141) Coming Full Circle:  Part 1 — Me, this blog, Pink, and a Scathing Diatribe against The System, maaaan 

This is my Jayne Cobb hat, a great Christmas gift from my son, who clearly knows me perfectly. I love it. And every now and then, you meet someone who knows. Insta-friend — always an awesome moment. 🙂

I feel really, really grateful for you all. All the people who have been reading this and sharing thoughts, a whole community of people who share ideas on Facebook especially and in comments here — it’s just awesome to have experienced all this. Blogging is (for me anyway, lol….) a pretty personal thing, like writing into your diary….but then for some ungodly reason sharing it with the world. It’s not like writing a textbook or something more purely professional, because here, this is…just me, being myself, sharing my thoughts and ideas and such, but much moreso, sharing feelings. Stories and experiences. Pretty personal shit….Some “TMI” here and there, probably….

So…really just…thank you. This has been a real joy, not so much “a labour of love” even, as a playful romp of authenticity.  I’ve had a blast, writing these articles, and playing with how to communicate ideas in different ways. And I’ve really learned a tonne from conversations and messages and comments and such, from YOU, the people reading this and contributing! It’s really freaking cool, man. What else can you say? I’m totally honoured that you would continue to share your time with me; it’s The Best feeling.

So as I posted about in the previous series, a lot of things have shifted recently, and I expect that we will shift here somewhat too.  I think of it as “Levelling Up”.  Like a D&D character; maybe we’re going to have access to new magic we couldn’t use before!  That’d be cool…. 💖

I do plan to Level Up this blog, in that I will be posting on a more regular basis, like weekly, twice-weekly kinda thing.  I plan to start a sister-site as a YouTube channel; that would be super-fun and I think also an effective way to connect with you and the world in general. If you have watched Münecat at all, then you’ll know what I’m vibing with in saying she’s a kind of inspiration for how to get great ideas across to people, while slaying and having a freaking blast. That…would be a dream. So…that’s the plan for a YouTube channel.

I’m going to start releasing some fantasy writing through this blog as well, and share some stories with whoever is interested. It’s going to be fun, and…hey, why not?

I will, of course, need to figure out ways of making some $$$ doing this, in addition to it being my hobby.   It’s EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to me to keep this content free and not impose any hierarchy of access (e.g., paywalls for “exclusive content” or “membership” or whatever).  But I also have to survive in ***Late Stage Capitalism!!! Wheeeeee!!***  

So, I’ll be working on figuring this out.  

Suggestions and ideas are, of course, very welcome. 🙂

In the meantime, I am going to have faith that this is all going to work out just ducky.

* * * * *

Tearing Down the Wall

I want to first come full-circle with this blog.    

All those years ago, when we got started here, I chose the title, Tearing Down the Wall, for pretty obvious reasons….

But more than just a Floyd reference, “Tearing Down the Wall” reflected what I realized, in starting this blog, what I was committing myself to doing — tearing down my personal walls that protected me from feelings of shame, from vulnerability, and most importantly perhaps, from social rejection.  

Because you can’t REALLY be rejected if you never show people who you really are.  (Whether you’re entirely aware of using this as a way of protecting yourself, or not, doesn’t matter.) And hiding “who you really are”, even from your own self, is The Classic adaptive strategy that children use to cope with traumatizing circumstances.  Almost all of us hide our full selves, in part at least, from most people, most of the time.  (If you’ve ever been in an intimate relationship, you have seen sides of that person that others don’t normally see; so you know what I’m talking about).  

So if those walls are there to protect a person, then you can appreciate how scary it is to put yourself out there, to risk critique and rejection.  Especially at the deepest level — your heart.  

I mean, just performing in any public way is scary enough to begin with!  Many people HATE giving public presentations.  We all fear being judged, being criticized, or saying something stupid and making a fool of ourselves.  This is like, standard-level-social-fear.  

But then there’s the deeper layers of fear, when you share deeply personal things, not only your beliefs and politics (which is scary enough,tbh), but your family history and emotional struggles.  

Often, I’ve dropped the blog for many months at a time, and usually social media as well, because I wasn’t very good at regulating the pressure of being exposed so intimately.  It’s not something you ‘train for’, as an academic scientist.  🙂  The feelings of vulnerability and such become overwhelming and then — **POOF**

I’ve had to reassure myself, often, that continuing is the right thing to do.  I don’t really know how to leave some sort of legacy in the world in some big way.  I’ve done what I can to “be a good person” and whatever.  I raised my kids as well as I could.  But oh god it’s so hard as the years roll by and you see how much this beautiful world is struggling…probably collapsing.

Like….fuck.

You know? Sometimes it’s just — what else do you say? Things are so crazy, and we all know it: you, me, everybody knows it.

I fucking LOVE this world.  Being a Nature lover during ***Late Stage Capitalism!! Wheeeeee!!***, is heart-breaking.  It has scoured me to my bones.  Like, no shit, in forests, watching ocean documentaries, seeing animals up close, watching the life/death cycles of nature all around me, you know how many times I have wept? Me neither. I have done what I can to water this Earth with my tears, is the truth. And I’ll weep more times, I’m sure. And thankfully!! It’s okay to weep; it means you are feeling love. Like, really feeling it.

So….just weep, just love. When the opportunities are there for your consciousness to open in those moments of tenderness and grief and gratitude, and also of course joy and awe, just let them. Weep. Sing. Laugh. Dance. Connect. Grow.

How else do we “make a difference”?

And what else is life for anyway?

So, I have stuck to that commitment to tear down my personal walls.  I mean, to be frank with you, I have meditated on death enough to feel it in my life all the time. It’s…an excellent thing to do. It brings the yin & yang together, experientially, I guess you could say. And although of course I still struggle with all sorts of shit, at the same time I do feel like, when I do die and this consciousness is no longer here in this form, then I hope I’ve left something behind in words, and moments of connection, that….”makes the world a better place”. You know?

I think this is Life. Transforming your karmic inheritance, to a richer, lovelier karmic legacy that you pass forward.

So….ya. This whole blog thing? It’s been scary sometimes.  Like, pretty much every post, there’s a ton of internal struggle to get through and backlash and self-critique and “let’s just erase it all”. But, I don’t know…you just choose “Yes” and move forward.

That’s something I can say I’m proud of.  Whether you agree with me or not about various things, I’ve shown you my heart. 

* * * * *

Now, back to important things — Pink Floyd.  Because choosing the title “Tearing Down the Wall” was EXACTLY due to the message in Pink Floyd’s The Wall. 

The journey that Pink undergoes through his life is one I’ve discussed in depth elsewhere. Briefly, the album is a long dive into the suffering of a man who grew up feeling both abandoned and smothered, who struggled with relationships and shame and self-harm through addiction, and then, tragically, who dealt with his suffering through rigidifying himself, cloaking himself in the garb and ideology of Nazi-like skin-heads acting out their anger on society.  And especially on women.  

It took me most of my life to realize why this story has held such gravity for me.  But I do know now; it is deeply woven into my own family history, in some ways that I’ve already spoken about publicly (https://dandolderman.org/tedx-talks/), and in others that I haven’t.  

But my point is, Pink’s struggle with the dual pull of addiction/escape and authoritarianism/power is the environment I grew up in. I have this battle genetically built, and experientially reinforced, right into my bones.  

(I didn’t realize this, consciously, until fairly recently, but that’s another story for another time.)

My own way of coping was, well…it was to leave that home right after grade 9.  And things get a little complicated for a bunch of years after that… 🙂  

But I can see how my life path was shaped, through rejecting, and arguing against, the authoritarian, patriarchal, and religiously grounded (well, “religiously”), set of beliefs that I grew up within. The harm that I saw myself, perpetrated by the people most devoutly preaching those beliefs, is incontrovertible. 

It makes sense then eh?  At a personal level, I really don’t trust hierarchies of power, for the most part.  And I think history is on my side here.  Unless hierarchies are based on true mastery and respect (e.g., the apprenticeship model), and ensure transmission of high-quality skill from generation to generation, and unless they are protected from the abuse that sooner or later ensues from too-big of an imbalance of power, then sure, hierarchies can work.  

But holy shit — did you see how long that damn sentence was?  That’s a lot of complicated qualifications to just say “Hierarchies CAN work…sometimes.”  Clearly, their status as our go-to-solution for society’s problems (**cough cough…Jordan Peterson’s entire argument…cough**), is, shall we say, questionable.  

I believe deeply in the capacity for humans to self-govern, that we do not, ultimately, need to be ruled by vertical hierarchies of authority & power. 

And thus, I resonate much less strongly with traditionally “conservative” emphases on Tradition and Order and Security and Purity and Authority…and things like that.  Not that I am completely against those things.  But I am COMPLETELY AGAINST those things once they have become ungrounded from fundamental humanitarian values, common wisdom, and the trustworthiness and competence of Elders for guiding the community and society forward.  

Obviously if you follow politics at all, our current systems of power have, in varying degrees with some clearly worse than others, become ungrounded from those fundamental things.  Greed has replaced compassion, technological superiority has replaced wisdom, and the Elders who hold the reins of power are, more often than not, the absolute antithesis of “trustworthy and competent”.  

  3 comments for “141) Coming Full Circle:  Part 1 — Me, this blog, Pink, and a Scathing Diatribe against The System, maaaan 

  1. anu
    June 2, 2023 at 5:51 pm

    Dan,

    When I think of education, I think of personal endeavour. Whether it be one’s fascination with physical phenomena or art history, the prolonged study of some subject (so often) is driven intrinsically. We are the instruments through which we do our work, and when it comes to studying humanity, we are most definitely included! It doesn’t make sense to me to not situate oneself in one’s study of humanity. Can you think of why one should not include oneself in a study of humanity? Some people might consider a diary or letter style self-indulgent. I am not one of those people.

    I probably speak for many people in appreciating your public vulnerability. I understand that it opens one up to judgement, assumptions etc. But how refreshing it is to hear someone insightful share their process of understanding themself and the world around them, and to feel connection with their words. You weren’t considered a life-changing prof by swaths of students at the UofT for no reason. I wager that with a nice camera and microphone, videos you post on YouTube at this time would resonate with many — similarly to how you impacted thousands of students — and you’d develop patronage. You’re passionate, a clear communicator, and knowledgeable. Candidly, I can envision some challenges that you could encounter in such an endeavour, though with the appropriate supports around you, I wager that you would continue to contribute meaningfully in this space. I’m so excited to hear more from you on YouTube & through your written words. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Anu

    • dandolderman
      June 3, 2023 at 2:37 am

      Thank you, Anu! That is extremely kind of you, and very encouraging! (I can certainly envision some challenges I would encounter in such an endeavour as well!! hahahaha…) But seriously, thank you for all that you said. It really means the world to me. 💖

      • anu
        June 8, 2023 at 4:33 pm

        You’re welcome, Clara, & thank you! It means the world to me to engage in these conversations. ^^

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