Latest entries

If an election can destroy your life, your priorities are out of whack

by David McElroy

clinton-supporters-reaction

Much of the reaction to Donald Trump’s election can be described only as mass hysteria.

I’m never happy about any president and this one is no exception. I would have been disgusted with either alternative, of course, and I’ve made it clear that I see Trump as especially dangerous. But some people are acting as though the world has ended for them and there’s no future to live for.

This is insane.

I’m seeing a lot of such mass hysteria and I’m appalled at it, because it shows a lack of perspective and a lack of understanding about which things matter most in life.

There are dozens of examples, but a piece in Monday’s Washington Post exemplifies it best. In a personal column called Trump’s election stole my desire to look for a partner — seriously, that’s the headline — a mother of two in Montana says she’s lost interest in finding a romantic partner. She tells of having found a man she was interested in — and who seemed interested in her — but how the election changed everything.

“There is no room for dating in this place of grief,” she concludes. “Dating means hope. I’ve lost that hope in seeing the words ‘President-elect Trump.’”

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Smart people and profit motive have made world better place for all of us

by David McElroy

fedex-plane-loading

I ordered a camera lens Monday night on Amazon.com. It was a pretty standard order. It’s not an expensive item. I didn’t pay a nickel extra for shipping. It’s pretty routine.

But this order reminds me how much our lives have improved — and how much we take those improvements for granted.

I got a shipment notification for the lens Wednesday morning. I had no idea where it was coming from. I didn’t care. But when I clicked a button in my email to track the FedEx package, a light bulb went off for me.

On the tracking page, I noticed the package was picked up by FedEx in Seongnam-si, South Korea — which is a satellite city near Seoul — at the end of the Wednesday business day there. Somehow, it will be delivered to me in Birmingham on Thursday.

An untold number of people are involved in getting my routine order fulfilled from the other side of the world all the way to me — and I never had to give a second thought to how any of it happens.

It’s a modern form of magic we call logistics.

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13 quick observations as we watch for the world to burn in Trump era

by David McElroy

watch-the-world-burn

Here are my scattered observations on the morning after the presidential win by Donald Trump:

On Dec. 11, 2011, in the wake of reports that Donald Trump was interested in running for president, I published an article called “Taking Donald Trump seriously means ‘Idiocracy’ is already here.” Almost five years later, I stand by that bleak assessment.

I consistently misjudged Trump’s chances. I believe even more strongly than ever than Trump is a crazy person who is very dangerous. (I honestly believe he suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. He lives in his own version of reality which is based on protecting his fragile ego.) But I thought Republicans would find a saner candidate in the primaries to rally around and stop him. I was wrong. Then I thought that any Democrat could beat him, even a horrible person such as Hillary Clinton. I was wrong again. It’s humbling and scary to see someone come along who reminds me so strongly how how people can follow such a dangerous person when they’re angry and scared.

A lot of frustrated, angry and disgusted people I know are happy to see a monkey wrench get thrown into the political system, even though they know Trump is crazy and scary. As returns came in Tuesday night and it became obvious that Trump might win, I got this message from a friend who I used to work with in GOP politics: “How horrible am I for a part of me hoping Trump wins tonight so I can kick back with some popcorn and watch the train jump the tracks?” That’s what reminded me of the graphic above from two years ago. Many people are ready to sit back and watch the world burn.

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‘We’re live with people standing in line. Did we mention we’re live?’

by David McElroy

It’s late afternoon on election day 2016. The Status Quo News Network has live coverage:

Anchor: We now take you live to another random voting location that happens to be near the bar where our crew will be hanging out later tonight. Luther?

Reporter: Biff, I am standing live in front of a line of voters at Bluff Heights Elementary School in suburban Atlanta. After a hard-fought election, things are tense. Mr. Voter, could you tell me why you’ve come out on this historic day.

Voter: Well, I’m here to vote.

Reporter: And there you have it, Biff. He’s here to vote.

Voter: The wife and me are going to Waffle House after this. Did you need to know that, too?

Reporter: Biff, they’re going to Waffle House after this. We have that as an exclusive.

Anchor: Luther, it appears people are standing in line there. Are these patriotic Americans standing in line? Read the rest of this entry »

Politicians, empires come and go; only love and nature will endure

by David McElroy

sunset-will-continue

Nature doesn’t care who wins the U.S. presidential election Tuesday.

No matter who wins, the sun will rise in the east Wednesday morning. It will sink gloriously to the west that evening.

The earth will keep spinning. Trees will keep growing. Leaves will keep changing in the autumn and returning in the spring. Torrents of water will keep falling from the sky and forming great rivers to rush toward the sea.

Animals will keep reproducing and living the lives they’re designed for. They’ll keep growing and changing and evolving. They’ll continue to roam the earth, sometimes competing and sometimes cooperating.

Humanity will continue, too. The billions of people on this planet are the descendants of people who lived through far worse than what most of us will ever face — or can even imagine. The worst scenarios we can conceive would have been unimaginable fantasies of luxury to them.

Two people are competing Tuesday for a terrifying degree of control over this earth. They are both horribly flawed human beings — far worse than even the average among us. You can make arguments, if you’d like, about which of these terrible people is worse for the immediate future and why.

But it doesn’t matter.

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Why do we consider it shallow to crave beauty in romantic partner?

by David McElroy

beautiful-blue-eyes

“Hi,” the woman said to me brightly with a smile. “How are you?”

I looked at her and my eyes met hers. I didn’t recognize this beautiful stranger. I had been lost in my own thoughts as I walked through the store, so I hadn’t even noticed her. I smiled back and returned a friendly greeting and that was it.

There was nothing important about the exchange, but it made me feel good as I realized once again what was going on.

I’ve recently shed 70 pounds. I’m not yet down to the weight I’d like to be, but I look much different from how I looked four or five months ago. I’ve struggled with my weight for years, so I’ve seen this pattern enough to understand what had just happened with the woman in the store, even though she almost certainly didn’t understand it herself.

When I’m as overweight as I was last spring, I become invisible to attractive young women in public. I don’t mean I’m treated badly. I just mean that unless I have reason to initiate contact — and she has reason to respond — I might as well not be there. I’m not someone she wants to talk with.

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I don’t allow comments anymore, and I’d like to briefly explain why

by David McElroy

dont-feed-the-trollsEver since I started this site five and a half years ago, I’ve struggled with the issue of what to do about public comments. I used to allow them — because it seemed like the obvious thing which almost every website does — but I was frustrated with the level of discourse.

I’ve had many interesting and useful comments from people — not all of which I even agree with, but which I found useful to the discussion — but a ridiculous percentage of comments have come from angry people who are simply anonymous cowards causing trouble by screaming at people on the Internet.

Some of the worst offenders have been people I’ve generally liked and even agreed with, but something about anonymous online commenting leads a lot of people to become nasty in ways they’d never be in real life.

For a long time, I put up with that, thinking it was a tradeoff I was willing to make. I slowly became more and more uncomfortable with that tradeoff, though.

Since I’m rarely writing about politics these days, my articles don’t attract the fairly regular vitriol they once did, but I’ve simply reached the point I’m not willing to tolerate any of it. (And, of course, I have also spent a ridiculous amount of time deleting spam comments which you guys have never even seen.)

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Dead things must be cleared away before rebirth has a chance to come

by David McElroy

dying-leaves

Autumn is about death and dying. It’s about clearing away things which are finished — before a period of dormancy and healing which can give way to rebirth.

See those yellow leaves which are slowly developing brown spots and shriveling? I’ve been watching those leaves and the ones around them for about seven or eight months.

A limb of a huge tree has a tiny offshoot which hangs near my front porch. Every time I leave the house, I see those leaves. I watched them grow from nothing last spring. As the weather started turning warm and everything in nature started coming alive again, I saw tiny shoots of green that turned into beautiful shade for my yard.

By summer, they were beautifully lush and green. They joined with thousands and thousands of other leaves to form an amazing canopy — seemingly just for me — and they were a delight to see each time I stepped outside and started down my steps.

But this is what they look like Sunday afternoon. Are they already dead? Are they still alive but slowly dying? I don’t know. All I know is that nature dictates that what was once bright green new life has once again gone through a cycle of amazing vibrancy and is now heading toward death.

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If I perform well enough for you,
will you give me love, approval?

by David McElroy

actor-in-silhouette

For just a couple of minutes, I was on stage. It was a small audience, but I was in tune with them and I was tailoring my lines to what they responded to.

They laughed. They smiled. They seemed genuinely appreciative. I felt warm and satisfied — as though I was being fed something incredibly nourishing — because they seemed to like me. I felt happy.

And then I walked off that stage. I left that checkout counter where two employees had been my audience. I walked out of the grocery store where I had given my impromptu performance. And as I walked alone to my car in the cool October night air, I felt really good.

I reflected again on my need to be fed by other human beings — and my need for their approval, love and understanding — and how I can be briefly satisfied even by such brief and insubstantial interaction when what I truly need isn’t available.

It’s a terrible thing to need other people’s approval.

There’s a lot of psychology behind that need. Many things seem to go into creating such a craving. I’ve spent the last 10 years thinking a lot about where that emotional hunger in me came from and how to deal with it in emotionally healthy ways. I’m not ready to talk publicly about that personal psychology, so that’s not what this is about. This is about the ways in which my personal needs — some of them healthy and some of them unhealthy — intersect with so much in modern media.

Even though I struggle with feelings of creative inadequacy, I’ve accepted internally that I’m an artist. For the last year or so, though, I’ve been struggling to accept my need to be a performer — and I trace the unhealthy branch of that struggle back to my need for approval.

Perceptive women in my life have noticed this and we’ve talked about.

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Self-compassion is difficult when harsh inner judge condemns you

by David McElroy

harsh-judge

For a moment Thursday afternoon, I didn’t even feel like myself. I felt angry because I wanted to control a situation that I couldn’t control.

My anger turned to ugly words. I didn’t lash out very much. It was just a couple of sentences, but I was completely wrong. I had enough sense to realize — even as I was speaking — that I was handling a situation poorly. I walked out before I could say anything more and make things worse.

I went and sat down in a room by myself. I was flooded with a variety of feelings. I was angry, frustrated, hurt and — within a minute of so — ashamed.

It doesn’t matter what the problem was or what caused it. I’ve been thinking ever since then about a terrible pattern that I see in myself every now and then — not often, but more often than I like to admit.

When I am feeling especially needy in the emotional sense, I start to feel the need to be controlling. When I need something emotionally that I can’t get by myself, that turns to frustration and I express my frustration by trying to control others around me. Something about taking control can let me feel less needy — as though I’ve found a way to force my will into reality.

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Start over here

When this site launched in 2011, it was intended as a way to find others who were sick of partisan politics and wanted to connect with like-minded people who were ready to go beyond politics and find ways of escaping. It has shifted focus in ways that reflect my own shifting thinking. I’m less interested in politics and more interested in looking at the things that make life worth living, such as love, creation, self-understanding and connecting with others. Every article I have posted since 2011 is still in my archives, but everything I write is a reflection of my current thinking. Sometimes I’m wrong — and that’s fine with me — and I don’t always end up agreeing with what I wrote five years ago. For now, you can still read what I wrote about the site’s purpose in 2011, but I should rewrite this. Read more.

Contact David

David likes email, but can’t reply to every message. I get a surprisingly large number of requests for relationship advice — seriously — but I rarely have the time to respond. (Sorry.) Besides, with my own romantic track record, maybe my advice isn’t worth taking. I’d like to find a wife one of these days, so maybe I should add an “application.”

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We're the Government — and You're Not
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Comments

Comments are not presently allowed. They've been allowed in the past, so many older articles have comments. I haven't found most public discussion to be generally useful or healthy, so I have disabled comments for now. I might revisit this policy in the future.

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