Agape, Authoritarianism, Becky, Belief, Brett, Christianity, Citizenship, Class War, Coffee Shop Folks, Coffee Shop Stories, Conservative, Democracy, Fantasy Based Community, God(s), Guilt, Judeo-Christian Tradition, Late Night Thoughts, Liberal, Love, News and Current Events, People, Philos, Play, Politicians and Scoundrels, Politics, Progressive, Reality Based Community, Regret, Religion, Romantic Love, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Society, Work

Late Night Thoughts (Reposted from February 20, 2011)

There are few noises at this hour.   A car passes in the distance.  The house creaks.  The furnace starts.  I have not heard a dog bark in hours.

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…”It is really annoying when people, particularly those in positions of power, can’t even be bothered to take the trouble to lie well.” — Yves Smith.

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…To oppress a mother is to oppress a democracy, for it is mothers who teach the value of democracy to their children.

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…It seems what’s happening in Wisconsin is part of the class war in America that’s been going on for sometime now.  As Warren Buffett pointed out, the war was begun by members of his class, and his class is winning it.

Unfortunately, if rich billionaires like the Koch brothers win the Wisconsin round in the class war, that means they will have managed to break the Wisconsin public service unions.  And if they manage to do that, then the Democratic party will be left as nothing more than a paper man in that state.

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…The other day, I noticed an advertisement that claimed the Bible was, of all the world’s wisdom literature, the most profound.  Now, I’ve heard that claim made before in various ways and places.  But, I confess, I have never understood why anyone would make that claim.

As wisdom literature, the Bible seems to have been often surpassed. And not just by many of the ancient Greek, Roman, Indian, or Chinese authors.  But also by more modern authors.

To give some of the Biblical authors credit, though, their concern for social, political, and economic justice was remarkable for their time, and — thankfully — very influential on the West.

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…There seems to be a sense in which almost all complex, hierarchical societies — even going as far back as to the origin of complex, hierarchical societies some 5,500 years ago — have been scams.   Moreover, it’s been the same scam perpetrated again and again.  And, in essence, that scam has been to fool the masses into believing the society’s elites have the backing of a supernatural order.

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…There are many people in this god-drunk town who cast their blurry vision on science and declare that it, too, is a religion.  The last drunk to tell me that declared, as his reasoning, “Religions are based on beliefs. Science is based on beliefs. Therefore, science is a religion.”

By precisely the same “logic”, “Cats are furry.  Dogs are furry.  Therefore, dogs are cats.”

But, even if his reasoning was logically valid — which it is not, unless dogs are cats — what would not then become a religion?  Indeed, even one’s overwhelming desire to take a shower after hearing him espouse his drunken  “logic” would, according to his drunken  “logic”,  become a religious act.

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Just now, a motorcycle started up, then sped off.  In the day, it would be just another cycle.  But in the night, it seems a story in itself.

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…Humans are natural born cartographers.  We make maps of the world, which we call “beliefs”.   It’s what our species does.

Sometimes, our maps are more or less accurate.  And sometimes, they are fantasy maps, like the ones we made as children to show where a pirate’s treasure lay buried in our backyard.

The accuracy of our maps often matters less to us than the fact they are ours.  Because, for most of us, our maps are something we think of as us.

Now, when we fall in love, she sooner or later challenges our maps…

And, if our love survives those challenges, there’s a chance that our love is true.

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…Tonight, I came across in a faded notebook a line from a poem I once wrote to a woman: “No one has made me wish / To face with grace the challenge / of her morning breath like you, Joelle.”   And consequently, reading that line, I had a sudden and abrupt realization of precisely how it is that I have managed all these years to remain celibate despite the occasional woman who’s now and then been interested enough in me to even read my poems.

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…Once I saw a Seven-Eleven that was closed.  Locked up and abandoned.

Since everything inside the impossibly dark store windows was in place and intact, I eventually concluded it must be a clerk who didn’t show up for work.  But I at first thought: “Not even a president’s death can close a Seven-Eleven. It must be something.  It must be big.”

Perhaps there is inside all of us a thing — a strange, hard thing — that now and then longs for an event so big it will close even the world’s Seven-Elevens.

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…When I met Becky she was in her 30s and would now and then do something completely spontaneous: Always some little thing, but it was an attractive quality.   Even in a city, birds from a branch put to air like her.  So, though they live like the rest of us amongst the concrete and noise, you can see how those birds are beyond the artificial world we have created for them — how they are still native to the earth and sky.  Some people are like that.

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…So far, I have found only three things with power to redeem the human condition: Love, work, and play.  And of those three, love is the greatest.

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…Brett called to invite me to lunch the other day  (Brett was 15 the year we first met at the coffee shop.  I was perhaps 40 or 42).   So, we met at a tavern where the beer is watery, but the food is good, and I enjoyed talking with him so much the time slipped past on rabbit’s feet.

At some point in the afternoon, after we had exhausted half a dozen topics, Brett said he suspected the reason quite a few kids had hung out with me years ago at the coffee shop was because I was for the most part nonjudgmental.   So I told him that was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard from a fellow human, if indeed he was actually human. So, I thanked him for confirming a suspicion I’d had.  Then, being an insufferable old fart, I told him a story he’d already heard at least twice from me, and one he probably didn’t want to hear again.

After we had parted for the evening, I reflected on the fact that Brett had certainly been one of the most intelligent people at the coffee shop, and very likely one of the wisest.  Yet, it had never been any one thing that led me to those conclusions.  Like a stream of gold dust, Brett is someone who stands out from the crowd not for any one big thing, but for the cumulative impression made on you by a thousand glittering details.

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…My second wife had a taste for dresses by Ungaro.  Is Ungaro still around?  That Italian knew how to make a woman wearing silk look like a nude.

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…This night, for the first time in ages, I recall once a woman and I spent nearly two years laughing together.  No, she was not my wife, but a co-worker.  We worked together in the evenings, and we’d spend every moment we could with each other.  Then, when I moved on to a day job, I still dropped by her workplace in the evenings to laugh with her.

One day, I invited her out to a movie.  But by the time she got to my place, it was too late to catch a show.  At a loss for much else to do, I tried nibbling on her ear.  Consequently, two years of laughing together led to her having three explosive orgasms: The best in her life, she told me.  After that, you might think she’d be happy.

Yet, somehow, by the next day, she had translated everything — all of it — into guilt and regret.  “You must think I’m a slut”, she said, “because I slept with you on our first date.”

“No, I feel as if I’ve been courting you for two years”, I said, “Besides I’m in love.”

“Even if you don’t think I’m a slut”, she said, “When I saw you this evening, it made me think of myself as a slut, and then my heart sank to the floor.  I can’t see you again.”  And she meant it.

It was much later I realized that, despite our rapport, only one of us had been in love.

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It is almost dawn.

Advice, Horniness, Human Nature, Love, Lovers, Relationships, Sex, Sexuality

Some Advice for Hideous Post-Pubic Teens and Other Outlaw Pervs

[Asshole Mode On] Please pardon my French, but I don’t have a polite way to say this at the moment. Don’t waste energy and effort rushing into sex like sex was some sort of football game and you were a lineman who had to charge headlong into fucking like your life depended on you getting a little ass.

Just don’t.

Just don’t rush in.

Allow yourself to grow into it instead.

You will, you know, you’ll grow into it naturally, inevitably.  Trust me!  It happens!  You’ll know you’re ready when you are at last with a real decent partner and you feel like you will die — DIE! — if you can’t fuck them that very moment.  That’s how it feels to be emotionally ready for it.

And for the sake of the weeping gods, use condoms or some other medically approved protection, you hideous, perving morons! [/Asshole Mode Off]

Fear, Human Nature, Life

The Irrational Side of Human Nature

(About a 5 minute read)

I am very familiar with the idea of both the artists and the scientists that we humans harbor an irrational ape.  That you have only to scratch our surfaces to find a scared and confused ape looking out at the world through ancient eyes filled with fear, superstition, bias, and error.  I am very familiar with that idea.

Continue reading “The Irrational Side of Human Nature”

Adolescent Sexuality, Bad Ideas, Courage, Dan Cohen, Free Spirit, Friends, Guilt, Honesty, Horniness, Human Nature, Judgementalism, Learning, Life, Living, Loneliness, Love, Lovers, Lust, Quality of Life, Relationships, Seduction, Self-Knowledge, Sex, Sexuality, Sexualization, Shame, The Art of Living Well, Values, Well Being, Wisdom

Sleep With Your Friends, Not Your Fascinations!

(About a 7 minute read)

Guys, I apologize for a bossy post title, but I just could not resist the alliteration.  A good phrase has so often been my undoing in life.  Twice, for instance, I said, “Make it happen!”, at the worst possible moment.

“Make it happen” is one of my favorite phrases.  I stole if from my younger brother. My bro is superb at making even seemingly impossible things happen.  But twice, I’ve said it when I should have thought before I said it.  “Do you, Paul, accept this woman as your lawfully wedded wife…”.

“Make it happen!”

“I’ll take that as an ‘I do’. You may now kiss the wench.”

Continue reading “Sleep With Your Friends, Not Your Fascinations!”

Free Spirit, Friends, Fun, Horniness, Humor, Life, Living, Play, Quality of Life, Relationships, Sex, Sexuality, The Art of Living Well

Geri. Sexuality and the Single Genius Secretary

(About a 6 minute read)

The first I noticed that Geri — our sales office secretary — might have a more than usually interesting sexuality was when she put Chicago’s “Daily Sex Tips Hotline” on every speakerphone in the office.

That’s to say, Geri went desk to desk, dialed the Hotline’s number into all of our phones one after the other, and punched the “speaker” button.  The whole office was soon singing, “Men often do not play nearly enough with their partner’s breasts and nipples…”.

Continue reading “Geri. Sexuality and the Single Genius Secretary”

Adolescent Sexuality, Bad Ideas, Cultural Traits, Culture, Erotic Love, Ethics, Free Spirit, From Around the Net, Fun, Horniness, Human Nature, Jane Paterson Basil, Judgementalism, Learning, Life, Living, Love, Morality, Morals, New Love, Play, Seduction, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-determination, Self-Flourishing, Self-Knowledge, Sex, Sexuality, Sexualization, Society, Stolen From The Blogosphere, Village Idiots

The Feral Sexuality of Teenage Girls

(About a 6 minute read)

It is easy to fall for the cliché that ours is the most sexually liberated age in history.  It might be actually closer to the truth if we were to think of ourselves as among the most sexually complicated ages in history.

Continue reading “The Feral Sexuality of Teenage Girls”

Andrea Dinardo, Anxiety, Emotions, Eudaimonia, Fear, Free Spirit, Happiness, Health, Human Nature, Life, Living, Meditation, Mental and Emotional Health, Nature, Quality of Life, Resilience, Spirituality, The Art of Living Well, Well Being, Wilderness

The Power of Nature to Combat Anxiety, Dread, and Fear

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Paul discusses how spending time in nature — and especially spending time meditating in nature — can combat anxiety, dread, and fear.

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THE CRITICS EXPLODE! “Paul Sunstone knows no more about nature than Rupert Snider, the Denver tourist, once knew about the ravenous hunger of bears fresh out of hibernation.  To the horror of his tour group, Snider tried to pet a black bear in the spring of ’98.  The last he saw of his arm up to the elbow was its being carried off in the mouth of a mamma bear on her way back to share it with her cubs.  To the horror of his readers, Paul Sunstone has written yet another one of is eternally ignorant nature posts. The world would be a better place if a bear could be persuaded to make off with both his typing fingers.”  — Gus “Gunning Gus” Johnson, The Blog Critic’s Column, “Leper’s Gulch Gazette”, Leper’s Gulch, Colorado, USA.

Continue reading “The Power of Nature to Combat Anxiety, Dread, and Fear”

Abusive Relationships, Alienation, Anger, Attached Love, Attachment, Bad Ideas, Cultural Traits, Culture, Emotional Dependency, Free Spirit, Friends, Happiness, Human Nature, Judgementalism, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Memes, New Love, Possessiveness, Quality of Life, Relationships, Romantic Love, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, The Art of Living Well, Unconditional Love

The Lightness of Love. The Heaviness of Possession.

(About a 4 minute read)

This is how I explain it to myself.  Suppose you meet someone who soon delights you, but who you do not in any way think of as “yours”.  She’s not (at least not yet) your friend, or your lover, or your colleague, or your boss, or your employee, or your client, or your teacher, or your neighbor,  or your — anything.  She delights you, but — as we sometimes say — she means nothing to you.

Let’s say you met her because she sat down at the table next to you in a coffee shop.  Glancing over you see her take a novel out of her purse.  “What a striking cover! I’ve never seen another like it. Is it a good read?”  A conversation starts.  A few minutes later, you are thinking she’s an easy-going, down to earth, and rather delightful person.

Continue reading “The Lightness of Love. The Heaviness of Possession.”

Adolescent Sexuality, Agape, Anger, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Education, Erotic Love, Fear, Friends, Gratitude, Horniness, Human Nature, Infatuation, Learning, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, New Love, Passion, People, Possessiveness, Relationships, Romantic Love, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-Flourishing, Self-Knowledge, Sexuality, Sharon, Talents and Skills, Teacher, Unconditional Love

Sharon’s Love for the Horny Misfit Boy

(About a 20 minute read)

Many a beautiful friendship has sprouted from awkward soil.  In fact, most of my deepest friendships in life have begun clumsily.

I know of no inviolate law of nature that dictates the conservative beige panties of a young school librarian cannot possibly be the start of a profound bond between her and an insufferably horny 14 year old boy misfit.  I know of no law that states such a thing cannot happen.

Yet the very last thing on my mind when Sharon’s angry voice shook me awake that Spring morning was, “This is the start of a beautiful friendship”.

Continue reading “Sharon’s Love for the Horny Misfit Boy”

Adolescent Sexuality, Courtship, Free Spirit, Hate, Horniness, Human Nature, Jealousy, Life, Love, Lovers, New Love, People, Relationships, Seduction, Sex, Sexuality

“We’ve Entered Our Dangerous Years, Paul”

(About a 10 minute read)

Chris was one of the prettiest, most shapely beauties in our high school.  She was also one of the few in that category that I actually desired enough to want so much more than a casual friendship with.

You see, Chris was — like me — a bit of an outcast. We had the same bad reputation.  Folks said I had “quite a temper”, a “sharp tongue”, and that I was “contrary” — meaning that I tended to oppose things for no better reason than for the sake of opposing them.

Folks said exactly the same things about Chris.  She had quite a temper,  a sharp tongue, and — of course, being female, the word wasn’t “contrary” — Chris was a “bitch”.

Continue reading ““We’ve Entered Our Dangerous Years, Paul””

Aesthetics, Bad Ideas, Celibacy, Complaining, Cultural Change, Cultural Traits, Culture, Education, Erotic Love, Eudaimonia, Health, Horniness, Human Nature, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Mental and Emotional Health, Pleasure, Quality of Life, Relationships, Self-Flourishing, Self-Pity, Sex, Sexuality, Shame, Society, Spirituality, The Art of Living Well, Values, Well Being, Whining

A Indelicate Post on the Most Delicate Topic of Simpatico Sex

(About a 5 minute read)

It has long been my personal, tender opinion that the pure Japanese genius for first seeing nearly everything as an aesthetic experience, and for then optimizing the aesthetics of those experiences — that the Japanese genius for that has only been defeated once — and once only — in the entire cultural history of that remarkable people.

The Japanese genius for aesthetics was overthrown when it took on sex.

Continue reading “A Indelicate Post on the Most Delicate Topic of Simpatico Sex”

Advice, Bad Ideas, Buddhahood, Consciousness, Enlightenment, Human Nature, Life, Living, Love, Mysticism, Pride, Quality of Life, Satori, Self, Self-Integration, Spirituality, Wisdom

Is Abolishing the Ego a Bad Idea?

(About a 2 minute read)

Quite often, people tell me they want to attain nirvana, mosksha, kenshō, or enlightenment by abolishing their ego or “lower self”.  But I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.  At least not on the face of it.

I think I can see where they are coming from though.  In popular speech, the “ego” is synonymous with our pride.  Pride is quite often a source of foolishness, and can easily enough be seen as wholly unnecessary.  After all, pride isn’t exactly the same thing as self-esteem.  To many people “pride” is excessive or unjustified self-esteem.

But I see the ego as much bigger than pride — and much more important, too.  To me, the ego is the psychological self.  The self we think of as “me” or “I”.  In other words, I use the word in it’s original Latin sense.  Moreover, I do not believe pride can be abolished without abolishing the ego.

As I understand things, it is impossible to wholly abolish the ego.  I profoundly agree with Joseph Campbell that the powers within us we deny or repress do not wither and die.  Instead, they become our demons.

So, I think efforts to abolish the ego end up creating monsters.

Beyond that, the ego — or psychological self — strikes me as quite useful to us.  In fact, I can’t see anyone surviving for long without it.  Near as I can figure it, the ego is key to at least a dozen functions that are themselves both useful and vitally important to our survival.

I won’t go into them here other than to mention those functions include foresight, planning, self-defense, and many forms of motivation.  In sum, I do not believe it wise or beneficial to abolish the ego.  Or even try.  Instead, one’s objective should be to tame it through wisdom and/or love.