Friday, August 29, 2014

"What do you consider to be your flaws or the ways in which you devalue yourself?"

A sat with Bryce in a cafe one time and said to him 'I figure there's plenty of good guys out their for women, they're not losing anything by me not dating them.' or something to that effect and Bryce responding 'that's one of the most depressing things I've ever heard.'

Thing is I was sincere. I kind of see clearly now, or if not clearly, within the vicinity of clear that some devaluation has gone on.

I can see a legacy, of my dad's dad disappearing into a shed to invent or work, something he did around his grand kids when they visited as well, but must have characterised my father's childhood. And my dad caught workaholia long before it became the norm. He came home every night, while we were awake, and ate dinner with us, and he was at all my basketball games and shit, but you know, he was into his work. Really into his work. I see the same in me, how I isolate myself into projects and shit.

Even if I'm present for my friends, there's a value I place on work that isn't real. I don't really care about work as much as I care about people. From the inside the retreat is something about being unworthy of attention. Maybe it's just birth order shit, plain and simple. Not the youngest, most vulnerable and most demanding of attention. Not the eldest going through the learning curve and causing the most anxiety.

It's funny, I really can't point to when I started disappearing. It seems really hardwired, literally subconscious an assumption that I'm expendible, redundant, spare or leftover. Cognitively I can see the irony, it's this belief that lead me to take risks, figuring there was no real harm in my failing, and because of that I've become much more important to many people. A precious snowflake. Yet that assumption of expendibility remains, innate.

Then I'm sure as a combination of cultural conditioning, and post-fact rationalization, needing to be a hero. Stick my neck out for others, charge in the vanguard etc. is superficially admirable but really the result of a belief that I myself am not a sparkle princess locked up in a tower worth rescuing. If you can't be loved, sought after and desired, you can be the one that dose the loving, seeking and desiring. The hero is a hero because he doesn't have a hero to rescue him.

Prince charming isn't locked up in Maleficent's tower because he isn't important, nobody cares. He has to throw a tantrum and cut his way through.

Self reliance too seems admirable but allows me to avoid ever testing whether I can rely on anybody. I think I do ask for help, but there's still way too much Musashi in me, too much Batman, too much Abe Lincoln. Gotta have my own back and everybody else's.

It's all obliquely true. I don't believe in my own value - somewhere deep down. I crave people caring about me. I try to do this for others to vicariously rescue myself. I literally engage in reciprocal tactics to try and fill my esteem needs.

There are worse problems to have. But my problem's out there, I accept it and it is known to me. What next?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"Consider what you project onto your partner. Is your preoccupation with your partner's flaws an avoidance of anxiety about your own imperfections?"

Two questions to go, and we get the hard hitting ones. Though in my case it's less a case of partners as everybody.

I almost feel like I answered this question before I started answering any of these questions. I was running at the time and thus it never got spoken aloud, but what I was thinking about on that run was a forthcoming meeting of minds where I needed help. The thought, a whine, a complaint, collapsed immediately upon itself - I wanted to say 'Rod, do you know of an island somewhere populated by happy secure individuals that I could just move to.'

Because my issues are not other people's issues. My issues are my own. I do get preoccupied with the 'flaws' of other people. And there's almost certainly a part of me arrogant and condescending enough to consider people inherently flawed, while making an exception of myself.

The tricky part is the complexity of these words 'an avoidance of anxiety about your own imperfections' I believe in law circles they'd call this a 'complex question' that is to answer it requires me to accept that I have imperfections (no big deal) then that I feel anxious about them (harder for me to recognize) and lastly that I avoid them. (very hard to catch myself doing).

It's true that I am bullshit at multitasking. I cannot think about my own issues and somebody else's at the same time. I can't be looking at and critiquing the work of others while simultaneously making my own. The best I can say, is that looking at and critiquing the work of others is part of my creative process, in constructing the critique, I am already drawing my own piece, my own take.

In the same manner, the best I can say is that getting preoccupied with other people's problems has in some ways helped illuminate my own decisions. I have no evidence to suggest though, this is more productive than just examining myself in the nearest mirror. There's plenty of evidence to suggest it is much more productive when I just sit down and think about myself. It can even be more productive when I am illuminated by others projecting their anxieties onto me.

So yes, ironically one of the things I project most - is a frustration with people in my life worried about the welfare of others, the addictions and mental illnesses of others, even the welfare of animals or kids in indonesian sweatshops sooner than actually take care of themselves and address their own issues.

Looking back at my psychology sessions, I can see how much time was dedicated to trying to solve the problem of other people. How to effect or adapt in such a way as to bring about desired change in others. When I actually gave up and accepted, things got better quite quickly. I just turned on myself. Turned back to myself.

I see with former partners, a clear trend - I only really ever accepted my partners for who they were when we broke up. It's also the only time generally we communicated as adults to each other.

One of the 'too little too late' gestures I made in one relationship was to read 'Development as Freedom' by Amartya Sen. It was one of the two times I showed an interest in what my partner wanted to dedicate her life to. I only remember parts of that book - namely how cultural identities have always evolved and aren't worth defending or preserving, how famines are caused by pricing mechanisms and rarely by a shortage of actual food but also I think so much value is wrapped up in the title - the only goal, the only purpose of development is freedom. And that applies equally to personal development.

Then something I saw earlier in the week, a gif of a Brad Pitt monologue from 'Killing Me Softly':

"My friend, Thomas Jefferson is an American saint because he wrote the words 'All men are created equal', words he clearly didn't believe since he allowed his own children to live in slavery."

Even though Chappelle did a bit on this before, this particular phrasing hit me harder, perhaps because of the observation that Jefferson sired children that then lived out their lives as slaves. There's something about that cognitive dissonance, that disingenuity that hits home here when asked about projecting. No matter Jefferson's own moral failings, he did manage to pen a document that has formed a very powerful basis for the winning side of the civil rights movement from the American civil war throguh to what's happening in Fergurson today. But this polymath, this genius was blind to his own imperfection in a manner perhaps more instructive than Isaac Newton's failings at investment.

Of course, Of Course, OF COURSE! I am no exception. I go to therapy and regard myself as 'doing something' and therefore an exception to the rule of having to sort your own shit out first. I did eventually, but this here, this is my shit - the world rejects me, I'm not important enough to take something for my own, or to seize an opportunity that is there. I'm worthy of being ignored or passed over, and it is up to me to take care of myself, solve my own problems and then assume privilege enough that it falls on me to 'help' others as well.

The trouble of course being, that this subconscious program I'm on if you will is scary in its power, and it's easy to avoid looking at it. And the anxiety drives avoiding behavior. When you're successfully avoiding shit, then your blind. It's hard to unravel. I don't think the above paragraph accurately articulates exactly what my subconscious drive is, but it's close. I'm getting closer.

next (and last) question.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Note to self - you can trust your intuition

I had a moment of clarity today that coincided with the clear sky's above. I wrote a post a while back I can't be bothered digging up on a question as to whether I was lying by omission.

I listened to Sam Harris' audio book 'lying' in the past couple of days and found it vague on providing me a definitive answer on whether I had been unethical, even though the question had become moot - which is to say one way or another I have to live with the consequences of my non-disclosure.

All I could really say, in basically dropping the question and not paying it much mind, is that it never once felt wrong. I never once did I feel like I'd missed an opportunity to disclose the truth. My intuition let me sit easy with not saying a phrase aloud to an audience of consequence.

A lie of omission, that would be unethical for example would be to not disclose that I knew definitively of an affair being carried out to that persons partner. I would become complicit in the affair even if I saw other parties as having a greater burden of responsibility to tell the person than I did. Harris' book gives a great an illustrative example of such a case.

It is also a lie of omission for me to not disclose the true degree of uncertainty I feel speaking on a subject for which an audience is heeding my advice. That too would be unethical.

But it took until today to have my conscious brain click as to why I felt no compunction to share information I had in a situation that bothered me. But it clicked quite loudly, and successfully and I feel much lighter because of it.

The information I possessed was irrelevant to the decision being made. If it were of consequence, the information I possessed would actually no longer be true, nor informative, and hence not actual information.

Or perhaps in other words, to beat around the bush, if the decision to be made was actually conditional on the information omitted, then the decision would fundamentally change in nature.


Consider by analogy that somebody you know is producing a movie. They are looking over and over the script wondering if it really has the potential to be a great film. They are looking at the production company and the locations sought and questioning the viability of such an ambitious project. You see your friend stressed and being a billionaire with an actual human-chess set, know you could afford to underwrite the production and protect them financially.

Suddenly the decision this person faces is not 'is this film going to get made?' to 'do I want to make this film?' or to be absolved of evaluating the fundamental downside risk and just consider the upside.

See even if all of the above doesn't make much sense, my intuition get's it. I trust it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

"What can you accomplish and control that will help you restore your self-esteem?"

Easy seeming. I already do it. I can control who I spend my time and attention on (including me), controlling that I gain greater control over who and what I think about.

One of the best ways I can esteem myself is bring the focus back to myself. Adapt to my social environment by building self-awareness. With self awareness I generally get actual clarity and make actual progress rather than having my wheels spin.

It is learning to recognise when a situation is the same and when it is different. Then when I understand this I can relate myself to my environment in a way that builds my esteem rather than needlessly putting it at risk and damaging it.

That last part is a harder and slower process to actually do than to describe. But I do it, you see much of it here on this blog.

next question. almost done.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

"What did you want for yourself that your tried to give your partner?"

Support, investment, encouragement. Freedom. The clarity of this answer makes this question stunning to me. Namely to draw that fucking line between what I want for others - to myself, my own wants and needs. I never ever made the conscious connection. But it seems too obvious to me now.

I think of the arguments I've had on and off with my parents for the past 5 years. I say arguments, really they are conversations, conversations I find frustrating because it is them drudging up doubts and insecurities on my artistic career choice eg. home ownership, attracting and keeping a partner, having kids, supporting kids, paying rent, foregoing opportunities... etc. doubts and fears that are so obvious, it is actually frustrating to hear the suggestion that they hadn't occured to you.

This creates friction, for me at least and I imagine for most people. Imagine you figure out the next big tech innovation, an interface that will put touch screens in an early grave. You see it, it's risky but you know you want to press ahead. Then you have to push the idea through 20 layers of management approval, and each layer demands you make the same case again and again until you convince them. 18 months later, the top brass sign off and of course the innovation has cropped up elsewhere - in a company that doesn't have all these layers of friction. The project ultimately fails.

To me, an artist I've looked straight in the eye at all the potential downsides of this career path. I decided to press ahead anyway. At the point you decide to do something as hard as succeed as an artist, what you need, all you need is support. Even criticism if it is pertinent to artistic or professional development is support. But having people ask you to reevaluate your decision to embark is not support. It's friction.

That's what I want gone for myself, that I try to provide or compensate for, for others.

Next question.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


The next sets of questions relate to self-agency, influencing your own life and taking responsibility. It was here in reading the book I learned the hard lesson of diagnosing oneself from the internet. Originally I read a small excerpt from the book that was a case study that closely reflected my own childhood. Bam! that's what I have, the white knight syndrome.

I then had a relatively brief period of about 6 months where I overcorrected, culminating in my first ever panic attack where I felt honor bound to disengage from anybody that had any kind of problem so as to not let me rescuing tendencies take over me. Like an addict abstaining.

I reached out to several friends, while simultaneously worsening my own crisis as I realised these friends too had their own problems. I wanted to ask the senior most and most seemingly stable of my friends if there was some island somewhere populated by happy secure people that I could move to so my White Knighthood would not be a problem for me.

I never had to ask the question because at that point, I actually read the book. Talking to my friends helped a lot to. I have a problem when I lose my sense of self and shift focus to the extrinsic. When I have my sense of self, and am focused intrinsically - which is actually most of the time, I'm fine. I have some triggers and some issues, but in the end I am not a White Knight, not a dysfunctional sub-type at least.

So much of the remaining questions, about self-agency, personal goals and particularly taking responsibility are not the areas I need to address. When I do these things I do them well, my issues are with ignoring my own esteem needs, and projecting my problems onto others to vicariously rescue myself and recieve some kudos or some shit.

When it comes to the lives of others, it is the same as when I look at other people's art. I am most critical of what is being done when I am doing little myself. When engaged and focused on my own project, I wouldn't say that's when I don't care, it's when I don't over-care. I become happy that others are making progress, and doing their own thing, instead of being disgruntled that they aren't doing what I want them to do.

Anyway, I imagine these question answer sessions have been not great reading. I stuck them here to force myself not to lie to myself, and because writing a blog post is what I do often to procrastinate, so I figured I should actually do the homework and force myself to do it here.

"Think about the relationships you had with family members and how they impacted your self-esteem. What could they have done to help you create optimal self-esteem? Now, find a way to do this for yourself."

So the question is actually the speculative 'What could they have done..." part. I treat the first sentence as pre-amble, and due to the largeness of the number of interactions I had with my 4 immediate family members, I don't want to recap the specific or even the abstract here. The last sentence I treat as a call to action, and will simply keep in mind as I speculate, that what I identify I have to transfer to myself.

The first thing I note, even prior to doing these questions here, is that my self-esteem is pretty healthy, if not optimal. Enough was done, particularly in early childhood for me to avoid the kinds of insecurities I see cripple other people. I am not without insecurities or even evidently my own issues - I just want to put on the record that there's not much more my family could have done. I don't wish to diminish the very real suffering of my friends with debilitating anxieties, depression, addiction etc. by exaggerating my own issues. Nor as I've recently realised, alienate them by pretending that many of the symptoms don't occur to me. For example I do experience anxiety, but it is fleeting, transitional and typically clearly linked to my environment.

So what could have been done? When my parents had their career crisis, it was good that they were honest about it, insofar as we were told that my fathers job was under threat. Furthermore it would have been a better representation of the truth to say that with the new management team, my father no longer enjoyed his work. Beyond that though, what was told to me was for the most part fearful speculation. Bad worry. Anxiety being expressed that brought my mother fleeting relief to her sense of powerlessness, by transferring it to me. When that relief fled, the same fears were shared again.

Furthermore, I was not conscious that I was being told simply for the therapeutic act of telling, I still carry the expectation (and reflex) that when people outlay problems to me, they are looking for advice, relief, solutions to be provided by me. I really have only adjusted this common assumption to the more humble 'What can I do to help?' response, rather than presuming that I should simply leap into action.

So on that front, I appreciate being told honestly the situation. Though it should have come directly from my father, not indirectly. And it should have been limited to what was known to be true. Aside from that, my esteem would have been optimised if I had also been told '...but don't worry, whatever happens we'll look after you, you can finish your schooling, just carry on becoming who you want to become and we'll find a way to make that happen.'

Or something to that effect. To absolve me of responsibility over situations I have no real control. Such that I feel I could look at the suffering of others without inheriting their problems personally.

As regards my self esteem, at the moment my esteem is vulnerable to elemants outside the control of myself. eg. others inability to change, I take personally. I am unable to use my privilege (in all its various forms) to trigger a chemical reaction that leads to the prospering of everyone around me. I get involved in systemic and robust problems until I am simply a part of them.

Breaking the connection between my self esteem and the imperfect world, would seem to be what I need to do for myself.

Next question.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Think about the last time you suffered a slight to your self-esteem either from an external or internal source. What actions did you take to feel better about yourself? Did these actions work?"

To be honest, I have trouble identifying or remembering 'slights to my self-esteem'. Which isn't bravado, my natural inclination is to think of the last time I felt bad, or felt self-doubt. Do these cut it? Or are we talking about damage to the ego? Most memorable is the anxiety attack I had that set off this most recent bout of self-reflection and prompted me to read the book that these questions are drawn from ('The White Knight Syndrome') but that's an anxiety attack. A symptom of low self esteem, not a slight to it.

I can remember the last time somebody attempted to insult me, but I understood that situation, and if anything it built my self-esteem because I won a power exchange. I solicit feedback from people which isn't always pleasant to hear but is ultimately, a gift.

So fuck it, I'll just pick something. It's almost constant but triggers me reliably, to dwell on it. I got this failed friendship, that despite my efforts to accept that failure and move on, and all my conscious efforts to restructure my life to cut my losses. I am bothered by the fact that the failure cost me so much and my friend little-to-nothing-at-all. The very fact that I bear all the downside is a slight to my esteem.

Also how long it took me to notice the assymetry and that this was the natural result of my hubris.

As for the actions I take. I guess expressing anger is one thing I do. And also trying to 'solve' the problem for myself. Those actions don't work.

To feel better about myself generally involves conscious acknowledgement - that I've been triggered, that I'm here in the moment and the hurt is in the past. Then I seek out nurturing company, if I can obtain it it works, and not in a fleeting way. It lasts me a while.

It's a risk though, other people's dysfunction can be a trigger for me as well. That dysfunction is inescapable and I have my own, that despite bringing it into my consciousness, remains a powerful force for me.

Doing exercises like this, and speaking to the right friends helps me regain my center. When I focus on my own agency, I am fine. Fine and dandy. When I get to work and get things done that I want done, I feel better about myself.

I guess in any given moment I have the choice between creating something beautiful, or doing something else. When I choose the former, no matter the application, it works.

"What external sources do you depend on for your self-esteem? Consider what you get from those sources and find a way to provide it for yourself."

Surprisingly interesting question. Failure manifests in me as feeling like a creep, unwanted and untrustworthy, and of course potentially dangerous. I have friends I reliably go to for reassurance. To a lesser extent career wise when I feel like I'm deluding myself, that my act is all bluster. I look to them for objectivity, but basically reassurance that I don't have to change, or to keep changing into whatever it is I am becoming.

Like most I am fairly adiccted to checking my phone for messages, my facebook for notifications and my email for correspondence. Exacerbated by the fact that even given how much time I spend running, going to gigs, commuting by bicycle, writing blog posts and working - I am still spending the majority of my time in front of a computer with constant internet access.

Un-returned mail I notice and weighs on me considerably. I perhaps spend too much time reminding myself that other people don't have the luxury of time I have, or consider writing a letter a chore. I get a massive high when somebody takes the initiative to contact me. It can make my fucking day. I try to give that to other people, people's inability to respond or even acknowledge (which is probably a gift of the smart phone) helps cultivate the impression that everyone else I know is less isolated than I am.

Having said that, the esteem somebody else can give me is very limited and not equal. I definitely recognize domains of expertise. While I value encouragement and dislike discouragement. Depending on who somebody is, their ability to effect my self esteem rises and falls dramatically. Criticism can bother me, generally speaking, but few criticisms result in substantial motivation.

The thing is this, everyone's advice, everyone's support comes through the prism of their own perspective. Anxieties get projected that I may or may not share. Or have previously dealt with. Same happens with compliments.

So I don't know what I depend on. There's something there. Something matters. I have had demonstrated and firmly believe we are drawn to others by what we possess ourselves (and repulsed as well). For me the self-esteem I derive from external sources come from finding common ground, even with long dead sources. Like hearing somebody talk about Lincoln and then relating it to things people have said of me, even though there is a vast gulf between President Lincoln and I in terms of our place in history (and even the present).

So yeah, I mean for me external sources are like a 'hotter-colder' game of trying to find who I want to be.

That's the tricky part, if I provide it for myself, cultivate it in myself, I should see the result in others around me. And then there's just the plain desire for intimacy. I think I'm supposed to, biologically, culturally and just personally find somebody else to provide intimacy and that would have a positive impact on my self esteem.

I see what the question is saying, but 'banging a hot chick' to feel better about myself has never been a misguided source of esteem for myself.

So yeah, I'm not sure I'll have to delve deeper.

next question.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Think about the times you've felt good about yourself. What commonalities do you see?"

Space, I see space. I might feel good when I'm at an exhibition and it's buzzing and there's a lot of people there. But generally when I feel good about myself will be after the event. A couple of days, maybe while running. When shit is quiet and I am alone. That's when I acknowledge myself.

Then there's times when I know I feel good because I lose control of my face. I can recall vividly sinking a basket back in the day which was a rare occurrence (and funnily I can't recall anything else around me but the ball going through the net) and feeling super proud of myself. Just flooded with euphoria.

Between those and the first example, I know I feel good when I'm in my own world. Not pressed, or motivated. In those times, even though generally I fear isolation (though I do so much to exacerbate it, is that really something I can claim?) I actually like myself, when given time to assess.

Exercise is also the common connection, most of my self appreciation seems to happen during exercise. I even enjoy catching my own reflection as I run past shop fronts. (Actually, I enjoy my own reflection wherever it appears)

And generally it follows some achievement, no matter the scale of it. It's where I can forget the opinions of others and validate myself. It goes both ways, there are people I get concerned about if I fail to impress them with my achievements (well, generally speaking - person) and other people whose praise and validation I discount or discard because it is more inflated than my impression of how things are going or how I'm doing.

When I can forget these people, these factors I actually am generally pleased with progress. I feel happy, I feel good.

Next question.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Think about how you were treated by your caregivers. Now think about how you treat your partners. What similarities do you see?"

Well obviously I am not the foremost authority on how I treated my partners, they would be. And also when talking about my partners everything is in the past tense, though I may be primed to repeat those patterns into the future.

So my parents were present for one thing. My dad took me to all my basketball games for my entire basketball career. We generally ate together, with almost no exceptions. They took an interest in my schoolwork, and generally did everything they were supposed to do.

The only thing that wasn't supposed to happen, (including things that should happen but didn't) was mum using me as a cheap therapist, and expressing her pessimism. Also they waited way too long to divulge the 'family tragedies' of which, the most tragic aspect was that their value system regarded them as tragedies. Mum put the wrong emphasis on what went wrong in her chiildhood - focusing on the symptoms and not the actual problem. (ie. her family of origins dysfunction, rather than her parents error in partner selection).

Dad was never engaged visibly in these sessions with my mum. I suspect they occurred in part because he wasn't present. Dad is a solitary man, who disappears into projects. He is also self reliant, having said that he would sooner die than ask for help. He solved problems on his own and with little consultation.

In the treatment that had the greatest effect on me, Dad was actually quietly off ensuring everything was fine and seen to, while Mum was being loud about everything being not fine and about to fall apart around us. I know I don't think of my parents as competent. Particularly in matters political, strategic or to do with bullying.

I see a similarity in how I've treated my partners there. I imitate to an extent my father. Although I will ask for help, and ask the advice of my partners (even post relationship) and look to them for reassurance when plagued by self doubt.

But I know I have a pattern of withholding my concerns, insights, opinions on them. From them. Assuming they will be hurt by them or cannot handle them. I try to devise solutions or contingencies for my partners independently and without informing them directly. As in to be a reassuring figure, but to take 'everything will be fine' as a matter of faith.

I am dismissive of my partners capabilities to identify or address their own needs. I make a bold assumption that if they possessed this competence problems wouldn't arise for them. Even though believing myself to possess these competencies it isn't true of my own life. I am still plagued by interpersonal problems.

I also know I find it incredibly hard to believe that my capabilities are best spent in partnership with people capable themselves. It feels intuitively wrong to me that somebody of my privilege should seek out somebody privileged. Even though my ex-partners have at times come from equivalent privilege to me. If they do not have problems for me to address, I see myself as having no value to them.

My past relationships have consisted of alternating parent-child dynamics. Where either I am playing a parental role to their child, or I am playing a child role to their parent. Rarely do I think we relate as one adult to another, except in the post-relationship relationship.

This has been helpful. Next question.

Monday, August 18, 2014

"How have unhealthy beliefs about yourself changed or been confirmed as a result of your intimate relationships?"

I find this question difficult to answer, and it also makes me feel uncomfortable. This in turn makes me feel like there's an answer standing at the forefront of my consciousness that I just can't bring myself to look at. But I can't see it if it's there.

One thing that stands out is the absence of fighting in my relationships. I have enough ego that when rejected or dumped I try to argue my way back into the relationship (regardless of how I felt in the relationship). But my own restraint, or aversion to arguing, and my preference to simply withdraw I find hard to connect to any of my unhealthy beliefs.

Unless I withhold because I worry about doing harm, because I regard myself as dangerous. Which when I reflect I almost certainly do. I have an assymetrical relationship to risk. To give and take, and my relationships reflect that.

I resent if people won't accept my generosity, but then I have a very compartmentalised attitude towards altruism when I am the recipient. Outside the domain of my art career, I'm not interested in support. I exert a confirmation bias of unworthiness too. I shy away from people eager to help me, and am drawn to people who challenge me.

I view myself as capable of taking hits, and to be honest, sufficiently unimportant to take the hits. I have idealized my past partners to the point where that if they are to take a hit, I should take it for them. I take decisions out of their hands, and claim altruism to myself.

Have they changed? have they been confirmed? I don't know. There is a pattern of depression and anxiety in my past relationships that scarily I must in some way select for, but they've all been sufficiently different. I have had healthy relationships, for the most part that, didn't fall apart for no reason, but fell apart due to immaturity, learning curves etc.

I dunno, this question is hard. I just can't see through it, to what it's really asking.

Have any relationships confirmed that I'm dangerous? No. As far as I can tell, all my partners have walked away from the relationships with a sense of growth. Observed growth. They have gotten stronger and are stronger people. If I'm dangerous or even just negligent, the prime recipient would appear to be myself.

Have any intimate relationships confirmed unworthiness/powerlessness? Maybe, I dated three ambitious women in a row. Two of which ended coinciding with a need to move for career. Career was chosen over me. But that also shows that the relationships were vulnerable to stress. Maybe I've been selecting for it. I have said to people in the past when I went through my string of monogomies that 'I'm attracted to ambitious women, and ambitious women tend to leave.'

I can confidently say whatever beliefs I hold about myself haven't been changed by my relationships. I think there's something I need to feel there, a pattern of consolation - which is the feeling I'm destined to be alone that accompanies any rejection by an intimate partner. I don't know if that is a fleeting grief response. Most of the time I am optimistic, I always envision a future with a partner.

next question.

"As a result of your childhood, what pathogenic beliefs have you developed about yourself?"

I know I have pathogenic beliefs, finding a causal chain back to childhood is harder. One thing that helps is that my memory gives emphasis to certain events.

Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed perhaps the strongest and most reliable trigger for me is to witness an inconsiderate act, particularly of incompetence. I dissociate and often go into violent ideation. (which apparently isn't a word, but by which I mean I have violent revenge fantasies). As a cyclist I see something that triggers me pretty much on 30% of my rides.

Starting in my mid-teens my sense of security got undermined when my parents started having trouble at work. I've spoken to my mum about this, about a year ago - but basically, she felt powerless over the situation where particularly my dad's job was under threat. One way she attempted to take control was to clue myself and my siblings up on the impending possible disaster of unemployment for a man entering his 50s. How we would have to move to Melbourne (where the job opportunities are) and probably couldn't afford the lifestyle we were living.

While my mum no doubt got some comfort from talking to me about the fears and anxieties of her and my dad's job situations. The feeling of powerlessness was transferred, and I dealt with it - having no outlet myself at the time - by escaping into violent revenge fantasies as to what I would do to my parents antagonists if I had power. I saw them (the antagonists, not my parents) as stupid and self centered, playing for the short term political game while destroying the lives of people actually doing the productive work.

The most clear cut pathogenic belief I walked away from childhood with is a belief that I am dangerous. Which if you console yourself with revenge fantasies to dissociate from your own powerlessness, I think is understandable. For my fantasies to work I had to believe they were possible. It still, writing about it seems odd to me that despite having no history of violent behaviour, no criminal record certainly, but I can't even remember the last time I got in a fight, I think it was in year 10 science class, and that was because I pushed Tony too far with my jibes. At the time I was an avowed pacifist though, and the fight died out quickly because I refused to struggle.

I stopped being a pacifist and haven't been in a fight since. Where was I. Yeah it seems odd that with no real history of violent behaviour, it seems strange to me that I don't have to exercise mental restraint to not wig out. That my beliefs about my own dangerous nature are not founded.

Then there's the shame. I don't think I ever could reconcile my belief that my parents antagonists were stupid myopic incompetents with the fact that my parents seemingly couldn't handle them. I also guess from my escapist fantasies, believed that I could.

I do think, I left my teens with a deeply felt need to prove it. What I've struggled in life to find, is an opportunity to do so. Virtually nobody attacks me. Ever.

I've work(ed) under incompetent managers, but almost never directly, and never without access to competence higher up in the chain of command. Even then, my own position was never under threat. I've invested a lot of my life into becoming a soldier in a time of peace. Thus I feel constantly that I have this unrealised, unvalidated well of potential. It doesn't manifest so it can't be acknowledged. It makes me look at the context of my life and feel like I haven't achieved anything.

I find myself self-arresting in two ways. One not having people to 'unleash' on because they don't fit my criteria, the other being that I hold back on expressing myself, standing up for myself because I tell myself I'm dangerous and it is out of consideration of their feelings, their well being.

I also perhaps separately, to all of the above, became conscious through primary school and early high school (when I left the public system for private) of the intense privilege I have received, not only materially but as a winner of genetic lottery as well. Unasked and undeserved. Culturally and socially the guilt I feel actually gets reinforced quite often. When in reality the circumstances of my privilege were initially beyond my control, on the genetic + epigenetic side, they always will be. Thus I should feel neither pride nor shame.

Yet I feel both at different times. I am capable, certainly capable at looking down on others. I am also very capable of looking to others and wondering if with less 'privilege' I would have had a much easier time achieving what I seek in life.

I think last year, when I realized I was actually different. Wired up differently, differently abled, it was a big step forward in my recovery. Previously the pride had been out of control, because I thought what I had achieved through my capabilities, was the result of my own efforts, and didn't recognise the roles of luck and opportunity.

Next question.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Perhaps the first thing to quit, is being annoying.

I feel a strong need to distance myself from:

I mean I did peruse the book once, in a book store. But I can't really say what it's about, or why or anything. Except that I find a sub-heading of 'Fad-free Wholefood Wellness Code and Cookbook' with tell-tale fad words in italics amusing to me personally. I also note a societal tendency to pedestalise older women who look like above, which is to say women enjoying in later life the physical health necessary to participate in exercise.

I think women need more women on pedestals as unhealthy as Winston Churchill, FDR, Chairman Mao, Fidel Castro, Henry VIII, Emperor Nero etc. As in women who don't give a shit about their physical upkeep because at one point in their finite lives they enjoyed actual real power, as opposed to mere physical capability at an age associated with physical decline.

But it's been ages since those halcyon days where all I wrote about was quitting addictions. It really dominated my identity for those first three months. Now not so, it's merely gone and I've returned to some kind of regular me, albeit - there's shit I don't consume and people both forget and remember or misinterpret.

And there's this observation I made, which is that people generally only visit or revisit shit when a crisis has come. People don't for example, go to the psychologists for a check up, and have their seemingly stable marriage and career and what not questioned. You have to lose your job or be going through a divorce before many people go see the psychologist. I wonder often how many more options I would have had in life if I'd gone and talked to a shrink before I needed to.

And on that front, I felt I should write some about being quit of a bunch of arbitrary shit now that it's attained a sense of normalcy in my life.

Here's the entire downside - I quit sugar at the exact same time that it became the new 'gluten' which is to say fad of evil thing you put in your mouth that by somehow quitting it will solve all your problems in life. I quit sugar because it was the hardest thing I could quit. I really miss it. I watched an entire season of Masterchef looking at the desserts being made and contemplating never having the opportunity to eat those desserts again.

But yes, the one and only downside is to be confused for somebody who cares about their health and entertains eternal life fantasies. Buying more time and ableness so that I can put off achieving any actual achievements for some later point in life, presumably when I then embrace my actual mortality. I'm not one of those people.

But yes, being confused for them, and having to converse with people about sugarlessness shit. That's the only real downside, and it's unlucky. That and not getting any of the highs I used to from eating KFC, McDonalds, Pornography, Caffeine and sugar.

But essentially, everything else leads me to agree with Gabor Mate. But who knows, some people succeed through AA but I have heard it actually has quite low success rates.

Despite the shit stirring title of this post, the first thing to quit is whatever is stressing you, or aggrieving you. A few months before I quit KFC, the first thing I quit. I walked away from a relationship that was my major source of stress. I honestly believe that having done that, having gone through the grieving process to a sufficient point that I was operating every day (for grieving processes need not necessarily end) before I undertook quitting anything.

Fact is, that by that stage aside from the convenience of fast food, all those things had more or less dropped 90% of their workload before I quit them. So really, they weren't even what I needed to quit.

And one empathic bridge I can't build (without it being seriously muted) was that my destructive relationship was merely a friendship I cared about, but to maintain required I accept a lower sense of self worth than I feel intrinsically. But most addicts of harder stuff, have much lower intrinsic sense of self worth. I think the place for people who honestly beat themselves up over their lives is with compassion. And there's probably a lot of work to do to get to the point where you can feel compassion towards yourself, and forgive yourself without blaming yourself or anybody and thus take responsibility for your own happiness. That process is mysterious to me, but I believe you have to feel all those things to get to the starting line.

Nextly, consumption is social. It really is. Who hasn't experienced a friends dietary choices as an imposition on them. Which is why it's important not to be self-righteous about not eating gluten, sugar or whatever the next fucking fad is. But we live in a society where the onus is on people not drinking to explain themselves rather than the reverse. You can expect many knock on effects any time you change your consumption patterns. But if you are addicted to harder stuff you probably have to quit just about everyone you know at the same time that you kick your habit, because they are part of it.

One day at dinner I took a risk and ordered a coconut juice, because some of the canned coconut juices are 100% coconut. But this one had sugar added. So I decided fuck it and drank it anyway, and Jessie was all like 'yes I've been waiting for this day.' this is what you're dealing with, enablers everywhere.

I think a bunch of us that don't snort coke, shoot heroin or smoke ice, assume that you the addict are surrounded by people like us. The addict is other, abnormal. The sober are abnormal. The clean living are abnormal. I doubt you can even smoke ice or drop pills without stumbling into a social circle where such things are the norm, viewed as harmless etc.

Those are the two big things, I mean literally I don't give a shit about my health as far as everything I've quit. Sure my weight stabilises around 72kg as opposed to 80kgs when I used to have sugar, caffeine, KFC and McDonalds in my diet. My energy levels are much more consistent. But honestly I don't care.

What I notice is that I'd never ever, ever think quitting a substance was a no-brainer ever again. It's really all-brainer. It's feelings and emotions that betray you. Also that I'm an intensely privileged person to be able to do this exercise.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


There are a multitude of ways mental health issues disguise themselves. Often from the sufferer. I am no exception, and thus I rely on the honest feedback of friends to tell me I'm in a forrest when I can't see past the trees in my immediate vicinity.

The key thing is, it's hard to address a problem, like my issues with anger, prior to me being conscious of them or what I am doing. Furthermore if people around me are encouraging or reinforcing my current dissociation.

And that's the word I barely understand myself, 'dissociation' I'm going to call it 'not dealing with it.'

And there are trends in not dealing with problems.

Say you have a body-image problem, rooted in a self-esteem problem, rooted in your early childhood development etc. You interact with your environment, work with your environment and adapt.

Your adaptation may take the form of starving yourself. Literally reducing your food intake so that you burn more energy than you consume on a daily basis. Not eating healthily and exercising, but simply not eating. That's one option, and it's pretty obvious (though confusing and perplexing) that you have a problem and some intervention may be necessary.

Your adaptaption may take the form of purging your food before you can digest it. This way you can appear to be eating, even engorging yourself outwardly, but still lose weight in a much more private and secretive way, where it is more confusing and less obvious for people around you to realise you have a problem and some intervention may be necessary.

Your adaptation may take the form of 'fitspiration' training and exercising relentlessly, going to 24 hour gyms and working out for 4-6 hours a day. Increasing your energy output to be far greater than your energy intake. Thus you eat the same meals as the people around you, but burn far more energy than they. You lose weight in a current environment where many people are going to praise you for your abilities, discipline and dedication. Perhaps expressing amazement and envy, while you kill yourself.

The more unhealthy behavior looks like healthy behavior, the longer you can get away with it, to yourself and to the people around you.

And here's where the whole notion of healthy gets tricky, because what is healthy always depends when it comes to mental health.

The mystery of veganism remains a mystery to me. Namely, why I am not a vegan. I can be a vegan, it's possible. It's inconvenient and time consuming, and has to be done carefully to be healthy, but ethically and rationaly I can't really defend the exploitation of animals. I just for whatever subconscious reason can't bring myself to care.

What I've noticed though and can't explain, is that of the vegans I know, they are much much more dedicated to the welfare of animals than they are to their own. Almost without exception, every vegan I have ever met has put vastly more energy into being a vegan, than into addressing their own mental health and taking care of themselves.

I am lead to suspect, this outwardly altruistic behavior, is actually another manifestation of dissociating. Yet because of it's altruistic appearance, it recieves praise.

Now a form of dissociating close to my own heart and mental health - white knighthood. People who are constantly there for others, emotionally available and exhibit rescuing behavior are held in a special place in society. 'If only there were more like you' etc. are phrases I have had directed at me, and I know people like me who are endlessly, far more so than I, dedicated to the plight of others.

Yet if they are like me, I suspect it is often a distraction from the self. My own feelings of powerlessness, shame and inadequacy. That rather than deal with them, I seek the panacea of helping solve others problems and thereby 'proving' that there's nothing wrong with me, because I am powerful, I am adequate and have no cause for shame.

I feel, lacking a generally accepted definition of health, I'll go to that first principle - 'love yourself first' for anything to be undertaken in a healthy way, the first hurdle out of the gate is to make sure you are healthy yourself - you literally feel good about and in yourself.

Before you can embark on helping your depressive friend, your alcoholic friend, your anorexic friend, before you can get concerned about the welfare of child laborers in Indonesia, South America etc. before you can shed a tear for a chicken with clipped beaks and wings stuffed into a cage - you have to at least be dealing with your own shit. In an honest and active way.

I don't think anybody can be healthy who doesn't prioritize their own health over that of others. Your in a plane and the oxygen masks drop - you are specifically instructed to fit your own before helping any children or anybody else. Other people's problems can seem more pressing or more severe, that's a classic trap of minimizing your own problems.

Well I'm depressed, but I'm a white person living in one of the worlds wealthiest country's who am I to be concerned when children are being forced to work 12 hour days or a sow spends it's day under a roll-cage?

No. It doesn't work like that, it's possible that within the context of their lives, that kid and that sow even enjoy a higher quality of life by virtue of not sharing your depression. In the same crazy way that I can feel better about what I see in the mirror than some professional models do.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

It's Not That I Don't Care

It's that I don't know what you want from me.

I log into facebook, and my news feed is punctuated by the occasional link to something on the Gaza events. The majority being sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians. The tiny minority being... I guess the best word is actively unsympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians.

But in terms of what is being posted, which I find sufficiently confusing to not propagate here, I just don't know why it is being shared. I get an intuitive impulse that the point is to attract my sympathy (and obviously it isn't targeted at me specifically, possibly not even generally) but it doesn't bear up under scrutiny.

The unsympathetic side of the debate is plainly juvenile. It's really confusing, I am not sufficiently conditioned or immersed in a culture where it can make sense to me.

The sympathetic side is - I don't know how to describe it. Borderline pointless.

Dave Trott speaks (in virtually all of his talks on Youtube) about Drink Driving ad campaigns, and also House Fire prevention campaigns. He said for years ad campaigns were run that basically were there to emphasize how much you didn't want to crash your car while drunk, or how horrible it would be for your house to burn down.

All they'd do, when the campaign had no effect on the numbers of house fires and DUI fatalities, was to try even harder to convince people they didn't want these things to happen.

And on that front, without knowing my history, my international law, or any real facts*. I know enough that I already am of the view that I dislike what is being done to the residents of the Gaza Strip. I am generally speaking anti-civilian deaths, I fucking hate the death of children.

So what do you want from me when showing me around the clock how horrible it is that people are being killed?

I can only notice this is very different from how my Japanese (and non-Japanese) friends reacted when Japan got hit by that massive tsunami. It was links to the International Red Cross and shit. Stuff I could act upon, instantly the moment it was shared.

Instead I'm just getting told how horrible this is. And then look, it's even more horrible.

*Which isn't to say that I'm willfully ignorant of what is really going on. It's that it doesn't matter. Consider by analogy that I'm walking through the park and I come across a man pinning down a women and strangling her. She is going blue in the face and is struggling in vain to free herself from his grip. There is no fact in existence that makes what he is doing an acceptable or appropriate response. She may have in her purse a revolver that she just 15 minutes ago used to gun down the man's two children because she didn't like the way he parked his car. She may have been about to turn it on him until he tackled her to the ground. His response is not appropriate, that's the only fact that matters. You don't get to murder people that have wronged you. Not in civil society. Not even in the fits of passion, or rage. 

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Notes to Self

question everything - skepticism vs cynacism

spirit of the law not the letter of the law

context - two guys running from the bear

you get fired because you did something wrong.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014


So I got fired last night. Not from my paid work, but one of my projects. It's okay. I think it was the right call. There'll be some emotions to experience over some indefinite period of time including shame, sadness, perhaps self righteousness or even anger. I'll just accept that as it comes.

But on the upside, I've finally gotten fired. The one characteristic shared by almost all CEOs. It's a right of passage. A failure certainly, but I guess like Gandhi's civil disobedience sending him to prison - it destroys the fear of jail.

And the error was probably made by both of us, quite early on when we both knew we weren't on the same page. A call I probably would have had to make in a month to 6 weeks time for myself. But then it would have been me walking away. It wasn't a call I should have made, the pattern was there to be extrapolated.

It wasn't working so I got fired. That's how shit is supposed to work.

I will probably be extra sensitive though, to all the managers I come across that are truly inept at their job and aren't getting fired any time soon.

Monday, August 04, 2014

A synthesis maybe

One of my big influences is of course Mike Patton, even though I never became a singer or performer of any other way. But he wrote this. It's a bit esoteric, but beautiful and attention grabbing for me.

Here's the thing I thought when I went running this morning and couldn't get my legs to stride out and my ankles felt weak. And it was a thing about running a marathon, that essentially requires shit get done if you want to run it. You know, because in order to run 42km, you need to be able to run 36km first, and to be able to do that, you need to be able to run 30km... etc.

That if you have done or do a marathon, it's technically possible to travel 42km in one session probably from every fitness point. But if you want to run it continuously, and not stop to walk, and not have your legs give out, and not lose your vision and collapse, you got to do some training over (for me) a fairly prolonged period.

Which is to say, it imbues a mindset that I find useful: On any given day, it would be nice to go from toilet straight to shower. And I'd save a bunch of time to do everything I look forward to doing every day. Or to simply do nothing. But to run a marathon one day in October, I need to go for a run, in whatever weather and whether my leg muscles are stiff or not, to build up for that 42km run I want to do later on.

Boring, what's the synthesis.

The synthesis is this: What most often blocks us from getting what we want, is doing what we want.

Courtship Mr Darcy?

I've decided what my next and grand return to comics shall be. Today. I dusted off the idea I had at the start of the year, because I decided I needed to revisit it, for my own problem solving of the problem solving of me.

So I got the basic framework, nows I just need to populate it. I'm going to use the frame story technique as popularised by the Arabian Nights compendium. Frame story in essence done, or easily doable. Storys to put in the frame - in an advanced state of undonement. I have notes somewhere though.

Anyways, something that hit home. That has become a conoodledrum for me over the past two weekends is this. I don't drink anymore, and according to the plan, never will again. These days, the most popular means of hooking up is the drunken hook up. Step 1, get drunk. step 2 - hook up. At a party, a wedding, anything.

Also known as 'dutch courage' which is hardly fair to the dutch. It's not exactly new. It's been around for centuries.

But basically, this option is out for me. Because I don't drink. If I'm ever to hook up again, I will have to do so sober. Furthermore, I am not the kind of guy that is comfortable hooking up with somebody who is much much drunker than I am. At least not the initial hook up. If honey came home feeling 'amorous' I'd probably be delighted and amused to play. Past experience tells me this is very much the case.

But if you know it hasn't been established that it is cool for me to touch the blim-blams or the woogah, I'm not going to take that permission from somebody incredibly fucking trashed. Myopically trashed.

So here's a couple of things that are narrowing down the gene pool I can choose from. Basically, I can't and am not going to date any women that can't approach me sober. If they need to get drunk to have the confidence to engage me, basically it's now out. It kind of always was.

Two, I have to figure out how to court women sober. There's the obvious one, which is to chat them up while at work. But really to improve my chances I am going to have to do some old fashioned courting. Like attending balls, and growing severe chops and playing the piano forte.

I basically need to become Mr Darcy. I'm going to have to be fucken eloquent and say poetic shit.

All of course, while not coming across as creepy.

Man o man.

Research begins now... well, tomorrow.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Body Language Part Twix

Somebody at work asked me if I ever get bullied. To which I responded truthfully "I'm usually the bully." It's not a point of pride, and something I'm working against.

To which this person then remarked "Come on, I want to see you get angry." and I kind of understand, and at the same time am perplexed. I have friends that I love to see angry, just not at me. It's like watching the beauty of destruction from the safety of a TV or internet hole.

Anyway, body language. This got me thinking about my own body language response, and it made me realise through "reading" my own body language that I'm actually quite an angry person.

I think my friend wanted to see me do what is commonly known as 'losing it' but in fact what I do when I get angry is narrow my eyes. That's about it, but now I'm conscious of doing it.

It helps because what I need to do a lot from now on is go 'I'm activated' but I noticed...

Okay a friend warned me that I shouldn't write about real people on the blog, even if I don't refer to them directly, so this is my bad and know that I'm a terrible person. But I manage a band whose music basically consists of songs about the lead singers ex-girlfriends so really I'm just being consistent in what I endorse.

Anyway I was in a conversation last night at a party, and I stepped out of it, mentally. I kind of could because I was doing the least of the talking. If I was guilty of reading too much into body language and fucking up my intuition, this convo was the reverse.

I noticed that they weren't picking up at all my eyes narrowing. Or that my feet were moving away from alignment and not towards. This apparantly appeared charming to them as they leaned in closer and closed up the space between us.

It was instructive to me, because I thought, clearly our intuitions can be wrong. A third party seemed to read the conversation right, but maybe, just maybe the fact that narrowing my eyes doesn't seem to impair my ability to be polite, respond to what was said and ask questions, may keep a dance going that really should just stop.

Being a member of civil society is hard.

All this self-knowledge will probably result in me living in the woods hunting antelope.

This Next Generation is Going To Blow Your Head out of Your Arsehole!

You've heard of Baby Boomers, You're probably as a reader of this blog a member of Gen Y, and perhaps you've been hearing about Millennials (kids born after 2000) or iGen, or Gen Z? Well get ready mother fuckers because the next generation to change the world is going to be...

Generation X.

Aka the next senior most generation after the Baby Boomers retire. They were big in the 80's and 90's around the time that marketers and journalists and what not pay attention to people. They will be even bigger in the coming decades as they weild actual and significant economic and political power.

And aside from a few young celebrities, almost every other generation will do what every generation has done before them, and simply wait their turn. And it's a long wait.

Case in point, the first Roman Emperor Augustus was about 18 years of age when he defeated Marc Antony in battle and ultimately seized power for himself. I'm sure there are non-European examples of young rulers, but basically that's probably the most powerful and influential a 'new generation' has ever been. And I suspect it had far more to do with him being the adoptive nephew of Julius Caesar than it did the times he was born in.

Since then, people of influence have probably on the whole gotten progressively older. It was only five or six years ago that Japan got it's first Prime Minister to be born after WW2. Bill Clinton in the early 1990's was America's youngest ever president on inauguration yet he was not 'Gen X' but a baby boomer, old enough to have been doing a Rhodes scholarship during the Viet Nam War drafting days.

If you are in the relatively few, and relatively small industries whose target market is a young demographic then hey yeah, you may want to look into how X differs from Y differs from Z. But on the whole your attitude absolutely can be: I don't give a shit.

Because on the whole, each generation is actually by and large the same as those that preceded them. And the most significant thing most members of most generations produce is yet another generation. Which is probably the best thing any generation can produce, yet being not different or exciting, it receives very little attention.

But evolution doesn't happen that quickly, Gen Y is no 'smarter' than Gen X, who in turn are no smarter than Baby Boomers. What makes each arbitrarily segmented generation different from each other is actually something they all do the same - interact with their environment.

So relax, young people are just like old people but younger.

I will make one caveat, and that is to pay heed to the addage 'only bad change happens quickly', all the changes to our environment of most significance to a younger generation that I see are bad - increased mortgage stress, increased working hours, increased living costs, poorer nutrition, more portable technology, environmental degradation.

Given what I've learned about the hippocampus and early brain development, if there's anything to be expected from the younger generations it is greater incidence of anxiety and depression and it's subsequent increase in substance abuse etc.

I'm not blaming young people, these shitty lifestyle choices are handed down from our elders. And I suspect Gen X to be a lot similar and not much different to Baby Boomers. Who in turn barely resemble their hippy reputation when they were being wrote about in the 1960's.

As for me, I'll probably be 'of significance' in another 30 years when I hit the 60's mark.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Body Language

Appears to be reliable, but also intuitive, but then you get body language experts, watching video tape frame by frame to pick up 'micro-expressions' and then presumably none of this is admissible in court.

Yet it's fascinating, and for me perhaps unintentionally useful. Almost a mindfulness technique. Because you see I was sitting in Stalagmites one night with Shona when she pointed out that we were mirrored and thus getting along and attuned to one another. It is freaky to have it pointed out to you that you have subconsciously adopted each others limb arrangements etc.

Anyway, since then I've been freaking friends out during conversation by noticing we're mirrored. It's been probably two or three years. But it turns out it serves the function of bringing me into the present moment.

And that's useful for me to disrupt activated states, except maybe flirting which I don't want to be too conscious of.

But is it of any use in predictive power? For example if you read Bill Clinton's body language during his public broadcast in which he denied sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, could you actually say anything at all? Or if you watched the micro-expressions of Angelina Jolie standing next to Brad Pitt at the press tour for 'Mr & Mrs Smith' did you know anything?

Because every (and the only) documentary I watched on body language, has body language experts 'reading' events that we already know how they panned out. I very impressive demonstration on how to retrospectively predict from the past with knowledge of the future.

Like listening to 'analysts' talking over a sporting match. I suspect much of the 'knowledge' actually doesn't and can't come into play in any useful way.

I think thusly body language is best in it's predictive power when left intuitive and imprecise. Which is to say for betting. Presuming certainty in the unknown.

You don't know what Bill Clinton is lying about, you just know he's lying (though probably a poor example because his denial was so specific). You don't know what's going on between Brad and Ange you just know she finds him attractive.

And I was advised and likely agree that you don't need to read up on body language and how to descifer it, because language works because it is understood by the recipient. Don't pay attention to the body language, pay attention to how you feel afterwards.

That said, I don't think knowing that tugging on the ear lobe indicates somebody doesn't like what they are hearing is bad, it can be the kind of thing that alerts you something has triggered you and you've turned hostile in the conversation, the person feels under attack.