Perspective: As he really is

by talkbackty on Aug 30, 2011

"Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is." -William James

I will divide these thoughts into three blogs and link each here as they become completed.

Part One: Himself
Part Two: Others

Part Three: Truth

There are six people present.

There is each man as he really is.

There are many directions this post can go. Spiritual is the one that jumps into my mind first. There is either some type of spiritual void before and after we die, or there is not. I don't have any great insights to lend to that conversation and my personal opinions, at least for now, will be kept personal.

I ask that we move beyond the initial spiritual question of defining who we really are. For one who believes, the answer is usually simple; there is our true selves, and God knows whom that is.

I can't speak to what God knows.

What I am interested in is the problem of identifying ourselves.

We are bound by certain sociological factors. Culture, time period, parents, friends. More importantly, language.

You are funny.

Stay with me here because it gets a little crazy. I'm also assuming you've read the other posts.

Who is that sentence referring to? You are funny. Obviously, it is spoken by a second person (in this case me). It is being said to you, but which you? Am I saying that to the person I perceive you are, the person you perceive you are, or the person you really are?

(That was tough, I know. Read it again if you must.)

All these people exist. All these creations are real. Now we are trying to get at truth. Are you truly funny? Or is the man I imagine you are funny? How can we decipher these differences?

More mind boggling...what does the word funny mean? My long-time philosophical question on the subject: Is a joke funny if no one laughs? Is a person funny if no one thinks he is?

I know this is heavily philosophical. I can't deal in reality for this part because I don't have any specific answers. Only more questions.

Language is obviously defined by society. If you need convincing ask the thirteen year old version of myself what the word sick means...the answer is cool. "That's sick man."

Is language truth though? When I say something am I actually speaking about the true object?

If you know another language fluently you've probably come across those specific phrases that have no translation. This boggles my mind. There is no word, maybe no combination of words, in the entire language that can define what another human being is experiencing.

Obviously, their experiences are happening. They are "true". But I can not define them. I can not explain them. I can not know them.

It seems like this happens all the time. Language is one of the first separators from truth, reality, actuality. Of course, it is also necessary.

Try describing yourself in seven words or less. It doesn't need to be complete sentences. I'll give you an example:

Kind. Smart. Funny. Tired. Hungry. Happy. Quiet.

Now try and count the definitions for each of those words. Then count the translations into other languages. Then study and immerse yourself in those languages enough so you know that what your saying is actually defining "kind" and not "generous." Then in each of those languages you are now an expert in, find the root of whatever word you are saying, trace it back as far as you can. As you can see, it's incredibly difficult to say only a few simple words and truly understand the meaning.

Can we ever know our true selves when even the language we use is confining, restricting, and impeding? (See what I did there, I used three words that all mean the same thing. Which is a joke fans of The West Wing will appreciate).

Again, this is not the post for answers. At the very least I hope that you have gained some questions of your own. Maybe questions you've never thought of before. That was my goal tonight.

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he'll look for his own answers." -Patrick Rothfusss

Faced with the unending questions that come with any philosophical inquiry I am left with only this:

We must understand that life is complicated, and complicated further by our own actions.

We must be humble in our dealings with others.

We must understand that there are things that we do not know.

There are six people present.

Who are you, really?

Web 2.0 TalkBack Commercial Promo Offer

by talkbackty on Aug 24, 2011

The whole idea of Web 2.0 is to go directly to the fans. I am a fan, so at least from that angle, I know what I am talking about. The days of middle men and massive corporations selling you things are slowly coming to an end. Any time you want, you can jump on Google and do your own research, watch the trailers you want to watch, find out what books you want to read and, often, interact with the original creators of those work through social media sites.

I want to spread this concept as much as possible. The podcast, the blog, the social networks...they are all just an instrument for my own personal creation. People are doing this all the time and I want them to be able to get the word out through all the different avenues available to us.

Below is the first offer. It is rough shape. It's new. It will be prettied up a bit. For now, spread the word, and take advantage of Web 2.0.

This TalkBack commercial is easily downloadable and useable for everyone out there. Anyone can embed or share this clip, and we'd greatly appreciate it if you did. Download this and play it on your podcast and send us a thirty second spot of your own to play on our show. Don't have a podcast? No problem! Share with us your blog, gallery, myspace/facebook/google+/twitter or any thing else you got going on. When you share this commercial, we will share YOU.

Web 2.0: Created by the fans, for the fans. Supporters of D2F (direct to fans).

Email any questions, commercials, or links to or find us on Twitter @tyandrotalkback.

Direct Download

Perspective: As they see each other

by talkbackty on Aug 23, 2011

"Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is." -William James

I will divide these thoughts into three blogs and link each here as they become completed.

Part One: Himself
Part Two: Others
Part Three: Truth

There are six people present.

There is each man as the other person sees him.

This is really where our personal perspectives come into play quite heavily. We create the world we see through a complex system of incoming stimuli. When you receive similar stimuli to others around you, you are deemed healthy. If you perceive anything other than what those around you understand, you are outcasted and deemed ill.

Part of this stimuli regards people. How we see one another. How I see you. How you see me. As I wrote about last time, neither of these images is "correct."

I've created hundreds of people this way. Maybe thousands. Maybe hundreds of thousands.

Apologies, I just liked the word play of that last sentence.

I know my family quite well. I know my friends. I know my girlfriends (past and present, not concurrent). I know acquaintances. I know strangers.

I've created an image of them in my mind. I am able to recall that image at will or when they suddenly are back in my life.

In reality, I know next to nothing about any of those people. What makes us think that by passing encounters with an individual that we know them?

A sad poem from Watchmen
I heard a joke once: Man goes to doctor.
Says he's depressed.
Says life is harsh and cruel.
Says he feels all alone in a threatening world.
Doctor says, "Treatment is simple.
The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight.
Go see him.
That should pick you up."
Man bursts into tears.
Says, "But doctor... I am Pagliacci."
Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.

I'm sure the doctor knew Pagliacci.

In a stunning act of creation, we create everyone we know. We update them, and file them, and shade in the edges, and sometimes erase and start all over.

I'm sure most have seen Inception. Remember at the end of the movie when Cob (Leonardo DiCaprio) tells fake-Mal that there is no way he could have re-created her from his memories. All her complexities, all her imperfections, all her perfections. There was just too much for him to ever get it right.

Embedding was disabled by request, but here is the scene. 

That's us. We are all Cobs. Building our own world's and filling it not with people but with projections. How could we ever truly grasp the complexities, the imperfections, or the perfections of another human being?

Yet, that is exactly what we try to do. It scares me. Even those I feel closest to can never be the "real" thing. What does my best friend think of when he is alone? Does he cry at night? Does he dance when no one is looking? What are his struggles and his strengths? Do I really know any of these things?

How could I?

And so -to simplify- our brain creates images of others. Shadows of the true self. It makes our lives easier.

It is a distortion we must be aware of. We can not fool ourselves into thinking we know anyone else for who they really are.

We must be humble when dealing with others.

"The great challenge of being a human is comprehending that everyone else is human and is stuck inside of their own brains just as you are stuck inside of yours, and that all of them are also frightened and excited and desperately searching for friends and lovers and everything." -John Green

Six people are present.

How do you see others?

That was Part II, continue on...

Part Three: Truth

Perspective: As he sees himself

by talkbackty on Aug 21, 2011

"Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is." -William James

I will divide these thoughts into three blogs and link each here as they become completed.

Part One: Himself
Part Two: Others
Part Three: Truth

This is an idea I've wanted to tackle for awhile now. I've mentioned it before on the podcast and maybe hinted at it once or twice on the blog. Now I move forth to take the issue on with all the gusto I can muster.

I am unsure where I first read that quote, but it is something I have felt for many years. Not necessarily in those exact words. (Rarely, did I ever add the "man as he really is" to my own thoughts.) This division of who we are and the stresses that places on all of us.

When two people meet there are six people present.

There is each man as he sees himself.

Over the past week I have moved to a new town where barely a dozen people know my name. I have been introduced to countless people, most of whom I will not be able to recall when we meet again. By this time next week I will have been introduced to an additional 236 of my students.

Each and every one of these people has formed an opinion of me. And depending who you are and how you know me, their opinion of me may not even describe the same person you know. But I am getting ahead of myself, that is next post's topic.

What I can guarantee is that not one of the dozens of people I have met nor the the 236 students who will meet me will see me as I see myself.

When I go into a conversation, a meeting, a gathering, a party; I am constantly aware that I'm about to lie to everyone around me. Depending on the circumstance it could be large lies or small lies. Regardless, I will be attempting to deceive people around me.

I will be presenting them a version of myself that is not who I believe I am. I think it may be worse because of how conscious I am of this fact. Perhaps being able to claim ignorance makes one less guilty.

How I see myself is complicated. This may- again- be attributed to my consciousness of these social lies. Imagine every time that you gave an answer that you didn't quite believe, every time you laughed at a joke that you didn't find funny, every time you said you were fine when you were having a rough day; it was immediately logged away and a big blinker went off in your head that said, "lie, lie, lie." That's kind of what I got going on in this noggin.

Either you read the above passage and you said, "He's crazy." or you read it and said, "I get that." How you answered will greatly affect whether or not you are able to relate to this post, and the two that will follow.

Who I am often gets confused if I can't keep all these little lies in place. Does Jamie from church think I like her cookies? Does Jimmy from work think I like when he cracks jokes about our co-workers? Does Jared from 2nd period think I'm a hard-ass because I gave him detention. It's tough sometimes for me to keep everything straight.

Here it goes:

I think I am reasonable and rational. I think I am a good listener and a good speaker. I think I am in touch and responsive to my emotions and to others. I think I am good with people when I chose to be. I think I am smart. I think I am good at taking in multiple points of view. I think I have decent control over how I am viewed by others. I think I am observant. I think I am protective of those I care about but I've over-protected myself to let very few people in. I think I am a good man.

I know that any problem relating to confusion is self-created. If I could only tell the truth 100% of the time to everyone around me I would be all good. I don't know if I could do that.

Could you?

Six people are present.

How do you see yourself?

That was Part I, continue on...

Part Two: Others
Part Three: Truth


by talkbackty on Aug 18, 2011

No matter how noble an act, there's always at least one guy who complains about it.

Someone gives all his money away... "He's doing it for the tax break."

Someone volunteers her time... "What does she get out of that?"

Someone helps an old lady across the street... "He was crossing the street anyway."

Someone asks if there's anything he can do for anyone... "Nobody asked you."

Lesson: ignore that guy.

via Chris Guillebeau

Instead enjoy the beauty of life.

via Me

Traveling: There and Back Again

by talkbackty on Aug 12, 2011

This post is probably more for myself than anyone else. It is a simple collection of the many things from my trip, including:

TalkBack 33:

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Zion National Park
Zion National Park

Zion National Park
Oregon Gardens

Oregon Gardens

Oregon Gardens
Oregon Gardens

And finally links to the other blogs I've written.

Grand Canyon:
Energy of People:

Traveling: The Energy of People

by talkbackty on Aug 6, 2011

I broke up my driving over many days instead of doing it all at once. It also gave me a chance to see a bunch of friends...and not live out of my car for awhile. Which was great. I felt like even my car started saying, "Man, you smell."

So my trip has consisted of two periods/phases/sections: The alone period and the not alone period.

The different feel to each of these periods is striking. I am a solitary guy. I'm introverted, need to be alone to recharge and think, enjoy the quiet. At least that's what I would have told myself a week ago. Now I am unsure.

This is a work in progress (in my head) so bear with me as I try to discover what I am talking about.

Jay Mohr (@jaymohr37) talks about stand-up comedy as moving energy. The crowd comes in with a bunch of different energy, and the comedian comes in with his energy; and his job is to feel the energy in the room, take it, change it, and then redeliver it back to the audience. Normally in a way that makes them laugh, but also in ways that can make them think. See George Carlin for the best examples of both.

I tell you that to tell you this. I think we all have different energies that are constantly bumping into the rest of the energies present. If you're a paranormalist you call this aura. If you're religious you call this a soul. If you are a Jedi you call it the Force.

I don't like to get tied up with words to define indefinable concepts. So I'm rocking it like Jay Mohr and going with energies.

The self-generated energy- the introverted energy- is the one that I feed off normally. It's what inspired the last post. It's what drives this blog. It's where I find my motivation for doing things like driving 3,000 miles alone. And up until a few days ago, I would have said it was the only energy I really used.

Then I stayed with a certain family for a day (I didn't ask if they wanted their name on the blog, so we will go sans name for privacy reasons). Let me first explain that I am the oldest in my family, my brother is 18, and my sister is 16. However, I haven't exactly spent a lot of time at home the past two years.

Needless to say, it has been awhile since I was around little kids.

This is my family. I put this in because this post was text-heavy and it needed a break. See, one small child. The tiny one is my first cousin, once removed and lives in Georgia with her family. I, for the record, am the gray-shirted, jean-wearing, strapping young lad in the first row.
This host family has one married-aged, one college aged, three teenagers, and two young kids (ages 5 and 9, if memory serves). Along with the little ones there are three friends that, as far as I could tell, spent the majority of their time at the house too. Making five kids under 10.

My introverted, self-generating energy wasn't exactly front and center.

The energy present was palpable. Kids are running, screaming, crying and laughing almost constantly. Teenagers are asking about parties and colleges and all that good stuff. And super-mom (and the college-aged daughter who played super-mom while mom was away for a bit) is handling all with ease.

I enjoyed it quite a bit. Like Jay Mohr I consider myself someone who is good at feeling out other people's energies. With young kids there is no "feeling out." They bring the energy and smack you in the face with it. Sometimes they just smack you in the face. 

Either way there is no mystery. Everything is a game. Everything is funny. Everything is sad. Everything is...exactly what it is at that certain moment.

It's beautifully simplistic and surprisingly complex all at the same time. As we get older it's all about what happened to us previously, and what we are going to do in the future. Rarely are we so enthralled with each moment as these little kids. And that energy is infectious.

I love the whole concept Jay Mohr outlines. A movement of energy from audience to performer back to the audience. It's a concept I've latched on to since I heard it a couple of months back. However, while Jay Mohr was talking about adjusting the energy in order to make people smile and laugh; I'm talking about letting others energies affect our own in positive ways.

Letting the enjoyment and enthrallment of the young inspire us to play often. Letting the beautiful work and talent of the musician inspire us to think deeply. Letting the strength and foundation of our parents inspire us to build ourselves up.

More than anything though; allow the energy of conversation to flow freely and deeply between friends. Be honest. Be kind. Use all the energies available to us to create wonderful moments filled with laughter, bliss and happiness.

Thanks for reading.


Traveling: Grand Canyon

by talkbackty on Aug 1, 2011

"No man is brave that has never walked a hundred miles. If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name. Travel is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass. A long stretch of road will teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet introspection" -Patrick Rothfuss

It has been a long few days. I am somewhat exhausted, but very much excited to be alive. That's all I've really got at the's great to be alive.

Don't be silly, I've got way more than that.

I traveled from San Diego, CA to the Grand Canyon, AZ. It took about nine hours. During that little jaunt I stopped and got new tires because apparently mine were so worn a pebble could puncture them.

Arriving at the Grand Canyon was like passing through the gates of hell...excpet it was raining. A lot. I thought to myself, isn't this the middle of the desert? Are they getting all 5 inches of rainfall out of the way in one day?

Fortunately, the view made up for it...and then some. Words can never describe the vastness, the beauty, or the unbelievable power of nature. Trust me, I want to be able to tell you. I can't. I literally can not come up with words to describe how I felt, what I saw, or the  blissful serenity it caused me.

It felt spiritual. So if you have a moment that you felt particularly connected to everything around you; as if suddenly conscious of some other dimension that always existed but you had never seen before. A dimension where you can feel, see, smell, touch, and taste everything all at once.  It was something like that...

To be one. To be centered. To have seen the face of God. To have touched Nirvana. To be at peace.

I'm putting pictures up but, believe me, they don't do the place justice. Maybe I'm not that good of photographer, but my gut instinct says that the Grand Canyon is a place for painters. The landscape is too vast to all be perfect. One tiny area may be the greatest photo in the world, but when you try to show it all there is too much.

Two quotes really stuck with me as I was exploring the Grand Canyon. The first is from a book I'm reading called The Life of Pi:

"The finite within the infinite, the infinite within the finite."

The second is a famous quote from William Blake:

"To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour."

Both bring some much needed coherence to this explanation of my time at the Grand Canyon. Being there was like seeing all and nothing at once. As if I was both the most important person in the universe and also an insignificant collection of atoms. I was in awe. And it was awesome.

What I'm left with is this.

DFTBA. Dont' forget to be awesome. Don't forget to allow yourself to be amazed. Don't forget to take in every moment you can. Remember to be kind to others. Remember to treat yourself with the respect and love that you deserve as a remarkable human being.

Remember to love others.

Thank you for reading.

TalkBack Podcast Network

by talkbackty

Ignore publishing date: this was written on July 30th, 2011.

Big news in the world of TalkBack. We are starting a new show, and a single podcast has now birthed a network!

TalkBack will remain basically the same. We will aggregate news, bring you our Love its/Hate its and let you know about all the upcoming entertainment stuff. After that we will mess around and talk about whatever fancies us.

The new show will start as a mini-podcast to air randomly under the current TalkBack podcast. If you have subscribed to TalkBack on itunes, you will get the new podcast as well. At least for now.

TalkBack Spoilercast will do in depths reviews of a single movie, show, or book. So for example a current episode could be called, TalkBack Spoilercast: Harry Potter 7. We will stop doing that weird thing on our podcast when we warn the listener of spoiler alerts. Instead, if you are interested in one specific thing you can listen to a podcast only about that topic, and skip the ones you want to save for yourself.

It's an exciting idea. My favorite part is that Spoilercast will be a great opportunity to bring in numerous guests. The idea was first pitched by our Australian mate James, and you can bet he will have a big part in numerous episodes of Spoilercast.

Other guests can include Ro's friends, family, Jame's friends in Australia and anyone from the random collection of events I consider my life.

With this expanding network I'm taking a moment to look back. To reminisce. I'm currently sitting in the middle of nowhere at a Shell station getting my tires fixed. It's blazing hot and Katy Perry is rocking over the my foot is tapping quite a bit. (Teenage Dream, for those interested)

I have been heading from San Diego towards the Grand Canyon all day. It's been a wonderful drive. I will do a more detailed post about my traveling experiences but I would like to take this opportunity to say how amazing the benefits are from beginning the original podcast. It has led to an explosion in my work output. I've started this blog; managed a couple Twitter, facebook, and Google+ accounts; and met a lot of cool people. Now I'm traveling the world (limited to the Western United States).

Thank you to all who made it possible and I hope you will stay with us- and spread the word- as we continue this adventure.