When I was ten my father bought sixteen acres of land in northern Vermont. The land had once been a farm, long since surrendered to nature. There was an old orchard behind the house, and when we arrived in October the whole yard smelled of cider, the ground full of sweet, rotten apples that broke under our shoes. To the west the fields were choked with raspberry bushes that stretched as far as I could see. I could climb beneath and through them, and under an arch of brambles I found an oil can from a company that seemed familiar, still shiny as if it weren’t really a hundred years old.
The house there had been empty for years. It had been built twenty years before, small and modern and ugly. There were spiders in the attic and mice in the walls, and an orange old couch had been left downstairs, covered in dust and droppings. The first night we spent there Dad and I pitched our tent in the living room. There was a dirt road that ran by the house, two ruts in the earth with a grass center line. We never knew who our neighbors were, but a mile down the road split east into our land and west into theirs.
Years before when I was very young, we’d gone as a family to an island off the coast of Maine. We’d left the station wagon by a white wooden dock and loaded our things into two canoes, my father and I in one, my mother and sister in the other. My sister was nine years old and blonde, pale and tall and slender as a branch. The ocean, tamed by the sound, was as deep as ink and reached a thousand miles beneath us. The island, a patch against the sea, was small, rocky, covered in short pines.
After years of thinking I’d never get one, it looks like I’ll be buying a smartphone next month. I realized that as an independent contractor working for 50+ clients with no set schedule it would really make sense for me to have one. That, and I can’t get the naked pictures girls send me on my current phone. But all the reasons I didn’t get one still exist – it’s a weapon of mass distraction, another technology teat to suck on while life blurs by. So before I press buy I thought I’d write up a pledge list.
I pledge to use my smartphone for the reason I bought it – it’s a phone, email client, calendar, camera and GPS all in one. I pledge to sell all the things it replaces.
I pledge to restrict myself to under 10 apps. Things that are helpful in real life (like GasBuddy) are in. Stupid shit like the things on that ad are out. Games are out. Things that distract me are out. Things that are hip are out. Just ’cause I’m giving in to something doesn’t mean I have to give in all the way.
When I’m on a bus or train, or airplane, I pledge to read a book, look out the window, or make conversation with strangers. When I’m with people, cell etiquette goes double for smartphones.
If I forget something, I pledge to try to remember it before going online. If I’m lost close to home, I pledge to drive until I see a street I recognize.
If I’m on vacation, making love, hiking, camping, or doing anything in a place of great natural beauty, I pledge to leave my phone far behind.
It’s been a year or so now since I’ve stopped using deodorant. It’s a slippery slope; the less shit you use more you realize you don’t need to use shit. I went from deodorant to mineral stone to washcloth in the shower to not even using a washcloth. I realized that even just scrubbing your pits in the shower leads your body to produce more sweat/oil in the time immediately after, so I would actually smell more the day after my shower than I would 3 days later. Interestingly, I smell even better after a workout; it’s a very “clean” kind of sweat. Last month near the end of a roadtrip I went 8 days without showering, all the while going on demanding hikes and spending a ton of time outdoors and active. At the end of that stretch I barely had any smell at all, and my armpits actually smelled sweet. It was a good smell. I let a few other people smell me and they agreed. They were really surprised.
When you’re healthy, eating clean and lettng your body work without interference, body odor isn’t a concern. There are a lot of small things that can affect your body’s smell in the short term – alcohol and strong spices come to mind – but the only thing I’ve found that reliably produces a bad smell is stress. Particularly lack of sleep. When I get a good night’s sleep (the kind where I have 5+ remembered dreams and wake up without an alarm), I wake up smelling incredible. When I wake up after staying up late, tossing and turning, or a nightmare, I notice the difference in smell immediately. I literally smell like stress; it’s a sharp, bitter smell, like bad alcohol. People say dogs can smell fear, but really anyone can smell it. Fear and stress make you smell bad, and no amount of washing or covering up can hide it. That’s why I’m going to keep on not using deodorant – because it keeps me honest. My body is a barometer for my stress level. If I wake up smelling bad, I’m not going to throw on cologne, I’m going to examine my life.
After reading too many posts on some favorite blogs about how sitting is worse than cigarettes, I’ve recently turned my desks into standing desks (using materials I had on hand; I only trust health recommendations if they’re free). Sitting a lot is probably, maybe definitely very bad for you. But that’s all based on multiple studies that show sitting for more than 3-4 hours a day takes years off your life. So I’m wondering.
How the fuck do you sit for less than 3 hours a day?
I used to work in a kitchen, be on my feet for almost the entire 8-12 hours I’d work. When I got home, I sat down. So even when I was working long hours at a job spent entirely on my feet, I was sitting more than 3 hours a day. If you eat three short (20 min.) meals, you’re sitting for at least an hour a day. If you have a commute, you’re sitting for at least a hour a day. Meditating, reading, playing piano – those are all healthy, productive things I do for several hours a day that involve sitting. Is that bad for me now? And what about lying down – that’s even less active than sitting. But most people lie down when they sleep, and most people sleep for more than 3 hours a day. So are you saying I should sleep instead of sit? That seems like a worse use of my body and time. What if you sleep 3 hours more than most people, does that take two years off too? If I slept 3 hours less that would also be bad for my health.
I’m using standing desks because my logical brain says that yes, standing is probably better than sitting. But my logical brain also realizes that actually worrying about sitting more than 3 hours a day is probably less healthy than just being ok with your life.
I’ve more or less stayed away from news for the past 4-8 years, but with politics being stuffed in my eyes and ears at every turn I’ve been forced to re-confront all the issues that were my reasons for turning away from politics in the first place. Whenever I look at the issues facing our society I reach the conclusion that the entire system is failing, and that the only solution is a complete revolution that will never come about due to the same factors that necessitate it. Thinking about it causes me literal pain in my mind and heart. So for the past 8 years I’ve done my best to remove it from my life, to be content with keeping my own house in order and leading by example.
But there’s always been a feeling that I should be doing more. By leading a good life and bettering your self you improve the world, but there comes a point when the world prevents you from improving further. The world desires change, needs change, dies without change. Societal change originates in individuals, but only becomes meaningful once it operates on a societal scale, and societies resist change against their own best interest. Where is the solution?
As an INTJ my strengths lie in ideas, in unifying information into working systems. I see the problems in front of me and I see their solutions. The problems exist not because the solutions do not, but because the solutions are prevented.
The Buddha saw that life is suffering, fed by infinite feedback loops (karma) that perpetuate cycles of existence. The brain is subject to the same feedback loops, endless cycles of unproductive thought that consume the mind. Meditation breaks that cycle in a radical way, changes our state of existence and allows us a second option. There is a way out.
Society is consumed by the very same feedback loops. Power creates fear, fear creates power. War creates money, money creates war. People don’t vote because politics are ineffective because people don’t vote. Corporations lobby politicians to create laws that give corporations more power to lobby politicians. We need a second option. We need a way out on a societal level.
Societies are systems, and systems do not grow from the top down. Things must work on a small scale before they amplify. Feedback loops can consume, but they can be interrupted. For the past few years I’ve worked on improving my personal system, interrupting my personal feedback loops. My next challenge will be to apply those changes on a larger scale.
Knowing this, ectomorphs tend to excel at the comfort and seduction stages of pickup, and to flounder during the attraction stage. An ectomorph is naturally more at home talking one-on-one with a girl, away from the noise of boisterous groups and the threat of AMOGs. On a quiet sofa or a walk in a park, his incisive mind can find its best expression. An ecto is unparalleled as the king of mental connection and smooth talking; he can spin up great yarns and fantasy landscapes that make a girl feel a part of his world, and his seductive gaze pierces like a dagger, because when he’s got his girl alone and in his clutches, he’s in the soulmate zone.
Thanks, Heartiste, for describing my game like you’ve been following me around for the past 6 months.
Kyle Hall – You Know How I Feel || 2010/Kaychunk-You Know What I Feel
I deleted my Facebook 8 months ago, on January 1st of this year. It’s been incredible.
For girls and extraverts, Facebook is amazing. It allows them to keep their social webs intact over time and space, allows them to accumulate and maintain hundreds of relationships simultaneously. At the same time it allows them to broadcast their lives to anyone who’s paying attention. Facebook and sites like it cater not only to extraverts, but specifically to female modes of social interaction. Before the social internet, Rule 30 was true; now women outnumber men in nearly all major social networks. Women are better communicators, more group-oriented, and have bigger social circles than men – trends, gossip, social groups and status are all female-dominated interests, and social media lends itself perfectly to them.
It’s a cocktail of everything introverts despise. The relationships are numerous and mostly shallow, the epitome of what we hate about large social groups. The broadcasting of personal events and details from our lives is something we have no urge to do; it seems a waste of time at best, and narcissistic at that.
Facebook, and all forms of social networking, is not for introverts. As an introvert you’re already forced to develop extraversion to function in social situations, but this is an area where playing to your strengths can be an advantage. I left social networking because I hated it, but now it makes me stand out. Hardly anyone knows someone my age who’s not on Facebook. It confuses most people; makes them ask questions, makes them interested. By not sharing an online persona you deny people instant access to your life. You force them to know you on a personal level, or not at all.