The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Thursday, February 07, 2008

And in this corner...

You have to remember that I think either Hillary or Barack would be a vast improvement over what we have now, and that I think it critical to swing back away from the Right…so even though I like some things about McCain, I just can’t go there because of the machine around him. So watching Super Tuesday was almost like watching a Superbowl game where you can root for either team.

Yeah, I think that the Clinton’s played a little dirty, but nothing beyond the usual range of politics—one of the reasons I hate politics so much. I like Hillary's most recent incarnations, and have loved Obama's from the beginning. I think he's about as genuine as I've ever seen somebody playing at this level.
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I have to say this carefully, so as not to jinx anything. But last week Tananarive and I had a meeting with one of the top VPs for development at a major studio recently flushed with cash due to a SERIOUS money-maker last year. And this executive made it very clear that the studio wants to be in business with us, across a range of projects. Now, usually one takes such talk with a grain of salt. There are special reasons I can’t get into right now (but will the instant anything gets firm) that I don’t think this was bullshit. If not, it means the beginning of everything T and I were hoping for when we moved down here. 2008 is looking GREAT.
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We talked about a piece of the technique known as “Mind Reading.” It is based on looking at all three major areas of a persons life simultaneously. If they are an adult, you must assume that they have responsibility for their results. The way to calibrate this is to first apply it to yourself.
1) Fitness. This is not measuring yourself against some perfect-bodied swimsuit model. Even THEY don’t look like that between photo shoots and air-brushings and Photoshop. But you should be energetic, healthy for your age, and when you look at yourself naked in the mirror, should want to screw yourself. Hey, I know how that last part sounds, but if YOU don’t think you’re hunky or juicy, why the hell should anyone else? Shouldn’t you at least live up to your own standards?
2) Finance. You should make enough money to support yourself and one other person, doing something you enjoy doing. Optimally, it should be something you’d do as a hobby, or for free if you won the lottery.
3) Relationship. If you’re in a relationship, you should feel blessed to have the person you’re with. If you’re not in a relationship, you should feel content in your aloneness, and be deepening your contact with your spiritual core through ecstatic living or meditation or prayer. Can you see the face of the divine in your beloved? Do you grasp that the person you live with is an expression of your own self-image and self-worth?

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The problem again is the lies we tell. The reason this technique works is that as we dig through the self-justifications, lies and pain that block us from having abundance in these three arenas, we learn so much. And the excuses we tell ourselves aren’t terribly different from those used by others across the country and around the world. For all practical purposes, EVERYONE wants to be healthy and sexy. EVERYONE wants to have the financial freedom to spend their lives doing what they want, and enough abundance to be of service to the people and causes they love. EVERYONE wants love and passion, or at least the inner connection and integration that brings peace and happiness.

Maybe .001 percent of people don’t want some version of these things. You are FAR more likely to be right if you assume they want them, regardless of what they say. Yes, you’ll be wrong sometimes….but less often than if you listen to their stories.

But you must start with yourself. So the question of the day comes back to truth or fiction again, the lies we tell ourselves to survive:

In which of these three arenas have you told yourself and others the biggest lies? And what were they?

29 comments:

Pagan Topologist said...

I don't know, Steve. I am not convinced that Hillary Clinton would end the war in Iraq. I am of the impression that Bill would have invaded Iraq if he could have found a pretext, and would have planned to stay for decades or longer, just as Bush apparently wants to. I do think Obama will get out if and when he takes office.

Mike Ralls said...

> 2008 is looking GREAT.

Congrats!

> In which of these three arenas have you told yourself and others the biggest lies? And what were they?<

Eep. That's a big question.

Well I've lied to myself about all three.

The most out of touch with reality was probably when I told myself that I was in OK shape when I was getting close to 200lbs (5'9"). That's over with though as I'm close to the "fit" category in body fat and admit that I've still got more improvements I want to make.

I've been in some bad relationships, but I don't think that I ever told myself I was happy in them when I was not. I told myself that it was too much trouble to break it off or that things might get better, but I don't think I lied and said things were well when they weren't. That's over with now though as I have a wife who I love more than I thought was possible and who loves me back and things are just so damn comfortable. I honestly never knew things could be this great in a relationship before.

Job wise is probably the biggest area I lie about. I've been dead-broke numerous times, but I didn't really mind it that much. I didn't love it, but it didn't crush me the way I see it has crushed some people. I got out of being broke around 2 1/2 years ago and today, I have a good paying job right now, six-figures in equity, and all my credit card bills paid off. But I'm not doing what I tell myself and others that I want to do (writing).

I have the time to spare to pursue a writing career, yet I haven't written a short story in three months. So either I'm lying about wanting to be a writer, or I'm lying about saying this isn't want I want to do with my life.

I know that some part of me is scarred to change and pursue a writing career, even on the side, because it fears change and I've never been this happy before. Yet another part _does_ want to be a write because every day I wake up and think, "I should write today." And then I don't. So that's the biggest area I tell lies about, one way or the other.

Steve Perry said...

Break a leg ...

Steve Perry said...

"I am of the impression that Bill would have invaded Iraq if he could have found a pretext, and would have planned to stay for decades or longer,"

And you base this on what? I'm curious.

Pagan Topologist said...

Steve Perry asked:
And you base this on what? I'm curious.

I base this feeling on comments that Bill has made in interviews that I have heard on television or radio. I never expected to need to document them, unfortunately, so I do not have quotes at my fingertips. But I remember feeling after one interview I heard that he was really not so different from Bush II except in the amount of charisma.

Steve Perry said...

Well, yes, feelings are important. But pretty subjective out the wazoo. Evidence, if it is to be found, would be more convincing. Surely if there is some out there, somebody would have remarked upon it.

Like say, all the evidence that proved Sadaam had weapons of mass destruction?

I think you're wrong. I think Bill would have been smart enough to bomb hell out of Afghanistan, but not to barrel into Iraq. And since he didn't, then what I think is probably closer to reality than maybe-he-might-have based on a feeling. Unless you got something else, that's not much to hang that kind of accusation on.

Mar said...

Good Luck! You two!

Steve Perry,
I doubt that Bill Clinton would have gotten us into Iraq. There were three major terrorist attacks during his presidency, and many less spectacular ones. Watching Osama bin Laden and Al Queda were high on his priority list, which is one of the reasons that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld were less than gentle in pulling resources away from gathering terror intel. There is good reason to believe that the security measures put in place by the Clinton Administration actually worked on many occasions. More to the point, they apparently created an atmosphere that encouraged FBI agents and others to report what they found or perceived and allowed others to work with that information. Something that most certainly did not happen under Bush.

The three big terror attacks under Clinton's administration:

February 26, 1993, World Trade Center bombing in New York.

August 7,1998, the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania were bombed by terrorists, presumably Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, killing 224 people, including 12 American citizens, and injuring over 4,000. This was a huge attack, and it got short shrift in the US.

October 12, 2000, suicide bombing of the USS Cole, presumably carried out by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

Clinton came under tremendous attack for not doing something about these, but the Repubs were busy talking out of both sides of their mouths (love the image). If you an find it, since it is now behind a pay-for-view barrier, an old article in the National Review, "Clinton Has No Clothes", by Byron York, 12/17/2001, was fairly scathing about his lackings in going to war.

Seems like Iraq is a Bush gang preoccupation.

Mar said...

My biggest concern is that the next administration will not repeal all Bush's crap. Take a look at this. Hardly seems real. It's from http://www.firesociety.com/article/15853/STOP-President-Bush-s-Executive-Order-Confiscating-All-Property-of--Potential--Terrorists-/

On Wednesday, July 17, 2007, President Bush issued his latest executive order that gives the Secretary of the Treasury the power to confiscate any American's property as long as the Secretary "determines" that the suspect "poses a significant risk" of committing any "act or acts of violence" (an undefined term) that would negatively impact the president's war in Iraq. There is no legal recourse. If the Secretary's "determination" is simply wrong, there is no legal way to prove your case. No avenue for court review is provided. The only way you will get your property back (or restore access to it) is if you 'BEG' the Secretary to change his mind. Good luck!

Frank said...

pagan topologist

I am not convinced that Hillary Clinton would end the war in Iraq....I do think Obama will get out if and when he takes office.

Neither will.

If you want to vote for a candidate that most definitely will remove troops from Iraq on day one, you would have to go with Ron Paul. He is serious, which is why I could never support him. Ever.

Kucinich would have as well, I'm convinced. But he's gone.

Mar
On Wednesday, July 17, 2007, President Bush issued his latest executive order that gives the Secretary of the Treasury the power to confiscate any American's property as long as the Secretary "determines" that the suspect "poses a significant risk" of committing any "act or acts of violence" (an undefined term) that would negatively impact the president's war in Iraq.

You are referring to Executive Order 13438 which targets insurgents and militia groups. It freezes any assets – such as property or financial holdings – under U.S. jurisdiction or any transactions with U.S. citizens or entities.

It also targets charities that support terrorist groups in Iraq.

Are you admitting that much of the anti-war groups are "on the other side"?

Marty S said...

Some interesting quotes:

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line." - President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." - President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face." - Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten time since 1983." - Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18,1998

Frank said...

Then, of course, there was the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 which was passed by Congress and signed into law by Clinton wherein it was written

"It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime."

Steve Perry said...

Talk is cheap, and saber-rattling is part and parcel of a super-power's dialog with the world. "Don't tread on me." or you will be sorry.

But there is a big difference between saying something and doing it.

I'll kick your ass if you come at me is not the same as doing it because you can and you feel like it.

Saddam rattled his saber and the US kicked in his door and leveled his country for him, now we can't find the door to leave and are hemorrhaging lives and money.

The leading Republican in the race for President is happy with the idea of staying there for another hundred years, if that's what it takes to "win."

There's no win here, folks. Never was.

It's a popular pastime for the current administration to blame the previous one for everything they are doing to piss off the public.
Bush and company do it, and Clinton did it. But when you are engaged in in a stupid war and stomping all over your citizens' civil rights, people have more to be pissed off about.

The idea that Clinton "might" have gone into Iraq, so that somehow makes it okay that Bush did?

The crazies who flew the jets into the towers and the Pentagon were peopled gby our friends the Saudis, does anybody remember that? Did we send the Marines to attack them?

You could make a good case for stomping the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Nobody has made a case for attacking Iraq.

Except of course, for the oil. You can blow smoke and flash mirrors, but Saddam didn't have anything to do with 9/11, period.

Please. That dog won't hunt.

Dan Moran said...

Steve Perry wrote:

The crazies who flew the jets into the towers and the Pentagon were peopled gby our friends the Saudis, does anybody remember that? Did we send the Marines to attack them?

Probably the dumbest thing I've done in my entire adult life -- I tried to join the Marine Corps. Reserve immediately after 9/11. They wouldn't have me because I was too old -- 38 at the time. It genuinely never crossed my mind that even a conservative President would let the Saudis skate on this, while invading a country that had absolutely nothing to do with it.

They don't call the guy "Saudi George" for nothing.

Mar said...

Frank Said:
Are you admitting that much of the anti-war groups are "on the other side"?

No, they are not on the "other side," if you mean anti-American -- they are exercing their rights as Americans -- and don't forget that. Although I am wondering what the "other side" is. Maybe Saudi Arabia, who is still financially supporting bin Laden and Al Queda, and the only country whose citizens were involved in the 9-11 attacks?

Man, get a grip on your conservatism. These laws that the Bushies have pushed through completely run counter to traditional, and even Goldwater, conservative values.

My concern is not with the intent of the laws, but with the exercise of the laws. These laws are used in ways that differ from their original intent. The RICO laws have been used against grandparents trying to get their grandchildren away from their druggie children. All their assets were seized. The RICO laws have been much abused. Get a Wall Street Journal subscription if your need reminding.

Perhaps to the good, in WA st., the law that allows gay couples to adopt was used by grandparents in Kitsap County to adopt their grandchildren who were abandoned by their daughter when she went to jail.

The laws that sent Jews and many others to the ovens under Hitler were fairly mundane.

In my opinion, Hillary and Obama should take a handful of pages from Ron Paul.

Mar said...

What is the real goal of this war?

Yeah, war seems to be a tremendous temptation for US prezes. With Bush, however, he managed to push oil to $100/barrel. When he duped his way into office, I told anyone who would listen that he would push oil to over $50 a barrel in his first term, and $100 in his second term, and he did. It wasn't a lucky guess. The oil industry sites were talking about how the price of oil could shift under his administration. They were concerned that independent oil companies would be financially stomped out of business, when only Shell, Exxon, and BP could afford the crude. That's is exactly what happened.

I've been doing a lot of research on the First Afghanistan war (1837-1842), the Brits lost. A hundred and thirty years later the Russians lost there, too. Now we are losing. We are losing the ground war, the opium war, and on and on.

I don't like what's going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran, but the USA trying to half-ass fight a war is crap. The Bushies (both administrations -- 41 & 43) have been incompetent either by design or by side-effect. I think side-effect because their goals are not winning the war, stopping the civil war, or stopping terrorism. If they want to stop terrorism, they find bin Laden and make the Saudis stop financing him.

What do you think is the real goal of this war?

Mar said...

Mike wrote: "I know that some part of me is scarred to change and pursue a writing career, even on the side, because it fears change and I've never been this happy before. Yet another part _does_ want to be a write because every day I wake up and think, "I should write today." And then I don't. So that's the biggest area I tell lies about, one way or the other."

Perhaps you are not telling yourself lies, but telling yourself hopes. If you feel that you are lying, then you will never do what you want to do. If you nurture your hopes, you will turn intent into action.

Steve Perry said...

"What do you think is the real goal of this war?"

It sure isn't to eliminate terrorists. You don't do with guns, you can't.

There's a scene in Lord of Light (Zelazny) wherein one of the characters tells another to shoot a bird sitting a nearby tree.

The second guy blasts it.

Now, shoot me its mate.

I cannot.

Why?

I don't see it ...

You can't kill terrorists you can't see, and by stomping in and shooting their friends, family, and mates, you just create more of them. Sowing dragon's teeth and reaping the whirlwind, to coin a metaphor.

Can nobody in the administration see that in a holy war, the fanatics don't care if they they die -- if they can take somebody with them to prop open the door to Paradise?

A war requires a state that is willing to make peace if the cost gets too high.

For one loon with an airplane -- or a pocket nuke -- no cost is too high. You can't win against that unless you wipe every one of them out, and kill the hatchlings in the nests.

Are we willing to do that?

I think the current administration is sitting on its collective brain. Haven't seen anything that demonstrates otherwise.

Crystal said...

I don't dare address anything so complicated as politics right now. But to answer your closing question about where I've most lied to myself. The biggest dishonesty I've had with myself to date is in all three arenas, but an undeniable thread of being all about sex. The things I tell myself are no big deal and the things I tell myself are huge and the rationalizations I've given myself before or after the fact to make it all seem okay. Yeah, my sexuality has historically been a bit of a mess. I think I'm operating on a higher level now, but I won't know until I get to the next level what's lurking in my shadows now if that makes any sense.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Steve, why do you frame the ideas that block people as lies rather than mistakes or delusions?

It seems to me that I have major blocks in the form of believing that I can't get myself to behave much differently than I do. Definitely something to examine.

Marty S said...

I don't think I have ever lied to myself in these three areas.

Fitness: I think I am of average fitness for a man my age. But only because I read about how unfit the average American male is.

Finance:
I never wanted to work. My friend claims he remembers me talking about retirement plans when we were 16. I had 6 jobs in my first 10 years working before I found one I could tolerate and that would tolerate me. If i didn't need the money I never would have worked.

Relationships:
I met my wife during my sophomore year at college. She has been the love of my life since then. The sex may only have been so so, but she is my rock and my best friend. Oh and she has been willing tolerate my weaknesses, which not many women would be.

Frank said...

Mar

Maybe Saudi Arabia, who is still financially supporting bin Laden and Al Queda, and the only country whose citizens were involved in the 9-11 attacks?

Are you advocating attacking Saudi Arabia? Are you advocating that the US occupy the land of Mecca?

At the moment we are doing a pretty good job of separating the fanatics from moderate and liberal Muslims.

Occupy Mecca and there won't be any such thing.

Besides, the Saudi Government is not financing bin Laden.

My concern is not with the intent of the laws, but with the exercise of the laws. These laws are used in ways that differ from their original intent.

Can you cite an example of this happening.

The RICO laws have been used against grandparents trying to get their grandchildren away from their druggie children. All their assets were seized. The RICO laws have been much abused. Get a Wall Street Journal subscription if your need reminding.

I'm sorry. I don't understand. Can you cite a case number that illustrates you point?

Frank said...

Mar

Yeah, war seems to be a tremendous temptation for US prezes. With Bush, however, he managed to push oil to $100/barrel. When he duped his way into office, I told anyone who would listen that he would push oil to over $50 a barrel in his first term, and $100 in his second term, and he did. It wasn't a lucky guess.

So tell me, how did the war in Iraq create $100/bbl oil?

I've been doing a lot of research on the First Afghanistan war (1837-1842), the Brits lost. A hundred and thirty years later the Russians lost there, too. Now we are losing.

By what measure? Are you on the same page as Obama that we should invade Pakistan regardless of what the Pakistani government wants?

Frank said...

Steve Perry

It sure isn't to eliminate terrorists. You don't do with guns, you can't.

Well you can't do it without guns. But I would agree you can't do it with guns alone: Hence Petraeus' COIN strategy

You can't kill terrorists you can't see, and by stomping in and shooting their friends, family, and mates, you just create more of them. Sowing dragon's teeth and reaping the whirlwind, to coin a metaphor.

Good thing we avoid doing that, then.

Can nobody in the administration see that in a holy war, the fanatics don't care if they they die -- if they can take somebody with them to prop open the door to Paradise?

However, the ideological underpinning for justifying the murdering of women, children and muslims is that they are engaged in a Holy War with Allah on their side.

The more they lose, the harder it is to justify that they are killing women, children and Muslims for God.

If you look for the signs of this, you will see that this is precisely what is happening.

Here is the thing, you can not lose every single battle, be forced to retreat from every single piece of ground on which you are challenged and at the same time claim that Allah is behind you. And once people lose faith that Allah is behind you, it becomes even more difficult to justify suicide bombings that use children and mentally deficient women to kill muslim women and children.

Of course, the best way for al Qaida and the Islamists to claim God is on their side is for us to give up and go home: or in your words "A war requires a state that is willing to make peace if the cost gets too high."

Anonymous said...

Steve:
The comments here illustrate why I wish you'd limit yourself to one subject per blog entry:
Not only is your aside about Hilary or Obama a barricade rather than an opening to a thought-provoking essay on how we lie to ourselves in three main areas of life --
But opening with politics means the comments are primarily regurgitating the same political arguments that overwhelm every other blog --
Instead of those thoughts that are unique to yours.

Yes, I am, as a another blogger puts it, complaining about the free ice cream...

As for me: minor to not so minor lies in all three areas. I'd like to think I am addressing them all now.

- Paul

Mar said...

The more they lose, the harder it is to justify that they are killing women, children and Muslims for God.

Frank, that's martyrdom.

Steve Perry, you are so right!

My friends who are Muslims say that there is no basis for this in Islam, and that what is pushing these people is a heresy. But they are fanatics and the worse it gets the more they go down this violent path.

The problem with intervention is we turn into occupiers or invaders on their soil. If the situation were reversed, while never being a suicide bomber, I suspect I could be a sniper. Good intentions seem to be feeding the bad intentions.

As to $100 per barrel? Who knows, but a lot of oil is not being pumped because of this war. Mostly, I think it has gone up because we are in a stress situation, as a country, and we are more accepting than otherwise. I wonder if any dirty bombs have gone down any well holes yet.

Are we losing the Iraq war? Not yet, but we certainly aren't winning. Today, on two separate military sites, I read that 70% of the soldiers in Iraq combat oppose the war. Sadly, Sadly, it must be hard to fear for your life and not think it's being conducted properly.

Marty S said...

I don't know how 70% of the soldiers in Iraq feel, but my nephew has volunteered to go back for a third tour even though you can only be sent there twice. He claims that we are doing good there and the Iraqi people he deals with are mostly glad we are there. I was skeptical about the war before we actually went in and haven't heard of any good justification for starting the war, but I think that we made a mess there and should stay until we have cleaned up the mess up we made.

Mar said...

From what I have read, our soldiers have no problems the Iraqi people. As you wrote of your nephew:

"He claims that we are doing good there and the Iraqi people he deals with are mostly glad we are there."

I read the same thing voiced by those who think we should get out. That doesn't change the fact that we have become an occupying force. Tell me how we get around that, and do some good. BTW, whose definition of "good" do we use?

Steven Barnes said...

Yeah, I do think I might put too many different threads together in the same entry. Sorry about that--just clearing my mind out. I'll try to do better, really.
##
Why do I say "lies"? Because it is a little jolting, and insulting, and forces an emotional reaction. I'm not interested in being comfortable about this stuff. And there are too many versions of "unclear" "deluded" "deceived" or whatever. I'll start with "lie" and admit to being ungracious.
#
Part of the reason I mention political things is that I am ignorant about politics, although I have great confidence in my understanding of human nature. I throw something out, watch smart people argue about it, and accept those answers that are in alignment with my theories of human nature. If I turn out to be wrong, I modify my theories. It's one of the ways I learn.

Paul Gibbons said...

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names” – Old Chinese proverb.

Something that is not true is a lie. I admire your willingness to get out of your comfort zone; I find that much growth can be obtained outside the familiar surroundings of my assumptions. One of those was that while I didn't understand politics, I figured that it was somehow necessary to human society and that someday I might get a clearer picture of it. Well, I was half right.

"The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else." / Frederic Bastiat

Steve, just as your prediction of hitting your stride in life has come true, I have been shown a clarity of principles in my own life that is rocking it to the core. While some of it is inconvenient, it is exhilarating in the extreme as I now can see the future with a purpose and an optimism unobtainable in my past. The lies I have told myself have to do with not being able to make a contribution to the world and that it is necessary to compromise my values in order to have a relationship.

"Societies which do not have an objective and commonly understood methodology for determining truth and falsehood, good and evil, inevitably have to end up substituting authority for virtue. Statism leads to war, science leads to conferences. If, to educate children in what they should and should not do, parents have to end up invoking authority rather than objective values, then the best that they can do is to teach their children to be obedient, not to be moral. To conform, not to think. To bully or be bullied, but not to approach others as equals." Stefan Molyneux

The following article talks about how all politics is personal and how we treat others is how we treat the world. Sounds simplistic at first but if we really got the full implications of Jefferson's "all men are created equal" we would start to live in a very different world. And since we ARE in charge of how we interact with others, we can start NOW.

http://www.strike-the-root.com/71/fontana/fontana8.html