Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Preponderance of Ponderings

I'm amazed I'm awake right now.  Woke up at 7am, worked from 8:30-11:30, chilled at home, and then worked at the restaurant, which I shall call "the sloppy saloon" for the purposes of this writing, from 5:15-11:20.  Some of my fellow servers asked if I wanted to go drinking with them, and I did, but I declined in favor of going to the gym.  I've been feeling pretty sloppy myself lately, and that's terrible.  Gym from 1:00am-2:00am, and now here I am.

Frustration.  Overabundance of thoughts.  Overabundance of things that I want to do....

It irks me that my ramblings are so trivial.  Perhaps I should try to make my writing more deliberate and intentional...but on the other hand, maybe that would be counterproductive, given the sort of therapeutic place that all these words are coming from.

Confessionals, psychiatrists, prayers, autobiographies...the world is awash in people trying to make themselves heard and understood, to find empathy or indulgence.  I guess this is in the same vein.  But I have no audience or deity to read what I write.  Just myself, and the infinite ether.

I wonder if it's possible to be all the things that I want to be.  My inner zen master tells me that it doesn't matter whether or not it's possible.  It doesn't matter if it happens or not.  Life is life.  Any control over life is an illusion, the self is an illusion, happiness and sadness are always temporary, and existence itself is fleeting.  All I can do is try to enjoy the ride, I guess.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hello World

Dearest Legions of Nameless, Existenceless Fans:

How have you been?  How's life?  What unknowable dimensions have you been occupying lately?  I'm so jealous of your journeys through oblivion, it must be so exciting.

Wave after wave of complex's like I can see the limitations of my own sight, hear the boundaries of my ability to hear.  I realize that I'm imperfect, deeply flawed.  But, objectively, what is a flaw?  I suppose that, ultimately, a flaw is simply a description of some anomalous quality.  A flaw in a pearl, if I understand correctly, is a space where the surface of the pearl is bumped, cracked, or otherwise deviant from what should be "spheriness"....sphericality?

I guess mathematics is the foundation of perfection.  Straight lines, symmetry, perfect circles.  These platonic ideas don't occur "in nature" (although that is debatable, if one considers humans to be natural creatures and human creations to be our natural by-products).  So perhaps the more one can align one's actions/thoughts with mathematical qualities, the less flawed one will be....can that possibly make sense?  Thought and behavior are complicated.  I need to study the geometry of the brain, perhaps.

Why do we want to share so badly?  Why does the subconscious clamor for recognition and attention unceasingly?  It must be a manifestation of our perpetual existential angst.  We can't handle our mortality and limitation.  Having others share our thoughts and feelings is a temporary reprieve from our isolation.

What does it mean to "deceive oneself"?  Decisions can be made, and the consequences of those decisions can be gauged...part of you may want to do one thing, and another part of you wants another thing.  There is no indivisible self, so how can there be self-deception?  Perhaps thinking that there is a single self is the only kind of self-deception that there really is.  Your "selfness" is a lie.  "Selflessness" is truth.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Let's develop a test for every person on the planet.  It will have to be administered in sneaky ways, without the participants knowing that they are being tested.  It will involve a situation in which the participant is put into some bureaucratic-like position.  They will be given the authority to help or hinder some other person from achieving a goal.  The test subject will be told that there are rules which dictate that they cannot help the other person.  However, they will also be presented with a plethora of evidence showing that there will be no negative consequences for helping the person, as well as evidence showing that the hindering rule is a somewhat nonsensical or outdated policy.  If the test subject breaks the rule and helps the person, then they pass the test.  If they "follow orders" and hinder the person, then they fail, and are shipped off to some colony for mindless idiots where the other 90% of humanity (other people who have also failed the test, such as politicians, DMV employees, customer service agents, etc.) live in squalor and savagery, performing brute labor to serve the few of us who actually passed it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Power of Music

Music is so amazing.  God it is amazing.  There is something divine in it.  A little stream-of-consciousness-esque writing about music:

Patterns, chaos, organization
Effort, work, creation
Results, refinement
Communication, information, ripples

"You can't describe it with human words."
"You can't think it with human thoughts."

Sometimes, when I'm listening to certain songs, I feel like I'm a completely different person.  It's great.  Some songs make me think I could bench-press a car, or put my fist through a concrete slab.  I wonder if it's possible to use music to enhance life all the time.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


When someone hurts someone you love, the resulting rage is unbelievable.  The power of human bonding is amazing.  Overwhelming.  Magnificent.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


"Please, do this task in a mediocre way.  Yes, I know the way we do it makes no sense and causes problems for everyone, but that's the way we've always done it, so please don't bother trying to make it better.  Thank you."  What a horrid attitude.

I know, I know, everyone thinks that their way is the best way, and we all have to put up with some amount of bullshit to get by in life.  But maybe that's not really true.  Maybe our government wouldn't be so corrupt and bloated if more people would just stand up for intelligence and decency more often.  I'm pretty sure our founding fathers would be horrified at what America has become.  Maybe the salaries of CEOs wouldn't be 380 times larger than the average worker's pay if people wouldn't stand for it.  What separates people at the top from people in the middle and at the bottom? Willpower, ruthlessness, perseverance, intelligence, luck...  I'm sure that all of those things play a big part.  But there are plenty of top-level executives who make terrible decisions, crash-and-burn, drive their companies into the ground.  And yet it seems like a lot of them are able to go from one high-level position to the next, no matter how bad their track record is.  So what does that mean?  It means there is room for improvement.  If there is a lot of bullshit in the world, and too many people put up with it, then there is something that can be done.  Unfortunately, growth is usually painful.  Everything always boils down to a cost-benefit ratio.  Hopefully more people will soon see that the cost of putting up with idiocy (in government, business, bureaucracy) far outweighs the "benefit" of not needing to work to make things better.  Laziness and inertia are strong factors in whether or not something gets done, but drive and experimentation/change are the way to make awesome things happen.

Where can I find people who think like this?!?!

Interestingly, the people who come closest are my best friends from middle school and high school.  I guess that makes sense because we were together during a very formative period in our lives...even though I have some incredibly great friends from college, they're on relatively different wavelengths.  My best friends from childhood would make great business partners; they're passionate, brilliant people who are capable of getting things done and making great contributions to the world.  But sadly, they also have their own life paths to deal with.  Not everyone is at my disposal.  They're in grad school, or busy with intense jobs...even if they had free time, their interests aren't completely aligned with mine anyway.

It seems like, if I want to do something entrepreneurial or mind-blowing, I need to start on my own.   And then, if I can lay good groundwork, maybe the people I'm looking for will see it as a beacon.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dealing with Other People

The majority of the problems that we encounter on a day-to-day basis are caused by other people.  It's the downside of being social creatures.  I often feel like 90-99% of the rest of the world is dumb, and hard to deal with.  Part of growing up is realizing that we are all hard-to-deal-with to someone else.

The older I get, the more respect I have for the tolerance my parents showed me as a kid and as a teenager.

End Animal Cruelty

Sum of Us - Tyson Foods


When big, life-changing decisions need to be made, the periods of indecision that precede them will probably be agonizing.  It's important to stay calm and not make a decision for the wrong reasons.  Easier said than done, of course.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Damn It

Don't you hate it when you have some really badass or inspired thought, and then you get distracted by a phone call or whatever?  Zounds.

Keep On Keepin' On

Sometimes life is very, very challenging.  I frequently find myself feeling overwhelmed, lost, confused, frustrated.  I know that, when times are tough or when I'm struggling with something, I need to remind myself that no matter how bad things get, all I have to do is be smart enough and work hard enough to make it through.  Sometimes this turns into a mantra:  "you can do it, you can do it, you can do it" or "focus, focus, focus".

Right now, part of me feels like I'm not sure that it's true.  But I guess I just have to decide that it is.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Kids and Authority

Kids need authority (parents, teachers, rules) just like adults need authority (leaders, governments, laws, religions, deities).  In both cases we need to know that our behaviors are justified and validated by something higher than ourselves.  Even when kids misbehave, on some level they like being controlled/corrected/punished/educated by their parents or teachers, because it takes away the burden of  ambiguity;  it is comforting.  I suspect the same is true of "normal people" who do "bad things" or commit crimes as a "cry for help."  We want attention, comfort, consolation.  I don't want to make it sound like a simple idea, I'm sure the human psychological relation to authority is quite complex, but I do think it's safe to assert that most people want it to some measurable degree.

This makes sense on an evolutionary level because uncertainty costs energy.  We can't spend time learning how to make fire and cook mastodon burgers if we don't know whether or not a team of bloodthirsty, caveman-eating sabertooth tigers is waiting in the shadows outside our camp.  Uncertainty takes up our mental resources.  So if we can live in a system in which certainties are maximized and uncertainties are minimized, our resources and our utilization of our resources are more competitive.  This translates into wanting to know that everything is okay, that someone is watching out for us, monitoring us, setting boundaries for us.

I can't speak for society prior to the last 15 years or so, as I wasn't paying attention back then, but I feel that parenting in American society today is astonishingly lenient.  I'm guessing that it's a side effect of America's incredible wealth and prosperity in the last 50-100 years.  Parents give kids whatever they want, in an effort to make them happy; toys, junk food, television and gets worse as kids get older.  In college, the number of kids whose parents had given them new cars, fancy phones, laptops, expensive clothes, surfboards, snowboards, the list goes on and on, was mind-boggling.  I don't understand how anyone can reach age 18 and never have had a job.  Unfortunately, these efforts to provide for one's family visibly backfire.  Giving your kids all the material possessions they want does not make them happy, it makes them feel entitled and unappreciative.  Likewise, sheltering your kids causes them to either rebel when they get out of the house, or it suffocates them.  They will either drink and sleep around and do drugs (not that there's necessarily anything wrong with those activities, but I'm just saying that parents who stiflingly prevent their kids from being exposed to those behaviors often end up making their kids want to participate in them even more), or they will continue on being sheltered and become completely lame adults.

This is not to say that all people or all kids should completely kowtow to authority.  Obviously there are incredible good reasons to question and challenge authority.   Everybody should learn the value of thinking for oneself and drawing one's own conclusions.

That being said, kids need to learn how to work.  They need to learn to apologize when they do something inappropriate.  They need to learn to respect that their parents are usually working their asses off to take care of them, not because their children are at the center of the universe, but because it is a parent's prerogative to safeguard the entire family's well-being.  Parents who teach their kids otherwise are doing their progeny a disservice.  Feel free to be stern, strict, authoritarian with your kids.  They are little bundles of misguided emotions and undeveloped neural connections.  They need you to set a strong example so that they can become strong people.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Uncertainty.  Why am I always drowning in uncertainty?  Is there anything that I am certain about?  Let's think...

I am certain that I like existence.
I am certain that I like thinking...or at least, sometimes I do.  Sometimes I wish I could stop.
I am certain that I feel really bad for a lot of people in the world.  There is a lot of suffering.
I am certain that I would like to make the world a better place.

Life is both chaos and pattern.  Beautiful and ugly.

I remember sitting on the slope of a mountain one time, and I looked down at the ground and was struck by the  intertwined mesh of living and dead plants.  You almost couldn't tell them apart, it was like a big, knotted quilt.

I know I'm smart, logical, creative...but is there any significance in that?  Maybe there would be if I could use my brain to create art, a book, music, games...I guess I need to be creative.  Creativity (as opposed to straight labor, which all my jobs have been, even if it was intellectual labor) is an outlet that will allow me to thrive.  And probably help me to channel my uncertainty into something more tolerable.  Amusement, perhaps.