Pride Is a Silly Thing

Pride isn’t silly in the sense that it can be very destructive and cause people to commit heinous acts of evil. It is only silly in the sense that it is masking a very silly thing: the human ego. And often, it does give rise to silly results rather than ones that are truly evil.

Case in point: I didn’t write a new blog post until Sunday, at which point I was seething over the time change. I still am, having not slept for several nights. But that’s irrelevant to the subject of pride. The reason I didn’t write a post was due to the internet on my laptop not working. I really don’t like writing and editing complete posts on my phone. I use my phone for continuing posts or other writing I’ve already started if I’m stuck waiting at the hair salon or wherever mothers end up waiting. I much prefer my usual keyboard. Thus, without access to internet on my usual writing machine, I didn’t write a new post.

And, yes, it does come down to pride. I’m used to being able to fix my own problems. I don’t like relying on other people, or necessarily waiting for them. But for some unknown reason, I couldn’t fix the problem of my internet browsers blocking the internet. None of the usual fixes worked. Why was this happening? Everything looked normal with my firewalls and security. When it comes to computers and internet, there are much more difficult problems to fix. E.g., when I recently broke my website after letting it sit for several months without doing administrative work on it and then quite suddenly updated everything, I had to go to my host site and fix the code that was causing the problem. Being that I’m a figure-it-out-as-I-go type of person with no actual skills, this took a bit of doing. I mean, yeah, it’s just a simple command here or there, but I had to figure out which ones.

My husband is better with computers than I am, but I don’t like asking for help. It’s that stupid pride thing. You could plumb the depths of my psychology if you’d like — find that little black place inside that believes it’s my lot to go it alone in this world. I mean, you could if you wanted to. I wouldn’t suggest it, though. I don’t like being analyzed any more than the next person, and I’m pretty boring when it comes right down to it. No great mysteries here. Finally, though, I had to admit to getting annoyed with my internet problem. Why couldn’t I get it to work? I don’t use it much on my laptop. There’s very little chance I picked up a virus. Nothing about it made sense.

So I finally let my pride go and asked my husband for help. It turns out that he didn’t need to grab my computer and work on it. He already knew what had happened. When he’d set up a new router, he’d blocked an unknown device because it didn’t sound like it belonged to any of us. He’d unintentionally blocked my computer from the internet.

He said, “I figured if I accidentally blocked somebody’s device from the internet, they’d come tell me about it immediately.” Leave it to you, he went on (I’m paraphrasing here), to let it go for weeks without asking why your internet wasn’t working.

Pride. It’s a stupid thing. Because, yes, it had been weeks since he’d done that. And meanwhile I had managed to publish two posts on my laptop and use internet on my phone or Kindle. I can’t explain why I was able to post the two previous ones. The blocking system had taken a bit longer in the earlier days, and I had managed to post before the message popped up telling me I couldn’t. At the end, it was happening with immediacy. Although the subject of this article is stupid pride, it does reveal something about our supposed security systems that sometimes take a while to do their job. Imagine — if somebody with a foreign device was trying to hack into your internet, could they slip in and do what they wanted in the interim before the system worked? I don’t really know. That seems to be the case. But as I said, I’m not much of an expert at anything. A jack-of-all-trades — or jill-of-all-trades — and a master at nothing.

However, that isn’t always a bad thing. As the full idiom goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none, though ofttimes better than master of one.” It’s sometimes a good thing to be self-reliant and able to fix what is happening at the present moment rather than an expert so narrow you can’t operate outside your field of expertise. This is often a phenomenon found in the cubicle environment of workplaces, and if you want help beyond the one trained-for expertise of that cubicle, you will get passed to another department. This also happens in academia, where a genius at examining and interpreting microbiology, for example, can’t figure out the most basic logic of philosophy or religion or, astonishingly, another scientific field. May I never be that myopic.

But as I already stated, may I forgo pride, as well. As soon as humans venture off their given reservations, or out of the garden, if you want to get metaphysical, they begin to think they don’t need anybody else, certainly not a spouse, and least of all God. They have all the answers, and if they don’t, they’re certainly not going to own up to it. They’re rather going to figure out how to find the answers even if it means going without the internet for a time.


A Case For No Longer Being Trained Monkeys

This is going to be a short post in which I complain obsessively about daylight savings time. I’ve long thought that politicians should be slapped more regularly with Swiftian flappers until they give up absurdities, such as the belief that we can move the sun or add or take away sunlight hours from the day. It’s a long-lasting example of the way in which governments will treat their citizens like monkeys trained to do ridiculous and unhealthful things. On the outside, it might seem like a minor nuisance — an arbitrary thing we do twice a year because it’s our shared religious tradition of sun or clock worship. Nowadays, the powers that be reach their hands down to change the clocks for us. That makes it official! Evidence for the hand of God!

Like many states, New Mexico has tossed around getting rid of the stupidity and becoming daylight savings atheists. Except that’s a lie. Rather, the people who wrote the bill were such religious zealots they wanted to remain perpetually in the time of late-day sun worship. It’s no surprise the governor tabled it. At the time, I was irritated with Ms. Martinez because going with permanent daylight savings would at least mean we wouldn’t have to do the trained monkey thing twice a year, even if it would conversely mean giving in to a religious idiocy. But ultimately, she was right to table it.

Yes, I’m probably exagerating. Yes, daylight savings probably bothers my health more than the average idiot monkey, being the insomniac that I am. If I’ve managed to establish a four-hour sleep span during standard time, daylight savings means kissing that nicety goodbye. That is most likely the case for any insomniac; changing the clocks is very, very bad for establishing a regulated circadian rhythm.

On the other hand, I’ve never died due to daylight savings, and it kills people every year. Heart attacks, strokes, an increase in traffic accidents — and all for in the worship of a false deity. I know I’m being a little snarky regarding the religious worship aspect, but seeing as how there’s no rational reason to change our clocks and pretend we’re adding sunlight to our days, I have to place it on the level of superstition. I don’t know what else to call superstition but an adherence to a pagan worship.

The funny thing is I read about a new (to me) medical fallout in an article this year: in-vitro fertilization is not as successful during the month of March post changing clocks. This got me interested in what it does to our general fertility rates. The CDC keeps a record of the months with the highest birthrates — the two biggest months are August and September, but the biggest window for births is between the months of July and October. It’s no surprise to me that if you count back nine months, the window of conception that correlates is what the government has left us of standard time, November through February. You could make a case that people don’t have anything better to do in dark cold winter months than go to bed early, which could be responsible for the increase in births nine months later. But you could also see how daylight savings time is unnatural to the human instinct and condition. You mess with our circadian rhythms and suddenly we don’t even engage as frequently in normal biological behavior. We make hay while the sun shines, but not that kind of hay. We make other hay. Or we sit inside and watch Netflix because we can and we don’t care that the sun is shining later than it ought to be. It’s surprising we manage to bring forth offspring at any time of year, to be honest.

What we don’t need, regardless of whether we sit inside and watch Netflix instead of truly honoring our sun god with outdoor sungazing, is the government continuing to treat us like idiot trained monkeys. All it would take to change things is massive noncompliance. Just don’t do it. Don’t change your clocks. Ignore the governors and congress and presidents and don’t do it. It’s that simple. Nothing cataclysmic will happen. Okay, maybe some cataclysms will occur, if machines are set to automatically change to daylight savings and workers don’t show up to do their part until the standard work time hour has actually come around. But what are a few cataclysms compared to gaining back our dignity from a government who thinks they are capable of moving the sun? A government who thinks they are deities? A government filled with idiots who needed to be slapped in a Swiftian sense a hundred years ago?


My One Foray into Politics…

…still looks like my usual observation of culture. I’ve been very curious as to what it’s like to live in Bernie Sanders’ lauded Scandinavia dream. And while I’m tempted to write my observations for each country and what I have read about them, from personal accounts of defectors to those who love their countries dearly, I’d like to rather cut to the chase.

The United States already has a system like the the lauded Scandinavian countries. We (as is in the US along with these countries) all have social safety nets propped up by the bulwark of capitalism. Those Bernie supporters who hate capitalism won’t appreciate this, but it’s true. However, obviously, the Nordic countries have gone a lot farther down the road of erecting safety nets; by comparison, US citizens end up as the riskier sort of circus performers for many aspects of their lives.

That’s terrible, isn’t it? That depends on who you talk to. The problem with comparing us to them is that we are a giant country that could be broken up into several smaller countries, and we are made up of just about every culture in the world. By comparison, Nordic countries are mostly still mono cultures, despite the recent influx of immigration. Mono cultures tend to have shared values. One value of these cold northern countries that makes their system work is conformity. When I was reading about Finland, I was mildly appalled at the descriptions. According to some Finlandians’ own stories, they are a people who look down on entrepreneurs who try to get ahead. Their tax rate is so high for the wealthy that most people end up at the same level. Thus, ambition doesn’t mean much. Why work hard and be inventive when there’s no incentive to do so? Finland is a particularly extreme case, where the people do not even value happiness as a culture, but aspects of this same conformity will be found in all countries with successful (this is subjective; many do not deem their systems successful) social safety nets.

These countries have much smaller populations than we have. It’s a lot easier to bend a small conformist population to to a collective authoritarian will. The United States is, as I already stated, filled with a very diverse population. Going down the road to a complete social welfare system has been rocky at best for us. Our system is surprisingly filled with ironies. E.g., we tend to tax our corporations and the very wealthy more than Nordic countries on average, if you combine state and federal taxes. They hit the slightly above middle incomes harder, while levying very high sales taxes. Americans have fought the system we have; Trump lowering the federal corporate tax rate was welcomed by many and decried by those who saw it as their conformist system declining. Well, to be honest, they won’t admit that we already have the same system Bernie waxes poetic over. All they can see is the corporate graft. But so can everybody else. True American capitalists don’t want to be under a corporatocracy anymore than those calling themselves Bernie-style democratic socialists.

Americans aren’t going to completely conform, except by force. That’s the sad part. And if we do end up buckling, it will be a complete nightmare due to the size of our population, and the distance between the coasts. Already, our bureaucracy botches almost everything. Why do the Bernie-ites think it will get better as it gets bigger? It makes no sense to me. Look at what happened with national ID cards once they came in and imagine that on a grander revolving scale. It’s downright frightening in nature.

But…but…all civilized countries do great with their safety nets. Sure, they do. With small populations, conformity, and a lot of dirty little secrets that aren’t that secret. Dissecting those would take a whole new post. Maybe three posts. But what I mean is little secrets like Sweden’s university students carrying the biggest load is student debt in the world…even though their tuition is free.

If you want some good facts and particulars, you can read this post from the tax foundation. This shows you how each country supports its system (it does not include Finland, which does have a slightly different culture, albeit they are so close to Sweden that Swedish is one of their official languages. That’s why I included it.)


The Journey Continues

I’ve had this blog for many years now — since about 2008, albeit it has gone through a number of iterations. It also started out as a blogspot url, but that’s irrelevant information caused by a sudden spate of reminiscing about my romantic first endeavors with the blog; by romantic, I mean they were heady days when I wrote about history (18th C) and books and waited patiently for my first blog comment. This was before I was on Facebook or Twitter. Blogger was it in those days, and I had no idea how to attract people to my site. I never really learned, to be honest. However, every time I’ve let it lapse, I’ve picked it up again because it’s my space to write, an open and public space, unlike Facebook. Thus, I won’t beat myself up about how busy I was over the fall semester, enough so that I dropped this old blog like a hot rock. I can pick it up now, if I so choose.

To give an update on my life, the busy fall led into the holidays, which then led into a serious funk I haven’t quite recovered from. It’s still there, caused by the start to a new year and not finishing all I’d set out to accomplish over 2019. I began asking myself what the point was to having all these life goals. I suspect the answer is that they’re inherently meaningful, but it’s difficult to convince the brain of that when it comes to doing work without a fixed, known payoff. Does anything have a fixed, known payoff? No. But there are more direct lines to success than writing books or creating paintings or sculpting statues on spec. The writing career wasn’t the only problem, though. I simply lost interest in all the things that I used to enjoy — reading, exercising, going to church (more on that in a minute), even walking the dog. I’ve been there before; it’s impossible to maintain a high level of interest in life at all times. I suppose I suffer from being too curious most of the time, which leads to burnout.

After doing nothing but the most basic activities for the first couple weeks of January, I determined to carry on in life: 1000 words a day on the novel I’ve been trying to finish for the last two years; exercise a little bit; take the dog for a walk; find some print books that would infuse my life with new ideas. And I’ve managed this. I’ve now written 20,000 words toward my end goal of completing my novel. It’s become a daily habit to write those words. The book is currently at about 95,000 and will need another 10k to finish it off. For the record, I will cut a good bit of that length. It will probably end up around 90k, which is a solid length for a novel. And yes, the exercise is happening at 30 minutes a day, along with a 30 minute walk outdoors. Oh, and I went back to history for my reading, which brings me joy. Yes, I still read spec fic. Yes, I probably have read yours and need to review it (way to keep it vague, right?). But history well-told is my particular happy place.

Habits are easy to make and difficult to break. Thus, I will slowly work my way to folding in more than 1000 words to my habit. I would like to post here more often, for example. I also have my cyber-punk break-dancing story I’d like to bring back from the grave, along with a book of short stories I’ve loosely titled Finding Jesus. I don’t mean for this to be a gospel tract type of book — I’m not even sure why I decided to call it that. It was inspired by a story I tried to write as 2019’s Christmas tale (it was too dark to hand out to family), which was about a man who’d grown up in a Christian home where his parents allowed him to be sexually molested as a child. The story is about his adult sexual fantasies and combatting them and eschewing evil. I know. Some Christmas story. That’s what all the stories are about, people who already know the gospel but “find Jesus” by turning away from darkness, such as the outright evil of pedophilia to abject pride. They aren’t morality tales, per se. Well, they might be a little bit. More so, they’re character-driven stories with a literary flair about human struggles. There was a time when literary stories were obsessed with dark subjects such as incest or pedophilia; my stories are along those lines, except they don’t dwell in postmodern darkness, but in the objective right and goodness that still exist in the universe.

Now to return to the subject of church. Losing joy in church is inevitable. Anything that’s practiced by rote becomes rote. On the other hand, I was actively going to Mass and then a Protestant church service with my family. I got burnt out on this exhausting combination rather than the churches individually. I still enjoy Mass because it’s quiet and reflective. I don’t know what to do about the latter, though it’s not much of an issue right now, as my family is burnt out on church, too. So I will continue to go to Mass. And that brings me to my final update: I will finally be confirmed in the Catholic church this Easter season. It’s finally going to happen! Perhaps 2020 will end up being a different kind of year, a year of adventures, rather than the middle-aged funk it was setting itself up to be.


The Suffragette Madonna

In the early 1900s, the rhetoric against the suffragette movement was spot-on; one could almost say prophetic. Cartoonish images of women beating their husbands over their heads or abandoning their children to chaos were plastered on posters. I particularly like this one because it must have been a hard pill for many women to swallow:

It’s certainly not nice rhetoric, but the point wasn’t to be nice. The point was to rein society in from its continuous downward spiral. The scourge of mannish women had already long begun, and the political movement to give women the right to vote was the latest iteration of it. When only men had the right to vote, it was assumed they would be voting for the interests of their families. Giving women the right to vote would necessarily split the interests of the family; if the husbands and wives voted differently, their family votes would be neutralized. As there are more women than men in society due to female longevity, giving voting rights to women would ostensibly tip voting blocs in a different direction than the men of society might wish, thus leading to a society that is bent toward female interests. And, yes, a rather large majority of women do vote in step with each other, and their votes tend toward liberalism. There’s obviously a reason for this: liberalism brought us the feminist movement in the first place. The feminist movement brought us universal suffrage. Hence, universal suffrage is under the influence of liberalism and always has been.

While some might argue that women also vote for the interests of their family, female suffrage was not necessary except to push individual interests (which, ironically, become collectivist interests; see above). If a family representative is already voting for the interests of the family, there is no reason for another person to do this unless the person in question only cares for her own interests. Putting aside the cruel “meme” above about unwanted women becoming ugly suffragettes, it would have been perhaps smarter to grant voting rights to all heads of households, as determined by tax status, instead of wantonly giving every person over a certain age the privilege of “speaking their minds in the ballot box”. This would have given spinsters who bought or inherited property a vote for her household interests. But we’re so far past this point now it’s hardly worth discussing what would’ve been better (though far from perfect) if we’d had the same kind of forethought as those creating the anti-suffragette posters.

The slippery slope was always there; it was always real. There is no slippery slope fallacy when it comes to tearing out the cornerstones of society. I just switched metaphors, but the point still remains that things are going to come crumbling down when foundations are destroyed. Of course, there are actual slippery slope fallacies. I like to call them Handmaid’s Tale Fallacies because they’re based off fictional mental worlds that have never existed.

Just look at the Suffragette Madonna! This is the reality we currently live under, when being a woman or man doesn’t uniquely bring something to the world. The image is literally happening right now; women with facial hair are giving birth to babies and proclaiming it in the news as though a woman with a womb on testosterone is somehow a miraculous being. Our modern day delusions are destroying our souls, and this poster artist predicted it over a century ago. Notice that the man is surrounded by a laurel leaf crown — a regular Apollo, uselessly chasing his love, Daphne, while she taunts him and runs away from him. Eventually, she appeals to her daddy figure to fix her Apollo problem, and he turns her into a tree. A tree. Apollo is still such a chump, though, that he vows to care for Daphne always and forever, despite her being made of wood and bearing nothing fruitful for him but the leaves he can form into a wilted crown.