› tired, since 1985

Hi, I’m Drew and this is my personal blog.

As of June 28, 2021:


Oct 28, 2021

Finished reading: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson 📚

All these beefy Caucasians with guns Get enough of them together, looking for the America they always believed they’d grow up in, and they glom together like overcooked rice, form integral, starchy little units. With their power tools, portable generators, weapons, four-wheel-drive vehicles, and personal computers, they are like beavers hyped up on crystal meth, manic engineers with- out a blueprint, chewing through the wilderness, building things and abandoning them, altering the flow of mighty rivers and then moving on because the place ain’t what it used to be.

The byproduct of the lifestyle is polluted rivers, greenhouse effect, spouse abuse, televangelists, and serial killers. But as long as you have that four-wheel-drive vehicle and can keep driving north, you can sustain it, keep moving just quickly enough to stay one step ahead of your own waste stream. In twenty years, ten million white people will converge on the north pole and park their bagos there. The low-grade waste heat of their thermodynamically intense lifestyle will turn the crystalline icescape pliable and treacherous. It will melt a hole through the polar icecap, and all that metal will sink to the bottom, sucking the biomass down with it.

Oct 17, 2021

As Vaccine Holdouts Cave What’s the Lesson for Liberals? Authoritarians Require Force 📰

…Americans with authoritarian tendencies are weak. They don’t know how to make decisions independent of authority figures in their lives (whoever they may be). Because of this, they fear making the wrong choice. They fear the humiliation and pain they believe comes with being wrong. Legally enforceable mandates make the choice easy by making the choice for them. Authoritarians are weak. Vaccine mandates help them save face.

Second, they don’t want freedom. Yes, I know. They say they want freedom. They say they will die for it. They won’t, though. They won’t do anything demanding sacrifice. What they want is the sense of community that comes with belonging to an authoritarian collective that does, in its own way, what mandates do—choose for them. So while they say they want freedom, what they desire is being told what to do. They don’t have the skills. Coercion and force come as a relief.

They are not rugged individualists, far from it, but they believe they are. That tells you their true ideology. The lies. All the lies. The wild, howling lies they tell about their enemies and themselves. The lies bind them together to form an authoritarian collective. But the lies cannot exist outside the group. As soon as the lies encounter democracy—that is, as soon as they encounter people who don’t already believe the lies—the lies shatter, causing authoritarians to feel enormous pain and humiliation. They retreat back to the authoritarian collective, where they don’t have to do the work of figuring out the truth.

Sep 30, 2021

If they’re going to keep passing religious laws, we’re going to need exemptions 📰

This seems crazy. Obviously not everyone agrees with every law, but that’s the bummer about living in a society. In a democracy, if you feel strongly enough, you can set about finding like-minded people and try to change the law. Or, if that doesn’t work, and you truly believe it’s a sin to, say, fill contraceptive prescriptions, then (a) don’t be a pharmacist or (b) risk getting fired. Wouldn’t God appreciate the gesture?

If your religion won’t let you get vaccinated against the coronavirus, then don’t get the shot, but be prepared to suffer the consequences.

If your God-given anti-mask beliefs are sincerely held, then they’ll carry you through trying moments such as homeschooling your child and driving from Miami to Houston instead of flying. Martyrdom is supposed to be hard!

But ever since the Texas abortion ban went into effect, I’ve been rethinking exemptions. Maybe we actually need more of them.

If religious people can opt out of secular laws they find sinful, then maybe the rest of us should be able to opt out of religious laws we find immoral.

That’s right: immoral. We act as if religious people are the only ones who follow a moral compass and the rest of us just wander around like sheep in search of avocado toast. But you don’t need to believe in God or particular religious tenets to have a strong sense of right and wrong.

Amen.

Sep 10, 2021

Finished listening to This Is Your Mind on Plants by Michael Pollan 📚

Morphine, Caffeine and Mescaline.

Side note: I really enjoy listening to Michael’s books (mostly while walking my dog), there’s something soothing about his voice.

Sep 05, 2021

Finished reading The Experience of Insight by Joseph Goldstein 📚

This year has been focused a lot on the practice of Vipassana (insight) meditation which inevitably leads to the accompanying Buddhist teachings. No, I have not converted to Buddhism. To quote another book “The Heart of Buddhist Meditation”:

It (Satipaṭṭhāna or “the establishment of mindfulness”) has the depth and the breadth, the simplicity and the profundity for providing the foundation and the framework of a living Satipaṭṭhāna dhamma for all, or, at least, for that vast, and still growing, section of humanity that is no longer susceptible to religious or pseudoreligious sedatives, and yet feel, in their lives and minds, the urgency of fundamental problems of a non-material kind calling for solution that neither science nor the religions of faith can give.

Cultivating mindfulness brings us truly in the moment, or at least as close to reality as we can see, touch, smell, feel while letting go of mental concepts that have no basis in our biological existence.

One of the things that struck me most forcibly when I began the practice of meditation was the fact that so many actions were motivated by a desire to project some image: dressing a certain way, relating to people in a certain way; all revolving about a concept of myself I had created and then struggled to maintain. To carry around an image of ourselves is a great burden, causing a strain or tension between what we actually are in the moment and the image we’re trying to project. It’s not acting invisibly, it’s not acting with that basic emptiness of self that is the settling back into the Dharma, into the Tao. There’s nothing special to be, nothing special to do, nothing special to have. We can let go of self images, let go of projections, and all the tensions involved in sustaining them, settling back and letting it all unfold by itself without any preconceptions of who we are.

This is taken from one of the “Q&A” areas that appear at the end of each section:

Some of the greatest beings throughout the ages have offered teachings, written books, played music, created art, and such; isn’t all that an expression of themselves?

When you are invisible, when there’s no desire to do or be anything, then in fact you can do or be or have anything at all. It’s very true that many of the greatest enlightened beings very spontaneously expressed their understanding, expressed the Dharma, through art and literature; but it was not with the attitude of demonstrating or showing anything. It was part of the unfolding, a very spontaneous and intuitive expression, not coming from the sense of I or self or “look at this.” So many of the great masters were artists and poets; but that art, that creativity, came out of emptiness.

And a great Einstein quote:

Albert Einstein wrote “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Out task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Aug 24, 2021

Work is a False Idol 📰

From my view down here on the carpet, I see a system that, even if it bounces back to “normal,” I have no interest in rejoining, a system that is beginning to come undone.

[ … ]

While jobs are sustenance, careers are altars upon which all else is sacrificed.

I’m in this camp 👆

Aug 04, 2021

Finished reading Educated by Tara Westover 📚

I had started on a path of awareness, had perceived something elemental about my brother, my father, myself. I had discovered the ways in which we had been sculpted by a tradition given to us by others, a tradition of which we were either willfully or accidentally ignorant. I had begun to understand that we had lent our voices to a discourse whose sole purpose was to dehumanize and brutalize others–because nurturing that discourse was easier, because retaining power always feels like the way forward.

Jul 12, 2021

Finished reading The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts 📚

Deliberate thought finds itself unable to control the upsurge of the beast in man–a beast more “beastly” than any creature of the wild, maddened and exasperated by the pursuit of illusions. Specialization in verbiage, classification, and mechanized thinking has put man out of touch with many of the marvellous powers of “instinct” which govern his body. It has, furthermore, made him feel utterly separate from the universe and his own “me.” And thus when all philosophy has dissolved in relativism, and can make fixed sense of the universe no longer, isolated “I” feels miserably insecure and panicky, finding the real world a flat contradiction of its whole being.

Jun 24, 2021

Currently reading The Essential Dogen 📚

“When you prepare food, do not see with ordinary eyes and do not think with ordinary mind. Take up a blade of grass and construct a treasure king’s land; enter into a particle of dust and turn the great dharma wheel. Do not arouse disdainful mind when you prepare a broth of wild grasses; do not arouse joyful mind when you prepare a fine cream soup. Where there is no discrimination, how can there be distaste? Thus, do not be careless even when you work with poor materials, and sustain your efforts even when you have excellent materials. Never change your attitude according to the materials. If you do, it is like varying your truth when speaking with different people; then you are not a practitioner of the way”

This paragraph (in particular, the section I highlighted) hit me like a brick. Though I can also relate to Dogen with the cooking analogy, I’m guilty of this attitude when creating. “If only I had that effect pedal or that physical analogue synth I could do x… instead I am stuck with this “crummy” software modelled plug-in or [what I perceive to be] not as good speakers.” This mindset can lead to undesirable results (for no reason other than delusion) or no results at all.

Jun 21, 2021

I love simple words that express complex, yet specific, ideas:

Hsüan is, of course, a metaphorical darkness-not the darkness of night, of black as opposed to white, but the sheer inconceivability which confronts the mind when it tries to remember the time before birth, or to penetrate its own depths.

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