The Switzerland of Excuses

Dr Ben Carson

Mark Zuckerberg posted a slightly maddening analysis on Facebook yesterday. An excerpt:

Every day I work to bring people together and build a community for everyone. We hope to give all people a voice and create a platform for all ideas.

Trump says Facebook is against him. Liberals say we helped Trump. Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don’t like. That’s what running a platform for all ideas looks like.

. . .

After the election, I made a comment that I thought the idea misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a crazy idea. Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it. This is too important an issue to be dismissive. But the data we have has always shown that our broader impact — from giving people a voice to enabling candidates to communicate directly to helping millions of people vote — played a far bigger role in this election.

The fact that even the most influential people will not take the slightest bit of responsibility for how bad things in the world have gotten really gets to me. “The bad guys are always somewhere out on the fringes and I’m just a neutral observer or facilitator of ideas.”–That’s what I keep hearing over and over again, some version of that. In reality, the natural state of things is to become disorganized and chaotic, to fall apart, to decay. If you’re “neutral” you’re just allowing the decay to take place.

Though I am one who believes that social media can be a positive benefit to society as a provider of information and a portal for communication, it must take an active role for it to do so. A passive role will merely degenerate into a fount of white noise. (see: most comment sections on news and politics sites.)

One’s only choices are to make an effort toward a desirable outcome or profit from the decline. There’s no middle ground, because the ground is always shifting. We’re in constant motion; the only question is one of inclination.

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Red Skies at Night . . . But This?

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This picture doesn’t come close to capturing it, but the sun is a hazy red around here because of massive wildfires. Not as bad as Los Angeles is faring at the moment or the Gulf States for that matter. But chilling.

At any rate, my job has been a nightmare of long days lately and my wrists have been killing me, so I’ve not been on here much the last couple of weeks. Hopefully normal posting will commence soon.

Thanks to all of you for sticking with me.

Dysphoria


 
 
Identity, the white flag, a surrender to social
expectation, the reductio ad absurdum
of self . . .

We simplify ourselves down to an easy-to-follow instructional set, an A-to-B slotting of the personal, if only laden with dabs of our quirks eccentricities, preferences and desires. Creativity factors least.

. . . and smile to disarm. Even when we give the ulterior motives away. In the corners and crevices of emotion. And a kiss . . .

It’s such a lonely feeling
being oneself
all parts at once in flurry,
blur,
as near to invisible,
joy in absentia . . .

–love reigned in is
a devil
not an angel.
 
 

Good News/Bad News

Dr Ben Carson
 
In the midst of an article posted on Five Thirty-Eight about job and wage growth in the U.S. economy, the author drops this little nugget of a statistic:

U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs in July . . . [which] marked the 82nd straight month of job growth, a record.

Quite the long haul of growth indeed. However, positive aspects aside, this just underscores how deep of a hole the economy was in that such a streak of ameliorative activity was necessary to get us to the current adequate moment. The U.S. economy is doing well but not overwhelmingly so.

The good news is that we’re not messing things up and going into negative territory again. The bad news, nearly seven years into the recovery much damage remains.
 
 

All Across the Waves

As the undulations collect and disperse,
betray the deep water’s shared weighty calm,
sunlight crests the melting cloud cover,
sparks and wobbles
in the prism emerald and blue.
The breath of an idea puffs into the chill.
An emotion stirs and wakes.

. . . the last time we spoke
our conversation abruptly ended
though I don’t recall the reason.
I wanted to ask you why
(in so many words)
you still wanted to engage me
despite the fact that we’d likely
never see one another again
after that interaction . . .

Most days, peering out to sea eases
my own agitations. However on that morning,
toes ground into the damp sands,
the air soaked and unpleasant to breathe,
I drew a half-vacant memory:

“It was she who was waiting
for words that never came.”

. . . all across the waves, quiet echoes
in valleys that once were peaks.
And even their momentous beauty
will dissipate.

Null Pointer

IMG_0004

We spoke yesterday of nothing.
Today the silence resonates and decays in an instant.
I haven’t eaten a thing in hours . . .

I walked here. My ankle throbs.
Every beating heart in this vast place goes on
of its own ulterior motive.
I could die here . . . or anywhere.

There are so many things that I will never say.
People continue to move in obscure patterns
oblivious to all the strange and beautiful
thoughts around them dancing, energetic, luminous
yet invisible perhaps forever . . .

I can’t decide.
Some days every bit of food tastes like
a vague, fleshy wetness if not an artifice
of flavor and texture.
I only know that I want something
but not anything . . .

Some stories cannot be told
because we’d destroy our capacity
to live and flourish if we believed them.

I had to tell you that I was thankful
(in so many words) before I left that day
even if you didn’t understand me then.
But later at home
I ate in silence.
 
 

Contrary to Popular(?) Belief

One of the greatest and most succinct pieces of advice–“Be yourself!”–also is inherently contradictory. It both attempts to affect another person’s behavior while simultaneously advising against being influenced by other people.

This is essential humanity. We are born dependent. We are social creatures our whole lives. We fear dying alone . . .

Yet we are strongest as full individuals, unique and authentically autonomous.

The tension between these two opposing ideals defines so much of the human experience. We must love ourselves, love others, and be loved–a truly monumental task to set ourselves to.

I say this knowing you probably shouldn’t listen to me or cannot hear me among the million voices in the opinionated crowd. But it is who I am . . .