Are Aliens My Life Purpose?

Well. You never know who you’ll meet on tinder. Fortunately, I’ve met some of the most interesting people since I’ve been in NYC.

alien guy meme with what if aliens were visited by aliens?

Not even the ultimate inception!

What follows are my thoughts on the whole exposing aliens thing that’s happening right now. If you haven’t heard, all that shit about aliens and UFO’s is probably true.

I’m not surprised. Since I’m relentlessly curious, I’m relentlessly frustrated. So, this isn’t helping haha.

Some of you may have heard me say late last year that only an alien invasion would bring humanity together, or at the very least, help us get our shit together. This aligns with one of my core values which is to never waste a “crisis”. But I don’t want for it to unite us under a one-world regime. Instead, I want for it to help us realize that there are more important things than ego, insecurity, identity, and greed. And I’d prefer a meet and greet that leads to much good and positivity over an invasion.

Speaking of greed, these zero-point energy vessels indicate that free energy has already been developed and hopefully soon, will be accessible. It’s possible that the reason why all of this has been kept hidden and thousands have been murdered to protect secrets, is greed and money in the energy industry. Seems kind of ridiculous, doesn’t it? And this makes it a HUGE sustainability issue. I’ll be more glad than mad if this all pans out to be true, but it would also mean that we have FUCKED our planet for no good reason.

On the bright side, it looks like I’ve finally found a niche I’m relentlessly passionate about. What’s the intersection of aliens and sustainability? 😛

I’d love to see one of the life forms from an evolutionary biology perspective. Is CRISPR old school?

And after spending enough time in Silicon Valley talking with former biotech CEO’s, I’m perfectly aware that when it comes to healthcare, big pharma and insurance companies’ favorites thing to do is shelve cures. They are only interested in treatments because the longer we live while we’re sick, the longer we’re profitable. Hopefully, keeping these kinds of things hidden will also be exposed and perhaps even melded with the healthcare technology that exists “out there”. Here’s to immortality!

I’m also excited for interplanetary (and who knows what else) space travel. ET anthropology. How I can spend two years on a planet and a thousand will pass on Earth, and how aliens even deal with those kinds of issues. And whole bunch of other things. I knew there were more important languages to learn than just Earth-based ones .

What are you excited for?

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Sheryl Sandberg’s Mission – To Maintain Capitalism’s Status Quo

I really want to remain a supporter of Sheryl Sandberg and her mission. I saw her talk this past May and was blown away!
quote by sheryl sandberg

It’s time we became aware.

But her ideologies and voice are sourced in capitalism. Get your hands dirty? What do you mean by dirty? Work hard and you’ll get what you’re promised? We know that this isn’t true, especially for those of us who didn’t go to Harvard. 
 
I’m happy to report that her female empowerment efforts seem to have been successful, at least in Seattle. This is definitely a step in the right direction.
But our entire world is controlled by a couple hundred families. We don’t live in a capitalist democracy. We live in a capitalist oligarchy where these families control all aspects of government through lobbying, legislation, threatening to pull their company’s money out of the US or unfavorable states, and a million other tactics. An oligarchy is “a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes”. Sound familiar?
 
Free market propaganda has put dollar signs on every human being on earth and resulted in an extractive economy. Even though the environment is to be enjoyed and shared by all, it’s ravaged by capitalists.
 
The conventional workplace is a dictatorship where we can be fired at any moment without notice – we have absolutely no say. And most of the time “layoffs” happen so that shareholders can maintain their year-over-year growth in dividends (that’s money pulled out of the company and put directly into their pocket).
 
A corporation’s primary purpose is for shareholder dividends. It is the law. FALSE. Shareholder dividend propaganda was spread by the University of Chicago and Milton Friedman. And each year, 150,000 traditional MBA’s are being taught that this is the law just in the US! That’s horrifying! An MBA’s transition from wanting to do good by business to “this is the way the world works and since it’s the law, there’s nothing I can do, and I may as well join them” has been well documented! And it only takes one year, and sometimes, just a semester.
 
Sad that you got fired, and your whole world got turned upside down? Angry? It’s time we stopped getting angry, and instead got smart.
 
I advocate for democratic socialism. It’s not what you think.
 
Democratic socialism is where we maintain a balance between owning personal property (like your record collection and clothes), having a say in what our lives look like, and having a say about private property. What is private property? “What touches all should be decided by all.” This isn’t communism – socialism has been conflated with communism as part of the capitalist agenda. Communism is actually an oligarchy and has nothing to do with socialism.
 
Private property is an aristocratic ideology based on oppression and maintaining the status quo for the world’s elite. An example is land owned by a king that is “leased” to farmers. Remember serfdom? We know how that turned out.
 
I could go on for days. But I’ll leave with you with what I believe is a great start – a way for us to have democracy in the workplace instead of a dictatorship – #workerownedcoops
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Have You Been Gaslighted in the Workplace?

movie poster for gaslight about gaslighting

Gaslighting:

a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.

I have always felt like a villain and maybe gaslighting my immediate family is why. But I was gaslighted many times in my youth. I wonder if it’s like molestation, where it’s passed on from generation to generation.

The more I learn about gaslighting, the more I think that at least half of people do it regularly, and that almost everyone has done it at least once. There’s intentional and non-intentional gaslighting, and regardless of the intention, the effects can be extremely detrimental.

After college, I started a company to eliminate animal testing in the United States. The European Union had just done it for cosmetics, and I was convinced that I would do it across the board in the US. I thought that if the US did it, the rest of the world would follow. Instead, I experienced over four years of binge eating, my best friend and I getting gaslighted by a coworker, being too afraid of people to leave my house, and more. It all kept piling on top of each other, and I didn’t deal with any of it. The first decade of adulthood felt like a nightmare that was just about to end, but never did.

I thought Seattle would be better. I really did. Like a new start. I found a city and people I wanted to be a part of.

I’ve had 8 jobs in the last 3 years and lived in 10 places, several of which were very unsafe, and one where I got gaslighted and attacked by a roommate. I couldn’t complain because I always had a roof over my head, but I failed at everything except having more trauma. I had three years to build at least one business or have one job in Seattle, and I failed. I kept getting panic attacks and deep depression and would quit. Or I’d get told to lie, which I fought against adamantly, but was ultimately let go even though I tried to persuade with alternatives. Or I’d feel the strongest pull that I can’t describe to stop doing what I was doing and start doing something else…to the tune of over 100 times. Throughout, I tried desperately to find work. But after the first few jobs, I started freaking out that I was going to get fired and had nightmares. The nightmares caused more anxiety. The anxiety caused more…you get the picture.

This past July, I shared with a business breakfast group that I was struggling between staying in Seattle or moving to New Jersey. A friend who was an executive coach and therapist offered to give me a free session.

At the beginning of our session, she asked me to start talking. When I said, “IBM”, I got tears in my eyes. She said, “let’s work on that.”

When it was all over, she leaned forward, put her hand on my arm, and said, “Heather, you have PTSD, and what happened wasn’t your fault.”

On July 25th, I was diagnosed with PTSD from getting gaslighted by a guy at IBM for two years when I was in my mid-20’s. A week later, I found out that my other coworker experienced the same and is recovering too. It’s such a shame cause she was a brilliant physicist/geneticist/chemist who is now struggling.

For those two years, he accused her and me of doing bad research. He had made a nanoparticle that to this day, I feel tremendous sadness over being lost. Its results were mind-bogglingly amazing. You could put just about any drug or compound into the nanoparticle and target different parts of the body. It was so nontoxic that it defied any other nanoparticle before it. For months, I brought him and our team pictures, videos, and test results that had us all believing that we’d in some way helped to save the world from disease.

But we ran out of the chemical. So, he made some more, and all the test results were different. He was notorious for making interns cry, being extremely manipulative, and angry. He gaslighted me and my colleague, who was also my best friend, for two years. He said it was our fault that the results were all different and would “work with us” to figure it out. In my second year of having the company, he convinced IBM to downgrade my contract from annual to quarterly. All year, I had panic attack after panic attack until I was afraid to leave the house. I was terrified my contract would be terminated with no notice, and desperately did whatever he wanted. I felt like my entire livelihood hinged on him, and he had complete control and power over my ability to pay rent and be successful. I thought he dictated my whole future.

By the third year, he was fighting for it to be downgraded to monthly, which thankfully, I fought and didn’t happen. But by then, the whole IBM research block knew what was happening. I begged other departments for work so that I could work my way out of this group, but they all said they didn’t have anything for me. (I found out a few months ago during coffee with one of them that they were afraid of giving me more work. They thought that with all the pressures, demands, and drama from this guy, that they were doing me a favor :().

I went through the hell of uncertainty, doubting myself, proving myself, and ultimately, no longer trusting myself and losing all confidence. Possibly, worst of all, I started to become afraid of people. I was isolated and alone, and the only other person who understood was going through the exact same thing. And not once did it occur to me to just quit. Novice business owners don’t realize that we can choose our customers!

In the end, this guy admitted that he had taken bad notes in his lab notebook and couldn’t reproduce the nanoparticle. I’ll never know if he wanted to save face, was afraid of losing his job, or had experienced similar abuse during his PhD (like many PhD’s do, another issue that angers me). He died unexpectedly in 2015 from a random drug complication.

I was so alarmed by being diagnosed with PTSD that I consulted with another therapist and a counsellor. They each independently gave the same diagnosis, along with depression, anxiety, and a bunch of other fun stuff. Turns out, PTSD is super common. The more I learn, the more I wonder how different the world would look if kids became self-aware and learned to cope with life positively from the very start. Well, duh.

Three weeks ago, the counsellor told me that I should get on section 8 housing, disability, and check myself into a year-long PTSD program at a hospital. I said, “But I shouldn’t have to do this! I shouldn’t have PTSD!”

She said, “But you do. Can you work?”

“No, it doesn’t seem so.”

I felt and still feel tremendous shame.

Before this, I’d aced every interview and been hired at every job I’d ever interviewed for (except for one, where I immaturely smoked a blunt with my friend before the interview and didn’t get the job because I kept asking, “What was your question again?”) Most of my jobs were retail and in the food industry, and I seized every opportunity and broke records. Not to mention that I landed a $323k contract with IBM to launch the business in the first place. Work was the last part of my life that was untouched by panic, fear, and despair. But ultimately, this, too, got sucked in.

A week ago, I moved back to Maryland to live with my parents and experience safety for what feels like the first time since 2011.

Since then, I’ve learned that as rampant as gaslighting is in personal relationships, it is just as rampant in the workplace. In the workplace, it’s typically referred to as workplace bullying. But it’s so much worse than that, because bullying is usually obvious. Gaslighting happened chronically, right under my nose, and I didn’t know how it was affecting me until it was too late. Gaslighting can involve scapegoating big time, so that I felt like it was my fault. One of the “coping” strategies of trauma victims is to believe the trauma was their fault. It gives us a sense of control, but also shame. I thought that it was my fault for not being smart/aware/insightful/perceptive/confident/tough/and so on forever and ever enough.  It wasn’t until the first therapist said, “Picture your younger self sitting next to you. Look at her. Was it her fault?”

No. It wasn’t.

Anyway, I’m in MD for the foreseeable future and focusing on my mental health.

Gaslighting by higher ups is well-researched, and gaslighting by peers is just starting to gain recognition and research.

Workplace abuse has been described as behaviors directed at an employee, with the intent to harm him or her. It negatively affects the person’s work and occurs regularly, over a period of time (Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper, 2011). In those individuals targeted for abuse, cross-sectional studies report depression, difficulty sleeping, and symptoms of burnout (Nielsen & Einarsen, 2012). In terms of consequences for employers, these behaviors have been associated with employee absenteeism, illness, legal and medical costs, early retirement, and general workplace instability (Hershcovis & Barling, 2010). Boddy, Miles, Sanyal, and Hartog (2015) find that employees in bullying situations tended to arrive late for work, leave early, and take longer breaks. (Popp, Social Intelligence and the Explanation of Workplace Abuse, 2017)

It’s illuminated the “dark side of emotional intelligence,” how psychopaths and sociopaths can harness their emotional intelligence for evil without feeling bad about it.

But in one of the articles I read, the author points out that it’s not the psychopaths and sociopaths (1/25 people) that we necessarily need to worry about. Their damage can be far-reaching, but there are many more folks who are close to psychopath and sociopath. This is more consistent with my life experience; I don’t think that just about everyone I know is a psycho or sociopath, but I do think that most of them have gaslighted someone else at some point or another. I don’t think that this guy was a psychopath or sociopath, because when his daughter was born in the first year of my company, he suddenly became a real human being. He thanked me for my work because without it, he would have lost his job. I also don’t think I’m a psychopath or sociopath for gaslighting my family as a teenager.

Here’s what missing for me in the literature so far:

  1. Is gaslighting learned or manifested?
  2. Once a gaslighter, always a gaslighter?
  3. Can a gaslighter be gaslighted? “Good people rarely recognize evil, as this kind of behavior is incomprehensible to them” (Temin, 2010).
  4. Is screening out gaslighters our only option? Because I was a gaslighter :(.

I don’t want gaslighting in the workplace (and in general) to be another “psychological phenomenon” that costs too much time or money to address. I always don’t want for all gaslighters to be doomed to have no career or hope, as I often feel. I have yet to see the dollar impact of it, and think that this is almost impossible to measure, much more than how effective employee trainings are (versus numbers of hours trained).

As a kid, I always wondered why common, traumatic life events would create villains in superhero stories. Thanks to gaslighting, I now know. TV has always been a giant pain in the ass for society. Netflix recently released several television shows that are built around inaccurate assumptions about how mental illness works and is treated, idolizing the power of gaslighting, and good old hypernormalization of harm.

My biggest takeaway at the moment is the recognition that my gut instinct isn’t garbage like I thought it was. When I joined a startup last year, my body had the same reaction to a new salesperson that I had felt with the guy at IBM. My quality of work plummeted as I increasingly became more confused, defensive, and afraid. Reading one of the articles was a play-by-play narrative of what had happened – the new employee had gaslighted me out of that job.

For the record, the new guy was happy to lie.

Most of this happened within the last two months. Per a classmate’s idea, I think more and more that HSP’s like myself and about 20% of the population are a huge opportunity. A few forum comments yielded how difficult it is for us to find work and living environments that allow us to thrive. Our industrialized and capitalistic society was not built for humans with feelings, so it reflects that in every aspect.

About a year ago, I had the idea to create a coworking and living space that was designed for HSP’s. Many of us are freelancers or self-employed, I almost never feel safe or secure, and we can all agree that scents, loud noises, and toxic environments don’t work. I worked on it until a few weeks before an old roommate attacked me, when it got put back on the backburner. I still think this would be an interesting experiment, but want to think bigger. The reality is that many HSP’s have already sheltered ourselves away, limiting our impact and benefit on society. The pain is just not worth any amount of money or work.

Is there a place for us? Can villains become good guys? Is there hope for “toxic people”? How can we all coexist? Is any of this worth the effort?

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Universal Basic Income, Another Great Idea Going Wrong

I don’t think that basic income is ever going to work in America without a holistic approach.

rotten ecard about people on welfare

I think we disproved this in 2016, don’t you?

Graphics and mental models like this make my blood boil. Search “welfare funny” and you’ll find a slew of images like this. They get worse.

Oftentimes in society, we present one solution that “rationally” would lead to a decrease in undesired behavior. But the opposite happens. Why? Because it’s only rational to us from our perspective. And decisionmakers love to avoid speaking with and learning from the stakeholders that matter. For example, low income people do not buy fewer lotto tickets. Why? Because gambling and dreaming create addiction to dopamine. It’s really fucking hard to break a feedback loop in your brain…. a habit. Same with cigarettes. Let’s tax the hell out of cigarettes so poor people won’t be able to rationalize buying them. This doesn’t work either, as cigarettes are insanely addictive, often attached to strong memories and feedback loops, and worst of all, a habit. In fact, the skulls, crossbones, and horrific imagery on packs in other countries have been proven to have little effect on reducing smoking. And all we have is a written warning from the Surgeon General. Who the hell is a surgeon general?

What habits do you have that you’ve found impossible to break? Have you tried rationalizing it away? BE GRATEFUL if one of your habits isn’t smoking. Or eating fast food. Or buying lotto tickets. You may think that you had just as much of an opportunity to become a smoker as anyone else, but reality begs to differ. And Seattle, dear Seattle. We just voted in a soda tax. Let’s just get it over with and steal people’s houses and throw them in the streets. Cause in 2005, we made it legal nationally.

What I’ve described doesn’t do the systemic oppression monster justice. But it must do for now. It is worse than you or I can imagine.

picture of obama mocking him

The world’s laziest man, before the Presidency turned his hair gray and white.

This is a country of dichotomies and extremes, as reflected in American morality and our political parties. Why? Because there’s dopamine in having a stance, especially a staunch one. The result? We’re a country that runs on being right. But I digress.

In the case of basic income, we’d be swinging from one extreme to another. So, it’s no surprise that after treating people like they are undeserving of anything, including an education, we want to throw money at them without any tools. This is a great example of another “great experiment” that is doomed to succeed at increasing systemic oppression. You heard that right. You see, the desired outcome is not what you think. We’ll yet again be able to “prove” that certain humans are untrustworthy. We gave them a bunch of money, and they screwed it up, so they’re subhuman. Just like they did with welfare, social services, and nonprofit support (which, by the way, is another thing that’s being threatened by our current administration). It sounds crazy, but we’ve done stuff like this before.

another mean ecard making fun of poor people.

Do you know your daddy? Consider yourself lucky to not be one of the 17,200,000 children living without a father in 2016, almost 40% of whom live under the poverty line (US Census Bureau).

I’m sure we already have the answers on what specifically to do for the development and motivators. Unrelated but translatable pilots have been conducted all over the world. They just need to be combined into an experiment for testing, including structures that provide flexibility for adaptation to locales. This is the easy part. The hard part is making it reality.

Because at the moment, we aren’t even giving universal income a fair chance even in “rich” countries. In fact, our society and world sees universal basic income as a publicity stunt. How disgusting.

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Brainstorm Ideas of How to Save the World

The title is an example of a good idea. A worthwhile endeavor. A productive use of time. Full of potential.

Community-Based Solution to Poverty Theory

Don’t worry, this one’s very uplifting, even the poverty part.

There’s a theory of how to solve poverty locally. But it’s harder to do than it sounds cause it starts with kids. And it takes a while.

It’s a leverage point that works, which gives me hope.

For example, a community garden that all of the local public school kids go to (which is pretty much of all of them other than the few who go to charter schools, cause most folks can only afford public education). The kids get their parents excited about the garden, eating well, and learning. It takes a generation, but the neighborhood does much better. Not everyone’s an immediate convert, but it works eventually through slow, but viral growth.

Turns out, most instances of disadvantaged folks eating shitty food is because they literally don’t know how to cook. Eggs, toast, whatever. They’ve just never done it.

But in this case, it’s okay cause some community gardens come with kitchens. So the kids can learn how to prepare the stuff they grew for sale to support the garden. And cooking lessons in general. See where I’m going with this?

And when the kids do good in the world and come back, the place becomes somewhere they want to raise their family instead of fleeing.

By incorporating a positive community structure into a culture, the rest of the community can take care of itself. Meaning, the community ultimately gets out of poverty and improves on other cultural metrics.

If you ask, I can find a citation for this. I just don’t feel like combing through a bunch of HBS articles or whatever at the moment. I know, worst person ever.
cells from heather's research

Sidebar: Some cells with a nanoparticle uploaded into them (green). Notice how the NP doesn’t get into the nucleus! The big ole black holes. By the way, the green is also curcumin, which is all the rage in turmeric right now.

My Theory

When I look at microbes, I see a leverage point for how we can be happy, healthy, sustainable, and connected more easily. Did I mention microbes are safe, cheap, and viral (in a good way :-))?

We’ll see. But I’m pretty sure. I’ll hopefully post a systems diagram at some point, but it’s just one of those ones that have 9,000 reasons why it’s a good idea. Right now, I’m making a list.

bacteria on agar plates

1% of our gut microbes are culturable (easy-ish to study). A lot of work needs to be done!

Bad Theories

There are bad ideas on how to save the world. Like geoengineering.

I loathe people who go on about how amazing it is, especially to sound smart or interesting. Especially when they haven’t even looked into it themselves to see how bad of an idea it is. Or how it’s already being used. And how we kind of don’t have a halfway decent idea of how to stop it.

These people do harm by spreading a lie that we can be consumptive and inconsiderate with zero consequences because geoengineering, a drastically worse idea than just putting giant fans in space to shield us from the sun, is going to eliminate all consequences.

Just such a bad, bad idea.

All so they can feel smart or interesting.

If you’ve done this, now is your chance to stop. Just cause you’ve done the worst thing so far, doesn’t mean you can’t become the good guy now.

puppies being cute

You can do it!

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