This is going to be one of my longest blog posts, but hopefully one that will open your eyes and have you realize my perspective on important matters. This will assist you in qualifying or disqualifying yourself for my 2012 HEADSPACE SEMINAR.
There is no question that I offend many of the folks who read my stuff. After all, I don’t “believe” in religion (although I do enjoy some of the traditions and the food), I don’t care about politics, and I do not tolerate hypocrites. Since many people that I come into contact with are religious to varying degrees, love politics, and “violate” the laws of congruency on a daily basis, it should be very understandable that – as many friends that I have, I probably have MANY more “non-friends.” I’m good with that.
I do not believe that you can do bad things to other people and then be granted forgiveness by anyone other than the person to whom you did harm. It doesn’t matter who you “believe,” is granting you forgiveness. I am here to guarantee you that YOU ARE NOT FORGIVEN. And if you have done irreparable harm (i.e. killed someone), you just have to live with it and hopefully deal with that transgression within the walls of your own life.
For example, a former friend – after having a bad day, told me that I had lied to him only to later find out that I had not. A year of so later, we bumped into each other. All he said was, “You know, the last time I saw you…I was having a BAD day.” I responded with, “Okay.” But he never apologized for his remarks – only telling me he was having “a bad day.” He tried to get in touch with me about another year later and I never returned his call. He has probably asked his god for forgiveness for his very unkind words, and in all likelihood, received it - BUT NOT FROM ME. And to ME, the only forgiveness that counts is mine.
The hypocrisy in our world is that people believe in their higher power, and his or her granting ultimate forgiveness for “our wrongdoings,” and yet – the fact that more than 50% of marriages end in divorce is evidence that the higher power’s forgiveness, at the end of the day, isn’t really enough or doesn’t even matter.
In my world (which I commonly refer to as Swerdtopia), there is no religion. When I’m asked about religion, I kindly respond with, “I am a NOTA!” – which means None Of The Above. For me, it’s not about “not believing” as much as it is about not caring about belief. Now – before those of you who are super religious nut-jobs vacate this site, have a little intellectual curiosity and hear me out (or “read” me out as it were).
If we erase ALL the bibles, books, and stories, then what we are left with is…US. Just US. Now I realize that some of you want to BELIEVE that – going as far back as the creation of the universe, some SUPER-BEING must have been there to “create.” Naturally, this is a reaction to the FACT that not even the smartest scientists of our time really know the processes involved in our existence, and that most of us want to believe anything other than we are alone. This lack of knowing forces a human response to have some sort of closure with regard to how life first began. In my world, a ‘being’ smart enough to create a world IS NOT of the mindset that would ever want to be worshipped. In other words, something that intelligent is something that would likely not be looking to be adorned or have people flocking to houses or worship to be prayed to. But hey – that’s just me.
To many, the idea that some deity is up there, wanting us to bow down to it, and fear it (or else you’ll go to some BAD place), gives us comfort in knowing that there is a plan for us – that we are merely puppets, and that when we die, we are simply going on another journey (lol). We look at bad things as having a purpose – even if we can’t seem to figure out why “the lord” decided to have some pedophile kidnap, rape, and then dismember FORTY-SEVEN 6-year-old girls. Oh, but wait – it was E-VIL or “free will” that caused those events, but if one girl escapes from the pedophile and is able to get away, it was your lord that saved her, right? Isn’t that what we keep hearing? One million were killed, but it was your lord who saved the 5 that got away…err…because he’s got “a plan.” Sure thing. Makes perfect sense. Hold on one second: I’m cuckoo for cocoa puffs…cuckoo for cocoa puffs…cuckoo for cocoa puffs.
BELIEVER: “Oh, but Dr. Marc – none of us are so smart to understand the ways of the higher power!”
DARK LORD: “Sure thing pal. Seems very reasonable and a good way to live one’s life (lol)…or not.”
BELIEVER: “It’s the devil…down there in HELL! He’s the one who is doing this! It’s Rapture Time!!!”
DR. MARC: “Sorry, but there is no hell, and I guarantee you that there is no rapture…unless we’re talking about the song from the group BLONDIE. Now that’s a great tune. Man, Deborah Harry was smokin’!”
BELIEVER: “Just for that, you are going to HELL – along with this group, that group, and the other group! The only people who will survive are people from the South who have three teeth. POWAAAAAH!!!!”
To many, the “wrongs” we do in life require that we answer not to those who we have wronged, rather, a deity by means of acknowledging its superiority (i.e. “Only our higher power can grant us forgiveness, blah, blah, blah…”).
Now I’m not saying that your beliefs are wrong…just that they are beliefs and nothing BUT beliefs. There is no hard, factual absolute conclusive science to prove anything. At the end of the day, just stories, fairytales, speculation, belief, and yes – FAITH.
“But Dr. Marc, even Albert Einstein believed in….”
Uhm…and before Columbus (1492), the world was flat – according to…EVERYONE. Just because someone is smart does not give them carte blanche across the spectrum of absolute actuality. To suggest such a thing is beyond stupid. Oh, and to suggest that most of the world is RIGHT because most of the world “BELIEVES” – is also ridiculous. Like I said, in 1491, there was no doubt that we were living on a table, and that if we traveled too far, we would fall off the end of the world. Just one year later, the world knew something very different. When I was a kid, Pluto was a planet. Today, not so much.
Let me tell you a story about an old acquaintance of mine named Dirty Dave. Dirty Dave was a fairly decent looking guy who let himself go. His wife, Mrs. Dirty Dave, also let herself go…A LOT. Okay – so she WAS decent looking, but now – not so much. She is now in her early 40′s and really, really, really, really LOVES carbs…really. She was fun at the bars and fun in the sack (so says Dave) back in the day, but now she’s as exciting as a lamp shade. FYI: Dirty Dave and his wife have three kids ranging from 13 down to 8 (a boy and two girls).
Dirty Dave has been a bad boy. At first, Dirty Dave just visited stripper bars. He would pay for lap dances (a naked woman putting her naked breasts in his face and rubbing her private parts on his jeans). To Dirty Dave, this wasn’t cheating. After all, it’s not like he was with (and touching) a naked woman. Oh wait! That’s EXACTLY what it was! To Dirty Dave, this was a human flaw that all men possessed, and one that could be addressed by accepting TL (the lord) into his life…and of course, begging TL for forgiveness. Okay. sure. fine.
Recently, however, Dirty Dave took things to the next level. He decided to have sex with women other than his wife. Not just a little sex, but a lot of sex. Unfortunately for Dirty Dave, he was caught in the act (a sexual position similar to something you might see on…oh…in a National Geographic documentary featuring certain animals in heat).
Dirty Dave and his wife who, as you have probably already guessed, is super religious, would attend services at their house of worship each and every Sunday. Dirty Dave wasn’t really into it, but wanted to run through the paces – just to look good to anyone watching, and just in case someone up there was “judging” him while he was at the stripper bars…when he’d go into the “special room” for an “extra special” lap dance. Stanky time!
After Dirty Dave was caught, he realized that he was in a jam. So guess what he did? That’s right – he found TL (the lord). TL apparently splits his time between living in prison and his vacation home at stripper bars. Dirty Dave’s wife also welcomed TL as the savior of their marriage. Go figure.
Dirty Dave used to swear, lie, and lie even more…and even more than that, AND used to believe that TL’s last name was Damnit (as in “_____ Damnit!”). Now Dirty Dave goes to church EVERY SINGLE DAY. He has told me that TL has granted him forgiveness, and that he and his wife are rebuilding his marriage (sniffle, sniffle). Isn’t that special.
Unbeknownst to Dirty Dave, Mrs. Dirty Dave found her way to the Dark Lord (me) seeking advice. Mrs. Dirty Dave knows me just a bit via Dave and her girlfriend (her BFF). Mrs. Dirty Dave was encouraged by her girlfriend (believe it or not) to seek the advice of the Dark Lord only because DL – who, during the day – is disguised as mild-mannered Dr. Marc, doesn’t pull any punches. She was encouraged to seek the perspective of someone who was less in touch with a deity, and more in touch with…oh…nothing but himself. Does that make me a narcissist? Oh well.
So Mrs. Dirty Dave approaches me and asks me to chat with her at a nearby coffee house. I say “Yeah – okay – I’ll chat with you, but you will likely be offended.” She responds with, “Why would you say that?” I respond with, “Because most people don’t like a punch to the face, and that’s the only thing on DL’s menu.” Even with that warning, Mrs. Dirty Dave still wants to chat with DL. Tisk, tisk, tisk.
Mrs. Dirty Dave starts the conversation by telling me that she KNEW that Dirty Dave was going to stripper bars. She could smell “stripper perfume” on his shirts, and other “scents” on his jeans (probably the tuna he had at lunch that day).
Naturally, like most women, she told me that she thought they had a good marriage. So I asked her, “Why have you let yourself go?” She looked shocked. “What the heck does that mean? That’s kind of rude!” I then said, “Uhm…did you NOT hear my warning about myself?” So I asked her again, “Why have you gained at least 50 pounds – but probably close to 75 lbs? Why do you have so much facial hair? Why are you wearing clothing that says ‘I don’t care’?” Mrs. Dirty Dave was visibly upset. Gee, I wonder what it was that I said?
I then told Mrs. Dirty Dave that I understand why Dirty Dave was “looking,” but the second he had another woman’s breasts in his face, he was just as guilty as having slept with her.
STRIPPER BAR OWNER: “Dr. Marc, there is A BIG difference!”
WRONG. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE – even if it’s in a club with a bunch of your guy friends and a bottle of Jack Daniels. I’m not saying that rubbing your face between two silicone boobs is wrong, nor am I saying that a naked woman rubbing herself on you…and rubbing your ‘love stick’ is wrong. If you’re okay with it, then so am I. All I’m saying is that your wife might not be cool with that. Just sayin’.
Okay, so Dirty Dave has committed a WRONG. We have all done bad things in our lives. Not all of us have done Dirty Dave’s kind of WRONG (again, if in your world, ‘boobs and stank’ is wrong), but none of us are without flaws. Dirty Dave made a mistake. It is what it is, and should be seen in that light. He made a mistake, but in Swerdtopia, he didn’t break a commandment. Why? Because in Swerdtopia, there ARE NO COMMANDMENTS. FYI: In many cultures, it’s inappropriate to NOT have sex with many women. Such is the case with the Shutupandbendova tribe in the deep Amazonia jungle.
OKAY…so Mrs. Dirty Dave goes on about their marriage – basically describing it no different than a business arrangement that includes infrequent fairly boring “vacations” (aka sex on Dirty Dave’s birthday). She tells me that she used to be more fun, but because of A, B, and C, D and don’t forge F (which are all the things wrong with Dave, the obligations relative to the kids, the PTA, her book club, being “A MOM”, etc.), that there’s just no time for sex. Oh…AND besides, she’s just not that into it. Oh…AND she thinks people who have a lot of sex have problems and are weird.
A week or so later Dirty Dave approaches me at the gym – telling me that he knows that his wife spoke with me. I respond with, “Yeah and what about it?” He responds with, “Look Marc, we are working things out, and with the good grace of TL, we will rebuild our marriage.” I respond with, “Dirty Dave – I didn’t ask to get involved, and quite frankly, I don’t care. I really don’t. A mutual friend suggested that she talk to me, and that’s what she did. Now you know me, and you know where I STAND on pretty much everything. And you know that I don’t take sides. I’m no marriage counselor, but I am very disturbed, a little odd, and screwed up enough to give a better perspective than most. Oh…and I am not with TL. So there you go.”
About a week goes by when I am approached by both Dirty Dave and Mrs. Dirty Dave. As I see them heading toward me at Whole Foods in Wheaton, I say to myself, “Oh Sh_t – here we go!”
Dirty Dave starts the conversation with, “Marc, we want to take you out to dinner.” I respond with, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Dirty Dave then says, “Look – we both want to hear your thoughts because, to tell you the truth, we both can’t move beyond our issues. We sat down with our pastor. That got us nowhere. We went to a marriage counselor and all that’s done is create even more arguing – now in front of the kids. So what do you say?” I responded with, “Look – I tried to talk to both of you before – ONLY because ___ suggested your wife talk to me, blah, blah, blah…yadda, yadda, yadda. All you did is tell me that I was a damned atheist (of which I am not), that neither one of you was responsible for what ‘went down,’ and that all is well under the guidance of…TL. Since I do not subscribe to any of that, it’s between you guys, your spiritual leader, your marriage counselor…and of course, TL.”
Dirty Dave then responded with, “Please man – how about some sushi from _____?” With that, I let them buy me THREE spicy salmon rolls made with brown rice (wild salmon) from a nearby sushi place that I frequent. They found my Kryptonite.
We sat down and Dave asked me what I think about the whole situation. I started with, “I am the last person to give advice on personal matters. I am hardly perfect, I wear one color (pretty much), only like a few types of music- not including that ‘Justin Beaver’ dude, hate most television shows, hate chick flicks or any flick in which someone dies of a disease, think most guys are weak, and have little to no concern for ‘beliefs’ (although I DO respect your right to belief that which you believe – if that makes sense)…but here goes…”
Here’s what I said:
“A marriage is a contract, but it’s not a contract under the laws of any deity. If, when my wife and I meant, I didn’t smoke – but then started smoking later on (because I was changing from a cocoon into a butterfly), my wife would throw me out on my ass. Why? Because I would have broken our contract. If, on the other hand, I gained 200 lbs as a result of some illness, then that’s a different story. From my perspective, both of you have your share of problems. If I were a TV talk show host, I would label Dirty Dave as the clear winner of the dirtbag contest. But I am not a talk show host, and I lack any level of a talk show host’s understanding. Like other things in life, a relationship requires the same kind of planning and consideration as does the construction of house, saving for college or planning for retirement. All three of those areas have one thing in common; a plan that must be followed. Some things might need to be ‘tweaked’ here and there, but all of them follow a plan.
If a marriage deviates (on either end) from expectations, then that violates the contract. Rather than let TL deal with it (or save it), I advise you two NOT to look at the violations. Instead, look at where you two detoured from the original contract. In other words, according to both of you, when you met – you two used to be in shape – and have lots of fun (sex, a few drinks, laughing at dirty jokes, anal beads, etc.). Both of you look horrible – and you can’t blame it on age. You made a choice. Period. Over and out. Kids may take a big chunk of your time, but that shouldn’t change who you were and are. If you believe that, over time, everything can change – then you should have spelled that out when you first said YES to getting married. If you’re committed to getting back on track, then accept that ‘SH_T HAPPENED’ – and move on. Accept that you were both participants, even if Mrs. Dirty Dave believes that Dirty Dave has committed the more severe crime. If you can’t get over it, get divorced! Stop trying to put a bandage on a bullet hole!”
Mrs. Dirty Dave then came back with, “But he put his ____ inside another woman!” I responded with, “Yeah – and you did the same thing when you guys were dating. You told me yourself that you weren’t exclusive – even after dating for six months, right? RIGHT.” She responded with, “Yeah – but that’s different because we weren’t married.” I responded with, “No it’s not. In Swerdtopia, a marriage isn’t a contract UNDER anyone or IN THE EYES of anyone. It’s a bond to live together following the rules of your own creation. No one else’s contract – no one else’s rules – just yours (within the limits of the law of course). Whose to say that it’s wrong if, when you got married, you agreed that it was okay to have another woman or another man?”
I continued: “Bottom line: If I were you two, I would stop looking at this as a religious event, and if you really love each other, re-establish the grounds of the contract so that you are both getting what you want and giving what you should.” I continued on for another 20 minutes, asked them if they understood my “dark” thoughts, and then told them that I had to go or else the spicy salmon was going to be on its way out and dribbling down my right leg.
This conversation took place MANY years ago. Dirty Dave and Mrs. Dirty Dave are still together, although living in another state. I talk with them from time to time, and even though no real names were used in the presentation of this story, I had asked for their permission before posting today’s blog.
Their life does include religion, but on a very different level. They both look great (as do their kids) and their marriage is better than ever. None of this is of my doing. I mean that. Rather, they simply took a fresh look at where they were when they first met, and acknowledged that – what had attracted them to one another wasn’t something that either one would have expected to change. In other words, if you don’t expect something to change, then you have to do whatever it takes to keep it the way that it was – or at least talk about changes as they enter your life.
DIRTY DAVE: “She had an awesome body. I never expected her to get fat. And boy did we have fun…I mean FUN!”
MRS. DIRTY DAVE: “He was always so caring and always doting on me. He was never lazy. Now he doesn’t seem to care and he just kind of lies around.”
DARK LORD: “Did you talk about how things might change? What might be acceptable and what definitely would not be acceptable, or did you just…go with it?”
DIRTY DAVE: (Silence)
MRS. DIRTY DAVE: (Silence)
The POINT of today’s post wasn’t to squash religion or pimp myself as a cure TO ANYTHING. Rather, it was to enlighten you with regard to a different perspective. The HEADSPACE Seminar is about a very different perspective with regard to ALL AREAS of your life; your personal life, your kids, your business, your communication, your goals and much, much more.
Now get off you butt and tell people who are not easily offended and who have open minds, where to find the home of THE DARK LORD (not to be confused with TL).
Have A GREAT Day!
…Dr. Marc & The Mind Virus Team