Saturday, December 03, 2011

Words From Ayn Rand: Love and Happiness

Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.

Love is a command to rise to one's highest potential, the best and noblest vision of oneself. Love is a reward, the greatest we can earn, granted to us for the moral qualities we have achieved in our life.

Love, friendship, respect, admiration are the emotional response of one man to the virtues of another, the spiritual payment given in exchange for the personal, selfish pleasure which one man derives from the virtues of another man’s character.

A desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal which is worth achieving.

Romantic love, in the full sense of the term, is an emotion possible only to the man (or woman) of unbreached self-esteem: it is his response to his own highest values in the person of another —an integrated response of mind and body, of love and sexual desire. Such a man (or woman) is incapable of experiencing a sexual desire divorced from spiritual values.

Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.

“To say 'I love you' one must know first how to say the 'I.'”

To love is to value. The man who tells you that it is possible to value without values, to love those whom you appraise as worthless, is the man who tells you that it is possible to grow rich by consuming without producing and that paper money is as valuable as gold....


There are two aspects of man’s existence which are the special province and expression of his sense of life: love and art.

I am referring here to romantic love, in the serious meaning of that term — as distinguished from the superficial infatuations of those whose sense of life is devoid of any consistent values, i.e., of any lasting emotions other than fear. Love is a response to values. It is with a person’s sense of life that one falls in love —with that essential sum, that fundamental stand or way of facing existence, which is the essence of a personality. One falls in love with the embodiment of the values that formed a person’s character, which are reflected in his widest goals or smallest gestures, which create the style of his soul—the individual style of a unique, unrepeatable, irreplaceable consciousness. It is one’s own sense of life that acts as the selector, and responds to what it recognizes as one’s own basic values in the person of another. It is not a matter of professed convictions (though these are not irrelevant); it is a matter of much more profound, conscious and subconscious harmony.

Many errors and tragic disillusionments are possible in this process of emotional recognition, since a sense of life, by itself, is not a reliable cognitive guide. And if there are degrees of evil, then one of the most evil consequences of mysticism —in terms of human suffering— is the belief that love is a matter of “the heart,” not the mind, that love is an emotion independent of reason, that love is blind and impervious to the power of philosophy. Love is the expression of philosophy —of a subconscious philosophical sum— and, perhaps, no other aspect of human existence needs the conscious power of philosophy quite so desperately. When that power is called upon to verify and support an emotional appraisal, when love is a conscious integration of reason and emotion, of mind and values, then —and only then— it is the greatest reward of man’s life.


Ayn Rand

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Compersion: Polyamory Realized

Compersion is defined as taking joy in the joy of others. It is the opposite of envy, which is characterized by feelings of spite towards the joy of others. In the context of relationships it is the healthy alternative to jealousy.

Love is a joyous emotion. If a friend or somebody we care about falls in love, we'd be happy for them. We would share with them their joy, and wish them the best of luck, and sincerely hope it will work out for the best for them. We would take inspiration from their smiles and enthusiasm...

Isn't it odd that when people claim to be in love they would express intention of compersion, and tell their partners that their own happiness is elevated when their partner is happy, yet if their partner fell in love they would deny those feelings of compersion and indulge jealousy instead?!

Isn't it odd that some people can share the joy of love with friends and acquaintances, but not their significant others?!

Cruel Man

"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man."

Thomas Paine

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nightmares That Kill 3: Far Away From Home

Sometimes people have experiences that help them realize certain wisdom that is not commonly accessible to the common folk. Such wisdom can be extremely insightful, and I have been looking around YouTube for such inspiring insights. Transgenderism is a unique experience and so I want to share a video I especially liked.

This video is one of a Female-to-Male transguy sharing his experience of how he discovered his transgendered identity. It touched me a lot at a personal level, and here are some of the parts I especially liked:

I knew right from the start that I wasn't a lesbian. And I think we just innately know our communities, so I just knew it wasn't my people. In a sense that was scary; I was like shit, am I somebody who is obsessed with alienation or what?!

So I think I had my big AHA moment when I moved to the little city I am living in now about three years ago. I went to see a show by this transguy hip-hop group, it was for female-to-male trans folk and sang a lot about their trans experience, and I specifically remember being at that show, and like first or second song I was like that is me, that is my experience up there. It was such an incredible moment, it was like that moment of feeling like I found my people for the first time. Can you imagine?! I never had that feeling like I was with my people, and I always felt like I was looking. And I was like that's my experience, but at the same time: "That's me, I am a tranny, what do I do now?! Oh my god, how am I gonna deal with this?! Is this really my experience?! Am I really brave enough to make all those changes?!"

In a sense, we have this innate compass of who we are, but we are always like trying to pull it up to find the words to tell ourselves... And a lot of the ways that we discover things is like in each other... So basically I just never had a mirror to look at, you know?!

Like when I went to this camp this summer I completely freaked out! And the thing in part, I had never been in a place with all trans people! It was really awesome but it was also really scary, because I also knew that I was not taking steps to be who I was.

PS: Check Nightmares That Kill 1/2

Friday, June 17, 2011

Polyamory: The Ethical Problems of Monogamy

I have always had ethical problems with closed relationships and monogamy. I regard love as great and sacred, and for anything to contradict that seems unethical to me. This is because our capacity for love is the source of ethics and morality, and to label love as wrong and immoral is such a contradiction! I was always amazed by the common belief that monogamy somehow is an ideal of love. This belief always seemed problematic, and in reality I believe that monogamy is anti-love and anti-ethical rather than an ideal.

The question that is crucial here is: How can you deny love in the name of love?! How can you state that love is the reason that love is wrong?!

I have found a very interesting post about the ethical dilemma of monogamy that states my view on the topic in a quite eloquent manner. The following is an excerpt from that post:

For most poly people out there, there's really nothing wrong with monogamy. Both mono and poly are valid relationship models, and everyone chooses the one which best fits them. I really wish I could wholeheartedly agree with this... however, I must admit that monogamy clashes with my ethics. And here's why:

It makes a person feel guilty about having a feeling that I consider to be one of the most important feelings of all. Our ability to connect with other people, to admire other people for their greatness, to be attracted to what we value (spiritually and physically), the ability to love – is probably our most vital characteristic in this life. Monogamy takes a somewhat controversial stance towards it – this property is considered wonderful in a person if he is single, but once he already has one romantic relationship, this very same property is labeled as extremely immoral and wrong. Well, newsflash, everyone: the ability to fall in love does not miraculously disappear when one finds a partner! OK, so maybe for some people it does. Maybe. For most of us, it does not; and polyamory finds this wonderful. In monogamy, however, it is usually considered very wrong to even be attracted to someone else – even if you never act upon these feelings. So, basically, if you're in a monogamous relationship, and there's this other person that you realize is absolutely awesome, then you should feel somewhat guilty. You should reject this realization.

And this is what ticks me off. For me, it's all very simple, really: Love is great. Sex is great. If a doctrine states that love and sex between two consenting adults is immoral, then that doctrine is wrong.

source: What's Wrong with Monogamy

Friday, June 10, 2011

Asexual Perspectives: Discovering Asexuality

A very interesting article titled, "How Discovering My Asexuality Set Me Free".

How Discovering My Asexuality Set Me Free

I was 21 when I found out I was asexual, and it changed everything in my life – my perception of myself, my expectations for the future, my understanding of the world. In a way, it more than changed my life; nothing was ever the same after that discovery, and I often say that a new life started for me then – that the person I became once I started identifying as asexual and seeing the world through new eyes was so different from the one I had been until then that it could not be the same person at all. It was a new me – someone with a new view of the world, different hopes, and far more possibilities.

I do not believe that I was born asexual – I do not believe that our sexual orientation (or our romantic orientation, or most of our other preferences for that matter) are already set at birth. I am not a big fan of the “it's all genetic” theories. I strongly believe that our environment, and the various things we experience as we grow up and later as we grow older, are what makes us who we are, and I think I can pinpoint some of the things that made me asexual, or at least some symptoms of that change taking place, back when I was about nine or ten years old. No, it was nothing awful – I was not sexually abused, I was not exposed to sexually explicit material, I was not brought up in fear of sex. But many little things happened and combined themselves in that way and I became asexual. I have never regretted it – I may not have been born asexual, but there are many elements of my personality that make this orientation especially appropriate and, indeed, probably the most suitable for me. Maybe, in fact, these elements did contribute to making me asexual. In truth, I do not care much about how it happened; I just think about it sometimes because I want to understand such things. But I am certainly glad it happened, and even more glad that I eventually found out about it; in fact, the only negative thing about my asexuality is that for so long I was not aware of it, and that if I had not become aware of it I would certainly have been very unhappy without ever understanding why or what I could do to change that.

Before I discovered that asexuality existed, I never suspected that I was different in that way (there were other ways I knew I was different from other people, though). When I thought about sex, it was as something that would happen to me someday – I would meet the right person (at the time I thought it would be a guy), fall in love with him, and we would “make love” and it would be wonderful, like in the romance novels I had read. I never asked myself if I really wanted this; I did not know it was possible not to want it. I never asked myself if having sex would really be so wonderful, when I felt nauseous and deeply uncomfortable whenever I read more factual and realistic (but not necessarily detailed) descriptions of sex, like in biology class when we talked about human reproduction, or the couple of times I looked up sex education websites. I did not think it was possible not to want sex, so it had to mean that this discomfort would pass when I met the right person.

When I discovered that asexuality existed, I did not think it might apply to me – it was too “special” an orientation, too rare, and I was not really aware that I was not interested in sex anyway (since I expected I would only be interested with the right guy). But when I eventually (for other reasons) had to question my orientation, asexuality appeared the only possible answer – and when I decided that it had to be the right one, I felt relieved. I had never felt pressured before, but now I was liberated; I had never thought that I might not want to have sex, but suddenly I was happy to know that indeed I did not have to – and that I probably would not.

Becoming aware of my asexuality allowed me to understand that I should not take anything for granted about myself or the world. I suddenly understood that I had choices where before I had always believed I had none – that maybe I did not truly feel or want things that were supposed to be experienced and desired by everyone – and I began questioning many aspects of my life that I had never thought much about before. This led me to realize that it was possible to love people deeply without being “in love” with them, to want to be close to them without this closeness being necessarily achieved by dating them, and to have fantasies but not actually want them to become true. It allowed me to understand what I truly wanted my life to be like.

Now, three years later, I think that discovering I was asexual is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I do not think very often about what this orientation describes – my lack of interest in sex – but I am grateful every day for the many other things my awareness of it has brought me – all the choices I discovered I could make, all the new ways I discovered I could relate to other people and love them, all the possible futures that I now see open before me. Because I know I do not conform to the one expectation that is so deeply rooted in society that it is not even really formulated anymore and that most people cannot believe exceptions are possible (“everyone is interested in sex, or if they are not, then it is because something bad happened to them and they certainly want to be fixed”), I find it easy not to conform to social expectations in other ways – like preferring to be alone or not being interested in a romantic relationship. Knowing I am asexual has given me the possibility to discover who I really am and the strength to be who I want to be.

source: The Asexual Visibility and Education Network

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Sexual Orientation in Relation to Gender Identity

What does it mean to say that someone is heterosexual or homosexual? Well, technically, it means that a person is either attracted to the same sex or opposite sex. This categorization has many underlying assumptions that I wish to address in this post.

From my understanding and the experiences of people in the LGBT community there are some complications that arise. Let's say a guy says: "I am heterosexual" does this mean he is attracted to girls, or does it mean he is attracted to the opposite sex?! The distinction might seem insignificant for most people, but in reality there is a difference. This difference is especially clear when we consider transgendered individuals.

Transgendered individuals are born in some biological sex, however, their biological sex does not match their gender identity, so they change their biological sex through sex-reassignment operations. So let's look at the question once again. A guy says: "I am heterosexual!", but at a later point of time he changes his biological sex to female. Would you expect this person to be attracted to men or women?! If we go by the definition, and say that person is heterosexual, this means that since now the person is a female, then she must be attracted to men.

But what if she is still attracted to women?! It is important to notice that both scenarios actually happen in real life. Some transgendered people experience a change in the gender they are attracted to, others are not affected.

Now in the case that the person remains attracted to women, it would seem that the person in question was not a heterosexual, but simply female-sexual. In other words, this person is attracted to women regardless of their own biological sex. However, there are also cases when people are heterosexuals or homosexuals, and when their biological sex changes, so does their preference for sexual attraction.

There are studies that show homosexual men inherit their attraction to men from their heterosexual mother, and that homosexual women inherit their attraction to women from their heterosexual father. Those studies imply that for some people their orientation is more of female-sexual or male-sexual rather than homo/heterosexual. And many transgendered people experienced this.

On the other hand, there are cases where a homosexual person goes under sex-reassignment operation, and the outcomes is that their preference changed to match that of their new gender!! In other words, they were attracted to the same sex before and after transitioning... And of course, there are cases where people change from monosexuals to bisexuals after the transition!!

Another complication is whether sexual orientation is defined by biological sex, or sexual expression (ie. masculinity and femininity). Is the person attracted to the sex, or the feminine/masculine "energy"?! For example, would a heterosexual man be attracted to an effeminate man or masculine woman more?! Again, people's reactions seem to vary. Some people seem to be attracted more to femininity and masculinity regardless of biological sex, while others seem more oriented toward biological sex regardless of the "energy" the person has. Others seem to be attracted to more complicated mixing of those phenomena.

For example, there are cases when guys are attracted to tom-boy girls (only?), and other cases when girls are attracted to effeminate guys (only?). So some people might experience cases where they are attracted to a sort of energy that is different from the biological sex they prefer! What would you call such individuals?! Would you go with the biological sex they prefer?! Or the sexual expression they prefer?!

And then you can look at this issue from the other way around. If a tom-boy girl is attracted to men, what does this make of her?! Homosexual or heterosexual?!

PS: monosexual means either homosexual or heterosexual (ie. attracted to one gender, but not both)

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Alice in Wonderland (2010): The Best Love Story

Alice in Wonderland, how did I forget this astonishing movie!! I still remember the first time I watched it, I was thinking "Wow!". And I am not wowed easily! It's a story about love... But not everyday love, but what I would definitely call "true love"! It was like the writer tapped into my head, read my mind, and made it into a movie!

Behind its fantasy and out-of-this-world narrative lies great truth and wisdom. I am not sure that everyone would understand the symbolism behind this great movie, but let's see what readers make of it. So, yeah dear readers, consider this a homework. Watch this movie and share your thoughts on what you understand from it.

Every scene has lots of wisdom in it, I can write a post about each and every scene in this movie. But I will not do that, maybe sometime in the future, but not in the near future. However, I will make one post that highlights the main story line, and the most prominent wisdom that can be gained from this movie. This post should be there next week hopefully.

The movie has a lot to say about love, politics, religion, life, and psychology. But I will focus on the topic of love, so as not to confuse readers. The main idea of the movie focuses on the post I made titled "The Choice Between Love and Fear", and in a more indirect manner the post titled: "About Love: Love and Curiosity". So, if you liked those posts, this homework is made especially for you!

So once again, watch this movie if you hadn't already and share your insight.

Download this movie: (torrent) (avi)

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Cage of Zeroes 2

Come see my cage, once again!

Papa Roach in "Between Angels and Insects":
There's no money. There's no possessions,
only obsession. I don't need that shit.
Take my money, take my obsession.

I just want to be heard loud and clear are my words.
Coming from within, man tell them what you heard.
It's about a revolution in your heart and in your mind
you can find a conclusion. Lifestyle and obsession.

Diamond rings get you nothing but a life long lesson
And your pocketbooks stressing
You're a slave to the system working jobs that you hate
For that shit you don't need
It's too bad the world is based on greed.
Step back and see.
Stop thinking about yourself start thinking about..

There's no money there's no possession only
Obsession I don't need that shit
Take my money, take my possession, take my obsession
I don't need that shit

Because everything is nothing
And emptiness is in everything
This reality is really just a fucked up dream
With the flesh and the blood that you call your soul
Flip it inside out it's a big black hole.
Take your money burn it up like an asteroid.
Possessions: they are never gonna fill the void.
Take it away and learn the best lesson
The heart, the soul, the life, the passion.

Present yourself. Press your clothes. Comb your hair.
Clock in.
You just can't win just can't win
And the things you own own you (Full lyrics)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Tattoos On A Tainted Heart

Cold in "Don't Belong":
My mind takes you to where you need to be
Cure for your heartbreak to take away the pain
I could describe each mistake for you
Tattoo it on my tainted heart

Well I won't ever tell the world
That I don't belong
Please don't ever tell the world
That I don't belong
That I don't belong

Can you still feel me or did I slip away?
A sick man, a monster, broken still today
I can't explain what happens to me
Caught in the game I've always starred
I could describe each mistake for you
Tattoo it on my tainted heart

Well I won't ever change my ways
And I can't be strong
That I don't belong

Please don't ever tell the world
That I don't belong (Full lyrics)

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Choice Between Love And Fear

Everytime a person enters a relationship they have to make a choice between love and fear.

If you choose love, your highest priority will be to open up to your partner, get to know them very well, engage in honest meaningful discussions, and have experiences that will enrich your relationship. You will want to create an atmosphere of transparency and freedom. You will accept their choices and celebrate their desires. You will have to give them many freedoms, including among others, the freedom to hurt you emotionally. Love requires a huge investment of emotions, and the more emotions that you invest, the greater power your partner will have to hurt you emotionally. However, when you choose love, you set aside those concerns and make yourself completely available and in the moment without regard to the consequences that might entail.

On the other hand, if you choose fear, you highest priority will be to protect yourself. You will create an emotional barricade around yourself, distance yourself from the complexities of the relationship, and make sure that your partner stays inline. You will demand sexual and emotional fidelity, you feel insecure if your partner meets an interesting person, and you will do everything you can to make sure that your partner never leaves or do anything that might hurt you. You do not want your partner to see you for who you really are, because you are afraid they might not like the real you. You know that you have not invested much in making a solid relationship, that's why any person your partner might be interested in is an immediate threat because they might help them see what you have been holding back.

My opinion is that if someone enters a relationship with the expectation that they would never get emotionally hurt, they have no business being in a relationship in the first place!

It is important that each one of us asks themselves: Which one of those choices my past relationships exemplified? Do I choose love? Or do I choose fear? And, do I want to make those same choices or choose a different path? Some might not realize it, but love and fear just don't go together, sooner or later you have to make a choice!

PS: Inspired by this entry

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Problem of Mr./Mrs. Right

Many people have an idea that is usually referred to as Mr. or Mrs. Right. While it is not necessarily a bad idea to have in your mind, many people use the idea in a way that is problematic for intimate relationships.

Some people have the idea of Mr. or Mrs. Right going in the back of their minds like a broken record that keeps repeating itself. Everytime they meet a person, they keep asking themselves: Is this Mr./Mrs. Right?! Oh, he likes this, he hates that... Wow he must be Mr./Mrs. Right... But oh wait, he does this, and he doesn't like that... Nah, he cannot be Mr./Mrs. Right!!

Almost all cultures have this idea of prince or princess charming that will come and be one's perfect match in every way possible. Some people might say that this is a fairy tale idea that does not happen in real life, but it is nonetheless something romantic. I disagree on both accounts. First, it can happen in real life. And second, it is not romantic... If anything it is anti-romantic. Allow me to explain.

First, the reason that prince or princess charming seems for many people to simply not exist, is because they build their images and ideas about Mr./Mrs. Right in the fantasy world. If you construct your idea of Mr./Mrs. Right in the fantasy world, then it is only logical that you will find them only in the fantasy world that they were constructed in. However, if you construct the idea of Mr./Mrs. Right in the real world, then such a person may exist. So it is simply a matter of making realistic expectations.

In the fantasy world, you will not find your prince or princess charming defecating in the bathroom. But if you're looking for someone who does not go to the bathroom, you're out of luck! My point is, humans are humans, and they have their flaws and charms, they have their ups and downs... And sometimes, what might seem like a flaw would indeed be something magnificent.

As a matter of fact, sometimes you might find people who are even better than Mr./Mrs. Right! And I am talking from first hand experience point of view. How?! Simple, any imaginary person is limited by your imagination. While imaginary people might not be limited in certain aspects, they are limited by your own perceptions. You are unlikely to have an interesting conversation with your imaginary friends, because they can only tell you what you already know. And they cannot teach you something about yourself, because they are part of what you know about yourself. And you are not going to experience anything new, because what you imagine is based on what you already experienced. Sometimes, real people are far more interesting and far more worthy of love than your imaginary friends.

Second point -which is actually the main point of this post- is that the idea of Mr./Mrs. Right devalues interpersonal relationships. That is why I consider it to be anti-romantic. Interpersonal relationships are valuable. But when people operate in the mindset of Mr./Mrs. Right, they would be constantly be making comparisons and judgements on the person they are in a relationship with. Relationships are valuable because they are a form of human interaction. They are an expression of our humanity.

This problem is usually evident when intimate relationships end. Many people would react in the following way: Oh darn, he did not turn out to be Mr./Mrs. Right, I wasted my time with this person and for what?! For nothing!!

If you ever find yourself reacting in that manner, then I think that you have a problem. You simply miss the whole point of a relationship. Relationships are valuable whether or not they are with Mr./Mrs. Right. It is human to form relationships with people. And relationships have value whether they last for five minutes or a lifetime. That's not to say they necessarily have equal value... But they have value nonetheless, and to deny that is a problem in and of itself.

Relationships need not and should not be an exercise in finding Mr./Mrs. Right. Talking about a subject of interest, sharing thoughts and feeling, sitting next to the person watching TV, having sexual intercourse, or any activity that you did, do, or will do is significant, and need to be appreciated regardless of when or how the relationship ended or started. And to deny any of that is -in my opinion- problematic and anti-romantic because it strips the relationship of its humanity.

And third point is how such an idea affects the relationship. For example, I personally hold honesty to be an important feature in relationships. But what would happen if the person you are involved with does not measure up to some of the characteristics of Mr./Mrs. Right?! This might not be a problem. However, if one is determined to find Mr./Mrs. Right no matter what, they might be determined to terminate that relationship. So, imagine now that you are with your partner, and he knows that your Mr./Mrs. Right has some characteristic that he does not have... For one, it might cause that person to feel inadequate and consequently jeopardize the relationship.

Moreover, think of how this affects the honesty of your partner. How would a person have the desire to be honest about themselves if they know that their honesty will cause them to lose you, or at least think less of them?! You would be putting your partner in a "damned if I do, damned if I don't" situation. Where they have to make a choice between honesty and the continuity of the relationship.

In short, how could someone be encouraged to be honest and express themselves freely if they are constantly expected to measure up to some imaginary person that their partner made up?!

So, the person who is trying to find Mr./Mrs. Right is faced with the choice: Do I want a partner who is himself/herself all the time? Or do I want a partner who just seeks to imitate my imaginary friend called Mr./Mrs. Right? I hope that you agree with me that the former choice is the more sensible choice.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Cage of Zeroes

Slipknot in "Skin Ticket":
Zero and zero is nothing but zero
Cancer and people conspire together
Running and running and going forever
Collected and sampled, starving for zero

Come see my cage - built in my grain
Come see my cage - built in my grain
Come see my cage - built in my graveyard (Full lyrics)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Different Kind of Commitment

Open relationships involve a very different kind of commitment. One is essentially committing to conceive of the relationship in a non-comparative light; to value it for its intrinsic character rather than the way it compares to others; and to care about your partner, and how they treat you, in a non-possessive fashion. It involves the recognition that: What matters is your relationship, not any other one – even if the other involves your partner.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

About Love - Part 2: Love and Curiosity

Curiosity is the most important aspect of love.

To love someone is to think that they are interesting. And for them to be interesting to you, this means that they instill a feeling of curiosity. The desire that emerges when you get to know someone, that you want to know more about them. Understand their feelings, experiences, views, and thoughts. Or more generally, understand who they are. This desire in my opinion is the most definitive feature of the emotion of love. And this desire is why a relationship is created and how the relationship is maintained.

Curiosity is the reason you make the time to sit with a person, have a conversation about all the different subject matters. It is why one would listen to another talking about their day, their passions, their opinions, or what have you. And it is through this process that intimacy grows and creates the experience of love.

And the satisfaction of this desire of curiosity and learning creates a very pleasant experience, which would reinforce the desire and be the basis of love.

Within this view, let's address how closed relationships and open relationships manifest their effects on the emotion of curiosity. While some people might interpret a statement of exclusivity from their partner as a positive commitment, I see it negatively. Because when we meet other people, our lives get enriched. In other words, we become more interesting in the sense then we have more things to talk about, share, and teach our partner. We as humans acquire knowledge and insight through our experiences, and the most profound class of experiences are interactions with other human beings. By limiting the depth of our experiences with other people, we are shutting the door for numerous experiences that will enrich our life, develop our personalities, and give us insight about ourselves, others, and life in general.

Consequently, the way I see things, someone who proclaims exclusivity is basically saving: "I have no intention of making myself more lovable, by the means of enriching my life." And in this sense, when your partner has no interest in enriching your life with the knowledge they give you, they are defying the very constituent of love, namely being worthy of curiosity, and consequently worthy of your time and love.

When you meet someone and find that they are interesting, that they have a unique perspective on life, and their mind works in a beautiful way; The more natural impulse is that you want that person to experience life more fully, because in that manner they are going to gain the insight and the experience to be more insightful and interesting. I find it extremely odd that one would think that someone is interesting, but not give them the tools to put their talent at work to come up with something that might as well be ground breaking!

Same idea applies when your partner asks you to be exclusive to them. They are basically saying: "I love you for a reason other than that I find you interesting." Which would consequently put into question whether or not they love you to begin with. Curiosity knows no bounds, and no matter how much you already know, you still have the desire to know more. If you have no desire to know more, then you have no curiosity, and when you are not curious, the emotion of love loses it's momentum.

And the idea of this deep connection between the emotion of love and curiosity is very evident in the general conception of 'true love'. Most people would argue that sex is not the most important aspect of love, but rather admiring and respecting the personality of the loved one. And this raises the question: How would it be that you admire and respect someone's personality if you don't think they are interesting? Or in other words, feel curious about them? So it seems to me that the people who profess that the closed-relationships model for relationships is compatible with the conception of 'true love' as being highly self-contradicting and self-refuting!

In this series:
About Love - Part 1: Love and Jealousy
About Love - Part 2: Love and Curiosity
Next: About Love - Part 3: Love and Sexuality
Next: About Love - Part 4: True Love

Monday, May 23, 2011

Criticizing Anton Lavey and his Tradition

Reverend John Allee is a Satanist who openly and relentlessly criticizes the tradition of Laveyian Satanism. Check this video titled "Modern Satanism: The Failed Religion". Personally, I disagree with Laveyian Satanism. However, I think that the criticisms that are presented in that particular video are misguided. They do misrepresent the Laveyian tradition, and it's message and goals.

I also don't agree with the title saying: "Modern Satanism: The Failed Religion". The reason I disagree is that it makes a non-sense generalization that "Laveyian Satanism" is "Modern Satanism"... Which is something completely misinformed! As a matter of fact, philosophical satanism and modern satanism mean roughly the same thing. So, I think a better title would be: "Laveyian Satanism: The Failed Religion".

I have way too many criticisms to the video apart from it's misleading title which I will not address in this entry. However, I think the video addresses some legitimate concerns, and in the spirit of openness to criticism and critical thinking, I think that is a good video to watch for satanists and non-satanists alike.

For those who don't know who Anton Lavey is; Lavey is a Modern Satanist who wrote a book titled "The Satanic Bible" in 1969, among few other Satanism related books. He also created what is called "The first church of Satan". Satanists had very diverse reactions to Lavey's actions, some applauded him, while the majority disagreed and opposed him. Personally, I disagree with many of the views that Lavey presents in his book. However, I think that presenting Satanism as a religion on par with other religions as a commendable achievement, with the reservation that Laveyian Satanism only represents the views of Lavey and his followers, but not Satanism in general.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Music - Part 3: Downtempo Favorites

Downtempo is a category of electronic music characterized by a slower tempo (lower beats per minute rate). This type of music is made for listening and relaxation. Downtempo and in particular Ambient is all about the soundscapes. You can enjoy the soundscapes to the max when the music is flowing slowly and smoothly, without many complexities. I mostly prefer the psychedelic variants, because I am generally into psychedelic music!

Chill-out and Lounge: Relaxation music
Pleasure Lounge - Dreamworks
Sunlounger - Lost
Sunlounger - Sunny Tales
Sunlounger - Mediterranean Flower
Paul-Oakenfold - Southern Sun
The Junior D - Synth To Love
Buddha Bar - Ocean - Playa Blanca (mp3) (Full Video)
Buddha Bar - Ocean - Cetacea (mp3) (Full Video)

Ambient: The most relaxing genre of music!
Ambient Nights CD1 (Mixed by Hephaestion)

Psybient and Psychill: Psychedelic variants of Ambient and Chill-out
Shpongle - When Shall I Be Free?
Shpongle - The Stamen Of The Shaman
Shpongle - Exhalation
Shpongle - Around the World in a Tea Daze
Shpongle - A New Way to Say Hooray
Infected Mushroom - Elation Station
Infected Mushroom - Shakawkaw
Infected Mushroom - Elevation
Wylhelm - Trip Complete
Koala & Xentrix - Infinite Dream
Zi - Blue Home
Pink Floyd - Shine on You Crazy Diamond [Psychedelic Rock]

Dark Ambient: Horror Movies kind of music
Lustmord - Strange Attractor
Lustmord - Deep Calls to Deep
Desiderii Marginis - Forlorn Pt 2

In this series:
Music - Part 1: The Journey
Music - Part 2: Psychedelic Trance Favorites
Music - Part 3: Downtempo Favorites
Next: Music - Part 4: Favorites From All The Spectrum

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Misunderstanding Generosity

Generosity is a good quality in a person. However, many people misunderstand the concept of generosity, especially Arabs (or at least Jordanians, because that's where I observed the questionable behaviors). One such observation I notice it commonly when I take a cab in Jordan.

Everytime I get a cab to get home, the Taxi driver says: "5leeha 3laina" [translation: "It's on me"]. Now, this is a very ignorant response, because I would be put in a situation where I have to convince him to take my money!! How ridiculous is that?! Basically, I need to convince someone to take what's rightfully theirs!

This type of behavior is not only observed with Taxi drivers, but rather in many of the social aspects of life. Another very common example is when friends or acquaintances pay for something and then refuse when you offer to pay them back. Many many annoying habits that people have. And in my opinion, this is a social plague that needs to end. Giving up your rights has become a social norm!! That is indeed a scary observation, and it affects society in many aspects. Giving up your rights is not an act of "politeness" or "generosity".

And this form of misleading social norms influences the political arena. People are shy to make demands, ask for their rights, or require fairness. Someone who is not afraid to demand his rights, or requesting to be treated fairly and respectfully is seen as an obnoxious person, rather than a hero in the difficult times when rights are abused and taken away without reservation.

This madness has got to stop!

PS: Inspired by this entry

Rude Awakening: Wake The Fuck Up

Papa Roach in "Stop Looking Start Seeing":
Hit or miss, fuck or fight
Put yourself in my shoes
Would you stand up for your rights
Line em up and knock em down
I'm not running scared tonight

I have climbed these walls before
And I'm not scared anymore
There's a time to lead and a time to follow

Because I won't take this anymore (these walls)
I've climbed these walls before (these walls)
There's a time to lead and a time to follow (these walls)

I see the walls closing in
And I feel I'm in danger
My enemy is not alone
In the mirror, there's a stranger
As I tried to break out
My panic led to fear
Hopeless, I am alone
I'm afraid the end is near

Stop looking
Start seeing NOW
(Full lyrics)

Papa Roach in "Blanket of Fear":
I am awake under this blanket of fear
and I must say,
None of the people I see belong here
Now everyone's asleep
I am awake and I am dreaming
I believe it's time for the rude awakening

So hold on to your dreams
Because your nightmares might seem like your reality
Hold on to your dreams
Because your nightmares might seem like your reality

I believe the only thing we have to fear is
Fear itself, and the man behind the curtain
I heard him say: dreamers are becoming an endangered species
And I'm aware of the rude awakening (Full lyrics)

Papa Roach in "Tyranny of Normality":
Our culture has become complacent, and has no desire,
and the ethical slaughter of
truth needs to be retired, retired

It's the tyranny of normality
It's the tyranny of normality

Since the death of outrage, I want to turn a new page!!
I mourn the death of our age,
the obituary is on the front page (Full lyrics)

Rage MORE!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Adam and Eve - The First Sinners

According to the mythology of the Judeo-Christian tradition, Adam and Eve were created by God. And they were created in a state where they lacked the capacity to know of good and evil. However, there was a tree, called "The tree of knowledge of good and evil". A tree which if they eat from they will get the capacity to know of good and evil. However, God forbids Adam and Eve to eat from that tree.

But Satan, manifested as a serpent, lures Eve to taste the forbidden fruit. Eve falls into the temptation and prompted Adam to do the same. And so they both ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but when God discovers that both Adam and Eve have eaten from the forbidden tree, he punishes them for defying his will. They have sinned, and needed to be punished!!

But Adam and Eve had no concept of good and evil... How could they have sinned if they didn't have the concept of good and evil?! How would Adam and Eve know that defying God's will is an act of evil?! The concept simply isn't present in their mind!

While their actions might be interpreted as evil and sinful, but they clearly had no malice intent... Again, because they had no concept of good and evil! So the question begs itself: Why would God punish Adam and Eve -and all of their descendants- when they clearly lacked the awareness of the significance of their actions?!

Biblical References:
Old Testament: (PDF)
Genesis 2:16-17 [God forbids Adam to eat from the tree]
Genesis 3:1-5 [Satan convinces Eve to eat from the tree]
Genesis 3:7-11 [What happened when Man has eaten from the tree]
Genesis 3:16-23 [The punishment of Adam and Eve]

What Would Jesus NOT Do?

Jesus, the son of God, who also happens to be God himself has come to earth! What a miraculous wonder. One has to wonder what went through God's mind while planning for this miraculous event, but wonder no more, this is a sneak peek into Jesus planing his visit to earth.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Question For Readers

Which scenario makes more sense to you? Which scenario you think you most likely engage in practice?

1- Loving someone, and building a relationship with them using that love as a solid foundation for the relationship.


2- Having a relationship with someone, and building the love on the solid foundation of the relationship.

Please share your thoughts. I am hoping that this question will trigger some sort of discussion.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Who Are You?

"To be yourself in a world that does its best to make you like everybody else, is the hardest battle to fight, and to keep fighting."

E. E. Cummings

Keep fighting... For your own sake!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Theory and Psychology of Honor

When talking about Honor there are various concepts that need to be identified: Valuables, Honor, Reputation, Honor Codes, and Honor Systems.

Lets make a rough definition of each of those concepts:
Valuables: It is a set of material possessions and conceptual values that are considered to be valuable for the individual, and an important asset to their survival value. The most common examples of valuables: Land ownership, houses and real-estate, family members, reputation, and livelihood.
Honor: Acts of aggression to anyone who takes or threatens those valuables. Common examples of honor acts include: A house owner who shoots a burglar who broke into his house, a person who revenges the murder of a family member, a husband who kills his wife for sexual infidelity, a person who kills another in self-defense.
Reputation: The knowledge of people that a person would act in a specific manner in response to a specific situation. Examples include: A person having a reputation of accepting bribes when offered one, a person having a reputation of engaging in violent fights when insulted, a person having a reputation for enacting revenge upon anyone who crosses his path.
Honor codes: The set of reputations of specific action tendencies in matters of Honor of a particular individual. Examples include: Action tendency to killing burglars if they break into your house, action tendency to kill a cheating wife, action tendency to protect your family in dangerous situations. To be more elaborate, honor code is not only the action tendency, but it also includes a declaration of those action tendencies. So in the example of killing the cheating wife, honor code is established when the husband lets his wife know beforehand that cheating will result in death, as this is the part where the reputation of action tendencies is created.
Honor system: The collection of honor codes of various individuals and the system that results from the various interactions of the individuals and their honor codes. Those individuals might have common interests, or conflicting interests depending on the specific situations.

Honor and reputation are very important concepts in terms of survival. It is the mechanism that creates penalty for attempting to take or threaten an individual's valuables. An individual's tendency to act aggressively makes him capable of protecting his own, and other people's knowledge of someone's capacity for hostile retaliation acts as proactive measure against being threatened in the first place.

Any serious discussion about Honor must address the issue of reputation. So, first, I will address the topic of reputation.

The theoretical basis of Reputation using Game Theory

Game Theory provides an understanding of the mechanisms through which reputation emerges. Economists, evolution theorists, and evolutionary psychology all use game theory for analytical models in those theories. I will provide few examples to illustrate this point.

Example 1:
First, let's take an example in Economics. This is a popular textbook example, and many people might be familiar with it. In this example, we hypothesize a situation where one company has a monopoly for a particular product or service. Assume that the monopolist has yearly income of 3 million dollars. One company is considering entering the market. At this point, the monopolist has two alternative strategies: Either to fight the entrant, by driving prices very low, at the risk of making no profit for that year. If the monopolist chooses this strategy, the entrant company will suffer losses of 1 million dollars, and will be forced to exit the market. The other strategy is to allow the competitor to enter the market, and sell products at a competitive price, such that the both companies would make 1 million dollars per year.

Monopolist Entrant
Not Enter 3mil$ profit 0$ profit
Enter with Fight 0$ profit 1mil$ loss
Enter without Fight 1mil$ profit 1mil$ profit

One thing the monopolist might do, is to announce to all companies that intend to enter the market that they will fight. Any competitor who actually believes that the monopolist will fight would not enter the market, because they know that the end result will be a net loss of 1 million dollars.

But some competing company might think: "Yes, they say they will fight, but that's just a scare tactic. However, if we actually enter the market, they will not fight us, because they want to create profit, so they will not fight because making one million dollars in profit is better than no profit at all!". So, lets say this company decides to enter the market.

What should the monopolist do? If they decide to fight, in the short-term, they will suffer because they are not making any profits. However, in the consequent years they will still make good profits, better than those they would have if they allowed competition to enter the market.

Another concern is: What if in the next year some other company decided to enter the market, should the monopolist fight them as well? Again, fighting in the short-term seems undesirable. But one thing is left out of the equation, which is reputation. Once the monopolist had enacted the threats they made, it is much less likely that another company will try to enter the market. The monopolist had made an example of that previous company, and anyone who suggests that the monopolist was bluffing will be forced to reconsider. The monopolist is said to have created a reputation of fighting competitors.

Example 2:
The prisoner's dilemma is another example of emergent behavior where reputation plays an important role. The prisoner's dilemma hypothesizes a situation where two suspects are held for interrogation. The police does not have enough evidence to convict them. Both suspects are offered the same deal: If you rat out the other suspect and they stay silent, you will walk out free, and the other suspect will get a five-years sentence. If you stay silent, and the other suspect rats, you will get a five years sentence, and the other suspect will walk out free. If you both rat each other, each of you will get a three-years sentence. If you both stay silent, you will be sentenced for one-year for a minor offense.

Prisoner A silent Prisoner A rat
Prisoner B silent 1 year for both 5 years for B
Prisoner B rat 5 years for A 3 years for both

The trick in this scenario is that both suspects have motive to rat the other person out. Regardless of what the other person does, you get the better part of the deal by being a rat. If the other person was a loyal and remained silent, you will go free by ratting him. If the other person was a rat, you will get a three-years sentence instead of five-years sentence.

However, the dilemma is that when both of them chooses to rat, they will both get three-years sentence, when it would have been better if they both could stick to staying silent, and just serve one-year sentence. The idea here is that by both being self-interested and uncooperative they get the worse part of the deal (3-years), although if they were cooperative and trusting they would have got a better deal (1-year).

So now, if we let reputation enter the picture. If both suspects had a reliable reputation of being cooperative and not rats, each one of them can trust the other person to stay silent. And none of them would rat the other person, because this will break their good reputation, and if a similar occasion arises their bad reputation will get them the bad part of the deal.

Evolution of Honor as a Psychological Mechanism

It is important to understand that evolution is a slow process, it takes ages to develop. And evolution is also a heuristic process, in the sense that it does not provide optimal solutions in minimal time, but rather depends on random occurrences, epiphenomena, indirect solutions to problems. In evolutionary psychology, psychological mechanisms are processes that arise to help solve certain problems that humans faced for prolonged periods of time. However, psychological mechanisms can be indirect solutions to problems. For example, sexual pleasure and sexual desire are epiphenomena that drive individuals to engage in acts that will likely cause them to procreate. So sexual desire is a psychological mechanism using which nature ensures that individuals procreate. Loving your child is a psychological mechanism using which nature ensures that parents look out for their children after they are born. And finally Honor is a psychological mechanism that ensures that individuals fend off for the things that improve their chances of survival.

However, as mentioned earlier, evolution is heuristic. For example, from procreation point of view, a sterile man or woman has no value for sexual desire. But the thing is, when people experience sexual desire, they are not directly thinking of procreation, and that's what it means to call it a psychological mechanism; Procreation is a by-product of sexual desire, but the psychological experience itself is not defined by procreation.

So when we apply what we discussed to the concept of Honor, we see that Honor is a psychological mechanism that solved problems for humans in the past. One problem is parental investment. From a parent's perspective, he or she is investing time and effort to support the immediate family. However, this behavior is usually motivated by a desire to invest in one's own offspring. Your children carry your genes so protecting them has survival value. However, if you were investing time and effort in some child, it is important to be sure that they carry your genes. When it comes to women, this is typically not a problem, because when she gets pregnant the child is without doubt her own. However, when it comes to men, things become less obvious. For this purpose, sexual fidelity becomes valuable. For the most part of human evolution, the technology of DNA tests was not available, and consequently the only way to be sure was to require sexual fidelity.

In this example of sexual infidelity, one question arises: What is the best strategy to handle infidelity? Several answers come to mind: Homicide is arguably one solution. Abandonment, abortion, DNA testing also seem like viable solutions. It is important to note that DNA testing is a recent technology, so human evolution has not yet adapted to the existence of this technology, and so our psychological mechanisms are unlikely to factor this option in. Homicide is a very aggressive solution, yet it is commonly used. This is for several reasons. For one, severe aggression imposes a high cost on sexual infidelity. Another reason is to create reputation and precedence which would deter future partners from sexual infidelity.

Just as the case of a sterile person having sexual desire seems misplaced. Honor can at times be misplaced, and sometimes even go plainly wrong. In the case of a husband killing his wife, some anomalies exist. What if the woman was sterile? What if she was using birth control? What if she was menstruating? These are situations where sexual infidelity might seem inconsequential, yet Honor is provoked because it is a psychological mechanism that is experienced independently of its purpose.

There are cases where Honor has obviously gone wrong. The most obvious example is suicide practiced by the Samurai as a form of Honor. This form of Honor is very counter-productive and provides no survival value, quite the contrary! There are other cases which are not as obvious. For example, Honor crimes committed against female family members. While in the case of a husband killing his wife, the reasons are pretty much obvious. It is much less obvious why a father would be concerned about sexual infidelity, premarital sex, or illegitimate children of his daughter. From an evolutionary perspective, immediate family members protect each other because they share some genes. Killing one's offspring seems like a waste of the time and resources invested in the upbringing of the offspring. However, this kind of behavior is not as clear as the case of Samurai suicide. At this point, the concept of Honor systems plays a major role.

Emergence of Honor Systems

Individuals in a society interact, and interactions lead to divergence of interests and creation of conflicts. Let's take the example of a father killing his daughter for premarital sex as a case study. In this scenario, it is clear that a parent has no immediate reason to make such a response. In fact, at first glance it might seem like a counter-productive behavior. However, once we realize that this parent lives in a society where individuals have their own agendas and honor codes the picture changes. The parent has invested time and effort in the upbringing of his offspring. But this interest does not end at his immediate offspring, but also in the offspring of his offspring. So given that men have developed psychological mechanisms that makes them avoid non-virgin women as partners, conflict of interests arises. Even though the parent may not have immediate concern of who the father of his grandchildren is, he is still concerned that his daughter procreate because a dead-end offspring has very little survival value. As a consequence, a need to protect the investment in his offspring arises. This example shows how Honor codes of the individuals is influenced by the Honor codes of other individuals who they interact with. The result of this process is an Honor system.

It becomes obvious that interactions between members of a society shapes and reshapes their conception of Valuables and the Honor codes that they have, and adapts to situational circumstances that the individual faces during their course of life.

Emergence of Law and Order

As societies progress, Honor systems become unwritten laws that societies abide in their day to day life to avoid aggressive conflict. However, as the social order among these societies keeps advancing, those unwritten laws usually transform into written laws that are used to keep order in those societies. While it might be a normal occurrence in some societies to shoot thieves that break into one's house to protect one's property, this type of transgression is now customarily handled by the police and courts to settle those sorts of conflicts.

In a civilization of law and order, it is usually discouraged that people take the law into their own hands and seek retribution. However, there are occasions when the law does not satisfy the needs of the individuals, and consequently, some individuals become determined to enact retribution outside the framework of the law.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Raped And Abused

Mortal Love in "All the Beauty":
All the beauty I see
All the beauty I feel
All the beauty I hear
All the beauty in the world
Ain't nothing compared to you

I adore you everyday
I love you everyday
I got all the time in the world
To wait for you

I'm in love with you (Lyrics)

PS: This post is a spin-off of Sado Maso 1/2.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Music - Part 2: Psychedelic Trance Favorites

Trance music has gained lots of popularity in recent years, especially in Europe. There are many divisions of trance. Some above-ground circles that focus on Vocal Trance and Uplifting Trance. However, my taste goes more to the wondrous world of psychedelic trance, which is mostly considered to be underground music although it has so much influence on the above-ground scene.

Psychedelic Trance is mostly music-only without lyrics. It is more obscure in its nature, more emotional in the sense that it has strong capacity to cause mood swings, and more trippy in the sense that it stirs your imaginations and causes your mind to experience 'mental trips' (journey through imagination land).

The psychedelic trance has three main styles:
1- Goa trance
2- Full-on Psytrance
3- Dark Psytrance

I have compiled a list of some of my favorites.

First, let's explore Goa Trance. Music exported from India in a coastal city named Goa, a city where there is a party every night whole year long! This is the most accessible style of Psychedelic Trance. Very easy to get sucked into the mood. It makes it easy for someone who never listened to Psychedelic Music to get what this sort of music is all about.

1- Electric Universe: Best Goa Trance I know of! No contest! Just let your mind wander, and ass shake... That's all you need to enjoy their music.
1a- Radio S.P.A.C.E: That's the song that made me fall in love with this group. It literally gave me the feeling that I am dancing in deep space, with the darkness lit up by little stars in the skies all around. Never gonna forget that feeling! (mp3)
1b- Freakuencies: Music is made up of frequencies, but this one is not made of ordinary frequencies, it is made of freakuencies. (mp3)
1c- Silence In Action: (mp3)
1d- Visiting Venus: Must hear! (mp3)
1e- Orange Night: Must hear! (mp3)

2- Cosmosis:
2a- Afterglow: (mp3)
2b- Psychofunk: (mp3)
2c- In Yer Face: Something a little bit more upbeat, a little more energetic. (mp3)

3- Random Picks: Okay, no specific artists... Just whatever feels right! [Using Artist - Title convention.]
3a- Astral Projection - Mahadeva: Another energetic track, where things go a bit faster than usual. (mp3)
3b- Curly Whirly Spirits - Stoned Again: This one is really screwed up, prepare to become insanely psychotic! (mp3)
3c- Man With No Name - Lunar Cycle: Another psychosis inducing track! (mp3)
3d- Hallucinogen - L.S.D.: Mind bending! (mp3)

Let's go now to the Full-on psytrance category. This genre of music is intense and full of energy, hence the name "Full-on"!! Born on the dance-floors of Israeli nightclubs in late 90's, and ever since became a a widely recognized form of trance.

4- Infected Mushroom: One of the leaders of Full-on psytrance. Their music is controversial with lots of ups and downs, however their brave attitude in experimenting with new sounds has guaranteed them a place in the spotlight. Although technically, they are considered Full-on Psy, they do not hesitate to go to the dark side, which gives them a refreshing mixture between the light and darkness.
4a- Ballerium: This is one of their very eccentric productions. It is not exactly psytrance, it has dark psychill influences (which has a slow tempo). I have to admit that it is not an easy song, especially for those who are new to the scene. It is one of my all time favorites. (mp3)
4b- Deeply Disturbed: One of the most popular songs among fans. I like this song, but I wouldn't count it as one of the best. (mp3)
4c- Baby Killer: This song has influences from Dark Psytrance. In other words, it blows your brains out!! (mp3)
4d- Cities of The Future: One of my absolute favorites of the vocal song for Infected Mushroom. I love it mostly for the brilliant lyrics. (mp3)
4e- Becoming Insane: Another favorite of vocal songs. (mp3)

5- 1200 Micrograms: Another full-on psytrance group. Very unique style, with large diversity among their different songs and albums. Their music is full of energy, it won't give you a minute to take a breath!!
5a- Let's Get This Party Started: One the most straightforward songs that they produced. Straight to the point, no games, no bluffing, just pure energy to start your journey of partying! (mp3)
5b- God of Rock: Another straightforward production that will keep you dancing through the night. (mp3)
5c- Stoned Henge: A trippy production that lets your mind wander. (mp3)
5d- Numbers are Alive: 24 minutes of pure mind-blowing music. (mp3)
5e- DMT: Take the red pill and have a trip with Neo inside the Matrix. (mp3)

6- Astrix: One of the big names in the Full-on psytrance scene.
6a- Sex Style: Sexy and funky, these are the words I'd use to describe this song! Will definitely hype the dance-floor. (mp3)
6b- Underbeat: Must hear! (mp3)
6c- Beyond the Senses: This song has a very tribal feel to it, it always makes feel like I am living with a tribe in the Amazon or something! (mp3)

Finally, we are going to the dark side... Dark Psytrance just like the Full-on Psytrance is intense, but it is even pushier. Simply put, this music is a mindfuck! Beware, not for amateurs.

7- Parasense: A music act from Moscow. My favorite of this style.
7a- Vesna: (mp3)
7b- Linda rmx: This one has vocals in Russian (I think). (mp3)
7c- Ritual of Drugs: (mp3)
7d- Amazon Travel: Something to eradicate all thought from your mind! (mp3)

8- Random Picks:
8a- Bizzare Contact - Ice Age (psytekk): If you don't remember your own name after listening to this song, don't be alarmed... It happens! (mp3)
8b- Bizzare Contact VS Electro Sun - Eye Contact (psytekk): Another song that can make you forget your name! (mp3)
8c- Cujorious One - The Art Of Mindfucking: Who said mindfucking isn't an art?! (mp3)

Okay, this was a long post with many recommendations. Every song is unique in it's own right, and there is lots of diversities in those songs. Hope you enjoyed at least some of the recommendation I made. However, one good way to listen to psychedelic trance is to have a good collection and let your player shuffle through them, because it takes some time to get into the mood, and hence listening one song at a time might not give required effect.

In this series:
Music - Part 1: The Journey
Music - Part 2: Psychedelic Trance Favorites
Music - Part 3: Downtempo Favorites
Next: Music - Part 4: Favorites From All The Spectrum

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Music - Part 1: The Journey

My journey with music started out early, around the age of 7. I started out with English pop music, more specifically bands of five. Backstreet Boys, Aqua, Five, and Spice Girls are all the big names that quickly come to mind. So many good memories. However, around the age of 13 I was introduced to rap, with Eminem's album Marshal Mathers LP. It was the very first time I listened to something that changed my mind and convinced me to modify my taste in music. My journey with rap was relatively short, after around one year, I was introduced to alternative rock. However, my taste did not change dramatically. I listened to both rap and alternative rock for around two years, and my taste in music changed slowly, until I was about 16 when I started listening exclusively to rock, and my taste in rock started expanding beyond alternative rock, to include many of the other styles in the rock and metal category.

I have to say, rock is great, it stuck with me for a very long time... I still listen to rock/metal although not as exclusively as I used to.

After I entered university, my taste started expanding once more. I started experimenting with non-vocal songs, classical music was my first experiment, and I loved it. I Listened mostly to Beethoven, and a little bit to other classical artists. Later on, I started experimenting with instrumental music. Guitar, Oud, and Piano were my earliest choices... I loved them too. I experimented with all of those types of music, but rock/metal remained my number one choice. And I also started listening to a handpicked selection of Arabic music. Fairouz was pretty much my number one choice. I also liked: Lena Chamamyan, Dina Hayek, and Ziad Rahbani. And to a lesser extent: Ruby (esp. Enta Aref Laih), Haifa Wehbi, and Nancy Ajram.

Until one day it happened. Around the age of 20, I listened to psychedelic trance, and fell in love instantly. There is simply nothing like it, nothing as good, nothing as beautiful. That was my second dramatic change in taste of music. I started listening to psychedelic trance exclusively, but this did not stay for long. Psychedelic trance opened my mind to a whole new world of music. Psychedelic trance, simply put, changed my idea of what music is, the most dramatic shift in taste that I ever experienced. For this reason, I had to check out other genres given my radically changed understanding of music. Uplifting trance (the most common form of trance) hit a major chord. Jazz was also lovely. After I started listening to Jazz, I started re-experimenting with instrumental music, but this time my choices were Saxophone and Violin. I also love downtempo genres such as Chill-out, Ambient, and Lounge.

On this day, psychedelic trance remains my number one choice, with a more generalized taste for instrumental and electronic music. And I still love to listen to rock/metal because I love their lyrics and energy.

In this series:
Music - Part 1: The Journey
Music - Part 2: Psychedelic Trance Favorites
Music - Part 3: Downtempo Favorites
Next: Music - Part 4: Favorites From All The Spectrum

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Intimacy Process Model

In psychology, one of the important theories is what is referred to as the "intimacy process model". Intimacy is a sense of closeness, familiarity, and affect toward another person. Intimacy plays a major role in interpersonal relationships as it is the basis of friendship and love. In this post we will look at the intimacy process model to have a better understanding of how intimacy is cultivated in interpersonal relationships.

To help put things in perspective, let's look at a diagram that sums up what this model suggests:

In this diagram, 'A' is someone who is disclosing information about him/herself to 'B' (I'll use the male pronoun for 'A' from this point on). Any kind of information that a person counts as significant about themselves counts. 'A' could be talking about a book they read, a movie they watched, an experience they had. 'A' could be talking about their feelings towards 'B' or someone else. Or he might be discussing some of their hopes, dreams, fears, ...etc.

Once 'A' shared some personal information, he is going to observe 'B''s reaction. 'A' is looking for confirmation from 'B'. The idea is that the feelings of intimacy that 'A' experiences towards 'B' will grow, insofar that 'A' feels understood, validated, and cared for. 'A' will be asking himself questions like: Does this person get me? Can he/she relate to what I am talking about? Does this person like me more or less now that I shared this information? Does this person's reaction show them to have interest in me?

'B''s reaction depends on two things, his/her interpretation of the information being revealed, and his/her own set of motives, needs, goals, and fears. 'B''s interpretation will depend on many factors, including -among others-: Past experiences, prejudices and biases, goals and dreams, fears, cultural background, sometimes even state of mind (eg. angry, excited, aroused).

Once 'B' has responded to 'A', now the same process of interpretation is going to happen. 'A' will interpret 'B''s reaction, and depending on how much his interpretation of 'B''s reaction is perceived as a sign of understanding, validation, and caring intimacy will grow. And of course, the cycle continues as long as 'A' keeps revealing information about themselves during the course of the relationship.

Needless to say, intimacy needs some balance. In other words, sharing and revealing of information should be a two way road. Both persons need to disclose something about themselves during conversations that take place in the course of the relationship. Lack of disclosure about personal information is usually perceived as lack of interest.

This process is significant throughout all the interactions between people, right from the moment you first meet a person, and all through the later stages of the relationship. It is important to be aware of how intimacy works, and how it is affecting your relationships with others.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Smile Empty Soul

Smile Empty Soul in "Nowhere Kids":
In the land of dirt and plaster
Lies an army of a thousand nowhere kids
Losing ground and falling faster
Into a life that no one should have to live

We are the people that you hate
We are the bastards that you created
A generation with no place
A generation of all your sons and daughters

Behind the fake family image
Behind the smile of a thousand moms and dads
Inside the cage that we've been given
I see an image of the future that we don't have

We are the people that you hate
The fucking bastards that you created
A generation with no place
A generation of all your sons and daughters

And what did you expect ... a perfect child
Raised by TV sets ... abandoned every mile
We never get respect ... never a fair trial
No one gives a shit ... as long as we smile... (Full lyrics)

Remember kids, everything will be alright, as long as you smile! :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Personal Experience: "Buy Me a New One", Said I

In this post I want to share a personal experience with some friends in my childhood. For some period of time in my childhood I had the problem of not being able to say "No!". And the friends that I had at the time took advantage of that as far as they could.

Of course the story does not cover every aspect of the friendship, but it does shade some light on how things were going in general. So one of the things that used to piss me off is that they would borrow stuff and never return them back. They would borrow something and promise to return it next week. A week turns into weeks, and weeks turn into months, and then they would mysteriously lose the item. And things have been like that for a few years.

At some point, I decided that enough is enough, and that things need to change. So, I stopped lending them stuff. Everytime they ask for something, I would just refuse to give it to them. However, one of my friends decided to be persistent one time. He wanted to borrow a cassette from my cassette collection, and he just won't take no for an answer. So, I finally gave it to him on the condition that he returns it a week later. A week passed and he did not return the cassette yet, so I decided to keep nagging him until he returns it. So, everytime we meet I would ask him to return the cassette, and he'd say he's not done with it, he needs another week. Same old way that it used to be. And as usual after like two months he apologizes and tells me that he lost the cassette and couldn't find it.

Of course, this was something very predictable and I had my comeback prepared. So I told him: "Okay, no problem, it happens... People lose stuff sometimes... Buy me a new one!". I could see it in his eyes, he didn't see that one coming!! I instantly went back home, and told him that next time I see him, he must have the replacement cassette. And from that day on, everytime my friends would call and ask me to play, I tell them that I won't do it until I get my cassette back.

Few weeks later, my friends decided to make some kind of intervention. They told me that they wanted to talk to me in a very urgent and persistent fashion. Basically the whole group was there to discuss why I don't go out with them anymore. I explained to them the situation, and told them that the only way that the situation could be resolved is by giving me a replacement cassette. I told them that I don't care who gets me the cassette, even if the guy who lost it refuses to buy a new one, any one of them can buy me a new one and the situation would be resolved. No-one volunteered to do that, although it was a reasonable demand since each one of them has on multiple occasions borrowed something from me and never returned it back.

Instead they apologized and made every possible accusation or argument so as not to do that. Some took the moral high-ground and claimed that ending a friendship over a cassette is wrong, because friendship transcends material possessions. Others complained that it is unfair that I punish them for someone else's mistake. Some said I am overreacting. In short, they were all ready to do anything and everything to keep the friendship, except buy me a replacement cassette!!

Needless to say, I never got my cassette back, and I never played or hung out with them ever again.

The moral of the story is not to stand up for yourself. Of course, you should stand up for yourself. And I did that, and I am happy I did. But that's not why I am telling this story. The thing is that I was not always someone who couldn't say no. Certainly not when I met those guys. Quite the opposite I used to be someone who almost never shared anything, or give anyone anything. Our friendship was not always about me being an over-sharer, at least that's not how it started.

The problem is that when I became an over-sharing person, the friendship itself changed. What started out as healthy friendship of fun and games, transformed into a bottomless desire to take and never give back. They became so used to the fact that they can take stuff and never give them back, to the point that this became something they take for granted. It became an unchangeable aspect of the friendship.

So, the point is: Be nice and generous to people, but not to the point that your niceness or generosity is the only reason they are with you. And if you see some unacceptable behavior in your relationship, deal with it promptly before it becomes a habit that is difficult to break.

PS: Inspired by this entry

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Untold Love Stories

One of my favorite songs ever, in full this time! [MP3 Download]

Matchbox 20 in "Hand me down":
Someday they'll find your small town world
On a big town avenue
Gonna make you like the way they talk
When they're talking to you
Gonna make you break out of your shell
Cuz they tell you to
Gonna make you like the way they lie
Better than the truth
They'll tell you everything
You wanted someone else to say
They're gonna break your heart, yeah

From what I've seen
You're just one more hand me down
Cuz no one's tried to give you
What you need
So lay all your troubles down
I am with you now

Somebody oughta take you in
Try to make you love again
Try to make you like the way they feel
When they're under your skin
Never once do you think that they would lie
When they're holding you
Then you wonder why they haven't called
When they said they'd call you
You'll start to wonder
If you're ever gonna make it by
You'll start to think
You were born blind

From what I've seen
You're just one more hand me down
Cuz no one's tried to give you
What you need
So lay all your troubles down
I am with you now

I'm here for the hard times
The straight to your heart times
When living ain't easy
You can stand up against me
And maybe rely on me
And cry on me, yeah

Oh no, no, no

Someday they'll open up your world
Shake you down to the drawing board
Do their best to change you
They still can't erase you

From what I've seen
You're just one more hand me down
Cuz no one's tried to give you
What you need
So lay all your troubles down
I am with you now

Lay them down on me
You're just one more hand me down
And all those nights don't give you
What you need
So lay all your troubles down
On me (mp3)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Take a Pill in a Lonely World

Limp Bizkit in "Lonely World":
Another day another night inside a lonely world
Another game another fight inside a lonely world
Another wrong another right inside a lonely world
Such a lonely world, such a lonely world

No matter how hard i can try inside a lonely world
No one can hear me when i cry inside a lonely world
I'll never know the reasons why inside a lonely world
Such a lonely world (such a lonely world) (Full lyrics)

It is amazing how in a connected world full of people, you can still feel lonely. You could be not alone, be in a place with a hundred other people, yet you can feel lonely; You know the feeling?!

When people so consumed by the day-to-day activities and in a rush they don't bother to look beneath the surface...

Limp Bizkit in the same song:
Still i never want it all, and i never want it now
I just want to cruise, if i loose then i'll figure it out

Take a pill! Take a hike! Do whatever, just chill out and look around!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Could Love Be a Sexual Orientation?

During some of my curious thoughts, I stumbled across what might be a mysterious question. I think that some people might be confused by the question to the point of dismissing the question as meaningless. However, it is a question that I personally find legitimate.

Could love be a sexual orientation? To elaborate, regularly people love a subset of those who they are sexually attracted to. For example, a straight man would find it difficult to fall in love with another man, simply because they are not sexually attracted to men. Same logic applies to all monosexual people (ie. heterosexual/homosexual). In this case, we find that sexual attraction or orientation is independent of love. On the other hand, love seems to be conditioned and controlled by sexual orientation. Simply put, sexual orientation leads and love follows.

The question is: Is this something that is definite for all human beings?! Is conceivable that at least for some people love leads and sexual attraction/orientation follows?!

Actually, my question is far more complicated than that, but because I cannot put words to explain my thoughts I'll leave it at this; Maybe I'll elaborate when I sort out my thoughts on the topic. The very thought of this question caused me lots of confusion!!

Just to avoid any possible confusion, this post does not address bisexuality. For the case of bisexual people, they have a sexual attraction to both sexes, which enables them to love people of both sexes. However, for the purposes of this post -and as far as I understand bisexuality- love is still in a very real sense conditioned by sexual orientation in that case.

Update: Looking around the internet, I found the type of sexuality that mostly resembles what I had in mind when I made this post. It is called Demisexuality. It does not exactly reflect my idea, but it's very similar in many aspects.

Demisexuality is considered to fall under the general category of asexuality. Demisexuals don't feel sexual attraction to people of either sex, until they form a strong emotional connection with them. However, what I have in mind generally falls under sexuality, rather than asexuality. However, the turn-ons and turn-offs are more controlled by personality cues, rather than physical appearance cues.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Going Deep With KassemG

This is the most hilarious thing I ever found on YouTube! This guy called Kassem G. who is apparently a comedian does interviews with porn stars. The interviews are made with a tongue-in-cheek style, very hilarious!

These are some videos that I found:
GOING DEEP: The Lost Episodes

I have to say, I love their ending where they make a sexual pun... I guess I am a punaholic!! And also don't forget to check the extras...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Practical Advice on Interpersonal Relationships

In the past, I have addressed interpersonal relationships from a theoretical standpoint. While I consider the theory of relationships to be extremely important, yet the practice of relationships is equally as important. Theoretical understanding of relationships is not complete without a practical approach that allows the theory to become reality.

This entry is part of the general theme of posts addressing open-relationships. However, the advice applies just as well for closed-relationships as it applies to open-relationships. The reason that open-relationships are not common is because people find it difficult to handle relationships effectively, and the open nature of open-relationships would put lots of stress on any shortcomings in the way relationships are being handled. Closed-relationships avoid the types of situations that would bring problems in a relationship to the surface, and downplays the significance of trust, communication, honesty, and openness. On the other hand, open-relationships require lots of trust, communication, honesty, and openness, and any shortcomings in those areas would quickly cause problems and stress in the relationship. And if those issues were not handled promptly and skillfully, the relationship would deteriorate. It is for this reason I am writing this entry to share my insights about handling such issues in practice.

The basic guidelines to the survival of relationships includes five important tenets: 1- Being realistic and grounded 2- Being attentive and appreciative 3- Openness 4- Verbal communication 5- Honesty

Allow me to elaborate on those five general guidelines:

1- Being realistic and grounded:
It is important to be in touch with reality and being able to do reality checks. Having unrealistic expectations in a relationship can cause lots of problems and stress in a relationship. Any demands or expectations should be reasonable, otherwise your partner might feel overwhelmed or unappreciated. Another aspect of this advice is being able to translate what is "intangible" into something "tangible". Relationships deal with intangible issues, and being able to translate something that is intangible into something tangible would make handling such issues much easier, and allows you to make realistic claims.

For example, how do you know that someone is interested in you? They would talk to you, pay attention to what you are saying, ask questions that allows them to know you better, return your calls. How do you know that someone misses you? They would call if some time passed without seeing you. What makes a friendship? Investing time and effort in the continuity of the relationship and making it progress and develop over time.

The point being, those associations between behaviors and what those behaviors imply create a solid foundation on which intangible claims can be verifiable. This is the foundation on which trust is established. If those associations are available to you, then next time someone makes a claim you have something to indicate whether that claim is true or not. If someone says something like: I missed you, I am your friend, I love you, ...etc you have something to refer to, and attempt to qualify the claim. You don't need to take the person's word for what they claim, but rather have an apparatus to gauge how much the claim is real. And when those claims are revealed to be backed up by behaviors that support those claims, trust can start to grow.

So what every person needs to do is to think hard and deep about reliable indicators of people's intentions, and create a mental apparatus that allows them to reliably associate behaviors with intentions, feelings, attitudes, and all of the intangible values that are important in a relationship. The person needs to have this powerful tool present in their mind so that they can use it when needed.

2- Being attentive and appreciative:
Once a person has the mental apparatus mentioned above available to them, they need to use it. They need to pay attention to the different behaviors that their partner exhibits, and try to make educated guesses about their partner. They also need to be responsive to those behaviors. For example, if someone's behavior indicates that they are interested in you, do something that shows them that you noticed their interest in you, and let them know you are interested as well. If someone's behavior indicates that they want to become good friends, acknowledge them and try to engage in friendship building activities.

In other words, be aware of what is going on in the relationship, and let the person know that you are aware of the efforts that they put in the relationship. You also need to use the behavioral association technique in both directions. That is to say, not only should you use it to attempt to interpret your partner's intentions, but also use it to show your partner your intentions towards them. If, for example, you want to show your partner that you want to establish a friendship, use the same behavioral patterns to give your partner tangible indicators about your intentions.

3,4- Openness and Verbal Communication:
When you notice an indicative behavior it is not enough to respond in a behavioral manner, a verbal response is also important. So when you see any behavior that resonate in your mind, it is a good practice to verbally let your partner know that you noticed their behavior and appreciate its significance. It is also important to let your partner know how their tangible actions translate into intangible intentionality. For example, when your partner calls after having not seen him/her in a while, it is good to say something like: "Thank you for calling because this lets me know that you are thinking of me!" This form of communication shows that you appreciate the action, and also explains why the action is significant. Moreover, it shows your partner the mental process using which you interpret their behaviors. This allows your partner to make a mental note of the behavioral associations that exist in your mind, and gives them an idea of how you interpret them and their behaviors.

It is important to let your partner know the behavioral connotations that you have. Both positive and negative connotations. So, if your partner behaves in a way that has positive connotations to you, let them know about it. Same applies when your partner behaves in a way that you perceive to have negative connotations. For example, if your partner makes an important decision without consulting you, it is a good idea to say something like: "I feel that being excluded in the decision making process on this issue indicates that you put your needs ahead of mine! This is why your behavior makes me feel neglected!" Or, if your partner doesn't spend as much time with you as they used to, you can say something like: "The time we spend together is the most important resource for the continuity of the relationship. I feel that if we don't spend more time together the relationship would deteriorate."

When communicating with your partner, it is important to address feelings, emotions, desires, and perceptions. This is because those intangibles are the heart of the relationship, and they are what matters the most. However, those discussions need to be grounded, tangible, and accessible in order to be effective. Otherwise, frustration, disappointment, and even resentment might enter the equation. For example, if one partner says to the other: "I feel that you don't love me anymore!" This statement describes some feelings, however, it does not provide justification for those feelings, nor does it provide any indication of how the situation can be resolved. In this case, the accused partner will feel frustration because they would think: "How the hell am I supposed to show or prove that I still love him/her?!" This is because emotions are intangible, and in the absence of a method to ground those emotions to something tangible the situation would be difficult to resolve. Another possibility is that the accused partner would feel unappreciated because they might think: "I did 1,2,3... I cannot believe he/she does not acknowledge my contribution to the relationship!" And those feelings of being unappreciated might escalate to feelings of resentment. A third possibility is that the accused partner would address the issue and modify his/her behavior. However, this third possibility runs the risk that the behavioral changes do not match what the accuser had in mind, leading to disappointment to be experienced by both partners because they could not resolve the situation.

People do not always agree on the significance of actions, and what those actions indicate. Other times people are not aware of their behaviors and how others interpret and react to their actions. It is for those reasons that it is important for partners discuss in an open and clear manner their expectations and perceptions and voice out their concerns. They also need to discuss the why and how those behavioral associations came to be, because when partners don't agree on what actions translate to, they need to address the mental process using which the translation is justified.

5- Honesty:
Honesty is the basis of intimacy and trust. Sharing information about oneself is how intimacy is cultivated. Getting to know one another creates familiarity and understanding. It is also the process through which trust is founded. Being honest all the time is a difficult task, and requires lots of practice until you can master this essential skill. However, as long as the people in the relationship do not engage in this practice, the relationship cannot grow and will get stuck at some level without any possibility of improvement.

The most difficult part of honesty is knowing the truth. If you do not know the truth, you cannot possibly tell anyone the truth, simply because you cannot speak of what does not exist in your mind. It is for this reason, the first step of honesty is being self-aware. Ask yourself difficult questions, and don't feel threatened by your own thoughts. After all, your thoughts are private and no one can read your thoughts. So, the first step is being honest with oneself. After you understand the truth, you should be aware of your lies. It is difficult to be honest right away, but it is important that you be aware of the information that you reveal about yourself and the accuracy of those information. The third step is to devise proper circumstances to disclose the truth. Understand why you feel the need to lie about yourself to others, then make sure that you are comfortable with who you are, then disclose information about yourself to people you feel comfortable with in non-threatening situations. Finally, after having practiced disclosing information about yourself in comfortable circumstances, you should be able to move to the final stage of disclosing the truth under all circumstances.

Honesty can dramatically improve the quality of relationships, so it would payoff to establish honesty as a norm in all of your intimate relationships. It is important to note that honesty does not only imply telling the truth, but also volunteering the truth. Lies of omission or simply not stating something because nobody asked about it is a form of dishonesty. Honesty involves desire to disclose information, not only truthfulness of disclosed information.