Brooke and Metavore discuss Rules



So, I have kept using discord as a sort of rough draft platform, generally – and retype things here as I edit them.

However, active dialogue and discussions have always been part of what I have in mind for The Project. And, last night – some of that happened!

If anyone would like to hang around there and see where things go, here is an invite link:

But now, some stuff about Rules, mold, and Mad Libs!


I have a confession to make.
I just went into Walmart

and did not wear a mask

Wearing a mask, or not

Is becoming a political statement now, it seems

Although what statement one is trying to make seems to be a little variable, depending on a number of factors


I wasn’t making any Statements

I was just hot

And lazy


did wear mine at the places I went to after that, though

Because of what happened in my head, at Walmart

It was interesting, and made me think about Rules, some


When wearing masks was just a guideline, but not a hard Rule, in Redding – I mostly only wore one while I was working

Since I deliver food, I felt like not wearing one was taking the choice out of the hands of the customers

But I still tried to touch only the things I was planning on buying, and made an effort to maintain social distancing

But now, it is Law


Except, there really aren’t many more people wearing masks around town, here in Redding

Some, but not many

A few businesses will not let you in if you’re not wearing one

Pretty much all of them have signs stating that a facial covering must be worn to shop within them

But very few are actually enforcing those rules

And large numbers of people are shopping without them on


I am not here to talk about the morality, or the politics, behind any of that, though

I am here to talk about what went on, in my head, when I wasn’t wearing one

I had gone shopping, sans mask

and without much problem

Before it became Law to wear one

But just that fact

Just knowing it was now required

Made me feel surprisingly uncomfortable to not wear one

even though many others were not wearing one

I think that, maybe (back soon! Sisi keeps trying to practice her Swyping!)



Fascinating! I mean, I feel the same about rules, but I’m not always sure why. Is it an actual fear of consequences? An awareness of judgment? An implicit sense that you are now  violating the societal agreement that laws are supposed to be? That third one is what gets me the most, I think – my moral compass is responsible for many of my feelings like that, and my moral ponderings all gravitate towards “but what are the correct rules that we should all want to self-enforce?” But that’s not how everyone thinks, and I’m sure there are other possible causes of that discomfort! Hmmm!



So I guess this is actually turning out to swing towards another topic, which I was thinking about earlier, but I don’t feel like making a whole new channel, and it relates, anyway

This is going to be long-winded, but that’s the beauty of using discord as a rough draft locale! If I get too off topic, I don’t have to publish it!
    There is a reason for everything, in my view of the world
Not one I can always easily identify
and I am frequently wrong
But here is the story of how I overcame the two big phobias I had, growing up:
I was just…well, there’s no better word than  irrationally
afraid of two things, as a youngster
Moldy Kitchen Sponges
Spiders- enough to where I would freak out, just seeing the depiction of one on television
And sponges
I think that was sourced, to some degree
in having used the same sponges to clean out cat food dishes, as we used for human food dishes
Both phobias were overpowering
and visceral
And I did not like being so controlled by things I did not choose to make part of my internal landscape
They were, occasionally – debilitating
So I decided to  think
about why I had those feelings, in a deeper sense
A genetic one
So, spiders is pretty easy
It makes sense that humans would have evolved a pretty strong spider aversion – one that is maybe variable depending on our genetic maps at birth, combined with later experiences
But even at a fairly recent stage of human history, it was a much bigger deal to get spider bites

The sponges thing is a little trickier, and I’m not sure about this
But it would make sense to me if that one could be classified under a broader category of mold/bacteria/spoiledickythings avoidance instinct
Because those things, prior to the relatively recent (in evolutionary terms) medical revolution in our species
Were probably even more deadly than spiders, all things considered
But since the world as we now know it
is a recent one, in many, many ways
it no longer makes sense, in my mind
to allow instincts that are outdated
to negatively impact my daily life
So, I thought about it
Each time I experienced those kinds of feelings
I would make myself
Think about what my actual risk was, at the time
Which does take some knowledge, and some research
because my brain is too clever
and those instincts, too powerful
For anything short of (what I think is) Truth, to werk
So, I familiarized myself with the local venomous spiders
what they looked like
where they tended to live
as well as with what the ones looked like that were not dangerous to me
It took a  very long time, but I think that was because it was an undirected sort of effort
My first attempts at a manual override of automatic brain systems, long before I would put those kinds of words to what I was doing, in my head
The reaction to the smell-feel of those sponges was, in some ways – easier to overcome
Because I knew, once I had taken the time to really think about what was going on there
that there was little risk, as long as I was careful
Now, if they start to smell bad
I throw the damn things away
But, generally – the smell of decomposing things does not bother me nearly as much as it does others – because I am careful not to eat anything that smells that way, careful to keep open wounds away from obvious sources of infection
And so, they have lost their power over me
And now, when I see another person doing something that seems unfathomable to me
or when I do something that I do not quite have an explanation for
I try to think about how a person could have evolved in such a way
Rules, now
Rules is a huge concept to try to express within this framing
But I try to imagine what it was like to have been among the first homo sapiens
(Which I’ll talk about later!)
Let’s skip to the time during which humans first began living in communities
Prior to that
for a very long time
The beings from which we have inherited our genetic information
Lived as individuals
as families
and, during that time
It would make sense to me that the individuals most likely to survive, and to propagate
Were those who acted rapidly, for the benefit of themselves and their families
But I imagine that when humans first began living in communal settings
There had to be something that happened, real fast
in our brains
to override the kinds of instincts directing an individual to just kill the person next to them and take their food, when they were hungry
Oops! Y’all just killed the Medicine Man.
Now everyone’s gonna be hungry, because no one else can Divine the Will of the Mammoth Spirits to learn where we should hunt!
The advantage to living in communities is that not everyone has to do everything
Now, people who are really good at certain things, can do those things
like hunt
but the ones who are not so good at hunting
can make stuff, or forage
and so on
and the loss of one person
could, I imagine
disrupt the productivity of the group severely enough
that it became necessary, for the species and the individual, to develp some kind of instinctive framework
that would act to override those impulses that were really only useful in the short term, but were harmful in the long term
My thinking in this way was heavily informed by The God Part of the Brain
Though it’s been well over a decade since I read it
and I can’t remember many specifics from it, now
So I’m not sure whether the author, Matthew Alper
Actually talked about all of this
But I know he talked about that – that time period, and those factors – as potentially being pivotal in developing religious and spiritual thought, within our species
We got lots of things from both spirituality, and religion
Spirituality gave us reasons for the capriciousness of a world that we did not understand
and which could, almost lazily, reach out and cause such wanton destruction
and upon which our very survival relied
I like that!
My thinking is, unsurprisingly, heavily influenced by Yudkowsky’s posts on evolution, which points out that evolution at a genetic level seems to be driven more by evolution within a population rather than between populations. So a trait has to equal more surviving babies for the person with the trait, relative to the rest of the tribe.
This makes things which are mostly just good for the group unlikely to be drivers for evolution, unless they tended to get more lovers (who cared for their young) as a result!
Leading to a preference for honesty in mate selection, but the trait is neurological, and being gender-neutral is easier for evolution.
And actually wanting to be honest is the best way to signal it, especially if surrounded by people who are good at detecting lies.
It’s a weird theory, kinda icky. But on the other hand, nature is sometims kinda icky.
And wanting to be honest -> wanting to be more generally good. Signalling it by living it gives you an edge over the liars.
(Except for a few of the best, who are still in our dang gene pool!)
Hmm! I’m going to have to process that some, before I respond!
6:30 PM
I also got sidetracked by parents!
6:31 PM
I was going to say something about some of the other stuff we maybe got from religion/spirituality, then I’ll try to swing back around to respond!
The older ones, I think
Not that I know shit about religion
But the stuff about mixing liquids in the Quran
Kosher eating rules
Pigs, lots of stuff about pigs
Just maybe
Those were early attempts to keep people from doing things that could spread disease
Before we knew how those kinds of things worked
So, religion could have given us extra oomph to societal rules
But also ones that were intended to keep us from getting sick
Yes! Food safety! Codify that shit if you wanna live!


I spent three years living on the street in Los Angeles. I came out of that, changed. This is my story.

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