The Power and Danger of Social Media as an Engine for Change

A few days ago, #WhichHilary was trending on Twitter.  It was highlighting the various inconsistencies in Clinton’s current position vs her past positions and actions.  It was used heavily by Sanders supporters and various Republican Supporters.  It had A LOT of traction.

It was started by an activist twitter @guerilladems.  That account was suspended soon after the hashtag started trending.

The trending references were removed from Twitter.  Upon realizing that it wasn’t working, an alternative hashtag sprang up #whichhilarycensored.  That one disappeared too.

Twitter later said it was a mistake.

The Twitter CEO hosted a fundraiser for Clinton.

But it was a mistake.


Twitter and similar social media have been very powerful agents for change and political focus.  Everything from the Arab Spring to Ferguson gain energy and inclusion and focus through social media.

But these things happen on a very limited number of websites.  And those websites control the content.  So essentially what happens in the world is now controlled at the pleasure of the website.  At the pleasure of a very small number of people.

Its a terrible power to place in the hands of a human.

We like to think that the web is, for better or worse,  a truly democratic place.  Where the voices of the many can come together and express their similar views.  Voices that used to never be heard.

But ultimately they can only be seen if that website allows it.

People will blame Clinton and it is not unfair to do so.  I have a hard time doubting that someone in her camp didn’t make a call.  But the real power in this situation isn’t from the person begging the favor.  Its in the person who had the ability to grant such a favor.  A very powerful favor.   That favor represents more power than should be given to anyone.

I have always been a proponent of the idea that a website has the right to control the comments that happen on their website.  I would NEVER allow any sort of hateful comment to live on my blog.  I would censor it in a heartbeat.

But I have to question whether places like twitter or facebook have grown beyond the bounds of private gardens where individuals can control what happens on their sites.  Perhaps they are now a truly public forum, as much as a public park is and as such, perhaps it really is a place where the rights of free and uncensored speech apply.

What do you think?


Expressing Emotions

The problem with having a language is the belief that our emotions should have a corresponding verbal expression.

Emotions are primordial. They don’t correlate well with words, despite thousands of years of expressing them that way.

Dogs could teach us a lot on that subject.  They manage to express emotion and support without any verbal language at all.


There are no Soul Mates

As a reminder to those in bad relationships, those between relationships, those who think that there is “only one person destined for me and I can’t find them.”

There are no soul mates.  To read the logical analysis of that, click on the link.  Or just take my word for it.

I think this myth is one of the most destructive ones persisting in the world today.  On a personal level, not, obviously, on a global one.

The amount of expectation you put on another human being when you expect them to be the one and only person who can be your one true love is terrifying.

The expectation itself is almost guaranteed to destroy the relationship.

When we expect to find our one true soul mate we tend to think that all of the loneliness and general feeling of restless unhappiness in our lives will go away once this person arrives.

Studies show that mutual love does temporarily makes us giddy with happiness, but that levels off and the underlying problems in our lives do not disappear.

Then we worry that this person is perhaps just someone we love, but is not THE ONE.  Should we move on and keep looking?  How will we know?  Is there a guide?

So we leave them because we are still feeling not happy in life generally and the soul mate was supposed to solve that.

Or consider the scenario where we feel like so much caca when a relationship doesn’t work out and we felt sure this person was our one true love.  What does that mean for the future?  That we have to settle?  That we are so broken even our soul mate can’t stand us?

Or worse than leaving a potentially good relationship, we stay in a destructive relationships with thoughts like – “it’s a volatile relationship, but I still love him.  He’s my soul mate.”  When the reality is that it’s more like a soul sucking mate.

There are no soul mates.  It would be a mathematical impossibility to find a soul mate, if such a thing existed.  Refer to above link for the proof.

Stop worrying so much about it and enjoy the  happy moments with the person you are with.  If you aren’t getting enough happy moments, ditch them like dirt water and find the next person who makes you feel happy and comfortable most of the time you are with them.  Or choose to be happy alone.  But don’t let another person drag you into a never ending bog of unhappiness.

I’m so desperate for happiness

snake-oil-cures-all-returntothemystic-org_That I’m actually considering buying a product that is almost certainly a sham.

Its set of headphones, called Nervana, that stimulate the vagus nerve and its supposed to make you feel good for a few minutes up to an hour.  Its $300.

Its probably a load of crap.  But I want it to be real.  I want to find a few moments of relief and so I’m considering spending $300 I don’t really have on the very unlikely possibility that it will work.

As you can see, I’m quite aware that it’s about as likely to help me homeopathy.  But my brain just won’t stop reaching for that tiny possibility – maybe it will work.  Maybe, just maybe I can buy a few minutes of relief.

If it works it would be utterly worth the money to me.  If it didn’t, which is more likely, it will just add one more log onto the bonfire of my self loathing.

This is why I get angry at people who offer sham hope to people with a mental illness.  Because the desperate and terrible need for some form of relief is much stronger than the rational analytical part of the brain.  And they take advantage.  And then later, we, the duped,  have one more story to add to the horror show in our brains, when we remember that one time we tried that thing that we hoped would work, but didn’t.

They aren’t on sale yet.  Maybe I will crawl high enough in hole that it won’t be tempting when they actually do go on sale.

Being Framed by my own Mind

All the remembered and current events in my life change when I stare at them.

The way they look depends on how my brain is feeling at the time.

When my brain is seeing them from the cesspools of depression, all of my actions look like failures, all the events look like disasters, and I am a pretty bad person all around.

When my brain is seeing them from a healthy happy perspective, all of those same actions are reframed into necessary actions, learning curves, challenges I can find a silver lining for and I’m a pretty decent human.

Everything in my life is framed by my mental disposition at the time.  Nothing has a black and white truth.

Humans don’t have a solid line inside of them that we can use to judge the world or our own actions with any accuracy.  So we reach out to some outside reference point because if we look too long at the ever changing landscape of our past, we start to recognize the wavering nature of our reality and truth becomes a hazy construct.

We realize – Nothing is ever true.

That is the attraction of looking outside of ourself for some unchangeable set of truths by which to measure our life.  That is the attraction of fundamentalist religion.


The GOP has now embraced Crime

The GOP in the Senate has refused to have hearings if Obama presents them with a nominee.

The GOP is refusing to do what is not just their ethical duty as Senators, but their LEGAL duty.  “he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court.” (Article 2)

There is a danger here that is not to be ignored.

The entire government of the United States is based on the legal power of the Constitution.  When one of the most powerful parts of the government decides not follow the Constitution, to break the law, we are facing a terrifying future.

Because if the people we elect are not constrained by the constitution then they can do whatever they want.  They have no limits.  We will be paying them to follow whatever base desires for power, or destruction, or greed that they choose.

We are facing a critical juncture here.  No matter what your politics, the constitution is the spine of our freedom, our rights and our country.  It cannot be ignored merely because it is not convenient or for ANY reason.

Even if they wait until after the election, what is the precedent?  Where is the cutoff?  Does it set up a future payback from the Democrats if the Senate Majority changes.  Its insanity that must be cutoff at the knees.

We must not allow the Senate to pretend they have the right to do this.  We ought to stand in the streets all over this country protesting the criminality of a group of people who have so lost touch with reality that they think they can rewrite their constitutional obligations.  That they can be criminals and its OK because they are Senators.

We need to wake them up.  Please write your senator and object to this.  Do not let the Senate ignore their legal obligation.


I love the end of the year “People are Awesome” video compilations

Its a compilation of amazing and often stupid things people have been filmed doing.

Extreme feats generally – like jumping off buildings, acrobatic impossibilities, rolling a car, etc.

Almost all of the things are deliberately done and done with skill.  Which is why I like them.

I think about what someone from 1816 would think while watching these videos.  Were there people who could do such amazing things then?  Or are these strange extremes a sign of how much leisure time we have today?  Or in many cases, how much spendable money we have.

I don’t really have a desire to do most of the things in these videos.  But I do have a desire to have that level of commitment to achievement.  The energy and motivation to push myself to the limit of my ability.  I have never had that.  Mostly because I have no idea where to find the energy/motivation.

But its inspiring to know it’s possible.

Dildos – apparently they are historic

In Nantucket, they found a dildo in a chimney. It seems probable that it belonged to the wife of a sailor, circa 18th century. It was used because her husband was at sea for so long.

So much for the New England puritanical morality.

I’m going to step out on a limb and wonder if that dildo didn’t get some action when husband was at home too.

Indeed, I’m going to wonder how many spinsters figured out how to get a hold of one for their own sexual gratification.

There are dildos from the Upper Paleolithic era.  The ruins of Pompeii were littered with them.  Its not a new thing. And yet we still don’t talk about them much. We are far more willing to talk about men’s masturbation then women’s.

I’m wondering if they talked about them in the upper paleolithic era? Was there a time when there was no shame associated with it? When did it become a shame thing? I suppose when sex itself became shameful.