Tom Head

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Trump has clearly been banking on bigotry and white-anger in the US since the beginning, do you think he honestly underestimated the size of the powder keg he was lighting?

No. The birther mess already drove away his old friends and put him in a bubble full of people who were impressed by that sort of thing, so I'm assuming he's been plugged in with the white nationalist movement for at least three or four years now. I'm sure he knows what he's doing.

Do you think it is possible for humans to be entirely satisfied with their current situation, or will we always strive for more than what we currently have, no matter how successful we are?

I think it's in our nature to always strive for more in some way, but it can be a very simple, low-stress way. When my grandmother reached the age/health level where she couldn't do much else, she still used to wait until she won a game of Solitaire every night before she went to bed; that was her project. We always need a project.
Liked by: Ailurophile

Do you think we're going to see American election driven violence increase? Are things going to get worse before they get better?

Yes. Trump is scaling back the actual rallies, but "lone wolf" terrorism connected to the Trump campaign—such as the vandalism at Northwestern, and possibly the triple murder in Milwaukee—seems to be increasing, and will increase no matter how things go from here. If Trump is denied the nomination, they'll be angry. If he wins the nomination and loses the presidency, they'll be angry. And if he becomes president, they'll either feel they can act with impunity, or find that they can't (which would, once again, make them angry). We saw this from the "Patriot" movement in the mid-1990s.
None of this is actually election-driven—these folks were already white supremacist powderkegs before Trump emerged—but giving them false hope, and then dashing it, will not make them less violent.

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Would you rather be in constant pain or have a constant itch?

Having experienced both for prolonged-ish periods over the course of my life, it depends on the type of pain. A recurring itch is more distracting than constant and/or dull pain, but not as distracting as unpredictable and/or acute pain.

How well do you cope in stressful situations?

Much better than I cope in non-stressful situations. I become a leader during emergencies.

Do you have that moment where you just get sad and shut the people out. And people want to fix you. But you obviously don't want to be fixed. People who don't suffer from depression and anxiety wouldn't understand it.

I think there are times when people with depression or anxiety just need a break from other people, and that's OK. Believing you can "fix" somebody's anxiety or depression just by talking things through with them is sort of like believing that you can fix appendicitis by MacGyvering an appendectomy with two paper clips and a rubber band. Therapy can teach you new coping skills; medication can correct a neurochemical imbalance; friends can be excellent sources of support and/or distraction, too, but they can't "fix" you. If someone insists on trying to the point where they're making things worse, you're well within your rights to get some distance on that person and make new friends who are more respectful of your personal boundaries.

Do you think death is the only thing that's permanent?

Death does not, on its own account, exist. Life is temporary, and death is what we call life's absence. Semantically speaking, all post-anything states are permanent—the period in which George H.W. Bush or Bill Clinton is no longer president is now permanent, the period after the Internet was invented is now permanent, and so on. These are all labels that, like death, we use to mark the time after a temporary event. And they are by character permanent—the post-WWII era will never end, because WWII will never happen again—but they are not the only permanent things because they are not, strictly speaking, things.
That said, some traditions do find special meaning in these concepts. Some schools of Zen Buddhism, most notably those such as the Kyoto School that have incorporated European phenomenology. teach that Nothingness is sacred. There is a tradition in Christian thought, called negative or apophatic theology, that says you can arrive at an understanding of God only by acknowledging what he is not. So when you say death is the only thing that permanent (or entertain the idea) you are experimenting with some very old philosophical and religious concepts that you may enjoy exploring further.

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Liked by: Sophie Pink 0

Infecting tulips with a virus changes their color (e.g. Rembrandt tulips that develop patterns after being infected). If any type of body modification was nonexistent and getting infected with a virus was the only way to change your appearance to your liking, would you infect yourself? Why?

If the virus was known to be otherwise safe, I think I'd be OK considering it if I really wanted the body modification in question.
Liked by: Sophie Pink

Last night a woman pushed her way into my apartment screaming about her drug dealer and I had to physically fight her back out. It's situations like this that remind me I always go the way of "fight" in a "flight or fight" situation. How about you? Are you a fighter or a flight risk?

shehitsback’s Profile PhotoAllison
I'm sorry. That sounds dreadful.
If it happened in my apartment, I imagine I'd fight but it's hard to be sure. I usually prefer to avoid the risk of physical fights if possible.
Liked by: Sophie Pink

If you accidentally talked to someone that "your mind is so fucked up right now", and that someone starts to ask questions like "What's wrong? What's happening?" But you really did not mean to talk about it. Would you feel embarrassed, or something? Would you open about it?

I think I'd be a little embarrassed, certainly. I'm vain and don't like to advertise my emotional crises outside of my immediate circle of friends and family. I'd change the subject humorously—"My mind is so fucked up right now." [oops] "In fact, there's no context to that statement. That's how fucked up it is."—and move on. I wouldn't open up about the details if I could help it. People have used that sort of thing against me in the past and I'm now very cautious about who I show my vulnerabilities to.

The first thing to your left is your weapon in the zombie apocalypse. What is it?

A bottle of propranolol. Well, I guess at least I'll be calm.

Where to find intelligent guys or people? xD

I want to tell you something I realized the other night while watching Catfish: I've figured out why most people seem shallow when they're looking for people to date. It's not because the superficial stuff is all they want. It's because they're attracted to fantasies, and the less depth there is to a person and the more that person physically fits into the fantasy, the more they can convince themselves they're living it. Most people don't know what they want. So by the same token, people—most stereotypically women, but really men, too—pretend to be dumber, or at least less complicated, than they are when they're around people they might want to date, so as to be a better fit for other people's fantasies, and people in turn come to expect that, which makes them seem shallower. It's adaptive behavior. As people find more depth in each other, it ruins the fantasy for them and they either gradually fall in love with their significant others as they really are or they move on.
Anyway, I recommend not thinking about the question in terms of intelligence because intelligence can manifest itself in so many different ways and it's easy to incorrectly assess someone's intelligence level. I'd focus instead on the things that interest you most, and then ask out the people who are interested in the same things, and see if any of them impress you with their intelligence. Don't be too hard on yourself if you're attracted to someone who initially doesn't seem intelligent, or claims not to be intelligent, or has a reputation for not being intelligent. You may be picking up on something other people miss.

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Liked by: lionessence

Do you agree with aiming to have happiness as your constant state of being? If you agree, why would you rather constantly be happy than experience the full spectrum of emotions?

I don't aim to have happiness as my constant state of being. I don't think I would recognize it if it was.

“Some say memories are merely another form of dreaming. We, of course, would argue that they are, rather, another form of torture." What is your take on this quote and why?

It doesn't sound very true to life, to be honest. The idea that memories are only another form of dreaming is functionally solipsist, which is not a very common point of view to put it mildly, and anyone who claims every memory they've ever had is torturous is probably not telling the truth and certainly does not need to punctuate that point of view with an "of course."

When is betrayal justified?

It's probably never going to be justified in the mind of the person you betrayed, if they know about it, but there are some cases where the choice in front of you is not whether to betray someone but rather whom to betray. Betrayal is kind of like war, in other words. It's never exactly justified but there are times when the alternative is worse.

I think I might be just about done with this site and the lack of two way communication. Too many questions from strangers, not enough of them willing to answer in return. What's keeping you coming back?

I don't know, man. I feel selfish because I haven't been posting questions, but the ones that come to mind are crap. Mostly I use this site for "morning pages" when I'm in between writing other things and even questions from strangers can work really well for that purpose.

If I spent a day inside your mind, what sorts of things would I learn about you?

theonlyems’s Profile Photolionessence
You'd learn that while I post a lot of thoughtful abstract stuff on the Internet, most of my day-to-day is pretty mundane (and I like it that way). Today I bought a microwave because the old one busted, I checked up an invoice, we picked up some chicken wings, that sort of thing. When I wasn't busy doing something else, I played games on my iPhone and did a little tidying up around the house. I'm also writing an art history profile, and I posted some political thoughts on Facebook. Everybody only sees those last two things and imagines me sitting in a dusty study wearing a bathrobe and ascot and smoking a pipe and no, not really, not at all.
Liked by: ànis lionessence

Why does our society no longer have master sculptors, like Bernini or Giambologna?

I would say we probably have more sculptors now that at any point in history, but the same thing happened to sculpture that happened to painting—e.g., once photography was invented, the purpose of representational art changed—so talent doesn't stand out the way it used to, when a painting or sculpture really was the only way you could get a look at anything that wasn't actually in front of you.


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