a life eroding

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 TRUMP’S BRAND IS AYN RAND

Donald Trump once said he identified with Ayn Rand’s character Howard Roark in “The Fountainhead,” an architect so upset that a housing project he designed didn’t meet specifications he had it dynamited. 

Others in Trump’s circle were influenced by Rand. “Atlas Shrugged” was said to be the favorite book of Rex Tillerson, Trump’s secretary of state. Rand also had a major influence on Mike Pompeo, Trump’s CIA chief. Trump’s first nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, said he spent much of his free time reading Rand. 

The Republican leader of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, required his staff to read Rand.

Uber’s founder and former CEO, Travis Kalanick, has described himself as a Rand follower. Before he was sacked, he applied many of her ideas to Uber’s code of values, and even used the cover art for Rand’s book “The Fountainhead” as his Twitter avatar. 

Who is Ayn Rand and why does she matter?  Ayn Rand – best known for two highly-popular novels still widely read today – “The Fountainhead,” published in 1943, and “Atlas Shrugged,” in 1957 – didn’t believe there was a common good. She wrote that selfishness is a virtue, and altruism is an evil that destroys nations. 

When Rand offered these ideas they seemed quaint if not far-fetched. Anyone who lived through the prior half century witnessed our interdependence, through depression and war. 

After the war we used our seemingly boundless prosperity to finance all sorts of public goods – schools and universities, a national highway system, and healthcare for the aged and poor (Medicare and Medicaid). We rebuilt war-torn Europe. We sought to guarantee the civil rights and voting rights of African-Americans. We opened doors of opportunity to women. Of course there was a common good. We were living it.

But then, starting in the late 1970s, Rand’s views gained ground. She became the intellectual godmother of modern-day American conservatism. 

This utter selfishness, this contempt for the public, this win-at-any-cost mentality is eroding American life. 

Without adherence to a set of common notions about right and wrong, we’re living in a jungle where only the strongest, cleverest, and most unscrupulous get ahead, and where everyone must be wary in order to survive. This is not a society. It’s not even a civilization, because there’s no civility at its core. It’s a disaster. 

In other words, we have to understand who Ayn Rand is so we can reject her philosophy and dedicate ourselves to rebuilding the common good.  

The idea of the common good was once widely understood and accepted in America. After all, the U.S. Constitution was designed for “We the people” seeking to “promote the general welfare” – not for “me the selfish jerk seeking as much wealth and power as possible.” 

Yet today you find growing evidence of its loss – CEOs who gouge their customers, loot their corporations and defraud investors. Lawyers and accountants who look the other way when corporate clients play fast and loose, who even collude with them to skirt the law. 

Wall Street bankers who defraud customers and investors. Film producers and publicists who choose not to see that a powerful movie mogul they depend on is sexually harassing and abusing young women. 

Politicians who take donations (really, bribes) from wealthy donors and corporations to enact laws their patrons want, or shutter the government when they don’t get the partisan results they seek. 

And a president of the United States who lies repeatedly about important issues, refuses to put his financial holdings into a blind trust and then personally profits off his office, and foments racial and ethnic conflict. 

The common good consists of our shared values about what we owe one another as citizens who are bound together in the same society. A concern for the common good – keeping the common good in mind – is a moral attitude. It recognizes that we’re all in it together. 

If there is no common good, there is no society.

Bonds

Fixed signs represent what holds people together and what can tear them apart. 

Feminine fixed signs stand for the things that preserve relationships.

  • Taurus- love, devotion, money, sustenance, structure, tradition
  • Scorpio- passion, secrets, shared trauma, truth, death, inheritance

Masculine fixed signs stand for the things that destroy relationships.

  • Leo- drama, pride, ego, selfishness, childishness
  • Aquarius- detachment, incompatible ideals, pretense, instability

All fixed signs are stubborn and resistant to change. They can preserve bonds for entire lifetimes, or erode life-long relationships until nothing is left.

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this is probably like, the definition of boring/screamingly tedious to a lot of people but this kind of precise, delicate, time-consuming labor is so attractive and soothing to me (see also: watchmaking???) and ticks so many of my inexplicable boxes and i think if i’d known about art restoration/conservation when i was a kid, that’s exactly what i’d be doing now

The Age Of Outrage

How are you today, then ? Calm ? Cool as a very cool thing ? Chilled as an icepop ? Jolly good. I’m glad. But if you are, take my advice and treasure that feeling because I guarantee it won’t last long.

Switch the TV on in the morning and you’re bombarded with ranting pundits and bickering politicians and scandal and controversy and people being tarred-and-feathered for some verbal or social indiscretion. The trivial is blown up out of all proportion into a huge foaming froth of indignation. So much heat but so little light. Everyone criticizing someone else. Nobody listening. Confrontation is king. Discord is the default. By the time you make it through your coco-pops your head’s banging like a drum and your blood-pressure’s on the rise.

Jump in your car to escape and you get to experience the joys of road-rage instead. Idiots cutting in on you, honking their horns, giving you the finger, yelling at you soundlessly from their little metal capsules with their faces all contorted behind the glass, because they are so important that for them to be impeded in the slightest way is the most hideous insult and god forbid a single second should be added to their journey time because .. well .. they are so special.

And don’t look online for a bit of peace and quiet because that’s the dark burrow where outrage and incivility go to breed like bunny rabbits. The most idiotic behavior flourishes like bacteria in a sewer. People scour the internet for others to insult or argue with. They ‘call each other out’ publicly instead of discussing their differences privately in ways that might actually resolve them. So-called ‘celebrities’ bicker and hurl childish insults at each other on anti-social media in a desperate attempt to be noticed. The President has daily toddler-tantrums on Twitter. Mobs wielding verbal pitchforks form, arrogant asshats patronize, incendiary accusations are hurled like molotov-cocktails, characters are trashed, bullying is justified, and civility is conspicuous only by it’s absence.

How did it get to be like this ? Perhaps a lot of it is just copy-cat behavior. Conflict, controversy, and the very worst aspects of human nature sell movies and newspapers and boost TV ratings so of course they’re full of such stuff. It’s not in any way a balanced reflection of real life, of course, but with constant repetition some people may think it is and copy the attitudes and behavior they see there. ‘Life imitates art far more than art imitates life’, according to Oscar Wilde. Our role-models and ‘life-lessons’ come from distorted dramatic fictions. And of course politicians add to the over-heated atmosphere as they squabble like spoiled brats in the corrupt shit-show that passes for politics.

Maybe something has changed in the general psyche too. Fear-mongers in government and the media have tormented the public for so long with hobgoblins and bogeymen for their own cynical ends that the nation has become scared and nervous. Job security is a bitter joke. Economic uncertainty hovers like a black cloud. Traditional expectations for a better life have been eroded. Nerves are frayed. People are fearful and anxious. Ready to lash out angrily at the slightest provocation or none.

Perhaps truly awful role-models and an increasingly toxic society have finally driven us all mad. Made us regress into an infantile state and become little red-faced, outraged, insecure toddlers screaming at anything that thwarts our instant gratification or disagrees with us. 

Or perhaps we’ve never been any different. Author Stephen King once said, “As a species we’re fundamentally insane. Put more than two of us in a room, we pick sides and start dreaming up reasons to kill one another. Why do you think we invented politics and religion?” He had a point. Maybe it’s just in our nature as human beings to squabble and fight about everything, or nothing, and all that changes over time are the excuses we find for doing so.

Maybe. Who knows ? Not me. All I know is that it can get to be very tedious and tiring, all this outrage; all the arguments and hurt feelings and hair-trigger aggression. It wears you down. I’m certainly not trying to dictate how anyone else should feel. How could I ? People are free to be as outraged as they want over anything they choose as often as they like. That’s their choice. There are some things, indeed, for which outrage is the only appropriate response.

But sometimes I can’t help thinking wistfully of a world where people have a bit of humility and can discuss things calmly. A world where they constructively try to solve problems rather than just glorying in conflict. A world where the little slips, stupidities, and transgressions that we’re all, without exception, guilty of are treated in a more kindly and reasonable way. I’d love to see a lot more kindness. We all need it. And a sense of proportion too, please.

It won’t happen, of course, but what good is a blog if you can’t dream. So today that’s what I’m doing.

Internet Writer

I stand
Facing the storms
They wither me
And leave me scarred
For they erode me
Of my weaknesses
Of my helplessness
Of my selfishness
Of my sadness
Of my arrogance
And I am there laughing in all the pain
For they leave me with scars worth having
And turning points which are life changing.
— 

Eroding my negatives away.

wigglyparty  asked:

Id love to see you write a drabble of Fenris realizing for the first time he’s befriended someone in the gang! Anyone at all! Implied or even mentioned fenhawke is always welcome haha Your way of writing Fenris feels the most accurate of anything I read its so easy to immerse in your stories!

I hope this is ok, dear. Thank you so much for the sweet words!

Hawke was his first friend.

Fenris knew it with a settled kind of certainty, though he couldn’t quite manage to pinpoint when or how or why it had happened. He and Hawke sort of just – fell in together. They made an unlikely pair, the fugitive slave and the big-shouldered mage, and yet somehow it happened, so easily and so gradually that Fenris never stopped to question it.

Aveline, too, was a simple matter. They would never be close, never share secrets and yearnings and dreams, but their respect was mutual, trust earned.

Trust for Varric came with proof. Deeds that exceeded flippant tales, small kindnesses that the dwarf thought unobserved. Friendship came after trust, with ale and cards and understanding.

Friendship with Isabela was as inevitable as the crashing waves at sea. Forceful and bold, a force of nature, she found a place in his life, eroding away barriers he hadn’t expected ever to budge.

By the time he met Sebastian, Fenris had four friends, and trust didn’t seem such an alien concept. He was there when Fenris left Hawke, understanding, supportive. His friendship was priceless, unexpected.

Fenris thought he would never come to like Merrill. His fellow elf was infuriating, illogical, reckless.

But she wouldn’t make him so angry, if he didn’t care at all. In time he realized it wasn’t friendship, but family, that lay between them, a connection deep and heartfelt and confounding.

Anders was something similar. Not a friend, and no, not family. But a part of his life, a piece of his puzzle, an influence on the man he was to become. Maddening, insulting, enraging. Perhaps they could have found understanding under other circumstances. Perhaps if their paths had not diverged – Fenris, healing, while the mage deteriorated. Fenris would never know.

“Will you miss it?” Hawke asked when he found him looking back, the day they left Kirkwall, and Fenris thought of the man he had been, the day he arrived. He thought of the things he’d gained, and the things he’d lost, his friends and his not-friends, the place he had found for himself.

“Yes,” he said, and he meant it, without hesitance, and when Hawke offered his hand, he took it.

Lars is changing...

Lars, as of now, is little more than a teenager who harbors a number of insecurities regarding his self-image as shown with how he beats himself over “Bingo Bongo” which Buck actually liked.

He’s doesn’t think his baking skills are anything to actually broadcast because he thinks people will see him as “lame” and actively wants to be with the Cool Kids, not realizing that they’re different kind of “cool” from what he has in mind. Again, Bingo Bongo.

Sadie sees a good person inside of him past all the emotional turmoil and hopes to bring out the best in him like having Steven try his cooking but she knows deep down that it feels like she’s forcing him to be happy.

His character arc seems to be very much “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.” I can tell you from experience that old habits don’t just die hard, they cling to life with persistence as your experiences in life erode them away or let them bounce back suddenly.

Growth isn’t always linear. I think most people are aware of this but don’t really find enjoyment in it when portrayed on TV, writing it off as poor storytelling or OOC. We don’t want flawed character like that so much as characters that deal with their flaws within one or two episodes and then barely address them again.

I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve made in defense of Korra’s arc in Books 1 and 2, the latter even more so. Hell, Pearl got the worst of it with “A Cry for Help” and the episode ended on a 4th Wall Break with Amethyst wishing it was like on TV.

anonymous asked:

AU: Vader is unable to fix his TIE after crashing post-Yavin and lives feral on some wilderness planet for a year or two

Ok well it’s more then three sentences and I hope you like sentences with too many clauses, but consider this a preview for a possible larger shot. 

Keep reading

We are all buried underneath old, forgotten earth
Contrary to belief, we are all still alive
We are waiting for our beloved sunshine to peek through the particles
But it doesn’t come, and we start forgetting our worth
Some choose to blaspheme, some choose to weep, but not I, I thrive
The dirt is too thick to some, and sometimes the suffocating weight is remarkable
Moisture seeps through the dense cracks, gently saturating us
Some choose to scream, some choose to sob, but I welcome the water in our venue
The sun hasn’t shined in years, but the rain just came, our ground begins to shift
The earth gently moves, following the path of the rain, exposed to the oxygen, some begin to rust
The rain torments us, raises us to surface, and washes away our grainy refuge
The rain is freezing and is painful to our once concealed flesh, but now the rain starts to lift
Our long awaited light has returned at last, we can see ourselves clear as day
We smile and our eyes shine bright, for we are blooming now
Although the rain was not pleasant, it eroded away my shell, and now I begin life anew
—  Ramona Prezlock “Eroded Away”
Fullmetal Alchemist: Stone Heart AU

Summary: Life wears down and erodes everyone one way or another. You find your heart hardening to fight it. In the end, Edward assumed, they were all just cold stone at their core.

Colorful crystal statues of people littered the streets. They stood as monuments to where love was lost, hope was burned, and a life shattered. The moonlight twinkling through their prism bodies scattered rainbows on the dirt roads of the small village of Resembool. It was an eerie sight, seeing youthful life permanently frozen with faces of shock, displaying their heart ache for eternity. Many of the statues were moved, when found, to the small cemetery on the hill. There they stood casting a colorful rainbow in every sunset. It was silly, Edward thought, that the only color that anyone got in this cold grey existence, was when it was taken away from them.

When Edward was young he vowed that his heart would never turn to stone. He was determined for the crystals to never grow on him. He remembered promising his mother that when she had taken them into the village for some groceries. The store clerk had a lattice of opals crawling up his neck where cruel words had struck him cold. The white stone trickled across his skin like sheaths of glass. The man talked like they didn’t bother him, but even as a child, Edward knew what they meant. It meant that the man’s heart was hardening. After purchasing their goods and leaving the store, Edward promised his mother he would never bear crystals.

It was the one promise he, nor she, could ever keep.

!�

“Triggered!!!!” From a Trauma Survivor: Cut It the Fuck Out

TW: sexual assault, PTSD

It is said that the essence of a person can be most accurately assessed by how they treat those who can do nothing for them. So, I suppose it follows that to the closet Garbage Person, the anonymity offered by the Internet is deliciously appealing. Behind the safety of a screen, people say things to strangers that would be unthinkable to utter aloud. People can be unfathomably rude – abusive, even – when no one is watching.

A common Internet retort to someone – usually a woman – who exhibits an emotional response that the reader finds somehow wrong or unreasonable, is to make a “joke” along the lines of, “Looks like someone’s triggered!”

I’ve learned to thicken my skin when browsing the Internet. I’ve learned to ignore blatantly cruel remarks. I’ve learned not to “feed the trolls.”

However, as a survivor of repeated sexual abuse and assault, and as someone who has spent a decade living with C-PTSD and tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in therapy trying to heal, nothing quite makes my blood boil like “triggered!” jokes. So, my question is this:

Would you look me in the eye while I’m writhing in bed; my chest heaving with labored, terrified breaths; my whole body shaking as a flashback rips through my brain like a knife through soft butter…

…when I’m startled awake in peaceful pitch darkness by a nightmare, screaming into the nothingness, “stop!”, “please don’t hurt me!”, with tears streaming down my cheeks…

…when I’m in public and my brain turns to cotton and I suddenly struggle to remember my own name, my awareness sinking inversely alongside my rising panic, scrambling to find either my own mind or a socially acceptable reason to hide myself, whichever I manage to throw together first…

…when despite the best efforts of the people around me; despite them shouting my name, shaking me, attempting to shock me into reality with ice, hot tea, cold water, everything they can find; I can’t be convinced that my assailant isn’t on top of me at that very moment, jamming himself into me, tearing me apart, and stealing my mind again…

and scoff, “Looks like someone’s triggered!”?

No? Well, why not? That is, after all, what a “trigger” actually looks like.

Please remember: it is not your place to judge what is or isn’t okay for other people to feel. It’s not your right, and it’s not your decision. You don’t get to determine whether someone else’s pain is legitimate, or if they just have a “victim complex.”

And, really, fuck the concept of “victim complexes.” When my life has eroded to wilted pieces of what it could have been because of someone else’s actions; when I have been shattered and I am left to pick up the glass shards of my sanity while my body and mind bleed and my rapists live consequence-free lives; and when there are millions of us suffering alone because you have taught us to feel ashamed, it’s not a fucking “complex” anymore. It’s just reality. Do some people want undeserved attention, validation, and to be “special snowflakes”? Sure. But some – too many – of us are silent among the crowd. You can’t see us, but we are listening, and we hear your message loud and clear. All we want is to be normal. All we want is a life worth living. All we want is not to feel “triggered.” We do not want to be this way. We didn’t ask for this. Many of us would give anything to rewrite history. But the fact of the matter is, for the millions living with PTSD, triggers are a cold, painful fact of our lives, and they are horrible. They are torture. And they are not fucking funny.

“Triggered” jokes mock survivors and people with psychological injuries of all kinds.

“Triggered” jokes send the message that we are the ones who should be ashamed, not the ones who felt entitled to harm us and steal our livelihood.

“Triggered” jokes tell me that I am responsible for what my trauma has created, and that it is somehow a character flaw that I am imposing on others.

“Triggered” jokes tell people like me that we do not matter.

“Triggered” jokes are cruel.

Please, think about what you say before you say it. There are people behind the screen reading the comments you make and the posts you write. Someone with a life, a history, and feelings that matter as much as yours do, is reading your words. Stop the cycle of shame. Stop victim-blaming. It starts with you, and you can start by refusing to make these awful “jokes.”

In my dreams I don’t hurt anymore.
The skin on my body rests unblemished,
tight against the frame which holds it.

The smoke is stale here.
The air is immobile. Smoking
only adds to the ambiance.

In this dream I can look at myself.
I can watch my hands slip under the covers.
I can watch myself while I move, can see my face
while experiencing the action.

In this dream I can masturbate without it being a vice.
The fantasies are finally benign,
do not involve the ache of a blade
or the sharpness of a voice
too loud to register.

These limbs are all phantom, you know.
The panting, the fingers, the arms, and the organs
all unreal and unlike me
which is why I can finally stomach it.

I stop trying to figure out why it doesn’t hurt anymore in this space.
I stop trying to figure out why it began to hurt in the first place.

I open my eyes and scrape the reasons out like shrapnel:
The time I cannot remember; the time
I remember too vividly;
the time I threw myself onto the tracks,
train coming full-speed towards me.

In the dream I understand 
how these became events the shaped me. 
Like a detective boots-deep within a moor
I begin to sort the clues rather than to become
consumed by unanswerable questions.

I accept it. The vices; the reverberations
of an echo only I can hear; the figureless 
collections of memories not sharp enough
to dig for.

In the dream I understand how
the same shards of a memory
act like water, may be powerful enough
to erode waking life until one ceases the desire
to exist within it.

—  Lorne Ryan, Erosion Control

All this analysis and talk about how the rise of the far right stems from Europeans feeling their way of life and society being eroded - why should they not oppose that? Who in their right mind looks at their home country and thinks “Gee, wouldn’t it be great if the France I know was no longer French, but just a place full of people from around the world who happen to be located there?”