A Brother

There once was a man who was very passionate about being a video game designer. He had gone through college in graphics design as he was an extremely talented artist, and had always enjoyed playing video games. He dedicated all of his time and energy to making his video game, networking with sound engineers, voice actors, and even a french musician, all of whom were excited for the vision the man had for his game that was destined to be a series of games.

He woke up and began researching every aspect of using the game engine he needed to make all the effects and puzzles he wanted. He made custom textures and models for the game with his artistic prowess. The game would certainly be great when it was completed, but the trouble was completing it.

Day and night he worked, not going anywhere or doing anything but occassionally watching a movie or tv show. The rest of his time was dedicated to his game. His little brother watched him as he poured hours and days and weeks and months and years into creating the game, excited to see its release one day. The man was almost constantly frustrated, and angry, often reflecting on the things he was missing out on for the sake of the game’s development. His little brother could hear the occasional slew of curse words, pounded objects, and shouts coming from his brother the next room over.

The first deadline for the game came and went and he had to go online, make some apologies to his hyped up fans, and promise it was still in development and would be released soon. He set another deadline for the next year. Finally, the man gave in; the vision of what the game was supposed to be and what he was accomplishing were two separate things. He would just round off the edges, throw everything together and call it complete, having already missed his first deadline.

Another year of missing events, not making friends, and hours of frustration later and he released the game. It was a mess and having never had playtesters for the game, his vision for at least one of the puzzles and the way others would try and solve it, coupled with the game engine’s difficulties, many were underwhelmed. He went back in and made some tweaks and fixes to the game and released it again as a sort of “director’s cut”. Many of the newer features he had tried to implement simply failed to work in this release.

The man’s heart was broken. His passion, his blood, sweat, and tears were all for nothing. The game had little more than a cult following and many people felt the game was closer to a proof of concept than a finished game. There came a time for him to learn the lesson from his experience. He jumped into the world he’d all but abandoned and began to thrive there. He didnt play video games anymore, and never tried to make a game again.

He began work one day on a script he’d want for a vision he had of his next game. He had a very unique idea and was an expert on the horror genre. He did preliminary work on the plot and script, and even asked his little brother, a writer, for help on it. The script and the ideas in it never surfaced and he never mentioned it again.

He’d learned the wrong lesson from the harsh reality of his time as a game developer.

The man was an artist. He got his degree in digital art creation, and everyone who saw the custom textures in the game loved the originality and creativity they displayed. He even created artistic images all the time just for fun. The man was an artist and not a game developer. Instead of jumping into other projects as an artist, he avoided video games and most everything that wasn’t human interaction. He gave up on all parts of the digital realm, even the ones that he had expert mastery of.

If it couldnt make money or get him notoriety, it was no longer worth his time and effort to do. He needed to see high returns on all further investments, because years of focus and determination had lead him nowhere. But he focused in the wrong direction, and was determined to do things he was not nearly as good at.

His little brother had always supported his big brother and had always wanted to see him noticed and appreciated for his work. Their parents had often praised his artistic skills and creations, but in the real world, he had no praise. People are harsh critics and the world is a cruel place.

His little brother, the writer, had difficult odds against him and his passion: writing. His parents had never supported it, always throwing away, ripping up and mocking his works. He was always focused and felt that his life goal was to get published. He was a writer and had always been, and even seeing the statistics of only 1 in 10,000 books getting published didnt deter him. He read many books and wrote as often as possible.

The man’s little brother one day, years after his older brother’s game had released, decided to look it up and see what had happened of the community of supporters for the project. It didnt take long and he found several sites still with mirrors to download the game. Many of them had counters of the number of downloads. The little brother was amazed to find 3000, 6000, and even 12000 different downloads all across the web. Tens of thousands had downloaded and played his older brother’s creation! All of the message boards said the same thing “I still play this game every halloween, it helps me get into the spirit of the season”. The brothers favorite holiday and time of year had always been halloween and seeing so many people say that the older brother’s game helped them reign in the season was truly an incredible accomplishment. All of the posters of comments, some even commenting weekly as new people discovered the game, all wanted to see more. Several even speculated a new game in the works.

The little brother used this thrill to go onto the website of a top game developer, the one who had created the game engine the older brother had used to make his game, and found where job applications were posted. The website said in big letters “We’re ALWAYS hiring. We have a 99.9% retention rate!”. There were so many positions open to apply to. The little brother was certain that with the success of his brother’s game in the community, and his degree in graphics design, he could get his brother a dream job in a perfect place where his passion and determination met: video game artistry.

He quickly emailed his brother all the necessary information and links all concise, and noted to him that he was qualified for each of the positions open. He didnt hear from his brother about it. Finally, a few weeks later, he texted him, asking him if he’d applied. The reply was short and empty but simultaneously full of so much meaning, “No.”

For the older brother, failure was no longer an option. He wanted a home run or nothing at all. Nothing but greatness that came relatively easily and excitingly would be enough. Determination and strong will had done him no good in the direction he’d wanted. His spirit, dreams, goals and directions had all been thrown out, baby, bathwater, and all. The world is a cruel place.

Published in: on July 28, 2011 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Love at 10 years old

When I was younger, I fell head over heels in love with someone unexpected. Now, I dont use the term head over heels lightly here. I am talking about magical love, the kind kids have to their stuffed animals and toys. It is one of the most unique situations because as I’ve gotten older, it has completely vanished. I’ve never loved anything as much as I did when it was all in my head. In real life, people do unexpected things that wears you down, a randomness that is so uniquely human that our brains cannot create such things on its own.

One summer I had just moved to New York, there was boxes and clothes everywhere and while the surroundings were unfamiliar, my things let me know I was safe. I went to sleep and had one of the most fantastic dreams ever. I had met and fallen in love with Wednesday Addams. She knew me completely and when she said “I love you”, I not only heard it, but felt it into the core of my being. When she touched and looked at me, it was like someone had filled me with complete warmth and caring.

Then I woke up.

It was so saddening to be back in the real world where none of those feelings or engagement that bordered on a psychic bond. I floated in the cloud of the emotional high the dream had brought me all day long. By the day’s end I was so happy that I almost didnt want to sleep as by the next day I was sure the dream would be long gone. So I went to sleep and she was there. Beautiful Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams and I spent yet another night together, only building on the previous night’s joy. This went on for two weeks. I was dating a girl from a movie that I didnt really like and whom didnt act at all like the character whom I’d seen her portray. But she was awesome in every way and my young mind spent every day daydreaming of her and our future together.

It was so fast and amazing that I had decided I would ask her to marry me. At 10 years old, I had no idea what that implied in entirety but it seemed that nothing would separate us. I mumbled under my breath constantly that I loved her throughout the day.

I don’t entirely recall now if I was ever able to propose to her or not, but I know that either that night or the next, she was gone. I dreamed of nothing at all for days. Each day without her, the attachment grew more apparent, as did our distance and the idea that I’d never see her again became a depressing reality. I am not sure of how emotionally deep a 10 year old can be, but I’ll be damned if I wasnt the saddest I had ever been up until that week.

Flipping through the channels as our basic cable had just been connected, I finally settled on a channel that was mid-commercial. After just a few moments, the show came back and a beautiful redhead, cute as I’d ever seen, was looking at me. Her name was Willow and the show was called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Something was special about her. I didnt know what but I watched an entire show I knew nothing about, with several scenes of near softcore action between some not very attractive vampire man and his girlfriend the vampire slayer, just so I could see Willow again.

Now, I was not really a fan of the show, and I wasnt really a fan of her name as I felt it was ripping off a favorite movie of mine about a midget wizard, a baby, and Val Kilmer. So everytime I thought of her name I pictured a midget waving a glowing crooked stick saying “toowatatoowatatoowata”. This quickly passed obviously, but was kind of jarring at first.

I digress, that night when I went to sleep, there was Willow. It was as if I were looking at my old long lost love as she now looked older and hotter than my former love, but had everything else Wednesday had. It was as if Wednesday was back, with a different body and name, but everything else was the same. We picked up where we left off as we had missed each other terribly. Just as with the dreams of Wednesday, every night we met together. This went on for about a week, maybe two. Again, I was on cloud nine, writing little sappy poems, and speaking sweet nothings to my dream wife while I was away in the waking world.

I spent several days trying to find what time and channel Willow would be on, but was having a difficult time seeing her again. At the end of a week or two, I finally had success! There she was in front of me again, just as she was before. Only now there was some quiet girl with long blonde hair with her. By the episode’s end, Willow had made it all but clear to me that she was a lesbian and this new girl was hers.

I was enraged, I was angry, and I was also very, very turned on at the sight and prospect of chicks kissing each other, but I was mostly very mad. I went to bed very upset and hoped I would see Willow again that night. I would demand an explaination, maybe try to show her how much of a powerful connection we had and, if all else failed, maybe attempt to get one of those threesome things I’d heard of. But she never came and I never saw her again, or watched the show again. The two, well really just one, people I ever loved were gone forever and I never saw them again.

In the years that followed I tried everything in my power and research abilities to get ahold of that magical feeling. It was only ever really there when I remembered my dreams, and even then, as the years went on, that too went away slowly. Every time I wrote or felt creative, it felt like I was somehow connected to Willow and Wednesday. It was not nearly as powerful but it felt similar enough to that magical love I knew at 10.

I tried to get into Wicca and got many books in my teenage years in the hope that somehow I could bring that feeling back. I had long since moved away from New york by then and much of the magic of that time in my life was gone. Every “spell” was far too complicated and required much more work than a 13 or 14 year old could possibly do, and many more things one could not obtain at that age.

Then I had a brilliant idea. I needed to go back to New York. There was something about being in that place that might bring back that feeling and emotional connection to the world. I searched book after book for a travel spell. Finally I found it and bought it. There was just one spell in it, and none of the other books contained anything close to travel spells.

And this spell was simple! All it required was paper and pencil. The spell went something like this:
“Write all your favorite things about the location you wish to travel to, and write that locations name on a piece of paper, keeping all the thoughts and feelings of that place in your mind as you write. Fold it into a paper airplane. Close your eyes and speak the name of where you wanted to go and throw the paper airplane. When you open your eyes, you will be in the place you wanted to go.”

I was so excited and followed the instructions to the letter. I thought long and hard about my destination and even tried closing my eyes as I wrote on the paper. Being a rather talented paper airplane maker when I was younger, the making of the plane came quickly and naturally. Now all I had to do was get ready for my trip. I put on a winter jacket and stepped outside where it was slightly icy out, living in Montana at the time. I stood on the porch of my aunt and uncle’s house and closed my eyes, focusing hard on New York. I clenched my fists and threw the paper plane.

I slowly opened my eyes, wondering where I might have ended up exactly in New York and if I’d know my way around. I was still on the porch and the moonlight shone on the paper airplane about a foot in front of me, stuck in an inch of melting snow. I was so mad, I ran over to it and picked it up, focusing angrily again and throwing. It flopped to the ground just in front of my hand, too soggy to fly. “COME ON!!!!” I yelled and threw it again, this time very hard and with my eyes open. Again it barely took flight. My journey to find my long lost home and the love that was there was gone. There was no magic in the world, and nothing would ever feel as good as those dreams did years earlier. I knew in that moment what it felt like to never be able to go home again.

Published in: on July 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Diseases

There is a disease whose symptoms often times harms those not afflicted, more so than those who are: this disease is known as Selective Memory. S.M. is seen in many people the world over, and is often seen when one remarks on something that the ailing has done that was not, in hindsight or foresight, a positive action. Often times the person being addressed will simply not remember the event. Adults between the ages of 35 and 60 also suffer from its companion disorder known as Rewriting History, wherein the sufferer has not forgotten the incident in question, as with S.M., but has instead opted to change their memory of the event’s unfolding; in part, or in entirety.

This disease has become more and more prevalent through the years as technology has been able to track and store certain forms of events and communications, for later referential use. It is important when trying to diagnose some with SM or RH, to not confuse those disorders with Lying. People who have Liar’s disease are distinctly different from those with SM and RH in that they know the events in question and are purposefully not recounting them accurately. While Liar’s is more likely to be a much worse disease in many minds, it also has much more awareness in the general populace. However, it should be noted that many people can be misdiagnosed with SM, when in fact they are simply Liar’s.

Treatment for Selective Memory and Rewriting History is currently very ineffectual and often times only makes the disease worse. In patients treated with such medications as Facts® , Proof® , and Reality®, there is a 50% chance of a single event or episode of SM or RH being cured. In the other 50% of patients, the disease worsens, often engulfing the event of administering the medication, and surrounding events. Unfortunately, patients rapidly build up a tolerance for most of the available medications, at which point even treating the symptoms becomes impossible, and any new medications taken that are similar to those currently on the market are rejected almost immediately.

There is a wide range of support for loved ones, families, and friends of those in late stages of the disease which are very effective at helping them cope. Most often recommended are Calling Your Mother™ , Bitching With Your Coworkers™ , and the resoundingly successful Alcohol Binge™.

Do you or anyone you know suffer from any of the signs and symptoms of these diseases?

If so, ask your doctor or therapist about what treatment is right for you.

Published in: on July 23, 2011 at 11:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

President’s Speech

My fellow Americans, we are in a dire situation. I have decided that we need to make
drastic changes for the better before time is out. I have been working for years on this
speech, and how to achieve everything contained within it. I can assure you that not a
word of it will not happen. Everything I speak of here is the truth and the direction that I
am going to lead this country. There are several key points to cover here, and so I’ll start
here:

Debt:

Debt should not be any person, or company’s source of income. Whether this is credit
cards, or housing companies, or insurance companies. We need to realize that spending
15 years to pay off a home is not the American Dream, it is willful slavery imposed by a
misguided notion that freedom is based in social standings and material goods.

For this reason, as of July 4th 2011, not a single American will owe anything to any
company or corporation. What you possess, you own. All credit card, housing, medical,
dental, or other debt will be reduced to zero.

This is the last time anyone will be able to live beyond their means. Making $30,000 a
year and owning a $150,000 home should be seen as an insurmountable task. Debt is
not freedom. You are not living the American Dream if you are a slave to your credit
card company, the IRS, the medical insurance companies. You are free to make enough
money as you wish, and make all of the possessions that come with that income. You are
not free to ask money of a company who will gladly show you the bottom line to keep
you captive. The ability to choose to be a slave is not for our country here. There are
plenty of other countries that will gladly restrict your freedoms and make you a slave if
that is your choosing. America is the land of the free.

Companies are the new plantation owners, and just as slavery had no place in America in
Lincoln’s time, neither does this new form of slavery have a place in ours.

It is our nation’s Independence Day, it is the day of our freedom. The time to break free
of the ties that bind.

Morale Stimulus

With no debts, the freedom to live within our means is finally attainable. We can now
set up our future for our children and our children’s children. With no debt, people will
be able to make the purchases they have been wanting to but were unable to because
of unforeseen medical expenses, necessary transportation needs, or because of the
impressively misleading campaign that every one of us perpetrated: that of the ideal
American life, the Dream. This is everyone’s fault, and all of our problem. There is no
more us versus them. No more wealthy versus poor, or republican versus democrat. We
are all Americans and anything that blurs that line, anything that makes us forget to love
our fellow man, that everyone has loved ones and problems, should be taken hold of by

all of us.

Revitalizing our country

We are coming home. Everyone. We are not closing our borders, but rather, respecting
everyone else’s.

Germany, Japan, the Middle East, and many other locations have thousands and
thousands of our troops. They are so far from home. However, I cannot in good
conscience ask them to come back to a home that has no place for them, a home that
promises low wages, high unemployment rates, medical expenses, and technology that is
behind the places they are coming from. This would not be bringing them home; it would
be dragging them down.

That being said, our war is here. We are at war with time and cruelty. We are at war
with ourselves. This is a much harder war to rage. The one inside of us. We will need
the support of every man, woman, and child, to win this war. Time has not been kind
to us and we have fallen behind. Astronomical debts to other countries, diminishing
infrastructure countrywide, and states going bankrupt. We cannot possibly help other
countries, we cannot repay our debts, if we are not helping ourselves first. We must
rebuild the foundation so that we can stand tall, stand solidly, and attain our goals of
freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

The Pursuit of Happiness

In our continued pursuit for happiness, we have become sidetracked in things we thought
would make us happy. A mortgage on a home, another car, fast food. These things hold
no intrinsic happiness in them and are only in the beholder. These things create debt to
their imbibers, sometimes permanent, debts that one will not pay off in their lifetime. Our
obesity rate is just one indication of this. We are not healthy, not physically, or mentally
well. How can a citizenship pursue its dreams and goals if it is not in top health?

I am eliminating the corn subsidies and going to subsidize and provide food for all of this
country’s citizens. I will move all non-organic subsidies immediately into the processing
of pesticide free, healthy, organic foods. Every person will be given a card. This card
will be delivered to everyone who filled out the Census, and everyone who did not will
be able to apply for this card at a number of locations. This card will work as a country-
wide food stamp. It’s also a discount card. All organic foods will be much cheaper. I
have a team of economists and doctors working on how much money this card will be
good for. We are going over the Census records and counting the number of people in
every household, how much food a 2000 calorie diet would allow all members in the
household, and it will be renewed at the end of every month. Yes, this will be a month’s
supply of food for every person for a whole month, every month. For free. Anything over
this amount, you will have to pay for out of pocket just as with food stamps. We will
have a list of approved foods that you can purchase with this card. The idea here is the
same as raising the price on cigarettes. If you really want to smoke, you will have to pay

more money for it. In this same vein, if you really want to eat unhealthy foods, you will
have to pay more for it.

This leads me to my next point: universal healthcare. This includes medical, dental, and
visual. You do not need a card, you do not need to be a citizen. If you are a human and
you are sick, you can go to a hospital and receive the necessary healthcare you need.

The money for all of this will be taken care of by reducing our defense spending, ending
the war on drugs through decriminalization and eventually legalization, and stimulating
our economy. The amounts we are spending on defense are unbelievable and must be put
towards our wellbeing.

Big Changes:

Free electric car with any vehicle trade-in: These will be highly specialized, small
and very cheap to make vehicles that should be used at any time you are not needing to
transport more than five people, or needing to haul large items around. From going to a
from work, to road trips, to grocery shopping. These are fully tested and qualify to the
same standard of safety as all other vehicles on the market. And repairs are free. Yes, you
will never pay for tires, repairs, oil changes, nothing. These vehicles and everything that
goes into them will be completely American made, and insurance is included in every
trade in. These cars are automatically insured. This will be like the new original Ford.

There is no status to be had in expensive vehicles. Efficiency and your ability to help
yourself and everyone else is the real status symbol. This will drive down prices at the
pump, and reduce our oil dependence by more than half. This money we have been
spending to get more oil has been funding al Qaeda, and terrorist organizations. We must
stop this funding as immediately as possible, and the fastest way is to reduce the demand.

Countrywide bullet train transit: The country’s existing railroad is outdated and slow
and must be brought to a new era. The price of plane tickets have significantly increased
and between this and our vehicular oil consumption, it’s no wonder the prices have
skyrocketed. With the creation of a national bullet train system, travel will be faster,
safer, cleaner, and less expensive than ever.

Green Optimizations: Installing solar panels onto the roof of every house in the country
and connecting it to the local grid is my next job creation. This will be government
contract work. This will reduce our electricity consumption, further reducing our oil
dependence. Along with large wind and hydro farms across the country, we should be
energy independent within ten years. Let us take from this planet what it gives us and
turn it into something amazing.

Imagine the Future:

Imagine you wake up tomorrow, and you do not have the worries you woke up with

today. Are you sick? You will be healthy, because you are loved and taken care of by
your fellow country members. Are you in debt? There is no more debt, you owe nothing
to anyone except to keep yourself and everyone else as healthy and happy as you can
imagine. Are you not making enough money to live? Even if you lose your job, even if
you are fired or you quit, you will have enough money for yourself and your family to
eat. If any of you get sick, you will never not be cared for. Worried about the roof over
your head? With the reduction of debt, apartment complexes, and renting will be the new
ideal. More and more apartments will be build much cheaper and more efficiently. If you
cannot afford your current rent, I assure you that it will not take long for you to get back
on top.

Wake up. Wake up and breath the free air. Pursue your happiness every day.

Thank you.

Published in: on July 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Expectations

About two weeks ago I was sent a formal application for writing for a game review website run by redditors. The creator the website personally messaged me, and probably several dozen others, and I was very excited at the opportunity.

The application page said it might take a week, so, I am assuming at this point that I didnt make the cut. I am not writing this to talk bad about the website or to feel sorry for myself. Actually the application process was a ton of fun to go through and honestly I was extremely energetic while doing it. And I expressed my gratitude to the owner who originally sent me the application.

I wanted to talk today a little about expectations. I think that expectations are sort of like mental flinching. Like a Spidey Sense for the non super hero. Now this may look like a romantic idea of what is one of buddhism’s core focus of cleansing, it actually isn’t. In practice most of us would constantly be jumping, ducking and dodging away from nothing as our Spidey Sense is rather in need of fine tuning. To the observer, most people have their Sense going off way too often and hardly get anything out of its presence.

However, I think that those who pay attention to what expectations can do to people, often conclude that at best expectation should always be low if not non existent.

But what is the point of expectation, is it some weird hold over from our more primitive days? Or does it have a use that we just dont understand yet? Obviously I am more inclined to think the latter.

Can we learn without suffering? Can we understand emotions without disappointment? How does one develop in early life without those things? I suppose there havent been nearly enough small children raised to understand expectations and try and eliminate them in their entirety, but what if there was, what would that look like? Can we look forward to something or feel rewarded adequately without expectations? I think that ideally we could but in practice, at all times?

I should really be talking to some zen masters and the Dali Lama about this as I’m sure they could cut all my questions down and probably would show me that these questions themselves show my own expectation.

It’s said that expectation is the source of all human suffering but I think that it’s actually an incomplete sentence. When put that way, it seems something that is so easily eliminated or taken care of. But when anyone quoting that is asked, it becomes clear fast that even if one were to eliminate all of their own expectation, they’re still subject to the actions and reactions of those around them who still have not been able to as well.

So I would personally like to amend the statement to something that makes it seem far more intrinsic to the way things are in life. Maybe something more along the lines of “All humans suffer from two ailments. Death and expectation. The former is unavoidable, the latter is to be avoided.” It is not nearly as succinct or poetic sounding so I am sure it will never catch on, but the point I’m trying to make still stands: it’s easy to boil the cause of problems down to one thing, but it’s another to actually cure it.

Now, again, I realize many texts have gone into great detail about expectation and its sources and cures, but I think I am more speaking about the general populace here than the practitioner. I wrote a something about expectation not too long ago and I’ve been meaning to get it on here, so here it is, as the conclusion of my blog today, I present to you The Vase Parable

“One day you inherit a vase.

It is a beautiful vase and has so much love and dedication in it; many lifetimes of history to it.
 
You cherish this vase, put it on a mantle to display proudly to guests and to yourself every time you pass.
 
You are very careful when handling it and you take good care of it, dusting it and cleaning it regularly.
 
You get weary of anyone handling it, even yourself.

You think of the days when you pass it down to your own children, think of the stories it will hold in the future.
 
Months and years go by in this way.
 
One day while dusting it, it falls off of the mantle and breaks.
 
You are crushed and very sad. The empty space where it once was reminds you of your failure to take care of it, you let yourself and everyone else down.
 
 
 
So, why do you suffer?
 
You built routines, thoughts, plans, and events that went against the vase’s nature; subtle expectations.
 
It is in the vase’s nature to break; it is fragile.
 
In this way we can take the vase as ourselves and those we know and love around us.
 
Sentient beings are fragile; it is in their nature to break.
 
They come and go, they ebb and flow. As the tides. Cherish a single wave and it is gone in an instant.
 
A broken heart for every crest is an eternity of suffering.
 
Cherish every moment in this moment.
 
Do not suffer from future smiles that may be unseen; we do not suffer for every leaf that falls in the forest.
 
Thinking in any other way than this is delusion.”

Published in: on July 23, 2011 at 9:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Generations

Currently, there are no rungs and no ladders. People cannot climb or pull themselves up in any sort of significant way. My current employer has gotten on a kick that “perception is reality” and therefore whatever conclusion someone comes to, regardless of its accuracy, it must be handled as if it’s the truth. That means that if someone doesnt think you’re working, you arent, and regardless of the proof contrary, you will be “counseled” or “coached” (corporate terms for written punishment) as if it were.

So, if perception IS reality, then whose perception is real? Obviously this seems a green meme (as wilber would call it) fallacy because not all perceptions are equal. So what the company, which is not alone in its new initiatives, is saying is that “any accusation of negativity against you is an immediate sentencing of guilt with no recourse for you”. In other words, what they’re really saying is “everyone elses perceptions OF you is who we take you to be”. Now, where is the gain for a company to be a dick like that?

Well, I can only assume it’s really a further extension of “the customer is always right” with a new age spin on it. This means that the customer gets retribution or justice from the corporation and the individual bad apple is removed from the group, therefore strengthening the batch in the observers eyes.

Unfortunately for myself, this was what life was growing up in my household. My parents were infallible and anything they even suspected of happening must therefore be happening and you were punished for it. I could write many pages of examples of this but I’ll give a very small one for understanding:

Being a picked on nerd in school meant that bad shit happened to me and kids messed with me a lot in my earlier years. In one school in particular, we were required to put our backpacks under our desk while in class and werent allowed to go into them at all. I always sat in front of a kid who didnt like me, and most days they would slide my backpack from under my desk with their feet and open it up without the teacher noticing and either pull things out or put things into it. Many times my backpack and its contents were on the other side of the classroom by the class’ end and I’d have to scoop it all up quickly and run to my next class.

So, one day, I had done that and when I got home, my parents had received a low scoring report card so, in typical fashion I was to clean out my backpack and they were to search its contents entirely. They looked for homework incomplete, tests that were not high scoring, notes to or from people, and when they got desperate for something to blame my low scores on, they’d look for doodles in the margines of papers or simple disorganization of my work as evidence of my lack of focus or care or want to succeed.

So, in my hurry earlier that day, I’d scooped up or maybe had placed into my bag (not uncommon at all) a note from a girl. This note was not to me at all, was addressed to someone else, and talked about the “great night” they’d had with the addressee. At 10 years old, I never went anywhere without my parents but down the road on my bike if I was lucky. But they were certain at that moment that the name mentioned was simply a code name to throw them off and leave me blameless, and that I was in fact having sex and probably doing drugs or drinking, all of which was the proof they needed as to why my grades were poor. The next few weeks I was forced to read, see and recite facts about every STD, drug addiction, and vehicular accidents by DUI that my parents could find on the internet. One morning shortly later I woke my mother up on the weekend and the first thing she said when looking at me was “do you know what a cold sore is? Do you??? thats mouth herpes! You get it from sucking face with slutty girls.”

At the time, it was still another 3 years before I’d get my first kiss, and another 6 before I had any sexual interaction with a girl or consume alcohol and drugs. At the time, other than at a dance two years earlier, I’d not ever been within even physical closeness with a member of the opposite sex.

So, regarding my job this is a prevalent atmosphere, one of which I am quite familiar. At almost 24 years old and having not been in that kind of environment for more than six years, it’s quite startling to see it thriving and making a CEO quite rich. I had always thought my parents an anomoly, but maybe it’s actually something more generational as the “perception is reality” is coming from the administration that is exactly the same age as my parents.

I might not know a lot about business, but I do know a lot about power. Power comes from control, and with such an overarching ideology of never being wrong prevailing one’s every thought and action, it’s clear that my generations parents were power hungry bastards. Which allows me to assume that their parents, the pervious generation, were more than likely a simply dominating group. They probably used physical punishment more and didnt want to see or hear their children, and when asked for an explaination for any action, they would likely only ever respond with “because I told you so” or “because I’m your mother/father”.

Being able to look back and see and guess that, what does that say for my generation? More than likely we’re thinkers and recluses, we dont want to harm or dominate anyone, we simply want to do the best we can and move on. There are likely a large portion who will repeat the pattern of dominating the world that their parents did and unfortunately that means that mentality will still be around for a few more generations. However many will just completely withdraw from society seeing it as alien and oppressive, hoping to forge our own meek existence in solidarity. Sounds about right for the World of Warcraft, technological generation.

So what can we divine of our own children from that generation? Well the future is uncertain and I am an idealist, but I think it is the first generation not to be assholes, for the most part. Spoiled maybe, priviledged or self-entitled even, but I think that they may be one of the first generations to care. Their parents having not wanted to pass on the negative traits will try and instill love instead of fear. This is probably why there are so many bratty kids when one goes out and about, whose parents will say no a dozen times to a request and then finally give in. We’re a rather broken generation, but I feel that maybe in our defeat, our kids will have a better chance at making a positive change in the world, even if only in their treatment of others.

This goes back to my previous blog on parenting and is a great place for me to say why I wont be a parent. I’ve never seen or been exposed to enough of what I’d call good parenting, and I know how broken and deficient I am from my upbringing and I refuse to pass on that broken to the next generation. Granted there are many others who would be far worse parents I’m sure, but there are many more (I hope) who would be far better.

Published in: on July 22, 2011 at 7:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Philosophers and Revolitionaries

I think that whether it’s my best friend, or a charlatain on the internet, when it comes to listening to talk within academia, I find my mind wandering as I wade through the nearly self aware pretentiousness of it all. Can they hear themselves or are they just high on their own juices they hopped themselves on whilst exploring the imagination?

I think that though that sounds abit harsh, it really comes for a simplistic bias that I have: they’re not here to help. These people are smart and charismatic and they can be very informative at times, but they are no further able to help society’s worries than a talk show host is. They are not artists, they are not philosophers as, for the most part, their theories are self contained and self referential and cannot easily be built upon by other thinkers.

The problem that I have with the academics like Ken Wilber, and countless others, and probably every philosopher (self proclaimed or externally labeled as such) is that their message is one of freedom, independence, and even the best of all: salvation ahem I mean enlightenment…

Enlightenment is the new salvation to the religious, enlightenment has become the catch all for the woes of the personal and the interpersonal. But at the end of the day, none of them have any practical guides on how to do any of it, much like the rant I posted days ago about parenting. These people are taking a personal journey into unexplored territory, and describing it, and expecting others to be able to take that journey too and explore those territories.

But regardless of how much they try, their success is limited and eventually they fizzle out, are forgotten, or are never paid attention to at all to begin with. And why is that? In this amazing age of digital technology and being smarter than we’ve ever been, why does it seem that less and less people are interested in what these people have to say?

I think it’s fairly clear: they’re not here to help. They do not help you with your job, or your bills, your marriage, your goals in life, parenting, taxes, political understandings, or practical knowledge seeking. In this day and age, everything we’re connected to and into is directly related by how it makes us feel or helps us (entertainment aside of course). Our twitter feeds and facebook follows, our favorite websites, blogrolls, rss feeds, all of these things are all us reaching out into the here and now for information and help regarding our life as it is right now.

In a way, I think that technology has allowed us to do during the day what scientists say we do at night: come up with and prepare scenarios that we may face or encounter in waking life. Except we’re trying to actively seek this kind of information and feedback as immediately as we see the need for it. It’s the perfect place for the worry warts and hypochondriacs of the world, but it’s ultimately giving us more tools to be able to better handle our day to day lives.

How does this relate to philosophers? Well I think that they dont entertain, they dont really help us practically, and they dont seem to really be able to prove any of what they’re talking about so the return on any investment into any modern philospher is slim to none and at best likely to be boiled down to a single quote on someone’s cubicle wall, or in the signature area of their personal email.

The fundamental important piece to realize is that everyone everywhere is very lost right now and very worried, if not outright screwed and aware of it. This fundamental understanding of the layman’s mentality lends itself to the importance of why it is that those not here to help are passed over quickly.

Politics, pensions, shrinking middle class, layoffs, fear of death, this is the average person’s day to day life these days. So strange to hear and see these things still being so prevalent in the common consciousness in such an advanced day and age. But really, we’re no more advanced now than we were a hundred or more years ago as far as the common concern is concerned. No philosopher has ever reformed a nation, given hope to a people, granted freedom to those enslaved. And yet every philosopher talks as if their theories on how and why things are the way they are seems to take a pride that is only really ever seen in the biblical texts regarding moses.

As socialism become increasingly more and more likely to be the best way for the masses and the people to continue on and prosper, everyone is slowly starting to think about others and not themselves in small ways. However, as much academic yammering as can be heard through daily podcasts, recorded phone conversations, or lectures from philosophers comes out every day, in spite of the words the message is clear “I’ve figured it out, just follow me and read my books. The answers are there” This is clearly self serving as a philosopher, and yes, every philosopher must eat, but we give out degrees in, basically, critical imagination and call them degrees in philosophy. There is nothing wrong with such a degree, but it is guaranteed that while the thought and things you come up with are for the masses you pretend to understand, at the end of the day, most of your time is spent in your own head, talking to yourself.

The introvert and thinker has no place in a society that moves quickly and as the poor get poorer and the rich get richer, if your ideas require a catalogue of books, an entrance fee, a paywall to view, you will be quickly and swiftly swept under the rug by those who are simply waiting for their own personal ghost of che guevara to ride into town, being just idealistic enough and mostly courageous enough, and practically world smart enough to actually try and make a change for everyone. Talk is cheap, and in a world of billions of text and voices flying all over every second, talking is given little credence unless you’ve got the balls and the strategy to actually do something worthwhile, or do you simply hope for a series of good web chats with others, and a good book tour? If so, stay in your ivory tower when you finally notice that the world is on fire around you. We will do the hard work and maybe you’ll get lucky and the people will rally around to save your tower so you may live to think another day. Maybe not.

Philosophers today are speaking as if to an intelligencia that doesnt exist. They’re talking to the plebians and the poor, the disheartened, and the pissed off. The philosopher that does it right will do it quickly, for free, and be on the lips of everyone before they even realize what they’re saying. That philosopher will be a real activist, because now we’re all moving towards being ubermen (and women) the real renaissance people. Learning and doing just a bit of everything. The time for philosophers is over, those who want to survive will become revolutionaries or be forgotten about. This is not a relaxed time, this is the moment just before the fall of the roman empire. Stop talking, we dont care. Do something, because thats what we’re all waiting for, the moment to act. And until then, put your brain on moment to moment and day to day issues that people will need and be able to use while they wait for the rallying cry.

Published in: on July 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Writing about writing

I am going to put my fingers to keyboard now and I dont know what is to come out. I have a lifetime of interesting events with twists and turns and even though I know it all and have written much, I am nearly paralized when it comes to getting it out. I think that its so much information that I feel that if it all isnt in chronological order and it has too much artistic license to it that it wont come out correctly. That when I go to edit it and have to choose parts to cut, ill feel like I am deleting those moments that I remember from having ever existed.

So I am wondering if, like everything else in my life, im overthinking it all. But then again ive been plagued by many bad decisions that werent thought out at all, only further reinforcing my want to think further and longer and harder about everything else to come as well.

Already this damned autocomplete keeps giving me the option to add in “everything” to any word I type starting with an “e”, which means ive already used that damnned word too many times in just this short document. Note to self: turn off fucking autocomplete when writing. It’s such a nag, wanting me to change and have to think when im trying to get into the stream of writing. What a bitch it can be.

I have to come to terms that what happens on paper, digital or otherwise, and what happens in the minds and hearts of the reader is neither indicative of how what happened nor an invalidation of what ive gone through. I suppose just like any creative person, criticism hits home hard when youve poured in your lifes blood. I think what makes it worse is that this isnt simply some story ive created with characters that are mine, but they’re real people, and the events are all real. This shit really did happen and it really happened to me.

Now here I am, having broken what I can only describe as the cursing bubble. It’s the point in any written work where the artist sets the tone of how much they’re going to have cursing in the piece. Somehow as soon as I start I hear a critic somewhere, usually with the disembodied voice of a disapproving relative telling me that cursing makes one seem unintelligent. I see a column somewhere saying that the book would have been better if written by someone older or more mature who wouldnt curse too much. The word “gratuitous” comes to mind and I suddenly try and avoid cursing for as long as I can.

However ive never written childrens books or even young adult books, but for some reason I worry about the prudish adults, who, while not really my targeted demographic, will certainly not be won over to continue on reading what I have to say. And then thinking that makes me wonder as to why the hell I think my story is good enough or worthy of being read by a wide range of people. More than likely it wont be published, more than likely even if it is, it wont be read by many people at all, and if it does get big, I shouldnt give a shit about those who didnt read it, because fuck them that’s why. Their loss, right? Right?

I think that I want to be like achilles where everyone remebers me above all else. I think that the story that im writing is my own Illiad. Its not really epic at all and certainly isnt an adventure in any way, but it’s quite a journey I suppose. But it’s really just one man’s journey which The Illiad wasnt really just about achilles. Ok, so, what im writing isnt anything like The Illiad but it’s going to be pretty tragic at times! More like a train wreck of one thing after the other that you cant help but watch in awe of the carnage. I think ive put way too much emphasis on the “tragedy” part of “greek tragedy” when I think of these two stories being analagous.

To be honest it’s more like Curb Your Enthusiasm than it is like anything else. A much more awkward and sort of less funny Curb. Alright so it’s not really like Curb at all either but it will be funny at time. A nervous kind of funny like when a couple is having you over for dinner and they start fightingthrough gritted teeth about something right at the table while trying to keep up appearances.

So here’s what ive written after a half an hour, just over a page’s worth. If I want my novel to be written that calculated to roughly 75 hours of writing. Holy shit that’s just about 2 weeks of a full time job. Ugh, this thing will never get written. I’m actually planning on starting with what of it I’ve written but then I realize that I am horrible at editing and all of them being at different times, voices and perspectives, it’d be an editing nightmare and I really may as well just start all over. Fuck. I just want to see the page counter read a number 150 or above and me type the words “the end”. But actually thats not true at all, I just want to get this whole fucking thing out of my brain. I can stop having it looming, hovering, taunting.

So what have I written here? Looks like a stream of conscious writing on how much I am not writing. Wow, that wasnt productive at all.

Published in: on July 19, 2011 at 11:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Parenting and Decentralisation of Schooling

A generation of parents who have no idea how to parent. That’s the current landscape. Unfortunately for the young of the society, as struggles got harder for women, all they could imagine themselves accomplishing well is as is a parent. Men unwilling to have children are demonized as not wanting to pass on their lineage or legacy, but our fathers mostly abandoned us. Whether it was actually or emotionally, we’re all Lost Boys in a world that didn’t want to give us any tools to handle it, with parents who wanted to keep us as far from capable of doing so, so much so that they’d gladly omit, hide, and outright lie to those us our whole lives.

Then the inevitable happens: failure. We were never put in a position to succeed nor actually able to, but we somehow managed to scrape by, by the skin of our teeth. Our parents see our early teenage fortes into the adult world as blunders and we see them as adventures. But at some point we really fail badly and they see that as a reflection of their parenting. Unwilling or unable to accept that they screwed up in preparing their kid for the world, usually, they will simply look down on you as throwing away the gift they gave you, which to them is something other than just life. You were their legacy, as their parents taught them they were, and those grandparents who were terrible people that our parents vowed never to be, they failed to pass on any success as they’d never seen it to emulate.

So we just don’t want to procreate. We’re just another life and one whose worth and merit is small compared to the characters we read and the news reports we hear. Where many saw their only good in life would be making another human whose potential might be better than anything they ever did, we see the failure rates and the stress of such a notion and just opt out. We have nothing worth passing on and are just selfish enough to want everything that we have or will have to ourselves (and the women we will certainly be divorced from in the future)

While much of this may seem like pessimism, its actually pure realism. We want what we want and we know we aren’t prepared to do what it takes to be parents, and maybe, just maybe, there’s something genetically or psychologically wrong with our lineage that is probably best left ending its reign in the genepool with us.
But moreso than that, we can only be good at what we see or hear of. Our parents were surely nothing to copy or embody as far as parenting goes and more than likely the only others we who parent are the unlucky bastards who knock a girl up on accident before they’re legally an adult. Spending five minutes with a teenage parent shows just how tragic that life will be for the child. This isn’t to dismiss all teenage parents any more than saying that the majority of republicans are seriously delusional and in need of fact checking. It’s very simple: if you’ve never touched a stove or cooked in anything but a microwave, and suddenly are tasked with preparing a multiple course feast for dozens of award winning chefs, how well do you suspect you’re to do?

One might argue that parenting can only be learned by being a parent, however, using the cooking analogy, yes, the final products you’ll never know without the actual act of cooking, however, knowing recipes, what foods others have prepared, how and when to use which pans with different foods, and how to work a knife are all nearly crucial even before any food gets on the burner.

Just the same, what positive and negative attributes you have in yourself, how your patience or temper works, what your habits and routines are, and making those the best you can are all crucial even before one decides to get reproduce.

However, most people see the ease of the act of procreation as indicative of the ease of nurturing human life and consciousness. Everyone can fuck therefore everyone should be capable of raising children. If you take that mentality and apply it in any other aspect of life, or learning, you’ll immediately see how unreasonable the thought it. But too many people figure they can just wing it and be good. And even go as far as to tell those without children that there’s no reason or need to prepare as the only way to learn it is by fucking it up with your own kid.

But how rudimentary is that? We’ve arguably been raising children for as long as we’ve been a specie, and yet, we’ve not really gotten any better than just winging it. Though there are books upon books on parenting, the only ones worth their weight are usually focused specifically on the more understandable psychological and physical aspects. All of the rest of the books are people writing about how well they winged parenting and at best are people with degrees that think not only were they clearly lucky enough to have raised their kids properly, but they’re so well versed in it that they have surefire methods to help you raise your children. But really, at best, how many children do those people raise in their lifetime? 1? 2? Maybe 3 at best. More children than that are born every second, but clearly your sample size of 3 out of millions is indicative of success.

So what is it exactly that bothers me about all of this? I guess it’s the charlatain nature of it, coming from every parent and expert on the subject (and now by this nonparent). Everyone who says they know don’t know anything besides whats worked for them. So I have sort of talked out of both sides of my mouth here saying that theres too many people winging it and too many saying they’ve got the answers. However I posit that they’re actually both in the same category: just guessing and hoping it works. Obviously the latter believe they’re so successful as to be able to pass that wisdom on to others but one method of throwing spaghetti at the wall is ultimately as successful as the other.

So, what I am trying to get at is simply that we need to come up with something far more universal than that, something we all agree upon as very necessary and important building blocks of human consciousness. We’re obviously not too averse to the idea of this as we come up with 12 years of classes we feel all children should know, though, we do seem rather averse to actually updating those things or teaching them anything practically useful in day to day life.

Simply put, I could list a million things that all people should know, but most of them will be misperceived as teaching or indoctrinating morality, which every parent will rally against. But what truly everyone should be able to agree upon is that everyone should know how to learn. You could never learn everything that there is to know, every equation, important historical date, or scientific theorem, but you can certainly find where it is to be located if you find a need for it.

Before the last decade such a thing was hardly very easy or possible and even still everyone doesn’t have a computer or internet, but, more people than ever do and more information than ever is instantly accessible. Schools should decentralize what is taught into what can be found. Only through personal discovery can interest can real learning occur. Imagine the majority of schooling consisting of teachers asking students random questions such as the mass of Jupiter, the grandmother of napoleon, the fiftieth digit in pi. This would be how learning would occur. One who never heard of Jupiter, napoleon, or pi, would have to read all about those things in search for their answer. The test would always be essays on what you learned in class. Homework would not be compulsory but would instead be automatic, learning would not end in the classroom because you’re not teaching children things you’re teaching children how to learn.

Published in: on July 18, 2011 at 7:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

The #1 Reason Getting A Personal Blog Noticed Is So Hard…

One word: trolls

I speak from only a little experience here. I have been blogging for years. First on Fictionpress, then on Myspace, later on Blogger, and recently on WordPress.

The fact is that when you submit a blog to any open source site (like Reddit, for example) you start out with +1. This means that if the first person who comes along to read your submission, doesn’t like it, and they down-vote it, you may as well resubmit some time later and hope that a few people will actually read the blog and either upvote, or leave it alone.

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but my understanding of the up-vote/down-vote system is that if you like something, you up-vote, and if you do not, you leave it alone. As far as I have understood, the down-vote is specifically there for unrelated content (links in the wrong subreddit) or inappropriate content (rickrolls, or something that is clearly an advertisement). Maybe I’m wrong about that.

Anyone who has ever submitted content to a open-source type site, knows that its entirely hit-or-miss. You may see a spike in your views, which you are greatful for, but, mostly, you just hope that you get upvoted more than you get downvoted. Unfortunately, unless you’ve established yourself as an official blogger, and have a large following, you aren’t likely to get far.

So this blog is to all the other bloggers out there. Keep trying, the more we submit, the more we are likely to get people to enjoy our work.

And the following is to the trolls: Please stop downvoting things you just don’t like. Case and point: I submitted a link to the Philosophy Sub-Reddit and it had 11 Up-votes very quickly. I was elated. Suddenly, the Troll-Patrol must have finally made their way to the Philosophy Reddit, because one terrific individual posted “wow, this is shit.” and clearly downvoted me. At first i read that as “wow, this is the shit.” only to continue reading his incomprehensible rant and realize that wasn’t the case. I replied to his comment as nicely as I could, asking him to explain his reasoning further, but it was too late, the Troll Patrol had already struck and I was downvoted to the bottom of the page. And one terrific individual even commented simply “Lack of analytic rigor: downvote.”

The life-expectancy of a submitted link to a personal blog is probably anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour. Thankfully my submission lasted almost 2 before it was overrun.

In conclusion of this blog (I fully expect this to be instantly downvoted and nobody will see it) I would like to place myself in the shoes of a troll for a moment….

UPVOTE IF YOU HAVE A PERSONAL BLOG AND HATE DOWN-VOTER TROLLS!!!

… thanks for your time.

Published in: on December 10, 2008 at 11:24 pm  Comments (1)  
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.