For your enjoyment, we’ve excised the dialogue. For your protection, we’ve installed this camera


In 1998, the band Jets to Brazil released “Orange Rhyming Dictionary." This album is one of my favorites, front to back. I love lyrics, and their singer-songwriter Blake Schwarzenbach is a master writer. This album is so wise and profound, and as with any good album, it just keeps becoming more and more relevant as time goes on. There is no pandering optimism, “All we need is love,” or “Babe, it’s just you and me” crap that guarantees that parents will be stoked that their kids can learn such a benign and vague lesson that is the business casual of emotion.

Love is not all you “need”. You need skills, education, resources, and community, and then, when life is lived with love, hell yeah! There is a chapter in my new book, about how "Love" is not all you need, but "love" is what's missing. I have had a life with nothing but love, and it ended up making me desperate, alone, and damn near homeless. Not all lyrics are holistic. Do shit, learn shit, and show up with love, but you need an education and resources; things get better with love. 

This is not a pop album, and the magic of the raspy lyrics is that the songs do not have catchy choruses and hooks, but each line is just fun to say: “Lose weight astrologically, no money down” or “I want to not know you, too bad I know you… don’t be so German.”


But my favorite lyric on the album is:

"For your enjoyment, we’ve excised the dialogue. For your protection, we’ve installed this camera."


Think about how profound and relevant this lyric is.

Safety v Freedom

There will always be two sides to this argument. Safety and freedom require a balance of personal responsibility, teamwork, and love. When you have a lot and others have a little, there can be friction, especially if resources become limited. People are also a resource that keeps on growing because sex is rad, and growing food is work. Humans are here to create, but it's way easier to get drunk and hook up than to farm. So, as the population grows, so does our capacity to consume, and our resources are becoming increasingly limited. Thus, certain places can get dangerous and resource predators are multiplying.

However, if you are too busy to look out for the people in your community, and resources are too limited to share, here you sit in a state of lack and fear. Instant gratification and vices are necessary to tune out the voices, you don’t have time for depth, so “excise the dialogue.”  Here we are in meme culture, as studies have proven; people will watch hours of 15-second clips, but rarely finish a video longer than 2 minutes.

 Are you demoralized or destabilized?

Do you know who to trust or what to believe? Are you on a path or questioning your decisions? It’s none of my business. Just listen to your thoughts and feel your body during your two most authentic moments: when you lie in bed at night and when you wake up in the morning.

So much hustling to make your resources or get to the next thing you “have to do” has created a frantic energy. Feeling trapped and hungry for humanity can demoralize you. I am contacted by people who are regularly demoralized by feeling they can’t get ahead or feel guilty for their privilege. Whether it’s student loans, buying a house, or not having enough time to go meet someone, and god forbid if people don't text you before they call, life seems lonely; you think you're busy, so what’s the point?

There's a simple formula to creating complacency, surrender, and apathy.  First, demoralize and then destabilize, so you will give up your power, certain rites, responsibilities, or freedoms to normalize. As you become too busy to be aware and social with your neighbors and get bombarded with an algorithmic cocktail of crime and travesty all out of your control, you feel unsafe. So, for your safety, they’ll install some cameras. Mass surveillance rarely ends in your freedom.

Try this Journaling or conversation exercise call "Is, is not"

Subject: Freedom and Wisdom

Repeat over and over, at least five times, whether in a conversation or with yourself. Ask yourself or someone else an "is, is not" question. Then, write or speak your answer. Keep going deeper and digging for wisdom. Listen to other perspectives. I have learned so much from this type of exercise. 

What is freedom? What is not freedom?

What is wisdom? What is not wisdom?

I also love this as a round-robin exercise with people. You will be surprised at how diverse the responses will be.

Freedom is subjective; wisdom changes as you gain more experience. I have heard answers to these that have proven the importance of life experience. So why is life so busy? Why is education so overwhelming and expensive? Why does life trap you in intelligence and hinder your search for wisdom? Can you change that? Do you already have a life that seeks wisdom and freedom?

People want to feel useful, appreciated, and respected, but there are easy ways to feel good if you are overwhelmed or too busy to tune in to something other than a "to-do" list. Either return to something you’re good at that brings rewards and resources, and of course, vices. (drinking, drugs, junk food, shopping, or any other escapism.) Therefore, it’s not a big deal if there’s a camera on every corner or a recording device in your pocket. It's easy to trap a person who would rather be inside on the computer anyway. I have not left the house in three days; my front door could be cemented shut, and I won't notice until I need to go get more hummus. 

What are some of your favorite lyrics that inspire you? What artists have shaped the way you view life?

Personally, art is not background to me; it's very much in the foreground. I turn my music up loud, and I love being submerged in art. However, I would rather not be at a museum or theatre. I have been to enough modern dance performances to last me the rest of my life, I don't get it. Music has always been my medium of choice. Then, there are other forms of functional art, like food, fashion, cars, instruments, motorcycles, and furniture.

But there is something special about a musician. They can tap into rhythm, vibration, melody, and harmony and have something to say, not always, but it takes courage to try. They tap into emotion, connect us to a feeling, and show us a new lens. Music holds the history, story, and emotional vibration of a culture. Music is alchemy and just as powerful as a shared experience as it is personal.

If life and the universe work on vibration, musicians are special. Connecting to that energy is profound and often just enough to fulfill you, but the rest of life’s machine keeps chugging along. This is why many artists end up broke, alone, and unable to pursue the path further. There is a tremendous lack of support for art, but I would not want to see what life is like without it. 

In his autobiography, Keith Richards said that he dropped out of art school because the teachers weren’t making artists; they were trying to turn him into a marketer.

When I was learning about marketing, it was all about efficient taglines and gathering information by tracking customers’ behavior. Basically, to be a good marketer, you must “excise the dialogue and install some cameras.”

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