Top 10 Things I Learned In My Years On Facebook or How Many “Friends” Can I Lose In One Post?

FYI: There were 3001 when I posted this. LOL

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“Live and learn.”

Conservatively, I estimate I “invested” 1400 hours of my life into Facebook over the past four years which is 500 hours more than it took to produce my book. Let that sink in a moment. I have dwelled on this for some time now. It is because of this significant amount of time that I did not just delete my Facebook account when the final straw arrived. I was close though. For better or worse, there is a legacy we leave behind on Facebook for our “friends”, if not the general public. However, if you posted as I did in a willy-nilly devil-may-care sort of way, you will spend days trying to clean it all up in order to leave a “best of” collection of posts worth scrolling before saying your final farewell. Be prepared for Facebook to “limit” your profile and page(s), a.k.a. putting you in Facebook jail, when you attempt such radical changes.

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1) Some people are not who they claim to be.

I am not talking about authors writing under pen names - which is absolutely necessary to avoid harassment - I am talking about people with multiple online personas. Don’t make the mistake of PROJECTING your level of integrity or values, a.k.a. honesty, discretion, and honour onto people you meet. It will bite you every time.

You can protect yourself by using a free deep web search at: pipl.com.

If aliases appear, search each one. If you know multiple locations where they have lived, search each city by each alias. It could take a while to compile all the data, and you should prepare yourself as the results can be nothing less than staggering. Look for, and even search, relatives, known associates, and phone numbers to confirm the site has not made an error. There are pay sites starting from $2.00 that generate a full report including criminal activities. You might want to consider one of these if you are in deep with someone you met online. May your god be kind with what you find.

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2) Don’t be naïve.

If you look up naïve in the dictionary, I’m sure you will see my picture there. I viewed joining the author communities on social media as an opportunity to connect with bright, engaging, open-minded seekers of wisdom . . . kindred spirits who would share thoughts as pen pals would, only using modern technology. Overall, nothing could be farther from the truth. Yes, you will encounter a few worthwhile decent types, but in a game where we count followers in the thousands, they represent a minuscule percentage.

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3) “Haste makes waste.”

I remember being excited about making “friends” on Facebook when I first started out. So excited in fact, I would send friend requests to anyone who had the words author or writer on their profile. Back then, the prevailing theory suggested the key to success was a numbers game; the one with the biggest following would get a publishing deal. People were actually buying followers 10,000 at a time. I didn’t buy into this. I viewed social media as a popularity contest which does not translate into book sales ─ the equivalent to putting flyers in your neighbor’s mailboxes. I have yet to see data which is convincing enough to see it any other way. If I knew better, I would have cultivated relationships with influencers, readers of my genre, publishers, publicists, agents, reviewers, and bloggers ─ all the people I did not have as “friends” but who might have made a difference to the success achieved by my book. Had I known then what I know now, my friends list would look very different than it does today.

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4) Cocaine would have been a better choice.

If you are going to choose an addiction, social media is the worst possible choice. THERE IS NO HIGH, and the more time you spend on social media the less happy you become. Anyone who has read my book, knows I am anti-escapist regardless of whether the high is produced naturally or artificially. Regular cocaine users know the drug has a diminishing return. The high is never as good as the first time they tried it unless they increase the quantity used; and the more they use, the more frequent their cravings become until it affects their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no hypocrite. I let my demons out for an occasional stroll, but I pick my poisons carefully to ensure that none take charge of my life. Social media hooks us on being connected and never being alone. It is dangerous because humans must be alone in order to think, learn, and grow. Social media stagnates the mind and, Facebook at least, seems bent on depressing the populace. Endless distractions thwart creativity and productivity. If you: feel obligated to post on social media; look in regularly for comments on posts; have never turned off Messenger or notifications or your device, then you should pick different poisons for a while until you get a handle on the monkey on your back.

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5) I kept my promise.

I used my Facebook profile page as a playground where I could share multiple aspects of my personality. This allowed me a place to vent . . . and vent I did; or more correctly, am continuing to do here in what will become my last post to Facebook. Early on I promised the real me would be on display at all times to my “friends”. The people on my friends list did not get an artificial construct or watered down perfect illusion of who I am. Nope, they got the full Monte, or at least as much Monte as Facebook would allow. My inner bad boy posted what little nudity Facebook community standards would tolerate for two reasons: Firstly, I am a rebel who sees freedoms dying faster than the planet is losing species; and secondly, nothing in the world is more beautiful to me than the female form. I shared my sense of humour as well, even when I knew it might be crossing someone’s line every now and then. I also shared my philosophies, and those from others which resonated within me, in what I now see as a futile effort to awaken the sleeping oblivious sheeple. The proof is in the likes. There were next to none. Recently, I wanted to find out if I was out of Facebook jail so I posted: ‘Somebody, anybody, tell me if you can see me.’ This post got more attention than a year’s worth of meaningful posts, and at the same time, it made a sad statement on the superficiality of the average Facebook user.

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6) “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

As an author, I should have divided my time equally between Goodreads, twitter, and Facebook because Goodreads has proven itself to put your books in front of readers, and unlike Facebook, you can reach out to everyone and anyone on twitter. Time is the one thing you can never get more of and it does not allow do-overs. Spend yours wisely.

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7) Nazi hamsters! WTF?

Fuckerberg, and the Nazis in the shadows behind him, are using facebook for data collection on each and every one of us, as are most of the major corporations in Silicon Valley. The difference is Facebook knows far more about us than Google, and possibly even the makers of our devices and the companies that supply operating systems as long as they do not breach their published privacy policies which most have already been caught doing. Facebook considers EVERYTHING you share to be their property. This includes Messenger. Yup, your selfies and home-made porn videos are all sitting in a data farm somewhere and you can never truly delete them. They lured us away from My Space with the promise of something better. A promise which was never kept right from the beginning. Their endless adjustments to the algorithm, have severely limited our outreach to readers while they stayed busy categorizing and compartmentalizing us into something reminiscent of a box filled with hamsters where everyone is climbing all over each other. Good luck. I’m out.

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8) Let’s see Facebook for what it is: a societal manipulation site.

That doesn’t have the same innocuous ring to it as social media site, does it. In my time on Facebook, I have been appalled by posts in my News Feed ranging from animal cruelty to the shooting of an unarmed man by police, with a far too great number of others in between. Were they fake news as with the Trumpeter’s election campaigners who mysteriously showed up only to disappear shortly after the election? We can never know. What is clear however, is we are affected, influenced, and manipulated by what we see and hear in all forms of media. Worst of all, we become desensitized to atrocious human behavior and I believe this is NO ACCIDENT; but where they are intentionally herding the minds of the sheeple. When three billion users worldwide have been programmed to no longer give a shit about life, the world can easily fall into anarchy. On that day, the frightened sheeple will willingly turn over the last of their freedoms for safety. The single biggest difference between other forms of media and Facebook is there are no restrictions placed on what Facebook is allowed to broadcast. Facebook can do what they want with the get-out-of-jail-free-card of being a social media platform not responsible for the content created by users. There is no Editor In Chief to hold accountable for what is thrust before our eyes. Facebook’s new take on morality is not for me. It shouldn’t be for you either.

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9) Some people make it bearable.

If I look at my years on Facebook as I would my life, there are some parallels. I have a few regrets but there was also a great deal of laughter. There were a handful of people who made the time spent on Facebook almost seem worthwhile. I hope they keep in touch. There were also some standouts who stepped up when it really mattered, and they have my deepest gratitude.

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10) Facebook is what you make of it.

If you are just an individual who wants to keep tabs on people you already know in the real world, or if you want to find people you have lost touch with, then have at it while being VERY cautious of what you post or message to people. Keep your circle small and be wary of people you have not met in person when they send you a friend request. If you have the misfortune of being a writer who is following conventional wisdom, a.k.a. forced kicking and screaming into the social media spotlight as I was, then things will be tougher. Absorb and retain the previous 1800 words and I will leave you with the immortal words of my favorite Zen master: ‘Mind what you have learned; save you it can.’ – Yoda.

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Rationalizations: What To Do When The Internet Is Down

First thing this morning my neighbor sent a text to inform me the Internet is still down, but they claim to be working on it. Apparently a major cable was cut last evening leaving our entire area without service.

Thanks for the update., I thought to myself as I ran my morning self-diagnostics to see if I was fully functional before getting out of bed. I worked out yesterday so you never know. Out of HABIT I turned on my computer anyway and headed to the coffee-maker.

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As I stood in the kitchen waiting for The Nectar Of Awakening (© 2019 E. A. Barker LOL), I pondered the importance of the Internet to him because he is a well-to-do guy who loves his toys. His home is run by Google and he likes his fully-automated lifestyle, and I don’t think he likes it when I speak of the potential for abuse of the users privacy. He only has his phone now. All that is good in his life has perished. Perhaps this is why he sent this out of character early text which woke me from some badly needed sleep.

Coffee in hand, I sat down on the couch and drank the entire over-sized first mug while staring blankly at the Windows start up screen. The only thought I can recall during this semi-conscious period was: They chose a nice shade of blue.

What will I do this morning? Maybe go for a walk? Too cold. Read? Eyes still too sleepy and brain not receptive to input. Write something? There it is. But what? We’ll wing it.

Anyone who reads my crap knows of my contempt for the Internet and my fervent belief that it is a mind control weapon employed against the oblivious masses in the final stages of our enslavement. Yet, it has also become a part of my ROUTINE to have my coffee while scrolling twitter and chatting with online friends.

It was not always this way. I remember having a satisfying life before all this book writing nonsense took over.

Here is an example of RATIONALIZATIONS running wild:

I RATIONALIZED this CHANGE IN MY BEHAVIOR by TELLING MYSELF this was necessary to launch and promote my book. I further RATIONALIZED I should continue promoting my work beyond the one year period I had originally planned for as there were still occasional requests for interviews and the like coming in. I continued my RATIONALIZATION to stay on social media because we were entering the peak selling season. That’s no time to quit. My latest RATIONALIZATION, after almost four years since I first appeared on social media, is I now have a handful of people whose words and thoughts I enjoy. It would be wrong to abandon them.

Or would it?

A flaw in my thinking just made itself known on mug three. I am PROJECTING my character traits onto them; people I have never met. I ass-u-me they share my values: morality; ethics; scruples; sense of decency etc., when in truth, I really have little hard evidence to support the mental picture of them I have created in my mind. It is hard enough to discover the TRUE NATURE of people we meet in real life, without compounding the problem by believing what we see or are told through an electronic medium.

Recent─all too public events─began with provocative hurtful posts which I could have been spared from seeing. I retaliated. That was wrong. The enraged are not in touch with rational thought. Things escalated from there into a tangled mess of unimagined proportions. If you witnessed any of it, my apologies. I now have first-hand knowledge of the gossips, spies, stalkers, trolls, and double agents we have all heard about when chatting about facebook dramas.

I am disgusted on many levels by many things, but mostly for allowing myself to be temporarily lowered into The Pit Of The Petty (© 2019 E. A. Barker LOL) where the worst parts of humanity reside.

Unchecked RATIONALIZATIONS can lead to DEMONIZATION or even DELUSION.

I am only guilty of the first two. I plead temporary insanity. I have and continue to work hard to be fully conscious and self-aware, and I pride myself on my ability to stay grounded in reality. This heightens your powers of perception so you can see things for what they are, and not how you would like them to be. However, this trait will not be considered endearing to anyone who lives in a fantasy world of imagined futures. Normally, I am so good at this people have called me a mind reader, or suggested I have them under surveillance, or even that I can predict the future. In truth, once you have really explored WHO YOU ARE and wrestled your demons into submission─with only occasional escape attempts─you are given a gift of heightened sensitivity which is composed mostly of sympathy, empathy, and compassion. Some call this being loving or caring; I just call them good people.

Humans like to think of themselves as complex creatures when in fact most human behavior is transparent and predictable to the few of us who bother to know ourselves. Once you know the best and worst you are capable of, and even though your self-control can slip at times, you can make shockingly accurate assessments of people as well as predictions of behavior and consequences.

To the superficial and narcissistic, life will always be a mysterious sequence of tragic events. They create petty RATIONALIZATIONS of their abhorrent behavior with statements like: “The heart wants what the heart wants.” or “We are only human.” or “They told me to do it.”. . .

Every single one of the seven billion souls on this planet are capable of moving beyond this most basic form of existence. I sincerely hope the readers of this will be some of those who do.

This was the second time I became embroiled in a facebook drama. There won’t be a third. Farewell facebook friends and followers. It was quite an experience which I can no longer RATIONALIZE.

Keep in touch by email if you like.

I TOTALLY get why people read escapist fiction.

Nonfiction blows sometimes.

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I am a seeker. I read nonfiction to find answers to big questions.

One big question of many that perplex me when it comes to the State of Israel and Jewish people is: Why are 14.2 million people more newsworthy in the West than the other 6.86 billion people of the world? Is there more to this than media control, ownership, or the claimed disproportionate number of Jewish people working in Western media? I don’t know. When I don’t know something, I read, and keep on reading until I find answers. This tiny segment of the world’s population endlessly reminds us of their stories of persecution; some of these stories are based on historically documented facts, while others have so little empirical evidence they border on the mythological. A media spotlight affords a tiny state some protection from transgressors, but in doing so, it can also cast a shadow on any freshly dug graves.

If you want to truly get a handle on a culture, you must dive into their indoctrinations.

The world’s religions mastered indoctrination long ago, so this, I thought, would be a good area to acquire a better grasp of a people without diving into the more volatile areas of politics and economics.

Yesterday’s read began with enthusiasm as I found a book which was touted to be: A Guide to Jewish Wisdom; something that appealed to me on a couple of different levels even though I am not Jewish, and have—putting it mildly—a general dislike of almost all religions for their exploitive,  for-profit business model which excludes aid to anyone who is not a paying customer. Firstly, this book appealed to the researcher inside me as I am usually forced to open dozens of books over several days just to find puzzle pieces which I then have to make notes on and later assemble into something that makes sense. It’s a good day when you find an author who has done all the work for you. Secondly, I have not given Judaism its due, relative to the volume of reading I have done on all of the larger religions. Oh sure I have skimmed the Tanakh and read the greatest hits of the Torah in my fact-finding missions to compare stories from other religions, but I really did not have a “feel” for this group’s beliefs. I really hoped this book on the mystical side of Judaism: Kabbalah, would give me a better understanding of the big picture.

A great many authors should thank their lucky stars I don’t publish reviews or ratings below three stars on a five star scale.

This book dodged a bullet. When we choose a nonfiction book to read, we are encouraged to pay attention to the credentials of the author as though only a credentialed person can put forth a valid thought—or so the publishing world a.k.a. print media would have us believe. The author is a Rabbi and an educational psychologist so I expected a balance of theology with logic and reason. What I got was a heavy dose of mysticism, magic, and the supernatural with a smattering of references to empirical research that, at best, offered a weak endorsement of how the magic worked. The spiritual mumbo jumbo, of course, told the believer how to think and live “correctly”:

‘You must be a giving person.’

In fact, there was an entire paragraph on how to appropriately greet and compensate a Kabbalist or Hassidic rebbe if you were ever fortunate enough to garner their attention.

‘You must not be an egotist.’

And yet the author saw fit to publish a photo of himself with the Dali Lama instead of one where he was feeding or counseling “displaced” Palestinian children.

In fairness, I expect hypocrisy in all books from theologians, however once you strip away the nonsense, there were about fifty pages of good reading where the author succinctly explained: The Ten Sefirot, the meaning of the Star of David, and he interpreted a number of commonly used Jewish religious terms while passing along some insights into Judaic “philosophy”. The book was just 200 pages so I’ll give it a 1.25 star rating.

Every book will give you something.

What did I learn? Nothing Earth shattering, but it would appear that Judaism:

  • Is a very complex belief system which requires significant interpretation.
  • Has a significant number of teachings related to self.
  • Places women closer to men in terms of equality.
  • Has roots in Zoroastrianism.
  • Is open to different planes of existence, science, and multiple universes.
  • Believes they have all the answers.
  • Believes Hebrew is the Holy tongue—necessary to enter a higher reality.
  • Believes their religious men are above the average follower.
  • Believes the Torah contains a hidden spiritual code supported by mathematics.
  • Codify beliefs into law in much the same way Muslims do.

This lacklustre book did however point me at a new target of inquiry. It seems that in the 1700’s a scholastic elite were the only ones with access to Jewish literary works. This wreaks of potential tampering akin to Constantine or King James. I’ll let you know if anything interesting turns up once I have chased down this lead.

Greatest Hits Volume 1: Thoughts for Thinkers & Seekers

Put a tweet in your kid’s lunchbox.

They tell me young people will only read memes or short posts of 500 words or less so I decided to give them a “best of” package of last year’s tweets. Please feel free to share any which stir something within you.
1x ignorence

4x phil

5x giving

6x books

7x humans

9x behaviour

10x insight

11x change

12x truths

14x dangers

15x lies

16x teaching

18x learning

19x truth

22x control

23x therapy

24x growth

25x role models

26x self

27x happiness

28x collective

29x readers

30x big brother

31x news

32x self

33x touch others

34x library bookstore

36x polarization

37x positivity

38x change edu

39x politics media

40x reading empathy

42x narcisists

43x happiness self

44x grounded

45x facts

46x internet influence

47x internet freedom

48x social media

49x obliviousness

51x change evil

52x active

53x political corr

54x edu

56x earth

57x open minds

58x happiness

59x knowledge expectations

61x self control

63x patterns

67x reading

68x awareness

71x knowledge happiness

72x self

Your Beliefs Create Your Reality. Part 9

Awareness is only for people who can work a problem.

So far in this series, we have explored a number of topics, all of which are influenced by what we CHOOSE to believe or by the beliefs handed down to us, which we ACCEPTED because we TRUSTED the source.

Here is a recap:

  1. Is America as DIVIDED as we are being led to believe?
  2. As parents, are we CONSCIOUS of what beliefs we are instilling in our children?
  3. Are we AWARE?
  4. Two dimensional thinking: There is a third alternative to ACCEPTANCE or REJECTION.
  5. Can what we believe affect our HEALTH?
  6. COPING is directly related to our beliefs. Choose wisely.
  7. One of my very limited number of beliefs: The Internet is bad! Yet here I am on it—the irony.
  8. Are good people disappearing or do we just have to be less JUDGMENTAL?

Can too much knowledge and awareness be detrimental?

YES!

There exists in about 10% of the population, a desire to know the TRUTH of what mankind is; our place in the universe; our destiny etc., which leads me to one of my favorite sayings:

Do not ask a question if you are not prepared to hear the answer!

“The truth will set you free” ONLY works for a very few among us who are capable of coping with the truth of what is. These people have disciplined minds and a broad scope of knowledge which is not found in compartmentalized academic institutions. Academia can still teach us a great deal about how to perform solid research, but once you look at any one discipline, it becomes immediately apparent that doctrine is being adhered to.

Only a BALANCED mind should attempt such a journey.

You will need a fundamental understanding of a great many academic disciplines, if you are to find the answers you seek without being “led down the garden path” by the myriad of intellectual booby-traps which have been carefully placed in EVERY FIELD you will explore.

  •  Philosophy will help you to remain calm and centered as you uncover the disturbing. It is also the best place to learn about morals, ethics and scruples without BIAS.
  • Psychology will help you to control your thoughts, and it lets you see how others have been attempting to do this very thing—and on a vast scale.
  • History has documented all the important human, political, and economic events, but NEVER lose sight of the fact that most history books (and all books in other disciplines as well): were written by the conquerors; were subjected to an academic review process; are part of an ONGOING editorial process within the publishing house with each new edition; and may have been released purely as a propaganda piece to throw the unwary off the scent.
  • Theology—NOT Religious Studies—viewed with the eyes of a historical researcher.
  • Biology and Genetics will show you the inner workings of humans and what drives them.
  • Astrophysics and Particle Physics, if for no other reason than they are getting closer everyday to: “The Theory of Everything”.

You will need all of this, PLUS a solid understanding of yourself, to be able to wade through the obfuscation. There will be days where you close a reference book after days of reading, and say to yourself:

“Well that’s bullshit, if I ever did see it.”

Hint: Don’t waste your time studying Economics because it is all lies—and so far as Political “Science” is concerned . . . you might as well enroll in Theater Arts.

When young impetuous people ask me for the answers, I tell them one of two things:

“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!”

or:

“Follow the money.”

The second is for the few who I believe could benefit from such knowledge. I have followed the money, and thus far, I have thoroughly researched two hundred years of human history. I assure you, you will not like my TRUTHS.

So, should the majority remain just one of the oblivious huddled masses?

No!!!

Anyone can become more than they are.

There are a great many levels of awareness. The key to a better life is to know some “TRUTHS” which will assist you in making informed choices for you and your loved ones.

Become aware of ONLY what your psyche can handle.

You may have to work on yourself before you can “level up”.

Not everyone can be a Fox Mulder.

Your Beliefs Create Your Reality: Part 3

What you CHOOSE to believe in is a measure of your level of consciousness or awareness.

What you CHOOSE to believe in makes a statement about you as an individual and all those who helped to shape you.

  1. Your parents.
  2. Your friends and relatives.
  3. Your educators and mentors.

They are all products of the society in which they live.

But it was YOU who ultimately made a CHOICE as to:

  • who you would emulate.
  • who your role model(s) would be.
  • how big of an impact you would allow them to have on your life.
  • what you wanted for yourself from life.

There is an endless debate in the social sciences as to whether the significant early life choices are made consciously or subconsciously or by a combination of both, and how much control an individual has over external influences. It really does not matter. The only thing that truly matters is:

We can change WHO we are anytime we wish.

It only takes is a willingness on your part to LEARN about the most interesting person in the world: YOU! Instead of researching the lives of the rich and famous, spend that time studying your being.

How to begin to explore your inner self:

  1. ACKNOWLEDGE that you are a product of your upbringing and your society and there was nothing you could do about this.
  2. ACKNOWLEDGE that you were not aware of this when you started your journey, and FORGIVE yourself and those who influenced your early choices.
  3. Become introspective. ANALYZE how you became WHO you are. Chronicle the sequence of events in your life AND THE CHOICES YOU MADE, whether good or bad, that have brought you to the present.
  4. BE GRATEFUL for the good choices you made, but LET GO of feelings of regret and resentment as they will hold you back in your search to understand how you  became you.
  5. PLEDGE not to repeat your mistakes, and to THINK before you act whenever you are tempted by past negative patterns of behavior.
  6. Remind yourself that YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING YOU DO, as well as EVERYTHING YOU ARE WILLING TO ACCEPT.
  7. STOP FOLLOWING BLINDLY. Question everything–especially when someone tells you not to question something. Open your mind to new possibilities. We are CONDITIONED by our societies to BELIEVE certain things about ourselves and others. Our parents, teachers, media and religious figureheads are quick to fill our heads with THEIR BELIEFS rather than encouraging us to research and study a subject to reach our own conclusions.
  8. CHANGE how quickly you make decisions and form opinions. When presented with a new idea or a new opportunity, do not make a snap decision based on your CONDITIONING. Instead of ACCEPTING or REJECTING, try THINKING. Pondering allows more time to consider the viability and ramifications of an idea or opportunity.
  9. STOP BEING LAZY. Making changes to your life requires you to WANT MORE which requires you to DO MORE!
  10. STOP BEING GULLIBLE. An informed well-read INDIVIDUAL is rarely taken in by charlatans or easily manipulated, except when their sympathies and kindness are exploited. These traits are potential liabilities but worth keeping as part of WHO you are. You would be less human without them.
  11. YOU WILL NEED EXPERT GUIDANCE. You could buy a thought provoking book to use as a guide, like Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers! which chronicles my misadventures in life and would be a good START on your path to behavioral understanding. Next, you could research a number of the more serious disciplines to find meaningful insights into, philosophy, psychology, theology, sociology and so on. It is possible you will hit a stumbling block on your road to enlightenment.  If this should happen, I recommend a chat with a professional therapist (psychologist) who may supply the PERSPECTIVE you need to keep moving forward in your quest to answer the question: WHO AM I?

It is easy to follow.

It is tougher to be a thinking individual . . .

ONLY thinking individuals can change their REALITY.