navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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  • Judging as You Are Judged

    Really interesting TED talk about judging your thoughts the way people judge you to quell the like/dislike monster. The book he references Evolving Beyond Thought has you memorizing Sanskrit philosophy to help quell the storm of thoughts in your skull.

    The two questions you need to ask of every thought are “is the thought useful” and “how does the thought behave”. These are basically the two questions people ask of you when they judge you. So it’s turning the whole judgement on its head and holding your thoughts up to the standard others are holding you up to when they judge you.

    I don’t know if this would work for me but I like it.

  • The Isolation of Suffering

    I think one of the best arguments against the existence of a personal god is the fact that suffering is so isolating.

    God’s people dropping out of your life like flies. Me and many others on the bottom experience is that the people who claim to be closest to God are the ones that get the furthest away when things turn permanently worse. They do this all while parroting the romantic notion of suffering that things are going to go according to “God’s plan”. Well they’re not and you are part of the problem. Religious people will trot out their “free will” theodicy trump card when confronted with the problem of evil. But then they put it away when their free will is frustrating God’s supposed “perfect plan”.

    The fact that for a lot of us suffering turns us into much less of an everyman than more of one. One of the things those of privilege selling suffering say is that it will somehow connect you to a greater experience of humanity. While that happens for some lucky people for most of us suffering cuts us off from enriching people and activities we need to actually become what they claim suffering will make us become. I have noticed in my life that I’m not even empathetic to people who have gone through the same things as me (mental illness). This surprised me. I’m just stretched so thin myself I have nothing to give. Plus there is this thing with mental illness called negative symptoms which actually eat your personality away which flies in the face of anything positive coming out of suffering.

    The idea of drawing “meaning” out of suffering helps less people than you would think. Highly principled people may concoct backstories and astroturf the bad things in their life to things make sense in hindsight but that requires an expensive brain that can play good mental gymnastics. I want dignity and relationships, I don’t give a rip about meaning. Suffering actually robs my life of meaning because I found meaning in dignified work and relationships and what I suffer robs me of both.

    Experiences of God going AWOL. The part of your brain synthesizing “experiences of God” is likely to go down if you suffer enough. Part of this is suffering and skills to cope with it make you emotionally numb and religion (or whatever they are calling Christianity these days) largely transpires on the seat of the emotion. Nobody wants to admit this but the way it’s sold (especially in contemporary worship) is all about emotions. Anything that makes you emotionally stunted is going to torpedo your interaction with “God”. This is partially why so many people on the spectrum are non religious because we don’t have the emotional toolbox to interact with a god.

    The fact that a lot of us turn to the internet for refuge. When the world shuns you the internet raises you. Many forms of suffering like disability narrow people who will interact with you beyond reduced functionality mode to a subset of people which you find online. For example with me if someone doesn’t have a disability and/or mental illness the chance of a relationship happening is just about zero. Unfortunately for religion the internet is not a community friendly to religion partly because a lot of the people seeking refuge on it were already rejected by the church so they carry that with them. Also online interaction is not incarnational the same way real life interaction is so it’s less conducive to spreading religion.

  • Money in Your Brain

    I want more money. Money in the real world lets you go on all kinds of fun trips (at least pre-COVID) and gives you all kinds of health and security.

    Money in your brain does something similar, you can spend it to produce beliefs in happy delusions. That’s why religious people refer to faith as a gift. It’s actually not a gift, it’s paid for by money in your brain.

    Just as it is hard to make money in this economy that is going to Hades, it’s hard to get money in your brain. You have to have had a lot of positive experiences or have a brain that is really good at playing cognitive tricks.

    The younger generation is less trusting and religious and more mentally ill so I surmise that they don’t have much money in their brain.

    Some poems:

    learning how to think critically
    can actually deplete your brain of money
    because happy delusions melt away
    (assuming you didn’t have an abusive childhood
    you start out with a lot of money in your brain like monopoly)

    the way to be saved by “grace”
    is to have looks in your heart
    and money in your brain

    if you have money in your brain
    you can buy astroturf, to astroturf the bad things
    so things make sense in hindsight
    you can buy the ability to play cognitive tricks
    so you can make lemonade out of cyenide

  • Material Support for Black Lives

    I can’t advocate to save my life. But luckily that’s not the only way to show we care about black lives. We can offer material support which, when done hand in hand with advocacy, multiplies the help.

    Give to charities that support the poor, especially ones that put money directly in people’s pocket. GiveDirectly and RIP Medical Debt are my two favorite charities for these because they have low overhead and thus can help more people. It’s obvious that donating to charity won’t only help African Americans but since they are disproportionately represented in the poor a lot of it will. Also poverty among whites is one of the things that fans the flames of racism so anything you do to lift up a poor white person is actually helping ease racial tensions.

    Vote blue. There are things in red states that really hurt African Americans like the failure to expand Medicaid which a lot of them rely on for healthcare. Lost in the narrative of Republicans acting racist is their actual policies which in and of themselves severely disadvantage the poor. What’s really sad is poor whites will vote against their interests because they would rather forego free healthcare then let minorities have it.

    Provide a regularly updated resource list for your community. If organizations could become less siloed and share a list for their community with updated information on the latest resources for helping the poor that would really help. For example there is a tool that lets you write and send pictures to people in jail for free. I actually started a list like this on my local food pantry’s website. The list will be different for each locale though some of the items are national.

    Give your time and consideration. Often times you won’t get to know people on the margins until you help them. Give rides. Obviously COVID makes this harder but often the thing someone of color could use is a ride to work or the grocery store or the doctor. Buy a struggling brother an air conditioner window unit. Heat breeds anger and an air conditioner can contain this. If your church is truly into racial reconciliation it is probably already offering you opportunities to materially help minorities. In this way you will build a rapport you couldn’t in any other way. If you find your self reaching a struggling youth stay in their life even if it impacts what you planned your life to be negatively.

  • Team Effort

    Religious people don’t like it that I don’t have any trust in God. They wouldn’t either if he had told them to drink piss, kill them selves, and date people out of their league. I have found that when I make my trust in God a team effort the truth really comes out. People (especially Christians) have dropped out of my life like flies and refused to come in showing me that they are incredibly skeptical about what God is doing in my life. Guess what, I am too!

    Don’t encourage faith with your words and then discourage it with your actions! Because I only listen to the latter.

  • More Lockdown Poetry

    I do not claim to possess any doctrinally sound beliefs but I will say God is good is a reflexive relation. God=Good, Good=God. Goodness and love are detectable by the most hardened of atheists, the person of the lowest intelligence, and the individual in a completely psychotic state. Today is my sixteenth anniversary of my psychotic break where I was in the mental hospital for ten days. The one person kind to me besides my parents was nurse Jim. I was absolutely nuts but I still remember him fondly. Believe it or not part of my psychotic break was pondering the salvation of the Jews. I don’t believe in salvation any more but their view of God is more accurate than the one I was raised to believe.

    pleasure in food is a zero sum game
    you can either have things that make you immediately happy
    while you are eating them
    or things that do so more gradually afterword

    I like Gregorian chant
    and video game sound tracks
    liturgy of then
    and liturgy of now

    Happiness often doesn’t come from feeling good about yourself
    it comes from experiencing others’ goodness
    even if it doesn’t materially benefit you
    (like New York City Jews donating convalescent plasma to treat COVID patients)
    (our job isn’t to make everybody happy,
    it’s just to instill in people a will to live)

    the difference between mania and joy
    is in mania the pathology creates the reason
    where in joy the brain is working correctly overtime
    to create it

    for thinking millenials and gen z
    it’s not it’s 5pm somewhere, lets drink
    it’s 3am somewhere, let’s think!
    (we’re not afraid to ask hard questions
    others shy away from)
    we also seamlessly switch contexts like tabs on a browser
    so we don’t have to be looking at the stars late at night
    to ask the most forbidden hard questions

    the opposite of Evangelical Christianity is not atheism
    it’s mental illness
    (that’s why youth pastors strongly discouraged you from listening to
    Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral)
    an inner voice you can’t trust
    hope you don’t feel
    experience of a totally chaotic supernatural
    people social distancing from you (even before COVID)
    poor countenance and physical appearance
    failure to be independent and prosper
    or ever cobble together a redemptive life narrative
    (the narrative in its worst case, suicide)
    SO the very act of you living your life
    is calling an Evangelical Christian a liar
    don’t be surprised when they reject and try to erase you

    when you are worse at your brain
    than your brain is at you
    religion partakes of you
    instead of you partaking of it
    (so God becomes enemy territory)

    people’s bad side is lower down than their good side
    that’s why those lower down see the former more

    forget about the lack of pain keeping life from having a “story”
    if there wasn’t pain there couldn’t be power
    pain is a necessary condition for power
    power just boils down to “I can hurt you and you can’t hurt me”

    psychology might be a young science
    but it’s a very old religion

    personality tests are like any other test you take in school
    there are right answers and there are wrong answers

    a lot of people believing something doesn’t make it true
    it just makes it cool
    and resisting something that’s cool is much harder
    than resisting something that’s true

    an uncool belief will be held to a higher standard of evidence
    than a cool one
    (that’s why no one believes in prayer snatchers
    but almost everyone believes in God)

    the difference between a lion and a person
    is the former is forthright
    about their desire to devour you

    if religion were a movie you were going to see
    the internet would be the spoiler

    sanity and insanity
    are like land and water
    one recedes to reveal the other

    imagine a not too far fetched scenario
    where you don’t have enough money to keep up your streaming service subscriptions
    so you lose all your music
    and all your movies
    well that’s what losing your faith is like
    when you unsubscribe everything disappears

    why would you assume
    that those who went through suffering
    with their powers of articulation intact
    would speak on behalf of those who didn’t?

    just because a lot of my emotional damage has been self-inflicted
    doesn’t mean it wasn’t carried out against my will

    Man is needed
    for Satan’s hate to incubate
    because good comes commensurate with evil
    but the devil can only be the latter

    Some people think we are caterpillars and will emerge from this lockdown butterflies.
    I don’t buy this. We’re moth larva anyway.

    As far as video games go
    Judaism was Counterstrike
    Zorasterism was PUBG
    and Christianity was Fortnite

    perhaps the American capitalist system’s greatest strength
    is the (patently false) notion it puts out
    that it can be beaten

    time is an act of mercy
    because it keeps all the bad
    from happening at once
    and destroying you

    men and women are like the US and China
    they depend upon each other to function
    with the crudest of bonds amidst the acrimony

    the difference between truly believing a happy delusion
    and just pantomiming it
    is the difference between someone else scratching your back
    and you just doing it

    if you have to cut someone out of your life
    to maintain your beliefs
    that means those beliefs probably won’t stand up to scrutiny

    trusting God is a team effort 🙂
    if Christians who were close to you are dropping out of your life like flies
    it means they intuit that your life isn’t going to God’s plan
    so they must cut you off
    inorder to keep their views of God’s goodness intact
    (but their pleas for you to trust God ring hollow
    when by their actions they aren’t trusting him on your behalf!)

    Christians are trying to shoehorn my traumas into stories
    with redemptive narratives
    judging from the Christians dropping out of my life
    and none coming in
    i have to say you don’t have a leg to stand on

    you need one of two things
    actual goodness of God
    or actual goodness of brain
    to play the cognitive tricks needed
    to pretend God is good when he’s not

    you ask me to find God
    well, he’s either inside your brain
    or he’s not
    but they don’t have instruments to detect him!
    (they don’t advise mentally ill people to do shrooms
    to have those transcendent spiritual experiences
    so chances are if you aren’t mentally healthy
    he isn’t inside your brain)

    the lack of evidence for a personal god
    is out in the open and can be shown by science
    where the lack of evidence for God inside of a person
    must be hidden because of how much weakness in betrays in them

    as long as reasons for accepting religion
    can be trumpeted without consequence
    while reasons for rejecting it
    need to be kept confidential on pain of destroying your reputation
    religion will always thrive and spread
    (people can share their favorite Bible verses without repercussions
    but not their worst traumas)

    remember, if you aren’t one of the elect
    God is as unbelievable to you
    as you are to him

    when i was at my worst
    God was not there
    but sometimes good people were
    that’s why I’m a humanist
    not a Christian

    people are different than the coronavirus
    because they don’t get down in your lungs to kill you
    they get up in your head

    if we were all given God’s strength than it would be ok that everything
    would happen “in God’s time”

    i only knew God when i didn’t know i didn’t know him
    when i was six climbing tall pines i had no internal concept of God
    and did not need one or have it occupy my head
    i just communed with nature and played with my siblings
    once i knew i didn’t know God things changed
    (the “age of accountability” for me was just
    when i failed to build an image of God in my head that helped me function)
    the only time I “found God” in my adult life was when i was psychotic manic
    after my psychotic break i was left with the pieces
    deciphering things that felt so real
    but now these things had to be split into what i was told wasn’t real
    (delusions about the color orange)
    and what i was told was real
    but just as i couldn’t feel the difference between the two in mania
    i couldn’t in depression either
    so i lost my faith

    I remember on the way to open mic standing by the bus stop and hearing Losing My Religion in car stereos two different times. I miss the sunset through the Mayan Buzz font window.

    My facial expressions have always been awkward so now I can be smiling behind a mask and nobody can tell the poorly times smile is happening. It’s strange.

    I think the class of people who have really let us down the most are fortune tellers. Mid 2019 was their time to shine, telling us to ramp up producing hand sanitizer, N95 masks and ventilators.

    in this day hope is just conjecture
    but we still call it hope
    because that sounds more romantic
    and heart warming for old people

    courage might roar like a lion
    but delusion laughs like a hyena

    your Christian witness
    in really glib terms
    is status times goodness

    my arrogance growing up
    was the witching hour
    banking on the sun coming up

    if the darkness takes turns with the light
    you might be all right
    but if all the darkness happens at once
    you’re fucked

    the coronavirus is taking the lives of the old
    and making the lives of the rest of us
    not worth living

    we are all living our worst trauma all the time
    on a deep subconscious level
    that’s why for some of us to rise above it
    is like a mountain rising from the bottom of the ocean
    our peaks are just barely land
    they don’t look majestic like mountains
    but that doesn’t mean it didn’t take so much
    to just get where we are

    when you make a really bad decision
    like I did in 2018 not seeing my grandma in Costa Rica one last time
    some people have the audacity to tell you
    you had the wisdom inside of you
    to make the right one

    a good brain
    can play the cognitive tricks needed
    to pretend there is a good god regardless of what happens
    a bad brain, not so much

    some people think that because i ask something of love
    i don’t believe in it
    would i convince you i believed in love more
    if i asked nothing of it?

    I’m going to get through this trial
    but part of myself will stay behind
    never to be seen again

    life is like a candy
    it derives much of its sweetness
    from the brevity of its experience

  • Things That Point Toward Materialism Being True

    I’ve been over exposed to religion my entire life and I try to believe in all that stuff but it’s like an algebra problem you suspect you got wrong but you don’t know why you got it wrong or have the intelligence to derive the correct answer. Materialism is the idea that the world we can taste touch and see is all there is. Some reasons:

    The colossal failure of prophecy. I don’t care if it comes from a parishioner rolling in the aisles full of the Spirit or a wizard sacrificing a goat in the middle of a flaming pentagram, accurate prophecy from the Dream Team or the Mean Team would go a long way in convincing me that there was something beyond this existence. If someone the beginning of 2019 would have heard a word from the beyond that we need to make two billion N95 masks and they could make a killing doing so, that would have been great. What passes for prophecy is usually as vague as a horoscope. Like “you’re going to meet someone interesting today”.

    The lack of scientific evidence for the supernatural. If there were angels, demons, or ghosts it seems like it would end up on social media as most of us can whip out a camera from our pocket at a moment’s notice. We have elaborate scientific instruments to measure basically almost anything from gravity waves to subatomic particles. Incidents where the supernatural has been seen like with Prophet Yahweh seem to point to certain actors able to leverage glitches in the simulation rather than a world whose rules are governed by what our major religions tell us.

    The fact that suffering is so incredibly isolating. The problem of evil is correctly on every atheist’s checklist but I think just is big of a problem is people’s orientation towards those who suffer. As a hedge against the idea of chaos and senseless evil Christians try to concoct a redemptive narrative around suffering and pain. Unfortunately this ends up backfiring on them because in order to keep this narrative intact they have to cut anyone out of their lives whose narrative doesn’t end up redemptive, proving that this narrative was a lie all along (just like in quantum mechanics you can’t measure without modifying). When tragic things have happened in my life the people who believed in “God’s plan” were the first to exit. During this time of plague it’s becoming increasingly clear that the people romanticizing suffering and the ones doing the actual suffering are worlds apart. Poverty in the best of times causes incredible isolation (especially as people get past 45) and now Coronavirus is killing these older poor people which is heartbreaking.

    The fact the people on the spectrum are generally not religious. I have stated that the brain has to do a lot of heavy lifting to get religion working through/for you. The same social skills one needs to interact successfully with people are needed to interact successfully with a deity. And just like we do communicating wrong (according to society) we are even gaslit for our expressions of religiosity. When I was Christian I had this crazy theory about the color orange being really redemptive and that got pretty laughed out of the room. God is sold as being near those on the margins (as most autistics are) but our experience bears the opposite, not being able to build an image of God in our head that helps us function or being able to be accepted in a community of believers. Granted not every autistic’s experience is this but I’d say a majority are and mine definitely has been.

    The observation that the content of Near Death Experiences are more a measure of the person’s mental health than anything else. People pushing the supernatural generally point to Near Death Experiences as proof that there is a heaven. What evidence they don’t admit is there are also hell NDE’s and these are pretty arbitrary, not contingent on people’s virtue or religiosity. The fact that that when they did a study on people’s reaction to shrooms they screened out those with bipolar and schizophrenia is telling. People who believe in the supernatural want us to believe these experiences are more than our brain’s regions communicating with each other differently.

  • a dark Holy Saturday

    I miss the open mics. I miss hugs and gentle touch. I miss restaurant ice cubs at the bottom of a diet coke that you can suck on without the middle tasting like chlorine. It seems like the world has been burning so long it’s hard to remember a time where we could just ignore the News and there was no consequence for doing so. Or hear another headline and just be stopped in your tracks. Also whenever I get an alert tone on my phone that used to be for Amber alerts but now is for governor’s alerts I think this is the big one, this is the time the nukes from God knows where are headed for us.

    hard times
    produce soft dicks

    When someone you love cuts you off
    It’s like never getting to finish a good book

    people are the opposite of prisms
    because it’s beams of darkness
    that bring out their true colors

    people for whom life is to be enjoyed
    push this idea for those lower down
    that one is conscripted into life
    and you should just shut the fuck up
    no matter how bad things get

    people who romanticize suffering
    never romanticize its byproducts
    dole, derision, desertion, and death

    evil is like taking a shit
    it feels good to you but no one else

    people tell me “anything can happen”
    as if that is a good thing

    the worse your mental health
    the more your religious expression
    either rounds up to psychosis
    or rounds down to deism


    God didn’t die
    they were STOLEN

    God’s despair is cathartic
    Even as religious people say ours is sin

    I know
    i was poor in all of my past lives
    and whatever ends up happening to me
    i will be poor and with fellow messed up people
    on earth, in heaven, in purgatory, and in hell

    living in the moment is difficult
    when you know the worst is yet to be

    we aren’t begging for a loaf of bread
    we just need a trail of crumbs
    to lead us out of the cave

    we call it daymares
    when your waking moments
    are worse than anything your feeble mind could conjure in sleep
    in the back of our minds we always knew it would end
    but it’s still hard when it’s ending this way in front of our eyes
    when you fire up the news
    looking back on the destruction
    it turns you into a pillar of salt

    i have this convention
    from my journals as a kid
    that the easy times are written about marker
    and the hard ones in pen or pencil
    in 8th grade
    in the recess area that was all cement
    and in the locker room in gym class
    being pushed into a urinal on two different days
    i have always been a poor example for Christians
    because i never learned anything from suffering
    only the light let in sustained me
    like the Krakle and Mr. Goodbar every week
    on the welcome mat for hungry 8th grade paper boy me
    or an acquaintance sticking up for me in the locker room in gymn class
    these small kindnesses
    were the harrowing of hell

    we may melt away
    before coronavirus does
    night is coming when no one can work
    but come to think of it
    we didn’t really appreciate the day
    so its nautical twilight
    to a truly dark Holy Saturday
    the Father was the sun
    the Son was the sunrise
    and the Spirit was the atmosphere
    that held in the warmth and breath
    and spread out the light

    (and this is the one I sometimes read at the open mic when it is Maundy Thursday)

    the thief comes only to kill and destroy
    do not fear those who kill the body and after that have nothing more they can do
    who touched me, i felt the power go out of me
    be clean
    even the hairs on your head are numbered
    she has done what she could. She poured perfume on my body to prepare for my burial

    are you going to leave me too
    how i wanted to gather you in my wing like a chicken gathers her chicks
    my children, i will be with you only a little longer
    where i go you cannot come
    she has done what she could. She poured perfume on my body to prepare for my burial

    i lay down my life for my sheep
    wash my feet with your tears
    Why do you seek the living among the dead?
    i saw the devil fall from the sky like lightening
    how i wanted to gather you in my wing like a chicken gathers her chicks

  • Looking Good

    During some of the worst parts of my life I have had some strange desires, mainly to LOOK BETTER! I know this is shallow but I have been so lonely for so long and looking better was the main way you got a girlfriend (especially in my early 20’s when I felt this the most). I don’t think people appreciate looking good for all it’s worth.

    It sucks that I’m turning 40 and I never had a girlfriend. And a lot of that is due to the fact that I don’t look good. Now in my early 20’s it was directly due to that but now it’s indirect, due to my visible physical disability keeping me from being a vocational success (which keeps me poor and undesirable).

    We are socialized with this myth that “it’s the inside that counts” and that does come into play in keeping a relationship going but to get it started you need to look good and make decent money.


    What we fear
    Is so much worse than we can worry

    O Coronavirus
    Crown of RNA
    Jesus in reverse
    Iran can’t get the medication
    so their citizens die
    while pleading to a god that can’t listen
    because everything is locked behind free will
    Chaos has been set free
    the world lives or dies by our whims
    and in some ways they’re greater than God’s
    in other ways less

    never read news alone

    give us our daily bread
    doesn’t help much
    when you already ate all of today’s bread

    courage often works like a credit card, not a bank
    you just act
    and the courage comes after the fact

    the Bible makes more sense
    in a world that is becoming more like it was then
    where plague and pestilence stalk unimpeded
    and governments don’t even fake caring
    about the will of the people

    when people tune in to the news
    they are looking for a dove with a leaf in its mouth
    but the way things are now
    they just get a draught of salt water

    a crisis brings people together
    but a tragedy tears them apart

    my faith has been a jack in the box, not a music box
    the music only plays while I’m winding
    I let go and it stops

    the more complex a scientific instrument
    the more data it needs to store
    the more active a mind
    the more baggage it accrues
    and the more expensive a therapist it requires

    i’m not one of the elect,
    my brain is read-only
    so it can’t get saved

    you are a bird
    the materials you gather in this life
    determine the nest you lay in in your next

    the further a rocket needs to go
    the more correct its trajectory must be
    the goodness of a society only really gets tested
    when things go horribly bad

    the flower that blooms in adversity
    is usually fake

    what you think are rays of hope
    can sometimes be gamma rays
    that fry you through and through

    I swear to God serotonin is the elixir of life
    I am burned out and fresh out of it

    only those who feign strength survive
    because so few really are strong!

    COVID-19 is like a terrorist
    who sets off bombs in the market
    and at the funeral of those killed in the market
    (in its case just keeping the funerals themselves
    from happening)

    in a tragedy only the strong survive
    because the strong are fed the weak

    where God is once the devil is twice
    where the devil is twice God is once

    being mentally ill during a pandemic is strange
    for the first time the things in the wider world
    resemble the things in our head

    goodness in people is like the stars
    only in great darkness do they shine brightly

    the only good that comes out of suffering
    is the good brought into it

    those of us whose lives are already a tragedy
    can’t handle a crisis