Government and Politics and Social Issues10 Jun 2017 09:46 pm

This past memorial day I found it strange and somewhat disturbing how often people greeted me by saying Happy Memorial Day. I think it odd and somewhat inappropriate to wish someone a “happy” day of remembrance for those who died in battle.

I guess it takes an empire to want to portray war and the loss of lives as a happy event worthy of celebration and pageantry rather than mourning. We are after all a bellicose nation who has spent the vast majority of its existence engaged in war and in the policing of the entire globe.

Our leaders continue to state that war is the option of last resort and only happens when all other diplomatic options fail. Yet, over the last few decades these words seem increasingly hollow and even mendacious as attempts at diplomacy have become invisible if not totally extinct. When was the last time we sat down and talked to a nation we consider to be an adversary. We live in a world in which discussion between leaders could be conducted in setting such as the UN, or held on live television in which citizens could be privy to important and vital discussion.

War should only be resorted to when all other options fail. War should not be about oil, economic superiority or ideological and religious intolerance. War should not be about trying to control or influence the course of sovereign nations or as a means of pressuring others to think and act in ways which we hold dear.

War is more a failure of government rather than a function of government. How can a nation who leads the world in military spending and arm sales by a wide margin describe itself as a beacon of freedom and democracy, and as a leader in working towards world peace?

We have become a nation that openly regards cooperation and negotiations as an unacceptable weakness and any tolerance of other political and economic systems as an insufferable bad example worthy of enduring the brunt of our military might. I find those committed to seeking ways of avoiding war to be heroes and worthy of our deepest respect and gratitude. Likewise I feel the same sense of admiration for those unwilling to kill others or to fight in wars that could be avoided. While wars can involve heroic actions, the actions of those courageous enough to avoid war and violence, such as MLK, Gandhi and the Dali Lama, are extremely heroic.

People who live honorable lives should be honored, remembered and mourned. Having a day dedicated to the memory of all good people who have died is valuable and important. Yet, while we honor he dead, we should cherish the living. War does not cherish the living. War places the survival of concepts, beliefs and personal gain above that of the survival of life. Peace is life affirming, even war with the noblest of intentions destroys life, that is why war is a last resort and a failure of government.

War is the progeny of fear and hatred. Peace is the natural outcome of compassion, understanding and a respect for all of life.

Jim Guido

Ecology and Education and Social Issues25 Apr 2017 12:08 pm

 

The data supporting the fact that air pollution negatively impacts one’s health and in many cases shortens one’s life span are profuse. Car exhaust in particular has been identified as a major factor in many realms from asthma, to heart disease to cancer.

Cutting emissions could prevent nearly 300,000 US air pollution deaths

It is generally accepted that the health of children in particular is negatively impacted by air pollution and once again car exhaust. A child’s smaller lungs and developing immune system make them more susceptible than an adult to the harmful effects to fumes.

I live in a smaller city in which the populace is generally very concerned about health issues such as diet, exercise and pollution. Parents are very active and vocal regarding advocating for their children to make sure that the community is respectful and proactive regarding taking measures which help insure child safety and health.

Yet, it is perplexing to me how many of these same individuals spend each day during the school year in long lines of cars preparing to drop their child off and pick them up from school. Despite having ample school bus service, they choose to create traffic jams twice a day in which hundreds of idle cars wait often with their engines running in front if the school. Even the rare parent who does turn off their car, has to keep turning it on and off to keep the flow of traffic moving as they follow the long queue.

 

Health effects from car exhaust exposure can last a lifetime


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Economics and Government and Social Issues13 Apr 2017 12:39 pm

The recent ascendency of the term “deep state” presents an opportunity to explore some of the elements which may comprise the entities that lay behind the term. Despite the long history of concerned politicians and citizens attempting to warn the public of the dangers and potential harms of a growing “shadow government” influencing international policy, such a discussion has largely existed under the radar of the general public.

One of the earliest and most public warnings came from president Eisenhower during his farewell address in 1961, when he cautioned us to become aware of the growing power and influence of what he termed “the military-industrial complex”. While the entire speech can be seen on You Tube or read on the web, the following quote will give you the gist of his message:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Eisenhower believed that our freedoms and democracy were being threatened by the power and influence being wielded by the growing surreptitious alliances between the military and corporate/commercial entities. Soon these “special interest groups” would take hold of the behind the scenes world of lobbyists which forever pressure, seduce and bully our politicians into supporting their surreptitious goals and agendas.

Another major player in the shadow world of the deep state is the CIA and related intelligence agencies. In essence the intelligence world is an excessive perversion of the old maxim that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The benefits and goodness of the intelligence community is totally based on one’s perspective. The bulk of the surreptitious and immoral actions of the intelligence community violates every tenet of an open and free democracy, but is posed as necessary and vital for the long term success of our nation. As long as they are working on our side and defending our freedoms and democracy we excuse their methods and total lack of transparency and moral ethics.

Yet, each and every decade since the inception of the CIA there are major scandals that emerge which question both their usefulness and their benefit to our democracy and freedoms of US citizens. Many of the unsavory tactics including propaganda, assassinations, torture, control of the media, perceptual management, rigging of elections and sabotaging of the actions of populist movements abroad not only open us up to blowback, but are often exposed by investigative journalists as being used domestically on our own citizenry.
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Psychology and Relationships and Social Issues12 Mar 2017 01:14 pm

Skin-on-skin contact is not only essential in infancy, but plays a privileged role in our physical and mental health throughout our lives. A lack of physical contact can lead to increased depression and anxiety as well as being linked to heart disease and many forms of cancer.

While nothing duplicates the biochemical benefits of a rewarding sex life, affection, exercise and social bonding all have measurable physical and psychological rewards. Moments of physical and social comfort and connection reduce one’s stress level and improve one’s view of self and the world at large.

A good deal of live in person human contact and communication has been replaced by indirect and distant forms of interaction via technologies such as the computer and phone. While the amount and frequency of human contact has stagnated or declined the amount and frequency of affection people receive from their pets has increased sharply. It would be safe to say that a great percentage of people now give and receive more affection from cats, dogs and other animals than they do from other humans.

While incredibly rewarding, human affection and interaction, is often very complicated and conflictual. Affection with animals comes easy and has very little strings attached to it. Animals rarely rebuff our attention and affections and are generally available to us at our beckoning.


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Humor and Relationships and Social Issues10 Jan 2017 02:36 pm

We have become such a devout society. No matter where I go, I see people standing and sitting with their heads slightly bowed as they scan the sacred verses and icons (text and images) on their hand held prayer books. The most devout stay focused on their prayer books while kneeling, walking and in some cases even driving their cars. As darkness approaches their pious faces become bathed in soft eternal light (or as long as their batteries stay charged).

Their eyes and minds stay transfixed on the transcendent realities evoked by what they read and what they see. They are part of a universal community far greater than the mind can comprehend. They are connected to the universe through mind and spirit without the cumbersome limitations of the body and its senses. The faithful, while in prayer, are freed from all of the blasphemous temptations of the profane world and need not fret about its impending demise, or get distracted by its imperfect and fading beauty.

The clergy (Google, Facebook, etc. protect the purity of the message through loving censorship making sure that our (power) lord’s message of the “Good News” stays intact. While we can’t totally overcome our sinful natures and our appetites for actual physical sensorial pleasure, we can remove ourselves from temptation by entering the virtual sacred world of prayer and meditation. We can at least temporarily transcend the wheel of life and its attachments which lead to all human suffering and find calm and peace in the warm embrace of our electronic prayer books and their electronic spirit world of perfection. Virtual reality for faithful is truly a virtuous reality.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Relationships and sexuality and Social Issues21 Nov 2016 02:34 pm

Ever since early adolescence I’ve been hormonally constituted to be fascinated, mesmerized, entranced, intoxicated, infatuated and enthralled with the female body. Yet, even before the onset of puberty I found myself drawn to girls in the arena of personal relationships and intimate connection.

When it came to the realm of physical activity comprised of running, jumping, tackling and working together as a team I totally preferred the company of boys. In adolescence, in terms of intellectual, scientific and philosophical discourse I once again preferred the company of men.

Yet, what mattered to me most was how to maximize the quality of personal experience through consistently deriving joy form both body and mind. The time and energy, care and devotion, women spent processing their thoughts and feelings regarding their relationship with others as well as themselves I found highly captivating and fulfilling. In many ways this processing of relationship became the core of my definition of intimacy, and intimacy became the center of both the way I lived in the world and how I found meaning and fulfillment in life.

My love affair with the female body and feminine personality were not relegated to a specific type or ideal. The female body and the many varied ways woman had of processing their thoughts and feelings I found endlessly stimulating and refreshing. They were the fruit that I longed to savor and desire whether they be peach, plum, watermelon, pomegranate, grape or berry.
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Philosophy and Psychology10 Oct 2016 04:05 pm

Let’s begin by breaking down an experience into its simplest parts. All events are not experiences. The difference between an event and an experience is that an event needs to be accompanied by at least a modicum of awareness for it to become an experience. Therefore:

Event + Awareness = Experience

There are many levels and means of being aware. As humans we are not only aware of our environment but also possess a self-awareness. While there is emerging data that supports the fact we are not the only sentient beings with a nascent sense of themselves, it is generally accepted that our level of self-awareness is unparalleled in the animal kingdom. Our complex and highly articulate use of language is the medium through which our heightened form of self-consciousness seems to most reside. Therefore, we could use this observation to modify our above formula of experience to:

Sensorial perception + Self-consciousness = Experience or

Sentience + Thought = Experience

Yet, even this expanded formula for experience leaves out an important element of human experience. While the definition of sentience involves both feeling and perceiving, the feeling aspect of sentience is usually more literal in that we sensorial feel things rather than emotionally feel things. Yet, for humans the emotional aspect of feeling is an important if not essential element of our experience. So, our expanded formula for human experience should be:

Sentience + Thought + Emotion/Feeling = Experience

You may wonder why I included feelings along with emotions, that is because I make a distinction between feelings and emotions. Feelings are often more a part of our sentient self falling below the level of awareness of the self-conscious ego. Feeling can be viewed as a general attitudinal background for our experiences. We may feel safe, calm, relaxed, agitated, irritated, or anxious without necessarily being consciously aware of this underlying state.

Emotions, on the other hand, are generally more conscious reactions to these underlying feelings or a reactive response to others or events in our environment. As an example someone who is feeling uncomfortable may be more susceptible to becoming angry or harsh with others. While feelings are what we viscerally feel, emotions are literally what we emote.
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Art and Music and Relationships13 Aug 2016 09:28 am

Album Release and The Art of Living:

People attain a sense of meaning and purpose in their life through a variety of means. An abbreviated list of ways would include: tasks and accomplishments, thought and ideas, experience and emotions, faith and belief, and events and adventures. The way we derive meaning, joy and satisfaction from our lives could be referred to as the Art of Living.

I advocate for an approach which attempts to maximize the moment by integrating sensorial, visceral, emotional, conceptual and psychological elements as often as possible. Both experience and logic seem to verify that such well rounded and comprehensiveness provides our lives with much depth, richness and satisfaction.

While everyone is free to find what best works for them I must admit a sense of wariness and fear when people employ methods that emphasize mind, spirit and consciousness at the expense of dismissing, ignoring, devaluing and sometimes demonizing the body and sensorial life.

If we lived in a global community that was life affirming all personal preferences would be safe and acceptable. Yet, when our and all of organic life’s continued existence is threatened through war, intolerance, etc. the respect for and valuing of physical organic life becomes essential. The less one values and appreciates our bodies and tangible organic life, the more likely it becomes that we will engage in or tolerate actions which harm and destroy organic life. The more the body and the world is a burden, obstacle, temptation, illusion or thing to transcend the less likely we are vigilantly insure its survival.

My music and lyrics are a major way in which I personally grow and find meaning in life. It is also the means by which I try to have a positive impact on the quality of life of others as well as have a life affirming influence on the world as a whole. I, therefore, greatly appreciate your taking the time to listen to my songs, and ask that you introduce and share it with others.

So, here are 2 songs from my latest release Go!
Below for those who are interested is a little insight into how I create music and write songs.
Just tap on links immediately below and enjoy!

 https://guido2.bandcamp.com/track/feelin…
 https://guido2.bandcamp.com/track/carniv…

To read lyrics and listen to songs from all currently released albums go to:

 https://guido2.bandcamp.com/music

Just tap on any album cover and go from there.

Me and my music

Occasionally when writing a song I’ll start with an image, or a phrase and then find a couple of chords which fit. Yet, the vast majority of the time I start with a totally clean slate and play chords on the guitar (or piano) until they create a distinct emotional environment.

Out of this musical mood/environment a tentative vocal line emerges. After singing nonsense words for hours over a number of days, the song usually coalesces into a few distinct musical sections with their own chord patterns. Then the dance between actual words and melody lines begins to happen which shapes the length and order of each section, verse and refrain,

My entire songwriting process is extremely organic and as reflexive as speech or driving a car. I usually enter a kind of emotional trance state trusting that words will come to me which elicit and evoke what I’m feeling. In many ways I experience the bulk of the process as me listening and paying attention to my emotional and sentient body. While my ego does help in the decision process by and large my ego spends its time trying to listen and portray what I’m feeling.

Songwriting is a form of personal therapy in which I learn about me as I create. I often find that the longer I sit with my original lyrics the more comfortable I become with them making it unnecessary to make many changes or alterations. While words serve many purposes in my lyrics I find a certain hierarchy of preferences. I most often use words to evoke and elicit an experience or mood, next I prefer words that express, after that comes words that articulate and my least favorite lyrics are those that explain.
I would learn little about myself if I all that I created was managed or filtered through my self-conscious ego. The learning of myself comes after a songs completion when i reflect on and savor what I’ve created.

Ironically, I find that my music is easiest for people to enjoy if they start first by reading the lyrics and my liner notes. In this way most people find a way to appreciate the mood and intensity of the music. Most modern music is a consumable, while my songs are more art than easily digestible sound.

I seldom find music that moves me more than that which arises out of me. I feel that my music speaks and shares many aspects of myself in an intimate and powerful fashion. I invite you to viscerally enter my world and inspires you to further explore yours and maybe even motivates you to share with me some of your reactions and experiences.

Jim Guido

Ecology and Philosophy and Social Issues20 Apr 2016 09:28 am

Here are a few themes from early philosophy, science and religion which continue to influence our beliefs, attitudes and assumptions regarding truth, meaning and the nature of human existence.

Early philosophers such as Plato desired to anchor knowledge and meaning in the impermeable and eternal. While human experience was transitory and unstable ideas and concepts were true, fixed and universally valid. According to this view point ideas are real and valid while tangible objects are imperfect and relatively insignificant copies of reality.

The superiority of form and essence over the world of sensations and subjective perception was also found in the pure science of mathematics. Perfection, precision and universal law were revealed in the pure form of number and geometry. Certainty, truth, natural/universal law, and objective knowledge were attainable not through sensorial human experience but in revealing the underlying immutable form obtained through math.

All hard sciences from astronomy, to physics to medicine acquired objective knowledge and certainty in the realms of math and universal law which lay outside the subjective realms of sensation and perception. Truth, certainty and immutable fact were the sole property of pure form and essences garnered though math and objective experimentation, while human experience was deceptive at best if not entirely illusionary.

The belief that all human sensorial, emotional and perceptual experience was an illusion was fundamental to most spiritual practices such as Buddhism as well as a core tenet of the major salvation religions. All truth and certainty existed in the sacred and ideal space which lay underneath or beyond human experience. Pure knowledge, truth, certainty and universal law were acquired in the esoteric sacred worlds carved out by religion, philosophy and science.

Enlightenment, salvation and eternal life were attainable to only those brave, disciplined and clever enough to not become attached or deceived by the transitory sensorial world of mundane experience. The world of human experience was deemed an empty illusion bound to be dominated by physical and emotional pain and suffering haunted by the inevitability of death.
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Philosophy and Psychology and Relationships17 Feb 2016 09:06 am

The following is the introduction from my book Exploring Intimacy which can be accessed by clicking on the words tab. The entire book is available for your perusal and I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

INTRODUCTION

Throughout most of my life there has been an attitudinal thread running through me. All my thoughts, actions and feelings have come together to form one unified view of life. This unified view forms the basis of my theory of intimacy.

This theory tends to all the major questions of life including, what is love, where do I find meaning, how can I be happy, and how can I derive the most from my moment to moment experiences?

The basic views outlined in this book were initially formed as early as high school but began to take shape and become organized in my early twenties. Since then I have been pleasantly surprised to see how my earliest intuitions have been validated through all I have read and experienced throughout the years.

While other people I knew created their ideal world around religious beliefs, love, faith, or psychological/philosophical schools of thought, I instead found myself drawn to a very practical way of looking at and appreciating my experiences. This attitude soon found a name, that being intimacy.
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