Love, goats and mind bullets

Perception. What a word. Three syllables that carry within them so many different conclusions it may as well become a synonym for itself. But the most basic definition of perception is the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through your five senses. Hence the term sensory perception.

RealityBut then you have another form of perception. Like how mother’s always know what you’re about to do before you do it, or how you just know that someone is lying or in a foul mood simply by reading a few lines on a text message. Webster’s dictionary explains extrasensory perception as “perception (as in telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition) that involves awareness of information about events external to the self not gained through the senses and not deducible from previous experience.” Better known by the abbreviation “ESP”, it is this power that separates the psychics and medium from the rest of us. But it has also been said that the mind is so powerful, one could kill another living being simply by using one’s mind.

And that brings us to the men who stared at goats

Yeah so what the hell was that all about? “Remote viewing”, that’s what. Apparently the United States took all this psychic mumbo-jumbo very seriously. So seriously in fact that they setup a lab during the 1970’s and 80’s to run tests on individuals identified as potentially gifted with the powers to see the unseen. the-men-who-stare-at-goatsThrough this program the US attempted to train a squad of psychic spies able to project their consciousness over vast distances in order to acquire intel from their Russian pals during the cold war.

So they used men with green berets, goats and a timer. These boys literally spent hours in staring matches with the goats. The first one to blink died apparently. At least that’s how it all started, because this guy witnessed a Green Beret killing a goat just by staring at it until it dropped.

Then Hollywood jumped in with their (per)version of the story. They called it The Men Who Stare At Goats and it starred George Clooney – which was enough to make it popular at the cinemas. Clooney’s character is based on retired Special Forces Intel First Sergeant Glen Wheaton who was not only a green beret, but also one of the first psychic spies based at The Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Green Beret’s called it the Goat Farm and here, they would spend days attempting to kill goats with mind bullets.

Okay, so did this actually work?

They claim it did. Things got scary weird after that and you can read all about it here. I’m not writing about the US military, I’m writing about the human perception of love.

And may the force be with you

Star Wars showed us how Darth Vader, Yoda and Skywalker all used the “force” to conquer enemies or manipulate situations through mind control, move objects and even communicate telepathically. force1George Lukas popularized, nay iconified, the famous line “may the force be with you” in his epic tale. Could this force be love? I certainly think so. The light side of the Force was the facet aligned with compassion, selflessness, self-knowledge and enlightenment, healing, mercy and benevolence, while the dark side of the Force was the element aligned with hatred, fear, covetousness, anger, aggression, jealousy and malevolence.

I also believe that Lukas based Star Wars on the Bible, with a few minor name changes here and there. Darth Vader having been a very powerful Jedi before his fall from grace landed him the role of general in the Sith forces on the “dark side”. Aniken Skywalker as a young boy displays astonishing intellect and use of the “force” and is taken away from his mother by the Jedi to be trained to one day save humanity. And so on and so on.

Thanks for the lesson in Geek, but what has this to do with Love?

Everything.

This business of remote viewing and astral projection sounds very Jedi to most of us. But then so should anything of the supernatural really, even angels. Would it be too far fetched to believe that a guy killed a goat using only the power of his mind, or that two people can be miles apart and know what the other is thinking or feeling?

There have been a few reported cases where twins, siblings, parents and even pets have shared telepathic communication with each other. So why do we dismiss the same thought when it comes to lovers or friends? We speak to deities and angels in our minds, do we not? And we are told that were made in the image of God, ergo, we should then be able to communicate with one another in the same fashion.

Before you dismiss it as a message from the dark side

telepathy1Answer this. How many times have thought about your loved one and your phone rings or beeps? How many times have you and a loved one shared a similar dream? Or, how many times have you heard someone say “I had a bad feeling” after losing a loved one in an accident? Have you ever just had a gut feel that something is not right? If you’ve answered any one of these with a yes, well then read this article on the Daily Mail website and start believing.

I have a feeling that you’re thinking about liking this post and sharing it with all your friends because you just know they’ll find this interesting. How do I know this? Mindgrams (they trump Instagrams just so you know).

force2Thanks for reading and liking and sharing – you’re awesome.

Why falling in love has nothing to do with orgasms

A lot has been said about the idea of falling in love, or love for that matter, and what attracts us as mammals to the opposite sex. Religion says it’s a spiritual thing, science claims its all chemicals and Hollywood states it’s all about sex, letters in bottles and rose petals on the wooden floors of loft apartments to entice newly divorced neighbours.

But what makes us fall in love?

Cosmo just recently published another completely construed, sensation-seeking piece of defecation entitled “What makes men fall in love“.   In this pile of horse manure the world’s 13A-Can-you-Love-Someone-without-Physical-Attractionleading cause of heartbreak and dysfunctional relationships claimed to have found the four reasons that make a man fall in love with a woman. Being a man I developed Tourettes syndrome while reading through this crap and decided to set the record straight. Because let’s face it, it’s always the guy that cheats, its always the guy that’s not romantic or well mannered enough, or not well dressed enough and its most always the guy’s fault that the relationship didn’t work. Really? So you don’t think that maybe he also gets a little fed up with your crap as much as you do with his? Maybe he doesn’t think that Hollywood’s version of romance is actually romantic at all.

Why do guys and girls fall in love? Nobody knows, least of all me. Especially not me in fact – but what we do know is that being in love is fantastic. But why don’t we stay in love if it’s so amazing?

Sometimes we do, and sometimes those moments are the ones we hold onto.

Cupid, the Scientologist 

So Cupid’s quite a clever little bow-toting angel winged assassin. Another “recent study” has found that a lot of the times this little dude really is blind. And that it actually a good thing.

Time clipping Cupid's wings. By Pierre Mignard back in 1630.

Time clipping Cupid’s wings. By Pierre Mignard back in 1630.

At least it has to be if nature is to ensure that a species continues to procreate. So a number of tests were run and a number of people interviewed etc etc and what they found was that basically there are three stages of falling in love namely Lust, Attraction and Attachment. (And in the process they debunked the whole Cupid idea which I foresee will be the cause of many a Valentine’s Day break up.)

Each of these stages are driven by different sets of complex hormones and other really clever sounding chemical reactions – all of which have allegedly been studied to the nth degree by really clever dudes in white coats somewhere in the States. Isn’t it funny how “they” are always scientists from somewhere in the States?

Be that as it may, these guys asked some of their shrink buddies for input on the matter. These Psychologists showed that it only takes between 90 seconds and four minutes to decide if you like someone. Their research stated that this has little to do with what is said when you first meet, but that it kinda works in percentages as follows: 55% is through body language, 38% is the tone and speed of their voice and only 7% is through what they actually said to you. So it’s mostly very superficial.

The first stage – Lust

As it states, its all about getting it on. It’s that simple apparently and it’s because of the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen in both guys and girls. So would all the girls please stop with the “guys are so pathetic, all they wanna do is have sex” nonsense. It goes both ways, or according to science at least.

The second stage – Attraction

So here it would seem we have the three musketeers of all those butterflies in your tummy moments. Apparently attraction is all because of Adrenaline, Dopamine and Serotonin. imagesRoughly translated it means that the same stuff that helps you scale a six foot wall when that Rottweiler is coming at you from across the road, is the stuff that causes you to like someone. Which is probably why its so scary. Not the Rottweiler, the really hot girl in the bikini applying sunscreen at the pool or the six pack wielding hunk of man meat washing his Kawasaki in the drive way.  The initial stages of “falling” for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new “love”, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry. Nice!

The third stage – Attachment

Love_Hormone_InfogramAnd finally we have the evil sorcerer, the big bad wolf, the ogre in the woods. Oxytocin. Even the name sounds a little “dark side of the force-ish”. This is a powerful hormone released by men and women – you guessed it – during orgasm. Pay attention dudes, an orgasm is that thing you didn’t know girls also liked. Scientists have agreed that it probably deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex. The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.

So now what?

Well I don’t know. Do I care? Nah.

What I do know is that “falling” implies that the process is in some way uncontrollable and risky – as in the phrases “to fall ill” or “to fall into a trap”. The famous biologist, Jeremy Griffith, suggested that people fall in love in order to abandon themselves to the dream of an ideal state (being one free of the human condition).

I for one believe that it’s the physical consequence of a spiritual awakening. I like the fall. It is exhilarating and if it were likened to skydiving I would never open my chute. Hitting the ground at terminal velocity would be a welcome reprieve from the notion that pulling the chord and playing it safe could  forever take you from me.

And if I were forced to look at this through the Petr dish in some lab, I would still see you there under the microscope of things. Because maybe it’s all just chemicals and maybe it all boils down to stages and hormones and natural progression. Maybe they’re right and maybe all their scientific research has finally proven it…

Chemistry exists

and

you

are

my

drug.

Mozart and the Mosh Pit

“Music soothes even the savage beast”. Another perfect example of how misguided our education system is. Although this is possibly one of my favourite quotes, it is also one of the most misquoted.

It was the other William

Many believe that it was uttered by the Master Word Smith, William Shakespeare, when in fact it was from a play entitled The Mourning Bride written in 1697 by the English playwright, William Congreve.

William Congreve

William Congreve

The actual line reads “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,” which is the first line of the play, spoken by Almeria in Act I, Scene 1. (The word “breast” is often misquoted as “beast”, and “has” sometimes appears as “hath”.)

As a quick point of interest, this guy was really done in by history as another famous quote was also attributed to Shakespeare – “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,” spoken by Zara in Act III, Scene VIII. (This is usually paraphrased as “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”).

But anyway…

It’s a scientifically proven fact that music affects our brains. And different music affects different areas of our brains depending on a lot of things, including whether we are actual musicians or not. One thing i for sure though: we learn quicker when things rhyme. Case in point is the ABC song we were taught as kids. Why this is an affective learning tool boils down to how our brains process information.

When it comes to music

One side of our brain processes the words while the other processes the music. This activates the entire brain and ensures far better retention of information. Our short term memory can only hold seven bits of information, and by combining information into a song, you are effectively taking two or three bits and making them one. This means you can actually force feed your brain through music. Surprisingly though, the sound of music has more impact on us than the actual lyrics, which is comforting to me personally as a parent considering the amount crap the modern rappers and pop groups “sing” about.

courtesy of Huffington Post.

courtesy of Huffington Post.

It is also important that you stimulate your brain with the right type of music. And by that I don’t mean doing the world a favour and never using the words “talented musician” in the same sentence as Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus ever again. I mean that you need to listen to complex music if you are going to get your noggin vibrating sufficiently.

Like for example

It’s been accepted for a while now that to ensure your child’s brain gets stimulated properly, one should play classical music to them while in the womb and after birth. You know, classical, like Mozart or Hendel or Bach – real instruments and composers and stuff (for the kids reading…wait…oh well). But is it only classical music that has this affect, and if so why?

The Mozart Effect

Like “Crossfit” and other buzzwords being thrown around by people wanting to sound cool, this term is really misunderstood. It plays on the premise that listening to classical music makes your child smarter…much like how doing burpees and chin ups till you puke makes you stronger. So what’s behind this popular notion, what does it really mean and is it all hype or does it carry some weight…relax Crossfitians, we don’t care about your PB.

Basically in layman’s terms the reason the classical stuff works on your brain is because of all the different pitches and hundreds of different notes all clustered together making pretty sounds that get your neurons firing like the lights on your Christmas tree. The key being the combination of many different notes in highs and lows in short, dramatic bursts…like…a…really good…guitar solo…in a hard rock or metal song.

Meet the Slipknot offenders.

Meet the Slipknot offenders.

Before we continue…

I feel it is my duty as a musician and music enthusiast to set the record straight. Metallica is not metal. Seether is not metal. Disturbed is not metal. Linkin Park is not metal. Chad Koeger and Nickleback are neither metal nor rock musicians…in fact they are almost country rockers…like Crossfitians are exercisers, not athletes.

Alright so what I’m saying is…

Some clever people in white coats have found that classical, jazz and metal music have similar affects on the brain because of the dramatic time signatures and changes in the patterns and progressions of the various musical pieces. It also dictates that the brain is more stimulated by technically difficult to play pieces of music than repetitive melodies such as loop-tracks used in today’s rap and hip-hop genres.

Many argue that heavy metal is negative and causes rebellion in children. “Just look at those boys who killed all those kids at that school because they listened to Slipknot”. Really. Blaming music on school killings or teen suicide is like blaming spoons for fat people being fat.

We can experience music as something sorrowful, distressing, forceful, or aggressive, all in the comfort of our own home without feeling a shred of any real threat or danger. In the same way we look at art and perceive the emotion, we can understand the emotion of the music without really feeling it ourselves.

There is the fear of course that in the same way listening to cheerful music can lift one’s spirits, listening to angry music can actually make you angry enough to pick up a gun and start killing bunnies. Paradoxically, people often tailor music to their current mood, rather than use music to try and change their mood. Also…does listening to sexy music make you wanna hump your sister? Thought not. So drop it.

In closing (Phew)

To date, there are many theories on whether or not music makes your child smarter. Some believe they have found concrete evidence to validate this. They’re lying and want to sound cooler than their white coats and thick glasses make them look.

The reality is a report by McMaster University Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour in Hamilton, Canada which states that “The opposing sounds of Mozart and Slayer are presented but their difference not explained…at the sensory-cellular level there is no difference.”

Because we are all different,some people are drawn to heavy metal music for it’s perceived sonic qualities which means that this music is not making anyone more aggressive or violent than they already are.

Yes, really.

Do you agree? Tell us what you think. Join in the poll, it’s fun and you’ll get that great satisfaction of knowing you upset someone.

 

Love is jealous….oh wait, no it’s blind.

Let’s talk cliche for a minute. But, let’s not waste your time with the insignificant ones shall we? You guys don’t like reading anyway so I’m going to start with the biggest of the bunch – “love is blind”.

The Black Sheep

Made famous in classic literature way back by the revered novelist, George Bernard Shaw in his masterpiece An Unsocial Socialist. The problem is we have gone and misquoted the guy, as it seems we like doing with any literature from our past. The full sentence reads “You can hardly blame me for that: I was in love myself; and love is blind and jealous.”

But we left out jealous. Because jealous is not cool, and it certainly is not in line with what another famous writer said when he wrote “love is patient, love is kind… love is never jealous…”  In contradiction to this, the very author of the book containing this statement said “God is love” and later also that “God is a jealous God”. But love is not jealous, so that means that either God is not love or that there is a god called love and another called jealous. (No blasphemy intended here by the way, just taking a neutral and objective look at all the angles).

Anyway.

So now we have a problem. If jealousy is the opposite to love does that mean there can be not one without the other? Like a twisted Yin-Yang. That would mean that if you aren’t jealous you are not in love. Or am I completely missing the point here?

A little closer to home

Now, for a very long time I was the flag-bearer of the notion that love is a choice not an emotion. But, as of late I have given that some thought. If love is not an emotion that means you can chose and that means you can control it, right? So why then can jealousy not be controlled? Why is jealousy an emotion then? And after thinking for a minute I realized that jealousy is blind, not love. And jealousy can be controlled – by love. According to the Word Smith in the now-popular-and-soon-to-be-completed (uhum) novel, Dial Earth For Operator, “Love is the pair of spectacles you place on the weary eyes of jealousy to make it see the obvious.”

I like that. In fact I believe we’ve made a bit of a breakthrough here really. Two people see one another for the first time and they fall in love over time as they get to know one another. Obviously there is the physical attraction too…which is noticed through the use of….your eyes. That alone cancels out the blind part. But I think what the cliche intends to say is that when you truly love someone, you notice their faults and slight imperfections, but chose to look past them because the feeling you get from being around them is just too amazing to risk. And I agree in some way. But when a guy starts beating his partner, or she starts cheating on him, don’t you think “love is blind” is just a way for you to hide the fact that you actually like that kind of attention?

Surely there has to be a limit set somewhere, because I’m sorry but even a person who is really, physically blind would realize that when someone continuously inflicts harm upon you, they really don’t like you too much.

So the point is?

Okay, so back to the cliche. I think we can lay this one to rest. It has become clear after investigating the crime scene that love is not the perpetrator, but that it was jealousy…in the ballroom with a candle stick…

Tell us what you think, because your opinion matters to us…no really, it does…so do your shares and likes and participation in the poll at the bottom of this blog. Also, we know we’ve touched on some sensitive stuff here and that you all want a chance to have your say. So here ya go…here’s a soapbox.

 

How beautiful can atrocious be?

The old adage “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is a load of rubbish in my opinion. That’s just the apologetic way of blame shifting. Its a very clever way of escaping the fact that your scribbled little lines with a blotch of paint here and there on an over-sized canvas is not, in fact, pretty. Nor is it art. And you are sadly not a tormented creative soul. Its ugly, it doesn’t say anything and its only function should be convincing you that rugby or some other activity would be better suited to your unique set of skills.

You feel me?

I don’t believe beauty is something you see. I believe it is something you experience. It is a something that leaves you with a feeling rather than an image of it. Therefor I state that “beauty is in the heart of the beholder”.

To illustrate.

Your son draws you a picture. It’s something resembling a man and a sun with a carrot sticking out his ass. It’s ugly. But he hands it to you and proudly explains what each of the scribbles are and how they fit together to form the image of you in his world. Suddenly you get that lump in the throat experience. You look at this ugly thing on this crumpled sheet of A4 paper and it becomes the most beautiful thing anyone has ever handed you. Suddenly the carrot-assed-sun-man takes on a profoundly new meaning, he becomes a portrait of a golden god worthy to be framed and displayed in the lounge on that wall next to surround sound a little off center from the family portrait. See?

Atrocious

Man I love this word. It even looks really cool when you read it on the screen, especially when you use some medieval looking font or something. And it sounds regal, upper class even when pronounced properly. (Have you ever experienced atrocious as it passes over the lips of a beautiful woman? You should, it’s life altering really.)

Anyway, so what makes it pretty? I think it could be the different sounds you make at once when you pronounce it. Or, it could be the shape your mouth takes or the tone your voice changes to? I don’t know. But what I do know for certain is that the meaning of the word is far from pretty. According to Oxford “atrocious” is an adjective meaning horrifyingly wicked. But it doesn’t feel wicked, does it? So I would go as far as saying that “beautiful” could be synonymous with “atrocious” which goes without saying that beauty is indeed atrocious. An atrocity really.

So to summarize I have included this little poll as a test to my theory. Take part and make your little tick because I know that you are as curious of the outcome as I am.

 

Let me know, and follow me on Facebook, like this page and enjoy the different angles on life, love and everything in between.

And, yes, really.

 

Bird Watching Mystic steals credit for coffee discovery

So why is it that everything we don’t understand or everything we don’t really know much about was always either discovered by, or perfected by, or handed to some mystic medicine man or tribal healer somewhere in some later part of some earlier century? Case in point… Coffee.

Some Bird Watching Dude

And I quote the omnipotent Wikipedia “there are several legendary accounts of the origin of the drink itself. One account involves the Yemenite Sufi mystic Ghothul Akbar Nooruddin Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili.[5] When traveling in Ethiopia, the legend goes, he observed birds of unusual vitality, and, upon trying the berries that the birds had been eating, experienced the same vitality.”

Okay so the guy saw birds. But these birds looked younger than their buddies (which were obviously all the same age judging by whatever one judges avian ages by) and so it occurred to him that it must be the berries they were eating. It couldn’t have been that they were just younger birds. Oh no. It HAD to be the berries. So I wonder what happened then? Because I KNOW this guy would’ve hurled those magic berries right out had he just picked a handful and shoveled them into his mystic Yemenite mouth. The other, dare I say more believable story attributes the discovery to this guy’s disciple… or appy.

Okay so maybe it was the appy

And I consult the oracle once again on this.

“According to the ancient chronicle (preserved in the Abd-Al-Kadir manuscript), Omar, who was known for his ability to cure the sick through prayer, was once exiled from Mocha to a desert cave near Ousab. Starving, Omar chewed berries from nearby shrubbery, but found them to be bitter. He tried roasting the beans to improve the flavor, but they became hard. He then tried boiling them to soften the bean, which resulted in a fragrant brown liquid. Upon drinking the liquid Omar was revitalized and sustained for days. As stories of this “miracle drug” reached Mocha, Omar was asked to return and was made a saint.”

Believe it dammit

Sounds a lot more believable doesn’t it? But the real problem here is the fact that we all just accept whatever is written on wikipedia as gospel. On that note we all just accept that whatever has been written in a gospel is also truth, but that has nothing to do with coffee, or historical truth, so let’s stay focused for a second.

What if the most believable origin of coffee was actually a lot less believable? What if coffee was actually only invented in the time of our grandparents. And that we are only told lies like these “origin tales” to keep us from seeing that the world is only as old as what we are. If you think about it, everything that exists around you really is only as old as what you are and that when you die, everything else dies as well. How would know if this weren’t the case?

In fact, how would you know that when you die you actually immediately start living your current life again and that you don’t remember it because of the whole dying and being reborn thing? If this were true you could argue that there really aren’t 7 billion people in the world. What happens if you are just a repeat of you? That would explain why some people experience deja vu, or why some people are better at math than others.

This could explain a lot of things, but what it won’t do is provide us with a distinct answer to the coffee conundrum. All it does is enforce the belief that there can never be too much coffee. And there can never be too much time.

 

So if right is to left then…

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Chess. It’s said to be one of the oldest forms of entertainment in the history of the human race. Or at least the story goes that it was actually not a game at all and it started as a way for generals to strategically plan their campaigns.

Life. It’s said to be even older than the game of chess. So why is it that not one human being has successfully mastered it? Could it be because life is so short that by the time we get to mastering it, it’s over? Is it too short then? How can we say that life is too short when it really is the longest thing we will ever experience? Or is it? Maybe Experience is the longest thing we’ll ever…experience? Or maybe we are just that, an experience. Maybe we are a part of something that is using each one of us a separate experience? Like maybe God. Or at least what we perceive a god to be. Maybe “god” is a collective noun for experience? Maybe collective is a verb?

So then does that mean that chess is really more than just a game? Perhaps a game is more than just chess and perhaps the idea of pitting oneself against another over a few pieces on a board is a way of testing your own experience against that of another version of yourself?

That would explain anticipation. Or would it? If we are all connected through the same subconscious does that mean we are all really good chess players? Or really good at avoiding asking questions about life because thinking is an experience most have never experienced to begin with? Like love for example. Perhaps love is a game too. And perhaps in this game nobody really plays but everybody kinda wins somewhere along the line. Even spectators win as watching two people in love can be rather entertaining. Unlike watching two people play chess, which is kinda boring, except for the opponents who excitedly watch for the next move?

So then maybe this collective noun verb thing has two sides to it’s… umm, brain. A left and a right. Much like ours. Which explains why you have creative people and analytical folk. Some can play chess and others can’t. The left brain people might just be the left brain of god and so too the right brain people. But if that is true then it brings us right back to love. What happens when a lefty and a “righty” decide to play THAT game? Do they form an ambidextrous union then? And which will be more dominant? More importantly which one plays white?

So despite all of these questions that will inevitably remain unanswered I have a theory. It’s simple really. Life is a game of chess played between two sides of a godly brain struggling to come to terms with its own existence on a board of life with pieces carved from love.

Yes, really.