On Asking For It

 

Still-Not-Asking-for-it

This picture has made the rounds in social media for a while now. Recently it has surfaced pretty strongly in my circle of Facebook friends, and has produced something of a contention among them. The argument seems to be over the degree to which someone should take responsibility for their own safety and not engage in risky acts. One guy even went so far as to edit the image so that instead it read, “Still nutso. Asking for it.” Not only does this diversion miss what I think is the central point, I don’t see how the notion is defensible when we reward people like extreme sports athletes for taking big risks with their safety.

The first time I ever heard the phrase, “She was asking for it”, in connection with sexual assault against women, I balked. I still do. Not for any really noble reason. What boggles me about such a statement is that it is literally impossible. This is one of those things that people say that make me wonder where they learned their language, and if they actually know the meaning of the terms they are working with.

Let’s be clear: we are talking about rape. One of the most explicit definitions of the word that webster.com gives is this, “unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent.”

I take issue with that definition, as I don’t see rape as a sexual act, but rather as a violent act. However let’s leave that point aside and deal with the definition as given. (I also don’t like the words, “usually female” in there because I think making this an issue about women is a case of extremely muddled thinking and victim shaming.) Note the phrase, “against the will.” For me this is where the boggle comes in. If something is against someone’s will, they cannot possibly ask for it. The two statements are contradictory. They cancel each other out. The sentence, “She got raped, but she was asking for it”, is nonsense.

There may, or may not, be a valid conversation to have about being aware of ones environments and acting in a way that is more likely to keep one safe. I am a martial artist with two and a half decades of training in self-defense. There are certain situations and settings I avoid because I don’t relish the idea of having a violent encounter. That being said, if I did go into those situations and I did get victimized I would not be at fault. I would not be to blame. It is never possible to ask for a violation of one’s person or property. Period. In my book, anyone who thinks that such a thing is possible is operating under the weight of insanity.

Now, I am a man, and am not enough of a fool to think I am completely free of the influence of rape culture in the modern world. I don’t have all the answers. Not even close. I invite anyone who wants to offer a refinement, or refutation of what I have said to engage me in conversation. I want to learn. I think we have a real problem with this subject in the modern world and I would like to be further educated on it. I know I have blind spots.

That being said, it is simply not possible to “ask for it” when it comes to rape. The definition of the term does not support such a view. Any conversation about safety and awareness needs to be free of the phrase “asking for it” to avoid confusion and to have a chance of being at all helpful. That’s my opinion, and I don’t see how the matter can be seen any other way.

Manic-Depression for Fun & Profit

Manic-Depression

Manic-depression runs in my family. For some of my relatives it has been a crippling condition. For some it has been lethal. For myself, it has been a long standing condition that colors my reality-tunnel in a number of ways. Thus far I have not had to medicate to manage the condition. I have nothing but good opinions about using meds to deal with clinical depression in all it’s forms. The careful use of prescribed pharmaceuticals have been a great relief for several of my family member, as well as several of my friends. I have simply fallen on the portion of the spectrum where the use of medication is not indicated. So far. Depression can be a progressive disease, and I often take stock of my fluctuating moods to see if I might need that help.

That is not to say that I do not self-medicate to a degree. I do. Mostly that self-medication comes in the form of daily meditation, and frequent journaling. Some may not think of these activities as self-medicating, but I do, and having these tools has helped me a great deal.

This post isn’t about medication though. It’s about a shift in how I operate within a context that contains manic-depression. I have come to see that I have been on a particular cycle that is less than fruitful. One of the less-than-skilled ways in which I operate during the manic cycles it to spend money. Often a bit more than I actually have. That leaves me with the depressive cycle for earning money. Not such a good combination.

So, I am building the habit of reversing this trend. I now focus on doing work that pays when in a manic phase, so that I can enjoy the afforded comforts during my depressive phases.

This all seems like a complete no-brainer, but then again most good epiphanies do in hindsight.

I would not have been able to see this pattern were it not for journaling and daily meditation. I guess they worked! ūüėČ

Photo Credit: Rick Stegeman

The Trick They Have Pulled on Us

TheyTrickedUs

I recently watched a cool talk by Grant Morrison, which he gave at the Disinformation convention a couple of years back. It blew my mind along several axis, one of which I want to talk about today. (You can see the full talk here. WARNING: turn your speakers way down for the beginning as he starts with a very loud scream.)

Grant spoke about several subjects that are near and dear to my heart. One of them was sigil magic and the basics of how to do it. Then he segued into how people think about money, with a quick detour to point out that the “M” that we so often seen rendered in stylized gold on a red background is not really an “M”. That symbol is a sigil, a magical placeholder for associations in our collective brain space. In a certain sense the big corporations have begun to use ritual magic against the masses.

That was a sideline to what I really wanted to touch on today. What really got me was what Grant had to say about money. The gist of his point was that those at the top of the money spire, the 1%-ers, aren’t actually concerned with money. They are concerned with power, and control, and personal freedom. Money is just what happens as they¬†make the moves, and run the corporations and power structures that ensure power, control, and personal freedom for themselves and their legacies. The Bilderbergs don’t chase the almighty dollar. They work the system to funnel power into their structures, and the money just comes along.

What came to me was that, if the above is at all accurate, then they have secured their position by making us (the 99%-ers) believe that money is the way you gain power, control, and personal freedom, and not the other way around. So, while we spin our wheels chasing the phantom booby-prize of “fat stacks”, they chuckle and just keep pulling in the power. It we push this idea further I think an even more malicious game is revealed. They foster the image that what they are doing it scooping in money. They present a villainous facade, casting themselves in the role of guys in expensive suits sitting on stacks of one thousand dollar bills, lighting their Cuban cigars with hundreds.

This is a gaff. A shell game. Three card Monty. While we focus on their money as the source of the power, we chase a phantom they control. Meanwhile they rake in the real abundance. Chasing money is a slow march to the grave, with nothing to show for it but the ups and downs of our bank statements. All the while we are also in competition with each other, snatching at notes whose value is designed to decrease. Rather than moving towards the real prize, we keep elbowing each other to the side, and trampling our brothers and sisters under our ambition.

I think it’s time we leave that behind. Instead we can do what they do. We can consolidate forces, agree upon intention. We can present a united force with the idea of increasing abundance for all, rather than striving for the thing they have convinced us can be used to purchase that abundance.

It’s a fools gambit, and we are the ones they are making fools of.