Enlightened Conflict

celebration of vanity and frivolousness

March 18th, 2016

 immortality waste of time



‘What is “fashion” anyways, but a celebration of vanity and frivolousness?


We should pursue higher truths: let us shed the falseness of apparel, together, and writhe naked on this carpet.’




Sarah Jeong




“You have scattered your awareness in all directions,
and your vanities are not worth a bit of cabbage.
The root of every thorn draws
the water of your attention toward itself.
How will the water of your attention reach the fruit?
Cut through the evil roots, cut them away.
Direct the Bounty of God to spirit and insight,
not to the knotted and broken world outside.”












This is about fashion … and … uhm … journalism.


completely useless meJournalism & fashion?




Both seem to teeter on the edge of frivolousness.


Both pander to the ego.


Both push the envelope in what they showcase all the while showcasing that which is not really helpful for the general public on an everyday basis.


Both seem to have a wandering moral compass.


And both seem to have an uncomfortably disproportionate effect on us <society>.


By the way.



An industry can have a moral compass. I say that because most industries do play by some ‘rules.’ And a portion of those rules are dictated by the industry moral compass. And by rules I don’t mean lying versus not lying and having some sense of overall responsibility to how they sell what it is they are selling <not selling a crappy product/service> but rather an overall sense of higher ethics.


This is tricky.

Maybe trickier than it looks on the surface.


Ethics could very very easily reside in ‘truth.’ But instead I would argue that if you are an industry in which you know you have a larger impact than just selling what it is you have to sell that you have a responsibility to a higher order of ethics.


I worked in advertising for a long time in my career. So I understand the responsibility to something more than ‘selling shit’ <which was my compass early in my career>.


The responsibility resides more in understanding that what you say and what you show and what you ‘sell’ makes an impact with regard to attitudes. How people think and creating some societal impact. I imagine many <many> people in fashion and journalism think about this an assess their actions on the moment … as in “I have a responsibility to the moment.”


That is the easy path.

The lazy path.

And that is the path that detours you around that beautiful little park which seems to have fewer and fewer visitors to what I will call “moral responsibility park.”


Each moment in fashion and journalism creates a ripple. Yes. EACH moment.

And, yes, if you look at it that way it can become a little overwhelming and possibly it creates some issues with regard to what you may actually do, or not do, in that moment. And it may even mean you take a moment and decide ‘damn, but this would have sold some shit <or created some awesome viewership>.”


I will be honest.


I am not sure if I am discussing fashion & journalism’s inordinate desire to celebrate moments of vanity <which is actually a frivolous approach to their business and overall responsibility> or if this is an overall ignorance of lack of responsibility <or possibly lack of understanding> of a higher responsibility that what they do and say each moment has an impact.


I can almost assuredly say that these days both industries seem to be fighting not only for some rational valued place in society <as both appear to be relegated to frivolous irrational/emotional status> and, therefore, while no one is noting it … internally both are fighting to find their inner compass and are clearly standing in the moral relativism space.


This should be important not only to them but to us.


Their vertigo, i.e., without being grounded in some way with morality each step, doesn’t just make them dizzy but also creates a spinning in overall societal attitudes with regard to what is important and what is truly happening around us <outside our own sphere of activity an experiences>.

frivolous vanity



Vertigo is when a person feels as if they or the objects around them are moving when they are not.

Often it feels like a spinning or swaying movement. This may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties walking. It is typically worsened when the head is moved. Vertigo is the most common type of dizziness.






I think sometimes both of these industries confuse the dizziness with ‘the light headedness associated with the celebration of vanity.’


They become so fixated on the dual glittering spectacle of that which they seek to sell and that who is … well … themselves.




While I could editorialize about the misguided ego of that which is fashion and journalism I believe I will talk about some specifics. Because it is lazy to simply heap disdainful opinion upon the empty carcasses of fashion and journalism.


I want to discuss some specifics because when journalism and fashion get t it wrong … when they lose their moral compass and stray gleefully with vanity & frivolousness across our lives … they can fuck us, people, up.


How does fashion fuck us up?


Their advertising is misguided and sucks.



Their advertising may actually dictate some social norms and beliefs.




Advertising can do that.


And if they kept that style and vapid effort to themselves it would be okay … but then they convince someone else to do something “artsy” to create “buzz” and be “cool” and … well … my quotation mark key is getting worn out.




I am not disregarding personal responsibility with regard to electing what is important to us and what is not. But if you are continuously being pounded with images and words depicting what is not only socially acceptable but what is socially desirable … you will inevitably begin thinking it is truth <or maybe even just thinking that it is possibly truth>. It is a seductive path to walk. And none of us … yes … NONE of us are immune to this seduction.

We eye it equally with trepidation and thoughts of possibilities. And in doing so it creates seductive images of … well … false glory.character dignity glory worth




“False glory is the rock of vanity; it seduces men to affect esteem by things which they indeed possess, but which are frivolous, and which for a man to value himself on would be a scandalous error.”




Jean de la Bruyere




By the way … this is human. This is not some sign of weakness or of lack of self identity … his is real world ‘me & you’ attitude stuff. Don’t laugh. Don’t think you are immune to it. it I how we think. That doesn’t mean you can’t fight it off but, trust me, their frivolousness is insipid and wily and is constantly trying to sneak into our thoughts and attitudes.


By the way … I note that last thought because that is where I believe fashion’s lack of responsibility is … well … almost unforgivable. Unforgivable because my guess is that in the back room discussion this never even comes up in the conversation.



Shame on them.  


How does journalism fuck us up?


While advertising can shape social norms and beliefs … journalism can do so exponentially so.

For while we see fashion as ‘trends to jump on’ journalism is seen more as ‘issues to jump on.’


Therefore if both teeter on the edge of frivolous … journalism bears the burden of irresponsibility even more so.


It seems like “objective” news has disappeared and now news outlets reside almost all in a partisan driven, niche opinion/attitude space … but do so under the guise of intellectual discourse.


They get away with this intellectual highway robbery because they are legally classified as commentary or opinion under the larger ‘infotainment’.


They sit comfortably in their plush moral relativity seats selling people what they wish to hear justifying the irrational hate/anger of a mob mentality against other opinions/commentary creating some sense of belonging among their viewership/readership.


They have lost any remote relationship to a higher moral compass and responsibility for a higher responsibility to the moment.



Shame on them.

lies we tell oursleves fingers

I can wag my finger and shake my head at fashion and journalism because their moral relativism <or lack of moral responsibility> actually falls into the same trap they are driving society into … their vanity and self esteem.


I am constantly amazed each industry is simultaneously preoccupied with the appearance of its own body and at the same time completely out of touch with it as well.




“It’s amazing to me that we can be simultaneously completely preoccupied with the appearance of our own body and at the same time completely out of touch with it as well.“



Jon Kabat-Zinn





They celebrate their own vanity and frivolousness because … well … they have lost sight of their moral compass. Or at least they have lost sight of the higher moral responsibility.


Let me be clear.


What I am discussing today matters.


It matters because while we would like to flippantly relegate fashion and journalism to some irrelevant chatter occurring on the edges of Life … neither are irrelevant and neither are just chatter.


They impact society way beyond informing our opinions … they inform and impact our attitudes. And, yes, attitudes impact our behavior.


Our behavior with regard to not only ourselves <how we look, eat, dress, think and do things> but also with regard to those around us <how we view how they look, what they eat, how they dress, what they think and what they do>.


Both fashion and journalism absolve themselves of the higher order responsibility with words like “we want to inform people so they are better aware.’


What bullshit.


That is simply their excuse to do whatever they want in the moment.


They are both current in the managing/maximizing the moment’ business which is knowledge higher planesimply moral relativism.



Shame on them.


To circle back to the beginning … my advice to fashion & journalism is … cut through the evil roots, cut them away …  and  pursue higher truths: let us shed the falseness.


Running business by ‘moments’ is seductive but  only leads to moral relativism. Pursue the higher path.

protesting for yourself

February 21st, 2016

saving yourself



“It’s okay to care about yourself the most. It’s okay to do what’s healthy for YOU. When someone hits you, it’s okay to hit back and then ask them what the hell they expected.

It’s okay.


You are not obligated to sit there and smile and swallow every bit of shit everyone heaps on you. You are more than furniture, you’re more than window dressing, you’re not their shiny toy.


You’re human, and you have the right to say “That was shitty of you”.

You have a right to say “Let me feed that back to you; tell me, how does it taste?”

You have a right to protest your own mistreatment and set boundaries for respectful interactions.


The rest of the world doesn’t realize you have this right, and they will act offended and appalled when you exercise it, but it is yours.”








Let me begin with the controversial thought.


do it for yourself

It is okay to be selfish.


Particularly when it comes to who you are and what you believe and what you stand for.



Some people may suggest what I am discussing is having & maintaining conviction.


You can.


I will not.



I like to think of it as selfishly maintaining what is mine and no one else’s. And I kind of like being selfish in this case.



This also means you have a right to protect your selfish decision.



That may mean just as my opening quote says … “that was shitty of you” and not only do I protest … I refuse it.

“Keep your shit.”





It isn’t a popularity building type of thought I am sharing.


And I am certainly not suggesting it as something to do 24/7.



What I AM suggesting is you have a right to be selfish. On a variety of things but mostly with regard to self, character and beliefs <not opinions>.



And you do have a right to be selfish with regard to how people, and the world, treat your space, your thinking, your self and any character attacking interactions.


Maybe the reason I am purposefully using selfish is because it conveys clear, hard, well defined boundaries. And not a shell like boundary but rather a ‘cross this line’ type boundary.



Personally I believe we need to first and foremost teach young people what is important to have inside the boundaries and why a boundary is important.



Personally I believe we need to be a little less compromising when someone disrespectfully crosses our boundary.



Selfish is one of those harsh negative-implying words. But I would also suggest that in a sometimes harsh world you need to implement some harsh measures to insure you do not get treated harshly.


This type of selfishness is actually one of strength, one from strength … the strength of self.


And within this type of selfishness you have the power, the right, to protest mistreatment of your boundaries.

dont fool yourself reminder



Some people may be appalled by your push back, maybe some offended and maybe some don’t even believe you have the right.


They are wrong.



The world doesn’t demand you always ‘play nice’ when it hurts.


The world only encourages you to be respectful when you protest for yourself.



But you always … always … have the right to protest for yourself.  Any time with any one.

candles, hope and flickers of light

December 6th, 2015

candle flame 5 advent light


How far that little candle throws his beams!

So shines a good deed in a weary world.”

William Shakespeare








I am certainly not religious but for some reason I was reminded today of the lighting of the candle upon the advent wreath <a Christian tradition>.


candle xmas lit

Whether you are religious or not the message it should send to everyone is a good reminder when fear and darkness in a troubled world sometimes seems to seep into the everyday aspects of Life.




<beware … I am going to mangle the real Christian meaning to craft my own thoughts>




The Advent wreath:

Traditionally holds four candles which are lit, one at a time, on each of the four Sundays of the Advent season leading up to Christmas day. Some Advent wreath traditions also include a fifth white “Christ” candle, symbolizing purity that is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas day.




As we near Christmas … Christmas seems a little farther away than it normally does. Headlines scream of people fighting over limited amounts of ‘stuff’ they don’t really need on a ‘black’ Friday. Supposed leaders scream about taking actions based on salving societal fear while the leaders who do speak of tempered actions while tempering fear get shouted down as soft or not aggressive enough or … at the worst … not caring enough about the fears of the everyday people.



We, the everyday people, even on our good days these days are unsure. We understand logic but fight emotions. And most of all we are becoming increasingly clear that ‘feeling secure’ needs a new definition because the old one is gone.


And that is where the lighting of a candle on the advent wreath seems important.



A candle.



I am talking about a candle when we are worried about our safety and our lives and livelihoods.


And maybe I am talking about a small candle because … well … small steps are really important when giant leaps seem impossible and small actions can have a big impact.



Light, even just a small wavering flickering light, should be a reminder that this light not only shows up in darkness but marks the way forward.



Light, no matter how small permits us to see the way rather than stumble in darkness.


candles path advent


The candles within the advent days represent:


– Hope.


– Faith.


– Joy.


– Peace <or Love>.


– Purity.



And that is what the light of each candle offers us.



Hope. A hope that no matter how dark, no matter how chaotic or no matter how much fear … there is a path out of it all. There remains a way lit for us to follow and its name is Hope.


This light offers us this.




Faith that there is a path out of ‘where we are’ to ‘where we want to be’.

Some find it in God others just find it in ‘something better than what currently is.’ I imagine this little flickering light actually is a small gift given to us in Life as something tangible to focus on. The truth is that faith … the faith that it cannot get worse or faith that it has to get better … can sometimes seem so intangible.

So desirable but so difficult to grasp.

This candle offers us something tangible in our faith in what is good and right in Life.


This light offers us this.




Joy in simplicity. For within chaos, unrest and bedlam there is a strength & stability found in something as simple as a candle light.

In addition, in a world of celebrity events with huge spotlights, in a world in which we seem to celebrate the brightest of bright lights … it is nice to be reminded of the joy of a small simple light and the joy in reminding ourselves that small can create big things.


This light offers us this.



candle heart lit

Peace, or love, in … well … having the candle.

Have we ever so desperately loved even a glimmer of light than when we find ourselves stumbling in utter darkness?

Have we ever felt such calming peace with a glimmer of light then when having found ourselves wandering unsure down a road cloaked in darkness?


This light offers us this.



Purity of heart and what is good. Maybe I am naïve but I believe in people. I believe that when given a choice people will do good, will do what is right and will take the more difficult path to do those things. I believe that is the purity of people and human kind.

For some God offers the shining example of what we should aspire to and for others … a candle will have to do. For in its light we see not only hope, faith, joy and love … but also see within ourselves.


As it flickers to light we seem to take a moment where we get a glimpse of what we want to be.

And in that moment of pure reflection we sense our purity. That doesn’t mean we can grasp it <for I tend to believe it is a quest and not a destination> but it doesn’t matter. It offers us a glimpse of the power we have in making an impact against all that is not good, even evil, in our world.


This light offers us this.



That is what I thought about as someone somewhere lit another advent candle this Sunday.



My apology to God as well as to Christians who will most likely look at what I wrote in horror having stripped their message to clothe it in mine.



But because I am not affiliated with any specific religion I tend to believe my thoughts should appeal to everyone should they set aside their own religious filter.





There will always be someone somewhere who will bastardize what should be good and right into their own vision of what ‘right’ is.

And in doing so I could argue they no longer represent the true meaning from which they began their bastardized journey. They have lost sight of what is important and at their worst they come to embody something evil because it has strayed so far from the original true meaning.

candle advent 5 lit


Do I state that to justify my own bastardized journey on this topic? Maybe.


But I would like to think that I have remained in sight of what is important on my journey.






Maybe everyone should take a moment one night soon … at the darkest time of the night with no lights on and light a candle. And sit and think. It couldn’t do any harm.

And it may remind you of how good can be found in the smallest of things.

reason for living

November 22nd, 2015



legacy message life

“Losing your life is not the worst thing that can happen.

The worst thing is to lose your reason for living.”

Jo Nesbø







I could haggle with the above quote from a pragmatic standpoint, i.e., if you lose your reason for living, you can eventually get it back … or another; if you lose your life, that’s it, no way back … but I won’t haggle.


I will not haggle because it is a wonderful thought.





I could think of a lot worse things in Life than living a life with this principle in mind.



I could also argue that one’s ‘reason for living’ can sometimes not be as easy to truly nail down as one would think.


I tend to believe it is a little easier if you have children or family or … well … let’s just say another person.



life whispers listen closelyBut I could also argue that example is not really ‘reason for living.’


That’s just something you can point to when you cannot point to anything inside yourself. Or, maybe to be fair, your sense of responsible to another human being overwhelms anything inside.






I am not suggesting that ‘other people’ is a bad reason for living … just that if you do so then you have abdicated your ‘throne of self.’


And I would also suggest if you take this “reason for living route” from that point on your life in some big ways and in some small ways will continue to be defined by something eternally.



And once the external is removed?






Then you have to … well … look within.



That’s really my point.



Reason for living really shouldn’t be defined by anything other than something that resides within you.





I think we all have a tendency to believe that if something lies within it must be easier to find than something that resides somewhere outside <in maybe some place you have never been or cannot see>.


It actually isn’t easier.

I actually think it is a little harder. I think it is harder for a variety of reasons but let me just suggest that just like the things you love the most in your home … after a while they just becomes ‘things’ and you forget you loved them. What resides within you is almost the same. The really good shit can become so much part of the fabric of who and what you are it doesn’t really seem like something as big as a ‘reason for living.’



When things are good and easy they become easy to overlook.



In addition.

Society beats into our heads we need to be good at something therefore when we look inside ourselves we begin seeking practical shit we can easily pull out when someone says ‘what are you good at?



I mean, c’mon, how crazy do you think people would think you were if when asked that question you would say “keeping my heads in the clouds.” They would think you were either fucking nuts or living in some public park in a hut.


But that is the hard part about a reason for living.

It’s bigger than simply knowing how to build a website better than someone else or being the top sales person in your company … it is … well … just bigger.

And surprisingly, despite its bigness, it is easy to lose. And easy to lose despite the fact you know where it resides <within you>.






I admit … I chuckle when some people tie ‘being grounded’ with reason for living.

It seems so contradictory to me.



Why would I want a reason for living to be on the ground versus being in the sky?





That’s me.


My intention is to keep my reason for living in the sky among the stars.




“They say it all breaks down to keeping your feet on the ground, my soul intention is keeping my head in the clouds.”

==life interesting scared shitless doing

asking alexandria




All I can really say is that everyone should choose their own reason for living – on the ground or in the sky doesn’t really matter … just find it and embrace it.

Because losing your reason for living simply leads to an unhappy purposeless life … and that is a sucky life.

The weight of secrets

November 12th, 2015


stars and secrets


“To agree to keep a secret is to assume a burden.”

Sam Harris










wisdom ability knowledge learningAll knowledge is a burden.

It carries a weight of responsibility with regard to what you do with it … how you act because you have it … as well as how you think about you, and others, with it.



Having accepted knowledge you have made an agreement with it. I tend to believe we don’t think about this. We accept knowledge as … well … maybe like income earned – disposable income in fact.

We worked for it, we earned it and it is now ours to spend as we choose.



But knowledge is actually more like freedom. It is an unalienable right but it is also a privilege … and therefore one assumes a responsibility to it and with it.






And with responsibility comes burden.

Which almost sounds odd in that something with ‘free’ in it should be … well … “freeing” … and not carrying such a heavy burden.


Maybe I should just suggest that nothing really comes for free … everything has something attached to it.




Responsibility … the burden of responsibility. curiosity leader burden


And that is a weight you carry … one which can be as light or as heavy as you make it. but. It is a weight nonetheless. One which you learn to carry well or carry poorly.



Knowledge tests our ability … and our character … with regard to how well we can carry this weight. It tests how strong we are .. once again … in ability an character.




Having said that <and most likely having a number of people feeling a little uncomfortable thinking about knowledge that way>.



Secrets are a completely different level of a knowledge burden.


And secrets are tricky.



secret shhhh shush quietSome are thrust upon you … unwanted but yet yours nonetheless.


Some are gifted you … carefully shared by someone who believes the weight it carries is too much for themselves … alone.



But regardless of how you assume the responsibility of a secret … it is also knowledge. And therefore it also carries a burden … a responsibility … and a weight.
I don’t have the scale to weigh them but my guess is that a knowledge secret exponentially weighs more than a traditional knowledge.



I also don’t have any research but I also tend to believe, just like extra physical weight, as soon as we start feeling the extra weight of a secret … we seek to shed it.


Therein lies the true test of character.



Do I treat the secret as added weight thru muscle or view it as fat.

On the former I become stronger and faster. On the latter I become slower and unhappier.

On the former I don’t look for an opportunity to shed the weight. On the latter I am always thinking about opportunities to shed the weight.



All knowledge tests you. Secrets test you even more.



Knowledge, and secrets, take a strength of self to carry its weight.


The weight of responsibility of having the knowledge, the weight of freedom knowledge typically permits us and the weight of character that knowledge either hones into muscle or creates an excess of fat.



That is a lot of extra weight we have accepted by taking on this knowledge.



I tend to believe we do not think about this enough. Especially those who hunger for knowledge.personally responsible



To be clear … I also tend to believe those who hunger for real knowledge do not hunger for secrets <secret hungry people are beings all in themselves something different>. But I also believe those who hunger for real knowledge are given ‘secret knowledge’ whether they want it or not.



All knowledge is heavy in some form or fashion. Secrets maybe even more so. understanding this, and the burden you have assumed, makes the weight a little more bearable because you aren’t surprised by it and you actually start carrying it better.

Enlightened Conflict