(*A version of this article was originally published in THE DOE Magazine in December 2020)
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t.” — Mad Hatter — Alice in Wonderland
What if you were tripping on acid but didn’t know it? How would you behave? What if the precise effects of the drug were to make you absolutely convinced that you were sober? Absolutely convinced that your reality was “real” and it was everyone else who was suffering under some mass hallucination.
Well, you don’t have to imagine it. Because this is our new reality. This is the question every American is and should be asking of themselves this evening. The question has greeted us at first slowly and now all at once. It is a question regarding the fracturing of our national reality so deep, so severe, that to assume we all at least can agree that 2+2=4 would already be to presume too much. The question being begged; Is there anything at all we can all agree to anymore? …
An Apolitical Essay for a Political Time.
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Physicist Richard Feynman once said, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”
It occurs to me during this post-election dysphoria where whatever news you want to perceive about its results is readily available for your consumption, that one of the bizarre and unsettling truths of the 21st century and its great technological data boom is the realization that information didn’t actually make us smarter. …
By Fred Dust & Rob Healy
Fueled by Ted Talks and Goop articles alike, oxytocin has had a great PR run in recent years. Colloquially called the “love drug” or “cuddle chemical”, oxytocin is a pair-bonding hormone that doubles as a neurotransmitter. It gets activated whenever we are cuddling with one another, petting dogs, sharing food with each other, singing together, and yes, even during sex. In fact, some companies are even now selling spray bottles of oxytocin mixed with pheromones promising a Love Potion in a bottle.
Oxytocin is everywhere in our familial and social lives. We can’t escape it. It is the neurochemical social glue tying us all together. Its purpose though is not to entice us to have more sex with each other per se (we don’t seem to need any more incentive as a species in that department, although some recent research suggests otherwise) Rather its evolutionary function is geared toward fostering group cohesion, building trust, and increasing our social and tribal bonds with each other. …
We’re 5 months into COVID, the Hollywood content production pipeline has run dry, and my Netflix cue has turned into a toggle between documentary esoterica and early-aught sitcom reruns. I’m Jack Sparrow lamenting that the rum is gone every time the now Pavlovian scarlet lettered N “dun-dun’s” on my TV screen.
And so it’s a rare surprise during the COVID era when you come across a show that genuinely stops you in your tracks. Even rarer when that show is a reality show. Rarer still when it’s a reality dating show. …
“There are decades where nothing happens, and then there are weeks where decades happen.”- Lenin
“No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.” — General George Mattis
As it stands, our country is currently in the throes of an extended attack on our homeland. An attack being levied by, for all practical purposes, an alien enemy invasion.
This alien enemy is immune to all of our guns and firepower and military might. Invincible against our tanks and F-18’s and Seal-Team-Sixes.
It has now successfully infiltrated our borders, built up its forces, and is waging a multi-front war across all of our cities and towns. …
The Four Stupidest Responses to CoronaVirus and Why We Need to Shut Them Up
How many of you actually knew this was coming? How many of you genuinely anticipated that this disease was going to uproot your life, overrun our healthcare system, and crater the economy?
If you answered yes, you are probably lying to yourself just a little bit. But that’s ok. You weren’t supposed to know. Diseases and pandemics are hard to predict in real-time. Even the experts get it wrong. The models can fail and the projections can be off.
But that time for ambiguity and misjudgment is over. The models are now aligning, the data is in, and the experts agree. The time for getting this wrong has passed. …
Why Bali is the sexiest place on earth. Just not why you think.
CHAPTER 2 SINCERE AND LOATHING IN BALI
adjective, sex·i·er, sex·i·est.
1.) radiating sexuality, sensual, seductive, provocative.
2.) excitingly appealing; intriguing, alluring.
I. DIONYSUS AND APOLLO
In order to understand Bali’s sexual allure, one must be loosely acquainted with Greek Mythology. Namely, the tension between Apollo and Dionysus.
A trip to Bali without seeing monkeys is difficult to pull off even if you had set out with the intention to do so ahead of time.
Monkeys are everywhere. At restaurants and hotels and homestays. On the beach and in the jungles. Statues of monkeys. Signs telling you where monkeys are and signs telling you how to avoid them. And so it is a bit of a Rorschach Test as to whether or not you think this is a marketing-brochure highlight or a governmental travel advisory.
Upon arrival, the first thing you notice concerning the native monkey hordes is that the Balinese rarely refer to Monkeys in the plural or with any articles attached. …
#ThePodiemPapers are an ongoing series of short essays aimed at heightening the public conversation around core issues intersecting journalism and social media.
E.O Wilson said it best. “We are a civilization of Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology.”
In Silicon Valley, this line is now as overused as it is prescient. One imagines it almost succinct enough for a Tesla bumper sticker. What is worth noting though is that no one ever goes on to clarify what “god-like” technology is actually referring to. All of it? Nuclear Weapons? The new iPad Air?
I would venture that Wilson was referring to our hassle-free reality-on-demand personalized universes. The brand new Economy-of-Now. The “god-like” power of simply imagining a “thing,” and within minutes, the “thing” shows up at your doorstep. Whether the time between “purchase” and “doorstep arrival” is 5 minutes or 5 hours is irrelevant. What Wilson is alluding to is existence without friction. A world where we never have to “deal” with anything. …
Podiem Paper #5: How to clean up your Social Media Diet
#ThePodiemPapers are an ongoing series of short essays aimed at heightening the public conversation around the core issues intersecting journalism and social media.
Our news and information diets have made us sick. Empty caloric content leaving us psychologically malnourished. Getting high off quick sugar hits in lieu of spiritual and mental sustenance.
The American media landscape now finds itself in the same place the American dietary landscape was in the late 80' and 90s. Giant conglomerates flooding grocery stores aisles with cheap food, pumped full of sugar, fat, salt, and preservatives. Meanwhile, public education concerning dietary health was left behind in the dark ages. Sure, there were a few health-food apostles beating their drums outside one-off health food stores in cosmopolitan cities. But no Whole Foods or Erewhon. No health-podcasts and wellness-blogs. There were Lunchables and Big Gulps alongside surging diabetes and heart disease epidemics. …