Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Beware List, Part 7 

The Beware List is an accumulation of red flags that I've noticed will very consistently indicate if a person is evil, a psycho, sociopath, manipulator, clueless depressive, or screwing you (or planning to); if you notice someone's behavior matching a description from the list, be on high alert and start taking precautionary measures (which often means just kicking them to the curb as they so richly deserve). This post contains the latest installment; to read entries 1-60, see my posts of 5-31-06, 7-6-06, 8-31-06, 10-6-06, 11-19-06 and 1-10-07. Beware of anyone who:

61) Wants to discuss their problems with you, but insists that certain portions of the topic are off-limits, prevents you from making certain sorts of comments, or in any way makes you feel like you’re walking through a minefield when you’re trying to HELP.

This person has no desire to SOLVE their problems, and if you try to make them they'll turn on you like a rabid dog. They have no idea how friendship is supposed to work, and thus will sh*t on you eventually because they don't know any better and/or don't care; you should accept that you can't help them and move on.

62) Is unable to trust in general, and especially won’t trust a clearly trustworthy person.

Only a totally UNtrustworthy person, or one who's been badly “burned" in relationships, withholds trust where it’s clearly earned; the former assumes that everyone is like them, and the latter has decided to make darned sure no one can ever hurt them again by refusing to let anyone get close, not even friends or romantic partners... and they'll NEVER change, no matter how good you are to them-if necessary, they'll INVENT reasons to not trust you in order to validate their worldview.

63) Has no boundaries, or whose boundaries fluctuate or don't correspond to what sorts of relationships they have with those involved.

This person is NOT emotionally healthy; ALL emotionally healthy people have firm, appropriate boundaries. Someone like this will loan their car to a near-stranger and then refuse to tell a supposed friend their middle name; they somehow missed out on learning how to judge what you share or reveal with those at different levels of closeness, or even how to judge what level of closeness a person should HAVE with them. They don't know what boundaries are reasonable for YOU to have, either, and will become furious if you don't just roll over at their whim; they have no clue how to be a friend, or how to treat one.

64) Requires endless reassurances that you’re not mad at them or bored with them.

Serious depressives do this all the time, because everyone they ever got within range of friendship with has dumped them, and they think this will prevent that; even if you tell them repeatedly that you're not mad or bored, but you dislike the constant demands for reassurance, they'll keep doing it, and will remain tense and anxious in their interactions with you FOREVER. Sadly, all you can do is encourage them to get help... on your way out the door (if you hesitate, remember that clueless depressives will always stick it to you sooner or later, usually sooner).

65) Doesn’t hold up their end of the friendship, but expects YOU to be a full-on friend to THEM.

If you're stuck in this one-way game, you're being manipulated by a pro; they're NOT your friend, they have no affection for you, and they enjoy jerking you around. Sometimes a person like this is a depressive who hasn't grasped that a friend is supposed to be their EQUAL, not a younger version of their mommy, but usually they're sociopathic; in any case, your choices are to continue to be used or to end the relationship.

66) Sees you as a therapist, advice-giver and helper, not as a FRIEND, and shows little interest in you when you’re not fulfilling those roles.

It feels good to be seen as a "savior," at least for a while, but that's NOT your job unless you're their shrink; save your assistance for people who care about you... which this person never will, no matter what they claim.

67) Shows you emails or IM records of someone they’re fighting with, or makes reference to having given these things to others, or posts them anywhere online.

You may feel flattered that they're sharing private stuff with you, but doing so is WRONG; it's a betrayal, dirty fighting, and just plain ugly. This is a seriously bad person, and if you stay involved with them they'll be passing YOUR private correspondence around as soon as you displease them (as you inevitably will).

68) Tries to make you a referee, counselor or witness to their battles with their significant other.

This shows that they have no clue as to how to properly conduct ANY sort of relationship, and that they’ll fight dirty without hesitation; if they actually SUCCEED in getting their partner and some poor sap in this sort of sick triangle, they're a master manipulator as well. Be very afraid.

69) Willingly makes plans with you, but all too often ends up doing something else instead, with some lame excuse afterwards.

This person is either a complete flake or a sociopath playing games to try to get you to pursue them more avidly; if you're not sure which, decline to make any more plans in advance with them and see if they're willing to continue the friendship... if they're not, trust me, it's no loss.

70) Thinks that, if you confront someone about misbehavior, YOU, not the wrongdoer, are somehow the bad guy.

Only those who are themselves chronic wrongdoers think it’s bad to upbraid people for misbehavior; RUN, don't walk.

I hope this'll help you avoid being the victim of rotten types; remember, they can only get you if you LET them.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Husband "humor" 

(In quotes because, as any wife could tell you, it's not like normal humor-it's either puerile or gross or both... don't say I didn't warn you.)

My part of the city has recently been inundated with Vietnamese restaurants, and they all have "Pho" in their names, which I was disappointed to learn meant that they mostly had soup, which I don't care for; my husband, although also un-thrilled about the avalanche of soup places, had too much fun with the word "pho" to care. The correct pronunciation of "pho" is "fuh" (or more like "fuh?" because it's "tonal"), but it LOOKS like it should be pronounced "foh," and that's how we said it amongst ourselves before I looked it up; you should pretend it's pronounced that way for the duration of this story, so that it'll all make sense... because, like most men, my husband has a passion for puns, the stinkier the better, and thus he came up with:

Him: Do you know what they call fake pho?
Me: What?
Him: Faux pho!!
Me: Oh honestly, lol!!
Him: How about someone who's the enemy of pho?
Me: HUH?
Him: A pho foe!!
Me: Sigh.
Him: How about someone who's against the existence of fake pho?
Me: Come on, this is getting...
Him: A faux pho foe!!
Him: How about someone who pretended to hate fake pho but really didn't?
Me: Don't you have something better to...
Him: A faux faux pho foe!!
Him: LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

He was devastated to discover that "pho" isn't pronounced "foh," but after a moment's thought he declared that it was his right as an American to mispronounce foreign words, and for the sake of humor he'd keep pronouncing it "foh."

He came home very excited last night, to reveal that the "g" in the Black Angus sign was burned out... and speculated as to whether there were special rules about how quickly that particular letter had to be fixed compared to the other ones, given that it kind of changed one's idea about what sort of business it might be. He's hoping that they didn't fix it today so that he can go back tonight and get a photo.

Last weekend, he finally dragged his lazy carcass outside to do a few chores, and to encourage him I started doing the "Rocky theme" as he went through the door; he joined in for a few notes, then paused and FARTED the next note. He closed the door on my shrieks of revulsion, and his laughter was clearly audible as he went about his tasks.

I'm trying to train him to not touch his "informal areas" when I'm around him, both so that I won't have to see him being disgusting and because he's bound to do it at a friend's house if he gets too used to not refraining from pawing those places until he's alone. The most recent time I scolded him about this, he made a big production about protractedly scratching both of his armpits, his groin, and his butt crack, after which he bunched up his fingertips under his nose and began inhaling loudly and repeatedly, proclaiming "Good stuff, man!!" while I howled "You filthy, repulsive creature!!"

Today, he announced a foolproof gender test; if someone smelled their dirty socks and said something like "These aren't too bad, I can wear them again," you'd know it was a man. He added that if the person in question smelled their socks and then didn't wake up until the next day, I'd know it was HIM. (This isn't that much of an exaggeration-I can tell if he takes his shoes off in another room because the smell is so strong it permeates the house... and the maggots gagging out in the street are also a clue.)

He DOES occasionally provide some wholesome humor, though; he found the Flickr site of a guy who'd had the brilliant idea of photographing wild squirrels that he'd trained to stand up and grab cameras placed on the ground, such that a certain % of the pics would look like the squirrels are actually using the cameras (allegedly, one of the squirrels DID accidentally take a photo, which is included on the site). Check it out, it's beyond cute:


Monday, February 19, 2007

Borrowing a pen = friendship and sexual attraction? 

(Did you notice the nifty "animation" I've installed in my title bar (BlogMad visitors will have to open my blog in a new window to see it)? Cool, huh?)

When I was in 2nd grade, my mother found out that I'd loaned someone a pencil or given them a sheet of paper (I can no longer recall which), and astonished me by raving on and on about how evil this was; everyone ELSE passed pencils and paper around, so why was it wrong for ME to do so? She informed me that paper and pencils were very expensive, and this was why I wasn't allowed, it turned out, to give or loan such things; she told me that when I was asked to I was supposed to respond "My mommy paid for that, and your mommy is supposed to pay for your paper/pencils, not my mommy, so you tell your mommy to buy what you need for school, because my mommy won't pay for your paper/pencils." Yes, my mother was THAT twisted; you can imagine the shock and contempt with which my schoolmates responded to these speeches, and the damage it did to me, already the class pariah for being smart and totally without social skills.

Fast forward to high school: Although I'd long since dropped the "my mommy" speech, I'd still been following orders and declining to hand over school supplies. I KNEW that everyone had plenty of paper and pens of their own, but they continued to do a dance of borrowing and lending, and it FINALLY become clear to me that it was, for reasons that escaped me, socially IMPORTANT to loan/give the stuff. So, despite every aspect of my life still hinging on my mother's whims (I had no $, no transportation other than being driven, and no freedom of action or choice), I dug my heels in and told her that I would no longer deny "loan requests"; I'd learned that paper and pens were CHEAP, contrary to her claims, and she was just going to have to sacrifice a few cents a year to keep me from looking like a turd to my peers.

She hammered me relentlessly, but I held firm; I was THROUGH being the only person in school who wouldn't so much as loan a pencil to a classmate. Her sick mind devised one final attempt to trip me up; this cheapest of all women spent $ on a custom stamp with my initials on it, and I was instructed to stamp every sheet of paper in my notebook with it, so that the other kids "would remember who the paper had come from"... arguments that this wouldn't save her a penny, and would be a complete waste of time and effort, cut zero ice. Mercifully, this insanity didn't last long; someone *I* borrowed a piece of paper from (for by this time I was a full participant in the bizarre game) took it back and inked her initials on it in imitation of my stamps before returning it to me, much to the mean-spirited amusement of the class. The realization that no one was confused as to the meaning of the stamps, and that it was destroying my ability to gain any points for lending, gave me the impetus to refuse to keep stamping... and from then on I loaned things out like a normal human being, and that, aside from my mother's periodic rants on the subject, was that.

Fast forward to an episode of "Queer as Folk" I saw a couple of years ago, in which a boy has been ostracized at school (because it was revealed that he's HIV+), and the next day a girl asks to borrow a pen from him; in response, he asks her why she's being NICE to him. HUH?!! She wasn't offering to GIVE him a pen, she was asking to TAKE one... how was that being NICE? I understood the necessity of kids all doing the same dumb things to fit in, but was it really possible that part of why this particular behavior pattern was so popular was because kids had the illogical idea that TAKING something from someone was being nice to them? What was the psychology behind that? The writers of QAF repeatedly demonstrated a brilliant grasp of both human nature and American culture, so there MUST have been a rational reason for that plot element, but I couldn't pin it down, so I let it go.

Until last night, when I saw an odd movie called "The Shape of Things"


in which a woman describes how she was supposedly indicating to man she liked that she was interested and wanted him to take her out; she kept asking to BORROW A PEN. How in the world is asking for a pen supposed to indicate romantic desire? :-O

Clearly, I can't dismiss this asking-for deal anymore; I'm not confusing TV series or movies with real life, but the writers thereof strive to have the psychology of all their characters' actions make sense, and I can't imagine they'd have pen-borrowing representing friendliness of both platonic and sexual varieties if it wasn't based in real human behavior, so...? I can see asking to borrow a pen as being a way to approach a stranger you want to talk to, or someone you know but are a little intimidated by, and I think most of us would understand, if we were on the receiving end of such a request, that it was probably the prelude to a conversation, so there IS a basis for pen-borrowing having "hidden meanings"; isn't that WEIRD, when you think about it?

Ok, so what if the prospective lender is neither a stranger nor intimidating? Well... who do you pick to lend you something if you actually NEED it? Probably the one you can feel most comfortable taking something from; whoever's your best buddy in the group. Is that the answer? If you pretend that you need a pen from someone, you're telling them... that you have, or perhaps are offering, a higher level of liking or trust for them than you have for other members of the peer group? Since we humans are social creatures, an offer of this type would be valuable to us... and thus, we can construe the offer to take OUR pen rather than another person's as "being nice" to us. And, if you do the unneeded-borrowing bit from someone you're attracted to, it tells them... that you "LIKE-like" them more than anyone else in the group? Has everyone but ME understood this instinctively?

Can you imagine how I feel now as I look back and realize that throughout my school career a bunch of different pen/pencil/paper-requesting kids offered me the chance to get a social foothold with them despite my pariah-ness, and thanks to my mother's training I essentially spit in their faces rather than accepting? grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mating, $ and mass 

(Note to those who read me on Bloglines: They're having some sort of problem with my RSS feed, but if you want to be able to read me on a feed reader while they figure it out you can click on the "Add to Any" button in my sidebar and choose from dozens of different ones that CAN get my feed right.)

In the February 2007 issue of Discover magazine, there's a blurb in the article "The Big Bang Machine" that says (asterisks are mine):

"All matter is made of quarks... Every proton and neutron is made of three quarks. But all three quarks together account for less than 2 percent of the total mass of any proton or neutron. So where does the rest of the mass come from? Physicists ***theorize**** that each quark in every atomic nucleus is surrounded by countless 'virtual particles' that constantly emerge from the vacuum and then almost instantaneously subside into nothingness again. It is these evanescent particles that are ***thought*** to give heft to all we see and feel."

Translation: They can't account for ***98%*** of the mass of all matter... or, equally as bad, their ideas about what the various subatomic particles are made of is insanely far off. But wait, it gets BETTER; only 4% of the total mass of the universe is supposed to even BE matter... the rest is allegedly "dark matter" (23%) and "dark energy" (73%), which have never been seen, and about the construction or other properties thereof nothing is known. (cough*phlogiston*cough) This means that, if the eggheads are correct about what the total mass of the universe IS, which is absolutely open to major doubt, all we can account for is 2% of 4%, which is just .08%. SAY WHAT?!! Clearly, something is VERY wrong here; even the man who coined the term "dark energy," professor of theoretical astrophysics and cosmology Michael Turner, has said

"Perhaps the most radical idea, and the one I am pursuing now, is that there's no dark energy at all. (Remember, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.) Instead, our incomplete understanding of gravity is at fault, and when we understand it better, we'll no longer need to invoke dark energy."

Are there really THREE unknown components of total universal mass, dark matter, dark energy and whatever it is that makes up 98% of normal matter... or is there ONE substance that's responsible for all 3 of the, um, placeholders that have been voodooed into physics to make the equations come out right? What could the substance be made of? Karma's the obvious answer to ME, but you could make a case for whatever YOU believe in, such as spirits, mystical forces or God, being responsible for it; whatever you call it, for all this unknown stuff to be formed from the "forces of the unknown" that almost all humans believe in in one form or another isn't much of a leap.

If you're the sort of person who proclaims that things don't exist unless science has verified they do, keep reminding yourself that 99.02% of the universe is purportedly made of stuff they can't do more than guess at... and there's no reason to think that they've pinpointed ALL the "mystery mass" yet, either. In other words, by their own admission the best scientists can describe virtually NONE of what's around us... so what makes you think that YOU'VE got it all nailed down?

In the same issue of Discover, in "Peer Review: Outsourced Boredom," I learned about an actual, valid way that anyone can make easy $ online:

"the Amazon Turk system parcels out these countless human intelligence tasks, or 'HITs,' to willing laborers for pennies per piece. Got an Internet connection and some extra time? Hire yourself out to one of the many companies whose own computers need your human brain to complete their duties. As I write this, there are HITs available for everything from finding the address numbers in photos of houses (three cents a pop) to matching Web page URLs with the product that is supposed to appear on them (a whopping nickel each)."

Wanna give it a shot? Here's the URL:


And finally: If my husband dies untimely, and I'm acquitted (lol), the article "Adventures in the Petri Dish of Love" gives information about the site I'll use to find his replacement; its main page says:

"W E L C O M E to the web home of Science Connection, the meeting place for single science professionals and others with an interest in science or nature.

Why are we here? The world is a crowded Petri dish, and yet for those of an intellectual bent who happen to be single, it's not easy, especially past university age, to find that certain microbe for a great symbiotic relationship. Enter Science Connection.

What kinds of people are members? Most members are from the United States and Canada, with small numbers from elsewhere. We have members in the physical, natural, medical and social/behavioral sciences, technology, computers/IT, and various non-sci/tech occupations, including law, teaching, business, music, and the arts. There are about equal numbers of men and women, and the age range is 20s-70s. Many members are into natural history (birding, etc.) and outdoor activities."

If you look at the sample photos of members, you'll see some geekish looking folks, yes, but plenty of "normal" ones too... not that it matters, since we're too mature and evolved to put looks over admirable mental qualities, right? If you're single, and want a partner with a brain, here's the URL:


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Blogger got me!! AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

It was 3AM, and I'd just finished watching "Metal Mania" on VH1 Classic. I was wearily doing my last check of stuff on the laptop before going to bed, and a minute adjustment to my template occurred to me; being far too anal to put it off until the next day, I went to my Blogger account... and was forwarded to a page that informed me that I had to migrate to the new Blogger. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! I tried every link I had, every way I could think of, to get around it and into my account, but all of them forwarded me to that same implacable page.

It was 3AM, and I was suddenly wide awake. Remembering all the horror stories I'd read from people who'd switched to the allegedly-no-longer-beta Blogger: The 8-10 hours of inaccessibility while the transfer took place. The destruction of template customizations and archives. The inability to put things in the sidebar. Blogs locking their owners out or just plain vanishing. I sat there, sweating, shaking, nauseous, looking at the arrow I had to click if I ever wanted to get access to my blog again, my exhausted mind reeling with visions of a wrecked site that'd take weeks of pleading with what Blogger shamelessly calls "tech support" to repair.

More hideous thoughts burst into my head; although I back up my template regularly, I'd made some alterations since the last time, and my February posts weren't archived yet. I had no way to get to the template itself, so all I could do was copy the source code; unfortunately, it mixes Blogger's "private" code with the stuff that comes up when I edit, but if I had to I could work my way through it and pick out my alterations... it was better than nothing. I copied my posts from the blog rather than from the source code to avoid having the html mixed in, saved everything... and then I was back to that page and that arrow again.

Was it possible, I wondered, that this page would go away in a while? A variety of other pages and announcements trying to coax me into risking all I'd worked so hard on for 3 years had appeared in the past, and eventually gone away... but of course none of THEM had blocked my account. I could feel my blood pressure rising into the quadruple digits as I read and re-read their claims that my template and blog would still be exactly the same after the switch, wishing that they'd ever given me reason to believe anything they say about the workings of their service (which is usually good, don't get me wrong, but when it's bad you'll never get full disclosure from them much less assistance), especially when what they were saying was contrary to the stories of countless bloggers whose descriptions of their problems with used-to-be-Beta I DO believe... and then, with my heart in my throat, I clicked on the arrow, went through the signup process for a Google account, and... made that final click to initiate the changeover.

A message came on the screen saying that it would take a minute or 2; a minute or 2 for WHAT? For the process to be fully underway? After watching the spinning circle for a few seconds, I yelled to my husband to try to bring my blog up on his computer to see what he got; he yelled back that it looked normal. I trotted down the hall to his study and asked him to reload the page; he did... and it DID look normal. Puzzled, I trotted back to the laptop... and the message on the screen said it was DONE.


More re-loads and the arrival of a verification email proved that the unimaginable was true; although even within the past few days I'd noticed blog entries bemoaning the same 8-10 hour transition times that I'd seen all along, MY blog switched to the new system in less than a minute... and, as far as I can tell, without causing any problems whatsoever with the site or my ability to access and use my account. :-O

To say that I was relieved was like saying that Dracula dislikes the sun; ditto for my degree of amazement and confusion. I'm more grateful than words can express to have been spared the horrors endured by so many of our brethren, but...? Did they just in the past day or so figure out how to do the conversions quickly and properly? Was my blog a special case because I don't have an imported template design, commenting or images in my posts? Whatever the reason, I always said I wouldn't move to Beta/New until I was forced to, and my reward for that was to avoid the sufferings of those who were inexplicably eager to embrace it; I still feel bad for what they went through, but this experience demonstrates why it's smartest, and safest, to jump into a new system as late in the game as possible.

What do I think of the new setup? I'm of the "solid content in the simplest possible framework" school of blogging, so I've got no use for the new stuff Blogger's added; since I dislike having controls that I'll never use glopping up my screen, I'm not fond of the more complex arrangement I'm stuck with now. Function-wise, the spellchecker, which hasn't worked for my operating system and browser combo for ages, has NOT been fixed, and having the "View" link for each entry right next to the "Edit" link will undoubtedly lead to many inadvertent false hits to my blog counter; overall, as is usually the case when "improvements" are rolled out, the new design is worse than the old... too bad they didn't give the option of keeping the old controls with "new Blogger."

Still, I'm sure that most people WILL like having more elaborate controls, since ever-fancier layouts are clearly preferred by the bulk of the blogosphere, so I won't bitch too much; however, despite my luckily trouble-free "upgrade," I'm going to stay very unhappy about Blogger's inexplicable, and INEXCUSABLE, failure to WARN me that transition would be enforced by a certain day and time so I could be prepared for it. Since Blogger's being secretive about how they're handling this, pass the word around; those still on "old Blogger" are subject to being strong-armed into transferring with zero notice... and let's just hope they share my good fortune and it's quick and painless when the time comes.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How does the karma of evil people affect YOU? 

If you shout at someone, everyone within range will hear you. If you shine a flashlight on someone, nearby people will also be illuminated. Karma is just energy, and behaves analogously to other forms of energy, so karma flowing to someone will touch everyone near them... how could it NOT?

Most folks see karma as a totally individual phenomenon, such that your karma can only affect YOU, but that doesn't make sense; not only is it contrary to how the other natural forces work, it carries the unspoken, and perhaps unrealized, under-thought that there's some sort of sentience directing karma that "makes it" stick tight to just its "owner"... but there's no reason whatsoever to think that. Karma has no more analysis, judgment or intention than gravity or magnetism; it doesn't reward, it doesn't punish, and it's not "fair"... doubly so because you can benefit, or suffer, from karma that you had no hand in creating, just by being close by when it "hits."

Not buying it? One of my friends who's a total believer in karma resisted this idea at 1st, too, because as a Christian (she believes that God created karma as a tool to carry out His plan) she was wedded to the idea of it being "personal" rather than something that can slop onto you like a shaken soda opened in a group. She was puzzled, therefore, when she and her husband took a young man they'd known and loved since he was a kid and his girlfriend into the house because they were homeless and immediately things that neither they nor their guests could have had any effect on started going markedly wrong; they were doing something GOOD, something BIG, and doing it with loving hearts with no thought of being compensated, so what was up? Their guests were allegedly EX drug addicts, which along with the homelessness meant that they were dealing with a great deal of stress; this made them radiate negative thoughts and emotions and thus - karma... but could it have been ENOUGH - karma to cause problems for their benefactors? We'll never know, because, as is usually the case with druggies, there were massive amounts of bad behavior involved as well.

They both got jobs, but somehow didn't have ANY $ to give my friend to cover their expenses; she refused to see that there was no way that transportation costs and such were eating up 2 entire full-time salaries, and this stubborn blindness, this refusal to see the truth, to pass accurate judgment with it or to act on it, which is typical of how we ALL deal with even the worst-behaved loved/liked ones, allowed the lying ingrates to trick her into financing their entire lives. In addition, they pulled some other stunts typical of drug users, including stealing a bunch of stuff from her and her mother; in other words, although they might have been saints before they started using, they'd become sick, evil people, and their presence in my friend's home, and their intense emotional involvement with her and her husband, poisoned her life from the moment they arrived. Financial disasters rained down upon my friend throughout the stay of her "guests," to the point where she and her husband, who had previously been VERY financially secure, nearly had to sell their home; as soon as the turds were tossed out, the disasters stopped, and a series of GOOD financial surprises started showing up... and I mean right away, not 6 months later.

It was so blatant that it was like a dam breaking, and each "reward" was unconnected to the others and beyond their ability to affect it; stunned, my friend realized that the bad karma of her ex-guests HAD been affecting her and her husband, and that only when the sources of - karma were removed could the + karma from the + energy of their selflessness and generosity get to them. Her summation of these events was that God expects us to use our freedom of choice to make the RIGHT choices, in keeping with how He prefers us to behave, and that includes heeding the countless warning signs as to the evil nature of certain people and STAYING AWAY FROM THEM; if we fail to do this, then naturally we should expect the evil to surround us and cause us harm, not only directly from the evil ones' actions but indirectly from their - karma.

The jury is out about the God issue in my mind until proof shows up one way or the other, but the karmic issue seems clear; the karma of those around you mingles with yours, which gives another powerful reason to NOT allow evil people to be in your life. It doesn't matter how much you care about them (WHY you'd care about an evil person is a whole BOOK), it doesn't matter how long you've known them (as if THAT'S a reason for clinging to someone), it doesn't matter how good of sex you have with them, it doesn't matter how well they're treating YOU (so far), it even doesn't matter if they share DNA with you; an evil person will eventually do evil to YOU, the direct results of their evil deeds will likely eventually impact you (ask any woman whose man's in prison how much fun she's having), and the - karma that flows steadily towards them, that surrounds them constantly, will drag YOUR karma down.

It gets even worse; since the karma of evil people tends to not even "reach" them due to their impaired souls (see my post of 1-26-07), those around them will absorb, not just the outer rim of it, but ALL of it... keep THAT in mind the next time you're tempted to vault over 20 nice people to fling yourself at an evil person because they seem "exciting" or "fun" or "sexy."

The cheerful news is that if you have GOOD people close to you you'll soak up some of their + karma; keep in mind, though, that to be GOOD requires ACTION, and pitifully few people are willing to leap to the defense of those who are being attacked or otherwise mistreated, which is a minimum requirement for goodness, and thus are neither bad nor good but neutral, and so is their average karma.

A final note; "negative" emotions like grief, anxiety, anger and depression create - karma as well, which will also affect those exposed to it adversely. I'd never suggest that you abandon an unhappy friend to avoid their - karma, but it might be wise to steer clear of acquaintances who're in a perpetual bad mood; why not give some of the nice people you haven't bothered to get to know better a chance instead?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Why do we have favorites? 

What's your favorite color?

Why do you HAVE a favorite color?

Why do you have a favorite ANYTHING?

Put another way; why would primitive humans have had a need for favorites... what was the survival advantage? I'm not talking about the rational preference for one non-trivial thing over another, such as "That valley is my favorite because it has more fruit trees than any other" or "That river is my favorite because it has more fish in it than any other"; these boil down to "That valley/river gives me a better chance of surviving than any other" and thus are useful, but things like "This flower is my favorite color" are different... what could have led to the 1st primitive human to choose that sort of favorite having such a thought, which was not only not related to survival but wasn't related to anything they were doing? (It's not like they were choosing a color to paint their cave, right?) What led to them having a favorite bird, not because it tasted best or was easiest to catch, but because it was the prettiest? What led to them picking a species of tree as their favorite, not because it gave better shade or produced more fruit or nuts, but because it smelled the best or had the most interestingly shaped leaves? What benefit did they gain from this sort of analysis and choice-making, and its associated emotional component (because we tend to feel inexplicably strongly about our favorites), that led to the ability and willingness to make the effort to select favorites spreading throughout the human race?

Is the tendency to choose favorites biologically encoded, or is it a learned behavior that got incorporated into human cultures because... why, because picking and having favorites is so much fun that once one person did it everyone else wanted to too? Do ALL cultures have this picking of favorites, in other words do people in remote tribes deep in the rain forests have favorite colors and such, or is it just people in "modern" cultures that've exchanged information between them for ages that have them? How far back do favorites go? 1000 years? To the dawn of civilization? To cave days? I don't suppose we'll ever know; until writing became widespread enough for lots of people to be doing it, and to be doing it to record stuff less important than religious and legal matters, there wouldn't have been records of something like that, so tracking down the 1st written reference wouldn't give an accurate answer.

And; why do we have favorites of things that didn't even exist in our primitive days? Do you know anyone who doesn't have favorite music, for example? Many of us have a deep, visceral reaction the 1st time we encounter the music that'll be a favorite... but WHY? Why any reaction at all to something beyond the experience of early humans? Why are there so many KINDS of music that can be favorites? Very similar-seeming people can have wildly differing musical preferences, and totally disparate folks can love the same music; what is it in our biologies or our brains that causes us to have certain sorts of music that resonate powerfully within us, while others are indifferent to or actively dislike our favorite music? What's the survival value of music appreciation, either in general or in so many different forms?

AND; in a broader sense, why do we have preferences for certain abstract, esoteric or trivial things over others? It's common, for example, for car enthusiasts to prefer the shape of one car's hood to the similar hood shape of another car; do you think primitive people stood around saying, "Yeah, I like the curve of that boulder more than the curve of that other boulder?" You might love plaid but hate polka dots; did primitive people look at a snake's skin and say, "Yeah, this pattern's nicer than the pattern on the gourd we ate yesterday"? When Oog grunted, did his buddy say, "The grunt you made yesterday was far more melodious"?

Why do we have ANY favorites/preferences that don't relate to survival? How was that 1st favorite created, and how did it benefit its "owner" so much that either we developed something physical in our brains that leads to having preferences and favorites, or "preference choosing" became a part of overall human culture? How and why are we even ABLE to form non-survival, non-facts-based preferences? Why can you and I both look at the same painting, and one of us goes "wow" and the other goes "yuck"?

I have no idea; it makes good food for thought, though.

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