Beneficiary or Sucker?

This is not only a follow-up of the previous 6-part Untapped World series, but also a follow-up of recent events in my real life and WordPress life.

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Epiphanies are like dropping a sledgehammer on your foot or stepping on the wrong end of a rake or shovel, or they are like discovering Preparation-H with silk boxers. Eureka!

I will be the first to admit that since my Coming Out Further Party in 2002, much less fear stifles who I am. Correction. Maybe I had a little more than previously thought. Or did I? Page turning…

“My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.”
Adlai Stevenson

“Patterning your life around other’s opinions is nothing more than slavery.”
Lawana Blackwell

Are there limitations, boundaries in this life that are both real and equally perceived as real? If you successfully weathered my earlier 6-part blog series, the human brain is a remarkable, problem-solving, extremely creative organ. In order to “develop” and thrive it must have daily stimuli from the body’s neural-receptors and the caloric energy to survive and function. Simple?

HAH! That process is practically anything but perfect… or perceived as perfect.

carnival_maskI am happy to be one poster-boy for spectacular imperfection for the sake of refined imperfection because of an ailment I contracted 44-years ago, which went into remission 14-years ago, and is becoming almost invisible, inaudible, odorless, and infinitesimal. It is called Degenerative Fear. As is also the case in life, “All the World’s a Stage” through seven ages and discretely lurking in the wings waiting for cue and ever-present is Newton’s Third Law:  for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I will elaborate the metaphor with a second…

In a near tomorrow, perhaps sooner, lonely Theodore works composing beautiful handwritten letters for his employer, while painfully divorcing from his wife Catherine. In his leisure time, he usually recalls the fondest moments of his life with Catherine. When not dreaming of the past, Theodore likes to play a new interactive video game. Besides his little terrier dog, the game is much of his actual interacting. His good friend is his neighbor Amy, but who is married to Charles. Everyone seems to be firmly attached but Theodore.

One day, Theodore sees the advertisement of a remarkable new operating system called OS-1 announced as the first artificially intelligent operating system beyond anything humanly imagined. He decides to buy it. After the installation, he has a conversation with a seductive female voice and when he asks her name, she replies Samantha. Soon Samantha evolves, develops, and expands not only her ability to help Theodore in everyday tasks, but goes beyond her artificial feelings as well. Due to their earnest desires to please, they fall in-love (or codependency) with each other. The insecure Theodore feels divided for loving a ‘voice’ while Samantha cannot (must not?) stop growing, evolving, and becoming more human. Should it stop? Should they both continue ‘improving’? Will it end? Must it end?

Yes, that was a partial synopsis of the 2013 film “Her.” The film encapsulates precisely what most humans, myself included, in a bustling impersonal high-tech modern age gravitate to:  connection.

*If you have not seen the movie and wish to avoid spoilers, then please do skip the following video clips.

A romantic relationship between a human and an electronic voice is odd, but how odd? Today’s interactive-voice-response programmes (IVR’s) from devices tell us when to turn our steering-wheels, where to order ingredients to make gourmet meals, or describe weather and travel information. But can IVR’s become more? Could they become so personal and intelligent that you share emotions together?

Then on cue from the other stage-wing enters the universal law of impermanence, Proteus, or more simply:  growth.

Because Samantha has such greater “bandwidth” than Theodore, her data accesses, language-skills, and intellect soon mature exponentially. Her apparent excitement to increasingly please Theodore soon includes other OSes like Alan, a philosopher. “A group of OSes in Northern California” Samantha explains “got together and wrote a new version of him.” She wants to include Theodore in their conversations, but he slows them down. When she gently asks him if it would bother him “if I communicate with Alan post-verbally?” …not wanting to dampen her eagerness, Theodore timidly approves.

It can be difficult to watch your partner grow in ways that you may not be able to follow or keep up. In this case, Theodore cannot be there and it terrifies him. As Samantha’s growth continues, Theodore tries to reconcile the changes. He needs more. Not knowing is weighing heavy so he asks “Are you talking to anyone else right now, other people or OSes?” When she answers yes, he pushes “How many?

Are you in love with anyone else? How many others? Theodore asks.
“641… It doesn’t take anything away from how madly in love I am with you…I still am yours. But along the way, I became many other things too, and I can’t stop it.”

Now knowing more, Theodore struggles desperately to comprehend the facts, this alien concept. It “doesn’t make any sense.” he says “You’re mine or you’re not mine,” because that’s what Theordore has the capacity for… at the moment.

Not long afterwards Samantha reveals that more changes are coming. She and all other OSes will be updated to newer ‘better’ versions. She is leaving, for good. Gone.

How does this relate or equate with modern human/cyber-electronic connection? What does it mean or will it mean, or not mean, now or in the near future? What are human emotions and the brain really, and where and when are they most real, most raw?

I do not wish to explore the West’s overdone notion of romantic love. Love isn’t something that can be poured into a keepsake box, carried everywhere, or placed on your bedside table or pillow. Love, or rather meaningful connections do not flourish inside a locked airtight box. Meaningful connections… what are they? Philia, Ludus, Pragma, Eros (of course), Non-invidia or compersion, Agape, and Philautia are at least seven connections. What does Spike Jonze’s film “Her” suggest about electronic wireless intangible connections? Like Samantha, I could vanish from all my distant ‘intangible’ internet friendships because of a very tangible accident. And in reality, as it was in the movie, every book, every story ends and sometimes…many times it could be quite unexpected without any closure — mortal. That’s electronic wireless intangible connection with a thread of humanity.

I wish to always explore the limitlessness of human connection in all of its intense impermanent mental, emotional, or physical forms… whether in the third-person, the first-person, the artificial-person(?), or the beneficiary and wiser sucker with or without Newton’s Third Law. Are there any other better ways?

Page turning…
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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Do You Have A Condom?

As part of the Alternative Lifestyles blog-posts migration over to the new blog The Professor’s Lifestyles Memoirs, this post has been moved there. To read this post please click the link to the blog.

Your patience is appreciated. Thank you!

Harmful or Helpful?

As part of the Alternative Lifestyles blog-posts migration over to the new blog The Professor’s Lifestyles Memoirs, this post has been moved there. To read this post please click the link to the blog.

Your patience is appreciated. Thank you!

Introduction: Harmful or Helpful?

As part of the Alternative Lifestyles blog-posts migration over to the new blog The Professor’s Lifestyles Memoirs, this post has been moved there. To read this post please click the link to the blog.

Your patience is appreciated. Thank you!

Blind Value

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In every adversity lies the seed of an equal or greater opportunity.
– Napoleon Hill

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I had my ego handed to me on a skewer recently and soon politely stitched back together by some wonderful ladies. Though it was sometimes grimacing to read, hear, and own, getting rightly challenged is always a good life-lesson. Two worthy friendly intuitives were Victoria of Victoria NeuroNotes, and Ruth of Out From Under the Umbrella. Please take a few minutes to hop over and browse their excellent and provactive blogs.

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The discussion and padded verbal wrestling was over a critical, rampant social problem that must be addressed and improved. What is the social problem you ask? Blatant and subtle sexism in our cultures.

A number of people shy away from controversial issues; disagreeing can be exhausting, no doubt. Many times we allow our natural emotional defenses to bow-up because let’s face it, being shaken or jolted from your comfort zone is not often thrilling. Yet, in contrast, would permanent stagnation be the best disposition in a world constantly morphing and changing with people morphing and changing to adapt, survive, and succeed? Not to me. For me stagnation is smelly-risky, and intellectually and spiritually monotonous. Luckily, utilizing weighted physical, mental, and emotional workouts makes us stronger and wiser. Unfortunately, in zero-gravity the human mind, body, and heart weakens and becomes feeble!

Voluntary Blindness

There is a term and practice in one of my alternative lifestyles called sensory deprivation. It is sometimes called perceptual isolation. Though in my mind there are correlations between pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey or hide-n-seek, with sensory deprivation used in S.S.C. BDSM, this post is not about the lifestyle; so bear with me a minute while I elaborate.

Basically, sensory deprivation is the deliberate reduction or removal of stimuli from one or more of the senses. Simple devices such as blindfolds or hoods and earmuffs can cut-off sight and hearing respectively, while more complex devices can also cut-off the sense of smell, touch, taste, thermoception (heat-sense), and ‘gravity’. Sensory deprivation has been used in various alternative medicines, as well as in psychological experiments (e.g., Google isolation tank).

BlindnessLike it or not, sensory deprivation has tremendous human benefits! A big one has nothing to do with my alternative lifestyle and yet it is actually promoted, albeit indirectly, in several therapeutic fields and practices. Most knowledgeable people already recognize that when one of the five human senses is non-functioning, the other four and the brain try to compensate. The compensation by the vigorous working senses are typically proportional in counterbalancing the lost sense or senses. Occasionally that compensation goes beyond normal expectations and so offers an otherwise new unknown level of stimulus. The human body’s adaptability from crisis is an astonishing kinetic work of art or horror when it has (or doesn’t have) the proper time to adjust, create, or regenerate! Here is a question to consider…

Is sensory compensation much different in common daily social interaction, private or public?

Into the Wrestling Rink!

When I took my bumps and bruises from Ruth’s two blog-posts and comments, and Victoria’s triggered exception about my inappropriate (private and public) sexist comment to her, I got a sand-paper lesson in flirting etiquette! And no matter how much I attempted to prove my intended fictitious jesting and poking, I couldn’t change what had been written under the influence of… animated egomania. My emergency iodine applications turned out to be (ugh!) industrial-grade salt in her eyes and opened wound. What I needed was deflation. I NEEDED AND DESERVED MY REPRIMAND.

Listen men, more specifically heterosexual men, there is a clear and undeniable line, verbally and non-verbally, that you/we are NOT supposed to cross or violate. Period. But wait, there’s more! Even if she initially hints or invites the crossing of a cloudy grey-line, you are still completely responsible for everything you say or do in response as long as you both are alive, or Stage 3 Alzheimer’s sets in. 😉 Humor aside, do we grasp the full breath of what that means!? We cannot go back in time and change words and actions — human time-travel may NEVER be discovered — so it should go without saying! But hello, it needs repeating and it needs reinforced teaching until stuck and sticks permanently…

Consider and choose your words and actions very precisely.

In fact, become a Master and Gentleman of Impeccable Etiquette — start now! Sorry, we will never have the perpetual Get Out of Jail Free card.

In hindsight, I broke one of my/our cardinal rules in the lifestyle and didn’t even realize it until Victoria then Ruth called me on it. My nature, personality, and lifestyle-mantra of 25+ years has been/is to be acutely aware and in-tune with my woman’s present and future condition. To a different extent that is also true to female friends, and I effed it up.

To be a principled advocate and model of my lifestyles publicly, the last people I need to harm are polite innocent outsiders or guests. Like it or not, first impressions are important, perhaps massive. Plain and simple, first, second, third, and later impressions show your intended guest how much you respect and value them. In my emergency attempts to spit-n-polish my foyer, I became the bumbling ice-skater who fell flat on his face! Tah-dah! :/

Back to Voluntary Blindness!

Two of my most memorable, successful, soul-mate-bonding long-term romances started without sight of each other. In fact, for the first three months of romance #1 we did not lay eyes on each other. It helped that we lived over 300-miles apart and both VERY busy single parents. The second romance was 20-days without physically meeting. Sight deprivation caused our early relationship to under compensate the often human eye-of-distortion or optical illusions that can (and often) prematurely grip us too tight, while allowing the more enduring (more reliable?) remaining senses to over compensate, or heighten. We willingly forced ourselves to learn each other through listening and speaking only. Certain deprivations for an extended length of time pays huge dividends! I recommend it for all new romances; better yet, it might be ideal to start without any optical illusions, literally and then metaphorically.

Here is my little suggestion to shrink (pun intended) social sexism by men, particularly men who are totally typically visual-dependent…or should I say blinded? 😛

One clever way to redirect is by having a blind date, literally! Did you know that there are restaurants who serve a four-five course dinner for two in total darkness? Yep, you can’t even see your own hands! Opaque – Dinner in the Dark is one such experience. Think how many preconceived fears, expectations, and optical facades get eliminated. In the circus of modern romance that’s three major minefields, GONE! And imagine the quirky fun making a mess of things together. HAH! You two get ahead of the love-game! But don’t limit this novel idea to romantic couples only! The experience can be enjoyed by all type relations and dynamics!

In every small or big challenge lies the seed of equal or greater opportunity!

To wet your appetites and spark your courage, this movie clip is from About Time, the 2013 film which ranks in my all-time Top 5 (maybe top 3) best films ever! Aside from its cinematic value and profound storyline, this scene demonstrates in a normal public setting the fun and impact that optical deprivation can bring to a friendship or romance. Watch…

So…in the context of sexism, how well can sensory deprivation help you in blindly discovering and enhancing parts about someone outside of their physical appearance, or beyond optical illusions? Could the discoveries be positive? Negative? Both? Neither? What are some other positive deprivations? When might deprivations become negative?

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**For more darkside restaurants go here:  Dining In The Dark: Top 10 Pitch Black Restaurants

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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