Saturday, April 28, 2007

New Poem: Unconventional Love Sonnet #10

Unconventional Love Sonnet #10

I fear she is drowning in an ocean
of sadness, finally allowing the flotsam
of loss to engulf her. I know that these
waters are healing, that she might grasp

the floating driftwood of my presence
and not sink beneath the surface. But
watching her struggle, knowing how much
she suffers rends my tender heart.

Is this what it means to love? To simply
offer a hand when the other is adrift
in the sorrow of this human coil?

If this were not a metaphor, I would dive in
after her, offer my body as flotation. But
I can only be here when she surfaces.

Sitting With Feelings

Something happened a little while a go (details not important) that left me feeling angry. Anger is an old friend, one of the few feelings I have been comfortable with in my life. I have a tendency to cling to my anger when it comes up, not wanting to let it go. But I've been working with this on and off over the years, and I'm starting to see my pattern more clearly.

When the anger came up, I did what I usually do -- I wanted to cling to it and just be angry.

But then I went and sat outside and watched the birds. As I sat with the feeling, it didn't vanish all peacefully and easily, but I did begin to see that what was beneath it was hurt and sadness. I was sad because I was disappointed that something I was looking forward to probably would not happen. And the hurt I felt was both my own sadness and the hurt that the other person involved must be feeling in the given situation.

When I stopped clinging to my anger, I began to feel compassion for the other person -- and for the hurt part of myself was sad. Neither one of us wanted things to work out this particular way, but these things happen. And in this case, feeling compassion for the other person is the more appropriate response, no matter how disappointed I might be (which isn't to say that I don't get to feel the full range of my feelings, only that a wider perspective is useful sometimes).

It's easy to say that anger has no value and is simply the way that I cover over my hurt -- which is certainly true a lot of times. Sometimes, however, anger is justified and appropriate, especially in the confrontation of injustice or violence. I would never want to suggest that we do not get angry when it is appropriate.

But in other situations, like this one, it tells me that something beneath the surface needs my attention. It is a road sign pointing me within to take a look at what is really going on. When I follow the sign, and allow what is beneath the surface to be acknowledged and felt, the anger melts away (mostly -- I have subs who try to cling to the anger, which is part of their job).

The more mindfulness I can bring to my challenging emotional states, the more access I will have to compassion. As I learn to sit with my feelings and look beneath the surface, I am less likely to cling to them, or to be at their mercy.

If all I get out of this day is this lesson, it was a good day.

What Is Your Inner Gender?

You Inner Gender is Female

You're sensitive, caring, and willing to connect with anyone who's open to you.
You make friends easily, and you enjoy all sorts of conversations.
You understand most people you meet - better than they understand themselves.
You're totally a woman... or at the very least, your soul is female.

Well, now, that could explain a few things . . . .

Daily Dharma: Compassion and Wisdom

Today's Daily Dharma from Tricycle:

To Be Perfect

According to Buddhism for a man to be perfect there are two qualities that he should develop equally: compassion on one side, and wisdom on the other. Here compassion represents love, charity, kindness, tolerance and such noble qualities on the emotional side, or qualities of the heart, while wisdom would stand for the intellectual side or the qualities of the mind. If one develops only the emotional neglecting the intellectual, one may become a good-hearted fool; while to develop only the intellectual side neglecting the emotional may turn one into a hardhearted intellect without feelings for others. Therefore, to be perfect one has to develop both equally. That is the aim of the Buddhist way of life: in it wisdom and compassion are inseparably linked together.

~ Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught

I'm not so much down with the idea of perfection -- my inner critic loves to team up with my inner perfectionist to make me feel worthless. But the main idea here is something that does make a lot of sense to me.

I have always tended to the intellectual side (my Apollo sub), what Rahula sees as the wisdom mind (I have often mistaken this for pure rationality). It's only been in the last few years that I have sought to cultivate the heart of compassion (my Sophia sub).

As a result of living in my rationality more than my heart, I was often out of balance. I looked for the logic of every situation, the reasonable solution, or the intellectual answer. I thought that all problems could be reasoned out, or that all decisions should be based in thinking. But that has not turned out for the best.

It took me years to learn to trust my heart, to allow my feelings a say in how I conduct my life. The rewards have been amazing -- especially in the last couple of months. The compassionate heart knows things that the mind cannot fathom.

I am still learning to temper my intellect with the tender heart of compassion and to provide boundaries for my wild heart through wisdom. But I know now that the balance is everything.

Dvorak Cello Concerto: Rostropovich

As Matthew Dallman noted a day or two ago, we lost one of the greats of classical music this week -- cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.

These video clips are of Rostropovich playing the Dvorak Cello Concerto with Carlo Maria Giulini and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Friday, April 27, 2007

New Poem: When I Was Young

When I Was Young

I. Separation

My head was filled with weeds,
spirits danced in my veins,

I ate cactus buttons and watched
the world dissolve in color.

But I never found the secret,
never found my name on the map.

So many years spent seeking
wisdom in the words of saints,

philosophers, poets, anyone
who might reveal the why of birth.

And all that time I was watching
as I wandered in harsh deserts

searching for the hidden stone
that might reveal an ultimate cause,

never quite realizing the answer
was so close I couldn't touch it.

II. Initiation

Brilliant reds of autumn seemed so bright
and rain was a reason to go outside.

With each year lost, the days grew shorter,
more fog-ridden, somnolent, and murky.

I abandoned chasing coyotes and crows
in favor of young women equally elusive.

It seemed, then, important to grow up,
to leave the mountains and forests of youth

for the city, the possibilities of age,
the grim surrender, the lost trail.

But what else was lost, and what gained?
How many hours spent sitting at the bar

smoking, drowning, pretending to know
what years of questing never revealed?

One day, any day, no different
from the last -- the search abandoned.

III. Return

I was young once, though it seems
like another life. I had a father

(for a while) and a mother (sort of) and
a sister (adopted), all now gone.

I sit here, nearly forty, trying to make
some meaning of all those passing suns.

Over and over, returning to the one thing,
the one anchor in all the rough seas

of this life -- the love of a woman.
And now, this woman, who sets me

adrift in the unknown, who unties
the knots binding my soul, who is mystery

and revelation. In the quiet surrender
I remember the child who sought answers.

In the fertile embrace, a deep forgetting.
I remember why I set foot on the path.

Daily Dharma: Karma Is Not Fixed Destiny

This was the Daily Dharma from Tricycle a day or two ago.

Karma Is Not Fixed Destiny

Karma is often wrongly confused with the notion of a fixed destiny. It is more like an accumulation of tendencies that can lock us into particular behavior patterns, which themselves result in further accumulations of tendencies of a similar nature.... But it is not necessary to be a prisoner of old karma.... Here's how mindfulness changes karma. When you sit, you are not allowing your impulses to translate into action. For the time being, at least, you are just watching them. Looking at them, you quickly see that all impulses in the mind arise and pass away, that they have a life of their own, that they are not you but just thinking, and that you do not have to be ruled by them. Not feeding or reacting to impulses, you come to understand their nature as thoughts directly. This process actually burns up destructive impulses in the fires of concentration and equanimity and non-doing. At the same time, creative insights and creative impulses are no longer squeezed out so much by the more turbulent, destructive ones. They are nourished as they are perceived and held in awareness.

~ Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are

Bill Moyers Takes Down the Media

From AlterNet, a great piece on the response to Bill Moyer's new documentary on PBS -- Buying the War. Following that, a video of his interview with Peter Beinart of the New Republic and the official trailer to the piece.

I'm fairly sure you can watch the whole thing at the PBS site. This is important stuff -- the media is complicit in the build-up for invading Iraq by virtue of their willingness to look the other way and not press the Bush Administration on their obviously foolish reasoning and defense of their decision.

After Moyers Iraq Documentary, DC Reporters in Damage-Control Mode

By David Sirota, Posted April 27, 2007.

Bill Moyers' much-anticipated mega-dunk on the Washington press corps this week, we are seeing the ugliest side of Beltway culture -- the meltdown, damage-control freak out. Only what's new is that instead of politicians melting down, it's reporters themselves. And never underestimate the desperation that comes when Establishment Washington unifies to try to defend itself.

Over here we have professional power-worshiper Chris "It Doesn't Matter Where Political Money Comes From" Cillizza attempting to defend Tim Russert, and in the process insulting the recently deceased journalistic hero David Halberstam.

Yes, Cillizza -- clearly begging for an invite on a Meet the Press panel -- is out there saying that "modern journalists are doing their very best to emulate that sort of reporting" that came from Halberstam, and that "Tim Russert is one of the best examples of that kind of accountability journalism." I guess turning over NBC's airwaves to a Vice President spewing lies, ignoring the solid reporting of Knight Ridder that debunked those lies, and having panel discussions laughing hysterically with fellow pundit friends over predictions for when the war would start is, under Cillizza's warped Beltway definition, "accountability journalism" from Russert (who, I'm sure, Cillizza would also have us believe is just a "blue collar guy from Buffalo," despite Russert's multi-million-dollar salary and quaint Nantucket summers).

Over at CBS, White House reporter Mark Knoller's acrobatic attempts at defense make Rodney Dangerfield's "Triple Lindy" from "Back to School" look like a simple somersault. Knoller actually claims that the now-famous pre-war press conference where reporters fell all over themselves to compliment the president for his leadership was actually a scene of journalistic bravery. Atrios does the takedown of Knoller, showing the full transcript of that press conference, but if you don't want to read that, please just remember what New York Times White House reporter Elisabeth Bumiller said to defend the media's behavior at the event:

"We were very deferential because -- it's live, it's very intense, it's frightening to stand up there. Think about it, you're standing up on prime-time live TV asking the president of the United States a question when the country's about to go to war. There was a very serious, somber tone that evening, and no one wanted to get into an argument with the president at this very serious time."

Moyers piece is important not just because it has exposed the entire sham that was pre-war Beltway journalism, but also because he has finally exacted a price -- in this case, humiliation -- from the reporters whose power-worshiping, must-stay-on-the-cocktail-party-circuit tendencies led them to aggressively push this country into war. And we can hope that fear of future humiliation will help prevent another gross abdication of responsibility next time around.

Peter Beinart:

Longer excerpt:

Via: VideoSift

Chaoscope -- Cool Images

I found this at Neatorama -- pretty cool images. They offer freeware to make your own images, too.

Chaoscope is a 3D strange attractors rendering software. Below is a sample of pictures rendered by the program. You can check the Gallery to see more examples of what Chaoscope can do.

It is an ongoing project created and maintained by Nicolas Desprez ; the current version is 0.3.1. It is a freeware running on the Windows™ platform.

The word "Chaoscope" was invented by Ralph Abraham to describe computer tools used to help comprehending dynamic systems, a superset of the strange attractors.

Many thanks to Michel Pintaud for his constant support through the years of Chaoscope sporadic development.


"sous la parabole"

"gravitational waves"

Poem: Grace Schulman

This is today's poem from the Academy of American Poets:

by Grace Schulman

Rain hazes a street cart's green umbrella
but not its apples, heaped in paper cartons,
dry under cling film. The apple man,

who shirrs his mouth as though eating tart fruit,
exhibits four like racehorses at auction:
Blacktwig, Holland, Crimson King, Salome.

I tried one and its cold grain jolted memory:
a hill where meager apples fell so bruised
that locals wondered why we scooped them up,

my friend and I, in matching navy blazers.
One bite and I heard her laughter toll,
free as school's out, her face flushed in late sun.

I asked the apple merchant for another,
jaunty as Cezanne's still-life reds and yellows,
having more life than stillness, telling us,

uncut, unpeeled, they are not for the feast
but for themselves, and building strength to fly
at any moment, leap from a skewed bowl,

whirl in the air, and roll off a tilted table.
Fruit-stand vendor, master of Northern Spies,
let a loose apple teach me how to spin

at random, burn in light and rave in shadows.
Bring me a Winesap like the one Eve tasted,
savored and shared, and asked for more.

No fool, she knew that beauty strikes just once,
hard, never in comfort. For that bitter fruit,
tasting of earth and song, I'd risk exile.

The air is bland here. I would forfeit mist
for hail, put on a robe of dandelions,
and run out, broken, to weep and curse — for joy.

Speedlinking 4/27/07

Quote of the day:

"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."
~ George Orwell

Image of the day:
~ Google recently launched Google Web History, a service where you can access, search, and sort the places you’ve been on the web, even after you’ve deleted the browser history on your computer. Google’s ability to do so, which many were not aware of til this program launched, has some people worried about their searches becoming public. This cartoon from Geek and Poke portends what may come as the result. Note: this joke could work for any candidate of any party. Link -via Anil Dash

~ (De)-Constructing Computer Guy -- "I hate to tell you this, but if you're reading these words, you're "computer guy" and it's likely you've got horrendous posture and a host of orthopedic ailments. It's also likely that you're doing things in the gym that exacerbate the problem. Here are some exercises and video clips that'll fix ya'."
~ Testimonials Are Worthless -- "Testimonials are useless. Scientifically, testimonials are not considered valid proof and drugs are required to go through double-blind testing to be accepted. Supplements, however, are unregulated and don’t need to go through testing. They use testimonials all the time to “prove” that their products work."
~ School Playgrounds Can Help Fight Childhood Obesity -- "A RAND Corporation study says school playgrounds and athletic facilities can be important tools in the fight against childhood obesity, but many are locked and inaccessible to children on weekends - especially in poor and minority neighborhoods."
~ Raising Metabolism to Burn More Calories -- "Vigorous exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off. A study from University of Alabama in Birmingham shows that your body burns calories at an increased rate for up to 24 hours after you finish exercising vigorously for 40 minutes."
~ Green Tea May Help Prevent Autoimmune Diseases -- "Researchers studied an animal model for type I diabetes and primary Sjogren's Syndrome, which damages the glands that produce tears and saliva.They found significantly less salivary gland damage in a group treated with green tea extract, suggesting a reduction of the Sjogren's symptom commonly referred to as dry mouth. Dry mouth can also be caused by certain drugs, radiation and other diseases."
~ New Diabetes Genetic Risk Factors Found -- "Massive Study Finds New Genetic Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes."
~ Depression treatment doesn't help diabetes control -- "Many people with diabetes also feel depressed, which is thought to interfere with their ability to regulate their blood sugar levels well. However, improvements in depressive symptoms don't lead to better control of glucose levels, according to a new report."
~ Herb may cut breast cancer risk -- "A new study provides preliminary evidence that an herbal medicine used to help women cope with menopausal symptoms may reduce breast cancer risk."
~ Program fails to curb falls in older folks -- "A community-based intervention designed to address multiple factors that put elderly people at increased risk for falling and injuring themselves has proven ineffective. There was no decrease in the number of falls in "at-risk" elderly individuals who completed the program." But weight training does work -- I've seen it in my clients.
~ Strongman Pulls 16,300-pound Airliner 12 Feet -- "If you've ever complained about your ears hurting after a flight, read on."

~ Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse More Likely To Engage In Risky Behaviors -- "Gay and bisexual men who were victims of childhood sexual abuse are more likely to engage in sexual behaviors that put them at higher risk of contracting HIV. A study of 862 randomly selected gay and bisexual men who were enrolled in a community festival found that almost one in seven had been victims of childhood sexual abuse."
~ Talk therapy helpful in adults with OCD -- "People suffering with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, researchers from Australia report in the current issue of The Cochrane Library."
~ Avoid The Dreaded 'D' -- "Most of us fear the loss of brain function as we get older. In fact, that may be why you are here at BrainReady. Maybe Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia have affected your parents, grandparents, or other loved ones."
~ If you want to persuade a woman, look straight at her [Cognitive Daily] -- "There is a considerable body of research showing that eye contact is a key component of social interaction. Not only are people more aroused when they are looked at directly, but if you consistently look at the person you speak to, you will have much more social influence over that person than you would if you averted your gaze."
~ Learning From Mistakes: An Important Revision to Conflict Monitoring Models of Anterior Cingulate [Developing Intelligence] -- "People are remarkably bad at switching tasks - and research focusing on this fact has isolated a network of brain regions that are involved in task-switching (I'll call it the "frontal task network" for short). One of the stranger findings to emerge from this literature is the fact that we're actually worse at switching to a more natural or well-practiced task after having performed a less natural one."
~ Chronic Family Turmoil And Other Problems Cause Physical Changes -- "Adolescents who are chronically exposed to family turmoil, violence, noise, poor housing or other chronic risk factors show more stress-induced physiological strain on their organs and tissues than other young people. However, when they have responsive, supportive mothers, they do not experience these negative physiological changes, reports a new study from Cornell."
~ How Complicating Your Life Makes Simplifying It Worthwhile -- "In the last year my life changed from a relaxed life that I was used to into a complex demanding life with a lot of commitments and unknowns; it’s demanding and regularly wakes me from my sleep at night. And know what? I love it! It was even a conscious choice to complicate my life in this way. I knew the consequences beforehand, yet I chose to go forward on the chosen path."
~ Two Concepts of Transitive Consciousness -- "In his youthful exuberance Rosenthal argued that for a first-order state to count as a conscious state the first-order state had to cause the higher-order state to occur. But he has come to explicitly reject this causal requirement. He now talks about the higher-order thought 'accompanying' the target state. It need not have any causal connection to the first-order state at all. What this amounts to is that there are at least two different ways of thinking about the relation between the first-order state and the higher-order state depending on whether you think intentionality is at bottom a matter of description and functional role and holism or a matter of word-world relations and causation, and compositionality."
~ Dopamine-related drugs affect reward-seeking behavior -- "Drugs that adjust dopamine levels in the brain greatly affect how people react to success and failure, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology`s 59th Annual Meeting in Boston."

~ Conte Refashions BALCO, Legally -- "Victor Conte, the Johnny Appleseed of designer steroids, is back in business. Witness the new $190,000 Bentley parked outside the building that once housed the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, where federal agents uncovered a massive steroids ring and sparked professional sports' highest-profile drug scandal...."
~ Early Condom Use Bodes Well For Adolescents' Sexual Health -- "Despite fears that early condom use encourages adolescents to be sexually promiscuous, a study found that those who use condoms the first time they have sexual intercourse are more likely to continue using condoms into young adulthood. These adolescents are also less likely than their peers to have contracted a sexually transmitted infection."
~ When a student's in trouble, should parents know? -- "US privacy laws prevent counselors from informing parents of danger signs. But many say they should know if their young adult children - or their roommates - need help." Tough issue to balance rights and safety of the individual (or others).
~ Natural Products Association Urges Supreme Court To Clarify Standard For Banning Dietary Supplements -- "The Natural Products Association today filed a "friend of the court" or amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court that challenges a lower court ruling on the standard used by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to impose a 2004 ban on ephedrine alkaloids in dietary supplements."
~ Evolution and religion debate in a broader context -- "The Economist has a great article summarizing all the ways in which the debate between evolution and religion has gone global. It also does a good job of analyzing the different strains within the American debate, depicting it as much less monolithic."
~ Wolfowitz deputy allegedly tried to weaken climate-change message -- "The brouhaha over World Bank head Paul Wolfowitz giving financial favors to his lady friend is spreading into a look at whether he's been pushing the Bush administration agenda on family planning and climate change."
~ Pupil held over ‘violent essay’ -- "An 18-year-old student at an Illinois school is facing disorderly conduct charges for writing an essay that the authorities described as violent and disturbing."
~ Democrats criticize Iraq in 1st debate (AP) -- "Democratic presidential hopefuls flashed their anti-war credentials Thursday night, robustly criticizing President Bush's Iraq policy in an unusually early first debate of the 2008 campaign." Damn, they're debating already?!
~ Bhutan's mock election -- "Happy with their king's absolute rule, most Bhutanese wonder why he is giving them democracy. A minority wonders why it is being left out."
~ The FCC Took My Cable Away -- "The Federal Communications Commission has finally released its long-awaited, much-anticipated report of "Violent Television Programming and Its Impact on Children." It's a lousy document that, to the surprise of nobody who follows this kind of stuff, concludes that we need more content regulation of violent images that are transmitted over broadcast and cable TV (indeed, the document pushes to expand content regulation to cable and satellite, which are currently outside the purview of the FCC)."
~ "Islam is not much more than a rather obvious and ill-arranged set of plagiarisms." -- Christopher Hitchens -- "But Islam when examined is not much more than a rather obvious and ill-arranged set of plagiarisms, helping itself from earlier books and traditions as occasion appeared to require. Thus, far from being "born in the clear light of history," as Ernest Renan so generously phrased it, Islam in its origins is just as shady and approximate as those from which it took its borrowings. It makes immense claims for itself, invokes prostrate submission or "surrender" as a maxim to its adherents, and demands deference and respect from nonbelievers into the bargain." Sounds pretty much like the Bible.

~ Stephen Hawking Flies Weightless -- "Free of his wheelchair and tethered only to heart rate and blood pressure monitors, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking on Thursday fulfilled a dream of floating weightless on a zero-gravity jet, a step he hopes leads to further space adventures."
~ '$100 Laptop' to Cost $175 -- "The founder of the ambitious "$100 laptop" project, which plans to give inexpensive computers to schoolchildren in developing countries, revealed Thursday that the machine for now costs $175, and it will be able to run Windows in addition to its homegrown, open-source interface."
~ EarthLink Studying Muni Wi-Fi Business -- "EarthLink Inc. said Thursday it will study the performance of its municipal wireless Internet networks in four cities - Philadelphia, New Orleans and California's Anaheim and Milpitas - before deciding how to move forward with similar Wi-Fi networks elsewhere."
~ New Layer of Ancient Greek Writings Detected in Medieval Book -- "High-tech analysis of the Christian manuscript shows even older commentary on Aristotle's theories of logic hidden under the religious writings."
~ Towering Mystery Fossil Was a 'Shroom With a View -- "An ancient life-form that has stumped scientists for more than a century was most likely a fungus that stood up to 24 feet (8 meters) tall."
~ Like Humans, Chimp Males Cooperate With Kin and Non-Kin Alike -- "Contrary to previous beliefs, chimpanzees work just as well with unrelated chimps as they do with family—yet another trait in chimps once thought unique to humans."
~ 300 Million-Year-Old Rainforest Found in Illinois Coal Mine -- "Three hundred million years ago, when vertebrates were first crawling out of the oceans onto dry land, the area that is now the U.S. state of Illinois was an equatorial rainforest. Now, a 10-square-kilometer patch of that rainforest has been discovered, imbedded in the ceiling of a coal mine."
~ Microorganisms act as tiny machines in future MEMS devices -- "The single-celled Spirostomum is a tiny brown worm that can contract its 500-micrometer-long body to 25% of its length in a millisecond, making this protozoan the fastest-contracting microorganism known. Scientists think of microorganisms like this as tiny functional machines. After all, many of them have capabilities far surpassing the current state-of-the-art in MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems) technology."

~ Occult vs. Wilber (part 1) -- "There seems to be not only disagreement, but some strong dislike between occult, magick followers and Ken Wilber’s tight knit group. Wilber is constantly using the strongest words possible to distance himself from the “What the Bleep” “” “create your own reality” crowd, but he also sends some strong oppinions in the direction of the occult/magick groups."
~ Call for contributors -- "If you are interested in authoring a main post at OI and willing to carry the conversation forward please contact James Burke. His email address can be found in the “About” page. Much as I like hearing the sound of my own writing this site is about multiple perspectives hopefully shedding light on each other. And we need more perspectives. Please take the plunge and contribute to the worthy cause of expanding the theory and practice of this burgeoning movement."
~ BLOG: Guest Blog: A symbol of our shared trajectory (Zachary Stein) -- "Most academic philosophers would like to forget that in the Critique of Practical Reason one can find the linchpin of Kants moral theory, the "Kingdom of Ends," equated with the corpus mysticum, the mystical body of God. Here the telos of moral action is revealed in the imagery of Protestant religiosity. Echoing Bohme the inquiry regulating meta-disciplinary stance that is the principle of our Integral Endeavor might just reverberate for all time in the halls of future knowledge!"
~ Blog rules? -- "This question arises from some previous comments in another thread, enclosed below. This whole rules idea has opened my own can of worms, which by virtue of my being an author here you now get to suffer through. Eww, worms? Yep, dirty, smelly, wriggling and disgusting worms. Without which of course our entire eco-system would collapse along with our highfalutin ideas and philosophies."
~ Stories creating a sense of separate self -- "I am back from the retreat, and what I am left with is seeing even clearer - in real time - how any story that is attached to creates a sense of a separate self." See also: Thoughts mirroring sensory world, and levels.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What Men Want

I found this page through one of the social networking sites. Generally, articles like this are pretty lame and simple-minded. This one isn't. While the language and argument is a bit basic (the site seems to be aimed at college students, so that makes sense), they points are actually pretty spot-on from my experience. [Comments below.]

College Sex & Love: What Men Want

by Micah Stipech

The other day I was working on the computer in our graduate lounge when two female classmates turned to me with exacerbated looks.

"What is the deal with guys?" they asked. "What do they want? I mean, why do they act like they are all interested and then in an instant freak out and start avoiding you?"

I hemmed and hawed through a couple minutes of chair swaggering ramblings about commitment and clingy women before I confirmed what my two classmates suspected; I was a guy, and I had no clue.

Oddly enough, I have thought more about love in the last few months than I have in my entire life, and I'm more confused than ever. As an aspiring psychologist I've decided to do what it seems every good psychologist does when encountering something that baffles them; they come up with a theory and write a paper on it.

I'm categorizing what men want into three hierarchical levels. They form a triangle. The three levels are biological, significance and meaning. The hierarchy shows value (the higher the level the more value and the more human), and the triangle shape shows the empirical reality that most members of my gender, including myself, are more apt to hover towards the bottom with fewer individuals in the upper regions.

The biological level is Sigmund Freud's level. This is the most obvious level and also where most men function. Mainly instinctual, we don't really need our brains to function here. We simply want to propagate our genes. When we operate on this level women wonder why we choose the bad girls over the nice ones. Here we are attracted to what our environment has taught us to desire. It seems that our current society has re-evolved, if you will, to functioning on this level. This level holds our strongest reinforcers. Our friends and idols pat us on the back and make us feel like men when we master this realm.

What men want at the biological level:

  • We want you to look like the girl in the magazine
  • We want you to act like the James Bond girl
  • We want more than one of you
  • We don't want responsibility or commitment
  • Of course, all this leads to the pinnacle of the biological level…sex.

The second level of significance is Alfred Adler's level. Here men want prestige and security. They want a woman who gets them thumbs up from their buddies when she leaves the table to use the washroom. Here men will gamble on a dangerous investment because she brings such winks and inquisitions from those who hold the approval that really matters to them, their comrades. Men get in trouble here when they shop for a woman like they shop for a car.

On this level men want to feel like men, and nothing makes a guy feel more like a man than having the girl who all the guys are checking out come and sit on your lap.

Now I also mentioned that on this level men want security. It is here the biker dude turns into a softy, but also a place that things can get ugly. When that girl that was sitting on your lap sits on your buddies lap, this level mingles with the lower biological one. Intense emotions of fear, anger and jealousy bombard the once suave male. Basically, he moves in seconds from feelings of googly adoration to wanting to kill everyone. I know that seems harsh, but its true. Men experience these emotions very intensely, and they don't know what to do with them. Barbaric reasoning overwhelms cool wisdom and we have all seen the effects. There are also men who turn emotion inward rather than lashing out. In either case, the effects on the individual are equally as devastating.

Men want security. They desire the one they love to want only them. Believe it or not, here they just want a woman who they can trust, and a woman who thinks they stole the moon. A woman can't build a guy up enough, and there is nothing worse than a woman who makes comments that cut his ego. Basic areas of ego damaging comments are physical stature, sex, power, importance. Contrary to legend, women who are demeaning to guys aren't an attractive challenge, they are just annoying.

What men want on the significance level:

  • Prestige
  • Approval from the guys
  • Someone they can trust
  • Someone who thinks they are superman

The highest level of the "what men want" pyramid is meaning. This is the hope for the male species. From here flow those brief moments that cause one to believe that there is something more in there than a crass, egotistical, pizza eater.

In this realm men enjoy giving more than receiving. They do things because they want to, not because they are supposed to. They find meaning in experiencing and encountering someone. More than infatuation, men in this realm just want to be with you, not to get something or to keep you from going out with your friends. They are simply content to "be," and don't have to be working towards some type of goal. Here their loved one's best interests are paramount. Here Antoine Saint-Exupery's words ring true, "Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction."

This realm is open ended, it is moving, synergy abounds. From here creativity is spurred, not isolation. Here the whole is greater than the sum. Our intellect, spirit, personality and ambition swirl and motivate us into more than just an emotional experience. Here there is no record of wrongs, no focusing on needs or fairness. In this realm a single worn out picture may sustain a sailor for months. In this realm we don't love you because your beautiful, but you are beautiful simply because we love you. This is where love songs are written, selfless acts are committed, and men become truly human. We transcend all of what we have been conscripted to be, and become what we might and ought.

What men want on the meaning level:

  • To give selflessly
  • Someone to serve
  • Someone who shares mutual purpose
  • Someone to sacrifice for
  • Shared creativity, intellect, spirit, ambition
  • Maturity
  • Someone who loves on the same level

Does one need to have the lower levels before attaining the higher ones? No. They are continuous and work interchangable. In fact, the more one lives in the meaning level, the more the lower levels fade. This may naturally happen with age, but can be accomplished through conscious endeavor. The more a man trusts and seeks to give selflessly to a woman the less he needs her to look like a cover girl. Unfortunately this is not an easy transcension. It seems that more than ever, both biology and environment have teamed up against men. We are trained to live at the low end of the scale and women have keenly adapted to manipulate us at that same level, which makes moving beyond it even more difficult.

I realize that this paints a dreary picture of the male race. The silver lining is this; men really do desire to love at the highest level. The problem is that not enough of us realize it, nor are we challenged to find it. Our ability to love seems one of the many casualties of our current western culture.

How does a women find such a man? This is perhaps an article for the future, but in the meantime heed this advice; treat us how we ought and should be, not how we are. By this I mean, please stop training us to live off the bottom.

Micah Stipech lives in Whistler, British Columbia, loves to play hockey and works as a child psychotherapist. Reprinted with permission of author.

This hierarchy of male needs in relationship seems pretty accurate. But while the author suggests that the lower levels fade away as one lives at the higher levels, I would disagree -- it's a transcend and include issue. Because I see this as a developmental hierarchy for the most part (I don't think anyone gets to meaning without going through biological or significance), there needs to be a fourth stage in which one can integrate all of the stages into a healthy whole.

At the integral level of this model, a man might be able to balance all three drives in a whole and healthy way -- still manly and biologically driven, still aware of his image in the world, and still motivated at the deepest level by the need for a meaningful relationship. I would contend that if any of the three levels/stages that Stipech presents are lacking or underdeveloped, the man in question will not be a very healthy partner.

Clearly, as Stipech points out, not enough men are living with the meaning level -- especially college-age guys. I think he is wrong, however, to blame women for training men "to live off the bottom." I think it's more the overall cultural message that boys grow up with, the music and movies presented to us, and that guys encourage in each other.

You won't hear too many men sitting around in a bar, looking at a woman and talking about how they could really love her because she's smart and authentic and could be a supportive partner in the quest for a meaningful life. [And that's sad.] Men encourage men to "live off the bottom" of the hierarchy.

From my experience, and admittedly I am long past college age and things have changed a lot since I was in that dating scene, women want a meaningful, emotionally deep relationship, but they also want a masculine man, a socially aware and motivated man who values success.

It's a package deal.

Funny Cartoon -- Kermit had an itch . . .

I found this someplace, but I can't remember where -- the host is 9rules Humor Notes.
Kermit had an itch . . .

And went to the Doctor to find out some not so good news...

The Top 5 Brain Health Foods

I found this at Brain Ready and thought it to be a good list.
The BrainReady Top 5 Brain Health Foods

Many of you have asked us for a simple list of the very best, proven natural foods & drinks for optimum brain (and body) health.

Ah, everyone loves lists these days, it seems. So while there are numerous natural foods, drinks, herbs and supplemental products that possess brain & body-enhancing properties, we've done the research for you and created a list of five all-natural, widely-available foods that we believe represent the BrainReady Top 5 Brain Health Foods in the world.

How did we pick? Our list is based a variety of factors, ranging from overall proven health benefits (through multiple peer-reviewed, valid scientific studies from around the world over many years), our own experience here at BrainReady using these foods regularly, general reports from consumers of these foods over the years, proven safety and lack of contraindications from these foods, and general availability/ease of incorporation of these foods by the most people in most countries.

It's important to keep in mind that just because we didn't include a food like Turmeric or Sage or Walnuts in our Top 5, this doesn't mean that those foods aren't incredibly brain and health-friendly too; it's just that the foods in our Top 5 have been demonstrated to possess more 'yes' counts across our range of criteria, particularly brain health benefits.

So without further adieu, here are the BrainReady Top 5 Brain Health Foods worth considering adding to your diet if you haven't already (of course, make sure you don't have any contraindications with any of these foods by consulting your health care provider first if you're not sure). These are not listed in order of priority, as all are beneficial in different ways and via different mechanisms.

Their top five foods (you'll have to got their blog to see the whats and whys for each of these):

1. Wild salmon
2. Cacao beans
3. Matcha (Tencha-grade green tea powder)
4. Acai berries & Blueberries (tie)
5. Coffee beans

It's a good list, and please keep in mind, as they also point out, that just because some others aren't on the list doesn't mean they aren't good for you -- especially the ones they mention (turmeric, walnuts, and sage). I might also add creatine and fish oil if I were doing a top ten list.

Drumming: Two Videos

Again, cool things seem to be coming in pairs (or more). These two videos feature some cool drumming.

This first one is my favorite of the two, especially with the beautiful scenery.
This video was made in the highlands of Scotland. The song "Inner Voice" is the first part of a trilogy composed in the traditional japanese akebono scale

Via: VideoSift

This one is all snare drumming, technically impressive stuff.

Via: VideoSift

Speedlinking 4/26/07

Quote of the day:

"I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it."
~ Rita Mae Brown

Image of the day

~ There may be as few as a couple dozen Borneo rhinos left in the world, making it one of the world’s rarest animal species. The first still photograph of a Borneo rhino was taken only last year. Now, a World Wildlife Foundation project has captured the first video footage of the Borneo rhino. Link -via Arbroath

~ Are Strawberry Daiquiris The Extra-Healthy Cocktail? -- "Strawberries are good for you, but serving them in daiquiri form may make them even healthier, scientists show.While exploring ways to help keep strawberries fresh during storage, researchers from Thailand and the US discovered that treating the berries with alcohol led to an increase in antioxidant capacity and free radical scavenging activity within the fruit." Now, that's my kind of news.
~ Eat My Meat -- Dave Tate -- "What you have here is a list of things I've picked up from many different people over the years. As I went back and read this list I also realized that most of these tips came from people I trained or competed with. In short, this was all learned in the gym."
~ Focus On Pros And Cons Of Antioxidants From Fruits And Vegetables -- "Nutrition is not just about the four basic food groups any more.Researcher Dr. Susanne Mertens-Talcott of Texas A&M University is looking into how plant-based phytochemicals, including antioxidants and herbal supplements, can be useful in the promotion of health and prevention of chronic diseases."
~ Exercise May Help Ward Off Parkinson's Disease (HealthDay) -- "New research suggests more evidence of yet another benefit of regular exercise: It could keep Parkinson's disease at bay."
~ Veggies may ward off pancreatic cancer -- "A look at the eating patterns of 183,518 California and Hawaii residents has found evidence that a diet high in flavonols might help ward off pancreatic cancer. Flavonols are found in plant-based foods with onions, apples, berries, kale and broccoli having the highest concentrations."
~ U.S. marijuana stronger than ever -- "The marijuana being sold across the United States is stronger than ever, which could explain a growing number of medical emergencies that involve the drug, government drug experts Wednesday."
~ Drinking Heavily In College May Lead To Heart Disease Later In Life -- "College-age students who drink heavily may increase their risk for future heart disease, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's 8th Annual Conference on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology." Now they tell me.
~ KFC -- Not so finger lickin' good -- "Kentucky Fried Chicken will be displaying warnings on its fried or baked potatoes saying that they can contain a suspected cancer causing chemical, acrylamide."

~ Obese Children's Appetites Increased By 134 Percent After Watching TV Food Adverts -- "Obese and overweight children increase their food intake by more than 100% after watching food advertisements on television; a study by the University of Liverpool psychologists has shown.A group of 60 children of varying weights, aged between nine and eleven years was shown a series of both food television adverts and toy adverts, followed by a cartoon."
~ Drugs may cause addiction by 'remodelling' brain (AFP) -- "A heroin addict aching for a fix years after kicking the habit is not simply weak-willed but may be tormented by enduring changes in the brain caused by the drug itself, according a groundbreaking study released Wednesday."
~ Older and Musically Wiser? -- "Back in March I asked for your help with some research on music and personality I was carrying out with my colleagues. Although it was restricted to people living in the UK, there was a healthy response to the online questionnaire. Joy of joys, there were also some interesting results, so I thought I would update you with how it turned out."
~ Three Lessons from the 1st Applied Positive Psychology Conference -- "After attending the 1st Applied Positive Psychology Conference last week hosted by the Center for Applied Positive Psychology in the UK (CAPP), I realized that I came away with three strong lessons. The 3-day conference turned out to be a great success, and I learned much more than I expected."
~ Are you conscious? 17 Criteria for Consciousness [Developing Intelligence] -- "A lack of clear definitions for terms like "intelligence" and "consciousness" plagues any serious discussion of those concepts. A recent article by Seth, Baars & Edelman argues for a core set of 17 properties that are characteristic of consciousness, and could be used in the "diagnosis" of consciousness in humans and other animals."
~ Is it Sadness or Clinical Depression? -- "Psychotherapist Gary Greenberg enrolled himself in a study for a new form of treatment for depression thinking that he was a bit down in the dumps, but not clinically depressed. After being diagnosed with depression he suggested that pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in classifying people as depressed when they are going through normal life adjustments or periods of melancholy."
~ Does Migraine Protect Your Memory? -- "Women with a lifetime history of migraine showed less of a performance decline over time on cognitive tests than women who didn't have migraines. Researchers say medications for migraine, diet and behavior changes may play a role in helping women with migraine protect their memory." Weird.
~ Steven Pinker, Oliver Sacks, and others on how learning about their brains changed the way they live -- "Psychoanalysis may not be in vogue right now, but most of us still believe in one of Freud's central insights: The better we understand our minds, the happier and healthier we'll be."

~ Senator Pushes Bipartisan Plan to Partition Iraq -- "Sen. Sam Brownback, a 2008 GOP presidential candidate, today said that he hopes to move a bipartisan bill calling for the partitioning of Iraq into three states before the Democratic supplemental funding bill for the war goes to the president for his promised veto."
~ Fascist America, in 10 easy steps -- Naomi Wolf -- "As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration."
~ How did ginkgo biloba become the top-selling brain enhancer? -- "Remedies designed for the infirm seldomly aid the healthy, too. Donning bifocals won't turn 20/20 eyesight into X-ray vision, and wearing a hearing aid can't endow a nonmusician with the gift of perfect pitch. It's a little baffling, then, that so many consumers assume ginkgo biloba will sharpen their memories."
~ School Food Standards Being Set -- "Millions of children soon could be saying goodbye to regular colas, candy and salty snacks during school hours."
~ Exclusive excerpts from Christopher Hitchens' God Is Not Great -- "There are four irreducible objections to religious faith: that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum of servility with the maximum of solipsism, that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking."
~ SCOTT HORTON—Secrecy, Lies, and the Covert War on the Constitution -- "In an interview yesterday Senator Jay Rockefeller discussed one of the great untold truths of the last six years. The Bush Administration has blocked Congressional oversight of its intelligence operations through a series of lies, tricks and misrepresentations. But its principal tool has been simple: it withholds information."
~ The Other Threat to Abortion Rights -- "The anti-abortion movement scored a high-profile victory with the Supreme Court's approval of the national ban on "partial birth" abortions. But lesser-known tactics -- such as pressuring medical schools to drop abortion training and taking over closed abortion clinics -- may pose the greater threat to access to abortions."
~ Free Books and Free Culture Online -- "Hundreds of audiobooks are available on the internet for free, and the "free culture" movement keeps adding more."

~ The Emerging Fate Of The Neandertals -- "For nearly a century, anthropologists have been debating the relationship of Neandertals to modern humans. Central to the debate is whether Neandertals contributed directly or indirectly to the ancestry of the early modern humans that succeeded them."
~ Tech Industry Boasts Biggest Job Growth Since Bust -- "Though still down 12 percent of its work force since 2000, the high-tech industry has made great strides in the past two years, finds a recent report."
~ Beer Foam Riddle Solved -- "Scientists have labored over lagers to understand the physics of beer foam."
~ Photos, Video Expose Darfur Atrocities in Google Earth -- "Images and survivor stories embedded in the virtual globe bring the violence up close and personal, while real-time spin-offs aim to track and perhaps deter armed militias."
~ The Invisible World: All About Microbes -- "Delve into the realm of bacteria, archaea, amoebas, slime molds, parameciums, and even viruses."
~ Turtles are loyal in feeding as well as in breeding -- "A research team led by the Dr Annette Broderick of the University of Exeter`s School of Biosciences has discovered that, after laying their eggs, sea turtles travel hundreds of miles to feed at exactly the same sites. The research, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), shows for the first time that marine turtles appear to be as loyal to specific foraging sites and migratory routes as they are to nesting sites."
~ A Massive Explosion on the Sun -- "Astronomers are calling the Japanese Hinode spacecraft a "Hubble for the sun." Watch this movie and you'll see why."

~ Derrida and nonduality by Desilet from Ed Berge at Open Integral.
~ The Heart & the Law -- "This post is by one of our readers, Jake Stetser, who is one of our first guest contributors here on Buddhist Geeks. His bio can be found at the bottom of the post."
~ Being with Discontent -- "I feel the pain and loneliness of discontent, depression and anxiety. It does not belong to Colin, though. I feel it in the people around me recently: friends, family and, sometimes, random people in public. And it stabs my Heart, ripping it open, exposing an awareness of separation everywhere. Separation from Self. Separation from Spirit. Separation from Truth. This is my Bodhisattva Heart. My Christ Consciousness. And I accept the pain with hands open and heart full."
~ This mind, this mind... -- "When I first started out with meditation, it did not take me long to realise that my mind was an unruly and anarchic beast. It was hard to sit for ten, even five minutes. I was assailed by thoughts from all angles. I was bored. I kept opening my eyes and casting around for something else to think about. I could not keep my attention on the breath. But nevertheless, I persisted, imagining that it would only be a year or two and then I would have the whole business taped."
~ Buddhism: Lessons from a great teacher, or "just let go" -- "About five years ago I remember going to an FWBO Sangha night (where Friends of the Western Buddhist Order gather to meditate and talk and drink tea) where Dharmachari Saaramati (aka Professor Alan Sponberg) gave a talk. To begin the talk he asked us all to write down the 'essence of Buddhism' in just a few words. I wrote something like, "Buddha, Dharma, Sangha," others had their own ideas, but that's not important. What is important is that it got us all thinking, "what is the essence of Buddhism?"
Dishwasher Mindfulness -- "Upon emerging from my formal sitting meditation I decided to unload the dishwasher with deep concentration and mindfulness. As I slowly began the process of unloading the clean dishes I thought about each cup, each plate and each utensil."