Focus Pocus vs. Self-interest, which one’s better?

 

“Near Dark”, F/M & Near Dark Joint Venture, 1987.

Written and presented by

T. Bey-Sahjaza

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

As is normal within the culture of the modern living Vampyre, and associated cultural blocs, “groups” come and go with amazing speed and regularity, just as rapidly many of those will fade and disappear, so what’s the key in starting, and maintaining, a “group” for your goals, aims, initiatives and – above all – personal reward?

The first thing to consider is what is going to be the key topic, or point of view (POV) of the group. Generally a group with a focus and goal will fare somewhat better than yet another “catch all” group designed to simply net as many members as possible. It seems, in this age, that meme sharing has replaced conversation and the quickest way to kill a “conversation” is to post the question on Facebook. In a “focus”, or “self-interest” group you can gather a number of “like-minded” contributors for the purpose of accumulating a store of knowledge and information for common use. A “library” and discussion group if you will.

What’s the difference between a “focus” group and a “self-interest” group?

A focus group is comprised of a number of DIFFERENT individuals with DIFFERENT points of view brought together to brainstorm and develop a response to a SPECIFIC problem or issue.

Tecnically speaking a “self interest group” is defined as, “Define self-interest: concern only for getting what you want or need and not about what happens to other people.” I would suggest that in the context of the modern Vampyre, and associated, cultures it could be held to reflect a slightly different process but one which still achieves the same end result as the rather narrow technical definition, i.e.  a “self-interest” group is one which aims to accumulate, store, disseminate and learn from a collected amount of information and COMMONLY HELD opinion.

img source: sylvielefrancois.com

Practical examples;
If you wanted to build a house you would bring together architects, carpenters, masons, electricians and plumbers – in the first instance – to create the building. This is an example of a “focus” group where each different point of view is represented as a part of the final solution.

If you wanted to create a group about British Military History you would bring together Military Historians, and perhaps ex-servicemen of the British Military, to contribute and share information to create a complete picture of the subject.

Which way is best?

It all depends on what you want to achieve.

Take, for example, a hypothetical “Group Project” – Top 5 set-up requirements.

1) Balanced and co-ordinated “founder team”. It has been proven, in psychological and workplace studies that a “Focus Group” consisting of individuals of different strengths and specialties makes for the best mix of creation. The one thing that is important above all, each member of the team should, ideally, be in the project for the ‘right’ reasons.

2) Advertise. From day one, a presentation for public consumption. This will thwart the “rumour mill” and the “haters”.

3) Communicate. Create a webpage, not a group, where you can feed regular updates on progress and growth to “followers” and have them see, thus spread the word, that you are NOT hiding anything.

4) Appoint a spokesperson, 1 ONLY. All communications for public consumption should be made by that person only. Extra people, throwing in extra words may seem to be uncoordinated and will, even if unintentionally, provide ammunition to the “haters and critics”.

5) Maintain the flow, growth and development. Appoint more staff if you need to, assign specific tasks and goals to each. DON’T try and go it alone. Any delays will come across to followers as, “Yeah, well, not really THAT interested, just doin’ it for shit’s an’ giggles really…”

img. source: wiseGEEK

The majority of modern Vampire Culture groups, in my opinion, fall firmly into the “Self-interest” group category and because of this the struggle to outdo other, similar, groups is always intense with each entity vying for the attention, and loyalty, of as many members as possible. As with anything of like nature there are problems inherent in each methodology that need be considered fully prior to any “group” coming into being.

“Focus Group” – The danger with a focus group is that it can get bogged down in minutiae and let the finicky details overcome the achievement of aims. For example, let’s say our ‘House Building’ focus group was looking over the Architect’s plans for the building. The Mason might say, “You can’t make brick and mortar do that, you’ll have to use another material, ten times more expensive.” The Architect says, “It’s my project, I say we do that.” Then the plumber pops up and says, to the electrician, “You’ll have to re-route the mains here and here because I need to hard-pipe to make the plumbing navigate this space effectively.” To which the Electrician replies, “Sorry, that’s not code, can’t do that.”

img. source: Applied Vision Works

So, instead of actually achieving the end result in a reasonable space of time and within a reasonable budget, protracted disagreements based on EACH CONTRIBUTOR’S agenda can dog the project.

In a “Self-Interest Group”, at the heart of it is the group “owner’s”, or “convener/s” personal agenda in opening the group. This “personal self-interest” can sometimes preclude reasonable debate because opinions, as we all know, are like assholes and getting around that, especially among modern living Vampyres, is kinda like getting to Australia from the U.S. in a canoe. The more members that are attracted to the more open self-interest group increases the available “opinions” that each demands to be heard and thus, in a way much like the “Focus Group” example, an atmosphere of argumentative clash of opinions can be fostered and once prevailing is very difficult to remove unless you begin throwing members out which gets you marked as elitist, snobby and bitchy.

img: source: rensheng2.com (Chinese language site)

It can seem, with either case, as if it’s a “no win” scenario but, in each case, the thing that will save the day is even handed, fair, accommodating but consistently firm control.

Set the rules BEFORE you go into the launching of the group or project. Make anyone wishing to join the group REVIEW AND ACCEPT IN WRITTEN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT those rules thus no one can complain when they get dumped for breaking the rules.

Stick to your main theme, goal or aim. Make that the central item, or topic, of the group and don’t let the inevitable “side tracks” take control and muddy the water to the point where you lose sight of the initial concept.

Most of all, DON’T GO IT ALONE unless you only plan on having 6 to 10 friends in it with you. Find one or two trusted accomplices (friends) who share your point of view to help administer the thing, remember the old saying, “No man is an island unto himself.”

Of course, this is all just an opinion based on around twenty years “real life” experience, and professional qualifications, in procurement, warehouse management, engineering and mechanical workshop supervision, occupational health safety and welfare co-ordination and people management roles…

Copyright TB-S & RVL, 2017

Refs:

http://www.businessdictionary.com/

https://www.google.com/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

NB: This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

Real Vampires – The hardest thing about being us Pt: 4

Heather Brewer’s ‘Vladimir Tod’ series, High School Bites

Written and Presented by

Tim

In October of 2012 I began writing a series of short papers under the working title “The Hardest Thing About Being Us”. The first part focused on questions of how we interact with the non-Vampire.

The second part, “Real Vampires – The hardest thing about being us” Part 2, turned attention to some of the dynamic of the sub-culture.

With Part 3,  Real Vampires – The hardest thing about being us Pt: 3 We took a look into the topics of“Acceptance”, “Leaders and Followers”, “Protectionism” and “Welcoming and Helping Our Own”

This time it’s…

Real Vampires – One of the hardest things about being us 4

Integrating the “dayside”, the “nightside” and our culture

In part one of this particular series, written in October of 2012, I wrote about how we, the modern vampire culture, interacts with non-Vampires. The second part centred on the prevailing dynamic within the culture and part 3 explored the topics of acceptance, leaders and followers, protectionism and helping our own. One of the things that I haven’t yet addressed, I believe in any editorial or article I have written, is the subject of our innate knowledge, our belief in ourselves and how we deal with the integration of both “dayside” and “nightside” into our “every day”.

Individual Priorities

These are the things that drive everyday effort and activity, things such as paying the bills, keeping a job (no matter how soul destroying and psychologically damaging that job may be) keeping food on the table, keeping a roof over the head, keeping the car running, looking after growing children, dealing with health issues and social media.

Yep, that’s right, I said that at the end because social media, from reports, studies, observations and statistics has taken such a huge and all pervasive place in modern life that it now almost parallels any of the other “priorities”. Is this a real addition, an imagined addition or a forced addition to life?

Let’s see if we can “prioritise” the list, and please bear in mind this is my opinion of how this list should look…

1) Keeping a job. Unfortunately the majority of employers (certainly in the state I live in, have realised this and play on it. Ruling the workplace by fear and paying low wages because they are fully aware that they have people at their mercy.

2) Keeping roof over the head. Without the roof you can’t maintain your food supply, you can’t maintain your health, you can’t get proper rest.

3) Keeping food on the table. If you don’t eat you die… simple enough.

4) Looking after the children/family. Having a family ensures that you MUST assume responsibility as a protector and provider. It’s a duty that comes with having a family.

5) Paying the bills. Heat, Light, Water, the Roof… If you don’t pay you don’t play.

6) Dealing with health issues. If you die you’re no good to anyone, yes?

7) Keeping the car running. It’s good not to have to use public transport, or rely on friends or taxi cabs.

8) Social Media. Following are several analytical tables that demonstrate the current impact (from 2017) of social media on personal communications trends.

But how does this relate to the modern Vampire culture you ask?

In a single group membership that we recently observed we found that of the total membership 42.857% actually participated in the group, on a particular issue, they had chosen to be in. It was also observed that, amongst the participation rate of six randomly selected “unsubs”, the ratio of personal use of social media to group representation using social media ran as follows;

Unsub 1, timeline posts 20, group posts 33

Unsub 2, timeline posts 1, group posts 2

Unsub 3, timeline posts 3, group posts 0

Unsub 4, timeline posts 25, group posts 4

Unsub 5, timeline posts 144, group posts 0

These figures were taken over a five week period from 1 June this year.

Oh, yes, I said SIX didn’t I,

Unsub 6, timeline posts 696 ( +/- 6) group posts 0 (unsub 6 was treated as a special case due to the fact they made a number of posts, 15 to be exact, within the nominated date range at an associated page and only 1 at the Group homepage.)

I would suggest that if something is important to a person they will commit, they will make specific time available to follow up on that commitment, they will actively contribute fresh material, new ideas and propose discussions or other “projects” that could potentially benefit the group… basically it’s that old chestnut that I’m sure we’ve all heard until our ears were bleeding from it, “Are you a team player?”

My question would be, “If you’re not a team player, why be on a team?”

Pic. source:
Trans-Atlantic Business Council

In a great number of groups around the online culture you can find, as part of the mission statement, the words, “for the betterment of the community”, in some form or another. This statement must be regarded in its true context, “for the betterment of the community in my/our opinion”… it is one of the indisputable truisms of the modern culture that no one has yet found “the way” to improve, overall, the culture even though they may find a way to better things for their immediate followers, or group members but even this will only last for a time.

I would suggest that the only person that can better things for themselves is them.

A number of discussions that have taken place lately have revolved around either the latest idea for improving things or for the improvement, in some manner, for small segments of self-interest collectives and, as such, these concepts hold very little for general, wide-spread and overall improvement.

At the heart of every thought, of every imagining and every decision taken by an individual is a knowledge of themselves and what is necessary and the best for them. This also is an indisputable fact and one that can’t be avoided in any group or cultural setting, agendas of one type or another will define in what direction the group leads, what flavour the group is and how deeply personal bias on the part of the Owner/s of the group will go in the running of the group.

So, what is truly “for the betterment…” and what is for “self-betterment”?

 

Pic. source: spreadshirt.co.uk


The sum of the parts…

How do we, as individuals in the “real” world accommodate the dual nature of our existence? How do we integrate and maintain the Vampiric need along with the “paying bills”, “keeping a job” and “managing a family”?

The answers will come from ourselves, they will come from how deeply we are willing to allow the two to integrate, they will come from how deeply we feel “the hunger” and, ultimately, they will come from just how much we are willing to commit to allowing integration to take place.

There has been much said, and written, about the modern Vampire culture. Unfortunately a great deal of it, constantly, negative. Everyone seems to be fully aware of the problems facing the culture but even after more than 30 years there have been no real, lasting and progressive solutions that have stood the test of time. Given the vast array of intelligence, experience and expertise that exists within the culture you would think that something would have come into being but still, even as late as four days ago, descriptions of the situation still read somewhat like this;

“The same old tired “discussions” over and over again, that we’ve all been having, carried over from the message boards 15 years ago?

Same old topics with newer younger faces?

There’s that, and also drama. More drama. Same fucking drama that always constantly circulates and permeates. Same juvenile bullshit about This One calling That One names, or over-reaching their “territory”, or some self-styled “royalty” of some kind issuing “proclamations” which essentially boils down to more name-calling…

We even have, to this day, self-appointed “leaders” telling the “flocks” not to listen to This One, or to not be friends with That One, and all of the “Oh look what they’re saying now” shit, and the “We won’t stand for this” crap.

It’s all fucking garbage.”

Following on from such a conclusion then might we not consider “taking out the garbage”?

Now hold on a minute pardners… I can hear you all saying, “Here it comes…”
I would ask, “Here what comes?”

Are we going to keep telling ourselves there is NO solution? If that’s true then we might as well all give up, go home and become solitaries.
Are we going to tell ourselves, “We welcome anyone within, associated with, or simply interested in…” and thereby promulgate the problems in separating the real modern living Vampires from wanton troublemakers, RPGers and Wannabe/Pretenders that we pretty much all profess to loathe so much?

 

Solutions

So, where do we go?
Back to a corner and sit on our hands? Into deep conference between all interested parties? Into a “Corporate Team Building Retreat”, or perhaps a “Tactical Withdrawal and Regroup” pattern? Into some sort of separationist tribal model?

Many times over the definitions of modern living Vampire have been written, re-written, discussed, re-hashed, deliberated on and then discussed some more and, for all of this over thirty plus years, we still have nothing universal to rely on. Indeed, as one person once remarked to me in a message board I frequented, “Words don’t actually just mean what the dictionary says, they also mean what people understand them to mean.”

“Uh Oh…!”
Pic source: Fistful of Talent

Faced with something like that, we are indeed sunk.

 

A presentation of the best available definitions comes to us from the “Terminology and Lingo” section of Sanguinarius.org [2] where the definitions of “sanguinarian”, “blood-drinker”, “blood fetishist”, “psychic vampire” and “Vampyre Lifestyler” are to be found, among others. Each are directly concerned with defining the term under certain conditions of activity they do not, however, concern themselves with defining motivation.

In considering the motivation behind the integration of “dayside” and “nightside” I would suggest that we could further break down the definitions, regardless of activity or practises. If I was asked to write up a table of Vampire types in the Culture I would create a dual list, one would contain the standard recognised “types by feeding method” i.e. Sang, Psi etc. The second part, or sub-division, of the list would be by “activity type”.

 

ILVamp – Integrated life Vamp – A modern living Vampire to whom their Vampirism is as much a part of them as their ethnicity, their biological condition and their natural psychological processes. A Vampire who does not, and cannot, separate their Vampirism out and in which it is as important a part of life as working, sleeping, eating, paying bills and creates, within them, a strong commitment to incorporating their Vampiric nature into their existence.

TPVamp – Time Permitting Vamp – A modern living Vampire who does not recognise that part of themselves as a priority in their daily existence and activities and will treat the matter as a lower priority than everything else in life even though it may compromise their health and wellbeing.

FVamp – Fetish Vamp, a human living Vampire who actively practices their feeding while regarding said act as an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency or any object, idea, etc., eliciting unquestioning reverence, respect, or devotion.

WSVamp – “When it suits” Vamp – A modern living Vampire, or perhaps not, who will only visit the issue in so far as it suits their personal need for attention, entertainment or gratification.

PVamp – “Pretend” Vamp – One who will pop up, regularly to spread dis-, or mis-, information, dress up and play vamp, join every single Vampire oriented group on social media and “farm” friends lists for contacts to make themselves appear to be a “mover and shaker” but at the end of the day are about as Vampire as my blessed Grandmother was a deep sea exploration diver; Gods rest her beautiful soul.

 

The situation, unfortunately, is not improving in any wide measure and because of that people actually begin to question not only their own commitment but the trust they may have placed in others along the way. People may begin to question whether there is actually a place for them in the modern culture, people may begin to question why they even stay in touch so not having solutions to offer may well be just as damaging to the culture as having solutions that cause arguments and dissent – it’s Devil and the Deep Blue Sea time.

Ultimately, dear reader, at days end the only person that knows who you are for sure is you, you do not know, for sure, who a great majority of the others in the culture are, and ultimately, whether you choose to integrate, or not, be a “team player” or not, is a decision that rests squarely with you.

Copyright T & RVL 2017

 

NB: This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

 Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

 For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

10 Years – Stand up, Stand out, BE COUNTED…

Photo credit: ITV Television & The Sun Newspaper, U.K.

Presented by

Tim

People say to me, “You’re not from around here, are you?”, usually followed by something along the lines of, “can tell by your clothes and your hair…”

I’ve always been… somewhat different, different in dress, different in style, different in outlook and perception – it came to me at a very early age that it was the ONLY way to be. Because of that certain things were, and probably are, bound to happen – and certain things will get to me.

A Definition of Alternative Subculture…

“Alternative Subculture means a discernible group that is characterized by a strong sense of collective identity and a set of group-specific values and tastes that typically centre on distinctive style/clothing, make- up, body art and music preferences.

Those involved usually stand out in the sense their distinctiveness is discernible both to fellow participants and to those outside the group. Groups that typically place themselves under the umbrella of “alternative” include Goths, emos, punks, metalllers and some variants of hippie and dance culture (although this list is not exhaustive).”

Sylvia Lancaster OBE, Professor Jon Garland & Dr Paul Hodkinson. March 2013

In 2007 Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend, Robert Maltby, were attacked by a group of young men while walking through Stubbylee Park in Bacup, Rossendale, Lancashire in England. As a result of head injuries Sophie sustained in the attack, she lapsed into a coma from which she never awoke. She died of her injuries thirteen days later. Rob, also severely beaten, lapsed into a coma but he was fortunate in that he regained consciousness. The attackers set upon Robe initially but then turned their attention on Sophie when she tried to intervene and help her boyfriend.[1]

Img. source:
http://gothic.life/

I am quite sure that many of us, moving in the circles we have, and do, can recount tales of innocents being brutalised for simply ‘being different’ – I can.

It is this sort of heinous and barbaric behaviour that we must ALWAYS seek to thwart, to fight and to eliminate.

Sunday the 18th (U.K. Time) was the 10th anniversary of this tragedy, we should all take pause and reaffirm our resolve to stand up, stand out and be counted in memory of Sophie, Rob and all the others who have been victimised for being different.

Sylvia Lancaster O.B.E at ‘Download 2012’ with Jake and Jinxx from Black Veil Brides

BBC U.K. – “Murdered for being different”

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation

Support The Foundation

Like I said, some things REALLY get me…!

Copyright TB & RVL 2017 except where noted.

Additional references:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Sophie_Lancaster

NB: This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer