“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

“Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than individuals.”
-Ron Paul

“There is no path to peace, the path is peace.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh

What a week it has been.  What turmoil we face as a nation.

After two highly publicized shootings by police, I already was feeling compelled to write something about what was going on, and then there was the shooting in Dallas.  When a person dies there is no way to describe it other than as a tragedy.  Even when it is justified, but especially when it is not.  The jury is still out on whether the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were justified or not.  Perhaps neither was, perhaps both were, or perhaps only one.  From the knowledge I have gathered, I find it impossible to say in Alton Sterling’s case, and I am inclined to think that in the best case scenario, the situation with Philando Castile was a gross overreaction.  More facts will come to light as time goes on, and I hope that if either killing was not justified that those responsible will be justly punished.  But no matter what, both of those deaths are tragedies.

In contrast, it is quite clear that the killing of 5 Dallas police officers was unjustified.  These officers were not in any way responsible for the deaths of Alton Sterling or Philando Castile.  These men were doing their jobs, and protecting the protest of a group that frequently vilifies them.  The Dallas police department performed admirably in the situation thrust upon them, and to my mind every officer on duty acted heroically.  That we lost 5 brave officers to a coward with an axe to grind is a great tragedy.

How did we get here?  I think there’s a few reasons.  Bear with me, I’ll be addressing both issues of law enforcement and protest movements.

Police brutality is a problem in America.  Don’t react too quickly to this.  Most police officers are decent people who perform admirably.  Much of the time, even if an officer makes mistakes that cost an innocent person their life, the officer is still a decent person.  Obviously, there are outliers.  There are crooked cops, and racist cops, and just outright incompetent cops, but these are the minority.

It’s important to note that police brutality is not exclusive to black people.  Not accounting for justified vs. unjustified killings, 49% of people killed by police so far this year were white.  24% were black.  The remainder were some other race.  (source:  Yes, statistically, 24% is higher than the relative population of blacks to whites.  However, statistically, black people tend to be involved in more crime and are therefore more likely to have encounters with police.  As I will get to soon, more encounters with police equates to more death at the hands of police (not because the officers are bad people, but because it creates unsafe situations for both the officer and the civilian).  Violent crime rates in 2012-2013, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, place white offenders of violent crime at 42.9%, and black offenders at 22.4%, which is not far off from the percentages of those killed by police.

It is my belief that most of the time (but not all of the time) when a person is killed by police, it is justified.  It is always a tragedy.  And much of the time, despite being justified, it is unnecessary.  To illustrate my point, let’s think about why police pulled over Philando Castile and had an interaction with him that resulted in his death.  It was a trivial matter, a broken tail light.  Because a person had a broken tail light, he was pulled over, and a situation was created that resulted in a man’s death.  Having nothing to go on other than a video of events happening after he was shot, it’s hard to know if a case can be made that the officer who shot him was justified in the decision.  However, regardless of if he was or not, if a traffic stop was never made, Philando Castile would be alive.    Interaction between police and civilians is inherently dangerous to both parties, and should be minimized.  There is no reason that an officer should need to pull over a driver for a broken tail light.  Safety issue?  Ok, send them a letter in the mail.  That sort of traffic stop is often used as an excuse to stop a car when the officer suspects they might find something else.  Drugs is a big issue.  Want to send police/civilian interactions way down (and stop a lot of the unjustified killings)?  End the drug war.

Obviously, I can’t say no police officer has ever killed a black man where he wouldn’t have killed a white man because he was racist.  But I don’t believe that it is a systemic problem.  Innocent people of all races are killed by police too frequently, and we need to do everything that we can to minimize that number without vilifying police officers who for the most part are doing the best they can at an extremely difficult job.

The organization Black Lives Matter is also problematic.  It is problematic for the same reason that the SJWs of the regressive left are problematic.  Under the guise of fighting racism, it segregates people into groups on the basis of race, or gender, or sexuality.

Specific activists within that community are a problem.  There are more than a few who have a clear hatred of white people.  It’s not hard to see why those people would spring up.  BLM demands that white people all admit that they are racist because, being white, they can’t help but be.  The ideology says that minorities cannot be racist, because they redefine racism to be something that only a person with “power” can be (as though all white people have great political and economic power, and no non-white person does).  When you tell someone that ALL white people are racist, and that blacks and minorities CAN’T be racist, then is it any surprise that you end up with a climate in which a black shooter kills 5 police officers and tells police that he wants to kill white people, especially white police officers?  This is the same group that chants anti-police rhetoric at their rallies.  This is the same group who interrupts and holds hostage events of even people who are ideologically on their side and demands that they be allowed to do whatever they want.

Other than private conversations with a few people, I have long been silent on how I feel about the Black Lives Matter movement.  It’s not that I don’t think black lives matter, it’s that the movement is irresponsible and often ideologically dangerous.  No, they did not encourage or condone the shooting last night, but they did, perhaps unknowingly, contribute to the climate that gave rise to it.

I love my black friends.  I would be devastated if any one of them were to die, especially if it was unjust.  But I cannot support that movement.  I will not ever admit to something that I am not (racist).  I will not agree that a minority cannot be racist (I’ve met some who are, and I’ve been hated by them on the basis of my race).

You can’t solve racism by dividing people up into groups based on their skin color.  You can’t do it by dictating that people who have white skin have nothing to contribute to the conversation.

Racism as an ideology will die out with time.  The best thing those of us who are not racist (the vast majority) can do, is to lead by example, and treat everyone as a fellow human, regardless of what they look like.

Every death is a tragedy, and every life matters.


I am pretty good at being persistent with following my desires and ambitions for limited stints of time… which is a very positive sounding  way of saying that I am really bad at being persistent.

As an example, in a period of about 8 months I went from never having done much running (discounting another roughly year-long period where I did so regularly in college), to running my first 5K, and 10K, and half marathon, in marathon.  Then I slowly became less and less persistent, until I stopped running regularly and only did it sort of occasionally.

I have also gone through time periods where I have been really committed to writing, and time periods where, despite a desire to write things, I just don’t seem to be able to bring myself to do it.  It’s easy to simply decide that one doesn’t feel inspired… just as easy as it is to tell oneself that one doesn’t feel like running in fact.  To paraphrase some comedian who I’m too lazy to look up who it is right now…  It’s really hard to find the time to do something when you really don’t want to.

That may be a bit contradictory, but if it is, then it is.  I can’t say that I know the experience of other people, but I often find that I am in conflict with myself on any number of matters all the time.  In fact, that is part of why it is important that I spend time writing my thoughts down… If I don’t do so, then I am not going to work out my inner conflicts.

Yesterday I picked up a book entitled “A Writer’s Guide to Persistence”.  I am several chapters in, and it has been quite helpful to me thus far.  You see, if there is one thing that I know I need to develop if I really want to write, it is a consistent writing practice.  As it stands, I write when I feel inspired.  That might mean every day for a few weeks, and then maybe once or twice a month for a couple of months, or anywhere in between.  The reality is that not feeling inspired is just an excuse to not have to face the difficulty of really working things out.  It can also be a way of shielding myself from writing something that I think may elicit negative feedback, or simply to save myself from experiencing criticism because I am quite certain that much of what I have to offer is quite regular and boring and inconsequential.

I think that sometimes we have to remind ourselves of the things that we already know.  Often the way that I do that is to watch something that I find particularly inspiring, and so when I really don’t feel like I have anything worth saying to anyone, I watch my favorite movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  If that movie strikes such a chord with me, then there is at least one other person in the world who is also resonates with, and there are likely many others. If someone (Charlie Kaufman) can write from a place that resonates with me, surely I can write from a place that would resonate with him… which is not to compare my writing ability to his in any way, or to say that my voice would be exactly the same.  But, just feeling that some sort of potential is there is enough to inspire me to write SOMETHING, even if I know it’s probably not going to be as good.  Especially when I hear him say things that sound like he doubts his own abilities as much as I doubt my own.

The obvious truth that I manage to keep myself from grasping is that while in one sense my experience is unique, that does not mean it is not relatable.  While no one comes from the exact same set of experiences that I do, there are many who can relate to many or most of them, and would identify with my own struggles and pains and joys.  Therefore, there is someone out there that I have something to offer to, and so it seems to me that I should.

I am not sure how to ensure that I become persistent in my efforts to continue writing, other than to keep trying to be persistent, and whenever I fail to do so, simply try again… and so that is what I will do.  I know that I am better off writing than not writing, and so if I can let that be enough, perhaps I won’t even need to worry about whether or not anyone else thinks that what I have to say is worthwhile.


I liked starting with quotes so much I’m going to do it again.

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis

“Let us pray that we ourselves cease to be
the cause of suffering to each other.
With humility, with awareness of the existence of life,
and of the suffering that are going on around us,
let us practice the establishment of peace in our hearts and on earth.”  – Thich Nhat Hanh

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway

These thoughts come to me as a natural extension of what I was writing yesterday.  One of the more severe problems with progress that I see in the world is that people aren’t truly willing to listen to one another.  It happens on every side of every issue, and of course the reasons for it can vary.  Usually it has to do with assigning that person to a particular group, and categorizing them as an illusory “other”.  That group you have assigned them to is one to which you have already previously assigned some agenda or set of reasons for why they think that thing.  It doesn’t matter what they say, really.  YOU know better.  YOU know the reason why they really feel the way that they do.

It’s not something that I think we are particularly cognizant of.  It is a trap that is easy to fall into.  It is perhaps a byproduct of how busy we are in life… we want to lighten our load by categorizing people so we don’t have to deal with the effort of treating everyone as an individual, genuinely listening with presence and interest to what they have to say.  Even if we are certain that they are wrong.  Perhaps they are, but you will do no harm by genuinely listening and then offering your heartfelt response to what they actually said.  Besides, on any issue you should be willing to accept a small possibility, however unlikely, that you are mistaken, or at least that there might be some new aspect that you may learn from a person who sees it differently.

Another aspect of this superiority complex is when we come across someone who perhaps believes something that we used to believe but no longer do.  Or maybe they simply believe something based on what we see as faulty reasoning.  If only they understood it correctly, they would see how I am right.

This is something that I see constantly.  Among people I know, and among people I don’t.  And even though (unfortunately) I’ve most likely done it myself at some point… it drives me crazy when I see it.  It results in talking down to someone… or talking down about someone when they are not present.  Again, this sometimes is done to certain groups.  Among progressive Christians, it is something that commonly happens concerning those more traditional in their beliefs.  Perhaps those people are missing the point, but when we treat them with contempt by talking down to or about them, we are only furthering the divide and creating a barrier to enlightenment.

We should always start with the presupposition that we know nothing.  That which we think we know, we could easily be wrong about.  Things I once believed quite firmly, I now think are completely wrong.  In another 20 years, I may think those same things about what I believe now.  I cannot know for sure what is true, and so I should not treat with contempt someone who, it seems to me, is behind the curve.  For one, knowledge is not an all or nothing proposition.  It is quite possible that someone I disagree with on fundamentally everything could bring me some form of enlightenment on a particular idea or issue.  As the, perhaps archaic in the digital age saying goes, “even a broken clock is right twice a day”.  Even someone we cannot help but perceive as a “broken clock” has the capacity to teach us, and we should be humble enough to accept them as a potential teacher.


Let’s kick things off with some quotes.

“Give up credibility today… it’s the only way forward.  Credibility is you trying to have power over other people.  And if you believe in what Jesus said …which I almost do… You can’t be trying to collect power over other people.  It’s not what He would have you do.” – David Bazan

“”If you meet the Buddha, slay him!”  One is tempted to say to the Christians, “If you meet the Christ, crucify him!”  Such injunctions are indeed jarring, even shocking, but they are advisedly and purposefully so.  For “doctrines” and “holy images” can become just an additional set of encumbrances that prevent one from the direct realization of what they were originally meant to convey.” – Ruben Habito

“I can tell you this, I’ve come to put less stock in what I say I believe. I feel like my affinity for whatever religious group or set of ideas is more provisional or relatively superficial than I might have previously thought.” – Aaron Weiss


It probably doesn’t come as a shock to anyone reading this that I am absolutely obsessed with theology, philosophy, and spirituality.  I’m quite certain that I am far from an expert in those matters, but it is something that I can’t get away from.  I talk about it with anyone that I can get to talk about it with me – I read about it at every chance I get – and I think about it all the time.

I first came across that David Bazan quote about a year ago.  I highly recommend checking out the video that it’s from, in which he talks with David Dark – check it out here.  It struck me as immediately interesting and challenging.  In the time since then, I have thought of it off and on, and it immediately came to light more recently when I started reading Ruben Habito’s book Living Zen, Loving God.  Here are a couple relevant passages that brought it to mind:

Such universal availability, the capacity of being all things to all, is only possible to fully emptied person, offering themselves totally without a taint of self-seeking or utilitarian motivation.  Such a person will be to others what they need him or her to be for them.

One who is fully emptied in Zen finds himself or herself in everything, literally, and is able to identify fully with everything, to be all things, and thus to act in total freedom, according to what the particular situation demands.  Such a one is no longer separated by the illusory barrier between himself and the “other.”

I am reminded of a prayer of Jesus, recorded in the Bible in John 17:21-24:

I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  I pray that they also will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me.  I’ve given them the glory that you gave me so that they can be one just as we are one.  I’m in them and you are in me so that they will be made perfectly one.  Then the world will know that you sent me and that you have loved them just as you loved me.

While his prayer is immediately for those who believe in him, he also says he is praying for those who believe in him because of the words of those who believe – which seems to imply it is also for those who do not yet believe.  Perhaps it is a prayer for oneness for all of humanity, and further, oneness between God, Christ, and humanity.  This idea of oneness, and that there is no such thing as the other, is something that has fascinated me for a long time.  In the words of one of my favorite songs, written by Aaron Weiss

You think you’re you, you don’t know who you are – You’re not you, you’re everyone else.

Or as Ruben Habito puts it elsewhere in his book:

“What the world is, is what you are.”  This is to see things in a way that dissolves the opposition between Ourselves and the “world.”  The “world” is “what we are.”  The world is not something outside of us, something that we view as mere bystanders, lamenting its sorrows and evils.  No, what happens to the whole world as such is what happens to our very own True Selves.  The sickness of the world is our very own sickness.  This is the sickness of the bodhisattva; it is a sickness that is also the hope and salvation of all living beings.  In Christian terms it is the reality of the cross of Christ, the bearer of the sufferings of the world.

If you aren’t familiar with Buddhist terminology, don’t worry too much about what bodhisattva means… you can google it if you’re curious.

It is my feeling, my belief, that these things are literally true.  I am not me, and you are not you.  We are everyone else.  It seems a contradiction, because we know that the self exists, and yet at the same time, from my own experience, the connection between myself and everyone else cannot be denied.  Part of what I have found so fascinating in reading about Zen Buddhism is that it is absolutely full of contradiction.  And so is Christianity.  And I don’t think that is a problem with either of these belief systems.  Perhaps it proves that they are not credible – but credibility is not what either of them is really about.

The more that I study, and think, and learn, the more that I know that I can’t really know anything.  I can’t tell you what is true, because there’s really not any way for me to know what is true.  Is there an afterlife?  I don’t know (I hope so.)  Is there a God?  I don’t know (I think so, but if I’m honest I don’t think I really know exactly what “God” is.)

One of the things I  greatly appreciate about Aaron Weiss is his reluctance to speak with authority on matters such as this.  However, at the same time, it is frustrating to me, because his thoughts on these matters are perhaps those I want to hear most of all – knowing that he has no idea whether or not he is correct.  That is who I want to hear from.  That is why I want to continue to speak and write about these things.  Perhaps I should do so with an admonition: Always keep in mind when I say anything that I don’t really have any idea what I’m talking about.

Giving up credibility is hard.  It means always speaking the truth as you see it, not worrying about the consequences.  That is what I aspire to do.  Perhaps people will think me foolish, or simply wrong.  Both of those are things that I need to be OK with.  My desire to be seen as smart or correct is after all nothing more than a desire to hold sway over someone’s opinion: a desire for power over them.

Tomorrow I’m going to continue along this thought process, and bring in the concept of humbleness.


One of the downsides of working the job I was (not that I’m not grateful for my time there) was that it seemed to sap me of all inspiration of creativity.  For the past several months my imagination was so paralyzed I couldn’t even find the willpower to push out the occasional blog post.  And, as I have said here before, if I’m not posting blogs, then I’m not writing.  It’s not that I haven’t had the desire to write, it’s just that I’ve not felt able to write.  So the well has been dry for the last little while.  But you’re reading this now, and that means that I’m coming out of it.

Part of taking this trip back to Maryland was to try to recapture that.  I knew I needed a break if I was going to rekindle it.  Simply finding another job as fast as possible wasn’t going to fix anything.  After a week or so of just relaxing and meeting up with friends whenever they were available, I started doing some reading, and also watching some of my favorite movies, as well as some that I’ve been meaning to watch forever.  It’s amazing how much watching a really great movie makes one want to write.  Like many writers, I tend to be extremely critical of the things I write, but somehow despite that I still believe that somewhere inside me are great stories that people should hear.  Perhaps I believe they are there, I merely doubt my ability to convey them in a manner that anyone would be able to tolerate.  The one exception to that is with blogging.  Right or wrong, I consider blogging to be garbage writing, so I don’t really care what comes out except insofar as I’d like it to be understandable.  I mean, sure, I want you to like it… but it’s not like, some compulsive need.

I have a few ideas of writing projects and I’m going to start working on one of them today.  Since coming out to Los Angeles, I’ve been a bit lost and without direction.  It’s nice to have some direction again, and I’m going to be a bit more focused on the end goal this time around.  Part of the problem may have been that my goal at some point changed, and I don’t think I updated the plan to go along with it… simply “having a job” vs. “Not having a job” wasn’t enough.  That goal is to be a staff writer for a serialized show.  Since most of my writing projects have been features or shorts, it’s pretty important that I spend some time working on some good specs.  I still need to pick a few shows to do specs for, but a friend and I are planning on working on a spec for the renewed X-Files.  So I’ll be watching a lot of that in the very near future.

I’m glad I still have a week here to continue along in a pressure-less environment for just a bit longer, but I also feel like I’m ready to go back.

You Are Partly Right

Lately I’ve been slowly reading through a book called “The Art of Communicating” by Thich Nhat Hanh.  Why would I read such a book?  Well, because I often feel like I’m pretty terrible at accurately communicating my thoughts to people.  When it comes to the written word, when I have time to think about exactly what I want to say, it comes out pretty good most of the time.  But, there are instances where I feel helpless to communicate exactly what I am trying to say even then.  I tend to write very haphazardly as well.  While I’m writing a post such as this one, I will go back and insert a new sentence or paragraph here or there, or decide a different order works better and copy and paste things around.  So when it comes to speaking, where I only have one shot at it, I just am not as good.  I tend to hang on to whatever I have to say perhaps a little bit too long as I think it over before I actually say it.  I think this certainly CAN be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing.  At the very least I rarely blurt out anything that I immediately regret.

Anyway, I saw this book and was interested as I had found the only other book of his I had read “Living Buddha, Living Christ” to be pretty interesting, and so I thought it might be beneficial.  And I was right… although I feel like it hasn’t really addressed things I was expecting it to (at least not yet, I’m only about half way through.)
I like the idea he expresses that the goal of all communication should be to cause the other person to suffer less.  I’m not sure this should be applied to literally all communication, but certainly in most of our personal conversations with friends. family, and acquaintances this seems like a pretty good goal.  At the very least, being mindful of how your words are effecting those hearing them is a valuable thing.
Last night I read through a chapter on “mantras”.  If you aren’t familiar with Thich Nhat Hanh, he is a Buddhist, and so much of the book comes from a Buddhist perspective, though he often invites or suggests you think of things in other terminology if that suits you better.  In any case, he refers to these mantras as “magic formulas”.  I don’t know if he really means it in a literal sense, but if he does, and I get the feeling that he does, I don’t really agree with that.  However, I can see the benefit of all of them, and I could see how they could be something akin to a magic formula in terms of their being extremely likely to bring about a desired effect if used appropriately.
All of these mantras are simple phrases that are meant to be said to another person.  He starts with things like “I am here for you” and then, “I know you are there, and I am very happy.”  They are mainly about acknowledging the value of the other person and their importance to you.  Now, they also strike me as things that would often seem quite weird if carried out exactly as he suggests.  But I think the principles behind them are quite worth learning from.
He gives a total of 6 of these mantras, and the one that I found to be the most striking is the 6th one.  “You are partly right.”  This one is a bit different than the others, as it is meant to be said in reply to praise or criticism.  It’s about a balance between false humility and hubris.  Depending on the person, it can be easy to think very highly of one self to the point of arrogance, and for others, and I must admit I fall into this camp, it can be very easy to think very little of themselves, to the point of self deprecation.  This mantra is about recognizing and admitting the truth to yourself in either circumstance.  Whether the person sees good or bad in us: “You are partly right.  You know that I have other things in me too.”  He goes on to write “So we accept ourselves with all our weaknesses, and then we have peace.  We don’t judge ourselves; we accept.  I have these qualities and these weaknesses, but I will try to improve slowly, at my speed.  If you can look at yourself like that, you can look at others like that too, without judgment.  Even if that person has many weaknesses, he also has many talents, many positive things.  No one is without positive qualities.  So when others judge you wrongly, you have to say that they are partly right but they have not seen the other parts of you.  The other person only sees part of you, not the totality, so you don’t have to be unhappy at all.”
For some reason, it’s hard (for me at least) to give yourself credit for your positive qualities.  There is only a focus on the things that you’re not good at.  Then any time someone points out one of those things, it stings all the more.  This is definitely something I want to work on… to be mindful of the good things about me as well as the bad.  And then especially to recognize when someone else only sees part of me…  and then with that hopefully I will realize that I “don’t have to be unhappy at all.”


A couple weeks ago I began studying Japanese.  I’m not sure why I suddenly got the motivation… I mean, I can point to reasons why I think it would be cool/useful to know, but there’s nothing particularly new.  In part I think it was because I was speaking with a friend on Facebook about it and he just sort of suggested “well why not learn it then?”, and I guess my thought was… “yeah… why not?”  And so I set about doing so.

My friend got me started a little bit and then I sought out some iphone apps to help in the process.  So fair I’ve been using Mirai Japanese and iStart Kana (which is also made by Mirai).  I feel like they’ve been pretty helpful thus far.

My only experience with other languages prior to this was a tiny bit of French (I switched schools and the school I switched to did not have a French class, so, I did not continue), and then Spanish.  Both of those languages use roman letters, so there is nothing new to learn in that regard, and it’s just vocabulary and grammar.  With Japanese, one must learn 2 syllaberies, hiragana (ひらがな) and katakana (カタカナ) and then also kanji (chinese characters), which I haven’t even really started on yet.  I can recognize a handful…  the main one being Japan (日本).  Kanji is rather intimidating as there are literally thousands of them… so I’m waiting until I have the kana down before I really make an effort to start learning it.

Since I started I have to say I have found it extremely interesting, if confusing.  Looking at a completely different language and thinking that to someone else your language is the strange foreign thing that is confusing and doesn’t make any sense is sort of fascinating.  It’s really sort of bizarre that these sounds and symbols are sort of intrinsically understood by us…  and in our native tongue, without us even thinking about it.

It’s also interesting to see the reasons why Japanese speakers have the accents they do when speaking english.  One of the things that I found interesting early on is that there is no tone change when asking a question in Japanese.  In english, consider the difference in how you would say “Follow me.” (a command) vs. “Follow me?” a question.  Japanese uses the question marker か to indicate a question… if I am speaking it to myself (I wouldn’t try to speak it to anyone else at this point.. haha) and I know I am asking a question, I find it very hard to NOT use the rising tone.  I don’t know if that changes the meaning at all in Japanese, but I know it’s not used to indicate that you’re asking a question.

Anyway, I don’t know how long it will take before I’m able to actually read or speak anything of use in Japanese, but for now I’m happy with the progress I’m making on learning hiragana.  I actually recognize most of the characters now.  Considering when I first looked at it I wasn’t convinced my brain would be able to remember any of them…  that gives me hope that I might actually be able to learn the rest of this stuff yet!

End of Day One

It’s been 24+ hours now from when I deactivated Facebook. I had an accidental reactivation briefly this morning when I logged in to Spotify… it seems my account is inseparably tied to Facebook, so, I had to create a new one. No big deal. I went into Facebook and immediately clicked the links needed to deactivate again. So there’s no need to restart the clock on it.

At the end of the first full day, I have to say I feel pretty good about the decision. I think I was generally more focused today on anything I was doing. I definitely kept having recurring urges to flip over to a Facebook tab in my browser that is now nonexistent, but after a while those urges made me start to think that it really is a good idea to cut it off. In addition to that, I would sometimes come across information that gave me that “I need to share this” feeling. For instance, some article debunking the whole iPhone bending issue thing. I started thinking about why I would want to share such things, and in all honesty I think it’s out of some need for validation

I thought about maybe using twitter or something else which provide part of what Facebook does with less of the negative impact I feel Facebook has on me, but, I decided against it. I also decided on a minimum timeframe to abstain from all of what I will define as “social media”. For the record, things like instant messengers and Reddit don’t fit in how I am choosing to define it, but anything approaching Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc, do. I guess the difference being things like Reddit aren’t primarily about me or interacting with people who I know. And with instant messengers, well, it’s a much more personal form of communication than Twitter or Facebook.

Additionally, I’m going to keep mum on the blog. I will keep updating it, but I’m not going to say anything to anyone about it. So, my guess is, the readership has dropped and will remain at an average of 1 (that 1 being myself). That’s good though, because I really just want to be writing this for me anyway.


I did it. I pulled the plug on my facebook account. It’s something I’ve pondered doing before, but never did before now. I don’t know how long I’ll stay away. Permanently? I’d say probably not, but who knows. It’s kind of an experiment.

So what would make me want to kick Facebook to the curb?

Well, let’s start with the reason I talked myself out of deactivating my account for such a long time. When the subject of Facebook came up in real world conversation, any time someone would speak of it in a sense such as “I don’t really use it,” I would generally say something like “Yeah, I probably wouldn’t use it at all if it weren’t for it letting me keep in touch with people I otherwise probably wouldn’t.” That was a true statement, that is what convinced me that I should stay on.

I kind of hate shallow relationships. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. If I like you, I’m in it 100%. I’m not a big fan of small talk and the like. Now, since I’m in it 100%, but I’m all or nothing, it gets weird when it becomes difficult to maintain that 100% (say, you live on the opposite side of the country). Well, Facebook offered this neat little thing where I can be “in it” in the world of cyberspace, but not so much in the real world. And that is kind of OK in some circumstances.

However, I feel like in some situations Facebook has been stressing me out on an almost subconscious level for some time. That can be for various reasons. There’s that whole effect of seeing the best of one person’s life and comparing it with the worst of yours, which can definitely mess with your head. It’s certainly a kind of addiction because it makes you feel that you need to see what is going on with people. Certainly, I was far less addicted than many people are, and also probably the least I have been at any point in my own life. Still, it consumed time and attention… and I’d flick over to it randomly so often that it really feels weird that I can’t do that right now.

The biggest reason goes back to that staying in touch with people and my hatred of shallow relationships though. I sort of realized Facebook is just sort of fostering ultra-shallow, casual, passive, not really real relationships. There are some people who I just sort of felt like I was bothering them when I’d message them, and well, I don’t really need that. Sometimes I’d want to actually talk to the person and I’d just get a few minutes of sporadic messages of fluff and then nothing. But I’d still feel compelled to send messages to certain people if I noticed them on and hadn’t talked to them in some time.

And so, I decided to rid myself of it. No more stress. If you have my email address, you can email me. If you have my phone number, you can call me or text me. With the exception of a short list of people, I’m not likely to contact you more than once without you contacting me, because I’m tired of being more in it than you are.

So we’ll see how this goes. Maybe without Facebook in the mix I’ll be better at all of this.


It is safe to assume that everyone is familiar with the philosophical mandate to “know thyself.” What is seemingly a simplistic and easily achievable direction turns out to not be that way. Identifying who you are and why you are the way you are is a process that takes years. It may even take stepping aside from that mandate and answering another: “know thy kind”.

I find that my struggles have less to do with the reality of me than they do with my perception of others to include my perception of how they perceive me, which brings us back to me as the source of my own problems. Because in a certain sense self awareness *IS* easy. Conclusions can be drawn about things pertaining to one’s self comparatively easily because we have all the facts available. While we may delude ourselves for a time, if we’re seeking the truth about ourselves we will eventually come clean. But to know our kind, or to put it another way, to know others, is another proposition entirely.

One of the first conclusions that I can draw is that in many ways other people are exactly like me. It seems that most people probably assume that people are like them in most ways. As an example, people who lie generally have trouble trusting other people. Obviously, just because someone has trust issues that doesn’t mean you can simply assume they are a liar, but it is worth making such observations about people. So in a certain way the way that I see you is as a reflection of myself, just as you see me as a reflection of yourself. It would be nigh impossible for either of us to perceive the other as we are.

My thoughts on this were sparked by a talk given by Aaron Weiss. The thing that I like about his speaking, and also his lyrics, is that he has this ability to be so honest about who he is that it causes me to see who I am. He spoke of our perception of love versus I guess the reality of love… if you believe in God then you might say the sort of love that we believe God has. I’m too lazy to go back through the video to get the exact quote, but to paraphrase him, we treat love like a business transaction. You can watch it yourself if you want: (the audio is terrible, but I promise it’s worth it).

He further elaborates that to us love isn’t really something that is selfless and unconditional. The thing that we call love is almost entirely based on selfishness. This is the case in both the love you have for a friend as well as romantic love. If you are my friend, I love you because of the things you do for me, or because you are pleasurable to be around, or because you are nice for me. If you were mean to me, or if you were miserable to be around, I don’t think I would have love for you. And it’s the same with romantic love, and it’s why so many relationships end in crushing depression. We all want love but none of us seem to have any idea what in the hell that means.

And so there is this game that we play, where we use that part of which we know to try to make people love us. And, at least for me, I can only assume for you, it all based on this obsessive need to have this thing called love. But if it’s based on how that person makes me feel, and on how I make them feel, or on what we do for each other, or us generally being nice to each other, that’s not going to be enough. The thing is, when I heard Aaron Weiss say that, I thought what I have to assume you are thinking: “well that’s not love!” But then, as I tried to mentally formulate a rebuttal as to why he was wrong, nothing really came to mind. I can choose to love someone in the sense that I can choose to do 2/3 of that list, even when the first third, the feeling, isn’t there. But I’m just not sure that is real love. But I lack any other definition.

So I put expectations on people. If I buy you a drink I expect to be thanked. Perhaps if I go on a certain number of dates and do the right things I expect reciprocation. If I do something nice for you, I expect that you will later do something nice for me. I don’t think I’m saying anything here that isn’t true about everyone.

There are things that I do or don’t do based on how I believe that you see me. I probably act differently around you than I do around someone else. When I think about it, the anxiety I feel in large groups probably mostly has to do with me not being able to figure out how I should be when I’m around person x, person y, and person z. And none of this is conscious. I don’t intentionally act differently, but at the same time, I know that I *DO* act differently.

My next thought is of why I think that is. The answer is that I think you’re better than me. I really do, almost regardless of who you are (yeah, I could probably think of a few people who I don’t think that about). The reason why I think that is pretty simple… I know all the bad shit about me that I wouldn’t want anyone to know. And well, generally speaking, I don’t know any of that about you. Just like I put my best foot forward in social interactions, so, I must assume, do you. And yet I seem to assume that I am somehow special and I’m the only one with that going on as I interact with people.

There’s a line in the song “Messes of Men” that goes “I’d never want someone so crass as to want someone like me.” Now that is a line that I can connect with. But I guess the real truth is that we’re all a mess, we’re all crass.

And so I wonder if love really has something to do with truly understanding each other… with somehow overcoming any distance between us. One of Jesus’ prayers was for us to “become one”. And it’s my view that he was speaking of something a bit deeper than agreeing on theology, and I don’t think there’s any danger of complete theological agreement happening any time soon. Another Biblical usage of this idea of oneness is presented for a man and a woman in marriage, and so it does seem to be connected to love. Perhaps seeing each other as reflections isn’t quite right, perhaps the lines should be blurred just a bit more, until we can’t tell us apart.