Good talk on blocks

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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Tue Jun 02, 2020 10:19 pm

Rory Miller>>

Boxes
I don’t much doubt my ability to communicate with the written word. It is an amazing tool and with practice it gets better. But this is the nature of the beast, the nature of what I teach and talk about: it is scary as all hell.

It is death and annihilation. Not just facing your own demise, that’s easy, but the fact that you may face your final years blind or crippled or with the memory of having crawled or begged.


Teachers don’t talk about it, usually. But we all know that this is what it is. This is where it all might go. Because of that, because of its nature, people are almost infinitely creative in ways to NOT think about it.

If you read “With the Old Breed on Peleliu and Okinawa” E. B. Sledge describes it perfectly: “…men had squared away their gear and had done their last-minute duties: adjusting cartridge belts, pack straps, leggings, and leather rifle slings—all those forlorn little gestures of no value that released tension in the face of impending terror.”


Fiction, movies, martial arts, late night fantasies- putting this impending terror and pain into boxes, pretty boxes small enough to hold in your brain.


This is the busy work of the monkey mind. The obsession with perfect form, the martial arts politics, the bickering over lineage, treating instructors like gods and your training as The Truth are all just different ways to hide your brain from what this is.


I don’t doubt that I can describe the technique in the written word. But this isn’t about technique.

This is why I teach individuals and in person- because I have to be there to see when the mind wanders, when developing a skill becomes an obsession to hide behind or when they are doing something to avoid seeing something else.


I have to hold what it is and what they are doing before them at all times. In the written word, no matter how strong the truth or how limited the bullshit, there is always enough weasel room that it can become a place to hide behind surface knowledge, a way to ignore while pretending to see- or just fodder for a fantasy.


Because this is my amulet- to hold up what I know about this by its slimy neck and look at it without flinching. Knowing it will kill me some day and refusing to look away. I choose to believe that if I poke at the dark places and wade in the ##### I will understand it, at least a little. And that will let me control it, at least a little.


Posted by Rory at 9:01 AM
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:55 pm

one of the replies


There is probably a good reason why the mind shields itself from the terror of being fully aware of the potential and implications of hard violence in their lives. Think about the various forms of anxiety.

While movies are only movies, they can sometimes be useful for illustration. In "the brave one" IIRC a happy-go-lucky woman has her blinders violently torn off when she and her boyfriend get stomped by a bunch of thugs, killing him and sending her in a bad shape to the hospital.

After that she can't get her mind to go into denial anymore, maybe just a function of the proximity in time but the undeniable realization is that all ANYONE has to do in order to harm her, is decide to do it, because she has also learned that she lacks fighting skill.

And this leaves her with severe fear of people and open places, well until the plot goes Charles Bronson. Seems like the opposite end of the problem.

While I've never experienced that level of it, most if not all my experiences with fear concerning people, whether socially or physically violent in nature, has been connected with perceiving an inability to dominate, and thus being in danger.

Convincing myself that I could dominate alleviated any such fears. Even if I was just bullshitting myself. Something I spent a lot of time trying to do, but hopefully my ability to notice that and slap myself for it has improved at this point.

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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:59 pm

The Cheshire Cat and you

This is really a great essay:

The spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, in his book The Power of Now, says that the notion that we have a separate identity of substance is but an illusion of the ego:

“The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often political, nationalistic, racial, religious and other collective identifications. None of these is you.”

Douglas Hofstadter, in his book I Am a Strange Loop, also writes about the appearance of identity:

“It seems to me . . . that the instinctive although seldom articulated purpose of holding a funeral or memorial service is to reunite the people most intimate with the deceased, and to collectively rekindle in them all, for one last time, the special living flame that represents the essence of that beloved person.”
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:01 pm

Who we think we are is what is reflected in someone else’s eyes. And, like the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, we tend to fade away until nothing is left but our smile—

_ that is, the emotional effect of the memory of us in others, colored by all the other relationships that each person in our social constellation retains (a Pegasus of similarly fading smiles in the infinite darkness).

When we cease to exist, that flame is the fading smile of the Cheshire Cat.

I exist in your perception. I seem to exist, as well, in my own perception. But I can’t rely on that, for what I perceive is continually changing, one moment solid, the next moment a confusion of contradictory impressions.

You’d think that one’s perception of one’s self would be the most reliable, the most constant. Not so.

In fact, we’re so used to our selves changing that we don’t notice it. It’s like a sky full of clouds, or the pattern of traffic around us on the freeway. Look away for a moment, and it’s different.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:07 pm

Hofstadter sums it up with another metaphor (maybe the most accurate way to express any profound truth):

“We are all curious collages, weird little planetoids that grow by accrediting other people’s habits and ideas and styles and tics and jokes and phrases and tunes and hopes and fears as if they were meteorites that came soaring out of the blue, collided with us, and stuck.


What at first is an artificial, alien mannerism slowly fuses into the stuff of our self, like wax melting in the sun, and gradually becomes as much a part of us as ever it was of someone else (though that person may very well have borrowed it from someone else to begin with).


Although my meteorite metaphor may make it sound as if we are victims of random bombardment, I don’t mean to suggest that we willingly accrete just any old mannerism into our sphere’s surface—we are very selective, usually borrowing traits that we admire or covet—

but even our style of selectivity is itself influenced over the years by what we have turned into as a result of our repeated accretions.


And what was once right on the surface gradually becomes buried like a Roman ruin, growing closer and closer to the core of us as our radius keeps increasing.”
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:08 pm

Those mannerisms are what are called “memes,” enduring products of culture that seem to replicate themselves rather like the genes of biological evolution.

While genes replicate through natural selection, memes replicate through imitation. Who we are, then, is by means of a combination of genes and memes.

That doesn’t answer the more basic question, of course. How does the “me” (the fruit of this process) become “I”? We are all conscious of ourselves; how could this not be real?

_ At least the cells in our brain, where our consciousness presumably resides, are physical, chemical, and biological—isn’t that a measure of objective reality? They must contain the information, at least, that we can say defines us.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:09 pm

But, according to Hofstadter:

“The cells inside a brain are not the bearers of its consciousness; the bearers of consciousness are patterns. The pattern of organization [is] what matters, not the substance. It ain’t the meat, it’s the motion!

Otherwise, we would have to attribute to the molecules inside our brains special properties that, outside of our brains, they lack. . . . But if the molecules making you up are not the “enjoyers” of your feelings, then what is? All that is left is patterns.”
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:10 pm

I am but a story, a history of experiences. No, not just a story. A continually swirling pattern of neural activity that sees itself and integrates that with incoming sensations to create the story.

Never still, always seeking more encompassing patterns by which to make sense of existence, to create meaning, to continue the story.

There is no separate thing that sees through these eyes, but only this current pattern of neural activity, this story-in-process.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:11 pm

But wait. Even the glowing grin of the Cheshire Cat implies something else, some larger reality that supports it. Saying that it all gets down to cells and molecules and atoms and quarks, nothing else, seems to leave something out.

Ken Wilber refers in his writings to a “Ground of all Being,” that which manifests itself in the material, living world, that which we are sometimes aware of but cannot point to, that which we can name (in hushed voice), that of which we invent descriptions for our comfort but which continually eludes us.

We, being but stories ourselves, must invent stories of things we experience, however ethereally, however obliquely.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:13 pm

If we cannot find a me except as an abstraction, a constellation of patterns in neural activity, we can still infer what allows it all, call it what you will—God, Spirit, Being, or whatever.

The paradox about naming it is precisely what enables us to think that we understand—our need to make up stories.

Our stories are not it, any more than our perception of the moon is the moon.

And once we think we understand, once we develop our stories, they become the memes that replicate through the culture, reflecting our needs but never it.

Different cultures create different stories, even when they all point to the same ultimate Source of Everything.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:14 pm

The South African author Laurens van der Post put it this way: “Reality, no matter how widened and heightened our perceptions, never ceases to be anything but the effect on us of an infinite mystery.”

We may accept, with Hofstadter, that what we call consciousness is simply patterns of electrochemical activity.

We may even come to see that “the puzzle that is me” is not a separate thing but exists only as a relationship—not in a relationship but the relationship itself.

So, if at the most basic level we are each a pattern of relationship to that Ultimate Ground of Being, then we are also a pattern of relationships to each other—never separate, never simply “I.”

The deeper I look into the essence of me, the more I discover you, and the more I look into your eyes, the more I see me. Donald Skiff, November 27, 2007
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:17 pm

Adrenaline and the Snake


I am just a regular Joe, but I had an interesting experience quite a few years ago. I was in my early 20's and thought I'd go out for a little survival camping. I had a Browning Buck Mark .22 cal. pistol holstered on my hip, and was feeling very cocky. I hiked about 10 miles and picked out a nice spot by a creek.

I set up my tent, and decided to take a little nap. I had just started to drift off to sleep, when I started hearing a whole lot of noise from some brush right next to the tent. It took me a while to remember that I was 10 miles out in the middle of no where, and there shouldn't be something making that much noise.

I started to lean up, and as I did a rather large snake raised it's head and decided he wanted to join me in the tent. I don't remember drawing or firing in the tent, but I did find 2 spent cases in the tent. I did remember to count my shots and was up to 8 and deciding shooting this huge snake wasn't working.

I picked up my walking stick and proceeded to shove the snakes head about 3 foot into the hard dirt. I tried for the next 30 minutes to reload my pistol, but couldn't. Now don't get me wrong, I had done that hundreds of times. In the dark, in a hurry, in the rain, in the snow, and never ever had any trouble, but that day I couldn't do it.

I finally pulled the snake back out of the whole I pushed it in and found that I had hit it at least 5 times. I tried to push the stick into the dirt again, and found I couldn't get it in more than several inches.

I packed up my tent, and tucked my tail between my legs and ran home. Since then I have decided that adrenaline is extremely powerful, it gave me amazing strength, and speed, although the after affects made me feel fairly useless.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:34 pm

SELF SPEAK

Check this out...very interesting...

http://www.policeone.com/patrol-issues/ ... -survival/

Who knew?

That was my first introduction to what would become years of studying brain function and physiology and how they relate to communication, survival mindset, and officer safety. That was when I began to understand that one of the most important factors to look at is how you talk to yourself.

Back in 1986, Dr. Shad Helmstetter wrote What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, a guide to using positive and negative “self-talk” to optimize your outlook and improve your chances for a successful life. At first glance, Helmstetter’s book is a typical 80’s self-help manual full of peppy, new age phrases and a step-by-step guide on how to become “your own best friend.”

Like most cops, I’m a little too cynical for that kind of nonsense, but when I combined Helmstetter’s theories with those of Dr. Louann Brizendine, Steven E. Rhodes, Dr. Deborah Tannen, and even Malcolm Gladwell it all began to make sense.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:35 pm

Admit it, we all talk to ourselves. Sometimes in words, other times with feelings, a general impression, or even just a physical “gut” response, like that clutch in your stomach when you pull over a carload of bad actors that you just know are up to something criminal, you’re just not quite sure what.

That’s what author Gavin BeBecker calls our “gift of fear.” The problem is, we often ignore what our gut is trying to tell us, and that can get us hurt.

The first rule of using self talk to help keep you safe is to listen to the truth. Learn to trust your gut and your instincts, they are usually right.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:36 pm

Not all self-talk is silent and unconscious. Most of us have spent years saying something negative about ourselves over and over without understanding how this can affect us.

Think about it; do you ever say things like “I’m just lousy with names,” “I can’t read a map to save my life,” “I just can’t resist chocolate,” “I’m no good at math,” “I hate to talk in front of a crowd,” and so on.

What about at work? Do you ever find yourself saying “I’m only an average shot,” “My sergeant doesn’t like me,” “I’m no good at speed-cuffing,” “I hate shooting the shotgun,” “If only I were in better shape,” “This job is wearing me out.” Any of those sound familiar?

Like a computer, the more we hear this negative self talk—conscious or unconscious—the more it becomes a programmed part of our brain. The information is stored and easily recalled just like it is on your computer. Think about how your PC would perform if you didn’t protect it from viruses, spyware, and other cyber-garbage: what a mess!
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