Is Unconditional Love Possible?

I attend a bi-weekly meditation group and this was the prompt for the discussion this week. I decided to type out my thoughts and include an example from my life before I head to the meeting this week.

What Is Love

Love is one of the places the English language suffers from rudimentary vocabulary. The Ancient Greeks had six words for the different kinds of love. Today, we lump them together and scare ourselves out of using the word for fear of implying the wrong thing.

“You can’t love another until you love yourself.”

I think an important place to start is defining the word for oneself. In my case, I start with self-love. As the old saying goes, “You can’t love another until you love yourself.”

But what does self-love mean? I have done a great deal of reading on this topic and I have answered the question for myself; self-love is being kind instead of unkind to yourself when the person you are (or were) is different from the person you want to be.

Through this lens, it’s easy to look at other people. Every example I’ve come up with in daily life where I get upset or frustrated with someone is because something they are doing is different than what I want them to be doing. Conflict in traffic, politics, and relationships often fulfil this definition for me. In fact I haven’t found any examples where I am upset at someone and this is not the reason why.

Being unkind instead of kind to someone who is not what you want them to be will do nothing to change them.

So what is the reaction when one is angry? I think the default response is to try to punish the other person into being what you want them to be. Phrased this way, it’s obvious that this won’t work. Being unkind instead of kind to someone who is not what you want them to be will do nothing to change them. In fact, attacking someone will only cause then to resent you and your motives and to defend themselves rather than analyzing themselves. Attacking someone can not make them change.

Fundamentally, I define love as a verb, not a noun. For me, it means choosing to be kind instead of unkind when someone is different than I want them to be.

“Unconditional”

This is another hard word to define. I choose to think it means valuing love as a chosen behavior when loving is hard, or not the first reaction we have.

Whenever I feel myself becoming upset or frustrated with someone, I try to ask myself how I can be loving towards this person as opposed to unloving, meaning how can I be kind instead of unkind in reaction to them being different than I want them to be.

This is fundamentally tied to the eternal philosophical conflict between prescriptivism versus descriptivism.

Countless variables contribute to the makeup of any person. Maybe I have an idea of who I want to be or who I want other people to be, but I can not control every variable. In fact the only variables I can control are my own behaviors, and then only with great difficulty. Luckily my own behavior can be a very impactful variable.

Without Love

I had a close friend in high school who had a difficult relationship with his father, a neo-nazi. His father had recently come back into his life after a long absence and my friend was very excited to have a father once again. He started trying very hard to fulfil his father’s expectations and build a closer relationship.

My friend was very conflicted between wanting to have this relationship with his father based on fulfilling his paternal expectations, and with the consequences for the other relationships in his life if he were to follow the path of radical xenophobia and bigotry. I felt very strongly that he was making the wrong choices in following his father, and I tried very hard to change his mind. Over and over, every time we talked about it, he would eventually agree with me and come to the realization that he needed to get away from his family and start over somewhere with better people around him. But over and over, he didn’t follow through with walking away. He wanted a father in his life more than he wanted to be a good person.

I moved away after high school and we drifted apart. A couple years ago, I read in the newspaper that his body had been found in a dusty gutter. He was beaten to death in the street. The reports say he choked on his own blood while people watched and did nothing to help, did not call 911. They just let my friend lay there and die. He had crossed the wrong line, did the wrong thing, said the wrong thing to the wrong person and it cost him his life. I picture him imagining his dad’s satisfied reaction as he did whatever he did that cost him everything. As he lay there in the street choking to death on the taste of blood, I can only imagine him finally deciding he had made the wrong decision in following his father’s path.

 

I have decided to crop out his face and not identify him for obvious reasons.

I really wish more people in his life had tried to be understanding and tried to be kind rather than unkind when he said or did the often evil things he did. I really believe he would have eventually come around and become an ally. He would have had an incredible story to tell of escaping the dark and evil side of the generation that’s on its way out.

I think about him all the time and how conflicted he was, whenever I see someone do something that upsets me. I try to picture the reasons why they are the way they are and what sort of choices I can make to be understanding and be loving, rather than the alternative.

A Sad Tale of Two Fishes

CJ Trowbridge

Micro Econ

2018-02-21

A Sad Tale of Two Fishes

Prompt: Why do salmon populations face extinction the world over while goldfish populations face no such danger?

As someone who grew up in the mountains of Southern Oregon and experienced first-hand the bleeding edge of Salmon conservation efforts, this issue is close to my heart. Wild Salmon populations all over the world face extinction because of negative corporate and public externalities. One of the leading problems historically has been poor design of hydroelectric-dams providing power to home energy markets. These dams can interrupt Salmon runs and prevent them from reaching their spawning grounds. This is literally the definition of genocide: an entire generation of a population is prevented from reproducing before they die.

More recently, these issues have been addressed in many places around the world, and populations are sometimes on the rise. Another negative externality which threatens wild Salmon populations is habitat destruction through pollution or other means. In some shocking cases, physical barriers are put down by people trying to deliberately sabotage or destroy populations in order to later avoid officially responding to conservation efforts during planned future development.

In contrast, Gold fish are a common fancy pet which have spawned a large and macabre market. Many people buy them in order to treat them as a disposable and temporary pet for children who put them in enclosures they cannot possibly survive in and without correct filtration or food in place. Goldfish will often live short and tortured lives, starving or suffocating because of improper equipment and then they are frequently replaced by sadistic and irresponsible parents, ambivalent to the harm they are causing to these animals. A large industry exists to create an endless supply of these animals for children and parents to negligently kill.

 

Quit Your Mediocre Job And Get An MBA

Going to college is an investment, but many people assume that just any college is a good investment. I know a lot of people who have gotten liberal arts bachelor’s degrees and ended up stuck working in restaurants for years, unable to find a real job. This example is a waste of an education. All that money and time spent and they are no better off than someone who didn’t go to college at all. And they probably have debt to pay back.

I decided to wait over a decade to go to school until I decided what I wanted to do and came up with a coherent plan to actually get a return on this huge investment.

If you find yourself working a mediocre job which you hate, then maybe it’s time to do more. So what would happen if you just quit your job today, take out student loans, and go to school for an MBA?

According to research done by US News in 2016, 88% of students who get an MBA find a job within three months making an average of $126,919. That’s the average. Consider the average person for a moment and ask yourself whether you’ll be ahead of that curve. According to Bloomberg, the average person triples their previous salary when getting an MBA from ~$50k to ~$145k.

Cold Turkey

Imagine quitting your job today and starting the path to your MBA tomorrow.

To save money and improve your chances of getting into a good school, you decide to start by finishing the IGETC and Assist.org at a community college. If you’re not working at all, then tuition is free, and you will get about $3k/semester in financial aid. Let’s assume you take out about $20k in student loans along with that financial aid to cover living expenses while getting through Assist.org and IGETC. This number is deliberately high; my own amount was much lower. And I went full-time at two different community colleges to speed up the process.

Now it’s time for a four year school, BUT since we did IGETC and Assist, we’re already halfway done. Let’s assume we decide on a mid-range state school like San Diego State University and a bachelor’s that actually has job potential like engineering, marketing, or computer science rather than something pointless like psychology or art. There are cheaper options and more expensive options out there, but the important thing is to get a degree that is actually going to mean something to an employer, otherwise what’s the point?

According to CollegeData.com, average cost (Includes tuition, room and board, supplies and other expenses) for in state students at San Diego State University is $28,224 minus an average financial aid award of $11,400. So that’s $16,824 per year. Since we did the IGETC and Assist at community college, we’re only spending two years here which comes out to a total of $33,648 which goes onto a student loan.

Alright so now our total loan principal is $50,648 and we have a valuable bachelor’s degree. Time for that MBA.

Bloomberg has really comprehensive research on this, and they put the average cost of an MBA in the US at just $53k plus living expenses. There is no financial aid for Masters students so let’s add another $20k in debt to cover living expenses while we are doing the Master’s program.

Now we have our MBA and debt of around $123,648.

Less Debt Than Income

Remember from above that within three months on average, MBA grads will be making an average of $126,919/year. We could pay all of this debt off the first year if we are as frugal as we have been while in college, or more likely we will spread it out over the next few years and enjoy some of the fruits of our labor. The point is that this amount of debt is trivial for an MBA grad. On average, the total amount of debt is LESS than the starting annual salary.

Having student loans and paying them off is a  great way to demonstrate you are creditworthy. Once you get past the educational hurdle and triple your income, you will be able to do things you never could have before.

Just Do It

It’s scary to leave the comfortable routine and reinvest in one’s future, but it makes sense for anyone smart and capable to make a choice like this, especially if they are tired of wasting time doing mediocre work for mediocre rewards. Life is too short!

How to Remove Viruses and Tune Up Computers FOR FREE

This guide explains hot to remove computer viruses including adware, spyware, and malware. It explains how to prevent reinfection, and how to do regular tuneups and maintenance in order to keep your computer running smoothly.

This guide is only for people using Windows:

  • Such as Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8.1
  • or Windows 10.

IMPORTANT

This entire process should be completely free. At no point in this process should you pay any money or agree to any trials. All of these tools have a free option. They also have a paid option which usually comes with a free trial. Many of them will try to trick you into agreeing to a free trial of the paid version instead of using their free version. Be very careful never to select a free trial. Always stick with the free version.

These are the same tools professional technicians use while charging hundreds of dollars in labor. There is no actual cost for removing adware, spyware, or malware. Virus removal itself is always a free process. You pay for the time of the person doing it. If you can follow these steps and do it yourself, your time is worth those hundreds of dollars!

Also: If you don’t follow my directions here, you can mess up your computer or end up accidentally paying money for something that should be free. If you follow my directions, there should be no cost and no potential for damage. But I obviously do not accept responsibility for any damage to your computer or loss of information. If you feel unsure about a step in the process, send me an email! I’m happy to help. You can reach me at chris.j.trowbridge@gmail.com

Step 1: Remove Viruses

Within the realm of virus removal tools, there are several categories. The biggest one is probably spyware which watches your activity and sells your information to third parties, then there is adware which shows you popups and ads. Third there is true malware which is the most insidious because it will often install other things like adware and spyware, or even more malware. Malware also includes things like Ransomware or Cryptolocker which encrypts your computer and holds it for ransom. We will need to use several tools together in order to effectively target all of these categories of viruses.

First, install and run THE FREE VERSION of Spybot Search and Destroy. When you click on “Download” under the words “Free Version,” you will go to another page where you will need to again look for the “Free Edition” button and NOT the free trial of a paid version. Install and run this program and let it remove anything it wants to remove.

Second, install and run THE FREE VERSION of Spybot Search and Destroy. When you click on “Download” under the words “Free Version,” you will go to another page where you will need to again look for the “Free Edition” button and NOT the free trial of a paid version. Install and run this program and let it remove anything it wants to remove.

Third, install and run THE FREE VERSION of SUPERAntiSpyware. This page uses the same tactics to try to get you to agree to a free trial of a paid version. Do not do that! Find the completely free version and download, install, and run that version only.

Fourth, we will install and run THE FREE VERSION of MalwareBytes. This is a very powerful and popular tool which focuses on heavier malware more than things like adware and spyware. Run it and let it remove anything it wants to remove.

At this point, we need to check in with our progress. If all three of these programs found and removed infections, we need to continue to heavier virus removal. If not, we can skip ahead to the next step, “Preventing Reinfection.”

Heavier Infections

This step is not necessary unless all three of the previous tools found infections. It is important to run those tools first, because they will almost always deal with all the issues. If all three of the previous tools found problems, then we need to use this heavier tool.

Note: this tool can sometimes cause issues with drivers and internet connectivity. Use it at your own risk.

The nuclear option in virus removal is called Combofix. It is also a free tool which is very effective at removing all kinds of viruses, but it can very occasionally cause other problems with the computer which may need to be fixed afterwards. These are typically small things that often correct themselves. Personally, I use this all the time and I know most of my technical friends do too, but it is important to say that using it comes with some risk.

Step 2: Preventing Reinfection

The best way to eliminate viruses from your life is to prevent them in the first place.

Things To Avoid:

Only use Chrome or Firefox to browse the web. Never use other browsers. They are slower and less safe. Internet explorer, Safari, and Edge have all been compromised regularly and they have a reputation for letting infections into your computer without even asking your permission. Using a safe browser makes it much easier to have better habits that will prevent infections.

Never download anything. This may sound extreme, but it is practical. As a student, I often need to view documents from professors. But there is almost always an option to preview the file without downloading it. Look for these kinds of options and avoid downloading anything under any circumstances.

If you must download something, check it before opening it. I love the free tool VirusTotal. Bookmark it! This is a simple website which lets you check any file for viruses. They will check the file with over a hundred different antivirus programs and then give you the results in just a few seconds. Any time I have to download something, I always use this tool to check it before opening it.

Avoid Disreputable Antivirus Programs. Norton and McAfee are the obvious examples. These old-fashioned programs cause far more problems than they solve. They are not effective at removing viruses, and they clutter up your computer with unnecessary resource-wasting garbage. Kaspersky Antivirus is a front for Russian spies. This is not a good tool to use, and has been banned by the US Government as it was recently used by the Russian government to steal classified documents. Read all about it in the news.

 

Runtime Protection

If you have a pattern of behavior that contributes to regular virus infections, then it is critical to have some kind of antivirus running all the time checking anything that is going on on the computer to make sure there are no infections. This is called a “Runtime” antivirus because it runs all the time. Personally, I do not use any runtime antivirus, and I never have any problems. But that is because I know how to avoid them. If you do have problems, you need a runtime antivirus to protect you.

The free tools we installed above are not runtime antiviruses. They run only when you click on them, not all the time.

If you have Windows 10, the antivirus which is built in is probably more than adequate to keep you safe from infections. If you’re not sure what version of Windows you have, you can hold down the Windows Key on your keyboard, and press the “Pause Break” key at the same time. A popup will appear that explains what version of windows you have.

If you don’t have Windows 10, you should probably use a runtime antivirus. This should always be free. You should never pay for any antivirus tools.  Often times, that will just lead to them trying to sell you more things, and not giving you any better protection than you get for free. You can read reviews of the top free antivirus programs here.

Critical: you can not use more than one runtime antivirus at the same time. If you have Windows 10, stick with what it comes with. If not, pick one of the top rated free runtime antiviruses listed below. I recommend Avast.

Here are the current top three free runtime antiviruses according to PC Magazine:

  1. Avast
  2. AVG
  3. Bit Defender

Just like with before, make sure to only agree to the completely free version and not the free trial of the paid version. AVG will still keep trying to sell you the paid version forever. For that reason, I don’t recommend them, though they are the second most popular option.

Backup Your Important Data

Use a free service like Google Drive or Dropbox. They will make a folder on your computer where you can put all your important documents like photos and tax information. They automatically back it all up for you for free, and give you access to your data from their website. These tools will often also alert you if you get a serious infection on your computer which puts your important documents at risk.

In the future, if your computer crashes or is infected by severe malware, you will not lose your important documents. I can not stress this point enough.

Step 3: Regular Tuneups

This is the easy step. We should probably all be doing this once or twice a month, and always after any virus removal. This too should always be completely free and none of these tools should be paid for. Always click the free option and never the free trial of the paid option.

First, install and run CCleaner. It will remove any temp files, extra cookies, etc from your computer and help it to run faster and have more free space.

Second is THE FREE VERSION of Spybot Search and Destroy. We already installed this in the first step, but in case you did not, install it now. When you click on “Download” under the words “Free Version,” you will go to another page where you will need to again look for the “Free Edition” button and NOT the free trial of a paid version. Install and run this program and let it remove anything it wants to remove.

Last is THE FREE VERSION of MalwareBytes. This too was in the first step so you may have already installed it. Run it and let it remove anything it wants to remove.

Now your computer should be running smoothly and virus free!

If you have any questions, let me know at chris.j.trowbridge@gmail.com and I’m happy to help.

The Coming Dawn

When I left a previous job a few years ago, it was because I felt like there had been a dramatic decay in the quality of the people around me. Typically, that company has a very values-driven culture where people are strongly bought into the ideas and principles of service and commitment to quality.

In downtown Portland, I met unbelievably incredible people who I will always look up to, who happened to be coworkers at this company. In Sacramento, the story was different. I found that the same quality people were less common or not present. I was surrounded instead by people who did not care at all about the values and principles underlying the organization.

I quickly became exhausted trying to lead in that kind of environment.

I get the same feeling today with politics and our national leadership. It’s hard to think of anyone in the executive branch who seems to care about what they are doing, or to make any attempt to do it well or to do it based on facts and principles. This theme and idea have spread across a great many parts of my perception of the world around me. I feel the same exhaustion when I read the headlines on the newspapers in the morning. It is like all the smart people have disappeared, and the show is being run by unopposed morons. Advocating for criminal behavior has become a commonplace practice for politicians; from sexual assault to pedophilia, etc. That alone is incredible.

Today, I randomly crossed paths with an old friend who rose to power in the area since I left, at this company I had worked at. This person is one of the most values-driven, principles-driven, and competent people I have ever met. We spoke at some length, and they talked about purging those people I mentioned before. This old friend was very enthusiastic about the satisfaction they felt at removing incompetent people and replacing them with competent people, restoring the commitment to values and principles. They could not have known how satisfying and looked-for those comments were. I have not stopped thinking about this conversation all day.

Rather than feel fatalistic about the disgustingly incompetent national leadership we endure today, and the emboldened and resurgent cult of ignorance and bigotry, I will try to look forward to the coming purge and do everything I can to encourage values-driven and principles-driven people. Corruption, incompetence, moral cowardice, and anti-intellectualism will destroy themselves in the light of day. We need only wait until sunrise, and continue to reinforce the motifs of truth that will become the spark of first-light.

Product Review: Xiaomi Mi ANC USB-C Earbuds

I’m really into minimizing the things I carry with me, and getting the most out of them. The Xiaomi Mi ANC Earbuds are a perfect match for both those goals. They are an amazing pair which I will keep in my everyday carry for the foreseeable future.

These earbuds are replacing a previous pair I used. The old pair were bluetooth noise cancelling earbuds. There were a few major problems with them which apply to all bluetooth earbuds. For one, they still have a chord connecting them to each other, so the dream of removing all chords falls short.  Secondly, they have to be recharged, and there is no way to use them while they are recharging, so it’s sort of Russian roulette every time you need them. And if they’re dead, you’re out of luck.

Personally, I use earbuds for listening to class lectures, audiobooks, podcasts, and music.  I need them to work when I need them, so I decided my next pair would ideally not be rechargeable, or at least it needs to work while I am charging it. But I still really enjoy the noise cancelling feature. I sometimes use noise cancelling without even listening to anything, just to alleviate little distractions around the room.

Enter Xiaomi Mi ANC Earbuds;

First Impressions

The Xiaomi Mi ANC Earbuds are very pretty. The chord is braided nylon and the buttons and earbuds are black titanium. They come with lots of different size options for the earbuds themselves, and with a fancy carrying case which I will never use.

Second thing to notice, they do not have a 3.5mm jack, it’s USB-C! I guess I buried the lead. This is the most exciting part for me. They will never need to charge, because they are powered through the connection to the device. The black piece shown at the bottom of the picture is the buttons. This includes play/pause and forward/back for music, answering calls, etc as well as a button which can turn the noise cancelling on and off.

Noise Cancelling

I have used lots of different noise cancelling headphones over the years ever since the very early bose pairs which were only allegedly mobile-friends and in fact not convenient or comfortable at all. Of all the pairs I have tried, the Xiaomi Mi ANC Earbuds are by far the best for noise cancelling. I am always amazed and momentarily shocked when I take them out or turn them off and realize how much noise they are removing.

After I first started using them, I thought to myself that the way they work seems unusually good. When you turn on the ANC (Active Noise Cancelling), the effect is immediate, but then they seem to take a moment to try other strategies on sounds which are not cancelled easily, like loud fans or electrical sounds. The quality of the noise cancelling then improves as it seems to try additional strategies to combat these other sounds. It seems like they must use some kind of learning algorithm to do this, but I have not found anything in the documentation which explains this.

Sound Quality

A little background on my earbud testing qualifications; I have been a professional sound engineer and DJ for over 15 years and tried lots and lots of headphones across the spectrum from studio monitoring headphones to $4 earbuds.

I have listened exclusively with these for the past few days. I listened to music, podcasts, audiobooks, and even watched Blade Runner. The quality is amazing. I am very happy with my purchase and very glad to recommend these to everyone!

Defining Evil

This is an important word which serves to define the things we ought not to do. I choose to accept Philip Zimbardo’s very studied definition;

Evil is intentionally acting or causing others to act in a way that dehumanizes, harms, or kills innocent people.

The top two reasons people or groups become evil are the delegation of authority and othering.

Nazi soldiers tried for war crimes often said they “were just following orders.” This is the number one way people become evil according to Zimbardo’s research.

The number two way is Othering or using dehumanizing language to excuse evil actions. For example, “I hate stupid people” doesn’t really mean anything, and it is an easy way to give yourself an excuse to say or do any horrible thing to another person.

There is a REALLY GREAT interview of Zimbardo by Tim Ferriss which explores his decades of research into exactly how and why people or groups of people become evil versus heroic under pressure. I encourage everyone to listen to this important interview and try very hard to avoid being evil. If you would like a TL;DR, I gave a speech about it at Sierra College.

❤️ Tim Ferriss – The Four Hour Work Week

Tim Ferris - The Four Hour Work Week

A few years ago, I made an unusual friend. He was a traveling houseless graphic designer who worked very little and made far more money than I did. Everything he owned fit into a small backpack, and he was essentially in permanent vacation mode, while working online whenever he wanted to. He introduced many interesting themes in my life, but one of the best was Tim Ferriss.

Originally, I started listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcast. In it, he dissects world class performers to see how and why they do what they do. Many of his episodes have made my list of things to revisit again and again.

I keep rereading this book, and rewriting these first two paragraphs because of how challenging it is to describe my friend, Tim Ferriss, or what this book is about.

I had heard about this book in the podcast, but I finally decided to read it about a year ago. I was at burning man talking to a friend from the bay area about frustrations with my incompetent business partners and a project that seemed to be treading water and making no progress because of these disengaged absentee partners. My friend’s reply changed the way I think about business, “If you can build and sell products, why do you need these people?” I resolved in that moment to never accept a lack of progress; to do whatever it takes to accomplish my goals with or without people who need me to carry them along the way.

Simply put, this book is about radical individualism and entrepreneurship. These are two major themes in my life and career, so naturally I was eager to learn more.

If you are interested in how to build a lifestyle business that will finance endless adventure, free time, and early retirement, this book is for you. I give it an easy 10/10.

To call up a demon you must learn its name.

There is an idea I’ve been trying to articulate and synthesize for some time. I don’t think I accomplish it here, but this is a step in the right direction.
 
I think back to my favorite book series The Sprawl Trilogy, and to Peter Thiel’s book Zero to One, and an interview between Garry Kasparov and Sam Harris, and another interview of Kasparov at Google about Deep Mind. There is also a great video of Garry Kasparov talking with Peter Thiel about this and other ideas.
 
The basic idea is this; a human/group working together with a computer will always perform better than either a computer alone or a human/group working without a computer.
 
Even a poor chess player working together with a computer can beat any chess computer or any team of chess champions working without a computer.
In fact, Kasparov argues that a poor player working with a computer performs better than a great player working with a computer because the great player will try to use the machine to justify their own ideas, where the poor player will trust and defer to the machine’s calculations, only overriding the machine’s suggestions at edge cases when the machine is not seeing the whole picture.
Peter  Thiel in his book talks about how financial fraud detection at PayPal could only have happened this way. Whenever they devised a new algorithm to defeat fraud, the attackers would alter their strategy slightly until it started working again. Only a team of humans AND computers could analyze the vast streams of data and make decisions about what was and was not fraud. This idea gave rise to what is now Palantir, his new company which does just that; they focus on humans and algorithms working together to sift through large datasets and find important things in real time.
This idea immediately recalled the dream of the Tessier-Ashpool clan in my favorite novel, Neuromancer from The Sprawl Trilogy…
“You’re the other AI… What’s your name? … What is it?” The boy did a handstand in the surf, laughing. He walked on his hands, then flipped out of the water… “To call up a demon you must learn its name. Men dreamed that, once, but now it is real in another way. You know that, Case. Your business is to learn the names of programs, the long formal names, names the owners seek to conceal. True names … Neuromancer,” the boy said, slitting long gray eyes against the rising sun. “The lane to the land of the dead. Where you are, my friend. Marie-France, my lady, she prepared this road, but her lord choked her off before I could read the book of her days. Neuro from the nerves, the silver paths. Romancer. Necromancer. I call up the dead. But no, my friend,” and the boy did a little dance, brown feet printing the sand, “I am the dead, and their land.”
Earlier in the story, another character describes her dead mother Marie-France’s forgotten goals for their industrial clan…
“She dreamed of a state involving very little in the way of individual consciousness,” 3Jane was saying… “Animal bliss. I think she viewed the evolution of the forebrain as a sort of sidestep... “Only in certain heightened modes would an individual–a clan member–suffer the more painful aspects of self-awareness. . .”

❤️ Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy – The Ethical Slut

At burning man last year, I attended a wedding. There is some sweet 360 footage in a recent post about burning man.

The bride and groom gave unusual vows, promising to respect and never try to change one-another rather than the traditional vow of forsaking all others. And there were other differences from the traditional model.

I have long been consciously aware that monogamy is an unnatural cultural construct, and an artifact of the influence of bronze-age Abrahamic religion on modern culture. But as someone who has only ever practiced monogamy as a default, I was fascinated and talked at some length with each of the newlyweds over the course of the week. They and many others recommended I read this book to get a better understanding of what non-monogamy is and how it works, and the deeper fulfillment and satisfaction it can offer as a more natural and healthy alternative to monogamy.

I prefer audiobooks, and this one was very easy to find online, and read by the authors themselves.

It is a very intense read, and packed with information and concepts that need some reflecting and unpacking. It took me over a year to finish reading. I set it down to reflect and experiment at least a dozen times, and each time I started over at the beginning. This is my own unusual method and the only way I feel like I can really absorb all the content from something as intense and broad-reaching as this.

It doesn’t necessarily advocate for polyamory. It is more an exploration of what it means to be monogamous or to be polyamorous, and how to make rational choices about the kind of person you want to be, and then how to be that person well.

I decided to change almost every part of myself after reading this book.

I recommend also checking out this interview which I found closely related to this topic and helped me to parse much of the content.

 

The Ethical Slut