The intricacies of coffee

Who would have thought that the cultural phenomenon of the powers of coffee would be so interesting a topic.

Douglas Haddow asserts that the caffeine in the coffee tricks our brain into thinking that we’re more alert than we really are.  This is easy enough to believe.  I think it’s all about classical conditioning and since we are creatures of habit morning stimulants are now a part of our morning rituals.  The real answer behind this is far more engaging and a bit philosophical.

Going further into the psychoanalysis for the need of coffee is the realization by Haddow that “without caffeine we would sleep more and sleep is the enemy of capitalism.

If I were to be honest I would say that this is how I feel about my coffee needs.

Research was cited from Oxford University that says we now sleep between one and two hours less than we did 50 years ago.  This may not sound like much but if examined in the idea of “things adding up” losing sleep, however little, has long-term effects.  I myself have felt forced to catch up on sleep I’ve missed in the past year at the oddest of times.  I’m going to speculate that there is a correlation to the booming cultural consumption of energy drinks, coffee and other uppers to get the day going that Haddow seems to support.

It’s interesting that in this social media world we have a market for the proper constraints of sleep which has always been a natural process for us. in Tokyo, which is considered to be one of the most sleep deprived countries in the world, this process comes  in the form of two drinks.  One being the “On Switch” and the other, that’s right , “Off Switch”.  Here’s the kicker….it’s the same recipe for both.  The difference being that they’re both taken during different times of the day.

It’s interesting and kind of ominous if I were to give me honest opinion on how we have come to deal with our bodies natural ability to tell us we need more sleep.  What’s more ominous is how it’s being harnessed for the “greater good” of productivity.

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Online Dating

It’s kind of strange but even with my favorite literature there’s always one article that I just can’t get through.  This doesn’t mean that this issue is on the author I’m going to say it’s on me.  I am a fan of the writers who speak from experience in a somewhat awkward voice in the first sentence.  His first thought for his audience is that to his relief he wasn’t the only one awkwardly striving to digitally represent himself as a passable mating partner.

Patrick England describes himself as a “denizen” in the world of online dating.

According to Patrick in the past five years websites such as Match or OkCupid have attracted millions of monthly visitors.  It’s kind of strange but I thought there would be more.  Despite this apparently online dating has become so prevalent in the United Kingdom that the United Kingdom that the Office of National Statistics recently added online dating to the bundle of consumer goods and services used to calculate the rate of inflation.  I would call that another media phenomenon.

In true Adbusters ideology Patrick leaves us with the following statement:

It is instead conflating a free-market ideology of mass consumption as a vehicle of romantic emancipation while obscuring why we were led to such a lonely recesses in the first place.

How about you play with that sentence for awhile?  I like it and I think I agree I just wish I was a bit more intelligent and articulate to express it.  It’s suffice to say that as efficient and positive as social media and the Internet are I believe it also mirrors everything negative about us.  Capitalism and consumerism using something else to drive their empire of power and control (but you have to read the article).

If we kill a corporation

image courtesy of Adbusters

Another poem from Adbusters.  I can’t say for certain what this visual depicts.  I’m going to assume that this is just another piece of abstract art that’s meant to be thought about.  The informative information given that no corporate charter has been revoked in over 100 years was not surprising.   I guess that would be the reason that things have gone so awry but I’m not an expert by any means in matters like these.

The enticing idea in this column was that if we were to merely commit to the action of revoking a corporate charter, whatever that entails, it would create a ripple in the established order.  I think that’s something that could have positive long term affects if handled appropriately but it has to happen first, or, as the author puts it “the floodgates would happen”.  I like the vision that I got with that.

Nicotine is addictive: How do certain corporations exist?

http://adbusters.org/

This isn’t one of Adbusters more deep and abstract messages but it’s one that should be heard.  I may not be the most savvy when it comes to intelligence or media but I’m certain that nicotine is addictive.  I tried to give up smoking once and I got 3 hours of sleep.  I kept waking up aching for a cigarette but I prevailed (for a while).  Around 2 pm later that day someone asked me how I felt and I responded, without missing a beat, “This is the worst I have felt in a long time and I’ve had bad times but this is right up there” and then I went into a tirade that consisted of having a hopeful violent confrontation with a mugger or grinding a pencil into fine dust to see if I could smoke it.  I felt certain that if either of these scenarios panned out it might alleviate the stress anxiety, and agitation I felt.  I ended that with saying “Thanks for asking”.

In this particular clip, fittingly titled “Dirty Dozen” we are given twelve members of a major smoking corporation at some sort of Board Meeting who all answer the infamous question of whether or not nicotine is addictive.  Each member gives the  response “No”.  I guess denial and justification in the context of law and ethics stretch extremely far.  What was even more sinister, at least to me, was that they were reminded that they were under oath.

Question: How much harm does a company have to do before we question its right to exist?

Anyone with half a brain can figure out that nicotine is addictive whether they’re a smoker or not. There’s a reason why people who attempt to give up smoking find themselves gaining weight, having mood swings…..the list goes on.  There are pharmaceutical companies offering solutions to this particular group of people in the media.  If I know anything for certain I would say that no one should ever say with a straight face say that nicotine is not addictive.

Apathy

Is is strange that if I were to take a picture of any particular moment in my life it would look something like this?

This link had what I would call a monologue or poem.  Somehow in a land where freedom and liberties are endless we fail to notice how little we control.  The worse is that we don’t seem to care and when did it happen where we have a history of so many revolutions and, yet, this is what we have to show for it.

Now this is something that I would participate in.  I’m not into social media but I would crash my car to go home, get comfy, and participate in something like this.

American History 101 revised

This is what America is

Kalle Lasn begins her topic with the tone of a storyteller recalling what America stood for in those colonial times that we’re all familiar with.  The settlers wandering in the wilderness and hungry for freedom and liberty from the tyranny of Europe.  We all remember the stories of diplomatic and progressive leaders and the people who were willing to die with them all in the name of freedom.

It was an entertaining story and, I guess, other kids could be proud of what our history was.  I was in a different boat because my ancestors didn’t share in that glorious feeling of the representation of the flag.  I’m not psychic so I can’t say for sure what the emotions were for them as they watched their way of life disintegrate but it had to be devastating.  I will say I wanted to be proud but I walked a fuzzy line between family and cultural traditions as well as wanting to be any other American kid.  My grandmother always hated the idea that Christopher Columbus was considered to have discovered America.  When I first told her, after a history lesson at school, I knew right away I had said the wrong thing because she paused and gave me this hard look.  I was waiting for some sort of grandmotherly tirade but all she said was, “Columbus was a rapist and a murderer….America was already discovered…..what are they teaching you at this school”.  It was one of those moments in your childhood that you learn just how illusive truth is and how subjective.  It was my first clue that history is told from the perspective of the ruling class or victor.

I know that’s an odd segue but I wanted to give some background of my own as to why I decided to comment on this particular topic.  Kalle and I don’t totally agree.  I’m not sure I would describe the early settlers as noble and wanting “freedom for all”.  I would argue that they wanted their rights to be free and own others’ but they didn’t care if anyone else was free.  The bottom line: they wanted to be free to pursue wealth and power.  This isn’t something I consider we, as American people, should be proud of.

If I were to paraphrase I would say that I do agree that the American people have been reduced to servitude and their revolutionary ways have  been snuffed out.  Kalle and I agree on that much.

“Environmentalism has failed” it’s a symptom of modernism

This called at me while I flipped through the pages in one of the older editions of “Adbuster” in July of 2014 by columnist Stephanie Krasnow.  Since the beginning of my love affair with Adbusters I had to read the article that said “environmentalism has failed” because I found it darkly humorous since I live in a world where I can’t go anywhere without seeing “eco-friendly” labels, recycling bureaucracy, and just about everything else that screams at me that everything is fine or on the way to being fine.  If there isn’t that than I have some  intellectual message saying “everything’s fine”.  My history with Adbusters is that there was a deeper message so I smiled  and got cozy in my bean bag chair.

Environmentalism so far is but a symptom of Modernity rather than a meaningful solution to the mega-crisis Modernity has created. Once we entered into that paradigm of “Nature” as “Other”… the planet became understood only as an object to be idealized (romanticism) or as a resource to be exploited (capitalism).

I love this because it taps into the idea that to fix a problem we must understand where the source is which we inevitably fail to do.  We’re always creating campaigns and social movements to fix a problem but I don’t feel that anything becomes truly solved.  All that happens is that we change a few things around.  Change the wording and what our expectations are…….and it’s done.  We assume that nature and the environment, along with a great many other things, is being watched over because we’re told it is.  All we must do is donate some money to a random eco-friendly organization and the problem is on it’s way to being fixed.  We believe we can fix anything with money and I don’t think that’s the best approach to the problems that plague us as a species.  Money does not fix everything.  It is a cliche but it’s a cliche that’s relevant.

All truly paradigm-busting ideas go through three phases, as Schopenhauer once famously suggested. First, there is denial and ridicule. Next, there is outrage. And at last, it is said to have been obvious all along. After Einstein published his theory of relativity, a hundred physicists wrote a paper condemning it. Einstein’s response was marvellous, he said: if the theory is wrong, why shouldn’t one author suffice? As for environmentalism, it seems that we are currently passing from the first to second stage. And, looking back at all previous paradigm shifts— from Copernicus to Darwin, from Einstein to Heisenberg — we have reason to be hopeful … that we will make it to the third.

I wish I could tell you who Schopenhauer was and more about Einstein to earn credibility on my part but I can’ although I will continue with saying that I do agree with the three phases.  I’ve said something similar myself except my 3 phases are:

deny/outrage –

ridicule/passive-aggressive behavior, and finally

ignore/pretend to fix/life g0es on.

Schopenhauer’s three phases: denial, ridicule, outrage

I still think they compliment each other.   I know it sounds pessimistic and I criticize everything but I don’t know if there are any alternative solutions but I do know that I don’t feel warm affection towards a good idea that seems, at its core, to be objectifying something and is an easy way for people to rest easy using money.  I have to go with late comedian George Carlin on this one “the planet isn’t going anywhere….we are…..the planet’s been through worse than us”.

I actually wonder with the onset of global warming if the planet is trying to get rid of us much like your immune system sees something that it doesn’t like and gets rid of it.  It could be true.