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Re: How to Be Positive and At the Same Time Informed?

mASF post by finalD

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Re: How to Be Positive and At the Same Time Informed?
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mASF post by "finalD"
posted on: mASF forum: General Discussion newsgroup, March 3, 2005

n3rv1 wrote at Sat, 12 Mar 2005 00:18:00 GMT in
news:[email protected]:

> I mean, how do you pay attention to the media/popular
> culture, when it seems like everything that comes out of it
> is stories of murder, rape, torture, and rancid negative
> shit?

OK, so the question here is, "Given that I am surrounded by
negative media, how do I nevertheless maintain a positive

I think that's a fair point. Sorry if I went a bit far to the
other extreme ("sign up for Doing Your Part To Change The World
or shut the fuck up") ... but it still has fair points in it.

I will now ramble. Here are some things I do.

First, I don't watch TV. Really. I don't have cable television
ANYTHING. This has worked wonders for me. I find a whole
different sort of chick attractive, now; and I find that I'm
much more personable, and my eyeballs function better (really,
they emanate semi-electric impulses better; no lie; this is not
sarcasm); and I'm wittier, because my conversational rhythms are
my own rather than Every Body Loves Raymond's. Rather, get your
information from a variety of sources. Really. The BBC, plus NPR
radio, plus reputable websites, plus at least three different
newspapers, plus a monthly or quarterly "thinking" news /
politics journal. When I watch TV, I watch a video-taped soccer
game. And I hit rewind a LOT, to double-check certain tactics
and theories I have about structuring a midfield.

Second, don't hang with people who exacerbate your state of
affairs. If you find someone (wingman? LTR?) with whom you're
constantly saying, "And then, OF COURSE, you know what comes
next!" and you both agree but still preach to the choir about
the sad state of affairs ... go find someone who's different
from yourself. Hang with them. Get to know their interests. I
have a fundamentalist Baptist Republican who works as the ad
manager in my red state workplace. She and I get along great,
because I "sarged" her into my camp. Even though I'm farther
Left Wing than Howard Dean. It's GOOD for me to interact with
her -- I continually question my assumptions. I hope she does
the same. Heh heh ...

Third, get to know the publications in your field of preference.
Be it theater or movies or computing or money management or gold
lame' dresses or basketball scores, there are REPUTABLE and
SMART publications (often smaller, with fewer pictures) and then
there are the AFC publications. Avoid the latter. I haven't
opened a GQ, or an Esquire, or a Maxim, or a Men's Health, in
months. I read the New York Times Book Review, and the London
Review of Books, and the Wilson Quarterly, and Atlantic Monthly,
and sometimes I check out the advertisements in Vogue because
they're visually cool.

Fourth, base your knowledge on reading and hearing, not seeing.
The fact that television comprises TWO sensory inputs means that
it can cause your conscious mind to focus on one while it
indoctrinates you with the other. This cannot happen with a
single-input medium or with active (proactive!) interaction with
the medium. You can't "passively" read a book while also cooking
dinner, talking to your girlfriend on the phone, and letting the
dog back in.

Fifth, stop wanking to porn. When you masturbate, do it like you
did in high school when you had to hid from mom and dad -- in a
darkened room. Learn to CONTROL your fantasizing, and drive
yourself in directions. Like, I once actually thought about a
blowjob "intensely" enough that I got close to orgasm. Didn't
actually cum -- still working on that :) -- but at least it was
mental exercise instead of passive ingestion of some hairy-
chested porn-mogul Californian's media.

Sixth, manage your finances. Stop buying unnecessary things
merely because the ACT of purchasing (rather than the owning of
the product itself) gives you some kind of sense of membership
in a community. Try to buy only through a sales representative
whose name and personal circumstances you are familiar with, for
example, or to only ever go to the mom-and-pop competitors to
the major chains. Keep excruciatingly close records of your
expenditures, so that you can say how much you spent on stupid
AFC magazines, how much on Great Western Literature, how much on
cable TV or cell phones. Wear the same clothing more than one
day in a row -- it's designed for that, as long as you air it
properly, and change under-clothing, and were in an office or
air-conditioned car the whole time. Do odd but sensible shit
like that. Brush your teeth with baking soda, or clean the
floors with lemon juice and bleach and water, or make all your
Christmas gifts for your friends as art twisted together out of
"found objects" on highway overpasses, or learn to play an old-
time instrument (the hurdy-gurdy seems appropriate!). Anything,
anything, ANYTHING, to get out of valuing yourself on the basis
of how much AFC accoutrements you buy with a credit card at one
of six or ten major national corporate chain stores. Never again
patronize Barnes and Noble, Starbucks, Eddie Bauer, LL Bean,
Gap, Abercrombie and Fitch, Victoria's Secret, Body Shop, Ann
Taylor, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Microsoft, IBM, Toshiba, Sony, Honda,
Ford, Chevrolet, Nike, Reebok, Addidas, Levi-Strauss, Bass,
Wendy's, KFC, Taco Bell, McDonald's ... good luck ... :)

Seventh, get a goal. Nothing makes decision-making more easy
than knowing what your priorities are. SHould I go out tonight,
or stay in? Staying in means sitting around with NOTHING to do,
except ... write my short story a bit more. If I didn't have the
goal of finishing a certain amount of literary writing before
taking on a different type of writing, and other stepping-stone
type goals toward successful literary output, I wouldn't know
whether to go out or stay in. I would have no MEANS by which to
make decisions. If you ever find yourself saying to yourself, "I
dunno, if I stay in I'll just hang around and do nothing, but if
I go out I don't know where to go, I'll just drive around and
around and not have any plan" then you need a project. You need
something to WORK ON and eventually FINISH. Staying in, in order
to refinish the rare antique sideboard ... that's cool. Staying
in, in order to hang out with the dog and teach him a new trick
... kinda cool. Staying in, in order to lounge in front of the
latest division 3 college basketball game and you don't even
know how to play basketball? ... totally uncool.

Eighth, get a REAL sport. Something that CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR
PHYSICAL FITNESS that you PARTICIPATE IN. If you like to watch
sports ("watch" = bad, remember?) on TV ("TV" = bad, remember?),
realize how AFC-izing it is. I play soccer, competitively, and
coach it. I have thought about tennis, recently; and I lift
weights. When I'm pissed off at the world, I generally realize
that it's been a week since I've had a good workout. Going to
work out doesn't actually improve my disposition immediately,
but making sure I work out before the fact does generally mean
my disposition doesn't deteriorate to the point that it needs
improvement in the first place.

Ninth, know your place in the world. If the "state of the world"
sucks, are you planning on getting to where you are going to run
for Senator, or President, or at least School Board, so that you
can IMPROVE the world? Is your current plan somehow related to
building yourself up so that you will be a viable candidate when
you seem to the electorate old enough to get elected? See item
seven, get a goal. There's a lot that needs to be learned, about
electioneering and about service in a political system; go about
it! If that isn't your goal, there are lots of other ways to
line your "distress" about the negative state of the world, up
with your own future success. If you let yourself be distressed
and then pass it off, with no action, you are by definition
being incongruent to your feelings. Your emotional awareness EQ
will suffer. If, on the other hand, you are naturally distressed
by the "sad state of things" and ACT upon that (perfectly
legitimate) distress, then you become more at one with yourself.
You are congruent to your natural reactions, and the AFC-ization
of our culture at large has been weakened by your willingness to
overcome the fear of standing outside the great throng of sheep
and be an okapi or a wombat. :)

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in
higher esteem those who think alike than those who think

Friedrich Nietzsche

Unless otherwise noted, this article is Copyright©2005 by "finalD" with implicit permission provided to for reproduction. Any other use is prohibited without the explicit permission of the original author.


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