….Continued from A Life of Illusion: Chapter 6: A Family of Trees
Dot’s Journal, Earth Date 20.11.13:
My friend Marian has been on a spiritual path for some time. I didn’t know this until more recently when she started talking about the Hays and their work on karma. She asked me if I spend most of my time in the 5D, and the answer is that I do not, especially not since having COVID three times, being vaccinated twice, having to navigate all the news, and learning all the barriers to the 5D from experiences trying to connect with others. I am actually not sure that is possible, except for people who are totally checked out and have minimal earthly responsibilities because someone else takes care of most of their earthly needs. A while back I postulated that because of the way society enforces gender norms and women end up being in charge of managing these things in households that is why men usually end up in power, and that by failing to encourage kids to help around the house in healthy ways and saying that “boys will be boys” is how we perpetuate this inequality, and ensure that women don’t have the time to do much more than care for their families without outsourcing housework and childcare, because it is the rare man who will want to pitch in with these duties the way it is required to free one’s partner. I am able to write because Bert does pitch in. But it is still a lot for both of us.
I also do not know how to tell if one is in the 4D or the 5D reliably without the Tarot. And all I can really tell with that is the energies my choices will bring. Certainly, the more of the material world one has to deal with, the harder it is. So, it’s really hard if you’re raising kids, because that means, at least in our society, unlike in Mongolia, homelessness is stigmatized, and depending on what class you are in, you may be constantly sucked up in conversation with others about various aspects of whatever material values they happen to have. Lots of things that don’t matter to success or even bliss are stigmatized, like whether or not one has a yard service or a fresh coat of paint on their house or new cars or whether the art on their walls matches their sofa well. For many years I tried to be the person that didn’t get worked up about little things, because having had several near death experiences, I knew that death was not something to fear, and that a lot of stuff just doesn’t matter. A lot of the bullshit of life is just Mean Girl Minutiae. For example, right now Bert is showing me that the Chrome logo has been changed ever slightly, and we’re wondering how much the person who did it got paid. I told him “More than me!” It’s amazing what people can convince other people to pay them money to do, and how much they can get for it when there are people performing actually essential services during this pandemic and struggling to stay alive.
In reaction to this dark obsession with personal image that people around me had, there were things that I minimized that probably needed more attention - mostly stuff that needs to be fixed around the house. Some of these things are too physically demanding for us, and I question the sustainability of having a home which has features which one can’t maintain oneself. But generally I tried not to force things because Bert had so much trauma around home care because of the way his parents used him as free labor for their home improvement projects in homes they never stayed in for more than 18-24 months all through his teen years. It meant that he would rightfully become quite irritable when I thought of home improvement projects, because he desperately needed a break from them. Even though I am a neuroscientist, I did not think of the necessary chemical exposures involved in a lot of the projects. He had to do roofing, drywall, painting, landscaping and tiling on various homes for his parents over the years, all of which came with significant exposure to poisons, and because they were proud weekend warriors, he rarely got a break from the exposure. He still complains about it.
Somehow, though, when I am not going through something myself, it’s hard to really hear the pain behind someone else’s words. It didn’t really hit me until I got sick from all the exposure in our own home and his parents’ how when you spend time on a project like that, not only are you losing the time involved, but there is time needed to recover from the exposure and the toll it takes on your body. If that kind of work is not benefiting a person directly, they should be compensated in some way. There are child labor laws, but parents can circumvent these for their own material gain, and it often looks like efforts to install a good “work ethic” in their kids. My own father paid me for work like this, and it was infrequent. Certainly, children should be encouraged to help, especially when it comes to the maintenance of their own and shared spaces, but exploiting them for personal capital gain is outright theft of that child’s potential. Our children do not choose the situations they are born into; they do not choose their parents’ values, yet those values if not questioned can seriously harm a child.
Creativity is a manifestation of the 5D, which is something we get to by going within ourselves. Under constant direction, a child loses access to their creative potential. Chemical exposure makes that access even more difficult.
Learning to make do and how to have gratitude for what we already have frees us up to have the kind of transcendental experiences the 5D can offer. One need not take a hallucinogen to do this; it’s possible to have it just laying under a tree if one isn’t having to detox one’s body of construction and cleaning chemicals.
There is no reason to use most chemicals routinely. People do not understand how effective castile soap is. It disrupts membranes, and that is how it kills bacteria and viruses. I cannot recommend most manufactured soaps or detergents because they contain volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde, even ones marketed as “natural.” Moreover the “natural” ones make use of surfactants derived from palm oil, and the palm industry has many negative environmental downstream effects. They also have fillers in them which can encourage mold growth, according to the company that has repaired my appliances. I make my own cleaning stuff now. I had done it before, so it wasn’t that much of a change for me. It takes less time than going to the store. There are many books and websites with instructions.
It turned out the more people I talked to, the more I learned had some experience with spirituality and/or metaphysics. For most of my life I have known that there was something out there uniting us all, because I have had many paranormal experiences. I didn’t know they were paranormal experiences, since I was a scientist, though. I’m still not sure they were paranormal experiences; they could have just been manifestations of my mind from the chemical exposures. For real, though, there is a dream space we can all visit, and people see the same things there. There are many authors, even scientists, who write about this and psychic phenomena because they have experienced it, too. They get brushed off by scientists who haven’t experienced these things. Having these kinds of awakenings is hard; especially in a community like mine. Many people are highly educated and are non-believers. I still consider myself an atheist, even though I know there is something connecting us all.
I think it is the concept of some controlling force (good or otherwise) that makes people shirk their ethical responsibilities in life to be good to each other. They’re always hoping some invisible benevolent force is going to step in. And that’s just not what reality is like. The onus is on us to cultivate “Christ Consciousness.” In my mind, that means valuing life more than our own greed. I learned an interesting saying while helping edit my friend’s book, which my parents happened to already know. They are not technically boomers. Well, my Dad is, but he doesn’t have that mentality, probably because he may have had undiagnosed Autism. The saying is, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!” It takes precious energy to replace things, so it shouldn’t be done just because we can’t appreciate the object’s color. It is not important for appliances to match, for example, and one should be judicious with their exposure to paint, because it is carcinogenic and neurotoxic. “They” are telling me the time spent worrying about that would be much better spent laying under a tree, with or without some cannabis. I wish people who think that controlling the appearance of their surroundings is important would watch Generation Wealth. While it concentrates on really wealthy people, I see how these people’s values have trickled down in harmful ways, and essentially displaced heartfelt connection as a reason for living.
I don’t think anyone wants to look like they are struggling, even when they are, and that these plastic visages help give the illusion to others that they are not. I almost see the amount of plastic covering (paint, new textiles) as an indicator of how insecure someone is. Not that it is important to own books, but if a person has a certain amount of money, it would be expected that they would own more than just a few, because they would value knowledge and the human experience, and things that help imagination. A person’s interior space tells a lot about who they are, unless, of course, they don’t really spend time there or hired someone else to tell them who they are and how to be in the space. Maybe they just want to look like they are so important they don’t have time to think about those things for themselves. When my kids were little they liked to tape their paper creations to the walls and I allowed them to do that because I felt that our interior space should be a place of honest and natural expression for all of us. I’m not sure I really achieved that. I hope it is fair to say that Bert and I decided to do the things we did to our home together and that it wasn’t due to my compulsions. I think maybe early on when we first moved in I didn’t consult him on the curtains I chose, but he and I tend to be attracted to the same things aesthetically, so things like that haven’t really been a bother. I bought a lot of what we have used or second hand. I didn’t always consult him because the cost was usually so low. An additional benefit was that the things had usually off-gassed already.
I get lots of “messages.” It’s my stream of consciousness. I think this scares a lot of people, but learning to meditate helped me learn that I shouldn’t let my thoughts define me. These are just voices from past traumas. I never studied the neuroscience of dreams, so I never really understood what they were until reading about Jung and psychic phenomenon as studied by Stanford University and the CIA during the 50’s and 60’s.
Bert just read an advice column which mentioned that it is bad etiquette to talk about one’s dreams. Now that I know that dreams are prophetic, I understand why someone might say that, because they can spread unnecessary anxiety. I am getting a lot of messages about death right now, which makes sense, because I am going through a lot, like we all are. We all got COVID in early November and I am glad that Bert and I did all that preparation with respect to our air quality, because I am not sure I would have made it otherwise.
The last several months have been a big test of the approaches I used to heal myself from chemical exposure, to see if they work for healing COVID. The rest of the family says they are okay, but I am still struggling a bit. Being female certainly complicates things. Many of my symptoms are consistent with perimenopause. It may be because of hormones, and if that is so, I should find out in the next few days. This was not an easy illness; I am so confused why people would take it so lightly, except that they may not have considered that they are not as healthy as they think they are. I know at least one person who had COVID who is still battling long-term effects from the disease, and this is a person who ran or cycled every day. Looks can be deceiving.
Around the time of Pasteur, there was another scientist, Claude Bernard, who was interested in infectious disease. He determined that pathogenesis was largely determined by the weakness of the infected organism to disease. Most people are very confused about what disease resistance is. Most scientists are now in agreement that disease is caused by inflammation, so I think it is safe to say that inflammation plays into the pathologies caused by infectious agents, too. It would benefit mankind to be more honest about how our economy affects inflammation and start voting with our dollars as Americans against things that hurt us and for the things that create consciousness. For me this is always evolving, as I learn more. After watching The Great Pottery Throwdown, Bert and I started thinking even more about how we could eliminate our demand for plastic. I think it is a really challenging thing to do, especially with COVID. I learned a lot of sustainable ways of living, but they require a lot of time and energy that zap my creative energy, and creative energy is the best part of life. I think this is the real struggle for women that has not been voiced; how do we be responsible parents and still have energy left over to express ourselves creatively? I feel like whenever I get close to achieving something like balance, the goal post gets moved. It’s really frustrating. I do it because I feel compelled, and frankly, the compulsion feels a little unfair, because I’m not sure that writing is worth my while.
So what is compelling me right now? It’s genuine frustration over the complacency I see in white people to give up the institutions that enslave people of color. Our family did not celebrate Thanksgiving this year for several reasons, including the oppression of Native People. Other people we know cooked turkeys, even though it was incredibly tone deaf to do so. My own mother cooked a turkey and also sent a picture, but there was no backhanded comment about being lonely attached to it. Also, my parents couldn’t store the turkey and had tried to give it away. I am so tired of conservative white peoples’ excuses about being lonely, and their entitlement to other people’s time and energy to fill the gaping plastic chasms they call hearts. And yes, you can be a registered Democrat and still be a conservative when it comes to many things. Many people refuse to acknowledge that everything we have came at the expense of someone else’s time. Bert realized that a lot of what motivates his dad is trying to avoid paying taxes. They register both their vehicles and their business in other states to avoid paying taxes to the state they receive services in. I think that should not be legal. That is thievery. They have, essentially, tried to find a way to justify expensing as much of their private lives as corporate expenses as possible in order to avoid paying federal taxes, too. They barely exist as human beings or community members. They learned this through their corporate overlords. As accountants, they saw this going on at such a grand scale that they figured doing it themselves was excusable, I think.
The supreme court justices are currently debating how freedom of religion should apply during pandemics, and I believe no freedom should supersede another person’s right to life. Their right to pursue happiness in whatever way they think while endangering the lives of many others? Probably not. What’s interesting is that we are currently undergoing a collective awakening, where a critical mass of people realize we are all connected and that we are never truly alone. Once a person knows this, physical company is less necessary. Many things become less necessary. There are many benefits to having at least one companion, but not many to large groups in terms of retaining one’s identity or sanity.
Regarding the connection we all have, the scientist Ervin Laszlo, who received a Nobel Prize Nomination in 2004 worked to describe the Akashic Space, and so did Apollo 14 Astronaut Edgar Mitchell. Bert and I just watched Mitchell’s talk, The Quantum Hologram and ESP, which is a lecture on his personal experiences with samadhi and trying to explain the Akashic Space (or “A-Space”) with physics. We think he did a good job. He ended up researching consciousness for the rest of his life until he died at the age of 85. I like what he said about taking advantage of waking time in the morning when we pass through the psychic realm - this realm is the layer of consciousness between sleep and wakefulness. After the several near death experiences I had, plus my experiences of visions during meditation, I have realized that they are the same thing. It is the same state I can achieve with cannabis, and also the same state achieved with orgasm. We are part of a big brain, and all of our experiences and wisdom are stored in this space. It is possible to access this space through altered states of consciousness, which are dissociative states. I have a book by Edward Rosenfeld, The Book of Highs: 255 Ways to Alter your Consciousness Without Drugs, which elucidates many ways “in.”
The Akashic Space, by nature of it being a record of human thought, means that it can be a little scary when one is aware of the messages but only seeing darkness in them. I think people with schizophrenia are in this space a lot and may be having bad trips from exposure to toxins. I think that is what makes people feel alone. I think catatonic states are due to aphasia. When the water heater was backdrafting or I had been to my inlaws’ house, I never totally lost the ability to talk; I just sometimes didn’t know what to say because the requests that were being made of me were unfair and I didn’t know how to respond in a compassionate way. I learned that if I responded honestly, it caused a bad situation, and so I felt stuck.
I have done a study of both western and eastern religions, and my observation is that eastern religions pay more attention to empowering individual pursuit of the Akashic Space in healthy ways than do western religions, which espouse entry through group ritual. This is why people in America have so much trouble being alone. Early on in the pandemic, I read some work by Charles Eisenstien where he foresaw a time when we would all be afraid of each other, and believed it to be the end of civility and consciousness. It concerned me that a person as intelligent as he would write an argument against quarantine, and, between the lines, solitude, which, with his clout, had such a great potential to disrupt consciousness in its argument for it. Yes, we need each other, but we need our food, emergency, and other infrastructure systems to be intact more than we need to not feel lonely. We need to protect the people in those systems because not everyone has the land to build a sustainable farm or grow enough food for themselves. That is currently a pipe dream if we are honest. I am still trying to grow things, and through the process I am gaining respect for what the people of the past had to endure just to get enough to eat. And, from what I’m understanding so far about keeping my family healthy and living sustainably, so far it means slowing way down and being very careful about how I spend my energy. It’s hard for me to balance writing with those other things right now because of the amount of effort it takes to prepare food, which has been critical to our healing process.
Human beings are bound to ritual because of hypnotic components. A free person does not need these rituals to be happy.
American greed is the root of most of the suffering in the world. Christmas and Thanksgiving are the perfect examples. Thanksgiving still represents the celebration of everything we have been granted as white people for our domination of nature. The date for Christmas is not the date of the birth of Christ; nobody knows when that was for certain. I think it can be the date of the metaphorical birth of Christ consciousness within us, and I certainly hope it is, but it is a shame that the date has become such a testament to greed instead. If we’re not careful, it can become a testament to how our entitlement for company and things can be deadly. I never wrote about the ridiculous amount of energy that went into Christmas and how my attempts at being thoughtful were reciprocated with gift cards, showing that nobody knew us or even cared to. This year Bert’s sister showed up at our door unannounced to deliver the kids gift cards and plastic bananas, and I can’t think of better imagery to describe what it means to do that during a pandemic. Talk about tone deaf.
I have been wondering what causes this neediness we all seem to have, and I think it is that we all feel tired and empty. We have been conditioned to believe that other people can make us feel better, or that things can make us feel better. That’s not the whole story. We all have the need for dopamine and oxytocin, and there are many ways to increase those without placing responsibility on someone else or requiring get-togethers. The space religion has filled for us is guiding us to the knowledge of compassion so we can recognize the feeling. Having mastered the way in myself, I’d rather be freed and put the information out for other people to free themselves rather than gatekeeping in the way so many religions do. When one has won one’s own mental freedom, it is so much more powerful than needing another to continually free us.
It behooves us as spiritualists, scientists and writers to consider all lives in our writing and our behaviors. When the grandparents or even parents of children die from COVID, we do not want these children to have to live with guilt. We need to teach our children to be responsible for their actions, and we need to teach them about informed consent. That is what has been missing from the raising of human beings on this planet because of our authoritarian orientation, and why there is continued suffering and unnecessary death. The idea that a child or a vaccinated baby boomer does not have to take into account safe practices with respect to pandemics just because they may not personally die is the kind of thinking that kills large numbers of people. There is a saying that history doesn’t repeat itself, it rhymes, and there is a certain attempt at genocide that began in Germany in the early part of the 20th Century that began with a strong appeal to youth and freedom. I see a great similarity with what is going on in the younger parts of the collective, as well as the conservatives.
Richard Tarnas is a Harvard Historian who has correlated history with the movement of the planets. His seminal work, Prometheus the Awakener, is about the astrological Uranus. What’s interesting is that when cosmologists discovered the outer planets and named them, purely by coincidence, the archetypes associated with those Gods were discovered in human consciousness and described by science at the same time. Only, with Uranus, Tarnas postulates that what we found in human consciousness was more akin to the archetype of Prometheus. He talks about Promethean characters in history who were born at periods when Uranus is in the first few degrees and who achieved their greatest contributions to humankind when Uranus was in opposition to its position at the time of their birth. Uranus represents creativity, and is the ruler of Aquarius. It’s going to be a long time before Uranus is in Aquarius again, because Uranus takes 84 years to complete a cycle, and it is currently in Taurus. People who had these Promethean forces as significant aspects to their Sun in their charts include: Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, Jon Locke, Immanuel Kant, Sigmund Freud, William James, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, John Keats, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Jefferson, Bob Dylan, Marie Curie, Margaret Mead, Gertrude Stein, Mary Shelley, Madame de Stael, George Sand, Susan B. Anthony, Beatrice Webb, Simone de Beauvoir, C. G. Jung, George Bernard Shaw, Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Orson Welles, Jackie Coogan, Shirley Temple, Lord Byron and Oscar Wilde, according to Tarnas. I really enjoyed the research Tarnas did into their personal lives that supported his thesis. He explains in the Preface that Prometheus the Awakener is his first work, out of which sprang his important work The Passion of the Western Mind in which he shows historical events in the context of planetary alignments. I believe if anyone wanted to really understand the sociological ramifications of consciousness, Tarnas would be the author to read. I wonder if he watches the internet trends at all, because they are a perfect mirror to the skies.
It is strange to know that everyone is pretty much always acting unconsciously, and it’s also strange to know how much effort is required just to know if one is conscious or not. It’s long been the question of many philosophers, writers, artists and musicians. I don’t always know when I am being driven by fear (in a lower state of consciousness) or love. Some of that is because of the strange ideas we developed about love and what it is. Love is not needy. Love is a manifestation of consciousness and is an energy. It took us scientists a long time to figure this out, and so until we could, we had to make up lots of rules to get along on the playground. People adhere to various sets of rules or beliefs as religions, because we had to invent morality, or otherwise we would just be animals. We have important primordial drives to both eat and have sex, and when those are not met, we can act like animals. It’s really simple. Unfortunately, in not understanding this, we created a lot of inequity in the world.
We need to pay less attention to a person’s size, age or color, and more attention to metabolism and consciousness. And we need to not judge people for having low consciousness, because consciousness is a struggle.
For years I have been told that I am “too sensitive.” I can tell when people are not themselves because they behave a certain way which can make me feel kind of fearful. This is part of my clairsentience. My vivid dreams often show me pictures of things to come, usually not literally, so I have to wait to see the outcome in real life, but this is clairvoyance.
I’ve been following Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio for a while because a writer I know from the internet recommended the channel years ago. The first episode I listened to was about William Blake, and helped me understand that higher art is able to capture both the pleasure and the pain of being human in a unique way. On the outside, I’ve been told, I have a manic pixie dreamgirl ethos. And that’s probably not what people get from my writing, since it tends to be rather serious lately. I really don’t like having to be so serious. It is draining.
Bert has said for years that he wished he could see what I see. I have never had that thought about another person, but now I watch YouTube, and because the artists are in the business of showing us how they see the world, I’m a little addicted to it. I played around with the camera in the middle of the summer to try vlogging rather than journaling, because I thought it might capture my stream of consciousness better. It was a transformative and healing experience for me. I learned that a lot of things I thought about myself were not as bad as I thought. I think subconsciously, like a lot of other white women, I was probably comparing myself to something unachievable like Jennifer Aniston. What if I had instead strived to be more like me, whatever that is? But, nobody can really *be* someone else, so why do we try?
I decided after watching my videos once through that at least at that point it was not a sustainable way for me to try to express myself. Even though I have done some video editing before, the amount of time required sitting and editing is probably not good for my health. But it’s possible to say so much more in video in so much less time. But there are so many things I need to do around the house. And that stuff will still be there. They are just some things to make life a little easier. I want to get rid of the sofa bed in the basement and also the large craft cabinet. I want to hang musical instruments on the walls. I want to install a hood in the garage so we can work with chemicals more safely. I need to talk to Bert about the craft cabinet. We’ve spoken about everything else, and are excited about those things, but I am tired.
An important part of my healing was getting enough dopamine and oxytocin. I don’t know how to tell people this. Wars have been fought over it. In addition to having a polymorphism in catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT) which is important for dopamine, I also have more than one polymorphism in the gene for the oxytocin receptor. It means I am kind of wired to be depressed, naturally, and need creature comforts. I suppose maybe this makes me more sensitive. I read a long time ago that depression is not contagious, but I think it can be for someone like me. I am really sensitive to the “suck it up buttercup” mentality that pervades the older culture’s ethos. That actually keeps people in lower states of consciousness, feeling stupid and depressed.
One of the problems I have seen with eastern religions, on the other hand, is the inherent belief in the male guru. This male guru is never able to understand the effect of the lunar cycles on female consciousness, and that is why we live in a world that expects constant subservience and production, lest Fred Flintstone come out and club us all. On Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio, they were talking about how cults all share a certain commonality, and that is the refusal to acknowledge suffering. Suffering is caused by inflammation, which is caused by many things espoused by authorities, who have created cults around those things.
I have not wanted to discuss products I buy, because in the past I feel that my recommendations may have had significant bad ramifications for the people who took them. For instance, there was a cod liver oil I was certain was healing, and may be. It is a special product, though, different from what is available in health food stores, because it reduces the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids one has to take to get the same amount of the fat soluble vitamins significantly. The thing is, it was expensive, and most people I knew at the time couldn’t shell out that kind of money for a supplement. So they might assume that all cod liver oil was the same. I knew a woman who took regular cod liver oil for several years and ended up getting Kreutzfelt Jakob disease and dying suddenly. I’m sure nobody else put together the cod liver oil with her illness, but I did because I know of a scientist who has theorized a connection to the disease through the effect of radiation on excessive polyunsaturated fatty acids in the nervous system. It’s just so hard to know when a product is not a ticking time bomb.
In terms of health problems I have been able to heal, I was scheduled to go to a physical therapist because I was having the urinary incontinence typical of a woman my age who had two vaginal births. I had to cancel the appointment because I was not well enough last November to do something weekly that far away from my house. Reading Diana Richardson’s Tantric Sex for Menopause book helped me learn a slower approach to sexual pleasure that significantly lessened my urinary incontinence. I think this healed a lot of other things. It was a great treatment for the hormonal migraines I was getting when I was getting poisoned. It was of course challenging to want to take that approach for my migraines while having them, but a little cannabis, food, progesterone, calcium, magnesium, aspirin, niacinamide and pyridoxal-5-phosphate could help me turn the corner. Additionally, I feel like I have discovered a new way to consolidate learning quickly. During the process leading up to orgasm, my mind goes through my previous experiences in the physical world - and I see through the Akashic Space how it is all connected. This gives me ideas for creations and also helps me solve important problems. It feels like a strange way to contribute to the world through problem solving, but it is really effective. It is so much easier than memorizing things the hard way, and definitely preferable to getting caught up in the kind of learning that is derived from an authority requiring one to memorize nonsense syllables like Ebbinghaus did. Additionally, life is pretty complicated, and this process can help me see things I might otherwise miss from all the input.
It’s awkward talking to my neighbors sometimes, because I don’t know how they live their lives. For all I know, they could have daily orgasms. They might even use cannabis. But none of them have kids or homeschooled. All of the women worked outside the home. I used to worry that people would think that I was here eating bonbons all day, and I wasn’t, but I should have been! Life would have been a lot happier. I’m so glad our home has room for all of us to have privacy. I’m really thankful for my studio, because now that the water heater problem is solved and I can have the windows closed, it feels like a little apartment. Bert would like a place where he could shut everyone out, and I’d like him to have that if he needs it, too. When we see each other too much, I feel like we take each other for granted. But that could be a projection from my past; I’m getting the sense that we are all more grateful for each other now. I don’t feel like I need a little apartment; it’s just nice because it has allowed me to get to know myself once again.
My next door neighbor is a Trump supporter, as are a couple other neighbors. We have a good relationship with our neighbor. There was a period of time when I decided I wanted to learn about guns because I don’t like being ignorant, and I had many discussions with him about owning guns, the guns he owns, and why he owns guns. During my study of firearms, I took classes on home defense, participated in a shooting league, regularly shot both pistols and rifles at an indoor range with quite a culture, where I met many people, and also shot skeet up in the mountains a couple of times with some Baby Boomer Democrat women. People in our families have been hunters. I learned that the ladies’ league I shot in used the same course of fire as the men’s combat league. I shot guns because I wanted to understand them. Bert wasn’t really sure he wanted to participate at the get-go because he had been shot in a hunting accident when he was twelve. My neighbor had been in the military, and has a special interest in WWII rifles. A lot of folks I know don’t shoot indoors because it is expensive. Shortly after I participated in the shooting leagues, I had an environmental toxin panel run and my lead was high. The range I used to shoot at had a special air system to reduce the amount of lead in the air, but you could smell it still. My neighbor shoots outdoors.
Colorado may be a little Annie Oakley. Anywho, I get the impression that my neighbor doesn’t really expect anyone to come into his house and try to kill him, but he was seriously concerned about looting. My parents have had people break into their house in Denver on multiple occasions, and the situations never required firearms, and very little was ever taken. Usually it was homeless people looking for shelter. The first time, I was the only one who saw the intruder. I was a child, and I simply pretended to be asleep. I think my parents woke up because they heard the door close, and my Dad discovered there was money missing from his wallet, but it was only $15. Another time, they found a woman in their bathtub. Anyway, I guess I am saying that it doesn’t make sense to me to shoot someone just to protect our stuff. We can replace our stuff. Most people who actually need stuff don’t have anywhere to put it.
And most people don’t even know what they need. We need to figure out exactly what it is that makes us happy. And
nobody else can tell us that. Not our parents, not our teachers, not our
ministers, and certainly not the government.
Dot has noticed a lot of people who have a choice resisting change through resisting quarantine. These people are not to be confused with people who have no choice but to go to work because they either help provide basic needs to society, or they must work outside the home to satisfy their own basic needs right now because of previous choices they made, or circumstances beyond their control. People choosing to violate the quarantine for ideological reasons are another matter. They see the quarantine as some sort of malicious governmental control mechanism, rather than a way to protect the more vulnerable people in the world, and enable those who need to work to do so more safely. Moreover, they seem to feel entitled to work in reckless ways that endanger people they consider "weaker." How are we supposed to live in a peaceful society with that attitude being spread about?
Also, this is not just about age. Coronavirus disproportionately affects people of color, people with chronic illness, people with hypertension, and people with respiratory illness. These people exist at all ages, and in every place, and their lives are not worth less than Dot's. Dot’s ability to walk through the world freely for a few months is not more important than the lives of any of these people.
Dot knows firsthand about this entitlement some business owners feel to operate because she had multiple people come to her house to fix things who weren't wearing the proper masks, even though she had been sure to ask that masks would be worn when she made the appointments. One worker's mask didn't even cover his nose. Another worker had a mask so loose he had to keep adjusting it. It's clear their employers aren't providing them with adequate personal protective equipment to do their jobs safely.
Dot wonders if any of her neighbors with Trump signs realize that they were supporting a eugenicist candidate and supporting eugenicist policies which further marginalize minority and disabled people. By failing to respond in an appropriate manner to the COVID threat, countless people have suffered. What do Trump supporters tell the Tiny Tims in their families about their support of this man who cares only about the economy? Dot knows registered Republicans who see President Trump's policies for what they are - ways to divide us through creating irrational fear of immigrants and taxation that give corporations more power over our daily lives. Why can't her neighbors see? Why can't they see that many of America's economies have created inequity and mental illness not just in our nation, but around the world through unrestricted growth and control of our time by seducing us into thinking we need things more than we need rest or intimacy?
The only thing that has kept the US back from world domination were limits on time; we are like the Borg, brainwashing other cultures with the empty allure of a "comfortable" and materially-focused life. It's not that capitalism is totally bad, it is just bad the way we have been practicing it - without concern for our health or the environment. Dot is not entirely anti-materialist, either; however, not all material objects are the same. Some are imbued with spirit. Dot likes to collect objects that don't deplete spirit, but that's a tall order. It's quite contrary to the wiping clean many people who follow spiritual practices might follow, which is probably easier than meditating on the ethics of the curation of one's home. In the hereafter we don't need things, so our interaction with things is a special opportunity that we wouldn't have if we weren't alive. Unfortunately, corporeal existence is fraught with pain, and so our material lives should not add to it, not through the industries that help create our material reality, nor through the presence of those items in our daily lives. Dot believes that responsible government and business will understand this.
Dot likes to brainstorm. She learned this technique when she did Odyssey of the Mind as a child, growing up in the Denver Public Schools. The premise of the program was to teach creative problem solving, by offering sets of problems to solve with limited resources. It by definition had to be sustainable.
The only concerns Dot’s father had about her homeschooling the kids, Lily and Henry, were that they wouldn’t get to do Odyssey of the Mind, or be in a musical band. He said this, presumably, because Odyssey of the Mind gives kids a chance to solve problems in the real world while cooperating with others. Cooperation comes in large part through awareness of how our words and actions impact others. It’s surprising how rare it is for individuals to pay attention to the downstream effects of their words and actions, or choose those words or actions very carefully. That’s because most of us have a need to feel special because we never did when we were children, even though we longed for it. Sometimes we can accidentally let our own agendas override the group energy. The thing is, we need to realize that other people can’t make us feel more special. That is all on us.
Dot realized a long time ago that the lack of cooperation she saw around her was also largely because everybody was too busy. Much of people's busyness kept them in a state of hurt, and blind to the fact that everyone else around them was in the same situation. And that led to massive pollution and a pandemic. So now we have to figure out a new way to be, because the old way wasn’t working. Not repeating the mistakes of the past has to be the guiding principle of the new Operations Manual for our planet. It has to be about efficiency, mindfulness and practicing good psychological self-care.
We are all bound by quarantine, so we have to take time to figure out what the *truly* bare necessities really are, and find creative ways to get them, make them, and share them. All of a sudden, some of us have a bunch of time to think about all these problems we have to solve as a community! Colorado is on its third wave of COVID infections, and winter hasn’t even started. That’s an important consideration, because COVID infections have been linked to Vitamin D deficiency, and in Colorado, the sun doesn’t get high enough in the sky from October to April for people to make Vitamin D. Many people just aren’t aware of this reality. It's possible to be deficient in D even if one spends a lot of time outside if one does not expose enough bare skin to the sun. Because of the incidence of melanoma in Colorado, many people use a lot of sunblock, which can actually increase the incidence of some cancers. Dot does not know if this is because of the ingredients which are in many sunblocks (free-radical generating vegetable oils and toxic active ingredients other than zinc oxide) or because Vitamin D deficiency itself can be a risk factor for melanoma. There are even discrepancies in what levels are safe in what populations. We still need to take precautions to protect the weakest among us.
So. Let’s start from the very beginning in our attempt to not be evil. A very good place to start.
The first problem is that we need a safe way to get food without risking infection. We need creative ideas for personal protective equipment that can be made with materials from around one’s home that actually work. People need to be educated about mask fit tests. It doesn’t make sense that we have different recommendations for the general public than we do our healthcare providers, because not protecting the public puts our healthcare providers at more risk. Dot assumed that would be obvious, that if we had effective ways to stop the transmission in the public, rather than throwing up our hands in an idiotic "oh well - must be a hoax" reaction, the disease would have been minimized in the US, drastically lessening the impact on both lives and our "precious financial system."
We need to find better ways to protect our supply chain, and small businesses need to find ways to operate in COVID-safe ways. Dot has supported some small business in this time, and most were trying to find safe ways to operate, even though we all had limitations. These solutions don’t necessarily need to involve human beings. They just need to be solutions that people can do themselves, or that stores can easily implement. Small businesses may need help developing an online presence to facilitate remote sales. Protocols for shopping and bringing food home need to be developed. Curbside pickup has been a godsend. Colorado is a sunny place, so Dot places most things she brings into the house out in the sun for 5 minutes per side, if it is in full sun. If it is overcast, she extends that time to 30 minutes. For things that need immediate refrigeration, she sprays them with soapy water and scrubs them with a wet washcloth. She hasn’t figured out what approach she is going to take on overcast winter days yet, because not all pantry items can be washed easily. She will update this when she thinks of something. She knows that the CDC has said that nothing special is needed regarding cleaning of things that come into the home, but if that were true, we wouldn't have to be careful with our masks when we remove them. There has been no research on how long virus remains active on different surfaces, only how long naked RNA can be detected, which is not the same. Dot finds this a little disconcerting. She doesn't want to be the reason anyone in her home gets sick, so she is still taking lots of precautions.
The second problem we need to solve is the problem of mental health and isolation. A lot of mental health issues can be traced to not having ever felt special. That is not a secret. Attachment theory tells us that if we did not have our needs met when we were young, especially between 6 and 8 years of age, there’s a gaping hole we’re constantly looking to fill with something outside of ourselves. For most people in the US, this would be about the time we are having our first years of elementary school, and ages 6-8 correspond with first through third grade. It can be helpful to think about the formative experiences we had at that time. Did we feel safe and secure? Were our parents emotionally responsive? Did we feel a sense of belonging? These are basic emotional needs for children. Unfortunately, because of many societal factors throughout history, many adults did not have those needs met as children, and those unmet needs have been trickling down through the generations.
Generational trauma is by and large the standard outcome of human evolution. Very few people escape it. To pretend otherwise is just ignorance. Even if we grew up wealthy, we probably had it, because human beings are just not very good caregivers. Our youth are dependent on us longer than any other species. Since the 70’s, it has been more and more difficult to parent just due to the inherent problems getting affordable housing without two incomes. Before that, we believed it was gender and race inequality keeping us from the bare necessities, but now it is even more obvious the tremendous effect classist and eugenics policies have on income inequality for all people. We actually have fewer people in poverty in the US than we have had before in history, but many people cannot afford housing because of the ways these policies and our materialistic culture impacted real estate in particular. If anything, the explosion in homelessness, suicide and mental health issues in the last 50 years has shown us that our basic needs as individuals extend beyond food and shelter to something intangible that cannot be filled by the consumer market.
This unmet need activates our green-eyed monster. It’s a need for approval, and it is activated by a critical society. But let’s face it. Societal approval is a carrot that very few people get to eat, so it is pointless to chase after it. And it’s certainly not worth harming oneself to try to get it.
To know if we are helping or harming someone with our words and actions, we need to learn about consent. Without adequate communication, consent is not possible. Take, for example, the way many stores are operating right now. It's impossible to know how close one will get to another customer until one actually goes to a store, and, how much one will be exposed even if they should choose "curbside pickup." Those of us like Dot, who have PTSD, are trying to decide if we can handle our current level of stress and support local businesses. She is severely disappointed with the lack of transparency regarding the reality of “curbside pickup” and even social distancing inside public spaces. This is probably due to the physical limitations of the spaces businesses inhabit, but none of them are transparent about it on their websites.
We have to come up with creative and sustainable ways to meet our basic mental health needs and our needs for self-expression. For Dot, this takes the form of writing, art, cooking, making music, and living it up while she’s going down. There is actually time and energy to cook now, as long as we solve the first problem.
The third problem we need to solve is how to provide care for children if their parents are sick or hospitalized, even if it is remotely.
We don’t need the educational system to educate our children. It did end up being crucial for women gaining some freedom from child rearing. What the educational system can do now is help heal our children from this broken world. In terms of the 3 “R’s”, everything is on the internet. We don’t need no thought control. We need independent thinkers who have had their needs for attention met by their caregivers so when they grow up they are more than just corporate widgets or another brick in the wall.
Let's teach them how to put on their raccoon suits like OMer to solve problems creatively, and also how to just be.
Oh, and if for some crazy reason John or Hank Green happen to be reading this (in Dot’s wildest dreams), the answer to the question of what to name a character whose name needs to sound effective when it is being yelled in exasperation, the answer to that question is most positively “CHAD!!!!!” There’s one in every bunch. It's a great tribute to Hanlon's Razor - "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." In terms of Biosafety Level 4 labs, China just got to be Chad. There's no need for war. We just figure out how to deal, fixing the weaknesses in our systems that allow for "CHAD!" moments, and move on. Thanks to Anu Garg for the reminder. And all the chadbands.
Let’s not be a part of that band, Dot thinks.
Creating job markets for survivors may bring effective solutions to some of these problems. Small businesses could spring up to fill some of these needs. We don’t need corporate control to solve our societal problems anymore. We don’t have to totally trash capitalism; we just have to make it work for us again.
It’s been difficult for Dot to get exactly what she wants during this time, so she has had to make some compromises. Sometimes she gets guidance from her dreams, which are usually an amalgamation of the things she has seen in previous days. The other day, she had a dream that an old friend came to visit her wearing a marching band uniform. They decided to take the kids swimming. Then he just disappeared, and she ran into him again later, and he said to follow him to another place, and it was a giant indoor playground. And then she woke up.
This is not a surprise, because the topic of pools had come up when she and Bert were listening to Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, and she became convinced that there was a secret code hidden in the book. She replayed the code as the narrator read it several times over in order to write it down on the blotter paper she keeps on her drafting table. Every time she heard it, it reminded her of that song from alt-J, In Cold Blood.
Zero one one one zero zero one one
Crying zeros and I’m hearing one one ones
Cut my somersault, sign my backflip
Pool, summer, summer, pool, pool summer
Dot sees connections between lots of strange things. She has also seen that we are all connected to something bigger than ourselves, and that life is more important than seeing each other in the here and now. Intense needs to see others in person right now indicate a person is not mentally well. It's the most dangerous time we have had so far. Only we can stop coronavirus, and to do it, we need to be aware of when others are requesting something unwise or unhealthy. There are people who will play on one's sentiments, because of their inability to be alone. If they are particularly disturbed, they may resort to criticism to invoke guilt. Unfortunately, there is a vast number of people who resort to this methodology especially around the holidays, so it's best to recognize and not fall for this covert fascism.
Dot has been watching movies about fighting covert fascism, like The Muppet Movie, Mean Girls, Ghostbusters, and The Music Man. These movies are incredibly important right now. She believes it's important to watch them, for the future of humankind. And kind humans.
Sometimes we have to deal uncomfortable truths to people. An unfortunate side effect of our educational system is arrested development. Just like the show. The American K-12 educational system helps perpetuate attachment problems, and that makes us all have to seek validation outside of ourselves, which people do all summer and over any holiday, and whenever they are breathing. It is spurred on by covert fascism that is cultivated through forced socialization by the educational system and organized religion. It makes us unhappy with ourselves, and that is its goal - to cultivate obsequiousness and consumerism.
Dot is sorry to say, covert fascism is American culture. It’s the Cult of Personality. It’s snobbery. We all employ it at some level. It is gossip. It is identifying people as others. It is cliquism. It is Trump (unless he can prove Dot wrong). It is groupthink. And we have a lot of groupthink going on right now, and a lot of people defending it, without understanding the evil they are really defending. Dot thinks a lot of this is because conservatives are genuinely worried about human trafficking and what happened with Jeffrey Epstein, and their concerns are not being adequately addressed or even shared as vocally by Democrats. Additionally, she feels that Democrats have not addressed poorer rural conservatives' fears that they will be overtaxed to pay for social services they do not receive as amply living where they do.
It is particularly dangerous right now to not think for oneself. The result can be instant karma. Mindlessness is punished by natural consequences, regardless of genetics.
This slowing down is a gift. It’s a gift of time for us to figure out why we’re not happy with what we already have, and ponder the question, “What is freedom, really?”
But for now, let’s get some more wannabes, so hey, hey, do that brand new thang! This is also what people are doing - posing as experts trying to analyze the data. All these analyses are informing our collective viewpoint! And there is zero chance that they are correct, because:
1) The total number of tests given in any area in a day is limited by the larger material world, which doesn't move as fast as contagion. Some areas have better resources and access, but even so, they have a limit to how many tests they can process in a day, and how many patients they can swab. This is simple systems engineering. This one thing alone affects the numbers greatly! And we have no idea what order of magnitude the numbers might be off. With the number of tests limited, the true number of cases could be off by a percentage, or by a thousand fold. We have no way of knowing and we never will. The number will always be a guess.
2) It hasn’t been around long enough for us to understand natural variations in its behavior in our population. It actually takes years, to understand the behavior of specific pathogens. Supposedly the virus is not mutating very quickly. But how long immunity is maintained after infection is unknown. We could be totally defeatist about this and all go jump off a cliff, or we can slow down significantly and study our opponent. Time is on our side, yes it is. We all live longer than a virus without a host.
If we could all take the time to get all the supplies we need to live for two months, and simultaneously cool our jets, we could beat this thing. Or, at the very least, we could understand it better. Obviously this is not an option for our essential services. Animal husbandry and farming and food services need to continue. Utilities are still needed. So are repair services. So are law enforcement and medicine. We’re going to have to help our neighbors, and strengthen our local communities. We are already seeing decreased pollution, with the exception of the wildfires. And there are other systems popping up to help our lives become easier, such as virtual doctor visits. Dentists should only be doing emergency procedures. Most of what they do is not an emergency. There will be more unique solutions that arise in the months to come as we learn to be happier being simpler.
(Dot recommends listening to Being Simple by The Judy Bats).
So what this means, because the decision about which way this goes is in each of our hands, is that we have the power to manifest the future. There are promising new treatments on the horizon which, if we each play a role in slowing the spread of the disease, could save the lives of remaining infected people. Promising treatments, however, are not a reason for reckless behavior. We can't assume at this point that the treatments will work, or that we will be able to provide enough. Wouldn't we rather use those resources for something else someday, than illness we could have prevented?
It is important to instead work toward solutions. Dot contends that if we fail to take responsibility for how our own words and actions influence the world around us, the world will continue its spiral into desperate chaos. If, however, we take this time to imagine a new and better future, and imagine how we can live in harmony with each other, that is what we will manifest. It’s like the Universe gave us a shot at world peace - we just have to decide to let it begin with each of us.
If this seems too abstract to understand, it might be helpful to watch the Smarter Everyday about Navy Seal Astronauts, and learn the Navy Seal code. Navy Seals believe in humility, and also that the only way to live sustainably is through giving rather than taking.
...Continued in A Life of Illusion: Chapter 8: Don't Let Me Get Too Deep