My Life

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The incentives are clear. None of that deterred me. People also seem to be enjoying the new poems in Illocality. Massey, you have been through a great deal earlier in your life. For that, I am sorry. I would suggest that many elements of this piece are not worthy of one pursuing a higher path through spirituality or who is working through the twelve steps of AA. You list the many places that have published you and the influential authors you have known, yet you wonder how people could suggest that you wield any sort of power.

Massey, power comes in many forms. You would do well to reflect on this as you forsake your former life and cultivate a new community of admirers on this site. The blatant sexism of many of the comments here should signal to you that your new chosen path could be a darker one indeed if you are not careful. Congratulations Mr Massey on just surviving this far.

Best wishes for many interesting and, possibly, some happier days ahead! We were all so optimistic once. First the Berlin Wall fell, then so did communism. Freddie Mercury had stood up on stage at Live Aid, and it really looked as though we were going to make the world a better place.

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Lady Dianna epitomised a new era of modernity, replacing the sad and stagnant one of the past. Bill Clinton took over the White House, and for a while there it really looked as though we could have our cake and eat it too, be wealthy, but also be kind. And then it all went horribly wrong. Freddie died of Aids. Di died. And to cap it all, the crime bills that Bill had signed, principally at the behest of Community Leaders but also to reverse his probable destiny as a lame duck President , started to look worrisome, in application.

But throughout all this technology was the bright and shining beacon on the coastal hill before us, beckoning us forward to a bright and shiny future and offering respite from a tempestuous sea. It even managed to free a country in the Middle East and make it democratic, ushering a wave of new revolutions, filled with the promise of the Arab Spring. But we should have known that the light from that beacon was false, placed to wreck us on the jagged shores of our own complacency. Because if the television media had always encouraged us to only gather a shallow surface of knowledge about the world, the internet invited us to stretch the time we use to acquire knowledge to a wafer thin veneer.

People are just to busy curating their own lives online, or posting to friends, or doing any of the other mindlessly banal things young people do with their phones a vice I still refuse to carry , including but not limited to taking pictures of their food, and playing with their phone when they should be paying attention to the people they love or care about, over a meal. I could understand taking a picture of your food in The Fat Duck or The Hand and Flowers, I really could, because then you would be taking a memento of visiting the abode of one of pioneers of molecular gastronomy or the first Michelin starred pub in the world- but some anonymous 4.

But in no area is this veneer of knowledge so dangerous, as when it is applied to people. But in this Brave New World, the superficial, the veneer, works on both levels. And the reason why it works is because the incentives are all wrong, people get socially and financially rewarded for being bullies, getting to enjoy the self-righteous adrenal rush of tearing at the reputation and livelihoods of others, like moral harpies.

This has got to stop. Perhaps a small group of 50 to tech savvy citizens could trawl through the lives of the worst offenders, baring their hidden histories to the world. Even suggesting it makes me feel queasy, uneasy- like creating the stasi to stop the stasi. Maybe it could be done on a less personal level- tracking those who instigate outrage mobs- and creating a register of those who have benefited most financially, by destroying the lives of others. Yet another horrible idea, perhaps. But in the absence of some deep, cultural wake-up call, some media image that shows just how harmful all this really is the Moral Harpies and the circus masters that instigate the attacks are going to win every time.

Given the means almost everyone will make a blithering idiot of themselves by saying silly or harmful things, and now you can broadcast to the world your idiocy. It is like overhearing conversations of our children; a mixture of horror and amusement. But it takes a special type of stupidity to consider this garbage as anything but that.

To break off a business arrangement due to some twitter noise? Are you serious?

I also believe we will see damages awarded where someone is fired or a business arrangement is altered because of these accusation campaigns. Someone will have the unpleasant task of explaining to a jury why they fired someone based on a flurry of twitter comments from someone called coldporridge More recent examples include Cambodia and Rwanda.

My life in sex: ‘I would get up at 5am and masturbate for hours’

History is full of moral paroxysms of murder and wanton destruction. This is different only in degree. After each one of these atrocities, scholars spilled hundreds of pages of ink asking why. The Nazis who murdered Jewish children did not consider themselves evil and neither did the Soviet apparatchiks who condemned millions to death by starvation. The felt their cause was just and holy.

They believed that they were doing good. The story is actually not about them. It is about the desire of their oppressors to feel holy, pure, and virtuous. The mob makes you feel that way. We are genetically programmed to be tribal. We like being part of something greater than ourselves. The survival of the human species has depended upon it. But it can work both ways. My friend is correct. A mob is also a tribe.

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And the internet makes it easy to join. We did not evolve with social media in mind. The mob becomes a religious experience. Those in the mob feel holy. They are merely a means to an end.


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They are necessary roadkill on the path towards goodness and holiness. Geary, there is really only one way to stop the mob.

As much as business over-regulation is repulsive to me, I think we need to regulate social media. The idea that Twitter and Facebook bear no responsibility for the destruction of lives is something we have decide if we are comfortable with. I am not! But given the present political climate and the move of the media and the Democratic party to the far left, I do not see that happening anytime soon.

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I see things getting worse. That nervous mention, the familiar feeling in his gut that was not welcome, was as unwelcome as his mother had been. Geary: Thank you for the compliment. The short story of my life is that I wanted to be a professor nearly all my young life…right up until the time I was one.


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  • I got a Ph. I soon realized that I was not cut out for academic life and joined a big oil company as a research scientist. That led to going out on my own and building a successful energy consulting business. I have been gainfully unemployed since I am very fortunate in that I really enjoy what I do for a living. I am one of those old-school Republicans who was totally surprised by Trump. I never thought he would win the nomination and then I never thought he would win the presidency. When he did, I realized that there was a whole part of American culture that I did not understand.

    So, I did what any good scientist would do. I went on a reading binge. I realized that I live in a bubble.


    • My Life Is a Gift; My Life Has a Plan!
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    • A more conservative bubble than academia but a bubble nonetheless. Fortunately, I had already done some of the necessary field work. Part of my job has been going out in the field and meeting the pumpers, roughnecks, and roustabouts that making pumping oil possible. Over the years a few of them have worked for me. Most are either white or Hispanic and are very religious. They live in small towns and they are all Trump supporters Yes, the Hispanics too.

      None are racists.

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