And all that is now and all that is gone

Everything that you were, all that you say you were, the titles you held and all the positions you occupied— All of that has far less of an impact on anyone’s perception than who they believe you are right now.

And all that is now and all that is gone

From “Eclipse” by Pink Floyd

A few important lessons from the “Fast and Furious” franchise

The “Fast and Furious” franchise has been called “big and dumb.”
“Mindless action with preposterous stunts and wooden acting.”
I’ve seen a few worse tags as well.
And I’m not shy to admit I love every minute of it.

What drives this franchise to maintain such momentum though?
Multiculturism, cars, sexy babes at the races?
Perhaps all of the above?
Maybe the creators simply managed to randomly chance upon a package containing that “undefinable something” that translates into success.
Or perhaps there is a shrewd genius behind the creation of something which has been labeled “drivel” and “garbage!”

Think about days gone by— When some comics, novels and musical genres first appeared on the scene it was lambasted as rubbish by critics and lapped up by fans.
In later years these cheesy pop culture treasures and coveted childhood memories grew into beloved icons we wouldn’t dare discard today!
Not only does cheesy pop culture remind us of times we perceived as being “simpler” but it also shoves us back into that time traveler’s bubble from the past in which we never seem to grow old.

Yes, we’re asked to suspend belief when we watch the F&F crew use cars to assist with unrealistic feats of bravery and epic heroism.
Some say they can’t stand the “unrealistic” footage.
These are the same people who often believe everything they see on Twitter or Facebook.
I struggle to fathom the cruelty, hedonism, chauvinism, entitlement, self-absorption, and materialism I see in real life.
At the very least F&F was never dished up as anything other than entertainment.

I’ve watched my fair share of “intelligent” art movies.
Some I enjoyed.
Many of the world’s greatest classic novels are in my study.
A lot of those still rank as favorites.
Fortunately, I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m able to understand and analyze my own needs.
Movies are the same as food, but surely you knew that?
At times we might crave the pomp and circumstance surrounding the dinner table at a formal wedding.
We might look forward to some fancy “pretty food.”
Then, of course, occasionally we simply crave a burger and french fries.

For me, the biggest takeaway is, if you don’t like it, you can be furious, but nobody cares.
The fans like this stuff, and someone very clever is supplying that which they crave!
So here’s what you can do— Switch gears, become fast and scoot past the articles, fandoms, reviews, movie theatres, and collectible die-cast toys and merchandise.
That’s your choice!
Learn to be brave within this mean world, be like Dom, Hobbs or Shaw—Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Illusions of perception— And red lines that help us observe!

Perception becomes your impairment when you’ve always been able to see without sharpening your ability to observe.

To counteract the illusion of reality stemming from an unmitigated belief in my own perception I started drawing circles around things.

Whenever I do venture into the nebulous netherworld of “online newsworthiness” my imaginary red marker becomes indispensable.
I draw thick red lines around terms such as “Everything you need to know about…”
Because quite simply it’s often nothing more than time-consuming inane clickbait.
Volatile opinion and repetitive comments are circled in thick red and black lines.
And next to all those circles I write “irrelevant!”
The circles remind me to focus less on seeing and more on “observing.”

I can also congratulate myself for finding the self-discipline to circle many forms of online communication after hours.
Especially over weekends, I don’t see the need to be glued to unsubstantiated and disturbing comments from those I’ve never even met.
This unbridled stream of “information”only serves to refract my experience of what could otherwise have been quality time spent with significant others.

Checking in on a friend or family member on Facebook doesn’t always necessitate a red line.
We should use technology for communication!
We have always done so.
Back in the days before the internet, we did make phone calls.
But due to practical constraints such as cost and being tied to a wire we also had to keep conversations relatively short.
A long-distance call to a relative abroad was a luxury, not a commodity.
So yes, let’s communicate by all means!
I’m only becoming more and more adverse against jumping into the polluted stream of “unfiltered opinion” simply because it’s so easy!
It has become too easy to expose ourselves to filth we really don’t need to deal with.

On a positive note…
I’ve also started making use of green markers.
I encircle many occurrences of empathy I see online.
It isn’t all bad.
In fact, nothing is!
Yin requires a Yang.