Bagging

friended

friended

The Bagging-Book

The Bagging-Book

 

Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.’”

Got another set of those annoying “invitations” in my email junk box, from people wanting me to join their FacelessBook web services, most driven, of course by the world-wide plague of increasing consumption through advertising or, worse, the insane addiction to popularity contests.

Just for you...

Just for you…

Why do so many human beings want to bag one another like trophies?

"Want some, Honey? I do everything!"

“Want some, Honey? I do everything!”

How did this social disease become so contagious?  “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (same book as first quote)

Imagine the World Health Organization declaring “Bagging’s Disease” one of the most dangerous communicable diseases of modern times, contributing to depersonalization, addictive behavior, as well as ever escalating patterns of consumption and sectarian violence.

Doormat-bagger

Doormat-bagger

Give us your children and become one us

Give us your children and become one us

Imperialism is said to have had its day, although Russia, China, and militant Middle East religions are doing their best to revive it in its crude military form. However, conquering as many as possible, mind, body and soul, is not only not dead, it is taking ever more massifying forms, until you are no longer anyone until you have become linked in to one chain or another.

Every promise imaginable is made to get you to become part of a pyramid scheme, from entrance to the Vatican to having the most envied set of silicon paraphernalia protruding from you laptop or your own chest, “24/7.”

1537 Bordello

1537 Bordello

The vicious cycle of bagging fellow human beings is not that difficult to understand: once I have been conditioned to be one of the bagged, once I am no longer anybody unless I have twittered and face-booked my identity to the numbers game, then I will have nothing left but to try to overcome this emptiness by feeding it with more and more popularity indicators. Unable to communicate with others what we as persons are doing together, we join the party of who-knows-whom and who-has-done-whom. Let’s get into the thick of it, drunk on brawls, so we no longer have to feel the urge to become ourselves.

Proudly Branded

Proudly Branded

What's your Brand

What’s your Brand

Of course, many of us know that this is going on. But as with most addictions, it’s easy to recognize the silliness-unto-death that we have habituated ourselves to, it is quite another to extract ourselves from being a link in an endless web of chains that free us from ourselves.

How many have you bagged today?

 

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A Con-Descending

the privilege to be stepped on

the privilege to be stepped on

There is a certain pleasure in playing with people who insist on being condescending. Every good con is based on convincing others that the perpetrator is something he or she is not. Some sort of superiority is usually part of the bargain, whether superiority in helplessness and suffering or superiority in being gifted, endowed, or simply irresistible.

The insatiable, forever emerging market of such condescending people is usually well stocked with opportunities for making them believe that we are actually falling for their gambit. To consistently bow down with awe before a puffed-up authority figure, an ever so irresistible beauty or an enviably impressive nouveau riche soon establishes a reality in their empty heads, which becomes so much part of their expectations that they begin to believe their own con.

How lucky they are to see me like this!

How lucky they are too see me like this!

It is always fair to make fun of those who bank on being superior beings, especially since all we really are making fun of, here, is their pretentious exterior, their masks and clothing, as well as their demeaning demeanor.  We should not hesitate to declare our infinite admiration, love, awe, and humble respect for those who have become victims of their own buffoonery. Perhaps this game is one of the first we should teach our children, well before they can become believers, or worse, give into the temptations of descending from up high, themselves.

It is, after all, nearly impossible to imagine a world in which everyone pretends to be no more than who they are. But playing with that delightful dream can be an enjoyable interlude, now and then.

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Full of Hollow

In the Know

In the Know

To be really real, emotions should be like bubbles, straight out of the bottle: all outside and nothing but hot air on the inside. As a psychologist friend of mine used to say to me: you need to learn to feel anger. So I huffed and I puffed and out came a full-blown, publicly identifiable bubble of anger. About what? Who cares! I was living up to standard!

Now I know what I am

Now I know what I am

Indeed, whole armies of psychologists, fresh out of bootcamp or with years of experience in popping bubbles, sustain themselves by helping people achieve self-realization by expressing you-know-whats. Anger is anger, grieving is grieving, love is love, and co-dependency is co-depency (unless one party pays for it, of course). Headlines for the press!

turned on to full stereotype

turned on to full stereotype

The most economical form of this empty-headedness is the popular “I am really turned off by this” and “I am really turned on by that.” A person reduced to an engine that is turned off and on by external keys. What more do we need to know? There is nothing else that we could know. Emotional self-stereotyping helps people deal with each other as they deal with their kitchen appliances. We know  where our on and off switches are and hum right along when someone else does it to us; or else sit quietly on the counter, waiting to fit into the emotional scheme of things, according to easily learned instruction manuals. Ours is not to reason why because the detail is in the devil.

Emotional Gas Station: fill her up

Emotional Gas Station: fill her up

Good Sport

Good Sport

Kicking soccer balls for national euphoria or shame is as wonderful for hollowing out emotional content as is kicking cut-off heads of infidels. Let a few brave uniformed souls do or die for us, so that we can all bubble over or blubber with you know what. And let no one  take time out with any poetic intricacies of unique individuals in unrepeatable experiences. Let the noise makers out-blare the yelling of the anonymous masses and let’s all join in blind stupor. Noise as massive victory over symphony. Explosions of all kinds as the answer to personal and interpersonal potential for intricacy. Now there is something for the media to blow bubbles with, image after image, empty-headed headline after empty-headed headline. Blessed are the vacuous.

And you are either with us or against us, no more needs to be understood or felt. And don’t be a spoil-sport, while gladiators of emotions are fighting it out for us, while our feelings unreel in forever repeated, predictable loops, turned on as we gather at the river of refuse.

 

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Gods of War

Heaven

Heaven

Looking at the rejuvenated spirit of murder, mayhem, and vicious cruelty that feeds the newspapers’ front pages, the coffers of the arms industry and the collection plates of all kinds of parasitic organizations, one may have to remind oneself of two simple explanations offered by Bertrand Russell:

“The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists — that is why they invented hell” (and war).

It is written...

It is written…

and: “Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do.”

Indeed, one may want to add to this: “If there is no other reason to go to war, invent a god who commands it.” Imagine the desperation of the Sunnis and the Shiites, if they could no longer claim that Allah told them to kill. What would they do with all their surplus killer stupidity? Like the Catholics and Protestants, the Buddhists and Hindus, etc., etc., they would be unable to justify their uncontrollable impulse to kill, rape and pillage, unless of course they became  sophisticated enough to erect, instead, altars to the gods of capitalism, democracy, communism, etc.

If you really love God

If you really love God

There has to be an altar for someone, even in order to kill one’s own offspring, as Abraham or God-Almighty were religious enough to demonstrate. Perhaps it is time to admit that the most prevalent cause of war is not religion, but that war is the most prevalent cause of religion.

Religion and ruthless virtue, even the virtues of the ever-so-innocent gender warfare, are the most unassailable bastions of power for those who want to assail others.

And the most hated enemies to such warriors are not, first and foremost, other “God-fearing” warriors serving other gods, but those nasty bastion-crumbling people who introduce thinking into the picture. Warriors who do as they are told, even those who quote chapter and verse of “revolutionary” fighter gods, are good adversaries: “let’s kill each other in good faith, obediently.”

Mars: the only honest god

Mars: the only honest god

There is a reason why societies which no longer appeal to gods of any kind are also the cultures that no longer believe in “justifiable killing.” If we can no longer explain our passive/aggressive paths by appeal to “higher authority,” we very soon have to start thinking on our own, and then there is no longer a reason for condemning others to death and suffering, for dismissing the lives of others as trash.

Somewhere at the roots of Western society, especially also at the roots of the long-gone American spirit of political tolerance, there is the firm conviction that religion can never be a justification for any kind of violence. Perhaps, the shift in America to allowing religion back on the podium of political rhetoric is one of the main causes for the current escalation of religious violence all over the world. Once stupidity is given the name “God,” its power spreads faster and with more devastating ruthlessness than any other known epidemic.

 

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And do not lead us into temptation

Two Buffoons: Putin and Berlusconi

Two Buffoons: Putin and Berlusconi

Perhaps nothing is more destructive to the spirit of democracy and to friendships than the need to feel superior. The wise have no use for being looked up to nor for looking down on those who are different. It is the unfortunate mark of those who battle their hidden sense of inferiority that they dismiss, judge, despise not only what is different but also what is just like them. There is no end to their addiction to derision.

Obviously...

Obviously…

Unfortunately, confronting these dismissive people, directly, rarely has any other effect than to harden their stance, to make them even more aloof and destructive toward genuine relations with other living beings. If there is ever a good subject for comedy, it is the easily inflated ego of the buffoon. However, while on the theater stage it is quite harmless to puff up the already disproportioned ego of a simpleton, in real life such megalomaniacs not only do not see the humor of these strategies, they are so blind to their comical role that they hear nothing but confirmations that they are infinitely lovable, praiseworthy, powerful, awesome, beautiful, irresistible, geniuses, etc., etc., etc..

... irresistible

… irresistible

Having swallowed the hot air, they then start to lash out not only at those who doubt their superiority, but then also try to use every opportunity to prove their enviable prowess, and they isolate themselves from all genuine human interactions by assuming that people cannot help but be attracted to them (like flies to a dungheap?). Many a slightly attractive young woman and many a semi-strong, macho man have thus turned into the scourge not only of the people around them, but also of their own humanity.

Perhaps we should more often resist the temptation to play on the vulnerabilities of these comical superior beings?

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π-ning and depression

The NY Times today ran a headline “British Bank Regulators Pine to Win a Big Case.”

escape into  the poetry of numbers

escape into the poetry of numbers

Pining is not what it used to be. In historical periods during which women had strong cultural influences, pining was more or less de rigueur, if a man wanted to declare his infinite love. (Women were more binary even then, yes or no, and not much etc.)

We do know that pining is related to the irrational, even transcendental number π. To pursue that number to its very end is humanly impossible, although progress toward infinity is being made, or so they say. Some people talk about π in relation to making the square round, the male female, others are more concerned with what cuts right through the embracing circumference to the heart of the matter, in one fell swoop. (The reason we talk about “falling in love” instead of “rising to love” are obvious, in the romantic tradition, since one does not like male directness out of the fullness of physicality, since it does not leave much room for poetry, elegies, etc.)

yummy

yummy

True pining is of course much like Zeno’s First Paradox: Achilles can never catch up with the tortoise because she will alway be one irrational step ahead of him, no matter how close he thinks he gets. The ever smaller digits at the end of the tail of π leave the well-sheltered tortoise untouched, into infinity.

Romantic: A little piglet in one hand, and a big one in the other

Romantic: A little piglet in one hand, and a big one in the other

Such transcendentalism used to work just fine in ages when people were willing to die in Romantic Agony and receive their praises in the afterlife. Today, male pining is doomed, damned if you do and damned if you don’t, doomed to decay in the pine-box. Men who do not pine are said not to really love, and men who do pine are despised as weak, instantly left in the dust by the tortoise. And that leaves the man dead in his tracks and the female depressed, if only because the male can never catch up with her innocent allure. A modern conundrum, based on bad puns, but painfully inescapable.

it's never too late to pine

it’s never too late to pine

What to do? Perhaps some spontaneous love of life could allow the tortoise to turn with pleasure or free Achilles to jump with joy straight over the tortoise, to patiently let her approach him in infinity. It has been done before. Love may not have to die of consumption in sanatoriums to prove that it is sincere, down to the last wavering digit.

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Bad Design

It often seems regrettable that the gods did not place the mouth right next to the ear. That way nobody else would have to pretend to listen or feel like an intruder when they try to respond.

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no-man’s land

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The Good Deeds Dance

When I was a student, a businessman from Texas once asked me if I would help him get rid of an old desk, too rickety to be of any use, but too heavy to move by himself. Since he did not know where to dump it, I offered to store it in my little barn. We did, and he pulled out a little black book, commenting that he likes to keep notes of who owes him a favor, since he had just given me a free desk.

Lust for Good Deeds: the naked and helpless

Lust for Good Deeds: the naked and helpless

It is amazing how often, in interpersonal or professional relations, the parties tend to have a quite different view of who has been generous or helpful or forgiving toward whom. Quite often the interpretations can flip back and forth rapidly. For example, some of my students may come, initially, into my office gratefully accepting the honor of my making time for them. However, the minute I express interest in what they want to discuss they not infrequently shift to the attitude that they are doing me a favor, for having brought up the topic. I usually thank them in the end, with quiet amusement, for their willingness to participate in an interesting discussion, following Nietzsche’s dictum that it is more blessed to receive from the weak than to burden them with our generosity.

A good argument could be made that many troubles in our world could be prevented if the power struggle over who did whom a favor could be diffused, into simple acts of balanced friendship or mutually beneficial collaboration, keeping in mind even Goethe’s proverb: “those give best who give us something to do.”

Foreign policy and military ventures often suffer from the same good deeds dance. Do Iraq and Afghanistan owe the US, especially the Cheney/Bush government a favor, or is this lingering Good Samaritan project more related to “… the last refuge of a scoundrel,” on all sides? If the latter were the case, then it may conger up images of bedfellows, with some perversions. (How many people in the world-wide military/industrial complex and the news media must be grateful to Putin these day for his laying military bets in the Ukraine poker game, after an all too long lull.)

Make them poor so that you can "Give Back"

Make them poor so that you can “Give Back”

Perhaps our standard operating procedure should be based on: “if you need to receive favors or give favors, let’s both go our separate ways. If we find that we both want to do something together, let’s jump on the chance, enthusiastically and with shared excitement, or look for something better to do with someone else.”

Even God has that problem. Did he do us a favor by “having to” kill his son for our sins, or was he, too, in search of an evil empire so that he could sacrifice his own son for a good cause? If we do not know what to do with ourselves, let’s invent a Devil, an Empire of Terror, and honor that creation with endless speeches, until people start to join that fearful thing and we now have good cause for good deeds. – That’s so much better than only fighting pleasures, evil as they are, eternally!

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The Locality Demon

and on the 7th day

and on the 7th day

There is factual evidence for at least one demon, out there. Some joker keeps seducing people into believing that gods and demons are either way out there or not at all. A few tender spirits have suggested, instead, that good gods, like the lusty Zeus, may live in our hearts. But the most successful propaganda continues to insist that the origins of reality reside in other worlds. Rumor has it that this victorious demon resides on the far side of Mars, the god of war, who surely does not come from within us.

even the tongues should stop wagging

even the tongues should stop wagging

Scientists and British rationalists keep attacking religion on the grounds that there is nothing out there, in space and time, that one may pray to. Religious leaders help in this conspiracy by insisting that we may only believe in what is beyond us.

This misunderstanding is based on a failure to communicate, to make clear who will be where and when for what purpose, like lovers who thought they had a date with each other and then, finding nobody home, go ballistic.

Even the Lord does not go to church on Sundays, because it is his day of rest.
One might be more likely to find him in bed than in the house where the mice are dancing, on that day, while the cat is gone.

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Precious

“It feels good to be wanted, to be needed” is perhaps one of the most misleading pieces of advice we can give to our young. We are used to talking about the dangers of becoming addicted to wanting/needing this or that, substances or people. But a far more common disease is the addiction to manipulating others into being addicted to ourselves.

Cronos

Cronos

Kings and queens build temples and organizations around their naked little bodies, systems designed to lure people into the royal halls of power. If people did not become addicted to being near the king, the king might soon find himself idly contemplating the virtues of his own naval.

A similar disastrous experience can befall a young woman who has spent much of her energies on being desirable, only to find that, today, her life’s constructs of real or imagined courtships from others are suddenly deadly quiet.

There is a deep chasm between the power of being desirable and the active pleasures of desiring. The gap between the two can often lead to amazing, downward spirals of depression and despair. When the power of saying “no” to suitors, in-between granting carefully measured favors to a few select courtiers, suddenly becomes a vacuum, because nobody even wants a “yes,” it is usually very hard to know what else to do with oneself. A life dependent on the desires of others is an empty life unto itself, because it has no stomach for a lust of its own.

As the god Kronos had to devour his own children, apparently because all he had the stomach for was inbreeding and self-consuming desires and being desired by his own children, so the all-too-many PRECIOUS of this world end up devouring themselves in despair, when nobody else out there offers themselves for rejection.

Dead Stuff with Short Skirt

Dead Stuff with Short Skirt

From those who want to be rich-to-be-envied by everyone, to those who want to be attractive-beyond-reach, too many of the lost masses of human beings invest most of their energy in trying to be someone based solely on others wanting something from them. But to be wanted is no better than to be the worm that the early bird can swallow in one gulp. People who can be seduced into believing that they are irresistible are easy prey for those who can play on this vanity in others.

(Blessed are the undesirables, because they may desire life of their own.)

It is not nice to manipulate others into believing that they should be desirable, because that turns them into passive raw material for our own digestive tract, or a mere dead jewel in someone else’s crown.

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Good Intentions

One of the oldest myths of the human race surely must be the story that having good intentions in our soul, wherever and whatever that may be, will radiate goodness and peace, love and harmony all around us.

Schmalz: God loves to see maidens being devoured

Schmalz: God loves to see maidens being devoured

At least since the Christian martyrs were thrown to the lions, there should be some inkling that this may not always work all that well, neither as an effective tool against the lions nor against the Romans who loved their beasts so much that they fed Christians to them, nor against painters who decided that such sacrifices were a good reason to depict naked maidens.

“Love is the answer” surely is a questionable slogan, even if it does get us out of confronting the forces of destruction, vicious nastiness dealing with the simple urge of insecure males to extend their potentially unreliable appendage with the ever bigger canon of a tank.

Viagra

Viagra

Woman Warrior

Woman Warrior

One answer being tried, these days, at least by the Germans, is to make the former Minister for Family Affairs, of course a female, into the Minister of Defense. Surely, that will teach male expansionists a lesson and turn the hostile atmosphere in the global kindergarten into a harmonious haven of peaceful coexistence. Indeed, if we look at the other side of the globe, we should try to tell the Chinese expansionists, that our only intention is to love them more, indeed that we are in love with them already. Misunderstood children always react positively to a caring environment.

God is with Us

God is with Us

God is that simple

God is that simple

Even the hippies knew that if only they could replace the Nazi symbol of war “God is with us” with the peace symbol (part female part male anatomy), everything would be fine, forever.

Fighting for a just cause? Like a soccer ball? Brazil has mustered and equipped an amazingly futuristic army of security forces for the upcoming World Soccer Cup (2014). This is not about taking oil-rich Crimean waters away from Ukraine or even more oil-rich waters of all kinds of countries coveted by the Chinese (the USA having established ample precedent that it is OK to kill for oil): no this is about grown  men fighting over a children’s ball.

Soccer Soldiers

Soccer Soldiers

We have to accept, some day, that even our best intentions, even all the love and good will that we may breath in and out, will not shift the balance of power permanently in such a way that we no longer have to “gird our loins” for the next onslaught of intentional, human destructiveness and devastating stupidity.

What to do? We have to stop underestimating the ever recurring tidal waves of violence, small and large. But we also have to keep increasing the sheer number of people in the room who will not tolerate any kind of violence, so that anyone who intends to become uncivilized will know that there is an overwhelming number of human beings who will join forces against such destructiveness. Right now, we still like to fantasize far too much about news reports of violent confrontations and the arousal of slaughter, to actually do more than look the other way, until the tides of aggression flood our own life space. But even then, the erotic potential of images of helpless victims feeds not only Hollywood’s coffers but also religious donation boxes and the blood flow in all too many feeble body parts.

Christian Martyr: for females, etc.

Christian Martyr: for females, etc.

Christian Martyr, for males

Christian Martyr, for males

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50 cents

One can of course buy cheaper bullets, as cheap shots for 20 cents a hit. Or, if one really cares for one’s fine weapon, one can lavish it and future corpses with finely crafted ammunition, at $60 apiece. But 50 cents is a good average for much of what the usual killer might want to spend on perforating, most likely, family and friends.

When Sarah Palin addressed 13,ooo attendees at the NRA convention last Saturday, she elicited roaring applause when she added to her other inanities “nowadays, ammo is expensive. Don’t waste a bullet on a warning shot.”

No warning shots for him

No warning shots for him

A plausible way to measure relative expensiveness, in this case, is of course the relative value of the human life that might be saved by a warning shot. And that is where the problem may become more complicated than crowd-pleasing one-liners could capture. Is 50 cents, say in the form of a Kennedy half-dollar, too much to waste on a warning shot that could save the life of Sarah Palin?

We argue about the expense of extraordinary health care for those whose life is close to its end or who are unemployed Democrats (surely there are none such among the NRA members, because even if these are incredibly simple-minded, they can still find ways to make huge amounts of money giving insane speeches to each other: contributing members of society, obviously). If then we compare the value of the sick, in terms of money worth spending on them, why not compare the value of the over 30,000 killed by guns with respect to whether they are worth a warning shot.

We should propose legislation, as soon as the NRA is back, full force, in the White House, that specifies which American citizens are worth a warning shot and who can be eliminated by a crowd-pleasing shot in the dark.

valuable kids

valuable kids

Recent legislative initiatives, to calculate which American children are worth feeding, could help with the calculations of when bullets are relatively too expensive. We don’t have the heart to feed the undeserving with surplus food, so lets at least give it to them straight to the heart when we feed bullets into them. And if all else fails, lets make guns part of mandatory education, so that children are worth feeding and learn not to waste ammunition.

How much value does the life of rabble rousers have? 50 cents? How much is the life worth of a person busily inciting people to increase the killing of Americans, at an annual rate much higher than terrorists or enemies of the government have ever achieved?

Of course, what all this proves, once again, is that we dismiss the slogans and machinations of the ignorant and simple-minded at our own risk. We can laugh, but only if we forget how deadly a force they so often become, even those clowning Palins of this world, who plum tickle us to death.

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