Saturday, August 19, 2006

Most of My Subs Are on Strike


Have you ever worked for a boss who demands perfection and no matter how well you perform, it just isn't good enough? That's what it's like to live with a dominant perfectionist subpersonality. The Perfectionist requires that everything be done perfectly, that I never make mistakes, that I never rock the boat, and that I never do anything that might make someone else angry or uncomfortable. As you can see, there is also a bit of the Pleaser wrapped up in this subpersonality.

I spent much of the last year working to understand and control another subpersonality (my Inner Critic) -- another kind of manager, which is the role the Perfectionist plays. I've had some success with the other sub, but now the Perfectionist has been trying to run the show for the past few months, especially since a minor meltdown back in early July.

The result is that I have to be perfect at work with my clients; I have to be perfect in my relationship with Kira; I have to be perfect in how I post here on my blog; and I have to perfect in how I interact in the pods at Zaadz. The topper of all the toppers is that many of my clients work with me as an integral coach, so I feel even more pressure to be perfect with them.

The downside is that my other subs are fed up with the pressure, and they have gone on strike. My posts here have been shallow and very impersonal, which goes against my intent. I avoid other people as much as possible. I procrastinate everything (I recently bought more clothes to avoid doing laundry -- it was easier). And I have avoided picking up new clients at the gym even though I have openings.

All the other subs seem to have said, "Yo, Perfecto, you want perfect? Do it yourself." Since that sub only has the power to push me toward perfection and not to actually follow through (it's a manager, remember), I'm stuck with all my other subs walking the picket line and no one wanting to do any work.

I didn't realize this was what was happening until this afternoon when Kira initiated "a talk" about why there was a lack of emotional continuity in our relationship lately. After I got past being defensive and quieted the Perfectionist a**hole that insisted it couldn't be him, I was able to see what was happening. Gotta love having an observer self.

One of the great and awful things about relationship is that there is nowhere to hide. Kira sees me in ways I sometimes don't want to be seen. She may not know what is going on, but she knows that something is amiss.

Anyway, for the year that I was in therapy, my therapist kept pushing at my Perfectionist, asking me if it was exhausting to always have to be perfect. I was very intellectual about the whole thing, and thought, "Yeah, I guess it is kind of tiring. But that's the price I pay to be good at what I do -- no matter what it is." All ego and no emotion. That's the manager that got fired and made room for the Perfectionist to take over.

Today, for the first time, the emotion kicked in and I FELT how exhausting it is to live with that voice inside my head. How exhausting it has been to live with that voice ever since I was a small child and learned that my father would love me more if I didn't make mistakes, if I always got good grades, or if I was always the best athlete. But then he began to expect all that and stopped acknowledging it, so I had to work even harder to deserve his love. Like a dog chasing its tail.

I'm sure many other kids had similar parents and aren't whining about it on a blog. That's great. But this is one of the things blocking my path to being a more integrated and healthy person, so I am determined to fix it. Now that I know what is happening, maybe the Perfectionist will sit down at the bargaining table with the other subs and hammer out a deal that works for everyone.

I know the Perfectionist is just trying to ensure that I don't embarrass myself and that other people will see me as competent, which keeps my ego happy. That behavior doesn't serve me well anymore, however, so I need to find other ways for the Perfectionist to get its needs met -- and to remove him from his manager role. I'm not sure which sub is best qualified to run the show, but we need new blood at the top to get the others back on the job.

Elegant Thorn Review Is Live with New Content

I'm pleased to announce that Elegant Thorn Review has new content: a photo by John Craig and a poem by Tiel Aisha Ansari.

I am in desperate need of submissions, especially photography. But I also need some good poetry. Guidelines are posted at the site. I know there are a lot of good poets in the Buddhist and integral worlds. Please pass this on to anyone you know who might be interested.


Poem: Eamon Grennan

[Winter Morning Run #4]

Cold Morning

Through an accidental crack in the curtain
I can see the eight o'clock light change from
charcoal to a faint gassy blue, inventing things

in the morning that has a thick skin of ice on it
as the water tank has, so nothing flows, all is bone,
telling its tale of how hard the night had to be

for any heart caught out in it, just flesh and blood
no match for the mindless chill that's settled in,
a great stone bird, its wings stretched stiff

from the tip of Letter Hill to the cobbled bay, its gaze
glacial, its hook-and-scrabble claws fast clamped
on every window, its petrifying breath a cage

in which all the warmth we were is shivering.

Speedlinking 8/19/06

Welcome to the weekend!

Let us commence to linking . . . .

~ The Zero Boss reports on the demise of abstinence-only sex ed in Canton, OH. Jay is a funny man.

~ Brian at Zaadz posted a link to another Zaadz member, Nick Krasnic, who has created a movie called Alex Grey: The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. Here is the trailer:

~ Matthew Dallman responded to my comments in defense of SDi and Gravesian theory. He feels SD is useless, and in fact, a distraction to answering the real question as he sees it, which is how to "reign compassionately yet victoriously over Islamic terrorists." I'm waiting to see a viable answer from his side of the fence.

~ Geoff Falk is an angry, angry man. He has posted something he claims to have received from I-I, but I did not get anything, and I'm on all the mailing lists. Falk is a little skeptical, as he should be, since the piece aims at him sometimes and has the tone of a Wyatt Earpy post, though mellower.

~ Gareth at Green Clouds posted his Friday’s Jamboree, a roundup of Buddhist blog posts from the last week. Good stuff to be found there.

~ Steve Pavlina posts on the Law of Attraction. He's going out on some pretty thin limbs here, so be warned that logic may not be the currency of that post.

~ For you conscious business fans out there, How to Save the World has posted his vision for and defense of a new Proposal: The New Enterprise Coaching Foundation. Sounds pretty cool if I were into business coaching rather than integral coaching.

~ Colmar seems to be dismayed that the Dems, or at least Joe Biden, have declared war on Walmart, perhaps the most uncompassionate business model on the planet. What really bothers Colmar seems to be the Dems support of unionizing Walmart employees. Walmart is the second largest employer in the US (after the government), and in AZ, at least, they are the number one employer with employees on public assistance. And that $10/hr number in the article is from the Walmart website and bears no semblance to the $6/hr people start at in actual Walmart stores here in the desert.

~ Ray Harris is a pro-Western progressive. He also defends Israel's just war.

~ Amadeus at dharma::vision adds to the Walmart debate with an unlinked quote:
When asked about the idea that Wal-Mart runs "mom and pop" stores out of business Andrew Young, Wal-Mart's public relations specialist told the Los Angeles Sentinel that those small stores "are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables...They've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs...."
~ P2P Foundation offers a bunch of tasty links.

~ MSNBC says that now that the war is over, Hezbullah is shifting from fighting to politicking while they rebuild, regroup, and rearm.
Abu Ahmed is one of Hizbullah's point men in the reconstruction of the dahiye, the Shiite-dominated southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital that housed Hizbullah's offices and TV station that were hit hardest by the Israeli attacks of recent weeks. Outside his office, many neighborhood residents have lined up with deeds and other official papers to request compensation. Abu Ahmed claims that Hizbullah is paying out an average of $12,000 dollars, roughly equivalent to one years' rent in the neighborhood, to families who lost their homes during the monthlong war. The next phase of activity will focus on shops and businesses that have been damaged.
~ The Nation looks at The Dictionary of Republicanisms: One Year Later.

~ For all you art lovers,
deviantART is a cool site that allows you to browse tons of art in all mediums and styles. I started a page that I will add to later today.

Alrighty then, that's all I have this morning. It's Saturday, so take a nap, pet the cat (or dog), and tell someone you love them.

Friday, August 18, 2006

New Poem

[image source]

This is a first draft without any edits (which may be obvious). Just wanted to get it out, now, as it is, and post it before I can get self-conscious about it.


black asphalt parking lot shimmers
in the afternoon heat, empty
except for a few cars scattered
in the far corners

Elliott Smith plays in my earphones,
his sad acoustic guitar
accenting the life-weariness
in his heroin-addled voice

so many nights a bottle in my hand
comforted me while Elliott tried
to confirm the Seattle rain's promise
that it never gets better

I remember those nights
as little more than a poem
I once read, vague words
and images of decay

now this desert sun, ever-present,
dissolves the self, melts everything
beneath its glow, blurs the lines
separating me from myself

I sit in the evening, sticky
and salty, never quite getting cool
enough, so I watch my breath,
and wander off the cushion

but the breath anchors me in now,
pulls me back to its rhythm,
a stillness that still feels strange
when hungry ghosts crave escape

my mind repeatedly tries to flee
and recalls a night I saw Elliott
play at the Crocodile Tavern,
he seemed so painfully shy

later that night in the bar,
I bought him a beer and thanked him
for his music, but I wish now
I had simply held his hand

Animusic: Acoustic Curves

"Acoustic Curves" from Animusic.

Withdrawing from the World

[The Hermit]

This was the Daily Om from a couple of days ago:
Coming Out Of Hiding

There are times in our lives when withdrawing from our social obligations and taking some time to be alone is necessary to rejuvenate our energy and renew our connection to ourselves. However, there are also times when withdrawal is a red flag, indicating an underlying sense of depression or some other problem. We may not even have consciously decided to isolate ourselves but wake up one day to find that we have been spending most of our time alone. Perhaps it's been a long time since friends who used to call have given up. Without anyone inviting us out, we sink deeper into alienation.

The longer our isolation lasts, the harder it becomes to reach out to people. It is as if we have failed to exercise a particular muscle, and now it is so weak we don't know how to use it. Yet, in order to return to a healthy, balanced state of being, that's exactly what we need to do. If you find yourself in this situation, call an understanding friend who will listen to you with compassion, not a defensive friend who may have taken your withdrawal personally. The last thing you need is to be chided; a negative response could intensity your isolation. If you don't have a kind friend you can rely on, call a spiritual counselor or therapist. They may be able to help you determine the underlying cause of your isolation and help you find your way out of it.

When you've been in a pattern of secluding yourself, it can begin to seem impossible that you could reenter the world of friendships, conversations, and group activities, but with time, you will. Most people will understand if you take the time to explain that you've fallen out of touch and would like to reconnect. Take your time and be gentle with yourself, starting with one person and building from there. Try to reach out to one new person every week. Before you know it, you will find yourself back in the company of friends.
I am, by most people's standards, a hermit. Aside from work and a couple of friends I have very little social life. I like it that way. I posted a few days ago on HSP and social anxeity, and I think part of my chosen isolation is a result of those two qualities.

Not everyone is designed to be a social butterfly. This article mentions being able to distinguish between isolation as a need and isolation as a pathology. However, for some of us, the line isn't so clear. We need more time alone than others -- to whom we may look strange with our need for quiet and being alone.

Some of us have a couple of friends, or a partner, and need little more. The issue of which to be conscious is allowing anxiety to be the factor that keeps us alone. It's one thing to need alone time to recharge after a day spent in a social atmosphere (very draining), and another to be alone because leaving the house creates anxiety.

If we can bring mindfulness to our need to be alone, we can distinguish healthy needs from unhealthy fears. And if we can bring mindfulness to the fear, and learn to see it as an object instead of living within it, then we will no longer be its prisoner. Of course, that's easier said than done.

Poem: Denise Duhamel

[image source]

Buddhist Barbie

In the 5th century B.C.
an Indian philosopher
Gautama teaches "All is emptiness"
and "There is no self."
In the 20th century A.D.
Barbie agrees, but wonders how a man
with such a belly could pose,
smiling, and without a shirt.

Speedlinking 8/18/06

If my father were still alive, he would be 80 years old today. I send him prayers for a peaceful new incarnation.

In cheerier news, IT'S FRIDAY!!

Happy linking . . . .

~ Matthew Dallman posted a brief note yesterday that led me back to Tuff Ghost's blog and a discussion on the (non)usefulness of Spiral Dynamics. Essentially, MD is arguing that SD is worthless due to its "mangling of reality." I know MD is well-versed in SD theory, but I think so many others simply see it as steps on a ladder that they can easily use to describe people or cultures.

What most people who talk about SD miss is that each stage develops as a corrective to the previous stage, and that each stage is the result of biopsychosocial responses to specific life conditions. For example, you simply will not see much Orange/rationalist/achiever-self development in a pre-industrial society -- the conditions are not present for such an adaptation to occur.

In order for SD to make sense, we really need to add the integral component and make it SDi -- Clare Graves intuited this long before Ken Wilber stumbled upon the quadrants. Graves was looking at all the ways that people respond to increasing complexity and new challenges, including the interior (personal and collective) and the exterior (new social structures and biological adaptation in the form of complex patterning in neurons and changes in neurotransmitter levels). There is much more to SDi and Gravesian theory than most people grasp, so it tends to look useless and/or that it mangles reality.

~ David Jon Peckinpaugh at Zaadz blogs on The Most Pretentious Collection Of People On The Net, and who might those people be, you ask? Those who want to change the world David Jon answers.

~ spiritofnow at where do you want to go, my heart? blogs on Speaking of Faith, the radio show. She is looking especially at gay marriage and the problems of organized religion in moving beyond its small worldview. There's a lot of discussion in the comments, and some of it is on topic.

~ Politicians beginning to use MySpace (a Rupert Murdoch company, for those who care about such things) to campaign, including using the comments section "as an informal focus group." Saw that coming.

~ John Mark Karr has confessed to killing JonBenet Ramsey, but many have doubts -- including me, and I am certainly no expert. He would have been very young at the time of the murder to have done such a crime, outside the usual profile. And that is just the beginning.

~ Is installing another puppet dictator becoming an option for the Bush administration in Iraq? The Progressive thinks a hint was offered in the New York Times.

~ Jon Stewart rocks:

~ has The 5 Most Obviously Drug-Feuled TV Appearances Ever, including the 1987 Crispin Glover appearance on David Letterman.

~ Common Dreams reports than Sensitive Alaska Wetlands Soon Open for Oil Drilling.

Okay, then, short selection today. Maybe more later.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sogyal Rinpoche on Discriminating Awareness

[our many selves]

From yesterday's Rigpa Daily Glimpse:
The more often you listen to your discriminating awareness, the more easily you will be able to change your negative moods yourself, see through them, and even laugh at them for the absurd dramas and ridiculous illusions that they are.

Gradually you will find yourself able to free yourself more and more quickly from the dark emotions that have ruled your life, and this ability to do so is the greatest miracle of all.

The Tibetan mystic, Tertön Sogyal, said that he was not really impressed by someone who could turn the floor into the ceiling or fire into water. A real miracle, he said, was if someone could liberate just one negative emotion.

~ Sogyal Rinpoche
This may be the single greatest gift I have received from Buddhism -- the ability to free myself from dark emotions when they come up. In the past, I would get angry and stay angry, or get depressed and stay depressed. Even when I wanted out of the feelings, I had no tools to free myself from the energy.

But as I have learned to separate myself as subject from my emotions as objects, I have become much more able to say, "I feel hurt," rather than "I am hurt," and then let it go. The first phrase treats the emotion as a thing I experience, the second phrase treats the emotion as a thing that I am -- a fusion with the emotion where "hurt" becomes the subject, the me.

We can do this with parts of ourselves as well. All of us have many selves -- we "contain multitudes," as Walt Whitman said. These parts, or selves, or subpersonalities have developed for many reasons, but usually to protect us (as vulnerable children) from pain or trauma. When we outgrow them, they do not go away. If we encounter an event or a person or an experience that mirrors the one that engendered the subpersonality in the first place, it will be triggered to act. A sub can literally take over our personality and displace the self. [In some forms of mental illness, a sub or an alliance of subs have completely displaced the self.]

If we can disidentify with a sub that has been triggered -- through discriminating awareness -- we can relate to it as a separate object rather than only being able to see through its eyes. And that is exactly what happens when a sub is triggered -- we are literally possessed unless we can disidentify with it.

If we can learn to think in terms of "I have many subs, but I am not my subs, Who am I?" we can begin to break free of the trance state that subpersonality activation produces. We can refine that phrasing to me more specific:
I have an angry self, but I am not my anger, Who am I?
I feel my anger, but I am not my feelings, Who am I?
I think angry thoughts, but I am not my thoughts, Who am I?
I have angry needs, but I am not my needs, Who am I?
I experience all these things, but I am none of these things, Who am I?
This is simply a variation on the disidentification exercise that is used in psychosynthesis, a variation of transpersonal psychology created by Roberto Assagioli.

As we learn who are subs are and what they need, we can reintegrate the ones we no longer need, learn to manaage the ones we still need, and learn how not to let them take over who we are. It's no fun to look back at something I have done and wonder who in the world that person was -- cause it sure wasn't me.

Borowitz Report: Hillary Offers to Housesit for Bush

From the fertile, and sometimes twisted, mind of Andy Borowitz:

Hillary Offers to Housesit for Bush
Would Water Plants, Read Presidential Briefings in Oval Office

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) said today that she was "just trying to be helpful" when she offered to housesit for President Bush at the White House for the remainder of August.

Sen. Clinton, who was immediately criticized by congressional Republicans for advancing the proposal, said that her only intention was to "hold down the fort" while Mr. Bush took his traditional August vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

"I would water plants and take in the mail," Sen. Clinton told reporters. "And if any Presidential Daily Briefings come across the desk with titles like 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the U.S.,' I would read those for him."

Leading Republicans on Capitol Hill blasted Ms. Clinton's offer, with Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) claiming that the house-sitting proposal "reeked of opportunism."

"She just wants to know what it's like to be in the Oval Office," Sen. Frist said. "After all, when her husband was in there, he always kept the door locked."

At the President's ranch in Crawford, White House spokesman Tony Snow said that Mr. Bush had politely declined Sen. Clinton's proposal, "although the offer to read stuff for him was pretty attractive."

Mr. Snow said that if Sen. Clinton really wanted to be helpful, she could come out to Crawford and do the chores that Mr. Bush finds too onerous.

"There are plenty of things the President doesn't like to do at the ranch," Mr. Snow said. "Like talk to Cindy Sheehan."

Elsewhere, former FEMA chief Michael Brown said he would mark the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by returning his calls from a year ago.

Speedlinking 8/17/06

I'd like to begin today's speedlinks with a finger pointing to a new links category on the sidebar, Other Cool Sites. I'll be expanding this a bit in the coming days, but I want to acknowledge the first link, Religious Forums, a cool community where people can discuss religions and spirituality in a civilized way. All the major religions are represented and there are other areas of discussion, as well. It's a great resource, so stop by and check them out -- registration is free.

Alrighty then . . . .

~ CJ Smith at Indistinctunion offers Political Wrap-up I: Int'l. and Political Wrap Up II: Domestic--Trans-Racial Discourse. Give these a look. Smith is a good writer and engages with his critics.

~ C4Chaos wants to turn his considerable intellect and energy outward instead of inward. He plans to begin growing the WE part of his world through social enterprise.

~ Generation Sit is out of business. But Vince is planning a 2.0 version: Buddhist Geeks, coming soon.

~ Sujatin at lotusinthemud introduces us to gWiki, the wiki for the Green crowd.

~ How to Save the World has another excellent post, this one on how to find meaningful work. This is a good blog, right up there with Steve Pavlina on some days. Check it out.

~ Check out the Triple Tofu Tower at the Chubby Vegan. [Link posted by Brian at Zaadz.]

~ Matthew Dallman is sure we love to hate Ann Coulter. He's grooving on a piece by Elspeth Reeve in The New Republic, a well-written defense of Coulter's ability to shock and awe liberals with her half-truths and reductionism.

~ Mike at Unknowing Mind takes on the inherent good or evil debate.

~ DK Matai at Deepak Chopra's Intent Blog has a nice piece about Interfaith Dialogue - Unity of Man & Conflict, which reposts an article by His Holiness Master Kirpal presented at the Third World Religions Conference in New Delhi, India, in 1965.

~ Speaking of Deepak Chopra, he has the gall to suggest that Freedom Doesn't Have to Be Democracy. The hell, you say!?

~ Amaze your friends! Impress your boss! You, too, can make crop circles! No need to let those pesky aliens have all the glory, Dreamflesh informs us that all we need is The Field Guide: The Art, History and Philosophy of Crop Circle Making.

~ Jon Stewart on Bush's summer reading choice:

~ Our federal government has found a "legal" way to allow single sex classrooms. These are public schools, mind you, not our own version of the madrassa.

And that's enough for one morning. Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Video: Five For Fighting: 100 Years

One of my favorite songs from the last couple of years.

Monalisa Descending a Staircase

Two-dimensional clay animations melding and merging the work of 35 famous artists.

Different Ways Of Navigating

[A simplified version of a psychograph]

The text below was yesterday's Daily Om. It's a nice explanation for why we might want to work on bringing up our inferior function. Or in the language of integral, it's why we might want to work on our inferior developmental lines to create a more balanced psychograph.
Different Ways Of Navigating
We're All In The Same Boat

We're all in the same boat. We just have different paddles, and perhaps we find ourselves on different rivers. We all live in human bodies. These are the vehicles in which we move through our world. We are all made of flesh, blood, and bone, with brains, hearts, and lungs to power us. Our paddles-the tools we use to move through the world-vary, as do the bodies of water-the environments-in which we find ourselves.

Some of us use our high IQs to get where we want to go. Some of use our smiles, others use kindness, a gift with language, or athletic ability. Some of these qualities we were born with and others are skills we have learned. Considering this metaphor in light of your own life can be very enlightening. What tools are you using to get from point A to point B in your life? Chances are, you and the people you know have used many different tools in various combinations throughout your lives to get where you needed to go. Just as with oars or pat. ddles, a balanced approach is best. If you rely too much on one thing, like beauty, to open doors, you fail to be well-rounded and you may eventually lose your equilibrium. And if you lose that one quality, you have no paddle at all. This is inspiration to develop multiple tools to navigate your world.

Some of us may be moving along paths that are like rushing rivers; others may be on a large, still lake. We have all felt, at one time or another, tossed about on a stormy ocean. Through all this, we are never really alone, even though it might seem that way. There is inspiration all around us in the form of other people making their way through the world, in the very same boat. Remember to look around you for role models, companionship, and encouragement.

Speedlinking 8/16/06, Part Deux

Today's lesson is to never reload a frame within the Blogger post creator -- it reloads the wsiwyg editor completely, and "recover post" only works sometimes. Dumb. Very dumb.

So, let's try this again. I'm sure there is no way to recapture the wit of my early morning, barely awake writing, but it's the price I pay. So, then, Once More, With Feeling:

~ P2P Foundation posts that a Swedish “pirate party” launches a commercial darknet. This essentially allows subscribers to send files without an electronic trail. Bet the NSA would love something like that to spring up over here.

~ Sean at Deep Surface has been laying low of late -- turns out he was climbing Mount Shasta. Damn! Lucky man. That is something I always wanted to do when I was going to college only a couple of hours away in Ashland.

~ Two great articles at Integrative Spirituality:
* Alignment Beyond Agreement by Yasuhiko Genku Kimura: "Alignment is congruence of intention, whereas agreement is congruence of opinion." Check it out.
* Meditation: An Integral Perspective by Marilyn Mandala Schlitz, Ph.D., she of The Institute of Noetic Sciences.

~ Mike at Unknowing Mind posts a Buddhist View of Nature (Part 2).

~ Colmar responds to my post on gay marriage. He correctly calls me out on saying that all opposition to gay marriage is religiously based -- it should be "most," not all. Sowell, although he is wrong, is not arguing from a religious stance, as Colmar points out. In my defense, I did say that my position about anti-gay marriage laws violating the separation clause had nothing to do with Sowell's article. Colmar offers a defense of gay marriage that uses the same logic as Sowell, but with a more realistic view. Check out his post.

~ Aaron at Anxious Living has a nice post on transparency.

~ Integral Institute now has an online newsletter, called Holons. It has an RSS feed and everything.

In other places around the blogosphere:

~ Kevin Holder's rap sheet is 43 pages long, dating back to 1980, and he just got another entry — his 226th arrest. I guess they don't have a three strikes law in Nebraska.

~ Steve Wells at Dwindling In Unbelief actually took the time to add up the death toll in the Bible. This is what he came up with:

God 2,038,344
Satan 10

~ The FAA, in a further effort to increase the safety of air travel, has banned passengers from commercial airlines. From the fertile mind of Andy Borowitz.

~ Israel's decision to wage a war with Hezbollah -- that it could not win without risking permanent damage to its political status -- has weakened its position in the Middle East and weakened Western influence in creating peace. It was a stupid decision, backed by a stupid American administration. Either go to war with the intent to destroy your enemy, or don't go to war.

~ Bill Gates has decided to quit playing nice with the Bush administration on abstinence-only AIDS prevention in Africa. It's about time.

~ The LA Times thinks that the Bush administration is playing up what appears to be a minor terrorist threat in order to scare voters into voting for Republicans:
Vice President Dick Cheney may have provided a sneak preview of just how nasty the coming campaign will be. Speaking to reporters last week, after he learned of the British operation aimed at disrupting an alleged plot to bomb passenger planes, Cheney said that Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman's primary loss to an opponent of the Iraq war was proof that many Democrats wanted to return to "the pre-9/11 mind-set" and that the vote would embolden "Al Qaeda types."
Yep -- reminds me of all the (false) terror alerts we got in the last weeks before the 2004 presidential election. I suspect the reason the Bush administration pushed the Brits to move on the suspects before they were ready was to play off of the Liberman loss.

Okay, then, that's a full lid.

Speedlinking 8/16/06

Morning thought:
Never forget: we walk on hell, gazing at flowers.
~ Issa
And away we go . . . .

~ John at Craig Photography interviews Desiree' Annetoinette in his "five questions" series. Check it out -- I just had the fortune of "meeting" her this week at Zaadz. Cool woman.

~ The Zero Boss gets his kid-vid groove working and shares one of his favorite shows.

~ Steve Pavlina writes on skepticism from a somewhat skeptical stance.

~ Hokai at Hokai's Blog decided the put Roger Walsh's injunctions from Essential Spirituality to the test.

~ Ashley at easily amazed says she often senses a lack of interconnectivity in call for change. Her process is very intuitive and very interesting.

~ Sujatin at lotusinthemud reposts an article by Jostein Gaarder, author of Sophie's World (a brilliant fictional account of the history of philosophy), that rejects the notion of the Jews as God's chosen people.


Due to a stupid mistake on my part, I lost the rest of my post. It's gone -- at least 15 more links and text and good ideas. All gone.

I have to go to work now, so stop by later and I'll have another go at it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Wicked Finger of Fate

Check out this funny animated video: Tobi the Bug.

Poem: Li Ching Chao

[image source]

When Night Comes

To the tune of "Telling My Most Intimate Feelings"

When night comes,
I am so flushed with wine,
I undo my hair slowly:
a plum calyx is
stuck on a damaged branch.
I wake dazed when smoke
breaks my spring sleep.
The dream distant,
so very distant;
and it is quiet, so very quiet.
The moon spins and spins.
The kingfisher blinds are drawn;
and yet I rub the injured bud,
and yet I twist in my fingers this fragrance,
and yet I possess these moments of time!

Speedlinking 8/15/06

After more than a week of threats without action, the skies darkened and the winds blew and lightning crashed and the rain came in torrents. I love the monsoon. The early morning smells warm and moist as only the desert can. With a high pressure sitting over New Mexico pulling moisture up from the Mexican Gulf coast, the prospects are good for more rain.

In other news:

~ My friend Siona at Zaadz sent me a link to the current mass extinction, a site loaded with links about the current, human-caused extinction of life around the globe as a result of habitat destruction, pollution, invasive species, and climate change. There are those who doubt the human role in this, but the evidence is pretty convincing. With war and terrorism and other serious issues facing humanity, few people seem to care about the loss of biodiversity that might do more to bring about our end than any war.

~ If you are thoroughly depressed now and wishing there was something you can do to help stop the mass extinction, here are three sites that offer some measure of help to disappearing species:
* WildAid seeks to stop the killing of endangered species by poachers and others involved in the illegal trade of animals and animal parts.
* The Wild Bonbon sells animal themed confections and donates part of the profits to wildlife protection organizations. A tasty way to help save species.
* The World Wildlife Fund has been working to save endangered species since 1961. They have the biggest reach and the greatest ability to create change. Through the WWF, you can adopt an endangered animal, anything from a tiger to an elephant to a turtle, or give an adoption as a gift.
~ Image of the Day comes from the WWF:

~ BeliefNet offers a who's who among the godless. My buddy Sam Harris tops the list.

~ Mike at Unknowing Mind has posted a Budhhist View of Nature, Part 1. Mike is a fine writer, so stop by and have a look.

~ CJ Smith at Indistinctunion posted parts of three different Thomas Barnett articles, but you should go to the source: Barnett's own blog is worth taking a look at.

~ spiritofnow at where do you want to go, my heart? has posted an incredibly interesting piece on being a woman in Pakistan (where she has lived her whole life), wearing the Hijab, being gay, and outgrowing the dominant modes of behavior acceptable for women in that culture.

~ How to Save the World has an interesting post on the social networking phenomenon and its failure to meet expectations. He's presenting this article as a keynote speaker at the Online Information 2006 conference in London, England later this fall.

~ Brian Johnson of Zaadz (co-founder and CEO) gets naked with Ken Wilber.

~ In These Times takes a look at the claims that Iran is the puppet master pulling hezbullah's strings. The article argues that the Iranian government offers little support to the terrorist group, and that, more importantly, it is not in Iran's interest to generate more animosity toward it and its nuclear agenda. Worth reading as a counter to the prevailing neocon propaganda. (Faux News seems to agree.)

~ Have you ever wondered what are the most common types of morons?

~ Gagdad Bob of One Cosmos was mentioned in the current issue of What Is Enlightenment? as a cool site to visit on the web. How weird is that!?

~ Truthout looks at China's efforts to reduce the carbon impact of their booming economy. Could it be the loss of Tibetan glaciers that woke them up?

~ Musicians are going to Second Life to get exposure and reconnect with fans. Wired has the story.

And that's a full lid.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Gay Marriage and the Constitution

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Thomas Sowell at Townhall has a new article arguing that government has a right to regulate marriage:
The "equal protection of the laws" provided by the Constitution of the United States applies to people, not actions. Laws exist precisely in order to discriminate between different kinds of actions.
Exactly. But he draws the wrong conclusions. He feels that marriage can be regulated as a behavior, "
Because the state asserts an interest in the outcomes of certain unions, separate from and independent of the interests of the parties themselves."

Many of his arguments are traditionalist red herrings. Most married couples no longer have a stay at home wife who sacrifices for the marriage. And there is no logical difference between a man dumping his male partner of ten years or his female partner of ten years. In either case, there should be compensation -- visitation of children, dividing the shared possessions, and so on.

The government has every right to determine what protections and penalties will exist for those who are married, but when it begins to say who can get married and who cannot, it is violating the "equal protections" provided by the Constitution. In these cases, it is not limiting a behavior, but limiting the rights of some people to engage in an otherwise legal behavior.

More importantly, and having nothing to do with Sowell's article, any and all bans on gay marriage violate the "separation clause" of the Consitution. All bans on gay marriage are founded on religious objections, not on any form of rational or provable reasons that gay people should not be married. There are none. This is a clear violation of the Constitutional separation of church and state.

I continue to be surprised that no one has challenged these dumbass laws within this context.

Bugs Bunny and the Democrats

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William Kristol of the Weekly Standard is always a load of fun to read. My guess is that I'm not supposed to laugh, but he's much funnier than Ann Coulter.

In today's column, he says:
Ned Lamont's victory over Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut primary was a triumph for the European wing of the Democratic party. So it's fitting that Lamont is pro-carrot. It was impossible to go to Europe during Bush's first term without getting a lecture about the utility of carrots, the futility of sticks, and the Bush administration's regrettable neglect of the former and unfortunate proclivity for the latter. So Lamont is an appropriate spokesman for what one might call the Bugs Bunny caucus that now dominates the Democratic party.
Now wait just a minute. I'll be the first to agree that the Democrats can't seem to articulate any kind of coherent stance on anything. But Bugs Bunny was brilliant. If he were running the Democratic party instead of the frightened middle-of-the-road Dems currently in charge, things would be a lot different.

First of all, Bugs was certainly not above using the same forms of manipulation that Karl Rove has so successfully used to control the national debate. He would willingly use trickery, deceipt, and flat out cheating to defeat Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and Wile E. Coyote. He would do the same to defeat Republicans.

Not only that, but he was a master at using his enemy's attacks to his own advantage. I can't count the number of times Bugs found a way to get Elmer to shoot himself in the face. It's as though Bugs had thoroughly mastered The Art of War.

A key to the philosophy of the Art of War is to know oneself so well that there is no question of what you believe. But this is not enough. You must also know your enemy as well as they know themselves. Bugs Bunny was a master of this strategy. The Dems could learn well by studying Bugs' victories over Marvin the Martian. He suffered some damage, but he knew his strengths and he knew Marvin's weaknesses well enough to save the Earth from total destruction.

Bugs Bunny was a true patriot, as well. He even promoted war bonds during World War II. He would make the Dems strong on national defense and refuse to tolerate dictators and thugs.

He also was a strong believer in property rights. When a new freeway threatened to force him from his home, he fought the development tooth and nail. Eventually he won and forced them to build the new highway around his home. He believed a man's home is his castle.

No, Mr. Kristol has it all wrong. If Bugs were in control of the Democratic party, Bush would be back in Texas licking his wounds and watching a drunken Cheney shoot some more people in the face.

Sogyal Rinpoche on Compassion

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The most compassionate insight of my tradition and its noblest contribution to the spiritual wisdom of humanity has been its understanding and repeated enactment of the ideal of the bodhisattva, the being who takes on the suffering of all sentient beings, who undertakes the journey to liberation not for his or her own good alone but to help all others, and who eventually, after attaining liberation, does not dissolve into the absolute or flee the agony of samsara, but chooses to return again and again to devote his or her wisdom and compassion to the service of the whole world.

~ Sogyal Rinpoche

Satire: Mel Gibson Protests FAA's Ban on Liquids

From the twisted and brilliant mind of Andy Borowitz:

Mel Gibson Protests FAA's Ban on Liquids

Actor Enlists Support of Billy Joel, Liza Minnelli

Days after the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ban on passengers bringing liquids on board flights in their carryon luggage, actor Mel Gibson came forward to vehemently protest the FAA's new restrictions.

At a press conference in Malibu today, the "Braveheart" star said today that banning liquids on board planes was an example of "persecution at its worst."

"There are many examples of people for whom liquids are an important, life-sustaining part of their daily routine," Mr. Gibson said. "To keep them from bring those liquids on flights is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment."

The actor added, "I'm all for profiling, but this is discrimination against all Americans who really need liquids."

The actor said he had enlisted many other prominent members of the entertainment industry to join in his protest of the FAA's liquid ban, including the singers Billy Joel and Liza Minnelli.

"There is no way that Billy, Liza and I are getting on board a plane without our liquids," he said. "That just isn't going to happen."

Mr. Gibson took his argument one step further, saying that when he learned about the FAA's ban he felt that it was "yet another conspiracy to single me out personally."

When asked who he thought was behind the conspiracy, Mr. Gibson was not specific, but added, "Let's just put it this way -- they're banning liquids on flights, but they haven't touched the kosher meals."

Elsewhere, President Bush ordered the Homeland Security Department to launch a full investigation to determine whether terrorists could smuggle snakes on a plane.

Speedlinking 8/14/06

Happy Monday.

Here is this morning's deep thought from my Zen page-a-day calendar:
In the midst of nothingness, there is a road that goes directly to my true home.
~ Gesshu
And with that, let the linking begin:

~ For those who enjoy hating on Ken Wilber, Geoff Falk has announced that "Norman Einstein": The Dis-Integration of Ken Wilber is now online -- in both html and pdf formats.

~ Edward Berge at Open Integral attempts to define the myth of the given. Personally, for those who find issue with Wilber's vast body of work, this approach (seeking to refine and define the material) seems far more productive than merely hating on the man, as in the previous item. But that's just me.

~ P2P Foundation discusses a proposal that might allow a wireless internet commons on unused radio bandwidth. What a cool idea.

~ American Buddhist has provided a link from a listserve to a video created by the people at Google featuring B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D., lecturing on "Toward the First Revolution in the Mind Sciences." Wallace is cool, so it should be good.

~ Elza Maalouf of Lebanon Rising considers the Israeli-Hezbullah war a lose-lose-lose situation, with the US earning the third lose in the scenario.

~ For those science geeks out there who enjoy taxonomy, Oaksong's Nemeton provides a link to an article that suggests red pandas may be more closely related to skunks than either raccoons or bears. (This link is for you, Kira.)

~ In my wanderings around the net last night, I stumbled upon this gem of a site: Manual on the 4 Main Meditation Methods: The Buddha’s Core Teachings on Mental Training. Here are the four main methods, which link to the text.

The 4 Main Meditation Methods are:

1: Metta (the 4 Divine States) - Universal Friendliness. The medicine for curing Aversion & Anger.

2: KayagataSati – Knowing the Body to be a mere Form of Matter. The Antidote for curing Attraction.

3: AnapanaSati – Mindfulness focused by Breathing. The Complete Concentration Method.

4: The 4 Satipatthanas - Form-Feeling-Mind-Mental States. The Purification of Insight Method.

~ Deepak Chopra has an entry at his Intent Blog that largely serves as a sales pitch for his new book, but it's interesting anyway.

~ Truthdig reprints a recent news item about a study that shows that women's brains are hard-wired for much more emotional expression than are men's brains. There is some discussion of this article over at the Integral Relationships pod on Zaadz.

And now, for the politically minded:

~ Andrew Sullivan offers some much need perspective on the Joe Lieberman loss. He muses about the possibility of a McCain/Lieberman independent ticket.

~ On a more bizarre note, Sullivan also muses on the NPR story last week about herders being killed in Iraq for not putting diapers on their goats. No, really, it's true. It apparently incites men to want to fornicate with the goats if their privates aren't covered. This story was confirmed by one of my clients who worked in Iran for nearly 15 years before the Shah was deposed.

~ Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker has a new article about the White House's investment and involvement in the Israeli-Hezbullah war. Supports the idea that the US comes out a loser in this whole mess along with Lebanon and Israel.

~ While the White House, FBI, and everyone else who can possibly take responsibility for the capture of the terrorist in England have staked their claim, an insider is now revealing that Washington forced the Brits to make arrests before they were ready to and that no attack was "imminent." In fact, no airline tcikets had been purchased and some of the men did not even have passports yet. Oops.

Finally, on a lighter note -- and I mean really lite, there's this:

~ has compiled The 10 Best Robot Chicken Sketches of All-Time. Enjoy -- not for the easily offended.