What Is Love?

What Is Love?

The New York Times Bestseller Antifragile talks about things in our world that grow stronger from healthy stressors. The word "antifragile" describes systems that occur in nature, things that not only grow stronger from stress, but that actually weaken without positive stressors. A negative stress, for example, is a chronic stress; one that is never resolved and is ever present. Chronic stress breaks something that is antifragile; lack of stress weakens it. A positive stress is one that comes and goes, like physical stress from exercise.

Read More

Curiosity Saved the Cat

Curiosity Saved the Cat

In his influential and oft-quoted book, The World Is Flat, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and pundit Thomas Friedman argues that “IQ still matters, but CQ and PQ—Curiosity Quotient and Passion Quotient—matter even more.” While I personally think that Friedman frequently oversimplifies complex concepts, I ardently agree with his assessment on the importance of curiosity and passion.

Read More

Modern Love Songs

If art is a creative expression of the human experience, what are some of the things pop culture is trying to tell us? It Should Be Easy - Britney Spears


Love feels good. It should be easy, right? Why isn't it?

You bring me zen Yes, you bring me zen You make me feel like a million, billion I'll let you in But don't you break my heart Don't you rip me apart, no, don't you rip me apart

[Hook] Baby, love, it should be easy It shouldn't be complicated It should be easy I don't know how else to say it, say it, say it, say it

Black Widdow - Iggy Azalea


Is this a familiar story?

This twisted cat and mouse game always starts the same First we're both down to play then somehow you go astray We went from nothing to something, liking to loving It was us against the world and now we just fucking It's like I loved you so much and now I just hate you Feeling stupid for all the time that I gave you I wanted all or nothing for us ain't no place in between By-by me believing what you say that you never mean Like it'll last forever but now forever ain't as long If it wasn't for you I wouldn't be stuck singing this song You were different from my last but now you got it mirrored And as it all plays out I see it couldn't be clearer Now sing

[Pre-Hook — Rita Ora:] You used to be thirsty for me But now you wanna be set free This is the web, web that you weave So baby now rest in peace (It's all over with now)



I think it's curious the video starts with a narration that describes love as "the rarest of all human emotion." It's true, in our current culture– if someone isn't "the one," then they are just an abandonable prototype. Many of us spend our lives searching for "the one," so we limit ourselves while searching for the rarest of all human emotions. Sounds like a difficult situation.

[Intro] I hope that you're the one If not, you are the prototype We'll tiptoe to the sun And do thangs I know you like

We Found Love - Rihanna


Regarding love, why would someone think we live in a hopeless place? Personally, I think this place is full of hope– one just needs to know where (or how) to look.

We found love in a hopeless place We found love in a hopeless place We found love in a hopeless place We found love in a hopeless place

#Junglers Don't Slut Shame

Aporia refers to an emotional reaction to an unresolveable internal conflict. It's like one moment you see the world one way, and then suddenly you can't anymore. It can happen if you suddenly doubt something you once believed certain. I have felt aporia several times in my life, at once it was scary, but now I don't fear it. It feels like your world (or your mind) is collapsing. It's like being washed in uncertainty and doubt. It's kind of scary at first, so a lot of people choose to emotionally shut down at the onset of its sensed approach, others see an idea is interesting when you are afraid of taking it to its logical conclusion. The fear of uncertainty doesn't last long, especially if you are certain that you are uncertain. Each time I have felt aporia has made me stronger and more secure with residual good feelings. I am more interested in being right, so I am not afraid of being wrong–that is why I welcome aporia.

There is fading stigma against being sexual. But why is there any stigma against being sexual in the first place? Besides cultural guilt, I think a lot of it stems from jealousy and fear. It's an "I'm not doing that, so you shouldn't be doing it either!" attitude. Or "we must be careful to preserve our customs and traditions!" No need to be sentimental, traditions are merely repetitions masquerading around as truth. Currently, a lot of people go through romantic life believing their purpose is to find "the one." In this landscape, hypersexual people are seen as a threat, because they create increased competition for potential exclusive partners. Hypersexual people can also seem like lures who cause otherwise would-be exclusive partners to stray. So in the past, promiscuous people (primarily women) have been shunned, shamed, and a little feared.

In the article, referred to in the image above, Rashida Jones got flak for telling pop stars to stop acting like whores, suggesting that she absurdly thinks selling sex is immoral. It was negatively interpreted as a reprehensible form of slut shaming.

What is the message pop culture is communicating regarding sex? Paris Hilton's, Kim Kardashian's, and Farrah Abraham's sex tapes have all resulted positively for the women. I would even go so far to say it empowered and helped them grow.

With google search engines and gmail, data mining on our iPhones, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram– avoiding leaving a digital footprint is impossible. We have accepted it as part of life. Furthermore, people use Snapchat to sext, people use their iPhones to make amateur porn, and we are becoming more indifferent to the possibility of ourselves exposed on the internet. I think this will result in more forms of behavior to become acceptable. These are new customs, old ones are leaving. Things change, nothing is constant, and it's not actually scary or weird, it's quite natural and normal. Kids these days have been inundated with these cultural messages and sexual images, and they see no ethical (or practical) dilemma with being open or sexual. In fact, they probably see that being open and sexual leads to comfort, opportunity, and personal growth.

Belle Knox is a famous porn star who is a student at Duke University, one of the most elite colleges in the world. When she was first outed as a porn star she encountered a harsh barrage of criticism and hazing, however the well-spoken performer (she obviously reads books) flipped the table on her critics. The internet community rallied to her corner when she defended herself in an article on XOJANE. Duke supported her position, and now she's a major celebrity with a skyrocketing career. There is no shame in that. She's even about to host a reality show called The Sex Factor.

On the other hand, being open and sexual does make you vulnerable. Being open with others ensures you will occasionally be ostracized or criticized, and maybe even hurt, but that isn't the end of the world. These moments can be positive stressors that make us grow and self-reflect, as we should continue to do throughout our lives. If you've ever had your feelings hurt, or felt let down, don't close up! You could forget how to feel and how to attract the compassion you need and want. You can just as easily experience post-traumatic growth as you can experience post-traumatic stress, it's all about how you think. If you learn to be comfortable being vulnerable, you will find power in vulnerability.

Slut-shaming obviously still exists and sometimes it's covert. For example, a lot of bachelor men perpetuate this problem by being jerks who objectify women for selfish enjoyment, unfulfilling women before shunning them. This is a strange emotional punishment for both parties, and as a result I think it contributes to people feeling more lonely than they should. It doesn't hurt to be nice (and it's actually in one's best interest!). For men, I recommend reading She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Womana dose of The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule The Future, and The Moral Animal.

Here is a great article by Olga Khazan in The Atlantic, called "There's No Such Thing as a Slut." In the article, Khazan references a study on "sluttiness":

"... despite the pervasiveness of slut-shaming, there was no cogent definition of sluttiness, or of girls who were slutty, or even evidence that the supposedly slutty behavior had transpired. In the study, she notes that though 'women were convinced that sluts exist' and worked to avoid the label, some of their descriptions of sluttiness were so imprecise ('had sex with a guy in front of everybody') they they seemed to be referring to some sort of apocrypha–'a mythical slut.'"

"'The term is so vague and slippery that no one knows what a slut was or no one knows what you have to do to be that,' she told me. 'It circulated around, though, so everyone could worry about it being attached to them.'"

"Perhaps no recent example of slut-shaming is as horrifying as the shooting in Santa Barbara last week. Before killing seven people in his rampage, Elliot Rodger vowed to 'slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up blonde slut'— all while complaining that those very same 'sluts' refused to sleep with him... the shooting highlighted that 'slut' is simply a misogynistic catch-all, a verbal utility knife that young people use to control women and create hierarchies. There may be no real sluts, in other words, but there are real and devastating consequences to slut-shaming."

I think the negative emotional connotation attached to the word slut mostly implies people feel like it is immoral. I define a slut as someone who is promiscuous– and I don't think that is immoral or reason to feel shame. The Ethical Slut written in 2009 is a great book that proudly attempts to reclaim the word slut in a positive light.

Our culture cues indicate that we are moving in a more sexual direction. Lars Von Trier's recent movie Nymphomaniac deals with explicit sexuality. And he wasn't even the first, there was a film in 2003 at the Cannes Film Festival with Chloe Sevigny (Brown Bunny) where she gave fellatio on screen. A peak in the new high fashion sensation TVTOR MAGAZINE further hints that porn and high art are merging.

So what is going too far? I don't know, but I don't think it is for us to tell. I think people should be free to express themselves, and I think hypersexualization is a cathartic therapy curing us of embedded cultural guilt and shame associated with sex.

The anti-slut shaming movement is here. This is great news for everybody and Tinder has arrived just in time (Jana and I have even produced two of their videos, see if you can spot us in them)! It's the 21st century, and I think it's time we grow up. There should not be sexual double standards between men and women. Instead, we should continue to strive to learn how to love better.

So go be a slut. Or don't. It's your choice. Whatever you do– don't be a bigot. Feel good. Be free.