The Pie
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The Pie

This is all coming from a Middler’s perspective, so don’t read Lib/Con into the above scribblings

The Foes of Flourishing are Among Us, But…

It’s Not Like We’re Defenseless Morons…Anymore

“You can observe a lot just by watching,” said Yogi Berra, as you probably remember. Almost as obvious-but-valuable is, “You won’t notice flaws in received wisdom if you don’t take the time to watch and think with a clear mind. And if nobody has the time, no one will take the time. And if qualifying the quotidian is seen as disloyal or disturbing by a particular tribe of humies, I’d question that tribe’s commitment to flourishing and do it anyway.” That was from Bug Stu, as you might have guessed. That was actually the abridged version.

If anyone mentions qualifying the quotidian, you can bet they’ve heard the call of Bug Stu. Or sure, maybe they’ve just been reading this stuff, his stuff, here at The Pie. Alliterations with Q’s aren’t that common, but a couple of years ago at the Black Sparrow in Lafayette, The Star City, Stu shared two which even relate to each other nicely.

To qualify the quotidian is to, at least in personal reflection, openly acknowledge uncertainties, natural holes, in conventional understandings and mental models. It’s not so much a challenge to those as it is a rational and fearless (trending word, so we’ll use it here) exploration of cultural shortcuts on complex human nature, society, and interactions, via either Left or Right doctrine.

And it’s kinda cute that little Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn provides Stu with two words to encourage the q.t.q. mindset in the least threatening way: (some of you will remember, so here’s this pause where I’ll offer to buy a Special at the Black Sparrow for anyone knowing the two words already. The reward is for your attentiveness, your good memory and your integrity in not just claiming to know when you didn’t really. (Now the guilt would leave a splinter in the soul or something of tricksters : ). ) ) Yes, from Francie Nolan, “I wonder.”

Of course, I wonder also connects to our gazing at the stars, which connects to that, again…fearless…Star Eye inside, as Stu imagines in us. Then again, the Star Eye is covered with an atom suit, which shares parts of the same brain, functioning according to its 300,000+ year-old basic programming, which the Stralfs know so well, according to Stu. Intermingled entanglements in all meanings of the word, woo-woo and otherwise.

It’s a big task, and a big ask, to hold the “Star Eye” in mind, curious and caring but fearless because it has no needs, accept its entanglement with an all-kinds-of-needy atom suit, full of all kinds of fear, and imagine the insidious mumbling Stralfs, fine-tuned to the suit’s natural frequencies, contactless but somehow pulling and pushing on mental strings, like a marionette not an instrument. Yes, Stralfs can effectively push on strings of this type — according to Stu.

All ideas are real, because they don’t need atom suits, or even energy forms. Stu pointed this out when I questioned him about referring to not only song lyrics but stories and characters so often when we spoke, mostly from children’s books. More specifically, my question was about how he expected to have any impact if he was going to rely so much on fictional stories and characters.

His explanation, the abridged version again, was that ideas are what affect atom suits, then most things go from there. And an idea cannot possibly be unreal. That wouldn’t make sense. It may or may not have much impact. It may have a positive impact or negative one, for a lot or a few, short-term or long-term, for now or later, but it can’t be unreal. And I can see that. Ideas simply are.

So I asked him if Star Eyes were more like ideas that affect atom suits. He said no, that’s not really how it works, but that in a way, the Star Eyes can fix “dents in the universe.” Those dents are really about our perceptions, including our perceptions about perceptions. The universe and the realities of the universe are true with or without our attempts at explanations.

To Stu, the dents are problematic misunderstandings about ourselves or the universe. Sometimes the dents just come from some of us humies implementing an idea, sometimes with physical effects and sometimes not, that goes against our flourishing. They are harmful/harming misunderstandings about how something’s going to work, or is working, in the universe. I guess you could say they’re going to cause some bumps as things roll along. (Some dents, and holes, are small enough to have very little effect.)

The Stralfs, according to Stu, are constantly trying to get us to dent things up, because they want us to hate life here. The big news of the last ten to fifteen years is that we’re smarter about how we fool ourselves now, which is basically what the Stralfs encourage us to do — fool ourselves about flourishing, fun, happiness, and the future.

have helped us go back to older behavioral and wellness studies and see what was happening more clearly. The scale of internet interactions has also given us insights. In turn, we have better defense against Stralfian strategies, that is if we’re paying attention and not too committed to favorite old…dents.

That led us to the second important Q alliteration, which I mentioned Stu brought up at the Black Sparrow a couple of years ago when he was starting to get serious, and not just whispering anymore, as he calls it. Weirdly, weirdly at the time, he connected it to 1984, Orwell’s 1984, Steve Jobs, The Smiths, and a Super Bowl.

OK, a pause. A sort of 4th Wall comment maybe. My feed from Medium looks as clickbait-y/hate-y/berate-y as the rest of the internet. Just about any point and any position can be woven into whole fabric, a whole garment, with the right skill and threads, if you know what I mean.

“Welcome to the breakdown” is what I started saying about thirty years ago. But the meta breakdown is when there’s no use writing or reading, because there’s little reason to expect anything but assemblages of curated support for provocative emotional and self-affirming expression. Or when half the articles are about how to make money writing articles, including getting AI mass production out here. Good grief (Charlie Brown 1952)

So anyway, the rest of this is at our website, also called The Pie. I hope you’ll join us there : ).




7th Pie Theory from Bug Stu and Allie Space-Owl. There are six pies represented in the American Economic Tray, and we need a 7th. It leads to a way funner way than the fray we have today — per Stu and Allie. And so long Postmodernism. And hopefully, so long Stralfs.

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T.J. Storey

T.J. Storey

Former teacher, Jeanne’s husband, Brandon’s and Elyse’s dad. No guru/no woo woo. Fan of how-things-work and what it means for our kids, theirs, theirs,…

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