My relationship with Marijuana (henceforth called weed, because that is what I’ve always called it) speaks to my concepts of addiction, inherent worth, and the purpose of life in general. Addiction is the bedfellow of idolatry… I will do my best to explain maybe not all in one post.
Weed served a psychological solvent for years in my life. It dissolves all things into the realm of “ok”. I’ve found that people prefer to amplify their self-conceived nature, myself included, seeking vices that help reinforce personality traits we believe ourselves to have. Someone who wants to feel dynamic and extroverted will pursue cocaine, and another who seeks to feel unrestricted will choose alcohol. We have heard the phrase, “loosen up” when talking about the effects of alcohol, the mental condition of thoughts, good or bad, coming quickly through uninhibited consciousness. The effects of weed were my prescription to myself for a severe case of myself-itis. I like everything about it, the way it feels in the brain as it comes on, warbling and fuzzing out the irrelevant information, creating an artificial environment of the “now”. I became capable of solving complex and heavy problems with a single rip of a bong, emotionally leveling out in a state that I understood be essentially a chemical shortcut to enlightenment.
This is the part that is really spiritually dangerous for Christians. The concept of our identity is supposed to be grounded in Christ first and foremost. On the opposite side before I became a Christian it was helpful to reinforce my identity, meditate on the nature of self and overall practice of the banal and shallow thought exercise of finding my oneness in a sea of one’s. “Remember that you are the Universe experiencing consciousness.” I would read, trying to channel all positive thoughts into my own mind. Which is as narcissistic as could be, looking at everything to find only myself! Yet that was still better than taking on more and more pieces of the world around me. Addiction is in many way is the same as worshipping a mirror, we run to a version of ourselves that is capable of handling the world through addiction.
What neural pathway were popping and fizzing in radical decay to desire the telescopic eye of reality to rend me apart? What was I doing to myself on such a regular basis that this desire would be normal? Being alive comes with the craving wanting someone to know you’re alive. Life and it’s quest to proven worthy is something close to madness, a madness of which all humans suffer. To press our facades into the structure of time itself and become relevant, irreplaceable to the universe. This was my goal in moving out Los Angeles, and it was a goal sustained through ingesting chemicals and unfortunately (or fortunately) one which I started to see the fruits of success, at least as I understood them.
Wouldn’t it be nice if I could maintain these psychological cards erect long enough to bed down and live beneath them? This magnificent house I have constructed of smoke that exists in the perpetual now. Yet, I found myself eventually without even a house built on sand, despite the appearance of foundation through financial and professional success, with the help of weed I bankrupted myself of anything close to happiness.
This meant that I exchanged my life for nothing, these valuable years of my powerful and beautiful mind for a mouth full ashes (both literally and figuratively) not from the failure to find success but rather success itself, in the conditions that I had prescribed and taught myself with incredible discipline to believe, was nothing but a dead idol. I was holding pieces of glass that were screaming at me in condemnation, pain, and with just the smallest hint of ecstasy. With weed crawling through my mind, this seemed amiable, the person that I should be needed to be realized by vigorous and prying dissection of what was around me. The cost of that reaction is passivity; weed escalates one’s talent for doing nothing. I would sit there and think, and think, and think some more. Never lifting finger because I was too high, too high on rage, too woke, too high on lack of sleep. Even typing this uses parts of my brain that I still feel atrophied from such a lapse in use from my dramatic and unsustainable relationship with weed.
Ultimately, God used a Buddhist monk in a DMV parking lot to call me to His son, Jesus. I wouldn’t have met the monk if I hadn’t been high all the time putting off going to the DMV until the last possible moment… I don’t know. I guess the creator of the universe is more trippy than any chemical cocktail I’ve managed to ingest.
I almost always have my journal on me but occasionally I have to type memos on my phone instead. Since I want to post on this blog weekly this seems like appropriate jumping off point.
Lord Jesus that I would know the intricacy of your holy name. Thank you Lord God for embedding yourself in our life. Thank you for protecting me with your righteous spirit, we beg for forgiveness.
We may not baptize ourselves in the name of ourselves at the altar of ourselves but He has sacrificed himself in declaration of victory over death through glorious eternal life.
That we will not be too proud of the lie that we use to refute your conquest, would that we know the fear of God alone and abhor the pride of life.
How might I reach populations whose tongues are smashed upon the inside of their mouths through hatred that their fellow man has leveled toward them, that Jesus the Christ, son of the living God, loves all mankind and advocates on our behalf before the creator of reality that so we might have life eternal.
How might I be a single suture to repair the severed tongues so they might cry out His worthy name. He knocks on the door of all hearts and all that might know the name of the saviour who requests our glad hearted obedience.
This review is encapsulates most of my lunches.
I have a standing agreement with my student that if she gets here work done we will watch a movie during lunch. At least twice (at most five times) a week since October we have watched the same film: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows. Lunch at our school is not the full run time of the movie so we only get about 30 minutes into the film on any given day and the next time the opportunity arises my student insists to start the film from the beginning each time… each and every time.
The beginning of disc plays previews for other movies. When it starts up, I go to skip straight to movie, but my student (we will call her Anne) insists that we go back to watch trailers.
Trailer 1: Monster Trucks
I think Monster Trucks is already had it’s run theaters so much not have too much of a splash. The story is a classic tale of an octopus that eats a truck engine and becomes a truck monster. My student informs me, “It’s scary. Boss Baby is in the 3-D”. That seems non-sequitur but yes that’s how it goes in my class. On screen a girl who rides horses meets the main character, they fall in love within the 5 seconds of the trailer, just like how real life work. You see someone they are appropriately lite and smiling, boom! True love. This lesson is repeated to my students, and all students scores of times a week. It makes real connections through knowledge, shared experience and interest seem disingenuous understimulating. This occurs to me as the bad octopus truck is established in the trailer, his truck is more sleek and attacks other trucks. Since those ancillary trucks aren’t octopus things, the moral indignance I am suppose to feel doesn’t register in the way I assume the filmmakers intended.
Shouting erupts about chocolate milk in my classroom. I am called to resolve the dairy crisis and the movie goes unpaused.
When I return we are onto another trailer.
Trailer 2: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (201?)
The turtles spot April O’Neil after she takes a picture on her phone that has an audible bulb flash not the shutters sound but rather the pop and buzz of a full size filament. She has a studio quality lighting fixture on her phone I guess.
My students get in an argument about sharing…like the hypothetical act and when it should occur. This requires fielding questions, and reassurance “That you can share your lunch if you want but you don’t have to.”
When I am returned to the movie, the feature film has begun.
Our Feature Presentation:
The movie starts with turtles running, through sewers and are introduced with title cards as they banter back and forth throwing a pizza box. This pizza box is crucial. The title cards report the turtles to be: Leonardo the leader, Raphael the attitude, Donatello the brains, and Michelangelo the pizza lover. They are headed to see the New York Knicks play a home game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
At the game, Will Arnett is celebrated for defeating Shredder in the previous movie. I haven’t seen the previous movie, but the turtles take umbrage to this claim and start shooting spit wads at Arnett as he is interviewed live on the court about his bravery before the game begins. This is weird for a couple reasons, first the turtles are on top of the rafters in the ceiling, Madison Square Garden is 150 feet tall, generously they are at least 120 feet away from Will Arnett but they nail him with wet paper projected through a straw on the face and neck. Go ahead and try and hit anything further than 15 feet away with a spit wad. Furthermore, no one thinks that it’s weird he is getting pegged with spit wads while being interviewed. Despite one hitting his face, the journalist talking to Arnett does not bat an eye. Remember as far as everyone, except the ninja turtles and the soon to be introduced April O’neil, is concerned this man saved the entire city of New York from destruction, saved their very lives, and no one is even put off that he is getting spit on!
Meanwhile, April O’Neil (as Megan Fox is called in this movie) radios into the turtles that she has found the scientist she was looking for. This thread is probably the main plot to the movie as the scientist is played by Tyler Perry and is seen later. April is at a fancy bar at the top of grand central station, throws herself at Perry. She stimulates his nerd scientist ego by insisting she loves his work, to which he is appropriately blustery. Then he leaves in a hurry to meet someone in the station that has something is also part of plot that I never get to see…
Anyway to April tracks the currier and who walking right up toward a of group of…umm… schoolgirl fetish models? I am unsure if the movie intends for these women to be understood to be uniformed high school girls but the producers of film jump at the chance to undress Megan Fox. April sheds her blonde wig, shoplifts from a conveniently placed schoolgirl outfit kiosk and one exposed midriff later has placed the tracking device on the currier to do whatever might happen further into movie. This scene is rough because it causes the tone of the movie to become muddy, April uses sex appeal as leverage twice in like 5 minutes of screentime but the film stars animated talking turtles who know ninjutsu. April in her smoldering outfit reports to the turtles that the plot thing is now established and we cut back to hilarious tomfoolery at Madison Square Garden.
The turtles are now eating the pizza they brought with them. The tropes of each turtle is reinforced until Mikey drops a piece of pizza. The pizza falls onto center court of the game in progress. A Los Angeles Clipper player slips and falls grasping at the basketball which is declared a jump ball. The player rightfully protests, “Pizza! There is pizza on my shoe!” The ref shrugs, “Welcome to New York.” That is not the rules of basketball! Pizza isn’t all over the place during a basketball game, watch a player take a charge sometime, they immediately clean the floor. Pizza would cause stoppage of play, look it up! Of the 30 minutes of this movie that I’ve seen, that drives me up the wall. It’s just lazy, it represents the entire blockbuster system, shrugging off rules and reason to expedite nothing. This scene means nothing, just antics on a big stage.
The turtles depart and note, “We’ll never fit it.”
“We’re ninjas, we move in the shadows.” Raphael retorts.
At this point my student has finished processing the pizza scene, “Pizza, it has and cheese, and… Mr. Sam?”
“Hot pizza tastes good.”
My student Anne, nods her ascent.
The turtle wagon somehow makes it’s appearance. It’s easily the best part of the movie, looks just like the toy. The turtles nerd out, it shoots sewer lids, raw 90’s rad.
“Mr. Sam?” another student asks.
“Do you like boys-2-men?”
I am beckoned over to watch a Boys-2-Men music video from the Prince of Egypt. My student sings it to me over her head phones and then explains the narrative of the music video about ” a boy, he punches light.”
Next I am made to watch the Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston duet “Believe” also from the Prince of Egypt soundtrack.
I looked up at the movie as the lunch bell rings concluding the period, Shredder and Tyler Perry take over a lab as Whitney Houston croans,
“Who knows what miracle you can achieve,
When you believe somehow you will
You will when you believe”
And the moment is perfect.
At Taco Bell, there are 5 different flavors of Mountain Dew.
When we die, there is a rippling as our consciousness slips beneath the surface of our processing mind. For some it like drowning.
For some it is brief glimpse of clarity before the soft edges of darkness seal the vessel of the light that is a life.
But tonight, death is 5 flavors of Mountain Dew decomposing a corpse that has yet to stop twitching. A blast of Baja (whatever that part of the world tastes like) melts the insulation that is known as a crunchwrap supreme. The crunchwrap being a tortilla, holding corn chips, coated in nacho cheese, suffocating tomatoes the red diced emphysemic pieces of nature colliding with the unreal.
Do the Dew, the false of curtain of power draped over toxic waste. Taste the rush of liquid so distorted that Extraterrestrial beings would use its production to prove that creatures that would excrete toxins such as these could not in fact be known as intelligent life.
I was talking with my friend the other day about jealousy, I realized later that I might have offered conflicting viewpoints. This got me thinking that I should try define what jealous is and how it affects me. (side note: I didn’t figure it out…surprise. I am flawed so TLDR: seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Yet, I actually like this mulling over of the concept.)
Just as a point of reference to myself the conflict I found was:
A: Jealousy is like a texture of grief that a mind suffers when one finds disparity in emotional attention between what is loved (IE. one person loving another) and the loved expending emotional energy elsewhere, or not spending it at all.
B. No one person is capable of supplementing all emotional/psychological/physical needs short of Christ. Which could mean that people who don’t fall under the category of Savior have no place being jealous since they, due to their own failings, must expect needs to be sought out and accommodated elsewhere.
God has a holy jealousy. This is crucial and interesting because it is only one of the Ten Commandments that God explains His personal reason behind it, “For I, the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20:4b). God elaborates on other commandments but those are for human clarification. For God, jealousy is an intimate reaction, a natural occurrence from the creator of all reality and existence.
Is jealously wrong? No but it is a emotional warning sign. Just like being sleepy could be a sign that you are simply tired from the day but if it persists you could be ill, the body is you warning something is going on and you to slow down to handle it. Jealousy works in the same way but I don’t find myself so emotionally in touch to discern this feeling without first comparing to things I know to be signs of spiritual illness, sin, in my life. The are major sins I need check in within the feeling of jealousy are: coveting, guilt, envy, greed, and majorly lust.
This brings up the primary argument I hear against jealousy, “humans are creatures who have physical needs” but what isn’t any internal process a valid one? Yes we need to be weary of latching our identity too close to any one aspect of psyche but relationships brought to the point of jealously surely have to be equally revered as sexual identity, a condition of psychological disposition admittedly defended in our day and age. Yet then one aspect of this popular culture turns to against its own posturing, mincing and sniping pieces of hardwiring with al’ carte flippancy. Jealousy is natural condition, or rephrased to fit the times, jealousy is organic experience that serves to as emotional safeguard in the just same way that blood clots to seal a wound.
So where and when is jealously wrong? Well I think that it must be when it is used to protect a mental disposition that is unhealthy and the most unhealthy disposition that we can abide, and that we in American culture do all the time in grievance to the Lord is the idolatry of self. We are grow angry through a lack of worship directed toward ourselves, that is unhealthy jealousy. When the other pieces of the body of Christ that is His church turn from him to bow to each other that is a type of jealously that is cancerous.
That’s why, like all things, right jealousy is only found, for us humans, in Christ. Only in the act worship toward the one true God, through his Son, are we able to approach the emotional tool set that is staggerly complex, beautiful, joyful and powerful which exist in our minds available for action and reaction. Let us not forget that the pinnacle of our existence is as dust of earth crying to for our Father in worship, and the craftsman shaped such dust into the jars of His own making so as to retain a portion of His spirit which is metered out in infinite quantity. That would bow before other in an attempt to cuckold the Creator of reality causing grieving and angry jealousy is, as Jeremiah and Isaiah would have agreed, is a bad idea.
Jan. 2017 Update:
In October 2013, I watched this television series and it changed my life. Everything in my life was changing at the time and these two blog posts (combined into one here) capture moments of myself and my opinions at the time that I would do well to never forgot. My thoughts about the show haven’t changed at all, it is a benchmark in my personal friendships when I feel comfortable recommending it. However, my thoughts about the world around me, and appropriation of the world’s behaviors have changed since that time… more accurately they been redeemed. My relationship with Jesus has become personal since that time, I am saved by His grace and as such cannot stand behind the convictions offered in the piece about sexual disposition. I cannot rightly speak of the microcosm represented here without expanding out into the entirety of sexuality saying, that only God’s graces offers sufficient pleasure, only a relationship with Christ can quench the thirst of desire in all things. These people’s lives depicted in the show, just as my life and your own are subject to His will, and God used it to His greater glory… so enjoy:
I have seen tons of TV over the course of my life, and I have seen the evolution of the Reality Genre but I have never seen a show so compelling as Polyamory: Married and Dating.
It is a dressing down of the understanding of marriage and monogamy in the United States. The way we actually think about sex and marriage on cultural level is reflected back on us in the most bizarre way I have ever encountered. It points out the way people can use sex as a weapon within a relationship. I have never seen a show where both sides bully each other with sex before. I have never truly understood why we as a people practice monogamy at all until now.
This sounds a little weird and closed minded I know, stay with me please. I don’t care about anyone’s sexual disposition as long as they practice it safely. They do in fact practice safe sex, and two of them, out of the seven people in the show, have a seemingly healthy and sex positive way of life that they appear to find rewarding. So please stick with me, this isn’t some antisex humbuggery.
Polyamory: Married and Dating is currently in its second session on Showtime. It focuses on two “pods” of romantic partners. The first, a trio in LA that includes: A man, his wife, and their girlfriend. The second is a foursome which are partnered up with each other within group, man to women and designated the title of primary.
The justification engine on the the show is called “Processing”. It is an exercise in circular reasoning. This isn’t casual sex either. The real genius of the show is unveiled in these moments. The people pull the rug out from under each other, capable of accusing each of emotional cheating while simultaneously cheating on each other. It’s hard to state this clearly so I will overstate it. They tell each other all the time, with both words and actions, “Please do not love someone else.” then they go love someone else and then meet up with each to accuse one another of loving someone else.
They have collectively agreed to betray each other actively. They all have these sort sickening smiles on their face, they look like they are about to vomit from making themselves so miserable. Even within the act of thinking only about themselves they fail to make themselves happy. They stop in the middle of sex with each other to argue about who they are sleeping with and where their emotional attention is distributed. It’s selfish and none of them seem to have the presence of mind to see past that selfishness.
It like mainlining emotional drama right into your veins. Everyone should watch this show. It is on Showtime and has tons of softcore action but I would show teenagers this show like an educational program, “Look at how terrible, emotionless and boring your sex life could be.” They live like they are on a date all the time, the tension of adjusting emotionally to a comfortable level romantically never subsides. They trap each other in their own terrible lives and continually betray each other. Polyamory is a show about the devastating psychological effects that sexual fear inflicts on its victims.
I have never had a tv show make a better person through watching it. This group of people make each other so miserable that it teaches it viewers how avoid this unhappiness, which is a real service. The people on the show quiver from fear of each other. The way they touch each other is both clingy and distant at the same time. The economy of their own bodies within the institution of a sexual relationship has driven them insane and their minds are literally regressed to that of 15 year old, a teenager, a child. True love is about self sacrifice and discipline, not emotional terrorism. The friends and coworkers of the people on the show all try to talk them down and help them in even a minor capacity. Their problems are not difficult.
“I am so upset that she/he is sleeping with someone else.” each person groans
“Yes, but aren’t you sleeping with someone else?” The friend replies.
“Well yes, but it’s completely different, we have an emotional connection.” The offending party vomits out. Never in the wrong, never taking responsibility for the cycle of pain they perpetuate, moving for person to person wallowing in their own misery. The lessons we can take away from this show in an effort to understand the selflessness of Love is incredibly valuable.
These people have lost their decision making abilities through using sex as leverage against each other for years. The show makes me grateful for every comfortable interaction i have had with anyone. Thank you people who do not bully each other with body image all the time. The tension of pageantry between them does nothing but create a spiral of emotional issues and judgement. Go watch Polyamory, then tell a friend you are so glad you don’t HAVE to have sex with anyone, because you will mean it in a way you never understood before.
Note! This was the end of the first post. Then a man who identified himself as polyamorous contacted me about judging too harshly, to which I wrote him and asked the about the show specifically, and questions like “Do you experience this in your romantic encounters? I know that do with my interactions of a sexual nature even in a one-on-one setting, the press of emotional greed is a challenge to overcome.” Stuff like that. The conversation was a valuable one indeed and I wished him well in the post below, and still do as a matter fact.
The problem isn’t that people are defined by their sexual identity on Polyamory: Married and Dating. It’s that most of the people stay in relationships out of a sort of emotional greed. They are constantly defining the conditions of their sexuality to each other as a way of separating themselves from another, which is something that we all do subconsciously, but in defining it they break their own rule to not define it. It is the epitome of the human condition, an exercise in not looking a gift horse in the mouth. “Don’t say anything about the Elephant” is being screamed with everyone’s eyes. All of their conversations, like our own, cycle back to the disappointing question, “Why are we not happy?”
They don’t want to have boundaries put on them but THEN they are obliged to create boundaries in an effort to avoid definition by someone they don’t want. Saying who and what they won’t do sexually, is a little like trying to breathe when the point is to drown. We all do this all of the time, and I just never realized how it exhausting it was. The show has people basically acting out sexual capitalism, something I have never witnessed before, so to repurpose a phrase, “It’s like trying to nail jelly to cats.” The effort itself is overwhelming.
As mentioned in the previous post “Processing” in the show, is a way of decompressing their relationships. The problem is when they decompress the relationship they are forced to define it. They use gentle words to create these boundaries, like “comfort” and “play” but they are still rhetoric used in an effort of controlling the conditions in which love and affection are distributed, which again, is something they want to avoid. The show creates a fishbowl, exposing how terrible every person in the world is at truly defining the emotional and romantic connections that we all have with each other in a real way.
The happy people in the show walk a sexual tight-rope that I know personally, I can’t walk because it is too much work. Not that a sexual identity is a wrong one, but the one presented in the show makes me want to just go do something else. Sex is not the only thing in life and to spend all of your time dealing with the drama seems like just spinning in circles. Sex is a part of love but isn’t the whole thing. Most importantly, love is about other people, not yourself. Too many people on the show miss that in a big way
The show hyper exaggerates how much time people spend talking about their sex lives but that’s what catches the trick of it, any time they stop to define it, they have to remember to not define it and tell people to remember to not define their romantic boundaries. They say, “I love you but only in the conditions I love you in right now, if you violate these policies you will damage that love and I will have to decide if I can accept your love again . Please remember to not restrict your love toward me just as I am restricting it to you now.”
You could replace the act of sex with any other part of life, and the show still works. If you do things only for yourself you will be incredibly unhappy.
It blows on the house made of cards that everyone makes with their own lives. When you live for other people, it’s amazing. Remember to love one another and you will be in good shape.
Polyamory: Married and Dating is like watching a really complicated mental tongue twister, it’s super confusing but fun. Get ready to be spun in circles. On top of that the softcore porn stuff gets hilarious as it is so bright, so staged, so clean and frequent that you begin to wish that meetings between people would just end in handshakes.
Special thanks to Psychophancy, for offering additional perspective. Honest dialogue helps everyone involved shape their own lives into the most rewarding experiences possible so thank you.