thank them. You may not lump this award in with a batch of other awards.

2. You must individually name and re-award to a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 9999999 bloggers. You must let them know either personally with a comment on their blog OR a pingback (I’d suggest their about page)

3. You must link back to Belinda’s blog either to http://idiotwriting.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/i-love-charismatic-geeks/ OR http://idiotwriting.wordpress.com/about/ 

4. You must write a short paragraph entitled either “How I’m Spreading Light” OR “How I’m A Positive Influence”

5. Display the “Butterfly Light Award” badge on your blog

It all sounds pretty fascist to me, but no matter. Freedom’s for rednecks and nudist colonies. (But let’s bend the rules anyway).

First up: the nominees. What I love most about blog awards is getting off on the empty ego stroking and what I love second most about blog awards is that I get a chance to give you a look at some blogs I’ve recently enjoyed. And because I can’t plug all y’all’s blogs in this post, I’ll do what I did with my last awards post and say you are free to snatch up this award for yourself and pass it on. I’m all for shameless self-promotion. All you have to do is share the love by nominating some more great blogs.

Blogs Worth Checking Out (in no particular order):

How I’m a Positive Influence:

…… I’m going to cheat and let Louis CK do the talking for me (NSFW language, I guess).

In short, the Internet is a context that helps me lose my expressive inhibitions and allows me to try out my writing on you fellow seekers of knowledge. I like making people smile and offering my take on life (like everyone else on the interwebs) and I definitely love interacting with you guys. Blogging has been something of a blast so far and reading and hearing from you folks is pretty much 90% of what makes it so fun (with the rest of the 10% composed of cat picture posts and jerking around with fundamentalists). So you’re obviously very opposite a “worthless piece of shit” and are the very light that warms the wings of this humble butterfly.

(Whew, is it over yet?)

[and Moose is here somewhere]

Honesty: The Best Policy (…for the Bullshitter)

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul.”

Carl Jung (1875-1961)

In this modernistic/post-modern world, everyone wants The Truth. We want facts told to us straight. We want life, the world, the universe to be deconstructed and pinned to our walls for further analytical dissection. Given the choice to be happy or right, 9 times out of 10, we will choose to be right. We want out of the Matrix and into Zion – full autonomy, fuck The Man, We Are the 99%.

It’s all very cute, really.

And here we come to the Radical Honesty movement. According to radical honesty followers, it is never under any circumstances whatsoever from here to the edge of the Oort Cloud – never – okay to lie. Even that white lie you tell your mother about how fantastic her cooking is is detrimental in the long run. Or something like that.

radical honesty | The Big Blog of All the Shit I Know

At least they’re, well… honest.

All right, to be honest, this is an extremely poor representation of them and they’re idea isn’t all that terrible. I certainly think I lie more than is healthy (or am I just saying that?) The founder of the movement Brad Blanton is just as shady as you or me, he’s just more selective:

“‘I advocate never lying in personal relationships. But if you have Anne Frank in your attic and a Nazi knocks on the door, lie….I lie to any government official.’ (Blanton’s politics are just this side of Noam Chomsky’s.) ‘I lie to the IRS. I always take more deductions than are justified. I lie in golf. And in poker.'”

(Taken from an article in Esquire, which you should definitely read for shits, giggles, and some actually legit information.)

However, a problem with “radical honesty” is that the truth – or what we perceive as the truth – is burdensome. It is selfish to back up your dump truck and unload on everyone all the god damn time. Honesty is not a through and through virtue. It is a tool, just like the rest of human communication. It can be used to build or dismantle, and can just as easily be used to deceive. How much of advertising is built on “not technically lying?”

Blanton believes radical honesty makes for more intimate relationships. Perhaps so for a few people. But how realistic is it? The filters between the mind and the mouth were not developed as a detriment to our development as social organisms. In fact, the filters are essential in establishing social connection. Taking responsibility for what you say is what you do as a human being that gets along with other human beings. Saying something completely insulting, hurtful, or otherwise destructive and then passing it off as “it’s just radical honesty, get over it” is an example of not owning your own crap. It is placing the emotional responsibility on everyone else. If you were to take offense at what a radically honest person says, it’s your problem and that’s that.

Hiding behind honesty is no better than hiding behind lies.

Don’t lie to me now: When’s the last time you told a lie? A white lie? A big fat criminally implicating lie? (Shhh, your secret’s safe here). And what’s your take on Radical Honesty?

George Carlin and the Delusion of “Going Green”

“Take care of yourself – and take care of somebody else.” 

George Carlin (1937 – 2008)

In honor of Earth Day, I’m going to say a few things not particularly Earth Day-friendly. Because what fun would it be to jump on the environmentalist bandwagon? At least the cynic’s bandwagon has air conditioning.

And we can hardly have an environmentalism conversation here on The Big Blog of All the Shit I Know without paying tribute to one of our favorite comedians, George Carlin. If you’ve never seen his stand-up, we forgive you for your sad cultural upbringing and advise you to type “George Carlin” into YouTube. (And you won’t even have to exert much effort because we’ve included a relevant clip at the bottom of this post. You’re welcome.)

Without descending into masturbatory lecturing, this is my overall view on environmentalism and “going green”:

“What a crock of shit.”

Sorry, those are Carlin’s words and while I adore the late comedic icon, I’m afraid I don’t quite share his level of negativity. While I have my existentialist/nihilistic phases, I care about what happens to the world – in so far as I care about what happens to the people I love and the family I will inevitably help create. However, I am only 21. My future family is still a very abstract concept to me, as is the extinction of the human race. You see, when people talk about saving the planet, what they’re really saying is that they’re full of shit. They may never admit it, but they know somewhere in their not-completely-moronic minds that they do not recycle, drive electric cars, install solar panels, or turn off the lights when they leave the room just for the holy sake of the planet.

They know they do it for themselves. Humans, as social as we are, are still animals. And animals are selfish as… well, as is sustainable. Successful organisms are ones that have evolved a functional selfishness-to-altruism ratio for their given environment. An organism that is too selfish fades away because they don’t play well with others. And an organism that is too altruistic, too giving, is not able to sustain itself long enough to pass their genes on.

Humans are no exception to the rules of natural selection. As much as we’d like to think we are all-powerful and all-knowing, we are just another process in the system of the biosphere – in the vast system that is the universe. We are not special or inherently valuable. We’re just here for the time being in our current form. We won’t be the same as we are a million years from now.

That is, if we haven’t driven ourselves entirely extinct.

“Green initiatives” like recycling and better insulating your home are not solutions to our problem. They do not steer us away from our own destruction. Yet like my inability to clearly concretize my future family, it is hard for any of us to see how dire of a situation we will be in if we don’t change course right now. Unfortunately, we already are in a dire situation. As of April 23, 2014, 7:17:13 UTC, there are approximately 7,161,431,682 homo sapiens sapiens in the world. Using estimates of human populations starting 50,000 years ago, this is already 6% of the people who have ever lived in the history of humans on Earth. In math speak, that’s a heck of a lot. [Arbitrary biological distinctions will be discussed in a future article.]

We all like to pat ourselves on the back when we reduce our carbon emissions and drink Coke out of recycled aluminum, but this is not the solution. This only serves to perpetuate our narrative that we can infinitely consume resources to sustain infinite human population growth. While it is true (for now) that we do have the resources to sustain 7 billion people, how much more can we really handle? [You may be thinking about food shortages in countries that aren’t the first world. But by definition, having 7 billion people means having already had enough resources – don’t let disproportionate hunger in third world countries mislead you.] Telling ourselves that recycling and driving electric cars helps cut down our footprint just drives us to consume more. It’s like believing no amount of diet Coke is going to make you fat. This only makes you believe you can drink more diet Coke.

The overall solution is going to involve coming to the realization that we are part of the biosphere and that yes, we will continue evolving and yes, we will die out like the rest of the 99.9% of all species that have ever existed on Earth.  If our resources run out, we run out. We cannot game the system. Really, there is no need to. I am far from an authority on sustainability or biology, but I do know that we are capable of living sustainability. Look at human tribes across the world. This does not mean we need to ooga-booga our way back to the Stone Age with technology no more advanced than rocks and sticks. That’s straw man thinking. We can use current and future technology to actually satisfy and sustain us, not keep us consuming a new iOS every two months.

In the end, far after our current species of human are gone, the third rock from the sun will be all right – “the earth plus plastic.” And while there is no inherent good, this also means humans are not inherently bad. We just are. So we need to stop deluding ourselves into thinking we’re invincible and start facing our natural fallibility.

So much for not descending into masturbatory lecturing. Pro going green, against going green, in between going green – we would absolutely love to hear from you. Please help start this orgy and share your thoughts below. 

Lesson Quickie: The Fox and the Fermented Grapes

Most of us know the story of “The Fox and the Grapes” (not to be confused with the thinly veiled racism metaphor The Fox and the Hound.) If you don’t, shame on the sparse environment you were raised in and read it here. And if you’re too lazy to read even that, I can sum it up for you first-grade-primer style:

Fox sees grapes on tree.
Fox jumps up for grapes on tree.
Fox fails.
Fox says “Fuck the grapes. They’re probably nasty.”
Fox walks away.

First graders these days are saying “fuck,” right? I digress. The moral of this fable is that it’s easy to disdain what’s hard to reach. It’s where the term “sour grapes” comes from.

Grapes Flip Flops | The Big Blog of All the Shit I Know

Google searching “flipping off grapes”…

However, if there’s anything we’ve learned together on our magical journey through this blog, it’s that the stories we accept with the fewest questions are the ones that we should question most. While the most accepted interpretation of the story is the fox rejecting the grapes out of pride and lack of ambition, another perspective to take would be this: It is often more wise to disdain the unreachable than it is to try to reach them. 

A story many middle class Americans  are raised on is “The Rudy Effect,” the belief that trying your darndest is enough to lead you to success. No. Just, no. As the wise and powerful Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.” You either make it on the team or you don’t. Get the promotion or you don’t. Get the girl/guy/it or don’t. The underdog is not always so glorious a position – not without a helluva lot of hard work (and a sprinkle of luck). If a goal you’ve set is realistically unreachable and will only cause you pain and detriment in the pursuit of it, then let it go, let it go…

Dammit, Disney. Damn you to hell.

Quickie Wrap-up:

Sour grapes can be turned to wine. But only from the branches you can actually reach.

Recommended Reading:

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Easter, Eggs, and The Etymologicon

“It’s narrow-minded to think words are nothing more than what the Oxford English Dictionary says they are. As a friend of mine said, ‘Remember that language is no more or less real than math, and words are no more things than unicorns.'”

Stressing Out College

My family, not being particularly religious, doesn’t celebrate Easter. The most we do is take my youngest siblings Easter egg hunting. Maybe eat at Red Robin. And that’s if we’re feeling particularly special on this otherwise normal Sunday.

Don’t worry, this isn’t an “Easter is a pagan holiday and Jesus doesn’t exist post.” Over on The Big Blog of All the S#!t I Know, I’ve been partaking in [not really] the April A-Z Challenge. The month is almost over and I’m only on the letter “E.” Hooray for laziness. And I’ve also been neglecting this blog, so I’m just using the topic of Easter as inspiration and to segue into talking about etymology (because it’s alliterative, of course).

Words are fascinating, to express my feelings simply. They rock my crocs and allow me to convey ideas both inane and relevant. As much as I aspire to be one…

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