Quotable Notables

Some quotes that I used to litter my Facebook profile with. The theme is ‘freethought’ if you can’t tell.

“The devils of past religions have always, at least in part, had animal characteristics, evidence of man’s constant need to deny that he too is an animal, for to do so would serve a mighty blow to his impoverished ego.” -Anton LaVey


“I have now gone through the Bible, as a man would would go through a wood with an axe on his shoulder, and fell trees. Here they lie; and the priests, if they can, may replant them. They may, perhaps, stick them in the ground, but they will never make them grow.” -Thomas Paine


“I refuse to submit
To the god you say is kind
I know what’s right, and it is time
It’s time to fight, and free our minds” -Amon Amarth


“When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’
The night drags on, and I toss till dawn.
My body is clothed with worms and scabs,
my skin is broken and festering.
My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
and they come to an end without hope.” -Job 7:4-6


“The human psyche has two great sicknesses: the urge to carry vendetta across generations, and the tendency to fasten group labels on people rather than see them as individuals. Abrahamic religion mixes explosively with (and gives strong sanction to) both.” -Richard Dawkins


“A healthy open-mindedness does not mean that one is indiscriminately open to everything. To be noncommital in a situation that demands commitment is no virtue. To be tolerant of everything is to value nothing.” – D.Q. McInerny


“Why should I fear death? If I am, then death is not. If death is, then I am not. Why should I fear that which cannot exist when I do?” – Epicurus


What’s your favorite jabbing, provocative quote?


“TNTSU” Is Number One on Google!

Did you mean "tnteu?" Why no, I didn't!

Awesome! Thank you, followers, re-tweeters, sharers, and the like. Really, what else could “tntsu” mean? “tsu” means something like a double consonant in Japanese, and there’s always “TNT,” of course. But that’s about it. I’m happy to have the Googolopoly on TNTSU, which most notably comes from the Twitter account of the same name. To SEO, and beyond!


It’s Time To Social Mediate

Colorful graphics are key to social media, and to their meta-navigation (src)

Time to what? Social Mediate. I’m going to define this in hopes that do-gooders at large can effectively use the term to inspire change through a network of concerned (or pissed off) individuals. Social media, is, of course, what we’re doing right now: blogging, Facebooking, tweeting, sharing, linking, texting, and so on. Wikipedia defines it as:

…media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue.

To mediate, of course, is to facilitate, to run smoothly, to help this “dialogue” along and allow various parties to get what they want. Random House drops these particuarly poignant definitions:

1.to settle (disputes, strikes, etc.) as an intermediary between parties; reconcile.

2.to bring about (an agreement, accord, truce, peace, etc.) as an intermediary between parties by compromise, reconciliation, removal of misunderstanding, etc.

3.to effect (a result) or convey (a message, gift, etc.) by or as if by an intermediary.

Based on this, I would like to draft the following: to social mediate is to use dynamic technologies in the most efficient scope to facilitate dialogue and understanding, as well as and foster connectedness between groups. Let me attempt to explain what I mean by this:

We want to use dynamic technologies such as social networking, text messaging, or crowdsourcing, to reach people. A lot of people. In fact, the largest amount of people we can – Wikipedia’s use of the terms “accessible and scalable” attest to this, but I don’t want to limit it to “communication techniques” or the word “media.” As broad as those terms are, “dynamic technologies” encompasses almost anything, from wind-up laptops distributed to children in Africa to equipment monitoring for carbon emission tracking. All of these can be fed into databases, presented to individuals, and used to convey ideals for change.

This could be an example social mediation toolkit. (src)

We want to use technology in the most “efficient scope” because waste is inevitable, and often ignored for the sake convenience. Energy use, packaging, shipping, even energy vampires – in our quest for change we must be aware of the repercussions, both locally and globally. At the same time, efficiency matters in the “who” and “how” the message/idea/compromise is presented. E-mail spam has become an incredibly inefficient way of obtaining customers versus highly targeted Facebook advertisements.

Dialogue is at the heart of social media. Ten years ago, you could hardly e-mail Coca Cola – now you can post on their Facebook wall for the world to see. Businesses and organizations are forced to become more transparent, and this is generally a good thing. Understanding is crucial: Nestle understood that their customers didn’t want to eat palm oil that caused rain forest destruction or lead to orangutan extinction. And we want connectedness on issues that matter – it was connectedness that caused millions of frustrated Cairenes to “fight like an Egyptian.”

Social mediation isn't always pretty. Sometimes it takes some a hardened message to get the point across. (src)

I use the word “groups” to avoid speciesism and to be, again, as broad as possible. While it may be difficult to enter into a dialogue with whales, groups like Sea Shepard can social mediate to connect us to them, and have us understand their plight. All groups, from a lowly caste in India, to politicians in Washington, or even a collection of endangered species can be included in this idea, this encompassing of using technology to improve lives. Pictures of distress, such as those from Japan’s recent tsunami, or of elephants being tortured at circuses, can be instantaneously shared with millions of people to effect real change. This goes beyond the idea of “sharing” or just simply being social with links and clicks. I think we can use this framework to social mediate and say to our fellow men and women: “this in injust, and we must fix this.” Or, to simply share joy, and mediate towards even more happiness.

I pose the question to the reader: is this a worthy goal, or are we traveling a road already rutted with an inflection-less, unemotional Internet woes: armchair activists and big-brother surveillance? Is my definition of “social mediation” too broad to do any good, or can we create a new buzzword to inspire the citizens of Twitterverse and Farmville to do something that matters? That, my friends, is up to you. While I think it is possible, we have a long road ahead of us.

Note: While I surmise their definition is different than mine, someone has created the domain socialmediate.com and and an accompanying Twitter account. Like many movements, both sites seem to have stalled out.

What Do We Do? Lead By Example

Start walking.

As I sit here on a Saturday morning, with the weather too cold and rainy to head outside and ride, I ask myself, “what should I be doing?” And it goes beyond finding alternative ways to exercise, updating my blog, or even eating breakfast – it’s about what we are doing to improve our lives and the lives of others. I’m not sure why that subject concerns me so much of late, but it seems to stem from the fact that the more I’m doing what I love, the easier it will be to help people do what they love. And even without direct assistance, the subtle influence of a life filled with love, a positive existence, or even a cheery disposition – these can all make the difference between adding to someone’s life, or subtracting from it.

Think about what agitates you, what gets under your skin. What things bother you so much that they compel you to act, and when you do so, are you making a difference, or simply swimming upstream against a never-ending torrent of negativity? I often want to change the little things in my life – I often want to scrub a pan until it is spotless – but where do we find the balance between simply improving our own lives and working towards the good of others? Does altruism really exist, or do we inevitably work for those kick-backs, be it emotional, financial, or otherwise?

We have to act. This is a given. But often the inspiration comes from negativity, or even worse, from hatred. To be inspired out of love is very difficult, and often requires having enough love to share in the first place. It is often said, “if you can’t love yourself, how can you love anyone else?” and I think that’s true. Self-love is not narcissistic, not conceited – it’s simply believing in yourself: the first step in extending that confidence to others. When we love, we lead by example, showing others to love, and in time there is little room for negativity. It’s not some “hippie-dippie,” magical, or even radical idea. It’s the idea that we are in control, and that really gives us all the power.

Be the broken or the breaker
Be the giver or the undertaker
Unlock and open the door
Be the healer or the faker
The keys are in your hands
Realize you are your own sole creator
Of your own master plan
Dimmu Borgir – Gateways

As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.
The next best, the people honor and praise.
The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate.
If you have no faith people will have no faith in you, and you must resort to oaths.
When the best leader’s work is done the people say: “We did it ourselves!”
Tao Te Ching, Stanza 17

“For the lover speaks a different moral and emotional language…”

“For the lover speaks a different moral and emotional language than  the bourgeois man does. The average bourgeois man has no overwhelming,  smoldering desires. Sadly, all he knows is the silent despair that comes of spending his life pursuing goals set for him by his family, his educators, his employers, his nation, and his culture, without ever being able to consider what needs and wants he might have of his own. Without the burning fire of desire to guide him, he has no criteria upon which to choose what is right and what is wrong for himself.”

From Days of War, Nights of Love by CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective. An absolutely spell-binding, jaw-dropping “book” that implores us “not just to think about the world, but also to change it.” CrimethInc. is the nail that sticks up, truly.