A One-Person “Working Performance” by Michael Shoeman
February 3, 2020
This is the rough first copy of an opening monologue. Please be aware that all comments or discussion generated by this post is subject to dramatic reenactment. Confrontation is not unexpected. Kindness is appreciated.
The concept for the performance of this working script is simple:
Nine weeks. I will attempt to compose a post for five days per week to make up forty-five days of writing.
One new monologue a day — approximately two minutes in length — allowing about five to ten seconds between monologues for transitions.
This will make up a ninety-minute performance once this process is over.
Ask any questions. Make any comments. I don’t care if the nature of your response is political, spiritual, philosophical, whatever. If you feel called to play a role in this story, you are more than welcome to participate.
What is going on? Here in the US, there is political and social dissention being described as “civil war”. In the UK, there is Brexit. In Australia — catastrophic bush fires. In the Middle East — never ending war and violence. In Europe and Asia there are riots. In China, reports of disease.
Everyone has a different perspective. Everyone has a different version of the story.
To quote Rukeyser: “The universe is made up of stories, not atoms.” What might be the ramifications of our reality if this statement turns out to be entirely accurate?
I truly believe we truly are one ninety-minute deep conversation away from an entirely new experience.
Before we proceed, I want to acknowledge Patricia Omoqui and her Earth Angels Rise: Thrive Academy for providing the catalyzing exercise for this new work. I will more than likely be referencing my own inner journey to Omoqui’s very inspired coursework.
This entry clocks in at precisely two minutes and fifteen seconds upon a cold reading. This fulfills my quota for today.
So…what happens next? Where do we begin? What do you want to talk about? What is most important to you?
February 4, 2020
“Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the ‘good guys’ lost.
Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
That’s how it goes.
Spoiler alert: I’ve already written the last fifteen minutes of this one-person presentation.
The most dangerous phrase to begin a thought is with, “Many people believe…(fill in the blank.)” It opens up a deep exploration without having to commit oneself fully to a romanticized ideology.
Here’s one such story: Many people believe Facebook is a CIA-sponsored tool used for the purposes of social engineering.
I’m not supposed to say that. In fact, if you’re reading this now it probably means someone wants you to read this post. Intelligent people are very lonely, and I would be lucky if only two of you acknowledge these thoughts – let alone comprehend what I am saying. This depth of reflection solidifies the feeling of isolation between like-minded people, while giving a target for a populist contingency to attack. The “social engineering” is revealed in isolating the positive thinker while sucking together the negative ones to attack the former – like a pack of ravenous wolves.
“Everybody knows the dice are loaded, the war is over, and the fight was fixed.”
On December 26, 2019, Facebook was paid to present an “Open Letter” to very specific audience who might have benefitted from learning advanced economic theory, emotional coping skills, and techniques for reversing the effects of these speculative social engineering practices. The results of this paid announcement were…shall we say…like today’s “glitch” from the Iowa caucuses…disappointing.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s just the say that the Peanuts meme’ is very true. “No one is going to provide you the knowledge to overthrow them.”
No, that knowledge will have to come from the voices of the unheard.
Apropos this working copy of the script is first presented here on the Facebook platform.
Thank you, Karen and Nefertiti, for responding to yesterday’s “Opening Monologue”. Tomorrow’s entry will directly address your thoughts on “safety” and “happiness”.
Two minutes, forty-eight seconds. I’m ahead of schedule.
February 6, 2020
Conflict of interest.
Day three of working on this one-person performance. (A family emergency kept me from writing yesterday.) I find there is an internal conflict of interest between “the story I want to tell” and “the story that is emerging in real time”.
The story I want to tell is about “Harmony”. How achieving it is a matter of keeping things simple and deep. The story we seem to be conditioned to pursue is about “Unity”. But this requires us to complicate and keep things shallow.
“The story I want to tell” is how the observation the social engineering efforts in this online world will inevitably lead to economic and social equality.
But that’s my ego talking. Nobody really cares about that.
What people care about most is their deepest fears.
A few weeks ago, I had attended a group focused on emotional “Warrior” work. One of the things we were asked was, “What is the thing you least want the group to know about you?”
I will keep my answer from that day to myself. My answer for this entry is simple, and one that I am scared to reveal to my Facebook friends and acquaintances, is this:
“My life, according to convention, is a dismal failure.”
Case in point: I wanted to create a documentary film…and I still may do so. However, out of a $50,000 proposed budget, I was only able to raise $43 in pledged funding.
Part of my film was to address helping people wrestling with suicidal ideation. Well, after only raising only $43, “convention” would have me reconsider suicidal ideation.
Let me introduce you to my “Upstage-Left Brain” section of the floor plan. A.k.a, a theatrical representation of the four archetypal roles being played out there this evening. I call this quadrant “The Artist”. (Mike moves upstage left where there is a courtroom scene. During the rest of the February 6 monologue he puts on a sport jacket, tie, and glasses which he will wear into the February 7 scene.) Our production company is called “Not On My Watch”. We travel producing a play about suicide and bullying and then invite the audiences into a workshop discussion to talk about what really matters. Having seventeen years’ experience working with suicide survivors in this kind of work, I have taken on the role of director. I also the play the role of the Prosecuting Attorney, or rather, “the Ego” whose job it is to cross examine the feelings of Anger, Shame, Fear, Sadness, and Joy.
In the play, the emotion of “Joy” states, “I can see joy in anything. Even the joy in failure.”
I, playing the role of Ego, can’t help but reveal my perplexity in that statement.
“Wait. What do you mean joy in failure?”
(Beat. Breaks character.) So where is the joy in failure in this?
I return now to the story that is being told in real time on these Facebook posts:
Nefertiti Rosa, who plays the roles of all five emotions, asked me back on “Day 1”: “How do we keep ourselves safe while we sift through these challenges?” She is referring of course to the personal challenges we experience living as American citizens in the year 2020.
And that’s time. Already at a whopping three minutes and twenty seconds…
I’ll spend tomorrow again here in my “Artist Quadrant” to respond to Nefertiti’s question. I hope you will as well…
February 7, 2020
The Artist Quadrant
Fourth day writing my one-man performance. My goal was to create ten minutes of material this week. I ended last night at eight minutes, twenty-three seconds. I only have one minute, thirty-seven seconds to go to make quota for this week. (Looks at this watch.) Well, technically, now it’s one minute and seventeen…(dramatically)..sixteen…fifteen…fourteen…
Okay, yeah, now I’m just milking it.
So here I am in my “Artist Quadrant”. This is where I can pretend to be an actor, director, writer, filmmaker. This archetype is perhaps the most eccentric and misunderstood compared to the other three archetypes.
What are those other three? They are…(Points straight ahead at to Downstage Left at a radio station setup with plush toys and baby gear at the microphone.) The Lover. (Points diagonally, Downstage Right, to a kitchen setup with a diaper changing table and play dough on a work bench) The Provider. (Finally, across Upstage Right to a filmmaking studio with puppets, Nerf sword, and a green screen.) And The Teacher.
These identities cause a lot of confusion when you try to mix them. Today, for instance, I was in my role as “Artistic Director” because of my meditation on Nefertiti’s question. (Again, that question was, “How do we keep ourselves safe while sifting through these challenges?”) Nefertiti is part of my theatrical cast, so I compartmentalize my relationship with her here in this Artist Quadrant.
I keep the Artist Quadrant back here in the upstage because people don’t really see this side of me. That is, most people don’t know I practice suicide prevention work in conjunction with my theatrical exploits. Down here is the “Provider Quadrant” where I make my living as a “nanny” taking care of an infant, a pre-schooler, and my own special needs toddler. (He goes DSR to the “Provider Quadrant” in full Attorney costume and puts on a frilly apron and starts kneading the play dough.) Sitting here, sculpting a snail out of play dough, I pondered Nefertiti’s question:
Well… How do we keep ourselves and each other safe during these social conflicts?
Nefertiti, I am truly sorry. I had re-posted your question and absolutely no one responded. (Update: As of Sunday morning, February 9, someone did respond.) People are still talking about the Super Bowl half-time show and, of course, Trump’s acquittal. Are those things more important than keeping each other safe?
Yes, I was here “in body” as a nanny. However, my heart went back into my Artist Quadrant.
Sanford Meisner described the art of drama as, “Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” It occurred to me that an emotional reaction to anything on social media may possibly be an imaginary circumstance. My friends were really going through some intense stuff – a kidney transplant, possible homelessness, one good friend is dealing with severe depression and checked himself into the hospital. My own wife was home sick vomiting. Those were more real and prevalent to me than the “imaginary circumstances” playing out on my social media newsfeed.
I think I can understand the sponsoring thoughts behind these events could be rooted in some need for safety. The Super Bowl halftime show was about defending the sacred feminine. The impeachment proceedings were about a corrupt man in a corrupt system where everyone is obsessed with exposing corruption in a corrupted situation. But you are not going to change these things by forcing your will upon them. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been an actor for thirty years, twenty-five of those as an acting teacher. What you are seeing are theatrical performances. No matter how loud you scream at the actor playing Romeo, “Hey, man! Don’t do it! Juliet is not really dead!” – their predetermined script is not going to change. No, our only recourse is to emotionally invest in writing our own stories.
Everyone is arguing over second, third, eighth, gazillionith-hand information…but with little (dare I say it?) emotional intelligence. Rarely does someone ask a question simply to understand or empathize. When a question is asked it’s usually a leading question with derogatory intentions.
I made pancakes for one of the children in my charge:
He asks, “What are you doing?”
“I’m making your pancakes.”
“I want butter on it,” he says.
“Okay.” So, I start buttering the pancakes.
“NO!!!” He shouts at me.
“I wanted you to cut the pancakes into tiny pieces FIRST — THEN put butter it!”
“Sure, I can cut it in tiny pieces after I butter the pancake. It will still taste the same.”
“NOOOOO!!!!” He screams and starts sobbing. At first, I thought it was an elaborate performance if not for the tears streaming down his face. He was obviously tired as he threw himself on the couch, hitting it with both fists. “THAT IS NOT WHAT I WANT!” I was terrified he was going to hurt himself.
Then it hit me: Discourse on social media was no different.
Nefertiti answered her own question: “Question everything. Pray. Prepare. Give thanks and Praise. Left foot, right foot, rest and breath. And forgive. Forgiveness is the key to miracles.”
Yes. Forgiveness. Question everything. Why do we waste those questions?
(Mike retrieves the Nerf sword from the Teacher Quadrant and returns to the Artist Quadrant. He starts fencing with an imaginary opponent.) An Artist is charged with exploring the emotional, spiritual and psychological realms which are often phantasmagorical in nature. It is our job to inspire and heighten emotion. Likewise, it is the Teacher’s role to discern fact from sensation. Both are needed for productive movement forward. If the Teacher and Artist are unaware of each other’s intentions, then there is a desperate need for protection.
How do we protect ourselves?
Maybe…by forgiving in advance?
My Facebook post that day read: “Friends, please be patient with each other during these very tense times. A little-known fact is that almost all of us are functioning with the emotional awareness of a 10-year-old. Yes, you are brilliant…and this technology makes you even more so. But brilliance without emotional intelligence is like handing a 10-year-old a deadly weapon without any parental supervision.
“We are all now locked inside the chainlink fence around a very vast playground — each with his or her own broadsword. We have to be our own adult supervision.” (Strikes a defensive pose with the Nerf sword, ready to protect. Then, a second thought. He drops the sword.)
(Mike goes back to the Provider Quadrant and the play dough.)
Five minutes and forty-four seconds… I’ve done almost enough work for three days. I think I’ll take those three days off. Who knows?
Maybe instead of “90 Minutes”, I should call this piece “45 Pauses or Less”…
(Writes in a notepad: ) “Stage direction: Mike pauses. It is for five seconds in the audience’s world, three days in his own. Time is so subjective which also needs to be honored. On February 9, Tilopa from Australia responded, ‘You can see (the challenges) as potentials, not problems.’”
Six minutes, seventeen seconds logged today.
February 11, 2020
Day Five. “Surveying the desert of isolation”…
Yesterday I had discovered the source of my very intense anger.
Yeah, I know. I talk a lot about how to understand anger, how to channel anger for creative purposes, how to redirect anger… That’s because I’m, well…harboring…a lot of anger. I want to tell you more about the source of this anger, but we’ve not reached that part in the story yet…
Wait a minute. I’m wearing this “frilly apron” to set up for punchline and comedic effect later in the script but let me be completely serious. (Removes apron and returns it to the Provider Quadrant.) I wanted to visit the other three quadrants, but let’s step back – survey the field — and look at what this play is about…
There are solutions to all of our social, economic, political and environmental issues. The problem is not from lack of solutions – it’s from a lack of listening and empathy.
Here is my piece of the puzzle: I want to create a bank that changes the rules. Yes, that is my agenda. All proceeds from tonight’s performance will be re-invested into the artists, teachers, entrepreneurs, and service providers who wish to continue this conversation.
Do you realize the reason things are so intense recently is because the solutions ARE so simple? Economic theories based on second grade math can remove the hierarchical elite from power – the rest is just emotional intelligence and empathy! But what do I care? I feel the same as I suspect a lot of you feel. That I’m worthless, silenced, voiceless, not educated enough, isolated, marginalized, too emotional, not emotional enough, too smart, not smart enough…UGH! Yes, I am one of those “nobodies with nothing to lose”! But, I’m in very good company.
Yes, fiscal reallocation is truly the easy part. The hard part is deepening the conversation…establishing trust.
Look, a few months ago I had posted the military documents about how a Psychological Operation is planned and executed. Yes, social engineering is a thing and if we can see clearly what we are up against then the thread snaps and house of cards falls. If anyone is still interested in reading those documents, I’ll be happy to share them again. It’s about time we started using this platform to discuss solutions, rather than escalating fear and the illusory sense of temporal superiority which is what the “PSYOP” is all about.
This is normally the part where I lose you to some other distraction…
So, once again, let’s get away again from the story my ego wants to tell and back to the story that is being told…
(Refers to his timer.) Two minutes, forty seconds. By the rules I have set up for myself, I’m only obligated to log another two and half minutes this week. So, I’ll come back tomorrow and discuss what my friends and even my family have to say about “trust”, as well as expressing anger, the severe disappointment in both sides of political polarization, and perhaps discover what we are really trying to say to each other.
(He freezes at 3:02 for tonight’s entry, 17:42 for the entire piece so far excluding pauses between daily monologues.)
February 13, 2020
Day Six. The Teacher Quadrant.
There is some activity starting on my Facebook page resulting from the previous day’s entries. Therefore, I want to go back and make my one-man play more about the conversation, and less about my ego.
What does it take to truly commit to seeing other people as your teachers? (Refers to the Upstage Right section.) We talk about that every so often in philosophical circles, but this idea rarely attracts consistency.
To deepen the conversation — that’s all I want. All the rest falls into place when someone just shows up to explore the deep questions. Whether these people push your buttons or not, maybe he or she is there to teach you something about emotional intelligence.
There is so much richness in conversation starting to develop on my posts. I’m not one to just let something of value just pass through the ether. I intend to commit this entire ninety-minute monologue to memory. Therefore, all of the responses included here on Day Six will also be committed to memory as I have no intention of “just reading” anything. What that means is that your thoughts become a part of me. I want you to know that I am not just listening but integrating what your thoughts mean to me. I think that might help me to use my social media practice more responsibly and resist the self-inflicted wounds caused by my observations of social engineering.
(Mike repositions the camera from the Teacher Quadrant Downstage Center and points it back Upstage Right. Whenever he recites someone else’s response, he sits in the video recording studio. After saying “Cut!” during the upcoming monologue, he speaks as himself and moves back to Upstage Left and the Artist Quadrant.)
I do feel it is prudent to repeat my disclosure from Day One: “All response to these entries are subject to dramatic reenactment.”
Last entry I had discussed establishing Trust.
My friend from childhood, Jason from Texas, writes in response to my Day Two entry: “As much as I would like to be able to do so, I find that anticipating people will trust my experiences, or even their own past experiences with me, is often a road to ruin. Trust is shaky ground, and I’ve relied on it too much, while not being attentive enough to how much impact the here and now has on others’ reception of my speech/behavior. Hard lessons learned.”
Cut! Wow, yes, Jason. What comes up for me is that, in a theatrical presentation like this, all there is — is “the here and now”. Staying in the moment with someone is an art and takes years of practice for some people. Letting go of any personal agenda and stepping into another person’s world — perhaps trust might begin in thoughts like these?
In response to my thoughts on social engineering, Jason writes:
“You’re coming through loud and clear, however I don’t see the dynamic of the positive thinker being isolated and beset by a pack of cynical wolves as particular to (Facebook). It is a phenomenon of internet comms, though. The same effect that inclines people to ‘get ugly’ online whereas they wouldn’t in person also inclines them to be extra edgy, to glom together over a shared sense of being all-the-wiser for expecting the worst and portraying the positivist as naive.”
Cut. (Reflective pause, then…) Yes, Jason. My thoughts keep going back to the military PSYOP document on how to strategize a mass influencing of opinion via region or demographic. Take the “spiritual” or the “self-help” demographic: I’ve seen positivity be weaponized. The positivist is either “too naïve” or using positivity as a brainwashing tool, it seems. The high-profile coaches promote gratitude almost to the point of brainwashing. The subliminal message is, “If you don’t invest with me, you’re a negative person and not eligible to join me as part of the elite.” I’ve sat in seminars where the gurus are actively telling others to dump their friends and family for being “too negative”. If someone even raises one critical concern to these thought gurus, they will then proceed to psychologically tear down the individual. Even I have to keep the recounting of my experiences vague because specificity can result in a libel suit, which further expresses the psychological tyranny of both the secular and religious “cults”.
Jason continues with, “As for who hold the golden keys to the grain silos vis-a-vis social media, well… an understanding of top-level domains and how specific sites can thereby be blocked from access yields much insight. Our very own ICE isn’t all about deporting immigrants, they have the power to pull that plug on websites. Other nations are, and have been, working to enact their own kill switches and grand firewalls. China. North Korea. Russia. Unfortunately, the outcome seems inevitable: a fractured and censored internet, according to authoritarian whims.”
Cut. My response: Yes, and authoritarian whims seem to leave out the aspect of emotional intelligence and critical thinking skills. That is how compartmentalization thrives. Thank you, Jason. Even as a child my impression of you was as a prodigy. I very much appreciate your thoughts on this.
Jason is now building his own social media platform.
(Mike freezes. Time of entry: 4:47. Total Time: 22:29.)
February 14, 2020
Day Seven. Further exploration of the Teacher Quadrant.
(On “Day 6”, Mike had repositioned the camera from the Teacher Quadrant Downstage Center and points it back Upstage Right. Whenever he recites someone else’s response, he sits in the video recording studio. After saying “Cut!” during the upcoming monologue, he speaks as himself and moves back to Upstage Left and the Artist Quadrant.)
On Day Four, my friend Karen from Pennsylvania responded to my post about how we are running around with the emotional awareness of a ten-year-old. Karen plays the role of the Defense Attorney in our play about bullying and writes:
“For many years, family, friends, and other people took advantage of me and caused me a lot of pain. This happened in friendships, jobs, social situations, acting groups, etc. I always tried explaining my side and showing others how much their actions were hurting me, believing they’d listen to reason. It never worked and I lost a lot of confidence and what used to make me unique. I used to be assertive. I used to work on my book every day. My son is a brilliant musician. No one ever manipulates or takes advantage of him. I missed what I passed on to him.”
Time Out. Karen is an Elections Officer and has been caught in the crossfires of the Democratic party debates. Before I proceed, Karen, I want you to know how much I value you and your friendship. Action…
“A few months back, my son and husband encouraged me to seek counseling and I slowly started to feel like my old self again. I regained my confidence and I’m starting to write again. Most importantly, I once again learned that unkind, manipulative, self-centered people do not and will never respond to rational, respectful discourse.”
Cut. It is my honor to include some of your words here, Karen. It is also my hope to help people understand the techniques these narcissists use and how to reverse them…
Karen: “Politics anymore is extreme manipulation. Narcissistic, unkind, disrespectful people mostly rule it. Even those who do so for good reasons and advocate for good. Follow what everyone says and does, they treat you nicely. Think differently, desire change, speak your mind, or speak up all, and they gang up on you, insult you, and threaten to ostracize you. Look at what Republicans are doing to Mitt Romney. Democrats are doing the same exact thing to Bernie Sanders. Republican supporters tend to be rude and insulting. Democrats put words in your mouth and tell you what to do. Same thing.”
Cut. That is very powerful and sobering distinction, Karen. You are teaching me so much because I personally don’t have the stomach for politics. I’ve used this metaphor before in our conversations, but to me, politics is a game of chess for 99% of the population. We all keep our heads down, studying the pieces so intensely, that we miss the game of “Duck, Duck, Goose” the 1% are playing with us while we are distracted. The Chess Game is how we continue to contrive strategies and counter-strategies with our infinite intelligence that we completely miss the real game being played. I keep envisioning the elite going around the circle saying “Duck, Duck, Duck…” while we have our heads down over the chess board. Eventually, one touches our head to say “GOOSE!” and another one of the 99 percenters loses their job, or accrues catastrophic debt, or a law suit is contrived; but the 99% keeps their heads down over the chess pieces while the 1% forces the middle and working classes out of their duck nests, leaving them marginalized and nowhere emotionally to go. I believe this to be a by-product of BOTH sides of the political-economic debate.
I think “Chess” represents the intellectual and sensational distractions to keep the microeconomics of consumerism alive. “Duck, Duck, Goose” is the macroeconomics upholding the illusion of consumerism via social engineering.
Karen says, “Politics controls the problems in society – racism, anti-Semitism, poverty, gun violence, wealth inequality, etc. Think differently, advocate change, speak your mind, or speak up all, and others gang up on you, insult you, and threaten to ostracize you.
She continues, “No one is ever going to change these problems with polite, respectful discourse. Unkind, manipulative, self-centered people do not and will never respond to rational, respectful discourse. I’m not saying that one should be rude. Assertiveness is not rude. It is powerful, however. You have to be strong if you’re ever going to change anything and/or effectuate change and/or get people to listen and/or respect you. Sometimes, you have just to ‘raise your fists’ and ‘tell it like it is.’ Sometimes you just have to say ‘I’m not going to take it anymore.’
“I’ve finally taken the steps I’ve needed to move forward. I am not going back.”
Cut. Perfect, Karen. If you allow me to repeat your piece verbatim as part of my performance, I think you might have just taught me how to stand up for myself. I think if the right people get together, the “power” of assertiveness can overcome the “force” of aggression. Once again, I thank you for being my Teacher.
This is going to be another long entry. I already have the cold read clocked in a five minutes and nine seconds. But I’m feeling the confidence and momentum now of exceeding my own goals. So, let’s continue to explore the Teacher Quadrant…
By marriage, Julie Ann is my cousin. She is champion for spiritual advocation, especially for the deaf population. She responds to Karen:
“I appreciate what you have shared, and it has inspired me this morning. I echo almost everything you have said concerning politics. I consider myself a conservative republican and much to my dismay, I’m not pleased with the actions of BOTH parties involved. I believe in intellectual civil discourse like you do too. Hopefully the younger generation have gleaned lessons from this fiasco and division created the past 10 years. It has been very disheartening for most of us.
“By the way, I’m glad you’re getting back into writing. Don’t let anyone discourage you from your dreams. Blessings.”
Cut. I’m so proud to call you “family”, Julie Ann. To reach out to someone of the opposing party like this is inspiring and really should be a catalyst for other conversations like this. THIS is where the nation changes direction and these moments are where our psychological paradigm shifts…
Andrea from North Carolina writes in response to achieving “safety”:
“What jumps out at me is the word ‘safety’… being used in regard to an emotional boundary versus ‘Safety’ as in literally loss of life or some form of liberty. Excellent!
“This need for *safety* is a request to have fear banished… so as to create some form of unconditional acceptance.”
Cut. Yes, Andrea! That is what we are truly fighting for – to dispatch away our fears.
Andrea: “Humans crave Agreement, and standing in the face of No Agreement, or worse, No result is terrifying.
“So, this safety requested is really just emotional fear management. I suppose it stems from being afraid *the audience* won’t love or accept me, largely because these are the things we actually lack in ourselves.”
Cut…and Andrea, you would know. She has been through some “fires” that I hope we can discuss in some future “talk-back discussions”. Let’s continue with her post…
“While we do have to work on kindness and patience and certainly forgiveness…. all of that is still part of process… One that easily could well be applied internally…. versus, examining the extent to which to apply it others. In the end, it’s not over until you Let it Go!
“And I do mean a complete release.”
“We have all been there when an exchange didn’t go as planned and some verbal storm ensued…. and even after withdrawal, or apology the storm brews on inside.
“We are terrified of each other! LOLOLOL
Until we are not.
Lay down the nerf sword.”
Final cut. Thank you, Andrea. I’m not sure how much of your background or story you would want me to reveal, but please know your input is always appreciated. You have indirectly been my teacher for over ten years now.
And, thank you, Jason, Karen and Julie Ann for your contributions. You are now officially part of my story…and made my work a lot easier. Smiley face.
(Looks at his timer.) Whoa! Nine minutes clocked. My goal was for two minutes a day, ten minutes per week for nine weeks. If this were “Monologue Golf”, I would be three and half under par for today alone! The total for the performance stands at thirty-one minutes and I’m one third finished after two weeks.
You see? The only true competition exists between your ears.
(He freezes. Official cold read time now stands now at 31:53.)
February 15, 2020
Day Seven. Final thoughts on the Teacher Quadrant…
(Mike goes back to the Provider Quadrant and retrieves his apron. He puts it back on and returns the video camera to the Teacher Quadrant.)
We play so many roles in life. “The Teacher” provides structure, but too much of structure and you come across as patriarchal or rigid. “The Artist” provides possibilities, but too many possibilities and you become scattered and unfocused. “The Provider” allows for realism, however too much realism and you become negative and cynical. “The Lover” provides unbounded energy, yet with too much energy you might become overwhelming and intimidating.
As this play continues the roles will not be as clearly defined. They will begin to merge. For instance, the court room up here in the Artist Quadrant may be more apropos in the Teacher Section, who knows? The film studio might find a better home here in the Artist Quadrant. I think what I want out of life is to move freely between the roles without being judged too harshly. I don’t know. Maybe freedom is attained by allowing the transcending these roles without judging yourself.
Recently I taught a drama program at a Montessori School. Six to nine-year-olds. Our mission was to create a television show featuring life-sized puppets. That is, the child actor would play both themselves on camera and I would edit in – through the miracle of film production – a life-sized version of their puppet character!
They were excited to do it. One problem – the puppets and my acting games were too distracting for them to focus.
I asked them to settle down, sit down, and place their heads on the desk. One student defiantly said, “No, I don’t want to place my head on my desk.”
This student was a rebel. He reminded me of me. I told him I respected him for standing up for himself. The boy felt that he shouldn’t be punished because another child was constantly provoking him.
It only takes one rogue element to change the dynamic of the whole.
I realized these students were becoming my teachers.
The next class I simply brought in the green screen – unassembled, the camera, the puppets, and my laptop and let the kids tell me how they wanted to spend their time. I had brought my phone voice recorder and told them we were writing a play.
“Mr. Shoeman, how do we write a play?”
I showed them on the screen how I had already written stage directions for our class. “Mr. Shoeman sets up the green screen – unassembled, the camera, the puppets etc. ‘Little Joey’ asks: ‘Mr. Shoeman, how do we write a play?”
I told them I was recording everything so that all that transpired in that day’s class would be transcribed into a written script.
“I have all the things out that will you need to produce your television show. What do you think you have to do now to make all of this stuff work for you to accomplish that goal?”
“We have to be better listeners and show you more respect, Mr. Shoeman.”
Something happens when people know their actions mean something…that their words and deeds are being noted.
And so, that is how the idea for this one-man show was born. We have to be better listeners to each other, but first we might consider being better listeners to our inner Artist (Mike places a Unicorn puppet on his hand) and our inner Teacher (Mike places a Dragon puppet on the other hand.) I’m now channeling my inner ‘Fred Rogers’.
Unicorn: I want to build a bank that harnesses love and creative energy to change the world!
Dragon: That’s ridiculous, you can’t do that!
Unicorn: Why not, Mr. Dragon?
Dragon: Because you look and sound like an idiot!
Unicorn: Will you help me to sound less like an idiot, Mr. Dragon?
Dragon: No, I will not!
Unicorn: Why not?
Dragon: Because I’m a Dragon and too smart for that shit. Mwa-ha-ha-ha!
Unicorn: Are you saying you’re too smart to make the world a better place?
Dragon: Yes, I am. It’s more fun for me to make problems than solve problems!
Unicorn: What is fun about that?
Dragon: (long, thoughtful pause) I don’t know. It just makes me forget my pain for a brief moment.
Mike places the puppets back on the Teacher Quadrant.
…and people question my credibility to establish a new banking system.
(He freezes. Total time 35:53.)
February 18, 2020
Day Eight: The Provider Quadrant
(Mike sits at a miniature child’s table and starts rolling play dough in his hands.)
This quadrant is the most uncomfortable for me. Why?
It’s because I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that each and every one of us is grossly undervalued and being exploited.
This is infuriating for me. Yet, as infuriating as it is, we have not even come close to the source of my anger…
(He starts smashing the play dough on the table…)
I wrote a post today. To me, it was one of the most profound statements I’ve ever shared:
“The heart of social engineering lies in the procuring of meaningless debate over ‘Who Is Right’ at the expense of productive collaboration focused on ‘What Is Right’.”
If that statement does not demonstrate my value, then I’m completely in the wrong place and time.
Two people acknowledged this post. One was my cousin Julie Ann after a discussion about how the Nazis socially engineered the “Totalitarian Tiptoe” toward psychological fascism in Germany. The other acknowledgement was from one of my Time Banking colleagues. To both of you I offer a hearty “Thanks”.
Having little to no response from such statement (which by the way took years of work, research, dedication and just “showing up”) tells me one of two things: 1) Either I am not being seen; or 2) There is a fear associated with seeing me. In either case there is an imbalance, and “Anger” when channeled soberly is a vessel for justice and balance.
(Starts rolling the play dough again…)
I’m going to take the “Provider Quadrant” in smaller chunks this week. Making a living is overwhelming and I’m satisfied with my work ethic this week. I feel I am doing my job as Provider, undervalued as I am. My rough draft of this play is a full week and a half ahead of schedule, with four minutes of material produced this week even before making this entry.
This week is a challenging one. Caring for three small children takes its toll emotionally, mentally and physically. I am a provider of the basics for them: food, a safe place to rest, educational growth, and play. It is a reminder for me to get back to basics and focus on what matters.
There is very little I control, which is the way it should be. I am only able to write because my son has allowed it…because he’s currently sleeping.
And so too I will pause at two minute and twenty-five seconds…
(He freezes. Total time -38:17)
February 19, 2020
Breaking both character and the fourth wall.
(Mike steps away from the table and moves back to CS.)
Wait a minute. I’m not ready to delve into the Provider Quadrant yet. Let’s move back here, at Stage Center, and address again what is happening with this moment.
Karen, thank you so much for your editing suggestions. I’ve incorporated them on my word document copy. Thank you as well for acknowledging my courage. Yes, this is not easy and as stated back on “Day One” – “kindness is always appreciated.”
Based on your feedback, I will attempt to delve a little more into social engineering and the “Who Is Right” Vs. “What Is Right” conundrum. I will also use Jason’s response from yesterday’s discussion within the Teacher Quadrant to help me with this.
I’ve been trying to define what this Center Stage area means to me. The one corner represents Lover, another Provider… Well, if you have been following along you know what I mean. Center Stage is that undefined area of vulnerability. As an Artist, I write because I will go insane if I don’t write. I have no intentions of becoming a great writer. (That is your job, Karen.) I don’t know really how to classify this entire piece – Is it a one-man show? Performance art? A Ted Talk? Who knows? All I can do is speak from my heart and use theatrical elements because it is all I know. Every now and then someone will say they think I can write well, but I’ve been told more often over and over again that I am a very poor writer – especially when it comes to sentence structure. So, I do not take constructive editing notes as a personal affront. Quite the opposite, I appreciate the team effort. I meant it when I say that my sincerest intention is to deepen the conversation. Those who help me here are entitled to the share of the proceeds if anyone wants to invest time in this piece — and all ideas intended to solve problems catalyzed by a performance like this. You are certainly one of those who are entitled, Karen.
So, yes, this entire process is an exercise in unrefined vulnerability. These words are to be spoken and an authentic, spontaneous conversation is beyond the reach of social engineering. I am counting on people ignoring these words, or having these monologues blocked from public view, because it reveals who is ready to look behind the curtain and perhaps take their rightful place in a much bigger story. What hangs in the balance is what I can do with these words once they are committed to memory.
So, let’s get courageous. What exactly is “Social Engineering”? In my conversation with Jason, I described it like the first rule of “Fight Club”. Rule Number One is don’t talk about it.
Pro-wrestling is also a good example. The “con” is to make you believe two performers are being competitive with each other, when the reality is to make the money based on the audience’s emotional commitment. The promoters don’t care who wins. Their job as “directors” is to get as many people emotionally invested in the story without revealing the magic tricks. One again, I will openly state that the military document which describes how the government organizes these “magic tricks” is available for public view.
That’s not to say certain performers – like some politicians – don’t have sincere intentions. But if the “Booker Man” senses a deviation from the script, they have ways of making a ‘work’ (or a fake, staged fight) turn into a ‘shoot’ (or a real altercation.) They can do this by twisting the psycho-emotional thumbscrews using media, finances, military, education, science, technology, etc. This is because if you follow the money, the ring of “promoters” is a very short list.
Arguing over “Who Is Right” is like picking your favorite performer, cheering or booing them, because they reflect something about you. Discussing “What Is Right” focuses on how the show is pulled off, and the different layers of storyline required to uphold the illusion.
What is that illusion?
The illusion is that you don’t make a difference. You are a spectator, nothing more; and have a negligible impact on the story.
The “Who Is Right” narrative subliminally says, “You can’t go against our scripted reality. Your part has not been written in, therefore we have no time for you.” The “What Is Right” discussion is like an improv…Instead of denying the offer to solve problems, we say “Yes, you’re right, and here is how I can build upon your unique perspective with my own unique perspective.”
“Who Is Right” is like arguing over how the fight choreography was executed – the previously mentioned “Chess Game”. “What Is Right” delves into the psychology about why people are emotionally invested in the fight – or the cyclical “Duck, Duck, Goose” game.
So, then..why are we so resistant to consider looking at the full-frontal of social engineering?
I’ll let my friend Jason cover that.
(Mike returns to the film set in the Teacher Quadrant and recites the response “Jason from Texas” had written.)
“Another observation on this topic that keeps coming to mind is that people in general are very resistant to acknowledging that they are acting not primarily of their own volition, but due to manipulation or an inclination to following in-group/out-group dynamics. People are loathe to accept that they have been influenced. They want so much to believe what they do is rational action, based on personal choice.”
“It reminds me of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, in that people are so caught up in caring about an aspect of interaction that does not matter from a pragmatic perspective, mainly from an egotistical one.
“It is a thought-provoking statement, one I bookmarked to come back to when I am more at liberty to respond. My thoughts about it were mostly nebulous, but what I kept coming back to was that people are prone to focusing on who is right, rather than what is right, because that’s how human attachment generally works: it is not to the abstract, it is to people and material things. Likewise, it is much easier to set people against ideas and ideologies by attacking or criticizing the people and things that represent them, rather than the notions and theories themselves.
“I also keep thinking that if Buddhist philosophy were better known, it would be a great mitigator. Mindfulness, wariness of psychological attachment, putting the ego in its place… that’s what it takes not to get drawn into the unproductive fray.”
Cut. Bingo, Jason. (He returns to Center Stage.)
My post-scene pause will be extended a little longer than usual to let this statement sink in:
“The story of your personal reality resides in your emotional commitments (inspiration or lack thereof) as they intersect with social agreements (beliefs or lack thereof.)”
Six minutes, fifty-five seconds. It’s Wednesday and I made quota for the week again…
(He freezes for a little longer than usual. Time of Total Piece is 45:16)
February 22, 2020
Day Ten: The centerpiece.
I stopped at forty-five minutes and sixteen seconds last time. You know what that means? I’m at the halfway point, the center, the moment where everything previously has led to and every moment hereafter leads away from.
(Mike is still standing at Center Stage. He reads these stage directions…)
“Mike is still standing at Center Stage. He reads these stage directions…” Yes! So, here I am, still caught in “No Man’s Land” (appropriate) between Artist, Teacher, Provider, and Lover.
Wikipedia describes the centerpiece of the story, at least within the interpretation of Cambellian mythology, as the “Atonement with the Father”. Quote: “Although this step is most frequently symbolized by an encounter with a male entity, it does not have to be a male; just someone or thing with incredible power.” End quote.
Religious doctrine would have us believe in a patriarchal “Father”. Many myths center around the journey to find one’s “Father”, or how the “Father becomes the Son”, or to prove one’s manhood by slaying a dragon. Well, I’ll let Joseph Campbell himself explain…
(Mike returns to the Teacher Quadrant.)
“Atonement consists in no more than the abandonment of the self-generated double monster – the dragon thought to be God (superego) and the dragon thought to be sin (repressed id). But this requires an abandonment of the attachment to ego itself, and that is what is difficult.”
Cut. (Mike returns Center Stage for all lines starting with “Cut” and returns to the Teacher Quadrant for all of the quoted lines.) Yes, Mr. Campbell. In the last two days alone the narrative I wanted to tell was interrupted by a real-life event which was then interrupted by another real-life event. I didn’t even want to address this topic about my father until reaching the Lover Quadrant. But it seems I am not telling the story…the story is telling me.
“One must have faith that the father is merciful, and then a reliance on that mercy. Therewith, the center of belief is transferred outside of the bedeviling god’s tight scaly ring, and the dreadful ogre’s dissolve. It is in this ordeal that the hero derives hope and assurance from a helpful female figure, by whose magic (pollen charms or power of intercession) he is protected through all of the frightening experiences of the father’s ego-shattering initiation.”
Cut. I told the story today to Paticia Omoqui’s Earth Angels Rise group about how beautiful of a man my father is. My name is Michael, just as my father’s name is also Michael. Many interpretations of the Hebrew word translate this to “One who is like God.” However, more often than not, the name is more relevant to the question, “Who is like God?” You see, ascension – or perhaps the more palatable self-actualization – is not a statement, but a question; it is not “the end”, but rather, a process.
I ask a lot of questions. The deeper the question, the better. Like, where does Michael come from? “Michael” is from the Sumerian “Tas-Mi-Ki-Gal”, who eventually became a deified god of agriculture, then later into the “Archangel Michael”. Ironically, my father raised me in a farm and garden supply store. The “Archangel” is a psychological archetype, one of immense power promised to those chasing an illusion. The reality is getting to the core of the relationship one has to one’s parents – both Mother and Father. This is where we realize that – as a spiritual being living a human experience – archetypes no longer have power over us when the deep emotions are felt and processed.
But back to the questions: What more do you have to say about “Atonement with the Father”, Mr. Campbell?
“For if it is impossible to trust the terrifying father face, then one’s faith must be centered elsewhere (Spider Woman, Blessed Mother); and with that reliance for support, one endures the crisis – only to find, in the end, that the father and mother reflect each other, and are in essence the same. The problem of the hero going to meet the father is to open his soul beyond terror to such a degree that he will be ripe to understand how the sickening and insane tragedies of this vast and ruthless cosmos are completely validated in the majesty of Being. The hero transcends life with its peculiar blindspot and for a moment rises to a glimpse of the source. He beholds the face of the father, understands – and the two are atoned.”
Cut. Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen – Mr. Joseph Campbell.
My “dragon” is the hidden patriarchy, no doubt about it. But my “Atonement” with my father already happened a long time ago. That is why I feel confident in approaching the “deepest source of my anger.” Tomorrow I will step forward Downstage Center – somewhere between the immense Love I have for my own father (refers the left Lover Quadrant) and the source of my anger to Provide a new banking system (refers to the right Provider Quadrant) – and retell my story with the Earth Angels.
(He freezes. Four minutes and forty-three seconds for the day, Total logged time is 49:59.)
February 23, 2020
The Source of My Anger…
(Mike steps forward to Downstage Center.)
The following is what was shared on the Earth Angels Rise page. Patricia (“Trish”) Omoqui asked for people who were interested in becoming “change agents” to join these conversations focused on personal empowerment. Her only request was to please show up and contribute when you can.
I wanted to answer Trish’s question about “How are you and how is your learning going?”
It’s excellent and I’m excellent, Trish. This training has really helped me finally find the source of my anger, which is really one of my greatest love. Through this group and in conversations with others in my daily life, two themes have become most prevalent: 1) The exploration of beliefs rooted in childhood experiences; and 2) Creating safe spaces for people who have experienced abuse in their lives, more often than not from a father or a male figure in a position of power.
Many of my conversations have involved listening to women who have been abused either by a father or a secretive father-figure in their lives who had abused their power. I find that I am very comfortable with providing a safe space to listen because of my exceedingly positive experience with my own father. He was — at least from the subjective view from my childhood — the kindest, most hard-working, reliable, honest, courteous, generous, confident man. From ages three to twelve, I would help him at his little rustic farm and garden supply store in Chalfont, Pennsylvania. The building is still there along the train tracks right next to the Chalfont Septa station.
It was a modest living, we were certainly never wealthy by any stretch of the imagination; but I can’t remember being happier than riding with him on deliveries, carrying bags out for the customers to their cars, or putting price tags on the endless rows of seeds, pet supplies, and care items – like brushes for horses. On many sick days where I had to stay home from school, when most kids enjoyed the comfort of their own home, I would lay down in my Dad’s small office which rattled every time the train went by. My father had created a personable, friendly and loving culture in his store. He was the “King” of his own, small humble kingdom.
My father was a twenty-nine-year-old rising star in the corporate world with the Sears company before deciding to give all that up to spend more time with his wife and two sons. He became sole proprietor of the Chalfont Farm and Garden Center, which I now see as a business that helped create and sustain life in our community.
He also taught me how to share and to be of humble service. If I worked an entire nine-hour day with him on my days off school, he would pay me $5 which I would then choose to use for renting a movie for myself and another one for my younger brother who was at home with Mom. (Movie rentals were $2.49 for three nights at the local Audio Video World.) My father was also a positive role model for high school students who worked at the small store over the years. My irrational childish vision was that one day I would grow up to learn his business, work with him as an equal partner, and eventually run the business on my own. That was a completely unrealistic vision, but in retrospect what he was doing was teaching me by example how to be “good man”.
The story I tell myself is that his closest friends turned their backs on him and his modest business when the big corporate “Walmarts” came into the neighborhood. I stress the phrase “the story I tell myself…” because my version is more colored by emotion than fact. One of his friends may have asked, “Why should I buy these $1 seeds from you when I can get them for a $.75 at Walmart?”
Sometime in the late eighties, the store was broken into and vandalized, the walls covered in graffiti. My “safe place” was no longer that, and I often wonder if there was any provocation for such an attack.
The business was eventually sold around 1989, and my father tried to make his living elsewhere as a salesman working for “someone else”. In my eyes, he never quite exuded that confidence he had when he was at the helm of his own business. In my mind, my father was forced to be subservient to those whom I considered to be “lesser men”. However, those lesser men were merely links in a system prone to soullessness and emotional detachment. My mother, on the other hand, started to thrive as she went from nursing student to an operating room nurse and then a manager at the local hospital. From the time I was twelve all throughout my teenage years I had witnessed my mother go from an introvert to an extrovert, and my father from an extrovert to an introvert. It really taught me that essential dynamic between the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine. I am equally proud and appreciative of both my parents. Today I realize how hyper-critical I’ve been of myself, my father, and masculinity in general; and am coming to accept the “atonement” process which began the day my family left Chalfont.
I am so angry at “Corporate America” and want to create a banking system to level out the socio-economic playing field. My life is a love letter to my father — who wanted nothing more than to provide happiness and service — to continue to help create and sustain life in a loving, safe and friendly environment. There have been days, spent in my righteous anger, where I imagine how the emotionally detached “corporations” stole something from him, and from me. I am also realizing that I am not seeking retribution, but just the for the chance to return to those “safe spaces” where life and ideas can once again be created and sustained just like the farms and gardens. Like the feeling of accomplishment when one first grows their own food, or the sense of joy in caring for a farm animal.
There is a song by Mike and the Mechanics (both my father and I go by the name “Mike”) called the “The Living Years”. The lyrics have echoed through my entire life. It was released around the time my father closed his business and my family moved to a less competitive (and vastly more conservative) section of Pennsylvania. I’ll leave this testimony with those lyrics, as they ring true not just with respect to my Dad, but also to any spiritual and benevolent “Father” the religious doctrines want us to believe in.
“I know that I’m a prisoner
To all my father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears.
I just wish I could have told him in the living years.
Say it loud, say it clear, you can listen as well as you hear.
It’s too late, when we die, to admit we don’t see eye to eye.”
Thank you again for listening. I can honestly say at this moment that my anger is gone.
(Freeze. Time of segment is 6:33. Time of total presentation stands at 56:32.)
February 27, 2020
Day Twelve. “Giving Pauses.”
(Mike unfreezes and sits at the table in the Provider Quadrant and starts kneading the play dough.)
Three to five seconds just passed in your reality. In mine, it has been four days.
In retrospect, I’m glad this project is currently two weeks ahead of schedule. These four days off have given me a chance to reflect on both fatherhood and parenthood.
I was dealt a lucky and fortunate hand – there was never any doubt that both my parents loved me and wanted to have me. This was affirmed constantly throughout my entire life. It’s led me to believe that if a child experiences unconditional love, and that message of unconditional love is constantly reaffirmed, then you create something unbreakable in that person. My hope is that my son will also understand how he was desperately wanted and is loved. It took my wife and I four years and much adversity to get him here…but that’s a story for later, in the Lover’s Quadrant.
Remember this performance in this preliminary writing stage is interactive. Even though I am making the conscious decision to present this in a ninety-minute monologue, the project is intended to be an open collaboration. What you say and ask in the comments section below matter profoundly. Before I tell my story, I want to recite Nefertiti’s response from “Day Ten”. It is a perfect lead into what I want to talk about next:
(During the following, Mike also starts sculpting two human figures – one larger (an adult) and one smaller (a child).)
“In response to today’s topic of atonement I find myself again amazed by the human concept of safety! As an infant, our primary caregivers – for some mom and dad, unfortunately not for all – provided for our needs to the best of their ability. Realistically, all infants feel to some degree a sense that all of their needs are not being met. To be born here on Earth is to relinquish all memory (for some) that there’s more than enough for us all, that as children of God we are all born with purpose and a vital part of existence.
“There’s this feeling that something’s missing, ‘I must protect and provide’, which is all well and good until that search or any behaviors become harmful to self or to others. So, I am fascinated with your shared definition of atonement – to ‘abandon my self-generated double monster!!’ For there is One that blesses me with this breath I take here and now. There is One who formed every hair on my head and saw it fit for me to peruse this land now for a little over forty years. Who am I but a creation that has existed, and who continues to exist by grace. So, with all of my real-life experiences occurring here and now I have been finding safety in the comfort of what I call Love. Thanks again for such lovingly and rich inquiries that allow me to pause and reflect, share and acknowledge what it is I have thus far come to realize on my journey.”
You’re welcome, Nefertiti…and thank you for helping me write half of today’s monologue. With that I will pause a moment here myself before telling my next story about creating “Safe Spaces” as a Provider…
(He freezes. 3:10 for the daily piece, 59:42 for the whole.)
February 28, 2020
Day Thirteen: “Changing Trajectories”.
(Mike continues to sculpt human figures out of play dough.)
Now that I’m over the hour mark, this performance is no longer a question of filling time. Now I am pressed to save time. Kind of like life – when you are younger it easier to get bored, so you “kill time”. As you get older things go faster and it feels there is not as much to spare. I will move a little more quickly through my material now…
Before I begin today’s story, I want to make a verbal notation of a current event: According to NBC News the “Coronavirus crash wiped $5 trillion off world stocks.” Also, I want to note that tomorrow, on Saturday February 29, 2020, I will be helping to facilitate a Time Bank retreat. As I sit here in the Provider’s Quadrant, I know that the “odds are not in my favor” for you to read this post. The algorithms do not seem to support actionable intelligence for solving problems, and nothing goes viral unless it serves the social engineering agenda. That is why it is being made into a live performance, to be handed down face-to-face and by word of mouth. But I digress…
Human behavior isn’t that difficult to figure out. I will emphasize again that this technology has made us intellectually sophisticated, but emotionally underdeveloped. I see that every day when I let my son or the almost-four-year-old boy in my charge watch television or play on the iPad. Sensory stimulation induces a competitive streak. Once I take away that artificial stimulus the response is rage.
Most of my day is dedicated to helping the two boys understand how to share. One boy only wants to play with a toy because the other boy is playing with it. I enjoy moderate success helping the boys go from exclaiming “MINE!” to appreciating the gentle art of “Please” and “Thank you”. As far as I can see, relationships on social media are no different. There seems to be a lack of empathy and emotional disassociation when human interaction is reduced to the functionality of a video game.
Enter “Miss Ellie”.
Ellie is our special education teacher for our son, Micah. Micah has a rare condition called Coffin Sirus Syndrome which allowed our family to qualify for early intervention services. Since staring my almost fifty-hour a week Nanny Gig, Ellie has always asked me, “How can I help you with this very challenging task of raising these three young boys?”
My older boy is a wonderful and loving kid. Both boys are being raised by a single mom, are bi-racial, and there has been no mention of the fathers. The older boy treats my son like a brother, but also competes with him over my attention and affection. He lashed out at me recently, kicked me, when I wouldn’t allow him to do something dangerous.
“It’s because he is tired,” I told Ellie. “I really just need to get these boys to nap consistently every day. The older boy is great when he is well rested, but when he is not then he lashes out.”
“Do I have your permission to show you a technique?” she asked me.
“Sure. His mother would also appreciate any guidance.”
After offering the boy some adult-directed choices to eat breakfast, he resisted and got angry. Ellie sat him down, his back to her belly, and let him have his tantrum. He screamed, kicked, grabbed, tossed, wrangled – but Ellie was like a priestess from antiquity holding a cobra at bay. For someone not used to that kind of release in emotion, it may have looked like an exorcism.
(Mike demonstrates this with the play dough sculptures.)
“Wow. He really wants a lot of control,” Ellie said calmly as the boy kept struggling.
After he stopped for a split second, Ellie replied “Good calm! You are doing such a good job calming down for me.” Then he raged and started to struggle again.
“As far as aggression goes, this is really very normal. He is about a ‘2’ on a scale of 10. Just make sure you clear the space and protect him. The first one or two times will be the longest but stay with him for the whole time.”
And the one-boy power struggle continued. I kept thinking to myself: Damn. Considering how we are so afraid of our own anger and other deep emotions at that young of an age, and considering how much it goes unexpressed, this kind of parenting would have saved me so many impulsive decisions in my life. I was learning this technique at this time for a reason.
Every time the boy stopped to catch his breath he was praised. It kind of reminded me how in some cultures when a tribe member does something bad, he is placed in the middle of a circle and reminded over and over of all the good things he did.
“It is important to stay neutral and not make eye contact when he is expressing his anger. But the moment he calms down, give him that positive reinforcement.”
Every time the boy was praised, he was enraged and struggled more. Until finally after thirty minutes he was screaming, “I AM TIRED! I AM TIRED! I AM TIRED! I JUST WANT TO SLEEP! I JUST WANT TO SLEEP! I JUST WANT TO SLEEP!” And then he stopped.
“Very good job! You are very calm now and I am so grateful you are listening. I am hearing you are tired, and you want to sleep.” The boy nodded in affirmation. “Do you want to get your sleep sack out or would like me to?”
“I’ll do it.” The boy got out his own sleeping bag, hugged Miss Ellie and me, then went promptly to sleep.
“You see?” asked Ellie. “This was just a ‘blip’ in his day.” I thought to myself: Wow, what a special kid. Not only is he not resentful, he is showing gratitude and respect that can’t be earned through aggressive discipline.
Miss Ellie did the hard work. I’ve had to do that kind of “Active Time Out” three or four times since then but only for five to ten minutes. He normally wants to rest afterward, but he listens and makes better choices. I had spent about a half hour doing the same for my son, but after that, same story – he listens and is learning how to be thankful…and appreciates me more and shows even more affection for the passive discipline.
A week later, when Miss Ellie worked with Micah again, I had told her of the successful results since her last visit.
“Considering every disadvantage that boy might have, I truly think you changed the trajectory of that boy’s life.”
(Mike rolls up the play dough, stands, and references the child’s table.)
We need a safe space to express our authenticity. That is what I hope to “Provide” here. Miss Ellie’s demonstration was an education not just for disciplining young men but in giving me a snapshot what my role could be in the taming of power structures.
I’ve always had the deepest appreciation for soft martial arts like T’ai Chi or Aikido – more for the psychological awareness than the physical prowess required. In Aikido for example, the intention is not only to protect yourself, but also to protect the attacker. Talk about progressive!
Miss Ellie is officially my “Sensei”.
(Looks at his clock.) Seven minutes. Twenty-three to go. Time is short.
(He freezes. Total time of piece: 1 hour, 6 minutes, 55 seconds.)
February 29, 2020
Day Fourteen: “Crossing Over”
It’s “tomorrow”. Leap Day.
My TimeBank mastermind session went well. We’re starting to build something significant in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Anyone who has ever been put down is starting to rise out of the ashes.
(He crosses from Stage Right/Provider Quadrant to Stage Left/Lover’s Quadrant but stops Downstage Center.)
Ah, to hell with it. Let’s just rip the band-aid off…
Look, what I have to say is bold and probably sounds grandiose. But I know how to decentralize the banking system and create the economic and social equality that has always eluded our political system.
There, that’s it.
I don’t care what you think of me…because knowing this information is not enough, and it never will be. If you – yes, you personally — don’t embrace your own passion, face your own fears, find your own voice, then my strategy means nothing. I can provide the safe space for you to have that conversation, that’s all.
And you know what? It doesn’t matter. All I care about now is talking about what I love…my wife, my son, my brother, my parents, my friends.
(He goes to sit down at the radio-production table and places on the headset.)
So, now let’s talk about love…
(Time of today’s entry 1:11; Total time for production 1:08:06.)
March 2, 2020
Day Fifteen: The Lover’s Quadrant.
Laura, my wife, is the center of my world. My son Micah is the center of the center of my world.
I would be nothing without Laura. If it weren’t for her, there would be no motivation to create anything. She herself is a performing artist and art therapist. In fact, the reason I was able to dig so emotionally deep regarding my father was largely inspired by Laura’s recent performance. She performed as Alison Bechdel in the musical “Fun Home”. Completely making over herself from the typecast ingénue, and drawing from her own past trauma, Laura recreated herself into the lesbian cartoonist with a suicidal father. The emotional depths she reached in that performance inspired me to delve into my feelings about my own childhood.
I sit here, at this recording studio, hoping we will soon together create a very important audio recording.
(He plays a video on his laptop which the audience can see running.)
I made a short film to pitch an idea for the full-length documentary film previously mentioned. The film project was to be called “2×2: Make Art, Not War”, chronicling the process of “short-selling” competitively corrupt businesses, such as the war industry, to establish a publicly-owned Education and Service Market Economy for creating social equality. The biggest criticism I had received about this short film was the inclusion of a subplot featuring my wife and I attempting to raise $30,000 for an IVF procedure. Yes, this my head talking…
Why did I include this seemingly unrelated subplot in a film about a systemic social issue?
Now this is my heart talking: It’s because nothing matters to me without the love of my wife and son. In fact, the only reason the short film was completed was because I had asked Laura her compelling reasons for needing to have a second child immediately…
We are in our forties, and our first pregnancy was full of heartbreak and sorrow. We want a second chance at a joyful experience. I’ll delve more into that shortly…
Second, because Micah is a Coffin Sirus kid, we don’t know yet what that is going to mean for his physical, intellectual and emotional development. We want him to have a sibling in his corner for when Laura and I are no longer here.
Before I continue, please give me a moment…or a day…
(He freezes. Time of daily log – 2:11. Time of total piece – 1:10:17.)
March 5, 2020
Day Fifteen. Leaving the Lover’s Quadrant.
In the three seconds that went by for you, three days have passed for me. “Super Tuesday” has come and gone. My dearest friends are still playing the Chess Game over “Who Is Right”.
There was an apparent suicide reported at Disney World recently. Even the “Happiest Place on Earth” is not immune to psychological fascism it’s warfare tactics.
It’s time I accept my deepest fear: That everyone will tear each apart out of their trauma-based fears while the Allegory of the Cave rages on. It seems I’m currently being “de-friended” for asking my friends to step up with their own emotional intelligence; to discern between fact, emotion, and judgment.
Anyway, done playing Chess. Back to the discussion of “What Is Right” and catching the Goose once and for all.
Back to Love.
Let’s play a game…a game that focuses on “What I love…” or “what I appreciate…” or “what I am grateful for…”
Earlier I had mentioned that “gratitude” is often weaponized to secure a hierarchy. This is because it is the most powerful tool in our artillery. Today, I use “gratitude” to continue to dismantle the hierarchy which is already raveling — to escalate the Creation-Destruction process.
Here it goes:
I love you for taking the time to listen to me. Thank you.
I’m grateful the process took four years to conceive our son, because it demonstrates how tenacious Laura and I are together.
I appreciate that the only option we had for conceiving Micah was a $40,000 In-Vitro Fertilization procedure — because our friends really came through for us. I especially appreciate my brother Mark for proving that behind the emotional distance between us, he is one of the most generous people alive. (Thank you, Mark, for the copy of “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”.)
I am grateful for the debt we have incurred because it had enabled me to see how the debt scam and social engineering is executed…and how to reverse it.
I do appreciate that all but one doctor gave up on us with the conception of our child, because it demonstrates how one person – one “rogue” doctor – changed our lives and granted us our deepest wish.
I am grateful the doctors misdiagnosed a missing vermis in my son’s brain, because it demonstrates we are oftentimes more “wrong” than we are “right”. It’s time to get comfortable and humble about being “wrong”.
I appreciate that the doctors recommended terminating our pregnancy, because it demonstrates how Laura and I chose “What Is Right” over “Who Is Right”.
I love the fact that my wife was in labor for five days, because it demonstrates we have longevity and can channel pain effectively. I fell in love with her all over again during birthing process.
I’m grateful my son is a Coffin Sirus kid because the consensus is that they all have raised the bar for being loving and bringing Love into this world.
I love that our family is currently living below the poverty line, because it helps me learn the unspoken languages and misperceptions between the impoverished, the affluent, and the competitive middle class.
I appreciate that I was homeless for a time because it taught me that if you wanted to understand pain, you had to live through it…and to no longer fear what is misunderstood.
Today I am grateful that my friends completely misunderstand each other, because it reveals a greater achievement for them once a conscious choice is made of Love over Fear.
Finally, I have love and compassion for the hidden power brokers who continue to censor my ideas, marginalize my presence, and isolate me from my real audience. It reveals to me that I will succeed far beyond even my own expectations.
Most of all, I love you Laura and Micah. I look forward to the day where we can speak into this microphone and tell our entire story together.
Time of today’s entry so far is – 3:50. I’ve spent the least amount of time in this Quadrant…I think that is because it is the most powerful.
I will now move back to Center Stage — that vulnerable and undefined place between Lover, Provider, Teacher and Artist. I accept this is the most frightening place to be, and I accept that I will be misunderstood by blending these roles.
But it’s time I finish what I’ve come to do.
(He places himself Center Stage and freezes. Time of today’s piece – 4:12; Time of entire performance now stands at 1:14:29.)
March 9, 2020
Day Sixteen: The Truth Trap
(Mike is visibly uncomfortable with what he is about to say.)
Five days just went by during that last pause. Been processing some very deep emotion and unconventional wisdom – perhaps it might sound like “anti-” conventional wisdom.
I have three more entries to make: Today’s contribution and then two confrontations with “The Patriarchy”.
Look, there are no “throw away” people. Everyone you meet has a piece of your puzzle, whether you choose to consciously acknowledge this or not. You can fight them, hate them, argue with them, gaslight them, discredit them, ignore them – but in the end “your truth” will always be revealed.
Truth, like history, is an apparition. We are told there 7.58 billion people currently living on this planet. Therefore, there are 7.58 versions of “the truth” and 7.58 billion interpretations of history.
What this presents is a vastly large and almost un-navigatible labyrinth of the mind. The longer you try to figure this labyrinth out – this “Truth Trap” – the more prone to anger, grief, depression and fear to which you may be subjecting yourself.
Consider this Map of Consciousness. Anything functioning at “Courage” or below leaves room for only “your truth” – which is subject to manipulation from your relationships, environment, and cultural influences. In Maslow’s hierarchy the “Relationship Needs” are not being met. For example, it’s hard to relate to someone not feeling anger if you are feeling intense rage. You will attract those of like mind and feeling, whether they are on your side of the polarity or appear to be on the other side.
Anything functioning at “Trust” or above, you find yourself in the position to hold many “truths” — which are separated only by emotional distortions and judgments. A “Fact” really has nothing to do with “Truth”. A “Fact” is what can be observed or personally sourced. When people base their “facts” on history, they are really just passing on someone else’s “judgement”. Remember, “The Universe is made up of stories, not atoms” and accepted history is written by the “winners”. It might present a danger for you (if calibrating below “Courage”) should one version of “the truth” become your only truth. My judgement means you’ve accepted authority and aren’t questioning it. And that’s perfectly acceptable!
When “Courage” becomes an old friend, you can eventually make “Trust” an old friend. You can trust yourself, trust your friend, trust your “enemy” – because you are beginning to grok the emotional distortions previously hidden due to a lack of “Forgiveness”. Once “Forgiveness” is grokked then that is the clearest pathway to Love, Joy, Peace and Enlightenment. But even these “higher calibrated” emotions are apparitions of the ego.
Simply asked: Is your assumption — your judgment — based in “Fear” or “Love”?
Now I will invite you to escape the Truth Trap with me. I want to share two passages from “A Course in Miracles”. To me, they represent the way out. If the following words have meaning to you — if there is at least some minute intrinsic movement — then I would judge you are intuiting a very rich and positive future. If it does not resonate, then that is also perfectly acceptable! I trust your story and path. All it means to me is that you are working on your own way out of the Truth Trap. My interpretation is that you are defending “The Past” with your judgments in order to understand “The Future”. The barrier is “Trust” – and that will come to everyone in their own time.
Yes, there are no “throw away people”. We all have our rightful place in The Now.
Here are the passages. After I recite those I will pause, and then confront The Patriarchy.
“Every brother you meet becomes a witness for truth or for the ego, depending on what you perceive in him. Everything you perceive is a witness to a thought system you want to be true. Every brother has the power to release you, if you choose to be free. You cannot accept false witness of him unless you have evoked false witness against him.”
And a second passage to help illuminate the way out:
“The message your brother gives you is up to you. What does he say to you? What would you have her say? Your decision about him determines the message you receive.”
(Pause at 4:20 for today’s entry. 1:18:49 for the entire presentation.)
(Mike sits in the chair Center Stage wearing the headphones and speaking into the microphone. The spotlight shines on him for the first line but returns to full lights up when “March 15, 2020” is recited.)
“It’s your move now. It’s your move.”
Michael John Shoeman
Producer/Director, 2×2: Make Art, Not War
Administrator, The Karmic Margin Call Project
(As impressive as that may sound, I am still broke and unemployed. Your support is greatly appreciated!)
(Time of piece – 10:45. Total presentation now stands at 1:29:34 from the Time Loop perspective.)
March 15, 2020
Day Eighteen: Time Travel
This is my final entry. Well, the final one for me. If you are in the audience for this piece, then I still have one more entry to offer for you.
Confused? Yes, it is confusing, isn’t it?
I just jumped ahead from Day Sixteen to Eighteen from your vantage point. But from my own perspective, I’m from “the future” to correct a great mistake I made on Day Seventeen. You’ll notice I even edited the stage directions on Day Sixteen to move this microphone and video camera so that there would be no inconsistencies when I close the Time Loop.
(During the next section Mike returns the microphone and video camera to their original locations.)
Let’s talk about Time Travel for a moment. This entire production has been an exercise in Alchemy for me: the flames of Artistry; the winds of Knowledge; the substance of Provision; and finally, the currents of Love. For this topic, I will have to revisit the Artist Quadrant because there are a lot of artistic liberties I’m taking at present.
I am confronting “The Patriarchy” just by writing these words and making them public. But ‘who’ – or ‘what’ – exactly is The Patriarchy?
Some writers labeled as “Conspiracy Theorists” pontificate that the Patriarchy is synonymous with “Father Time”. That is – Chronos, Saturn or “Satan”, who also has been associated with Lucifer. This Archetypal Being may or may not be the one being referred to when considering “The Patriarchy”. Only “the Elite” know for sure.
I will digress for a minute. At this “Time” I wish to tell a version of the “Rising Son” story.
A Tale of “Two Richards” — one named Donner and the other Lester.
Did you know there are two versions of the Superman 2 story? One was released in 1980 in movie theaters (1981 in America) which was directed by Richard Lester containing 30% of Richard Donner’s footage. The Richard Donner cut of Superman 2 was pieced together from lost footage, audition reels, and some of Lester’s cut. This version was released on DVD in 2006.
Donner had starting filming Superman 2 at the same time as Part One but was dismissed from the project after the first film’s release. Ironically enough, during the interim between filming Donner’s version and Lester’s, actor Christopher Reeve pursued another project called “Somewhere in Time”. As you will see in a moment, this real-life storyline dealt much with the topic of Time Travel and violating natural law to correct grandiose mistakes.
In the 1980 Lester Version, the three villains led by General Zod were released from the Phantom Zone when Superman hurled a nuclear weapon from the Eiffel Tower into space. This was an isolated incident separate from the first film.
In Superman 1, Kal-El made a choice to turn back time to rescue Lois Lane from Lex Luthor’s nuclear attack. In the first Superman film, Kal-El made the choice to rescue the East Coast of the country while the West Coast was destroyed. By turning back time the West Coast was restored and Lois Lane was saved. But what happened to the missile that destroyed the West Coast? The original Donner cut of Superman 2 addressed this.
In the Donner cut, Kal-El hurled the second missile into space and that is what released the villains. It was because of this direct violation of natural law — turning back time — that resulted in the “ego” being released, as represented by General Zod and his two minions.
Jor-el, Superman’s father, and Zod represent the duality expressed through the Patriarchy. Donner had completed production of Marlon Brando’s portrayal of “the Father” when dismissed from production. Brando’s scenes were also removed from the final Lester version. In the Donner cut, “the Father” took away Superman’s powers when Kal-El just wanted to be normal. In the Lester version, Superman’s mother Lara was portrayed as the one who relieved Kal-El of his powers when he wanted to live a normal life with Lois Lane. In the Donner version it was Jor-el who severed his connection to his son, the Artificial Intelligence accessible at the Fortress of Solitude, in order for Superman/Kal-El to have his powers restored and thwart the dictatorship of Zod. This was in reference to “The Father becoming the Son.”
Lester said of Donner’s version of the Superman story as “emphasizing a grandiose myth”.
Enter the Patriarchy. One grandiose myth. One which cannot distinguish between “1” and “1,000,000”.
Time is the essence of Dualism, Taoism, and what fringe thinkers would label as Illuminism. Time is the only force that separates experiences of rapture — of trauma from ecstasy, “good” from “evil”, masculine from feminine, and all of the subtle emotions in between.
So, those of you scratching your head over how Kal-El’s powers were returned after seeing the Lester version, now you know what happened. The cryptic shot of the green crystal is now explained – the Patriarchy allowed itself to see the grandiosity of its own ego, took away its own power, and then restored it with a sense of much more humility – much more humanity.
If you are reading or seeing this performance for the first time, then you are witness to my “Donner Version”, where Time Travel influences the narrative. If you happened to catch my error from “Day Seventeen” in real time during March of 2020 on Facebook, then you have gotten the “Lester Version”. If this is the case for you, then I must ask for your forgiveness of my error in judgment. It was my intention to forgive the Patriarchy for their transgressions. However, now I must ask the Patriarchy for forgiveness of my own errors.
I could write more on this topic, but hopefully we can discuss in a workshop presentation following this performance.
Back to correcting my own mistake.
I was tricked. Or rather, my conscious mind was tricked – which is very easy to do.
In the next entry titled “Day 17”, representing “The Past” from my point of view, I condemn the Patriarchy for “extorting one million dollars from each American citizen”. This is because I resonated with a meme that said one politician’s campaign spent $500 million. The meme further suggested to just invest $1 million in each US citizen.
Yes, I know $500 million divided by 1 million is only 500. And, yes, I know 500 million divided by 323.3 million citizens is only $1.54. But at the time my emotions were screaming a deeper truth at me…and it overwhelmed my logic. Common mistake for a lot of people.
When a campaign spends half a billion dollars to influence your thinking, what they are really saying is that the candidate is worth 500 million times more than you. To a competitive system where only “The Best” thrive, your thoughts are only worth $1.54. It was easy to fool my conscious mind because I do understand the exponential value of our Time. This is what I was intuiting when writing about the exploitation of social capital. This is also why from an emotional perspective everything I wrote and expressed is true, even though I fell for the sleight of hand by the egoic mind and the numerical magic trick.
I admit I was way out of line. My intention was never to condemn anyone, and I am sorry for this. My intention was always to invite others to become equal partners. In the entry to follow I state that the bravest thing I will ever do is confronting the Patriarchy…over and over again. But now I realize the bravest thing I will ever do is owning this mistake…over and over again. For as many times as I am allowed to perform this piece.
Now here I am…correcting that error. Within this realm – The Theater of the Mind, or my own Fortress of Solitude – I can do that.
And I hope you will forgive my transgression and misjudgment. One, for being deceived by the meme; and two, for violating the laws of chronological Time with this theater piece.
What I will do next is called a Clearing. I will identify and separate the Facts, Judgments, and Emotions as I confront the Patriarchy. After identifying each grievance, I will make a request of what I want for myself moving forward and what I want for the Patriarchy as we move through this very emotionally charged time in history.
Fact: $500 billion divided by 1 million is only 500.
Judgement: The story I am telling myself is that this mistake was not in vain. I spoke my truth and I will stand by that truth. I still feel the elite rulers of our world are extorting trillions of dollars’ worth of services from our society.
Emotion: A mixture of Shame and Anger. ‘Shame’ that I was so easily misled by simple meme. ‘Anger’ because I am empathizing and taking on the collective anger of 7.58 billion people who are being exploited.
What I want for me:…is to share all of the profits with people who choose to participate in this dialog directed toward solutions. What I want is for this performance to be heard with an open heart.
What I want for The Patriarchy:…is to know that I am ready to lead a “Forgiveness and Healing Brigade” if truth and disclosure is meant to be offered at this time. My wish for you is also to forgive me for my very public condemnation of your methods.
Fact: I meditated on my mistake while helping to build an Eco-Village in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. I helped lay down wood chips for a path and transported a tree to a new location on the grounds.
Judgement: The story I am telling myself is that while others are practicing social distancing due to the corona virus, I am helping to build a new world behind the scenes. I believe meditating on my mistake allowed me to be humble in learning about permaculture – and things I didn’t know I didn’t know. I am becoming humble with my being “wrong”.
Emotion: Joy. Being independent or co-dependent is very constrictive. Being interdependent is a very freeing feeling.
What I want for me:..to invite my audience to become equal partners where we can listen to each other.
What I want for you, The Patriarchy: My wish for you is to internalize the pain social distancing and the procuring of the social classes has caused. My hope is that it will induce a powerful catharsis to where you can be brave enough to take ownership of your mistakes as I am now taking ownership of my mistakes.
Fact: I paid for and released an “Open Letter” on Facebook on December 26, 2020. This letter requested an open dialog centered around emotional intelligence.
Fact: As of today, March 15, Facebook analytics report that 6,331 people have been exposed to this letter with 1,500 “through plays” of the audio recording.
Fact: I had requested my letter be circulated to a specific audience with a passion for understanding mental health, spirituality, artistic expression, and activism.
Fact: Facebook analytics report 96.5% of the audience for this letter were men.
Fact: One viewer baring a Confederate Flag as a profile picture “laughed” at my post.
Fact: One viewer told me to “F* Off”.
Fact: One viewer told me to get a real job.
Fact: One viewer accused me of a socialist agenda.
Fact: For a post that reached over 6,000 people, there are only 12 reactions – only 1 is from a person I know.
Judgement: The story I am telling myself is that Facebook is a powerful tool which could free us from psychological fascism and the effects of social engineering. The story I am also telling myself is that the Facebook company has no intention of using this tool for service to others and that it continues to encourage and exploit our collective ignorance.
Emotion: Fear over Joy. I fear writing this because my assumption is that my feelings do not matter here on the online world. ‘Joy’ because I sense a vindication coming when these words are performed for a live audience.
What I want for me:…is the satisfaction of knowing I did everything I could to start the conversation about how to achieve economic equality. I am not responsible for the constraints of the online world’s limitations. I am leaving this conversation knowing that my ego is tamed, and my compassion is evident to myself.
What I want for you, The Patriarchy:…to reconsider my Open Letter and create “win-wins” for everyone using this tool for liberation instead of secrecy and compartmentalization.
Now I will return to “the Present” and take full responsibility for my mistake and my condemnation of The Patriarchy. The original post will be included without any alterations. It becomes necessary for me to “live truthfully under imaginary circumstances” as I conclude my performance. The “imaginary circumstance” is the illusion of a one-sided monetary system where the numbers are manufactured. The “living truthfully” is my courage expressed on “Day 17”; and revisiting my feelings of the accusation directed at the Patriarchy — for telling myself the story that they are abusing us — the working class and general population.
I hope you will accept my apology and consider yourself invited to the follow-up workshop at the conclusion of this performance. You’ve listened to me for over ninety minutes. Now I want to return the favor and listen to you. It is my hope to facilitate more non-violent communication centered around positive outcomes and the honoring of each other’s feelings.
Thank you for listening. I now return you to your regularly scheduled timeline…
(Time of piece – 14:28. Time of performance is 1:33:17 in chronological sequence. 1:44:02 from the Time Loop perspective.)
March 12, 2020
Day Seventeen: Confronting the Patriarchy
It would surprise me very much if you are able to see this post. It would surprise me even more if you are able read this entry in its entirety.
Corona-mania is running wild. The Dow dropped 2,000 points during the day. A few days ago, trading stopped altogether.
Before I share with you my message addressing the Patriarchy from December 26, 2020 (my 44th birthday) I have some thoughts I need to express first.
(During the following, Mike will pace into the Provider and Teacher’s Quadrant.)
I saved a post that a friend shared over the weekend. I don’t know if it is accurate, but it puts into perspective the effects of social engineering and how it dominates our psychology via the monetary system.
The post read that Michael Bloomberg’s campaign cost somewhere in the range of $500 million. Since there are 327 million citizens reported as living in the United States, the post proposed granting each citizen a million dollars instead of wasting those funds on a losing campaign?
And there you have it. This is the foundation of Reverse Market Mechanics.
(Update: MSN.com released an article on February 21, 2020 reading “Bloomberg smashes campaign spending record.” The amount reported was $364.3 million.)
The post I am referring was since deleted from the friend’s page and my saved files. Again, I don’t know if the final number quoted is true, but the illustration of how we are exploited for egoic purposes couldn’t be more evident. This is merely one example of the exploitation of social capital.
What is the political system other than psychological warfare? One which strives to maintain the illusion of demi-godship within our media. It is never about, nor was it ever about, stimulating the economy for anyone; but about maintaining psychological control.
Let’s talk about social capital for a moment. You are valuable beyond measure! A political system that hijacks your awareness into pointless debates over “Who Is Right”, rather than encourage you to have cooperative dialogues centered on “What Is Right”, is an exploitation of your time, intelligence and potential. Period.
One simple accounting technique would grant everyone economic freedom. (If you are reading a transcript of this presentation read that sentence again.) The conflict is not strategic – that is the illusion. The conflict is emotional.
A man like Bloomberg, who invests supposedly $500 million in an egoic quest can’t buy loyalty. It is an attempt to manipulate what is grossly large for the purposes of keeping the masses confused and disempowered. No politician, no “power broker”, is entitled under natural law to extort over a million dollars of social capital from each citizen. So, it goes both ways. We have a choice now to take back that power and reinvest our time into our loved ones, our friends, and family. The Bloomberg example is but a small glimpse; a mere drop in an infinite ocean of our rightful inheritance as Sovereign Beings.
The exploitation of social capital represents the “Competitive Model”, or what I am christening Conventional Market Mechanics. The “Cooperative Model” or Reverse Market Mechanics, focuses on the exceptionally small to exponentially quantify itself – funneling the imaginary monetary resources into individual service and education-based businesses. This is where reallocation is revealed and the hierarchy dissolve.
Simply stated: Our monetary system is an illusion. A high-tech, emotionally charged one, yes; but an illusion, nonetheless.
(Mike moves slightly toward to Artist Quadrant.)
The photo included is of my good friends Janet and Tony playing a scene from “The Wizard of Iz”. They are looking down on earth contemplating what Janet wants to accomplish in her life. In the scene she proposes that her spirit chose to understand suicidal ideation and bullying before incarnating on earth. The question posed is, “Do we choose hardship in life in order to empathize and understand on more profound levels with others?” I include this image because I have similar inquiry. From a spiritual perspective, did we choose to get in the middle of these psychological wars in order to reveal a deeper truth about dissolving the Patriarchy’s power.
So now I turn my eyes to the Patriarchy.
This will be the bravest thing I will ever do in this life. Since this is intended to become a theatrical presentation, I will relive this moment…over and over and over again…for as many times as I am meant to present this piece in its entirety. To you this may seem like a grandiose gesture. To me, it represents my reason for being here…even if I am the only one who appreciates the fullest extent of the courage needed to release these words.
(Back to Center Stage.)
After finishing reciting my letter to the Patriarchy via the Facebook administration team, I will ask what it will take to forgive them of all transgressions. Then I will ask for what I want for “them”; and what I want for “us” in final entry for “Day Eighteen”.
(He pauses a moment. Looks down, then up again.)
December 26, 2019
Dear Team Facebook,
My original post read: “On the one hand, we listen to this subconscious competitive mantra forever telling us to “Go big or go home.” On the other is this comfortingly passive scripture, “The meek shall inherit the earth.” Is it any wonder that we are all going through this collective catharsis at this time in history?”
I write this letter today with genuine curiosity and wish to refrain from the tired judgments, cleverness and snarkiness. There has been enough of that. This letter is about encouraging sincerity and authenticity.
On December 21, 2019 I agreed to pay you $30 to boost my post for 5 days. I very much appreciate that to this date, December 26, 2019 that 4,391 people had seen the post and 25 had clicked on the link to view my short film and Kickstarter campaign.
I would appreciate if your team and the readers of this letter might help me understand how a boosted post received no “Likes”, reactions, shares or comments of any kind – not even the obligatory critic came out to troll! It seems plausible that, due to the somewhat cryptic nature of my last post, many readers might have been confused. However, it really stretches my boundaries of belief that no feedback of any kind was forthcoming from my hand-chosen target audience. Not even any one of the 94 members of my own Karmic Margin Call Project public page responded.
I turn now to my readers.
If you are seeing this post, it means that you have an interest in one or more of the following areas. (According to Facebook’s analytics, if you are even hearing this message, it’s a 90% chance you are male between the ages of 24-44. This was not the audience I had intended based on my carefully selected criteria, but I’m open to accepting this may be my target market – silent as they may be.) Please let me know in the comment section which category is MOST of interest to you in order to refine future messages. Providing there are no technological glitches, I will also provide a link to a press kit and short film you might find relevant and interesting.
The categories named to identify my target audience included:
World Mental Health Day
Quality of Life
Suicide Awareness and Prevention
Now in good faith, and with some trepidation, I submit to paying another $30 to boost this post with the hope of sparking a deeper conversation. To date, my fund-raising campaign has only raised $36 in pledged donations out of a $50,000 “all-or-nothing” effort. This unemployed teacher and artist is now $-24 in the hole because he decided to put his faith in the Facebook brand. More importantly, he is putting his faith in the notion that people truly want honesty, a safe space to express oneself, and support with engaging in emotionally intelligent conversation.
Considering my film explores the exploitation of social capital as the root cause of war, this experience will probably be represented in the first act of “2×2: Make Art, Not War”. Please help me understand how the Facebook company wishes to be portrayed in this narrative during the second act. I recognize platforms like Facebook and Twitter may or may not be directly responsible for both right- and left-wing propaganda, but an emotionally intelligent conversation focusing on preventing future conflict may be warranted.
My hope is that you will find this letter as an opportunity to provide “win-wins” for everyone, and not as confrontational or derogatory. Your organization plays a pivotal role in the enabling or disabling, of moving toward or away from, all war efforts. Even an entry level employee plays a key role in guiding the psychological development and healing process of any interpersonal conflicts. It is these interpersonal conflicts which lead to the exploitation of social capital. My hope is that the gravity of this responsibility is recognized on your part and that my message will not be contained or quarantined and allowed to naturally circulate.
I can accept if my second boost yields the same results as I resubmit this message for your approval. I’ve now said what I’ve come to say. As I assemble a marketing team to help me analyze the data you are providing, I leave you with the same quote from my Pitch Film…
“It’s your move now. It’s your move.”
Michael John Shoeman
Producer/Director, 2×2: Make Art, Not War
Administrator, The Karmic Margin Call Project
(As impressive as that may sound, I am still a broke and unemployed. Your support is greatly appreciated!)
(Time of piece – 10:45. Total presentation now stands at 1:44:02.)