April 5, 2010

I'm Not The One You Should Be Worried About

acura girl.JPG
the poor girl in this Acura commercial never stood a chance

I.

I'm thankful to those who defend me, and I'm not surprised by those who hate me, but either way you are missing the point.   I don't matter.  It's debatable whether my ideas matter, but for sure they matter much more than I do.

I am "Alone."  What does that mean?  It means that no other characteristic should matter to you, the reader, except that there's only me, whatever that is.

I don't write anonymously because I want to protect my career-- most of my work is forensic and it's unlikely the guy whose been in jail for a year awaiting trial for drug possession is going to care about my thoughts on DWTS;  he's got way bigger problems, like how the city criminal justice system isn't merely unfair but quite likely completely unconstitutional.  And I'll say, on my behalf, at least he has someone like me on his side.

I write anonymously so that you aren't distracted by my age or lack of manners or political sympathies.  They don't matter.  If you want to say that narcissism didn't play the crucial part in this maniac's murder of his daughter just because she liked the wrong kind of guy, then we can have a good rumble.  But if you want to say that narcissism didn't play the crucial role because-- I'm white, or single, or drunk; then you're trapped in the generational circuit of illogicity that is the very point of this blog.

II.

I don't blame you for wanting to attack or defend me; that's how we're trained to think about complicated issues.  We're alive in a time where the President's attackers and defenders both assume he is lying, saying "what he has to say."  We don't believe words, we believe identity.  If Obama did it, then it's either definitely good or bad, depending on what you think of him.  Never mind that if you look at what he's done, it looks almost the same as what Bush did.   Wild.   Should've swallowed the red pill.

The Matrix is a great movie but a poor expression of Baudrillard's philosophy. The Matrix is quite straightforward, there's no confusion, no paradox: you're either in the Matrix, or you're in the real world.  You may not know you're in the Matrix, but that doesn't change the fact that you are or are not in it.

A true Baudrillard Matrix would be a single world that became so fake that you no longer needed the original.  The whole world becomes a fake; there is no recourse to the real world.  You'll know it happened when you look at a copy of something, the original of which you have had no actual knowledge, and say, "oh, that's so authentic."  If you are under 47 and think Mad Men is much more accurate about 1963 than Oliver Stone's JFK-- or vise versa-- then you're in the Matrix.  GET OUT.

"Inability to participate in society," lamented Secretary of Socialism Wilkinson, eyeballs deep in the Matrix.  That's what he thinks drives people crazy.  He's right; but the solution isn't a redistribution of income, it's reducing the desire to participate in the Matrix.   Somewhere in the past 50 years or so the media accidentally constructed an artificial reality that was hidden by the on-purpose entertainment reality of TV shows. You look at any of the CSI shows and think, "well, of course this isn't a real representation of actual crime scene investigators."  But it never occurs to you to think as they're arresting a suspect, "since when did it become ordinary for professional cops in their 40s to have no kids, tons of disposable income, and regularly go out on dates that end in sex?  And what the hell happened to body fat?" 

No wonder people think-- feel, experience-- that they lose part of themselves when they have kids.  Or grow old.

Commercials are even worse.   That attractive, well dressed woman who looks longingly at a passing two door Acura ZDX is a synthesis that you resist-- you know that they're selling Acuras, and you're not falling for it.  You're so clever, seeing through it-- you know owning an Acura doesn't make you an attractive well dressed woman, nor will it attract such a woman.    But what you don't realize you're learning is that this is what attractive well dressed women look like.   Acura is selling Macy's.  And Macy's is having a sale; for the right price you can be 25 forever.

That advertising agency probably just wanted to sell some cars today; not change the society you will want to participate in tomorrow.

I guess that's why they say: May the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows.

But you ain't thinking that far ahead.

Know what I mean?

---

http://twitter.com/thelastpsych








Comments

I neither hate nor defend A... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 3:11 AM | Posted by SusanC: | Reply

I neither hate nor defend Alone; I just point out that he is an example of the same narcissim he identities in others.

Somewhere in the past 50 years or so the media accidentally constructed an artificial reality

Plato was complaining about artificial reality when he wrote The Republic. So I am a little suspicious of claims that it is only in the last 50 years or so that this happened.

The origin of language (lost in human prehistory) might be a better bet. Compared to other animals, much of "what we know" is acquired vicariously, transmitted by symbols rather than learned by direct experience. Which has its benefits; homo sapiens is a pretty successful predator. But we are engaged in competitive deception, so our vicarious experiences may be maliciously false (suggesting a state of the real world that does not obtain) or acquire a life of their own (symbols referring only to other symbols).

This problem has been latent for a long time; capitalism+mass media may have made it worse, but can hardly have created it.

I write anonymously so that you aren't distracted by my age or lack of manners or political sympathies ... Secretary of Socialism Wilkinson

Alone's political sympathies are quite apparent. The argument about Wilkinson is political, no?

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Yeah I wonder about what my... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 3:49 AM | Posted by Wonders: | Reply

Yeah I wonder about what my reading these posts means but frankly, figuring it out is beyond my capability or is exactly what it is... nope beyond my capability is about right, for now at least. I'm not a chess player either though, but I am a psych student so beyond me will do for now.

What I do get from reading them is a perspective that isn't my own nor one from those I am generally exposed to. They're perspectives I'm not required to participate in, deign right or wrong, or after heated discussions that only happen in good horror movies, end in someone sleeping on the couch as a victim for the next hack and slash scene - ahh sweet sweet justification.

Reading these posts, well most of these posts, the stats jobbies make me want to bleed from the eyes, remind me something about people I can't quite put my finger on and I struggled very early on about what "posting a rely" was say to myself but I don't know. Am I in or out of the Matrix, I have no bloody idea. Do I want to be in or out of the Matrix? I don't bloody know but this one causes heaps more anxiety.

I do know how ever I look forward to reading the words Alone posts and I always check for more. The replies to this one I think will be the most interesting yet.

Maybe I don't know what it all means because an opinion is a judgement ;)
fiddle-di-dee

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I'm happy Alone is learning... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 4:45 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm happy Alone is learning to talk more about himself and not just about his mind boggling exposés of popular culture that the rest of us miss. It feels relational.

There is one statement I disagree with, though it pains me. When I'm at odds with something Alone has written, I'm at odds with whatever idea/opinion Alone has shared. How could I defend or excoriate her? I have no idea who she is.

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Alone, I for one would be p... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 7:19 AM | Posted by nwt: | Reply

Alone, I for one would be pleased if you would finally fix that missing umlaut in your blog's subtitle... :)

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I've only been reading here... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 9:05 AM | Posted by Jonathan Peterson: | Reply

I've only been reading here for a couple months. And interesting stuff it is indeed. But there seems to be a whole lot of missing background hidden in this sentence. Since I'm not mental health practitioner I don't know if it's personal or research that I'm assumed to know:
"No wonder people think-- feel, experience-- that they lose part of themselves when they have kids. Or grow old."

All people? I'm mid-40's, have seem my career sputter over the last decade and am not lacking for body fat. Maybe it's because we've mostly opted out of pop culture by spending our time hanging out with close friends, volunteering, reading and movies movies as a family instead of network TV. But anything I may have lost by having a child and growing middle-aged with my wife is so trivial compared to what I have gained in quality of life because of those decisions that it's barely noticeable.

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Yeah blah blah - but who's ... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 9:22 AM | Posted by Andy: | Reply

Yeah blah blah - but who's the cute girl in the pic?

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SusanC,Alone's ... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 9:32 AM | Posted by Jack Coupal: | Reply

SusanC,

Alone's political sympathies are quite apparent. The argument about Wilkinson is political, no?

Wilkinson's thesis is totally political. Shouldn't any argument over it be political too, yes? If Wilkinson had included objective data in his book, then there would more to argue over than just political opinions.

BTW, I've often wondered what brand of car that the folks who design ad copy for a new car at an advertising agency, actually drive.

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Just as an aside, isn't tha... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 10:46 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Just as an aside, isn't that Vaniity the transexual in the picture?

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"BTW, I've often wondered w... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 10:47 AM | Posted, in reply to Jack Coupal's comment, by Mitch: | Reply

"BTW, I've often wondered what brand of car that the folks who design ad copy for a new car at an advertising agency, actually drive."

They're using public trans. If they're lucky, they're driving their late grandmother's tattered buick. The one's writing/designing ad copy are in their first job after dropping out of an English lit master's degree program. -Really-.

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Ok, Alone, let me see if I'... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 11:05 AM | Posted by ed: | Reply

Ok, Alone, let me see if I'm getting things right: a few posts back you showed us a 2D drawing that kept our brains screaming in panic, we wanted to make a 3D picture out of it by use of brute force, then you told us how the portrayal of Pam as a sexy bomb and Kate as a mom left your brain screaming in panic as you wanted to make a 3D picture out of the 2D they've been feeding you, now an acura commercial is actually an unnatainable identity commercial for desperate ladies of all ages, worse, it's been happening to all of us at least for the last 50 years - you have even made the artificial reality link disappear, a neat trick though kind of creepy.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, except it was just the worst. The great expectations created a society of narcisists who, not internalizing the good rules or even the existence of others during formative years, are now left with a leap of faith as final and only method of salvation: act as if, wage a la Pascal, sacrifice, if necessary be a hero not a whimp...
mmm...reminds me of...nevermind.

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This is just entertainment.... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 11:16 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This is just entertainment. No crops were planted and harvest, no building was planned and constructed. No one was born or died from this blog. At worst it is mental masturbation if I/you are avoiding real (life) work that needs to be done.

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I'm with SusanC in that I'm... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 11:16 AM | Posted by Felan: | Reply

I'm with SusanC in that I'm not really convinced this is all a new phenomenon. If I understand her correctly, like her I think it is another expression of human nature.

Though I think SusanC distilling homo sapiens down to being a predator engaged in competitive deception is wrong. Chock full of such negatively connotated words, she seems to do little more than express disgust for humanity.

In his book Please Understand Me II, Kiersey talks about Pygmalion projects. The idea is that people tend to construct this internal idea of what their partner should be like and do. This internal idea has no basis in reality and the partner is almost certain to fail to live up to the idea. At first a crack is not a big deal and in fact adds character, but over time the reality of the partner erodes the internal idea so much that it becomes disgusting to the person and often the person is no longer able to stand it and ends the relationship. Sometimes the person is forceful enough to bully the other into a closer approximation of the internal idea, but the bullied usually suffer for it.

I think a person can do this even for themself. While I do think its unhealthy and I think it falls in line with the Narcissism, I don't think this is a disease or such. I think it is naturally to build this internal abstractions and people are not equipped skill wise to avoid inflating the internal models. Giving a group of untrained guys a fire truck won't really enable them to put out fires safely or efficiently. Being human gives us the tools to model things in our minds but does little to train us in using those tools effectively.

In theory media could replace the desire to own stuff as a means to supplement our identity with something more noble.

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I'm pretty confident that A... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 11:17 AM | Posted by BBJ: | Reply

I'm pretty confident that Alone is what she/he purports to be - a working professional, looking into matters of sanity/insanity in idividuals and manmade systems of family, medicine, pharmacology, economics, justice, politics, sometimes presented as a great, mad circus - most of the time hitting hard at fondly held views and pretences, mine too, thank you.

Challenges, someone probing for truth, is much more interesting than looking for a mirror.

As American, if I had stayed and married that nice American guy I did meet, I too might have become dead set against income redistribution in regressive American style, resources from the poor and middle classes increasingly lining the pockets of the already filthy rich elites in industries of business, finance, politics, academia, Ike's military-industrial-academic complex.

Returning instead to Norway, I look more fondly on social endeavours trying to rid us of glaring inequality, still marginalized groups in this very rich country, though significantly less than there used to be, thanks to egalitarian traditions of mostly small farms, small industries, unions, lots of social democrats, regulations and progressive redistribution, from all of us and the rich to the state to the people in many different ways. Free education and health care absolutely fundamental to advanced, democratic nations.

"Inability to participate in society drives people mad", according to both Alone and Wilkinson. Alone, it seems to me, focusing on primary individual responsibility and fiscal soundness, Wilkinson more heavily on social strategies, both part and parcel of political discourse and strategy, prioritizing available resources, of which benefit to people, the citizens, should be on top, not corporate profits for the few, in my pragmatic (social-democrat) view.

Alone warned against setting our hopes - me too, inhabiting the same world - too high on (hypocrite Peace Prize) President Obama.

Right you were. Must hope, though, not on Obama, but the decency of ordinary American men and women, hopefully smashing up some mirrors, looking at very stark realities and rebuild - without the silicone implants and military-industrialism - with hearts, brains, hands - so many just waiting to be useful in a job, have a home, to belong among equals in more just society.

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I've known that I didn't wa... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 11:20 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I've known that I didn't want children since I was a preteen. That's a bit weird for a girl, but somehow my family never questioned me on it. They sensed I was speaking my truth, and their early acceptance made it normal for me. Since becoming an adult I'm surprised by the fact that I only attract men who are more than cool with the fact that I don't want children. I thought everyone wanted them, but now suspect that men only want them to make their woman happy. When I speak to women about not wanting children, at first they are shocked, but then confess "I wish I'd never had mine." But I'm a freak, so saying that to me, is like whispering into the wind. No one real has to know.

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To continue from the above ... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 11:27 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

To continue from the above post. All of that is to say, I don't think the desire to not want children is narcissism. I think it is a rational response to access to birth control.

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@SusanC: Current mass media... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 12:38 PM | Posted by mwigdahl: | Reply

@SusanC: Current mass media makes the problem much worse than it ever was in the past in three major ways:

1. Saturation. The inundation of full-color, full-motion images far exceeds anything seen in the past. The moviegoer of the past might have idolized Vivian Leigh, but she wasn't so overwhelmed with Hollywood imagery 24/7 that she thought Scarlett O'Hara's lifestyle and behavior were the societal norm. Compare to today where you have idiots killing themselves because they want to live in the movie _Avatar_.

2. Intensity. The science of advertising is refined to a much greater degree than in the past. Focus groups and biomonitoring can zero in on idealized images that have a very powerful emotional effect on people. In earlier days, the maximum potential impact of media exposure was much weaker.

3. Amorality. This vast power to control thoughts and create desires and expectations is being used for short-sighted, mercantile objectives. As Alone notes, all the ad agency wants to do is move some cars. If they produce tons of cultural toxic waste in the process -- well, who cares? It's not their problem.

To sell you something you don't really need, they need to convince you that your desire for their product outweighs your responsibility to your family. What better way to accomplish this than to marginalize the family, and fetishize being unattached with all your income to dispose however you choose? They don't care if that makes you more dissatisfied with your life down the road, as long as you bought what they were selling at the time.

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No wonder people think--... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 1:36 PM | Posted by Sarah G: | Reply

No wonder people think-- feel, experience-- that they lose part of themselves when they have kids.

I think this happens to everyone, and not just because of the media portrayals you describe in this column.

No matter how narcissistic and egotistical you are, a kid can always one-up you (outside of that family annihilation stuff) in that department. You also need to keep constant watch over that kid because he will wander off and try to kill himself while exploring. Plus... you need to amuse him so you can get him to stop whining and trying to get into trouble. 'Self' and 'getting centered' take a real beating around kids.

I think that any additional 'self' loss comes in via that 'good parent' image you've referred to in other columns. Yes, there are some 40-somethings on TV with no kids, but there are plenty of them that do. Too bad the kids don't buy into the 'good kid' portrayals on TV. They must be smarter than we are.
:)

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Can you recommend a good 1s... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 3:28 PM | Posted by T. AKA Ricky Raw: | Reply

Can you recommend a good 1st Baudrillard book to get into the specific "Matrix" ideas you mention above? From my research it seems "Simulacra and Simulations" is a good place to start.

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I'm reasonably confident "A... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 3:30 PM | Posted by MH: | Reply

I'm reasonably confident "Alone" is a guy. How many women describe themselves as looking like a mugshot, shower in the men's locker room, and can knock out a weightlifter?

Anyway, I'm enjoy this blog very much. And although there's an occasional commentary on political matters, its not partisan. As far as Wilkinson is concerned, WE have made it a political issue, and I think there's merit in commenting on it with the belief that the fundamental, underlying problem is not political, and even that political solutions are not always good solutions.

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If Wilkinson had included o... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 3:33 PM | Posted, in reply to Jack Coupal's comment, by bbj: | Reply

If Wilkinson had included objective data in his book, there would be more to argue about, instead of political opinion....?

Pages 6-7, The impact of inequality, how to make sick societies healthier:

..."there is endless statistical evidence showing that almost every social problem and sign of unhappiness is more common (usually much more common)in the poorest areas and sections of society, exactly where the force of necessity remains stronger -

..too often politicians and media commentators prefer to to play to public prejudices, rather than heed the evidence we have.

And most of us, as private individuals, are more likely to join the rising tide of consumerism in an attempt to keep our spirits up - insofar as our overextended credit limits allow. For the more seriously disaffected, binge drinking and drugs often seem to offer the best chance of finding, however briefly, the social and emotional ease we crave.

Carefully used, computers and statistical analyses provide us with something like a social microscope, revealing relationships we either failed to see or preferred to deny. As a result, we can now begin to understand the social processes in which we are enmeshed."

Wilkinson and co-researchers are presenting tons of data - to begin to understand complex relationships. Recommended fare for political discussions.

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@mwigdahl. Those are good p... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 3:55 PM | Posted by SusanC: | Reply

@mwigdahl. Those are good points

@Felan: There is indeed more--much more--to humans than being a deceiver. But it seems to me that it is that side of our nature--which has been with us for a long, long time--that leads us into a simulated world.

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Alone,Ideas are ne... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 4:09 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alone,

Ideas are never separate from the person who expresses them - they are intimately connected. The ideas you express are a product of your life, of who you are, of your profession, of your race, of your socio-economic position. This is not the reason to dismiss your views in any way. But these factors cannot be ignored for ideas can't be evaluated in vacuum free of humanity - yours of mine.

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@Anon 4:09: Nonsense. Compa... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 4:47 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

@Anon 4:09: Nonsense. Comparing Alone's background to his ideas may be informative about Alone, but it would have no effect on the worth of the ideas. If only we could always evaluate ideas detached from the person who presents we'd be one step closer to utopia.

@SusanC: I've read a teacher's description that paints his students as lazy, uninterested in the classics, prone to sleeping during lectures, and so on. Much to my surprise the passage was written over two thousand years ago (Aristotle, I think?). Today there are so many more 'students' than there were in ancient Greece and education means something entirely different to our society than it did then. Just because we behave similarly doesn't mean that the behavior means the same things now as it did then.
It just seems hasty to throw out the effect of modern media to me.

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"Ideas are never separate f... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 4:57 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"Ideas are never separate from the person who expresses them - they are intimately connected. The ideas you express are a product of your life, of who you are, of your profession, of your race, of your socio-economic position. This is not the reason to dismiss your views in any way. But these factors cannot be ignored for ideas can't be evaluated in vacuum free of humanity - yours of mine."

Says the postmodernist. Not all of us are postmodernists. Ideas may very well have to be analyzed through the experience of our humanity, but there are proven, effective methods to minimize the introduction of bias into discourse and to maximize the "truthfulness" (or "applicability" or "utility" if you prefer) of an argument. This seems to be what Alone is trying to do.

He may never get to the Platonic ideal of pure Reason, but at least he's trying. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

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Alone, 1. You are ... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 7:23 PM | Posted by J Dub: | Reply

Alone,

1. You are using a blog to express your opinion.

2. You write with authority, based on your credentials as a psychiatrist, and use of bold, declarative language.

3. While you allude to details of your person - sexual, cultural, methodological preferences - you shy away from providing enough context to satisfy your readers' innate curiosity.

It seems an obvious response - to me - that we should be a bit critical of the man behind the curtain.

Okay, supposedly we're living in the midst of a narcissist epidemic. According to you. And who are "you"? Context does matter, when you're providing such personal opinion and expecting us to swallow it independent of the messenger.

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I'm fairly certain:<p... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 7:46 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm fairly certain:

Republican, male, white, in early to mid 50's.

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I have a girl friend. When ... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 9:40 PM | Posted by GT: | Reply

I have a girl friend. When Sex and the City was out, she told me she wanted to be like Samantha. She felt that was how life was to be, "free." And so she cavorted like Samantha and now, here she is, in her mid 40's wondering why she can't get a husband (and don't look at me, I don't want that job. Not with her at least). Anyone with a Samantha history is excluded from my list.

When I was in my mid twenties "Friends" was a big hit with my peers. I never liked the show but saw enough of it to make an impression and get the gist of the show. All I noticed was that everyone was acting like the characters on the TV show and wanted to live like them even mentioning to each other..."you're just like Joey!"

I have another friend who believes the Republicans planned 9-11 all along and his girlfriend actually believes the tri-lateral commission is behind recent world events.

The Matrix, indeed.

I'm considering doing away with cable TV and only keeping the set to watch DVDs on.

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What I really want to know ... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 9:57 PM | Posted by Shannon: | Reply

What I really want to know is how you prevent yourself from indulging in isolationism when you're trying to "live outside the matrix." Since everyone seems to have their head up their ass, the conclusion I draw is I'm better off being alone than surrounded by devout idolaters.

I would have no time to address what actually matters if I had to work as hard as they do to "become" whatever I'm expected to become. Other than just 'a person.'

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"I'm fairly certain:<... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 10:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Ro;eu: | Reply

"I'm fairly certain:

Republican, male, white, in early to mid 50's."

------

@Anon 7:46
Your assumption tells me more about you than it does about Alone.

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>You're so clever, seeing t... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 10:48 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

>You're so clever, seeing through it-- you know owning an Acura >doesn't make you an attractive well dressed woman. But what you >don't realize you're learning is that this is what attractive >well dressed women look like.

Hold on a moment - last week it was only blonde, Baywatch babes with huge implants that were attractive. This week it's A-cup brunettes??

Man, this is confusing...

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What's more dishonest than ... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 11:05 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

What's more dishonest than presenting only your good attributes for public consumption? Making an attempt to show the bad, too.

To some extent the ideas you have reflect who you are. But when judging other people's ideas, isn't the most important thing to decide whether or not the ideas are right? Anything else is just another logical fallacy.

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I worry about you because y... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 11:19 PM | Posted by Kill Your TV: | Reply

I worry about you because you're much better off alive and writing than dead of cirrhosis.

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I think it was the second M... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2010 11:48 PM | Posted by demodenise: | Reply

I think it was the second Matrix movie where what's-his-name has a conversation with the oracle, and she says something to the effect of "You can never see past a choice you do not understand."

I sometimes think that Alone's wish is for us to begin to pay more attention to the things that we *think* we understand, because that's where the assumptions get really scary.

Of course, that in itself is an assumption.

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lol, knew it would be inter... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2010 7:35 AM | Posted by Wonders: | Reply

lol, knew it would be interesting....

Super glad I'm an Atheist.

The relief of not needing to know.

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Clever. last line of the po... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2010 9:46 AM | Posted by Jay-Z's Agent: | Reply

Clever. last line of the post:

May the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows/ But you ain't thinking that far ahead/ Know what I mean?

from the song that begins:

So we live life like a video/when the sun is always out/and you never grow old

called "Forever Young" which plugs in to the whole idea of unrealism in media

and the song is by Jay-Z --> Blueprint 3 --> Alone's Jay-Z post about authenticity --> which brings us back to Baudrillard

I can't tell if this is genius, insanity, irony, or idiocy, but for christ sake don't stop drinking the absinthe


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[email protected]:48Guy... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2010 11:49 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Jack Coupal: | Reply

[email protected]:48

Guys drool over the blondes and then fall in love and marry the A-cup brunettes.

What's with that?

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They just don't "get it", d... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2010 12:07 PM | Posted by Whatever: | Reply

They just don't "get it", do they, doc?

Perhaps many of your readers are just too young. :)

"since when did it become ordinary for professional people in their 40s to have no kids, tons of disposable income, and regularly go out on dates that end in sex? And what the hell happened to body fat?"

Exactly. I suspect this extreme disconnect between media and the real world coupled with extreme consumption of said media is why so many folks are on pills these days...

I turned off the TV and ditched Vogue, thought it would help. Then I go out and I see all those Vogue wanna-be's... I try telling myself, "be glad at least you don't have their debt."

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It only took a decade betwe... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2010 12:48 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It only took a decade between The Matrix's released
and a working explaination of its premise to finally emerge. Choosing your meme seems nearly impossible given societal conditions. Choosing your Matrix, though, seems marginally plausible because no matter how many red pills I pop I'm still drowning in a sea of blue (advertising pu)pills, which enables me to say "fuck this analogy" and go eat a sandwhich.

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I was reminded of this post... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2010 2:56 PM | Posted by Roger: | Reply

I was reminded of this post while listening to the radio on the way to work. It was a commercial for a DVR that could be played back on any television.

Towards the end of the commercial, the main character was asking the announcer. "Can I play it back on the TV in my X?" When the main guy got to closet, the announcer ask "You have a TV in your closet?", like that was weird or over the top.

Lesson learned, having a TV in your closet is abnormal, but having 5 or 6 TVs to cover every major room in your house is normal.

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I'm writing to say that you... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2010 3:51 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm writing to say that you saved my life (ok, a little bit of a stretch). Let me back up, my father is narcissist and my mother has remained with him for all these years (nearly 40 now, and I strongly suspect that woman is a borderline).

I can't tell you how weird it was growing up in that house, and how difficult it is to know what is truly going on in the world when both parents keep on augmenting reality to fit their world view.

Your posts on narcissism changed my life.

The last time I spoke with my father I had it out with him. Laying out all the lies he's told over the years. I thought he'd kill me - he didn't and I've had the great good fortune to never hear from him again, and I doubt I ever will.

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No, I don't buy this. Not f... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2010 3:51 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

No, I don't buy this. Not from you, Alone, and not from Anon Apr 6 4:47.

As a literary experiment, as a DEVICE, writing anonymously so that you can expound upon identity is fascinating and eye-opening. It's been done before, but you do it particularly well. I love your insights. But if you expect me to jump on this utopian bandwagon where we are sharing and criticizing ideas on their own merit in complete ignorance of the people we are underneath and the identities we have created for ourselves, then I'm Agent Smith and I have a steak dinner for you.

I'm not saying we can't debate ideas on their own merit at all, or that ideas have no value aside from the person they come from. Of course they do and we can. But our ideas on any given day are influenced by what we saw on TV that morning, what's on the radio, whether that slice of pizza we had for lunch is agreeing with us or not, what level of hormones or blood sugar we have, what drugs we're on and yes, by what identity we have created for ourselves. To deny this is idiocy. Trying to glimpse the psychiatrist behind the curtain does matter to understanding your ideas because you can only talk from your particular perspective, whether it be a white middle aged alcoholic father of two or an elderly black lady in a wheelchair with five cats. I get that since I can only make guesses, any assumptions I make about your identity say more about me than they do about you, but I keep trying because who you are does matter to what you say.

Even this "Alone" persona you take on, it's as much an identity, a construction, as any other. It colors everything that you post here. The mysterious psychiatrist, posting stories to his blog...are they true, are they false, oooh. Already, that affects how I read your posts even if I don't know another thing about you. I don't think you'd shoot me if I successfully revealed your actual name and face to the public, but you would be heavily affected because I'd be destroying the mask that you want all of us to see.

One last point: while I agree with what you said, the media isn't doing anything to us now that humans weren't already doing to themselves 5000 years ago. Nowadays everyone wants to be the next American Idol, back then everyone wanted to be Gilgamesh. He was a king and a demigod and that still wasn't good enough. Remember what he was looking for?

Pass the rum, please.

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aa, but you're wrong, see? ... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2010 3:53 PM | Posted by Trei: | Reply

aa, but you're wrong, see? I'm alone too. we all are. it's just one identity left in the world and this is it. it's not narcissism. it's inflation.

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Ro;eu,Please elabo... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2010 7:39 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Ro;eu,

Please elaborate.

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"In theory media could repl... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2010 9:26 PM | Posted, in reply to Felan's comment, by Zo: | Reply

"In theory media could replace the desire to own stuff as a means to supplement our identity with something more noble."

In what world? ... I don't think this even qualifies as theory ...

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Zo, in starting my sentence... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2010 10:10 PM | Posted, in reply to Zo's comment, by Felan: | Reply

Zo, in starting my sentence with, "In theory", I wasn't saying it is *a* theory.

Either media reflects the current identity that we have of ourselves or it is the identity that media/money decides for us. Most likely it is a bit of both.

In any case it is not an immutable. It has, can, and will change over time. Media is validated and measured by the emulation and participation of the populace.

If someday it turns down a more noble path at some point, I am equally sure that at some more distant we will be back where we are today. The only that never changes is that things change, at least that is the lesson I learned from history.

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This article isn't about Al... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2010 3:53 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This article isn't about Alone, that's the point.

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The awesome way your posts ... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2010 2:02 PM | Posted by zaci1: | Reply

The awesome way your posts are written in is still distracting from whatever you have to say, even with staying anonymous.

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1. I like you, Alone. Rathe... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2010 6:59 PM | Posted by Mae: | Reply

1. I like you, Alone. Rather, I like reading what you have to say, even if I may not always understand it or agree with it. At least you've opened a conversation or thought process. So...thank you.
2. Macys has SHIT for clothes right now. Seriously, I know this because I had to go buy a new wardrobe so I can blend in well at my new job. Just sayin'.

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"This article isn't about A... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2010 7:45 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"This article isn't about Alone, that's the point."

Oh, but it is.

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I should really expand on w... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2010 8:48 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I should really expand on what I mean by "Oh but it is," but I'm too lazy for anything beyond pith.

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Great post. Not to get all ... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2010 4:20 AM | Posted by zecg: | Reply

Great post. Not to get all geeky on you, but IMO there is no directly experienced "real" world in the Matrix, just layers of virtual. See how in the "real" one, Neo uses his magical powers to stop the machines, or how there is no more plantstuff to sustain the rebels, or how the explanation of the machines using the people as batteries makes no fucking sense. The machines are sustaining us because we are their heritage and their divergent-thinking symbiots.

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"Returning instead to Norwa... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2010 1:27 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"Returning instead to Norway, I look more fondly on social endeavours trying to rid us of glaring inequality, still marginalized groups in this very rich country, though significantly less than there used to be, thanks to egalitarian traditions of mostly small farms, small industries, unions, lots of social democrats, regulations and progressive redistribution, from all of us and the rich to the state to the people in many different ways. Free education and health care absolutely fundamental to advanced, democratic nations."

I'm pleased to hear that Norway's government and corporate offices are completely staffed with mendicants. So, how'd Norway manage to keep out of the EU, and can you tell the other poor EU countries whose governments are insanely profligate (Greece, France) or insanely corrupt (Italy, France) how to succeed the Norwegian way? And exactly how does Norway keep any of its money from being transferred to the EU? We here in the US have the same problem with UN, and we can't seem to keep our money out of it.

Seriously, you wrote the best humor piece I've read here yet: totally blue pill.

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Did you just present a coge... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2010 2:11 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Did you just present a cogent argument for decrediting cultural anthropology?

"You'll know it happened when you look at a copy of something,the original of which you have had no actual knowledge, and say, "oh, that's so authentic."  If you are under 47 and think Mad Men is much more accurate about 1963 than Oliver Stone's JFK-- or vise versa-- then you're in the Matrix.  GET OUT."

I doubt it. I've always thought of the profession in terms of how doctors practice medicine: credibly flawed. When's part 4 of that seroquel piece coming out?

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Did you just present a coge... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2010 2:24 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Did you just present a cogent argument for decrediting cultural anthropology?

"You'll know it happened when you look at a copy of something,the original of which you have had no actual knowledge, and say, "oh, that's so authentic."  If you are under 47 and think Mad Men is much more accurate about 1963 than Oliver Stone's JFK-- or vise versa-- then you're in the Matrix.  GET OUT."

I doubt it. I've always thought of the profession in terms of how doctors practice medicine: credibly flawed. When's part 4 of that seroquel piece coming out?

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gender assumptions for the ... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2010 9:21 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Lexi: | Reply

gender assumptions for the win!

I've been on the internet since I was 12 and female. I'm still female, but not 12 anymore. I remember that my general assumption about the internet was everyone was a 30+ white male. It still mostly is my assumption, although I had assumed alone was a 40-50 white male.

There are a couple of women I've met online that I thought were men because of how they wrote. Then I talked to them, and was surprised they were women. Says more about me than them anyway.

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You'll come to my <a href="... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2010 9:41 PM | Posted by Somalia: | Reply

You'll come to my country for the pirates, but you'll for the rape.

The whole world becomes a fake; there is no recourse to the real world.

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gender assumptions for the ... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2010 1:55 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Lexi: | Reply

gender assumptions for the win!

I've been on the internet since I was 12 and female. I'm still female, but not 12 anymore. I remember that my general assumption about the internet was everyone was a 30+ white male. It still mostly is my assumption, although I had assumed alone was a 40-50 white male.

There are a couple of women I've met online that I thought were men because of how they wrote. Then I talked to them, and was surprised they were women. Says more about me than them anyway.

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zecg - "Not to get all geek... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2010 9:57 AM | Posted, in reply to zecg's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

zecg - "Not to get all geeky on you, but IMO there is no directly experienced "real" world in the Matrix, just layers of virtual."

I know you're talking about the movie but to get even geekier on you, I'd suggest that there is no direct experience of the "real world" anyway and what we consider the "real world" is a construct (it exists irrelevant of our perception, of course, it's just that our cognitive processes are about constructing a representation of the real world...it exists but we always experience a construct or a mere slice of what's really occurring around us). Our senses are mediated by cognition, meaning we always experience the world subjectively and as a construct. The layers of virtual reality are much more profound - they're not only cultural but part of the very nature of cognition.

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Anonymous 1:27It's... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2010 11:51 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by BBJ: | Reply

Anonymous 1:27

It's called taxation. Rich American, are you, stupidly, conveniantly let off the burden of proportional taxation? We have also VAT, luxury tax on alcohol, perfume and cars, gasoline is very expensive, around Nkr 12- a litre, twice yours - to pay for basics like education and universal health care of good quality, predatory insurance not needed.

Ignorance seems to have it's rewards in USA - at the root of your present mess, letting the corporate rich rip you off, too many in thrall to fake babes, fake boobs, fake politicians, posing as leaders, corporate slugs and war criminals among them. What a mess you've let yourself get into - even letting that phony GWB steal the election - reelect him too.. Proud of ignorance too, are you?

As to EU - the common people of Norway twice defeated the government's application for membership, young people, women, farmers and fishermen organized and made up the majority voting NO in two plebicites. For access to the market, we're paying heavily.

Greedy, gluttonous, warring, ignorants of a once proud nation - what a pity, suckers on drugs and silicone - take stock and resist the downward spiral a far better option, maybe Alone at TLP is trying to wake some of you/us? We're in it together, remember, one world only.

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