Steven Barnes

Our first SUNKEN PLACE class is in the can!

“The Class is Phenomenal!”–Lacroix Scott

 

We’re just starting to get the feedback from our SUNKEN PLACE class.  This is so wonderfully fulfilling.  Once you build the business structure, you can put 100% of your emphasis on SERVING THE STUDENTS.  Giving them everything you can, in a format that is both educational and entertaining.

 

We believe art is a critical human activity, the science of heart-to-heart communication. That drama allows us to both express ourselves and open minds.    This isn’t “just” about horror, although we certainly deal with the nature of it. Or “just” about race, although race has been a generational nightmare for millions of children of the Diaspora.   It is about what we are as human beings, the way we make sense of the world, and what we can do as individuals to create that shared future.

 

If you are a fan, a teacher, or a creator of dark fantasy (pun deliberate)–join us on an amazing journey.   Www.sunkenplaceclass.com

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MLK, America, and the Hero’s Journey

 

MLK had to cut a Gordian Knot.  And the weapon he chose was a combination of love and righteous strength.    It is fascinating the way people have tried to neuter this firebrand, who forget that the same words used to demonize movements like BLM were used against him at the time. He was a rabble rouser, a Communist, a pervert, and on and on.   After he died he became a saint, and the exact same words were used against people who used the same tactics King was using 50 years ago.  It would be funny if it weren’t so sick.

 

He wasn’t something superhuman. He was a man willing to die to accomplish a goal, and that made him dangerous to the status quo.  He fully understood that he probably wouldn’t live to see the fruition of his dream.  Probably understood that his words would be turned against his children by the very people who used to use fire hoses and dogs against him.

 

He got that.  It was part of the process.   And I think he’d recognize where we are right now.

 

The Civil War got us about 50% of the way. MLK got us another 25%.  And now, right now, we’re looking at another 12.5% as we proceed asymptotically toward the Promised Land.  Make no mistake: the racial component of the political chaos is a reaction to the progress we’ve made.  If you do not embrace love, and do not have faith, and believe in equality—not “legal equality”, not “in the eyes of God” equality, but that the different families of Man really are equal–then this is a moment of terror. The dark night of the soul.

 

The Hero’s Journey is the story of a human being making progress…or an entire nation.

  1. Hero confronted with a challenge.  To live up to the wonderful words of equality in our constitution.
  2. Hero rejects the challenge.   The most natural thing in the world is to assume your family, your neighborhood, city, school, state, political party, tribe or race is the best.   When you combine this with the economic need for cheap labor, you have a nightmare.  You aren’t just giving up that economic advantage–if you admit you wronged these people, the guilt and fear are massive.
  3. Hero Accepts the challenge.  Those who didn’t need the economic advantage were first able to see the evil, in the same way that vegetarians find it easier to grasp the misery of the slaughterhouse.  And America began to realize it was going to have to make a decision.
  4. The Road of trials.  Painful struggle, no question about it.  Horror show of abolition and succession and war, Jim Crow and Segregation.  One could create an entire cycle within each of these realities and reactions.
  5. Allies and Powers.   We formed this country with a mighty dream of human freedom, one which will guide us out of the woods, whatever snakes and sleepers we have to avoid along the way.  MLK was one powerful ally, one who called us to the better angels of our nature.  And because he spoke of love rather than fear, faith rather than despair, it was possible for even those who didn’t want us marrying their daughters to grasp that there was something terrible happening, and the cry of “State’s Rights” was just an excuse to prolong the agony.  He was, in this context, perhaps the single most powerful ally our Hero, our Country, has ever had.  And died for it.
  6. Confront Evil, Defeat: We awaken in stages.  Those most deeply in the dream, as well as snakes, burrowed themselves deeply within the system, learned to change their rhetoric, and create alliances with people who needed their votes.  As the world continued to change, they were compressed and cornered enough to create a politically Newtonian counter-action.    It was not “all about race”.  But anyone who thinks race was not a component hasn’t been paying attention.
  7. Dark Night of the Soul.  Listen to the despair, fear and anger, mostly from people who were not around during the 60’s, or weren’t paying attention to how bad things were.
  8. The Leap of Faith.   Between the Civil Rights movement and the Cuban Missile Crisis, there is simply nothing we’ve not seen before.  And we got through it. And THEY were not as bad as things the human race has fought through for all its 250k years of existence on this planet.   We endure. We grow.  We connect.  And when we speak to each other, from the heart, we see our own souls in the eyes of others, and if we feel love, we can begin to drop our guard, don’t need to defend the sins of our ancestors, and face the future.
  9. Confront Evil–and win.   This is the next step.   If we’ve taken the previous steps, we can have confidence in the next one. There will be doubters, of course, and those who fight against it, and those who are so beaten down that they cannot believe.
  10. The Student Becomes the Teacher.   Whenever we learn, grow, find a new and better path we can lead others.  America held up its ideals for centuries, and we’ve shed blood to try to live up to it.   We are part of that dream of freedom and joy the human race has nurtured, with only fear and predation preventing us from embracing each other.

 

Love and faith conquer fear.  And I have a dream that we will finish awakening from the nightmare.  Get down to that last 12.5%.  I might even live to see the next “bump” of about 6.25%. But you know something?   I’m damned proud of us. We’ve come a long way.

 

And MLK was, as I said, one of the greatest allies the national conscience ever had.  Just remember that he wasn’t a cream puff.  And that the crap you hear hurled at “Social Justice Warriors” today was hurled at Civil Rights advocates 50 years ago.   And for the exact same reasons: trying to fight the future.

 

The future always wins.

 

 

 

Happy MLK Day!

Steve

www.sunkenplaceclass.com

For those irritated by compassion…

People who think I’m bending over backwards not to hate, to see humanity as united, to see most violence and cruelty as springing from fear rather than raw evil,  to open my arms with love even to those who have wronged me, I wish you to consider that, in absolute candor…this is the mode of thought I adopted in childhood to keep from hating white people.

When you ask me to hate conservatives, or to “admit” that men are worse than women, or Muslims less than Christians, or take a side in most other binary equations (save those specifically related to behaviors)  this is exactly, precisely, the attitude you are asking me to change. I could not change one setting without affecting the others.

 

And no, you wouldn’t like me if I did.  Conservatives who do the “Liberals hurt black people more than slavery” are NOT making a case for Conservatism. They are making a case not to trust any white people at all.   I sometimes think they really, truly, seriously don’t understand that.

 

So…leave it alone. First, you can’t change me. I’m cooked. I’m who I am, and the chances that you can present an argument, or information, I’ve not already heard and discarded or integrated on a subject I’ve researched for thousands of hours aren’t terribly high.  You do NOT know me better than I know myself.  I have no reason to believe you know YOURSELF better than I know myself.

 

And second…if you could change that core position on humanity?  I promise you wouldn’t like the results.

 

Namaste

Steve

Stages of Grief

Karl J.  Martin said something very smart: that part of what we are seeing politically is similar to the stages of grief, or acceptance of death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance

 

Denial (“He didn’t say it”)

Anger (“Fake media!”)

Bargaining (“Well X and Y said things just as bad!)

Depression (Remember that depression is anger/fear with no one to fight and no where to run.)

Acceptance

 

What you have here is the reason Sun Tzu says to ALWAYS leave your opponent a route of honorable retreat.  Otherwise, they will fight to the death, and you will lose more men…or might even lose a battle you might otherwise have won.  There is nothing worse than fighting someone with nothing to lose.

 

As you see people moving through these stages, please remember to treat them as you would wish to be treated. And how is that?  Well…compare to a dysfunctional  or abusive relationship.   We have invested ourselves, given ourselves physically and emotionally, and it is HARD to admit we were wrong.  Remember what Swift Deer said: “Do not trust people. Instead, rely upon them to do what is in their best interests. It is up to you to be able to determine what that is.”

 

Proposed: much of the country made a mistake.   Conned?   Following a dangerous set of values, beliefs, and warped perceptual filters? Perhaps.  Afraid of future shock?  I think so, and I don’t consider that a sin: there is ALWAYS a tension between “we’re moving too fast” and “we’re not moving fast enough.”   Often, the caution is correct.  If it was not this time, if the urge to slow things down led to a seriously ill decision, remember that over the course of human history caution was a serious survival trait.

 

Most mutations do NOT create Wolverine.  And as society evolves, we are testing different ideas about humanity, gender, race, sexuality, spirituality.  “Who am I” (or: “who are we” or “who are they”) and “what is true.”

 

Its hard. It always has been.  I don’t try to track all the ideas that make up political platforms.  It is hard enough to gain or keep clarity about the underlying belief patterns. In the one I pay the most attention to, race (and regardless of what anyone says, NO ONE cares equally about everything and everyone.  Everyone prioritizes unless they are capable of making no decisions at all, paralyzed into inactivity). And my thought is that we proceed toward an acceptance of the notion of equality asymptotically.  The Civil War got us about 50% of the  way there, at dreadful cost.   The Civil Rights era, complete with riots got us another 25%.    It is possible that we are dealing with the next 12.5% right now.

 

Apply these same patterns to gender, sexual orientation, fear of America’s changing place in the world, economics, pot-versus alcohol, Christian versus Non-Christian, “We are part of the environment” versus “the world is ours to use” and so forth, and you can see that “who are we?” and “what is true?” stuff boiling away.

 

And…we’re trying to resolve it without actually bringing out the knives and killing each other.    Anyone who says “we’re more divided than ever” is really just saying “we’re more divided than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.”

 

THAT is probably accurate.   But it is also short sighted.   Humans are doing the best they can, and anthropologists tell us that our past was more violent and contentious than our present, by a wide margin.  We’re getting better.  Communicating better. Loving more and fearing less. Which implies seriously disturbing things about what our ancestors were dealing with.   The pains and fears our ancestors accepted as their daily dose of reality.

 

Respect them.

 

As for what is happening now, remember the steps:

  1. Love yourself.   Learn to deal with the stress in your life so that it doesn’t become strain.If you aren’t sleeping well and waking up refreshed, this could well be a factor.   DEAL WITH THIS.  Protect yourself, or the stress will break you.
  2. Love one other person. Open your heart.  It will teach you that no one is perfect, we all sin, we are all flawed.  We also learn that in arguments, fear shuts down the logical faculties, even when arguing about trivial things.   That’s what we do.
  3. Understand history without guilt, blame or shame.  If you can take responsibility for your own flaws, and love yourself anyway, and love others despite their flaws, studying history will show you that there is NOTHING happening now that has not happened before.   Trump was the very definition of a political Hail Mary pass.  People didn’t like the direction the country was going, and tried something drastic.   It didn’t work.
  4. Protect your tribe. Don’t argue with sleepers or snakes.  Most of the citizens of our country, or of the world, are decent people just trying to live and raise their families.  They make mistakes, as our ancestors did. As the people you love do. As you have.   Take no shit, but don’t GIVE more shit than you have to, either.  If we are one soul looking out through many eyes, you are seeing a lot of wounded, frightened people, people who don’t understand that the world is changing and that’s all right.  Some of them are awakening. If they do, remember that they are your brothers and sisters and children and neighbors. Welcome them in from the cold. Off them shelter. Few of them are snakes, even fewer are monsters. Most were just asleep.
  5. Win…with integrity.  We are winning.  The wheel is turning, and mythologies thousands of years in the making are breaking down.   Of COURSE there is resistance.  Fear. Anger.   Be strong, but gentle.  If you get angry, that is fear. If you are afraid, you are hypocritical not to grant others the right to be afraid. Deal with your fear, and your anger will dissolve.  And from there you can say:

 

You made an error. We all do.  Maybe next time I’ll need you to forgive me for my errors.    Let’s talk together as human beings, as Americans, and put the knives down.  If I am attacked, I will defend myself and my tribe–by closing the door.  And my tribe?  Anyone willing to address the question “who am I?” and “what is true?” from a position of human equality.  That’s the starting place.  If you can leave your need to feel superior at the door, there is a place for you at the fire.  And even if you cannot…I understand.  It is ultimately a matter of faith.  And whether you can make that leap or not…I still have faith in you, and nothing you can do can shake it.

 

I am stronger than your false self-image.  My truth is stronger than your nightmare.

 

 

Namaste

Steve

www.afrofuturismwebinar.com

Recognizing filters and blocks

  1. Love Yourself
  2. Love one other person
  3. Understand history without guilt, blame, or shame
  4. Nurture your tribe.  Avoid arguing with sleepers and snakes
  5. Win with integrity

 

And one definition of winning is avoiding time and energy wasters.  Trolls will do this, and so will sleepers.   Remember the story about the woman trying to convince her husband to go to a certain restaurant? And how he threw up argument after argument, crazier and crazier, until it was finally, after hours, revealed that his ex-wife owned the place and he just wasn’t going?

 

Hours wasted, because “upstream” from the “presenting arguments” was a primary emotional load.   “I hate my ex wife, and I won’t give her a dime” combined with a hidden shame for being petty.” Or worse…what if his GIRLFRIEND works there?  Now you’ll NEVER get the truth. The arguments will grow more and more frantic and distracting, all because there is a deep reality that cannot be addressed.

 

Politics is a lot like that.  So are other highly-charged arenas like relationships, money, and weight.  Something going on. Lots of excuses, rationalizations and distortions on top.

 

With politics, I’ve seen a LOT connected to Nature-Nurture, or “Biblical Truth”–justifications for a faith-based belief.

 

Similar things in the other arenas, and you HAVE to ask yourself: if this person seems irrational, or to delete large amounts of contrary data or common sense, is there a payoff?  Would it cause pain for them to admit they were wrong?

 

Would they have to change their beliefs about the history of their country? The honor of their ancestors? The accuracy of a religious belief system?   The rightness of their past actions?  The health of their future actions? Whether they have treated others in accordance with their stated values?  Have they a professional or personal investment in a delusion?  What would happen to their career or public personae if they reversed their position?

 

Everything we do we do because we have more pleasure associated with the action than pain.   One of the reasons it is critical to be kind to and respectful of people who admit they were wrong, not ‘beat up’ on them is that that will cause them to pull back into their shell, or even maintain a political or religious position they “know” to be wrong. Like most rational beings, they’d rather be safe than right.

 

If you are arguing evolution, stop and ask them if their religious beliefs would change were they to accept natural selection and a four billion year old Earth.  If so, YOU WILL LOSE.  You can’t change their mind unless  they 1) Don’t care if they lose their faith. 2) Can be persuaded that evolution is not in contradiction to their faith.

 

Look deeper.  And if something would be lost if they admitted you were right, you have to show them how they will BENEFIT by accepting your point of view, how it would make their world BETTER, REDUCE their pain and be in alignment with their values…or the entire “debate” is pointless.

 

It is not loving yourself. It is not loving them.  It is not understanding human psychology and history, it is not defending your tribe, and it is not winning.

 

Just…let it go, unless you can change those underling beliefs.  Just love them for who they are.  Trust me…you’ll need that kind of consideration at some point.  We all have filters and faith-based belief systems and perceptions.  We’re huma

Train’s leaving the station

For the record, it wasn’t the “shithole nations” comment that flipped the next switch in my head. I didn’t expect any different from him. It was the White House response that their “base” would understand. That is normalizing a particular kind of rhetoric that leads to raving horror. Anyone who accepts this, given the slightest understanding of history, would never be able to say “I didn’t know this was going to happen” with a straight face. Time for good Americans to make a course correction.

 

Look at the people still defending him.  Take a look at their FB pages. Their other statements about the world. Their friend’s lists.  See if you see a pattern, ask yourself what that pattern is, and then if you want to be a part of that. Really, the evidence is right in front of you, all you have to do is dig a little.  I love Facebook, I really do.

 

(Sleeping Child–>Sleeping Adult)–> Awakened Adult

 

Waking in any arena means popping out of the “Matrix”.  Politics is one such dream world.  The deeper level is philosophy.  What would these people have to believe about the world, or the basic nature of humanity, to have these views once you see the vector of action and thought?  Carried to its logical conclusion, where does that train go?

 

There really is a fork in the track here.  And its not about Conservative and Liberal, Republican or Democrat.  Goes deeper than that, to questions about who we are as a people, a nation, a species.

 

Your decisions matter.  No one can tell you who you are, but you better the hell realize that every action you take defines you more deeply. Are you driven by fear or love?  Do you believe we are expressions of the divine, or do you see only the muck?  Do you love yourself and extend that love to others?

 

Which “track” is the White House on?  The longer you wait to decide, the greater the momentum, and the further from the other track it gets.  If you like the people, the “tribe” you’ll have by the time it gets over the horizon, stay on board.

 

The rest of us have a different destination.

 

 

 

Namaste,

Steve

www.sunkenplaceclass.com

Why and How lines were drawn

I’ve said a few times that there were two things that, together, stopped me from even considering voting for Trump.   They were

1) his lack of public service experience within a chain of command, and

2) his Birtherism.

It seemed that people felt that there were other more egregious issues.  Could be.  All I know is that when he started talking about running, I began paying attention to him in a way I hadn’t before, and those were the first two things that came to my attention, and they were enough.  While other things certainly registered, those two popped the circuit breaker.

Why?  What did they tell me?  What did I extract from them separately and together?

With Birtherism, I start with the assumption that Birther believers are either low-IQ or so crazy/emotionalized they cannot crunch information. As I don’t think he is stupid, nor did I think him crazy or hyperemotionalized, I assume he was using it as a tactic.

  1. “Birther” supporting therefore led me to believe he was
    1. Liar/dishonest
    2. Manipulator
    3. Ruthless
    4. Willing to use the worst and ugliest human tendencies to get what he wants
    5. Whipping crowds into a frenzy with these ugly emotions. Dangerous as a rattler in the cradle.
    6. Willing to hurt children (birtherism stokes racism, increased racism WILL lead to another Trayvon). That is EVIL.
    7. No apparent real beliefs in anything other than “‘Trump is the best”, which makes him easily manipulated by people who praise him.
  2. His Lack of experience led me to conclude he
    1. Has a “Born on third base and thought he hit a triple” unrealistic self image.
    2. is Spiteful/vengeful  (seemed to go after it partially in revenge for Obama’s jokes at the correspondent’s dinner. I watched his face.  If so, that implies someone who thinks he can insult the President, but how DARE the President insult the Donald.  Not healthy)
    3. Is Childishly impatient and immature.
    4. Watching the crowds told me he had a Sky-High EQ, which in combination with the other factors makes him unnerving charisma to a certain sort of person.
    5. Willing to screw with the democratic political system for personal gain.

 

There’s more.  But I think that’s enough, don’t you?  Additional data can be pulled from the WAY he ran, subsequent to my first impressions, but long before election:

1) his labeling of political opponents (“crooked Hillary”)

2) encouraging violence at his ralleys

  1. Disjointed “word salad”
  2. Mocking the disabled  (“punching down” bad tendency for people with power.  Extreme lack of empathy.
  3. Misogyny

 

I could go into post-Inauguration blues, but lets just say I’ve seen nothing to correct my initial impression based on those first two pieces of information.  Pretty bad set of character traits.  And the “shithole” comment was the last straw for a LOT of people.   I think that’s a good thing.

 

 

Namaste,

Steve

http://www.sunkenplaceclass.com

Angels and Killer Apes

The goal is one million awake aware adult human beings. This would be enough to change the world.   Some changes in the world require massive group action. But others are a matter of individual growth, and those are the best focus: best for you, best for the world.   Chains are no stronger than the weakest link.  Don’t be that link.

 

The major tool is the concept of balance.  The most basic balances I see are:

  1. Body, mind, emotions
  2. Child, Parent, Grandparent
  3. Male-Female

 

If you resolve the apparent dualities, allow the same  “energies” to manifest on different levels, I think you have a pretty healthy human being.

 

Major mistakes:

  1. “Awakening the kundalini backwards.”   The major mistake here is to construct reality from a concept rather than actual experience. If you don’t understand how powerfully our emotional filters prevent us from crunching real-world data you can easily mistake ignorance for knowledge.  SOLUTION: start either from love, or from an alive body with full hungers activated.
  2. Not loving our “child” (or “heart”) enough to commit to protecting her at all costs–including growing the #$%% up.   Asking other adults to be our mommies and daddies.   This is a dinner bell for predators, and you are going to be very unhappy with life.   Artists fall into this so easily it makes me weep.  SOLUTION: Heal this damage, and commit to being all you need emotionally.   That frees you to have adult non-codependent relationships.
  3. Forgetting that there are both direct and indirect forms of force.  And that a good, creative person denied direct influence will find indirect influence.  And so will a malign snake.  The indirect is harder to see, and this is a tough one for people to see.  If you don’t  start with an assumption of equality, then ask: “well, if…?” about the apparent issues, you’ll get lost in the politics rapidly.  But if we’re equal…then those things that free women will also free men, in some amazing ways most people can’t even see.    All I can say is this: if women’s power REALLY diminishes men, this is going to get bloody as hell. But I believe that that is the nightmare, not the reality.   SOLUTION: See how women would act like men, and men act like women, if the positions were reversed.  The same souls having different experiences.

 

Sleeping Children–>Sleeping adults.

 

Within the dream we can function as adults (taking responsibility for emotions and actions) without awakening to the illusions we accepted in order to function as individuals or societies.  For instance, the South is awakening from such a dream, and it is painful: they needed slavery, and needed to justify it with a myth of inferiority.  America didn’t really   awaken from this nightmare until about 1970.  IF then.

 

Mankind as a whole is awakening from a dream in which women are seen as inferior by men…and vice versa.  Make no mistake, both sides do this crap.      From my perspective we made a deal 10k years ago, and the agreement was that women’s external dreams were disposable, and men’s lives were disposable. It worked great for producing maximum grandchildren, but sucked for men and women.

 

We can make better choices now. Move forward.  Become Angels with computer chips built on the chassis of killer apes.

 

Man, I like that notion.  But we have to resolve the dualities to reclaim our real potential for thought, love, and physical excellence.   I think its worth it.

 

But first, we have to wake up.  Repeat after me:

 

I AM MADE OF THE SAME STUFF AS THE STARS. NO ONE WHO HAS EVER BEEN BORN IS ANY BETTER THAN ME, AND  I AM NO BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE.  I HAVE THE RIGHT TO LOVE, AND HEALTH, AND HAPPINESS, AND THE RESPONSIBILITY TO SHARE MY LIGHT WITH THE WORLD. 

 

That is how I see you.  Oh, and that “angel with a computer chip on the chassis of a killer ape” thing. Yeah, that too.

 

 

Namaste

Steve

www.fiveminutelifehacks.com

The Yang to Afrofuturism’s Yin

I still remember the first I ever heard of “Night of the Living Dead”. It was a Reader’s Digest article, and boy oh boy, it made the movie sound like the fall of Western Civilization. I HAD to see it.   Watched it for the first time at a  midnight show at the Wiltern Theater on Wilshire and Western, and I can tell you that within fifteen minutes after the lights went down, I was looking for the exits, planning which one I’d scamper out of if the people around me lurched up and started munching brains.

 

I was TERRIFIED.   And…I loved it.  Why?

 

##

 

We define “Horror” as a work whose primary emotional charge is that of fear.  It can be psychological (Psycho), science-fictional (Alien), or supernatural (The Exorcist).  Why do we like it? To answer this, we have to go deeper into the question of why people seek out art in the first place.

 

If “art” is self expression with craft, then the point is to project an attitude, experience, perspective, emotion onto an audience.  The audience will choose the kind of experience they want based upon what they need to adjust their tensions into an optimal range.   If tense, they might look for something to relax them (comedy) or something that will focus their  tension to take them higher and higher until a circuit breaker “pops” and they are back in relaxation.

 

Horror can be such a “circuit breaker.”   You have vague, intangible tensions in your  life, you go watch Leatherface hack up some teenagers, scream at the screen while munching popcorn, and for ninety minutes forget all about the mortgage.  The roller coaster ride: trigger those survival drives, and you are NOT thinking about how the boss is firing people, for at least those two minutes.

 

There are so many themes that can be addressed in horror, that there is a LOT of scholarly writing about how this or that movie deals with this or that social fear.  That would make sense, that different fears at different times are foremost in our minds, and movies that help us gain perspective will get folks lining up at the box office.  As individuals we need to adjust that tension into the optimal range: too much and we wither. Too little, and we never grow strong.

 

What would be a perfect horror film to address the current tensions between men and women?  Haute Tension?   Ms. 45? Teeth?  Sleeping With The Enemy?   I don’t know…but there’ve been a bunch of ’em.

 

What about racial tensions?   I think that this is much less explored, and GET OUT hit the bull’s eye for so many people that its become the most profitable independent film maybe ever.   Amazing, really.

 

What I suggest is that if you want to write or create horror, go DEEP into your own personal terrors. Find a nugget you haven’t seen before (at least in that medium, in that way) and have something to say.  What do YOU think and feel about this. Is there an answer (in the Exorcist, the answer to an apparently unsolvable riddle was faith and sacrifice) or are we lost?  What do YOU really think?

 

Then…you can either present us with what you really think, or you can have fun playing with the social tropes around it.  Notice the fantasy (the white virginal female of breeding age generally survives) and violate it.   Do this well enough and you have a horror-comedy like “Cabin in the Woods” or “Scream”.   That kind of hipster meta-movie is hard to pull off it you aren’t first to the game. Better to realize that “Scream” rested on a foundation of “Last House On The Left” and “The Hills Have Eyes”, straight-forward, ferocious, uncompromising horror deconstructing the sanctity of family, the most basic human social unity.  Wes Craven mastered THAT before attempting deconstruction.

 

Just as we suggest that writers begin with short stories and master those before moving to larger works, it is also smart to start with “basic” work before trying something more sophisticated.    If you are interested in expressing a social perspective (and most art does) understanding how others have done it will both help you avoid cliché and empower your imagination: imagination is primarily re-combining existing elements into forms we’ve not seen quite THAT way. All you have to do is connect them with your internal aesthetic, and you will be about as original as you can be.  Add a serious education in the tropes of your field, and you have a recipe for success.

 

The SUNKEN PLACE class is for fans, teachers, and creators of the dark fantasy and horror of the African Diaspora.  We can’t wait to share with you (heck, I haven’t gone through T’s class, so some of it will be a surprise to me!)  We’ll be discovering a century of amazing nightmares together.  It is the Yang to Afrofuturism’s Yin.  Afrofuturism is Dreams to banish nightmares.   The SUNKEN PLACE is Nightmares to enable our dreams.

 

We start this Saturday, and we’d love to have you!   WWW.SUNKENPLACECLASS.COM

Don’t Trigger a Feeding Frenzy

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I’m never offended if people ask me to perform or present for free.   I have this thing called a “no” and another thing called a “counter proposal.”   Its not up to an organization to protect me.  It’s up to the Adult part of my personality, the “Daddy” to protect Little Stevie, who really does just want to get up there and shine and have fun.

 

Don’t develop that part?  And you  fall into the “it’s not faiiiiir!”

 

What is that expression?  “In business, you don’t get what you’re worth.  You get what you can negotiate.”

 

How about in sales?  “You aren’t in the business of X. You are in the business of MARKETING X.”

 

How about relationships?  “You will be attracted to people at your level and above. You will attract people at your level and below.”  If your “adult” self is developed, this is like hearing: “I won’t carry you out of the woods, but the path is right there.”   Waah! Carry me!!

 

Nope.  Every chipmunk in the woods knows no one is coming to save them.  Why do we so often feel it is “unfair” when people do a very typical animal thing:

 

If you leave a pork chop on the floor, and the dog eats it, it isn’t the dog’s fault.  It is the nature of dogs to eat pork chops that are on the floor.

 

 

Of COURSE people will try to get all they can for as little as possible. Nothing, if they can.  I remember talking about “Trust” with Swift Deer after someone had hurt me in a business deal.  “Don’t trust people” he said, that cynical bastard.   “Instead, RELY upon them to do what they see as being in their own self interest.”

 

Wow, is that ever negative…or is it?    What does that mean?  It means that YOU CAN TRUST OTHER PEOPLE TO THE EXACT LEVEL THAT YOU CAN TRUST YOUR OWN PERCEPTIONS.  Your own ability to figure out what they see as “their own interests.”

 

How to do that? First, get in touch with YOUR own motivations.  Do you, for instance, ask other people to be your Mommy or Daddy?

 

Remember that student of mine who was furious at his girlfriend for talking about her past lovers?   Why was he angry? (Come on, you should know this by now)…HE WAS AFRAID.  What was he afraid of?

 

“Mommy” wasn’t just giving her love to him.  What she gave him wasn’t “special” snurf snurf.  She gave it to OTHER boys snurf snurf.   Poor baby.

 

Boy oh boy, am I glad for her that she was smart enough to bring up her past again and again.  Otherwise, she might have fallen in love with him, and known, in her heart, that one day he would be angry and rub her nose in her past, and rip her heart out of her chest.

 

Why don’t we take adult responsibility for our emotions?   (“I provide everything I need emotionally.   My relationships with others are about what I want, and what I can give.”)

 

Why not take adult responsibility in business?  (“yes, my little boy loves to dance and make mommy and daddy laugh and clap. But I have to be `mommy and daddy’ now.   I have to be willing to market, sell, negotiate, and protect.  Because otherwise when I deal with adults who AREN’T Mommy and Daddy, they will eat that emotional pork chop I left on the floor.  LOVE ME! I will say.  “Sure,” they will answer.  Come dance for hugs.”

 

You want money?  Money is the adult world.   Better the hell be an adult, or your “kid” will be very unhappy.

 

If you go to someone, or the world, and say “be my Mommy or Daddy” what are you doing?  You are denying responsibility for your own maturity.  It is NOT their responsibility to do this. It is YOUR responsibility to do it. If you don’t have those chops, you had better the hell have a manager, an agent, a lawyer, a “minder”, a marketing and sales section to surround that little kid’s heart and protect it.

 

But when you demand that…they ain’t gonna do it for hugs.   You are demanding that they be adults, they deal with the adult world.  They are gonna want money, oh yes they will.

 

Now, if they are honest, they won’t take more than you negotiate. But THEY have a little boy, little girl to care for, too.  And they are going to negotiate the biggest contract they can, and you’ll be left with nothing if you can’t get “adult” about it.

 

What are the healthiest relationships?  Frankly, it is between two adults who ARE adults, but also in touch with their child selves.  Then their “kids” can play, but each “adult” is ultimately responsible for their own heart.  But even better, (say between me and T) sometimes my “child” is wounded and I just can’t quite manage to provide myself all the nurturing I need.  I’ve got a LOT in the ‘bank’ with her,and I can borrow her “Mommy” to comfort me. Feels wonderful.

 

But I have to be there as “Daddy” for  her little girl. And gladly do.   Wonderful little girl she has, and sometimes she is playful, and sometimes she is wounded and lonely.  She could re-integrate and heal on her own…but she knows she can come to me, and I will comfort her.

 

What would happen if I stopped comforting her?   It would be like a mouse searching for cheese in a maze.   If there is cheese there for a few days, and then you take the cheese away, the mouse will keep searching for a while…and then stop.   In a relationship, if things go bad, we’ll keep searching for the “cheese” for a while…and then if we are healthy, we stop.

 

And you know what?  If you aren’t honest enough to grasp that you were trying to get your partner, or business partner, or world, to carry the burden of being the “adult” without being willing to see that THEY want what’s best for THEM as well…if you try to manipulate them, guilt trip them, or tell them that they “owe” you anything other than honesty and perhaps kindness…you are being a child.  And the “adults” around you will sniff that. And you will bring out the very worst in even “normal” people.  The same instinct to burden them with responsibility for you will trigger their own tendency to seek unfair advantage.

 

And they you have a feeding frenzy.  Blood in the water.  Remember that line from “Broadcast News”?  “Wouldn’t it be great is `needy’ were a turn-on?”

 

It isn’t, except in other wounded people…or sharks.

 

Be your own parent. THEN I’ll let you play with my little boy.

 

 

Namaste

Steve

www.afrofuturismwebinar.com