The Danger of Small Talk

“The Finnish don’t believe in talking bullshit.”

—Laura Studarus. “How the Finnish Survive Without Small Talk.” BBC.com. October 17, 2018.

Small talk is a social lubricant. It creates openings, fills in gaps in conversation, and eases partings. In environments with complex social networks that extend past our Dunbar numbers, social anxiety is a natural byproduct of the environment. Small talk eases this anxiety.

Gossip also has these features. It can be useful in communicating social standing in a group. It’s how reputations are made. But, it is can also be damaging if it becomes the focus of interaction, where what others think and will say about us within a group polices group behavior, leading to inauthentic lives.

Small talk has a similar problem. Sure, it can signal social connection and paper over awkward moments. But, it can also become a crutch that we rely on so much that we do it instead of making any kind of meaningful connection with others, which can easily heighten our feelings of social anxiety and disconnection.

Law 10: Infection: Avoid The Unhappy & Unlucky

“The infecting character type…stems from an inward instability that radiates outward, drawing disaster upon itself. You could spend a lifetime studying the pathology of infecting characters, but don’t waste your time — just learn the lesson. When you suspect you are in the presence of an infecter, don’t argue, don’t try and help, don’t pass the person on to your friends, or you will become enmeshed. Flee the infecters presence or suffer the consequences.”

—Alex Sandalis, “Law 10: Avoid the Unhappy & Unlucky.” Medium. September 18, 2016.

Related: How to Deal With Psychic Vampires.

Mail-Order Abortions Are Now Available in the U.S. What Does That Mean for American Women?

A well-established abortion-by-mail provider is expanding its services to the United States, the Atlantic reported on Thursday. Women on Web, run by Dutch doctor Rebecca Gomperts, has provided remote consultations, prescriptions, and pills to patients seeking abortions since 2006. But until now, Gomperts has never operated in the U.S., fearing the powerful pro-life lobby’s impact on her international service. Now, she’s started Aid Access, a spinoff of Women on Web that provides American women with mifepristone and misoprostol—a drug combination widely used for early-term abortions...

Aid Access combines the two: A physician is available to talk through the procedure, and can prescribe and ship you the drugs. Also, the drugs only cost $95 (with a sliding scale for patients who can’t afford it), and they show up directly at your home.

—Emma Sarappo, “Mail-Order Abortions Are Now Available in the U.S. What Does That Mean for American Women?Pacific Standard. October 18, 2018.

Teach Yourself to Echolocate – Atlas Obscura

“Whatever your sightedness, there’s something to be said for learning to listen more attentively to sonic scenery. Kish believes that vision has a way of blunting the other senses unless people work to really flex them. Deft echolocators, he says, are able to perceive fine differences—distinguishing, say, between an oleander bush (“a million sharp returns”) and an evergreen (“wisps closely packed together, which sound like a bit like a sponge or a curtain”). They’re discovering sonic wonder wherever they go. We asked Kish to tailor a lesson for first-timers just learning to listen to the landscape.”

—Jessica Leigh Hester, “Teach Yourself to Echolocate.” Atlas Obscura. October 11, 2018.

Mutantis Mutandis

Electroculture overcoded / A spiritual Alcatraz, thrown / in solitary, locked & loaded, / artificial dreams, a clone.

Read the unwritten text, / the rongorongo of the soul, / Nostradamas of the next, / turnkey tyranny in a bowl.

A guinea pig often forgets: / half sterile + half feral + / normal distribution mindsets + / harmless untruths == peril.

In the world, in the Abusement parks, / soulless sinceretrons of misogyny, / xenofeminist cyborgs & beauty patriarchs / together in a fuck rife with ignomity.

Anhedonia, sealed in a shrine, / wokescienti, schizo-critical, / pleasure threshold, decline / scrolling is apocalyptical.

McMansions, corporate pablum / billionaires in armed lifeboats, / in the flotsam of crisis capitalism / those with guns get the votes.

In the grotesquerie of the Real, / agendas, exopolitic extra-terrestial / over stochistic chance, to feel / choose meaning, over being immaterial.

Everyone, themselves a carnival. / Suspend truth, believe as you will / no difference, fact abominable, / same: blue, red or any other pill.