Category Archives: Psychology

What I’m Thinking About When I Run Red Lights ~ g. kinyon

I used to play Russian roulette but I was never very good at it.

Sometimes in the thought balloon over my head there’s just a schwa.

I wonder how they train corpse dogs.

Don’t just visit Ferguson, Mo. Visit Trip Advisor Ferguson,Mo, bitch-ass punk.

They’ve gotten exceptionally crafty at making it hard to find the expiration dates on many date-sensitive products. I gotta say, hats off.

You’d repeat yourself too if your friends were as stupid as mine. But no, I don’t repeat myself. I emphasize.

I’ve never been a very good “Tear Here” guy.

In the week running up to February 14th, the prison commissaries run out of “Be My Bitch” cards.

Executioner: “Hey Buddy. Don’t let anybody know I told you, but you’ll be the last person ever put to death in this state.” 

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I wonder how many trees have been cut down to accommodate useless letters in the French language?

Sean Connery—Ancient 007.

I’m in the old folks home and I walk by this table of old men playing cards. One’s bragging he can still have a wet nap every once in a while.

Yeah, but in my defense I was drunk.

Me? I’m a professor of Antarctic history.

Getting a birthday greeting from Facebook itself is kind of like getting an anonymous photo of your kid on the school playground in the mail.

Go ahead. Unsubscribe. Two others will pop up in its place.

What would we ever do without toenails?

Two black holes drift too close to each other…

The Firmament

You know that awkward feeling I’m talking about—like when the chick in the tragic news story is kind of hot?

So I reminded the IRS auditor that I pay his freakin’ salary. If I paid my taxes.

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Don’t hear that like you used to.

Plausible deniability? I don’t know what that means.

I had to get a new computer keyboard. My old one was writing things I didn’t approve of.

No, YOU da parrot.

How many doomsday preppers have prescriptions they have to take?

So was Jesus an alpha male?

It’s no different than the other times, sir. Put on that serious look and tell the microphone it’s a matter of grave concern. Then we can go knock out eighteen holes.

I could go on a diet, but what if I lost too much weight? Ever think of that? Huh?

It’s a movie about Nazis hunting Jews house to house. The working title is “Oys in the Attic.”

When the Hindus gave shapes to numbers, they didn’t think the 6 and the 9 through at  all.

The dude’s a walking pen-starter.

Dear Lord, please give our side the win.

…but that was before I found out the locals whiz on the Blarney Stone at night.

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Turns out Einstein’s brain really was in a beer cooler in little Weston, Missouri for a few years. Somebody was trepanning for gold.

My doctor says when a finger grows back it’ll never look the same.

I had sex with a Chinese girl once. I was horny an hour later.

Leaves of three picked just for thee.

A thousand bucks if you name your twins Judas and Adolph.

The McDonald’s menu board at CIA headquarters: “Neither confirm nor deny your order here.”

This kick me tattoo. I knew at the time it was gonna be trouble.

They say if you ever forget what you came into the room for, it’s all over.

Anything for you my little thumbscrew.

A switchblade will open properly a specific number of times, yet I’ll flip mine open a hundred times watching TV. Story of my life.

I envy Eminem and Metallica. I want “Original music used by the US military to torment the enemy” on my list of credits.

The Ancient Hindu goddesses had four or six arms, and the Ancient Roman and Greek ones all seem to have had none or maybe one or a half of one. I really don’t know what should come next.

I was just watching some old footage of Einstein enjoying his tobacco. Suddenly I don’t feel so stupid.

I sent my youthful self a message through the time tube. I regretted to inform me we never went any farther than the moon, but Trojan did run a television add for dildos around Christmas last year.

The optimist that I am, I see myself as half sane.

That cable show, Ancient Aliens, would be better I think, if they used circus music in the background.

LUCID DREAMS: When Conscious Meets Subconscious ~ g. kinyon

Standing on a polished wood floor, I looked across the length of a room in which I’d never been. I didn’t know what the outside of the house looked like; this room, in fact, was all I knew. It was appointed cozily enough: three standard pieces of white cloth furniture plus a shaggy white throw rug in the center, wood paneling, artistic wall hangings, light entering from a patio door to my right. Another room was beyond an arched passageway on the far side of this one. I stood behind the sofa, which was positioned width-wise and in my way. Rather than walk around it, I did what I usually do in these situations: I levitated about head-high and propelled myself forward, not a skill everyone enjoys. The next room had black walls and red leather furniture with brass stays. The table tops were glass. Along the left wall at the top extended a room-length sheetrock box where ductwork had apparently been covered. At the far side, carpeted stairs rose six steps to a landing and cut 180 degrees before ascending to the next floor from there. I wanted to see the upstairs, naturally, but another interest delayed that proposition. The ceiling of this black room was not itself black, but white with a bluish tint. I flew higher and closer. In burnt-red, images straight off of bowls and vases from ancient Greece were scattered as overhead décor. Paper trim with representations of Doric columns added to the classical effect. I studied this to my heart’s content. But before shooting to the staircase, I alighted. I announced with my arms spread wide that I was the designer of all I surveyed. I added, so there’d be no mistake, that I was fully aware of the paradox. “I don’t know what will be up those stairs, but I will have created it.” And onward I flew, the paradox blowing my mind to atoms.

For the second time in my life, I had intentionally pulled off a lucid dream. I’d had lucid dreams before—several times—I just didn’t know they had a name. Nor did I know a person could will them to happen. But like any of the things that make living a positive, lucid dreams take effort. Conjuring them requires practice, study, repetition, and determination. I am only in the apprenticeship stages of this conceit, and I fully intend to tack on a part two after I’ve got a better handle on it all.

When the human mind becomes aware that it is existing in the course of a dream, the fantastic happens. One realizes he need only imagine earthly or heavenly delights for them to appear. The senses are intact. The universe in this plane is at the dreamer’s fingertips. And at his caprice. The three things LD beginners will inevitably do once they know what’s going on are 1) Jump up and down and shout to the world that they’re dreaming and they know it. 2) Fly—if they can figure out how, anyway. 3) Have sex. Again, all the senses are intact. It’s a natural, primal impulse. To make that person materialize, though—the person you want to do it with the most—requires a few spins around the block. Early on you’ll have to settle with what shows up, which seems instructive of real life in some vague fashion. Remaining in a conscious dream long enough to get much out of it takes practice too, by the way. The initial excitement of having accomplished it on purpose, the jumping around and shouting, will often be enough to ruin it. To scare it off, if you will. You’ll either wake up or slip into a standard dream, lucky if you can remember later it happened at all.

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The dream I described above is an example of having a slight amount of experience. Rather than getting overexcited and carried away with controlling everything around me by way of conscious intent (as I did the first time), I allowed my subconscious to have its head. I explored the world of my imagination, let it come to me on its own, show me things it wanted me to see. This approach earned a reward—that of recognizing the paradox. Before I flew up the steps, I knew that in the insignificant span of time it would take me to round a corner, I would have designed and built a complete environment, with all the detail that can be imagined–but I wouldn’t know what was there until I arrived. And I was in awe of my abilities when I saw what I could do. Today’s leaders of lucid dream experimentation report employing their skills to better understand the universe. A master can go forward or backward in time and observe, shrink to explore the infinitesimal, or examine distant solar systems.

Tibetan Buddhism probably represents the oldest known culture to gain a true understanding of lucid dreaming. The Tibetan monks have apparently devised techniques of dream yoga that can send the adept to deeper levels of conscious dreaming than the typical practitioner can reach. In fact, in lucid dreaming one can find a nexus of many of the Eastern spiritual philosophies. Lucid dreaming is a goal of meditation and proper breathing. The goal of kundalini yoga is called, interestingly, the kundalini awakening. As with kundalini and the chakras, achieving lucidity may follow the course of visualization of colors and focal points of the body. Certain sounds and even chants, along with control of the breathe cycle, can help one dive into a dream with full consciousness. The same is used with qigong, practiced by Taoists to achieve the Tao, or the divine emptiness—a superior state of being. Dream lucidity can be as frivolous, as spiritual, or as empirical as one wants to make it. While there is no harm in using it to placate the id, (even kundalini and qigong are consciously libido-friendly) there seems to be a saturation point with conscious dreaming where temporal thrills lose their luster. In the material realm, we often hear of the person who has it all (Kurt Cobain comes to mind) committing suicide. Wealth, fame, and sex are no longer fulfilling. The accomplished lucid dreamer need never get bored, but simply move on to the next grand adventure. The options are limitless. As to how often the LD old-timers–the for-the-sake-of-science masters–take a dream-world break from study to get laid…that’s anybody’s guess.

You can cheat your way to…well, if not to lucid dreams, at least to some wild ones, via dream herbs and chemicals. These are easily found online. The first dream chemical I discovered was in a nicotine patch. The warnings on nicotine patches even mention disturbing dreams. I like disturbing. I’ve tried them solely for the sake of a short cut to lucidity, but to no avail. I’ll order some of the other goodies before it’s all over, I can pretty well promise. Part two.

As a point of further interest, Paul McCartney famously found the music for “Yesterday” in a dream. Srinivasa Ramanujan, the mathematical genius, claimed he received his formulae from a Hindu Goddess in his dreams. The Jekyll/Hyde story came from the dream world. So did Frankenstein. Philosopher Renee Descartes was a lucid dreamer, as were/are a host of other famous names. Like Goethe and Tesla.

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The one critical tool for becoming a lucid dreamer is maintaining a personal dream journal. This is not easy to do and it proves you’re serious. Imagine you fail to check your inbox for a few days. When you do check it, let’s say you have a hundred messages. Now imagine deleting them all without reading. Once you start keeping a dream log, you’ll know you’ve deleted a hell of a lot of unread messages over the years. Your dream journal speaks to you–it sends you messages. It shows you patterns with your dreams you never knew existed. You’ll read it and think…wow. The number of false awakenings–where you dream you wake up, think you’re awake, and then dream you awaken again and again–the number of those I’ve recorded is astounding. As for help in accomplishing lucidity, it’s the act of waking up in the dark and scribbling shit on paper that habituates you to moving from the dream to the temporal worlds and back. The sooner one gets comfortable manipulating things in the hypnagogic state, the sooner one masters LD.  Also, in your journal you’ll find dream signs you can learn to recognize to verify you’re dreaming. But I’ve come across something else by way of the journal, something that has validated–for me, at least–the concept of synchronicity. I’ve given Freud his due here, and now it’s Jung’s turn.

Two nights ago as I write, March 8, 2014, I went to a poetry reading in an eatery/drinkery I’d never heard of, in a town where I don’t reside: Grandview, MO. On my way out of the place, Cafe Main, I passed by this big glass pastry case, loaded with some of the finest-looking, most tempting bakery products I’d ever seen. I hesitated. I wanted one. But I knew those things were bad for me. I watch what I eat for the most part and I dragged myself out of there. The following morning, yesterday, I woke up with no dreams to record. I was disappointingly blank. Of a sudden, something triggered my memory, and I commenced to setting a dream journal record by packing four legal-size notebook pages tight with the description of a single dream. I usually wait a week or so before I go over what I’ve recently written–it’s more interesting that way: I forget what I’ve recorded just as completely as I forget what I’ve dreamt. After I transcribed my marathon dream, I decided to read over the last few entries. Here’s what I see as if for the first time: I’m in some kind of retail establishment in Grandview. Floor to ceiling glass walls. I have an item to buy, a rolled-up mattress. A salesman takes it from me and disappears. I go to look for him. I pass a big glass pastry case full of delicious-looking treats. They look wonderful, but I know they’re bad for me and I leave. Date: Friday morning, March 7, 2014.

Make of it what you will.  

HARELIP

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Another kid tells me a joke about the (fill in the blank) and the harelip. No idea what a hair lip is, but apparently it’s somebody who talks funny. Every joke I hear after that about this hair lip character involves the comedian of the moment talking in a particular whiney voice while on his way to a punch-line based on a pun created by the hair lip’s odd pronunciation of a word. I carry on as the only person in the world, it seems, unacquainted with the hair lips. I estimate that hair grows inward and does something to a guy’s lip that messes with his speech.

One day at work I’m in the office when a secretary’s mom stops by. The mom speaks, and I hear it. I hear that voice. I’m figuring Mom’s a comedienne. I’m waiting for little miss to grin or snicker. Oh Mom. Stop it. You’ll embarrass me. Waiting for Mom’s punch-line. But she keeps it up, keeps talking like one of those hair lips. Daughter says nothing, looks nothing. Not at all embarrassed. Anyway, Mom vanishes after a bit, and I’m sorting all of this out when a guy I work with asks the girl why her mom was talking like that. If I can shrink into a dust bunny…but I can’t. I know I turn red. Obviously a defective trait at work with Mom, so why isn’t he getting that? I wait for the girl to get defensive and jump the guy for bringing it up. Instead, What are you talking about? Like he’s an idiot, which he is at this moment, but for reasons other than any she has a handle on. And here’s an easy out that she’s handing him if he’s quick, but he’s not. Tell her you don’t know what you were talking about and change the subject. Nope. He takes another shot at it. Clarifies the question. The girl sits still with a dumbfoundedness that’s all sincere all over her face. Insists now she has no idea what he means. Finally, he figures it out. Late, but he gets it. To Daughter, Mom speaks plenty normal. In fact, Mom speaks just as she always has—since Daughter was born.

I learn a profound lesson here. I think about it a lot afterward. This girl’s smart, good at her job, and fun to be around. Someone you can have conversations with about the think-harder things in life. But she can’t hear her mother like the rest of the world hears her. In time, I begin noticing similar ignorance with people as it pertains to their loved ones. I remember asking a friend about the odd behavior of a family member and the friend doesn’t understand what I’m alluding to. If my own mother speaks in a weird pattern, how am I going to know? Is it that way for everyone whose parent speaks differently? Or do some children hear it?

I would forever after keep my antennae up in that area, and I would learn things. Children often do not hear the accents of their parents, if, say, that parent comes from another country and the child has grown up speaking English in the United States. Sometimes the child, though, will adopt a certain level of her parents’ accent but not know it. And you—outside of the family circle—will notice their shared vocal patterns and communicative quirks. If Mom pronounces a hard th word (though) with a soft th (thatch), then you can bet so do the kids. Yet sometimes you’ll meet a guy or girl who speaks perfect, accent-free English, and then you meet her or his parents who are straight from the old country, and your friend may be unaware of Mom and Dad’s accents—or fully aware.

This all gets even deeper, though. Okay, this is different, but it’s related. It all ties in. What about ourselves are we not getting that everybody else is? What are we getting that no one else is? People notice inside-the-head attributes about themselves, quirks, that they never hear mentioned by other people. Women, from my observations, will be more likely than men to keep it hushed for fear of being exposed as weird. Someone had to be first to give a name to déjà vu—probably a guy. When guys notice things about themselves–strange experiences of the mind–they’ve never heard discussed or described by others, they will usually just assume others experience it too or they don’t waste time dwelling on it. There are always exceptions, some of which would include psychopaths, murderers, pedophiles, cannibals, pursuers of bizarre fetishes and these stuffs, but that’s beyond the scope of what I’m dealing with here. A woman on the other hand will spend a lot of time worrying that she is different and will sometimes be haunted by feelings or experiences that are in reality far more common than she suspects. I know. I’ve been the one to pass on the good news before and more than once or twice. For example, I’ve noticed that when the season changes to autumn, with that first hint of cold air, I get this overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. I always have, and I’ve always thought it was interesting and pleasant, though I’d not heard it brought up in conversation by anyone else. Neither did I care. I decided to give that trait to the protagonist in my present novel. I was sure someone would recognize what I was describing. Recently a woman confided in me how the change of season to autumn at the time was making her think of old times for some reason, making her miss those days and certain people. Kinda weird, huh? Something about the smell in the air, she said. I asked her if maybe just maybe it happened every year. She said it did, and then asked how I knew.

Synesthesia. This is when one sensory, cognitive avenue within a person trips another one automatically. Letters and numbers, and even sounds, have a specific color. J is purple. 3 is red. A humming engine is orange. Days of the week or months of the year have personalities. Or colors. Or sounds. Or flavors. Mirror synesthesia is when an individual watches another person being touched and feels that touch himself, similar to the identical twin phenomenon.  More than five-dozen types of synesthesia have been discovered. Many synesthetes grow up believing that everybody has their same associative predispositions—that you and I see 8 as yellow, green as mean, or November as blueberry-flavored. They won’t know any of this is uncommon until some right-time, right-place conversation tips them off.

Have you ever been eye-squinting, face-crinkling confused at what your friend thinks of as being physically attractive? Whereupon the letters W-T-F have all kinds of color?

A type of dream befalls us where we realize that we’ve had this dream before, or more accurately, been here in this same place in our dreams in the past–only we’ve forgotten about it after waking each and every time. You’ll feel a sensation of: “I remember now! How could I have forgot?” I’ve never seen this written or heard it discussed in terms of dreaming, but I’m certain enough I’m not the only one to experience it that I’ll bring it up in a public forum. From reading the journals of those individuals who watched people die while following Napoleon’s army out of Russia, I know that before giving up their ghosts many would say “I remember now!” while staring into the ether and smiling. And I have read the same thing from people watching someone die in a hospital in modern times.

I’m still left to wonder if anyone else has noticed this characteristic in people—the characteristic of being oblivious of their parents’ speech patterns or even of the off-kilter behavior of a family member. How many of us are silently bothered by anomalies within ourselves that we think are as peculiar to us as fingerprints? If you search deep enough in surviving texts from Ancient Greece, you’ll see that the classic writers covered about every such subject. Near-death and out-of-body experiences, déjà vu, lucid dreams, bilocation and what have you, but they didn’t have a particular name for lots of these phenomena. The recent (by human standards) foray into the study of the mind with all of its specific fields has given us names for the hitherto unnamed. It has also fleshed out defects like dyslexia in ways that have led to treatments and cures. It is better, then, that we can recognize and create taxonomies for mental experiences so we might benefit society as a whole.

I made notes of many of these anomalous sensations and weirdnesses of mine and split them between two main characters as I wrote my story. They did not have the term “déjà vu” (already seen) in 1812, so, lacking a good way to describe it, the female character keeps it to herself. As she looks out a window to see the city burning, she thinks in the common Moscow French of the time: “J’ai déjà vu cela.” (I have already seen this.) In some other time, in some other world. She also sees spoken words in her head and mentally arranges them in pyramids as people speak them.

Hello.

How are

you doing today?

This is one I got second-hand. She has been assigned this trait of not discerning her father’s brogue, too.

I use all this stuff in creating characters, and I use it in figuring out the world. Eventually I learned that one out of 700 ( or a thousand) babies is born with a cleft in its lip that the French called “With a lip that has a split like that of a hare.” The English pared it down to a more manageable “harelip.” Now known as “cleft lip,” the defect is also akin to the cleft palate and affects the speech. Modern medical technology has rendered this defect correctable, fortunately. So from whence derive the jokes? They would have to come from someone old enough to understand puns, but young enough to be so stupid as to turn something like that into a joke. And this gets into the psychopathic, sociopathic, narcissistic, cannibalistic pedophilic, put-me-in-diapers-and-spank-me categories of psychological oddities that exceed the bounds of this little disquisition. Maybe some other day.