Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentines and Vendettas

The other day, Woody wanted to make a point about fractals and tessellations.  I still can't hang on to what he was saying because neither one of us was strictly sober.  Woody tells me that out in blogland, he has been banned from several sites on account of his mouth.  I can believe that because I've been studying his outspoken character. I expect that he got all wrapped up in his rhetoric and insisted on his dominance in cognition and conversation in a way that made people think he was a complete asshole, or ass-whole.  What makes him a recovering ass-whole is his ability to recognize and reflect on his behavior patterns.  In a word: Awareness.  That awareness allows him to expand beyond his own frame of reference.

A person has the opportunity to change his/her pattern.  A Mandelbrot set does not.  No matter how far a pattern expands, it endlessly replicates itself.  No matter how intensely narrow the focus inward, the pattern continues to repeat. The pattern does not change whether the focus is inward or outward.  Nothing ever changes with a Mandelbrot set because its behavior is determined by equations.  It's kind of like that with Ass-Wholes.  They are closed. Their frame of reference is fixated on Self to the exclusion of others. 

I'm happy to say that Woody knows a whole lot more than I do about the circumstances that push an Ass-Whole into the recovery phase.  That's why he's one of my Valentines.  The Man from San Antone is a Valentine.  JDHays is a Valentine too.  That's nice because last year I had an Existential Valentine's Day where it was finally proven that I exist in an of myself.  I didn't have a Valentine at all unless you count my mother (Stonerdate 02.15.09).  I'm even having a pot luck in my living room for Gigi and her girl friends.  She's also one of my Valentines.  Gigi is so sweet that she said someone was "our" age.  I'm not sure if she thought she that was fifty or that I was 32, but it was sweet either way.

Since last Valentine's Day, I've been noticing that people are either open or closed to ideas.  I don't even want to talk about large groups of people closed to ideas like a Single Payer System and Marriage Equality.  I want to talk about people who are open to enlightened exchange with others and those who are closed to it.  Call it love, if you want to. I will say that in my view, love is about inclusion and when it comes to the health care system, there's a whole lot of excluding going on.  In yoga class this week, the instructor read a passage about how the universe we see is a reflection of ourselves - and when we reach out an empty hand asking the universe to give us something we think we lack, the universe sends you emptiness.  Send out hostility and suspicion, it comes back at you like a boomerang.  Offer the glow of authenticity, and the universe responds authentically.  Namaste.

So I was getting all Namaste and stuff over Fractal Tesselations and began to wonder: What if our spirits are kind of like endlessly regenerating Mandelbrot sets where the perimeter of the frame of reference is made of something that either permits or denies interplay with other spirits?  I'll admit that I was smoking weed at the time, but that doesn't automatically render the question meaningless.  That material would be more or less open to enlightened exchange based on a number of factors but some part of an individual's pattern would expand beyond it's own periphery while other parts would reflect back onto itself. Similarly elements of another's pattern could penetrate some areas of the perimeter while others would bounce off in another direction.   Ergo:  for some people the perimeter would be like a chain link fence, others more like Swiss cheese with variable degrees of openness, and the most closed people would be like a suit of armor.  The way we reach out beyond our perimeters here in blogland is a nice example of intellectual interplay. On good days, we might even expand each other's consciousness and spheres of influence. I'd call that a Valentine's day bonus.

Like everything, there has to be a healthy balance or you'll be so open you can't find your center or so closed no one can get in. When you're so closed nothing and no one can get through your perimeter to your spirit - at least sometimes - then you're imploding on yourself. That's the way people become black wholes sucking the life and joy out of everyone around them.

I'm not so sure how to break though the barriers some people set up to prevent an enlightened exchange of ideas.   For the most part, it's easier and more relaxing to forget them and their barriers, and to avoid the event horizon of a black whole all together. Every now and then, we might chuck a rock or two at one of those closed souls hoping to let a little sunshine in. No one can ever change another person, but through our interactions we can have an impact that changes an individual's frame of reference. Perhaps that sounds like a lofty aspiration, but I try to take the high road on my personal vendettas.

In the case of my recent project over on The Bluestar Trail, I did not initiate anything that might be construed as a personal vendetta without consulting with The Clergy.  I discussed the situation with JD from This Tumbleweed Life who is totally a preacher, and he recognized that I had gone too far on this trail to turn back now.  That's not exactly a blessing, but JD is from Texas and he understands that a man's got to do what a man's got to do - especially when that man is a Menopausal Stoner.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm having an existential Valentines THIS year :(. I hope yours is good! All my life, I have never met a decent man I was attracted to. I think my whole life is gonna be like this. I pray like hell the pattern changes otherwise im pretty much screwed.

February 14, 2010 at 12:01 AM  
Blogger PENolan said...

Hey Girl
I'd be willing to wager that people everywhere - gay,lesbian,bi, transgender and straight - are having trouble finding partners because there are so many self-absorbed ass-wholes out there. They get together and they breed, causing a proliferation of ass-wholes. It's spread worse than the swine flu ever could.

What I know now that I didn't know before I got married is: there are worse things than being alone.
I would still reference the Mandelbrot set and say Look within yourself to change the pattern. I expect for prayer to work, you have to find the answer inside since there's not much evidence that a God who answers personal prayers exists, but that's JD's department.

It's nice to see you again, Crowscious.

February 14, 2010 at 6:47 AM  
Blogger Gail said...


great post. ANd I so agree about changing patterns - although one has to experience pain before they are motivated to do so - pain is the greatest motivator - and it is always amazing to me how much pain people will endure before they finally do something different and sadly, some die before they do - believing whatever would fix itself - it never does!!

And "Happy Valentines Day" to you,
Love Gail

February 14, 2010 at 10:26 AM  
Anonymous dissed said...

Well I'm working like hell on that pattern, because I've felt pretty much screwed for a long time. But the right thing to do is to do the right thing. Knowing that you've done your part, that you've done Good Work -- that's something. If there are any guarantees beyond that, I haven't seen one.

February 14, 2010 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger VV said...

I've always believed you get what you give. More often than not, I give good things, but every now and then, I give shit, get it back and keep going until the other party backs down. I hate it when people misunderstand my kindness and tolerance to mean I'm a push over who can be taken advantage of. So every now and then I have a good scrap with someone (usually the Spin Doctor) and then go back to playing nice. My family knows this about me too. I'm the nicest, most peaceful person you'll ever meet, until you push me into a corner and piss me off. Oh well, a character flaw to work on. I don't understand "self-absorption" anymore. I understood it when I was it, but now that I'm not, it's hard for me to understand how people can continue that way for years on end. Other people, other situations, the universe is constantly knocking on our figurative doors trying to pull us out of ourselves. I wonder if the self-absorbed are also hard of hearing. :-)

Also, in your comment you said: "there are worse things than being alone." That's something that the Spin Doctor, after 3 failed marriages, and in a 4th can't seem to comprehend. I told him this when I divorced him. Life alone was preferable to life with him. He made me and everyone around us miserable, but he just couldn't stop. I tried to help him change and/or get help for over 7 years, finally it was time to save myself and our kids. No regrets.

February 14, 2010 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

From where I sit, things look about as good as they ever get. No guanantees, no regrets, but open to possibilities. Having kids will do that for you.

Happy Valentines' Day to us all.

February 14, 2010 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger intelliwench said...

Ok, had to read this a second time to take it all in, and I love the Mandelbrot set analogy (anti-analogy).

Hope your V-day was a good one -- and welcome the year of the Tiger, too!

February 14, 2010 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

Intelli, it's easier when you're high. I have to hand it to Woody because he found a way to occupy a stoner brain for hours and hours.

Valentines all around - tigers, too.

February 15, 2010 at 12:13 AM  
Anonymous JDHays said...

As usual, a thought-provoking post. This Mandelbrot set is new to my experience and I need to do some pondering on this myself. BTW, Prayer, in my experience, has as much to do with self-growth and awareness as it does anything else. Mainly 'cause it's the willingness to open one's self to the possibilities of a transcendent, yet close-at-hand Being. While it might seem to be a one-way deal, those who stay at it can feel a growing awareness of connection, even relationship with a Presence that is both without and within. Provided, of course, that you don't go all Janis Joplin and ask for Mercedes Benzes and big screen tv's.

February 15, 2010 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger Life As I Know It Now said...

I readily admit that this is something I myself need to work on. Is half the battle won because I'm aware? I wish :)

Word verification: manfu

February 15, 2010 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger Fallen angel said...

So...first off...reflexivity is a human leaving motivators aside for a moment, let me just say that endlessly repeating patterns DERIVED from pain may be the single biggest block to human evolution. Pain doesn't repeats it pattern over and over and forces us, if we indeed want to change, to learn to exist happily in spite of it.
So,let me just finish this off with a simple observation. If we live our lives, carrying the faith that Valentines are gifted to us by the multiverse, when we continue to love openly, and realize that love just is...Valentines don't long as we offer our gifts back to her.

The Bartender

February 16, 2010 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

Bartender! Holy Shit! How the hell are you? First off, I have to say when it comes to changing, pain is as good a motivator as any. You'll remember Henny Youngman's joke when that patient says, "Doctor, it hurts when I do this," and the doctor replies, "Don't do that." That kind of change is a result of elementary self-interest. Some people decide to change when they deeply regret the pain they have caused others. And there are those of us who prefer to be a victor rather than a victim. Pain is behind that too.

However, if I'm reading your comment correctly, we can conclude that I'm safely open. Valentines may not ultimately matter at all, but it's still nice to get one. In fact, that you stopped over here at all is another Valentine.

Libs, I think you're safe, too.
JDHays - I sang that song in High School to audition for Annie Get Your Gun. Didn't get the part, but I had fun.

Re: The Japanese link
Could be a spammer trick, but the video that pops up is of some little animated guy repeating and repeating a pattern. Sheesh!

February 17, 2010 at 7:41 AM  
Blogger Frank Jump said...

I love it! My word verification was "pupersac." Too bad we can't regulate our word verifs to reflect our personalities. Mine would be memes like "openheart surge" or "reflect adjustice" just to rattle off two without thinking too much about it. Vincenzo, my partner of twenty years, on the other hand would have his blog generate word verifs like "scamartist dye" or "parasight" or "dontwaste mytimewithis."

We generally have an experience of the world that is generated from self. AND we tend to change less as we get older. So if we have idiosyncrasies as younger people, the patterns continue and get more complicated. I've always had a kernel of hope, whereas Enzo always had a kernel of distrust within when approaching a new situation. Granted, Enzo has gotten much more nurturing and accepting of others, and I've learned to be a bit more careful not to be taken advantage of by others.

But it is amazing how all of the patterns we see in the micro are repeated in the macro from capillaries to tree root systems to superstructures in the Uni(multi)verse.

My mother chose to be alone after her divorce from my dad. She prided herself for her independence and flouted her lack of need to have a man around. Now at almost 75, she is lonely and regrets not allowing someone into her life. She's going on a cruise this March and I'm hoping she meets someone with whom she can connect - someone who appreciates an outspoken Dutch sensibility with a gay son and partner.

It's tough.

All of this Mandelbrot talk makes me hungry for marzipan!

Trish, love your posting and appreciate your continued support.
♥ jUmP!

February 17, 2010 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Frank Jump said...

Wow what a slip. I wanted to say touted and said flouted instead. Which just goes to show how I tend to project my feelings onto the world. LOL.

February 17, 2010 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Kulkuri said...

Was going to do a comment on your Simon and Garfunkel video, but couldn't find the comments.

I remember once while on my way back home from Detroit their song "Homeward Bound" came on the car radio (AM) and it seemed so right.

The word is 'etyping'.

February 22, 2010 at 10:34 AM  

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