Raphie Frank :: business artivist

Pressure is Aggression to the Monkey in the Man

Foundry no. 2 by egg theorem. UPDATE: Dedicated by Raphie on 4/13/2007 to the Man Without a Country,” Kurt Vonnegut (RIP)

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Would We See Graffiti Bearing the Word WATER in our Part of the World?
Silencing Those Who Speak of Those Who Are Not Silent
Riven Hearts (aka “Why I Write and Why I Fight”)

Pressure is aggression

These words, come to me direct from the keyboard of talented Flickr photographer, writer and thinker, Mariana Tomas, kind of got me thinking in an eggs on the ceiling, blown gasket or “Let them eat cake” manner. See, I sent Mariana an email earlier today asking about something we are working on together, a book of aphorisms for the 21st Century Quantum Age called Life at the Speed of Phi, and she replied in a way only the artist might understand, that, more or less, she needed to get the time feng shui right.

What she meant by that — and the specific phrasing is mine, not hers — is that she didn’t want to pressure herself, pressure, she wrote, being “a form of aggression,” which I certainly understood in a “monkey on the back” kind of way, because I know a thing or two about monkeys, not unlike maybe that fellow in the photo up above might. Heck, sometimes, Type “A” dreamer that I am, it seems like I’ve got a whole zoo-full of monkeys hanging out on a few jungle gyms in different parts of my mind just licking their lips and waiting to pounce the first chance they get.

Anyway, as I said, it got me thinking. Just for “fun” apply that symbolic “monkey on the back” pressure we put on ourselves to entire country populations being told what to do by other countries or by their own governments. Apply that logic to people and peoples shut out of the American Dream in whatever language it is they dream. Apply it to folks who feel their choices have been taken away and their hopes for the future dashed. I bet they might just feel there’s a monkey or two hop-scotch tumbling about all over them and it might kind of irritate them.

They might not tell you very loud. They might not even tell you at all. You might not even know a gosh darn thing is wrong, until, all of a sudden, there’s a head rolling by in the street because the monkeys called the mob and stormed the castle so they could find the dough to bake that cake you said they could eat all Marie Antoinette-like.

Barack Obama, I suspect, knows a thing or two about what I’m talking about here. Part black, (and thought by many to be…) part Muslim in a country not known once upon a time for it’s hospitality to the former or these days for it’s hospitality to the latter, I dare say that “the audacity to hope” was, for him not a choice, but a necessity. The truth is, it’s not much fun to never be accepted as part of a group and told to “stick to your own kind” when you’re one of a kind, and the truth is that that kind of ostracization might just feel a bit like aggression to you, something Scarlett with the “A” could probably tell you about.

And that’s where the contradiction kind of comes in because if pressure is aggression , then how does one get in from the outside if the door is locked and no one will open it?

The answer?

You’ve got to apply a little pressure. You don’t really have a choice in the matter when you’ve no place in the manner, unless, that is, you’re okay being locked out, which most people aren’t, actually, because being locked out also feels a lot like being locked up and that’s liable to make you feel a bit like a monkey. Maybe how Martin Luther King felt when he wrote “Letter From Birmingham Jail” way back in 1963…

Problem is, as Mariana noted, and I imagine most people would agree, at least in a metaphorical sense, that pressure is seen as aggression. Except… it isn’t. And it is. It all depends on where you’re standing, to whom the pressure is being applied and why. It’s relative. Pressure feels like aggression when you’re just fine right where you are and don’t want to go anywhere.

And let me tell you. It’s nice up there in the manner sitting in comfort by a fired family hearth. I’ve been there and you’d have to be gollydarn gosh off your rocker to want to leave. You’d have to be nuts. Unless you knew a thing or two the others didn’t.

Unless you knew, for instance, that one man’s aggression might just be another man’s progression. Or that when we want the pressure we don’t even call it pressure. We call it “going with the flow” because we’ve got all the forces working together in harmony going the same direction and we don’t even notice that pressure is exactly what’s at work propelling us forward.

Pressure, like light or dark, is neither good nor bad in and of itself. It’s simply the way It is, the Universe, that is. It’s a force of nature that can never ever be held back and that’s the thing I believe I know, at least over here Western way, that so many, many smart people seem not to:

The manner progressed. It got bigger.

It’s called globalization and the monkeys are already inside and they are hungry and might just go nuts if we don’t give them a piece of the pie. The truth is, actually, they were always inside but we somehow never knew because we were looking the wrong way and the monkey was just being quiet for a while. Knowing this, it just so happens, is the big ‘ol monkey on this man’s back, because, you see, it’s kind of something you’d think people ought to know about and that you ought to tell them if you know.

That’s quite a big responsibility which somehow sometimes feels to me a whole lot like pressure, meaning, I guess, I sure as heck hope I’m right and not Mariana because progression, not aggression, is what I am all about.

A long overdue correction (12/6/2016): The original post back in 2007, just as the Obama Presidential campaign was beginning to gain traction, incorrectly referred to Barack Obama as part Muslim. He is, in fact, a practicing Christian.

April 6, 2007 - Posted by | Philosophy, Politics


  1. well said Raphie*

    i’m glad i read that*

    i agree with what yer saying here*

    with Russia + China finally waking up to the fact that we in the West are burning thru the World’s limited resources & they except fer a few in the Politburo’s living like we do as kinda Kings – the Monkey’s have indeed clued in*


    there will be tons of pressure + aggression scrambling fer the remaining crumbs of the Earth’s Crust over the next 20 or 50 years*

    Fasten yer seatbelts the Horses + Monkey’s are on the Track!!!





    Comment by BillyWarhol | April 8, 2007 | Reply

  2. Delayed reaction, sorry. Monkey is often used in Eastern religions as a metaphor for the mind, which kinda fits in what you’re saying.

    Comment by Mariana | April 10, 2007 | Reply

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