For those of you who have been following me for a while, you know that I’ve been fighting with a candida infection for over a year now. I’ve also been fighting with chronic, debilitating fatigue. I have an extremely strong will and if I know I need to get something done, then I can fight through just about anything. It’s probably this will power that has gotten me into the fix that I’m in. Just like with sports, if you push too hard and don’t give yourself adequate rest, eventually you will crash.
If ever there was a reason to advocate for the rights and acknowledgment of the gays and lesbians among us it is because in doing so we can save our fellow humans from a lifetime of suffering and existential pain. Continue reading “The Best and Only Reason for Homosexual Advocacy”
I try not to read the news because it makes me sad. However, TED talks are just long enough for me to listen to while I eat my breakfast and usually they’re of a higher quality with real content, so sometimes I’ll indulge.
However, I’ve noticed a marked decline in the quality of even the TEDs since they first came out. When I was a graduate student three or four years ago, the talks were these 15 minute summaries of a respected academic’s work. They served as a trailor for getting to know the thinker in greater depth should one choose to do so. Then I noticed some speakers weren’t academics or researchers or even policy makers, they started to include inspirational speakers. I remember one woman talking for 8 out of 15 minutes about how she knew the secret to finding happiness and it was simple, but not easy. It wasn’t until the 12th minute of the talk that I learned that her secret was, “patronize my books and consulting courses to learn more.”
In Japanese there is a word yoyu which means something akin to “wiggle room,” or “having extra leftover.” You might use it to compliment someone’s riding:
“You climbed that hill with yoyu!”
or to express concern for your budget:
“I never have any yoyu at the end of the month.”
Yoyu is critical to maintaining happiness and composure on your path. Whether you are trying to achieve peak performance as an athlete (me!), or just trying to make it from one day to the next amidst the various demands of work, social life, personal health, family, bills etc (also me), protecting your yoyu can be the difference between achieving your goals and crashing in a blaze of terrific splendor somewhere midway.
The idea for a bartering community came about as a result of my increasing suspicion that the Capitalist Economy was no longer serving its purpose of bringing increasing wealth and prosperity to all its members. More and more I was seeing examples of perfectly capable human beings becoming homeless, hungry or otherwise impoverished because the economy didn’t value their skills. When going shopping, it seemed that I could spend more time searching for the right product on the market than it would take me to build the thing I wanted from scratch, or from bits and pieces of things I had lying about. The final clincher was my realization that money itself destroys the Stuff which humans thrive on — interdependence, intimacy, vulnerability and community. All of these problems simply vanish if we have as people a means to coordinate our activities that is independent of political jostling, deceptive marketing, and an increasingly tenuous network of anonymous actors, each one motivated only as far as his paycheck will stretch, who collectively form the labor force and supply us with all that we consume.
So, I’m working hard to heal myself from all the damage of swallowing the Standard Narrative whole with a side of Standard American Diet to go. My latest assigment from Mary is to take coffee out of my diet. She promised me it won’t be forever, but I need to go for a month without coffee. I’ve been drinking coffee since I was in high school. I never drank it because of the energy boost it claims to give people (I’ve never needed the extra boost), but more because it was a social thing and a hot beverage that had more substance to it than tea, which I’ve always registered as hot colored water. Taking coffee out of my life is going to be difficult.
Mary suspects me of having adrenal fatigue and I think she’s pretty on point with that. She also thinks that coffee is messing with my digestion. On top of that I have struggled with anxiety and ADHD for as long as I can remember, possibly from as young as 8 years old. What she told me is that coffee can actually sap your overall energy and ability to focus, exacerbating both the anxiety and the fatigue. That is the opposite of why most people drink it, so it got me to thinking. Continue reading “Coffee and the Law of Conservation of Energy”
The imposter syndrome is an affliction suffered by many young academics, usually beginning in graduate school but then often carrying on into their first appointments as faculty. It is characterized by an intense sense of not belonging, as if the person hired for the position is someone other than one’s self and that there has been a mistake made, something over looked, or some unspoken understanding that everyone is just humoring you.