Archive for October, 2007

Know your enemy: The Fascist Blueprint

Naomi Wolf explores the fascist tendencies of our current administration as compared to the most famous of the fascist dictatorships in the history of the world. The scary part is that this current administration has met almost all of the marks that made those ancient regimes what they were.

This is scary shit and you will be amazed at how far we really have come. WAKE UP!

Take a listen:

We must stand up and not be afraid.

Do you really know how big your car is? Well, How about your body?

It’s like when someone is trying to help you parallel park and they are waving you back and you think “damn, that’s getting too close” and they are looking right at the space imploring you, begging you to “come on back!”. But you’re convinced you have no room and flip it into drive to go that 1 inch forward and back one inch, on and on…

Truth is, we have no idea how big our car is. We don’t know how it fills up a lane on the street or a parking space. We don’t know how much room we have when we turn or when we try to maneuver around someone. A friend of mind related a story about how his dad (a car salesman) taught him that when he got a new car he was to find a place where he could park the car in a road lane (safely) and see exactly how much of the lane the car took.

I tried this and was aghast. I have a skinny old truck and the damn thing was about half the size of the lane. What I had thought was a large sized vehicle was actually pretty tiny.

This scene is all too familiar, right? And you want to know something? This phenomena is exactly what my moderate case of Body Dysmorphia is like. It’s like thinking your driving an enormous car (my body) and trying to squeeze it into a very small, compact parking space (usually my clothes.)

Here’s a quick definition of Body Dysmorphia:

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by an excessive preoccupation with a real or imagined defect in one’s own physical appearance.

and this defect:

We imagine it (body issue) is often much worse than it is until it gets to the point where it is hard to feel comfortable mixing and even talking with other people without worrying about how we look.(1 Infrapsych)

Mine is my stomach and breasts. For a girl I have smallish breasts…but I’m a guy and it’s not okay in this day and age of perfect and TV. Everyday I battle my own dysmorphia which has been likened to a form of hallucination.

And it’s taken me most of my life just to admit it because heaven forbid a MAN would have any of these ‘girly’ problems. But guys do have it and at an ever increasing rate.

Recently I lost 20 pounds and two pants sizes. Doing this has been a mixed bag. While it is great and I am loving the way I look and feel, I am further plunged into confusion as my already twisted self-perception is turned on its ear and my true self-reflection becomes even more muddied.

What to do?

I have lots of mirrors in my apartment which I am forcing myself to stop and look full on at myself to help dispel my misconceptions. I am also going to a gym so i can see other men and what their bodies look like (without being accused of being gay.)

I am soliciting the perceptions of close friends on how they perceive me (turns out, most of them couldn’t even entertain the idea that I had ever been ‘big’.) I am also looking to a personal trainer to help me tone my body and get a fresh perspective on the truth.

I also have an excellent IBP therapist that is very effective in treating both mind and body. Together we are exploring my body perceptions and their relationship to my childhood and where these perception came from.

So really, if your gonna drive the thing around and show it off to the world, you really should understand and know exactly how big this ‘vehicle’ of yours really is ;)


Subtypes of Alcoholism Discovered

I’m reprinting this article about alcoholism and the subtle forms it takes. I come from an alcoholic family and have spent many years extracting myself from the behavior and mindset that accompanies a childhood spent with alcoholics.

Note: ‘alcoholic’ can easily be interchanged with any of the dis-eases that affect children these days:

  • Drug addiction
  • Work-a-holic
  • Hypochondriac
  • Sexual addict

Any habit that becomes more important than the child and ultimately takes the parent away from the much needed attention and support that a child needs, can be substituted for alcoholism. The fact is that only alcoholism has been studied to the extent that is needed to understand the issue as a whole. Enjoy :)

      Analysis of a national sample of individuals with alcohol dependence (alcoholism) revealed five distinct subtypes of the disease. This finding should help dispel the myth that alcoholism is easily categorized and that an individual can be classified as a ‘typical alcoholic’.

      Scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report their finding in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

      “Our findings should help dispel the popular notion of the ‘typical alcoholic,’” notes first author Howard B. Moss, M.D., NIAAA Associate Director for Clinical and Translational Research.

      “We find that young adults comprise the largest group of alcoholics in this country, and nearly 20 percent of alcoholics are highly functional and well-educated with good incomes.

      “More than half of the alcoholics in the United States have no multigenerational family history of the disease, suggesting that their form of alcoholism was unlikely to have genetic causes.”

      “Clinicians have long recognized diverse manifestations of alcoholism,” adds NIAAA Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D, “and researchers have tried to understand why some alcoholics improve with specific medications and psychotherapies while others do not. The classification system described in this study will have broad application in both clinical and research settings.”

      Previous efforts to identify alcoholism subtypes focused primarily on individuals who were hospitalized or otherwise receiving treatment for their alcoholism.

      However, recent reports from NIAAA’s National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a nationally representative epidemiological study of alcohol, drug, and mental disorders in the United States, suggest that only about one-fourth of individuals with alcoholism have ever received treatment.

      Thus, a substantial proportion of people with alcoholism were not represented in the samples previously used to define subtypes of this disease.

      In the current study, Dr. Moss and colleagues applied advanced statistical methods to data from the NESARC. Their analyses focused on the 1,484 NESARC survey respondents who met diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence, and included individuals in treatment as well as those not seeking treatment.

      The researchers identified unique subtypes of alcoholism based on respondents’ family history of alcoholism, age of onset of regular drinking and alcohol problems, symptom patterns of alcohol dependence and abuse, and the presence of additional substance abuse and mental disorders:

       Young Adult subtype: 31.5 percent of U.S. alcoholics. Young adult drinkers, with relatively low rates of co-occurring substance abuse and other mental disorders, a low rate of family alcoholism, and who rarely seek any kind of help for their drinking.

      Young Antisocial subtype: 21 percent of U.S. alcoholics. Tend to be in their mid-twenties, had early onset of regular drinking, and alcohol problems. More than half come from families with alcoholism, and about half have a psychiatric diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder. Many have major depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety problems. More than 75 percent smoked cigarettes and marijuana, and many also had cocaine and opiate addictions. More than one-third of these alcoholics seek help for their drinking.

       Functional subtype: 19.5 percent of U.S. alcoholics. Typically middle-aged, well-educated, with stable jobs and families. About one-third have a multigenerational family history of alcoholism, about one-quarter had major depressive illness sometime in their lives, and nearly 50 percent were smokers.

      Intermediate Familial subtype: 19 percent of U.S. alcoholics. Middle-aged, with about 50 percent from families with multigenerational alcoholism. Almost half have had clinical depression, and 20 percent have had bipolar disorder. Most of these individuals smoked cigarettes, and nearly one in five had problems with cocaine and marijuana use. Only 25 percent ever sought treatment for their problem drinking.

      Chronic Severe subtype: 9 percent of U.S. alcoholics. Comprised mostly of middle-aged individuals who had early onset of drinking and alcohol problems, with high rates of Antisocial Personality Disorder and criminality. Almost 80 percent come from families with multigenerational alcoholism. They have the highest rates of other psychiatric disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders as well as high rates of smoking, and marijuana, cocaine, and opiate dependence. Two-thirds of these alcoholics seek help for their drinking problems, making them the most prevalent type of alcoholic in treatment.

      The authors also report that co-occurring psychiatric and other substance abuse problems are associated with severity of alcoholism and entering into treatment. Attending Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs is the most common form of help-seeking for drinking problems, but help-seeking remains relatively rare.


Mainstream Religion

Admittedly reddit is quite vocal about atheism. However, I am a christian and I know there must be others on this site. What book of the Bible do you find most important, and for atheists, which book do you find most offensive?

What book? I’d say we need a new book. The book you speak of is sooo old and sooo manipulated, who knows what parts were really the ‘word of God’ and which parts are the work of some Roman ruler or a Pope we don’t remember.

Look, I love Jesus, I think he was an amazing man with some beautiful ideas, but your followers these days, do none of the things that Jesus triumphed like loving all neighbors and eschewing violence and abject greed. We need another telling or another book or maybe another religion.

How about a religion where the user is at even par with the host and is an essential component to the creative process as opposed to a leaf in the spiritual wind?

How about a God that has NO interest in us other than to give us exactly what we ask for. How about a God that does not judge, does not make rules and does not punish based on 4000 yr old rules that have come to pass as important issues.

How about placing the human at the center of the spiritual Universe, at work on their lives in conjunction with the God as opposed to only subject to some celestial whim.

How about the idea that we are an earth bound God, on par with the God of the Universe and responsible 100% for each and every thing that happens in our lives based on what our mind, our creative spirit creates in connection to this God.

What then?

My problem with Christianity and most other ancient religions is that they were developed and then we spent the last 2000yrs evolving mentally away from those tenets.

And now we must make some choices as to the role we play in the Universe, in our life’s constant creation. We can choose to ignore the responsibility we have to this creative process and continue to think we are at the whim of some not-so-benevolent ruler in the sky or we can start accepting the responsibility and start creating the world we really want to live in.

Fragmentation, disassociation and Dilbert

From an article called Curious Robot Maneuver, an interesting technique from the blog of the artist that draws DILBERT.

He seems to be touching on the idea of ‘centering’ as it is related to ‘fragmentation’. One of my favorite topics:

I have found that many bad moods are caused by a feeling of not having control. People can put up with extreme hardship, climbing a mountain for example, if they have the illusion of choosing to do it. But even a little aggravation can make you nuts if you feel you can’t avoid it.

I have a fix for that loss of control problem. I call it the “curious robot maneuver.” When things are not going your way, sit back and change your frame of mind to one of curiosity. Imagine you have no free will, and you are just a moist robot. Everything you have done and will do is programmed. So there’s no reason to stress over your lack of control in certain situations because you have the same degree of control in ALL situations: none. What you do have is the capacity to watch the show, and marvel as it unfolds. You have front row seats, right behind your own eyeballs, and the theater is surround-sense. You can actually FEEL the action!

This is a very valid idea in that the ‘maneuver’ centers you when in a fragmented, disassociated ‘out of control’ state. By concentrating on the things happening in the world around you, you focus back to reality out of the disassociative state of mind that is feeling out of control. Gives new meaning to the phrase “in the here and now”.

My method is called “objects and colors”.

Basically when I am in a fragmented mental state (or actually, when I know that I am in a fragmented state) I will beging to concentrate on objects in the room I am sitting in. From there I start stating the NAME and COLOR of the objects around me. One by one I will ‘bring myself back’ to the here and now by concentrating carefully on these simple things. It works everytime. Somewhere around the fourth or fifth object I name, I feel myself SLAM down into my body and away from the disassociation that make me go off in my head.

I also do things like:

  • a little pinch to my skin
  • tap my foot hard
  • easy little slap on hand or arm

Anything that reminds me that I am not in the room helps bring me out of my head and into the here and now.

So thanks to Dilbert for shedding more light on a common mental problem shared by millions of people.

Quickie: The beauty Industry

(Emphasis on ‘Industry’)

Check out this video from of all companies, Dove. For a couple of years now Dove has been using an anti-exploitation, pro-natural beauty campaign. I think this video is the perfect way to introduce anybody to what kind of harm these industries (beauty, diet, food) has perpetrated on the women and men of this country:

Thanks Dove.

The long hard weekend

Trapped in my own making, I wrestle differing points of my being for a balance of power. Who am I and what do I like? What are my choices and what am I doing? Is this what I want or some arbitrary trapping supplied in my childhood. Am I being left fulfilled or empty and if I am empty what is the cause?

Weekends of time spent,
a string of clouds float random
my charge, a pattern.

Who is ultimately responsible for the things in our lives, I mean the things that have been there forever, like a fabric of our being? Did we put them there and how long ago did they come to be?

My childhood was full of instances that helped fragment me into the person I am today: beatings, loving, ideas, thoughts, friends and parenting. I am an accumulation of such instances and influences.

I am living quote,
dusk of breath, dawn eulogy
changing mind with time.

I can rethink this learned reality, I can shift the way that I see myself and ultimately who I am down to the deepest darkest thoughts and properties. Nothing is in cement and nothing is so absolute that I must fight to keep it from changing. There is nothing and will never be anything that is so permanent that I must hold onto it with all my might.

I am shifting, changing to allow myself to do things that I would never even have considered in my past. And as these things change and I try new things the winds of change will be howling at my head to get a move on…and move I will.

Boxes are filled, moved-
furniture stuffed into trucks,
my mind’s in a new state

No, I’m not going away…