How to Train a Dog to Be Just Like You

It’s an undeniably strange thing to do: to shackle oneself to a beast. But that’s what your dog is, what your wife is, what your child is: wild. The only truly tamed creatures are the defeated ones; and nobody loves a defeated creature. At best we can pity them, at worst despise.

The wildness is what we respect and what we admire: an unpredictable impulse, true to desire, true to the moment. But as any sensible person would confirm: it’s one thing to love a wild creature, it’s another to tie yourself to it with a 6-foot rope.

But it is in just such a condition that I frequently find myself: tied to a dog. I’m at the other end of the leash when she darts at a passing poodle, or halts – ass to ground – halfway through a jog to poop, or wanders sharply to the side on the trail of a discarded chicken bone.

And I find myself stressed. I’m not enjoying the walk or the jog because my attention is on the dog. I’m not open to the wonders of the world, I am keyed in to the dog’s movement, to the dog’s gaze, the dog’s mood. I’m constantly adjusting the leash, providing slack or holding firm, changing hands and picking up the drag. I’m too in tune. I have ceased to live my own life. I am a slave to the dog.

I don’t want to beat her into submission or drag her around by her neck. I want her to live a life filled with joy, wonder and youthful abandon. A wild life. So, I sacrifice these characteristics in myself. She is the beast and I am her keeper. She is wild and I am tame, defeated by worry, trying to protect her from the dangerous world. For her wildness does not respect the danger of the “do not walk” signal. She is not fit for this civilized world. if she is to survive, I must watch over her every movement, ready to catch her if she lunges into traffic.

That’s really all it comes down to: traffic. If there were no cars I would let her go, allow her to follow her own impulse. I may come to her rescue if she is stoned by hateful youths, or snagged on a rusty fence, but a car moves too fast for rescue. A car moves too fast for life. A car weighs 2000 pounds and drives 60 miles per hour, yet the nervous system that controls it was made to control 200 pounds moving at a top speed of 12 miles per hour.

And so I must civilize the beast. I must ensure that she not only stops at every corner and waits for my ok, but that she also not lunge at passing dogs or pigeons, for fear that one may be on the other side of a speeding motorway. I must ensure that she does not blindly chase the olfactory trail of a Cheeto lying in the median. One by one I must remove her joyful impulses. Little by little I must defeat her wildness.

And I hate that. But which do I hate more: destroying her wildness or destroying her life?

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I’m So Funny

I’m not sure how or when it hapenned, but I became a comedian. I don’t think my friends think I’m so funny. It’s the squares. They think I’m hilarious. I’m the square clown.

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Life After…

My past haunts me. Not infrequently I find myself wanting to reveal my past to a stranger as an exposition of my core identity. I want to tell them – in the most casual, drama-free way possible – that I have been battling life-threatening cancer for 4 years. I quash that impulse. Although my inner identity is deeply meshed in that past I like to keep it away from my outer relationships; especially the casual or professional variety.

While these memories fade with time, and my identitiy strays from this past, I don’t think this aspect of my identity will ever leave me. It’s too integral to my concept of self. It’s tied to my past and my future. It’s part of me.

And so I carry it around unspoken. People who get to know me without explicitly knowing about the cancer will be missing a key piece of the puzzle. A dark spot in my core. But is this different from anyone else?

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The Other as an Object, Stuck in Time

I walk down the street and some guy is sucking on a lollipop. Disgusting, I think. A grown man with a lollipop sticking out of his face! Later I get on the train. I look around. 75% of the people are staring at glowing screens. Appalling, I think, Bunch of fucking zombies!

I too love lollipops, though I very rarely indulge in one. I also use my cellphone in public, but not all the time; only every now and then.

And so my own actions form a continuum, where variation and dynamism are recognized. I am a living human and every action is unique and justifiable in its own right. I do many things, and at some point I can be seen doing almost anything. But I have valid reasons. Not so with the other. The other is stuck in the moment of my observation. That man sucks lollipops ALL DAY EVERY DAY; and those people on the train NEVER PUT THEIR DEVICES AWAY, DAY OR NIGHT!!!!

Disgusting.

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Heidegger Rediscovered

Every thought or action is triggered by the firing of an electrical signal in a neuron. The electrical energy of the neuron is manufactured on a cellular level by conversion of glucose. Glucose is retrieved from matter in the breakdown of compounds, usually through digestion. The digested matter is directly or indirectly derived from plants, which in turn create energy from the sun. The sun’s energy is derived from the conversion of volatile gasses. These gasses are a form of matter. Matter is considered to be a physical form of energy. Where did this matter/energy come from? Why are there things and not no-things?

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Why People Hate OWS

Bankers Feeling GuiltyIt’s been a mystery to me. Why are people so vehemently against the Occupy Wall Street movement? I hear genuine derision, mockery and plain hatred; which is difficult for me to bear as I see many good things in the movement and very little real threat to any status quo (sadly).

My cubicle neighbor was discussing the protests with a friend on the phone and I overheard. She was expressing disbelief that the protestors were blaming Wall Street for all the nation’s ills. She exhonerated the street by referencing a protestor’s signage. Apparently, the protestors sign read ‘Value Human Bonds, Not Treaury Bonds.’ She snickered to her phone mate.
“Treasury bonds are from the treasury, they aren’t stock or even C.O.D.s.” she noted, “So, you should be probably be protesting the Federal Governement, not Wall Street!”

Two things here. First, she is deriding the protestor for not being consistent with the message of the protest. Seconds, she is insinuating a lack of coherent message in the protest. These things are highly mockable, but seem to miss the point. What I think is more telling is her need to defend Wall Street. She’s taking it personally! That’s when I realized the answer to my question: People hate OWS because it’s a threat to their lifestyles. We are all complicit in the maintanence of the status quo. None of us are self sufficient, we all have bank accounts and buy things. We are all guilty of the excesses of our age. OWS is a threat to our way of life. Are you ready to change?

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American Spirit

The people had nurtured the spirit for countless generations. They had indentified it, called it by name, seperated it from what it was not, felt it and allowed it to permeate them. They nourished it in themselves and represented it in the world through The Way.

By the time the white man arrived the spirit was very strong. It surrounded the white when he neared the shores and slept with him at night. But if the white man felt the spirit he did not show it. He did not accept it as real. He was Christian, and the spirit is a different kind of god. The white man didn’t know how to concieve of the spirit. He built walls to keep the spirit out. He cut down trees to quiet the spirit’s song. His boots and wheels fell too hard on the ground, the songs he sang were out of tune, but he did not hear.

Today the spirit is weak, but it isn’t gone. If you leave the city, find the deepest forest and become quiet you can still hear it. If you give it space to enter you, you can still feel it. Then you can nourish it within yourself and give it expression, making it stronger again.

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What Are You Thinking?

What are you thinking as you walk up the stairs? Are you thinking about what just happened out on the street? Are you pondering the concentric circles that appear to you in visions?

Am I the only one thinking about the fact that my phone is in my coat pocket? So I’d better take it out of my coat pocket and put it in my pants pocket. Because my coat is going to stay in the hall while my phone needs to come inside with me. And if I don’t move pockets now I’m going to have to do it at the top of the stairs. And at the top of the stairs I have other things to do, like getting my coat off, my shoes off and unlocking the door. While here on the stairs I am not doing anything with my hands, so I might as well take the phone out of my coat pocket and put it in my pants pocket now.

Am I the only one thinking this sort of thing?

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