Pandemic to Podcast

Podcasts and blogs are like bacon and eggs. Spaghetti and meatballs. Wine and cheese. Rob here, co-host of The Psyche-Delic Podcast. With my first blog attempt (in my whole life), I will do my best to pay tribute to these notorious complimentary duos whilst trying to suppress your urge to add on to your already plump midsections. Socks and shoes. There I said it.

Thinking about the hefty (puns for days) significance food has in our lives reminds me of my first end-of-the-world grocery run to Kroger. How bizarre it was to wake up one day and have serious internal turmoil about how many Vienna sausages will keep my family alive from anywhere between two weeks to eight months and um, maybe two years… Or longer. F*** you news stations and your reptilian newscasters. Being the conspiracy guy that I am, I always knew something like this was going to happen eventually… Needless to say, it is all a part of a grand, elaborate scheme that we won’t get into just yet. *Cough* Illuminati card game *cough*. Our world view transformed immeasurably from a peaceful night, spiraling into that dreadful morning when we woke up to hear about the infamous virus that was exponentially seeping its way into our borders. It is almost incomprehensible to think about in retrospect. The disparity of shift in our country’s consciousness ranged from emotionless ambivalence to absolute petrification and was both spellbinding and sad.

I spoke to my mom yesterday whom I love very much, but did she really just say to me that “wearing a mask doesn’t protect you from getting the virus, but only prevents you from spreading it?” C’mon, mom, I thought we debunked that neglect of common sense on like day two. Again, I love you though. I’m tired of talking about masks. Enough about the virus. Sick of it.

By the grace of God, Tina, Aurora (our daughter), and I were presented the opportunity to bail out of the smoggy, densely populated cluster**** of a city known as Dallas, and migrated southeast to the tranquility of the deep country. No more looking at walking FUPAS (also known as “panniculus”) with a mask at Wal-Mart. I can be a real ***hole sometimes, but it’s for the sake of a good joke, not bitterness. Anyways, I’m glad my family’s lives changed from pandemic to podcast. As a child thinking of my future, this is absolutely the most unlikely idiom I could possibly have envisioned to use for my life at age 26. Thank you, Lord, for keeping my family safe and for the many blessings you’ve bestowed upon our lives. Words cannot express my gratefulness but you know my heart. Please cast a shield of heavenly protection on the wonderful people of this world. Keep them safe, sober, connected, and always striving for greatness. Amen.

As I wrap up this random assortment of words, I would like to state that I am not shaming obesity. If you got offended at my plump and fupa jokes, just know that every little thing is gonna be alright. I can be a glutton myself too and also have many other negative addictive behaviors and personality defects. If my words offend you, then let’s level the playing field and boycott every stand-up comedian who’s ever stepped on stage because some of the things they say are utterly reprehensible and I think it’s hilarious. Let’s all make a conscious effort to better ourselves and do it together (at a safe distance), so we don’t have to hate ourselves and blame it on other people. 

Speaking of comedians and transgressions, I’ve been listening to Bill Burr’s podcast lately. The stuff that organically comes out of this guy’s mouth on the fly is off the charts hysterical. The disgruntled, always upset about something people, please, stay very far away. He’s definitely my favorite sociopath.

As of today, The Psyche-Delic Podcast just popped up on the U.S. top charts in the philosophy category on Apple Podcasts. Number 127! That’s two spots below the Ayn Rand podcast in under two months. Wow. I’ve never read Atlas Shrugged but what an honor this is. Also, we’re number 30 in Argentina and 87 in Colombia for Society & Culture and I’m very pleased with this. Your supremacy at fútbol and quality of poppy fields is truly a cut above. Find us here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/id1514349338. This is very exciting and thank you everyone for listening to our podcast! Although at times, we may appear to be narcissists talking about narcissism, everyone on the cast is a compassionate, intelligent, and charismatic individual that genuinely cares about people. We want to evoke a positive influence on society in any way we can and are overwhelmed with joy that our voices are being heard so expeditiously. Thank you all so much for allowing us to be heard and God bless! Rob out.

Where do you draw the line? A thought on statues

In a further attempt to celebrate my team’s podcast’s, The Psyche-Delic Podcast, placement into Apple’s podcast charts, I wanted to do a two part blog. One I wrote about D&D and this one. I think we are known for being a podcast that is good at covering current contentious topics and talk about such things in a captivating way. But, to actually have to say that equal rights are a contentious topic, I think it’s a distasteful part of my society. I feel it apt to express my understanding of my inability to understand what it’s like to be a black man, or a black woman, in America; I need to use this time to raise up voices that I think need to be heard. I hope I don’t step on anyone’s toes, but, here it goes.

In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement and the voices that need to be heard, there is chaos brewing amongst rioters, looters, and others who choose to capitalize off the chaos that comes from the pre-existing chaos stemmed from pushing for change. Discussing the difference between such looters and rioters from the protestors and those (ethically/subjectively) properly pushing for change, I discuss distinguishing such differences with Tearra “Truth Reality” Walker and Alphonso Mills on Episode 4: End Racism, End Gender Biases, End Prejudice. But what I’d like to do in this blog is to narrow on a particular group or action: those who are tearing down statues.

I’d like to first say that I think it’s fair to say that tumbling a structure of an oppressor is liberating. Look at the faces of the people who’ve pulled down Castro statues, the Berlin Wall, and Nazi statues. I think we should consider the perspective that there are those who view and define certain statues in America in such a manner. To skirt and avert that opinion and tell them that it is a part of your history, is silencing the voices of those oppressed, further oppressing them.

But with that, where do we draw the line on what statues stay and what statues go? There is the fair argument that statues of all men that are up are statues of someone who has caused suffering. So where do we draw the line? I think one place to draw the line is definitely Confederate soldiers who fought for the state’s rights to own predecessors of brothers and sisters of fellow Americans as slaves. I think removal of such statues would be more than fair. The meme that I like is the one that says these statues are the ultimate participation trophies. Not only are they no longer a state of this country, the Confederate does not stand for what the United States of America stands for; though, in a lot of people’s perspectives this could be untrue. It is from those perspectives that these statues should be taken down. That’s just one line though. There’s the Lenin statue in Seattle, Washington. It’s fair to estimate that Lenin is responsible for over one-hundred million deaths with his ideals and actions, yet, he is represented in an American city? I disagree that he deserves a statue. The best the statue deserves is a history museum, not a public sidewalk.

Now, we address the vandalizers and destructors of statues. I feel there are some that represent a large group, and that group is the one destroying statues of their oppressors, and there are those who’d like to deface the statue of an oppressor. However, I do think there are some cases of “chaos riders” riding the tides of chaos and finding a statue to destroy; but I have no examples (I’m sure I could find some if anyone wants that discussion).

With that, I wanted to circle back to the concept that all people are someone who have caused suffering. I like to consider one of my favorite poets Theodore Geisel, better known by Dr. Seuss. He advocated for Japanese internment camps, even drew political cartoons to vie for it. The man who I hold in so high esteem, whose art I own. He once advocated putting Japanese people in internment camps, which societally created a way to make the general populous mistreat anyone who looked like a Japanese person. So Korean Americans, Chinese American, any kind of Asian American, I’m confident, felt some sort of negative repercussion. A few years after the internment camps was over, and people realized it was an ethically and morally messed up thing to do to people, Dr. Seuss made the story “The Sneetches” which was a way to apologize for feeling racism, prejudice, and advocating for maltreatment. I don’t question whether or not I should hang the “Fox in Sox” print I bought that comes from his art studio, even though he advocated for hate. It was because he later advocated for love that I would hope he would be redeemed.

But, if a country is made off the whip-scarred backs of my fellow Americans, and no one has offered them healing balm for their pain, I will listen to how I can help alleviate their pain; even if it is at the behest of dismantling statues that I may disagree of whether or not they should come down. I am here to hear. I think we should listen to the loud majority of the minority.

Nicko Kim

Immerse yourself into the Psyche-Squad and write me what things you want me to blog about and more: https://www.patreon.com/psychedelicpodcast

D&Deontolgy and Utilitarianism

In celebration for reaching the Apple Podcast’s charts (#127, and the only way is up) I wanted to delve deeper into our most recent episode, Episode 9: Dungeons and Dragons, Discourse, and the Looking Glass Self. I wanted to touch on the reason I love the alignment chart. Before I do, I wanted to share a quick story. I was having a discussion with one of my little brothers. I call them little brothers because their mother is my godmother; another woman who warrants the title of Mother, for me. At the time I believe my brother was in 8th grade, and I was studying philosophy for some undergraduate class. I just finished learning about Immanuel Kant’s Deontology and Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarianism. At this time, I’ve also played a numerous amount of D&D games with my godmother’s family. Honestly, those are some of the best times of my life. The game is good, the ambiance is good, the food is good, the company is good; it’s a time that one enjoys reminiscing about and hopes to create for others. I was discussing with my brother where he defined Marvel characters in the alignment chart. I won’t go over them all. But, if I remember correctly we agreed that Deadpool would be considered chaotic good. While in this discussion I tossed the taste of the idea of Deontology and Utilitarianism around my tongue, trying to flesh out an idea that could correlate the two with D&D… and it does, wonderfully.

It is in the alignment chart (pictured below) I like to define Deontology and Utilitarianism. For Deontology I like to consider Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic; for Utilitarianism Good/Neutral/Evil. To define Deontology, simply, it is assessing what ethic is being drawn upon in the action being taken. If the ethic follows some set of rules, codes, way, or structure of some sort, I’d consider that D&Deontological ethic Lawful. If the ethic follows some way that is against or defiant of rules, codes, way, or structure, it is Chaotic. Somewhere in the middle of the sliding scale that is Lawful and Chaotic, there is a neutral place; the name explains itself. For Utilitarianism, there is the idiom “for the greater good.” That idiom I think is a good way to look at Utilitarianism; how is going to impact the “bigger picture.” Forgive me for using so many idioms, I hope my colloquial creativity is understandable, beyond all else… but sometimes, the right words just seem to paint the right picture for me… but I digress. When the results of one’s actions result in the benefit for the “greater good”… the action is good. This makes a one assess the word good with a lot of scrutiny… but I digress, again. When the results of one’s actions result in an amount of suffering, that action is Evil. And of course, neutral, on the sliding scale of good and evil would be somewhere in the middle of the two.

On the podcast I declared that I feel that I’m chaotic neutral. However, I feel that I’ll be more honest about my self-assessment and proclaim that I feel that I’m chaotic evil, working my ass off to figure out how to crawl to be what it means to be good; for isn’t that what we all, mostly, strive to be? Good? I’d like to think so; but I am known for being an optimist. I think it’s fair to assess why I think I’m evil. I’ve hurt a lot of people in my life, and for a long time I sat in a chair of complacency, consciously choosing it over bearing the burden of responsibility and maturity. I still sit there today in some aspects. For a nice digression, I’m going to say “With great power comes great responsibility.” Another idiom we can all agree on is, “Knowledge is power.” Now, I’m not going to say I know a lot. To copy Socrates, “All I know is I know nothing,” but I have power of privilege, persuasion, AND a little bit of knowledge about stuff (though sometimes I forget finer details… in reference to this last Podcast, The circle of hell for lust, the 2nd circle, the punishment is being waved back and forth for eternity like a bag in the a violent storm [paraphrased]). But to return back on track from the derailment that is my mind, I wanted to assess the intricacies of this alignment chart.

Considering this chart I like to consider super heroes. There are characters who cause pain/suffering (by beating up the bad guy) to protect the people of the town. So, is the super hero a lawful good character? By my definition, no. He is chaotic good. Good, because he is helping save multiple people suffering, but chaotic, because they are being defiant of the ethical code of conduct to not hurt someone. However, if the hero is hurting the villain due to the code of protecting multiple people, wouldn’t that be lawful? Such is the debate that comes with the nuanced layers that comes with this alignment chart. It’s why I brought it up in the discussion. There are three questions I like to consider: 1) How do you define yourself on this chart? 2) How do you think people define you? 3) What do people define you as?.. What they tell you versus how they actually feel where they define you could be two different things… but… digression. I like these questions because it is from society I can pull whether or not the way I define myself, or how I want to define myself, is how society defines me.

The Herculean task would be to maintain the same mask, this mask of alignment, throughout all facets of society. Here’s the being #127 and that task! *Downs some Champagne*

Nicko Kim

Immerse yourself into the Psyche-Squad and write me what things you want me to blog about and more: https://www.patreon.com/psychedelicpodcast

A Moss-loving Possum

Hello, listeners and now readers! I’m your co-host Dawn Wallace aka Resident Shaman.

Today I’m thinking a lot about residences. I’ve recently moved across the country, from north to the South. Specifically, from Michigan to North Carolina. Still in transit for the next few weeks, a lot of things come up mentally, emotionally and spiritually for me. So many big changes are happening in my life, in raw and intense ways. How can we NOT pick this apart, in true Psyche-Delic manner?

Since the dawn of man (yeah, that’s intentional), humans have been largely transient. It wasn’t until they started delving into agriculture that they decided to stay and put down roots, as they say. And when they did, they infused every bit of their culture, their cosmology and their world-view into the structure of their homes and settlements as a whole.

“Fractals, Complexity and Connectivity in Africa” by Ron Eglash and Toluwalogo B. Odumosu

“The Ba-ila settlements of southern Zambia are enormous rings. They are made up of smaller rings, which are livestock pens (corals). And those are made up of smaller rings which are single cylindrical houses and storage rooms. It is a ring of rings of rings. Toward the back of the village is a minature [sic] village; that of the chief’s extended family. Toward the back of each coral is the family living quarters. And toward the back of each house is the sacred altar. As a logician would put it, the chief’s family ring is to the whole settlement as the altar is to the house. They view this as a recurring functional role between different scales within the settlement. The chief’s relation to his people is described by the word kulela , a word we would translate as ‘to rule’. However it has this only as a secondary meaning—kulela is primarily to nurse and to cherish. The same word applied to a mother caring for her child, making the chief the father of the community. This relationship is echoed throughout family and spiritual ties at all scales and is structurally mapped through self-similar architecture.” (https://csdt.org/culture/legacy/african/African_Fractals/culture3.html)

Ever since I studied these types of man-made fractals in college, I wondered more and more about how we live fractal lives. One part resembles the whole, whether it’s physically, emotionally, spiritually or whatever way you choose to examine this. This is largely the approach I take in my spiritual practice. In regard to my current transitions, the fractal has made itself clear once again. I’ll explain how soon enough, but first some background.

I’ve been waiting for a long time to make this specific transition. We are an army family, and my husband was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC which is where we met. Three years ago, he was moved to recruiting in Michigan for a three-year stint and during that time we waited anxiously to find out where the army would send us next. It’s a nail-biter, yall. I slowly built a circle of support and friendship there, but longed to be closer to family since I’m a stay-at-home mom of two small children and it absolutely takes a whole village. The more my kids needed me, the more I needed my village. If you saw my intro video on our Facebook page, you’ll know I’m homeschooling and growing a food garden and all this other stuff. The stuff a village is made of.

To my deep and satisfying surprise, the army would be sending us back to North Carolina! I’ve never been so excited to come home! Now we could finally put roots down and build the homestead of our dreams. I could begin to actually assemble the village I dream of, in the form of a network of mothers who work together towards common goals.

Then COVID hit and the whole world got locked down. Don’t get me started. For the past year I’ve been studying the housing market and my husband and I have been discussing lot sizes, house types, areas and commutes. We watched as houses we’d fallen in love with got bought up. We felt the frustration of our real estate agent who couldn’t help us but desperately wanted to. Soon we were close enough, timewise that we could put offers on houses we liked but none were accepted. Between lockdown and dwindling market, I was getting pretty frustrated.

So I grabbed my kids and some essentials and headed south while my husband and household goods slowly join us.

Transient. Driving with my essentials and two toddlers 10.5 hours through whatever weather I would encounter. Ending up at my parents house with my kids in my old high school bedroom, still feeling like I don’t have roots. Well, perhaps as much as a potted plant does. I have them, but they long for the earth.

Like a possum, I could live pretty much anywhere in the United States. I can get by, make do, carrying my kids on my back as my ancestors did, as possums do.

I sat with my bare feet in a little garden bed beside my parents house where years ago I had stuffed a few clumps of moss from an old terrarium into the sandy dirt, between the remnants of an herb garden that had never taken off. In fact, nothing seemed to grow in that bed besides a giant untamed rosemary bush my mom keeps asking me to trim down. Today, the entire bed is covered in that moss. It had spread there happily and choked out any weeds. Some oregano and thyme still pokes out here and there, and the rosemary is massive. Moss seems to live anywhere too, but thrives in the oddest of places. Places where it’s given the chance to put down roots undisturbed.

The self-similarity comes into play when I examine my aggravation during this time. Not only are we in several planetary retrogrades at once (Saturn, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury) which set things on their heads on a cosmic scale for us as a species, but we are in a mass upheaval historically. So much anger and unrest is bubbling to the surface all over the globe and we are all seeing it and feeling it. Many issues this year have come screaming at us, no longer to be ignored, and you I’m sure, like me and all of us, are having to examine where you stand on all types of issues as they come up for discussion. Then on a personal level, the transition of moving and finding new roots for my family. Emotionally, cutting ties with things that were home to me (like my sacred backyard and the trees I communed with, the crows that watched over me and the burn pit where I learned to create manifestation portals) as well as friends I have made and grown to love. Physically, my form is changing as well. Should I chop off my hair? Buy different clothes? Who am I now? Much remains as the same, on all these levels, but many aspects are in transition.

We live fractal lives. What happens on a global scale happens historically, psychically and energetically within us. These fractals, large and small (those are the same thing, do you see it?) impact us for as long as we will have them, often unnoticed. It wasn’t until I kept accidentally slamming the back of my head into stuff on the same spot (ouch!) that I realized I was being too hard on myself during such a sensitive time. The universe kind of slapped me around a little and put me in my place.

I thought I was the victim of this unchecked aggression I was seeing in others, when in fact it was also within myself that the aggravation of the transition was getting the better of me. I was acting horribly, and I can admit that. We all should. Maybe then the universe wouldn’t smack us around.

But if it didn’t, I wouldn’t be admitting to you that my own behavior caused those unwanted bumps and bruises. I say “the universe” but let’s be real, it was me. I was so caught up in my own victimization that I didn’t see I was hurting myself.

Take that to the fractal level. Think of the rage we are seeing in the world around us. Some of it is built up frustration coming out in unproductive ways and we are smacking ourselves in the head and can’t see it. Sure, lots of it is meaningful and powerful transition being fueled. That’s how I got to NC. That’s how lots of great change happens in the world, for the betterment of humanity. Anger can be a powerful catalyst and shouldn’t be shunned. But unchecked rage that leads to destruction is actually destructive to the collective, and to the self.

An eye for an eye. We are all connected through the human collective fractal and if you stab out someone’s eye, in a way you stab your own out too. It may be hard to see.

courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation

Written by Dawn M. Wallace

“I think ‘challenging God’ is a way to reframe self-actualization. It is because people challenge a god that they come to self-actualize.”

To the first readers, and all else who come, hello and welcome! Nicko Kim here to hemorrhage my head into this blog (subdural hematoma boy back at it again); and it’s only apt that the first blog will cover an idea shared in the first episode of our podcast.

I decided to write about this topic because it seems to be the one floating around in the headspace I call my mind the most.

Before I delve deeply into this, I wanted to define the connotation and (definitely) denotation of the the word “Self-Actualization.”

The term I refer to comes from Abraham Maslow, an American Psychologist who created a “hierarchy of needs” for psychological development. Pictured below is the pyramid that illustrates the hierarchy:

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, taken from Wikipedia.

The needs are split into three categories: basic needs, psychological needs, and self-fulfillment needs. All of these needs are necessities for one’s psychological growth in figuring out how to “live a life.” I’m weary of saying “good” life because fulfilled doesn’t always mean good. And good doesn’t always mean fulfilled. But, the semantics for connotation are a red herring, at worst, for this context.

The question that I’ve heard countless people ask is, “what is the purpose of your life?” And my answer was always a smartass retort, “To live.” So, the question I asked, and ask, myself is “what does it mean to live?”

Obviously we need to breath, eat, drink, and poop. These are some basic necessities to ensure one’s life persists, alongside the next rung of feeling safe and secure. These ideas are necessary to continue our survival. Living and surviving may be synonymous, but I can’t quite label them the same thing.

Moving along, in the next rungs, psychological needs, one needs to feel like they belong. Belongingness to a family, group, pack, or society is a tough aspect for us animals to all go through (especially those of us who have so many groups we could belong to). Finding one’s sense of where they belong is a difficult process. If one spends their whole life looking to find a place they belong, I can’t knock that as a way to live a life. Especially if one spends their whole life looking for a romantic relationship/mate. But, that’s just my perspective… Since I was five I could remember looking for a fine female to belong with, and I’ve felt, for the longest time, the purpose of my life was to love a woman (but that’s beside the point).

The next psychological need is esteem. I like to use the word ‘confidence’ for this rung because we can see confidence as a necessity when we see toddlers taking their first steps. It is when they are surrounded by people they feel comfortable with that a toddler gains the self-confidence to walk on their own. This is, both, literal and metaphorical because it is with belonging we gain our confidence to proverbially shoot our shot in any aspect: flirting with a girl, going to a job interview, or just, straight up, trying something new.

But, now we get to the rung of needs that I think separates us from the rest of the animals, the rung of self-actualization.

Defined simply, self-actualization is achieving one’s full potential, or, in my eyes, doing what you were placed on the earth to do. To figure out what that means I think ‘defying god’ is a way to achieve such a thing. Now, ethically speaking it sounds blasphemous, in the least, to “defy god.” So to rephrase it, defying other’s opinions of what god is and defining what god is for yourself, is how we as humans self-actualize.

It was from Icarus’ fall (or more modern, the Wright brothers), we’ve changed that humans cannot fly.

It was from reaching toward the sky and stars, calling them heavenly bodies, that we learned of our solar system.

It was because Odysseus defied Poseidon he learned that there was nothing that could get in his way to return to Ithaca.

I hold the perspective that reaching for one’s self-actualization is what the Christians call the Holy Spirit. I feel that the reason so many Christians come off hubristic, haughty, or arrogant, is due to the same Holy Spirit (Manifest Destiny the most perfect representation of the Western Man’s hubris).

Redefining hubris is another topic, altogether; but to assess the word, especially from the context of Epic Heroes and how Hubris is seen as an epic hero’s archetypal flaw, I think it is when one is hubristic in their defiance and defining of God and the Holy Spirit that one can achieve such a concept of self-actualization.

Maybe even turning Nihilistic and Atheist people (like I considered myself once) into people who are closer to what they consider to the divine.

Wouldn’t that be fine? To find and define the divine for oneself… maybe I’m just projecting.

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